Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Training Tuesday 2/19/08

Went to the gym during lunch to lift, focusing mainly on chest given yesterday's leg workout. Exercises included:
  • inclined bench press
  • flat bench press
  • declined dumbbell chest press
  • Cybex shoulder press
  • Cybex rows
  • bicep curls
  • triceps (rope)
  • 3 set of abs.

I'm also happy to report that our team is up to seven members, and fundraising efforts continue to go well. We're currently at more than $700 in donations pledged to the ADA, with several months to go before the big event, and several more team members expected to join. Thank you all for your support!
  • Breakfast -- large decaf coffee, FiberOne oats/caramel bar (not so tasty -- more butterscotch than caramel)
  • Lunch -- turkey sandwich on wheat with lettuce, pickles, and Italian dressing, handful of chips, pickle.
  • Dinner -- chicken and pasta leftovers, beef stew, picked on assorted fruits throughout the evening.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Happened to the Biking Blog?

Hi Everyone.  No, I didn't drop off the face of the Earth... perhaps the face of the biking world, but not the face of the Earth.  I've just been doing a miserable job of getting back on my bike in recent days.  There are never enough hours in the day, and I've been prioritizing other items over biking.  Since the last post on this blog, my daughter has taken up much of my previously free time, and has taken a strong #1 priority over all else.  In addition, in those remaining spare moments I've written two physics books (second was just published last week), and am excited to report that child #2 should be arriving in about two months.

I'm hoping that as the kids get older I can attach a child carrier to my street bike and get back into biking, but for now, family is taking precedence.  There might even be some opportunities to get in sporadic rides this summer, but I don't see the daily multi-hour rides coming up again in the near future, a trade I'm more than willing to make for more time with my family.

Best wishes to all on a tremendous holiday season!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Equipment Failures

Nice day last Sunday, hoped to get in a little ride in a feeble attempt to regain some level of fitness. Half the ride was terrific, the other half, well... my pump broke before I ever even got out of the garage. Not to be deterred, I tried my emergency hand pump -- it would hardly work at all, so I used a CO2 cartridge and got the tire filled up. Still had one more CO2 cartridge, so I felt safe embarking. Halfway through my ride, my front derailleur stopped working. Before I could find a good spot to pull over and attempt some on-the-fly repairs, I dropped the chain. OK, these things happen. Spent about 15 minutes stopped with the bike upside down and was able to get the chain back on, but only the large chainring would work, and derailleur adjustments were beyond my control. Headed home on just the large chainring (thankfully had picked a flat route for the day), and got the bike into the shop. Should have the bike back sometime middle of next week. Oh well, that'll teach me to skip the beginning-of-season tune-up.

Distance: 15.22 miles
Time: a leisurely 62 minutes
Speed: 14.7 mph
Avg HR: 150
Calories burned: 939

Saturday, April 25, 2009

And a new season begins!

Beautiful day here, 80F in April, so pulled out the bike for the first time this year and took a nice loop out east and back. Wind was about 15mph from the west, and I felt SOOOO out of shape, but the grass was green, sun was shining -- a nice start to a new season (and boy could I use the exercise!)

Distance: 13.15 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.3 mph
Max Speed: 23.5 mph
Avg. HR: 162
Calories Burned: ~800

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall Looks to be Over

Well, it's been quite a while since I've been on the bike, as my new job has been eating up just about all of my free time. However, I've made friends with a co-worker who is getting into biking and we're talking regularly, so I'm hoping after I get a year of curriculum "down pat," I'll have more time in the spring and summer to go riding, especially with the added encouragement of a friend to bike with.

Getting to be about time to move the bike down to the trainer in the basement, as I saw snow fall for the first time this week, and as much as I enjoyed my attempts at winter biking last year, the trainer in the basement was considerably more enjoyable.

Make it a great day!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Easy Evening Ride

Back on the back this evening, about 4.25 miles with Mrs. Beagle as a warm-up, then rode through some developments before stopping to chat with some friends for a few minutes, then up to Lake Ontario for a couple miles before repeating the loop just in time to pick up Mrs. Beagle at the end of her activity and enjoy a nice cooldown ride back home. Sunset was beautiful, temperature was comfortable, and the company was perfect.

Distance: 22.5 miles
Avg. Speed: 13.7 mph (lots of stops)
Calories Burned: 1,283
Avg. HR: 128
Max HR: 179

Monday, July 28, 2008

Long time no post...

