Sunday, July 31, 2011

Six Down - Fourteen Weeks to Go!

Paying penance for week five, week six of my 20 week Ironman Training Plan started with a bang (but it ended with a whimper).  By the end of Monday I'd completed over 40% of my planned training for the week.  Sunday is usually an off day however, I decided to bike with some folks from the Southern Crescent Cycling club.  We rode 63 miles.  Even though we started early, I like to sleep-in, it was a good ride.  Monday is usually a bike day however, since I had just ridden on Sunday and the threat of rain loomed, I decided to swim and run.  I swam 1.85 miles and ran 7.5 miles.  My run pace suffered from having biked on Sunday and the swim I had just finished.  I averaged only 8:28 minute/miles.

I'm pleased to report that my wave-o-meter was pegged on Monday.  I received about 8 solicited waves and 1 unsolicited wave.  If you read My First Big Dam Ride blog you'll recall that I wave thank you to drivers as they pass when I run and occasionally when I bike.  I do this as if to say thank you for not knocking me into a ditch and leaving me for dead.  It's worked so far.

I ran again on Tuesday.  It was just 6.2 miles though.  I planned to have a good ride on Wednesday, weather permitting, so I didn't want to kill myself.

My Wednesday ride went as planned.  It was a good ride.  Instead of driving to Epic Bikes to meet with the other riders I decided to ride so I'd get those extra miles.  I rode 41 miles averaging over 19 mph.  If I were keeping track of my hydration I'd have to say that this ride pegged my hydration meter.  It was hot.  I almost finished 3 full large water bottles and a bottle of Gatorade in just over 2 hours.

On Thursday Chip, Richard and I were supposed to OWS in the lake.  Chip wasn't able to make it (chickened out) in the last minute so Richard and I were on our own.  We swam about 1.9 mile.  I finished in 1 hour and 11 minutes which was close to my fastest time yet.  Put me in a race and I'm gonna try to win!  I did look back every now and then to see if Richard was still alive.  I think it's looking pretty good for Florida with the buoyancy of the saltwater and a wetsuit.  Richard finished the swim just after me.  Then we ran around the lake.  That's when I killed Thing 1, not literally of course.  Chip likes to refer to Richard and I as Thing 1 and Thing 2 from the children's book The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. 

Some interesting reading
Thing 1 and Thing 2 are good runners
Anyway, Richard was just finishing 26 consecutive days of training without a recovery day.  His legs were fried.  We finished our 7.5 mile run/walk but it wasn't pretty with us averaging 11+ minute miles.  My wife even drove by to check on us.  She always thinks I'm either gonna drown or get hit by a car.  I don't think I'll drown but she might be right about the second scenario.  I do run alongside some busy roads.

Friday and Saturday were off days.  I'd hoped that I'd be able to get in another good ride before the end of the week but that wasn't the case.  My work schedule got in the way.  I completed 11.5 hours of training for the week.  That's 3 hours shy of my goal of 14.5 hours.  Week seven is a recovery week which has me doing 13 hours 10 minutes of training.  That doesn't seem like much of a recovery!
Weeks 7 through 11 of my 20 week plan
The important thing is that even though I sometimes feel sore after some of my workouts I haven't had any injuries.  I've also got to save some energy for the time trial on Saturday.

Since I've decided to take Sunday off too I might as well publish my July mileage totals so, here they are.  I swam 11.45 miles, rode 341.73 miles and ran 83.25 miles in 38 hours and 22 minutes of training time.

BTW:  What's up with FuelBelt's One-Size-Fits-All sizing?  I own three FuelBelt products and only one of them fit me properly.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Southern Crescent Cycling Time Trial

On Saturday, August 6th I'll ride my first time trial with the Southern Crescent Cycling club.  The course starts at the west end of GA 20 on Richard Petty Blvd.  This part of Henry County is usually reserved for NASCAR fans and zombies.  NASCAR fans swarm Hampton to attend stock car races at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Zombies came to film scenes for the movie Zombieland and still show up occasionally for the series The Walking Dead.  The wide roads and little traffic are great for filming.  The area should be just as well suited for a bike time trial. 

Riders start west of US 19/41 at the exit/entrance ramp to GA 20, go west passed the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Lower Woolsey Road to the turn-around at Limerick Way and back to the starting point.  One loop is 6-miles.  Riders complete 2 loops for the full 12-mile time trial.

