With a few months of basement-bound indoor training ahead, it warms my heart to find news articles like this one:
Two young men caught cycling with no clothes on have escaped charges of offensive behaviour, but received a warning to wear protective headgear.[via BBC News]
Local policewoman Cathy Duder was unfazed when she came across the two nude men, both in their early 20s.
"They were more shocked than I was, trying to cover up their bits and pieces with their hands," she said.
Ms Duder issued them with a stern warning for not wearing helmets and then sent them directly home.
Soak in this wonderful custom tricycle crafted by Sasha White, of Vanilla Bicycles . With a stainless steel front end, Phil Woods hub and a cherry rear deck with the Vanilla script inlaid in stainless steel.
[via Burstoid (some NSFW pics)]
Distance: 34.5 miles
Avg. speed: 16.06 mph
Weather: 50-48º, humidity 61-68%, wind ENE10-11
Yes, it's been four weeks since I last saddled up and rode. :: sigh ::
Easy-to-moderate ride with a fellow church member up into Harvard and Bolton. We kept the pace down to a level where conversation was possible as we went.
Had no trouble with any of the climbs, bike seemed to be in good shape despite the long idle period. It was good to be out there again!
I didn't know that in the Beijing Olympics last year, there were seven track events for men and only three for women. It's admirable that the UCI is trying to even up the opportunities for gold for men and women track cyclists.
UCI president Pat McQuaid... described track cycling’s current medal bias for men as “way out of line.”
But this positive move does not come without it's cost, it would "likely would deny American phenom Taylor Phinney a chance to compete in his specialty event" (individual pursuit). Phinney hopes his Twitter campaign to raise awareness of the problem will save the event, saying that losing the pursuit "would be devastating".
A cyclocross event to be held in West Seattle had it's permit by the Parks Department shortly before race day has put a spotlight on not only the environmental impact of the racing itself, but how communication between cycling advocates and the larger community needs to improve.
Read the comments below this post to get a glimpse of not only how members of the same community can have different ideas about how public property should be used, but the varying ways in which both sides get their points across. I'm sure you've seen a similar dynamic elsewhere.
Meanwhile, it would be prudent for race organizers to plan ahead for such trouble by taking the time to produce documents like this one (PDF) that they can present to permitting agencies and the public to show how limited the damage from hosting a CX race would be as well as having in place a post-race restoration plan which might include donations to maintenance funds and having volunteers actively participate in restoration.
As cycling's presence on the public scene continues to increase, we have to be sure that the public at large gets the right impression of who we are and what we do.
A former "roads minister" in Australia holds forth on cycling and shows that he is no friend of cyclists who share the road with motorists, but it sounds like cycling advocates there are not doing themselves any favors by the way they interact with the powers that be.
Meanwhile, Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty wasn't helping cycling's public face by using a police escort to enable him to get his daily bike ride in and riding on limited access roadways.
Excerpts from Saturday morning's heats of the 19th Annual Cycle-Smart International/Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross:
I've uploaded all the of the shots that made the cut to this web gallery.
I got fixated with photographing the participants traversing barriers, ignoring good action elsewhere on the course. It didn't help that I had my 9 year-old in tow - my attention was half on keeping her entertained, informed of what was going on and making sure she was warm enough.
POLL: Do you prefer the Picasa slide show (above) or Flickr embedded slide show (below)?
cycling 091025-013, originally uploaded by rusto.
Distance: 36.2 miles
Avg. speed: 17.06 mph
Weather: 60-61º, humidity 47-44%, wind WNW 14 G21 - WNW9
Song stuck in head: What Can I Say - Boz Scaggs
Easy-to-moderate effort ride that wandered around Sudbury, Stow and Acton. To make it to the start point (Fairchild Center in Sudbury) on time, I had to pretty much do a time trial for the 4 or so miles from home.
Near the end, we cranked up the pace to 25+ for a few miles, switching off lead postions in turn. I felt pretty good considering the utter lack of saddle time lately (save a 1hr trainer session on Saturday
MassBike, the cycling advocacy organization, hosted the Boston Tweed Ride on Sunday. Bostonist.com snapped some pics of the outing when they reached the Weeks Foot Bridge that spans the Charles River to link Cambridge to Allston.
Distance: 25.3 miles
Avg. speed: 20.3 mph
Weather: 63-67º, humidity 79-69%, wind WNW2-calm
Wildlife seen: muskrat
Song stuck in head: A Glorious Dawn - Melodysheep
First road ride in four days: very busy work schedule this past week – which I can't complain about given how slow things were in August and into September. I got one interval ride in this past Tuesday and one trainer session in Friday morning and that was it for all of last week.
Much "non-training guilt" as well as facing up to the realization that I would have to pass on doing the Major Taylor Century today. Scratch one goal that I set just four weeks ago. I've also been feeling just a bit off the last couple of days.
