Monday, December 28, 2009
Off to the cardiologist today to see what he (she?) has to say.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
There were only two things on my Christmas list; red handlebar tape and a new water bottle. I got the bottle too.
Haven't been riding so much the past few weeks. Holiday busy-ness, early sunsets, and uncooperative weather put a limit on the available riding time. On top of that, I just haven't been feeling all that great. Someplace way back there in an earlier post I mentioned a minor heart problem that cycling seemed to alleviate, if not eliminate. Maybe it's age, maybe it's stress, who knows, but after being dormant for a couple of years the irregular heartbeat has returned. Finally saw a doctor about it last week and got put on a medication to slow my heart rate. So far it seems to be helping and today I went for a short 29 mile ride to see how the medication affected me. The ride went ok with heart rates ten to twelve bpm lower than what I usually see. I noticed that maybe I wasn't quite as "aerobic" as before -sort of getting out of breath at the upper rates, but that could just be my imagination. I hope I get to try again tomorrow. As of now I need 151.1 miles to get to 5000, and no, I ain't gonna make it in the next five days. Maybe next year.
Next week more doctors and tests. No fun. There had better not be any mention of not riding.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Given the dark gray dreariness and limited visibility of the day the addition of the Planet Bike Rack Blinky on the seat post made me feel a bit more secure - although it's probably a false sense, but having it on can't hurt. It is a pretty bright light, though and fits quite nicely under the seat bag.
Today's weather forced the Liberty Christmas Parade to be rescheduled to December 19. We were looking forward to going, hopefully we don't have anything that Saturday to prevent us from attending.
Friday, December 04, 2009
With my flat shortened ride last Saturday (planned 65 miles, completed 34), a scant 20 miles on Sunday, then only managing to commute Monday morning for an additional 6 miles, today's vacation day looked like the perfect chane to do a little catching up. I planned a nice long midday ride. I got 2.5 miles. Then I heard the dreaded tell tale hiss, silence, hiss, silence, hiss of a deflating tire. The rear tire again. It didn't go unnoticed last Saturday when I repaired that puncture that the tire was getting a bit, umm, thin. Four thousand miles will do that, I suppose, but even though the cords were beginning to show through I figured I could get a few more miles out of it. Throw that on the bad decision pile, especially since I went to Performance Bike last Saturday after I got the flat and picking up a new tire would have made sense - which is my excuse for not doing it.
If I was going to do any more riding this weekend it meant I'd have to take a trip to Greensboro today and get another tire. Good thing I had the day off! Having driven the 25 miles to the big city, I couldn't just go one place, so first it was Performance, then REI, and I couldn't just get one tire, I got two, along with some other stuff:
Performance supplied me with the tires, citrus degreaser, and Velcro strap thingies to keep my pants from getting sucked into the chain when I commute. I had one, but I think Annie took it. She does things like that. I came away from REI with a pair of Pearl Izumi (I like their stuff best) water and wind resistant winter gloves and a Planet Bike tail light for the non commuter bike.
Today, then turned out to be a little like an early Christmas. The bike now has a new rear tire and is all set for tomorrow, which is supposed to be 40 degrees and raining. Not the best riding weather, but my hands will be warm. Not that I'm planning to ride....
Sunday, November 29, 2009
It was a weekend of half rides. Saturday I intended a 100k ride, but ran over something 34 miles in and flatted the rear tire. Although I had everything I needed to repair it, I just called home and had CJ come pick me up. I figured by the time I got the tire fixed my motivation to ride another 28 miles would be gone.
Lately my Sunday rides have been 40 miles, but today I decided to use up some of the leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes in Potato Rosemary bread (we have a huge rosemary bush in the garden) so I squeezed a 20 mile ride in during the second rise. Truth is I'd spent a lot of time raking vast quantities of leaves this weekend, and 20 miles was plenty.
The bread was amazing, by the way. CJ made turkey soup to go with it, and it was a good combination.
About 326 miles to go to get to 5000.....
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Don't really know what the problem was, but I feel like either my allergies are acting up, or perhaps I am coming down with something. Hope not. Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be better than today's (which was pretty nice, even though the wind was 10 to 15 mph) with light and variable winds. I have come to the conclusion that "variable" is a euphemism for " no matter what direction you go, the wind will always be in your face.
