Monday, December 29, 2008

Snowshoeing....Without The Snow...and the Snowshoes

Yesterday I decided to finally get off my butt and do some exercise and with the heavy winds it really wasn't in the cards for me to try to jump on the bike and head outside. So I decided to snowshoe instead and knew that it might be difficult with the snow melt that we had Friday and Saturday but figured I'd give it a whirl anyways. I headed over to the park by my house where there are some nice trails in the woods and thought that maybe there'd be enough snow in the woods to actually be able to use the snowshoes. Well, it turned out I was half right as I made my way around for the first loop, there was enough snow in only some spots but for the most part the path was either completely iced over or pretty barren as far as snow goes. I decided to hoof it without the snowshoes and just laced up the hiking boots and gatorz and took off in to the woods. I was the only person in the whole park so it was a wonderful 90 minute jaunt to take in the serenity of the day without other human noise to muck it up. My only other visitor on the path was a stray Doberman Pinscher that was walking on the path ahead of me. He did not have an owner with him, he was basically enjoying the day walking through the woods by himself. I stopped in my tracks when I saw him and let him get ahead of me a bit but I did eventually follow him and kept my distance before he turned off towards some houses about a mile down the trail. He was a big boy and no doubt I would've been seen as either a play companion or lunch if he would've seen me. I had my poles with me so I was ready to defend myself if needed, thankfully it didn't come to that. The only other real adventure of the day was when I had to traverse a river crossing, it was quite dangerous, I almost got my feet wet when I hopped over it, it was nearly a rapids to say the least.

THE RAPIDS - Don't try this at home kids!!!

SOME SNOW - It was still pretty hard packed though

NEW BERLIN ICE FLATS - I needed my poles to keep me from slipping out

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not A Lot Going On

Just thought I'd give an update even though I really have nothing to say, it's been a crappy winter, about the same as last year with the snow. No riding of late, basically been sitting on my butt getting fatter again. I hope to get out and snowshoe this weekend but it will be a busy weekend getting the house ready for the wife's family on Christmas Eve. That's about it for now, barely worth the effort to type it but figured I would anyways. Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Winter Days Are Here Again

Well, winter weather is certainly here to stay, no road riding on the horizon any time soon. It might be good enough to get the mountain bike out after the roads are cleared but the forecast is calling for more snow later in the week, and part of the weekend. That means that I get to take out the snowshoes this weekend and hit the local trails for the first time since probably February or early March. I'm excited to get out in the woods and enjoy the solitude for an hour or two, last year I was almost always the only one out there, it was great. Maybe I can get my wife out there this weekend, we have a busy weekend planned with some cleaning for X-mas, but I'm sure we can spare the time. Other than that, I've been hitting the weights on a regular basis, although I missed two days in the last two weeks due to working late and then just not feeling it one day. I'm actually feeling stronger with the weights this year than I was last year at this time, I'm about 10lbs higher for each exercise and it feels noticeably easier. I rode the rollers last night and will be riding again tonight after shoveling, which looks like it's going to suck as the snow that is coming down is of the wet, heavy variety. If I don't throw my back out I'll do just an hour on the rollers again and watch more of stage 13 of Le Tour since I started it last night, and I DVRed the whole 5 hours of coverage so I have enough to ride most of the week just watching one stage. That's about it for now, it's Potluck Lunch today at work so I've got wings, chili, BBQ, roast beef, cheese and sausage, chips, soda, etc. to munch on today, I'll try to keep the fat intake to a minimum but it will be difficult.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Day

Not much to report right now, ready to eat lots of food tomorrow, and bike at some point too, maybe. Basically just ready to eat lots for sure. Bought some Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale and Point's St. Benedicts Winter Ale, will drink that as well. Yum.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Um, Is It Spring Yet?

How about that little snowfall we had yesterday, I've never seen .20 inches of snow cause so much trouble as it did last night. My drive home took 60 minutes, it's normally 15. I passed 3 accidents and countless cars that couldn't get up a 3% grade because it was too slippery. Luckily the 4WD Xterra had no problem going up hills, unfortunately I had trouble going down them though as no amount of 4WD was stopping anyone heading downhill. I had to lay on my horn once so that the guy in front of me knew I wasn't stopping as I was sliding downhill towards him. He took off just in time as I finally slid to a stop right where he had been. Way too much fun for me, can't say I want to do that anytime again soon.
Anyways, if you've read my previous posts the last week or so you've seen that my body is constantly adapting to my position fixes and screwing itself up as fast as I can fix it. I thought I had the problem resolved with some stretching and position changes but my body quickly figured out how to circumvent my fixes and get itself all screwed up again. I rode about 3 times in my new position and it felt pretty good, but not great, at least I wasn't rubbing the seatpost for the most part. I took two days off the bike and when I got back on this past weekend my leg was rubbing again. I never took the bike off the trainer, didn't move it, no changes at all. So how could it work fine one day, then a couple days later I was back to rubbing on the seatpost? Well, who knows I guess, that's what I've been having trouble explaining. It seems every time I think I'm good, things go wrong again a short time later. So, this weekend after trying to ride multiple times I finally did some more position changes and got pretty close to square on the bike again. I will be back to hittin' the trainer again tonight and we'll see how I feel. I'm hoping as long as I keep up my stretching and concentrate on what my body is trying to do, that I can overcome whatever structural issues come up again. Basically it's back to square one again, I've kind of been on and off the bike a bit the last couple of weeks so it's time to try to get on a regular program and make sure I stick to it as long as I have no issues. Normally I'd be doing more hours on the bike and things like Muscle Tension intervals and FastPedals, and Tempo work already, but for now I'll just be concentrating on riding and working on my form for the next month or two. I was off quite a bit this summer so it's back to the basics. I don't feel the need to catch up to everyone because I'm not really looking to race heavily like I was hoping to this past year, I may do 3-5 races next year, I don't really see myself being able to do much more than that since I probably won't start until the 3rd or 4th race of the year. I'm going to do probably the two important ones just for fun, the State RR and the State Crit and then not really sure what else, it's all up in the air. So anyways, that's the tentative plan, and of course I can tell you with 100% certainty that it will change, that's how things usually go.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Status Quo

Well, not much has been going on since Monday, it's been pretty status quo. This is the time of the year where the training gets pretty monotonous, the weather gets crappy and there isn't much to talk about. There are no road rides to describe during the week since I'm always in my basement, the view is always the same. The weather has been crap all week, basically a constant drizzle, mid 40s, typical November weather. I've been in the weight room twice this week and doing the weight workouts feels really good, no complaints from the muscles. I was a little sore the first day and after that I've felt really good every time I've lifted. I'll be doing a few more weeks of lighter weight, high reps and then I'll move up to a higher weight, medium number of reps, and then finally I'll do power work later in the winter. It's good to have Dave up in the weight room with me, I get to talk bike stuff the whole time and it's great motivation to get my butt up there, some days I might have just gone home if it was just me. Hopefully having me there gives him the same motivation, from our conversations I'm pretty sure it does.
As far as riding goes, I'll be riding tonight and tomorrow and both days this weekend as well, although riding inside or outside is yet to be determined. Temps in the mid-30s and a slight chance of snow and rain are in the forecast, seems riding outside is doable at this point. I'll decide tomorrow though and plan my routes out appropriately tomorrow night to get the most out of routes that are a bit sheltered from the cold and wind. I'm thinking this weather will keep most people out of a park by my house that has some trails so some mountain biking might be in order for fun.
I know I have to do a beer review tonight or tomorrow, it's been too long, I'll be drinking a beer tonight so I'll have something to throw on the blog for your reading pleasure, or to bore you even more. Either way. Well, that's it for now, until next time......

