2011 El Tour de Tucson Ride Report

Last Saturday, me and a few friends from the next town over went up to Tucson and participated in the 2011 El Tour de Tucson 111 mile ride.

The weather was great for a long day on the bike. It was probably in the upper 50s to lower 60s and overcast for the entire ride.

The group of us were riding together, but eventually one-by-one we got separated and then I was riding solo for probably the last 45ish miles. It stunk to not have anyone I knew to ride with, but during that period of time, I tried to work on my drafting/group riding skills. There were a couple of times where I was pacing with a group at 25+ mph and that definitely helped keep me going.

This was my first organized ride that featured this such a distance and this many people. Apparently there were over 8,000 people who entered the various length rides. Even though I was out there by myself, I wasn’t out there by myself if you catch my drift. Being out there with that many people and that distance I had a few concerns.

  1. What would I do if someone in front of me crashed?
  2. See # 1.
  3. Would I run out of food?
  4. Would I be able to make it the whole way?

Well.. no one crashed right in front of me, but there were people who had crashed at some point in time and there was some carnage. One guy was bloodied, being put into a sling, and doing the moan-groan thing.

I didn’t run out of food. I actually feel like I had TOO MUCH food. I had like 5 Honey Stinger waffles, 3 Honey Stinger chews, 6 Oreos at one of the aid stations, and as far as hydration I had 3 bottles of Carbo Rocket then several bottles of water along the route.

I did make it the whole way, but not without some aches and pains. One area that I was particularly worried about, the male manly bits soft parts area, I did not have any issues with at all. No soreness, no chewed-uppage, and life was grand in the taint region for me (YAY!). Some areas that I wasn’t concerned with at all that gave me issues were my quads and my knee. About mile 75 I noticed that I had quite a bit of muscle fatigue. I was thinking that I would go the whole ride unscathed from muscle fatigue for some reason. I should have known better because I had never ridden any distance over 80 miles before. There were some climbs after mile 75 that got me out of the saddle and made me feel like my legs were going to just give up on me and leave me on the side of the road. Coupled with the muscle soreness, I started to get some pain on the inside of my right knee. The muscle fatigue and the knee pain started right around the same time. I don’t know if that is coincidence or just plain luck that they did.

The last 20 miles or so were pretty horrible for me because my legs were toast, my knee would hurt anytime I needed to unclip (stop light or aid station). My pace definitely fell a great bit from when I was pacing with a large group. I felt alone and defeated at this point. I pushed on and the last 3 or so miles I found someone to ride and talk with who was, like me, just trying to finish.

The finish line was a sight for sore eyes, legs, and knee. I was done physically, and done mentally. I would have never thought that it would also take mental toughness to complete an event like this. It definitely seemed like it would NEVER END.

I am glad that I had a great group to ride with even though we weren’t together the whole time. I feel accomplished and very proud of myself and everyone else that completed the ride.

Some things that I learned…

  1. Training is something that I probably should have done more of.
  2. Endurance is something that is gained over time.
  3. People with super expensive bikes don’t necessarily ride better. (ain’t this the truth it is about the engine not the bike)
  4. Being in the saddle for 6+ hours is a LONG TIME!
  5. One pedal stroke after the other will keep you going.

I finished the ride in 6:56:57:68 with right around 6:20 in the saddle between the stops, catching or waiting on the group, and aid stations.

Next year I will train and try to aim for a sub 6 hour time or better! Gotta have goals right?

Garmin Connect Ride Data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/129719980

Pictures taken by Mertie..thanks man!

Right before the start.Image

Right after the finish.Image

Receiving my medal.Image

It definitely was a great day and a lot was learned. I look forward to kicking butt next year!

Dearest Abs

Dearest Abs,

I have heard such great things about you, but I am just not sure if I can take the fact that you are always around but I can never see you.

What are you some sort of stalker or something? I think i can get over that though. Creepy is a little sexy after all right?

Hopefully one day we can have a face to face chat so I can know what you’re really all about.

I wouldn’t mind trading in the Flabby Belly in for some sexy abbifiication. Me and Flabby Belly have been together way too long and I think it is time for a change.