But I got 100k in today - so I accomplished what I set out to do.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Much to my dismay, it was not Santa and eight tiny reindeer. No, it was what was left of hurricane Ida bearing the gift of a lot of rain and 40 mph winds. This pine tree became so excited it decided to swap vertical for horizontal, and picked the only direction where anything could be damaged. I don't think I ever went from sound asleep to fully awake that fast before.
We had someone come this morning and remove it from the house. I would have, but I don't do heights, and climbing on a roof doesn't do anything except instill fear in me. So I paid someone with a bucket truck to do it. That truck is neat, though. Now, if I had one of those..... Anyway, it turns out there are two holes in the roof where branches punched through. We repaired those by slipping a couple of pieces of sheet metal under the shingles. Should be pretty watertight long enough for us to get repairs scheduled. The sheet metal, by the way, was cut from an old cookie sheet. Use whatever you have handy, I guess.
Ida brought my riding streak to an end at 28 days, and now I have been off the bike for 3 days. Yeah, I could have ridden the trainer and kept it going but there are parts of my body that are thanking me for the time off. Tomorrow, though is supposed to be sunny and in the 70's so those body parts better be ready.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Now that I'm riding both bikes it amazes me just how different they are, and how much faster and easier to ride the Roubaix is. It can't all come down to weight, can it? Of course I can't put a rack on it and convert it into a commuter, anyway. Maybe pedaling that extra 12 pounds of bike plus about 10 more pounds of stuff back and forth to work is good for me. Can't hurt.
Got in a little more than 100km today (actual was 64.05 miles) and averaged 16.5 mph. This also was my 25th consecutive day on the bike. Should be able to make 30, easily. So now I'm at 4307.19 miles with eight weeks left in the year. Is 5000 miles really possible? That would be an average of 86.6 miles per week. This week was 154.54, so maybe....
Besides - it moves some other stuff to the back burner. That's always a good thing - means I'll have something to do later.
Way back in December 2007 I posted this about a close encounter of the frightening kind with a tractor trailer owned by Allen's Family Foods along with a copy of the email I had sent them complaining about it. I never got a reply, but that doesn't mean it was ignored.
Allen's operation in Liberty is pretty big, and it is rare to go for a bike ride without encountering at least one of their vehicles, whether it's a car, pickup truck, or tractor trailer. Since I am out there so much, I see them all the time, and ever since I wrote to them there has not been one single instance where one of them has passed me with anything less than a wide berth and care. They always stay behind and follow until it is safe to pass. For that, I am grateful.
I can't know if my writing to them caused this, but it doesn't really matter. The respect and responsibility their drivers show for other traffic should be commended and an example for other vehicle operators - cyclists included.
I see, all the time, in cycling blogs and sites the complaints about how we are treated by drivers of motor vehicles, and it is all valid. It takes a lot of courage and faith to go for a ride on public roads. I guess we should give some time to pointing out when an effort is made to reduce the danger, and give credit to those who do that. Maybe that's a step forward in the process of educating drivers that bikes belong. Maybe getting the support of corporations through educating the drivers of their vehicles would be a good place to start, and maybe it would trickle down to everyone.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Then, a month ago I started this commuting thing....
The first few days I wore my steel toe Red Wing work boots, which felt a little weird pedaling on clipless pedals. but it seemed to work ok. After about a week of that, though, I decided to leave the boots at the office and wear the old cycling shoes to ride. Wow, does it ever make a difference both in comfort and efficiency.
I got some Loctite 480. It is great stuff. I have used it to stick two pieces of steel together, and was amazed at how much it took to break them apart.
Here is how I applied it.
And then clamped them together to let the adhesive cure. I let them sit like this for about three hours, which is overkill, but I had the time.
So now the shoes are as good, if not better than new. And, much to my amazement, I did all this without gluing my fingers together - something I usually do when I use Loctite. All in all, a success.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
This is what the road in Fogelman Acres looked like this morning. Not just wet, but wet with a layer of drenched leaves. I usually get through this corner at about 25 mph in the dry, and 20 in the wet. Today stopping to take a picture and then coasting around it at about 10 seemed a good idea. It still felt slippery.
October's miles were 469.89 with 24 rides. Commuting really adds to the ride total, even though it doesn't do that much for the mileage - just 57 a week. Now that I am doing it, I can't believe it took me this long to start riding to work. Not having to buy gas is nice. In the past five weeks I figure I've saved about $60. Not bad - a little exercise and a little extra money in my pocket. I like that.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I'll be out there today, making 18 consecutive days of riding. My previous record was 5.
