Saturday, May 28, 2011


In my book I opine that exercise is a very easy habit to break, and two things that keep you on track are variety and friends. Variety helps belay boredom and friends can get you out when you would rather not. Such was the case with today's ride.
I prefer to not ride on Saturdays and really don't like riding in the wind. Thus, I was peacefully planning a quiet day of stretching etc when Amy sent me an email. Her calendar was open Tuesday and Thursday, and she would be riding from her house out to Andice (30 miles north) tomorrow (that is, Saturday). Timing is everything. What with wind and various appointments, my mileage is way down and State Time Trials only two weeks away. My legs need work. And, I wanted to see how she got from her house to Parmer Lane (5 miles).
So, after several communications, we agreed I'd ride over to her house (1.7 miles) around 7am. Not even waiting for the sun to get them going, when I looked out the back door at 6:15am, the trees were already bending in the stiff south wind. We would have fun going to Andice and pay dearly coming home.
Five miles of neighborhood, twenty miles of Parmer/Ronald Reagan, five miles of county roads put us into Andice. Twenty miles of rolling hills, with a lot of big ring riding, but not really pushing a pace. A nice downhill was interrupted by hitting something (no clue what) that gave me a pinch-flat. The flat-changing god smiled kindly upon me. With a minimum of movement, I had it changed and used the CO2 without a problem. The rest of the ride north was uneventful.
Lots of cyclists use Parmer Lane and many stop at the Andice store. Amy refilled her water bottles (I had about 80 ounces in my Camelbak) and after a short break we started back. This section also had no drama, other than gusts of wind that threatened to blow us over. Because my riding this year so far has very few days over 43 miles, I was beginning to fade after 45 miles. However, I still had enough to not be an embarrassment to Amy. And since we weren't fighting the wind for excess speed, we were able to keep a nice, even pace.
Sometimes I describe riding into a wind as brutal. Today might have been ferocious, but not brutal. While extremely tired, at least I didn't feel beat up. I may even have enough left in the tank to take my Sunday ride.

On another note: From the "They don't make them like they used to" department, I dragged an old bike out of the attic recently. The tire was flat, but when I began to put air in the tube, it had no problem staying inflated. The tube is twenty-five years old.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Yesterday we had a great day to ride: mid-60's, slight wind. Five of us left the park at 8:30am, because I had a doctor's appointment later in the afternoon. Two of the folks I had not met before, although Rick, recently retired, had sought advice on doing the TdF and had purchased my book. My plan was to just get in some mileage, having done a hard workout Sunday.
We did 33 miles at around 15mph and my heart-rate average came in at 106, so I definitely wasn't working.
One of the things I hate is changing a flat, even more so when riding with strangers. But, once again (this happens more often than actually having a flat on the road), I finished the ride and when I got home and prepared to hang up the bike, I found the rear tire flat.
Well, the rear tire was twenty months old, and the front one sixteen, and I had purchased replacements a few months ago, so this morning I sat down in the kitchen and installed new tires and tubes. One of the new tubes didn't hold air. The old one that went flat had a pinhole leak, found by submerging in water. I had replaced the rear and was finishing up the front when I noticed some printing on the tire. Specifically, I saw "rotation" followed by an arrow. Pook!

As it turned out, both tires were mounted in the proper direction of rotation so I didn't have to take either off and turn it around. Lots of little irritations had been avoided. This is a good sign.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Of course there are. I have plenty of them. The most prevalent is "too much wind." Yesterday, Monday, it was difficult walking, let alone riding. So that became stretch and stength day, inside. Sunday I did my regular ride, but even leaving at 6:30am the wind was still strong in my face for the first hour.
Not that it mattered much, because on Sunday my legs took a day off. D'you know how the quads feel at the end of a hard ride? That's how mine were at the start of the day and they never loosened up or gained power. Each time I tried to get serious, they threatened to cramp. Even with the wind at my back I was a couple of gears short.
Ah, but the 42 miles were done and are in the bank.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Perhaps He didn't speak and rather I just interpreted certain events and changed my actions because of them. I prefer to think we have communication. Here is what transpired:
The weather forecast called for a stout wind and possible thunderstorms this morning. Sunrise was at 6:47, meaning my start time would be 6:35, leaving the house at 6:15, thus out of bed at 5 (to take medication an hour before breakfast). Once again, I turned over one too many times and actually started moving 15 minutes late. To make up time, I made all preparations, including getting dressed, before breakfast, having first checked the radar and seeing no green.
I've said it before: changing your routine requires extra thought and woe to those who ignore this fact. So, six minutes into driving to my start I realized I'd forgotten my computer (I had the chest strap on, but the computer was next to the computer). It's not that I can't do the loop without, but I wanted to monitor the heart-rate. This extra fifteen minutes meant the sun was up, thus the wind would be stronger as I headed into it, and there would be more bikes and cars on the road.
Computer secured, I headed back to the start place. Almost there I realized that I had forgotten my water (filled with PowerAde) bottles (twice, actually). Putting me an additional half hour behind would mean I'd be in church traffic (three churches) for the first hour and two churches and a golf course in the last hour. I had two 20oz bottles of water and, although not intending to wear it, my Camelbak, which had several Clif bars, so plans changed.
Regular water bottles, with screw caps, meant having to stop to drink (I had the Camelbak but the reservoir was hanging in the garage, drying out). Instead of sipping continuously (or, every few minutes), I now had to pull over and stop, because I don't ride without a hand on the bars.
Once I started rolling, it became quite evident I had no legs today. Stopping to drink and eat actually gave me about five short rest stops, contributing to getting me through the 42 miles without cramping or bonking. The long stops were about a minute, the short ones 30 seconds. Having to wear the Camelbak added time. But, since God had given me multiple signals (remember the joke about the guy who drowned waiting for God?), before turning a pedal I had already resigned myself to being pedestrian and following His will. He saw to it I had a good ride today.