Track & Back Event - August 19, 2007

Tab Cycling Fans:
This event sounds fantastic!  The ride is called the "Track and Back" and begins at El Bait Shop bar and grill down on 2nd St. (next to the High Life I'm told...ahem.) and goes out to Newton.  More specifically, it goes INTO IOWA SPEEDWAY where you'll do laps around the track!  They will be taking photos of you racing around the track and in the winner's circle holding up your bike like you've just won the Tour de Iowa.

The official scoop is here.  You can do the full century ride of 100 miles or simply start out at the speedway and head back into downtown for a 50 miler.  This event raises money for the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa and will offer pre-ride carb loading food, post ride BBQ hosted by El Bait Shop, and sag wagon service along the way, etc. 

Please let me know if you'll be doing this ride so we can enjoy some time chatting along the way!

The first round upon returning to El Bait Shop is on me.

Madone Shake Down Run

Madonesl52_chired The Trek Madone was put through some very mild testing yesterday.  It felt VERY good and I can't believe how little energy it takes to put in say 12 relatively flat miles (even with a bit of head wind).  There were times that I was actually coasting faster than my hybrid bound buddy was peddling.  Ah that brought back memories of RAGBRAI last year (Gerard B. heard snickering across the blogosphere this very moment). 

Some adjustments are needed as the bike was put together post-UPS shipping by ME.   It's a bit off balance since all of the front end pieces are probably a millimeter or two left or right of center...but otherwise, unreal.

I didn't want to stress to hard, so we road to downtown Des Moines and parked it at the Hessen Haus, a killer German restaurant and pub.  A few Bitburgers later,  we were home bound in the beautiful Midwest Spring weather. 

Personal Trainer Needed

I need someone to facilitate my personal transformation from gelatinous mess to lean cycling machine for RAGBRAI 2007 (end of July).

Does anyone know of a trainer in the Des Moines metro that is willing to come to my house or...that has their own facility to work on core body strength and overall cardio fitness?

Please refer them directly to me if you do: 
email:  [email protected]

I don't want to join a gym.  I've got the 52.5 adjustable dumbbells, the big ridiculous exercise ball, and 2 bicycles already (including 1 indoor bike trainer), and a nice treadmill. 

Why a trainer then you ask?  Well, sometimes paying for it makes you do it (in business we call it consulting) but I'm OK with that premise.

I need to crank off 50 miles like it's nothing and need to start harder training now but can't seem to get the right program going that doesn't bore me into another cheeseburger. 


I just procured a trainer so I can ride my new bike indoors.  I realize there's a bit of oxymoron with "indoor biking" but with the last blast of winter, my travel schedule, and 2 little ones running around, it seemed logical.  I went for a combo fluid/magnetic trainer.

I need to put in 600 miles before July 25 and I just don't see how I can achieve that w/o spending seat time in the house.

Now I can watch episodes of 24 while riding.  I can't think of a better way to burn the adrenaline build up caused by terrorists and federal agents in gun battles.

Trek Madone 5.2SL

So I'm doing RAGBRAI again this year along with a couple buddies and I need a road bike.  Well, my uber biker pal Luke Manohan hooks me up with a killer deal for a Trek Madone 5.2 SL. 

Very Niiiice for make better hand nerve damage and for efficiency.  (In my best Borat voice). 

Thus, I'm fully committed and now riding a full carbon whammy!

I have absolutely NO excuse now not to train hard because these babies aren't cheap and you know when you spend money on fitness...never mind. 

Here's to looking even better this year in spandex.  (gulp).   

RAGBRAI Confirmed!

  My buddy Luke Manohan just called me and said "I'm in for RAGBRAI".  Actually, he's in for the last few days since he'll just be getting done with a ride ACROSS THE UNITED STATES and can't get here in time to do the whole thing.  Yikes!  Have you ever conceived of riding from say Oregon to Boston?  Want to?  Who'd a thunk there was a way to see America By Bike.  In September, he'll be doing the Oregon to Newport Beach, CA ride so I may find an excuse to visit my former stomping grounds for the last few hundred miles of that. 

I'm in the market for a road bike now too since last year's Mountain Bike adventure nearly killed me.  Granted I have a killer Mt. Bike, it's a very light Trek w/disc brakes and such...but at the end of the day, the riding position and lack of efficiency really got me. (Lack of training was no factor :).  I didn't get any flats...that's for sure.  I did elicit quite a few, "'re riding a mountain bike on RAGBRAI...woahhhhh".  That made me nervous.  It was not until my left hand was numb for about 4 months that I appreciated their banter.

