Monday, August 28, 2017

Week 34

Date
August 21, 2017

Distance
104 miles

Strava Link
Week 34


Route Map/Profile
Weather
Note the temperature drop around 10:00 for the eclipse.
Ride Video

Ride Report 
Today was the eclipse, and I celebrated the only way I know how: with a ride. We didn't get the full eclipse here, and I didn't have time to drive 6 hours to Idaho, so I had to settle for a partial eclipse. It was still an interesting experience. It was morning, but it felt like the sun was setting. Things got a little darker and the biggest thing I noticed was that the sun wasn't shining brightly on the mountains like usual. The other thing that jumped out was the temperature drop. You can actually see it on the weather graph above.

None of that really shows well in the video, but it was a fun day out there. Another note about the videos- they are a little shaky because I broke the little square mount (100% my fault) and I'm waiting for the replacement. I bought the cheapest one I could find on Amazon, and it's coming all the way from China. I'm sure you're sad that my crappy videos are about 5% crappier.

Week 33

Date
August 14, 2017

Distance
100 miles

Strava Link
Week 33

Route Map/Profile
Weather
Ride Video

Ride Report 
It looked like it might rain, so I did a flatter route down to Bridgeport and back. That ended up being a bad decision, because it didn't rain and it was pretty smoky down near Bridgeport. No big deal, though. As long as I can ride, life is good.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Week 32

Date
August 13, 2017

Distance
100 miles

Strava Link
Week 32

Route Map/Profile
Weather
Ride Video

Ride Report 
Warning: Non-cylcling rambling ahead.

As mentioned last week, August is off to a slow start. I flew in to ABQ last week on Monday afternoon. The whole trip didn't quite go as planned. The plan was to fly to ABQ, get my rental car, then drive to Alamogordo to look at some houses the next morning. Well, there was a flight delay of about 1 hour. I had the car reserved with Budget, which closed at midnight. Unfortunately, the rental car center isn't inside the airport, so I had to catch a shuttle. I went outside and one was leaving right as I walked to the bus stop.

The next shuttle wasn't too far behind, but I saw the clock tick past 12:00 about halfway into the 5-minute ride. I thought Budget would still be open, because they had my flight number and I'm sure that last flight of the day is delayed fairly often. I was wrong. Nobody was around except the Hertz guy and some janitors. Hertz was going to cost about an extra $100, so I decided to just stay until 5:00 AM when Budget would open up again. I tried to sleep a little, but it wasn't happening. (This will become important later.)

When they did open (5 minutes late, I might add), the counter lady was saying my car wasn't ready and I would have to wait some more. I was pissed. I was less than nice to her (sorry), and she finally agreed to let me take a van. I hate to be a dick, but it seems like sometimes that's the only way to get things done in this world. If you're ever going to ABQ and coming in on the last flight, rent at Hertz.

I made it to Alamogordo and looked at a few houses Tuesday morning. There was one I really liked and 3 that seemed to be priced a little on the high side. Unfortunately, there were 2 others that I was most interested in that I couldn't actually look at because the realtor just quit his agency or something and we couldn't get the keys. I would have been mad, but I really liked the one house and made an offer on it.

I made my way back to ABQ, where I found out that there were multiple offers on the house already. I'm not sure if they priced it low to start a bidding war or what. Well, I'm not interested in bidding wars, so I just kept my offer the same and figured I would be 0-2 in my house offers this year. (I made an offer on a house in AZ a few weeks back, but didn't get that one.) Now it was starting to feel like a wasted trip. The other houses seemed overpriced compared to the house I made an offer on, but if that house was artificially low then my whole thought process was messed up. Now not being able to see those other houses was more of a problem. I kept telling my realtor to keep an eye on stuff since I was coming from so far away. Obviously she wasn't doing that. I could have found some other houses to look at if I had known. I suppose the bigger lesson is that I should leave more than one day to look at houses next time. That way I'll have more time to adjust.

Wouldn't you know, my flight to RNO ended up being late. That meant I got about zero sleep on both Monday and Tuesday night. I woke up Wednesday with a sore throat. What's funny is that I'm around sick people all the time at work and never get sick, but I ended up getting sick on my off days due to lack of sleep. I don't get sick very often, and when I do it usually only lasts a day or two. This time lasted a little longer than normal- 3 solid days plus a few lingering snotty days. Then I had a visitor coming to town, so I ended up taking 5 days off the bike in total.

Later on I was told that the house got an offer for $14,000 more than the list price. I don't know what the deal was and my realtor didn't offer any insight (surprise, surprise). At least I didn't miss out by $100 or something stupid like that. The new price put it solidly outside of my price range. I hate to spend money flying out there to come home empty handed, but I guess I'm learning lessons along the way. If something seems too good to be true it probably is. I shouldn't have let that house skew my opinion on the other houses I looked at, and I should have taken some time to find a few more houses to look at when I found out I couldn't look at the other 2 I wanted to see. This will be my 3rd time buying a house. You'd think I'd be better at it by now. But if you've read my blog for more than a few weeks you have probably learned to never underestimate my stupidity.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Week 31

Date
July 31, 2017

Distance
101 miles

Strava Link
Week 31

Route Map/Profile
Weather

Ride Video

Ride Report 
I was flying out to New Mexico this afternoon, so I woke up early to squeeze in a flat ride. It was probably good to do a flat ride a week after Everesting, anyway. My legs actually recovered pretty well after last week's ride and I didn't feel super hungry the next day like usual. I must have been eating better during the ride. I won't lie, though. My motivation was way down for a few days. I didn't feel much like riding.

