training for cycling events

Catch Me, Catch Me If You Can

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Yeah that was the plan, but it didn’t quite work out that way on Saturday. We were half way to Hagg Lake (it’s out in the middle of nowhere) when the engine light came on for Michael’s car. Not good news. A long stop at the VW Dealership in Beaverton (the armpit of Portland as far as I’m concerned) wasn’t great news so we headed home. The lunch I had packed for after our ride at Hagg Lake was still good so we ate that and then decided to just ride around town.

We rode to Johnson Creek and chatted a bit about which direction to go. We had a lot of options. Honestly I just didn’t feel like doing the 40 mile loop through the city like last weekend. Instead, we headed east on the Springwater Trail. It was a bit cool out, and overcast so there weren’t a lot of people on the trail.

We biked east on the trail. I wasn’t feeling especially fast but I wasn’t feeling lethargic either. I think we biked about 14 miles before taking our first break. There were a bunch of blackberry bushes with plump blackberries on them and I snacked on a few of those. I love blackberries! Some were ripe, some were not ripe yet.

I saw a bunch of critters on the trail this time! Maybe because there weren’t a lot of people out on the trail. First I saw two stray kitties frolicking in the bushes at two different times. Then there was a bunny on the trail. It was brown and tiny and it hopped along beside my as I biked along and then scampered into the bushes. There were also a bunch of horses on farms that we biked passed.

The ride is pretty flat. This proved for a good place to practice sprinting. I did a LOT of sprinting on the bike ride. There weren’t a lot of people on the trail and it was a long, straight trail. Lots and lots of sprinting! I think it added something extra to my workout. PLUS I was struggling to catch up with Mr. Speedy!

For some reason Michael was flying down the trail like it was nothing and I was puttering along trying to keep up. Ugh!

It’s also pretty scenic, with wildflowers and farmland. When the sky is clear and not overcast, Mount Hood can be seen in the distance. Unfortunately it was too gray to see.

We stopped again for some water and snacks. This time: apricots. I got some at Costco to try using instead of the GUs on long rides. I feel like the natural sugars in the apricots might do the trick just as well as GUs.

I like the apricots. I think they worked really well. At least until the very end of the ride.

We continued on and rode out in the middle of nowhere, aka Boring Oregon–yes there is a city named Boring, Oregon. This is where the path ends. The Springwater Trail doesn’tΒ reallyΒ end but it turns to gravel for an unknown amount of miles. Unfortunately gravel is not good for skinny road bike tires so that was where we called it quits. We took a short break at the end of the trail. I saw people with mountain bikes continuing on the trail.

I also saw a sign for Oxbow Park and I realized that we were out where part of the Portland Century will ride next weekend! So exciting! We turned around and headed back on the trail toward town.

As we started riding back down the trail a guy on a big hybrid bike passed both of us. I didn’t really care at this point. I was starting to get a little tired, my back was sore, and catching the Hybrid Guy didn’t matter to me. Michael on the other hand? Mr. Super-Competitive-No-Matter-What zipped off determined to catch and pass Hybrid Guy. And he did. And totally left me in the dust! That meant more practice sprinting! I eventually caught up to Michael.

One thing I really dislike about the Springwater are the weird wooden bridges that are SO bumpy and awful to cross. They are the worst. Seriously. They are long stretches and so bumpy I am always worried I’m going to wreck a tire because of it. We biked home and made it in no time at all. The last stretch of the ride was difficult. My back hurt and I was tired and mentally just done with the whole thing. πŸ™

Ride Stats:
Time: 3:07
Calories Burned: 1234
Distance: 37 miles

Michael’s using a new ride app (he’ll be writing a review of the app soon) so here are the stats from Saturday’s ride:

I like how it stops counting when we are stopped for a certain amount of time. That means instead of 3 hours we were actually riding 2:35! Nice! We wanted to eat an easy and quick dinner after the trying day. Good thing we already had some things on hand. Corn on the cob with a little butter, red sea salt and chili powder:

Michael grilled up some steaks and I topped mine with pesto. I’ve missed pesto! The combination of steak and pesto is a really good one. I discovered it last year when we were eating our steak with gnocchi and pesto. So delicious.

It was the perfect kind of dinner after a long ride. I’m disappointed that our training at Hagg Lake didn’t happen. Doing 20 miles of hills would have been good practice for the challenges we are going to face next weekend. But getting in some long miles instead is better than no riding!