This year I'm going for the motor home or "chase vehicle" approach.  No more tent crap here.  Last year we ended our trek in Waukee, IA (near my home) and drove to the house about 16 seconds before the sky opened and put on a lightning show that forced all participants into shelters.  I felt as good then as I do when say every flight is canceled except mine...and oh the upgrade came through Mr. Mitchell, Mimosa and a hot towel?...and all we have left today are convertibles and its 72 and breezy.

So, if you're interested in running the last few days of RAGBRAI this year and God willing I get a vehicle pass of my own, and you want to join up, let me know.  This year is supposed to be the flattest on record and that's fine by me. 

Can anyone recommend a stationary bike trainer?  Bike World has a few that look good and I think magnetic is the highest end choice...but I'd love to hear an opinion on what made you happy. 

RAGBRAI 2007 Route Announced!

LanceBRAI (Sorry RAGBRAI) 2007 route has been announced and it's FLAT!  Here's the link to the map and the story.  I'm very excited about this! Who's with me?  (chirp.......chirp).

Come on Gerard...bring a crew out from CA.  Kevin!  Motorhome to Iowa baby!  Bring it!

Calling All Riders - RAGBRAI 2007

RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) is happening this year between July 22-July 28, 2007.  Here's my chronicle of last year's incredible experience.

Lance Armstrong said last year that he'd do the entire ride this year which should bring about quite the buzz.  I'm totally into riding again this year...but I'm a guy that likes to ride with friends so I'm putting the call out now to anyone interested.  I may do the entire ride if enough people come along with me.  We'll get a motor home and do this right!  If we're just doing a few days, we'll probably do 2 or 3 days that are closest to the house.  Based on the route history, I think we're looking at a southern route this year.  I'm really hoping that we'll pass right by an ethanol plant and get a tour.  You still have 205 days left to train as of this posting too.

I'm willing to coordinate logistics for those coming from out of town, etc. 

I just found this site called GeoBike.  I haven't gotten this to work yet...but you can review the rides and routes of the past using google earth.  This looks fun.

The Photo I Could NEVER Have Gotten

If you read through this post on the 2 Wheel Commute Blog, you'll understand what it meant just to be able to keep up with Lance.  Nice story.  Nice photos.  Next year.....maybe.

Iowa Is NOT Flat!

I formulated my grand strategy to ride in the U.S's most celebrated bike ride soon after moving to Iowa.  I'd get in shape, see the state that I now call home, and learn how to become comfortable in spandex biking shorts.  The ride is called RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. 

Now in its 34th year, RAGBRAI attracts over 15k people from across the United States, and some from other countries.  I personally saw folks from the U.A.E, Italy, and from the most exotic of countries...Southern California.  RAGBRAI is really a melange of stimuli:  25% bike ride, 25% state fair, 25% camping trip, and 25% Mardi Gras.

The ride's route changes annually but it tends to cycle from Northern, to Central, to Southern Iowa.  It begins on the Western half of the state and moves Eastward every time.  The reasoning for this directional choice seems to be a belief (misbelief?) that prevailing winds are Eastward this time of year.  This year the route was through Central Iowa stopping in the town next door to mine.  This gave me an excuse (and probably a life saving one) to stop after the 3rd day versus going the full 7.   The idea is that towns host "stopping points" along the way...some mild some wild.  The big draw of pie and pork chops was not overblown in the media.  Every church and senior center in Iowa prepared delicious pies and a bevy of other food and goodies to keep riders right as rain.

This year, Lance Armstrong decided that he'd been wasting his time all those years by spending July in France.  He rode the last 4 days of RAGBRAI giving talks along the way as an advocate for cancer research spending.  He's committed to doing the entire ride next year and has hinted that he may bring along some celebrity friends.  Surely this will become the Sturgis of the cycling world.  Get ready for Lance-a-pa-looza.