I look forward to seeing you soon, but just so you know I am not into monogamy I am seeing a lot of new friendly faces like Collar bones, Ribs, Quads, Triceps, Biceps, Pectorals, and a whole bunch of others too!

I don’t want you to think I am a floozie, but lately I have changed a lot and if you want, I can make room for you too.

Always in waiting,
-Mike

Bisbee 1000 Reportando

So yesterday I embarked on a journey that I had done before. This was the Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb.

It is a stair climb that navigates 9 stair cases, 1034 stairs, and 4.2 – 4.4ish miles (depending on how you’re tracking) and not really a 5k like the website states.

Essentially a week prior to doing the stair climb, I did a recon lap of the course solo and had a gamut of issues. I got lost several times, I had some stomach issues, my legs felt weak, and I really felt like I wouldn’t be able to top my previous year’s climb due to the problems that I had. Even with all the lostness and other problems, I figured that I would be able to finish in 1hr 15mins. That would be a pretty good pace, for me, and would allow for some walking if necessary.

A little background about some of the participants in this event who finish in the top 5 range anywhere from 30-35ish minutes. That is a pretty quick pace, and I knew that it wasn’t destined for me to get times that low. All I could do is hope and do my best to see what sort of time I would get on the big day.

So on the day of the climb I had some issues. I was just getting parked when a local business owner came by and asked me if I would give up my spot so that he would be able to park his van there and have signs for advertising posted. I was like yeah OK because this guy was nice and I actually had eaten at his restaurant the day of my recon run. He told me he had just left a spot in the dirt lot and I should be able to park there because he just had left. Well it turns out that I actually saw people who had parked in the spot that was supposed to be mine. Being a nice guy got me to have to find a new parking spot. Turns out that I had to drive waaaaay to the other side of Old Bisbee to park which was an extra .75-1 miles from the start and registration.

I park the car lock up and then go down and register. After registration I meet up with the wife and she asks me where the bag with the dog food, water, and my Carbo Rocket is…and I was like POOPITY POOP POP! I left it in the car. Now I have to go back to the car get the bag. I make the trek to get the bag pick it up, lock up the car again, and then I am off back down to the starting area. I made it back to the starting area with about 10 minutes left before the start. The bad news was is that now I had to pee…and not just a little bit. I was drinking my drink on the walk to the start and just happens that it pushed my bladder to the brink of explosionary pee pee time!

The line at the port-a-potties was really log and it took about 8 or so minutes for me to get in and done and back down to the start. I awaited on the side of the corrals to get ready for my phase to start. I enter the corral with my phase (actually started early…but whatever) turned my watch to the stopwatch setting and proceeded to pass over the timing mat. I pressed start and it didn’t do anything, so now I had to make a decision…do I figgle with it while I’m running in the beginning or do I just say Eff (that is French for a bad word) it and just go. I chose to go!

I passed a bunch of folks initially and then I looked down at my watch and adjusted it to the regular time and guesstimated how long I had been running (two minutes), and I based my timing on that then proceeded to the first set of stairs. As usual with things like this there are lines so you have to deal with the people that are faster and slower than you on the stairs. I knew what to expect from here on out because of the recon run I did the week before. I finish stair sets 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 then onto 7. Stair case 7 is on this weird road called Perely and goes up this pretty steep grade so I walked up it as well as some walking prior just to catch my wind after some of the other cases. I go up and up and up and then I get to the top. SWEET…I’m thinking to myself I only have two sets of stairs left. I am under an hour time wise and think that I am within timing to actually do better than my expected 1hr 15 mins. I wind down the hill past the courthouse and pass my wife for the second time and she cheers me on (thanks babe!) I kick it up another notch to see if I could actually get in under an hour.

I get to stair case 8 with some time to spare and then I begin my climb. It seemed like this one would never end!..but it did thankfully. Turned a few street corners and then made my way to stair case 9. I go up that one and then make a mad dash for the finish. I cross the line and it said that I finished in 1:02:some amount of seconds. Good news is that it was more than 2 minutes between the official start and when my wave went over the timing mat. I talked with my wife and she confirmed that I had definitely made it in under an hour and even got extra confirmation from a friend.