Monday, November 10, 2008


You're looking at the title and probably thinking, wow Brian, you are really smart, you can add. Uh-huh, I'm practically a genius. Actually the numbers refer to how I had to break down my training this weekend so as not to die from trainer-induced boredom. I decided I just couldn't ride on the trainer for more than an hour at a time yet for a couple reasons, one is that it's really boring, and two is that I needed to get some things done during the day this weekend. I had to split my workouts to be able to get in a full 3 hours yet accomplish some yard work and house work as well and the best way to do that was to ride once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and then once again at night. I did One-Legged pedaling in the morning, mainly for the benefit of my weaker left leg which is part of the cause of some of the biomechanical issues I've been having. I basically did a 15 minute warm up and then did 5 minutes on, and 5 minutes off for the remainder of the ride. In the afternoon I did Muscle Tension intervals, for these my reps increase to 10 minutes on and then 10 off with only a 5 minute warmup. I did these in the 53x13 at about 55 rpm and really concentrated on pulling through the whole pedal stroke, it was definitely a good workout. My night ride was a nice recovery type ride just to clean out the legs from the two workouts earlier in the day and to burn a few calories that I desperately need to get rid of.
The rides felt pretty good actually and mainly because I did a couple things to help out the issues I've been having. One is that I changed my position on the bike to something that opens my hip angle a bit more and put one more Lemond Wedge in my left shoe, and two is that I've been very diligent in doing my stretching and yoga. The stretching has been a huge help, my hamstrings, hip flexors, and back muscles were super tight and I've cranked the heck out of them in the last week. The yoga then helps strengthen my core and helps with some added flexibility. I've noticed the difference on the bike and have significantly improved the clearance on my left leg from the seatpost, I can actually ride without rubbing my shorts against the post now. I'll definitely be keeping up the routine of 30-45 minutes of stretching and 30 minutes of yoga every night for the foreseeable future, it doesn't take a lot of time and the benefits are well worth it. If it prevents me from going crazy on the bike, then why not. So, that means that I'll be back on the trainer for this week after taking last week off the bike to get back on the straight and narrow (literally). The weather is getting worse but like I said in my previous post, if it's not raining or snowing hard then I'll be out on the weekends. Eventually when the bad times come (that would mean snow), then I'll get back out and do some snowshoeing which I had a lot of fun doing last winter. That's it for the training stuff for now....
......Not much else going on, I did some bathroom work this weekend as well. Basically I'm re-doing the walls in our half bath because the previous owner had so many patches and paint splatters and some crazy popcorn type paint on one wall that they needed to just be completely re-done. I've got one more wall to go but that one is going to be tough, it's the wall with the sink, built in cabinet and the toilet, so it won't be easy to work around. After I'm done I'll re-paint it all, put in new molding, and it will look brand new.
I also finally replenished my beer stock this weekend with a Sam Adams Winter Variety pack which includes the standard Boston Lager, and also the Winter Lager, Cranberry Lambic, the Holiday Porter, the Cream Stout, and the Fezziwig Ale. All of them are good beers and now that I have something to review I'll put up a couple of reviews this week.
That's it for now, until next time........

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Slow Burn

Slow burn, that's what it feels like to do yoga and the deep stretching that I did last night. It's not like a sprint on the bike or intervals where all of a sudden your legs and lungs burn, it's a deep, slow ache as the muscles stretch, and during yoga as I move in to the different positions. I really needed to get back on track with my core work and stretching as I've been neglecting that of late. I'm taking a few days off the bike while I repeat some of my physical therapy exercises that I was doing back in the beginning of the year. I need to stretch out my hip flexors, my hamstrings, and strengthen my core a lot more. I was pretty loose in the Spring after PT but have since tightened up again and I feel it when I'm on the trainer since my bike has no lateral movement. On the road I can compensate for my tightness by leaning my bike, sorta like I'm riding in a major crosswind, my bike is angled relative to the road. I can't compensate for that on the trainer so it's difficult to ride comfortably. Soooo, back to basics with the stretching and then I can get back on the bike hopefully tomorrow or Saturday once I feel a little better about the tightness I'm having. Tonight I'll be doing the same thing as yesterday, about an hour of stretching, and then 30-45 minutes of yoga. The yoga helped to relax me as well last night and I think I slept better than I have in a while.
This weekend looks like crap right now so we'll see what the plans are after I check the forecast again tomorrow night. I worked on the Pinarello last night to get that ready in case I feel like riding a bit in the rain on the road, and I'll get the SS ready tomorrow in case I feel like riding on some trails near my house. I could care less about the colder temps, I'll ride down in to the 20s, but I don't want to ride if it's pouring and I could get wet AND cold, that's a recipe for sickness for me. We'll see how much it's going to rain and then go from there, either it will be a decent weekend in the cold outdoors or if it rains too much then I'll swap between the rollers and trainer depending on how my muscles feel. Either way tomorrow will be weights as well after work, doing all lower body stuff, lots of reps with lighter weight.
I know I haven't posted a beer review in a while, I'm actually out of beer right now so I need to make a run this weekend, especially if it's cold. I'll be inside and will be working on the house, so might as well have a beer or six. ....or more. Anyways, that's it for now, until next time.......

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

More Beer, Less Biking

That is what's in the works. I'm going to put my off-season trainer riding on hold for now until I figure out my asymmetry issue that has plagued me since I started riding again in 2006. I still can't ride the bike without rubbing my left leg against the seatpost, I've worn completely through two pairs of short legs riding this way and deformed the left side of two saddles in two years. I'm done riding until I can figure that out, I'm just completely perplexed, it's really freakin' pissing me off. More beer drinking for now I guess, less riding.

Seriously, WTF???!!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Let The Sun Shine Down...

...on me today. There was supposed to be a bit of rain in the forecast today and when I checked the radar this morning after I woke up there were spots of rain out west and a bit north of us. I figured I'd do some yard work for an hour or two and then check again to see how close it was going to get by 11:00 or so. I picked up some leaves for a bit, mainly cleaning them from out of my bushes and flower gardens and then checked the radar again. It was looking pretty good and right around 11:30ish the sun actually came out, but of course I had planned on watching the Packer game at noon to see if they could beat the Titans. It was a bit of a conundrum but I decided that a ride in the sun outweighed the Packers today, this could be my last chance for a sunny ride in 50-something weather, although I really, really hope not. I decided to keep it short today though, only 2 hours, for two reasons; one, I decided to do one hour of stretching and calisthenics, and one hour of yoga this evening as well as the ride, and two, I rode 4 hours yesterday and my butt is sore. I did a pretty flat route from New Berlin to Big Bend then to Waukesha and back to New Berlin. No other bikers out there today and I only saw one runner as well, everyone was either finishing their end-of-year yard work or inside watching the Packer game. So where were you all? Anyways, it was a great ride, I felt really good, the weather was nice and the only problem was my previously mentioned sore butt. Tonight I'm going to do some stretching, crunches, leg lifts, push ups, and then an hour of yoga as well. I'll be starting that at about 7:00 and then after that it will be close to bed time. My boss is out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so I have a feeling the first part of the week will be a little hectic, I better rest up so I'm not crabby at everyone when I'm getting hit from all directions. Well, no pictures today, that's it for now, until next time......

Saturday, November 01, 2008

How Many?

How many days do we have left like today, it wasn't exactly the warmest but it is November 1st, I'll take mid-50s and sunny any day of November. I'm not going to do a full re-cap right now because it's dinner time and I'm really hungry but I did 4 hours today from New Berlin to Waukesha back to New Berlin and then went on the Oak Leaf trail to Franklin and back home to New Berlin. It was a great ride, here are some pics for now, more to come later.

Ready To Embark

Oak Leaf Trail Bridge
Fox River Trail

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Feel....

....a vacation day coming on tomorrow. The weather has been kind of crappy of late but I've been stuck at work anyways during the day so what does it matter really I guess. It looks like tomorrow is supposed to be really nice though so I've decided to take a vacation day to get in a long ride. Right now a long ride for me is 4 hours, anything more than that right now and I'd keel over, that's about my max at the moment. After my ride I'll be showering and changing quickly to go to lunch and drink some beer with my friend Jason, that should make for a nice afternoon to relax my body after the ride. Not the greatest recovery for a longer ride but beer has carbs in it so I'll be replenishing my glycogen stores, um, I think. Hopefully we have as good a time as our last endeavour to Ray & Dots and Bennos, this time we won't drink the new Schlitz though, that stuff is nasty. So, I'm looking forward to a good day, it's a good way to celebrate Halloween and close out October.
As far as weights and bike training go, I forgot I had to work late last night and even though I brought all my workout clothes I had to fore go my lifting and head home. I didn't want to be eating dinner at 7:30 so I decided to just lift tonight instead and then obviously I'll skip it tomorrow since I won't be at work to utilize the facilities. Monday it will be back to the normal lifting program, I hope. I rode the rollers last night as well, another 75 minutes, and I felt pretty good. I watched about 45 minutes of a lame movie, "Stuck", about someone being hit by a car and then left in the windshield for dead while I was riding but I had to turn it off because it sucked so bad, I wouldn't recommend renting it. Other than that, the weekend weather looks pretty good although Sunday could be iffy for a little rain so hopefully I'll get a lot more yard work done and the plan is to do about 3 hours each on Saturday and Sunday on the bike as well. DST ends on Sunday as well and I'm not looking forward to the extended darkness, I'm going to have to start tanning or something to get my fix of radiation. That's it for now, until next time.........

