Saturday, December 20, 2008

37 miles: Kevin Rhodes

Kevin-Curving.jpgI always enjoy riding with my karate buddy Kevin. Instead of traveling the same roads I normally ride, he takes me on a tour of Williamson County. Kevin is from Lubbock, about my age, enjoys cycling, karate, loves his family, and God so we get along great. Today he got me lost down some Country Road and getting lost in the country is one of my favorite things to do when cycling.

We have decided to enter the Tour de Cure together in May. 80 miles on Saturday followed by 80 miles on Sunday. The Tour benefits The American Diabetes Association. I still need to register, create a donation page and maybe make some custom jerseys. That would be cool. My boss, Jane, has asked me to design some AlphaGraphics cycling jerseys so that works out nicely. A little advertising with our fundraising. Kevin created a spreadsheet for us to train by and that's perfect for me. I loved the spreadsheet that Patsy created for the Aldrete Family Fitness Challenge because nothing motivates me more than documenting my successes......and money.default

I will keep you posted on our progress. My friend Mark Callahan has been very involved in the Tour de Cure. If anyone wants their company to sponsor a great team, let me know and I can put you in touch with Mark. He is going all out!

Have a great weekend.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Indoor Training

defaultHey, I wanted to show off my latest and most likely last fitness equipment investment. (a Christmas present to myself) Now. I cannot use my rollers when I am sleepy because it's just too dangerous. All too often my chance to workout comes when it's late and the kids are in bed and at that point I too am usually ready for bed. Anyway, I bought me a nice trainer on Craigslist. It took me a little while to dial it in right - but thank God for the internet because I found other people who couldn't get this thing to operate correctly at first but were nice enough to share their advice on what finally worked. The problem is usually with tension and tire pressure so I bought a metal quick release skewer for the rear wheel, inflated my rear tire to 120psi, added more resistance to the trainer and now it rides smooth and I am as happy as can be. Well I might like a TV in the room where I workout but that's okay because I have my iPod and some heart pumping podcasts. I strongly suggest not listening to talk podcasts while on a trainer. (a quick trip to Snoozetown)

Sweet Dreams!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Windy days & Sundays always get me down...the road

Oh how wonderful it is to ride on down Parmer Lane. I made GREAT time the first 25 miles but after stopping to eat my oranges I finally realized which way the wind was blowing exactly. It had been blowing behind me but now it was time to turn around and head home. My friend Mark had told me how Parmer Lane can get windy and I had experienced it before but this time it was different. I had not ridden for almost two weeks so I was getting tired. Fighting 35+mph wind gusts defaulton the return trip took everything I had. As I past this used car lot on Parmer I had to stop and photograph the flags and capture how strongly they were moving. The direction of the wind was in my face.

For 3 hours and 10 minutes I rode and I only saw two other cyclists.

I much prefer days with a LOT less wind but you will never hear me complain about a 70° Sunday afternoon in the middle of December when I can ride 42 miles or more. When I left the house it was cloudy but when I got back home it was sunny and I had new tan lines. I'm sure I burned a ton of calories but more importantly I feel good.

Happy holidays everyone.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On the Road Again!

What a great feeling to get back out on the road again. My bike was in the shop for a few days last week so it was nice to get it back. I rode Friday morning and that went well. Saturday was incredibly windy. Serious gusts as a result of the cold front that blew in so I need not mention the cold. Even with layered clothing, my belly was CHILLY when I came home and I did have to cut my ride short because the wind was just too much for me to fight.

defaultToday I wanted to travel FAR but I knew my time was limited when I was reminded to get back in time for a kiddie birthday party.I headed west on Parmer Lane until it hit the 29 Junction. It's beautiful out here, Longhorn cattle on the side of the road, very little traffic, a fair number of other cyclists traveling, and lots of decent hills. These hills are not like the hills on 360 but it's still a great place to ride and a good place to train. I did 35 miles in 2 1/2 hours which included one stop to snack and one stop to call home.

Next weekend I hope to ride out to Marble Falls. From the Galleria, south of the Dam, it should be 63 miles round trip. Hmmm, this will be the day after the tamalada at James and Elma's house so I better not eat and drink too much. If you guys want to do something else on Sunday, let me know. Otherwise, I'll try to get some better pictures on that trip.

