Saturday, February 25, 2006

Biking before the snow

With snow predicted to begin late morning, an early start for Saturday’s ride was necessary. However, this being my first day off in a couple of weeks, sleeping in seemed just as inviting. Up and at em at 8:15 was a good enough compromise. It did take a while to get everything in order. Dressing for the 20 degree temperature, getting the bike ready which included installing a water bottle cage, pumping the tires and making sure everything worked.

My good intentions of sprinting to McDonalds for a pancake breakfast with the regulars was sidetracked by quacking emanating from the saltmarsh. It seems the ducks were just as hungry as me and they were in the middle of breakfast as I passed.

Ducks gathered for breakfast

Because of the cold, (15F), I had the path to myself. The sights and sounds of an active saltmarsh can be very mesmerizing.

Winter Saltmarsh

I rode one of my standard 18 mile loops but this was a “day off” ride. An easy spin with no thought of training or fitness. This was a photo ride. After crossing the bridge, I headed down toward the old WWII encampment, Fort Rodman. This also has a civil war era fortress inside the gates, that was designed and build by Robert E Lee.

Two bike trails were on the route. The first, “The Phoenix Path” took me through not only the saltmarsh area, shown above, but also to the shipyard area. There were boats in dry dock, as well as those too far gone, before dropping me at the bridge crossing.

Fishing vessle in dry dock

Too late for dry dock

Crossing the river into New Bedford

After the bridge crossing the ride was part of the New Bedford bike route, through the old fort and beach, looping around to the old factory area. New Bedford was one of the richest cities in America during the whaling era, and again during the heyday of the textile mills.

The 18 miles took close to 2 hours, because of the picture taking and two hot chocolate, foot warming stops. When I left, and again when I returned, I waved to my neighbors, four of them, sitting in the living room, watching television, drinking super duper extra large, triple sweet flavored coffee, and smoking cigarettes. That’s fine for them, but I think my two hours were better.

University Marine Lab at entrance to old Fort property.

Rodney French Blvd. skirting the Fort and waterfront area.

Sneaker art.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Off Season Training

Cyclo-Core is a good off season training program, weather for biking or just using bike training as a way to lose weight. In combination with the free program for food and activity tracking,, this rider has shed 17 lbs in 4 weeks. Racquetball plays an integral part of the cross training program.

Standard weight and cardio workouts did not work for Ole Blue's rider. The lack of progress screamed for professional help, which is never cheap. The cyclo-core program provides a consistent approach to exercise. It contains enough structure to ensure progress, slowly and gradually building fitness and strength over time. It also encourages adequate rest days and recovery periods.

Helter skelter workouts, (those without a goal or structure), provided a 50 lb weight gain over the course of 3 years. As results begin to show, it gets difficult to take rest days, for fear of losing momentum and failure. However, lack of rest and recovery is probably "the" number one cause of plateau and digression.

Better conditioning and fitness encourages more riding. It is no chore to ride in the winter. With the proper clothing it's actually quite fun.

Winter holiday riding

National Whaling Historic Park. New Bedford, Ma.

Freighter in New Bedford Harbor.

Very shortly, bike commuting will start again. A 20 some odd mile each way ride will be the standard. Some very scenic and quaint New England back roads will make the rides easy and enjoyable.

Quaint country roads for commuting.

Till then. Keep active.