Yesterday's heavy rains gave way to fair, mild weather today and after doing the Sunday morning family stuff and minding the ranch while my wife did her power walk, I got my self suited up and rode the "CC" route. I started very easy and steadily increased my effort until, when I was passing the Minuteman Airfield, I was in full TT thrust.
I was able to keep this up all the way back along South Acton Road, where at one point I was holding 28 mph on the stretch just before the hairpin turn onto Red Acre Road. Not too shabby.
But the front-end creaks are back, not so much as before but there. I'll have to check the skewer again and find out if I need to lube the areas of the headset bearing where they contact the inside of the head tube (when I took it apart that one time, they were dry).
Anyways, I did alright along Red Acre but faded on the second tier going up Pomposittcutt. The last couple of miles were uneventful.
I've been feeling dog-tired ever since I got off the bike, I hope I'm not coming down with something more serious.
September numbers not too bad considering 5 days lost to "Camp Daddy" (G's school didn't start until 9/9) and client calls finally coming in toward the end of the month. I have to work harder on getting to bed by 10 p.m. so I can wake up sharp and ready to ride early.
No surprise my weight spiked a bit after nearly two weeks of eating all kinds of naughty things like restaurant food, fried fish, real eggs and Mom's cooking.
Distance: 31.7 miles
Avg. speed: 16.73 mph
September mileage total: 452 miles
Easy paced ride with Smudger and Ian from Stow, up into Harvard, through Littleton and Acton then back. We started at 7 a.m. and the weather was as cold as I've ever ridden in, but I was bundled up nicely, wearing full-fingered gloves, bib tights a nice eBay wool bike hat with the top layer being one of the new MRC Wool Jerseys. Ian, on the left, is wearing his with an MRC wind vest over the top.
We poked along, chatting and admiring the scenery–a nice change from having to mind the wheel in front of you or dodging cars/pot holes, etc. and made our way up Stow Road, right on Slough and then left back down Woodchuck into Harvard center. I expected to feel some windburn as we sped down the hill, but didn't.
Through Harvard center and up to the top of Prospect Hill, near the Fruitlands Museum where we were treated to this view, looking west:
This was about the point when I realized that I had my Canon G10's ISO set to 800. Oops. You'll notice the excessive noise on Ian's jersey (now fullly visible with his wind vest off).
We wound our way up Poor Farm Road which turns into Pinnacle and keeps going up. How nice it was to enjoy the climb as we went up instead of gasping for breath like I usually do on long climbs.
At the summit, Smudger was calling his dad to arrange a rendezvous for coffee in West Acton as Ian led me down a side street to a decommissioned observatory owned by Harvard University. I'd rode past this place dozens of times and had no idea it was there.
The Oak Ridge Observatory, in Harvard, Massachusetts, formerly operated the largest optical telescope east of Texas in the U.S. Owned by Harvard University, it was operated by Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) until August 19, 2005.
There used to be a radio telescope there as well, used in Project Beta, to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. It's a shame it's not still in use, Ian said due to excessive light polluition. Cool location nonetheless.
We ambled down the north east side of Harvard into Littleton and then turned east towards Acton.
When we got to West Acton, John's dad had rode out to meet us at a nice little café called
Little Sweet Bites, where he treated us to coffee and croissants. Such a nice man, courteous and kind, easy to get to know. I hope I am still able to get on a bike and pedal around when I am his age!
I made it back home before 10 a.m., just in time to pull two air conditioners out of their windows and mothball them for the winter.
Yesterday's "return of the creaks" had me re-inspecting various parts of my bike this afternoon. I'm beginning to think I should create a webpage dedicated to chasing down creaks, squeaks and noises... if it hasn't already been done, of course.
FIRST, I made sure it wasn't the front quick release. Still creaky, so it won't be a no brainer this time. Grabbed a handful of handlebar while from the front of the bike and held the front wheel between my thighs and torqued. No creak.
Ok, how about the BB and cranks? I've removed the cranks so many times this year that I no longer feel the dread that used to precede the operation before. Off came the cranks and what do I behold but some nice souvenir sand from my CRW Fall Century spill deposited on the inner sides of both cranks, where they contact the BB bearings and more sand on the BB bearing surfaces themselves:
So with every crank of my pedals, I was powering a nice grist mill, with micro-fine sand as the product. A couple of wipes with a cloth, from the center of each area outward and it was all cleaned up. I hope that none found it's way INSIDE the BB bearings–they didn't feel gritty when I rotated them by hand.
Grease, torque, reassemble. Test ride: creak! Ah, but this time I got the creak not only when I cranked out-of-saddle but when I applied the brakes, which points to headset/stem looseness.
