Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beautiful day down to Annapolis

This weekend's weather has been phenomenal.  I decided to get back out on the bike and head down to Annapolis.  Not surprisingly for such a wonderful day, Annapolis was packed.  I had a good time getting lost around town, going down roads I wasn't aware of.  They had a band playing down on the docks and a food festival of some sorts going on as well.  And tons of boats out!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Aluminum Man

Well, it has been nearly two weeks since I did the 114 miles on the C&O. My buddy who went with me apparently got hit by a car while biking in downtown Frederick and walked away with a severe concussion. Glad to hear he is ok, but scary none-the-less. I haven't been biking since. I weighed myself when I got home and was startled to see I was down to 139 pounds, a weight I can honestly say I don't ever remember seeing, even in high school when I was playing soccer every day. 139 pounds is an unhealthy low and I spent the next couple days packing on weight to get myself back up to a more healthy 145. I started lifting weights again as well, which has been a lot of fun. I destroyed my legs doing squats and that put me on the sideline of any cardio training for a few days. But I am feeling great now.

So the title of this post is Aluminum Man. What is the Aluminum Man? Well, talking with my buddy we realized that over the past few years we have done the running and biking portions of the Ironman. A few years back we backpacked 27 miles in a day. While we certainly weren't running and it did take us a good portion of the day, we were carrying close to 70 pounds on our backs. And just two weekends ago we did 114 miles of biking. The only thing left is the 2.4 mile swim.

Looking at that, we decided to come up with a half iron man we could do back to back in a single day. 1.1 miles of swimming, 57 miles of biking, and 13.1 miles of running. I devised a way we could do this self-contained and dubbed it the Aluminum Man (Iron's atomic number is 26, aluminum is 13). We would take off from my house, go to the B&A, ride around the BWI Loop four times then come back to my house. From there we would leave our bikes, switch into running clothes and run down East West to the B&A and follow that all the way south to the Naval Academy Bridge. Once there we would jump in the Severn River and swim 1.1 miles northward to the other bridge and exit there.

The reasoning behind this route is that we are never very far away from water or food. If we coordinate it well, we can park a car at the airport loop with food and water. Each lap, if we needed it, we could go to the car and get fresh water and/or food before continuing. Of course we can refill when we get back to my house. The run is a bit different. We might need a swag biker to stay with us with a backpack full of food and water that we can use as we run south. At the swimming point we can have another car to change in, refuel, and then have a canoe accompany us across the river for safety. Once there we can have the canoe-ist take us back across the river to the car and call it a day.

We are planning this for this time next year. I know the biking portion will be simple and I have confidence in my swimming ability. The only question will be the running, but if we give ourselves a full year of training, I see this being very very doable.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

114 miles of the C&O canal

Well, that was an adventure. Saturday morning I went and grabbed Eric from his parents house at about 630am and headed up to Cumberland, MD, which is where the C&O Canal officially "ends". Of course, we would be using that as a starting point. The drive to Cumberland is amazing. Rolling across mountains with spectacular views and through the sides of mountains that were blasted in half to make the road.

Anyways, we arrived in Cumberland and found a parking deck which was free for the weekend. We had to park on the top level, the only "public" parking level and we set ourselves to prepping our bikes and getting our gear in order. The first thing was stripping and putting on our bike shorts and chamois cream... something neither of us have used before. We had a good laugh at eachother rubbing that shit all over....
And then we headed out to find the canal. It started right on the edge of town.

And then we started off. Our original goal of 124 miles to harper's ferry meant the half way point would be in a small town called Hancock which promised a bike shop (if we needed any more tubes) and a good lunch. The quarter way point was a rather long tunnel built for the canal called the Paw Paw Tunnel. We decided it would be best to take short breaks every 15 miles or so, and since we started off at a good clip, this was great. Unfortunately, by the end of the ride, these 15 mile breaks would cease and we would stop at every water pump we came across.

So, 30 miles in we reached the paw paw tunnel. A few years ago Eric and I did a bit of a crazy hike around these parts and we were looking forward to doing this tunnel again. We stopped there and ate a power bar and had some water before riding through the pitch black tunnel.

And the other side of the tunnel is spectacular. There is a wooden boardwalk that cuts through the mountain with the canal on one side.

