Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why "The Bike"?

If you find yourself derailed, here are some alternate rails...

What other racing sports can you get the vehicles the top racers win in for 2-6 grand? Equipped with the proper engine (hopefully you), your bike will be a '62 convertible 'vette. It's certainly not about expensive bikes though.

Maybe, it's about the love poured into your custom frame by frame builders who took care to measure and fit you, and listen to what you wanted out of the bike. Taking each bit of information back to the shop to come up with functional artwork from their skilled hands.

Maybe, it's about what it represents. My grandfather rode it from the farm to town. My father rode for exercise, recreation and with the family. Women have ridden for independence. Many have ridden to save money. Many others to save fuel. Many to raise awareness. Many for the freedom provided by such an elegant, efficient machine. Some because they can take it completely apart, lube it, and put it back together in less than a day. (I will NOT try that with a car)

Sometimes, it's about popping in your favorite movie and after a warm up, hammering until you're woozie, drooling, and can't get enough time between gasps for the hydration you so desperately need.

You may want to think in terms of going somewhere, rather than getting somewhere. Those 50 or 100 milers, take the ride one way and meet somewhere cool for lunch (then get a ride/nap back). Very few folks will ever do this for running... As an example, there is a group ride next month that is Milwaukee to Madison for lunch and back (170 miles). You will be hard pressed to find a group run to Madison and back. (and would you go?) Cycling is all about the experiences.

This is sometimes tough for triathletes. People who are on a rigorous schedule, fitting in this exact bike or run on this exact day. Riding trainers in the wee hours to avoid work and family conflicts. Regardless of what fun may be going on. Do not hesitate to take a day to do something that makes you laugh and smile on the bike. Just don't forget to do the miles too.

Homework to readers.. Grab your bike, shoes, water bottles, helmet, and camera and ride to the steepest hill in a 15 mile radius. Ride up and down it until you are either laughing, crying, or a healthy mix of both. Get someone to take your pic and send it in (link in comments?). Maybe I can make a collage.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


The best way I can describe it is stepping off a cliff at night with your eyes closed, or so I imagine. A regular reader might note a sudden lack of updates out here on the blog. Here's what happens to me. It's a pattern I have to work on. This year, at least I'm getting better sleep.

I'm cruising along just dandy in my workouts, posting new highs or personal records or both. I'm not even quite believing how far along I am, and it's only April. Then something comes up at work, one or both kids get sick, that spreads back and forth between the kids and my wife, the dog needs three teeth out, our family babysitter heads out to vacation, and I am left fighting off the illnesses the kids have.

The good news, I don't get bogged down and depressed about it. I just deal. This is the levitation part. But, I'm also not moving forward.

My typical reaction is to shutdown some to all of the workouts. In years past this meant fitting in a run or two here and there. This year, my knee is tweaked in conjunction with all this other stuff. This year, I'm spending the time on the bike trainer. My "off" weeks are still 6 hours or more from biking. It should also be noted, that these bike rides were what saved me from falling "Alice in Wonderland" style into the well.

Time to stop floating and get back in the game. It took me about 2 weeks to realize the simple remedy for my knee. Problem, knee hurts after 35-40 minutes of running. Solution, run 20-25 minutes, very often. I'm on day two of that plan. Also, spend the extra time stretching before and after. I'm hopeful, as the not running solution was not working.

If anyone has secret solutions for keeping the rest of the family healthy so my immune system doesn't have to continually fight all this mojo off, I would happily take them as suggestions.

I'm not fretting, but it's time to float back to the plan.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Call to Readers (Trek 100)

OK, if you're anywhere near the Milwaukee area and you ride a bike... There is a good chance you'll be riding it at the Maccfund Trek 100 ride. If you haven't (or even if you have), please read on.

I started with the Trek 100 in 2002. It was my first year doing the 1/2 ironman distance triathlon in Racine. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get in some bike miles. Additionally, triathlon hadn't provided me a way to give like a charity ride. My father passed away in 2001 from cancer. And while the Maccfund is for childhood cancer, I find it provides me some connection to raise the money. I mustered up a few hundred bux in donations and headed off to the event. Under-trained but ready for a long day of riding and plenty of stops for food, my coworker and I stood for the pre-ride talk. I was not prepared for some of the gut wrenching stories and thank yous from children and other affected by cancer. On the ride, I was unprepared for those out working the aid stations. Parents who made me feel like I was helping save their kids by riding that day. I was in awe of the courage I saw in kids faces that day. Here I was out doing what I would do on a beautiful Saturday morning without the parade, only there was a parade. Whatever thanks they gave me for being there, I felt I owed them for my experience..

Stop the tape... I'm not this mushy. I'm a regular JWM, who works a regular job with a couple kids and dogs and such. Let's just say this one day knocks my socks off a bit.

Let's skip a couple years.. Who knows what I was doing, but I certainly didn't forget. Last year I put a shout out. I said, get me to (the made up number) 3000 dollars in donations and I'll ride the fixed gear on the 100k route. Well, I made it to nearly 1000 in donations (Thank you so much). I decided to go through with the fixed gear anyway (I'm sure I just wanted an excuse). I'm not much of a fundraiser. Last year was my first attempt at "not just raising the minimum plus a little". I was incredibly touched by the generosity of those that donated. Then, I showed up to toe the line at the start. When they started the pre-race chat, I actually thought, "Crap, I forget how emotional this is." Or something like that at least.

Fast forward to 2007.. The year of the Ironman (for me) and probably a few 100 mile rides before then. I want this hundred miler to count. I signed up for the "century club". It means, I pledged to raise 1000 dollars at a minimum. So, please.. I'm not a break your door down kind of fundraiser guy. If you read my blog.. or want to help kids with cancer.. or just thought this little blurb about me finding out the rewards of fundraising lightened your heart. Then click my donation page and send what you can.

Thank you in advance for your support. And if you want to come out and ride it with me, sign right up. There are tons of riders and great food and support.

Read more about MACCFund on their site.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Journey to Ironman Month in Review: March 2007

The days: worked out 24/31 days

161 days until race day.

This month's totals.

Swim: 14850 yards (up 4700 from last month)
Bike: 326.3 mostly phantom trainer "miles" (up 136.3)
Run: 28.6 miles (not much change)

34 hours total (up from 22)


First, it's clear from the run miles which days I was sick. I'm proud that I didn't let my bike slip but once. Recently I have thought this year I should concentrate on sticking the bike. Not (hopefully) to the loss of swim/run.. but in years past, when I got tired or stressed, the bike was the first workout to go. This year it's been the run. Maybe more because of my knees than anything. I know I will need many more miles that March shows.. but I can only ramp up so much at once.. So I won't fret about the lack of run miles.

April 2nd starts my first recovery week. Thank goodness! Hopefully this means I'll start the following week more prepared for "the schedule".

The detractors aka excuse list. I'm glad for work.. Without it there would be no cool tri toys or roof to keep us dry. But it hasn't been getting any easier lately. Anyone know of high paying, secure, computer jobs that are getting easier lately?? Yeah, I thought not. Sleep being a priority in ironman training, it's tough when work conflicts with sleep. I already mentioned the knee, so we'll skip that in this list...

Mantra's (Still).. This is my year. Game on!