I had set my expectations at 1hr 15mins and far exceeded what I thought was possible for me to do! Sub 1 hour Bisbee 1000 run. It felt pretty great and it was awesome to share that moment with my wife even though she missed me coming across the finish line because she wasn’t expecting me so soon. I can take that as a compliment :)!

Oh…I know my friend Jaime loves medals and I actually got one, unlike last year, and it is pretty sexy looking I think!

BEFORE:
Me stretching…Do my arms go back abnormally far?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DURING:

This is a picture of me coming down past next to the finish to go stair set 8 then to 9 and finish…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFTER:
Here is the medal…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall I would say that the Bisbee 1000 was a success for me! Glad the wife came to cheer me on and spent some good time with some good friends!

This definitely piques my interest in more traditional running races 5 & 10k maybe even a half marathon. Hopefully I’ll follow through on those interests. I may even register for the Spartan Race in Phoenix in February. That is an adventure race type and should be cool!

Remember that only you can hold yourself back from progress. You can point fingers all day long, but you have to be accountable for your health, your life, and your decisions!

Vacation worries

So heading out of town today to meet up with friends for a fun long weekend.

Is it weird to want to work out even though I am on vacation? I sabotage myself every time I go out of town because it seems like a freebie to deviate from the normal routine. I want to have fun, but I don’t want to hurt my progress.

I am sure that I can do well while I am there as far as nutrition goes, but I should probably watch my drinks.

Update on progress, I am down 80 lbs and still trying to figure out where to stop. Not happy yet with how things look so I will continue to work at it with weights and cardio.

I am doing more pull ups and chin ups and push ups than I could have before. I love measurable accomplishments. When I started I couldn’t do any standard push ups or any pull or chin ups. How things change.

Odd side note…check out the LMFAO – sexy and I know it video. That video makes me and the wife laugh every time we watch it. “wiggle wiggle wiggle…” watch it and you’ll know what I am talking about.

Hope to get an early morning ride in if me and the wife get up and leave. Got to get some riding in no doubt!

Have a great weekend everyone! Wish me luck.

QUESTION: How do you keep on track on vacation??

Also…..don’t be a victim and blame lack of progress on the world. You make your life. Be positive and keep working on you and the world will open up the endless possibilities!

I want to dunk

Just thought about a new goal for me before the end of 2012.

I want to increase my vertical leap to the point where I can dunk a basketball.

I just think it would be cool and it is definitely measurable. I like basketball but I am pretty horrible at it. I don’t have aspirations of being an NBA player, but I know that guys shorter than me can do it, and I want to too!

Just for reference, I am between 6′ and 6’1.

Anyone have training tips on increasing vert?

I am confident it boils down to jumping drills and strength training.

I can do this!!

Happy Birthday Momma

I just wanted to take some time out of my day to wish my mother a happy birthday.

I can’t call her up, send her an email, or give her a birthday card. All I have are memories and wishes that she were still on this earth to celebrate another year of life.

A little over two years ago she was taken from this world by cancer. We found out and not too many months later we had to say goodbye. It changed me as a man and made me realize that life is precious and not to be taken lightly. After my mother’s passing, I did what most people do is just deny what had happened, then accepted, and then I finally started to heal. I felt a huge amount of regret because I didn’t visit her as much as I should when I had the chance, didn’t say I love you as much as I should, or maybe I didn’t pray hard or nearly frequent enough to stop what happened from happening.

Healing is an up and down travel for me because some days I feel fine and then others I won’t know what to do with myself. Sometimes I feel like I’ll forget and I NEVER want to forget. So as I sit here not really being able to see the screen on the laptop because I’m fighting back tears, I just want the world to know what you meant to me. I love and miss you more than my simple words can say.

Always remember…never forget.

You shaped me into the man that I am and I want to thank you.

