Feb 2018 10

 

 

I’ve yet to find a better way to pass my spare time than riding a bicycle. In my adult life, when I’m officially clocked out from work, I’m most often joining in the fun of following my children’s activities. When I’m not doing either of those, I have ventured into several different personal pastimes. Golf, boating, poker games, and running are just a few of them. In my thirteenth year as a cyclist, I can say with firm validity that I could give up all the others, and most of them I already have, except for bicycling!

 

My passion grew even stronger in 2017 when I finally crossed over into the mountain bike world. I definitely surprised myself at how much I enjoyed it. Changing up the monotony of any routine can bring new energy to a passion, and that’s exactly what happened with my love for cycling. I recently had a local cyclist message me through Strava or Twitter (can’t remember which one). She ask about the advantages of mountain biking versus road cycling. I’m not sure that I’m completely qualified to answer since I only finished my first full year of mountain biking, but I’ll give it a try. From my vantage point, at least.

 

BAD NEWS

The weather definitely dictates when you can ride single track trails. “Mud on your heels or wheels? Stay off the trails!” That’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to use of any trail system. I recommend a Google search on “freeze/thaw” to better understand when it’s okay to ride your trails.

Trails are more dangerous than one may think. The trees are often very close to the trail. Plenty of roots, rocks, and just constant changes in the trail surface make paying attention paramount. Any wreck on a mountain bike  ride can range from a simple scrape to potential paralysis or even death.

You typically have to drive to ride. I like when I go for a road ride, I just hop on my bike and go. I have yet to ride my mountain bike (on a trail) without having to drive to get where I want to ride.

If you’re a mileage or average speed junkie, you’ll find yourself upside down on your data. I compare mountain biking to running without the impact that causes joint injuries. You will go much slower speeds  and shorter distances than when you road cycle.

Sometimes I want to go for a ride just to let go of all the stresses and worries on my mind. Just get out, spin and let it all go. Be miles into a ride and start looking around to figure out where I am because I’m lost in thought or dreaming. That doesn’t happen on single track. Riding mountain bike is like playing a video game. Everything is right in front of you and it happens too quickly for you to lose focus on the trail.

 

 

GOOD NEWS

When you don’t have enough time to get in a good road ride, mountain biking is an excellent workout in 45 minutes to an hour. It’s all up to how you ride. If you ride mountain bike for about 4 hours straight, you may only have 30ish miles depending on the trail difficulty, but your body will feel similar to doing an 8 hour ride on road bike.

You should never have a worry about getting run over by a vehicle on your mountain bike, assuming you’re riding a trail. Thus far, all of the trail users I’ve crossed paths with (including walkers, runners, and other cyclists) are typically very courteous about sharing trail.

 

In my short mountain biking time, I’ve witnessed growth in it’s popularity and hear and/or see of many new trails being developed in our nearby riding region. Some parks are adding to what they have. Some are changing existing features on the same trails. Some are cutting in new trails all together. There’s plenty of trails around here to ride, and it’s growing!

Mountain biking improves mental focus. Reading books, working crossword puzzles, eating certain foods, and other exercises are proven to help keep the mind sharp. I would place mountain biking high on that list of other exercises. One true way to improve anything is make it workout regularly. Hop on a mountain bike, hit the trail, and it just happens.

 

 

NEUTRAL NEWS

Cost… I don’t give an advantage or disadvantage to either road cycling or mountain biking when it comes to cost. You can’t spend as little or as much as you want on both sports.

They are both a great ride whether you ride solo or socially. Granted, you will talk more during a road ride if you’re in a group pace line. However, I’ve felt more social with a group on a trail as we periodically will stop and enjoy conversation as we regroup. Likewise, I get much enjoyment out of a good solo ride in either sport also.

Rather than coming right out and saying I enjoy one over the other, I revert back to playing sports as a youth. My favorite is the one I’m riding at the time. Truly, my favorite part is the ability to have a completely different ride experience from one to the other.

For example, December was not a good month for road cycling. Too often when I was available to ride, temps were below 20 F and since the ground was frozen I was hitting the trails to avoid the wind on the road. I broke out my road bike on our first warm day in January and felt like a kid in a candy shop. Then as the ground was unfrozen and/or wet most on January, all of my rides were on the road or indoors. Finally last weekend I was able to get back on my mountain bike early before the ground thawed. Instantly, the kid in a candy shop feeling returned!