Friday, October 30, 2009
The prices for chicken seemed pretty good when we last went to Sam's Club. Unfortunately if you read the tag it says "case sell only" so the prominently displayed price was, to say the least, a little misleading. The only place the price per pound for the packages was on the packages themselves, and it was significantly higher. I wonder how many people fell for it. We almost did.
Food Lion has a better trick. Often the items in the cases and shelves for buy one get one free sales are similar to the ones actually on sale, but are not on sale at all. Not being that attentive at the checkout, I would only find this out when I got home and discovered I'd paid double what I thought I had. Now I read the upc labels on the sale items to make sure it matches the one on the sign.
I guess you make money however you can.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Another thing I've noticed is the leaves changing color. One of my goals for today's bike ride was to get some pictures of the fall foliage to share. The only other goals were to get in a decent road ride in spite of the 20 mile per hour winds and have fun.
First, the pictures. I took this one:
And this one:
I know what you're thinking: nothing too spectacular. You're right. Now, the fall foliage here is never going to rival that of say, Vermont, and having lived in Vermont, I know first hand how spectacular it can be, but sometimes it is kind of pleasant here. Not this year, though. This year it looks like almost everything is going to varying hues of brown. Oh well, the have been shared so I met all of the goals I set for the day.
The rest of the ride was great in spite of the wind. The temp was in the low 50's and I somehow managed to pick just the right amount to wear, so I was comfortable. I got in 38.46 miles and averaged 16.7 mph. Today made twelve consecutive days of riding, although yesterday was an hour on the trainer due to the uncooperative weather that didn't clear out until it was too late to go for a ride outside. I spent an hour on it for 16.8 miles.
Tomorrow starts another week of bike commuting. Now that I am doing it I wonder why I could never convince myself to before.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Today was the homecoming parade for Providence Grove High School. I saw the floats staging outside my office, and since everyone else had already gone for the weekend, I left too. Having my bike made getting down the parade route quicker than walking and easier than driving, finding a place to park and then walking. As for having my bike, I rode it to work every day this week. In fact, I have ridden it in almost every day for the past month, rain or shine. This morning was rain, even though it was neither forecast nor showing up on the weather radar. Don't know how they pulled that one off. All I know is it was very wet. The lunchtime ride home was partly cloudy, and the evening ride home was shine, so we got it all in one day. The lunchtime ride also put me over 4000 miles for the year, and with the ride home tonight I am now at 4008, with two months left to add some more.
Also a record for me: ten consecutive days of riding. Granted the mileage each day isn't much, just 12 each weekday, but it's still riding. Even though there's still enough daylight to ride after work I'm up against having to ride into the setting sun no matter what route I choose. I figure if the sun is blinding me I can't really expect motorists coming up behind me to actually see me, after all, some of them don't seem to even under the best conditions, so I am reluctant to challenge them further. I can still get long rides on the weekend, though. Well, maybe not tomorrow - thunderstorms and lots of wind are predicted, so maybe I'll have to get out the trainer. There, I said it. But, since I don't have a trainer tire, I have an out, if I feel particularly wimpy.
And now, without further ado, a parade of pictures of a small town parade for your viewing pleasure.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
It was mentioned that I hadn't updated this blog for a while. So here ya go! I have intended to, but, well, you know what they say about intentions... I compose some pretty good entries in my head during my rides, but they seem to vanish by the time I get home and turn on the computer.
I continue commuting the three miles into Liberty most days. I should have started this a long time ago. Even with the heavy old bike and my bag bungeed to the rack it only takes 15 minutes. Since it's still a little dark at 7:30 in the morning I mounted the five LED Cateye tail light to the rack and put it on flash. That should make me visible enough. I hope. There is a freeze warning for tomorrow morning, so I guess I'll freeze. At least my feet will. That's a given.
Not only is it cooler this time of year, which is nice,but the wind has picked up too which isn't. Saturday's ride was 64.36 miles, but the average was only 16.4 mph. That was because of 10 to 15mph winds. Still, though not a bad average, and I really wasn't too tired at the end. In fact, if it hadn't been so windy I'd have ridden further. That picture up there and the ones that follow show some of the Halloween decorations in the area I came across yesterday.
Today was even windier it felt like 20 to 25 mph. I got in 21.4 miles and only averaged 16.1. I just didn't feel like battling the wind so I took it easy and cut it short. Gave up might be more accurate.
I need 46 miles to make 4000 for the year. Probably by the end of this week.
