Sunday, January 31, 2010


I just looked at last year's January mileage: 406. I will finish this month at 148. When I'm out riding I let my mind wander and usually come up with an idea to write about. I'm more worried about the lack of recent posting than mileage, mainly because I have a week of cycling in California with Ray and Byran on my February schedule. Ray takes his hosting seriously, in that he sees to it Byran and I get lots of cycling miles. I should end February on the high side of 500.
It's not that I've been a sluggard. Weights, abs, and yoga have taken up the slack, so my body is prepared for higher mileage. Also, I have been able to hold my winter weight gain to four pounds. I see my friend Grace has posted something about eating less in winter. I attribute my stability to not eating more. However, I'll be glad when Girl Scout Cookies sales have passed.
Changing the subject, I read an article on Velonews last week on changing tires and not getting the tube caught. While I always recheck that the tube has not caught under the bead, I always start the tire at the stem and end opposite. This article explains why it is best to start opposite and end at the stem. It is almost time to install new tires for the coming season, so I'll give that procedure a try.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I took advantage of the great weather yesterday to enjoy a leisurely ride on the back roads of Williamson County. My companion on this lovely afternoon does not like to stand to pedal and in our 34 mile sojourn, standing was not required. Thus I return to a topic posted sometime last year, because she is not the only cyclist with whom I ride who eschews standing until absolutely necessary, ie. she runs out of gears and still needs power to remain in motion.
Another repeat: the disclaimer of not being an expert; but I am experienced. If you fall into the category of Non-Stander, then resolve to put this device into your repetoire. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Don't worry about the bike (frame) going side-to-side with each pedal stroke. However, keep the tires (handlebars) straight. We can't have you wandering all over the road. When you come to a moderate climb that is easily taken seated by one smaller gear, instead to go one larger gear and stand for three sets of eight strokes. This should not require more power and actually might be less, and definitely a slower cadence. What you are looking for is whatever gear you can comfortably pedal. If you generally run 75-80 rpm, you might find 60 rpm or less is what feels best to you.
On an average ride, try to be out of the saddle at least every 15 minutes. Let me rephrase that: Don't go more than 15 minutes without standing to pedal.
The main benefit is change of position, giving your back a break and using different muscles. The longer the ride (like 3 or 4 hours), the more your seated muscles need relief. Secondarily, should you come to a steep climb actually requiring power-strokes, you won't be calling on muscles that are not properly stretched and warm.
One other thing about starting with 3 sets of 8 reps, standing. That is only 24 reps and about 25 seconds. You should be aiming for two minutes or more.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Last week I met with the group for an afternoon ride, when it had warmed up a bit. At 50 degrees and a south wind, my tights and three layers on my chest should have been sufficient to keep me toasty all afternoon. Alas! Something wasn't right :( What I have learned over the years is that the better your body is tuned, the more you detect aberrations. One of the tell-tales is the inability to properly react to cold temperature. We started off at a moderate pace, although hitting a hill immediately. My heart rate went up appropriately, and my muscles worked smoothly, but I continued to "feel" cold. Two miles into the ride, even with the wind at my back, I bid adieu to my comrades, returned to the park, and drove home.
I knew the symptoms and undertook the remedy: Ginger tea and large dose of vitamin C, followed by a nap. More tea and C at bedtime , a good night's sleep and I felt better the next day. Was I really coming down with something? We'll never know. An ounce of prevention.... Thanks, Karen.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Last year I had seven outside rides in the first two weeks of January. This year, so far, I managed a 25 miler yesterday. It was 48 degrees, overcast, with a brisk southerly breeze. I had three layers on my chest, tights, long fingered gloves and, while not miserable, certainly did not enjoy any part of the ride. I wouldn't have done this by myself, it was my friends putting themselves in the same conditions that gave me the push I needed. We rode yesterday because of the arctic front that pushed through this morning and will hang around for the next three days.
So today I sit inside, watching the bone-chilling north wind blow over poorly anchored trash cans or pushing empty boxes down the street. If I look out my back window I see a family of vultures feasting on the carcass of a deer that managed to die in the middle of the creek that is our boundry line. Technically, it's in my neighbor's yard (as if that would make a difference!). It is far enough away so as not to be intrusive.
The plan for today is to ride in the kitchen. But to accomplish the act, I will have to generate more energy than my current level.

Friday, January 1, 2010


We had nice weather on the last day of the year, so I took advantage and set out on my usual 30 mile route. I savored the weather and focused on how my body functioned. As the miles drifted by my disenchantment grew; not with my pleasant surroundings, but at the inability to push out of "mediocre." At the turnaround, the clock confirmed my speed, or lack thereof, and I began the mental check-list of possible reasons: lack of training (a mere 158 miles in December); muscle fatigue due to weight training; too much chocolate, mince pie, etc.
Before despair settled in, I also remembered doing the exact checklist on a similar ride last year. And I remembered that everything turned out quite well. So I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the return. I even had time to congratulate myself on my timing, in that as I rolled the last two miles, the forecasted increase in wind started, and I made it safely home without having to fight it.
Time to start a new decade.