Cannon Cruise: The Final Episode

Today was the last Saturday Cannon Cruise of the year. It was a Cross and Mountain Bike special. Fifteen men saddled up on what was a glorious morning. Perfect temp. Clear skies, full-on sun.

The first main climb, several guys were already whining about before we even got started. Once we hit that hill about 4 miles in, it hurt. And really bad. One guy turned around and went home.

This turned out to be the single most-hard ride I've done all year long. In total, almost 2500 feet of climbing. There were two groups (A&B). The A's being the fast guys (mainly) on cross bikes - and guys on the Wheelmen race team. They were fast too. The B group (the one I was in) consisted mainly of the usual people I ride with on Saturday's. Medium to advanced riders, enthusiasts, not racers.

What a fun time! However, the hills were KILLER. Lots of them. Paved, dirt, gravel. At times I was decending down a dirt/bumpy hill at 30+mph, then on the next uphill, BARELY 4mph. It was tough. Some climbs were long. I learned though, that in order to not get dropped, I would have to pedal and fly downhill and then carry that momentum as fast as I could uphill and recover somewhere after that. Sometimes there was no recovery. People would keep passing me, but then I'd blow by them on the next hill.

At one point, I was so sick of hills, MARAVOLO showed up. I was in 7th place out of 7 riders, going down a giant hill. I geared up in the big ring, top cog and pedaled my @$$ off all the way down and UP the hill in the same top gear, standing (I have a 27 speeda). Guys later caught up with me and saw how possessed I was and offered to give me King of the Mountain bonus points (like in the TDF). HA

We did 42.3 miles. The A group did about 10 more. We almost finished at the same time. Everyone had a blast. It was super tough, but there many made mention of making this special event an annual thing - next time with a pony-keg at the finish.

You'll have to click on the Garmin map to see both the extreme fluctuation in speeds and elevations. Crazy.


Time off. Game on!

Well, after the Century ride almost two weeks ago with Remus, that next day (Sunday) I blowed up my back. All I did was turn to look at my daughter in the garage as I was cleaning up the bike and got a sharp pain in my side. All seemed okay until I took a nap on the couch just 2 hours after that. Then...I couldn't get up.

For the next 3 days I couldn't stand upright, could barely walk. Saw the doc, she prescribed some meds (actually muscle relaxers - which made me loopy at work), so I only took those at night from then on. Suspected bulged disc, which turns out, happened almost exactly 5 years ago and lasted a VERY long time. (thinking to myself, I don't have time for this right now)

That Thursday the same pain came back, it scared me, except now I was mobile and relatively pain-free - almost instantly. Something must have moved back into place. I bowed out of riding in the Cycling Classic Challenge held downtown in the streets of Grand Rapids that Saturday as a precaution, which was dissapointing, but payed off big time last night:

Rode with Matt Longest and Marty at Luton Park - MTB. I felt awesome, was fast and nothing could stop me....except having to stop and wonder what the H happened to Marty. At one point he was gone for like 7 minutes. Matt and I stood at the side of the trail watching old guys pilot $4,000 rigs as they rode by, wondering if Marty had a flat or wrecked big time - and now how do we find him? All of a sudden I hear "Hey, what H are you guys waiting for!?" There's Marty walking through the woods right at us, taking a shortcut. It was funny. From that point on, Matt and I hammered the gaz.

I was SO hungry for a bike ride. I was only off for 11 days and couldn't take it. It's been a long time since I felt this way, but I was at one with The General, ripping around turns, flowing over bumps, handling all the climbs tip top, dipping into turns with my shoulder brushing trees. On the road ride home, I was standing up, mashing the pedals up hills and down. It was like The General Lee knew I have been casually shopping used 29'ers online, looking for a possible replacment or new build for over the winter. This was his chance to convince me, there is plenty of life in the GL, we were at one last night...two gay dudes doing the mombo in the woods under a beautiful sunset. I love you buddy.