Well, as I'm sure you've noticed, my posts have become non-existent since completing the century ride back in early June -- this doesn't reflect a shift in interests by any stretch, but rather a change in priorities as I have recently switched occupations, and will begin a new career as a full-time physics teachers this fall.  In the meantime, most free moments have been spent preparing curriculum items as I embark on a new adventure...

Although I do imagine I will get back to this blog, for the near future I feel comfortable that the bikebeagle blog has successfully accomplished its two primary goals -- first, to introduce me to blogging (in anticipation of this career change), and secondly, to track and document progress toward completion of my first imperial century.  Thank you for your support toward both these ends!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Jaunt

Went out for a short ride this morning to get some exercise, enjoy the sun, and do a little mental planning. Winds were out of the south west, so I headed south first out of Webster down toward Fairport, with temperatures just perfect for a ride. Scenery was very green, traffic was light -- just a nice day out. Started seeing some darker clouds to the west about the time I hit Whitney Road, so I headed west from there, then turned around and came home north up 250, always a nice flat ride that goes quite quickly with a strong tailwind.

Ride Statistics:
Distance: 22 miles
Time: 1:18:01
Speed: 16.4 mph
Calories: ~1338
Avg. HR: 144

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hermano Ride

Was down in Pennsylvania visiting my folks last weekend, and managed to sneak in a quick ride with my younger brother. He has a new Lemond Alpe d'Huez, so we decided we'd do about a 25 mile ride, hoping to sneak it in before the rains hit. I was sneaky, and pretended I didn't know where we were headed so I could draft off him on the way out and perhaps give the illusion I was a strong rider (he's young, he can take it). He took it easy on me, however, and eased up on the pace as we cruised along at about 17-18 mph.

The ride out was uneventful. We started on top of a fairly large hill, coasted to the bottom, then headed out about 13 miles before turning around and coming back. A few minutes after turning around, however, we got absolutely drenched. Since little bro had a battery-powered light on the back of his bike, I took the lead and he brought up the rear to help cars see us in the heavy rains as I pulled through the torrential downpour back into town. Sure could have used some windshield wipers on my sunglasses. The rain abated as we pulled into town.

We took a different route back up the hill to avoid the highest grades, but still had a substantial climb at the end of the route -- it was about all I could handle (and I still need to get a 12-27 installed for my rear cassette). He thought it was fun, though -- and even practices the hills over and over. A good thing to do, I can't argue, but does he has to be so jovial and happy about it? Lightweights and hills. Grrrrr.
Overall, though, it was a great day for gentle 27-mile loop and I very much enjoyed my first ride with my brother.

Ride Statistics:

  • Distance: 26.97 miles
  • Speed: 15.9 mph
  • Max Speed: 30.1 mph
  • Avg. HR: 146 bpm
  • Max HR: 192 bpm
  • Calories Burned: ~1664

Monday, June 9, 2008

Century Ride I

The 2008 Tour de Cure event is finally over, and I'm quite proud to say that I completed the century, realizing a goal set more than six months ago. It seems a little bit strange now, after focusing on this event as a primary goal for so long, I have no idea what to answer when people ask "so, what's next?" Or the ever-popular question, "would you do it again?" At this point in time, I'm not certain. Perhaps right now, some of the more difficult (i.e. painful) parts of the ride are a bit too fresh in my mind. Regardless, I am glad to have had the opportunity to participate in the event, very glad to have finished the 100 miles successfully, and thrilled for all the support from friends and family, without which I couldn't have been successful.

There's no doubt in my mind, the first 50 miles of the ride were all about cashing in on my six months of training. The next 28 miles were all about not letting my friends and supporters down. The following 14 miles were all about riding on heart and love of my family. And the last 8 miles I attribute to a couple sprinklers shooting out over the road, a bit more shade as we re-entered Mendon Ponds Park, and most importantly, a gentle push from God.


Mrs. Beagle made up a very nice carb-loading dinner the night before the event, with some potato gnocchi, a garden salad, and some chicken parm (she even made mine without cheese -- true love!). All day I pushed fluids, attempting to pre-hydrate before the big event, expected to be a scorcher. I got up at 5:30 the day of the ride, hopped in the shower, got dressed, and ate a banana for breakfast as well as downing a glass of water. Drank a bottle of 50% Gatorade/50% water on the way to the ride.

