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Monday, October 27, 2014

Slideshow trial

I've been trying to find a convenient way to get an HTML5 slideshow into my site.  Here as test, from my days as a ski jumper.  Hard to believe 20 years goes by so quickly!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Setting the bar high, then ducking under it- I'm a crafty rouleur!

If you are expecting me to match the wit of yesterday's post you are up for a big disappointment.  It's going to just be an average post.  Some would say, slightly below average.

It was kind of a tale of two rides today.  I needed to get home early at the request of my wife so not only was I cutting the ride short by 12 miles, but it was imperitive we didn't waste too much time.  I had promised to be home by noon, as in showered and ready for daddy duties.  Rolling into the driveway at 12:00 wouldn't cut it.  I headed out to Helotes to meet Greg and expected to see Tom Bain as well as a host of Wheelmen there.  Tom was there but the Wheelmen barely made an appearance.  Andy was there as the ride starter and three others joined Tom, Greg, and myself.

Our ride got off to a rough start as Andy hit a large nail that did a number on his tire.  He got it fixed but it wasn't quick, about 7 or 8 minutes which feels like an eternity standing on the side of the road waiting for somebody.  I felt the need to make up for lost time.  I figured I could pull the group fairly casually down to Galm and then hammer down Galm to 471 which might get us back on track and get me home on time.  I also thought I might get a hard effort in early.  The plan was going great, I pulled to Galm at 235W average and about 22 mph.  We made the turn onto Galm and my plan fell apart after half a mile or so.  Jack, being the nice guy that he is, saw that I had been on the front for about 5 miles and thought he'd come up to help out.  He was going to peel off and ride with his wife when we overtook them so I'm sure he wanted to do his share of the work before that happened.  Jack is never afraid to pull.  The trouble is I was enjoying myself.  This was going to alter my plans.  I felt the need to get my long pull in.  Jack pulled for about a mile until we caught up to his better half.  I took over again from there.  So if Jack took a mile of my pull, one would think it would be sufficient to add a mile on to make up for that, right?  Well I decided I would pull until mile 10 instead of mile 8.  I added two miles not one.

I was trying to keep the effort even at about 300W.  I had to ease off a couple times as I started to open a gap on the group.  At mile 10 I was still feeling good and decided I would shoot for 15 miles.  The way to prevent anybody coming around was to hold the pace faster than they would want to pull at.  They'd appreciated the work that was being done on the front saving their own legs and travelling at higher velocities.  For the most part it worked out, except when Andy came around briefly, on my left, assuming the lead.  I appreciate the gesture but the pace did drop a touch when that happened and after a few tenths I was back out front.  After that I decided 15 miles was near enough to the end of Talley that I would just pull all the way to Potranco.  The end of Talley Rd has some rollers and I was opening gaps on the uphills and had to ease off a bit.  On the final climb up to Potranco I opened a gap on the group but I kept going, knowing I would be sitting up at the intersection.  It ended up being 16 miles where I spent almost all of it on the front setting an honest pace for the group to follow.  Here's a shot of 10 miles of it after Jack pulled off:  25 minutes, 23.4 mph, 292W (normalized).  Most importantly the VI was 1.028 indicating that it was really quite a steady effort.

After that I mostly sat in, rotating through with the group until we hit 471.  At that point Greg, Reeves, and I turned right rather than heading down to Castroville.  The pace I had set had been a bit quick for Reeves, who has two total hip arthroplasties, so we agreed to take it easy from that point on.  We benefited from a little tailwind at this point and almost no hills so we did the last 22 miles of the ride at 21 mph and about 200W, much of it riding side by side with Greg chatting with Reeves in tow.  I made it home on time and was spared the wrath of wife.  There were two time trial for 16 miles early on and then the casual ride home.  I enjoyed them both.

My wife was hosting a book club, which has nothing to do with books, and I opted to take the kids out of the house to the playground at Woodlawn Lake.  I was glad to see that they were more interested in playing with stick, leaves, and stones at the water's edge than play on the playground.  That's the way kids should be.

Noah and Keira running along the lake shore

Nothing like playing with sticks, leaves, and water

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mind the Gap

That title actually has nothing to do with this post.  After I published the last update I thought that it would have been an ideal title as I bitched about people letting a gap open in the paceline.  It was a title that needed using as it pertains to both the subject of my angst as well as repurposes a commonly used phrase on the London Underground.  That makes it clever.

When you re-google-search "Mind the Gap" looking for images you are served a smorgasbord of not so family friendly photographs accentuating the lack of contact between the thighs of the fairer sex.  I was not expecting that and will now spend the rest of the evening deleting cookies and search history.  I'm glad my wife didn't walk in while I was looking for images.  That would have taken some explaining.

With that taken care of, and for lack of appropriate segue, we move on.

