Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Paris Mountain trail video

I came across these videos on Youtube. They are of a relaxed ride through a couple of the mountain bike trails in the Paris Mountain State Park. Enjoy!

The last time I tried to record a ride on the trails I think I shook my camera into stupidity because I couldn't get the video to convert. Seeing this makes me want to give it another try. Maybe if I use a demo bike from Sunshine instead of my old rattle-trap, I'll be able to make it without all the shaking!

I'd love to give better credit to the guy who recorded this, but he hasn't responded to me yet. I think it would be cool if we both went and recorded together. I'm also interested in knowing what camera he is using.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What goes up... gets to come down

Here is a video of the downhill on the Furman side of Altamont Road. I'm sure there are people who could make this much more interesting by letting it all hang out on the descent. I'm just not one of them!

Looks like it takes me around 4 minutes to go down the road. Right after this video I climbed back up and it took about 13 minutes.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Putting the fun back into riding

Tonight about 15 of us headed on a ride that would ultimately take us over Paris Mountain. Our Thursday night ride always seems to draw us like flies to the lantern that is Altamont Road. It was a good, fast group. It was going to be fun.

The story is very much the same as every other time we do this ride. Everyone just kind of "hangs out" until we get to the base of Altamont on the Furman side. We get there about 10 miles into the ride. Maybe later in the year we'll start adding to the beginning portion of the ride by going around Furman.

We started off the climb with Boyd Johnson and Bob leading us out. Boyd I knew could cruise up. Bob was kind of surprising me. I knew he was riding better than I had ever seen him ride, but to keep up with Mr. Johnson would be impressive.

The funny thing that happened to me is that I was working to maintain a reasonable 10 mph average up to the water tower. Once past it and into the first left turn I accelerated to pick up some time. I looked down at my Garmin and saw 158.

"Wow!" I thought to myself, "I'm doing pretty well to have my heart rate at 158 bpm at this point in the climb. This is going to be good!" Not long after that, I looked down again and realized I had been looking at my average speed and not my heart rate! The new arrangement of the data panel had thrown me off. I located the heart rate data cell and saw 186 bpm!

Oh well, might as well give it a try. Maybe I could concentrate and recover a bit and still salvage to decent time. I started spinning and laid back some. I reached the halfway point in about 6 minutes and 10 seconds. My average speed was above 11 mph.

I kept climbing along keeping an eye on Boyd and Bob. Not long after this, Art came by me and I had a third rider to keep an eye on. Then I started slowing once I reached the dreaded blue power box. Bob and I had started see-sawing back and forth around this time and then he went back in front.

The three guys stayed in front of me until we reached The Wall. At first I gained just a little on Art and Boyd (though I am certain the DLP rider was just taking it easy) and then the gap firmed. Bob and I rode along side-by-side for a bit and then I pulled away.

Turns out Art finished just behind Boyd with a time of 12 minutes 50 seconds. I crossed the KOM line in 12 minutes 59 seconds. When we started talking about the climb, Art said he had already climbed the road twice today!

Down the other side the group split up. Some went on down and finished the ride with a straight shot off the mountain. Art, Mike, Bob, Doug, and I turned off onto some of the spurs that go off from and return to the main road. We ended up doing around 3000 feet of climbing.

It was fun. No pressure. Just getting on the bike and having fun with the guys. It was fun talking a bit about the Garmin 705. I handed the second one over to Matt and he is going to do some testing of the networking capabilities of the device.

I also learned that Boyd was going to be getting one as well as the CinQo power meter. I'll be interested to see how it turns out for him. He'll be keeping track of his training rides using the device. You can check it out at his team's Web site (Boyd's Data / DLP Racing)

Me? I've just got to recover before Saturday.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

The strategy matures

Well, it was time to do the mountain again. The over and back ride of Paris Mountain works out well as I race the sun. The distance and the time it takes to complete the ride makes it just right for a quick ride after work.

In my last post I talked about my plans to break the 12 minute mark for the climb up the Furman side of Altamont Road. Tonight I decided to tweak my approach to some of the sections to see what would happen.

As I started up the CVS side of the mountain, I could see two riders up ahead. I pushed a little on the initial climb to try to catch them. I did just as we crested the Audobon wall.

Turns out it was my friend Chris and a friend of his named Steve. We rode together until we reached the last climb before the KOM. I was feeling good, so I picked it up a bit and crossed the top alone.

As I was zipping down the road I passed two guys going the opposite direction. They were on matching yellow bikes. I thought I recognized the bikes but didn't get a good look at the riders. My guess was that it was my nephew Chip and his friend Anthony.