Since this is my first TT I've read a few articles that might help my performance.  With this knowledge in mind here's what I plan to do to ensure my best effort.

Sometime before August 6th I will ride the course.  Even though I've ridden these roads before they're not fresh in my mind.  I want to become familiar with any potholes, sand, gravel, intersections, dogs, or other hazards before rather than during the TT.  To get my bike ready I'll remove any excess equipment like bottle cages and tool kits.  I won't have any water or tools on my bike.  If I get thirsty I'll just have to wait.  If I get a flat then I'll just have to walk.  I'll also remove my training wheels and put on my FP60 race wheels.  It would be nice if I had a full disc back wheel and a power meter but, I don't.  To get myself ready I'll eat pasta for dinner the evening before the TT and for breakfast that morning I'll have some fruit, toast, and drink something to get me hydrated.  Right before the TT I'll have some energy gel with caffeine and warm-up with a few 30 second sprints.  That's about it!  I may use my heart rate monitor but I doubt it.  I typically only wear my HRM when I run.  I just don't like the restrictive feeling of the chest strap.

Now, where did I put that unitard?  Oh, there it is!

My Southern Crescent Cycling Louis Garneau short sleeve skin suit
The TT is free to participants however, only club members are eligible for awards.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Custom Tri Kit Update

You may recall in March I was trying to create a custom triathlon kit for a team of coworkers and I that are all doing Ironman competitions this year.  My blog was Custom Triathlon Team Kit Design.  Since March I've been working with the designers at Champion System to create something cool that we'll all want to wear.  During this time we've picked up a sponsor, the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project (CBSAP).  Stephen Ramsden, an air traffic controller and avid amateur astronomer, created the CBSAP as a vehicle to teach kids about astronomy.  The project is named after Stephen's friend and coworker, Charlie Bates.  Charlie passed away a few years ago.
The blog header image of the solar eclipse with the moon and the sun's corona was taken by Stephen.  This is an enhanced image because during an eclipse the moon is typically just a black circle looking like something akin to how a black hole might appear.

This image will grace the back of our tri tops and jerseys.

Moon with the Sun's Corona
The front of the tri tops and jerseys will feature an enhanced image of the sun with solar flares.

Sun with Solar Flares
I added a silhouette of the Atlanta skyline at the bottom of both tops, front and back. 

Silhouette of Atlanta
Stay tuned for the official unveiling in a month or so.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My First Big Dam Ride

After riding very little last week I got a good ride on Sunday.  I met several Southern Crescent Cycling members at the Eagle's Brook subdivision entrance in Locust Grove at 6:45am.  That's a bit early for me but I needed the exercise so 6:45am it is.  There were seven of us braving the dawn.  Tim and Clay were doing a recovery ride and the rest of us were there for the duration.  We were riding the Big Dam Ride course around Lake Jackson and back.  This was my first BDR ride. 

At the end of the day my bike computer read 63.7 miles.  David was our guide through the rural countryside of fenced fields dotted with the occasional subdivision.

Clay, Peto, Ann, Neil (me), David, Isabella, and Tim (l-r)
The seven of us left the parking lot just before 7am.  It wasn't long before we were separated into two groups of riders.  We wound our way through this back road and that, up hill and down.  I think I could faintly hear banjo music at one point.

The crew with the Big Dam in the background
The dam is at mile 37 on the mapmyride map.

The Sac-O-Suds
I had to stop and take a picture of the location of the Sac-O-Suds from a scene in the movie My Cousin Vinnie.  It's for sale, if you're interested!  It's at mile 38 on the map just to the left as we turned right from Lake Jackson Road onto GA16.

A stop for drinks on the BDR ride
We stopped for drinks at a bait shop at mile 39.4.  That's where learned that, if you have a fly problem (the ones with wings, not your pants), you can put a bag of water above a doorway and the flies won't get inside.  I looked on in amazement as the store owner told me this story.  He said he couldn't believe it either but it works.  You can't argue with success!
It was a good ride and it put me on course for the week with my training plan.

I also have to mention that I received 2 unsolicited waves from passers-by.  What does that mean?  When I run I try to wave at the drivers as they pass.  I rarely get any response.  On a typical 11 mile run I may wave 100 times with a Thank You (for not running me over).  I occasionally wave to drivers on my bike.  Hello, thanks for not sending me to the hospital!  Well, today two drivers waved at me when I didn't do a thing.  They must be crazy people!  That's the only logical explanation.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Five Down - Fifteen Weeks to Go!

