Archive for January, 2012

See my most recent review after putting 150+ miles on my 2012 Specialized Tricross Elite!

I wrote this on a bike forum that I frequent from time to time:

It is official, I absolutely LOVE the Tricross.

Had a blast on the trails near my house. I encountered everything from pavement, to short grass, to the kind of grass deer lay in (thick and cushy, about 7-9 inches tall), to gravel of various depths, standing water, and of course dirt and mud. I tried to be a good trail steward and not ride in the really muddy areas so they wouldn’t get cut up.

It feels very different from the Ruby, as it should. Very sturdy, very stable even when I felt the rear wheel slipping in a few areas. I just let it correct itself. It isn’t super speedy but it didn’t feel slow either. And still very maneuverable.

All in all I am very happy with my new bike. I think it will be exactly what I bought it for: a good, all around, do everything moderately well bike.

I can’t wait to find some accessories. The farmers market I visit is right off a beautiful bike trail that I can get to from my house. It is about a 25 mile round trip from my house. And work is just 12 miles away. And the grocery store, gym, movie theater, etc… all within 1-5 miles. Lol. Can you tell I am excited?

(Also, as a tribute to my youth, I went out in *gasp* JEANS and a pair of Merrel shoes! Good times all around.)

Still with stock pedals and reflectors - I couldn't wait to get out!

So that’s, that. There are one or two things I will be changing. Mainly, I’ve decided that instead of putting clipless pedals on this bike I’ll invest in a nice flat pedal with the little teeth that stick up. I think that will keep this bike more versatile for when I want to take it to the store or other trips when I don’t want to wear my normal bike clothing/shoes.


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Can I be a dork and do a little happy dance??!? (picture Snoopy and Woodstock dancing)

*happy dance!*

Brought home my new bike today! I officially have a stable of bikes (unless I need 3 to make a stable…).  This is my new Specialized Tricross Elite. My workhorse. My go-wherever-I-want bike. My commuter. My soon-to-be muddy friend. Weather forecast for this weekend is 50F and sunny. I’ll be out on the dirt trails making new adventures!

No training today. Just good beer and a homemade supper.

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There is something about simple repetition. The continuous pedal strokes. Your mind can shut off bringing greater awareness to the cold air entering your lungs and the sound of your breath exiting the body. The sound of your bike chain as you travel down a familiar bike trail. I needed it today. It was my therapy. Without getting into details, my first dog was diagnosed with cancer and his life is expected to end much shorter than I would have thought.

Anyway, today’s ride was a simple 10 miles in a little harder gear than I needed but the effort was a good. Weather was 46F and the sun was shining. My neck and back started tensing which is why I didn’t go the full 20 miles. That should make my physical therapist happy.

Here is a pic of my first dog, as well as the best dog anyone could ever be lucky enough to have, Riley:

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The physical therapist gave me the green light today! She did caution me to go easy and not push myself too hard. Swimming is not really an option yet (she said maybe breast stroke, definitely not freestyle/front crawl)  but I don’t really care. At least I can start doing stuff again! I’m also off the pain-killers and muscle relaxers and doing very well. *happy dance!*So far no “abnormal reaction” (ie MAJOR pain) to today’s bodywork unlike after I visited the chiro/physical therapy over two weeks ago. Hopefully this means I found a good physical therapist. I will also try to be diligent with my homework that was given to me.

Enough of that.

I spent 30 minutes on the trainer dancing between a high Zone 2 and low Zone 3. Today I was feeling a little tired which is most likely from overall bad nutrition over the course of the day (a Snickers bar does not count as lunch!). I’m notorious for not fueling my body well. In fact, it drives one of my cycling friends, I’ll call him Moose, a little crazy. In my defense Moose is a bit intense. Sometimes it is fun get him all riled up even though I know he knows what he is talking about. However… with 150 miles of riding over two days as my goal… nutrition is going to matter. A lot. I could push through the first 75 miles but to recover over night and attempt another 75 miles, for me, means I need to fuel well. I guess I should start paying attention to Moose. 🙂

(I’m kidding, Moose! You know I listen. I just need to stir the pot sometimes to make life interesting.)