Love always,

Michael

 

Riding vs Gym

Okay so last week I slacked and only went to the gym once in that 7 day period (shoulders & abs). Typically I go to the gym 4-5 times a week and think of it as NO SWEAT (actually a lot of sweat but whatever). Lately I’ve been going on more mountain bike as well as road rides which are great fun.

Lately, the gym just seems like torture to me. I’m up in the gym workin on my fitness with a bunch of stinky, sweaty, meatheadly, grunty, weirdo type dudes.  Here is my dilemma, I know that the gym increases my overall fitness and muscle mass but I’d much rather be out riding.  I get to enjoy the outdoors, spend time with other biker friends, and just have a good time.

Today I MUST go to the gym to get my swoll on. I like the way it makes me look and feel but bah…who am I kidding I don’t even want to go. I’ve been substituting riding instead of going to the gym because it is what I enjoy doing. I guess I need to find that balance again to incorporate more strength to make me better on the bike(s).

I guess I’m just frustrated and a little burned out! Back to heaving the weights I suppose! I guess I do weight training for increased strength, but I do it mostly for vanity. I like muscles on me and I guess I’m a little diva-fied for saying so but it is the truth.

SWOLL!

 

Last few weeks

Been pretty busy the last couple of weeks with a bunch of different stuff.

I got to go to Las Vegas for VMWORLD 2011. I have to say that this was an experience that I will never forget. There were lots of great sessions, presentations, and vendor products! I am glad that this was my first major tech conference because I really enjoy VMware’s offerings for all things virtual. As far as fitness goes while in Vegas, I got a lot of walking in and did some stair climbs and running and push ups one night out of the 5 that I was there. It was a bust as far as exercising goes for me.

The day after I got back from a week at VMWORLD, I had a charity ride in Wilcox called the Magic Circle of Cochise. The proceeds went to the Gale Barton American Legion Scholarship Fund. This was a really nice ride and it gave me an opportunity to get back into the saddle after being gone for a week. It was definitely a good ride with some great scenery. I had the pleasure, well kinda had the pleasure, of having my wife join in on the ride. The reason I say kinda is because the start time for her 33 mile ride was about 30 minutes after the start of my 66 mile ride. The ride left from Keiller Park and went out by the Chiricahua National Monument. I figure that if I get a chance to do that ride again I will take full advantage! Along with that ride, I’ve taken advantage of the local Tuesday night and Thursday night group road rides which all end with FOOD!

I have been trying to delve more and more into the world of mountain biking lately. It is really fun, challenging, and a great workout! I have been going on rides with friends and on rides sponsored by one of the local bike shops Sun N’ Spokes for some needed Mountain Biking 101 type stuff. I have progressed, I think, greatly with my riding. I am riding up and down things that I hadn’t before and just getting a bit more comfortable on the bike! Yesterday I went out to  Willow Springs Ranch for some recon for the 24 Hours in Old Pueblo race because there is a possibility that I may be entering but not 100% sure yet.  It was more of a cross country course with a few technical bits and one rock face with a drop off at the bottom. I didn’t try the rock face but definitely will when I’m back on my bike (in the shop). After we rode the Old Pueblo course, we went and picked up some food and then went to Fantasy Island. FI was REALLY washed out from the recent monsoon rains. It was much different than I remembered it being because of all of the various wash out areas and it was really loose as in the gravely type.  Yesterday made for a really long day because I was up at 4:45 and didn’t get back home until 9:15. I didn’t ride the whole time, but I met up with the wife and had dinner as well.

Some of the upcoming events that I am registered and participating in are the Tour de Tucson and the Bisbee 1000. The Tour de Tucson distance that I chose was 109 miles. I will be riding this with some of the people that ride locally. Hopefully I can finish this distance in a reasonable time. The Bisbee 1000 is a stair climb that I participated in last year and am doing again this year. The goal for this year is to set a personal record by besting my time from last. I am really excited about both events, but more so about the Bisbee 1000 because I have participated and am looking to better my performance. One note about the Tour de Tucson is that I have NEVER ridden that many miles before. It will be challenging and fun…I hope!