Check out the bike in the background. I don't know what it is, but it obviously hasn't been ridden for a long time and has been seriously neglected. I'll wait until the zombie vampire is gone and then check it out. Maybe I can pick it up for free?
Another piccture of the bike. Not in focus for some reason so I can't read the decals. I was too scared of the bride to get any closer.
He lost his head....
The cut in half magic trick gone awry.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Today, though, with no after work ride planned it was a car free day (as opposed to care free - I need one of those sometime, too). Living this close to where I work means I can come home for lunch and ride the bike back for four trips - 12 miles. If the weather stays like this, temps in the high 40's at night and low 70's for highs, I think I'll keep commuting. Not only is it free, I get a few more miles in and it's pretty relaxing.
As I noted a few times, last September I got in all of 29.7 miles in one ride. I did a little better this year. There were 16 rides with total mileage of 426.44. Two of those 16 rides were over 100k. What a difference a year makes, although whatever it is that causes my asthma and allergy problems this time of year was definitely out there again. I just pushed through it.
You know, 5000 miles this year isn't impossible, but I'm not commiting to it. Not yet, anyway.
I leave you with these guys. They seemed pretty interested in my ride when I stopped to take the picture.
Monday, September 07, 2009
I didn't mention that in my attempt to make the Wipperman chain shift I managed to get things so badly adjusted that the chain shifted past the last gear and into the spokes. Since that locked the rear wheel, I came to a screeching halt, and it took a while to free the chain. I didn't really want to say anything. I'm a better mechanic than that - most of the time. I lapse once in a while. Anyway, I didn't think much about it.
This morning I went for a short ride, only 20 miles. At about mile 18 a spoke broke on the rear wheel. I opened up the brake, wove the spoke between the others so it wouldn't flop around and proceeded on home. I still didn't think much about breaking a spoke since I had broken a few on the old bike. they just fail once in a while. So, it was another trip to visit a bike shop in Greensboro. This time I went to Cycles de ORO, the bike shop I used to use all the time before Performance opened their store right up the block. Since the broken spoke was on the drive train side I knew I'd have to get a tool to remove the cassette, and to be honest, I just felt like going in and knowing whoever I dealt with would know exactly what I needed, even if it might cost just a little more. I bought the tools I needed and I got 10 spokes so I'd have some spares.
It wasn't until I took the cassette of that I noticed this:
The remaining six spokes that exited the hub between the cassette and hub flange were all badly bent and gouged from having the chain jammed into them. No wonder one had broken. I was glad I'd gotten ten of them, since that let me go ahead and replace all of the damaged ones, and I still have four spares, just in case. The wheel is all fixed and true.
I mentioned the Wipperman chain to the mechanic at Cycles de ORO, and he said he'd had exactly the same experience with one. He also told me to take it back to Performance, they'd give me my money back. Next time I go up there, I'll bring it back and see. I'll let you know. Actually, I'd be fine with a store credit, since I know I'll be buying more bike stuff.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
But, back to the chain. They only had one ten speed chain. A Shimano 105 for $42. I bought it, brought it home and installed it. Today, I went for a ride. Well, a 100k (63.22 miles and averaged 17.1 mph) ride for the second Saturday in a row. Perfect shifts throughout. No problems whatsoever. So it really was the Wipperman chain causing all the problems. If you get a chance to buy one, DON'T.
Last September I rode one time for 29.7 miles. That was mostly because of problems with my asthma. There is something out there in September that really affects my allergies and my breathing. I had some of the same problems today, but, I have ridden four times for 124.49 miles already this month, and don't plan on stopping unless my breathing gets much worse.
Friday, September 04, 2009
I took my time so I wouldn't get too sweaty. Still, it only took me thirteen minutes to get to work. I came home for lunch so I got in a total of four three mile trips. So, 12 miles for the day. Don't know if I'll keep commuting, but it really doesn't make sense not to.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
So, yesterday evening I spent a little time trying to adjust the shifting of the new chain on the rear cogs. Trying being the operative word here. FAIL describes the level of success. Now, the worn chain was still shifting perfectly on the rear - it was just refusing to stay on the big chain ring, so I started looking at everything a lot more closly, especially the new chain. The picture over there shows what I found. The arrow is pointing to a distinctly beveled edge. My first thought - taken from watching too many Mythbusters episodes - "Well, there's your problem!" Since I have been working as an engineer for, like, almost forever, and have some limited knowledge of how things are supposed to work, my thought process was that if I wanted a chain not to shift, I'd bevel it exactly like that. The only thing those can do is push the chain away from the cog you are trying to shift to.