I arrived at the start of the ride just before 6:45, registered at the tent (very straightforward and easy), and returned to my vehicle to unload my bike, attach my ride number, pump up my tires, and make sure I had on plenty of sunscreen before we left. We were informed that we could get started as soon as we wanted, as the high heat and humidity for the day would likely slow us down, and it would be wise to get as many miles in as we could as early as we could. I was also advised that the tour directors were pushing folks toward the metric century (62 miles) instead of the 100 mile route due to the weather, but after all my training, there was no way I was going to admit defeat and do the metric before I even got on the bike.

I verified I had all my equipment -- sunscreen, cell phone, ID, insurance card, camera, GORP, GU Energy Gels, Clif Shot Blocks, Sport Beans, Camelbak (full), helmet, gloves -- yup, as good as it gets! Initially I'd figured I was hugely on the overkill side with my packing (4 Gel Paks, plus a bag of shot blocks and sport beans?) By the end of the ride, though, I determined I had brought JUST enough to get by, and probably should have taken a bit more. A terrific partner in crime tossed me one last carb-loaded Gel Pak on the last 10 miles that made quite a difference -- I was out of gas!

My riding and training partner, Target, hadn't arrived yet, so I took the opportunity to take a picture or two of the riders milling around, stretch out, continue to pre-hydrate, and generally stand around nervously saying hi to people I'd never met. Target arrived shortly after 7, registered, got set up, and we were on our way by around 7:15, 15 minutes before the official start time.

Stage 1: Mendon Ponds Park
The first 14 miles of the century ride is a loop around the rolling hills of Mendon Ponds Park. Perhaps we should have taken it as an omen, but the opening route out of the parking area (through a gate covered with celebratory balloons) was a fairly steep hill to begin with, but not very long. As we got to the top, a tour volunteer was holding up traffic and pointing us in the correct direction, and I thought to myself: "Wow Self, with support like this, today should be a truly amazing ride. I've never seen anything like this." From there we went through a number of rolling hills. I certainly wasn't pushing, but there were enough other riders in our vicinity that I was spending the extra ounce of energy or two to close gaps and suck their tire, allowing their draft to pull me along and ultimately save me energy in the long run.

I think Target started having some mechanical troubles here. Although I don't have much experience riding with others, his experience is even more limited, and it didn't look like he was comfortable getting close enough to the riders in front to gain any benefit from the draft, so he was pushing a bit harder than was probably wise. He dropped his chain right around mile marker 7, at which point I realized why he was having trouble and we agreed to slow down and go at a slower pace. Note -- by this time it was already over 80 degrees outside, with a ~15 mph wind out of the southwest. Pic on right is Target coming up the road after a chain drop.

Going through the park, I inadvertently altered my nutritional intake plan by eating more than a couple bugs. Crunchy -- check; high in protein -- check; tasty -- not so much. Plus, I didn't eat them so much as inhale them. Thankfully, the density of bugs dropped around mile 10, and never really picked up too badly again.

Target dropped his chain twice more before we reached rest stop #1 at about 14 miles. We took a very quick break to refill our drinks bottles (I carried a Camelbak with 100 oz. of water and 2 bottles of 50% Gatorade), I ate another banana and an apple slice, then off we went.

Stage 2: The River Road
Not 200 feet from rest stop #1, Target dropped his chain again, which repeated a couple more times before we got to the second rest stop at 26.4 miles. Each time, of course, it appeared to happen as he shifted into his smallest front chainring, usually coming up the hills, so he lost all his moment on the rolling hills and really had to toil up the hills the hard way. I'm guessing he was having trouble with cross-chaining, combined with an "opportunity for improvement" in his derailler alignment, but we pushed through (with lots of folks making sure we were okay as the side-of-road chain re-alignments were completed). Terrain was basically gentle rolling hills for this stretch, as we headed west into the wind for about 5 miles, before turning southwest directly into the wind, which seemed to be picking up a touch. Target actually started to get his bike legs on this stretch, and we pulled into rest stop #2 at 26.4 miles in fairly high spirits.

The staffers at rest stop #2 were just tremendous. Despite being very crowded, I had help refilling my Gatorade bottles, my Camelbak (which was more than half empty already in the heat!), ate another half a banana and an apple slice, and even talked one of the staffers into taking a picture of Target and I (right, I'm in yellow, Target in blue). After a quick trip to the bathroom, we were on our way again. Although I look a bit rough in the picture, at this point I'm still feeling pretty strong, although it is getting pretty darn toasty outside!

