Back in the Saddle Again

November 27, 2013

“I’m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again”

Back in the Saddle Again” was the signature song of Gene Autry , was co-written by Autry and  Ray Whitley and fist released in 1939.

As October and November roll around each year, my enthusiasm to get out on the bike starts to wain. Each year I try to use this time to recover from a long summer and seriously ease up on the riding.  This year I agreed to race the Two Man Time Trial at the Tour de Gruene which was on Sunday November 9th so my recovery period began a bit late.  I kept up the training through the event and we did quite well thank you.  3rd by 0.1 mph in the 90-100 Merckx division.

Since the race ended I’ve spent minimal time on the bike, only leading the store rides on the weekends and a few spins around town on the fixed gear.  As the weather continued to deteriorate through late November, there was just no reason to ride.  Each day I would arrive early at work, look at the bike and the trainer and say not yet

Well, something odd happened on Tuesday – the sun came out.  For those of you outside of central Texas, its been quite miserable here for the last week.  The temperature barely got out of the 30’s and the much needed rain seemed not to want to stop.  Sometime in the late afternoon, I looked at my bike and riding seemed like a good idea.

This morning I put the trainer tire on the bike, put the bike on the trainer and hopped on.  I donned the kit and the new Scott shoes I mentioned in an earlier post, grabbed the iPod and a towel and started the 2014 season.  After 45 minutes (20 minute warm up and 20 minutes of tempo intervals) the first ride was in the books.  Physically I felt pretty good.  The legs were a bit tired and the Shoes felt ok – though a little cleat adjustment is in order.

With apologies to Mssrs Autry and Whitely, is good to be “Back in the Saddle Again”


Emergency Contact Information

June 8, 2011

Something became crystal clear to me this past Sunday morning at 10:10 am.  I need to get a Road ID.

This weekend, the racer and I did not do our usual Sunday morning ride out of the Shop.  As we do every year, we volunteered to do mechanical support at the Day 2 start of the South Central Texas Tour de Cure.  That meant we were up early on the road by 5am to San Marcos, TX for the start.  Every thing went as usual as we pumped up a few hundred tires, changed some flats and generally made sure everyone was ready to ride.

We were home by 10:00am and eating breakfast when the call came.  A good friend had been involved in a crash in the sprint finish of the Road Race in Fredricksburg, Texas and no one had his wife’s contact information – Luckily I did.  I saw him on Monday in University Hospital in San Antonio.  He’s going to be OK, but its going to be a while before he’s back on his bike.

Two things need to be stressed here.

  1.  You need to have emergency contact information with you at all times while your riding or racing.  (It turns out he was wearing a Road ID, but no one knew what happened to it.)
  2. Those disclaimer forms we’ve all filled out a thousand times before every race – Please slow down and write clearly.  The information may be vital.
Yesterday I bought myself a Road ID and signed up the shop to be a dealer.  Go to our website click on the banner and get one.  If you can’t spare the $20 come talk to me, well figure out a way to get it done.  It’s that important.

Leaving on a High Note – The Rookie Tri

April 26, 2011

The good news?  The Rookie Tri is done.  The better news?  I didn’t drown.

As I mentioned in the last post, I joined approximately 800 others on an early Sunday morning at Decker Lake in Austin Texas to compete in the Rookie Triathlon. Having never done a triathlon before I was a curious about what to expect.  I arrived at the venue at 6:15 am and began the process of checking in.  First to body marking where my race number (297) was written on both of my upper arms and both of the front of my legs and my age was written on my right calf.  Then to the transition area where Chris helped me find my assigned spot and set up.  By now it was about 7:15am and my wave wasnt scheduled to go until 8:40.  Off to the truck for a nap.

The swim was the only part of the race that I was worried about, mostly because I didn’t know what to expect.  Others had tried to tell me just how chaotic this part of the race could be but I was still unprepared.  I had worked hard in the pool and was confident in my abilities, but I couldn’t get any sort of rhythm going.  After 150 meters of being kicked and run into, my pulse was through the roof and my anger was rising.  I needed to put myself in a happy place – which is just what I did.  I stopped trying to pass people and just breast stroked to the finish.