Loosen stem clamp bolts, turn headset tension bolt 1/6 turn clockwise (using hex bolt vertex as guide), tighten stem clam bolts and test ride: Fixored!
Distance: 25.3 miles
Avg. speed: 20.98 mph
Weather: 74º, humidity 70%, wind NNW5, sunny
September mileage total: 420 miiles
Good, solid ride yesterday along the "CC" route. Moderate-to-hard effort the whole way, average heart rate was 166 BPM. 30 seconds faster and I would have hit a 21 mph pace for the ride.
As it was, I set two PR's on the ride: fastest time on this route and highest average speed for a solo ride over one hour in duration.
NOTE: I held back a bit on out-of-saddle climbs because the "creaks" returned and I was afraid to do damage if the noise was an indication of a serious problem.
Distance: 18 miles
Avg. speed: 19.15 mph
Weather: 74-73º, humidty 62-64%, wind SW9-WSW9
Not much time to ride today, so intervals seemed appropriate, what with the Jamestown Classic looming ahead of me I need to concentrate more on burst speed than my recent attention to endurance.
20 minutes of warmup at 150 BPM, (only) 5 x 30 second all-out sprints with rest between each until HR dropped to 140 BPM (usually about 2 minutes or so). Really wanted to do 8-10 intervals but quit when the 5th was pretty lackluster. Return home at 160-165 BPM.Another busy day tomorrow, may have to be a trainer workout...
Took a closer look at my bike this morning while performing a post-century tune up. Things got scratched up more than I first thought.
The bar tape I knew about. Bummer. I really hate having to rewrap that bar.
Moving along, I found some additional scrapes on my left brifter as well as a series of mystery scratches midway down the lever:
These mystery scratches were definitely NOT from the spill: they were not linearly arrayed like the crash induced scrapes, besides, my hands were ON the levers when I went down–I was, after all, trying to stop. I wondered if they were from leaning my bike against something. I checked the other brifter. SAME random scratch pattern there at the SAME height. I got on the bike and put both my hands on the brakes and looked down to where they contacted the levers.
Ah-hah! The scratches are from my wedding band and since my weight has gone down so much, it was slipping off my left ring finger pretty easily so I've been wearing it on the right hand since about July, thus creating the mystery scratch symmetry.
Left pedal took the brunt of the slide (along with my calf), getting the silk-screened "KÉO" logo ground almost completely off. I guess if I was sporting Speedplays, I would have had the side of my shoe ground down instead...
Continuing to look along the left side of the bike, the last of the damage found was some scratches on the rear quick release lever.
With the bike up on the workstand, I also found my rear wheel a bit out of true. Just had them trued about two weeks ago.
And, since I did my powerslide into a big patch of sand, everything below water bottle height was coated in a beige, sandy dust:
Maintenance performed this morning:
- disassemble, clean, reassemble cassette
- remove chain, rinse clean w/gasoline (I was out of eco-friendly degreaser), lube re-attach
- rinse down whole bike, scrub underside of downtube, inside of fork, chainstays and under brake calipers
- adjusted rear derailleur, cleaned jockey gears (you might know them as "derailleur pulleys")
Distance: 109.8 miles
Avg. speed: 15.73 mph
Weather: 37-71º, humidity 93-38%, calm-SW1
Song stuck in head: Old Style - Orbital
September mileage total: 377 miles
Been a busy week and had no time or inclination to make posts about the last two modest workout rides of 30 and 18 miles before today.
Roughly the one-year anniversary of my first century, last year's CRW Fall Century, I was looking forward to besting my performance from last year where I spent the last 25 miles wishing it was over. I felt like I had the right amount of training and rest under my belt and the bike was tuned up nicely. One chink in the armor was that I didn't get a very good night's sleep last night.
It was VERY cold this morning as I rode up to Acton-Boxboro High School to meet some other folks and start the ride. I decided against any leggings as I knew I'd want to take them off not long after the start and did not want to have to figure out a way to carry them. I did have on a medium weight base layer, arm warmers and some thin booties that are great at blocking the wind.
At the high school, while waiting-and shivering, the other participants and I were treated with the appearance of not one, but two hot-air balloons taking off nearby and then flying overhead.
Soon after, Chad, Pattie, Chris P and Lisa L showed up and we got going. The cold penetrated my fingers and legs but was worst on my cheeks. But it wasn't long before I forgot about it and paid more attention to spinning along with the group.
I confirmed with Pattie that she was expecting to ride at an endurance pace today: she is riding in the Kona Ironman in a few weeks and this was her last century before the taper. Good, I should be able to keep up with her then. This was to be Chad's first century and I knew Lisa was apprehensive about keeping up. So, I didn't think I would set any records for a 100 mile ride but thought I would be going at a respectable pace.
Just like last year, an ambiguous road marking led us and many others (20+) the wrong way for a couple of miles. Lisa realized the error, got us turned around and going the right way again.