Here is a picture of the (Forte) chain that came off the bike (it's a piece that came off when I shortened it - it was new this spring). Notice the nice, sharp, corners?
Armed with this new found info, I did a quick search on Wipperman chains and shifting. Guess what I found. Yeah, there are a LOT more reviews complaining about how badly this chain shifts than there are kudos on what a wonderful part it is. Imagine that.
On top of that, I found this, written by Jobst Brandt (for a little info on Jobst you can go here). The chain he is talking about isn't a Wipperman, but a Sachs, and it sounds like it's made the same way, with the same problem.
From: email@example.com (Jobst Brandt) Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.tech Subject: Re: chain stiffness data Date: 2 Nov 1998 21:08:22 GMT Damon Rinard writes: > I thought some of you might like to know that I've just posted the > lateral stiffness of a few bicycle chains on my web site at: > http://www.damonrinard.com/chain_stiffness.htm I think this information would be more interesting if you had their lateral flex of each chain when new and when 0.5% elongated. This would reveal more about the consistency of performance during its usable life and might reveal what causes the change. I has always been my experience that the more laterally flexible a chain became the poorer it shifted. In fact that was one of the early criteria for replacing a chain when it no longer shifted easily due to its ability to snake over to the sprocket it was on even though the derailleur was aligned with the next gear. As I said previously, the new Sachs derailleur chain is the worst shifting chain I have come across because its pins and side plates are beveled to reject climbing to the next sprocket. The intent was apparently to allow extreme crossover gearing with 9-speeds and triple chainrings. I am not impressed. This is another case where the demands of the incompetent bicyclist has prevailed over the riders who use their equipment effectively. Jobst Brandt
Guess I'll be off to the bike shop for another chain, this time it'll be a SRAM, Shimano, or Forte. I'm planning on riding after work tonight, though, so I have at least one more ride with this chain. Saving $20 by choosing the Wipperman over the Shimano last Saturday turns into throwing away $50. Live and learn, live and learn.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This new chain does not shift very well on the rear cogs. I've tried adjusting the derailleur, but it doesn't help. Since it shifts poorly in both directions, adjusting really means I can get it to shift well one way, then not at all the other. Right now it's about as good as I can get it and I am hoping it'll get better if the chain wears a little bit. It did seem to get better towards the end of today's 35 mile ride. Since I paid $50 for it, I'm stuck with it for about 3000 miles.
So, with today's 35 miles and yesterday's 65, I had a 100 mile weekend.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The mileage for the week is 184.13. That's the most in a week, ever.
Friday, August 28, 2009
The rear derailleur started acting up a little last night, too. It didn't shift on its own, but it was trying to. I checked the cable when I got home, and sure enough it is starting to fray inside the shifter. So it's off to Performance Bike after work today to get a new one. This one has gone about 3,000 miles.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Garmin, on the other hand... I'll call this the Blank Screen of Death. Sunday I went out for a 52 mile ride, it took about 3 hours, and during that time my 305 shut it's self off no less than 10 times. It would power up again, and actually kept track of the mileage even though all the other data only got recorded from the last restart. As far as mileage and time, I always take my Cateye Astral 8 along with the display set to cadence, so all the ride data is there as well as on the Garmin, except heartrate and elevation. When I got home I Googled the problem - I'd Bing it, but Google is so ingrained - and found it's not all that uncommon. The most widely reported problem seems to be a design flaw that causes the battery contacts to fatigue and momentarily disconnect the battery from the circuit board. The fatigue is caused by vibration. Since my Garmin is still under warranty, I immediately emailed their customer support. About lunch time on Monday I had a response. Tech support suggested I perform a Master Reset. This consists of holding down the power and mode button until the unit asks if you want to clear all data, to which you answer yes. So, I did. I didn't think it would work, but it seems to have. I rode 32 miles on Tuesday in an hour and fifty minutes and the unit did not shut down at all. I don't even know what data it cleared, either because everything is still in it.
