Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Difference Between Road Riding and Mountain Biking

Up until a couple months ago my only real cycling experience was what I would consider "mountain biking". As I was growing up, biking shifted from the ultra-cool-in-the-early-80's-ten speed road bike, to the take-on-any-trail-fat-tire-mountain bike of the 90's, so I grew up riding mostly on dirt, not the road. This was so pronounced that I thought it blog worthy some twenty years later when I finally got my first road bike.

Saturday, Todd suggested that we get in a mountain bike ride, and I thought that was a great idea. I've been riding a good amount on the road so I figured my legs would be good, my lungs would be in fair shape and we'd have a great time. I dusted off the old GT mountain bike that I got for a high school graduation present, put some air in the tires, cleaned and lubed the chain, and we were ready to go. Todd was driving a sweet full suspension Kona bike that made my GT look like a child's plaything. I did at least have front suspension even though it was probably only like 2 inches o travel. Anyway, it's not about the bike right?

So Todd takes us to this place only ten minutes from my house that I never even knew existed. It was great. We headed out and things were going well, although I was quickly realizing how different riding dirt was versus pavement. I didn't know how used to skinny tires I was until I was riding dirt and fearing that every little thing I ran over would blow a tire or send me flying. Also, I was a little disappointed in how my road cycling legs and lungs were not in as good of shape when it came to riding the dirt. I was winded and panting, and my legs were burning from standing up so much. That said, I was having a blast. Poor Todd, who has done more mountain riding than me for sure and was tearing up the trails on his killer bike, was having to wait for me to catch up every few minutes or so. I'd catch up, make one comment about how great mountain biking was, one comment about how being in shape for road biking doesn't translate to mountain biking, attempt to quickly catch my breath, and then we'd be off again. Life was good.

Up to this point, my only real problem was that I wore sunglasses that weren't meant for that type of abuse. They were constantly sliding down my nose and taking a hand off the wheel to push my shades back on was a dangerous maneuver. Todd and I regrouped again, and he asked if I wanted to take the lead. Naturally, this is an offer that cannot be refused. I did however, have to throw in the obligatory, I'll happily take the lead but you'll be suffering slowly behind me. Fair enough, he was up for a different view and would try not to run me over.

My lead lasted about 500 yards. At that point we came to the first fairly technical, for me anyway, maneuver of the day. We were riding along the top of a ravine, but the the trail took an abrupt 90 degree left turn and headed strait down the ravine, and then strait back up the other side. I saw this coming and stopped short, allowing Todd to pull up next to me. Putting my pride way to the side, I said "You can go". With a knowing smile he agreed, gave me some advice like just ride down it, and then he was off. He was down, hit the stream, and was back up on the other side in an instant. Looked easy enough. I wasn't going to sit there and stare at this thing all day, so without thinking too much, I took off on a similar line that Todd took down the ravine expecting to hit the stream and pop back up the other side. Well, I went down the ravine, I hit the stream, and then I hit the ground. Hard. Yup, strait over the handlebars.

I haven't taking a fall like that in I don't know how long. It was literally over before it began, I was just on the ground, assessing the damage. Right forearm: not good; legs: OK; right hip: so-so; head: OK. I was managing to laugh it off at this point, and pretty sure I even got out a "Man down" distress call out to Todd, who was now stopped a hundred or so yards up the trail and enjoyed a great view of the whole thing. I got up, and started walking up the trail. I was holding my bike with my right arm to test it. I could hold my bike with it, which in my professional medical opinion meant that it wasn't broken, so that's good. I made it up to Todd, when the real fun began. I got woozy, and when I say woozy, I mean about to pass out woozy. Ridiculous. Like I said I haven't taken a fall or injury like this in some time, but passing out, come on Clay. Well, I didn't pass out, but I definitely had to sit on a log for a bit. I had my head in between my knees and everything was fine. I'd sit strait up and like a light switch it was back to woozy. After a couple minutes of this, and a drink of some carbo rocket, I was feeling better, but still bleeding like a sieve. It wasn't like a scrap or anything, it was a deep puncture wound, the kind that just keeps on bleeding. Todd dumped some water on it, so soon we were ready to go. I got back on the horse and we continued to have an awesome ride. The second half of our ride was actually more fun than the first. We got into some fun singletrack stuff that was really narrow, some fast downhill stuff, and a couple fun, tricky climbs. Luckily for me there were no more ravines. We made it back to the truck, where Todd took some pictures with his iPhone. The diference between road biking and mountain biking...blood.We drove home, me in the passenger seat, arm out the window, proud of my fresh battle wound. The real pain had yet to sit in. I got home, impressed (read disgusted) the wife with my tale and the wound, and finally went about cleaning it out. Any glory in a gash like this is lost went you start cleaning it out with hydrogen peroxide. Not fun at all. Plus after it was bandaged up, that's when the throbbing and deep pain started. Becky was trying to convince me to go get stitches but I didn't think it warranted it. Later that night when the bleeding still wouldn't stop, I put on a butterfly stitch and that helped out a bit. It finally stopped bleeding about 3 or 4 o'clock the next day. And today, the throbbing has stopped although for some reason it is hot to the touch which I'm sure means something that I'm not going to be excited about.