Week 5 of my 20 week Ironman training plan finds me away from home and in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Being out of town always changes my training schedule.  Last year at this time I was in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  I got plenty of training in during that trip.  That was a longer trip though.  My trip to Atlantic City was only for five days. 

Since I was travelling on Monday, I spent time with Susan on Sunday.  No training on Sunday.  Since I had a late flight, Susan and I rode our bikes together on Monday morning.  I put in a few more miles on my own too.  Monday's total was 22 miles on the bike.  Eleven miles with Susan and 11 miles solo.  The route I rode is the same on my long run days.  The distance in perfect for me to test my fitness for the upcoming Southern Crescent Cycling 12 mile time trial on August 6th.  I'd like to average around 22 mph but, from the look of thing, 20 mph might be more reasonable.

My Dodge Caliber rental car
Fairfield Inn in Absecon, NJ
The Fairfield Inn would be my home for the next few days.

The front of the hotel
From my room window I could see the casinos (over the Staples and Home Depot) across the bay.

There's the Staples!
Windmills off in the distance
If you look closely at the image above (click to enlarge) you'll see five towering three bladed windmills.

An excellent view of the Home Depot parking lot
My hotel room
Another view of my room
On a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being the least desirable and 5 being the most desirable, I'd give this hotel a 3.5.  The location was right off of the expressway so, while it was not noisy it wasn't very scenic and it was a terrible location to start a run. 

The hotel gym (first image using my new camera's timer)
Tuesday seemed to foretell the rest of my training for the week.  I left the lobby of the hotel just as it started to drizzle.  Within a quarter mile I was plodding along in a full downpour of rain and dodging puddles.  I turned around after running only about a mile.  So, I ran 2 miles and was soaking wet.  I ran 2 more miles on the hotel gym treadmill.  My thoughts of a long run were crushed.  All my motivation was lost.

Wednesday was a better day.  The weather was better so I checked out possible running areas.  The Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge looked like it might fit the bill on the map.  I drove there after work.  I'm sure the refuge is very nice if you are wildlife, but the gravel road was not what I was looking for.  I resolved myself to the treadmill back at the hotel.  The hotel gym is meager to say the least.  It has two nice treadmills, an elliptical machine, a bench, and some dumbbells.  The treadmills have built-in TV's and there is another TV on the wall.  Both TV's are more of a nuisance than a welcome distraction.  I found that my channel changing finger was getting quite a workout.  At least I didn't miss Tosh.0. I need a workout redemption.

I ran for 7 miles - 60 minutes on the treadmill before it automatically went to cool down mode.  What the heck is that!  I was working on negative splits, every mile I'd increase the speed by .2 mph.  At mile 7 I'm ready to start to kick it but the machine had another idea.  I restarted the treadmill and ran another 1.3 miles.  That's 8.3 miles at a 8:15 pace totalling 1:08:30 running.

That was my shirt!
On Thursday I decided not to get fancy and just hit the treadmill again.  That's when I noticed that the shirt I wore on Tuesday had been snagged on my Polar watch/HRM clasp.  That sucks!  I ran about 2.2 miles on the treadmill.  Once again, I just couldn't get into it. 

One of about fifty seagulls hanging out at the Micky D's where I bought a salad
On Friday I traveled back to Atlanta.  I had a super early flight which, as expected, makes it very difficult to sleep the night before.  I had the opportunity to get a full pat down at the airport.  Luckily for me the Grizwolds were also leaving Atlantic City that morning and I was right behind them.  What a cluster!

Back at home now I got situated most of the day then it was time to swim.  I swam 1.85 miles in 1 hour and 11 minutes.  I ran a short 0.7 miles after that.

On Saturday I ran 8.5 miles in 1 hour and 6 minutes around the lake.  That's when I noticed that someone had stolen a plant from a neighboring subdivision entrance on my normal running route.  What kind of person does that?

Anyway, that's my training for the week.  I ran 23.7 miles in 3 hours and 12 minutes.  I swam 1.85 miles and biked 22 miles.  All told I worked out just less than 6 hours.  That's less that half of my goal.  I'm gonna have to suffer this coming week.

Thanks for reading.

My Camera Equipment

When I started my blog I thought I would learn more about training for triathlons, fitness equipment, and racing.  That's all come to pass.  Now, I sleep better before a race and I'm much more confident on race day.  I've also learned how to use my camera equipment better.  I've even found myself reading camera manuals along with the installation and users manuals for my triathlon gear.  Imagine that!