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sore Start

Well, yesterday was the first day of weight work for the off-season and I have to say I was pretty sore today. I guess underneath my fat I actually have abs because they hurt today, my legs were pretty sore as well but after getting the blood flowing on the trainer tonight they are doing much better. I'll be back to hitting the weights tomorrow, I'll do different muscle groups tomorrow, more upper body and core stuff, and then will go back to the lower body on Friday again. Tonight was just a short ride on the trainer, only 75 minutes but it was more than enough for me since the first few rides in the basement are always the hardest. Jeez I hate riding inside. Anyways, not much else to report, here are a few pics of my newly cleaned bike below. A clean bike is a happy bike.......

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yardwork, Yardwork, and More Yardwork

Yeah, that was the theme for the weekend. The forecast called for a chance of snow showers overnight and possibly today, but thankfully I haven't see anything resembling snow yet. When I saw the forecast on Friday I knew that it was time for me to get some remaining yard projects done before the weather really takes a turn for the worst, the high is only supposed to be 39 today for cryin' out loud. So I made my list and set about finishing as much as I could over the weekend. Saturday I didn't accomplish as much as I had hoped, I think a combination of the wind and the persistent clouds made it difficult to get motivated. I slept in a little bit and then did some things around the house and then took a nap, it's hard work doing nothing you know. After waking up I did some more cleaning around the house and then basically called it a day, my motivation was completely lacking so I said, "there's always tomorrow". I think the onset of SAD is to blame for my dismal attitude, that would be Seasonal Affective Disorder, I think I get that at the onset of the first cold days of the Fall, I have some ideas to combat though this year, hopefully they work. Anyways, Sunday was a new day and I was full of energy (probably from the 13 hours of sleep) and the sun was actually out although it was still windy and a little chilly. I think the sun provided the motivation I needed to get out and I took full advantage of it until it finally set just before 6:00. I cleared the lawn of all those stinking leaves, I really wish they would have all blown off the trees yesterday but I still have quite a few trees yet that have to get rid of them so there will be at least another week or two of raking. I also mowed my lawn again with the push mower, that always takes about two hours as my lawn is a decent size. After that I decided to work on splitting logs and after maybe an hour and 50 or so logs I decided that my arms and shoulders couldn't take it any more. Cyclists are built well in the lower body, our upper body isn't meant for all this manual labor and I'm feeling it today, my arms are hurtin'. After splitting the logs I stacked them all up in front of the house for easy access once we start using the fireplace, I used the wheelbarrow to move them so that really wasn't all that much work. Once the logs were stacked I decided to do some transplanting of my Iris bulbs to extend the flower bed on the side of my house. I think I hacked a few of the bulbs so hopefully they recover and come up in the Spring. A new, thin layer of top soil and compost was laid over all the Irises and they are now set for the winter. The next and last project of the day was to take some lawn edging that has been sitting in my garage for about two months and dig a little trench and put that around the shrubs and flowers surround my garage. An hour later I was all done with that and called it a day as it was time for some dinner. I had thought about riding the trainer but I was too sore for that so decided to do some yearly maintenance on the Cannondale. I replaced the brake and shifter cables, took off the bottle cages and cleaned up the 4 or 5 layers of Accelerade that had built up over the year, gave the bike a good washing and put on some new bar tape. I still need to replace the chain and clean the cassettes but I'll do that more towards the beginning of the new year as this chain still has a little bit of life yet, very little, but enough to get me to January. I will be doing maintenance on the Pinarello (my road bike with cross tires) this week as well as that will be my winter bike. I didn't use that much last year so that will just get some cable cleaning and lubing, a chain cleaning and a good washing. The Specialized will get worked on next week and that needs quite a few things done to get it back to riding shape, basically it was used this year as a parts bike for my Cannondale, so a few things need to be replaced with other spare parts that I have laying around. I'll also get the SS all lubed up next week and ready to ride as well as it will be taken out in the rain and snow and I'm sure that crap is coming soon. That's about it for now, the plan is to start weight work tonight and do that Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until about the end of March. I'll also be hitting the trainer on a regular basis now, basically I'll try to stick to a more concrete plan instead of just riding when I feel like it. It's time to get off my fat butt and get going again, I'm not looking to lose a ton of weight this off-season, but 198 lbs. won't cut it either. Well, that's it for now, until next time.........

Friday, October 24, 2008

Too Much Beer....

.....and not enough biking. That was the theme last night as we had a celebration at Chammps for work and pretty much my whole evening was spent consuming Guinness and pulled pork sandwiches, oh yeah, chicken wings too. It was a good evening spent with co-workers in a nice relaxed atmosphere, of course everyone is relaxed because they are consuming lots of booze right? Definitely. It was all free, all night, which a lot of people took advantage of to the fullest. Loaded up food plates and bottomless glasses were the norm as I looked around the restaurant. I enjoy people watching at these events because when you get co-workers out of their comfort zone in the cubicles or get to see what they actually wear when they don't have to wear the business outfit, it's pretty amusing. I was drinking soda the second half of the evening so when others were starting to slur their words I was getting sobered up, that was the best part of the evening. "I shink I'd haf tooooo mush to drink, but dish ish reallllly a goot time" yeah, that line made me laugh when it came out of the mouth of an inebriated co-worker. Anyways, good times all around. So having done that I obviously didn't bike last night which is fine as I'll make it up tonight and this weekend although not sure how much I'll ride outside as the forecast is not looking all that great. It might be time to get out the SS and the rain gear for some long rides this weekend. Let's just hope it doesn't snow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Leinie's Fireside Nut Brown..... a really good beer, although a bit tame it really does the trick as a seasonal beer. I picked up a 6 pack the other day and it was money well spent. I was looking for something a little different as I normally get a brand of Oktoberfest beer this time of year, normally Sprecher, and when I saw this I knew I had to give it a try. Here is the link to check out the description yourself but I'll pretty much post all the info from their site below. The beer, a Lager, is a version of an English-style nut brown with English two-row malts. Alcohol content is pretty low at 4.9% but that just means you get to drink a lot more of them before you have to cut yourself off. The color is amber (no, not brown) although it is on the darker side of Amber, and as soon as you start pouring the smells just start opening up from the beer and then as you reach the top you get a nice head that lasts just long enough to get in a good sip or two. The smell is overwhelmingly roasted malt and caramel/chocolate, and a bit of hazelnut. The taste, don't be surprised, hits with a nutty flavor first and then the caramel and chocolate come right behind, a very smooth and satisfying combination. This is an easy drinking beer, meaning for me it's easy to drink one right after another, it goes down sooooo smooth and the tastes linger in your mouth calling for more within minutes, make that seconds, of finishing the first glass. It's a beer that Leinies recommends serving chilled at 45 degrees but as a comfort beer that's too cold for me, especially if you do as intended and sit by a fire, you want to be warm right? I poured my first at 55 degrees in to a room temp glass and it was more satisfying than the second one that I poured at the cooler recommended temperature. The colder temperature takes something away from the beer in my opinion, I didn't get the robust flavor that I had in the first pour, it was too crisp for me to really take in the flavors. Go ahead and try out different temperatures for yourself, I'm going to go higher than what they recommend to satisfy my own tastes, see what works for yourself, it never hurts to experiment. All in all, this is a solid 3 mug beer that you will not be disappointed with, another score for Leinies.

