Sunday, May 11, 2008

Frustrated Blue Heron

So the Blue Heron got frustrated, having not seen us much over the last two weeks. Pi Guy and I went for a ride on the Sinton Trail loop today and didn't see the sizable bird at all.
I watched the Monument Creek bottom all the time that we were riding parallel to it. Nowhere was our bird friend. Could be frustration, or he/she could be "busy." The last time Lucy and I saw the Blue Heron, it was Blue Herons, a pair of them.
This isn't the first ride since doing the Cottonwood Canyon trail two weeks ago. We managed a ride to the Air Force Academy on the Santa Fe Trail, an extension of the Pikes Peak Greenway trail. That should have been about seventeen miles and on schedule.
If I don't get right to writing, the days get messed up, so I can’t remember the day or date. It was interesting though that when we got close to the Air Force Academy riding between the railroad grade and Monument Creek, part of a retaining berm contained flat bed rail cars tipped up on their sides.
Another day Pi Guy and I started to do the Sinton Trail loop, but at the intersection of 30th and Garden of the Gods Road, Pi Guy had had enough. Instead of continuing to the Mesa Trail, we rode down Garden of the Gods Road to the Pikes Peak Greenway. It turns out that this ride was about the twelve mile distance that we were trying for.
It was here that Pi Guy and I saw the Blue Heron on this ride, in the little reservoir at the bottom of the GOTG Road. We were experimenting the possibility of going around on the west side of the reservoir and looking over the embankment our blue friend was about twenty-five feet distant.
Today the Sinton Trail loop was different for three reasons, we did get all the way around, it's Mother's Day, we had a little gizmo to tell us the exact distance and we didn't see the Blue Heron. Four reasons today was different.
It turns out that my estimates of distance have been skewed toward the conservative. I had thought that the Sinton Trail loop was a little over twelve miles. It is almost exactly fifteen. So its time for some review, repetition on our rides to see what the right distances are. Just for fun.
Maybe the Blue Heron will show him/her self again.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Plan, Diet and Weight

The plan for distance rides, is in the table here. The distance rides are intended to be weekend rides. During the week we should be doing rides of about twelve miles, two or three times. We'd be working on increasing our speed or working hills.

We have already run ahead of schedule a couple of times, and probably will again. This will give us a chance to cut back a bit on following weekends too. After the 16th of August, we'll probably cut back on weekend distances, to maybe forty or fifty miles.

Right now the plan is to attempt the ride beginning September 13th. There's a lot of prep work still to be done though.

Date week # distance
4/5/2008 1 12.0
4/12/2008 2 13.2
4/19/2008 3 14.5
4/26/2008 4 16.0
5/3/2008 5 17.6
5/10/2008 6 19.3
5/17/2008 7 21.3
5/24/2008 8 23.4
5/31/2008 9 25.7
6/7/2008 10 28.3
6/14/2008 11 31.1
6/21/2008 12 34.2
6/28/2008 13 37.7
7/5/2008 14 41.4
7/12/2008 15 45.6
7/19/2008 16 50.1
7/26/2008 17 55.1
8/2/2008 18 60.7
8/9/2008 19 66.7
8/16/2008 20 73.4

Diet/Weight Rant

I was happy that my weight gain over the last week was muscle, 2.1 lbs. Disappointed that my fat loss was only one tenth of a pound, with our scales, virtually indistinguishable.

I've done some research which shows the effect of different caloric intakes. ( My maintenance level should be about 2800 calories, to loose fat 2000 calories, for extreme fat loss, about 1500.

After Thursday's ride I'm really not looking to give 20 to 30 pounds of fat a free ride around Colorado Springs, especially around southern Colorado.

I was trying to keep my caloric intake totals in my head. I thought that I was in the 1500 to 1700 hundred calorie range, but that doesn't compute.

It's time to become somewhat obsessive. I'm re-initiating the "What I ate today" journal. Where I record everything I eat, calculating more precisely what the calories are. I total the daily intake, and budgeting accordingly. Like a hand full of M&M's in the morning, then nothing else all day, or another diet option that lets me fill up with better foods.

End diet/weight rant.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Twenty Mile Loop

Pi Guy and I revisited the Homestead Ridge Trail, today. We left early to avoid the pesky winds. We took the same approach as last time.

The climb after the Penrose Park started out well, but in the same location that Pi Guy slipped his chain last time, his tire went flat. Remember the pack with all the preparedness goodies. I did. Coolness, to have a spare tube.

We went through the changing drill. I got out the offending thorns, and we had the bicycle ready to go in less than ten minutes. (Not trying to be a pit crew.)

