Friday, November 21, 2014



My older son, at age four, readying a new blog post. (Or maybe he is just playing on the computer, an original 128K Mac running OS 1.)

It has been more than two weeks since my last post, and there are a couple of reasons for that:
  1. Life continues to be complicated. As I mentioned in my last post, my Dad is doing better at the moment, but my older son continues to struggle with his health. Also, it has been exceedingly cold out, at least by the standard of spoiled Houstonians. All of this I find demotivating.
  2. Last week, I planned a really cool post based on a project of my convalescing son that shows off my ride data in fun, new ways. However, my son continues to find ways to make it even cooler, so asked me to delay showing off his creation.
Thus, I decided to use this week to provide some miscellaneous updates.


My friend "Peter" and I, on a recreational ride back in 1966. The photo was taken by a third friend, "James", who was riding as he took it, which probably contributed to the blurriness of the picture.

Despite distractions leading to motivation problems, I have not given up on a brevet on December 13, but my fitness is not where I had hoped it would be. It has been a while since I posted any MAF test results, so I will make up for lost time. The picture below summarizes my MAF test results from the last 11 months.

I have previously discussed MAF tests ad nauseum, so all I will say here is that I am assuming they are a measure of fitness, that higher is better. At the beginning of 2014, I had gone a long time without riding, so I did several weeks where a daily MAF test was my training ride (MAF Test Only). For the first six weeks or so, I improved dramatically on that regimen, but eventually my results plateaued. In response to that plateau, I significantly increased the intensity of my schedule by replacing two MAF test rides with one long ride and one fast ride each week (Long + Brisk). That had the desired effect of effecting improvement beyond the previous plateau but the undesired effect of being exhausting; I could not maintain that schedule. When I backed off, my performance fell, and before I could experiment with a more moderate schedule, I had to take a break in training to visit my Dad in California (Overtrain, Calif). When I returned, I trained with my wife for the 60 mile Tour de Pink, and as a result , I reached the highest level of fitness of the year, a level of fitness I had only previously seen just before riding a brevet. This was very encouraging! Before I could take advantage of that, however, my son became ill and my Dad started falling, causing me to visit California again, but this time for three weeks and with little time to bicycle. Since my return, I have attempted to regain the fitness I had before I left (Claw Back Fitness) with some success but also some setbacks. I have just over three weeks to get ready if I am to ride a brevet this year, we shall see how that goes.


Me during my snarky college years. My friend "ER" and I were out on a ride in 1968 or so and decided to take some posed pictures to prove how clever we were.

A while back, I posted about the growing extension to one of my favorite hike and bike trails, the Braes Bayou Trail. That extension keeps growing to the point where I am beginning to be able to guess where it might be going. The extension actually departs from Braes Bayou, which it could have continued to follow, to branch off and follow Keegan's Bayou instead. Looking at the satellite photos on Google Maps, there are existing dirt paths along parts of Keegan's Bayou, and if I imagined the longest possible extension that could be plausibly built, it is the segment in red on the map below.

For perspective, the part of the Braes Bayou trail I most frequently ride is shown in green. Sometimes I mention I ride this same trail to the east, despite some unfinished, rather dangerous dirt sections (that seem like they would be easy to fix.) That segment is shown in blue. As you can see, as appreciated as every bit of new trail is, this extension is not a game changer by any means. It is not that long, nor does it facilitate the crossing any busy highways or other significant barriers. I suspect its only effect will be to make my standard Braes Bayou ride a couple of miles longer, not a bad thing at that.

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