All in all, it was a great ride. I think it's good to really fall hard every once in a while, at least that's what I'm telling myself. More mountain bike rides to come, hopefully sans injury.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mileage Monday, errr Mileage Tue, ummm Mileage We, oh wait, Mileage Thursday

OK, my bad... busy week and here we are Mileage Monday has been bumped back to Thursday. And this is the last week of the month no less. For the sake of brevity, here's the numbers and the quick story. The story actually stays the same, Chad is a beast this month. He's still in the lead and has been adding miles like it's going out of style. Clint continues to be consistent and holds onto a secure second place. And I, despite already logging more miles than last month in which I won the challenge, rest squarely on the bottom of the heap. With only four days to go for May, I'd like to say it's still anyone's game, but Chad is making that seem pretty impossible. Nothing motivates like a loss, and I guess last month lit the fire under his saddle. Drumroll please...the numbers and pictures.
Another thumbs up from Chad, 'cause yes, he's dominating.
Clint continues to stay in the hunt and is sure to pull off some last week magic.

Not much to say about me in last place. The 100 Miles of Nowhere didn't even help me catch these guys.

May Mileage Challenge Totals Thus Far

1st Place - Chad: 387.0 Miles

2nd Place - Clint: 291.8 Miles

3rd Place - Clay: 236.43 Miles

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clay Frost - Winner of 100 Miles of Nowhere: Idiot who ran a road race the day before and had never been on a trainer before Division

How I managed to pull off the win in such a tough division I don't know. I just have to give thanks to Jesus, Clay Frost is only one man, there's no "I" in team, I had to bring my "A" game to try and bring home the "W" so I just went out there and gave it 110%.

Alright, alright, before I do the post race interview, I guess I should give you the full report.

This Memorial Day weekend lived up to it's billing. Not only was it party weekend 2009 with great friends at a beach house on the Cape, but it was the 100 Miles of Nowhere weekend. Unlike many of my "competitors" in this "race", I had no solid plans on how I was going to ride my race. My first thought was on the trainer, just as Fatty intended although, to be perfectly clear, the one rule to this race was that there are no rules. When I realized that we would be on the Cape the weekend of the race, I thought maybe I would take advantage of the plenty of stupidly small neighborhood loops that are flat and that I don't live in, so I brought the bike along. Like I said, I was playing it by ear. We got to the Cape Friday night and the partying commenced. Got to bed around 2 am and woke up around 9 am the next day to crazy wind and chilly temps. No 100 Miles this day.

So Saturday consisted mostly of overeating on cheesedogs, hamburgers, salt and vinegar chips, and brownies. You could say I was carbo loading but really I was just eating way too much. Gotta love holiday weekends. Oh, and there were some adult beverages of the keg variety involved which lead nicely to some hotly contested rounds of a game that's new to me, cornhole. It's a fun game and the fodder for cornhole jokes is endless...literally. Saturday night got to bed around 3:30 am and was then rudely awakened by a cell phone alarm at 7 am Sunday morning. Oh ya, Becky had signed us up for The Great Hyannis Road Race. Awesome, so we head to the race, and actually proceed to have an amazing time. It was a flat 7.2 mile course and it was nice and cool that morning. I hadn't been running at all this year since I've been spending most of my aerobic time on the bike, but it actually felt good to be running again. Thank goodness I didn't do the half marathon, I don't think I would have had as much fun.

Sunday afternoon, I contemplated getting the bike out of the car to knock out the 100 miles, but a relaxing seaside lunch with Clint, more cornhole and more beer got the best of me, and before I knew it, it was Sunday night, and the good times were continuing. Sunday I went to bed early, around 1:45 am. We woke up the next morning around 8:30 am and started packing up to head home. No 100 Miles of Nowhere on the Cape. Back to the original plan, hit the trainer when I get home.

We actually had an easy drive, and were back home by noon. Time to devise a plan, the weekend was slipping away from me. I had to plant my veggies, (yes, I'm a bit of a gardener) so I planned on getting my yard work done, then clean up, set up the bike in the movie room, pick out some long movies and start turning the cranks around 6:00 pm and hope to be done by a little after midnight. OK, go.

By the time I got the corn, carrots, green beans, yellow and green squash, arugula, lettuce, tomatoes, and basil in the ground, and the strawberry patch weeded and blackberry bush tamed, it was almost 7 o'clock...whoops. Chad called me right as I was finishing up to see what was up. Had I done it, was I doing it, what was the story. He brought to my attention that time was not on my side and made a gentle suggestion that I get off my butt ASAP and start riding.

