Monday, October 19, 2009

Hey, I'm back!

Man have I been away for a while. Training for my first century ride became such a serious effort at the same time as my preparing for black belt testing that I was just overwhelmed and exhausted. Now I find myself slowing down and reading other people's blogs rather than keeping up my own momentum. Ugh, time to get back in the saddle Carle!!

I posted some pics on Facebook from the ride. It was quite an experience for me and thankfully my first Hotter N' Hell was gorgeous. I still broke a sweat but it was nothing compared to what most folks expect from this event. A record 14,200 cyclists showed up for this ride and that is a HECK of a lot more fellow riders than I am used to sharing the roads with.

The best part of the ride? I was happy to see the finish line ~ REALLY HAPPY!! I ruined a shoe recently during a 70 mile training ride in the rain but I had no idea how it would effect my foot. During the last few rest stops I had to pull off the shoe and stretch because I was experiencing some real pain. At the end I was so completely exhausted but I mustered just enough energy to race Kevin across the line. We could hear people clapping but when the announcer recognized our efforts and the applause got louder it made the race across the finish one of the BEST experiences of my life. I coasted underneath some sprayers but that was not enough to wash the salt from my body. I washed up in the bathroom and then found my way to a massage table.

On my way back to Austin I fantasized about how many other centuries I would ride before the season ended. Reality = zero! I am still riding but 35 miles is enough for now. My goal is to keep it up through the winter.

How are you doing?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bike Noob said it all

Great posts!! Thank you for sharing. Elden, you and Susan are in my thoughts and prayers as well...

Bike Noob

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Training Alone

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2009 Armadillo Hill Country Classic

Thanks again to Patti Hill for putting on an amazing event. Adam, thanks so much for being the first to photograph me. As a photographer I thought you might agree with me that we are never captured but then I saw all those pics of you on the meetup page. Geez have you got
friends!

I did this ride alone but there were so many people out there that I never felt lonely. The volunteers were great and the rest stops were very friendly. I met a few people along the way and was inspired by other injured folks who fought through the pain like I did to complete this ride. This was another training ride in preparation for the Tour de Cure so I felt giving up would be like letting down all of the folks who sponsored me and I was not about to let that happen.

There was a killer hill that I like to refer to as the "KILLER HILL". =) I stopped to photograph it from the bottom and this old man turned to me and said "you can't turn back now young man". Priceless. I think that this was near mile 40 or so of 63. I put my camera away and hit it as hard as I could. I know I had to stand up quickly and even when I saw others getting off to walk I was NOT going to do that. When I made it to the top I could barely breathe but I was victorious. I saw friends at the top high-fiving one another and I enjoyed the moment. I grabbed my camera and while gasping I took a few more shots.

Finally, in the last ten miles, I found a woman to chase. My knee was killing me but she was just fast enough to encourage me to push. My goal was to complete the miles, not make any kind of time records but then again I did want to cross the finish before all the sandwiches were gone. Her encouragement? "C'mon Jelly Belly!" I hope to see her again some day so that I can thank her for that.


Patti, in case I didn't tell you, we all loved the ride and I will be back next year, to ride AND volunteer. The 2009 Armadillo Hill Country Classic

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rosedale Ride 2009

The 15th Annual Rosedale Ride!

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

The Rosedale Ride is an annual bike ride benefiting Rosedale School, the Austin Independent School District's only school for children with multiple disabilities.

I know for a fact that the hills training we did last week helped me to be strong today in the cold and blistering winds. Despite the cold and wind, this ride was much easier than Bastrop's Pedal Through The Pines. Best of all was the volunteers. They had people lined up everywhere guiding and supporting the cyclists. At one rest stop they had kids running up to us saying "You want me to hold your bike sir?" By far the best volunteers I have ever seen on any ride.

I ran into a few people I know including Eric, Catie's boyfriend who was with his brother and father. I hope I can keep up with my kids in 10 plus years like Eric's dad. They flew past me in the last 7 miles.

At the very first rest stop I got some mud stuck in my left cleat and I'm pretty sure that is what caused the extreme knee pain I experienced at the tail end of the ride. (last 10 miles) I'm reading up on it now. I don't know but it sounds like I need to go in for another fitting.

