Saturday 26 January 2013

The Life List

I recently picked up the latest issue of the German cycling magazine RoadBike (yes, it is German in spite of the title!) primarily for an article about cycling in the Marche area of Italy but I enjoyed another story "Einmal in Leben," ("Once in a Lifetime") which is a list of all the things a cyclist must do before finally stepping back from the podium, so to speak.

Being irrevocably middle-aged, I thought I should be Germanic and make a list of what I have already done from this list before time runs out.

1.  Go to the Tour de France

Check.  Was there in 2005 and again in 2008.

2.   Won a town limit sign sprint

Check.  Even better than this, in 2009 I won a sprint to a country-limit sign (from Austria to Germany).

3.  Conquer the Stelvio Pass

Check.  Three times so far!

4.  Trigger photo radar while riding

I can't figure out how to do this as without a license plate the authorities cannnot track me down.  I did once exceed the speed limit on Skyline Drive in Virginia and was pulled over by a policeman with others from the Potomac Pedallers.  No ticket though.

5.  Master the legendary climb of Mont Ventoux

Check.  Done in 2010.  An extraordinary experience.

6.  Shower in the Roubaix Velodrome

Not yet but I plan to do it within the next two years.

7.  Experience the Dolomites

Check.  The Sella Ronda route is definitely a must-do and I did it in 2009.

8.  Go to a training camp

Check.  Twice in Mallorca, twice in Nellysford, Virginia with Squadra Coppi, once in Sicily, once in San Diego and once in North Carolina.  

9.  Survive the Őztaler Radmarathon

My excuse for not doing this is that the registrations sell out instantly.  Luckily.  There is no way that I am doing a 238 km ride with 5500 m of climbing.  This is insane.  Look at the profile!

9.  Ride to Cap Formentor

Not yet.  My two trips to Mallorca did not include this but I would still like to do it.

10.  Ride on the Track

Check.  Twice in Kaarst-Büttgen seriously and once in Cologne just to say I did it.  The list should include seeing at least one Six Day Race.

11.  Complete a 200 km Ride

Check.  In addition to riding the Mountains of Misery long route three times, I have completed "Radmarathons," as the Germans call 200+ km rides, often in Germany, as well as the 220 km Eleven City Tour of Friesland in the Netherlands.  My one attempt at a 300 km ride, the "Animalthon" in Ontario, failed after 180 kms due to terrible weather.  So that is still on my list.

12.  Cross the Alps

Check.  The 2008 Lost Boys Tour did the Route des Grandes Alpes, surely a monument of cycling.   I am looking at other routes, particularly the Via Claudia Augusta, which would take me down into Verona.

Check.  Too often.  The worst was probably riding the infamous SkyMass ride in 1999 with my friend Jeff and we were both totally blown at the end.

14.  Ascend the Muur of Geraardsbergen

Check.  Done in 2002.  Well, most of it since I had to walk part of the middle section. This is one of the many famous stretches of the Tour of Flanders and it is a genuine relief when you see the chapel at the top.

15.  Experience l'Eroica live

Check.  Done in 2011 and wanted to do it again but it sold out too fast in 2012.  They are going to a lottery system for 2013 so there is still another chance.  A wonderful ride.

Not too bad so far:  of the 15 on the list, I still have only to ride in Mallorca again and take a shower in Roubaix since there is no possibility of doing the Őztaler and I am baffled by the photo radar problem.  A man's gotta know his limits.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Happy New Year! Resolutions for 2013

At this time of year I traditionally and bravely dance out on the highwire and present my resolutions for the coming year after seeing how well I did in meeting the previous year’s.  The idea is to get motivation for the coming twelve months by setting real achievable goals.  At least I thought that’s what the aim should be since I did not do very well with my 2011 resolutions, as I pointed out here in January 2012, but in many ways 2012 was much worse.  I will blame this not only on my own laziness but also interference by life getting in the way unpleasantly from time to time.  So first the catalogue of misses:

1.   Weight down to 78 kgs as soon as possible, as in “now.”

Well this was a huge flop as not only did I fail to drop the 8-9 kgs I had planned but in fact went completely in the opposite direction and gained 7 kgs, bringing me to an insanely-high 92.6 today.  To reach my original target (actually set in 2011) I now have to get rid of 14 kgs, or 31 pounds!  This is a key resolution since I feel sluggish and tired all the time and I know that I will be hopeless riding up hills in the coming year unless I get really serious about this.  There is also the general health issue.  So, I need to stay away from beer and cake this year and work out a lot more.    

How I look (or at least feel) now

2.        Organized Rides

Well, this actually worked out quite well although I did not manage to get into l’Eroica for a second time and could not work out the logistics for the Paris-Roubaix sportif.
6 Hour Charity Spinning Event, Netherlands (January 28)—completed!

Amstel Gold Sportif 150 km (April 14)—completed!  And then ridden a second time a month later!

Lake Garda (1), including watching Giro d'Italia team time trial after riding course (May)--completed

Lake Garda (2) Pezcycling Camp with climb up the Stelvio (May-June)--completed

Gran Fondo Damiano Cunego, Verona, Italy 85 km (June 3)--completed

Paris-Roubaix Sportif, France 210 km (June 10)—too complicated to get organized for

2012 Lost Boys Tour of Europe: Corsica, France (June-July)--completed

L'Eroica, Chianti, Italy (September)—unable to get registered

Unexpected organized rides completed:

Gruyere Tour 88 kms in August

Romandie-Verbier Classic 100 km in September

WK Limburg Sportif  170 kms in September

Rund um die Baumberge 125 km RTF in October

So I will give myself a passing grade on this!

3.        Touring

I did manage the first part of the Limes Radweg but this was it.  I would still like to do the Xanten-Paderborn "Roman Route" and more of the Limes, but with better planning. 

4.      Doing something about learning Italian.

Well, five visits to Italy this year certainly helped! 

Now, for the 2013 Resolutions:

  1. 1.       Get serious about weight loss.

  1. 2.       Get serious about weight loss.

  1. 3.       Get serious about weight loss.

Time to roll out the High-Intensity Training Plan again, and also crack open the Olympic Distance Training Program that I have.  Although I have no interest in doing a triathlon, switching between three disciplines is probably good for me at this point in life.  I am also going back to keeping a food diary as well as a training one.

2.       Organized Rides:

Tour du Lac Leman 180 kms May 26 in Switzerland
Ride two Radmarathon (200 km) rides in Germany
Lost Boys Annual Tour of Europe: July/August in Switzerland
Hallzig Historica in August (retro ride)
Ride two CTFs
Rhön Bicycle Weekend 18/19 May (152 km Saturday, 205 km Sunday)
At least one time trial!

    3. Blog entries at least twice a week, so 104 entries instead of 2012’s sad 31.

    4.  Improve riding skills, particularly descending as it was not very good in Corsica for some reason.  Well, partly due to a crash, but still...

     So that's it for 2013's resolutions.  If everything goes according to plan, I should get into the last part of the year looking more like this: