Knowing When To Say When

All the disciplines of endurance cycling have their own key aspects to success, be it packing right for the Tour Divide,  the right support team and program for RAAM,  tolerance for the usually crazy weather on Trans Iowa, the ability to pedal alone for 4200 miles of the Trans-Am Race.  They all have some unifying factors such as training, fitness, mental toughness, etc, but there is one true common denominator:

Knowing when to say when.

Ending your bid at an endurance sport attempt isn’t a failure. Carrying on past your limits into the danger zone can cause catastrophic results. Physical injuries, mental health issues, or worse.  You can end up too injured to carry on training or riding for an extended period of time, which happened to a good friend during his bid to finish the Trans-Wisconson some years back.  He eventually recovered from nerve damage in his hands (a common injury in endurance riding), and went on to finish the Tour Divide in 2015.  In my experience it’s tough to gauge the severity of hand numbness while on an intense ride, but had he pulled the plug earlier at TW the need for being off the bike so long could have been avoided. Just an example, sorry to bring up hard times, SF.

Know whether you are running in the red or running into a wall.

Today Greg Gleason pulled the plug on his Tour Divide. Greg is a beast of an endurance athlete, a Salsa Cycles sponsored rider with an inspiring story, Trans Iowa wins*, and more. He was having a number of problems including neck and breathing (not un-common issues in these races), and recognized that it would be a much better idea to face the facts rather than attempt to pedal through these maladies any further.  His Tour Divide was over for 2017, and he will go on to tackle the race in 2018.

It was an emotional moment for Greg, which he shared via video on social media, but he was resolute that this was the right move and he will be back next year.  That is a winning moment. I, for one, am going to miss watching the “GG” dot at Trackleaders, but you can bet that he will be back in Banff next June and all of us Gleasonites will be eagerly watching him work his magic.  In the beginning of the race he was in the lead ahead of Josh Kato, Brian Lucido (current leader), and Stephan, and killing it. I believe had it not been for this breathing and neck issue he could have pulled a top 5 finish, if not better. But Greg is a smart rider and knew it was time to pull the plug, and that is the true mark of a pro. Thank you, Greg, for being a bad ass, a great guy, an inspiration, and self aware enough to keep safe. Your family, and your cycling family, will appreciate seeing your future exploits!

Sam

CNB

*Greg took second place at TIV13 this year, which may been first had he not insisted on riding his Tour Divide rig for the whole thing. Greg, using TI for loaded GDMBR training. Whoa. Beast Mode.

A Bum Deal

I recently slipped and fell on my ass.  I mean literally, not the usual figurative ass falling that um…befalls me…once in a while.  It seemed like just a little inconvenient bruise, and

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The GT v1.2

after just two days of resting it I decided that it was time to go for a test ride on the old GT touring frame I had just finished building up.  It was a fun ride, just a scant 28 miles out to the Cumming Tap and back, that helped work out some ideas to fix the bugs still going on within the build. I even kept an average speed of 17.6 mph, which is about 4 mph faster than my former normal pace.  It seems the weight loss has been working wonders there.  My tail bone was seemingly fine, I had been taking Ibuprofen to help with any inflaming, and of course I had a few libations at the Tap.  My legs felt great, my backside wasn’t doing to bad, and it was a beautiful night to ride. Good Times.

Ever since that day, I have been in more pain. I was told to rest it, but laying on the couch just makes me a grouch (my twitter account will show that), and that actually makes my back strain a lot worse.  Best thing to do is stand up, stay on your feet, I read.  I did that for a few days, to no avail. I have tried riding, sticking to just putzing around the East Village, and that’s ok, but the ass hatchet Fizik I’ve got on this GT doesn’t have a lot to offer someone in the course of tailbone relief.  Riding hurts. It’s not happening. I’ve been trying to keep my spirits up and my diet in tact, it’s so easy to fall back into bad eating habits when you’re injured.  I had just recently reached a plateau in my weight loss, and was ready to put in some hefty amounts of endurance miles to start burning off the rest of this chub chub I had built up over the last few years. I’m cool with staying where I’m at, though. I’m still feeling 200% healthier than just a few months back.