2011 Maple Leaf - Mission: Century

Myself and Remus signed up for the Maple Leaf ride about 3 weeks ago. I asked him what loop he wanted to do, and he said, "why can't we do them all?" Okay, fine, let's do it!

The advertised milage was a 20 flat loop OR 30 rolling hills loop OR 30 hilly loop, plus the 14 miles riding from and to my house to the event start was going to make a 94 mile day. We changed OR to AND. It was also decided that if we were within 10 miles of a full Century, we would have to ride around extra to make 100. So we did. Mission completed.

The morning started off by waking up at 3:30 am to the sound of an impending storm. I fired up the iPad to check the radar. Ewww, not good. However, it never really started raining until around 6am and the outlook was bleak. We were originally to leave the house at 7am, but the lightning was preventing us from leaving on time. Just about when we were going to leave, we looked, I said "looks better, let's go", then Bam, right where we were looking was another bolt of lightning. I guess we should wait. A sign from God. Once we arrived, signed in, got our orange "Steak" wristband, we were off. After that, the ride was pretty uneventful.

Not many riders, I guess there were 27 registered pre-ride, I was expecting a few hundred. Oh well, we were there to ride and that's what we did. We had no plan going into this, but things turned out perfect. We decided to ride the hilly loop first, expecting we'd have the most energy right away. It was hilly! Then we thought we should ride the rolling hill loop and finally the flat loop. Surely, by the time we would get to the end, the road would be perfect for our dwindling capacity for pain. This worked out beautifully.

After the first two loops we had lunch (steak, potato and half a Coke for me). Not even sure what Remus had. He eats so fast, I saw food, looked away - next thing I saw was an empty plate with meat juice on it. We could hear rumbling in the distance, I text Patti to see what was going on. She said it would miss us, so we took off for the last loop. It was an out and back on my favorite area road (Red Pine Drive), and by the time we were half way back, (only 13 more miles to complete the mission) the skies opened up. I said "It's looks good!" (being funny) then CRACK, a bolt of lightning was (seemingly) right in the woods next to us. It about scared both of us right off the road. We thought we should hide under some leafy trees (trees aren't targets for lightning are they?!) and wait it out. We got pelted with some hail, were soaked and loved every minute of it.

From there it was time to head home. Rolling hills on the way back killed me, I was struggling at this point, but we had to pull this off. Hit the rail trail and rode around the neighborhood in order to put on the 4.5 miles we were short on the Garmin. Had a short sprint race at the end with Matt, I hit 30mph on the flat. Rode around area neighborhoods, and pulled in the driveway. We did it! And not a minute too soon. Ten minutes actually. More storms were in the near distance, lots of lightning and it POURED for a good 20-30 minutes. We had dodged a bullet this time.

All in all, it was a great ride. Glad to have a good buddy to ride with. Without that, it would have been super boring and I would have probably not even ridden more than one loop. Glad to be home to rest, shower and chill with the fam.

This ride puts me very close to 1,400 miles on the season. Have to keep chipping away at my 2,000 mile goal on the year. I ride in the winter too, so I can take this all the way into December 31!

Link to video of rain delay:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyO0u3HnPJk

Enzo happily cruising along.

Documentation of hail. Remus pictured.

This is the storm that came through 10 minutes after we got home. Danger!

click below on "view details" to see the details....



Didn't get out for a ride tonight. A bit bummed by that. It was the perfect night too. I was at work till 7:15 pm. Oh well, happy at least that I'll go for a short, easy one tomorrow, and then I have 100+ to rip off on Saturday. Can't wait, Remus will be here. He needs to be punished for all the glorious pics he was sending me from Lake Superior and Paradise, MI last week, while I was sitting, rotting in my work cubicle hating life.

FYI, I'm only going to post workout data for any ride over 40 miles. Anything less won't be worth posting. I'm trying to cut back on my "digital intake" and concentrate on simplifying things. Too much going on, stressed out about things that don't matter in life - just have to dial things back. Just don't have the time. Going to close out my Facebook account Sunday. Good riddance. It is evil and addictive - stealing the souls from humans without them even knowing.