Stage 3: York
Leaving rest stop two, we turned west for about 5 miles across rolling hills, directly into the headwind. Uphills didn't seem too bad into the wind, but the downhills sure sapped speed. I kept up a reasonable spin downhill which carried me up quite a bit of the uphills, saving me energy, but many of the riders coasting down the hills had to work pretty hard to get up the next one, and I could really tell the heat was getting to Target. He started cramping up on one hill, gave it another go, but within a mile or so, he was off the bike with both a calf and a quad cramp at the same time. He tried to stretch it out and keep hydrating, but it wasn't to be. We stopped across from a dairy farm, and within a few minutes we had two SAG wagons helping us load up Target's bike, and the driver even agreed to return Target up the route about 6 more miles to his parent's place (our own personal rest stop)! I continued on, agreeing to see him in a few minutes at his parents'.

A mile or two down the road, we turned south onto some gentle rolling hills in some fairly open plains. At this point, the wind was strong enough to cause some veering, the sun was gone, and it was just gray and dreary. Having lost my riding buddy was certainly weighing on me as well, but physically I still felt good. Going through the town of York I saw quite a few fans along the sides of the route cheering me on, which does wonders for picking up your spirits. I stopped for just a minute at the rest stop to use the facilities and grab a banana.

Stage 4: Geneseo

Within a mile or two of the stage 3 rest stop, I came upon Target and his family, all out at the side of the road to greet me. I was able to trade my banana peel for a reload of ice in my Camelbak (WONDERFUL cold ice), cheered to see Target was looking in much better shape, if ambling along with a bit of a limp. I was later to learn he was basically sidelined all day, as the knots in his leg had him fairly sore. I was wished luck on the hill I'd see just prior to the next rest stop in Geneseo, and off again, now as a solo rider.

Our exploits with the bike chain and the SAG wagon had taken their toll, and by my reckoning I really had to keep pushing if I was going to complete the 100 miles by the strictly-enforced 4 p.m. deadline. Originally I'd hoped to take a 20-30 minute lunch break to stretch, relax, and generally recharge. Given where I was, all rest stops were going to have to be just a couple minutes unless I made up some serious time (something the wind was certainly NOT helping me with)!

Went another 4 miles south before turning southeast into the flats of Geneseo. The downhill was nice, but once again, the wind made the flats much more difficult than I would have hoped. Cruised into Geneseo and I could see the hill we were climbing -- by far the largest, steepest hill of the day. Quite a few cyclists were off their bikes and walking at various stages of the hill, with another large contingent taking a breather at the top. I put 'er into the granny gear and made it up, but it was quite a struggle, and I was fighting off leg cramps by the top. In hindsight, I might have been wise to join the other cyclists and walk up the steepest part, as I burned too much muscle energy here that I wished I'd saved for later.

Coming out of Geneseo a mile or two from the hill they had our fourth rest stop (45.1 miles in), which was fairly crowded and didn't have a restroom, but they did have water, Gatorade, and bananas. I reloaded my Gatorade bottles, and ate a half a banana before pulling out. Didn't think to refill my Camelbak as it had just been filled with ice, but this turned out to be a mistake, as I ran out of water on the next stage. Thankfully, still had plenty of Gatorade to drink.

I also noted in this stage that I started to feel a bit off -- My body wasn't absorbing the liquids I drank as fast as I was sweating them out, I could feel my leg muscles tightening, and the energy stores were starting to deplete. I'd have to keep a close watch on my nutrition from here on out. Also, breathing started to get a bit labored, and deep breaths caused just the slightest sensation of nausea (which would stick with me the rest of the ride). Regardless, it was time to hop back on the bike and head northeast!

Century Ride II

Stage 5: Avon
Pulling out of rest stop #4, our route took us northeast (finally a tailwind!!!) on generally flat to gentle rolling hills up to the town of Avon. Scenery to the east was generally plowed farmland, but looking over the valley we had just climbed out of to the west was gorgeous. I felt a brief sprinkle for a minute or two before the clouds cleared up and the sun came down. At first it was pretty. Then it was just plain hot.

I noticed in this stage of the ride, although I was consciously taking it easy on the bike, I was still passing quite a few riders. A few were century riders, but it appears many of them were on the metric century route. On the downhills, even without pedaling, my bike seemed faster than many others (without any drafting), and knowing how much farther I had to go, I certainly wasn't going to put on my brakes on the downhill portions of rolling hills. I continued to throw in some on-bike stretches as time allowed, and pedaled softly on the downhills to keep my legs moving. Although my stomach was a bit queasy, overall this was one of the nicest stretches of the ride, which I attribute strongly to the tailwind.

