Monday, March 30, 2009

I Confess

I didn't ride yesterday. All that talk of motivation and, blah, blah, wilted in the face of winds a bit stronger than predicted. To ride in 25 mph winds takes about all the perseverance I can muster. Yesterday they ended up being 35 mph. Some sort of sanity prevailed. I mean, really, I ride for fitness and fun. I don't get paid to do it. While riding yesterday was certain to help my fitness level, it sure wouldn't have been much fun. I stayed on the couch. Watched TV.

Today, though, I got in a rare Monday after work ride. Sixty eight degrees, 3 to 5 mph winds and partly cloudy. It made up for yesterday. A nice 29 mile ride with an average speed of 17.2. An hour and forty minutes, non stop, on the bike. If I can get rid of the extra ten pounds of winter blubber, there might be some real speed in these old legs.

If I ride tomorrow, I'll be back on "schedule"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Riding Again

So much for my ambition last weekend of finally getting back on my four day a week riding schedule. I went out on Tuesday and about 10 miles into the ride I started having problems shifting the rear derailleur. It was sort of random, but frequent. Some shifts would take two clicks of the lever, some just one. On top of that, I'd do a down shift and the derailleur would do an upshift, then a down shift. To top it off, it would sometimes simply shift itself. Up. Down. Whatever, and usually the opposite of what I needed right then. It had a mind of its own. Needless to say, this made the ride a bit difficult, and I almost stopped, but, being stubborn, and not knowing any better, I persevered. It turned out pretty well. I did 22.04 miles with an average of 17.6 mph. At 18 miles I had an average speed of 18.5, but the last 4 miles of that loop climbs 150 feet (I know that thanks to my Garmin!) and was into a light headwind, so there wasn't much hope of maintaining that average. Given the bike problems, I was sort of happy with the final result.

Once home I checked the bike over, but couldn't find the problem. I'd adjust the cable, but nothing made any difference. It was late, and I gave up. Next night I brought the bike in the house and set it up in the trainer so I could adjust things and watch tings and maybe find out what was wrong. Watching it shift was kind of entertaining. I'd shift it one way, and the bike would go the other, first, then do what I'd commanded. Like it was rebelling. "You can't tell me what to do" I get that from the kids, too. So, finally, I pulled the the housing away from the shift lever, and "Well, there's your problem!". All but two strands of the cable had failed. Easy fix, but no spare. The worst part was, I'd been working in High Point, a half mile from a bike shop, all day. If I'd known what the problem was, a spare would have come back to Liberty with me. Thursday's ride was now cancelled. Friday night I went to Performance Bike in Greensboro and spent $6.00 on new shifter cables ( proud of myself, that was ALL I bought), came home and replaced the failed one. Truth is, I haven't even looked at the other one, but, since it gets shifted, like, once on a ride, when I am out of shape, and never when I am not, it isn't a pressing matter. I suppose I should at least give it a token look. Maybe. Later.

Today's ride went much better. The bike shifts like it did when it was new (note to self: replace cable before 4,000 miles). It was supposed to rain all day with thunder storms in the afternoon. I got out around 11:00, rode 42 miles, averaged 17 mph, and stayed dry, it was just starting to spit a little rain as I got home.

Tomorrow is supposed to be partly cloudy with 25 mph winds. It'll take some motivation to go out and fight that, but I'll probably go. Uh, maybe....

Key Lime cake is sitting on the table, waiting to replenish the calories I burned today, and tomorrow and... I added some lime zest to the recipe thinking it might make it more tangy. We'll see, soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


That's in my front yard. It's getting to that time in North Carolina that is just amazing. Everything blooms and flowers in the next few weeks and the temps are moderate. Freezing cold in the morning and in the 70's by lunch, usually with intense warm sunshine. I think the only thing that might compare to the beauty of nature in the spring here is the beauty of the fall in Vermont.

I managed to ride four of the last six days. As noted earlier, I got two weekday rides in after work on Tuesday and Wednesday. Yesterday I felt like I might be just a bit spoiled. I left for my ride about 12:40 and the temp was (supposedly) 53 degrees. I dressed in my cold weather stuff figuring it would get warmer as it got later. I went about a quarter mile and turned around. I was freezing! I went home and in my only concession to the weather, got my full finger gloves. That helped a lot, and although the temp did climb to 57 or so by the end of the ride, I was never quite warm. I got in 42.44 miles at 16.7 mph. not a bad ride.

Today was quite a bit warmer. I dressed the same as yesterday, except for the full finger gloves. It was about 62 when I started and 65 when I finished, so I was borderline over dressed. Today was just an easy recovery ride because my legs were just a little tired from yesterday, but in true cyclist fashion, I ended up going a lot faster than I planned. At least I shortened the mileage, 29.8 at 17.2. Legs are still tired, but I am not riding tomorrow. I hope I can get back on my schedule of four days a week.