When we had reached our previous turn around spot at Barnes, Pi Guy agreed that the ride was easier this time.

We continued this time, pedaling through Old Farm, and up more hill,… and more hill. I wasn’t expecting so much hill. We ended up by the water tank in Stetson Hills. Fortunately it was all down hill from there.

Heading North we hooked up with Cottonwood Creek trail, which we took heading west. A city storm water project was fully engaged in improvement in Cottonwood Creek. We paused at a picnic table to eat a Zone Bar, and hydrate.

Everything was going well until we met up with Academy Blvd., where I expected more trail there wasn’t any. We went south on Academy, up hill, to Dublin, then went west on Dublin.

We had to drop back onto the Cottonwood Creek trail to pass under I-25.

Pi Guy needed a restroom, so we stopped at the Criterium Bicycle Shop. This is the bicycle shop just off the east side of the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail and on the west side of Corporate Drive. The building is relatively new, and the restrooms are right up front, almost the first things you see. I chatted briefly with a sales guy. He said that it was the plan of the owner to place the restrooms there, for cyclists like us. Smart marketing.

If we weren’t a little pressed for time I would have purchased a new tube to replace the one that flatted earlier. Criterium's placement is so convenient for stocking up on those consumable items. I’ll head over later to get that tube.

There is a reservoir just south of Garden of the Gods Blvd. next to Fountain Creek. “Look, up in the sky, a Blue Heron.” Or is it the same one we’ve seen before?

Except for the tired legs, the rest of the ride was uneventful.

When we got home I mixed up some vanilla milk, with vanilla syrup and 1% milk. Joe Friel in “Cycling Past 50”, suggested skim milk and sugar as a recovery drink with in thirty minutes from the end of a ride. Skim because fat delays digestion.

Our distance for the day was about twenty miles. We’ll be doing the short distances for a week once the weather stabilizes warmer.

MIdland Trail

On Tuesday Pi Guy and I went out for a ride. This time to see how far out the Midland Trail goes. The trail map shows it going out as far as 20th Street. But the dotted "to be completed" lines point to Manitou Springs.

This ride gave new meaning to the words "Wind Trainer." The wind was SWS and powerful. Nice when it's at your back. It was a short ride, about twelve miles out and back.

We saw the Blue Heron, maybe a Blue Heron, and not the one that we had seen just a few days before. It was standing in the middle of Monument Creek about behind the Colorado College. (Rats, no camera.)

Monument Creek is up, not run off stage yet but up a little. We have about two feet to eighteen inches before we won't be able to cross just past the Bijou bridge.

Amazingly, the Midland Trail stops at 20th Street. Just like the map said. A more decked out road cyclist answered our question. He said that this was the end of the trail. Yes, it is slated to go as far as Manitou Springs, and that Manitou Springs was his destination, but it doesn't go there yet. You have to suck it up and smell the traffic.

Pi Guy and I swung down by G&C Packing Company, which is a meat processing plant, to see if there were any possibility of a trail down by the Fountain Creek heading west. NSL. Then we headed back.

Did I say that it is nice to have a strong wind at your back? (That's rhetorical.)

I don’t think that I said anything about it not being nice to set down your water bottle while your getting your bicycle out and not pick it up again for your ride, did I?

As we were cruising back on the Rock Island Trail, almost home, we saw the/another Blue Heron. They are great birds, big, and they fly with their legs trailing out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Homestead Ridge Trail

Pi Guy and I went for a little longer ride on Saturday.

The wind was blowing, according to the weather channel about twenty to thirty mph, and the sun was shining. We sun screened up with some SPF 30 spray.

We headed east on the Rock Island Trail then north on Academy Blvd., against the wind. We then cut across to the Homestead Ridge Trail at its start. I had been out this way before as far as Penrose Park.

The trail from Penrose Park inclines upward. It was a much steeper incline than I expected (possibly 6%) and quite a trial. (Remember our inexperienced legs.) I didn't notice the wind on the Homestead trail although I knew it could be a factor on the return.

We both did notice the Sky Sox Stadium that had no game from our perch at the top of Barnes road, as well as noticing all the new businesses out on Powers. The difference in elevation is about 600 feet, from home to where we were.

Our legs still are not acclimated to even the hills around Colorado Springs. It'll be a couple of weeks before we even get to a twenty mile distance. (Unless we get brave and up the distance training.)

We were only going for twelve miles but riding to Barnes Road was more like fifteen miles round trip. Next week end we'll plan on a seventeen mile ride. The weekend after, we'll come back this way and make our way over to Cottonwood Creek, down to Pikes Peak Greenway and back home.