He was right, I got everything set up, got my biking gear on, and headed upstairs. Yes, it was a bit awkward. I've never ridden on a trainer before and I felt a little silly getting all geared up just to walk down the hall, oh well. I picked out some long movies. Step into Liquid, one of the best surfing doc's ever made, The Last Samurai, a movie of epic length that I haven't been able to stay away for in my two previous attempts, and The Way of the Gun, a movie that's been sitting not yet watched in my DVD stack forever.

Finally, onto the ride. Lucky for you, it was boring as all get out which means that there isn't a whole lot to talk about otherwise this post would be a mile long. Here's my starting mileage and my setup in the movie room.

Starting mileage.

Getting ready for the big show.

Pretty pleased with the set up, thanks to Chad for letting me borrow his trainer.My view for the next5 or so hours.Still smiling after mile one.

I started with Step into Liquid and things went pretty well. Riding a trainer isn't too bad, but I'm not eager to get back on one anytime soon. About 30 miles in, I had a weird noise coming from my bike, but after some unsuccessful listening for the problem, I decided to keep going. Had to just get this over with. Onto The Last Samurai. I took in some Carbo Rocket, and some Famous Amos cookies and kept going. One thing was for sure, I wasn't going to fall asleep watching it this time around. I totally underestimated the length of this movie, no wonder I fell asleep trying to watch this thing. Energizer bunny style, it keeps going and going. Good for a long ride on the trainer.

100 Miles of Nowhere Challenges

  • Sheer boredom. Literally, watching movies was a mediocre distraction, but wow, really, really boring.
  • Sore butt. Ouch, why they don't make more comfortable bike saddles I don't know. Seriously, whats the logic behind seats with no padding, but then wearing special shorts with padding. Why don't we just pad the seat and wear normal shorts? Chew on that one for a bit.
  • No downhills or coasting. A good way to make cycling suck, is to strip all the fun parts away. About 40 miles in I was wondering how I could have been so excited for a ride that doesn't include any of the things I've come to love about cycling.
  • No momentum. The trainer is like a treadmill that's OFF. As soon as you stop pedaling or even if you mis-pedal for a half a second, it's like the brakes come on and your being pulled to stop. Not cool.
  • Mystery noise. I'm not bike mechanic and I couldn't figure out what was making this noise for the life of me. It can't be good, and the bike needs a new bike tune up anyway, so I'll be making friends with my local bike shop this week.
  • The Last Samurai. I don't want to start a riot, and I can see how people loved the movie, but it wasn't my favorite. It seemed like a ton of overacting, in a easy to figure out plot. On any other night, the unbelievable length of this movie would have been unacceptable. Luckily, loud and epic fight/war scenes save it from being terrible. Plus, it made a good push for the finish. When I had less than 20 miles to go they were just about to go into battle and I guessed that I could probably get this thing done before they did. I was wrong but not by much. As the movie ended I had about 4 miles to go, but with a long movie comes long credits and I sprinted to the end and was finished before the last credit rolled.

100 Miles of Nowhere Highlights

  • Famous Amos cookies.
Exactly... so it's done. I finished up right around midnight. Actually a bit faster than I had planned. I averaged around 23 miles an hour and it took me about 4 and a half hours in the saddle. I tried to keep my cadence in the upper 90's, low 100's.

Literally ended my ride just as the credits rolled...couldn't have done it better if I tried.

Ending mileage. 100.13 miles on a stationary trainer. Yup, it pretty much sucked.

It was an experience and thankfully it was for a good cause which kept me going after I crossed the 50 mile mark. All in all, 100 Miles of Nowhere riders raised over $20,000 to fight cancer, and for me personally, this event helped me raise over $700 for my real century ride coming up in August. Not bad for a ride that was going nowhere fast. Kudos to Fatty and all the other 100 Milers out there, keep up the good work.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Crazy Memorial Day Weekend Planned

I'm headed to Cape Cod this weekend with Becky to hang out with friends and enjoy the long weekend. It's always a blast and I'm looking forward to hanging out with friends that I don't get to see as much as I'd like. The weather is supposed to cooperate and being right on the water is always sweet. So what could I possibly be nervous about this weekend?

Well... Becky has been running a ton this year, while I on the other hand have been focusing on my version of cycling this spring. I think I've jogged about 3 miles since last October. I've been loving it, but I'm am not even remotely in shape when it comes to running. This is a problem since we tend to do multiple 5K's throughout the year and they're always a good time. Who doesn't love a "free for the price of registration" t-shirt. Now, I can muster through a bunch of 5k's even if I'm out of shape, but now that Becky's been running like a mad woman, our 5k's have turned into 7 milers or half marathons. Which brings me to this weekend. Becky found a road race for us to do on the Cape...awesome. Love to do it, but it just so happens that this is also the 100 Miles of Nowhere weekend. This means that somehow, in between partying 24/7 with friends, serious rounds of horseshoes, grilling and eating way too much, and not getting to bed until God knows when, I've got to manage a half marathon (although I may very well wuss out and do the 7 miler...sorry Jamie) and a 100 mile bike ride. I'll let you know how it goes. Lots of pictures and stories to post come Monday, uhhhh I mean Tuesday. Till then, have a great holiday weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ride

Ughhhhhh... My first really crappy ride.