As far as my camera gear is concerned; for most of my still images I've used a 6.1 Megapixel Nikon D50 Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera with either a Nikkor 18-55mm AF-S 1:3.5-5.6G ED lens or a Nikkor 55-150mm AF-S 1:4-5.6G ED zoom lens.  I've had this camera a several years.  It's a great camera.  The battery lasts forever and it takes great pictures.  The only drawback is its size. 

Nikon D-50 shown with Nikkor 18-55mm Lens and 55-200mm Zoom Lens
I also have an HD video camera.  It's a Sony HDR-SR5 with a removable Sony wide angle conversion lens X0.7.  I haven't used this yet for any blog stuff.  I haven't used it for much else either.  I'm hoping that it will get some use in November during Ironman Florida.

Sony HDR-SR5 Camcorder with X0.7 Wide Angle Conversion Lens and External Mic
Sony HDR-SR5 Camcorder
As I said, I'm still learning to use these cameras.  This is especially interesting when the auto-focus is off or when taking pictures in the dark.  Not only is it difficult to see the subject in the dark but maneuvering through the camera menu is a real challenge too.  An example of his can be seen in my blog on My Winter Safety Gear.

I also bought a new point & shoot camera.  It's an Olympus Stylus Tough 6000.  I wanted a camera that I could carry in my jersey pocket.  This camera should fit that bill nicely with it's small size and durability.  It's waterproof to 10 feet so I can rinse it off, if needed.  I can use it when I swim too.  It's also got image stabilization.  The best part is that I only paid $80 for it at COSTCO.  What a deal!

A view of the front of the packaging for the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000
A view of the back of the packaging
What you get
The Olympus 6000 came with a, camera case, 1GB memory card, USB cable, audio/video cable, Lithium-Ion battery and charger, wrist strap, manual and software.

As I learn more I hope my images will improve along with my commentary.  Don't expect any miracles!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Woo Nam Jeong - Stone Bowl House

Susan and I, and several friends met at a Korean restaurant in Chamblee, Georgia for dinner on Saturday evening.  The group is comprised of foodies and wine enthusiasts, except me. The restaurant had recently been written about by a local food critic. Apparently, it received a good review.  As foodies, we eat, drank and discuss the flavors.  I guess that's called pairing.  What goes with what, what we like, what we don't like, etc.

I took a few pictures of the food. They're in the Picasa album below.

You might have noticed that the title of the album is Hoochee Map Dancers.  This group has been meeting and dining together for years.  Usually going to each other's homes where the host would prepare a meal of food from a previously selected country.  The other members of the group would bring an appropriate dish, as well as a bottle of wine.  During that stage of the groups life they referred to themselves as the Hoochees, short for Chattahoochee.  Most of the members live or lived on the north side of Atlanta.  Susan and I met them at a dinner at Jim and Mary Ann's house last year.  They live on the south side of Atlanta near us.  The new name reflects the new emphasis of the group which is to meet at restaurants, instead of each other's homes, and enjoy cuisine from all over the world. 

On Saturday, July 16th we met at Woo Nam Jeong for traditional Korean food.  The restaurant is located in Seoul Plaza at 5393 Buford Highway in Chamblee, Georgia.

The food was very good.  I don't think I've ever eaten Korean food before so it was a real adventure.  Much of the food is quite spicy which is okay by me.  Susan likes spicy food too.  All of the food was colorful and delicious.  The wine was very good as well.  Since I lack taste buds I drank a beer.  I did taste some of the wine.  It was good too.  You'll be interested to know that we did not finish most of the bottles of wine brought for sampling.  In fact, I think only one bottle was emptied.

Hoochee Map Dancers - Woo Nam Jeong

Thanks for reading.

2011 Dog Days 100

Saturday, August 20th is the date of the inaugural Dog Days 100 century ride in Griffin, Georgia.  It's also the date of the Peachtree City Sprint triathlon.  I'd like to both but, alas, I must choose one.  The triathlon would be great because that's the event for which I've been training.  However, I've decided to do the DD100.  I've made that decision for two reasons.  The first reason is that I used to ride with several of the guys from Griffin that are helping organize the ride.  This will probably be a good opportunity to see many of them.  These are the guys that I rode with from Griffin, Georgia to St. George Island in Florida.  I reminisced about the ride in St. George Island or Bust.  These were some tough guys back in the day.  I haven't seen any of them in 20 years.  I wonder if they've been riding much.  I hear they still make the annual ride to the island.  The second reason for wanting to do the DD100 is that the DD100 and the Wilson 100, the following weekend, are probably much better preparation for Ironman Florida.  I'm hoping to finish one of these century rides in 5 hours.  The heat may squash that effort.