132 days until the Tour de Cure!

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Bad Patient, No Patience

I saw my GP last Wednesday and he referred me to a Physical Therapist. This most likely means I won’t be going back to see the office that initially screwed up my neck and back. I was also prescribed a muscle relaxer and pain-killer. I am very grateful to both because there were times in the last two weeks where I wasn’t able to do anything without significant pain. I spent the last few days wishing I could ride my bike or hike or do something! This morning I finally gave in but put restrictions on myself. 30 minutes max and keep the heart rate in Zone 2. It didn’t feel like much but at least it is something!

Tomorrow I see the PT. I am going to take my training plan in for them to comment. Fingers crossed I don’t have any more setbacks.

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This time last year I would have said “back, be damned!” and headed out on the W&OD trail for a brisk 20 mile ride. But I’d like to think I am smarter than I was last year and so today I kept Ruby (my Specialized Ruby Elite) on the trainer. I also didn’t want to get out 10 miles only to re-injure myself and have to come back 10 miles!

Anyway, it was a 40 minute workout and I wore my heart monitor. Focusing on my BPM helped pass the time. I bounced between 160 bpm (easy for me to talk) and 180 bpm (body would start sweating, breathing increased and any talking was done in short sentences, legs would start to burn). I’m pretty happy with how I felt at the end – definitely could feel the effort but also that I could keep going. Again, this time last year I’d be trying to make my legs blow up, lol. Yeah, I am definitely smarter now. But not smart enough. As a result I always keep an eye out for articles/publications.

Here is a great article (I could answer “yes” to many of the beginning questions):

The Zone 3 Syndrome by Josh Horowitz

It probably applies to more than just cycling. Hope it helps bring clarity like it did for me!

And if you are just looking for information on heart rate training then here is some good information to start with:

Heart Rate Training Zones by USA Triathlon Coach Ken Johnson

Obviously I’ve had a lot of spare time today. It is only 10:30 in the morning and I’ve already made two blog entries. Yay for government holidays! 🙂

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Well, I think this physical therapy “stuff” is going to have to wait. After taking Friday, Saturday and then Sunday off (I did ride through some pain earlier in the week) I think today I am back to 95%. I’ve been dealing with the upper back tension for quite some time and I don’t think waiting a few months is going to be a huge deal. I am consulting with my GP on Wednesday to make sure… That said, in June I have a triathlon I’ll begin to focus on after the 150 mile ride for Tour de Cure. We’ll see what happens.

Speaking of that triathlon, also my first, I just submitted my information to Ironman 70.3 Eagleman which will hopefully get me a spot as a volunteer! It is the following weekend after my Tour de Cure ride and I think it will be the perfect jump-start to jazz me up for the September triathlon.

I can already do all the Sprint distances for the triathlon in September. This made me temporarily consider the Olympic distance but with this being my first tri, and probably first time swimming in a large group in the ocean, I think it is smarter to shoot for the Sprint distance and plan to have fun.

Outside of the tour and the tri I seem to be obsessing over (it is what I do)… this past weekend I discovered some more trails for running. Have I mentioned that I LOVE running on trails? The twists, turns, hills, logs… it feels amazing when I hit my stride in the woods. The trails I found might actually connect to trails I can access from my house which is even more exciting. The only problem is that the ground is SUPER boggy and there are wide areas of calf-deep water running across the terrain connecting the two sets of trails. That might be okay for summer/warmer months but definitely doesn’t work for winter weather. I’ll figure out a path.

Oh, and some of the trails are perfect for biking! One more reason for me to buy that second bike I’ve wanted since last Summer!! Here are the two I’ve been pining for…

Kona’s Jake the Snake

Specialized Tricross w/ disk brakes

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