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Here we are 2013, what's in store?

Saturday, January 05, 2013

So here we are, 2013. Year 4 of the remaking Ka_Jun project. 2012 was a year of transition, June's serious wrist injury and several month long recovery period (including a lot of time off the bike and a fully immobilized wrist) took it's toll, resulting in about 10lbs of weight gain off my low weight and a negative feedback loop that crushed morale and limited progress.

I think we've seen the worst of that rough patch, and I'm probably about 2-3lbs off my steady plateau weight. Been slowly reincorporating strength training and the wrist isn't the same, though the issues (tweaks, etc. are manageable).

Still having trouble applying the ideal amount of sleep per night, but we're working on it.

I've found that entering events focuses my training, gives it an end point and provides meaning to my workouts/program. Been cross training during what has turned out to be a harder winter, so I've gotten in some snowshoeing, stationary trainer time in the basement watching movies, and the aforementioned strength training.

So what to do to focus myself for the new year? My brother, kind soul that he is, hooked me up with a new cyclocross rig. Point one is to learn how to ride it, learn it's handling, it's behavior, and put it through it's paces.

It's a Gravity Liberty CX and my first bike with drop bars and integrated shifters.

Short list:

-learn to ride using integrated shift levers
-figure out how to ride in the drops, on the hoods, how the particular "body english" one uses affects the handling of the rig
-learn the bike's "personality". no toe overlap, etc.

Possible events:

When the Month of Mud schedule comes out, do one or two races, maybe a XC mass start race or a XC time trial...CX is definitely now a possibility, once I learn how to ride this rig.

"Month of Mud"

The Dirty Dozen. This one, I haven't done yet. It's intriguing in that way that I think I can develop the legs to do this event (just finish) and it sounds like a complete sufferfest, in the way that cyclists like to self flagellate then brag about how horrible it was and how they'll be back next year to do it all over again.


In 1983, Dan & Tom Chew and Bob Gottlieb wanted to showcase Pittsburgh's steepest and toughest hills in one ride, never getting more than 10 kilometers away from the center of the city. We searched out hills on Unites States Geological Survey (USGS) maps by counting the 20 foot contour lines/intervals. The closer the lines, the steeper the hill. Sometimes the "road" was merely steps for pedestrian traffic only. So on Saturday December 17, 1983, the first Dirty Dozen ride was held in 27 degrees F with snow flurries. Among the 5 starters were Oscar Rattenberg and Ron Reider, but only Dan, Tom, and Bob finished. Dan & Tom were deemed the two strongmen of the ride. The 5 place points system was first used in 1988 when 13 starters showed up. The 10 place points system was used in 2007 when 131 riders started, in 2008 for women, and in 2011 for men. When Tom Chew moved away from Pittsburgh in 1985, Dan Chew took over as the ride organizer. Back in the early years (the 80's) a macho attitude prevented any rider from using gears lower than a 42x24. In recent years, the ride has gotten easier due to lower gearing and several of the hills being paved (asphalted) which used to be rough cobblestone or wavy blacktop killing what little momentum the rider had. In recent years, riders have used a 39x32 gear which makes the ride much less taxing on the rider's upper body."




Crush the Commonwealth, this, this is SERIOUS. I don't think I can hang here, yet, but it's definitely something I would consider, eventually. This is solely for the glory, but there is something to be said for that. First things first, probably have to ride my first century.

"Crush the Commonwealth

400 miles, Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. Just you and your bike. No support, no spectators, no prizes."


Pittsburgh Adventure Race. This is like a tri without the swimming. Kayaking replaces the swim leg, and the cycling and running segments are shorter. Been thinking about this for the last several years, we'll see how scheduling works out. This one is $$$.

"Adventure Race Course

2 Mile Paddle
Participants will start with a 2 mile paddle (using either a kayak or a canoe) and will head up the Allegheny to the turnaround RR track overpass at Convention Center around 10th Street. Participants will make their way back down the river to exit the water at the boat ramp near Heinz Field and make their way into transition area.