Can't really complain, they responded quickly with a solution that seems to have worked, and now I know what to do next time.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I've been sort of religious about slathering on the sun screen before my rides, but on a couple of these evening rides I've "forgotten". Since the sun was hiding behind a cloud while I was getting ready today, I skipped the SPF 30 and went unprotected. Of course the clouds vanished about 10 minutes into the ride, but since it was after 5:00, there was a lot of shade. Oh, did I mention it was 90 degrees with 60% humidity. I guess I just did. Anyway, has anyone else noticed that their sweat seems to evaporate better without sunscreen? Is that just my imagination? I feel so much cooler without it. One thing that isn't imagined is when sweat runs into my eyes. If I am wearing sunscreen my eyes burn so much sometimes I have to stop and wipe them because I can't see to ride. Without the sunscreen, sweat is just water in my eyes. No problem. I think I'll keep using sun protection, but maybe I need to keep it away from my eyes.
Hope I can get a Thursday ride in too. Maybe four this week?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Tonight I got out for the first evening week night ride in a long time. Are people driving worse or does not being out there all the time make me more sensitive to how close some of them come? Tonight's high point was a car backing out into the street as I was approaching at 30 mph. That's ok, but the driver blocked the entire lane and the shoulder. I knew right away that there was no stopping so I took the only path open to me, passing on the left. As I went past I turned to the driver, shouted "HEY!" and made the universal "wudduyathinkyerdoin" hand gesture (no, not THAT one). You know, open hand, palm up. Don't know if he got the message, but maybe he'll look for bikes next time.
So, it was short tonight 'cause I started late. 21.83 miles @ 17.8 mph. Guess that's ok for all the time off I've had.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The TT part was, just like last week, twenty minutes of full effort. I started it at the five mile mark and when I slacked off twenty minutes later I had covered seven miles. Using my abacus, fingers and toes, I calculate that to be an average of 21 mph for that distance. Not too bad for an old guy, I guess.
And the elevation.
The whole ride worked out to 32.8 miles with an average of 18 mph. I'm wondering, since I ride the whole thing alone with no one to draft and share the work, could that be fairly fast? Wish I knew, but it was fun, anyway.
Watching TDF on Versus now, I must confess, I succumbed to the spoilers on the WWW intertubes today, so I already know the outcome. I need to watch it anyway. Hope Jens gets well soon.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
So. we're not in Oklahoma, but, that is tall corn, no matter where you are. I don't think I have ever seen corn this tall, and I've driven through the corn fields of Indiana so I've seen corn. I had to stop and take this picture. I have been to the NC Zoo in Asheboro, and suggest that anyone visiting this area take the time to go there, and know just how high an elephants eye is. No elephants can see over this field.
The latest iteration of Saturday's route takes me within couple of hundred yards of Homeland Creamery. One thing they have is ICE CREAM! Depending on the route variation, it comes either at 32 or 38 miles into the ride. Today it was 32, or about 2000 burned calories. Unfortunately I never seem to take enough money with me to stop and replenish. I need to remember to. An ice cream stop on a hot summer day - what could be better. Maybe next weekend.
Not sure what is going on with the weather. Today was about 82 degrees. Believe it or not, that feels cold now. Not a normal NC summer, by any means. An amazing, beautiful day, though. Stats for today; 48.75 miles, 16.9 mph, 3099 calories. Not too bad, I guess.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
With variable success I've been trying to get back to the same average speeds I reached before last year's month long sabbatical. Part of it was the race last month and knowing I used to be faster, some of it is probably the inspiration from watching the TDF. Riding my bike the way I do gives me a clue as to what it takes to ride at that level. But just a clue. Those guys are tough.
So I've been starting to push for speed. Now, increasing average speed over a thirty mile ride isn't going to come on the downhills. It comes on the flats and the climbs. Mostly the climbs, one or two mph up a hill makes a huge difference, and that can hurt.
Tonight I set out with a goal, for once. GO FAST. After warming up for about twenty minutes I set out on my own mini time trial. Max effort for the next fifteen miles, especially up the hills and on the flats. I kept my heart rate right around the point that the alarm on the Garmin goes off. Going up the hills was the hardest. Legs saying shift down a couple of gears and recover, brain saying "no". Brain won, mostly. I ended that part of the ride - which includes the steepest climbs of my route - with an average speed of 18.6 mph. I forgot to look at my average for the first 20 minutes of warm up, so I don't know how fast I really went, but I doubt it was over 16, it usually isn't for that part of the ride.
The whole ride was 33 miles with an average of 17.8. Although it hurt for a while, it felt good after. I just have to keep doing it. I don't know why, but going fast has always been what I want most.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Saturday I got in a nice 50 mile ride and averaged 17 mph. Not too bad for that distance. Sunday the forecast was for rain and thunderstorms all day, and they were in the area according to the radar on the Internet. So, no ride, just a nice "veg out" day in front of the tube.