I have been kind of sick this week. The one thing I am sure of right now is that my body is dead tired. Another 63 miles clocked and the training continues. I have fallen asleep three times since I got home and I am ready to get to bed again. Good night!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dam Ride Last Saturday

Kevin and I are still training for the Tour de Cure. Last Saturday we elected to do hills and not little ones but a big dam hill. For those of you who do not recognize the scene, this is Highway 620 that leads down to the dam by the lake. As I was taking this photo I could feel the bike picking up speed quickly and the wind was rushing at me. I would be lying if I said I wasn't afraid when putting my phone back in my jersey. You do not want to go down this hill with only one hand on the bars.

"A casual spin around the neighborhood may be an excellent recovery workout, but to challenge the cardiovascular system and reach peak fitness, you have to invest a little more energy. As with running, that means quality workouts like tempo rides, intervals, and hills."

"Short, high-intensity, steep climbs will raise your anaerobic threshold and give you that “top end” for tough sections on the mountain bike or particularly steep climbs when out road cycling."

We only clocked 50 miles but it was a great ride. We even stopped at a little taco stand in Lakeway, between the drive thru beer barn and the fireworks store.... And James claims that there is no culture in this part of town. Bah! Anyway, note to all, greasy barbacoa tacos are better than any energy bar out there.

The Steiner Ranch and Lakeway areas are very hilly and we got a great workout. In fact, I am certain that this workout will be a tremendous help in future rides. No one wants weak legs. =)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hittin' the Hills

Saturday's weather was nothing like we've seen these last couple of days. Temps in the mid 40's, Kevin and I were proud of the fact that we even made it out there. The subject of this posting may sound like we were intentional in our selection but the truth is we chose the hills to avoid the wind on our normal routes.

In the Great Hills area of Austin, we hit Yaupon, a steep 8% grade. The caution sign is at the top of the hill and I saw it just before we flew down! We turned to go back up and it looked ever so daunting. This photo does NOT do the hill justice. As I gasped my way up the hill, I sucked in so much cold air that my throat became really sore. Kevin seems to think that we should start repeating this climb regularly until we can make it 6 or 7 times. I want to be optimistic and think positively but seriously, is that possible for me? What kind of time frame are we looking at for successfully accomplishing a goal like that?

Is there anything that I can say or feet/time that I can calculate that will convey to you in words exactly how challenging this hill really is?

The afternoon temps are now in the 80's again and I'm riding in the morning before work. All my friends and cycling buds are somehow on Spring Break, enjoying this awesome weather and riding during the day. You guys suck!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our Fund Raising Progress

I received an email from the leaders of the American Diabetes Association here in Austin. The event is two months away and they are so far from reaching their goal. I increased my goal from $1000 to $1500 and you guys really came through. This is my first experience with fund raising and I have to tell you that your donations have inspired me to really get involved with volunteering. I am not sure what to do at this point with the Tour de Cure. Should I stop raising funds where I am or press on to see how well we can really do? What do you think?

Carle

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pedal Thru the Pines!

This was my first time attending this ride so for those of you who have never heard of this event, here is a brief summary of why we ride:
"The 7th Annual ride through the beautiful Bastrop Pines supports the mission of the Family Crisis Center, which offers programs and services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in Bastrop, Fayette, Lee and Colorado Counties."

Members o
f the Austin Endurance Cycling Meetup Group joined up at the Chestnut Theater in Bastrop before the ride. We met some new people like Adam and Chris and saw regular biker buds like Matt, Todd and of course there was the leader babe, Patti. As I said, this was my first time Pedaling through the Pines so I didn't know what to expect, except of course the first hill that Weiland mentioned so I thought/hoped that was the end of the hills. In order for me to complete 63 miles I needed as few hills as possible. Well, that was far from the last hill. Ugh, I have never encountered so many hills. Todd said that one of the park hills had a 22% grade. It was a short lasting hill but at the beginning of a metric century it was tough. My family has camped in this park before but I have never seen it or appreciated it's beauty like I did while cycling. Flying down some of these steep and winding park roads was a thrill but left no real site seeing time because I needed that speed to get up the next hill. You also might notice that I have no photos of the hills - no way was I reaching for my phone while going up or down in this place. I was exhausted but happy to be out of the park. I saw flat roads and thought the next 53 miles would be more of the same. NOT!