20K Bike
After leaving transition, participants will head out to complete the 20K bike course consisting of one fast loop. Mount on bikes on Art Rooney Avenue and North Shore Drive. Head out on Art Rooney Ave., right onto West General Robinson Street, left onto Mazeroski Way, right onto HOV Lane of I-279, u-turn at end of HOV Lane at Perryville exit, head back towards city on HOV Lane, exit straight onto Reedsdale Street, left onto Allegheny Ave. around Heinz Field. Dismount off bikes at same location on Art Rooney Avenue and North Shore Drive.

5K Run
The final portion of the race will consist of a scenic 3.2 mile run along the Allegheny River . After leaving transition, participants will run north along the Allegheny River just beyond the I-579 overpass and back to finish at the North Shore Riverfront Park . "


Of course, Pedal Pittsburgh. Last year I rode the metric century. No problem, done it before, fun ride, but doesn't seem to provide the "Umph" factor to get me training hard. I'll likely do this just for fun.



Ride my first century. With the new developments on the Great Allegheny Passage, riding from home, getting on the trail, going out 50 miles, then riding back is not a major logistical nightmare. It's just a matter of scheduling the time block to do it, which would be considerable.

I'm of the mindset to be ambitious this year. Do Pedal Pittsburgh's metric century, ride a self supported century, and train actively for Dirty Dozen. Assuming no major technical issues with learning to ride Sunstreaker, the new rig, I think it is doable, and will provide the motivation to do something new and personally challenging.

I know there are local randonneurs, but I'm not ready to try that out at this point. I will likely do some running races/fun races with the fam. Du, the DW has been working hard on her program and she looks great and is really focusing on circuit/cross training and doing a lot of strength training.

The little dudes will be doing some fitness programs that we also will participate in, so the plan is to make this a family affair to make sure we live that active lifestyle we view as ideal. Mr. Tiny being able to ride his 12 inch bike now, without training wheels should facilitate some bike camping adventures, etc.

So, Sparkfriends, what are your goals for the new year and how will you strive to attain them?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    really ambitious! go for it! :) emoticon
    1963 days ago
    Ambitious! emoticon reaching all your goals. emoticon

    Mine are in a blog soon released.
    1965 days ago
    Love to see those goals! I got a new bike this past August...a time trial bike, not a 'cross bike, but I'm enjoying getting to know her. I love her! My husband gave me an anniversary ring in June; I gave it back and said I wanted to put it towards a bike instead! Something I'll use just about every day! It's a match made in Heaven. The bike, too :) emoticon
    1966 days ago
    You put so much thought into your year plan. Great plan and goals. You were very detailed. Glad to see you have included some running races too! I know you will find the success you seek! Best wishes for 2013 to you and your family...Jane
    1966 days ago
  • BILL60
    Sounds super!! Glad to see you incorporate family time. Very important.
    1966 days ago

    Wow, sounds like you are going to be a busy guy. The integrated shifters can be a bit tricky. I am sure you will manage.

    The thing that gets me on road bikes versus mountain bikes is there is no real granny gears on a road bike. Even a cyclocross bike is lacking that real stump-puller low gears you get used to on a mountain bike.

    I applaud your adventurous spirit.

    1967 days ago

    Sorry for the double post. I hate it when that happens!

    1967 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/5/2013 8:47:43 PM
    many hopes that 2013 is a fabulous year for you!!!
    1967 days ago
    May God bless you on your journey to a healthier you, and help you fulfill your goals.
    I can understand the frustration of setbacks from injuries. I had done really well, gotten as low as 180, but then had strained my back and neck. Then when I COULD exercise again, my stationary bike had gone kaput. Then I wasn't tracking as much either. So of course some of the weight crept back. But I'm back on track, back on my bike, and while I do deal with arthritic knees and hip, the exercise makes me feel better.

    MY goals? Short-term -To get to 200 pounds by the end of this month; "ONEderland" by the time I go to the GYN next month; to reach at most 190 by the time I have hip surgery when summer vacation starts - maybe even less!

    But the long term goal is to maintain a healthy Temple so I can serve my Lord wherever I go - and I hope to go back to Peru for my tenth mission trip some time in 2014.

    1967 days ago
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