All in a Day’s Work

 

^Runaway Train from James on Vimeo.

Recently I was asked to step in and lead a ride for someone that couldn’t make it due to an injury. I was starting at a different location so my friend The Pit Bull started the group and I dropped in a couple of miles into the ride. As usual, it broke up into two group with me taking the front and Ken working the second group. After our first stop to regroup, we took off and one of our riders missed a turn. I thought I would have to chase him down, which happens sometimes, but lucky for me, he heard our shouts and turned around. In the meantime, I made sure the others made the turn until Ken’s group came up. Now however, the first guys had a lead and didn’t know where the next turn was. It was now my job to try and catch them to show them the turn. Turns out, the chase was the best part of the ride. Check out the chase video above.

Click on Strava for the map.

If you have ever led a ride, you know you can’t be everywhere at once. You want to show everyone the way and at the same time watch out for the people who are having a bad day and falling behind. So, for those of you that pitch in and help, many thanks. And my thanks go out to those that are hammering at the front, too. After all, some in the group will be feeling great that day and they deserve company while having fun. It’s all about pitching in somewhere, at one time or another,  watching out for each other, being there if needed, because if you think about it, we’re all out there just trying to enjoy another day in paradise.

Cheap Thrills

 

^Landa Lunacy from James on Vimeo.

This video is from a ride that the club 700c does that goes to Landa Park. It’s mostly flat but there is one short climb on Krueger Canyon Road that you need to do. I mean, come on, when the route goes right to the start can you really say no? It’s short, fast and….cheap.  It ramps up nicely to double digits and then it’s a gradual climb to the top. The ride is only about 35 miles and it’s an out and back so you’ll have energy to spare. The climb only adds about 2 miles and half of that will be down hill after turning around!  That’s cheap if you ask me. So watch the video and see what you will miss if you don’t do it.

Strava map of the ride.

The Strava map above shows the ride but the first and last 15 miles are extra. A couple of friends and I rode to the start and met everyone there. Trying to keep up with the Terminator was not cheap, by the way. He’s a Tempo Monster so I paid a high price.

There is another organized ride that goes there by a different route. It’s done by Lifetime Fitness. I have not ridden the Krueger Canyon route with them but have done some of their other rides. It’s another excellent group with some nice routes so I’m sure they do the road in the correct direction…. which is going up, right?

Gliding Like a Falcon

 

^Buzzing Bulverde from James .

It was a beautiful day on our 40 mile Spring Branch ride. We were at the 30 mile mark and regrouping on the fly. When everyone was together the pace would come up until we fell apart again. To me, that’s alway the most fun part. This ride had plenty of those. We would regroup on the fly, the tempo would come up and then BOOM, party time! And the good thing was, everyone wanted to play. The video below is on the Strava segment called Tail Wind and it was typical of the ride.

Strava map.

When my heart rate is red lined, I expect that anyone that catches me, at the very least, breaks a sweat. So when I watch a video from the back facing camera and see my friend Jack, aka The Falcon,  coast up to my wheel, in a Falcon hella catch, I just shake my head and hope that he can’t do that going up hill. Because if he can, I’m going to see if I can trade my bike for some golf clubs…

Making New Friends

^The Lone Ranger from James on Vimeo.

A while back we did a nice ride out to Spring Branch on a beautiful spring day. Bright flowers lined the road making for a great back drop. On the way back we were joined by a lone rider who was looking to enjoy a fun tempo with us on some nice rollers. We proceeded to have fun.

Strava map.

One thing about cycling, it’s easy to make friends. You ride, you share, you suffer; and then, you relive the event again while your system is full of adrenaline and endorphins. What’s better than that?

 

 

So Where’s the Warm Up?

 

^The Terminator from James . Part two here.

Have you ever been on one of those rides where everyone forgets to warm up? Whoever is up front just starts out hard and the rest of us, like sheep, just follow along. That’s what this ride was. Lucky for us, it’s mostly flat with some shallow rollers. The route is called the Wild Dogs Ride but, lucky for us, the wild dogs are gone. Unless they mean we are the wild dogs?

Click here for the Strava map.

The ride was with a local club called 700c. They have some great people and great routes including some that go on the Greenways. The ride leaders warm up but there are always hammer heads in every group that just take off and pay for it later. I’m glad I’m not one of those! Unfortunately, I happen to be one of those sheep that jumps off the cliff with them…..

How to Pass on a Bicycle

 

^The Devious Pass from James on Vimeo.

This was a ride I led for the store. It was 43 miles and had 2200 feet of hills. As ride leader I sometimes have to wait and make sure everyone makes the turn and then get up to the front to do the same thing. And sometimes it hurts.

Strava map.

Maybe I just want to feel fast by passing someone. It’s much easier if they don’t know I’m coming. After I pass they come after me like hornets and that part is fun too. I have some good video of some of the catches my friends make, but those are for another time. Now it’s just time for a devious pass.