The first rest stop was great. I saw bikes there that I had only dreamed about. Teams of cyclists pulled in wearing the same jerseys, all with top of the line equipment and Italian bikes. What would I do with one of those bikes? Right, I know. I'm perfectly fine with what I have but a guy has got to drool once in a while.

I felt like I was going to collapse a few times during the 63 miles but this was more than appropriate. When I saw the second stop was across from a cemetery I found it funny to see bikes standing along the edge. It was as if they knew I was coming.

Every stop we made we got a chance to listen to others complain about the wind. Patti may have complained about the wind once but that is only because it blew the sweat off my face and onto her. =) Now, don't get me wrong, the wind was strong but it just does not compare to the winds in the Hutto area when you ride the
Round Rock Salt Lick Ride. There were so many trees in Bastrop that it gave you shelter long enough to get ready for the next gust. You don't get that kind of break in Hutto. So, if you'll listen I would choose to complain about the hills. Not that they were bad or unfortunate, the hills were just a real challenge and I am a better cyclist because of them.

If you haven't been fortunate enough to meet our buddy Patti, I encourage you to join her meetup. She really helped me get over the last few hills of the day. I chased her often and we had some great conversation. We haven't known each other long but my kids love her - they feel like she could be one of my sisters.

For me, I would love to do this ride again next year. I think that it helped me train for the Tour de Cure and I need all the help I can get.
Finally, this last image is one that Adam shot. It is a beautiful view of the last hills before reaching the highway. It looks peaceful but it was not. The wind came gusting in hard from the left and at 35 mph your entire body is flexed including your butt in an effort to keep the bike vertical.

Until next time,

Carle

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tour de Cure 2009

What a year this is turning out to be! I am recently becoming more involved with the church, I am taking a class, I am networking, I have joined clubs & groups, I am looking for opportunities to volunteer and for the first time ever, I am fund raising. This must be what "living" is all about. I feel truly blessed by the support from friends, family and clients who are joining me in the fight against diabetes. In 24 hours we have almost reached the half way point of our one thousand dollar goal.

The link to my Tour de Cure page is to the right under "Links I Like". Feel free to share it with everyone you know so that they can join in the fight too. Thank you so much to everyone who has already joined me.

Carle

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hellacious Winds Today

Oh my gawd, I am totally exhausted. This will be short because I just don't think that I have it in me to type much. Kevin and I traveled 50 miles today and the first 30 were against the wind. Now I have cycled the Hutto, TX Salt Lick ride with Patti's Endurance Cycling Group and that can be a real test but today was my most challenging ride to date. I have never encountered winds like this in my life. Kevin and I took turns drafting (thank you Kevin) but I have got to step up my training before the 65 mile Pedal Through the Pines on March 7th.

I am going to ice my back now and relax. Have a great week everyone.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another 45 miles

video
Today was a GREAT ride. My legs are spent but I am nourishing them with beer and pork chops. Although we encountered some very strong winds, it was by far a better ride than last week. It is amazing to me how that wind shoots across those farms. I wish that I had video taped some of the flags that we saw. We took the same route past Hutto but this time it was just the three of us, for the most part. Todd broke off from the group after the first 10 to 15 miles. It was a lot warmer today, in the mid 70's.

I feel my training improving and with these friends in front of me to chase, why wouldn't I? There is not much more to say today except that we had to outrun this train. That was fun.

My pork chops need to come off of the grill now and I cannot focus on my story.

Next time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

45 miles: Tuesday Afternoon in Hutto

Hooray for the Austin Endurance Cyclists Group. Today's ride was fun but boy was it tough. The wind would not leave us alone so at times some of the tiny hills we did encounter were just exhausting. It wasn't quite as cold as I thought it would be, I finished strong but I guarantee you that I will sleep well tonight. I am wiped out. It took us about 3 and a half hours to ride the 45 mile loop. That's pretty slow but as Patti put it, this is January in Round Rock and the wind blows strong over those plowed corn and cotton fields.