The next two parts of the race went better for me.  I was able to keep a good pace on the bike and the vast majority of the racers I passed were extremely polite and happy to move to the right so I could get by.  The run started out a little slow but after 1/4 mile I was able to  loosen up and lengthen my stride.

How did I do?  I won my age group by 12 seconds.

Rookie Triathlon – Austin, Texas

April 18, 2011

This past Sunday was the Rookie Triathlon here in Austin, Texas.  By some weird quirk of the cosmos, I was somehow convinced by a good friend that I needed to enter.  It was promised that if I did, my karma would improve and that my chi would be in harmony.  Whatever.

So I began my journey at the end of February for a race on Sunday April 17th.  Having not run since the last disaster – and before that for more than a decade – and never haven swum, I assumed that a month and a half was more than sufficient.   I needed the figure out a way the swim for 300 meters and not drown, ride 11 miles and not run over anyone staring ahead of me and run 2 miles without killing my knees and ankles.  As a Belgian young lady I knew as a teenager used to say –  “Piece of Pie”

The Run

First things first;  I needed shoes and a plan. I have a love hate relationship with running shoes.  I know from past experience that a good quality and proper fitting shoe would make all the difference but I’ve been known to hold onto a nickel pretty tight.  Nevertheless, off the Hill Country Running for the right gear .  Nate Price, the downtown store manager, hooked me up with a pair of Brooks Adrenalin shoes  (11 EEE)  that fit perfectly.

The plan was easy.  I called Derick at Durata Training and told him I was back in the game.  After a few questions to confirm that I was not under the influence of any controlled substances, or uncontrolled for that matter, he outlined a plan.  Now, Derick is a highly accomplished runner in his own right and Coaches a number of elite runners and triathletes, so I sat back a waited for the brilliance.  Ready for it???    Start slow – I mean like hare and the tortoise  slow, DMV slow, Florida old man driver slow.   Oh yea, I forget the most important part of the plan – Listen to the Coach and don’t act like an ass.  Easier said than done.

The Swim

Now this was going to be a problem.  Every time I tried to swim in the past, I couldn’t make it any further than about 25 meters before my lungs began to burn.  I needed someone to teach me –  Remember the friend that convinced me that a triathlon was a good idea? Well, he stepped up and volunteered to teach me.  I began trying to swim twice a week at the Lakeway Swim Center and after a few workouts where I was passed by both 8-year-old kids and 65-year-old grandmothers I began to figure it out.  Not very well mind you, but enough that I was pretty confident that I could swim 300 meters and not drown.

Am I ready?  Probably not.  Will I finish?  No doubt.  Will I enjoy myself?  We will see.  Stay tuned.

2011 Race Bike – Jamis Xenith Elite

January 13, 2011

Its been a few years since I treated myself to a new race bike and luckily a few thing have conspired to make this the right time to pull the trigger.  My oldest son is now the same height as the old man and so he will be inheriting my 2008 Addict R3.  That means that I get a new toy.

After four years of riding and racing Scotts ( both the CR1 SL and the Addict ) I thought  I’d change it up a bit and try one of the new offerings from Jamis.  I decided to go with the Xenith Elite which is a high modulus carbon frame with Jamis’ Dyad Elite fiber lay-up and full SRAM Red components.

The bike comes stock with the American Classic Aero 420 wheelset, but I decided to build it up with Easton’s EA90 SL’s.  I have used the EA 90’s for training and EC 90’s for racing over the last few years and have been highly impressed.

The next step was to get the bike and the wheels unpacked and built up.  As the bike emerged from the packing material and started to take shape, I had my first look and the new sled.


The next steps were to swap out the wheels, replace the stock saddle with a fizik Airone and to get the fit dialed it.  Though the geometry differs slightly from the Addict, I was able to closely replicate the fit numbers from the old bike.  All that’s left is to get the bars unwrapped and get the shifters in the right place.  I probably wont get to ride it outside until the weekend, but when I do I’ll post a review.