Weight loss is still progressing. I am down 75.4 lbs since February of this year. I  can attribute a good amount of this to the cycling and increased activity that I have taken on over the course of the past 7 months, but the majority of the loss can be associated with watching what you eat. I count my calories and track my exercise on My Fitness Pal. It works for me and might for you. Add me on there if you want I suppose.

I am a big in promoting what works for me…that being said I do what works for me and the same might not work for you. I just encourage everyone to get out there and get active! How many hours can you sit there and watch tv, play video games, look at Facebook, or do whatever it is that you’re doing?? Go do something even if it is for only 10 minutes a day. Once you get into a routine, you can build on that and increase it by 5 minutes or more until you’re surprising yourself and other people with what sort of progress you have made. Find your inspiration!

Obesity and Thinspiration

Okay…so this morning I came into a whole new category when it comes to my BMI. I am officially out of the OBESE category and into the OVERWEIGHT category. So this is an extremely big deal (I guess) because it has taken months to get to this point. I am proud of me and proud of anyone who is making their journey into a healthier lifestyle.For me to get out of the overweight category and get into the “NORMAL” category for BMI, I would need to still loose 36 lbs and that is a load of weight.

All this proves that you can do it if you try hard and just stick to your guns.

So initially 220 (which is where I weighed in this morning) was my goal weight of sorts, but I guess that isn’t where I want to be. I look in the mirror and I see someone who still needs work. For me to be down at 220 I have lost 70.4 lbs since early February.

So I am sure that I did not coin the term thinspiration, but I think that it is fitting in my situation. Maybe even a better term would be fitspiration eh….that doesn’t sound as good. I am not going through any sort of man-o-rexia episode or early-mid life crisis…I just want to be proud to take my shirt off when I go to the pool.

One of the HUGE drawbacks of dropping weight in a quick amount of time is the extra floppy skin stuff that you get going. I do not like it, but right now that is my reality. My weight is probably okay but my muscle mass isn’t filling in the gaps to tighten up some of this loose skin.

I just want to be a better version of myself. I think I’m going to go from Mike 2.0 (where I am now) to Mike 3.0 if I can help it. Mike 3.0 is going to be the crazy cycling, weight throwing, swimming, running, and just general fool that I have been but on a different level. No new goal weight yet, but I’ll have to consider where I am now and where I want to be.

Find your thinspiration…be fit, healthy, and happy!

Have a great week!

Obsession-Shakes-Rides-Random

Obsession:
So I think I’ve figured out my ailment or what have you. I think I am addicted to physical activity. It is weird but now that I’m in a groove,  it feels just wrong to not go to the gym, go on a ride, swim, or do something physical. I think this might be my first rest day in 2 weeks (maybe second). I have been feeling great as far as my efforts and performance, but I have been a little sluggish at times especially when it comes to getting out of bed in the morning.

Monday – Friday = weight training in addition to… Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday rides (sometimes more or less rides in a week).

As a quick update to my progress, I am down 63.4 lbs (as of like Wednesday this week) which is pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

Shakes:
I have started to use Shakeology by Beachbody.  A friend at work is a coach with Beachbody and he got me into it. First things first is that there are currently two flavors (chocolate and green berry).  The shakes are supposed to be super healthy for you and taste good too. First things first is that I must complain about the shipping. I didn’t get any super fast shipping, but it got here after the date publicized in the initial shipping information. The chocolate is the flavor that I got and it is pretty yummy. It is pretty simple, you just add 80z of water and combine the powder from the scoop shake it and drink. I typically eat two eggs (over hard) and drink a shake for breakfast. I generally only have one shake per day, but I could see how you might want to have more and more. To be honest, I’m not sure if it is the additional fiber that I’m taking in or what, but the scale says that the Shakeology is helping me lose some weight and that is a good thing!

Just to do some name dropping, my Beachbody coach is Coach Leahy . He is a great guy and really encouraging and has a wealth of knowledge. I recommend if you want to get a great start on your fitness to go and check him out and sign up for him to be your BB coach.

