Sunday, August 30, 2009


Today's ride confirmed that the drivetrain problems encountered in my previous two rides were, indeed, caused by a worn out chain. The problem of the chain trying to constantly shift to the small chainring went away with the new chain installed.


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

Four Day Week

Well, for the first time since the end of May I actually got to ride four times in a week. Today I rode 65.7 miles ( 105.1 km). That is the fifth ride of 100 km since May. They're still hard. Today's was not as much fun as it could have been, either. It turns out that the problem with my bike shifting wasn't the cable, but a worn out chain. It took a while to figure it out. The chain kept trying to shift to the small ring, causing a jolt through the pedals every time. It even succeeded in shifting several times. I thought about stopping, but I really wanted to get that 100 km in today. Needless to say, there was another trip to Performance Bike in Greensboro after my ride. They only had two ten speed chains! A Shimano Ultegra for $70 and a Wipperman for $50. No SRAM or Forte. I got the Wipperman, not just because it was cheaper, but because I had heard the Shimanos need a special chain tool, and no one at Performance could verify that either way. I'll let you know how this chain works out, but I did have trouble adjusting the rear derailleur to shift smoothly after I installed the chain.

The mileage for the week is 184.13. That's the most in a week, ever.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pretty Consistent

It's been a long time since I got two weeknight rides in. Over a month, in fact. I pulled it off, this week though. Tuesday evening was warm and sunny, so it was a no brainer - which is a good thing as there are those that claim I don't have one. Last night there were supposed to be scattered thunderstorms, and the sky was overcast with impending gloom. The sun was peeking through though, so I took a chance and went. No, I didn't look at the radar before I left so a repeat of Saturday's aborted ride was a possibility. That didn't happen, though. Both rides were over exactly the same route, a 32.75 mile loop and, even though the wind conditions were a little different, there was only a three second difference in the elapsed time of the rides. 1:50:32 for Tuesday, 1:50:35 for last night. That works out to an average of 17.8 mph.

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


Windows users are familiar with BSOD, you know, blue screen of death. Well, maybe not some of the younger ones. To be honest, I haven't seen one in at least a couple of years, and since I babysit about thirty computers (or is it the users? I'm never sure) I am beginning to believe Microsoft may be getting the bugs out, finally.

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


Maybe looking at the weather map before going off on my Saturday ride would have been a good idea, but I didn't. I knew there was a 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms, but it was supposed to be later in the day. Sure it was cloudy, but the sun was almost breaking through. Plenty of time for a nice thirty miles, I thought. I even decided to "go green" today and run my in town errands on my bike rather than later with the car. The errands only consisted of mailing a letter at the post office and getting my Powerball tickets, but it's a start. I did manage to get those out of the way first. About 2 miles south of Liberty I noticed the sky was getting very dark and the wind started to pick up. Two miles from town, and five miles from home if I kept going. I turned around and headed back to Liberty, since there was shelter there in case I needed it. I needed it. That orange area on the radar got there before I did, though, along with thunder, lightening, 45 mph wind gusts and even a bit of hail. It's interesting riding in that stuff, since I still had about 3/4 of a mile to go when the sky opened up. I got to the place where I work, went in and called CJ to come get me. So not using the car today didn't pan out either. But I did get in a 9 mile ride and had a shower too.
Tomorrow's forecast calls for a 20% chance of showers and plenty of sun. I think I'll check the map anyway.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Over 3000

Finally. There was an error over there in the monthly mileage that I corrected tonight. I won't go into the details, but, it was rider error in EXCEL that caused it. But, I am over 3000 mile for the year, at last. I am about 100 miles short of where I was last year at this time, but the weather has been a bit uncooperative with a lot of scattered evening thunderstorms. This week looks pretty good, and tonight was no exception. I got in 32.8 miles at 17.4 mph after work.

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

Not Paying Attention

I was happily riding along this morning in another world and didn't see this swath of broken glass until it was too late to even think about not riding through it. At least I managed to go to the right of the largest part. I stopped after I got past it and checked the tires, figuring there was no way I'd gotten through it without picking up something. But I did get through. The tires were fine. That never happens. Well, almost never. It was the second time this week I ran through broken glass without getting a flat. Sometimes I get lucky, I guess.

This is why I shouldn't be allowed to wear anything white. Every time I wear this white jersey I get these grease spots within the first five miles. It baffled me where they came from. Today I finally figured it out. It seems that I slightly rest my water bottle against my stomach to reposition it in my hand after getting it out of the cage. I suppose if I washed my bike, this wouldn't happen, but it's been washed already once this year. Twice would be pushing it, don't you think? Besides, as long as we can get this, I'll be fine. It's saved more of my clothes, well, it's saved All of my clothes at one point or another. Magic Stuff.
Today's ride ended up being 52.2 mile with a 16.9 mph average. I went out early, around 9:00 when the temp was only around 70, but the humidity was 92%. Kind of sticky, but it stayed pretty much overcast, so it really wasn't too bad.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


The past three weeks have featured a lot of riding. Not on the bike, though. I've only managed six bike rides in that time frame for a total of 206.23 miles. Not much for three weeks. But riding I was, every single night, as a passenger and driving instructor. I don't know how many miles we did on all kinds of roads, traffic and conditions with lots of parking and backing up and three point turns, but the student passed his test yesterday and is now licensed to drive in NC and, I guess, the other 49 states too.

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.