At about mile 20 or so, I made sure Chad knew I would stick with him if he started to flag. But then I noticed that Lisa was nowhere in sight, so I doubled back to find her struggling up a climb a short ways back.
I kept her company and thought we could reel in the others if she could stay on my wheel but by mile 35 she was starting to cramp or have spasms in her quads. After a little discussion about what she could do about it (drink more water, take some donated electrolytes, etc.) she decided to press on to the first rest stop at 52 miles.
She did pretty well on the flats and of course, could coast down the descents but it was very slow going on the hills, both of us in our easiest gearing and plodding up at a very low cadence (50-60 rpm, sometimes less). And the biggest climb awaited us after the rest stop.
Lisa's cramping got so bad, on one hill, she got off her bike and walked it up.
About 10 miles from the rest stop, I was descending pretty quickly behind and to the right of another cyclist when the two of us came up fast behind a third rider, who was poking along in the middle of the road, where it started to curve to the left. It was the bottom of a pretty steep hill and it doesn't make sense that anyone could be going all wobbly slow like that after descending such a big hill. I mean, he was going like 10 mph in the middle of the road.
It all came off pretty fast but the descending rider in front of me started to pass the slowpoke on the left (he may have even called "on your left") and as he did, I prepared to pass same slowpoke on the right. I should have called "on your right".
Well, wouldn't you know, ol' slowpoke suddenly realizes a bunch of cyclists are bombing down this hill and he's in the frigging way out there in the middle of the road so he decides to swerve to the right just as I am coming by, driving me to the sand-covered shoulder of the road which is rapidly curving to my left. Ahead of me, beyond the shoulder, is a torn up section of rocks and dirt. All at once, I put on the brakes, yell, "JEBUS!" and end up on my left side, sliding along in the sand.
Slowpoke keeps pedaling along, saying, "sorry" as he put-putted on down the road. He didn't even stop to see if I was ok. Douche.
I turned out to be fine. A few other riders asked how I was, which was appreciated. Lisa rode up and I checked out myself and my bike. Damage: 10 day old bar tape scuffed almost down to the handlebar, left pedal ground down on the outside, left calf suffered some road rash. I'm pretty lucky that's all it was.
I didn't see Mr. Road Hazard later when we arrived at the rest stop. It was a few minutes after noon. Lisa decided that she would keep on going and reassess when we got to the 75 mile rest stop. First thing I did was peel off the arm warmers and base layer: it was pretty warm out by that point. I loaded up on PBJ's and Fig Newtons, replenished my drink and made sure Lisa was well fueled before we started up again.
Of course now we had to face "big climb" for this ride. I told Lisa to take her time and I would ride up to the top, turn around, ride back down to where she was and ride up again with her. She actually made the climb without stopping or walking. Progress. As for me, this particular hill is not as tough as Mile Hill Road on the way to Wawa.
We continued along, Lisa seeming to freshen up a bit on the flats but still having no horsepower for the hills. I'm sure the pain came on the instant she started up any incline. I continued to ride up the hills at my pace and either wait for her at the top or double back to meet her and go up again. Even though I wasn't going at the pace I would have preferred, I was getting extra climbing miles under my belt.
We arrived at the second rest stop just before 2 pm fueled/watered up and left. ETA to finish at this point, in my mind, was 4pm.
Lisa really seemed to be doing better, it certainly helped her to know that there wasn't any more substantial climbing to do. On the flats, she was comfortable keeping a 20 mph pace and she even took the lead for long periods of time. Still, any incline over a few dozen yards long slowed her to a crawl.
When we got to Westford, I started thinking about the things I had to do after the ride: a good sign that I was ready for it to be over.
Finally, we found ourselves back in Acton, rolling down Concord Road. The course goes across Rte. 27 and zig-zags it's way back to the high school but I steered us ON to 27 to shortcut us back a little sooner. We arrived back at 3:40 pm.
By the time I got home, I had been about a minute shy of 7 hours on the bike.
Distance: 30.8 miles
Avg. speed: 20.8 mph
Weather: 73º, humidity 59%, wind NW15, sunny
Song stuck in head: Midnight Cruiser - Steely Dan
Creaks eliminated (see below), I wanted to get in at least one more ride before Sunday that had some climbing but could only afford about to spend 90 minutes or so on the bike.
My "DD" route seemed fit the bill: 30 miles with a couple of pretty good climbs. Stealthily, I made it up Stow in 5' 50", not bad but I really did a number on Taylor Street, keeping my speed at 15 mph or better the whole way up. Having a fairly strong tailwind didn't hurt.
Just spent 90 minutes chasing down the creaks that were coming from "down there" on my last ride.