Love you!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Outlaw Trail 100

Start.jpgWell I finally did it. I rode 65 miles in four hours and twelve minutes. There were a couple of stops - I didn't make it all that way without taking a break. The first was the longest as it included some hamstring stretching time and a quick phone call to my sister Patsy, "23 miles down and 40 to go." is the message I left on her voicemail. It was fun at the first stop because it looked a little like a biker bar. Rows of bikes lined the shoulders. At the second and third stop I rode right up to the cookie baskets, grabbed a couple chocolate chips and off I went. Walburg.jpgMile 23 takes you through the city of Walburg. It's a cool little town. Lots of rust covered farm equipment everywhere, beautiful little homes and no noise except for the visiting cyclists and the occasional rooster.

I saw so many sites. I saw lots of award winning cattle, I mean these were gorgeous animals. They looked like they were just bathed. I saw goats, donkeys, turkeys, lots of horses and the prettiest were the Paint Horses. (sorry, no photos). I saw a cyclist fall, I saw some families working, but the coolest site of all was that of nobody rushing.Rest-Stop-Row.jpg

I have been planning this tour for a while now and I am so pleased with my accomplishment but actually a little sad that it's over. It has been my goal to go far but the farther I traveled the thinner the crowd became so at times it got kind of lonely. I do appreciate the solitude of this sport and in some of these photos you will see just how peaceful this ride was. There doesn't appear to be anything for a mile or so and that was pretty cool. These were big farms, recently plowed, so I saw soil so rich that it looked like dark chocolate. Stainless-Steel-_-Dirt.jpg

On the down side, this was out in the country, past the city limits sign, where the bumpy road met my tail bone line. As much as I appreciate flat road, I would have preferred more hammering up hills with my thighs screaming in pain, than the constant vibration against my bottom from the long and rocky "road". And I was wearing my really good shorts. I remember a conversation that I had with some guy after I turned onto a smooth road. I said, "Oh, thank God!" and he said, "Yep." -- true story. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining one bit. I loved it out there! Black-Poles.jpg

It was a huge surprise to me when energy hit me. After two hours of riding I sucked down a Mocha Clif Shot which is a little like chugging a small bottle of hersheys syrup. It's funny, one minute you think your legs are done for the day, "check out time", "see ya back at the truck" and the next minute your passing people left and right and laughing about it. "Uh, what was that about?"

curved-farm.jpgAlright, enough story. It was wonderful and I cannot wait for my first Century Ride. If only there could be 100 miles of smooth, quiet, country road, I'd be in heaven. Suggestions anyone? Oh, I forgot this one. I checked out the website tonight and browsed the 253 photos from the ride. The very last photo, number 253, where the slide show ends, there is a glimpse of me, Mr. Argyle jersey. Check this out....can you see me? Almost off screen.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

40 miles in the wind!

Hey, you know what I remember most about last year's Outlaw 100? It's the wind, the really strong windefaultd. Today was a lot like that and after my recent Steiner Ranch ride I feel like there is no avoiding the wind in Williamson County in October. I installed aerobars recently and have really enjoyed taking some of the pressure off my shoulders but also these things really allowed me to cut through the wind a little better when I didn't have to fight it.

I saw some beautiful sights today. First I saw a giant llama -- that was unusual. Sorry but no photo. A few miles later I rode around the back of a building that was next to a ranch and saw about 100 monarch butterflies enjoying a row defaultof wildflowers. I went down a County Road that I thought would take me past the cows that scared me on a recent ride but instead I found a wounded deer laying on the side of road. It was hard to see at first as it blended it with the brush and it was in the shade. It stared at me as I rode by and as I circled around again and again she turned her head, watching me. I called Patsy for help because I didn't like the idea of it dying there. As I pedaled off for the last time, I saw her lay her head down and I assume her time was fading. Patsy got in touch with Texas Parks and Wildlife and I hope that they made it in time to save her. I turned in tdefaulto check out the Preserve, a gorgeous community. These homes must be near a million dollars. They were absolutely amazing. I saw lots of healthy happy deer running in this neighborhood and I could hear little animals scurrying in the grass. On my way back out to the highway I saw horses being followed by donkeys.

It was a lovely ride and I wanted to keep going but then I remembered the Cowboys were playing so all of a sudden I wished that I was home. I inhaled my snacks and chugged my water hoping that it would give me the energy I needed to get home in a hurry. I got home, showered, dressed, made a protein smoothie and sat down just in time for the second half. Whew! I'm pooped.