With another 30 miles to go until lunch, we took off. During this next stretch we saw many deer and, even cooler, a single black bear running along the drained canal.  By the time I could come to a stop to take out the camera, he was already in the trees on the other side.  About 20 miles later we hopped off the C&O canal and onto the Western Maryland Rail Trail, a 22 mile paved course similar to the B&A I ride all the time. Unfortunately, this trail was uphill all the way to Hancock and there was no water, at all, on the route. I was dumb and skipped a previous water stop, so I had to push through 11 miles with absolutely no water. It was terrible.  Fortunately, this rail trail does shave 5 miles off the canal.

Eventually we made it to Hancock. The pleasant town I was expecting was... not so pleasant. In fact, it was hardly a town at all. More like a few gas stations and that was it. We grabbed a sandwich from Sheetz, a bottle of gatorade, and some bananas and snacked down.

 There was a bum passed out where we wanted to go eat.  We didn't see him until we sat down and thought he was dead.  We checked him breathing then left him alone.  From the bottle of vodka in that blue bag... I think he was sleeping off a rather heavy drinking night.

After we left Hancock, we continued on the Western Maryland Rail Trail until it connected back to the C&O around 70 miles in.  Surprisingly, I didn't even notice we had done a metric century... wish I would have taken a picture.  Oh well.

And then we hit a wall.  Both of us were fatigued.  We slowed our pace down considerably.  I got a stitch in my side and had to pull off for a few minutes to get it out.  When we jumped back on the bike we caught a second wind and upped our pace.  By mile 80-ish we knew, due to daylight, our goal of 124 miles was out of the question.  We called our parents to figure out where to get picked up sooner.  We knew we wanted to get a full 100 miles in and the next closest town after that was Shepherdstown, West Virginia at mile 73 on the canal.  Unfortunately... somewhere along the way, we hit a detour.  Apparently the canal towpath had washed out and we had to head across mountainous side roads.  Up and down hills for 10 miles is not something we looked forward to. 

Eventually the detour reconnected with the C&O and we pushed out the remaining 12 miles or so.  As we hit the 73 mile signpost we saw an opening ahead that would lead to a parking lot where we expected to meet Eric's parents.

And then... after 114 miles of biking over the course of 11 hours.  After dodging potholes and limbs.  After accidently rolling off the side of the towpath and having to bunny hop over a log.  After all that... I freaking fell.  I was drafting Eric as we got to the parking lot and he made a sharp turn to get around a signpost.  I saw it at the last second and slammed on my breaks.  I missed the sign, but with no speed and starting up a hill, and absolutely no power left in my legs, I just fell over.  Feet still clipped in.  Damn.

We went home, I took a bath, ate as much as I could consume and swiftly fell asleep.

Some other random pictures from the trip:

So... the August 150 is officially cleared and done.  my goal of 400 miles for August is nowhere near complete, but I don't think I will be biking much this week.  114 miles on a mountain bike... not bad, not bad at all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

C&O canal this weekend

The guy that came down and road into Annapolis a few weekends ago and I are heading out to Cumberland tomorrow morning to start the 185 mile ride into Washington DC. On day 1 we are hoping to make it to Point of Rocks, which is just 10 miles or so south of both our parents houses. We are going to get picked up and spend the night at my parent's house and then get dropped back off in the morning to continue the ride.

On day 1 we are hoping to do 136 miles, which will more than double my longest ride. The only saving fact is there are enough places to bail out that if we don't make it, then we aren't stranded int he middle of nowhere. I am hoping to wake up and get up to Cumberland to start the ride at 7:30am, which would put us in Hancock for lunch. There is also a small bike shop that we can restock if we need to.

I am hoping to make it to Harper's Ferry for dinner... this is where my mom and I rode to about a month or two ago. If we make it that far, we will call my parents to come scoop us at Point of Rocks, a 12 mile bike ride away.

I am a bit of an analyzer... if there is any data I can scrounge up, I will use it to make out some form of... form. So, while I can promise you on Sunday I will return with "the best laid plans of mice and men..." but in the meantime... if we keep an average pace of 12 mph... this will be our timing schedule.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Performance Sale

Though I doubt it means much to anybody that reads this but Chesapeake Sailor, Performance Bike has just opened a new location in Columbia, MD. Since I worked early this morning, I was able to go over there around noon and picked up some awesome stuff for "dirt" cheap.