Stage 5 concluded with a relatively steep but short climb into the town of Avon, where rest stop #5 waited in a firehall at the town circle. As I pulled around the circle, a ride volunteer was standing out front cheering the cyclists on, which lifted my spirits as I pulled in with fairly dead legs after the climb. I used the restroom, refilled the Camelbak, and ate a banana. Unfortunately, the rest stop was out of Gatorade, and I drank most of the two bottles I carried during the last stretch. Guess I was running on water alone for the next stage. I also was led to understand that they had lunch for those doing the century at this rest stop, but either I completely missed it or they'd taken it back inside by the time I arrived. Stretched my legs again, started on the shot blocks and a single Gel packet, munched on some GORP for the salt, and thanked the designated "cheerer" before pulling out back onto the road.

Stage 6: Eastward Bound
Leaving Avon, we had a gentle climb out of the village before the road flattened out for a couple miles. I found myself passing a few folks, but basically keeping up with a group of 6-8 cyclists all in team jerseys who really looked like they knew what they were doing. The heat was really starting to take its toll, and I was down to a bare maintenance energy level (knew I had to keep eating, as any delays or skips would have me bonking). Following these guys for a while was fun, until I saw them go straight through an intersection which had a sign pointing to the right (south) for the century riders.

Gut check time. Having lost Target early, I'd lost quite a bit of time, and continuing on would require me to keep up a speed on the order of 15 mph to get to the finish in time. I could certainly follow the metric route from here on in without having to push my pace, and that'd be a lot safer, especially in this heat. Grudgingly, however, I turned south to continue the century route, hoping the SAG (Support and GeAR) wagons would patrol this part of the route as well, as I began to worry that perhaps this ride was beyond my current capabilities.

As I turned south, I was further disheartened to see a very wide, busy road (Route 15), that appeared to go on and on forever. I knew from studying the map previously that I would reach the lake (and the next rest stop) in 5-6 miles, but the open plain, strong headwind, strong sun, and humid conditions just sapped the life out of you. After a mile or two it didn't help that I began to see many of the century riders coming up the OTHER side of the road, having already completed the added extended century loop. I was pushing the clock, and they were 30+ miles ahead of me. I was going to be very upset if I pushed to do the century, got mighty close, and was pulled off the course due to the enforced time limit. I even began to start thinking up plans of how I could do laps around the neighborhood at home to get in any last miles if I got pulled off the course.

About the time I'd thoroughly disgusted myself with all my whining, I realized that not finishing wasn't an option. I had people counting on me, expecting me to do this, and there was no way I was going to let them down. Friends I'd see at the post-event picnic. Family both riding other routes and keeping me in their thoughts and prayers from a distance. Target, who was so excited for the ride but had to bail out early because his leg gave out -- how could I face him with a bail out when my legs were still working?

So, I started singing the Finding Nemo song in my head "just keep swimming--- just keep swimming..." until I made it to Lakeville at the north end of Lake Conesus and another rest stop.

This rest stop was jam packed with riders, although I believe many of them were on their way OUT of Lakeville as opposed to in. I saw one rider I knew from a local bike club ride I'd done previously, who was having his pulse taken by an EMT, and the grass in front of the firehall was littered with bodies taking short naps or just resting their eyes for a few moments. As tempting as it was to join them, I was on the clock. Quick trip to the restroom, another banana, and another water refill. Uh-oh, no Gatorade. Already knowing I was in the high probability arena for cramps, just drinking straight water for ANOTHER stage didn't seem like a good thing at all. I ate another gel pak, finished the shot blocks, and got back on the bike. No time to loiter!

Stage 7: East Side of Conesus Lake

Started down the east side of Conesus Lake on a fairly narrow two-lane road with minimal shoulder, not helped by the popularity of the lake leading to many cars parked on the very edge of the road, and many pickup trucks pulling large boats in trailers. I didn't feel unsafe, but by all means this was a stretch that required strong attention to the surroundings and continual re-evaluation of bail-out points in case something did go wrong. The wind off the lake (with minimal blockage) was a mixed blessing -- the breeze was slightly cooler than I'd been used to, but once again, I was headed south INTO the wind.

The lake seemed to go on for quite some time, but there were a few cyclists in my same vicinity that would stick within a couple miles of each other the rest of the way. I was starting to fade again toward the end of the stage, so managed to suck the wheel of another rider for the last mile or two into the rest stop. By now the nauseous feeling was getting stronger, and I could readily tell that drinking just water was not the answer. I needed something with some salt and electrolytes.

