Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Perhaps purists will take umbrage with the description. But, alas, today I found myself cycling to spin class. Even the receptionist made a comment. However, they were nice enough to let me bring my $10,000 bike inside.
This whole scenario was a series of oopsies on my part. It actually stems from 1) Being retired, thus not caring what day of the week it is; and 2) The Christmas Season, further exacerbating not knowing what day it is. By way of explanation, of sorts, I'll first state that Friday the spin class is 8:45am which puts me back home (driving) at 9:45am. This is what was on my mind when I saw that Marilane needed the car at 10am today. No problem.
Unfortunately, Wednesday's spin class is at noon. And double pook! Ding-fu, I also forgot a 10am appointment. Again, not a problem, the appointment location is only a few blocks from the gym, and both ony about 2.5 miles from the house. Yesterday's 84 degrees is but a memory, with 55 and a cold north wind. Uncomfortable, but for only 12-13 minutes. I have done it in the past on my old bike, locking it to the fence (my first appt. place).
Ah, the old bike. It has old pedals. Spin class bikes have Shimano SPD's. I have SPD's. They are on my custom titanium, never-let-out-of-your-sight bike. I rode it to the appt and locked it to the fence. No problem.
Then, as I mounted to pedal the few minutes to Gold's, it occurred to me that I had forgotten my Gold's ID, attached to my key chain because I couldn't fathom going to the gym in anything other than my car. Ride back home, get the key, take a few deep breaths, get back on the bike and ride back to spin class.
My bike and gear were safely watched over while I had an excellent spin class. All is back being right with the world.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Two separate subjects connected tenuously by my weekend cycling. First, the early warning signs. Saturday, after three hard days of workouts, I felt grumpy. We might say out-of-sorts, but definitely low on energy. Now, this can be caused by lots of things, but my second clue was when I went outside. Even though I had on a sweatshirt, the 55 degrees, sunshine, slight breeze felt cold. Past experience has shown that when my body cannot quickly adjust to a chilly temperature, then quick corrective action must be taken to stave off illness.
Within minutes of returning inside, I had taken 1000mg vitamin C and started brewing ginger tea. In addition, I used my Neti pot, then gargled with salt and soda. Those are my usual responses. The other response is inactivity (otherwise known as resting). BTW, I had gone outside to get a feel for the weather so as to pick out the proper cycling gear for the afternoon ride. Needless to say, as I reclined I could see a perfect cycling day slipping away. However, better give up a day than to get sick.
Can't say whether or not I was really getting sick or just needed to rest, but in any case, Sunday morning came and I was ready to ride my usual route. I delayed two hours to allow the temperature to rise from 30 to 39 (when I left the house, 46 at my start place). And this brings me to layering.
A healthy body has no problem keeping warm, given proper clothing. Today I had on a long sleeve base layer (REI), jersey, and my wind jacket (plus tights and long fingered gloves). The wind was out of the south, stronger than yesterday, so I was in for an hour with it in my face. The wind jacket I intended to shed when I made my turn to the west. But, and I stress, you have to know when to divest excess layers. After four hills, only 35 minutes of riding, I could feel the moisture finally beginning to build. As much as it pained me to do so, I pulled over on an uphill and removed the jacket. If you don't remove the layer early, you will be stuck wearing it because you don't dare take it off when the other two layers are soaked.
In the two hours, forty minutes of riding, the temperature only got up to 56F, so the tights stayed on. I had regular gloves, but kept the long-fingered ones on for the whole ride. They kept my hands nicely warm for the first two hours, and were not a problem for the last part. Had my hands been sweating, I would have exchanged them.
Summing up: yesterday's rest and ministrations combined with good clothing selection resulted in a fine ride today.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I missed my 31 miler on Thursday because the wind (again) was atrocious. To make up for it, I planned a ride this morning, even though I usually leave the roads to the cars on Saturday. According to the weather forecast, we have a cold front blowing through this afternoon, thus 20+mph cold, northwest winds. I tried to get out at 8:30am and made it by 8:45am.
As I eased my way into the ride I could tell the wind came out of the southwest, a bit stronger than what I saw at home. This was good, because except for a short stretch, my route went east and north, then back east. My first check-point (the school where Marilane subs on occasion) was reached in record time. Once on University, the road is straight east and the wind was now directly at my back.
The turnaround came seven minutes faster than average. But, of course, on an out-and-back course, if you have the wind at your back going out, it will be in your face coming home. It wasn't more than two miles of laboring, aerobars heavily in play, that I noticed a slight movement of the wind to the north. Another mile brought some more shift. Instead of in my face, it came from my right. Before long I made the left turn and again had the wind at my back.
I'm guessing that in the last ten years, having the wind both ways has happened twice. Considering I wasn't even going to ride, I can only take this as a sign. About the only sign I can think of wanting at the moment is the lottery (world peace being a bit too heavy for this little bit of luck). Check back tomorrow, I'll post it if we won.
And for my friends in the UK, the temperature was 13C and I had on tights and two layers on my chest. They keep promising cold weather, I guess it just went your way. Sorry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I had to pass up a few good cycling days in order to get the house decorated for the holidays. But, cycling in December is always hit-or-miss. I have attended spin classes once a week. I may have to go twice this week because today's didn't go too well. I don't know why I even go the day after my hill workout. I know the quads will fail to respond properly. Speaking of the hill ride...
Yesterday I flipped the coin between 31 miles of flat/rolling and 19 miles of hill workout. Hills won. I left the house around 9:30am. The temperature read 46F and the attic fan on my neighbor's house was whirring briskly so I tossed my wind-jacket (a Hotter'n Hell with mesh back gifted to me by my friend, Ray, several years ago) in the car. Regular readers will recall several posts ago I was pleasantly surprised when getting to the starting point that the temperature there was 15 degrees warmer than at home. I couldn't hope for that again, but 10 degrees kept floating through my mind.
Ah, the luck of the Irish: all I got was a 3 degree bump. 49 degrees at 10am with a brisk southerly wind. On went the wind jacket, giving me 3 layers on my chest. Needless to say, I had on tights. The southerly wind meant 30 minutes (in this case, 32 minutes) against the wind, but it would be at my back going up Courtyard (16, 16, 24 degrees), Jester (16, 20), and Bluegrass (16, 18).
All the while my mind kept telling me how uncomfortable I was. But my body was nicely warm and secure and really felt no discomfort at all, and the pedaling went quite well. The trip took about five minutes longer than usual, but all-in-all a fine excursion.
I believe tomorrow will be the 31 miler and Friday back to my regular spin class.