Here it is the first part of March and the official Cycling Season is underway. AS I did last year, I completed the 2015 Tour of Sufferlandria during the “off-season” in preparation for 2015. I also made some other changes including a normal swimming routine and the addition of a power meter to my bike. All of these in hopes that 2015 brings a great cycling season and big improvement to my overall fitness. Another big off-season accomplishment is no winter weight gain!! I am hopeful that I will see 215 lbs. on the scale this year.
My Goals this year are as follows:
This is my tentative schedule and I hope that there are many other rides where the open road takes all of RAM Cycling and its followers. 2014 was a great year, but I am sure 2015 promises much more fun, excitement, challenges and personal bests.
Here’s a list of various rides and events I plan to participate in this year. Renaissance Man has already kicked his season off with an indoor challenge by joining the week long “Tour of Sufferlandria.” I certainly hope we get warm, mild spring weather earlier than last year because the indoor training (while necessary) just isn’t as fun. I hope and plan to continue my streak by completing all four Kentucky Century Challenge rides for the third consecutive year. As I roll out my calendar of events, please let me know if you have any interest in joining me on any of these cycling events.
1.) BCC Season Kick-off Ride
2.) Solo Secret Training Ride
1.) Redbud Ride
1.) TOSRV (Tour of Scioto River Valley)
2.) Horsey Hundred
* I know some friends plan to attend AOMM (Assault on Mt Mitchell)
1.) Cherohala Challenge
2.) Preservation Pedal
1.) RAM Cycling 4th of July social ride
2.) gRAM Fondo Lou to Lex (Churchill to Keeneland)
1.) MECCA (Masher’s Endurance Cycling Challenge Adventure)
2.) Mountains of Pain
1.) Hub City Tour
1.) Red River Rally
2.) RAM Cycling Oktoberfest
3.) Secret Group Ride
Again, please don’t hesitate to contact me (masher) if you’re interested in joining me on any event this year. Post comments here or contact me directly! Also, please let me know if you have a suggestion for a ride that you don’t see listed here and I’ll check my schedule and give it consideration. Cheers to 2015 … Let’s roll!
I feel like 2014 was a solid year in my cycling lifestyle, but that I slacked on occasion and definitely left room for improvement in 2015! As I reflect on the highs and lows of last year, I have to admit, I came out of 2013 in much better form than I am now. I had began running to compliment my fitness on the bike in the fall of ’13 and it helped my strength and endurance for cycling, while also helping keep me motivated. But at some point in the summer of ’14 I developed nagging knee pain from running and had to halt it. I rested it and tried to restart a few times only to find the issue still lingers. I’m hopeful that it goes away soon and I can get back in full form by utilizing both sports to maintain my mental and physical fitness. My eating plan also gave way a little last year as I left 2014 about 20 pounds heavier than I entered it.
A very rough winter in Jan, Feb and even parts of March with multiple “polar vortexes” left our entire cycling community itching to get outside and ride. So my first big adventure of the year came at the end of March when I met a few friends in Gatlinburg, TN area and set out on a planned 75 mile roundtrip ride up in the Smoky Mtns to summit Clingmans Dome (the highest point in TN). As we rolled through the downtown area at the base of the mountain it was cloudy and upper 50s. There was a different story waiting for us in the elevation as temps dropped to the 30s with wind chills being possibly in the 20s, along with rain, sleet, and even the first snow of a storm that dumped 8+ inches of white powder on the landscape overnight. After making the summit, we were rescued and left with the confidence to achieve any goal we set out for. I’ve heard a popular quote “we don’t remember days, we remember moments” and this is very true, however this is one day I will always remember. And I can recall every moment!
April brought my first social gathering event that I can recall, as I met numerous cycling friends in London, KY for the Redbud Ride. I even saw two childhood friends Darin and Sean that I hadn’t seen since elementary school. I rode the century ride with some close friends Schmidty, Jim, Jeremy and hung on some sections with lots of my BCC pals. It was a blast. Early May brought about a good AOMM training ride as I completed my second century of the year on Masher’s Hilly Hundy. Gene, Tim, Curt, Linn, Chuck, and I rode a brutal loop on a hot day that found many of the steepest climbs in the area. Late May took me back to Spartanburg, SC for the 102 mile Assault on Mt Mitchell trek up to the Blue Ridge Mtns in NC and finishing at the summit of the highest point in NC and the eastern US. I was pretty stoked that I only had to stop three times and pushed myself to take off over 2 hrs total time from my first attempt in 2013. This was a great bonding weekend with nine other local BCC cyclists.