First thing I looked at was the cassette, I loosened the retaining ring and tightened it back down to spec. Creak still there, definitely sounding like it was coming more from the front but hard to tell exactly where because it only occurred when I was really stressing the bike out of the saddle. Of course, that made it harder to pinpoint the location of the noise because I was farther from the source.
I went for the next most easy thing to check: cranks. Pulled them off, noticing that I forgot to add the washer back in when I replaced a pinch bolt a couple of weeks ago. Grease > torque > test ride... still creaking.
I got off and grabbed the handlebars from the front, pinched the front tire between my feet and twisted. Creakkk. Ok, time to take apart the stem/headset assembly – which I had never done before. I discovered some nice rust between both the top and bottom bearings and the seats in the frame where they sit. No surprise really after all the rain I've ridden in.
Cleaned up the corrosion, reassembled and did another test ride. Crrreakkk.
Sheesh, where the heck is that noise coming from? What haven't I checked. I know it's somewhere between the handlebars and the front... wheel... no, it couldn't be THAT simple, could it?
I unclamped the front skewer, wiggled the wheel a bit, lined it up and clamped the skewer back down.
So, how much of a ride can I put in now that I killed all this time?
Distance: 39.2 miles
Avg. speed: 19.35 mph
Weather: um... warm and sunny, low 70's
Song stuck in head: Jeremy - Pearl Jam
90 minutes on the trainer yesterday. Watched some more of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Today's ride was one of those where, even though the results are pretty good, you just feel "bleh" or "meh" and maybe a touch of "feh" about it along the way. They can't all be awe inspiring workouts.
The ride was the MRC Wednesday night route which I chose because I needed to get at least some good climbing in before next Sunday's CRW Fall Century. I plan on taking it pretty easy the rest of the week with some easy-to-moderate effort rides and resting on Saturday.
There was some foot-dragging at home that ticked me off a little bit and I ate a sandwich a little too close to ride time, so as I started off, I had some stomach discomfort and was still simmering over not being able to head out as early as I wanted to.
The early goal was to ride with a moderate effort up to Oak Hill and then work it hard, staying in the saddle, on the way up. I gained some new insight into where my LT might be after the last couple of rides(168 BPM?) so I targeted 158 BPM as "tempo" and kept it around there for the trip to the climb. Once on the hill itself, my HR got to the low 170's and pretty much stayed there the whole way up. I was breathing pretty hard so my guess is I was somewhere in high zone 4. Made it from the stop sign to the mailbox at #223 in 9' 50", a respectable time for going up alone but my reaction was "bleh".
Over the top and into Harvard Center, I started feeling some raindrops. I guess I would have still gone out if I had checked the radar map, but my thought was "Feh, I just replaced that smelly bar tape last week and now it's going to get wet and stanky all over again." Lucky for me, and my bar tape, there was no more rain.
Next up was the Fruitlands climbs. I planned on attacking these out-of-the-saddle but on the first ascent, either my headset or my bottom bracket made a disconcerting creaking sound – staying seated silenced it – and I did the climbs. The last substantial climbing was Scott Road/Bare Hill Road which I completed in the same logey state that I started the ride with.
The rest of the ride back, I alternated between semi-hammering and nearly just poking along. I was surprised to see that my stats were actually respectable. Average speed was only about 1 mph slower than when I ride this route with the gang on Wednesdays during the summer.
Distance: 20.76 miles
Time: 1:00:00 (I don't believe it either!)
Avg. speed: 20.76 mph
Weather: 45-59º, humidity 93-69%, wind NW1-NE6
Song stuck in head: Dissident - Pearl Jam
Ran tight on time yesterday morning so I took a chance that I did not burn myself out too badly on Wednesday and rode the 20+ mile "time trial" course. I knew I'd be taking a rest day today so I didn't worry about being the consequences.
The only mistake I made was heading out with out warming up at least a little bit first. If I had, I think I would have set a personal record for the route. So off I went, a little sore, a little stiff but focussed and determined. I set my mind to the task of maintaining a 160 BPM or so HR, 95 RPM or better cadence and pedaling nice, even circles the whole way. I saw this as a good training ride for the Jamestown Classic.
I was making terrific time almost all the way to the turnaround point until a tentative driver appeared ahead of me, nervously put-putting behind another cyclist. I allow the "cager" about 20 seconds to pass the guy (it was a flat straightaway) when I got fed up, put the hammer down and passed her on the right and then passed the other cyclist on the left.
Around a bend and next, I found myself facing a large dump truck, unsuccessfully turning out of a lot under construction. He saw me slowing (and maybe my look of exasperation) and backed up out of my way.
I finally got to the turnaround point in 30' 35". Not bad but at least a half minute later than I would have without the two hold-ups along the way. I decided that I still could post a decent time as I felt fully warmed up and might benefit from the slight northerly wind.
