21 December 2010

Where is he now?

Right now he's at the mission office...waiting for the his first assignent.

View Kenny's Mission Areas in a larger map

05 June 2010

Goodbye Ride...and catching up

This morning, 5:30 to be exact, I rolled my bike out of the garage to ride a last ride with Jake. Jake is moving across the country and we decided to get one more ride in before he leaves tomorrow. It's been a while since we've ridden together, scheduling and mundane tasks such as child rearing and being husbands always seemed to get in the way.

Anyway we rolled down to 119 and 280 and did a loop out to Dunavant and back, some mild climbing, lots of rollers and a short steep whack over Hugh Daniels Drive. I didn't have the legs to get as deep as my cardio system was willing to let me go this morning, so the ride was a bit of a struggle. Jake is in far better shape than I am, as he is peaking for the Wasatch Back running race next weekend.

But isn't the essence of training that either your legs or your lungs are always trying to catch up to the other. Peaking is bringing those systems into sync at the highest level you can manage. The rest of the time it's just suffering.

I've been doing the Thursday night (climbing centric) rides lately instead of the Tuesday night speedfests. I'll probably add the Tuesday rides back in starting in July. My main goal for the year, Cherohala, was canceled because of a rockslide over the road that wouldn't be cleared in time for the ride to happen. Oh well, there's always next year.

Meanwhile, I'll keep riding...there's alway Huntsville in September.

02 February 2010

Morningside...an old man died

(yeah it's a very obscure Neil Diamond song)

This morning I decided to turn a different way and give my climbing legs an early season test by crossing Red Mountain via Morningside Drive, a nice 4/10's mile of 15% torture.

Test result...close to failure. Maybe in another month I'll take another crack at it.

20 January 2010

It's good for you!

I remember sitting at the dinner table aghast at the slices of purple beets staining everything on my plate with their unholy blood-like juice. My parents said I wasn't allowed to leave the table until I'd eaten them, and thus ensued a battle of wills that lasted for years. Oh, I ate the beets, that time...and any other time I was unfortunate enough to get caught at the dinner table on a night we were served this vile weed, but I managed to skip dinner more often than the times I had to eat the wretched beets. Though I never cried about it, as one young man I know did once when I told him he had to eat the tiniest piece of broccoli I'd ever seen. Why did my parents make me eat beets? Why did I make my son try his broccoli? The reason given in both instances was that they were good for us.

Now, the question is, was it the vegetable itself that was good for us, or the growth we experienced from sucking it up and trying something we knew we'd never touch again?

Which brings me to my next thought. If you have a competitive nature, humiliation is good for you. Yesterday I mentioned that I had followed up one of my worst seasons of riding ever with one of my best ever, and that following last season's debacle, I was hoping for a similar effect in 2010. As I pondered this question on my ride to work this morning, the reason became clear.

A few years ago, my friend Russ bought a bike and started riding. I hadn't done much on the bike the year before, and one day we were out for a ride, and I found myself dropping further and further behind on a climb I should never have suffered on. Russ beat me to the top of that road by several minutes. I was humiliated and swore that he would never again beat me to the top of a climb. I worked and trained and had a great season that year, with a personal best at Cherohala.

Similarly, 2009 was a disaster for me, fitness-wise, with the coupe de grace coming in late December when Jon was in town and we went for this ride together. Jon kicked my trash all over the road, and the Beast even felt the need to pace me on some of the steep rollers to keep me from falling too far behind. I don't believe I've been as embarrased since the day Russ beat me up Dolly Ridge. I followed it up with an equally humiliating climb up to the Peavine Falls road the next day on mountain bikes (again, Jon and the Beast enjoying lots of time to chat while waiting for me to join them atop the climb).

So, like the previous episode, I'm once again motivated. Motivated to ride strongly, to avoid the shame of barely being able to finish a 35 miler. To that end, I took a longer route into work this morning, a route with more climbing and miles. I've eaten my year's helping of humiliation and I'm hoping it'll keep me fueled up for a long time.

19 January 2010

Is it Spring yet??!!

Sure feels like it is...

Yesterday was a beautiful 60 degree day here in the land of BCS Euphoria. I had determined that I wouldn't let a day away from work go wasted and managed to slip in a 2 hour ride in the late afternoon.