I got home from work yesterday and even though it was a Monday, I had a pretty good day at work. Becky was home when I got home, it was pretty sunny out, and I got home early, so it had the making for a nice evening. Despite the good mojo working, it didn't really turn out that great.

For some reason, I wasn't feeling the bike last night. I knew I needed to get some miles in, and I hadn't ridden the day before, so begrudgingly I went up to change and headed to the garage to take the bike out. When I opened the garage it was about 15 degrees cooler than it looked like it should be so I headed back inside and put on another layer. Back in the garage, I gave the bike the once over. It was still dirty as all get out from the soggy ride last week, but other than that, I couldn't find anything crazy wrong with it that would be a good excuse for not riding.

I rolled out of the driveway, not super happy to be out, but I couldn't really put my finger on why. It was nice out, I was feeling OK, nothing bad had yet happened, I just wasn't feeling it. Looking back it seems a little petty, and immature but I guess we all have our moments. As I tried to pull out of my neighborhood, I was held up by the UPS man, it shouldn't have gotten to me, but for some reason this seemed to irritate the heck out of me. Finally out on the road, remember that awesome ride I had a couple weeks ago when my legs seemed indestructible, ya...last night was nothing like that. Apparently, sometime between the drive home from work, and heading out for a ride, my legs were mysteriously replaced with lead weights. Even in the easiest gear, it seemed impossibly hard to turn the cranks over. What was going on?

As I set out, I planned to do my 16 mile loop plus a couple side streets to get it up to 20 miles. About 1 mile from my house, my brain and body had different ideas. I was struggling. I wasn't winded, I didn't even have the chance to get winded, it was like I couldn't even get started. Like I said...ughhhhhh, I was starting to worry that this would be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ride.

Original plan aborted, I decided that I would just do a few laps around a five or so mile mini-loop that I've really taken a liking to. Part of this mini-loop is long and flat, and the past 5 or 6 times, that I've ridden it, I've really been able to get a good head of steam going and had a lot of fun doing it. I thought if there was anything that could break me out of this funk it would be some easy speed.

Well, I've been wrong before, and I was wrong last night. Easy speed may have cured my poor attitude towards this ride, but easy speed was not in the cards for me. The strip of road that I've fallen in love with and have routinely screamed down doing 28-30 mph easy, now was like tar paper, barely letting me squeak over 20 mph. Instead of helping this was now adding fuel to the pity party fire. Why couldn't I get up to speed? It was turning out to be a terrible, horrible no good, very bad ride.

Back up plan aborted. I just didn't have it in me to do more laps at this embarrassingly slow, super un-fun pace. I decided to head home. Needless to say, my tail was between my legs. Sometimes a strong mind can help lift up a beat up body, sometimes a strong body can inspire a doubtful mind, but man, when a weak mind and weak body get together, they can sure conspire against good things. This night, I was physically struggling and my mind wasn't helping out at all. To "punish" myself for my poor attitude and weak body, I made myself take a little detour, and hit Schwink's Hill before I called it quits. My hill riding capabilities are lackluster and I thought it fitting for some reason. It's called Schwink's Hill for a reason, it's only about a quarter mile long, but it is the steepest hill around. Something about hills and the whole, reaching the top thing are often fulfilling so this was my last resort.

I did hit the hill, and hit it hard. I tried to keep my speed above 12 mph and cadence over 100. My legs were spinning and burning like crazy. It wasn't pretty, but I made it to the top, satisfied enough to head home yet not triumphant in any way. It was a mediocre climax to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ride.

Less than half a flat mile from home, this ride was already over in my mind, and I was eager to never think about it ever again. (Except to completely rehash it for the sake of an Internet blog of course) However, this wouldn't be a truly ill fated ride if it wasn't topped with a bit of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad icing. I got it in the form of a couple of young, drive-by, d-bag punks. You guessed it. My first run in with an idiot that thinks it's hysterically funny to yell the loudest noise possible out the car window when driving by a cyclist (or in this case a noncyclist) at ludicrous speed. Yes, it scared the poop out of me. If you somehow read this young deviant and future drain on society; you win, you startled me. Good for you, mission accomplished. I can only assume that you don't yet and probably never will have the mental capacity to understand the potential negative results from such a stupid stunt. I unfortunately forgot my six shooter this particular ride, but at least had the presence of mind to communicate via sign language before they got too far down the road. @$$holes.

