Happy Holidays and Such…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my friends, family, and colleagues.  I’m thinking of all of you this holiday season, and I wish you all the best for 2014.

The race mechanic requests for 2014 are rolling in.  I’ve already had to turn down a few upcoming opportunities due to scheduling conflicts.  I hate turning the jobs down, but it’s a double-edged sword.  It’s really fun to travel, to see new places, and to work with new athletes on the road.  The downside is being away from the family.  I was on the road A LOT in 2013, and missed my wife and kids very badly.  We’ve both been blessed with steady jobs, and are FINALLY falling into some sort of rhythm in this crazy life.  As much as I enjoy managing all the moving parts and hitting the road, my flexibility to do so isn’t going to be there in 2014.  I haven’t said “NO” to everything yet.  I’m still trying to shift some things around to try and sneak in a bit of race work next year.  Maybe get a little fix during the upcoming season…

I am hopefully going to do some more local races next year.  I changed race team affiliations, and will be racing with Team Energy Velo for 2014.  It’s a team that my shop sponsors, and it’s headed up by two very good friends and customers of mine.  They’re looking after me very well, and I hope to represent them to the best of my ability at the races I’ll be able to attend.  I’m trying to get a few solid results early in the season, in order to get my upgrade to Category 3 this Spring.  I’ve been a Cat. 4 for as long as I can remember, and the tail end of the season I actually had some decent results.  Hoping to upgrade sooner, rather than later.

Gotta get some of my fitness back.  I hyper-extended my left knee the day before the Hincapie Gran Fondo, and decided to ride the entire 80 mile ride with a little soreness in the knee.  That turned out to be a horrible idea.  I severely strained my patellar tendon, and was off the bike for over a month.  There were times I could barely walk, and most nights I spent with my leg elevated and icing.  With some amazing help from one of my friends, Jeff, a physical therapist, I was able to rehab and strengthen the knee back to normal.  My fitness took a serious dive, however.  I’ve been able to ride during the past three weeks, but it’s still winter, and I’m being a bit of a wuss about it.  I’ve signed up for the Strava/Rapha Festive 500k challenge, which entails riding 500k between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  I don’t see any way to finish it, short of burying myself on NYE, but I’m doing as many miles as I can until then to see if I can regain some of that lost form.  Definitely got some pounds to shed and some muscle to regain in that leg…

Oh… I need some help.  I want to plan some sort of bike adventure for 2014.  I need some ideas.  Leave me a comment here if you have any thoughts for what kind of bike mischief I might get into.

Good talk.  See you out there.

Winter Training and Testing?

I don’t know what in the heck has gotten into me lately.  I’ve ridden my bike several times in the last few weeks… If you recall, one of my earlier posts was all about how I hate winter riding and training in the garage on the rollers and such.  I still haven’t done that.  I’m actually braving the cold and getting out there and doing it.

I posted some snow pictures from the last few days, too.  Our weather has been extremely weird lately.  This does not make for good training weather, however… that is what I need to motivate me sometimes.  I won’t ride in the partially-miserable stuff, but when it snows or gets stupid-cold is when I like to get out there.  Sometimes I do it, if for nothing else, than just to say I did it.

This feels a lot like unintentional training.  I really haven’t made an effort to officially “train” for anything over the past few years, primarily because I have been busy with work and family, and can rarely make it to the races on weekends.  Most of my riding has consisted of leading group rides.  I think I only did around 5 “fast” rides in 2009, and the Roswell Criterium counted as two fast rides, since I raced two different categories.  So, more and more riding is creeping in, including some fixed-gear stuff to get my spin back before the season starts.

I got involved with Andrew Smith, an endurance coach from Lifetime Fitness in Woodstock, GA, a few weeks ago.  He came into the shop to pick up a few things and to tell us about the Team Kenda Pro Cycling p/b GearGrinder event at Lifetime on the 28th (which we have since gotten involved with).  We talked a bit about the training and the facilities that are available at Lifetime, and our conversation progressed to the point where he invited me to do some VO2 Max Testing this Thursday at the gym.  Now, it’s definitely sounding  a lot more like training…

I don’t know what to expect, in regards to this testing.  I think it will be good to have the test performed, just to see where I’m at, physically, before the season starts.  Later in the season, I’ll go back and have the test done again, and see where my levels are at.  I think that testing like this, and developing that referral system between the gym and us, will be good for our customers.  Together, we will have a much wider range of services to offer our customers/clients, which is yet another extension of how our shop’s customer service level eclipses so many other bike shops in the Metro Atlanta area.  Can’t hurt, right?

I’ll post pictures and a report of the testing after I finish it on Thursday.  Can’t wait!  The coffee pot is almost empty, so I’m going to bed.  Thanks for reading.

VeloReviews Podcast #1

We started the VeloReviews Podcast in hopes of driving a few more members to the VeloReviews.com site.  Since our first podcast two weeks ago, we’ve moved into 3rd position for the Most Popular Outdoor Audio Podcast on iTunes (as of five minutes ago).  Here’s the proof:

If you want to take a listen, you can find the direct link here: http://media.libsyn.com/media/veloreviews/The_VeloReviews_Podcast_episode_001.mp3

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