Along with the time check, I peeked at my average hear rate and was surprised to see it in the upper 160's – my perceived effort was leading me to believe it was about 10 BPM lower. No matter, I kept the level of effort where it was and could live with thigh burn or running out of gas.
I worked hard all the way back down Boxboro Road, across South Acton and onto Red Acre Road. I stayed in the drops the whole time, even while out-of-saddle climbing up the few short hills along the way. Near the end of Red Acre, I finally started to fade a bit but was betting on the likelihood of having a tiny rest while waiting for traffic to allow me to make the buttonhook left onto Pompossiticut.
No such luck: remarkably, there was no traffic on Rte. 117 so I pedaled right onto Pompossitcut with no respite. Up the hill and over I went. On the way down, I looked at my elapsed time: 57 minutes – dang, I thought, I'll have to hurry to cross the line in less than an hour and I have a little more than a mile to go!
I rode the rest of the way back at over 22 mph, including a fairly weak 25 mph "sprint" (I was totally spent) across the line when I moved my speed sensor.
Elapsed time: 1 hour flat! I could hardly believe my eyes. Yesterday, I turned in a ride of exactly 2 hours and today, a ride of exactly 1 hour. This odd coincidence made up for the frustration provided by the slowpoke driver and the dumptruck.
Cadence average was 100 RPM, the highest I've recorded for a non-spin ride. HR average was 168 BPM.
iTunes 9 no longer lets you get a URL for the songs in the ITMS, so I'm linking to Amazon now. Figured out how to do it. :)
Distance: 40.4 miles
Time: 2:00:00 (no kidding!)
Avg. speed: 20.18 mph
Weather: 66º, wind NW10
Song stuck in head: Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell
My wife and I attended a meeting in Belmont this morning, so I slapped the bike to her car and rode out from there after we were done.
From where we were, there were two short hill climbs right away, so I didn't get a good chance to warm up before I got to them. Consequently, I rode for quite a while with a semi-burning feeling just above both knees. It began to fade when I got to Rte. 117 on the Waltham/Weston border.
I dislike riding on 117 for two reasons: traffic and road condition. But I went that way because I was curious about how long it took to ride from Belmont to home, in case I ever make the trip in by bike for an appointment. Lucky for me, it was about 10 a.m. so rush hour was long over and I was surprised to find that the shoulder is not as bad going west as it is when you are headed east. The one exception being the stretch between the RR tracks and the entrance to Drumlin Farm. But since there wasn't much traffic, I was able to ride out into the center of the lane a bit more to avoid the worst of it.
At some point, I realized that I was keeping a decent pace along the 117 rollers and did a quick check of the computer to see what my average speed was. When I saw that it was 19.9 mph (Monday's avg. speed was 19.97 mph), I challenged myself to wind it up over 20 mph for the whole ride.
Once I got to Rte. 27, it was early enough for me to hang a left and ride out my "CC" route the rest of the way. The wind was roughly out of the North which gave me a good boost down 27, along with one panel van that sucked me up to 27 mph at one point.
On Fairbanks, it was a different story: the wind had a westerly component to it and now it was bearing down on me from my right-front quarter. Into the drops I went and kept shifting gears to maintain a 105-110 rpm cadence. As I turned onto Hudson Road and then Sudbury Road, I was going full into the wind. Nevertheless, I was able to keep my speed over 20 mph most of the time.
The hill on Boon Road (just past Honey Pot Orchard) always seems to bog me down. The climb is less than a 1/8 mile in length and only a 6-7% grade, I tend to slow to a crawl on it every time as I did today.
After that, I did a good job of keeping speed and cadence up. Somewhere along Boxboro Road, I checked my avg. speed again and saw that it was up to 20.1 mph. Now a 20+ mph ride was only mine to lose. On the two short hills along Boxboro Road, I stayed in the drops as I climbed and discovered that I don't raise the rear wheel like I sometimes do when I climb out-of-saddle on the hoods.
The wind was now behind me again, so it was a bit easier to keep my speed up. Onto S. Acton Road and then Red Acre I went, and started to feel a tightness build in my legs. Only a few miles to go, I got over Pompositticut and it's poorly maintained surface and resumed my battle against the wind. Down Summer and Concord then a sprint (27mph) to home and I reached down to move my speed sensor (stops the computer).
When I checked my elapsed time, it read exactly 2 hours. That's 2:00:00 flat. So, a new PR for me: I rode OVER 40 miles in exactly 2 hours. Average heart rate was 157 BPM, just like Monday. Cadence was 97, right on target.
If you don't already, I highly recommend the snarky ramblings of Bike Snob NYC:
"It struck me then that, in a certain way, arm wrestling and professional cycling aren't all that different. While most people have arm-wrestled at some point in their lives, relatively few are aware of the world of professional arm wrestling. Moreover, to the uninitiated, it also looks a bit silly. The same is true of professional cycling."