Oh yeah, I rode on the trainer tonight as well, but that's boring stuff, nothing special, just 75 minutes to keep the legs moving.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Re-cap

My weekend was pretty uneventful, I guess now that it's turning colder and October is nearing it's end, it's time to finish up all that last minute yardwork before we start getting frost on a nightly basis and then of course that first snow shows up at some point in November. Basically all I did this weekend was yard work and got in a couple of rides, of which one was quite enjoyable and the other was a little bit of a bother. Saturday I started by doing some driveway work, basically patching, leveling, and sealing. Once it warmed up I headed out for a 3 hour ride by way of Waukesha to Big Bend and then back home. I felt great and could have done a lot more but really had to get my leaves picked up and the lawn mowed. So after riding for 3 hours I ate a little bit and went right to working on the lawn for 2 hours, I had a ton of leaves to pick up and underneath all those leaves my lawn needed mowing. I only got the front done in those two hours, normally that's all it takes me to do the whole lawn. After the lawn work was done in front I moved in to the house, ate some dinner and settled down on the couch for a movie. Basically an uneventful day as I mentioned; eat, work on driveway, bike, eat, work on lawn, eat, watch TV. Sunday I was woken up early in the morning by the howling winds and realized that the 3.5 to 4 hour ride I had planned was just not going to happen for me. I just didn't feel like fighting sustained 25mph winds for that long, especially since they were gusting up to 35mph. I got up, realized we had no food in the house since Sunday is grocery shopping day and asked my wife to go get me the Deluxe breakfast at McDonalds which she happily obliged. Yeah, it wasn't the healthiest breakfast but I had a long day of yard work and a ride in front of me so I needed something with substance that would sit in my gut for a while. After eating I headed out and worked on picking up the leaves in my backyard which wasn't quite as bad as the front because the trees in back hadn't shed much of their leaves yet. I picked up as much as I could and then mowed that with the push mower for another 2 hours worth of yard work just like Saturday. After I finished that I ate some lunch, only a can of soup, and then headed out for a shortened 2 hour ride, not what I had planned but at this point of the year what's another hour or two of endurance pace riding? It's not going to hurt to cut it short right now. Basically the ride was a nice quick jaunt of 25-27mph with the tailwind and then a leg busting 15mph heading back home against the headwind. I was glad to be done and was cursing the winds for ruining what could have otherwise been a really nice October day. I did see a lot of rec cyclists and joggers on my route, I think everyone sensed that the nice days are starting to wind down so they were getting out in spite of the wind. After my ride I did some grocery shopping with my wife, ate some dinner and then hit the couch again for some relaxation. All in all it was a decent weekend, no frills, but sometimes that's a good thing, I like keeping things even keel.
Well, my work schedule is calling for a 4:50a.m. wakeup so it's time to go to bed, my beer review will come tomorrow, and after what will be a long day of work I may have to refresh my memory with another bottle before I start typing. Until next time.........

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just a Precursor

Well, I had a lot going on this weekend and am finally sitting down at the computer but unfortunately it's to do some work I forgot to do today while I was so busy. So I have to get that done now before tomorrow morning. I'll do a weekend re-cap tomorrow sometime, but for now here is a picture from my ride today, lots of leaves in Whitnall Park, I had to ride down the middle of the road to stay out of the leaf piles. Also, I'll do a review tomorrow of Leinie's Winter Seasonal beer, the "Fireside Nut Brown" English style Lager.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's That Time

Fall colors are in full bloom or close to it, the air is getting crisp and for some of you the weekend bike rides are getting shorter. So once it's time to cut back on the cycling or move the training indoors when the snow starts flying, what are you going to do? I'll tell should go on a brew tour and spend some time sampling some fine beers right here in the area, and I'm talking good beer, not a Miller tour. I shouldn't be so down on Miller, I started my beer drinking lifestyle sucking the top of an MGD bottle until I discovered the wealth of microbrews and wonderful imports that were out there. I was young and naive, I thought MGD was the best there was, and I'm not going to knock it now because I'll still take an MGD if it's offered, but the occasion is rare. Anyways, here are two in the Milwaukee area that I highly recommend, Lakefront Brewery offers a great tour, and the tour is actually a learning experience for those wanting to know the process in detail. Along with the tour you get a glass and of course you get to sample their selection of beer. There is some humor in the tour as well and for those that have been on it, you'll know what I mean. If you want to know what I'm talking about, then go on the tour!

Sprecher Brewery is also a good tour, but the tour itself is very basic and offers more information on the history of Sprecher than it does the detailed process of making the beer. The best part of the Sprecher tour is sitting in the indoor beer garden afterwards to sample the beers and then you get to move on to the gift shop. The gift shop has all of their normal beer selection along with most of their seasonal beers. The best part of the gift shop and something that I recommend you do, is to purchase a bottle or six of their Premium Reserve beers. It's about $20 a bottle but well worth the price, especially for the Russian Imperial Stout and the Bourbon barrel aged Pipers Scotch Ale. One bottle of the Russian Imperial and you are set for the night, it's an amazing beer and one that I need to stock up on again sometime fairly soon.

If you are looking to take a drive out of the city, then there are plenty of other brewerys around the state, too many to list here but a couple are Tyranena, New Glarus, Great Dane, Leinenkugels, Angelic Brewing, and Capital. If you are looking to get some food and sit down to eat and enjoy a few beers, then I'd recommend Delafield Brewhaus, Water Street Brewery, Rock Bottom, and Milwaukee Ale House. Delafield Brewhaus has a great sausage platter that you could pair with at least 2 of their 4 standard beers on tap, either the Pewaukee Porter or the Delafield Amber. Normally they have 3 to 5 more beers on tap in addition to the standards but those change often and are not listed on their web site.

Today is my birthday and I'm hoping to make it down to Sprecher maybe this weekend to get a couple of bottles at least, I think it would be a good idea for you all to get down there as well, or any of the other brewerys. Support your local brewery, even if it's Miller.

These girls love their beer, so should you....(sorry Lis)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

All-Rounder??? Uh, No.....

If you haven’t read my previous post then go ahead and read that first and come back to this post….go ahead, I’ll give you time……ready then? Well now you know what this post will be about then. Basically I’m trying to figure out how I want to approach racing next year, although my racing will be minimal I’m obviously not just going to train haphazardly and not prepare as I should. I look at the calendar of races for the WCA and I wonder to myself, is it really worth trying to become as lean as I can be for racing a calendar of events in Wisconsin? We have 2 road races of note with any climbing in them, Baraboo and Denzer, and Baraboo to me is really a power climbing race, Denzer is a little bit more than that. The Baraboo RR hills are steep, but c’mon they aren’t all that long, Denzer is really the only race where a “climber” would have an advantage in any race in Wisconsin. Holy Hill in Superweek, I don’t think so. A power rider and good sprinter can handle Baraboo and Holy Hill, soooo, I can’t really see where being 6’1” and 160-some pounds would help me in any Wisco races, I think it’s better to play to the strengths of racing here. In my opinion, that strength would be sprinting as we have so many criteriums, and looking back at the results from this past season it was a lot of the same people winning the races over and over. I checked back to 2007, then 2006, and yes, it was the same guys winning. Guys that were power riders and really good sprinters because those are the abilities that are needed to win races here where almost all of our races are flat. There are races with opportunities, Evergreen maybe, only because that course is kind of messed up in that it goes through a winding section that’s about as wide as a foot path, then down a curving hill, then up a hill, and repeat. The skinny section and the subsequent downhill create some places to get away and then maintain the gap on the hill. GDVC has some opportunities as well because of the crosswinds usually, Elm Grove because of it’s dangerous turn before the finish, but a lot of the other races I can think of usually come down to a sprint. The State RR is tough but usually it’s a decent size group going up that hill to the finish, the long hill is a tough one but it’s maybe a third of a mile if you count the part that levels off at the top before it starts to go downhill again. Don’t get me wrong, there are some tough races in Wisconsin, but they are usually won by the strong men and the sprinters. So, how does that affect me? Well, the last two years I was really striving to get down to 170 to 171, but was accepting a racing weight of about 174 because I just couldn’t get much lower. I really had to starve myself to get down to 174 and it was especially hard this year. I think I’ve decided this year to just shoot for what I need to do in different terms, and that is to lower my body fat % to as low as I can go while building muscle and power to enable me to be a better sprinter. I’ve done some calculations and my guess-timate is that I can be about 180lbs and my body fat will be low but I won’t be starving myself to get lean and I also won’t have to stop doing yard work because I’m afraid my arms will get too big. I have a big upper frame, my shoulders are pretty wide and it doesn’t take much for me to build up some good size lats, shoulders and biceps. I’m not going to worry about that this year, I’ll do what I can to lower my body fat as low as I can go without sacrificing power and then I’ll be happy with that even if I can’t go up the hill at Denzer. I’ve been a better sprinter than climber the last two years so it makes no sense to kill myself to be 170 when I should just play to my strengths, although my strengths right now aren’t all that strong so to speak. Either way, I’ll do a lot more sprint specific stuff this year, work a lot in the weight room and then hope that whatever hill work I do will keep me with the group over the little bumps that I do have to go up. Denzer is probably off my calendar but Baraboo is still a possibility. The State RR is up in the air right now, but I’m not counting that off my list yet either because of my lack of climbing ability, maybe just pure strength will keep me with the group there. Right now it’s all a little premature to say because who knows what will come up. Last year I had a big work project come up that completely derailed my training, the same thing could happen in 2009 and I could end up getting fat on the couch again. Right now though, I have a plan, we’ll just have to see how that works out. Until next time…..

