Snowshoes

Standard

I was lucky to receive a pair of snowshoes this year. I went out to the woods and within 15 minutes discovered that it was a great workout and an alternative to “the trainer”. Actually a cup of coffee and a donut is also an alternative to “the trainer”. I really don’t enjoy the trainer.

After my earlier injury it was good to be outdoors and feeling active. I was able to do some riding in November and December and with snowshoeing now in the mix I was feeling  confident that my earlier set back would not get in the way with my goals.

Merino wool long sleeve zipped turtle neck and a light wind vest is all I need. I got s real charge from snowshoeing. I was running up hills and down hills. I went out with a large group of friends and felt such a strong sense of camaraderie.  Life was good.

Well guess what? I fell and whacked my left knee on a boulder as I was running downhill and gracefully jumped over a stream as I was feeling euphoric and full of endorphins. Oh boy! Two weeks off the bike. Set back again.

I spoke with a current NYC racer that gave me great advice. I spoke with a former racer that also gave me great advice. David said, “Get on the trainer.” and Ricky said, “You should get on the trainer bro, that’s how you rehab a knee.” So I got on the trainer.

I hate “the trainer”.

Advertisements

Missing

Standard

IMG_0154-1.JPG
I’ve been missing or perhaps I’ve gone missing is more accurate. I had an injury over Labor Day 2014 and it took me about 9 weeks before I could get back on the bike.

I most enjoy 60 mile days, that seems to be the sweet spot for me. Not too long or too short. And in order to have the fitness level needed on those rides I have to train on a regular basis. I’ve lost a great deal of my conditioning and that was obvious to me over the weekend. I know I’ll get it back though so it’s just a matter of time and effort.

Consistency is something I admire in people, along with discipline and perseverance. In my cycling life I fluctuate between being consistent and inconsistent – disciplined and undisciplined and you can guess the 3rd condition. I’m looking forward to a great winter training season and I hope I’m able to join and complete the Festive 500 again this year and that my schedule and the weather cooperate.

So… I’m back and it’s good to no longer be missing. See you on the road!

Mindset

Standard

w-Giant-Coffee-CupEvery day as I get my first cup of coffee I call in and listen to Dr. Rob Gilbert.   He has a 3-minute recorded message that I’ve been listening to since message 300 and he is now in the 8,000s.  I’m grateful that he’s on my team and helping me improve my cycling with each passing day.  He’s really helped with my mindset and helped me to view things in a positive way.  I have learned how to be more disciplined with my training.  What I mean is that I am much better now at doing a workout on those days that my motivation is lacking and I directly attribute this to the cumulative effect of the messages I have been listening to and the ideas he presents that I am putting into action.  Thanks Rob… I mean it!

I won’t make it easy for you.  If you’re interested you’ll Google him and find him yourself. It’s all about desire…

If you do – just leave him a message and say Angelo sent you.

The Torture Chamber

Standard

kurt-kinetic-road-machine-trainer-1Tucked away in a remote area of my home (cue the  horror movie sound track) is a place known as the ‘Torture Chamber’, I am referring to the tiny square footage where I keep my indoor trainer.  Begin flashback sequence… within two months of buying my bike it was the dead of winter and I was eager to ride and so the natural thing for me was to buy a trainer.  As a new rider I had a voracious appetite for all things road cycling.  I wanted to transform and become a roadie.  The gang i was riding with in the 2 months before were what I aspired to be and since I found that my LBS actually had a great community I too would drop into the shop just to say hi and hang out.  I heard the conversations about winter training and the weekend and evening sessions.  Then I was invited to join them.  So, over the Winter of 2010, I would  wake up on Saturday mornings at 5:20 am and drive to the shop for a 6am trainer session. It built fitness, camaraderie and aided my immersion into cycling and my goal to become a roadie.

My work schedule never permitted me to join the evening sessions so I was relegated to do those at home alone. At first I placed my trainer in front of the TV.  This required moving furniture and the TV had to be really loud.  The combination of the loud TV along with the hum of the trainer at 9pm really didn’t work well for me.  Next I tried headphones and the trainer in a hallway and that led to boredom.  Phase 3 was the iPad and videos tucked into a corner and that setup worked pretty well for me.  As soon as the weather improved the trainer got packed up and put away.  I learned that I ‘hate’ the trainer.

