Rocky Raccoon


^Rocky Raccoon from James on Vimeo.

If you’ve read any of my other posts you know how I feel about Strava. I love it. It’s fun to go back and see my times on different segments, especially when I have a matching video! The video below is  of a segment called Rocky Raccoon. Click the Strava  link below to see the stats.

See Strava for map.

The segment is short, flat and very rocky. Now, you know that every segment has an optimum speed. I’m not talking about max speed, I’m talking about an efficient speed. One that doesn’t waste energy. The speed you would use if you were doing this segment in the middle of your 50 mile bike ride. That speed depends on your skill, fitness level at the time and the type of bike you’re riding. Obviously, it’s different for a full suspension bike as opposed to a rigid bike. Having said that, who wants to see efficiency?

I never know what’s going to happen during the ride. Luckily, I had the camera on when my friend dropped the  hammer. The video has nothing to do with finding an efficient pace. We just threw caution to the wind and tried to jump on his wheel. We’re not pros or world class athletes. We’re just average Joes having a great day. We had to save some energy since the goal was 25 miles but hey, we’ve all blown up before, right? If you’re not barely dragging your butt home every once in a while you’re just not visiting paradise.



Riding with Ninjas


^Riding with Ninjas from James on Vimeo.

The other day, after finishing up a Random Ride, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. He’s with a group call Texas Trail Ninjas. I needed to round out the numbers on my Garmin so I decided to join them for a few miles.

Strava map.

One good thing about San Antonio is that it has a great cycling community. And just like there’s different types of riding to do, there are also groups with different styles of riding. So what the hell? I just jumped in and tried them out.

Funny thing is I wasn’t the one jumping. In fact, I had both wheels firmly on the ground the entire time. The Ninjas, on the other hand, were jumping everything – roots, rocks, gaps, bumps….leaves. Anything and everything. They reminded me of Salmon swimming up river and jumping out of the water all the time.

Unfortunately I didn’t get much of it on video. I still have about 2 hours of video to go through so maybe I caught some. And the battery died during the ride, so maybe I didn’t. Either way, I did catch the start of our ride so I posted that. You can see the video with the link above and see the ride stats on  strava. I also noticed that whenever we started going down hill, even the slightest amount, they woke up. I didn’t even go with them to the drops but on the way there I could tell what terrain they liked.

Whether I got any jumping video or not it was still a great day of riding. I didn’t get to see them do the drops but from the little I saw I know I need a full battery the next time I ride with them. As far as the day goes, I saw an old friend, made some new friends and got to see a new style of riding. As usual, it was another day in paradise.


Scrambled Legs


^Scrambled Legs from James on Vimeo.

Strava. It’s a love it or hate it thing, isn’t it? Me? I love it. When you do a lot of training on your own it’s a great way to see how you’re doing. You can see your time on different segments, plot routes or see other’s rides that you may want to try. And something I really like is that when you plot a ride it shows you how many feet of climbing there are in the ride. Pretty cool, right?

Strava map.

The cool thing about the segments is that you can compare your ride to previous rides you did there. You can also compare it to anyone that has ridden that segment before. And even cooler than that, you can compare it only to your friends that you follow. Even though you’re training by yourself, if you’re like me, you’re chasing that one guy ahead of you and trying to stay ahead of the person chasing you. It’s just another training tool for us to use.

The video attached to this post is a short one showing a segment we did at Mac. Everywhere you ride there are Strava segments. You can even set some up yourself if there’s a section you really like. Whoever set up the Scrambled Legs segment in the video picked a cool one. I always liked that section. And thanks to Jason, my friend in the video, I set a new PR! What can be better than that?




Ted’s Excellent Adventure


Ted’s Excellent Adventure from James on Vimeo.

The other day I was looking through the Facebook page of a group I belong to and noticed a new member who had just moved to Texas. He was asking if anyone could recommend some local trails. We’re pretty lucky here in this part of Texas as there are plenty of places to ride. I told him I could show him McAllister Park the next day and had several other members willing to help out. It looked like the weather was going to be perfect.

Strava map.

The day did not disappoint. It was sunny and cool, the trails were in great shape and everyone was fit and ready to rock. We ended up showing him 20 miles worth of Mac. Judging from his smile, I think we did ok.

I like playing Ambassador. It’s a good way to pay it forward. So many people have  helped me that I can’t even count them. Not to mention the fact that it allows me to appreciate what we have. It’s like watching a cartoon with kids. You see it through their eyes and you enjoy it more. The day we rode I saw how lucky we are to have the trails we have and to have a group like Storm to fight to keep those trails. My thanks go out to Ted and the others that went. They helped me enjoy another day in paradise.


The 14 mph Ride


The 14 mph Ride from James on Vimeo.