This is the last ride of July. It was a pretty good month. I got in over 1,200 miles and completed my Everesting attempt. Obviously June was a bigger month, but I can still feel happy about what I accomplished in July. August is already off to a rough start, but I'll talk more about that next week.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Everesting Monitor Pass (West)


This is my 5th successful Everesting attempt. Here are links to the other 4: Geiger Grade, Monitor Pass, Nevada 844, and Under the Freeway Climb.

The Climb

Strava Segment
This side of Monitor Pass is 8.2 miles at 6%. It starts off easy, then there is a tough section that's 1.3 miles at 10%. This part is long and straight, so it doesn't look as steep as it is, which can be very demoralizing. It's also exposed to the elements and heat can be an issue. Luckily, if it's windy it's most likely a tailwind. (Don't worry, I had plenty of headwinds when I did the other side.) After the steep part the road levels off for a bit, followed by a short downhill. Then the road kicks up again. There are more curves and some trees, so this section doesn't seem as bad as the first steep part. Around mile 7.5 you'll reach what looks like the summit, but you have to go down a short hill and back up again to reach to true summit at mile 8.2.

Factoring in the downhills, it takes 11 repeats to cross over the 29,029 mark.

The Ride

Total time was 17:01:58. Ride time was 14:57:43. I was really hoping to cut down my off-bike time, but as you can see I failed at that goal. I did stop for 11 minutes to help a guy fix a flat tire, so let's just round off-bike time to 2 hours. I don't know what it is with the off-bike time. I always hit a bad patch (this time after climb #6) and take a long break to recover. Then on the later climbs I feel like I can't get enough food in me unless I stop to eat. I'm always battling not being able to eat enough. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now. Every since my first Everest I've wanted to cut down my off-bike time. I've failed every time.

My other goal for today was to try to keep my climb times more consistent. In the past (and also on some failed attempts) I have tended to ride a little too hard early, which I pay for later. I made an effort to take it easier early on.

Did it work? I'm not so sure. Someone way smarter than me would have to go over all my old charts and compare them to this one. Here are the other ones I have.

NV 844
Under the Freeway

Geiger
Subjectively, I didn't feel like it really made a difference. It's not like I was feeling fresher than expected towards the end of the ride. It felt like a similar pattern. I started off well, then gradually got slower. Then I hit a bad stretch that made me want to quit, which was climb 6 this time. (Strangely enough, it doesn't really stand out so much on the chart like climb 6 from Geiger or climb 16 from NV 844.) I recovered and rode better for a while, then eventually fatigue set in towards the end.

I always have a bad climb somewhere in the middle. I'm convinced that this is mostly (perhaps completely) mental. I think my mind is trying to give me an excuse to quit. "Look, you're going slow. It can only get slower from here. How can you possibly continue for X more hours of this? You're already in your easiest gear."

I've quit at that point a few times before. If today was my first Everesting attempt, I wonder if I would have quit. I was fortunate that I had the experience to know that I would hit a rough patch, but if you just try one more climb you might be surprised at how quickly things can change for the better. That's Everesting's greatest lesson.

I like to think that cycling can teach life lessons, even though I'm not always the best at putting those lessons into practice. There are so many more lessons to learn. I'm eager to set new cycling goals and to learn from new challenges. I've had this feeling for the last few months that I need something new to focus on. I'm not sure yet what that something is.

Week 29

Date
July 18, 2017

Distance
105 miles

Strava Link
Week 29

Route Map/Profile
Weather
Ride Video

Ride Report 
This is the same route I did for Week 26, but I went clockwise instead of counterclockwise this time. It's a good route, but today there was construction on Luther Pass and Kingsbury grade with flaggers on both sections. It wasn't too bad on Luther. I didn't wait very long and the pilot car went nice and slow, so I could keep up with traffic and not have to worry about the flagger sending oncoming traffic my way. Kingsbury was a different story. There was a huge line of cars and we all had to wait there for a pretty long time. It wasn't even road construction, really. They were getting rid of some trees by the side of the road. I made it through that section without the flagger sending on coming traffic at me, so I guess it was a good day.

I'm thinking about an Everesting attempt next week.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week 28

Date
July 16, 2017

Distance
106 miles

Strava Link
Week 28

Route Map/Profile
Weather
Ride Video

Ride Report 
This is a beautiful and difficult route. I went over Monitor and Ebbetts and kept going on 4 until I hit 50 miles, then turned around and did the other side of Ebbetts and Monitor. 4 is great. It's super scenic and there are some pretty steep sections of road. I should ride the rest of it one of these days.