“Oh Fudge!”

^Oh Fudge from James . Click on Strava for the map.

Have you ever not paid attention for just one second and had a close call? I had one of those out at Madrone a while back. I was looking back for the guy following me and when I turned back I was face to face with another drop. It wasn’t a big deal, but I was slightly off the trail and didn’t see it. My life didn’t flash before me. It’s too long and boring. But it did give me an adrenaline rush.

The trails out there are great. They’re rough and rocky and technical for my skill level. I’m usually following whoever I go with and as you can see in the video, they are no where in sight. But that’s ok. It was a perfect day with good friends. What more can you ask for? How about not going over the handle bars for starters…..

Tovar Torture Test

 

^Tovar Torture Test from James on Vimeo.

This is a video of  a great mountain bike ride I had at Mac. It was just two of us so it was easy to adjust to each others pace and we managed 25 miles.  We did tempo with just a few short stops  and ended the ride with some hill intervals.

We did come up on some riders out there. They’re in the video but I don’t know them. They were doing their own pace so we joined them for a few minutes and then went on our way.

Strava map.

Everyone looks for something different from cycling. Health, fitness, maybe recreation. We were looking for three things and we found them. Oxygen, adrenaline and endorphins.

 

Lungs

 

^ Lungs from James on Vimeo.

If you’re a cyclist you probably realize you’re a heart/lung machine. Runners and swimmers are too. And of course, there are those crazy people that do all three sports who are too, maybe more so.  I’ve got to say, it is so much fun to build and  drive these machines.

I see it like this- we are the engine. We work on it and build it to perform in different ways just like you would a car engine and just like a car, we have strengths and weaknesses and other design limitations. Some are due to genetics and others to desire. Some, I’m sure, are due to discipline.

The video below is of me and a friend driving our machines at the end of our 20 miler at MacAllister park. It’s on a fun Strava segment called Lungs. The link below will take you to the map of the ride.

Strava map.

This was a fun day. The engine was running good. It’s a little old and has lots of miles on it, some of them pretty hard, but we won’t get into that. I may have been at my skill limit but it was still enough to maintain a fun pace.  I went as fast as I wanted, or as fast as my skill would allow, without having to worry about getting a ticket. Or getting my car impounded! Or having my insurance rates sky rocket! Sorry, getting off subject here. (deep breath, serenity now, serenity now)

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say with all this ruminating is that I think fitness is fun. It’s not just for health reasons. Sure it’s good for you, but all things considered, doesn’t it all end up being about the fun you’re having? Isn’t it the best hot rod of all?

 

Madrone-With a Rock or Two

 

^Madrone- With a Rock or Two from James on Vimeo.

As I’ve said before, we have some great places to ride in San Antonio. Lately I’ve been riding with the Trail Ninjas and they took me to the Madrone trail in Canyon Lake. I’ve never ridden there mainly because everyone said it was a hard trail. Come to find out, it was. But there was plenty that I could ride.

Strava map.

My tour guides knew the trail well and sized me up accurately enough. They know you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but they could warn me of what was coming up and give me some pointers. After all, I’m 441 years old in dog years. Too old to learn anything new but still with enough skills left to enjoy the trails. Plus I could watch them and enjoy some of it vicariously. It turned out to be a blast!

If you could only use one word to describe the trail it would be “rocky”. If you could use two, it would be “rocky as hell”. Ok, that’s three words but you get the picture. It also has plenty of short climbs. We got about 550 ft in 8 miles. Not bad for the area.

I’ve got a couple of hours of video to go through so I’ll show some more of the trail soon. You can see the map of the ride with stats on Strava and a short video with the link above. I’ll definitely be going back. I think there might be a rocky section we missed.

 

 

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.

 

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?