The DD100 is an out and back course.  One could traverse a short gap at the turn-around to shorten the ride considerably.  There is also a 20, 32, and 50 mile course.  The map below is a rough estimation of the 100 mile course.  The major roads are correct but I'm not sure about the roads through Orchard Hill and Flovilla.  This was my backyard 20 years ago when I lived in Griffin.  I used to ride these roads all the time.  I'll bet they've changed a little.

Chip and Richard will be doing this this ride with me.  I hope Chad, Ken, and Tracy will do it too. 

Here are the event details from the ride flyer.

Saturday, August 20th 2011

Rehoboth Middle School, 1500 Rehoboth Rd, Griffin GA 30224

Griffin, GA: Join us and be a part of the Inaugural Dog Days 100 multi-optional ride through Atlanta’s Southern Crescent region. Ride begins at 7:30am and takes riders through historic High Falls State Park and Indian Springs State Park. Proceeds benefit the Salvation Army Community Center Boys and Girls After School Program.

COST: $ 35.00 per rider (13yrs and older)

OPTIONS: The Inaugural rides include 20, 32, 50 and 100 miles Century

WHAT’S INCLUDED with registration:
 Complimentary Spaghetti Dinner at Spalding

Regional Medical Center, Friday Night (6-8pm)
 Event T-shirt with all pre-registrants by Aug 17, 2011
 Plenty of Food and Beverage along the route

 Family Fun Children Activities (9am to 11am - no charge)
 BBQ cook out (11:30am - 2pm - $ 10.00 per plate)

To register go to  Search: Dog Days 100

For more information and available sponsorships call (678) 972-6993

Thanks for reading.

Update (8/19/11):  I found the actual course map and here it is.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Four Down - Sixteen Weeks to Go!

Week four of my Ironman training started on Sunday, July 10th with the Hospitality Highway Century ride in Roswell, Georgia.  I rode 115 miles on the hilly course in north Atlanta in 6 hours and 26 minutes, including breaks, averaging 17.8 mph.

Monday was supposed to be a bike ride day but I didn't do anything.  Tuesday's swim/run training fell by the wayside as well. 

Susan bought the new cookbook Now Eat This! by Rocco DiSpirito.  Since Rocco is a chef and a triathlete I thought I'd include a few few picture of his recipes in my blog.  Nutrition is an important part of endurance and recovery.  Good nutrition should also be part of my training.  Susan has been trying the new recipes and I've been helping her "evaluate" the results.  On Monday we had Chicken something followed by Salmon something on Tuesday.  So far the dinners have been pretty good.

Susan's pork tenderloin with Rocco's green beans
A closer look
Veggies from Susan's garden
Rocco's Mustard Encrusted Salmon on a bed of saute'ed spinach
Rocco's Skinny Chef Salad
Wednesday I rode with the Southern Crescent Cycling folks.  It looked like the weather would stop us but luckily for us the storms didn't materialize.  We rode our usual 29 mile route from Epic Bikes going south around Hampton and around the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

On Thursday I swam 1.7 miles in the lake.  It took me 1 hour and 13 minutes in my big blue bloomers.  They create a lot of drag but I'm not racing so who cares.
Me in my Big Blue Bloomers
On Friday I ran the 11 miles around the lake.  The skies were overcast so the tempurature was not as hot as it has been.  About 3.5 miles into my run the rain came down.  It only rained for about 5 minutes but I was soaked.  I felt okay so I continued on.  I finished my run in 1 hour and 27 minutes.

On Saturday Susan and I had planned to ride together.  I'd ride 20 miles with her and then go off on my own and do another 20 miles or so.  Well, we got up late, read the paper, drank some coffee and before we knew it we had to go to Atlanta to run some errands.  Instead of riding I decided to swim.  I got in about .95 miles.

My totals for the week are I swam 2.65 miles, rode 143.93 miles and ran 11 miles.  This took me about 11 hours and 15 minutes to complete.  That's 1 hour and 15 minutes shy of the 12 hours and 30 minutes my training plan called for, but a good effort never the less.

Next week it's almost 14 hours of training for me.

Thanks for reading.

First Annual Southern Crescent Cycling Time Trial

From the Southern Crescent Cycling facebook page:

Southern Crescent Cycling presents:

Time Trial Day – Saturday, August 6, 2011

Time: 7:00am gather at Epic Bikes, 8:15am Start time
Please join Southern Crescent Cycling for our First Annual Time Trial Day.

The Time Trial – the “Race of Truth”, you against the clock – will test you not only physically but mentally. You’ve ridden the “group rides”, you’ve ridden the mountains, now complete the circle of events of a Grand Tour by participating in a Time Trial!

Riders will start at one minute intervals on a 6 mile out-and-back loop and make 2 circuits for a total distance of 12 miles (map available soon). Riders will start on their own without the benefit of a bike holder. You do not need a special time trial bike to participate.

The Time Trial is FREE and open to EVERYONE, however you must be an SCC Premium Member to be eligible for prizes. Riders may elect to have their finishing times unpublished, but will be ineligible for top Male/Female finisher prizes if they choose to do so.


7:00am Meet at Epic bikes for registration and start time drawing

7:15am Riders depart for 14 mile warmup ride to Woolsey start area (map coming soon) If you don’t want to ride that far for a warm up, you may drive to and park at AMS or Tara Field and warm up from there (DO NOT park at the start area)

8:15am First rider departs

9:45am TT complete, riders depart for ride back to Epic Bikes

10:45am Results announced, prizes awarded

Door prizes and prizes for the top 3 male and female finishers will be awarded* (must be an SCC premium member to be eligible). Prizes are as follows:

1st Place Male and Female* - $50 Gift Certificate to local bike shop
2nd Place Male and Female* - $25 Gift Certificate to local bike shop
3rd Place Male and Female* - $10 Gift Certificate to local bike shop

Door prizes*

$50 Gift Certificate to local bike shop
$25 Gift Certificate to local bike shop
$10 Gift Certificate to local bike shop
Sock Certificates
Water Bottles

* Must be a Premium member of Southern Crescent Cycling to be eligible

For a limited time, Southern Crescent Cycling will offer a Pro-rated membership for 2011 for $15 for the remainder of the year. Join now and you will be eligible for these great prizes as well as other club events for the remainder of the year.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Crime Stoppers at Work

Heritage Ridge subdivision entrance
I just had to relay something that happened today that really got my blood boiling.  Susan and I had gone to the grocery store and were headed back to our house.  We were driving by the Heritage Ridge subdivision in Henry County which is about a mile from out house when I noticed something.  A green Ford Mustang coupe was parked at the entrance.  The year make of the car was about 1995.  The passenger of the mustang had gotten out of the car and when I saw her she had a hand full of plants that she had pulled from the ground and was putting in the car.  They were stealing plants.  I did a quick turn-a-turn and met the car as it was exiting the subdivision.  As the driver waited for traffic to pass before pulling onto Jodeco Road I got out of my truck and recorded the tag number, Spalding County DP3LLX.  The driver lowered her window.  I asked her about the plants and she said she didn't take no plants.  The car entered Jodeco Road heading west.  Once again I did a quick turn-around and headed west too.  The car had pulled into the adjacent retail space parking lot on the left.  I turned onto the next road on the right, did another U-turn and was soon following the mustang heading west again.  The car then made a turn onto Emerald Drive, drove about 1/2 mile and did a U-turn.  Back to Jodeco Road we go!  Through all this Susan is talking to the Henry County Police Department on her cellphone.  They didn't have anyone in the area.  Of course not!  After noticing that we were still following them, the green mustang returned to the scene of the crime.  Both the driver, a woman in her fifties, and her passenger, a woman in her thirties, exited the car.  The driver headed toward me exclaiming that her mother was in the hospital.  Look mom I stole these plants for you.  Get well soon!  The passenger was putting the plants back in the holes they were removed from only ten minutes earlier.  As the passenger was getting back into the car I heard her say something about her gun.  All I can say is she had better have had a full clip.  Our full blooded Silver Sable German Shepherd Max was in the truck with us and be officially weighs more than I do.  He went to the Vet's office today for a shot and got weighed while he was there - 128lbs.

Max taking a nap on the couch
Susan and I waited about ten minutes but the police never arrived.  Susan called them and told them they had our information if they needed it.

We saw a resident of the neighborhood and let them know what happened.

Thanks for reading.