The Pain Train

 

^ The Pain Train from James . Part two here.

Winter training in San Antonio Texas can be harsh. The terrible weather- dry, partly cloudy and in the 70s – oh my, how terrible! All joking aside, it was a perfect day for a bike ride. However, what started out as a Valentine’s Day ride the weekend before the 14th,  should have been called Valentine’s Day Massacre instead. It started out easy but you know how it is. Before you know it….

Strava map. Related video Hot Rod Syndrome.

The route is the Three Counties ride from the Cyclones on the south side of San Antonio. It’s mostly flat with easy rollers to play on. Traffic was light and the roads are in great shape for the most part. Since it’s mostly flat, it’s perfect for tempo work, which is what we did after we got out of the park.

That weekend, the park was sponsoring a run so many of the roads were blocked off. We had to move our start and the first five miles were slow going. It was actually good since it led to a good warm up and some nice socializing. After that, however, it kept ramping up to the end. Fun stuff.

One other thing about the video is that I got to play with picture-in-picture in the editor for the first time. A message popped up asking if I wanted to use it, I said yes, and there you have it! Learned something new for the day.

This is the first video from the ride. I’m working on two others from this footage. When you get to see them, you’ll see why we were zombies at the end. Maybe I should have called it The Walking Dead….

 

Mystery Man

 

^Mystery Man from James on Vimeo.

When I ride, I go with different groups here in town. Sometimes just with friends and some just by myself. They’re all fun in their own way. However, most of the video I take is in the group rides. Obviously, having a cyclist in the video makes it much more interesting. When I do video on solo rides it’s usually because I want to show someone a certain section or maybe a Strava segment that I like. Maybe even a nice climbing section. That way, people can see what the route is like and what kind of workout to expect.

Strava map.

The whole purpose of the video however, is so that I can watch them later, in my old age (about a month from now) and see my friends. It’s funny, but when I go back and watch them I see so many things I was not aware of. I see people that jumped in, like in this video, and join us for part of the ride. He just jumped in, hammered along with us, and then went on to complete his own workout.

One of the segments in the video is called Tailwind. We’re at about mile 22 of 45 with 2200 feet of climbing, most of it on easy rollers. The segment itself is basically flat and about three miles long depending on which one you like. Look closely and you’ll see that this section has three in the same area that just happen to start and end at different points. Since anyone can set up segments this can and does happen. Just pick the one you like. Anyway, I don’t set out to look for PRs but it sure feels good to look back and see why it was so much fun. In this case, I set PRs on two of them. I guess I should pick one of those to remember.

Anyway, I don’t know everyone in the video and I do not know who the mystery man was but if you recognize him or one of the others let them know they were caught on video with the hammer down!

 

Fast and Curious Part I

 

^Fast and Curious Part I from James on Vimeo.

Bullis County Park is one of the places we like to start our rides. It’s a nice park and has restrooms, plenty of parking and avoids most of the heavy traffic. Being at the edge of the hill country lets you choose the amount of climbing you want to do. If you don’t need any, there are plenty of flat areas with shallow rollers for you to enjoy. This video is of one of my favorite flat segments. It’s called Tempo Time. You can go to the map and see the route. Scroll down to the segments and you  can see the leader board for that segment. There are several options for looking at it, choose your friends, your club or even overall.

Strava map.

On this particular day we had a fast group. Not everyone “opened it up” on this segment since it was early in the ride and we still had the majority of the climbing to do. Still, about half the group seemed in the mood for some tempo.

Or maybe they weren’t. Maybe I was just – oblivious.

 

 

Don’t Look Up

 

^Don’t Look Up from James on Vimeo.

I was invited by my friend to do a little hill workout starting  in Lost Maples and heading out to Leakey. It took us over four nice climbs, two of which we went back and did again just for good measure. They’re only about 1 mile long but all four make it into double digit grade. The video below is only for half a mile of the first climb but it’s enough to show you that the climbs are nice.

Strava map.

When we finished the four climbs my friend asked me if I wanted to do the first one again. Hell, why not? So up we went. When we got to the top he asked if I wanted to go down the other side and come back up. I thought about it. This dare would be more of a commitment since I had to come back up and not just turn around and go back down if I had enough. I thought about it. Hell, why not?! You only live once!

When we went down to the bottom to start our climb was when I realized that this could be the end of “You only live once “. The down hills were actually the hard part. We had a very strong, gusting side wind that tended to blow us out into the road or off of the road depending on the direction we were going. And even without pedaling you could easily hit upper 40s. My friend hit 46 mph. I did not trust myself on this day due to the side winds and stayed in the mid 30s. Maybe next time, wind permitting, I’ll try upper 40s.

Next time we’ll go from Lost Maples to Camp Wood. That will be 80 miles, 5,700 feet with 12 climbs of 1 mile all hitting double digits. As long as we don’t look up,  that should be really nice…..