Distance: 30.8 miles
Avg. speed: 19.97 mph
Weather: 54-65º, humidity 82-57%, calm-SSW4
Meant to ride with Carl (MRC) to Wawa and back, starting on the Hudson/East Berlin line this morning. I was originally going to ride to the rendezvous point (only 13 miles from home) but slept a little late so I had to pack up the car and drive there. Once I arrived at the parking lot, I got the bike set up, tires pumped, gloves on, helmet on... hey, where's my shoes?
Fook! No shoes! What I was wearing on my feet just would not do for a 50+ mile ride.
Crestfallen, I took off the helmet and gloves, put the bike back in the trunk and climbed back in the driver's seat to wait for Carl. He rode up right on time, took the bad news graciously and went on his way. I motored home, got set up again, put on my delinquent shoes and finally rode off, an hour later than planned.
Since I had wasted a good part of my time window driving to and from the rendezvous spot, I had to cut my ride short. So, I decided to try to channel my frustration into power output and rode my "DD" route (~30 miles) as hard as I could.
I made it to the bottom of the Stow Rd. climb in 45 minutes flat, with an average speed a bit above 20 mph. I felt very strong going up, especially the last few hundred feet when got out of the saddle and "sprinted" to the top. Time up was 5' 40", I think a personal best. I was able to keep my speed up across Pinnacle and the little rises leading to the Oak Hill descent. I kept the pressure on for the trip down, achieving a top speed of nearly 38 mph.
I didn't exactly bound my way up Taylor Street but maintained a pace that increased as I went up. I was really able to open it up as I went down the other side on Liberty Square Road and then onto Summer/Central in Acton. Even on 27 south towards home, I didn't feel like I was burning out as I went along, pushing as hard as I could.
Turning the corner onto my street, I initiated a "finish sprint", getting up to 27 mph that I maintained until I passed my driveway. Sheesh, just a whisper below a 20 mph avg. speed for the whole ride! Avg. HR for the ride was 157 BPM – sure didn't feel like it was up that high. Cadence avg. was 98 RPM, right where I want it.
It seems that the long layoff did me some good, if today's effort was any indication. The last two days of tune ups/maintenance appear to have finally rid the bike of the various creaks/clicks/squeaks it's been plagued with.
This is what I hope to accomplish this fall, before the really cold stuff drives me indoors:
• CRW fall century, September 20th - Two weeks away. I really enjoyed this ride last year, even though I was totally spent at the end. My hope is that there will be a few MRC members doing the ride as well.
• Major Taylor Century, October 4th - I'm looking forward to exploring some new riding routes in the Blackstone Valley, Eastern CT and Rhode Island.
• Jamestown Classic, October 12th - This would be the my second ever road race. The first was a crit, circa 1987 in CT. Participation will depend more on being able to escape family duties on a holiday (Columbus Day) than fitness/experience concerns.
• Sadly, the Wompatuck training series has already ended and the Wells Ave. series has only two more sessions, neither of which I can make. I'm targeting both for next year.
• Get out to some cyclocross events with my camera.
Distance: 57.2 miles
Avg. speed: 18.16 mph
Weather: 56-76º, humidity 91-57%, wind N2-NNW6
Song stuck in head: Someone Keeps Moving My Chair - They Might Be Giants
Finally back on the bike yesterday (Saturday) after an 11 day lay off. Even though I planned to take some time off, I should have done some indoor trainer spin sessions in the early evening this past week. The "guilt" from not doing any workouts last week was beginning to stress me out.
My weight rose by 5 lbs. over the hiatus which came as no surprise: I paid no attention whatsoever to what or how much I ate. There was much fried food, pancakes and even a lobster bake to contribute to the added bulk. It will be interesting to see how quickly I drop back down to around 165 or so.
Della and I did the old Acton Lion's Club route that runs from Acton-Boxboro High School, clipping the NE corner of Maynard, into Sudbury, Wayland, Lincoln, Concord, Carlisle and back to Acton.
At just before 7 a.m., the weather was what I should come to expect for the next few weeks: cool enough to tempt me to put on the arm warmers and/or and extra layer under my jersey. But I anticipated that it would warm up enough that I wouldn't need any additional insulation so I left the arm warmers off.
We planned on keeping the pace moderate and pretty much did so the whole way, with only a couple of short stretches where we each pushed things up over 20 mph across the flats.
Many of the route markers had either faded significantly or had been paved over so we found ourselves doubling back on a few occasions to find the right way. It was nice to find the Lincoln side of Trapelo Road finally repaved – I hope they continue that project eastward into Waltham as that road is a favorite route into Belmont, Cambridge and beyond.