Update: Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 at 7:06pm - As I ran by the entrance to the Heritage Ridge subdivision today I noticed that one of the plants was missing.  The picture above was taken on Sunday, July 17th.  Between then and now someone decided to steal a plant.  I wonder who that might be?

Update: Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 3:30pm - As I was running on Jodeco Drive I saw the green mustang parked in a driveway.  That clears things up a bit.  Why drive all the way from Spalding County to steal plants when you live (work or visit) in Clayton County.  Stealing from your neighbors is so much more convenient and it saves gas too!  I'm sure the driver is very environmentally conscious. The mustang still spots the same Spalding County handicapped vehicle tag.

Ride Scene Investigations (RSI)

If you read my Hospitality Highway Century Ride Report you'll recall that there was some dispute as to whether Chip and Richard lead me in the initial miles of the ride.  I was sure that I lead coming off of GA400.  I didn't see them until the water station at the 48 mile point after I'd ridden 54 miles.  Well, after some extensive investigating by Chip some new evidence has come to light. 

Chip reviewed the pictures I took of the water stations.  Specifically the picture taken at water station #2 at the 35 mile point.  This was my first stop and Chip and Richard were not yet with me.  I was solo.  In the picture Chip identified a black plastic trash bag which he said he helped a volunteer place under the Igloo cooler.  Since the bag was already in place when I took the picture he theorized that I must have arrived after them.  Chip also said he put out the kiddie seat for me just in case I needed to rest.  He's so thoughtful.

Hospitality Highway Century water station at mile 35 (evidence item #1)
 Click on the image above for a larger view.

In the interest of full disclosure it must be stated that I still rode almost 6 miles more than Chip and Richard that day.

Thanks for reading.

Headset Adjustment

After riding the Hospitality Highway Century on Sunday, July 10th I felt that I just wasn't getting aero enough on my bike.  So, I decided to make a small adjustment to my bike headset.  My headset has a total of about 1 15/16" of spacers including those above and below the stem.  Before I did anything I marked the headset screw with a black marker.  Then I removed the screw.  The mark should tell me about where to stop when I re-tighten the screw.  I used a torque wrench to remove the screw but it was so loose that it didn't indicate any torque at all.
Headset screw with mark indicating starting position
There are 3 spacers above the stem and 3 spacers below.  The spacers vary from largest to smallest at approximately 3/8" to 5/16" to 1/16" in width.  The spacer dimensions are probably in metric.
Handlebar stem position before lowing
The 3 spacers above the stem totaled about about 7/8".  The 3 spacers below the stem total about 1 1/16".  That's a total of about 1 15'16" of spacers.  The 5/16" spacer below the stem and above the 2 - 3/8" spacers is barely visible behind the cable. 
Handlebar stem position after lowering
I moved a large and medium sized spacer from below the stem and placed them above the stem.  So, I lowered my stem and base bar a meager 11/16".  After retightening everything I took a short ride around my subdivision.  The difference in my riding position seemed significant.  I could feel the difference in my lower back and on my saddle.  My next ride will really tell the tale.  I'm optimistic that my body will adapt to the change and that I'll see some improved aerodynamics.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2011 Hospitality Highway Century - Ride Report

On Sunday, July 10th I rode in the 3rd annual Hospitality Highway Century to benefit the Georgia Transplant Foundation.  This was my first century in over 20 years.  Knowing that I'd have to get out of the house early I packed my bike and gear in my truck on Saturday night.  I got up at 4am and was out of the house at 4:35am.  The drive to Roswell took me around 50 minutes.  My GPS worked flawlessly (unlike during my trip to the PRR Expo).  I was parked in the old CompUSA lot and at registration by 5:30am.  It was still very dark.  The Home Depot lot next door was already full.  I picked up my wrist band (red for 100 milers), my blue Zorrel technical shirt, and a package of flyers with sponsor information.  The shirt is a very nice shirt and I can actually see myself wearing it.  That's not always the case with ride/race shirts.

2011 Hospitality Highway Century technical shirt
Chip and Richard were already parked and getting ready when I arrived.  I caught up with Chip near the port-a-johns.  Even in the dark I couldn't miss him with those big ears sticking out from that melon head.  They met me at my truck before we rode over to the starting point.