Day 1
54 Miles:  Sergeant Bluff to Ida Grove (Map)

My first day I took special care not to overdo it and try to outrun my ability.  I was warned by the newspaper, websites, and other blogs that the first few days had hills.  If you've only been to Central Iowa, you'd have a tough time believing this as did I.  Much to my chagrin, all of those sources were right.  I often found myself peddling just a bit faster than some were walking their bikes. I refused to get off my machine...opting for granny gear, head down, no talk, sweatiness to reach the next peak. Other times, I was blazing downhill at 35 mph.  This route was balanced.  Ups led to big downs and a cool off and welcomed rest period.  Amazingly, 54 miles went pretty quickly.  I never peddled to exhaustion, rather I seemed to be in cardio heart rate mode for about 8 hours of the 10 it took to get there.  Upon arrival and set up of our campsite, my buddy and I began to find a prone position out of the sun.  Prone yes...out of sun no.  For 4 hours I lay there sweating through clothes and trying to understand my physical condition.  I felt "off"...I had trouble completing thoughts.  I was exhausted mentally and physically.  My water/Gatorade/fruit smoothie consumption was very high all day so I knew I was not dehydrated.  Additionally, I had eaten about 5000 calories to keep me going all day so "bonking" was not an issue. I was simply SPENT of all energy.  Weighing in at a scale tweaking 250lbs on a 6ft. 1in. frame was the core problem and I was paying the price for my penchant for 20oz rib eyes and dipping pizza in bleu cheese dressing.  We spent a night of tossing and turning in my 2 man tent trying to find comfort in the hot Iowa night.  Rain drops cooling my skin at 5AM woke me and day 2 was on.

Day 2
77 Miles: 
Ida Grove to Audubon (map)

I will never forget this day.  Just the ride out of town began with leg paralyzing hills that never seemed to go back down.  This day provided the most feet of elevation climb of all.  Top this off with a stiff headwind that was gusting to at least 20 mph.   A rider's reward for this hilly pursuit was a robbery of downhill speed and rest due to wind resistance.  There was little conversation between main stopping towns, only pain and sweat.  Riders cursed under their breath.  A man from Illinois was heard saying, "Does Iowa have a headwind in every direction? #[email protected]#%$$%@"  There was simply no relief.  We began this day at 6:30AM and arrived at our destination town at a little before 8PM.  I had spent 10+ hours on a bike and had the redness to prove it (in more than one spot).  Again I had more trouble moving, thinking, and doing.  Another buddy of mine Tom met us at the campground that night, hooking up so we could do the last leg together.  We had a couple of beers, walked the town square, ate as much as possible and headed back to our mobile domicile.  At 1AM, I woke again, scrambling along with many other campers to put our rain fly on. It looked clear when going to bed and the forecast was for "partly cloudy skies".  That's Iowa speak for "It could downpour but we really don't know."  I should have gone with my gut but my body and mind would not execute.  After some frustration we simply draped the rain fly over the tent and by then, the rain had stopped. We woke at 6AM and began to tear down.  On the way out of town, we were again met with grinding hills.  Gerard quipped, "Is every town in Iowa built in a sink hole expletive expletive expletive!"


Day 3
68 Miles: 
Audubon to Waukee (map)

Ah the home stretch but not so fast.  This day like all others began with more hills.  Mike legs ached and burned as though I'd been riding for over 100 miles.  Just getting to the outskirts of the town where breakfast was being served hurt badly. A raspberry white chocolate latte and some muffins procured from the local Methodist Church and we were on our way.  Tom was fresh and spry but that would all change.  The route notes indicated that the first 26 miles of this 68 mile day were as hilly as before..but HUZZAH!!!, the wind had subsided a bit and there was little net elevation change, i.e. downhills follow uphills that allowed for rest.  The first 26 miles didn't pack the severe punch of day 2 but tell that to "The new guy", Tom.  Eight miles into this day, Tom's bike somehow broke a spoke and we spent nearly 40 minutes at the mobile bike repair station getting a new wheel.  Imagine a corn field, a bunch of bike riders, and a truck with everything one needs to get fixed up.  What a sight.  The prices were exactly what you'd pay in their shop too.  Thanks to good Midwestern values and a desire to help its fellow man, the bike shop got us on our way again with no complaints.  At about mile 40, Tom began to get annoyed with Gerard and I.  His physical discomfort was obvious, no longer praising his cycling shorts and seat for comfort, rather cursing most things including Gerard and I for "Just leaving him behind, etc."  I recognized this behavior since I had done it with Gerard the day before.  Step 1, anger.   We began to pace each other, trading off the lead position, and began to make some progress.  The last 20 miles or so were FLAT.  Even with our energy stores depleted, we could maintain a 15mph pace.  Oh the joy!  If Tom had moved past the anger into acceptance, I think we really could have cruised.  I had energy again...the inevitable boost one receives from knowing they're nearing the end.  This leg ended on my "home trail" west of my town of Clive.  I felt like a confident tour guide at this point, sharing my local knowledge with Gerard.  My wife called and arranged to meet me along the route with the kids.  As we got closer, Gerard and Tom pulled back in true Tour de France style allowing me to bask in the glory of my home town.  They gave me my moment.  Approaching the mini-van, I saw the kids and they were holding signs!  The signs read "Go Daddy" and had hand prints all over them.  If not for the emotional exhaustion of the ride I surely would have crumbled and wept.  In an instant my pain and strife were gone and I'm standing in front of my beautiful wife and children. The thoughtfulness of my wife never ceases to amaze me and I'm truly blessed to have her.  After plentiful hugs, kisses, and greetings from fellow riders, we set out to reach the final destination.  We arrived, met the wives, loaded our gear, and it began to downpour.  Mother nature winked at me just then and put a tick mark in the Doug column.  That night as lightning lit the sky and thunder rumbled across the heartland, we broke bread together (topped with cheese, sauce, and toppings) and had plenty of liquid bread (beer) to nourish our bodies.  We sat around and told tall tales of our adventure while the kids played..and life was good. 