I bought a Blue jersey for myself, a red jersey for my wife, a chain cleaner, cycling shorts (finally), 2 tubes, and a pair of sunglasses.

Total was about $150.

The markdowns were this:
Shorts: $45 down to $25
Blue Jersey: $45 down to $30
Red Jersey: $55 down to $35
Chain Cleaner: $35 down to $20
Tubes 2 at $6 down to $2
Glasses: $70 down to $30

And on top of all that, you get an extra 15% off!

Check out more of their deals here

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ram's Head for Dinner + Garmin Goals

Yesterday I had one of my good buds come down for a biking trip. He showed up around 3pm with his brother's beat up old mountain bike (a nice mountain bike... just old... and beat up) and we took off down to Annapolis. I rode my mountain bike as well. Not too much to report on the trip... we ate at a great little restaurant called Ram's Head, where we were able to sit out front with our bikes. We also did a short little tour of Annapolis... down by the city docks, around State Circle then church circle. All in all it was a great day.

Unfortunately I didn't turn off my gps until about 2 hours after I got home... so that is why the 2 and change trip reads at over 4 hours.

And as I mentioned in a previous post, I am using "Garmin Goals" to track both Phil's August 150 challenge and my own August 400 challenge.

Doing this is really simple...yet a bit underdeveloped. You go to Garmin Connect, click on Goals, click on New Goals, and then you get a bunch of drop down menus. Name of Goal? Activity Type (Cycling, Mountain biking, running, etc.)? Goal Type (Hours, Distance, Frequency, Calories)? Value of Goal (you put a number in... so for the August 150, I selected Distance then wrote in 150)? And then how long for you to reach your goal.

After that, any time you upload your gps files to Garmin Connect, your goal sheet automatically gets updated. See below for my progress.

Now there are a few problems I have with this program. First, you can not create goals for the past. So, for example, I started goal tracking the August 150 on August 3rd. It would not let me select August 1st for the start date, which means it wouldn't include the 10 mile mountain bike ride I did on Aug 2. Not really that big of a deal... but I can see it pissing off a person that rode a century on the first before making the goal.

Now the cool thing is it shows you "where you should be".

That is on the Dashboard of Garmin Connect. Basically all it is doing is dividing my goal by the number of days to complete the goal and drawing a line, but it does kinda motivate you to ride a bit everyday to make sure you are ahead. Surprisingly, I am almost at that line for my August 400.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Around Severn River

Today is such a nice day... went out for another ride.  Got down to Annapolis and realized I was close enough to work, I could stop by there and do something that I probably should've this morning.  Oh well...

Anyways, great ride and tomorrow a buddy is coming over to ride down to Annapolis for either a late lunch or dinner.  If he's up to it, I'll see if he has any interest in doing this loop again.

I didn't take too many pictures... these are of the Naval Academy's Stadium.

31 miles this afternoon and 10 this morning. I might just make the August 150!

Back down for some Coffee with the Wife

We did the same route as last weekend, and I think we are gonna make this a weekly thing... perhaps going a little farther each day. We did up our speed by 2 mph which was great, and I saw a coworker along the path as well. Good day! I am going to try another ride in this afternoon... beautiful weather!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Garmin Forerunner 310XT Giveaway

Head over to DC Rainmaker to check out the details!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I saw a deer do it, so can I!

As I previously posted today... starting tomorrow I will be working a lot. Too much. But I digress.

In order to get some frustrations out, I decided to push out to Kinder Farms, where I met Mike, a coworker. Mike is as serious of a biker as they come. He doesn't own a road bike, but has a few commuters and then his pride and joy, his Specialized full suspension mountain bike. This guy is absolutely insane.... rides to work every single day. Lightning, snow, sleet, hell, he rode home through a god damned hurricane. And every weekend he tears up Patapsco State Park, a rather highly technical path around here.

Anyways... we met at the entrance to Kinder Farms on East/West. He had told me stories about Kinder Farms, and I have to admit, I didn't believe him. I had rode through there enough time to know all the paths... and nothing he ever said held much weight with what I knew.