Worst ride yet... maybe I'll move to Australia.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mileage Monday Update

Chad's Pulling Ahead.
So May is turning out to be quite a bit different than April. I'm at about the same, if not a little ahead of the mileage mark that I set this time last month, yet instead of being in the lead, I'm wallowing in last place. So that can only mean one thing; while I've stayed about the same, Chad and Clint have come out, guns blazing in May. As a result, they are whopping my butt this month. Chad is continuing the avenging of his last place finish last month by pounding out 138 miles last week; biggest week ever in this contest I'm pretty sure. Clint continues to kill it as well, finishing last week close on Chad's heels, or wheels I guess, logging in 126 miles last week. Little old NonCyclist brings up the rear with a measly 68 miles. Ouch. Props to my brothers, but I have to kick it into high gear if I'm even going to fight for second place this month. The only positive thing I have up my sleeve is the 100 Miles of Nowhere, so at least I can plan on 100 miles to add to my total soon, although my brothers are fully aware of that, and are planning accordingly I'm sure. Here are the pictures from first to worst, wish me luck in closing the gap this week.
Chad's picture. No gestures, no magazine background, just miles and miles...
Clint's odometer showing off his hard work this week.
Me... keeping last place company.

Frost May Mileage Challenge

1st Place - Chad: 244 miles
2nd Place - Clint: 191.3 miles
3rd Place - Clay: 129 miles

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finding the Sweet Spot

Learning to Draft

So you know I'm new to this whole cycling thing, and during most of my training up to this point, I've been flying solo. I've had a few rides with Chad, a couple with Todd, and who could forget the accidental group ride. I'm finding that riding with others is a lot more fun than riding alone. Certainly to get in enough mileage and training, I'm going to have to ride alone once in awhile, but from now on, I'll be trying to find a partner or partners for my long rides. Not only does it go by a bit faster with a little conversation, and human interaction, but I've found the sweet spot as far as drafting goes a couple times and man is that fun.

Todd and I got in a ride on Wednesday after work. He had come to ride at my house once already so we decided to meet at his place and take a ride down Route 10. As it may sound, Route 10 is not a very picturesque ride, and has some traffic, especially the time of day that we were riding, but it has it's positives too. First of all, it's strait out and back. If you want to get in 20 miles, just ride ten out and turn around, longer or shorter doesn't matter, just turn around when you want to be half done... nice and easy. Also, it's fairly flat, and the "hills" it does have are long and gradual, making the climb up not too grueling, and the ride down long and fast. On this particular day, the wind was howling and believe it or not, I had my first experience "drafting" going uphill. Todd had taken the lead and we we're churning up one of those long slopes and the wind was really making it harder than it needed to be. I decided to get right on Todd's wheel, and all of the sudden it was like someone flipped a light switch on the wind. I thought maybe it had just died down, but sure enough, as I pulled out to the left, I was slapped in the face with that stiff breeze again. Like a kid who just touched the stove for the first time, I quickly reacted and slipped right back in behind Todd. Wow. It actually makes a difference. I'm sure you can picture me riding along for the next half mile or so, weaving in and out of the sweet spot, smile on my face, making sure it was a real phenomenon. Like for once I was conquering the wind that has tormented me for the past couple months riding alone. Now I had the power to stick my face in the wind, stick my tongue out, and before the wind could get back at me, I could sneak back in behind Todd and keep rolling along. Like I said... sweet.

The only downside here, as I'm sure all of you real cyclists out there already realized, it's not really fair to your riding buddy, to sit behind him in the sweet spot all ride. Suddenly, it was my turn to ride in front, Todd coasted to the back and I took up the lead position. I was like that guy in a fight that had been held back by his buddies, but was suddenly not being held back anymore. Not so tough now, am I? It was like the wind knew it. It was waiting patiently while I was in the draft grinning ear to ear like an idiot, waiting for me to be back in front, at it's mercy so it could really blow. And blow it was it windy that day, at least on the way out. Luckily we were able to take turns in front, and when we turned around at the halfway point, the wind was finally at our backs, as if to say it's nothing personal.

Even with the wind at our backs, the draft was still very real on the downhills. It was amazing to me, to be behind Todd while he's pedaling his guts out and all I had to do to keep up was to stay close to his rear tire and coast along. I think I've mentioned before than I'm quickly becoming addicted to the speed that cycling offers and this draft thing is a whole new dimension in speed. Awesome, I can't wait to explore it more. Any tips would be much appreciated. As much fun as it is, I can see how riding that close together provides ample opportunity for catastrophe. Just always be alert I guess. Group ride planned again for Saturday morning so we'll see how it goes. Can't wait.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bibs be flyin' off the shelves

WOW...huge response for 100 Miles of Nowhere bibs.

I gotta be honest, when I first floated the idea for race bibs for this event, I wasn't even sure if I'd hear back from Fatty in time, and even if I did, I wasn't sure anyone would actually want one. The last 24 hours has been a pleasant surprise. I've received tons of donations from people wanting bibs, many donating over and above the $5.00 asking donation. I am continually impressed with the cycling community and I'm psyched to be getting more involved with it. What a great sport.

Thanks again for everyone's support. If you have already ordered a bib, I will be putting the first round of bibs in the mail tomorrow so you should have it in plenty of time. Can't wait to see all the "race day" photos. If you still need to get your official 100 Miles of Nowhere event bib, CLICK HERE to make your $5.00 donation and I'll mail you a bib ASAP.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mileage Monday and more...