During the winter of 2011, I avoided the trainer at all costs.  It was like living with a nightmare roommate.  We were not on speaking terms and I  avoided making eye contact.  Did I mention that I ‘hate’ the trainer?  The winter of 2012 was the same, no trainer for me.  I thought of putting it on eBay.  It was just collecting dust and I lost my commitment to join the 6am bike shop sessions.  Fast forward to present day and I can say that I still ‘hate’ the ‘trainer’ but at least we are on speaking terms.

I have my bike set up on the trainer in an out of the way place, computer speakers connected to an Airport Express and I can report that I am indeed using the trainer because I know it is the right thing to do.  I don’t over think it, I just do it.  Last week I did isolated leg training (Jason Mraz), Sunday was spent in zone 2 (HBO Go), while Monday I focused on speed drills (The Cure).

Here are a few reasons that are motivating me to visit the torture chamber often:

  1. I want to be ready for the 2014 GFNY.
  2. I see Omar and Hayden (GS-GFNY) investing time on the trainer.
  3. I want to be the strongest Element 5 rider at the GFNY on 05-18-14
  4. Time on the trainer and the data file upload to Strava help me stay accountable.
  5. Just because I ‘hate’ the trainer doesn’t mean I can’t be civil.

Follow my progress on Strava.  How are you training this winter, I’d like to know?

The Early Days

Standard

ACVeloI found myself watching the TdF in 2009 and rewinding the footage on my DVR. I asked myself why I was mesmerized watching some guys pedaling for hours and hours. I couldn’t shake the thought of me getting on a road bike. Memories of being in high school riding my Kia Sport all over town just invaded my thoughts. So I began my research, I visited NYC Velo, Sids Bikes, Strictly Bicycles, Park Ridge Cyclesport, Ridgewood Cycle, Westwood Cycle, Piermont Bicycle Conncetion, and Toga Bike Shop.  I borrowed down my choices to Trek, Orbea and Giant.  I saved money for over a year and in late October of 2010 I purchased my current road bike. I purchased a Giant TCR Advanced II at Westwood Cycles in NJ.  I had a lot of fun just doing the research.

I took pedals off my KHS mountain bike, put them on the TCR and I went for my first ride, about 6 miles, only to have some kids, in a white beat-up Toyota Corolla, throw a milkshake at me while I was climbing a hill.  It is a day that I will never forget.  I didn’t get off the bike, I maintained my composure and I finished my slow climb up the hill.  Since those early days I have had “milkshakes” thrown at me in the form of torrential rain, impossible wind, blistering heat, endless hills, and numbing cold.  My first ride was very telling of all the rides that would follow; I am not that fast, I never give up, and I always keep turning the pedals.  I am always seeking better and trying to improve.  It’s a challenge for sure but that’s the fun part, discovering what’s possible.  Getting back into cycling has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Thank you cycling for keeping me young, energized, fit and helping me expand my limits.

And So It Begins

Standard

TCRI was on FB and I saw that GFNY posted a contest.  They asked for tips on riding in the rain.  I had ridden a Century in the rain and boy did I learn some lessons.  So I organized my thoughts and even included a link to a video.  The winner would be selected by the greatest number of likes.  Then I went to my cycling club FB Group (BTCNJ) and asked them to go to the GFNY post and to look for my comment and click “like”.  My fellow members were clicking “like” on the post I had just written on our group page, others members “liked” the GFNY contest post and just a handful actually made it all the way to my comment the GFNY contest post and clicked “like”.  So I decided that a tutorial video was in order to clear up any confusion.  I posted that video on the BTCNJ group page and the GFNY organizers saw that video and a few days later they approached me and asked if I would be interested in video blogging my preparation.  I thought about it for two days and then I said yes.  Having the opportunity to share my experience and journey as I get ready for the GFNY was something I couldn’t pass up. Plus I figured that it would force me to stay on track with my training.  Since I was putting it out there.

The GFNY folks offered to pay for my GFNY event registration (super cool of them BTW) but I turned that down.  I wanted to be objective and I didn’t feel right about it. I did however say that I wouldn’t mind getting GFNY kit and I received the winter jacket this last weekend.  I’ll do a product review on the jacket soon, it snowed this past weekend so I couldn’t head out to ride.

I’ve submitted 6 episodes to date and have 2 published.  I’ll use this blog to share all my content and a few extra things.  So that is how my video blogging for GFNY began.

GRAN FONDO NEW YORK – “I will be ready…”