I wondered if maybe I could reach the bottom, get turned around, and catch them before they reached the top. Once I continued on my way, I realized that might not be possible. Regardless, I didn't rest any at the base, but just turned around and hit it at speed.

My plan was to do the first section a bit faster than last week. I accomplished that with a time of 2:46 (last ride's time - 3:08). I was sitting on a 22 second gain.

In the next section, the water tower climb, I planned to ease off and recover. No use wearing myself out in a section where I traditionally wear down. I finished the section with a time of 1:25 (last ride's time - 1:15). My time gained was now 12 seconds.

I knew that the next section could be a good one, so I just tried to find a rhythm that would allow me to maintain some good speed. Wow, did I ever. I averaged over 11 mph for the section finishing with a time of 2:11 (last ride's time - 2:31). My time gained now jumped to 32 seconds.

I finished the first half in 6:22 (last ride's time - 6:54).

Hey, things were looking good. I knew that the next section didn't break up very well. The terrain was just a continual climb. I again tried to find a sustainable rhythm, but started to lose it 2:41 in.

I tried to recover as much as possible without giving away too much. I reached the 15 mph sign 2:49 later. My total for that section was 5:30 (last ride's time - 5:27). Not as bad as I thought it would be. I was still holding a 29 second gain.

Now it was time for the wall. After passing the sign marker, I continued at about the same speed and finally increased my cadence after turning the curve. Then I realized I was standing for the first time during the entire climb. I stood and shifted two gears harder. It was time to try to gain some time.

I didn't look at my computer, I just kept pushing. I knew my heart rate was going to come close to my max by the time I reached the KOM. It was time to put up. Whew, I was done! Problem is, I had no idea how fast I had climbed. Because I was breaking the climb into laps, I didn't have a full time.

Chip and Anthony were at the top. They asked me how I thought I did. I figured I must have hit right at 14 minutes or just slightly below. I couldn't wait to get home to find out!

I followed the guys down the mountain to the CVS where they had parked. I then continued on home. The sunset at that moment was beautiful! It was almost 6:15 at that point. There was still plenty of light in the atmosphere. I made it home with no problems.

Now I'm looking at the time for the wall and see I did the final sprint in 1:39. My heart rate hit 189 (not quite my max) just as I reached the KOM. Last ride I did that section in 1:46. I picked up 7 seconds. Let's see... that was a total time gain for the ride of 36 seconds.

I finished the climb in 13:31. The second half totaled 7:09 (last ride's time - 7:14). Not bad... a little under a minute off of my best time. It is working very well to take this one section at a time. So, from here I have 91 seconds to shave off to get down to 12 minutes.

There is no doubt I can get 20 seconds of that time off the first half of the ride. If I can knock off 22 seconds, it would put me going through the halfway point in 6 minutes even. It is that second half that is going to be the challenge.

I still think I can knock some more seconds off of the wall (I would like to do it in under 1:30), but I believe the key is going to be the long slog between the midway point and the 15 mph sign marker. Could I possibly gain 60 seconds in that section?

Wow, this post got long. Sorry about that. This is just the kind of thing that really interests me. I'm sure I will have some off days, but I would like to see a little improvement each time I go out.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Planning for the mountain

I've set goals for this season. One of those goals is to get a sub-twelve minute climb of the Furman side of Paris Mountain. Today I started planning for that goal.

My idea was to climb the mountain and break it into sections. The goal for the ride was not to get a personal record, but to give it a good push. Here is how it worked out.

I rode over the mountain from the CVS side. After a short rest I started up hitting my lap button at the "attack" sign painted on the road. The first mark would be the water tower.

Start to water tower: distance .5 miles / time 3:08 / avg. mph 9.6

Water tower to first curve: distance .18 miles / time 1:15 / avg. mph 8.7

First curve to half marker: distance .43 miles / time 2:31 / avg. mph 10.2

Time for first half: 6:54

Half marker to 15 mph sign: distance .82 miles / time 5:27 / avg. mph 9

The Wall: distance .26 miles / time 1:46 / avg. mph 8.7

Time for second half: 7:13

Total time for climb: 14:07

Soooo, what does this all mean? It means I have to trim off 2:07 to reach a sub-twelve minute climb. Seems kind of hard, doesn't it? Well, remember, I have made the climb in 12:39.

The key, I believe, is the last .26 miles. Even today's ride could have been better. As I stood and shifted to make the last push up the wall, my gears started slipping. Besides being very annoying, it caused me to lose momentum. When all is said and done, I would like to lop off at least 15 to 20 seconds on this section.

This is going to be the biggest challenge I've set for myself. I'm determined to get it though.