MNCYCLIST's SparkPeople Blog MNCYCLIST's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Heading to Chicago this Week <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Besides serving as the Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Glory of Christ Fellowship in Elk River, Minnesota, I'm also a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL on the north side of Chicago). The particular degree I'm earning requires me to take three classes per year for which I mainly prepare at home (read 2500 pages of material and write one or more papers)... Sun, 19 Jul 2015 00:39:25 EST 22 Mile Cadence Ride Today As I shared a while back, I've changed my training plan for the year and it's going well. Today I did a 22-mile bike ride focusing on cadence. The workout is straight-forward but, for me, quite a bit of fun. I warm up for 5-10 minutes and then pick up my cadence to 90-95 for one minute followed by one minute of recovery, then two minutes followed by two minutes of recovery, and then three, four, and five minute intervals. <BR> <BR> It takes me about 40 minutes or so to get through a whole s... Fri, 17 Jul 2015 15:23:31 EST The Re-Newed Training Plan As I shared yesterday, I've decided to delay my ride to Duluth and back so that I can increase fitness, speed on the bike, and joy in riding. So here's my simple training plan for the next few months: <BR> <BR> Mondays: OFF <BR> Tuesdays: Gym (upper and core) <BR> Wednesdays: Cadence workout on the bike <BR> Thursdays: Gym (upper and core) <BR> Fridays: Speed Endurance workout on the bike <BR> Saturdays: Gym (upper and core) <BR> Sundays: Recovery ride <BR> <BR> Again, the plan is simpl... Wed, 8 Jul 2015 10:24:28 EST Duluth and Back or Bust - Important Update Over the last few months I have been working toward the goal of riding my bike from the northwest Twin Cities to Duluth in one day (about 150 miles) and then back in one day after a couple days of rest. But as my training has progressed I've decided to delay the trip - not cancel it but delay it - for the following reasons. <BR> <BR> 1. Over the last year or so I've been very undisciplined with exercise and thus I've lost my previous level of fitness. Although I've trained well over the las... Tue, 7 Jul 2015 10:33:39 EST 80.0 Mile Ride Around Stillwater, MN Last week I enjoyed a great ride in the Stillwater MN area from the Wild River State Park down to the city, up to the Gateway Trail, back to Stillwater and then up to a little town called Marine on Saint Croix. I really enjoyed the day but there was a lot more climbing than I've been doing, and so the ride kind of took it out of me. But again, it was such a beautiful day and I really, really enjoyed this ride. At one point, my sweetheart joined me for a 24 mile loop which was a major added bl... Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:06:03 EST The Cannon Valley Trail - 85.5 Mile Bike Ride Yesterday I had the privilege of taking an 85.5 mile bike ride. It was a bit of a surprise because the weather has been unfavorable and it was supposed to rain all day. But like today, it ended up being beautiful and frankly just shy of perfect for cycling (see more pics at <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I set out from camp just south of Red Wing, Minnesota and took the back cou... Sat, 6 Jun 2015 16:56:22 EST 75.5 Mile Endurance Ride...And then Another 36.1 Mile Ride! It was a perfect day, and a great ride. My aim was to ride the majority of the Root River Trail and thus put in about 85 miles for the day as part of my training for the crazy ride, Duluth and Back or Bust--2 Days, 150 per day, 300 miles total. <BR> <BR> So I set out from La Crescent, MN where I'm camping right now and headed out to Lanesboro. The drive alone was beautiful, stunning at times, and soon enough I reached one of my favorite cities in MN. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.... Thu, 28 May 2015 20:16:51 EST 65.3 Mile Endurance Ride Last week was Week 9 of my training plan for the crazy ride "Duluth and Back or Bust!" The plan is to ride from my house to Duluth in one day (150 miles), rest for 1-2 days, and then ride back in one day for a total of 300 miles in two days on the bike. <BR> <BR> I'm on sabbatical in southeast Minnesota right now, and I so I took a few smaller rides here and there and then went to the gym four times. But my main training ride, which I took on Thursday, was a 65.3 mile loop from Winona and b... Mon, 25 May 2015 16:02:04 EST 63.1 Mile Endurance Ride Today <img src=""> <BR> It was a bit chilly, 55 degrees and cloudy, but it looked to be a nice day for a 60+ mile bike ride. My friends Craig, Kevin and Jim were set to come over at 9:30 a.m. so that we could hit the road by 10:00 but they arrived a bit early, so we left a bit early! <BR> <BR> The wind was out of the NW at 10-15 mph which was perfect since we were traveling to the SE, and from the outset we could tell that it was helping an... Fri, 8 May 2015 23:01:27 EST 50 Mile Endurance Ride Took another step