Chip and Richard ready to launch
Chip, Richard and I
A fraction of the group of riders lined up waiting to start
The ride started at 6:30am.  One of the volunteers said there were 1000 riders.  It sure seemed like it.  All the lanes of southbound GA-400 were full of riders.  Tri-bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes and a few recumbent all headed south.  The first few miles of the ride were like a rolling trip to the bike shop showroom.  There were bikes made by Moots, Jamis, Pinarello, Quintana Roo, Trek, Specialized, Kestrel, Cannondale, Wilier, and many others. 

The weather was perfect for a summer ride.  The temperature was cooler than it has been lately and it was slightly overcast.  As the three of us descended the on ramp I told Chip we needed to get closer to the front of the pack.  That was the last I'd see of Chip and Richard until the water station at mile 48 (for them).  Think they were ahead of me, Chip said that he and Ricard waited 10 minutes for me at the two previous water stations.  I don't know what good that did since I must have been in front of them the whole time.  I had taken a wrong turn and was looking at 54 miles on my odometer.  We bantered back and forth about who was in front of who for a few minutes then hit the road again. 

The course for the 100 mile ride was marked with red painted arrows on the road and white signs.  It was a beautiful course that really highlights the area's communities and equestrian lifestyle.  Much of the course went through subdivisions with beautiful homes and nicely landscaped yards.

The route took us through downtown Roswell.  Roswell has a little downtown with nicely landscaped businesses and well maintained shops and restaurants.  I couldn't help but notice the lack of billboards, trash, and bandit signs along the roadside.  We did have two mishaps during the ride.  Richard put an end to a nervous little chipmunk and Chip almost let a squirrel get away.  I killed at least two bugs. 

Somewhere after the water station at the 90 mile point I took my second wrong turn during the day.  This time I had company.  Chip, Richard, two other riders, and I added about 9 miles here.  This put my total mileage ridden at 115 in 6:26:36 with an average speed of 17.8mph.  The added miles gave me the opportunity to ride some of the hills twice.  I didn't need that.  It was a hilly course.

The location of my first wrong turn was at the intersection of Gaddis Road and Arbor Hill Road.  I took a left instead of a right adding an extra 5.8 miles loop and a second trip through the Woodmont subdivision.

I guess it wouldn't be a century if I didn't take a few wrong turns.  The extra mileage was a bonus since I've got to ride 112 miles in November anyway.  I have to point out that the organizers did a great job of keeping the riders up to date with information prior to the ride.  I received several e-mails prior to the ride and course maps were available on ride day.  Next time I think I'll grab one of those.

The water stations were well stocked with oranges, some cut into eighths and others peeled and sectioned, bananas, gel, cookies, energy bars, Gatorade, and ice water.  They were also well supported with friendly volunteers.  I even got to meet Eric.  He designed the course.  He was at the water station at mile 80.  That's when he told us we hadn't seen anything yet.  He said there was a really big hill just before the finish.  I wanted to beat him up (while I could still walk) but Chip and Richard didn't seem to think it was a good idea.

The water station at the the 35 mile point on Holcomb Campground Road
The Citgo Gas Station water station at the 65 mile point on Lower Union Hill Road
The water station at the 80 mile point at the Fire Station at New Providence Road and Arnold Mill Road
We also stopped at the water station at the 92 mile point on Jones Road.  This was shortly before the location of my second wrong turn was at the corner of Willeo Road and Azalea Drive.  I should have taken a left onto Azalea Drive instead of going straight all the way to Johnson Ferry Road.  This time I didn't go it alone.  I brought along five other riders with me.  Sorry guys!

We finally reached the end of our ride.  I went straight to the registration area where the volunteers had set up trays of hot pasta, bagels, energy gels, water, etc.  I had two helpings of pasta. 

I got to my truck and rinsed off with a jug of water I had brought from home.  That's the ticket.  Why travel home all sweaty when you don't have to?  When I got home I tried to open a bottle of beer to celebrate my accomplishment.  Even though it was a screw top I didn't have the energy to get it open with my hand so I used an opener.

Another thing not worth mentioning, but I'll do it anyway, is that I successfully completed my first snot rocket.  If you don't know what a snot rocket is, don't ask.  I always thought they were gross and couldn't bring myself to do it but an hour into my day long ride I figured it was as good a time as any and gave it a try.  Later on I told Richard about my accomplishment.  He asked if I got any on anyone.  I had to be honest and told him I did get a bit on myself.  Richard gave me partial credit.  Two things instantly came to mind 1) Great, room for improvement, and 2) Where does this fit into my training plan?

Overall, a great ride on a great day in a great area!

Thanks for reading my silly blog.