Lot's of News on the NonCyclist Front

First things first, I've been tight lipped about a new fundraising idea that's been in the works and I'm happy to report that it's launching today. As all of you know, I got into cycling this year in order to raise money in the fight against cancer and participate in the 100 Mile LIVESTRONG Challenge in Philly. This all came about because my brother Chad is a avid cyclist, and also an avid reader of Elden "Fatty" Nelson is the blogger on that site and has parlayed his site's popularity and influence to help fight cancer. To fight cancer, he has come up with many creative ideas, raffles, and events, most recently his 100 miles of Nowhere event. It's a hilarious idea, but a seriously great way to raise some money. Over 400 people signed up, including myself, and with this event alone we have raised over $20,000 for the LAF!

Now, here I am, racking my brain to get more creative about my own fundraising, when my mind wandered back to a comment that had struck me when reading Fatty's blog. KitC made a comment about how she was going to print up her own bib for this most ridiculous "race" and I thought that was hysterical. But then I got to thinking; what if we had bibs made up, and for an little extra donation you would receive a professionally printed race bib, complete with logos and color numbers. Well, I floated this idea by Elden via email, and instantly he was on board. It took some doing, and some cash, but here we are, bibs printed and ready to be shipped. Fatty blogged about it today, and already, within minutes, 6 people have donated for their "Official 100 Miles of Nowhere Race Bib", brought to you by Sweet.

To order your official bib, CLICK HERE, and make a secure online donation of $5.00.

Once you make the donation, I'll have you're address from the donation page and your bib will be put in the mail, with plenty of time to arrive on "race day", May 23rd. Thanks Elden, and all his followers for your support! Win!

P.S. KitC, email me so I can get you your bib on the house. Thanks for the inspiration!

Onto Mileage Monday...

Chad's been busting my stones to get this post up, and rightfully so. With the fundraising thing coming together and my Father-In-Law Larry in town last night for a surprise, quick dinner visit, I didn't get to make the time to post Mileage Monday. Now, for all you intuitive readers out there, you may have already guessed that Chad pulled into the lead this week, for the May Mileage Challenge, 'cause he sure wasn't bothering me to post the mileage updates last month...zing. Anyway, it's true, Chad, determined not to wait to the last minute this month, has charged ahead and Clint and I are in his rear view mirror. Well, figuratively speaking anyway, don't worry, he doesn't have on of those Velcro-to-the-handlebars-rear-view mirrors... not that there's anything wrong with 'em.

Here's the proof and the numbers.

Chad started at 1,962 miles this month, so this shows he road 106 miles so far in May, nice.

Clint's off to a better start than me as well, he got in 65.3 miles so far.

And I will update when I have my photo, but I got in a measly 61 miles so far this month. You got it, having won the whole thing last month, now I've quickly fallen to the rear this month. Don't you worry thought, a little motivation, and a week that doesn't rain everyday but one is all I need to jump back in this thing. If you're new to the blog check this post out to be brought up to speed on what we're talking about with this whole Mileage Challenge thing.

Frost May Mileage Challenge

1st Place - Chad: 106 miles

2nd Place - Clint: 65.3 miles

3rd (a.k.a last) Place - Clay:61 miles

Well, I guess I need to get out for a ride today. Oh but wait, I have a softball game today, which not only means time will be tight, but you guessed it, our softball schedule remains perfect in predicting rain. Tonight's forecast, sunny and mid 60s until about 5 o'clock when the thunderstorms with a chance of hail roll through. Great, maybe I'll get that ride in tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Soggiest Ride Yet

And no, "soggiest" is not some new slang that means awesome.

I had set up with my brother Chad that we would meet Saturday morning and get in a nice 40 mile ride. The plan was to meet at his office in Mystic at 8 am and roll over to a spot downtown that riders meet up on Saturdays, hook up with a few of his rider friends from the area, and take off for my most epic ride yet.

Well, we met at 8 am, but from there the plan started to shift a bit. First of all, it was raining, like it had been all week, and subsequently there wasn't any other willing participants waiting to ride at the local meeting spot. OK, so we ride by ourselves, no big deal. I was excited to ride with a big group, but I was a little nervous too, so I wasn't devastated or anything that it would just be the two of us.

