Sunday, May 19, 2013


     Alien Abduction.  The only reasonable explanation for why, after proclaiming last week that I would forego my usual Sunday ride due to road resurfacing, I once again found myself on the traditional 43 mile 360/620 loop.  And it wasn't just the route.  Regular readers know I hate riding in the wind.  Forecast called for 20-25mph with higher gusts.  Obviously I am a victim of a Galatian Mind Wipe, because not only wasn't I eschewing the ride, I actually looked forward to it.  The third sign came in the form of my right quadriceps beginning to twinge as I hit the farthest point from the car.  Apparently that was the injection site of whatever they used to wipe my mind.
     But let's start at the beginning.  My Sunday ride has a "wheels down" time of ten minutes before official sunrise.  This is light enough to see and be seen, especially with my LED taillight.  This morning I pushed off at 6:25am.  Conventional wisdom is that the wind will pick up as the sun comes up.  Unfortunately, the wind blew all night, so was about a "4-gear" strength from the get-go.  Let me explain 4-gear: shortly after starting, there is a turn when I usually will move to the big ring, drop into the aero bars, move one or two cogs lower, and increase speed.   This morning, when I made the turn, it was straight-on into the wind.  I had to stay in the middle ring and move Up a gear.  That equates to about a four gear difference.
     I had an hour into the wind, up hills, before I could turn and get it coming over my left shoulder.  Thirteen miles later I made the turn, ten minutes slower than last week.  Experience has proven I can't make up as much time as I lose.  Well, this ride isn't all about time.  With the wind pushing me along, I had a grand time.  It would have been even better if the quad hadn't started complaining.  Just a quick twinge, but enough to garner my attention.  I drank more electrolyte and backed off slightly, but the speed was still good.
     My next check point came at the top of the Steiner Ranch climb.  I had made up six of the ten lost minutes, and still had the wind with me, this time over my right shoulder.  I'm pretty sure I could have had a better time, but several miles from the end, the "loose gravel" sign gave me more than pause.  It was thick enough to be a slip hazard, so I moved to the convenient sidewalk (the one stretch on the route where there is one).  It still had gravel, but not bad, especially since I slowed down.
     All-in-all, a great Sunday ride, and finished before 9am.  I came home and watched the last 20k of the Giro, and as I complete this post, the Amgen Tour of California is coming on the TV.

Monday, May 6, 2013


     Today, for the most part, I followed my own rule: When extending your base mileage, pick a day with good weather, no time constraints, and do not pursue PRs.  The rule that I wasn't precise on was: Under 65 degrees, cover the knees.  As explained in the past, this is a "soft" rule, and if the sun is out and a light wind, with good chance the temp will go up, then you can start at 60 degrees.  I started out wearing my wind jacket for the first hour, until I could get the wind off my chest, so to speak.
     The only mistake I made was in believing I would be done before the clouds rolled back in, thus I had the wrong lenses in my sunglasses.  Rather than late afternoon, the clouds came in mid-morning and were pretty thick by 1pm.  No rain, just no sun.
Not where I was; How I felt
     I also added some new road to my itinerary.  Chandler road has been extended to Taylor, so rather than turn north on CR 130, I continue on another four and a half miles to CR 366, a totally new experience.  My friend Barry put me on to this route.  He warned me that after crossing Hwy 29, CR 341 would have a short section of hard pack dirt.  Turned out to be about a mile that I took slowly.
     In adding this additional mileage and adjusting the route to different roads, I reached Corn Hill in 2 hrs, 45 minutes, or just a little shy of 40 miles.  That left me with 30 miles of return trip.  I had intended to divide the trip into hours, but forgot to hit the button for hour 4.  Hour two included the slow slog in the dirt, plus going uphill, against the mild wind.  Besides, my quads were complaining.  Hour 3 included continued uphill and a short lunch break in Corn Hill (4 minutes).  I had some slight wind aid on the way home, and even more wind at my back when I finally reached University and turned west.
     My overall speed, in the saddle, was a very nice 15.4mph.  Total time stopped, either for food/nature breaks or red lights, was 11 minutes.  My heart-rate was mostly below 110, although my chest strap started going wonky on me.  Each time I dropped onto my aero bars, the heart rate started rising by 10s-20s and quickly reached 240-260.  Totally bogus, but certainly throws my stats in the trash can.  My muscles had not been over-worked, and I didn't need to collapse in the chair.  Even more astounding, to me, was the amount of energy I still had at the end of the ride.  As a matter of fact, a quick protein shake, a quick shower, and I was off running errands that needed to be done before Marilane comes home tomorrow.  It has to be the diet.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


     The forecast for today was for the mid-40s in the morning, and a NW wind 5-10mph (according to the channel I listened to last night), increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon.  So I had a pleasant surprise when I woke up to see 52° on the thermometer.  My Sunday ride usually has a wheels-down time of 10 minutes before sunrise.  That has me leaving the house, today, at 6:10am.  That has me dragging out of bed around 4:30am in order to start the day with medication that requires an hour before a meal.  So, it was more like 4:45am, drink 16 ounces of water with the pill, and heat additional water for coffee.  BTW, both my cardiologist and my yoga instructor advocate at least 16 ounces of water to start your day.  Then I checked Facebook and the news and bicycling news while I drank the coffee. 
     I fudged a bit on breakfast, eating at 5:30am.  As I rinsed the dishes I noticed the thermometer had taken a nose-dive.  Dang!  46°.  Not a problem, just added arm warmers and long-fingered gloves to my attire.  The gloves are because the first 30 minutes are in the shade/shadows and has dips that will drop the temp about 10 degrees.  One last check of the weather, to be sure I hadn't missed a front coming through.  This time I went online, and read the fine print.  Seems like the wind will be out of the NE in the morning, shifting to NW in the afternoon.  Double Dang!  It took longer than usual to get the rest of the morning routine completed, so my ride began about a half hour later than planned.  This was good, in that I had more sunshine to take the chill out of the air.
     The first 50 minutes were into the south, so the mild wind came at my back.  When I made the right turn off of Loop 360 onto Bee Cave Road, I had 5 minutes "in my pocket."  Even though my direction was west and northwest, it seemed like I had the wind on my right shoulder.  Speed dropped, and I knew I'd be giving those 5 minutes back before getting to Bee Cave.  Once there, I made a right turn and had the wind in my face.  Another right turn onto 620, and I still had the wind against me.  All the way back to the car, with few short exceptions, I had the wind slowing me down.
     Fortunately, even though slowing me down, it felt refreshing and with multiple layers, I was in no discomfort.  Knowing there wasn't a PR in the cards, I relaxed and enjoyed the morning.  By 10am I had completed the ride. returned home, showered, had a protein shake, and turned on the computer to catch the last of the Giro (Team Time Trial today).