I didn't get a ride on Wednesday.  We had kind of decided last week that it would be the last Wednesday nighter for the year.  We may have an occasional ride here and there but nothing regular until the time change in the spring.  Thursday I had endoscopies all morning and a conference in the afternoon.  I had a couple of hours between the two so I snuck home for a quick 20 mile bike ride.  I rode easily, 220W, or so.  I had a single hard effort from Boerne Stage Rd up to Babcock breaking exactly zero records.  I had to do a quick shower and head back to my conference, leaving just enough time to grab some lunch to go and shoot the breeze with Ed at Ride Away.

My major accomplishment on Friday was finishing up a small research project I had been procrastinating on for several days and it felt good to get it out of the way.  That all led up to today's ride.  The last Saturday of the month the Lifetime Cycling ride leaves from Bike World.  I had initially not planned on going as they sometimes pick a route that stays on the access road of the 1604 loop for about 15 miles, doing a brief ride near Helotes and Scenic Loop before coming back on the access road.  Not an ideal route.  When it was announced that they would be heading up Blanco Rd I decided to join.  Before the ride left I picked up a Bike World kit from Aaron.  I think it's last year's version but it fits and I was happy to be riding in team colors.

The Freetail Brewery is one sponsor I'll have to be visiting more often.
The ride did not get off to a great start.  We were riding a double paceline on Blanco Road and there was a bit of debris in the gutter.  I was riding on the right and punctured.  I waved the group on because I knew that, at the very worst, I would meet up with them at the rest stop.  I pulled over and changed the tube in about 2 minutes.  Back on my bike I was quickly up to 25 mph trying to make the catch when I passed another of our group with a puncture.  The group had stopped to wait for him just up the road which I was happy to see because, honestly, I was not looking forward to chasing down Moffett and the rest of the group.

Once we were all back on the road again I found myself on the front, leading over the last hill on Blanco and down the other side.  Shaun came around me on the flats leading up to our right hand turn and then put in a strong pull on Specht to the first corner.  I took it from there with a decent 1.2 mile pull at 26 mph and 316W.  We finished the first half before the rest stop roaring down Old Boerne Rd.  The group set some top 10s on Strava; I came away with 7th overall.  That was pretty good but it was nice to see Shaun pick up the KOM and know that I had set a good pace over the harder first half of the segment to make that happen.  That's teamwork.  It's not a very good segment, because it crosses an intersection with a stop sign at Bulverde Crossing.  We had to come to a stop due to cross traffic and still set records.  We were flying.

Speaking of Strava and KOMs, I've long thought it would be nice to repurpose the "Come and Take It" motto that plasters the back of so many pick-up trucks here in Texas (Confederate flag not required).  The short version of the story is that Mexico had given Gonzales, Texas a small cannon to defend itself.  Four years later relations between Texas and Mexico were poor and Mexico requested the cannon be returned.  The residents of Gonzales refused so Mexico sent troops to collect the cannon.  The Texans opened fire on the troops at the Battle of Gonzales, the first battle of the Texas Revolution.  Mexico retreated and the "Come and Take It" battle cry has been the pride of Texans ever since. It is usually used to defend very loose interpretations of the second amendment to the US Constitution.

I appreciate that firearms can be responsibly owned and used even without this macho "Come and Take It" mentality.  This motto can be better utilized in the cycling community by deleting the cannon and adding the Strava KOM crown.  Afterall, I don't expect anybody to come to my house to take my guns.  I do, however, know that there are people out their gunning for my KOM titles.  They probably out scouting segments right now.  So I issue a challenge to them:

And to those of you who hate Strava with a passion:  you just don't get it.  I've got one for you too.

The second half of the ride was much like the first.  Thundering down Stahl Rd then a brisk tempo up Lower Smithson Valley.  Shaun had to turn off shortly after that and there was the misplaced idea that the ride would get easier with his absence.  Ben, Jacob, and I made sure that wasn't the case and we had fun pushing the pace on Obst, Specht, and Blanco.  I had one close call on Blanco.  We were approaching a light where a road enters from the left but the bike lane continues straight through.  There's not much need to stop, nobody is going to interfere with traffic going straight in the bike lane.  The lead rider was slowing right as Stuart was pulling off to the left to turn onto the intersecting road and ride home.  I had turned my head to say good-bye to Stuart and hadn't noticed that the rider had slowed.  I was third wheel behind Ben and the other gentleman.  I glanced up and saw Ben's rear wheel coming at me quickly.  There was a brief brush of wheel on wheel but no harm, no foul.  It got my heart rate up a bit, though.

Finally, there are lot's of clever Strava segments out there and although I don't have a lot of free time on my hands I sure am good at wasting it finding things on the interwebs.  With a nod to my Canadian brethren who have witnessed a senseless act of violence this week I submit this Strava segment in Montreal to show just how I feel about these a-holes who commit these cowardly public shootings.