Sunday, March 30, 2008

One Down - Three to Go

The first 1,000 miles is in the book. That's a pretty good start on the goal of 4,000 for the year. The best mileage at the end of March in any other year was 496.

I didn't get to ride much last week, just Sunday and Tuesday. I usually ride on Thursdays, and even though it was 80 degrees and perfect, for some reason I didn't. Friday is go to Salisbury and get angelmonkey, so that was out. Yesterday I had to work for a while, then went and spent all my money at Sam's Club. Even though there was enough time when I got home, it was only 42 degrees and raining, I opted out. Too lazy to set up the trainer too. So, today, it's 41 degrees and just spitting a little rain, I need to put some more miles on the new bike, and I decide I have to go. CJ points out I could ride inside, but I want to ride on the road. Off I go, and it's not bad until about 19 miles have rolled by. It starts to really rain. It has sleet mixed in. Sleet stings, I find out. It does not take long to soak all my clothing, and I am no longer glad I passed on buying neoprene booties because I will never, no NEVER, ride in a cold rain. Having once known the pleasure of hypothermia, and not wanting to experience it again, I head for home. By the time I get there, 5 miles later, I can't feel my fingers or toes anymore. Still, I enjoyed the ride, and the rain. I just wish it had been warmer. Booties and rain gear that will fit in a jersey pocket need to go on my wish list.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Yesterday's Pic

I posted this yesterday, but forgot to post the plaque that's in front of it. A little Baptist history. I'm not one, but it's interesting, all the same.

Rode 47.48 miles today, only 16.1 mph, but the wind was pretty strong. I haven't ridden that far since October 2007, and my legs are complaining. I need to get the mileage up. I am planning on riding the Tour de Lions in May, and they have bumped the long route up to 75 miles. When I did it in '05 and '06 it was 62. I've never gone 75 anywhere.
Can't tell if the new ride is faster or not with all the wind, but it sure is fun to ride.

Friday, March 21, 2008


There was a large group of cyclists riding through Liberty this morning, maybe 20, or so, something you don't see very often. They all stopped at Quik Chek, so I pulled in (I was driving my car) and asked where they were riding from. Turns out they belong to a cycling club in High Point. Here is their web site. They invited me to join, of course, but I have a problem with driving 35 miles to join a group ride. It isn't just the price of gas, which I can't afford, its the whole concept of doing that. It would be nice if there were enough people around here to get a group together.

After I left them I wondered if I should have warned them about Sweet Pea, since they were headed that way. She looks pretty fierce when she runs out to race. I'm sure she was thrilled to see them.

First Impressions

New and Old

Finally. I got a decent ride in on the new bike. I love the shifters, no more reaching for the stem, although I have to admit I still did a few times today. I had heard that aluminium frames can be a little harsh, and having only ever ridden steel, I was a little worried, but with the carbon fork and seat stays the ride is actually softer than the steel bike. That surprised me. Handling surprised me too. I'd describe it as twitchy, except I know it's me and not the bike, it's responsive. I like that, need to get used to it, though. For some reason I found I was pedaling about 10 rpm higher most of the time, and I don't really understand that. Both bikes have 11-25 cogs (the old one has a 34 thrown in too, which can be nice). The new one is spread over 10, the old one over 6 (34 is the seventh). I'll figure it out. The saddle is different, and I need to give it some time to see how it works out. It may be better than the one on the other bike (a Specialized Alias), though. They both seem to put pressure in places I don't like, although the new one is better if I slide back far enough on it. Stem might be just a little long, I might try a shorter one later. Just little adjustments to make it perfect. Bikes sure have come a long way in 30 years. So far, I love it.
Now I have had three new bikes in my life. A red Huffy for Christmas in 1962 - and I had to wait until spring to ride it. I recall, that sucked, then a Ross 10 speed that was stolen - probably the best thing that could have happened to me since the blue Fuji replaced it. It was slightly used when I got it.

I did 36 miles at 16.8 mph. I don't really know how that compares because it was a bit windy.

On today's ride - beautiful blue sky.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


It was windy at 5:00 when I left work, and there were a lot of clouds, but the weather map looked ok, and it wasn't raining so I hurried home hoping to get in a short ride on the new bike. I got changed, took the bike up on the street and calibrated the computer and took off. It started raining. I ended up going 3.5 miles, and would have gone further except it started raining a lot harder, so I gave in. The bike feels good, but it's going to take a bit of tweaking to get it perfect. I put it in the trainer when I got home and adjusted the seat height and position.