Rides:
Lately I have been participating on a good bit of group rides.  Last week I did 3 road and 1 mountain, and this week (so far) I have done  2 road with one scheduled for tomorrow (San Pedro Surge) and no firm plan for Sunday as of yet. Two of the road rides that I do are social and paced accordingly. The San Pedro Surge is a local hammerfest on Saturday mornings that features a 50 mile loop. People come from the local “large city” of Tucson to participate in this ride. It is something that can help you develop your group handling, endurance, hill climbing, and mental skills. Last weekend was definitely humbling because the pack got split after about 8 miles into the ride at this fairly steep climb. I maintained pace going up hill, but then at the top (me and a bunch of other folks) got dropped back off of the fast group. I rode a few more miles then I caught up with some folks (or they caught up with me) and we ran in a pace line for like 7-8 miles before it got hilly again. The beauty of a pace line is that you, with the help of others, can really pick up speed. Got to Tombstone and that is where my personal struggle began. First off, I didn’t know the route how I should because I hadn’t ever ridden that way before. I rode for a LONG TIME by myself for about the last 12ish miles in some rolling unfamiliar terrain. All in all I had some pains (probably fit related) and some mental I wanna quit type moments. I finished the ride in 3 hours and like 5 minutes. To top it all off I had a great breakfast after, and enjoyed going over the specifics of the ride afterwards.

Random:
I got a new bike jersey!! It is pretty awesome. One side note about the sizing of jerseys is that, depending on the cut, the sizes vary. You can be an XL in one brand or the same brand and be a XXL in another cut of the same or well…you know a little frustrating. On that note, I had some pant trying on experiences about 2 weeks ago that was defeating. I wear mostly Old Navy shorts and jeans and apparently they run BIG in comparison to other brands. That makes me a little mad. I thought I was in one size but I’m in another…totally ruined my day. I actually didn’t get any pants shopping done and I’m going to wait and just swim in my current clothing until I can get into a size that I feel like I should be in.

I was walking by sans clothing and the wife pointed out to me that my booty is going away and then pointed out that I’ve got like a double chin butt. Double chin butt is like an extra cheek due to saggy skin or extra skin or whatever and that made me a little sad. I guess I’ll have to work on my glutes more to perk up my tush.

People tend to ask me what my goal weight is and to be honest every time someone asks me I tell them that “I don’t know.” To this point I can honestly say that I don’t know where I want to be weight wise. I do want to be a more toned individual who can take his shirt off and not feel self conscious or ashamed about what other people might see. It feels like I’ll always be the fat kid because of how I’ve looked at myself for so long. I guess somethings need to be fixed on the inside before you can appreciate what you see on the outside. I have never been one to really set goals as far as personal milestones. Generally if I want something I get it and that is the end of it. I don’t think it keeps me from achieving things in life, it just gives me less long term focus. I want to be a better husband, friend, rider, and that is just a few on my self improvement list. Maybe I should set a goal to set goals!

Flat tires and me have a short but interesting history. I’ve gotten a number of them since I started riding and they are all frustrating. I have decided to transition the juiced up thicker tubes to just traditional thin non-thorn-resistant tubes. I seem to have better luck without all that juice and such inside the tires and the additional weight may actually be making me flat more. I HATE FLATS…just sayin :).

VMWORLD 2011 is something that I have been lusting over for months. It turns out that I will have the chance to go at the end of this month and it will be awesome (I hope). For all of you non tech folks it is a conference that centers around VMware and their product line regarding virtualization. I got the word today that it is official. I will be in Vegas for 4 days at the conference doing my nerd stuffs! Hopefully I’ll get some swag and GET MY NERD ON…speaking of I need to book my travel and such.

Used KT Tape and all I have to say is that this stuff is amazing. I was having some Achilles pain in my right foot and I applied the tape and left it on for 4 days and it helped wonders. I haven’t had any problems with it since. Kudos to KT Tape for making something that actually works as advertised! It definitely took the strain off so I could heal up better!

I know this is a lot to swallow because I’ve been lax in making posts, but I feel like I’ve been busy so there you have it.

Have a great weekend!