In closing, I can say with confidence, I love both road cycling and mountain biking! Hope my opinion helps anyone give either a try. And because I enjoy the change in monotony so well, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before I give the gravel bike thing a try. That seems to be the latest greatest sport I hear many of my cycling friends talking about. I don’t expect it to happen this year, but I’ve learned to never rule anything out 😉

 

I don’t ride a bicycle to add days to my life, I ride a bicycle to add life to my days * @KPtheMasher

Jan 2018 27

 

The new year is already nearly a month old, unbelievable how fast time flys. Looking back over our most recent content here at RAM Cycling, I realize I lost track of my writing in 2017. However, I’ve never lost my passion for cycling! Before I roll out my plans for the riding in 2018, let me briefly touch on/ wrap up a few things from last year.

 

First, I have to publicly express my huge feeling of pride in Tim the Renaissance Man! I was lucky to witness him accomplish his mission in becoming the Iron Deacon by completing the official Ironman Louisville triathlon last October. Very few folks know how many obstacles he had in his training schedule, but he never let anything keep him from accomplishing the mission. Awesome job Tim!

 

Next, I need to apologize for not writing enough reviews about a couple of my favorite rides from 2017. My first full year trying the new adventure of riding mountain bike climaxed when I participated in the “12 Hours of Capitol View” race in hometown Frankfort. It was a blast! Tons of cyclists from numerous states.  Over a thousand miles were ridden on the single track trails in my backyard and it’s an awesome social event. I managed to complete 66 miles in 6 full laps! I was whipped, but had a huge sense of accomplishment.

 

I also completed the century route again with my fundraising friends of Team Just Cycle at “Bike to Beat Cancer.” This is a ride to benefit Norton’s Cancer Institute in Louisville, KY.  I can’t put into words of  what an awesome feeling it is to participate in this event. It has so much meaning behind it and is supported as well as any ride I’ve ever done. I’m looking forward to this ride for years to come and hoping to raise even more money each year. Please let me know if you can help! Trust me, you can! And it’s greatly needed and appreciated!

 

Finally, I owe one more apology. I chose not to host my annual “RAM Cycling Oktoberfest” ride for a couple reasons. We have held it during October the first three years and I knew that would be problematic with Tim’s triathlon training. I didn’t want to have the event without him. My fitness had some peaks and valleys in 2017, and that was another reason I chose not to host it. For those of you that have attended one of these rides, you’ll be happy to know I have plans to replace it. This year I will introduce a new century ride “Bourbon RAM Fondo.” This ride will be a challenging century route around Frankfort and there will once again be bourbon at the finish! All of our friends are invited to attend, I will set the date very soon. Secretly, I hope to gain local interest in this idea and possibly grow into a partnership with Buffalo Trace. My interest in bourbon heritage is on the rise and I’m very lucky to be a neighbor to the National Historic Landmark distillery.

 

 

Now onto 2018… I have declared this a comeback year for the Masher! Rather than talk about it or write about what’s to come too much, I have vowed to let my actions speak for me. Here’s what I’m thinking and I’m pretty excited. I believe this early optimism is the most enthusiastic I’ve been about cycling in several years and it’s a great feeling. I have already signed up for the KY Century Challenge again. I publicly committed to ten centuries on my Twitter account. I also plan to do some unofficial century rides with friends especially Schmidty! Definitely doing the 12 hour CVP race again. Hopefully  my schedule will line up for me to join Nathan and other friends on a MTB guys weekend in Pisgah National Forest.

 

In closing, I invite any of my friends and/or RAM followers to track my actions by following and my activities on Strava (Kevin Pearl). Or even better, join me on the road or trail! Hopefully you can see me riding in an Ale-8 One Ambassador cycling jersey at one of these events, since I  plan to submit my application to join their team!

 

Let’s Ride!   *** masher***

Jan 2018 04

Mission Accomplished!



Getting it Done!

Wow!  What a couple of years.  2016 marked my first foray into triathlons.  It was challenging for many reasons.  But 2017, my second year of transforming myself from a cyclist into a triathlete, was a great year! And it culminated in October with an awesome day in my hometown at Ironman Louisville.  It has been an amazing journey along the way with lots of ups and downs. So here is a small recap.

At the end of 2016, I experienced the death of my dad after a prolonged stay in the hospital in Louisville.  It definitely had an impact on me both physically and mentally.  But after watching him suffer from COPD and CHF, I know that I want to take care of this body and try to stay in great shape.  This drive to stay fit is one of the great gifts that my dad has given to me.

It was my second year with my coach Kevin Ryan and the Lexington Hippos, a great group of friends who helped me train harder and smarter.  I didn’t always like getting out of bed at 4:15 to go swimming at the UK pool, but I can say it made me a much better swimmer.  The group runs and rides also helped improve me as an overall athlete.  I am excited to say that I will be training and racing with these fine folks again in 2018.