So... let me tell you... this man is not a liar. He took me along paths I was familiar with and then out of nowhere he starts cutting through these hairpin turns along single tracks that were completely overgrown and covered with briars. During a water break he said, "Now up here ahead there was something I wanted to check out. I saw a deer do it, so hell, I figure so can I!"

And then he took off through brambles and down a path that Crocodile Dundee couldn't navigate.

I turned around and high-tailed it around to where I thought he would come out. And there he was, plowing through tree limbs and underbrush only to come flying out the other side completely covered in mud and leaves.

Needless to say, he showed me just about everything Kinder Farms has to offer. We did about 6 miles while inside the park... through fields, streams, a small water reservoir, over hills, around a cemetery, through a pig pen.

Here is Mike with his bike.
From Biking the Bay

Oh... and I know a lot of the people that follow this blog are riding to lose weight (along with enjoying biking). Mike has lost a ton of weight in the last year. He doesn't keep track of anything (miles, speed, weight), but here he is at last year's Bike to Work event.

From BiketoWork2009

Damn awesome if you ask me!

12.93 miles today... and probably the last time I'll be on my bike during the work week.

Goodbye August Goals...

Work implemented mandatory 12 hour work days for this month, including some weekends. Goodbye August goals.... I might be able to pull off Phil's August 150 challenge if I can get out some long rides on the weekends.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Down for Coffee

Woke up this morning and realized it was absolutely beautiful. So the wife and I drove down to the B&A (She still is uncomfortable on the roads), parked the car and headed south along the B&A. We made it to a cute little coffee shop that sits right next to the trail, grabbed some coffee and sat on their back deck to enjoy it.

After that we returned back to the car and stopped at Panera for lunch. Unfortunately, I am now sitting at work and probably will be for another 4 hours. :/

And with today being the last day of the July150, I am proud to say I ended up with 165 miles. Not bad considering how few days I actually rode. I am shooting for 400 for August, which should motivate me to get out and ride right from the start. I made it a "goal" on Garmin Connect, so I am excited to see how that works!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

So this is what it looks like when you press "Start/Stop" instead of "Lap"

Got a side cramp on the jog out, walked back. I did try a sprint there at the end just to see how fast I could actually move. ~11-12 mph. I can't believe people can run that fast for an entire marathon.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lunch jog

Well, decided to go for a jog at lunch. Not much to report. The Forerunner 305 is a freaking awesome device and the transition to jogging with it was simple. Navigate the menu to switch from Cycling to Running (three button presses) and the screen then showed my Time, Pace (minutes per mile), Heart Rate, and Distance. The distance started out in feet then switched to miles at the 0.5 mile mark.

I only jogged two miles today. A warm-up walk to the road I jog on, a mile jog, a small walk to stretch, a mile jog, then the cooldown walk back to work. These were easily distinguished via the Lap button on the face of the watch. Whenever I got to a new transition, I just hit the lap button and it logged that location to monitor.

I have to admit I wasn't really in the mood to run and it can show with the speed. I am beginning to question my abnormally high heart rate a little bit more. I have my cardiologist appointment coming up somewhat soon and I am looking forward to discussing my fitness with my cardiologist. I haven't seen him since I took up biking last year and he has never ever seen me after running.

Monday, July 26, 2010


(And yes, Kungfoo, this is ripped from knightly)

Sunday I went crabbin. Unfortunately, due to my old high school buddy being a dumbass and not showing up, it was just me and one other friend. We didn't get out to the docks until about noon... which is not only the worst time to go crabbing (mid day) but also the damn hottest. And we had to deal with a full dock, so we could only place a half dozen chicken neck lines. :( We only lasted an hour before we were completely dehydrated and called it a day.

We caught about a dozen crabs, though only 5 of them were keepers. So... here are some pics of the cooking!

And yes, they were delicious. The third and fourth shows the seasoning... a mixture of Old Bay and J.O. Seasoning.
We think we are going to make this a weekly thing. $6 to get into the park and if we get there early I am sure we can catch a few dozen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The $21M Photo + July 15 done

Decided today to head on out to Gibson Island. Left home at 6:30-ish. Gibson Island is a small little island on the Chesapeake Bay. Strangely enough, it is the #12 most expensive zip code to live in in the entire United States. It is a gated community, so I couldn't even make it there... and the road signs pointed it out quite clearly.