My first 63 mile ride is coming up in 6 days. The plan is to cut back on the training and add to the energy reserves. I'm eating healthy all week and hope to store in my body the stuff I need for a long long ride.

Sweet dreams. I'm off to bed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

True Fitness!

defaultAnd I was worried about working out at the hotel....HA! I really thought that it would be too easy and I'd miss my bike at home. How wrong I was. Those machines really kicked my butt. My legs were hurtin' ALL DAY LONG! Oh and thank goodness for the towels and the cup holders. I have read about interval training but I have never really tried except for when I used to run. I did the interval program on this machine and it was tough.

The second day I went to the fitness room at 5:30am and this is after drinking with Patsy and Jane until midnight. There was an someone on my machine so I had to try out the elliptical machine instead. How lame right? NOT! I would recommend the Radisson fitness centers to anyone. Luckily the recumbant bike machine was free after 20 minutes on the elliptical.

Summary: no excuses for any of our travelling siblings. Get your butts out of bed and down to the fitness rooms. Oh and if available, try the Radisson. They have Sleep Number beds and great fitness centers.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cycling Steiner Ranch

defaultI took a different route today. Instead of my normal rides I chose to focus on hills. Feeling a little groggy I decided not to go all the way down to Mansfield Dam but turn into Steiner Ranch instead. I have never been down these roads before so I found myself going at a slightly slower than usual pace - not much really but down these steep hills I did grip the brakes tightly. My back didn't hurt when standing up on the bike so I pushed myself to be stronger on the inclines. It was a beautiful day but at these heights the greatest challenge was the crosswinds. As soon as I cleared a group of trees or a building the winds came hard and fast over the tops of these hills. So hard sometimes that I thought I was going to blow over.

Lake-View.jpgThe views were beautiful. I still feel the need to compete somehow with the landscapes that Cindy enjoys while cycling Charlottesville, VA. These are a few that I took with my phone. I now take my cell phone with me as a safety precaution because the more that I ride the farther away from home I get. And if I encounter any mechanical trouble or take a spill like Patsy did I'll be in trouble without it.

I made it up the biggest hill today without stopping. I was so proud of myself. It felt like my lungs were baking as I gasped for more HOT air. Have you seen one of those cartoons where the character is yelling and his mouth is like 4 times bigger than normal? That is how I imagined mflowers.jpgyself as I went up this hill. I guess that little chuckle I made was just enough to stay positive when the pain in my legs kicked in. I can't say that I'll try this again any time soon but knowing that I made it made a big difference in my heart.

Anyway, I'll be on the stationary bike at the hotel for the next few days. We'll see how that goes. I'll be thinking about you guys and remembering my trip through Steiner Ranch.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Me? Using Rollers?

So you might be wondering, with Amy and Sabrina gone, how can I watch the kids and train at the same time? Roller-Inside.jpgWell I admit, it sure aint easy. In fact, looking up to see anything is a challenge. I tried it for ten minutes this morning and was just too afraid that I would fall and die or at least fracture something, while they slept. I tried it again after coming home from work this evening but this time I took it outside so that I could "listen" to them play.

It was a good night here at the Aldrete house. Sydni and I read together, Tristan learned how to take pictures with my phone and I dripped sweat on the driveway - and on my bike. Now I know what this thing is for. We ate lasagna and garlic bread followed by a frozen juice bar. Finally we knocked out homework, Tristan practiced Heartbreak Hotel on his guitar and I got them to bed - a little later than I wanted to but it went well and Sydni said that she was happy and proud of me.

Back to the driveway workout, my neighbors were thoroughly confused. People slowed down to look at me and sRoller-Outside.jpgee what I was doing. The metal drums made a bit of squeal when spinning and the faster I went the louder they got. John came over and gave me that look that Eddie gave every portrait photographer as a child. Kind of like that confused Scooby Doo look and sound. Well, I may look balanced and comfortable in this photo but it took a lot of work not to fall off of there. I wish that this thing was about a foot wider and a whole lot quieter.

How about you guys, how you doing?


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yoga for Cyclists

defaultThe other day I attended a free workshop at Bicycle Sports Shop in South Austin. The instructor, Gioconda, was amazing! The place was so full that many of us had to lay our mats outside the classroom area. For us first timers, we got a free mat and a great experience. There is nothing to fear, Gioconda is so easy to follow. She invited us closer so that we could see better how to perform certain stretches and really counter the effects of being on the bike for hours and hours. I recommend her classes to anyone.

I need to keep this up.