today toward my goal of "Duluth and Back or Bust!" The week of training has been good, including my rest and eating patterns, so I was more ready for the longer ride today than I was last week. I set a nice, steady pace going out, and came into the 23.5 mile rest stop feeling good and ready to finish the second half of the ride. The next rest stop was about 16 miles away, a real nice spot by the Mississippi River, and I felt very good on this section and rode best at this t... Thu, 30 Apr 2015 18:57:11 EST 45 Mile Endurance Ride Today It was a bit chilly today, about 55 degrees, but the wind was fairly still and the sun was shining bright. So I set out for a 45 mile ride on a very lumpy course. The first half or so went pretty well, but I went out way too fast and got somewhat fatigued around the half way point. I was still able to roll along at a decent pace but I couldn't really push, especially on the climbs. This caused my body to cool down and I had a very hard time keeping my muscles warm enough to keep a good cadenc... Thu, 23 Apr 2015 21:59:58 EST 40 Mile Endurance Ride Today In preparation for my big ride to Duluth and back (150 miles each way, riding there in one day and back in one day after a little rest), I took a 40 mile endurance ride today. It's in the low 70s with a slight WNW wind, and clear blue skies here in Minneapolis, so it was perfect! <BR> <BR> The ride went well, I'm growing in strength and joy on the bike, and I was able to finish strong. I do feel tired, I must admit, but soon enough rides of this length will seem like nothing! So tomorrow it... Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:20:43 EST Aerobic Endurance Ride Today: 3-2 Intervals What a beautiful day in Minnesota! It's in the low 70s with slight wind and clear blue skies. So I went out for an aerobic endurance ride today that goes like this. Warm up for 5-10 minutes, and then push the pace near to your limit for three minutes and recover for two minutes. Repeat until the ride is complete, and then cool down for 5 minutes. <BR> <BR> I love this workout, and boy do I need it! Felt good to ride hard and go fast at times, now it's back to work for the rest of the evenin... Tue, 14 Apr 2015 16:24:41 EST 36 Mile Endurance Ride Today <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It was a very nice day, a very nice ride, and I'm very tired! My big cycling goal this year is to ride to Duluth MN in one day (150 miles) and then back home in one day, after a couple days of rest. So once per week I'm taking an endurance ride that gets longer and longer each week. My longest training ride will be about 125 miles, but for today it was 36.3. <BR> <BR> The course I chose took me on the 14 mile bi... Sat, 11 Apr 2015 20:19:38 EST Chilly Ride, Good Ride Today <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It was a bit chilly out today, temps in the high 40s, cloud cover, and a 10 mph ENE wind. I chose to take a 22 mile out and back ride that takes me west for 11 miles and then back along the same route for 11 miles. This means that I rode with the wind for the first half of the ride, and into the wind for the second half. <BR> <BR> The first half went very well, after which I enjoyed a free drink at Caribou Coffee... Wed, 8 Apr 2015 19:10:12 EST 22 Mile Cadence Ride Today <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It's in the low 50s in the Minneapolis area today, with 5-10 mph winds out of the WNW. So I decided to take one of my favorite out and back rides which took me 11 miles into the wind at which point there's a little coffee shop I like, and then 11 miles with the wind. My aim today was to work on holding a steady cadence and since it's so early in the year and I'm so out of shape, I decided to aim for a range of 85-... Sat, 4 Apr 2015 19:41:53 EST Bike Ride Today: Brutal and Blissful! Well, the winds were blowing at a sustained pace of 25-30 mph in the Minneapolis area today, with gusts into the 40s and 50s. So I thought it would be a good day for a bike ride! <BR> <BR> The wind was coming out of the west, so I decided to begin by riding right into it so that I could fly home! I definitely didn't fly into the wind. It was truly brutal and pretty slow going. The several times that the massive gusts hit me hard, I just had to laugh because it felt like someone put their ha... Thu, 2 Apr 2015 22:48:03 EST Endurance Ride - 31.2 Miles My major cycling goal for this year is to ride from Elk River, MN (suburb of Minneapolis) to Duluth, MN in one day, to rest for two days and then ride back in one day. It's about 150 miles each way, so I plan to ride about 300 miles in two days of riding. <BR> <BR> To prepare my plan is simple: take a few shorter rides each week to work on specific cycling skills and then take one endurance ride each week that increases in distance by 5 miles each week and then 10 miles later in the plan. S... Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:14:57 EST Cadence Workout Today It's set to be a beautiful day here in Minneapolis, and I'm eager to get out on my bike! I can hear it now: "Can Charlie come out and play?" The plan is to take a 10 mile ride focused on cadence. So after a 10 minute warmup, I'll take the cadence up to about 90 rpm and hold it here for the rest of the ride--which, because I'm out of shape, will last longer than normal! <BR> <BR> It feels so good to be back on the road again. I tolerate the indoor trainer, but I love being outside! Hope you ... Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:54:46 EST Crazy Winds and an Adjustment to the Plan Well, I was set to take a 10-15 mile cadence workout ride today. It's warm out, about 50 degrees, and the skies are clear as can be, however, the winds are blowing at 25-30 mph with gusts up around 50...and I'm just not in the mood! <BR> <BR> Tomorrow is a scheduled day off the bike, so I decided to swap these two days, rest today, and ride tomorrow. I'm happy with this decision and am looking forward to hopping on the bike tomorrow! <BR> <BR> How did your plan go today? Sun, 29 Mar 2015 19:55:53 EST Monster Bike Ride: Duluth and Back or Bust! This week I began my 16 week training plan to prepare myself for what I'm calling "Duluth and Back or Bust!" My plan is to ride my bike from Elk River, MN to Duluth, MN in one day (150 miles), rest for two days, and then ride back home in one day. I've wanted to take this ride for years, and this is the year! <BR> <BR> I'm quite out of shape right now because I allowed extremely high stress over the last seven months to knock me off my nutrition and exercise track. But that's behind me and ... Sat, 28 Mar 2015 09:10:19 EST Some Pics from India Here are just a few pics from my time in India. I was in a village called Ventrapragada which is near a city called Vijayawada. I was teaching pastors and others interested in Christian ministry how to teach and preach the Bible. <BR> <BR> Almost there (after a 14 hour flight from Newark)! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Sunrise in Hyderabad, India <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Our Clas... Tue, 20 May 2014 06:02:15 EST Back from India I had a great trip to India. It was hot, very hot, but the time was well spent and I'm very glad I went. It's good to be home, though I have some recovering to do. I took a "nap" at 4:00 p.m. yesterday and ended up sleeping for 8 hours. So now it's 4:00 a.m. the next day and I've been wide-awake for the last four hours. Oh well, my clock will turn around soon enough. <BR> <BR> Hope you all have a great day, looking forward to getting back into the SP swing! Mon, 19 May 2014 04:58:05 EST Heading to India Today Well the day has finally come, and in a few hours from now I will board a plane and begin my 50 hour journey to India. The itinerary is Minneapolis to Newark, Newark to Mumbai (19 hours), Mumbai to Hyderabad, Hyderabad to Vijayawada, and then a one-hour drive from Vijayawada to our final destination, Ventrapragada, where I will teach Pastors about teaching the Bible, and where I will learn from them about many things. Our team goes as servants, not superiors. <BR> <BR> The one hitch in the ... Mon, 5 May 2014 06:49:05 EST Beautiful Day It's been such a long winter, and wintry spring, that I sure am grateful for a gorgeous day in Minnesota! And I got to share it with my beautiful wife, and our daughter who turned 20 today! Sun, 4 May 2014 21:32:40 EST Sickness and Hope I'm up super-early this morning, sick as a dog yet again. As I sat here thinking about how often I've been sick this year, and my impending trip to India, one of my favorite passages from the Bible came to mind, John 15:1-11. I hope it blesses you as it has me this morning. <BR> <BR> Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Alread... Sat, 3 May 2014 05:59:36 EST Three Days to India...And Sick Again I don't know how to describe my feelings this morning. I have been sick so many times this year, so unable to stay healthy...oh I'm so sick of being sick. Beyond words. <BR> <BR> And this time the stakes are higher as I'm heading to India in three days, and the medical system there is...well, it's not America. But what can I do? Drink lots, eat well, take some meds, pray and trust the Lord, and keep moving forward. Fri, 2 May 2014 08:04:18 EST National Day of Prayer Today is the National Day of Prayer, and so I thought I'd post some New Testament verses on prayer. <BR> <BR> "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8). <BR> <BR> "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fr... Thu, 1 May 2014 01:10:14 EST So Long Team Huddles--And Blogs? Interesting to find the "huddle" feature missing today. I've said for years, that this was the "lamest" part of SP so it's not as though I'll miss this feature. After all, they're allowing you to earn six more points per day with message board posts now which are more fun, productive, and important. <BR> <BR> But one concern: I don't see the blog scroll that tells me who from my teams has written blogs. Perhaps I just missed it, but I hope this aspect remains