Made it to the rest stop to find more water and some very helpful people, as well as some half strength Gatorade. Refilled my bottles, ate another half banana, Gel-Pak, and some GORP, ran to the restroom, and came out just in time to see the strong winds pull the entire tent out of the ground and blow it into a group of arriving cyclists. No injuries, and with all the talk about whether it was possible to finish in time, I didn't stick around to see the aftermath. Hopped back on the back and headed north up the west side of the lake.

Stage 8: West Side of Conesus Lake

Heading back up the lake on the west side, traffic was much lighter, the road had a better shoulder, and congestion was much lighter in general. The heat was really starting to affect me now, as I was sweating profusely, but couldn't seem to absorb the water and Gatorade I was taking in quickly enough. This was also the first time I started noticing that my heart rate was peaking out much lower than it usually does. Typically I try to keep my HR in the 140-165 range, but going up hills and in tougher areas will see it spike into the 180s. Currently, it appeared my HR was capped at around 150. Not sure what that meant, just found it interesting.

Still feeling a bit queasy, the hills to the west of the road blocked much of the wind for the first part of the stack, which certainly upped my spirits. Now I was really leaning on my friends and family for support from a mental perspective, especially toward the end of the stage which involved a fairly long (but relatively low grade) climb. As I crested the top, a pair of cyclists passed me, noting that the descent into the next rest stop was fun. Unfortunately, we'd lost the hills to the west, and even though I was headed basically northeast, the wind appeared to have shifted to the west, making the descent relatively slow. I took the opportunity to rest my legs and stretch them on the bike, which brought me back into Lakeville at rest stop #8 (same as rest stop #6). Still no Gatorade, and quite a few folks at the rest stop, including seeing some folks just starting around the lake loop. There were quite a few riders significantly behind me!

This rest stop marked mile #78, and my legs were feeling like cramps were coming on again. They did have potato chips out at this stop. I grabbed a bag and tried to eat a few, but they were too crispy and hurt my throat. Instead, I settled for licking the salt off a couple (gross, I know, but effective), then went back to my GORP, another banana, and a Gel Pak. I really had hoped to have time to lay back and take 15-20 minutes to recharge here under a shady tree, but time was getting really tight. It was just after 2 p.m., I had 22 miles to go, and I was seriously worried about leg cramps coming up hills slowing me down. I called my support group (as I'd promised to do near mile #80) to appraise them of my status, then headed back north. Of course, up a hill.

Stage 9: Back on the Beaten Path
Heading north up the same road I had come down as I started my loop around the lake, it was still hot, humid, and windy, but at least some component of the wind was from the south, although it didn't feel like it was giving me much help. I made it up the gentle grade away from the lake, but following one or two steeper rolling hills, my whole body seized up in a cramp halfway up the climbing side. I started to feel it coming and was able to unclip and get myself off the side of the road (JUST before a major highway intersection) while both my calves, both quads, my left hamstring, and even my TRICEPS cramped up all at once. Not good. I'd learned during my training how to baby a calf or a quad and keep going, but this full body cramp was new, and I was short on time.

I tried to stretch out my left leg, but if I straightened it to stretch out the calf, my quad or hamstring would cramp. Try the opposite, and the calf would cramp. So, I just sat there in between positions for a minute, downed as much fluid as I could stomach, and though my stomach was too queasy to eat solid food, I licked the salt off the peanuts in my GORP pack. A couple minutes later I was able to stand. I walked the remaining 50 feet to the top of the hill, then not knowing what else to do, I hopped back on the bike, put 'er in granny gear, and VERY gingerly continued north, trying to do some on-bike leg stretches anywhere I could coast.

At this point, I was so close I could almost feel it. No more heading directly into the wind, relatively flat ride to the next rest stop, and I knew stage 10 had quite a few more trees for shade. But just about any output of power in my legs beyond a VERY easy spin threw my legs into cramps. Nothing to do but keep trying, so I started singing the 'just keep swimming' song to myself, along with a silent prayer or two asking if He could just help keep me from another serious cramp for the last 20 miles, I'd find the strength to keep spinning the pedals.

I made it back to the Route 15 turnoff without further incident, then turned east toward the next rest stop. Unfortunately, there were one or two reasonably-sized hills in the way. I made it up the first one, but less than halfway up the second I could feel my leg starting to seize again. I hopped off the bike on the run, and walked the bike up the hill, taking long strides to stretch out while I kept moving. Couldn't afford to sit and stretch, time was running out. Got to the top of the hill and coasted down the other side, and with some light pedaling while drafting a couple of other riders I'd managed to catch up to (how in the world did THAT happen???), pulled into the final rest stop. Went straight to the restroom, splashed some water on my face (the mirror in the rest room did not paint a pretty picture of my condition), came out, ate a half a banana, and went to refill on liquids. Once again, only water. I split what little Gatorade I had left in one bottle across the two, and refilled them the rest of the way with water. You do what you can. I also refilled the Camelbak to about 30 ounces to last me through the end of the ride, and pulled out right behind a fella I'd been talking to and roughly hanging with over the last 30 miles.

