Monday, June 28, 2010

A Bike Heavy Weekend

This weekend was one of the most bike-centric weekends of my life. I spent a total of 10 and a half hours on the bike, and my legs are feeling it. I'm starting to get an acute awareness of just what training for a successful ultramarathon season entails. Nobody's going to put those miles in for you, and the only way you're going to rack them up is by getting out there and putting in the time. I feel like I'm getting stronger though, and as I continue to develop a stronger awareness of training and recovery principles I feel as though I will continue to make strides. And hair is still helping out...

My Fabian Cancellara haircut is getting pretty vicious, and I'm still convinced that (Samson-esque) it is the source of my strength on the bike. If his flowing mane is a part of multiple classics wins in a single season and a World TT Championship, mine will get me around Mt. Ranier in good time. To clarify: I'm letting my hair grow out from the feauxhawk origins that were laid down in Crested Butte because Fabian Cancellara lets his mane fly on his way to victory. He's not using a motor, I can assure you of that, but his hair is definitely adding some wattage. I may edge things up soon - I'll be sure to document just how rad things get.

This past weekend I enjoyed two big rides: a (mostly) solo century around greater Seattle, and a fundraiser ride for the AIDS Alliance.

My century on Saturday started with a group ride, but unfortunately only one rider there had any interest in hammering at 20+, so after about 20 miles of rolling with the crew and trying in vain to push the pace I set out alone. My only counterpart interested in riding hard decided to stay with the group (he later emailed me and told all about how much he regretted that), so I was on my own. I set out to do some exploring, and I accomplished even more than I expected. I started my solo expedition on Mercer Island, a scenic part of greater Seattle that is accessible by bridge and by boat only. I have to say that the riding on Mercer Island is some of my favorite to date, and I can't wait to go back. The lush forests that frame the main road circumnavigating the island scream "Pacific Northwest", and the road itself is rife with undulating hills, switchbacks, and scenery. The whole loop is under 20 miles, so I made sure to enjoy it twice on this day. The full day took me all over Seattle, and let me tell you - 80 solo miles hurts, especially in hilly Seattle.

I'll be doing a big 130 mile ride this Saturday on Whidbey Island (hopefully actually with the group this time), and I can only hope to find such a fun experience and such tremendous views. I think the odds are good, though, and I'm very much looking forward to it.

My other ride this past weekend involved a stationary trainer and a gay pride festival, neither of which I'm normally very excited about. But this situation was different, as I was focused on professional goals (I work for a predominantly gay gym, and this festival was like fishing for clients in a kiddie pool with dynamite) and on my own philanthropic motivations. My gym is raising money for the Lifelong AIDS Alliance, which seems to be a pretty upstanding organization to me. I'm all for finding cures and for helping support the ill, no matter the disease, and they seem to have some good infrastructure in place to do just that. So I hatched the plan that I would "ride for the cause" at the festival, setting up a stationary trainer and doing my part to raise awareness and donations. The benefits were two-fold - I was able to separate myself from other trainers and attract more prospective clients (and, unfortunately, suitors....), and I was able to get in a workout while working all day. I sold my manager on a "donate $1 and keep Chris riding for another 5 minutes!" pitch, and we pushed like crazy. I ended up riding for over 4 and half hours, and we raised a few hundred dollars for the cause. Not many days am I fortunate enough to do good while riding my bike, and I'm very honored to have been able to enjoy that opportunity this weekend.

My piece de resistance for the weekend, though, was my victory lap after Saturday's ride. I met my good friend Pat Allen for an omelet. Not just any omelet, mind you - the legendary Beth's Cafe 12-Egg Omelet. Yes, they put a dozen eggs in. Yes, the serve it over a tray of hasbrowns. Yes, I ordered extra hash browns. No, it wasn't hard to put down after that ride (seriously, not even a little), and yes, I plan on doing it again this summer. I also planning on attempting a solo 12-egg omelet, but I need to solve the logistics issues involved with preparing one at home. Anyone with information on how to prepare and flip and 12-egg omelet please email me at

I'll leave you with some words of wisdom:

After a particularly hard-fought victory in a bike race this season, ProTour rider Jens Voight was asked what he was feeling on the last climb of the day, when everyone was pushing well beyond their limits. His reply:

"Yes, my legs hurt very much. But I told them "Shut up, legs.", and I made it to the top."

I'm considering getting that as my epitaph. Shut up, legs.

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