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thank Goodness That's Over

I'm glad to be home, I was getting too fat out in Florida eating all that delicious food that my company so graciously paid for, although they don't know the tally yet for my over-the-top consumption of said food. A little bit of Bahama Breeze, Tilted Kilt, Moxies, Smokey Bones, and Green Iguana all contributed to a weight gain of about 3.5 to 4lbs., yeah, I ate THAT much. Soooo, it's back to the "good" nutritional program now that I'm home and I'll be sure to watch my calorie consumption until the next holiday where I'm sure I'll eat a little too much again, but nothing like the 5 day bender I go on when I'm in Florida. I'm feeling a little under the weather today from being in the germ capsule that some people call an "airplane" and also from going in and out of air conditioning for 5 days, one minute it was 70 degrees then it was 90 degrees. A few days of that and my throat was hurting and headaches were pretty constant. As I mentioned in my previous post, no biking was possible but I did get in two walks and did a little jogging during the walks as well. Those two walks probably prevented me from hitting 5+ lbs of weight gain, at least I kept it below that. Basically that was my trip to Florida in a nutshell; hot temps, lots of air conditioning, lots of food, and a little exercise. Now that I'm home it's back to biking and taste testing a few more beers. Sunset is making cycling difficult as it will be tough to get out when the sun is already gone by 6:15 now-a-days, but I will make the attempt to ride for an hour after work with the light system and then maybe 30-60 minutes inside after that. I'll be doing that for the next few weeks in addition to longer rides on the weekends as the weather permits, basically if it's not raining then I'm riding outside. I'll also start weight training in a couple of weeks after work and then head home for the trainer rides. I'll do all that fun stuff through the beginning of December and then I'll start to ramp up my program. What is my program this year? Well, I'm just going with how I feel at the time, it's going to be an ebb and flow kind of thing.....something difficult to maintain as the weather gets colder and my motivation wains during the dark, winter months and then an unfolding and fervent desire to get out and ride as the white shit starts to dissipate in the early months of '09. I always have a basic plan, which then becomes a detailed plan as I start to get a feel for my fitness, and then it becomes meticulous preparation on an OCD level as the races near. Right now I'm in the embryonic stage, a beginning if you will, just riding, getting that bottom layer of the pyramid built and that will entail some weight work as well, building up the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Riding and lifting, basic but key to my offseason workouts and I'll be doing that for a while until I feel I'm ready for the next stage. I'll tell you about the next stage some other time.

As I think about what my offseason workouts will entail I'm stuck in a bit of a quandary as to which direction I want to go, sort of like those old Dungeons & Dragons books where you could pick your next move and then turn to page 47 and find out that you just locked yourself in a room with death wraiths. Um, yeah, I was one of them, a RPG geek, but that's where I'm at right now with how I want to approach my season. What page do I pick? Go left down the wooded path, or take a right onto the old stone bridge, either way the hero usually ended up fighting something. Maybe it was only 5 goblins with great success, or it was an untimely death with 100 ogres. The best part of those books was being able to go back, turn the page to the other choice, re-live the adventure. In cycling, depending upon the path I take, it will be harder to turn the page once I get going down my path. What is this big conundrum you ask, nothing so big really, but both paths require a lot of work and going back after picking a path will be difficult. So, the choice is, do I put my eggs in the sprinting basket or the climbing basket (you thought I was choosing between mountain biking and road biking didn't you, maybe not)? It might not seem like a big choice but one of those choices will take a lot of work on my part and the other not so much, but both will be quite detailed in their preparations once I do decide. How do I decide, what difference will it make to my training, why bother making a choice? Well, this post is long enough, check back tomorrow to find out the answers to those questions and I'll have some good explanations. A quick teaser is that we all aren't Lance or Alberto, we all aren't great at both and we all aren't going to be riding the TDF any time soon, so in the races that we do around here (WCA), it's important to make a choice. That's it for now, until next time.........

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


A trip to Florida means business and no pleasure, although I do get pleasure in eating lots of wonderful seafood. Being in Florida through Sunday also means no biking, but I will be doing some pushups and situps in the room and also doing some daily jogging as long as it's not raining. Temps in the upper 80s and 50-60% chance of rain most days, typical Florida weather. More info on the training program to come next week and I'm thinking I'll sample some local brews and post a review or two next week, maybe even while I'm still in Florida.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

For Your Pleasure....

....a couple of links to peruse while you have some downtime. My friend (and co-worker) Dave belongs to the Washington County Bicycle Club, you can visit their sites below and on my sidebar, some pretty good forums, pics, and if you live in the area there is some ride information as well.

Also, here is a site for race pictures for the Wisconsin and Illinois races, enjoy, you may see yourself -

No outside riding today because of the rain, and no inside riding on the trainer because of boredom, I'm not ready to ride inside yet. I did do some yard work before the rain and then watched the Brewers and Packers lose, bummer of a weekend for Wisconsin sports as the Badgers lost yesterday as well.
Let's see, what else, I'm making progress but unfortunately not a lot of progress on losing weight after my summer of shame (no riding, lots of eating). Today's weekly measurements didn't do a lot to make me feel better about the riding I did this week, but I guess progress will be slow. It took me 3 months to get this fat and out of shape, I've only been back to riding for about 4 weeks or so. The weight is down to 194.5 from a high of about 210 at the end of August. Trust me, it was all fat, so now it's going to take a while to get rid of it. My weight last Sunday was 195.5 so it's disappointing that I only lost a pound this week, and I didn't lose anything off my waist measurements. The worst part is that I'm heading to Florida and will be there most of this week and all weekend so it will be hard not to eat all that great seafood, I will do my best though and will try to walk or jog when I get the chance. I was going to post a beer review tonight but felt so bad about my non-existent weight loss that I decided not to drink beer. Well, that's it for now, time to get some sleep.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sunny Days

....well, until tomorrow anyways when it's supposed to rain. Today was sunny though, and I got to enjoy it with a lot of yard work and a 3 and a half hour ride. I am really sore now though and ready for bed, my legs hurt, my back hurts, and my arms...well, they don't hurt I guess. My legs got a good work out today as I did some driveway sealing and then used the push mower for my 1/2 acre lawn, that's a lot of walking for me. After mowing the lawn I went out and did my bike ride, so basically my legs got about 5 hours of continuous exercise, not too shabby. The rest of the evening was spent laying on the couch watching some TV and keeping the legs up, they really needed some rest and now hopefully the weather will hold out tomorrow morning so I can get in another ride before the rain comes. There is a 60% chance of rain and it's supposed to start about 9:00ish, and before that the temps will only be about 41-43 degrees so it will be tough to get in a morning ride. If the forecast calls for rain all day then I may go in to work to use the workout facilities, but we'll see, I dislike being there on a work day, I certainly don't want to have to go there on a day off. I don't want to ride the trainer already this Fall but I may have to just to get the blood flowing through the legs after today's ride to help in recovery. It's all up in the air right now and I'll just decide in the morning I guess.