Stage 10: Homeward Bound
By this point, my new buddy and I were both pretty spent. He mentioned he'd done a metric two years ago, and last year did the century after training for months, but this year was trying to do the century without any specific training. Needless to say, he was having trouble with cramping to. Going up the first hill I saw him pulled over on the side, asked if he was OK, and said yes, just cramps. So I continued on another couple hundred feet before I felt that evil little twinge and hopped off the bike again and did my little walk/stretch routine to the top.

We joined up again within the next mile or so, and he offered me a packet of an orange/vanilla flavored gel that was carb full and supposedly had quite a bit of sodium. I graciously accepted (my first time passing food and eating on the bike at the same time) and we continued on through a small village as he talked about the motivational signs he'd seen the previous year on the home stretch. Signs that said things like "You Can Do It," "Don't Give Up," and "Victory is a State of Mind." When he stated that he'd kicked one of them over as he walked up the last hill the previous year, I couldn't help but laugh, and both our spirits picked up as we knew we were going to make it, although we were both glancing nervously at our watches.

Another mile or two up the road he cramped again going up a hill, and I couldn't afford to lose my momentum at this point, so I continued on with a wave, knowing I'd see him at the finish line. Made it up the hill (barely), and coasted down the other side until I was hit with a small miracle... someone had been kind enough to set up a sprinkler in the front yard, aimed directly into the street in the path of cyclists. That micro-shower felt awfully good and sure lifted my spirits. Hadn't seen any fans in quite a while, but when you're tired, sick, and desperate, you'll take what you can get for a psychological boost. One more big hill ahead, and I again made it about halfway up when the twinge told me to get off before I fell off. I did, stretch walked to the top, and was passed by a tall rider in light blue. Again, my bike proved an excellent steed as I caught up to him within a mile or so, and we stuck together for the last few miles. He stood up on the downhills to stretch, while I knew that would have been the end of my quads, so I broke my rule of "brakes are for sissies" and just tucked in behind him until we reached the park we started from.

Once in the park, I stuck with him for a while, but at about mile 98, after a few rolling hills, I took a brief 2-minute stretch break under a tree at the side of the road. I could have kept going, but knew if I went much further, when I crossed the finish line I might not have been able to stop and dismount with causing a scene. I had 20 minutes until the end of the race, plenty of time, better to take a moment and get myself right and not scare anyone.

After a moment, another swig of water, and a chorus of "just keep swimming," I was back on the bike, with the end of the ride in sight within minutes. As I pulled into the descent to the official finish, my support group was there with video cameras in hand cheering me on! No more peddling required (a good thing). I rode the brakes down the hill, stopped at the ride checkout, and promptly handed off my bike as I collapsed in the grass to breath for a minute, stretch out, and avoid throwing up. I'd done it, 100 miles!

The Aftermath

I apparently didn't look very good at the end of the ride, so an EMT came over to check on me -- he talked to me for a moment to make sure I was coherent, then left me in the capable hands of my wife and father, who helped me load up the bike in the car and we were on our way home.

Of the 10 riders in our "Beats Running" team, all had completed their rides and goals with the single exception of Target, who was forced off the course by his non-cooperative leg. Pretty great performance, given the later rumblings of 1200 riders signing up for the event, with only 700 actually finishing, and many of the experienced century riders opting out and going to the metric century.

Mrs. Beagle and her supporting crew had a great picnic lined up for our team back at the house, complete with a signature team cake! I wasn't quite up for solid foods yet, so upon returning to the house we unloaded the bike, I staggered inside, was handed a mighty cold Coors Lite, and I headed for the shower, turning on the water, laying down in the tub, and cracking open that mighty tasty can. I could only drink about half of it, but it sure tasted good to me.

Took me a little while throughout the evening to get back to solid foods, but eventually I was able to work through a hot dog and hamburger, which did wonders for improving my state. I was asleep shortly after 9 p.m., and feeling pretty darn good the next morning, if a bit tired. Went into work for a few hours (had originally taken the whole day as vacation), but was out of gas late in the morning, so I went home, took a LONG nap, and got up in the afternoon in time to get cleaned up before heading off to my night teaching job.

