Saturday, March 27, 2010


Almost took the day off from riding.

A couple of days with temperatures in the mid 70's is all it takes to spoil me. Today's high of 55 seemed almost cold, but that wasn't why I almost didn't ride. It was considered as an excuse, though.

First we went to Sam's Club in the morning and spent a large amount of money on luxury items, otherwise known as groceries. By the time we got home it was like 1:30, and I just didn't feel like going. But I decided to make myself go: I could always do a short ride and come home. Didn't quite work out that way.

I warmed up, even if the weather didn't, and the further I went, the more it looked like a 100k ride might actually be possible, even this early in the year. I stopped once at about 38 miles, for about a minute, to refill a water bottle, but that was the only time I spent off the bike. So I went from not going to ride to doing my firs 100k of the year, without any real planning. My legs are a little tired, but I noticed that they felt stronger on the hills the further into the ride I got. Must have been flushing the rust out. Average speed was 16.5.

Supposed to have some t'storms tomorrow, so any ride will depend on their timing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So Close

I skipped the usual Tuesday evening ride. There was something so demotivating about the 26 mph winds and the knowledge that Wednesday would bring even warmer temps, and no wind, that not even my desire to ride could overcome it.

The anticipated weather change actually happened. Seventy-five degrees and light winds prevailed when I got out of work, and not a cloud in the sky. I set out thinking I ought to push a little and see if maybe I could bring my average speed up, but there wasn't any real goal. Three miles in I noticed my average was 16 mph. Not bad. Six miles in it was 17.2. Not bad, again, especially since it was all into what little wind there was. So, I started thinking - how fast can I go? I started pushing. Did a few intervals, pushed hard up the hills, and by 16 miles I was averaging 18.2. Not too bad for this level of fitness, and the extra ten pounds I'm carrying at the moment (gained since about December, and not leaving without a struggle). I actually managed to hold that average up and down some of the hilliest parts of my ride. Right up to mile 26.3. Then there was the 160 feet of climbing over the next 3.3 miles to home, and that drug the average down. I actually was still at 17.9 at the top of the driveway, but it dropped to 17.8 by the time I got to the shed where I store my bikes (and everything else). I wanted that 18 mph average so much. So close. I think if those 10 extra pounds go away it'll make enough of a difference up the hills to let me get there.

There was also 12 miles of commuting, so it's 42 miles for a week day. Not too bad.
The Thursday ride may get postponed too. My legs are a bit tired and a recovery day might be a good idea.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Are They Serious This Time?

According to this report the federal government's new policies for getting highway funds must put the needs of cyclists and pedestrians in the same category as motorists. I hope they really do. How about putting some funds toward educating people that bikes and pedestrians really do belong.

Friday, March 19, 2010


There were no plans for a Friday ride. I almost never ride on Friday. I subscribe to the theories of all the cycling books that you've got to have ride days and recovery days, and it seems to work pretty well. How commuting will work into this remains to be seen, but it is a different type of riding, so I'll just call it recovery riding for now. Right now it's sort of intermittent, any way. So ride days are Saturday and Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. But when I left work this afternoon (a half hour early, shhh, don't tell) it was 75 degrees, no wind, and not a cloud in the sky. What, exactly, was I supposed to do? Stick to my training plan? I didn't think so. As an added incentive to ignore my usual training regimen, I won't be riding tomorrow. We are going to visit UNC Charlotte. It's open house day and it's one of several places my son's been accepted, so it's a road trip starting at 6:30 in the morning, getting home, who knows when.

It was a beautiful ride. The weather was perfect. Thirty miles with an average of 17.1. It was the first time in I can't possibly remember how long that I got to wear shorts and short sleeves and sunscreen.

The ten day forecast looks pretty similar. Looks like I can do a little more work on the cyclist's tan I started today.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Ok, so I did the math. If I commute the three miles to work I actually save about $3.00 a day. That may seem like a lot, but if you take into account that it's four three mile trips ( I come home for lunch - don't you?) for a total of twelve miles, the commuter car is a 1989 Ford Taurus (V6 with bad bearings and 170,000 miles) and the trip is worst case -cold engine, stop and go through town - well, poor gas mileage is a given. But I don't just save money, according to Mr. Garmin I burn a few (well, several) calories. About 700, in fact. Those calories need replacing. Not all of them at the moment since I've got this extra layer of winter blubber to drag up hills (slowly, painfully), so I need to burn a couple more than I put back. What better way to both get rid of my savings and refuel than to buy some beer. Seems like a win to me, especially when I strap it on the commuter bike rack and burn even more calories hauling it home.
I not only got the commute in today, but a quick 13.6 mile ride after work too. While riding to work goes by at a sedate 14.2 mph, the quickie was a bit better at 17.1. Different bikes and different goals, but still riding.
Excuse me while I replenish....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good News!

Well, good news for those of us whose only alternative to free, over the air TV, is DirecTV, anyway. Versus is back! Channel 603 has two things I tend to watch to the exclusion of anything else. Bicycle racing, and Indycar racing. It's about time they came to their senses. Judging from this list of wholesale prices for cable channels, there ought to be enough profits out there for everyone without resorting to games of chicken. I mean, it looks like, to me, anyway, about five bucks of my $85 dollar DirecTV bill is going for content. Talk about overhead! Yeah, I know, satellites are expensive - it's rocket science after all, but still....

DST is a pretty nice thing too. Got in a nice 27.4 mile ride after work today. it was cloudy, so it was getting a little dim by the time I got home, but I turned on the Planet Bike blinkey, so I felt sort of safe. Still wasn't all that warm, though, just 55 degrees, and with no sun that feels cool. The rest of the week is supposed to be about 70. It's about time.

One of the things that surprises me about this past winter is the over all brownness of everything. This winter everything went dormant. So much of the foliage here stays green and alive, but not this year. I can see through the stands of trees now and through fences that have always been covered with some sort of growth. It's almost like riding in a new area. I see views and fields I've never seen before. There are even houses I never knew existed along my usual routes. Things are beginning to green up and blossom, though, so this new world will vanish once again.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Begin Again

I am slowly shaking off the shackles of seasonal lethargy and beginning to transition back to some level of fitness. This winter's been, well, wintry. We have lived in North Carolina for almost twenty one years and this is the first real winter we've had. Sure there's been cold and even snow, but that was for short periods with mostly lots of warmth in between. This year it turned cold early and stayed cold. It snowed, what, three, four, times in three or four consecutive weeks and, being cold, the snow was in no hurry to melt. So there's been a lot of doing nothing. Through last weekend I'd managed twelve rides this year, and three of those were on the trainer. Last weekend, though, the long awaited warm up began, so Saturday I managed 42.3 miles and Sunday, 34.2. Both were a slow 15.8 mph average and it was really all my legs could take.

The weather cooperated during the week, too, so there were four days of commuting, plus a quick little after work jaunt Tuesday of 13.2 miles. That evening ride was a more reasonable 17.2 average, so, if I can get my endurance back, maybe there will still be some speed. I topped the week off with a 50.3 mile ride today and averaged 16.5 mph. Not too bad given my lack of fitness. Finished the week with 127 miles, the most since the first week of last November.

Clocks get set ahead tomorrow, so longer after work rides are on!