Other than that, I just saw on Velonews that Vinokourov wants to come back again and ride for Astana next year, I think that's would be complete bullshit if they let him ride again. I hope the UCI goes to the CAS and appeals his one year suspension and pushes for the longer term, I really don't want to see him come back next year, he deserves to sit out at least a couple of years and really serve his punishment. I'd have a hard time believing that the ASO would allow Astana to ride the Tour next year if Vino is riding for them, having said that, I can't imagine that Contador would stick around on that team, he'd be smart to leave. Levi should leave as well and get on a team that's guaranteed a spot, a safe team if you will, just so we can see if he can really beat Alberto, only because I think Alberto's comments about Levi at the Vuelta were a crock of crap.
Well, that's my rant for now, more to come tomorrow, including a couple links that you all need to check out every once in a while. PLUS, another beer review!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Night Rider

No, it's not KITT from the old David Hasslehoff days, it's just me out riding way past sunset. I was doing some night riding tonight, an hour and a half after work and I have to say that once I did my main hour loop out in the country and got back in the safety of my neighborhood I was enjoying the ride in the dark. I did the last 30 minutes in the subdivisions all around my house and it's quite fun actually to be out there with no traffic in the neighborhoods tooling around like I used to when I was a kid, except this time I actually had a headlight. When I was a kid we used to take our bikes out on the country roads (I lived in the middle of nowhere) and we only had the moonlight to see our way around. Of course I wasn't training then, only out causing trouble with my friends. Tonight I wasn't really training either I suppose, I was just enjoying the ride and I was plenty bundled up against the 55 degree temps and 15 to 20mph winds, I wasn't cold at all. These kind of rides are what make me really enjoy riding the bike, it's something out of the norm to say the least to be out riding in the dark, but I took it slow and just looked around and enjoyed it. The only bad part was when I was just getting ready to head down my street a dog started barking right next to me and scared the crap out of me. He must've run across his lawn from the house and I never saw him, he was a black lab, so that's the only bad part about riding at night I guess. Well, here is a picture of me heading home, I took it my with camera phone so it's not the best quality but it's pretty representative of what I was seeing, you can see the faint glow of my light at the bottom of the picture. I have a good headlight though and it's quite a bit brighter than the picture shows but it was pitch black otherwise.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yeah, yeah.... I didn't do exactly what I wanted to do this weekend....and I feel bad about it but I can't change it now. I'm really motivated to ride right now considering I haven't ridden most of the year but sometimes other things get in the way. Today that something was the most meaningful game for the Milwaukee Brewers since 1982, I was only 9 then but I clearly remember the '82 team and how much I loved them. I'm 34 now (35 in 3 weeks) but I really like this team as well and I had to watch THE deciding game today to see if they finally got back to the postseason again. They pulled it off and beat the hated Cubs and the Mets choked again this year and lost to the same team as last year on the final day, the Florida Marlins. It was an exciting game and well worth missing a ride, although I did have rider's remorse afterwards (term for when you miss a ride you should have done). I had already decided I'd miss the Packers game and was going to get out early this morning to ride and then be back by the 1:10 Brewers start, but I wasn't feeling all that good this morning, still stuck with this damn cold, and I ended up sleeping in. I got up, did some things around the house and then laid down on the couch to watch the Brewers with the intention of cycling afterwards. Well, after the game I had to watch the celebration, then make calls to a couple people to talk about the game and then I had to eat something. By then it was 5:00ish and too late for a ride and we had no groceries in the house, so I decided to grocery shop instead since my wife was gone for the evening at a family member's b-day dinner. Lot's of excuses but I'm happy for the Brew Crew and wouldn't exchange this afternoon for anything else, it was a very good day for long suffering Brewers' fans.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Gettin' In His Grill.......

So is it just me or was Greg LeMond getting up in Lance's business just a little too much at Interbike? What is his vendetta against Lance, get over it Greg, you aren't the greatest American Cyclist any more, stop being jealous. You can't tell me that Greg's era was all that clean either, I mean come on, Fignon, Delgado, Millar, Theunisse, Roche, Marie, Escartin, yeah, they were all clean. Greg said it's suspicious that Lance was able to beat all these guys that were caught doping or assumed to be doping, he had to be superhuman, well, how about asking Greg that question. If he won two Tours de France, either every one was clean and he was just the best or he beat guys that were doping as well, so why can't Lance's circumstances be the same? Greg declares he beat everyone else fair and square whether they were doping or not, that he was clean, well maybe Lance did as well. Until someone says that Lance tests positive without any doubt at all, then I'll believe that Lance is clean. I think Greg is just trying to find some way to knock Lance down so that he can be considered the greatest American cyclist, Greg needs help. He can try this place for starters -

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Little Bit Peculier

This review will be short but sweet, sort of like the beer I drank yesterday, Old Peculier. This beer is made by the Theakston brewery, T&R Theakston Ltd. if you want to be precise, in Masham of North Yorkshire, England. Old Peculier is their best known beer, it's a Classic Ale by their definition, an Old English Ale by mine I guess, but a dark one at that and it's been a favorite of mine for quite a while now. Here is Theakston's description of their beer, and it's pretty spot on, I'll try to add what I can but this says it all -

A dark, strong beer, Old Peculier is justifiably famous for its rich and complete character, its sheer strength – and for being a beer with a long history.

See: Deep dark ruby

Smell: Fruity, mellow, warming

Taste: Rich, full-bodied, malty

When you pop the cap on the bottle you know right away that you are getting a good beer just from the smell, and then the pour justifies your initial reaction. The smell is a bit earthy, with hints of caramel, and a nice aroma of roasted malt. Upon pouring, the dark brown beer, not amber, not a stout - somewhere in between, leaves a nice head, maybe 2 or 3 fingers (horizontal, not vertical) and because of the carbonation it disappears fairly quickly but not before I got in a good sip. As you'd expect upon first tasting the beer, the same smells that I mentioned above are dominant in the taste - roasted malts, caramel and molasses, a bit of hops, and maybe some oak taste as well. I enjoyed the beer for a bit, taking care not to drink it too fast so that I could really take in the taste of the beer, it's not often that I get Old Peculier and I'm not sure why, but it might be a while before I have one again so I took my time. Wait, I know why I don't drink it all the time - because there are soooooo many beers out there to try, I have my favorites, but I have to keep trying new stuff as well. ABV % on this one is 5.7 so it's definitely a beer that could put you to sleep after 3 or 4, or 5 or 6 in my case, but you'd definitely fall asleep happy. If you get the chance, go search out a bottle, or 6 or 12 of Old Peculier, it's a 4.5 mug beer in my ratings and I know you'll like it as well.

Darkness Falls

I think that was the name of a movie a couple of years ago, sounds familiar, but anyways, in my world it means that sunset is coming to darn quick now-a-days. I had to use the full-on light kit last night, the super bright, LED, red blinking light on the back and the battery powered front halogen, at least I think it's halogen, on the front. There was no way anyone could miss me on the side of the road the way I was lit up, but I'm sure someone talking on the phone or putting on makeup, or maybe even eating their McDonald's drive-thru dinner could find a way. I did make it home safely last night though so thanks to all the drivers for avoiding me for one more day at least. I'm glad I rode last night at all because I was feeling quite a bit under the weather for the last few days, and wasn't sure that I'd even get in a ride after not feeling the best throughout the day at work. I toughed it out though and made sure I didn't push myself too hard so that my body wasn't being taxed too much to recover from this cold/flu combo that I have. I felt really good and did 90 minutes, sunset is the only thing that put an end to my ride, I could've gone all night as it was a beautiful 75 degrees when I departed from the driveway. Today is supposed to hit 80 degrees as well and if it's not raining after work then I'm heading out again for another 90 minutes or until I can't see anything, although my light kit is all ready to go again so my own limiter is how safe I feel on the roads after dark I guess. Like I said a couple of posts previous I'm not really pushing these rides at all, just taking it easy, 17 to 17.5 mph averages, and no intervals or sprints. I'm pushing easy gears on the hills and I'll do this for about another 6 weeks or so just to get the legs back and build my aerobic base again. The weather looks good this weekend so hopefully I'll build on that quite a bit with a ride out to Burlington as I didn't get to do that this past Sunday since I wasn't feeling good. I did get in 3 hours on Saturday and that was more than enough when the body is fighting whatever I have going on in there.
I'll also be taking the camera with for the next few weeks as the leaves start to change color and hopefully I'll get some good progressive pictures to show the change. Last night I should have had it with as I could've posted some pics today of about 30 deer that were in Whitnall Park last night, it was just a crazy amount, I can't believe people don't hit them there more often, I guess if you drive through there enough you know to expect them.
Well, that's it for now, I'll be posting another beer review tonight as well, an Old Peculier (no, it's not spelled wrong) was on the menu last night, and I'll tell you all about it tonight. Hint - it was a dang good beer and an old, no pun intended, favorite of mine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Two Beers