In the same week, we returned home for our annual Horsey Hundred event and I completed the 104 route on Saturday, then the 50 mile ride on Sunday and was ready for a brief break. Horsey has some of the prettiest landscape on any ride I do every year and the hills are very challenging. I rode it pretty strong even though it was just 4 days after AOMM, but it leaves you worn out both mentally and physically. My brief break turned out to be more than I wanted but I learned my grandmother (my last grandparent) had terminal cancer that would take her from us in late June, so I skipped some weekend riding to spend time with her. She passed on a Friday, the day before Preservation Pedal ride and since the visitation wasn’t until Sunday, I was able to meet my friends in Winchester, KY for another century. It was a pretty hot day and I realized I had lost some fitness over the month, but I enjoyed an ice cold Ale-8 after the ride, and decided it was time to get back at it.
RAM Cycling planned a Fourth of July ride where we met about 10 friends for a lovely 80 mile route around our area. Then I recommitted myself to catching back up on my cycling fitness. I kept getting popped off the “EF” group on the weekday club rides, but I just kept going out with them and on the Saturday rides, I would go out early and try to get in 15-25 miles before the start of the club rides. This helped bring me back up to my par by mid-August. In late August I helped put together a group ride that took me back to southeast KY in our Cumberland Mtns area where 4 of us rode a brutal challenge with 2 passes over Black Mtn (highest point in KY) along with 3 other endurance climbs that would be the longest, steepest climbs I would complete in ’14.
September found a new ride venue in Elizabethtown, KY for the Hub City Tour century ride. I drove down with Madara and again met many friends for another beautiful cycling ride over some new roads (for me). There was a neat art festival in the downtown area and it was cool that there was a big showing of cycling support there. This was the first “cold” ride of the season and the body was feeling it. My legs didn’t work as well in the lower temps, but it was a sign of what was to come, the changing of the season. I rode my last century of the year in early October when my wife and I took an overnight visit to my favorite city Louisville, KY and I decided to take my bike and ride it home on a chilly Sunday. I passed right by the waterfront and the park where I had a couple friends Chuck and Trevor racing in a local Cyclocross event, but I didn’t know it at the time. My route took me from Jefferson through Oldham, Shelby, Henry, Franklin and Woodford counties before bringing into my home town in Scott Co.
RAM Cycling Oktoberfest brought out a few friends for our fun 55 mile ride to kinda close out the bulk cycling season. We had a group ride where there were 5 race segments pre-marked on the road and this added to the fun and excitement. The ride was followed with more bonding time along with snacks and beverages as we awarded Makers Mark bourbon VIP bottles to the segment winners Linn and Adam. A few weeks later, I met Adam in Versailles for a pretty challenging 50 mile hilly route along parts of the toughest section on the Horsey route. By now, the time had changed and the temps/rain were making it very difficult for me to stay consistent. Not to mention, I lost focus on my diet and ate way too many Halloween candies along with too much desserts and snacks over the holidays.
I managed to get in multi-day rides during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas but the close of the year saw my distances dwindle down somewhat and definitely my speed and endurance had dropped off. I reviewed my final stats for 2014 on my Strava account and feel good about my achievements, but have a better feeling that I have room for improvement and plan to do so in ’15! I managed to ride 4,450 miles in just 98 total rides (all on the road, I don’t track my trainer time or miles). My total time on the bike was almost 268 hours and I ascended nearly 316,000 feet in elevation. My last ride of the year was a 22 mile ride with my oldest son who received a very nice Fuji bicycle from Santa. I hope it’s the start of a new lifestyle for him because he definitely enjoys riding, but for now, it will be one of my fondest memories from another great year on my bike back in 2014!
Hope to see you on the road soon … masher