You hopefully get the sense, having read all my lovely posts, that I tend to be on the optimistic side. Normally a trait that serves me well, and something that I can count on. However, this morning, my optimism was not helping me in the slightest. It was drizzling when I left my house, but my sunshiny brain said not to worry, I'm sure it'll clear up by the time I arrive in Mystic an hour away. This cheerful thought process made me somehow think that just bringing a t-shirt and cycling shorts would be enough to ride in. Now that I was standing outside in the rain that clearly had not stopped, I was starting to regret my choice of cycling wear. I also forgot to take into account that where I live, an hour inland, is always about 5-10 degrees warmer during the cooler months than the shore. Now that I was right beside the coast and the Mystic river, I was wondering how I could forget such a thing. Chad to the rescue. He let me use a pair of arm warmers, a totally new concept to me, and agreed to ride past his house so that we could pick up some UnderArmour for me. It would keep me warmer but it would also mean that the beginning of our ride would have to involve a few decent climbs to get up to his house. Well, we did, and here is a picture of what a noncyclist looks like when he shows up for a wet ride under dressed. Yup, that's a t-shirt, add arm warmers, top with an UnderArmour sleeveless top, and let soak for 3 hours.
At least we're on the road now. Besides being cold and soaked, the ride is actually going pretty well. Even though we weren't with a big group, I'm finding out how much nicer it is to ride even with one other person. It makes the whole thing a lot more fun. Not to mention how much nicer it is to ride on these lightly trafficed roads of the southeastern corner of CT. I like living in central CT but it seems that no matter where you ride, traffic is sure to follow. Here, it's the exception, not the rule that a car is coming up to pass. Besides being my first ride in the rain, I also set another max speed. I would have probably liked to have done it on dry roads, but after one particularly hard climb we were rewarded with a long downhill, in which I was able to put the pedal to the medal and get my steed over 43 miles an hour. Lots of fun, I'm quickly getting addicted to the speed that cycling offers compared to say running. Running has it's place, it can get you in shape, it's a cheap hobby, it's safe but I can't say I've ever had a thrilling jog. This was a thrilling downhill, and I liked it.

By this point, a couple hours into it, the rain had pretty much stopped and we were plugging away. Besides being the longest ride I've done, this also was the most challenging in terms of climbing. We got to do a bunch of fun downhills, but we earned them for sure. It seemed that around ever corner was a new hill. We did over 1500 feet of vertical climbing this ride. Maybe not impressive for a cyclist, but for me, that was more uphill time spent in the lowest gear I could find, than ever before. Good for training I guess, but tough on tired legs for sure. It was around this time I was glad we weren't with a big group. While Chad never got too far ahead of me on these climbs, I'm sure he wasn't pushing it like he would have surrounded by his cycling peers. We finished strong, rolling through downtown Mystic and back to his shop. I was a little stunned when we pulled up to our final destination and Chad kept riding and waved to me to do the same. A bit loopy/hypothermic by this time, I followed and as I pulled up next to him to ask what the heck was going on, he explained that we were at 44.7 miles and that it would just be wrong to not make it a 45 mile ride. So we rode down the street and back and thus concluded our 45 mile ride. Five full miles longer and and much wetter than planned. Can you believe it? 45 miles and I could still stand up and everything. Pretty awesome.

What I lacked in planning for cycling wear, I made up for in post ride preparation. I had brought a towel and a change of clothes including dry socks and underpants which was like Christmas in May. Dry and smiling, we headed back to his house for some pizza and relaxation. All in all, a good training ride and a good Saturday morning.

Stay tuned for a Mileage Monday update later, and I'll be able to spill the beans about the fundraiser soon too. Till then, thanks for reading.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Very Exciting Stuff Coming Up

Couple of things.

Number one, fun group 40 mile ride planned for tomorrow. It'll be the longest ride to date, with the most people to date. Should be a great new experience and I can't wait to tell you all about it. It's like Christmas for you I know.

Number two, can't spill the whole can of beans quite yet, but a very exciting fundraising partnership is in the works. Sorry...that's all I can say for now. Maybe this is mean and I shouldn't have said anything at all, but I'm pretty excited and keeping that in isn't healthy.

Besides that, not too much new over here, hence the radio silence this week. The weather has literally been horrible all week. We had just enough of a break in the rain Wednesday for me to get in the 16 mile loop after work. But other than that, I'm coming up empty this week. Chad is going on the ride with me tomorrow, so we should both get in a little mileage before mileage Monday, but not an impressive training week, that's for sure. On top of that, on Tuesday I agreed to run a half marathon on Memorial Day, which I have not been training for. Becky thought it would be fun to do a race on the Cape that weekend as we'll be hanging out with friends there. She found an event that has a 5K, a 7 miler, and the John Kelley Half Marathon. She's been running a lot this spring and thought that we could do the 7 miler together, ya know, nice little jog, post run food, love it. Then my buddy Jamie caught wind of this and thought he would join the fun. However, as you may have already read, if you read the comments on this blog, that he then proceeded to call me out for doing the wussy 7 miler. Well after some not so careful consideration, I decided I could probably man up and go the 13.1 miles even though I have yet to go for a jog yet this year, so there we are. Oh, and Becky is now going to do the half as well, and will probably run laps around me, should be a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Life's Not Fair

Preemptive Note - This might not be the most comedy filled or uplifting post so if your already having a bad day, you might not want to digest this one right now.