Injury

I also experienced my first true injury related to running: plantar fasciitis.  It sucks!  Through several weeks of reduced running, doctor visits, stretches, and other remedies, I finally got past it (or I just learned to deal with the pain).  I hope and pray not to experience that again.  I also had many days with sore muscles – mainly in the knees and back.  Frequent visits to the chiropractor helped alleviate most of that.  One of my main goals for 2018 is to stay healthy for the whole year.

Ironman Louisville – 2017’s “A” Race

Obviously, Ironman Louisville was my major event in 2017.  But there were other races including Shelbyville Tri Series, Cardinal Tri, and the Tri-for-Sight.  Due to the injury in the summer, I cut back on some of my race plans.  In 2018, I am hoping to do more events including an Ironman 70.3 and an Ironman 140.6 t a venue yet to be determined.

So Ironman Louisville – what was it like?  I loved it.  And I think I can say that because my coach put me in a great position to finish the race – which is what my goal was.  I finished in just under 15 hours, with the bulk of that being the run.  An area that I have always struggled with but also hope to improve in the most.  The weather was crazy – cold, hot, wet dry, AND VERY WINDY.  I approached the race by breaking it down into the following segments :

Segments

  • 1st – I was going to do a warmup swim, it just happened to be 2.4 miles long.  It took me 1:12 to finish and it was similar to my morning swims and the many open water swims the Hippos did in the Kentucky River.  This just got me warmed up for my favorite part – the Bike!
  • 2nd – I was going to ride a century today just like I had done at least a ten times in the past.  No big climbs, no sprints, no surges.  Just a steady 160 watts and fuel the body.  I had to stop several times to fill my bottles and check my bike but still managed to finish in 6:53 at an average of 16.25 mph.  It was not the best, but it was according to plan.  And to be honest, coming off the bike I felt better than I had at any previous century ride.
  • Next – 26 One-Mile Segments.  This was hard.  This pushed my body and mind to its limit.  But I knew I could walk the whole distance and still finish.  My plan was to walk/run at a 5/1 min ratio.  If I could do this, I might be able to maintain a 12 to 13-minute avg pace.  It wasn’t to be.  I walked a lot more than I planned.  But the good news is that the next time, I have a lot of room to get a PR on the run.  I ended up at 6:23 for the marathon and an average pace of 14:39.

Summary

Looking back, I am still not sure how I managed to finish.  But I know for sure without the support crew, none of this would have been possible.  Kelly, Kaity, Jake, Jonathon, Rusty, Kevin, Maria, Kennedy, Bobby, JJ, Shae, the Hippos, Coach Kevin, and everybody else that shouted words of encouragement at one place or another on the route – THANK YOU!

But most of all thanks to my Dad – He gave me the strong mind and discipline that it takes to train and race in an Ironman.

 

Year End Stats

I am also including my year-end stats for 205, 2016 and 2017.  It was a great year.  But next year will be even better!

2017 2016 2015
Total Hours:  455.0  342.9  317.9
Swim (Miles):  200.5  182.6  60.9
Bike (Miles):  3,081.0  2,138.0  4,016.5
Run (Miles):  455.0  459.3  133.5
Total:  3,736.5  2,779.9  4,210.9

 

Jul 2017 17

 

Last year when I moved back to my hometown, Frankfort, I decided to join good friend Nathan and sign up to do the “Bike To Beat Cancer” bicycle ride in Louisville, KY. So I welcomed myself to his team of locals on TEAM JUST CYCLE and registered for the event. I really had no idea what level of awesomeness I was getting myself into by joining this team and participating in such a meaningful ride.

 

Last year, I set a fundraising goal of $500 and was able to get just a little more than that donated to help fight cancer. One great feature of the fundraising for this ride is that thanks to the extremely gracious corporate sponsors, 100% of the funds raised by the bicyclists goes directly to help fight cancer through research and treatment at Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville! I was blown away by the friendliness and support of many volunteers and especially surprised by the gracious hospitality displayed by my own teammates. I immediately signed up after the ride to do it again this year!

 

This year I do not have a specific monetary goal, however I truly hope to get as much money donated to help fight cancer as I possibly can. I am going about it a little different though. This year, I don’t intend to raise funds, I intend to earn them! How, might you ask? Well, I’ve decided to get way out of my comfort zone by entering a race…yes, an official race, and on a mountain bike albeit for 12 hours. A couple things I’ve never done include racing on a bike (official paid event) or riding a bike for 12 hours. I have signed up for the 12 Hours Of Capitol View, a ride on the last Sunday of August at Capitol View Park in Frankfort, KY where riders will have 12 hours to complete as many laps on the 11 +/- miles course as they can. In my first year of mountain biking, I’m very much a novice, but will work my tail off to earn donations for my B2BC ride in September.