Along for the ride were fellow endurance cyclists, John, Todd, Cliff, Patti, Amy and Heidi. Todd the cycling machine led the pack until it was his time to leave us. I missed him terribly because I drafted nicely behind him while he was with us. After that we all took turns leading and taking a little shelter from the wind. These are all good people and I am lucky to be riding with them. Encouragement, support and friendly conversation is everything you need to get through this ride. Well, that and some GU, Clif Shots, Clif Bars and a few liters of water.

Ya know, there were parts of this ride when we didn't see a single car or person for miles. I really want to ride this route again this summer when it's warmer. Did I mention how chilly and windy it was?

There were some beautiful sights along this route. I saw cute little ponies, cows, donkeys, but the best sights were the Manville water tower, another stretch of smooth road and my truck when we returned to the Salt Lick restaurant.

I have got to sign off and get to bed now. I went to karate tonight and I should have stayed at home. My entire body is tired and I fear my brain is not producing a decent story here. So goodnight all and thanks for a fun afternoon. I enjoyed the brisket and the friendships.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

ACA Ride_Cotton Capers: 42 miles

What a day! We met at 1:00 and I was so excited to finally train with our Meetup Leader, Patti - but unfortunately she left her shoes at home. She insisted we go on without her and have fun. FUN INDEED!!

It was a gorgeous day. I thought maybe it was going to be a bit chilly but nah, it was perfect... except for the
WIND. This is the opposite side of town from where I normally ride but wow - it was exactly what I love about riding in Austin. It had everything including very small towns, farms, ranches, cows, horses, sheep, goats, and I had no clue where I was. It looked like I had driven hours outside of town but apparently these beautiful scenes are just past the city limits. There were a few narrow roads but thank God for light country traffic, there was only a few farm trucks and horse trailers which allowed us to ride together more often.

When we were separated from the rest of the group (too slow to keep up with the Elite) I relied on Matt and his map reading skills. I forgot my map on my first ACA ride, "What an idiot! Gawd!" I thought it was amazing to ride up to the New Sweeden Church, I had to take a picture of it. The church was a tiny little place just 30 feet from a cotton field. Anyway, it was when we almost rode up to it the second time that Matt took a closer look at his map. Don't get me wrong, if it was not for Matt I might still be out there trying to find my way back.

I thought it was hilarious riding through Manor. Obviously I was getting tired because this was part of our route, it's just that I never imagined myself cycling on that side of town, so far away from home. The last few hills were killer. I really didn't think I was going to make it up one very long and windy hill but I pushed through and was so happy to be back to my truck. It took us 3 hours which included a couple snack stops to visit with other cyclists and map stops to make sure we were on the right road. This 42 miles seemed like so much more and I am sure that my legs will be hating me tomorrow.

Can't wait for the next ride guys! That really was fun.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

It does not feel like January!

Lake-1.jpgKevin took me on another tour this morning. I was still sore from my 2 days of boot camp and he was not feeling 100%. We weren't certain about our route but Williamson County has so many options we just agreed to avoid the dam. I love the flat and pretty scenes so Kevin took me through Avery Ranch out to Sam Bass Road and Brushy Creek.

He told me more about his planned route from Austin to Lubbock. 400 miles in 4 days! As he mentioned all of the West Texas towns that I remember fondly from Barn-house.jpgmy college days, I started to reminisce. And then as we rode past multi-acre lots covered in brown grass I felt as if I was already there. It was beautiful. Sure we're training for long back to back 80 mile rides and we should include hills and intervals in our workouts but this January 3rd, 2009 with the temperature around 80 degrees, a steady 15 mph pace for 35 miles is exactly what I needed.

We made two quick stops to eat our snacks, my Clif Bar and Kevin's homemade healthy brownie concoction that no one else in his family will eat. Brushy-Creek.jpgFor those of you thinking that making 2 stops during a 35 mile ride is pretty weak, I have yet to tell you about the winds. If you have read my other entries from this winter then you know what it can be like and it always seems to happen on the way home too. The sun was out and the temperature was wonderful but those darn wind gusts blowing right in our faces as we travel up the smallest of hills was enough to drain me every time.

Well I am off to bed. Sweet dreams and goodnight. Kevin, thanks again for the ride and I look forward to reading the Lance Armstrong book you bought me.