U.P. North

We took a fantastic trip to the U.P. over the 4th that included Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Point, Mackinac Island, and the Soo Locks. We had absolutely perfect weather, and plenty of time over 4 days and 3 nights. It was our first foray into ‘camping’, which ended up being perfect for us. I decided to capture the trip through multiple camera and video devices including my iPhone 4s, Kodak Zi8, and GoPro Hero2. Here’s how it ended up:

Olive Shores County Park

I’ve also been meaning to post something about a family hike we took a while back just north of Holland. The Lake Michigan shoreline is packed with great little day parks where you can park, hike a little, and hang out at the beach for the day and Olive Shores County Park is no exception.

The day we went wasn’t exactly what you’d consider a sunbathing day, so we decided to just hike the stairs and walk the beach. The park recently went through an overhaul that included a new parking lot, visitor’s center, and stairs down to the beach complete with several scenic look-out areas. The parking lot is actually lower than the peak of the dune, so you climb stairs before descending to the beach. So in other words, you walk up hill both ways…kinda like your grandparents did going to school when they were kids. There’s also modern restrooms here, so it is definitely kid friendly during the summer. Expect to see people making the rounds on the stairs as its also a great place to get your sweat on.

At the bottom of the stairs on the beach, you’re greeted by a large sitting deck with a placard describing how the park came to be, and the really unique story about how the cottage that sat on the deck’s foundation was used in Tom Hanks’ movie “Road to Perdition”. The cottage was used near the end of the film when Tom’s character took his son to Michigan while he returned to ‘take care of some business’. The beach itself is very spacious because the water levels of Lake Michigan have been so low for the past few years. If walking the beach is your thing, you have both North and South options with a southern walk bringing you by the Consumer’s Power coal powered electric plant and to the mouth of the Pigeon Lake channel just a few steps further.

If you make it over to my neck of the woods to hit the beach, just be mindful that this park is a county park not covered by the State of Michigan passport sticker so you’ll have to pay a nominal day fee to check this park out. Outside of that, it’s one of the jewels of Lake Michigan and worth checking out.

 

A Return to the Wild

 

My post-race "I can't believe how hard that was" look.

Boyne Mountain Challenge 2012

 

Generally speaking, cyclists enjoy being outside. That’s probably what drew them to riding in the first place (outside of possibly a necessity for transportation). But riding in the basement all winter on a trainer can make me forget the joy of riding. And then, all it takes is a bright sunny weekend to rejuvenate my enthusiasm and determination. It probably doesn’t hurt that my first race of the season, The Barry-Roubaix, is now less than a month away.

With temperatures hovering right around freezing during mid-day both Saturday and Sunday, I took advantage of the re-appearing bike paths and my wife’s generous suggestion that I go for a ride. Between Saturday’s and Sunday’s rides, I put in 4 ½ hours (about an hour of that was on the trainer last night making sure I got a good jump on the week). You couldn’t wipe the grin off my face during either ride (even when I stuck my foot in my wheel and ended up on the bike path head first…I literally laughed), and you couldn’t dampen my mood all day today.

I was particularly lost in the day while riding through a section of the bike path that meanders through the pines. It’s a feeling like no other, to me. It’s a feeling I believe humans are meant to feel. Retreating from the concrete jungle’s we’ve created for ourselves to ‘live’ in is very rejuvenating to me. No….I didn’t hug any trees while I was out riding or happen across some ‘funny stuff’. I mean it, though, interacting with nature is therapeutic.

Anyway, I’m ramping up my training this week. We have some snow in the forecast (the system has not been given a name, yet, which is a major annoyance I’ll reserve for some other time). If it’s on the lower end of th

e forecasted range of accumulation, I’m planning on getting outside Wednesday night for a while again. Saturday I’m riding in a Livestrong Foundation fundraiser for a couple of hours, so at the end of it, I’ll have around 9 hours in this week. I’m not sure I’ve ever ridden 9 hours in one week, so this will be a good test of my current state of endurance. I hope your week is well and we’ll catch you soon.