So I thought it would be great to start with my favorite beer of all, well, I shouldn't say that because it actually isn't my favorite, but it is my favorite "drink anywhere, go with anything, comfort beer" and that would be Guinness, in the Draught form, although I'm quite fond of the Extra Stout as well. Unfortunately, believe it or not, I didn't have any Guinness on hand this weekend so I made do with the remainder of the Lakefront Brewery Variety Pack that I had left over from last week. I had 3 beers left and I had two of them this weekend, the first was the Cherry Lager and the second was the Klisch Pilsner (also a Lager for those that don't know). The Cherry Lager was from Lakefront's seasonal line of beers and their Klisch Pilsner is from their regular line of Lagers. The 3rd and only remaining beer of the variety pack was the Fuel Cafe Coffee Flavored Stout but given that the weather was fairly warm and humid this weekend, that just didn't seem as appealing as the two Lager beers. Neither bottle had a brewery description so I can't compare my opinion to what they set out upon making, but I'm guessing I'd be close to what they would have described on their bottle.
I started with the Cherry Lager, and upon pouring it was rosy in color and had a pinkish hue to the thin head, a good start to what I was hoping would be a refreshing beer on a fairly warm and humid September day. The smell was reminiscent of a Door Peninsula Winery's Peninsula Red wine, with a slight cherry aroma, but definitely not overpowering. The first sip was definitely refreshing with a hint of cherry and a bit of a malty finish, and unfortunately a little bit of a cherry throat lozenge taste as well but that wore off within a few seconds of each sip. I downed it fairly quickly and that was probably due more to the fact that I had just ridden 3 hours on a warm Saturday afternoon than due to it's irresistible taste, my insatiable thirst was more to blame for that. All in all it was a good beer, more or less a beer for someone who likes wine or fruity drinks than someone who likes a good biting beer with a strong finish and character. It was a 2 mug (out of 5) beer for me and I'm being generous because it's not typical of the beers I like, but would appeal to the general populous I think, so it gets a full 2 mugs.
The second beer I had was the Klisch Pilsner, a very refreshing golden lager that was perfect for quenching my thirst and unlike the Cherry Lager, didn't have me looking for some water after finishing the glass. The Klisch had a good looking hazy, golden color and a nice head upon pouring, getting me excited enough to stop halfway through my pour to take a sip. It was a good decision on my part to be hasty in my pour as it had a very smooth malt finish, as it should, and a slightly hoppy but very pleasant bitterness to it, and there was no doubt that this was the better of the two beers. Some people, especially those used to the typical Budweiser or Miller products would consider this a hoppy beer, but my taste buds tell me that this is a slightly hoppy beer in my book, and my book is full of very bitter beers teaming with hops just the way I like it. So, for the general populous this may be just right of middle in terms of how hoppy they would like a beer, but for me it was just right of the beginning end of the spectrum. A great beer on a warm, humid day, it deserves 3 mugs for it's smooth finish and pleasant hop flavor. As a last bit of advice, serve both of these beers quite cold to enjoy them to their fullest. Check out the Lakefront Brewery line of beers here. Also, thanks to my friend Dave I now have a great variety pack to share with you in the coming weeks as well, a veritable cornucopia of world beers that I'm looking forward to drinking very soon. Thanks Dave!

Reviews are Coming

Tonight I will post a review of two Lakefront Brewery beers, the Cherry Lager and the Kilsch Pilsner, two beers that were perfect for drinking this weekend even though I was a little under the weather. I can't let a little illness get in the way of my beer, I think the alcohol helps kill the germs from the inside. So, check back again tonight for the review, this darn place that actually helps me pay the bills is keeping me busy today, go figure.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just Ridin'

I took a little hiatus, got some things in order, and have been back on the bike for a few weeks now, well, maybe only 3 weeks, but that's a few I guess. I've been doing little rides here and there of about an hour and a half, with my long being about two and a half hours. This weekend I'm going to enjoy the weather and do a ride out to Burlington and back to visit the parents, which will obviously be my longest ride since about the last weekend of April, possibly even before that. Right now I'm just enjoying being on the bike, I'm not doing anything resembling a "training" ride and probably won't anytime soon, at least not until I decide my offseason training begins and then when I can't spend a lot of hours riding outside I'll "train" on the trainer/rollers. It's nice just being able to ride and not worry about average speed, HR, etc., I actually enjoy riding that way for now, eventually I'll want to go fast cause as Ricky Bobby said, "if you ain't first, you're last", so I don't want to be last which means that I need to eventually get the speed back. Yes, that means I'll race again next year, but nothing like I did last year or the year before, it will probably be more like this year except without having to quit because of work and all that shite. I won't be riding for a team next year either, I'll just be chillin' by myself, and doing whatever I can, I guess I didn't want to make any team look bad when I'm off the back again like this year. That's not really the reason but it's a good one for now, so that's what I'm telling whomever asks. It'll be a pretty stress free year of riding and racing in '09, exactly how I need it, just a few races like I said and I'm sure I'll pick one big race to concentrate on, the State RR perhaps? If the venue hasn't been lost for '09 it sure would be nice to win on my home stomping grounds, I used to be able to do 12-15 repeats up the Johnson Rd. climb in my big ring with my eyes closed and no-hands, sure would be nice to get back to that point. Anyways, like I said, who knows if I'll want to ride enough to get back to that point, it's freakin' September of '08 yet....and I'm fat and out of shape compared to what I was earlier this year. Lots of work to do and plenty of riding ahead.
As part of my new blog I'll also be sharing my other big interest with you as well, not every day, but at least once a week, maybe twice a week, heck, maybe even more. I'm a beer snob, a big-time beer snob. For those that don't know me, beer is one of my vices, I love it, a lot! It doesn't help in the training but as my blog title says, it's a reward for a good ride and life is not just about training and racing, it's about enjoying everything else around you, and usually I'm around some good beer. I'll share my thoughts with you on what I'm drinking each week, I'm guessing you'll enjoy that part of my blog more than the stories about riding, but that's fine by me.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Recovery Coming Along Well

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was under the weather late last week and over the weekend but my recovery is coming along nicely and I felt better Monday and felt a lot better last night. I have not done any interval or speed work in a week and only rode shorter recovery rides over the weekend, nothing hard at all, although I did hike Devil's Lake all day Sunday. Last night the weather was great so I figured I'd make the best of it and stay out until sunset and push it a little bit to open up the legs to see how I was feeling after a week off of any hard efforts. I rode out to Muskego and did some sets of hill sprints up the finishing hill of this weekend's race course, only 2 sets of 6 sprints with recovery only being the time that it took me to turn around and start the sprint again. I was dying after about the 3rd sprint of the 2nd set and threw up on the 4th sprint but that was due to the residual mucous that I still have from being sick and I kind of gagged on it when I was trying to breathe, yeah, it's gross, but that's what happened. I finished out the 5th and 6th sprint and headed out of the park towards Big Bend and did a loop out there and then made my way to one of my favorite hills, Tans Dr. and decided to test my fitness there by doing one climb to see where I'm at compared to my PR. I figured that since I haven't done much of anything for a week that I'd be pretty slow and figured on throwing up again but surprisingly I broke my PR by 7 seconds! Now, could I have even gone up the hill a second time, maybe not, I hit HR numbers I haven't hit in a long time, 194 was my max up the hill, my chest physically hurt after that. I think I was just exceeding my limit to prove that I still had some fitness, but I know I couldn't have done 6 repeats up the hill like I did last week. That's the problem with a little layoff, for the most part you can still feel great for one hard day of riding or one really hard effort, but try to ride hard for 3 days in a row or try repeated hard efforts up a hill, that's when you'll realize that you've lost something. So yeah, I was good yesterday, today I'll probably feel it though when I try to ramp it up again, all cylinders might not be firing tonight but I'll try again anyways. It's raining right now but it's supposed to be better later, so no doubt I'll be able to get outside and enjoy the 60 degree temps. Like I said I'm going to try another harder effort tonight but if I notice that I'm not feeling it or my body is not responding then I'll just do an easy ride and do a hard ride tomorrow. Friday will obviously be an easier day ahead of Saturday's races.