That loop route should be about twenty miles, loaded at the front with that intense hill around South Carefree.

But this ride except for the tail wind on the way back, and the unexpected climb, was pretty uneventful. Considering some of the events that could happen, I'm happy.

Hey, I did get to break out my sunglasses.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Rides

Pi Guy and I have been on three rides since last post. A break in good health for Pi Guy (a cold) and a change in the weather to the colder extreme prevented us from getting out for almost a week.

(I thought that this would put us behind schedule, but I was wrong.)

Getting out again, I was considering Pi Guy's endurance, and suggested that we ride up to the Austin Bluffs, Union Blvd. intersection where there has been a large intersection project. It would be about four miles round trip, and give us a chance to more closely look at the progress of the construction.

New to Pi Guy was the underpass under Union, and the path parallel to Union. Familiar with our usual route to Rocky Mountain Calvary, Pi Guy said that we could even bicycle there on this path.

Rather than back track and return home, with Pi Guy's approval, we headed up the bicycle path parallel to Austin Bluffs, to the east.

At the access to Palmer Park we picked up a gravel road that took us up into Palmer Park. The incline near the end of the gravel portion, our inexperience, and the type of tires on our bicycles cause us both to spin our tires. But we persevered. The rest of the ride was on the asphalt road that runs through the Park. And it was down hill from the crest of the park to home. The whole distance was about six miles.

Our next ride was somewhat more intense for our inexperienced legs. We headed out to the Pikes Peak Greenway, and went up the Sinton Trail. The Sinton trail has a steady incline until it meets up with the Mesa Trail, which we would then take to the south.

I thought that we would have an incline down as soon as we were on Mesa Trail. I'm wrong a lot. We still had more hill to climb before enjoying some coasting.

Even the first coast was short lived as we had to climb from the 30th Street, Mesa Road intersection to the top of the hill by the Garden of the Gods Club. Pi Guy slipped his chain again, and was tempted to walk his bike up the rest of the hill. I restrung his chain and prevailed in encouraging him to take the rst of the hill on the bike.

Once at the top of the hill, we had an extended coast along Mesa Road until we came to the I-25 pedestrian/bicycle overpass. We stopped in the park on the east side of I-25 by Fountain Creek. A blue heron was just finishing eating in front of us, then flew away downstream. Then we returned home. This trip out was about 12 miles and tougher on our legs.

The last trip out was just a day later and a repeat of our trips out to the end of the Rock Island trail at Powers Blvd. Although the temperatures were in the high seventies, maybe eighties, the next two days were supposed to be a return to winter, not fit for fair weather cyclists like us.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fifteen Miles

We made one more ride, getting started. We were going to go twelve miles, over to the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail then up to the Rockrimmon Trail and back.

It was another beautiful day but breezy, in the high 60's. There were joggers out as well as other cyclists all up and down the trail.

The trail north of the Sinton Trail turn off was new to me. Actually there are two trails, and we ended up on the Front Range Trail. The Pikes Peak Greenway traverses, I think, on Sinton Road. So we stayed on the path, and were able to avoid automobile traffic.

On the North side of Garden of the Gods Road we notice the work of some beavers. We had never seen any nor had we considered that there might be urban beavers in Colorado Springs. But the downed and gnawed trees were undeniable. And some were fresh.

The trail bridges Fountain Creek several times. At the first crossing after passing under I-25 I had heard some cyclists behind us so instead of turning up the trail I went straight. There were four cyclists traveling in a group, their colors gave them away. They were appreciative that they could get by so easily.

We ended up going up past Woodman Road. Rough figuring, we would travel about fifteen miles. This would be about a week ahead on our schedule for weekly increases in distance.

At a trail map near a trailhead Pi Guy was ready to head back. It was quite warm so Pi Guy doffed his sweatshirt I took off my jacket. But when we got back to the place we had pulled of for the group of cyclists earlier. We pulled off again to put warmer clothing because of the wind.

It was then that I noticed that there was a retail bicycle shop right there. Criterium Bicycles, who knew? It's on Corporate Drive, if you're driving.

Somewhere along the ride there was a sign announcing that there was an intention to complete a bicycle trail extending from Wyoming to New Mexico. A ride for another time.

Good ride. I had been concerned that Pi Guy wasn't going to be able to keep up, he is always in a following position. Several times during this ride he pulled up to mention observations of interest, an abandoned soccer field, and a larger animal scurrying away in the brush. He's doing well.

Warmer, we headed home. This happened last weekend.