Got it

My new bike came in yesterday. By the time I got it home it was almost dark, so I only managed to ride it about a mile. WOW. If the speedometer was anywhere near accurate (and I'll measure the tire to make sure), it is a whole lot faster than "ol' blue". For sure it is more responsive. Can't wait for a longer ride, but... thunderstorms tonight, have to go to Salisbury and get my daughter (angelmonkey)on Thursday so it looks like I have to wait until Friday. I have Friday off. It'll be a long ride.

It may be harder to switch back and forth between bikes than I thought.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ides of March

There was a lot going on today, had to run down to Salisbury this morning to bring the college student home for the weekend, then go into Greensboro so the other child could buy the Xbox he'd been saving for. I didn't get out to ride until 2:30 or so. The same weather system that created all the havoc in Atlanta was coming, so I looked at the weather radar on The Weather Channel website (I can do that now with the high speed internet. It looked clear, so off I went. ABout 16 miles in, it started to thunder. I was riding by the middle school right then, so I rode down to it and got under the entrance way to the building and called CJ to come get me. The rains came while I was waiting. I don't mind riding in the rain and getting wet, but I hate lightning, and there was a lot of it. When we got home, about 20 minutes after I called, we were under a severe thunderstorm warning. Glad I had a place to stop and wait.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Speaking of commuting...

I found this at the News and Record. Here is the commute challenge page refferred to in the article. I signed up. Maybe I'll win a prize! Yah!


Well, I finally did it. I rode to work this afternoon, three mile to and three miles from. I changed my riding style a bit for the ride. If I ride in my usual "go as fast as I can for as long as I can" style I'll be drenched in sweat by the time I get there. So, low cadence, slightly slower speeds, and try not to elevate the heart rate too much. It seemed to work, but it was only about 72 degrees. If I'm still employed there (or anywhere else - looked at the help wanteds lately? Nuthin') in a couple of months even slow won't prevent perspiration. I was practicing this technique on the way home - forcing myself to go slow, when Sweet Pea saw me and wanted to race. I couldn't disappoint her, so I accelerated (up hill into a headwind). She let me win this time.

It looks like I'll have to wait until Monday to get my new bike. I really wanted it for this weekend. Two more days for the old Fuji. It's going to be restored though - it'll make a great grocery getter/commuter. It already has a rack, I'll probably put a basket of some sort on the rack and put the old flat pedals back on it. It's not going to get to retire.

Formula One racing starts this weekend - real racing!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

830 More

830 more people that had jobs about ten miles from here won't any more. Another plant closing. I see all the manufacturing going, but I didn't see chicken processing going as well. I wonder how that's going to effect the people who raise the chickens.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I came home from work last night looking forward to my first real evening ride of the year. Plenty of time before the sun set. I got my clothes changed and all my stuff ready, went out to the shed, grabbed the bike, all by about 5:20 and - the front tire's flat! Well, at least it's the front, I don't need any wrenches to take it off, and I've got a patch kit, so all is not lost. As I work the tire off the rim I look for anything that might have punctured it, but I don't see anything. When I finally get it off, I find the stem has failed. This isn't the first one I've had do this, and I don't know why it happens. Fortunately, I've got a spare tube, too, so I put that in, remount the tire, pump it up and see that I put the tire on going the wrong direction. Let the air out, take the tire off and remount it in the right direction. Finally I get to leave, but it's almost 6:00. Still, I got in 26 miles @ 17.4 mph. It was almost dark when I got home.

Spring is here. This time of year, from now through May is beautiful here in NC. This is the plum tree I planted in the front yard last summer.

The trees lining the street in front of the place I am still working at. The new place in High Point is in an ugly, dirty, old industrial area. I think people will miss this.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Short ride

Some of today's scenery. Nice green grass.

I did 31 miles today, and sort of think of it as a short ride now. I think that means I'm getting in shape. I thought I was dressed warm enough when I left, but I only went about half a mile and had to turn around and go get my ear warmers. The thermometer said it was 48°, but it must have been baked in the sun for a while, or something, I don't usually need ear warmers at 48, or even 45. I had to cut the ride short because I was cooking a pork butt on the grill using a really great barbecue recipe, and had to be home to finish it. Ok, so it isn't in Chris Carmichaels Eat Right to Train Right, but it's good, and, well, it's good.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I don't have it yet, but it's paid for and coming.

