Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sun, Sweat, and Wind.

Today started out dark and cloudy with a chance of scattered thunderstorms - some possibly severe. Not wanting to be caught in any storms, I decided not to ride. I worked a little in the garden, then went to Lowes to pick up some more garden stuff, then Walmart to do a little grocery shopping. It was around noon when I got back home, the sun was out and the sky just about void of clouds. I changed my mind about riding. It was also 91°, according to the bank thermometer in town, and 80% humidity, according to The wind speed was - well, I didn't look, but it was strong. On a hill that I normally hit 31 mph, the best I could do was 19. Definitely the hottest day so far, but a good ride. There really aren't many cars on the roads now.

It's just the end of May and I'm more than halfway to my goal of 4000 miles.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Don't Pay Taxes?

I went to Greensboro today to get my allergy shot. Since it's such a beautiful day and gas costs so much (well, that's just a bonus) I rode the motorcycle. The nurse that gave me my shot asked me what kind of bike I had. I told her it was an old '83 Yamaha. Then she said she had heard something about there being a ride your bike to work day. I gave her a brief explanation of of national bike month, told her ride our bike to work day had been a couple of weeks ago. She then said the "weather guy" had told people that bikes (bicycles) had the same rights as cars and to give them room when you passed them.

"I'll do that for motorcycles," she said, " not a bicycle. They don't pay taxes or have to get license plates." Pretty common theme. Of course, bicycles don't do the damage to the road (or environment) that larger vehicles do. Plus, most people have a car too and are paying taxes. Me? I have two cars and a motorcycle. If I choose to ride my bike and leae them parked, well, I have paid the taxes for the road use, haven't I?

I didn't say anything to her, though, she DID have a needle she was going to stick me with.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


It's amazing how much tiny adjustments can make such big differences.

Since getting my new bike I have had some pain running along the outside of my right knee. It was always pretty minor, so I didn't think about it very much. Until last Saturday. By the end of the 75 mile ride the pain wasn't minor, although it wasn't excruciating, either. It wasn't any better on Sunday, in fact, it was probably a little worse, and that, combined with the weather (more rain and thunderstorms) convinced me not to ride. I started doing the RICE thing and taking plenty of Advil. I figured I'd ride Tuesday, but the weather intervened again, this time with severe storms, complete with hail (which didn't do much for the 45 tomato plants I stuck in the ground Monday night). I went Wednesday, 33 miles, and there was some pain, but not too bad. I rode again on Friday, the same 33 miles, with about the same level of pain.

Saturday morning I decided to move the cleats on my shoes to see if it made any difference. I pushed them forward about 3/16 of an inch (that is a little less than 5mm for you metric people out there). I rode 41 miles, and NO PAIN. Not only that, but since getting the bike I have consistently had trouble locking my left foot into the pedal. With that small change that problem went away too. Who'd a thought.... not me, anyway.

It looks like a beautiful day today, but I don't think I'll ride. Got to watch the Monaco Formula One race, Indy, sleep through some of the NASCAR race from Charlotte this evening, and of course check out Versus week late coverage of the Giro.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Some of the 383 participants before the start.
I don't think you could have asked for a better day for a ride. Temperature starting in the mid 50's and rising to about 70 by the end, low humidity, air quality in the green, and not a cloud in they sky. The organizers told me that they were a little worried that 500 people might show up because the weather was so nice. They didn't get that, but it was still a record turn out by about 20 riders.
I started about in the middle of the group and started moving up. After maybe 10 miles, and passing what seemed like 70 or 80 riders, I had made it into a group of 10 or so that was going at a comfortable pace. Then, my chain came off. When I stopped to put it back on, everyone passed me again. I never made it back into a group, so I spent the rest of the ride by myself - I caught and passed a lot of other riders, but never found anyone going close to what I wanted to go.
At about mile 57 there was a point where, if you were on the 75 mile ride you could turn onto the end of the 40 mile loop and finish with a 60 mile ride instead. I felt OK, so I continued with the 75 miles. As I was deciding that, I somehow managed to turn my left foot so one of the rear wheel spokes caught the back of my shoe. Of course, this locked the rear wheel, and I slid to a stop. It also bent the spoke. I spun the wheel, and, sure enough, it was now out of true and rubbing the brake. Bending the spoke back a little gave the wheel enough clearance to stop rubbing, and off I went.
About 5 miles later I was starting to struggle. It didn't help that this last 17 miles included hills steeper than anything I had ridden in the past 4 years, and it was all into a headwind. It was really hard to keep going, and I figured I'd really screwed up my pace and didn't have enough left to finish. I did make it, though, although the last 10 miles were all in the small chainring. Total miles: 76.82 @ 16.7. My average up to when I bent the wheel was 17.7.
When I got home I discovered that the rear wheel had actually deformed even more and was making hard contact with the brake in two places. I wish had known that on the ride! That is probably the reason those last 17 miles were so tough to complete.
My legs are beat today, but I did enjoy the ride. Now, I have to go true my wheel.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Well, it didn't really matter if the last ride fulfilled the 18 mph goal; Tuesday's did. 33.17 miles @ 18.0, and it was on one of my harder routes. So, now I have to set a new one. Tuesday's ride even met the ride to work criteria, as I stopped off at CK and checked on a job that was running.

Tomorrow is the 75 mile ride. I think I'm ready, although Tuesdays ride was the only one since last Saturday. The weathers been uncooperative. I guess as a rest week, this qualifies pretty well. It's supposed to be 78° and sunny tomorrow, although it's going to start out around 50° so I'll probably freeze at the start.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Does It Count?

One of my "why not, might as well try" goals for the year was to ride 30 miles and average 18 mph. Well, yesterday. at 36 miles I had exactly an 18 mph average. But.... I was 2 miles from the end of my ride. Those last 2 miles were mostly uphill into a 15 mph headwind, so the ride ended with a 17.8 average. That's what gets recorded into the training log. Does it count as an accomplished goal, anyway? Does it matter? Maybe the goal gets changed now to get one of that distance - or longer that I can record.

Next Saturday is the Tour De Lions 75 mile ride. I think I'm ready, I rode 65 miles on the 3rd and felt pretty good after. I skipped last Thursday's ride because of the impending storms, we ended up in the path of a Doppler indicated tornado, but the storm fell apart before it got to Liberty. Greensboro wasn't so lucky. We've been under another tornado watch most of today, so I didn't go out- the storms pop up so fast. I did drive into town this morning, it was raining and the wind was probably 25 mph, and I saw a group of about 15 cyclists battling it to get a ride in. I almost felt a little guilty - almost.

I watched the Giro on Versus today - now I have to wait until next Sunday to see what happens this week. Too bad about Dave Zabriskie, hope for a quick recovery. His loss will hurt Slipstream a lot.
Hope everyone had a great Mother's Day.