Friday, November 19, 2010


Last Friday I started back in spin class. Even though the weather has not as yet become unbearable, the holidays are demanding more of my riding time and in order to keep some semblance of regularity, spin class will be part of my activities for the next few months. Please don't read this and feel I have an attitude about them. Actually, except for the loud music, I enjoy going; they are an excellent exercise and several years ago were the main reason I did well in the early season races. Plus, the thrifty part of me likes getting more reps at the gym, thus getting my money's worth.

I got out earlier this week for what was supposed to be a 50 mile ride, but came up 10 miles short. Once again I relied on the previous night's weather forecast. They hit the temperature ok, but the 5-10mph nw wind turned into 20+ generally from the west. My mostly north-south route only gave minor relief going north, but by the time I turned around, the wind had become quite strong. The aerobars were of no significant use since the wind came from the side. It was all I could do to hang onto the bars and keep the bike upright. Fortunately, there were very few vehicles on the road, so when the occasional gust blew me several feet sideways, I had the room. After fighting this for 15 miles I gave up and called for a sag wagon. Marilane was out and about and had urged me to call if I wanted. As it turned out, she was only 10 minutes away.

The other reason I called for relief is that we had rum-ball making on our afternoon-evening agenda and I couldn't afford to be as beat up as the previous week. While not allowed to mix the ingredients, I did 2/3 of the ball rolling. This turned out to be 840 rum balls. A few balls are not strenuous, but I assure you that my back (not sure if it was the lats or teres major) muscles were screaming after the first hundred.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This was my motto when training/running marathons. It wasn't unique to me, got it from Joe Henderson at Runner's World. Anyway, this last Monday the sun shone in a cloudless sky and the temperature at 9:15am read 55 degrees with a promise of upper 60's by early afternoon. My Sunday 360 ride had been strenuous and this looked like a perfect time for a nice recovery ride and an opportunity to increase my mileage base.

It wasn't until a half hour into the ride that I noticed the slight wind at my back had increased as the sun rose. The planned ride went to Walburg, a straight north route which meant 25 miles of wind mostly at my back followed by 25 miles of right into my face. My recovery ride now morphed into something more like hard work. The cycling to Walburg obviously went well, pedaling in a higher than normal gear and an easy cadence. Quite enjoyable. Once there, I stopped for a Clif Bar and to take stock of the situation.

I much prefer a circular route to an out-and-back, so while munching the energy bar, decided to head east about a mile and take an alternate road south until I picked up University (Chandler Road). My mental calculation added five miles, but as the calendar was clear, the additional minutes posed no problem. Besides, as Barry would say, the trees would provide a modicum (he wouldn't use that word) of protection from the wind.

It took an hour and a half to Walburg, two and a half to return home. My mantra: "become one with the wind." That sorta worked, in that I really didn't fight it like I normally do, stayed in a low gear, and had a mid-route energy stop. Total mileage came in at 56 miles. The wind really did a number on me and I was beat for the rest of the afternoon, utilizing the recliner to the fullest extent.

In posting the stats on my spreadsheet, I looked up the last time I had ridden over 50 miles. Not counting the vacation trips of Natchez Trace and E2E, my last 50-miler occurred May 11, 2009. As Mad-Eye Moody would proclaim: CONSTANT VIGILANCE! I need to get back to once-a-week lsd rides.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Not me, I'm just recounting what I saw. First, refer to the September 25th entry about changing flats, then go to action #7. Perhaps when reading it you feel as though I'm being much too basic. There was a reason I used that wording.
Several years ago, also posted but not worth going back to read, I was on a group ride with some friends and a bunch of strangers. One of the folks got a flat, and as cyclists do, we all stopped for him to change tubes. But, when you are with folks, there is a bit of peer pressure to perform well, and this includes changing out a tube. Here is one guy, apparently not all that well versed in efficient flat fixing, surrounded by 15 or so others who he thinks all know more than he does, and rather than accept help tried to bluster his way to the finish.
But his cover quickly blew away when he tried to install the tube around the rim, then attach the tire. At first we all thought this to be a new technique for checking the tube or something. Truly, he knew how to fix a flat. He just lost focus and became flustered with so many eyes watching his every move. No one really wants to practice changing a tube on the side of the road, but it wouldn't hurt to read through the steps enough times so you don't have to think about what to do next.
On a different note: The aerobars are back on the bike, I've changed out the pedals so I can revert to my SPDs, re-installed the bottle holders and my saddle pack. I think we are finally out of warm weather, so afternoon riding will be the norm.