 

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF FEBRUARY 24, 2013
Total Completed ?
Strength Program:
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
12 2 minutes highest gear – sitting
14 2 minutes down a gear
16 2 minutes down a gear
18 2 minutes down a gear
22 4 minutes down a gear
24 2 minutes up a gear
26 2 minutes up a gear
28 2 minutes up a gear
30 2 minutes highest gear – sitting
40 10 minute rest
42 2 minutes highest gear – sitting
44 2 minutes down a gear
46 2 minutes down a gear
48 2 minutes down a gear
52 4 minutes down a gear
54 2 minutes up a gear
56 2 minutes up a gear
58 2 minutes up a gear
60 2 minutes highest gear – sitting
70 10 minute cool down – 30% 70 Sunday
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Lakeshore Loop in the snow 110 Sunday
Recovery Ride:
Easy spin 60 Monday
Sprint Intervals:
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
15 second on – 100%
20 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
25 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
35 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
40 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
50 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
55 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
65 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
70 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
80 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
85 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
95 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
105 10 minute cool down – 40% 105 Tuesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 90 minutes 90 Wednesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Ultimate Cycling Challenge:
Ridgepoint – Pick a Strategy 120 Saturday
TOTAL 9.3

 

Michigan Mountain Biking: The Training Chronicles

I’ve been busy. Lake Tahoe was fun. This past week was a terrible week for and of training. I don’t have a ton of time to update my blog right now, so I was forced to be efficient doing two things at once: ride my bike AND create a blog post at the same time. Here’s the result:

 

And here’s the kids sledding down the hill:

 

Talk to you soon….

A Good Rest

After posting that I wasn’t feeling quite right, yet, on Sunday I took the night off from riding. It ended up feeling so good that I took Monday off, too. 🙂 However, now I am paying for that a bit in order to get in my scheduled regimen and will end up riding at least 6 days straight (Tuesday to Saturday this week and then my usual Sunday ride). I’m simply going to have to turn one of my scheduled rides into a recovery pace ride, but I think in the end it will have been the right thing to do taking Monday off.

I’m going into this training year with a plan; the most well developed plan I’ve ever had. But, I’ve also decided to subscribe to the idea that I need to listen to my body (as described by several former pro riders) and remember that it’s a long season with risk of burning out mentally before it’s really going to matter to me in November at Iceman.

Last night I left the house thinking “why in the world do I like riding in the cold?” only to realize about 45 minutes into the ride that I simply LOVE being outside, no matter what the temperature is. I felt rejuvenated as I rode up the lakeshore, in to the wind, but warmed by my effort. The only thing I would have added to improve the ride was snow. Without it I bounce around too much on my Single Speed as it’s not geared right for lower resistance riding.

Tonight I have my brother-in-law coming over to sit in the basement with me on our trainers for some sprint intervals. That will be about as much fun as you can have riding on a trainer. Then I’ll just have a shorter recovery ride tomorrow night and hopefully a trail ride on Saturday to complete the week. It WILL be a great week of winter riding.

On the Bike

“Don’t forget your bike shoes.” It’s a familiar statement that I repeat while I’m going through my mental checklist before every ride. Unfortunately, not everything that makes the list, makes the car. So, today I rode Bass River in my hiking shoes. There’s two challenges with this, really. The first being the obvious that you’re not connected to your bike the way you’re used to which affects your climbing technique as well as your navigation over obstacles. The second is that my insulated booties don’t fit over those bulky shoes. Still, I was 30 minutes from home and had a lot to accomplish out on the trail so I made the best of it. The video is below.

Bass River is a 4 mile mountain bike trail that makes up for its lack of elevation change with it’s technical challenges requiring strong handling abilities. There are two loops, though the first loop crosses the main entrance to the trail head about 3/4 of a mile into the trail. This makes for an ideal situation for someone who doesn’t have all of their equipment because you’re never that far away from the car in case you get cold or its not working.

I was out to accomplish three tasks today: get a video of one full loop; get 90 minutes of trail riding in; and figure out what Strava segments exist for a small event I’m planning in May. I’m happy I was able to accomplish all three (though I could have ridden a bit harder with my bike shoes) and enjoy a fantastic winter day out in the woods.

As a quick video note: you may hear me chatting if you turn the video up real loud. I had downloaded an app on my iPhone to record a voice-over for the video, but once I got home I was unable to find the file on my phone to merge it with the video. I’ll be exploring this a bit more.

 

 

Off the Bike

Despite my seemingly one track mind on biking, I do enjoy getting outside for any reason. I took a walk with my 4 year old the other day to check out Lake Macatawa.

Lake Macatawa Angel

Lake Macatawa Angel

If it stays cold enough, we’ll be able to walk all the way accross the lake on the ice. Where Avery is laying has historically been under water, but over the past couple of years lake levels have been dropping, so a lot more shore area is exposed. This particular spot is just around the corner from our house and is a great spot for launching kayak’s. There are several streets in Holland that just dead end right into the lake creating these undeveloped public access points. This is one of those spots. I’m looking forward to launching my kayak from here next summer.