And as you approach it, the smell of water is great. Truth be told, I have really shown very few photos of the bay, considering the title of this blog is "Biking the Bay". So here is the Bay Bridge (along with the road that takes you onto Gibson Island:

The guard tower is just slightly to the right. I actually got yelled at for taking that picture... he thought I was photographing one of his precious residents. Anyways... I titled this the $21M dollar photo...so here it is.

Doesn't look all that impressive, right? Just a picture of 7 houses. Well, considering the average price of a house on the island is over $3 million dollars... that right there is a picture of $21 million dollars.

Anyways... I did 29 miles tonight, which officially puts me over the July 150 challenge. So yay for that!

But now a question for you all. According to my garmin, I burned 1593 calories on this ride. I am exhausted. I was equally as exhausted yesterday. My guess is it has to do with my food intake. I haven't changed my eating habits in years. I eat for breakfast(throughout the course of the morning until lunch) some greek yogurt, a banana, and a bit of cheese. For lunch I have a sandwich of either turkey or salami on wheat bread with cheese, tomato, and onion, an apple and some grapes. Dinners usually vary, but some meat and carbs. I don't know. I think I need to get some more food in me. Haha, or I'm just weak and looking for excuses for tiredness.

Riding up to the BWI Loop

I headed out last night for a ride back up the B&A. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I don't very much enjoy the northern side of the B&A. I was planning on turning around where the B&A dead ends, but about 100 yards before there some punk ass decided to play chicken with me. I was barreling down at a semi-brisk pace and this guy, riding a kid's bike, stayed on my side of the path while coming at me. I yelled at him to move over, but he just stared at me. At the last second I bunny hopped off the side of the path and turned around. He stopped and stared me down. Fuck it... so I just kept on going. I decided a run in with him probably wasn't the smartest idea, so I kept on riding to the BWI loop. I turned around right at where it "started", and headed on back home via East/West. Not wanting to get caught inside Kinder Farms, I didn't do that and was back home in no time.

On an unrelated note, somebody deleted my data for the July 150, so I had to re-input it all again. Glad I've been keeping track1

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garmin Forerunner 305

After spending some time looking at different GPS devices, I decided the best idea for me would be to go with the Forerunner 305. Considering I've been running as well, it made sense for me to get something that would easily transition between running and biking. And, in my opinion, the Forerunner 305 is the best bang for the buck.

The Forerunner 305 comes packaged with a heart rate monitor (which sells for $60 alone) and for extra cash, you can purchase the Cadence/Speed adapter.

I purchased it from Best Buy for a total of $154 after taxes. In the box is the actual GPS unit, a usb to mini-usb cable, a mount for charging/uploading, the power supply (which is connected to the mount via the usb cable), the heart rate monitor, and the paperwork and software.

I let it sit on the charger for four hours before pulling it off. The recommended charging time was three hours, but I never got a "Charging Complete" message so I was hesitant to pull it off. That being said, after scouring through the documentation, I don't think there is said warning... so I think I am safe. Unfortunately, by that time it was too late to take it for a run so I simply configured it.

The configuration was incredibly easy. You turn it on by holding down a button on the side and then you go through simple questions. "Do you own a heart rate monitor?" "Do you own a foot pad?" "Do you own a cadence?" "What is your age/weight/sex?" etc.

All in all, the setup took about 45 seconds before I could have been using it. Unfortunately, by that time it was 10:45 at night, so I couldn't do much else.

This morning, however, I worked on the configuration screens.

You can choose how many data sets are on the screen, up to four. For biking I chose Time, Speed, Distance, and heart rate. You can configure more screens, (Up to 5 I believe), so if I wanted to also see what my max speed, lap speed, lap time, etc. was, I could configure those for a different screen, at which point pressing the up or down arrows on the side of the unit would take me to those screens.

I strapped the heart rate monitor on this morning and off I went for a small little ride. I wanted to make it back with plenty of time to download the software and upload my ride.