Although our bodies were weak, our spirits had already been lifted by friendship, love, and the buzz from achieving a physically and mentally demanding goal. I hadn't felt that physical sense of accomplishment in a very long time and I'm craving it again already.  Bring on the hills.  Bring on RAGBRAI 2007!


Pie & Pork Chops..Why Lance Armstrong Retired

It was just announced here in Iowa that Lance Armstrong, now retired from cycling and the Tour de France, will be joining nearly 20k out of shape, pork loving, beer drinking, pie eating cyclists (and me and my buddy Gerard) on the annual RAGBRAI ride across Iowa.  The newspaper has quoted him as a saying that he's been longing to do this ride for a very long time.  They're keeping his exact days of participation under wraps for now but what a cool deal. This isn't a race mind you.  It's a nice jaunt for some, a stretch for others, and likely a torturous decline into the bowels of hell for many.  I'm not sure where I'll fall in that mix, but I can say that "I rode with Lance" soon.  Live Strong.

No Guts...No Glory

I completed my longest ride yet!  50k ride turned out to be slightly less (43.4 KM) but there was another factor at work here...the wind.  I did the first half in 50 minutes.  It's relatively flat overall and I averaged over 14 MPH.  Man I was excited.

At the turn around, I began peddling only to find a stiff headwind had kicked up.  I was lucky to get to 10MPH on the way home and it took a little over 100 minutes to get home.

It was great training and I'm a bit numb all over.  I really need to stop eating cheeseburgers and drinking root beer. 

50K Ride

Tomorrow I'm participating in the Clive Five O celebration in town by doing their Mayor's 50k Bike Ride. This will be my longest ride yet.  Although my training has been pathetic for my late July RAGBRAI ride, I think I'll make it.  Clive and my surrounding Des Moines Metro have bike trails all over that make for fantastic rides w/little worry about traffic and getting smushed.  This ride will take me out along a main and fairly level road in the country.  I've gone about 8 miles on this trail before...but this time it will be 16 miles...then turn around and come back. 

My new home town is going all out with fireworks, a beer garden, etc.  You'd have had trouble getting me anywhere near something like this in California because there would be far too many people and there would likely be traffic and parking issues before we even got there that would raise my blood pressure.  Life certainly has changed in that way.  I've heard more than one person describe life in Iowa as "Easy Living" and I must concur.  Wish me luck and survival. 

Training Log - April 16

April 16 - Training Log

9.96 miles
49 min elapsed
22.8 Max MPH
12.0 MPH - moving avg

Substantial and constant crosswind. Best guess is 15 mph sustained blowing South and slightly east.  My trail today runs EAST-WEST so I had the wind the whole time.  I need to pick things up here but have been dodging t-storms lately.  Got rained on a bit but nothing to speak of.

April 1 - Training Log

April 1 - Training Log

13.3 miles
1:12 elapsed
21.7 Max MPH
11.0 MPH - moving avg
9.7 MPH - overall avg.

Official Ragbrai Launch

The cold is finally breaking in Des Moines. (Now we're having t-storms and tornado watches) but that's besides the point.  I'm officially beginning my training for the Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa RAGBRAI.  I'm going to post things here in the blog about my encounters across the trails and highways of Iowa.  I've got GPS on the bike now and hopefully can retrace my routes and track my progress quite nicely.  It's 43 deg. and very damp this ride will be enlightening.  I have the gear...I need the discipline to break through.

I'll try my best to keep you from falling asleep during the paragraphs I write about this adventure.