 

 

Here’s how it works. I’m humbly requesting any and all of my family, friends and friends of family and friends (and so on…) to graciously pledge a dollar amount for each lap that I am able to complete in the 12 hour race. Before you commit your bank account, I’ll give you some insight to my expectations. As the novice and not in great shape cyclist that I am, I should be able to complete 4-5 laps as a solo rider. I have set a very lofty goal of 6 laps for myself, but you can rest assured, whether I complete 2 laps or 6, I will not stop trying for more until the clock runs out! The pain I will face on my longest day on a bike will be nothing to endure compared to those that battle cancer. To summarize…for every ten people that can pledge $10 per lap, then I will earn $100 for every lap!! I’m realistic, humble, and gracious, therefore I don’t expect everyone to pledge $10/lap but I’ll gladly take what I can get. Please carefully consider how much you can give to help fight cancer. Of course, I’ll be more than happy to take a simple donation to my ride, but if you know me at all, you know I’d rather earn it. And I will!

 

Please send your pledges in ASAP via comment, email, Twitter, or Facebook (RAM Cycling, since I don’t have a personal account). Also, please feel free to share this post with all of your friends and family however you can. THANKS in advance for your generosity and consideration in helping me fight cancer!!

 

masher@ramcycling.com    #TeamJustCycle # BikeToBeatCancer

@KPtheMasher 🚵

 

Jul 2017 04

 

The transformation of my cycling over the past year is a very pleasant surprise. When we relocated to the downtown that I grew up in last July, I had a feeling that I should get out of “my box” just a little by taking advantage of an awesome trail system located on the banks of the Kentucky River and providing excellent views of the state Capitol from multiple vantage points. Over my 12 year road cycling passion, I’ve often been told (but not tempted) by friends that I need to give mountain biking a try. I claim not tempted because it never seemed to interest me and I often heard stories of things always breaking with my mountain biking friends (either broken bikes or bones).

 

Growing up in Frankfort, I was familiar with Capitol View Park but had never been on the trails. In full disclosure, I really knew nothing about mountain biking, but having heard that CVP is one of nicest, most versatile trail parks in the state. My initial feeling was nearing a genuine attempt when I picked up my first mountain bike on Craig’s List from a former college student in Lexington. The trial cost me about $300 and I slowly began riding the Jamis Durango hardtail around town, before finding some trails behind Buffalo Trace distillery. Having no idea what I was doing, I took my first trip to the Buffalo Trace trails and I’ll never forget the moment it struck me that I could possibly run across a snake. I’m a big chicken when it comes to snakes, it’s one of my biggest fears. I put that fear aside to give this discipline a real chance.

 

My first trip to Capitol View Park was with good friend Nathan on Thanksgiving weekend and I wasn’t getting a warm fuzzy feeling. Especially the times I was catapulted off the bike twice, trying to follow him winding in and out of the multiple trails. Now I was beggining to second guess this feeling. My second trip to CVP was just after Christmas when I joined a few other friends Gene, Steph, and Fred on a morning when temps were near or below zero degrees and the trails were lightly covered with snow. It was cold!! Other than freezing and not being able to feel my toes and fingers for part of the ride, my experience was much better than the first after Stephanie checked and adjusted my tire pressure. As I said earlier, I really knew nothing about mountain biking.

 

Fast forward 6 months, I just purchased my next mountain bike. After accumulating a little over 250 miles on Bessie, my first dirt bike, and having gone from those first rides behind Buffalo Trace, to the first couple falls at CVP, to increasing my endurance and ability on trails, I was very confident that I’m committed to remaining a mountain biker as much as a road cyclist. That confidence was enough personal justification that I was ready to upgrade my equipment, knowing it would also enhance my overall experience. The only hold backs were my budget and still being a rookie.

 

 

I’m very thankful for the close friends I have gained in my cycling life, even though I ride with some more than others and still enjoy plenty of solo rides also, I’m always picking brains for tips and ideas that help me improve my riding. I am especially grateful for the few friends that loaned me bikes to experiment on. I borrowed full suspension, hardtail, 27.5, 29er, carbon, aluminum, steel, I weighed buying used versus brand new, nearly any option that I may possibly want to ride on a mountain bike trail. Ultimately, I settled on buying the bike I borrowed from Gene. It is a 2014 Giant Anthem 27.5– 3, a full suspension bike and he had already added a dropper seat post and converted the tires to tubeless. He gave me a very fair deal and I really like the bike and love the Louisville colors!

 

I enjoyed my first ride on it at CVP last night after having new tires installed, changing out the pedals and officially making it mine by paying for it. It is very smooth, a great fit and feel for me and I’m fully committed to enhancing my mountain bike experience to go along with my continued great passion for road cycling.  I look forward to to venturing many trails on my new bike “Elle Byrd!”