because I did like focusing on ... Thu, 1 May 2014 00:58:25 EST Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! It's April 29, and it's MinneSNOWta! To be fair, though, it's really nothing. Sleetish-snow that won't stick. Looks like I'll be heading to the gym again. I'd rather exercise outside, but in addition to the chilly temps and wet conditions, the wind is again blowing in the 20 mph range and that's a bit much for me. Hypothermia waiting to happen. <BR> <BR> So I'll be hitting the treadmill and some weight machines, and then call it a day. Can't wait! Tue, 29 Apr 2014 09:04:10 EST Getting Ready for India I'm set to travel to central India next week, so today, which is normally my one day off, is devoted to doing all kinds of stuff to get myself ready. I'm going there to teach Pastors in a Bible school for about ten days, and to learn from them as well, and generally I'm very excited to go. The one thing I'm concerned about is the 110 degree temps and high humidity! I really don't do well in that kind of heat, especially when I have to teach for six hours per day in the midst of it. But the L... Mon, 28 Apr 2014 15:05:43 EST Enjoying the Rain It's a little chilly, and very windy--and a little gloomy--but I'm really enjoying this rainy day. Good thing, too, because we're supposed to get 3-4 more days of this. Hope you all are having a good one today! <BR> Sun, 27 Apr 2014 15:22:15 EST Oy--5 Days of Cold and Rain! It's not winter, that's true, but it doesn't feel a lot different! The forecast for the next five days in the Minneapolis area calls for clouds, relative cold, and rain. Oh 20-25 mph winds to boot! <BR> <BR> Oh well, in about eight days, I'll be heading to India and then I'll long for the days when I was cold! It's been like 110 degrees over there, with high humidity. So the moral of the story is this: be thankful in all circumstances! Sat, 26 Apr 2014 20:15:17 EST What Grace Long story short, our family has been having serious car problems for the last couple months. We've prayed and trusted the Lord, and waited for his answer rather than trying to manufacture our own. Fifteen minutes ago I got a text that said, "Can you drive a stick shift?" <BR> <BR> In about an hour I'm going to pick up a car that some kind soul just gave to our family. Grace is worth waiting for, because not only will this help our family, it will give glory to God and joy to all involved. ... Fri, 25 Apr 2014 10:37:09 EST Sick--But Found Out Why! As I shared yesterday, I got sick yet again this week. It was short-lived, I'm feeling better, and I found out why I got sick. Sunday afternoon my family went to another family's house for Easter dinner. One of their relatives came who had been quite sick the day before and earlier that day, and unfortunately nearly everyone else who was there got sick as well. I'll spare you the details, but it was a nasty kind of sickness and so the moral of the story is... <BR> <BR> If you get super sick,... Thu, 24 Apr 2014 16:50:43 EST Sick Again--Ughh! I can't believe it--my wife substitute taught at a local school on Monday and then ended up getting pretty sick that night. The works. The next morning I went to see how she was doing. I was in her presence for no more than 3 minutes and then said, "I better get out of here so I don't get sick," but just like that I got sick--again! <BR> <BR> It knocked me out yesterday, but I feel a bit better today so I'm trying to pace myself. Whew, I am so tired of being sick. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:07:24 EST Back to the Gym Today I haven't been able to get to the gym for a while. I've been exercising but not in the gym, but today I'm going back! The one thing I'm not sure of is whether I will ride my bike to and from the gym, and in this way get my cardio in, or hop on the elliptical and treadmill instead. We shall see, weather will probably play a part in my decision. <BR> <BR> Hope you all have a great day! Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:45:04 EST The Plan for the Week It's been a busy few weeks and thus I've gotten a little off track. Not that I've completely lost it, just that I haven't been able to follow through on my fitness plan. But that's behind me, this is a much more normal week, and therefore I look forward to getting back to it. So here's the plan: <BR> <BR> Monday: Day Off <BR> Tuesday: Gym (upper body) <BR> Wednesday: Cycling (workout depends on weather) <BR> Thursday: Gym (core) <BR> Friday: Cycling (workout depends on weather) <BR> Sa... Mon, 21 Apr 2014 08:02:46 EST Finally, a Day of Rest Just life--I haven't had a day off in three weeks, and I'm exhausted. But tomorrow I get to do nothing but rest and I'm so glad. I really need it, and the timing is great as I'm still glowing from the glory of celebrating the risen Jesus Christ. He is the dawn of light, he is the Lord of life, and because of his grace I love him so much! Can't wait to rest and enjoy him all day. Sun, 20 Apr 2014 21:57:37 EST High Stress = A Test I serve as the preaching Pastor of a church near Minneapolis. I can't go into details, but right now the stress of this role is exceedingly high. In addition to this, my family is going through some things that are fairly heavy as well. As I add up the pieces, I'm facing seven ministry related and four family related situations. Of these eleven things, only 2-3 are notably heavy in themselves, but it's the combo of all these things that's making the stress in my life palpable. <BR> <BR> But... Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:07:04 EST Spring in Minnesota--Yah Sure, Check These Pics! Oh boy... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:54:50 EST More Snow? Yeah, More Snow It is Minnesota, don't know why I'm surprised. I guess it's just been a long winter and that last week of bike riding really got me used to spring. But alas, starting tonight we're supposed to get another 2-4" of snow. But the good news is that it won't stick, and soon enough--like within 3-4 days--the warm temps will return! Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:27:01 EST Pics from a Great Race, the Paris-Roubaix! Congrats to Niki Terpstra on winning the Paris-Roubaix! Niki races for Omega-Pharma-Quickstep out of the Netherlands. Here are some pics of my favorite race. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpe... Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:16:21 EST Paris-Roubaix Rolling Today! If you'd like to know a little more about my favorite pro-cycling race, you can see my blog from a couple of days ago. For now, here's a picture of the cobbles upon which the peleton will ride at full-speed--shoulder to shoulder for 51.1 kilometers (36.7 miles)! Oh and of course there are those other 206 kilometers (128 miles) as well! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 05:22:26 EST A Rest Day After riding my bike for six days in a row at a fairly brisk pace, I decided to take a day off today. The weather was descent in Minneapolis but I'm just so tired, and in fact, I didn't even want to ride today. That's good, because for the last day or two I knew I should have rested but I couldn't help myself. So it was good that I didn't have the drive today. I'll rest another day, probably, and then hit the road again early next week depending on the weather. <BR> <BR> Here's to rest days... Sat, 12 Apr 2014 21:35:03 EST Paris-Roubaix Rolls Out in Two Days The one-day pro cycling race from the north of Paris to the city of Roubaix is, with little doubt, the hardest and most dangerous pro-cycling race of the year. The route stretches out for 257 kilometers (160 miles), and includes 28 sections of cobblestone that date back to the times of Napoleon. The 51.1 kilometers (31.7 miles) of cobbles are treacherous, and when wet are treacherous beyond belief. In 1994, rain soaked the course so that only 14 of 151 riders even finished the race, and these... Fri, 11 Apr 2014 10:53:11 EST Oh, My Bike, Why Dost Thou Beckon Me? I'm tired. I exercise regularly but at this time of year, when the weather turns warm, I hit the road on my bike and, bottom line, the bike trainer and the gym are different than the road. Quite different. The road is harder. <BR> <BR> I've put in just shy of 80 miles over the last four days and I really should take a break to rest and recover, but alas, the temps are again in the high 50s, the sky is clear, and even though the wind is blowing I can hear my bike beckoning me from the garage... Thu, 10 Apr 2014 12:07:20 EST On the Bike Yesterday...and Today! Well, I decided to take a quick 11 mile bike ride yesterday. I was kind of tired from the previous two days since it's so early in the season, but with the temps high and sky so clear I just couldn't resist. It was a very nice ride and I'm glad I did it. <BR> <BR> And as for today, it's going to hit 70 in Minneapolis--I can't remember the last time I've felt temps that warm! So of course, I'm going to hit the road at some point, but I have a busy day and I'm sure how long of a ride I'll be ... Wed, 9 Apr 2014 07:11:23 EST Oh Decisions, Decisions I love this time of year! After it's been so cold for so long, every 45-50 degree day just seems like the middle of summer! So I'm sitting here facing a big decision: do I go outside and jog with my wife and dog, or do I go outside and ride my bike for a while? Oh decisions, decisions! What joy! <BR> <BR> I seriously don't know what I'm going to do, so tune in tomorrow for the big reveal! Tue, 8 Apr 2014 18:43:46 EST Great Day, Another Road Ride! Had a great 22-mile ride yesterday, and since today is my day off, I plan to take another ride today. I think I'll do a 25-mile route that I take from time to time. It's a little hilly, but not too much, and there's a coffee shop located at the half-way point. <BR> <BR> Since it's so early in the season, I plan to do a cadence workout on the way out and a mellow sprinting workout on the way back. Here are the descriptions of the workouts. <BR> <BR> 1. Cadence Intervals: Within an aerobic ... Mon, 7 Apr 2014 10:09:00 EST