You know how when you buy a car, all of the sudden you see that type of car on the road everywhere. I have recently been struck with that same phenomenon after signing up for this race. Suddenly and seemingly out of no where, I am surrounded by tons of stories of cancer and it's kinda terrifying. It's easy to forget cancer when it's not directly affecting you or your immidiate love ones, but after starting this, all of the stories and struggles that can normally go by largely unnoticed, now are right in front of my face. It seems that the six degrees of cancer, are more like one or two degrees. Most recently, a co-worker of mine lost his wife a few days ago to brain cancer. She was young, had a 10 year old child and was only diagnosed about 5 weeks ago. I can't even comprehend this. In March, she had no idea what was looming ahead. She celebrated New Year's just like the rest of us I'm sure, hoping that 2009 would be a great year. I'm not too naive, I know that life's not fair, and you never know what the future holds, etc. etc. but give me a break... five weeks. That's just cruel. I do believe that there is a plan and everything happens for a reason, but man is it hard to keep an even keel when stuff like this is going on. How unfair is this.

It's a double edged sword, on the one hand, it gives me even more of a sense of purpose for doing an event such as the LIVESTRONG challenge and raising money in support of this cause, but on the other hand, it's depressing just knowing that there is something like cancer looming out there that we have to fight against. And it's a nasty opponent. It doesn't discriminate, the people it picks on can be young or old, healthy or sick, rich or poor, it doesn't matter, but I don't have to tell you that. I'm sure anyone reading this blog has been affected in some way.

I'm going to stick with the "sense of purpose" side of the sword. I choose to believe that through enough research and innovation, there will be a time when cancer won't be looming. A time when the death rates and diagnoses rates fall. Life will never be fair, tragedies will always happen, people will have to suffer through things that no one should ever have to suffer through, but I, along with your help, will fight for a time when cancer isn't included on the list of life's ills.

My heart goes out to you Mick. You and your loved ones have my sincere condolences and will be in my prayers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lackluster Start To May

After such a crazy end to April you'd think that we would roll into May with that momentum and the antics would continue. You would think that, but unfortunately you'd be wrong. I don't know if it's because we were all wiped out from the 100+ miles in four days or what, but here we are, May 4th and as far as I know, we all got zero riding in since April ended. The weather hasn't been great here, it seems that the April showers missed the memo that it's now May, and they are here to stay. The forecast for this week includes possibilities of showers or thunderstorms everyday except for Wednesday. So either I'm going to get my first lesson in riding in the rain, or I'm not going to get much riding in. I'm guessing that I'll have to put up with the rain at some point, so I'm thinking I'll get out there and bear the weather at least one day this week. Any tips on cycling in the rain would be helpful. I'm assuming that the most important thing would be to properly dress for the occasion, so I'm going to have to scrape up a rain slicker somewhere. Should be interesting.

On a more positive note, fundraising is going great. A big Thank You to those who have already donated and sent along their well wishes. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it and I'm humbled by how so many people are banding together to help this important cause. Team Fat Cyclist, the team that my brothers, Todd and I will be riding for, continues to dominate all four LIVESTRONG challenges. With still 110 days to go to the challenge we have raised over $166,500.00 to support cancer research and survivorship, making Team Fatty the number one fundraiser so far. Sometimes it's hard to recognize how much of an impact an individual effort produces, so it's really positive and enlightening to see how all these "little" individual efforts converge to produce a big impact. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! I couldn't do this without your support.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Dramatic Conclusion of April's Mileage Challenge

What a week!

Unfortunately there can only be one winner of the mileage challenge but there was no shortage of effort by the brother's Frost to come out on top this week. If you forgot what was on the line besides bragging rights check out this post. You may recall that it was mine to lose this month. I've had a lead the whole month coming into these last four days of the month, although Chad cut that lead to only a half a mile last Monday. I knew that he and Clint would be bringing the heat this week and that I would have to get creative/crazy to stay ahead. Below this post is a detailed account of my training week that you can check out. Chad wound up getting in an impressive 95 miles in the last four days. Unfortunately for him, Clint got in 117 miles in that same time to overcome Chad by a few miles. Luckily for me, I was feeling good last night, and got in 35 miles instead of my planned 20, for a total of 125 miles since Monday which helped me hold on to win the month. It was that close. If I had stopped early, Clint could have beaten me by a couple miles. It was a hard fought week, and the suspense was fun. Each day, I was wondering what they were doing to rack up miles, love the friendly competition. Since the cat is out of the bag, I'll just post the numbers and pics.

Chad's mileage, sans hand gesture this week...bummer, I guess the Bike mag will have to do.

Clint's mileage, over 100 miles in the last fours days, nice job.

My mileage, it took everything I had to hold the lead. I'm psyched to have a win under my belt because getting shut out in this challenge was a real possibility.

Frost Mileage Challenge

Final Results for April

1st Place - Clay: 251.1 Total Miles

2nd Place - Clint: 230.2 Total Miles

3rd Place - Chad: 220.0 Total Miles

Lot's of fun and a great time had by all. Easy to say as the winner I guess, but I hope my brothers would agree. No time to gloat either as today marks the beginning of the Challenge for May. These final month pics will also serve as the starting pics for May, so game on once more. Also, my kind brothers were very quick to pay up. The donations have already been made, so besides getting a good push to train harder, the LAF is getting more donations as well. It's a win/win. Love it.

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