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”


Good Golly it’s Hot

July 31, 2013

I got up early this morning at about 5 am and flipped on the local news. Sitting right there in front of me was the seven day forecast. My only thought was “Well, its about time.” It went something like this.


When I moved to Austin from New Jersey almost 10 years ago, I made a promise to my self that I would never complain about the heat. As long as I didn’t have to shovel snow I would be fine. So far, I have kept that promise. But the question remains – How do you stay hydrated in this heat? It’s tough. Proper hydration for today starts with proper hydration yesterday. Once you get behind its almost impossible to catch up, especially in the Texas heat.

The first thing to do is to try try to reduce or even eliminate beverages such as soda, energy drinks, coffee, tea or anything else with high levels of sugar, sweetener or caffeine. Second, try to keep a water bottle on your desk, in your car, your workshop or wherever you are. Do your best to sip on it all day long. As for your workout, you will need to supplement with additional electrolytes. There are lots of great choices on the market from Power Bar, Clif, Gu, and Hammer Nutrition, but my favorites are Eload and Skratch. Most good shops such as ours (shameless plug) will stock single serve packs so that you can try different options and find out what works best for you.

As for after the ride my, mantra is drink, eat, drink and eat some more. The body needs to refuel and now is the time to do it. After a long hot ride I’ll try to use a recovery drink such as Emend or Ultragen as soon as I can. I’ll usually try follow this with a healthy meal or, if I’m working at the store, a series of smaller snacks over the immediate few hours.

The key is to get some nutrition as soon as practicable after the ride. Experiment with different foods and products and decide what works best for you.

Thanks for reading.

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.

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.


6 Year Anniversary

December 5, 2009

December 5, 2009 - 6am CST

Today is the 6 year anniversary of my move to Texas from the great North East. During that time, my riding limits have changed dramatically. There was a time that little cold weather never stopped the Saturday morning ride; man up, put on the proper winter gear and ride until the water bottles freeze.

My, my how things have changed. Twenty three degrees, and here I sit with a heavy sweatshirt and a LL Bean parka not even considering getting on the bike. I wonder if anyone else is going to show up for the morning ride?

I’ve learned a lot of things in the past six years:

  • Breakfast tacos and barbeque are going to be my downfall,
  • Y’all is singular, all y’all is plural,
  • Just up the road a bit could mean a 4 hour drive,
  • 100 degrees is perfect riding weather, and
  • 23 degrees is too freaking cold.

Sore Knees and Hamstrings

November 21, 2009

Relief for Old Legs

As previously noted, I have decided to add running to my off-season training program.  Derick at Durata Training suggested I run twice a week for 20 minutes at a ridiculously easy pace to get my running legs back.  The first two runs went fine, although I was a little sore after.  But on the third run, things began to unravel.

Apparently my inner athlete thought that a “ridiculously easy pace” was not manly enough and that I needed to go harder.  [After all, I had two 20 minute runs under my belt and that qualified me for Olympic status]. I decided that the run should be at “Ludicrous Speed” – see Spaceballs, the Movie.  In the words of my 14-year-old son: FAIL or quite possibly EPIC FAIL.

I’ve learned two valuable lessons from this fiasco:

  1. Listen to the experts.  There is a reason they are the Coach and I am not.
  2. Getting old sucks.

Durata Training Field Test

November 9, 2009

I have decided once again that it is time to get serious about training and racing.  Throughout last winter and spring I was coached by Derick Williamson at Source Endurance who had me on a structured program to increase my speed and fitness on the bike.  The program consisted of a series of long rides to increase fitness and lose weight, interspersed with intervals to increase speed and power. Though difficult, the program yielded results as advertised.  As summer arrived, work and family like took priority over the bike and training and racing took a back seat

Derick, along with Dave Wenger, formed Durata Training ( this fall to continue their coaching practice and to work with age group and elite athletes in all endurance sports.  After a long conversation about fitness, goals and the state of my damaged wrist, Derick suggested that another field test was in order.  For those of you who have never done a field test, it consists of a 20 minute warm up followed by a 20 minute maximum sustainable interval.  The goal is to go as hard as you can while maintaining a consistent speed, heart rate and cadence over the length of the interval. I completed the test on the trainer this morning and it sufficiently kicked my as…..

Now that the test is done, I look forward to seeing what’s in store for me next.  Remember, the 2010 season starts in 3 months.