If you had told me 20 years ago when I moved here from Massachusetts that I would be riding a bike when it was 92 degrees and thinking it was the perfect temperature, I'd have laughed at you. When it was 92 in New England finding an air conditioned place to hang out was the top priority, not going for a 33 .6 mile bike ride. But today was like that. Perfect. So, I pushed a bit. At one point, about 19 miles in, I had an 18.7 mph average. That happened to coincide with the lowest elevation an the loop, and the 200 feet of climbing over the next six miles dropped that to 18.2, but I maintained that for the rest of the ride. So, I equaled my best ever. Speed is still possible, I guess.
Must be getting some motivation from watching TDF. Lets see what Thursday's ride brings.
Just to document this, LAST Thursday's ride included, for the first time, a car crossing into my lane, on purpose, and forcing me off the road at one of the fastest points in my ride. I turned around and gave chase, but there was no hope of catching it. I can't believe how stupid some people are. They must forget - it's a small town, after all.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Miles for the month so far are 392.67. If the weather holds I may get one more in before we flip another page on the calendar.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The start of my race.
Since almost all my riding is on open rural roads the only 90 degree corners I get to take at speed are in Fogleman Acres. They are part of every ride I take. There are four of them and they are taken at around 23 mph. Getting through the corners of the race course didn't pose much of a problem, but not ever riding in groups meant I wasn't comfortable going into at least the first one in the pack. So, I simply went to the back at the start.
Me being drafted
At the end of the first lap me and a couple of other riders were only about thirty or forty feet from the back of the main group. Thinking I could get to that group on the downhill back straight before they got any further away, I passed the two riders in front of me. I was wrong. Worse than that, now I had my main competitor for the win on my wheel. After a couple of laps it was apparent that he was happy to stay there. He also told me he didn't think he'd make it at that speed. I didn't say anything, because I was breathing too hard to talk, so I knew for sure if I did make it, I'd finish second. If he could talk and I couldn't three laps into the race, I was a sitting duck.
Now, I pay attention when I watch the races on TV, so I did the only thing I could. I started slowing down. I had to get him in front of me so I could rest a bit. It took a couple of laps, but finally I almost stopped at the top of the climb and he didn't really have any choice but to pass me. Finally I had a chance to get my breathing and heart rate back under control. I stayed behind him for two laps, then halfway down the back straight I accelerated, went all the way to the other side of the road and passed him one more time. When I looked back, which wasn't until I crested the hill leading onto the front straight, I had about a ten foot gap. From that point on I pulled away. It turned out I had made the move at exactly the halfway point in the race. I am not sure how big a gap I had by the end, but I think it might have been the entire length of the straight. If I had known that during the race I'd have slowed a bit, but now I know I can go at maximum effort for a full thirty minutes.
Anyway, I won.
And I'd like to do it again....
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Total miles: 10.95
Average speed: 20
Total time: 32.52.9
Max speed: 28.1
Heartrate: average 169, max, 184.
It is nice to win two in a row. Last year it was novice, this year it was Cat5, and it wasn't easy, but it sure was fun! More to follow, but I need to work on speed now, I have plenty of endurance.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
The 16.1 miles I got in went by at an average of 18.1. Not bad. Would have been interesting to see how fast a complete ride would have been.
The weather man says we can expect more of the same for the rest of the week. Hope I can get some more miles in.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
There aren't any course maps available yet, but since it's going to be through a downtown, I expect there to be some - or several- tight 90 degree corners. With that in mind I changed my ride tonight to include several laps through some residential areas, primarily Fogleman Acres, just to get comfortable pushing the bike through tight corners at high speeds. I love it. Always have. It is so much fun to find the grip limits of the tires. After that I headed out on my normal route, but did two five minute intervals at max effort with five minutes recovery in between, heart rate 171. It really didn't seem that difficult, so maybe I should push a little harder next time. I ended the night with 31.8 miles with an average of 16.7 mph.
I have three weeks to find some real speed and make up my mind, but I'm leaning toward racing.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
My Saturday loop includes a tight right hand turn off of Smithfield onto Lake Juno Rd. That turn is at the bottom of steep hill - speed about 32 mph, and requires heavy braking. Me, being me, of course, tries to get through it as fast as possible, not crossing the center line, of course, 'cause it's a blind corner too.