I got the garden tilled yesterday and today I got in two rows of beets. I can't wait to get the rest of the plants going. There isn't anything better than food you can walk out, pick and eat.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Two In a Row - Really

Every week day since March 9 has included at least one trip to High Point to work on a broken server. A couple of days required two trips. All of them included a missed lunch and a late return to Liberty, and home. That deflated any motivation I may have had to ride after work, and last weekend was a complete cold washout. But yesterday I did manage to get in time and I did today as well, although today I didn't even get a piece of Barb's Key Lime cake for lunch because it was gone. I have to get that recipe. So, even though I was running on a half bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats from 6:45 AM, I couldn't NOT go, given the perfect weather. Sixty eight degrees and almost no wind. It felt good to get out there and I got in another 22 miles @ 17 mph. That's pretty good since last night I rode a mostly flat 21 miles and averaged 16.8, while tonight's was one of the more hilly (?) rides. So, an improvement. Can't go tomorrow, though. My son is in a play at the high school, so I think I'd better go to that

I have noticed a couple of riders out in places I don't normally see anyone. Maybe I can find someone to ride with. Hope so.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wearin' Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Although no one in this family has any Irish, we all managed to wearing green today. Ok, for me, I take green with me every day. No, not money, I have none. But my eyes are green, which, according to the internets (so it must be true)is the rarest eye color - 2% of the world's population, for whatever that is worth. Anyway, for today, we did the green thing, had the traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner, without beets, because Food Lion didn't have any, and beer (for me). I also had some green cake at work (Barbara's concoction) that turned out to be a key lime cake and was an interesting flavor, sweet and tangy, it was really good, and it was my lunch since I was tied up on a conference call with our corporate help desk and Dell enterprise tech support for 3 hours.

Until today, I had been unable to take advantage of Daylight Savings Time since I have spent every day in High Point trying to resolve some computer issues. Today, though, I made it back early enough and the weather was nice enough so I finally got out there. Just 21 miles, but it was a great ride. I am hoping to get another one in tomorrow.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

And Now DST, and Riding in the Peloton?

Now with Daylight Saving Time the after work rides can commence. With the cooperation of weather and motivation, of course.

Today's weather was, indeed, a carbon copy of yesterday's with the exception of the wind. A bit breezy with a pretty much steady 20 to 25 mph wind out of the southwest. I decided that today's ride would just be a slow recovery ride and that I would not battle the wind for any kind of speed. My heart rate stats reflect that. Yesterday my average HR was 161 with a max of 175. Today,it was 145 and 165. Not working very hard, even though when I turned into the wind I had to use the small chainring going downhill. I think, though maybe I discovered what it's like to ride in the peloton when I had a tailwind. Level ground, 33 mph, and no effort. None. Heartrate at about 140. That felt so cool, and so fast. Granted, in an actual peloton there would have been a lot of stress because of all the riders around, but still, to go that fast without having to work is amazing. I paid for that when I turned into the wind, but it was worth it.

So, today's ride was 29.5 miles @ at a sedate 16.1, but it was fun, mostly because, when it got rough, as in into the wind, I just went slow and enjoyed the ride. Sometimes maybe that's the best thing.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

SPF 30

This was my front yard Monday morning as I left for work. We got about 6 inches of snow, at least on the elevated surfaces. The ground was warm, though, and the roads, snow covered as they were, were passable. Even for southerners. The temperature barely got above freezing, but with the ground warmth and bright sunshine the roads were completely clear by , oh, noon. Perfect storm. Pretty white snow on the ground and no complications. It was all gone by Wednesday night.

Ok, I am not exactly sure where I left off in the ride record department, and am too lazy to go back and figure it out, so, as far as last weekend went, 17 miles on the trainer on Saturday and the same on Sunday. Both took an hour. Nothing too exciting there. I had every intention of riding during the week, but well, ya know?

So we segue to today.

It is 6:15 as I write this. I am sitting on my deck enjoying a PBR, watching the sun go down - the deck faces SW, and waiting for a BBQ sandwich.

In order to not feel guilty about a ride today I started out with changing the oil in my Camry, then did some long overdue yard work. About 12:00 I'd had enough of that, or at least I'd made it look good, and slathered on the sunscreen for the first time since - well, since sometime back in maybe October, put on the short sleeve jersey, and the cycling shorts and went for a ride. It was just an amazing day, weather wise. I got in 40.7 miles and averaged 16.7. At about 20 miles I had an average of 17.8, so maybe I am not so slow. The wind picked up and changed direction, though, so I couldn't maintain it. In fact, the last 5 miles went from an average of 17. 2 to the 16.7. That same 5 miles is ridden at the start of my ride, and it went from 16.3 to 17.5 then. So much for the wind.

Still, a great day, and tomorrow is supposed to be just like it.

HEY, I just got bitten by a mosquito. Going in and getting another PBR out of the fridge.