Went to Performance this morning and looked at the bikes. The only Roubaix in the 58 cm size was an '07, and there weren't any 61's of anything for me to try. They got it down off the rack, and it felt pretty good just sitting on it in the store. The salesman put some pedals on it and I took it for a spin. It felt really nice, but just a little too short from seat to handle bars. I asked about the Pro model, which was the one I really wanted, anyway. He checked Fuji's inventory and said he could get either the 58 or the 61. I was about to order the 58, but changed my mind and went for the 61, even though I couldn't try one. I figure it can't be too big, and the 58 felt a little cramped. The one I'm riding now is a 64, and feels just a tiny bit too big, so 61 ought to be perfect. I'm 6'2" and Fuji's sizing chart also says the 61 is right for me. It should be in by the end of the week. I can't wait. It's been a long time between bikes, I bought the one I'm riding now sometime around 1980, I think.

We had 30 mph wind today with gust of 50 mph. I set the trainer up in front of the tv and forced myself to do an hour and twelve minutes while watching the NASCAR race. That worked out to 20 miles, but it's hard to stay motivated sitting in one spot. Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be 15 to 25, so I'll probably go play in traffic, which is pretty sparse now with these gas prices.

I want to ride my new bike.

Friday, March 07, 2008

New Bike?

Left work at 11:30 yesterday to take the oldest to the orthodontist for a 12:15 appointment. It was just a 10 minute check up, so after I treated her to a visit to the Performance Bike store just down the street. Ok, she looked a little bored, but she didn't complain - too much. I bought a new pair of Pearl Izumi Gel Lite gloves, two pairs of De Feet socks. Being suddenly fashion conscious, I got a pair of yellow and a pair of red to go with the jerseys of the same colors. Don't ask, I just wanted to. Couldn't find any blue. I also got another Headsweats skull cap (can't stand sweat in my eyes). I noticed they had some Fuji bikes there, so I looked them over. Then I found an '08 Fuji Roubaix, and when I flipped over the price tag I found it was on sale - $400 less than MSRP. At the checkout I asked if they had the larger sizes. The clerk looked it up. They have the 58 cm in stock, but not the 61, but he said he could get it. I think I probably need the 61. I'm going tomorrow to see about getting fitted to be sure, and maybe get a test ride. Maybe I WILL get a new bike after all. I mean, I DO have the money, and CJ's objections are not all that strong.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Partial goal achieved.

I've been working at the place in High Point since Monday hooking up computer equipment and resolving problems my replacement can't be bothered with (read "can't do"). I finished early enough today to make it back to Liberty and then home in time to get an after work road ride in. I did a 13.52 mile loop and managed to average 18.2 mph. That would be my fastest ride ever, my previous best being 17.4. One of my goals for the year is to average 18 mph over one of my 30 plus mile loops, so I'm part way there. Even us old people can improve, from the looks of it.

We had some strong storms come through last night. About 10:00, a half hour after they diminished the power went out and stayed out until 7:30 this morning. For some reason it's harder to sleep with the power gone. Makes no sense.

Time changes next week. Longer after work rides!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pickup and Dog

Another perfect day for riding, another 40 miles. Much less wind and an average speed of 16.9 About halfway through I stopped to take my long sleeve jersey off. While I was doing that I noticed a pickup truck slowly approaching me. I wasn't too concerned, but I was all alone out in the middle of nowhere. When it got to me, it stopped, and the driver asked if I was ok. I said I was, then he said not to worry about his dog, it wouldn't bother me, then drove slowly away. I didn't see a dog at first, but then it appeared, running down the opposite side of the road. It was following the truck. Of course, when it got to me it had to stop and come over and check me out. The pickup driver saw that and blew the horn and the dog took off after the truck again. That's a pretty good way of taking the dog for some exercise. I'd never seen that before.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

March comes in

Ok, 64°, brilliant sunshine, an absolutely beautiful day. It should be a no brainer (which makes things easy for me, the ultimate no brainee) to ride on the road. But....... The wind, 20 to 30 mph. It was ALL of that. I thought about doing the trainer on the deck thing, but ended up convincing myself to ride on the road instead. Man, when that kind of wind is behind you you can really fly! 'Course, when it's in your face, it's not so much fun. Hills I can go down on a windless day at 33 to 34 mph I struggled to do 19 today. Still, though, I went 40 miles, and I wouldn't have done that on the trainer, 30 would have been a struggle. I don't feel very motivated pedaling into the wind, so I don't push too hard. Still, I managed to average 16.4 mph. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same temp, but only a 5 to 10 mph wind. I'll take it.

My heartrate monitor kept stopping today. I'm going to attempt to put new batteries in it and the sending unit tonight. They're about 2 years old, and the wrist unit has been showing a low battery icon for three months. Wish me luck.

Train station in Liberty. I think all my rides go past it.