I know this is a long-term recovery injury, but I’m going fucking out of my mind not riding.  It’s JUNE, FFS! It’s the actual cycling season! I’ve got so many miles to ride, so much camping/dirt bagging to do, so many bikes to break! I just feel like this injury keeps feeling worse, and so do I as I contemplate how long I won’t be riding bikes. Time to grab some shop towels to mop up my crocodile tears.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a little difficult to see right now.

CNB

Good Intentions Tour Day 2

It’s time for my annual high Intentions, low producing bike tour over the holiday weekend.  This year I had planned about 350-400 miles between Friday and Tuesday. 

Day 1: I slept. 

Day 2: Catering delivery/pickup  in Huxley. The Tandem is in the Van, and it’s storming out. Probably won’t get to ride much.


If the weather permits, we have about 5 hours to ride from Huxley to the Trestle Bridge and back. Like 3 times. 
CNB

The Unbearable Lightness Of Getting Personal

I’ve been a busy boy lately and have not had a chance to pollute the internet with my every thought on life, cycling, and cycling for life.  Here’s a short synopsis on what has been going down:

The Stoker has officially signed on as stoker, and has been enjoying our rides. The Stoker even enjoyed our super hilly, yet super short, ride this past Sunday down in southern Iowa.  I enjoyed The Stoker’s mother’s vegan cooking. Everyone wins! I’ll have more Tandem Tails for you sometime…

My favorite realtor in the world found me the perfect house, my offer was accepted, I spent my weekend talking about said house and planning/shopping/contacting contractors about changes to be made.  I was not happy with how some of the deal was being handled by the selling party, so I am no longer going to buy said house. I will be staying in the EV for the time being, so that’s cool I guess.

I’ve lost about 40lbs on the “Eat Vegan, Drink Water, Be Merry” plan and it has shown in my cycling. My average speed is way up, but my endurance needs a lot of work. I suppose once I get over how cool it is to be able to ride faster again, I’ll kick it down a half a notch and ride the distances.  Fun.

I’ve set a readily achievable 100 mile per week goal for riding right now. I’m hoping as the months go along that I can start getting closer to the 170-225 range for training. I haven’t set an annual number because I’m way behind where I would like to be, and I really didn’t give two shits about recording miles for the first few months of the year. I’m sure it will all work out fine, as I’m actually able to enjoy my saddle time now instead of the extreme discomfort of trying to ride when my health was at its deepest valley.

I have some more writing to do about the switch to Vegan, especially for those of you who have commented or contacted me about wanting more information.

That’s about all the time I have for today. Thanks for reading!

Sam

CNB

 

Trans Iowa 13: Soggy Bottoms

I am not on Trans Iowa today, dropped out for non-weather related reasons, but part of me wishes I was out there getting wet and cold and smiling through it with those that are still on course. Good Speed to those still out there slogging away towards CP2, and great job to those that toed the line but made the choice to pull the plug before things went really bad for them. It’s very tough mentally to know when to say when, as part of you will always want to drive on, but you have to shut that side up when it comes to safety. I’ve seen friends go well past when they should have stopped, and it hurt them (nerve damage, hypothermia, etc). It’s no joke. Dropping out isn’t a dishonorable thing, especially when you are slated to ride 300 miles of gravel.

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My Salsa Vaya on Trans Iowa 8

Riders should start rolling into CP2 sometime tonight, then it’s on to the finish line in Grinnell. What a crazy, shitty day to be having fun on bikes. I am speculating that there will be very few people to make CP2 and even fewer finishers.  There were 48 racers left after CP1, and as of 1:30 pm all 48 were still around, but the field is coming to a point where the tail winds will be turning into head winds for the rest of the race.  That, the rain, the muck, the cold, and the hills will be kicking the field’s ass even more.

Dan Hughes and Greg Gleason are in the lead as of this writing, and they have been maintaining a 15mph average (?!?!?!) in this weather.  There are another three who have fallen back from the original leaders group, but are chasing. That group is evidently stopping for some dinner in (town redacted).

Thanks to some approved inside info, I will be seeing you at CP2!

Sam

CNB