HA HA...sounds like a good premise for a movie.


Tuesday Ride

Had a summary typed out and the internet quit on me. So here is the jist of what I was going to say:

Beautiful night.
Trail busy.
Car/cyclist accident.
Not me.
Lady not badly injured.
Just blood.
Maybe concussion
Good elapsed time.
Still with 38 road crossings total.
Sand Lake sprint Thurs.
Aiming for over 20mph average.
Like a 10 mile time trial.


Edwards Creek to Shearer Road, Greenville with Matt Longest

Fun ride tonight. Hit some trails in Greenville. Haven't been able to make it over there for a ride yet. Was fun to ride with Matt, he showed me around the trails. Edwards Creek can make you dizzy. It's a ton of technical little jigs and jags around trees, stumps and rocks. Keeps going back against itself. Easy to get turned around in there. Pretty tricky. Too tight for a 'niner I think. It had my whole body in a tensed up mess - my hands were killing just after a few miles of riding. By the end my lower back was burning up.

Fell once, sort of against a tree on a quick uphill, spun out, then couldn't clip out. Man down. Then we rode over to Shearer Road. Shearer is more of a faster MTB trail. I would say more "traditional". More straights, little quicker. It was like a tornado recently went through there though. Lots of fresh down leaves and twigs...chunks of 1-2" dia wood - rollers I will call them. Every object wanted to send you right or left - not straight. We quit early. It was hot and we were getting tired. Good ride, we plan to hit the roads soon, maybe Luton the next chance we get for off-road. Matt is doing Iceman with me, so we have to hit some trails in the coming months. Put Fort Custer on the agenda.

Shearer Rd Trail

Edwards Creek Trail


Cannon Cruise

Fast ride tonight. Averaged 18.9 mph. There were 8 men, 1 woman and a co-ed Tandem.

At one point I looked down and I was doing 22mph and the Tandem took over pulling the group. I was already at the back of the group and wasn't paying attention. In a blink they were gone and I couldn't maintain the pace. I had to give up the pursuit. They were gone. Probably a good half-mile ahead of me. They had to be doing 25-26mph. I guess not hard to go that fast when you're drafting on a two-engined bus.

HRM still not working, even though I replaced the battery. Very erratic. I'll have to check a few things, otherwise I might find myself buying a new one. Not sure what is going on.

Saturday, Aug 27 is a MTB/Cross bike Cannon Cruise. 50-60 miles on dirt and only "some" pavement. Sounds fun. This will be the last Cannon Cruise of the year as the cross season starts. I guess road bikes are dumb to ride when this starts. I'll stay away from cross for now, thanks. I've got MILES to put on!! So guess I'll be riding by myself starting in Sept.



Rode north on the unpaved portion of the White Pine Trail today on the MTB. Haven't done this yet this year, believe it or not. (It's all I've ridden for the past two years until I got a road bike - not sure how I was able to keep it interesting all this time, because it really sucked.)

It was a boring ride - stats are below. Of course Garmin is messing around with the functionality of their website, so nothing can be embedded or edited right now. So, below are some screen shots instead.
Calories is completely off. You'll see why below.

Couple of things to note:

1) Apparently I died around the 30 minute mark and came back to
life right at the turn around point. (I guess the battery in the HRM is done.)

2) Something is wrong with elevation. It should be an exact mirror of itself,
since I rode the same line out and back. WTF!?

3) Look at how I busted tail at the last 6 or so miles. Pushing into road-bike
speeds on the MTB. On the way back there was a Bissel team rider that I passed
(oncoming). I high-tailed it right then, wanted him to come chase me down, but I
never saw him. He must have turned off. It took me 1:00:16 to ride out.
Had to beat that time on the way back - and I was dragging behind. Finished the second
half at 0:59:30 - 45 seconds quicker. I swear I made up more than 5 minutes I was behind.

This was the only "game" I could come up with in order to keep my attention.