Saturday I came sailing down the hill, did my braking, and turned in and saw - loose gravel. Fortunately I had a chance to hit the brakes one more time and get slowed down a bit more. I almost stayed in my lane, I only crossed one of the double yellow lines, but there wasn't anything coming the other way, so it was OK. Just a little more excitement.
At the end of the new "pavement" I had to stop and wipe all the little rocks off the tires. The tar glues them on pretty effectively. Maybe it'll be swept off by next Saturday, but I'll be braking a lot more for that corner next week, just in case.
Yesterday's ride started out as just the regular Saturday loop, but partway through I changed the route to take me out Old Liberty Road to Rt.22, then followed that into Climax, riding about thirty miles to there. There is a store there, so I stopped and bought two bottles of water. From there it would be about fifteen miles back to Liberty, then another ten home. That would be fifty five miles, it was a nice day, so I thought, why not go for a metric century. It would just be another seven miles. In the end, I just added a couple of short loops through town and ended the ride with 64.36 miles, or 102.9 km. My legs were a little stiff after, but that may have more to do with all the yard work that's getting done than all the riding. I got in 30 miles today, and my legs felt fine. The Tour de Lions 77 miles two weeks ago and yesterday's 64 were my longest rides since last year's Tour de Lions.
Miles in May went up, 637.17 miles. Last May it was 497.41 miles. For some reason it feels like I'm riding less this year, but, obviously, I'm riding more. Total miles for the years is now 1905.02. I might make 4000 again this year.
Wonder what June will bring.
Monday, May 25, 2009
The past five days produced a total of 182.59 miles, but it will have to stop there. My son's in a play at the High School tomorrow evening, so my next ride will wait until Thursday. My legs tell me that's not a bad idea.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The week ended up with 153.09 miles. They are starting to add up. Tomorrow, if there is time between the three biggest auto races in the universe, all live on TV. If there is a 30 mile gap, I'll go, if not, it's a couch potato day (with some weeding thrown in). I have Monday off, though, so I can catch up.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
It was still pretty windy at five, but I got ready and went, leaving about 5:30. It turned out not to be too bad. I didn't push much, I'm still doing a little recovery from Saturday's 75 miles. I did my usual 32.7 mile after work loop, and surprised myself with an average of 17. My legs felt great, heart rates were low. It was a nice easy ride, just faster than I expected.
This weekend should be interesting. Weather permitting I will ride Thursday night, I am taking Friday off, so, probably, Saturday is a given, but Sunday is the Monaco GP, Indy, and the Coca Cola 600, so there may not be a ride. Of course I have Monday off too, so maybe I can get a ride in then too.
Miles and speed are coming up. I think I may be getting back some level of fitness.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
By the time we got to the rest stop at 60 miles the group was down to six, all of us taking short turns at the front. Even knowing how much climbing was to come in the last 15 miles, there wasn't any doubt that I could make it. I figured I'd be dropped by the group, but my legs felt good, so I didn't think it would be a problem to finish alone. It turned out, though, the except for one other rider (and he followed me the rest of the way), I dropped the group at the first hill. The other four finished about five or six minutes behind the two of us.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Sunday, May 03, 2009
This was the first one. I now know how inadequate my gardening skills are. The contents of this little patch were beets, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli. I planted most of those things too, but you are not going to see a picture of how mine are doing. I have a lot of work to do.
Of course. it helps not only to have goats for organic material, but having one of these
certainly would help. I experimented with a little cold frame - green house this spring and it made a big difference with the plants I started. I am already planning a small green house for next year.
We sampled all the goat cheeses, my favorite was the chive and dill, CJ liked the orange.
There was even an interesting sculpture in front of the restaurant. I was impressed with the place, and would love to eat there someday. Seems you have to make reservations more than a year in advance, though.
Then we went over to Rising Meadow. We have been there several times before, for the annual Farm Fest and fiber festival. It is another small, sustainable farm, as well as a Bed and Breakfast. We wandered around looking at the sheep and llamas, and gardens. It is another beautiful place. I was taken with the herb garden. We are working on one, and it may well succeed.
There are some really cool things around here. Small farms and wineries abound. The decline in tobacco necessitated it. Maybe there should be some sort of bike ride to explore them. Especially the wineries. Anyone want to go?
I did get out on my bike this morning. Just did a nice, easy 30 mile recovery ride and averaged about 16.4 mph. It was cloudy and windy and oh, so humid.
I leave you with a picture of a guard llama at Rising Meadow. I would not cross him.