Satellite acquisition took about 45 seconds, which was exactly how long it took me to lock my front door, put my keys away, walk my bike down the stairs and check to see the satellite status. (It is a progress bar that, when filled, means you have satellites). Reading about the product on various other reviews have stated that after awhile, the satellites pick up faster if you stay in the same general area (i.e. not going to a different state). To start recording you simply hit the Start/Stop button on the device.

While riding it was great. I didn't purchase the bike mount, so I simply wore it on my wrist. Surprisingly, I didn't even notice it. I'm not gonna lie, the device is rather large. The screen is the width of two fingers and about an inch (2.34 cm) long. The whole unit is probably double that size.

But, what makes that good, is that you can actually read the damn thing. A quick glance up and I know how far I've gone, how long it has taken, what speed I am going, and what my heart rate is.

Once I got back home, I simply hit the start/stop button and took it off.

Downloading the software was a breeze. It comes packaged with Garmin's home made tracking tool which auto-detects any rides/runs you have done and uploads them. But I wasn't that interested in that... I wanted to check out Garmin Connect.

So I went to Garmin Connect, registered, downloaded a plugin, and that auto-detected my device, uploaded my routes, and I was done.

So... wihtout further ado, my very first Garmin Connect upload. (ok, it was the second. Apparently last night I hit "Start" while walking around in the apartment, so I have about 10 seconds of me standing still).

A few interesting things about that.

First off, click the "View Details" button to go to the actual garmin site. You can then see my speed vs time, elevation vs distance, and heart rate vs time graphs. You can also see my route, max and average speeds, times, device, etc.

The first thing I noticed was my heart rate. Admittedly, my heart is a bit of a dysfunctional piece of crap. Due to a birth defect and heart surgery, my heart rate is high and erratic. But, I do believe a heart rate of 260-ish would even kill me. So something was screwy for the first few minutes with the heart rate. The second thing is the elevation. I don't quite now exactly what occurs when you say you want "Elevation Corrections" enabled, but it was and I am impressed by the data output. You can zoom in and out on any of the graphs to make out the changes a bit more.

But the last thing that I found interesting was the mapping. I am guessing it takes a gps reading about every 2 seconds. If you zoom in on the first intersection (Kenora and Old Mill), you will see it clips the corner of the road off. I was going fairly quickly through that corner (no cars and there is a good 10 foot shoulder there) so it was interesting that that happened. On the return trip I went through the 7-11 there.

Anyways, I am really liking this device. I have a $35 credit to Hudson Trail Outfitters, so I am going to check to see if they have anything neat to go with it (perhaps the cadence sensor)!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

First Ride with SPP

Thanks to Chesapeake Sailors post regarding his bike club, the Severna Park Peloton, I decided to sign up for their email list. I found out they were doing two rides this morning, both originating along the B&A at East West. I decided to tag along with them down to the Annapolis docks for breakfast.

I rode out to the meeting point a bit earlier to give myself a moment to rest before starting the trek with them. I was the first one there

Shortle thereafter another guy showed up and we started chatting and by the designated start time, about 23 people were there, including a tandem bike couple. I introduced myself to everybody and they were all very friendly. We took off at 0730, a majority of us to go down to Annapolis and the rest to go to Ellicott City.

It was great! We were cruising along at about 18 mph, which was very easy when your riding in a group and can draft. At some point, we took a side road along a broken pavement road. The leader of the group asked if we wanted to do hills. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of saying yes. Let me tell you something. When a guy whose legs look like this:

asks you if you want to do hills, it is 100% acceptable to say "no". Needless to say, I tried my hardest to keep up (though I got dropped rather immediately), but he was nice enough to turn around (after he already finished the 2-ish miles of pure hills, ride BACK UP and down the hills to find me, and then turn around and lead me BACK UP the hills he had already done...twice.

Great guy.

Anyways... we made it down to the city docks where we enjoyed some coffee and bagels before getting back on the ride.
Our bikes outside Aromi d'Italia:

The view outside the store:

Anyways, we took off for the return trip. Once again some people split off to take another route home (Crownsville, which was the way I got to work about a month ago) while me, the leader, and two other guys went back along the B&A.

Great ride and I am looking forward to doing it again... minus the "hills"!

Tack on 33.7 miles for the July 150 challenge. Not much more to go!