Thursday, July 29, 2010


Not quite, but close enough. Now that I'm taking Moose, shaving seconds on my best times has receded for the duration. I still push hard, just only expect average times. And I have no problem with that.
Anyhow, after the Sunday ride I hung up the bike. Monday presented an opportunity for early time trial practice, which went well. I love my tt bike. I had appointments and grass cutting on Tuesday, so that became my rest day. Wednesday morning, as I lifted the bike off the hooks, the lack of bounce from the back tire gave me the bad news. Fortunately, I had a spare half hour before beginning today's ride, so brought the offending tire into the kitchen for a leisurely tube change.
When you have an unsuspected flat, the first order of business is to visually check the outside for cuts, holes, and things sticking out. In this case, a very thin wire (like from an old wire brush) pricked my finger, telling me of its existence. I had to look hard to see it. Sure enough, it had penetrated the tire, the tire-tuffy, and the tube. Don't know where I picked it up, but at least it didn't go flat until it got home.
I've gone years without a flat, just changing tires and tubes annually, and now two weeks in a row. Bad karma. I put a patch on the tube and it now hangs in the garage, in case it's needed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


The Sunday ride went well, up until right before the big climb at the dam. Only five minutes off last week, and I had plenty of energy to launch an attack. Until a clanking noise coming from my back wheel interrupted my plans. I had caught a sharp piece of wire. Dang! Ten miles from the car with minimal (that is, non-redundant) tube changing materials.
My saddle pack has a tube, patches, tire irons, hex wrenches, and a CO2 cartridge. It also has a boot (for the uninitiated, a 3 inch section of old tire). I went ten years of carrying a boot without needing one, until last year when a companion needed it. When I have my Camelbak, that carries another tube and a frame-pump.
I walked over to a building with a curb, made myself at home, pulled out the glasses from my jersey pocket, and leisurely changed the tube, first locating the hole. The new tube and boot was inserted, and I said a short prayer that the CO2 would work properly. The last time I tried one, I blew up the device, scaring the bejabbers out of me in the process. My new one is two years old and has never been tested, but is a much simpler design. It worked well enough. Apparently when I pierced the seal, it wasn't a clean hole, and the CO2 came out very slowly.
I'm guessing the tire was up to 80 lbs, maybe only 70, but enough to roll without damage to the it. I used the brakes on the (usually) 30+mph hill, holding it to 18mph, and came around any corners slowly and without leaning, trying not to roll the tire off the rim.
The ten additional minutes (plus the 15 for tube changing) and conservative riding allowed for a long recovery, thus I spent no time cooling down when finally arriving at the car.
Once home and showered I watched Andy and Alberto do a track stand in the Pyrenees.
Moose, who has been whining at being left home, is placated. I'll be wearing my Camelbak, with additional water capacity and tube changing paraphernalia on future rides.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


After two days of hard workouts, I needed a recovery ride. My 31 mile route out to Hutto, leaving from home, provided the perfect venue to monitor heart rate and cadence. The goal: keep the heart rate under 140 (83% of max) and the rpms at 90 with an average of 85.
Of the 111 minutes (including stops for red lights and a quick bite of Clif Bar), only six minutes exceeded 140 and the highest bpm was 146 for only a few seconds. I spent a lot of time at or above 85 rpm but had some difficulty holding 90 except on the flats. Toward the end, into a stiff headwind, my energy ran low and the rpm dropped.
My average cadence came in at 82, an all-time high, with an average speed of 16.9mph, also PB for this course. The average heart rate of 126 left me feeling refreshed and without the need to recuperate (like, in the recliner) for a few hours. Of course, I was in the recliner, playing the TdF that we had DVR'd.
In time-trial practice, I recorded an average rpm of 80 for the last three workouts, with a goal of 85. So far, I've been concentrating on just getting the 20k distance in at reasonable speed and haven't dedicated any of the runs to just cadence. Maybe next week.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Time trial practice is generally once a week, or twice as I gear up for State. One of the other days I reserve for my "hill ride." This is only 19 miles and takes in the neighborhood of an hour and a half. Starting at Big Lots at Spicewood Springs and 183, I go through Barrington Oaks and eventually get on Rain Creek Parkway. About ten minutes of warm up gets me to the first climb, definitely 16% and possibly 20% but short, maybe a tenth of a mile. A mile later gets me to the second climb, definitely 13% and a start of 18-22% depending on which side of the street you take the bend. This is a longer climb, about four tenths. Twenty minutes of rolling gets me to 360 and Courtyard. From 360 it is a four tier, about six tenths of a mile climb, with ramps of 16%, 18%, 18%, and 22%. This gets me in the 98-100% of max category.
The downhill allows recuperation, which is needed because next is Jester. Around six tenths, my gps shows a lot of 16-18% numbers, and one 20%. Interestingly enough, the heart rate is a beat or two less. More downhill and rolling back on 360 gets me to Blue Grass. This climb is about three tenths, 17% with a short 20% ramp. Blue Grass takes me back to Rain Creek and the first climb, but just before the turn is another 20% short, like a tenth, hill. One more, Oak Knoll at two tenths and 13% with an 18% ramp, gets me to mostly flat ground for the two miles back to the car.
These seven double-digit climbs, not counting the half dozen 8%ers, resulted in 25 minutes in Zone 4 and 19 minutes in Zone 5. I'd like to reduce Zone 5 by about half.
Disclaimer: The numbers are from my Garmin 305, so could be off a bit. Whatever, you get the idea these are steep climbs.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Saturday the bike shop called for me to come pick up the bike. Chris informed me the bearings were all good, only needed to remove the dirt and dried grease, and re-lube. Great news. I felt pretty frisky, so I lubed the chain and switched the SPDs for Speedplay. Changing pedals allows me to wear my Sidi road shoes, and the overall weight savings is about 2 pounds (shoes and pedals). Then I announced my attempt the next morning to set a new fast time on my 360 Loop ride.
Since I've described this route in previous posts, we can skip the profile. The wind came from the southwest, giving me an hour into the wind, a half hour from the left, and an hour at my back. The smooth rolling wheels seemed a bit faster and hill climbing benefitted from the lessened weight, thus my time turning onto Bee Cave equalled non-headwind times. At the halfway point, my confidence of squeaking into a PR grew.
I topped Steiner Ranch at 2 hours and with the wind at my back sailed along in the 23-25 mph range. Going through Balcones never was easier.
Bottom line: I cut 5 minutes off my previous best. Great wheels.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


One of the things bothering me for the last couple of years has been losing speed on the downhills. New, my bike could coast faster than most when the road turned down. The last trip to Georgia finally convinced me to get the hubs overhauled. I coasted five mph slower than in previous years (as if 46mph down Hogpen Gap could be considered slow). However, no binding or noise or anything tell-tale could be detected.
I love my Rolf wheels. Nine years of riding without a moment's trouble. Not having to worry about truing a wheel (which I would do very poorly, and sometimes followed by a trip to the bike shop) is a super benefit. Rolf will overhaul his wheels if you send them to him (I know, not personally). Unfortunately, my Vector Pros were actually Trek's, and he doesn't do those (probably a contractual thing when he and Trek parted ways). I contacted Trek, who advised I needed to see a Trek Dealer, who could do it.
So, with several days of rain forecasted, I took my bike to Jack and Adams (see previous posts about my tt bike) and dropped it off. Hopefully, they will call me today to come pick it up and I will give it a tryout on my Sunday morning ride.