This is a video of an old ride I called The 14 mph Ride. It was a great ride with some good friends and we had a blast. We even had someone who just latched on for the fun. My Garmin said we had a 14 mph average pace. Now, if you judge a ride’s fun factor by the speed this may seem like a boring ride. But is the fun factor directly proportional to your speed? The faster you go the more fun it is?

Click on Strava to see the map.

Remember the first time you rode a bike? You may not have gone over 10 mph but you felt like you were flying! It was effortless compared to walking. It was freedom! Admit it, you were hooked after that. Now, you’re training, eating right, getting the right gear – and maybe even shooting for Strava Segments. Either way you’re probably either looking for a top speed or a high average. Or maybe not either one. Maybe the speed you find fun is the speed at which you can talk to friends while you do something good for your heart. To each, his own, right?

Everyone has a different idea of what speed is fun. Whether it’s a pace of  15 mph or 20, or even 30, it doesn’t matter. Your top speed can be 25 or 50, again it doesn’t matter. It’s all about feeling like you did when you first got a bike. That feeling that you were flying!

So what fires you up? Speed? Distance? Climbing? I don’t know if speed is the most important for you or not but we all know speed is fun.  If you have the right speed, the right distance and the right amount of climbing you’re going to have fun. In the right ratio they can even make for the perfect ride. Add in great weather and good friends and you get another day in paradise.


Saturday Night Home Movies


Lord of the (Chain) Rings Part II from James on Vimeo.

Ok, I’ve played enough with this thing already. I need to post some bike videos that have bikes! I have tons of video of rides here in San Antonio with some great friends that I’m finally going to post.

Strava map.

In fact that was the whole purpose of this blog. I needed some place to collect them all. They’re nothing special, that’s why I call them Home Movies. You know, the kind your family forces you to watch when you would really rather be somewhere else. There’s no exotic scenic views, no death defying jumps, no bloody crashes. It’s really just plain old home movies. It’s just a camera taking pictures on the move without me having to do much. Sounds easy, right?

Well there’s a lot more work involved than I thought. Maybe not as much as with still pictures. Those require an eye for a good shot. I have many friends that take great pictures but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. There’s an art to it that I just don’t have so this will have to do.

I hope you see yourself in there somewhere. If not, and you were on that ride, just be patient. I’ll post one eventually. Like I’ve said before, it may take me a while and you may not get to see it but your great grand kids are going to love it.


Chest Mounted Camera Test


Chest Mount Test from James on Vimeo.

I have some mountain bike and gravel bike video with the camera mounted to the seat post and the handle bars. It’s very shaky. This video mounts the camera on a chest strap. The video is not bad with this system but obviously I can’t use the old Garmin Elite since it is cigar shaped. The video was taken at McAllister Park. I ran into a couple of guys from the Storm club which was convenient since I needed a reference. One thing about this chest mounted camera is trying to get the angle right. It’s hit or miss and can change as you ride so you have to keep track of it.

Strava map.

The bigger question is how do I mount the rear facing camera? The seat tube works ok on the road but I ride a hard tail and I don’t think it will work out on the trail. I like that view better as it shows the suffering on the riders face and we know cycling is about suffering, right? Anyone have any ideas? Oh, and can you guess the trail?


Camera Test Comparison


Camera Test Comparison from James on Vimeo.

I am using this blog to post my cycling videos but here I am again posting another video with no bikes! The reason is that I’m paranoid I’m going to lose something since I don’t have the hang of this yet. Time will make it easier, I know.  This is one more for me to practice on.

I have been asked several times what camera I’m using. My first video camera was the Garmin Verb Elite that I got back in 2014. It was originally attached to my seat post for a rear view but now that I have a new camera, it is on the front. The new one, a Garmin Verb Ultra 30 is now on the rear.

This video is a test of the stabilization of the two cameras. When I stand up during a climb the bike rocks back and forth. You can see it in the first part of the video with the old camera on the front. The second half of the video shows the new camera. When the bike is moving side to side the camera makes it look like the rear wheel is moving side to side instead and the picture is much more stable. Pretty cool! Just so you know, the camera and editor have many functions available, none of which I understand yet. I guess the challenge will be to see if an old dog can be taught new tricks. And in dog years I’m 441 years old. So give me a break…..


Skateboard Madness



Skateboard Madness from James on Vimeo.

I was out doing a solo ride one day and happened to have my camera with me. It’s mounted on the seat post and aimed back. It was a climbing workout so when you go up you have to come down. I was half way down one of the longer climbs when I noticed something in my rear view mirror. (Yes, I have a rear view mirror damn it. You can make fun of me later.) Anyway, I saw something in front of the car behind me and when i looked further I noticed it was someone on a skateboard!

Strava map.

If you think going 35 mph is fast on a bike, imagine what it feels like on the skateboard. And we have brakes. Watch how he stops at the end. I asked him how fast he’s gone on that thing. Mid 30s in San Antonio and in the 40s in Austin. Pure madness as far as I’m concerned. I does seem fun though, doesn’t it?