QUESTION: When your training goesΒ awry,Β what do you do?


How to Watch More TV

How to Watch More TV

Guest Post by Michael

Hi, I’m Michael — aka “The Boyfriend”. Lisa asked me to post something about cycling. Even though January isn’t exactly the prime cycling season, you can still enjoy your bicycle in the winter months.

Most of us live in areas where cycling isn’t really an option this time of year or the only people we see out there cycling are die-hards or people that have no other means of transportation. I could make this post about all the great cold weather cycling gear that’s available, but I won’t. Instead, I’m going to talk about TV.

Lisa's Bike

Yes, TV. I have no problem admitting that I love to watch TV. I think there are a ton of extremely compelling and entertaining shows out right now and one of my resolutions is to watch more TV.

Most of us watch TV sitting in a chair or a couch. I do that too. But I often wake up long before Lisa does in the morning and force myself to get onto my bike and watch TV. And I figure that as long as I’m going to be sitting on the bike, I might as well pedal. Besides, it’s pretty hard to eat breakfast while you’re on a bike…

Lisa's Bike on the Trainer

You’re probably wondering how all of this works. That’s what I’m here for. Rest assured, you’re in good hands. First, you’ll need to plug your TV in. Then if you’re like me, you’ll need to get television service, or connect a DVD player, or a Google TV/Apple TV/gaming console type device, so you can watch a disc or Netflix. I find it handy to have a remote as well because I watch TV shows that I’ve recorded with my DVR and I have a tendency to fast forward through the commercials.

Now, the bike. I mentioned that I can watch TV from my bike. How? I’m able to do this because I have a bike trainer.

A bike trainer transforms your bicycle into a stationary bike that you can ride from the comforts of your own living room. This is probably a foreign world for many of you, so I will help you choose a good one.

There are 3 basic types of bike trainers.

Wind Trainers

Mag Trainers

Fluid Trainers

Wind Trainers use a fan-like blade to generate resistance.

  • Pros – These are usually cheap.
  • Cons – These tend to be noisy and they can create wind in your house which may knock things over.

Mag Trainers use magnets to generate resistance.

  • Pros – No wind!
  • Cons – Some are noisy, some are not.

Fluid Trainers use a liquid to generate resistance.

  • Pros – No wind!
  • Cons – These are almost always pricey, often costing $200+.
Fluid Trainer

Most of these devices can fold up and be stored in a closet or under a bed.

If you’re thinking about getting one of these devices, you should also get a riser for the front wheel that creates stability. This will assure that you’re level and that your handle bars can’t turn. This is a good thing.


If you live in an apartment or your living room has carpet, you may want to get a training mat. These mats are designed to protect carpeting and absorb vibrations which generate sound. Your neighbor that lives beneath you will appreciate your purchase of a mat.

These will work with most bikes. Some will come with replacement axles which are designed to fit perfectly within the trainers. If you have a mountain bike, you should get a street tire or a tire designed for trainer use for the rear wheel. If you have a fixed gear or one-speed bike, you should get a bike trainer that you can adjust the tension via a remote.

I use a Kinetic Road Machine fluid bike trainer. It does not have a remote for adjusting tension, but I don’t need that because I can adjust the resistance by shifting gears.

I also wear a heart rate monitor while training so I’m assured to get a good workout.

Here is my workout routine:

After a 5 minute warm-up period, I get my pedaling cadence up to 90 RPM and my heart rate up into my target range. This is what I use to determine what gear I should be in. After a minute of being in my heart rate zone, IΒ  start doing intervals where I shift into harder gears and get my heart rate up by about 20 BPM. Once I get it that high, I drop down gears while maintaining a cadence of 90 RPM until my heart rate gets back within the target range. Rinse and repeat.

I do this routine 3-4x/week for 45 min to an hour. If you follow this routine along with a sensible diet, you will burn fat, gain lean muscle, and lose weight. But most of all, you’ll be able to watch even more TV and that’s what’s really important here.

Lisa’s Note: I wanted to add that something like this is excellent for runners too. If you’re a runner you should be cross-training to prevent injuries. If you are already injured and can’t run? Cycling is an excellent alternative that really does work for losing weight!

Lisa’s QUESTION: Do you have a bike trainer? Do you use it in the winter months? What kind do you have?