On the home front, I'm getting stressed about my freakin' basement wall because it has some nice horizontal cracks and step cracks in it that are ever-expanding and I'm thinking one of these days I'm going to be sitting in my recliner enjoying a Guinness and it's all going to come tumbling down on me. I've been keeping an eye on them the last few weeks and they are getting bigger so I finally made the call today to have someone come take a look, they can't get out until the 21st, I was hoping like tomorrow would be nice! Oh well, I have two weeks now to sit and watch them get bigger, wish me luck. If the bill comes to the 3 or 4 grand that I've heard it will cost to put up the steel beams, then I might be selling my bike to pay for it, anyone want a CAAD8 with all Campy Carbon Record and carbon wheels? Final cost dependent upon my bill from the contractor of course....I'm kidding, I'm not selling my bike, well, maybe..... until next time..........

Monday, May 05, 2008

Family Fun

Yesterday was a great day with the family at Devil's Lake State Park where we hiked around the entire lake, up and down the bluffs on both sides of the lake. We were there for most of the day and the weather was great, mid 60s and sunny, a little windy, but it felt good as it kept me from sweating too much. It was Melissa's b-day so it was nice to have all of us, including the dog, up there and together. I've been under the weather since about Thursday of last week and haven't really felt like doing much of anything but it was nice to get out in the fresh air and today I'm feeling a little better and hopefully will be 100% in the next couple of days. A lot of my co-workers have been sick in the past week and I figured since I am healthier than almost all of them, that I'd be immune to their sickness, turns out I wasn't but I didn't get it nearly as bad as a few of them so I have that going for me. I did ride for a couple of hours over the weekend, basically a couple of recovery rides, nothing too long. Today I'll be getting out after work because it's a beautiful day and I'll do about 35-40 miles at a fairly easy pace just to make sure I don't stress the immune system too much as I recover, and I'll probably do the same tomorrow just to make sure I'm back to normal before I push it too hard. Wednesday and Thursday will be hard days and Friday will be an easy spin ahead of Saturday's races. I plan on doing 2 races Saturday, the Masters 3/4 and the Masters 1/2/3, one is in the morning, the other in the afternoon, so there is plenty of time to recover. I don't care if I get dropped in both of them, I just need to get the race time in so that I can make a decent showing at least in Iowa in a couple of weeks. The Masters 3/4 shouldn't be bad, looks like the same guys I raced last year for the most part. Other than that, the weather looks like it might be improving gradually to the point where we might actually see 60 degrees on a regular basis. Wouldn't that be nice?? Congrats to all my teammates that did the Baraboo RR this weekend as well in nasty conditions, it's a tough race without the cold and rain, so hats off to them for their effort. We had a couple of 2nd place finishes and 5 other top 15 placings as well, great job by all. Until next time.......

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pack Fodder....Or Less

So right now the racing is not going so good, there's no other way to look at it, I'm just not at the level I need to be in order to stay competitive, or even finish the damn races. Saturday was another bad race, stayed in for about 28 minutes and then once we hit the hill I got popped out the back, I did another lap and then quit as I was way off the back, 31 minutes total. I'm not doing anything to help the team so far this year, I don't even feel like I'm part of the race, I'm basically just hanging on for as long as I can and then quitting when I can't hang on anymore, that's make 2 DNFs out of 3 races, not a good record. Sooo, what do I do about that? Well, mentally I'm still trying to stay the course and I keep training every day but eventually this may start to wear on me a bit. I have two options right now, one is to start doing the Master's 3/4 races, which is probably the best choice, or stop racing for a few weeks and just spend the weekends doing some hard training instead of traveling around to race my bike for 30 minutes, which also sounds good to me. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, the Baraboo RR looms on Saturday and that course is not suited for me at all, so that will probably get skipped either way in favor of training. I'm supposed to go camping with the family Friday thru Sunday at Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo, so I'll be up there either way, although the weather doesn't look good right now, so that may get cancelled too if it rains. Basically right now I'm just going to ride my bike and figure it all out as it comes, I have no clue what this weekend will hold much less the rest of the year. My motivation is definitely not as high as last year, so that has something to do with it, I just have too many interests right now with the house stuff and the yard, and that makes it difficult to take all the free time I have after work on the weekdays and spend it all on biking. Well, that's it for now, nothing much else to say.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Suffering Ahead

This past weekend held two disparate races for me, a pretty decent race on Saturday where I didn't feel all that bad and got in a breakaway, and a bad race on Sunday where I got shot out the back after 21 minutes of a 60 minute race. The main difference between the two? A punchy little hill on Sunday that had the HR in the ozone layer, and the lack of any ability to recover after the hill. Admittedly I haven't done much hill training yet this year as I've been a bit miffed at my weight, which is 10lbs heavier than last year, so I've kinda been avoiding hills. I've been doing mainly Steady State intervals, but I think the realization has kind of settled in that I need to get off my ass, drop the weight, and start doing some hill work. I'll get dropped in any race that has even the smallest bumps in it if I don't start doing something to remedy what is now my major weakness. Having said that, I'm pretty worried about Whitnall on Saturday as the course has a nice little double-step hill and a smaller gradual hill that will probably have me in trouble shortly after the start. Sunday's data from my Garmin was all I needed to see to make me realize that I'll probably be in the same situation Saturday as well. Basically I started off o.k. with my HR in the mid to upper 170s, but then up the hill it went to around 186, then as we went around the course it would start to recover and get in the 170s again, but then it was time to hit the hill and it was right back up to 186 again. So I never really recovered enough after the hill because the speed was so fast that every time I hit the hill the batteries were getting drained more and more each time. Finally I went up the hill and had an acid leak that exploded my legs and I was done. I'm hoping that something similar doesn't happen Saturday as I have been practicing a bit on the Whitnall course and in 3 weeks of doing intervals around the course I dropped my lap times 24 seconds per lap from week one to week 3 last week. I was averaging lap times that were equivalent to my M4/5 race last year, and doing it solo for 12 minutes at a time with only a 7 minute rest between each set for a total of 36 minutes of intervals. One day I did a constant 40 minutes to see if I could maintain the speed of the M4/5 race by myself for the entire duration, and it was close but I couldn't quite do it for 40 minutes straight. Maybe mentally I'll feel better on Saturday since I've done the course 7 times in the last 3 weeks and will do it 1 more time this week. Other than that, today I'll be doing the course, tomorrow will be hill repeats (yes, I'm doing them again) and Thursday will be a normal ride. Friday will be an easy ride with some sprints to open up the legs for Saturday.
It's also that time of the year for yard work to get done so I've been doing some work around the yard as well and will have to squeeze that in at some point this week too. Most likely I'll be stuck out in the dark doing some things after my rides or I'll have to do as I did this morning when I got out and fertilized before work. I'm also looking forward to some camping already as we are heading off to Devil's Lake for 2 nights next week on Friday and Saturday, coming home Sunday. I have the Baraboo race Saturday, maybe, as the hills will kill me, so we figured it was a good reason to camp since the campground is just outside of Baraboo. Sunday, May 4th, is also my wife's b-day so it will be nice to celebrate it with a hike around the bluffs at the park. Well, that's it for now, I wanna give a shout out to Jason, let's get together and drink some beers soon, it's been way too long. But not too many beers, I gotta get up those dang hills. Until next time...........