As I climbed out of the hole in the mountain in which we live, I thought I might be feeling pretty good, a few minutes later as I summited at Col du Station de Essénce, I was convinced I was going to have to get some climbing in because who knew when my legs would feel this good again.

I met up with my youngest child, Molly, at the Lakeshore trail and we rode to the other end together. It's only 2.5 miles each way, but it's been a long time since she rode and her legs were sore (she claimed). When it was over, she wanted to do it again, but I knew it wouldn't be as nice as the first time, since the legs were sore. We'll do longer next Saturday. But she had fun, and that's what's important, right?

Leaving her to catch a ride back home with her mom (oh settle down, Cathy was waiting at the end with the car to take her), I headed out on a short tour of Mountain Brook. I managed several shortish steep climbs with some effort, and noticed on Dell (a nice steepish climb to the top of Shades Mountain) that I wasn't feeling quite as good as I had previously thought I was...but the weather was so nice that I didn't care. After descending Cherokee, and then descending Smyer, I got my first look at the gate that was erected to keep cyclists from using a certain parking lot to get to the bottom of Smyer. It's sad to see that despite many level heads trying to work out a way to keep out access open, a few pinheads managed to screw it up for everybody. And I do mean pinheads on both sides of this issue, pinhead riders who refused to accept the property owner's requests to stay away until the issue was resolved, and the pinheads who work in the office building who were threatened by spandex clad hordes traversing their parking area.

Anyway, climbing Smyer was actually not too bad. I pushed it hard at times and got the speed ramped up, but couldn't sustain the effort for more than a few seconds at a time. But all in all, I think the fitness will be coming back this season. I was looking at my riding logs (which I have going back nearly 10 years) and noticed that my previously worst season (before this one) was followed up by one of my strongest seasons ever. Of course, that was before baseball and football became part of our lives, but I'll just have to find a way to work around those things.

The only downside to yesterday's ride is that it left me without the legs to ride to work this morning (as I had planned). They're sore, but it's a good sore.

11 January 2010

One Commute, hold the ice

It was cold this morning. 15 degrees as I wheeled out of the driveway, bundled up and feeling like the Michelin man.

I still froze the whole way to the office...especially on the downhills. But at least the lack of moisture for the past few days meant I didn't have any ice on the roads to deal with (unlike last week, when it was all over the place)...so I had that going for me.

Still nice to be out burning calories and putting in a few miles anyway. At least it was sunny.

30 December 2009

Over the river and through the woods...

The day before Christmas Eve I returned to the MTB with a ride out at OMSP. It wasn't as nice as the day before, weather-wise, but it wasn't bad. Just overcast.

Jon joined the Beast and I once again, and we left the South trailhead, riding the trail clockwise. I love the first section of this trail, lots of twists and turns with short climbs and descents...it's a nice fast section of singletrack.

As the day before, I struggled to keep up with the clearly stronger riders (Jon and Jeff) on the climbs, especially the climb up to Peavine Falls road from the North Trailhead, but I learned long ago that when I'm riding with the Beast, I simply let him ride off the front if that's what he wants to do...if I try to match him, I'm going to kill myself sooner. So I let him go, set my own rythm and work my way along, getting a good workout that leaves me enough to survive later.

Jon impressed me by cleaning through Blood Rock, though never having seen it before. I opted to walk through rather than risk a fall, since I was effectively riding with one hand. On the plus side, I killed the downhill section before and after Blood Rock and really had a great time.

Halfway through the final section, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, there were signs pointing to a new trail, and it appeared (to me) that the old MTWR was closed for some reason. Turns out it wasn't closed, but I was going too fast to read the sign, so I made the turn onto the new trail. Soon we found ourselves in a mud bog that was both long and deep. Then a creek without a bridge. It appears we had found the new trail that is being cut around the northwest side of the lake that will eventually cross the dam and link with the South Trailhead. It wasn't too long, and we ended up back at the parking area after fooling around in the weeds for a while.

We were pleasantly surprised to see that there have been changing stalls, and a bike wash station built near the parking area. We really liked having the chance to wash the mud off the bikes before heading home. A very nice touch.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing the loop out there. I've got to get on the MTB more often. Last year I had ridden at Oak Mountain most Saturdays since early September, but this was my first time out this year. It's a good workout, and I need more of that.

And it was a pleasure to have Jon along, as he experienced southern mountain biking for the first time. I think he had as much fun as we did. I hope we get the chance to do this ride again when I'm more fit to keep up.