Came home after class, had some leftovers from the picnic for dinner, then it was upstairs to start writing this report. All is normal, first century complete, the team did an amazing job and raised more than $3500 for the American Diabetes Association.

I am truly blessed with an amazing cast of family and friends, and am very proud of their performance and support as well as my own. The century was certainly a challenge, one that I'd trained and prepared for as best as I knew how. The added complications of the heat, humidity, and wind transformed it from a challenge, however, to a test of heart and determination. Although it was mighty close, I passed (barely) -- due to the support and caring from friends as well as more than a touch of help from above. Thank you.

Sunday's 2008 Tour de Cure Century Ride in Rochester, NY was a good day.

First Century III

Tour de Cure 2008 Century Ride Statistics:

Distance: 100 miles
Time Moving: 6:45:55
Avg. Moving Speed: 14.6 mph
Fastest Speed: 33.1 mph
Avg. HR: 149 bpm
Max HR: 187 bpm
Avg. Temp: 86°F
Calories Burned: ~ 5,844

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Shakedown Ride

Well, one more day until the big event. Went out and picked up some SportBeans and ShotBlocks for emergency energy, then took the bike out for an easy shakedown spin of around 12-14 miles (no bike computer), just an easy pace to make sure all was well (and it was).

Got home and checked out the weather forecast, as rumors of thunderstorms have been circling for some time. Despite the standard response of "I think they'll be later in the day," it appears the storms should start about the time we get on our bikes, and stop about the time we get off. Wonderful... But, I suppose there's nothing I can do about it, so no sense in worrying!

I've decided to take my Camelbak along for the ride. As hot as it's going to be, I'd rather have the security of my Camelbak which I'm used to drinking from regularly as opposed to forgetting to drink from the bottle on the bike. Also, it'll allow me to bring a fresh pair of socks or two in case they get soaked and uncomfortable early in the ride. Have also packed up a packet each of SportBeans, ClifShots, GU Gel Paks, and three bags of GORP. I know there will be food along the way, but as much as possible, I want to stick with the foods I've been training with, as I know they don't upset my stomach if I eat them at the intervals I'm used to.

Bike is loaded, have a few more details to get ready before heading out tomorrow morning, but I think this is as ready as I get. Here's hoping the lightning holds off tomorrow, the bike behaves well, and if it's not too much to ask, a gentle tailwind would certainly be appreciated! All else failing, I plan to hold to my overall strategy for this ride -- ultimate goal is to keep the bike between me and the asphalt at all times.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Well, we're closing in on the home stretch. Only a couple more days to the big event, and already I'm getting nervous. I'm feeling better about my knee having given it a few weeks off to heal, but am definitely concerned about the other side of the knee improvement -- what have those few weeks off done to my conditioning?

I was pretty confident after the last metric century, although that was on fairly flat, level ground, done at my own pace, in great weather. For this Sunday's century, we're estimating close to 6000 feet of climbing, by far my longest ride yet, with many other riders, and the weather guesser is predicting temperatures in the low 90s with scattered thunderstorms throughout the day. I'm not worried about completing 100 miles -- if I have to walk a portion I'd do it -- I am concerned, however, about the time limit imposed by the event. Riders start at 7:30 a.m., and must be off the course by 4 p.m., for a total of 8.5 hours. That seems reasonable as long as breaks are kept fairly short, but weather complications could certainly complicate matters.
Here's hoping the weather guesser is a bit off and those scattered thunderstorms are very scattered!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Training Sunday, 6/1/08

With the century coming up in a week, I want to make sure I keep my knee in good shape, so I decided on a short, hard 1-hour interval workout today by riding up and down some hills along the lake, then a hard push with the wind at my back toward home. (Winds out of the west at 15-20 mph).

Knee started hurting a bit toward 10 miles, so I eased up a touch at the end and settled on just a 12.4 mile route for the day. Weather has been ugly last couple days, so not many other chances to sneak rides in, and with my second job (evenings) kicking in starting Monday, I may be in a forced taper getting ready for the big 100 mile ride.

  • Distance: 12.44 miles
  • Speed: 17.2 mph
  • Fastest: 23.7 mph
  • Avg. HR: 161
  • Max HR: 182
  • Calories Burned: ~ 800

Route has been posted for the upcoming century:

Detailed Topo7 maps (w/aerial imaging) are available by clicking on DeLorme Mapshare.

Elevation Profile:

Climbing Elevation: 5105.7 ft