I felt pretty good for the whole ride, no aches or pains apart from a headache that started about halfway through and continued to the end. Plenty of creaks coming from the rear wheel and BB, though. After the ride, I discovered a few spokes had rotated out of line and so adjusted them with a little plastic tool I picked up at Landry's last week.
Today, I finally replaced the stinky bar tape I've been suffering with since the rains of June.
I also double checked the setup on the Bianchi to see how far off it was from the Lemond. Turns out, the Bianchi has 170mm cranks while the newer bike sports 172.5's. That explains why even though the BB-to-saddle-top measurements were the same, the saddle on the Bianchi felt lower. So I lined up a crank with the seat tube on the Lemond and measured the distance from the top of the pedal to the top of the saddle which I then matched on the Bianchi – I think this would be a better way to get the two bikes close in fit.
Next, I dragged the Bianchi back down to the basement and set it back up on the trainer. Now I'll have no excuses when it comes time to ride indoors.
Distance: 103.38 miles
Avg. speed: 18.7 mph
Weather: 80º, humidity 82%, SW9
August mileage total: 567 miles
Rode to P-town and back with my brother yesterday. Left his house in Chatham at about 7:45 a.m. and rode along the Cape Cod Rail Trail to Wellfleet. We had hoped to cross paths with Len from the MRC but he got sidelined with work. We kept a pretty brisk pace on the way up, averaging just over 20 mph.
My bike had started making a new set of noises it had never done before and a recurring theme of the ride was trying to determine where it was coming from. BB? Cranks? Freewheel? Headset? Not sure, but it only happened when I stressed the bike – pedaling or not.
Once the trail led us onto conventional roads, the terrain took a decidedly hillier turn. Pretty much from Wellfleet all the way up to Provincetown, it's all medium-to-large rollers and hills. Total climbing for the ride totaled nearly 3,500 feet achieved with a maximum elevation of about 130 feet – that's a lot of up-and-down in little chunks.
We got to Provincetown by 11 a.m. and started out to Race Point (partly to be sure and hit at least 50 miles for the outbound leg) but my stomach wanted some solid food so we turned back towards downtown before getting to the shore. After a short convenience store-fueled lunch, we started back towards Chatham.
We stopped a few extra times coming back to take on water (last year we were very under hydrated) but kept the pace up nicely until we got back on the rail trail, which by 12:30 or so, was densely populated with the usual mix of inline skaters, bikes with tot-trailers, training wheeled youngsters, etc.
My preference would be to stay on regular roads but my brother suffers from a sort of "traffic phobia" and rather than challenge him to get over it, I acquiesced and followed him back onto the trail. By this time, we were at the 75 mile mark; the heat/humidity combined with the six days of riding (consecutively) totaling 188 miles that immediately preceded today's ride had me feeling ready to ease up the pace.
We poked along the rest of the way back and for the last 10 miles or so, it was clear that I was running out of gas. We arrived back at about 2:30 p.m. or so.
Showered and fed (giant italian grinders), we sat down to figure out what was creating the noise on my bike. Yes, the freewheel retaining ring was a bit loose but tightening that down did not rid it of the noise. I was just getting ready to pull the cranks and re-seat the BB when I looked at the rear wheel again: some of the bladed spokes were rotated into a very non-aero position.
Grabbing my brother's spoke tension meter, I discovered tensions all over the place. This had to be where the noise was coming from. Andy at Landry's said the wheels should be trued about 200 miles into their initial use and at this point they were at 262 miles with some rather nasty road surfaces traversed along the way.
I've not mastered truing/tensioning yet so, I'll drop off the wheels to Landry's tomorrow on my way back down to the Cape.
Distance: 52.3 miles
Avg. speed: 17.67 mph
Weather: 76º, humidity 82%, wind SW9
August mileage total: 464 miles
Set out to do only a 2 hour easy effort ride and rode 50% longer and harder than intended. No problems with Achilles tendon after. Post ride meal: fish and chips. Hehe.
So, it looks like to P-town and back then add on whatever we have to to make it 100 miles.
Put a call into Len to see if he will join us for some/all of it...
Update: Len is going to ride down the rail-trail looking for us as we ride up...
Distance: 21.5 mi.
Avg. speed: 18.77 mph
Weather: high 70's, very humid
Friday morning "coffee clatch" ride with Doug, Chris, Smudger, Steve, Rob, Alan and Carl. LIke last week, it took a couple of hills for me to warm up but I was fine after that. Very humid.
Very lively sprint at the end. Lesson learned: sprint THROUGH the finish (duh) - I was 3rd wheel approaching the end and eased up with about 10 ft to go and two people passed me.
Left Achilles tendon pretty sore late in the day.
Distance: 23.45 mi.
Avg. speed: 17.81 mph
Weather: 75º, humidity 89%, wind E8, cloudy, occasional light rain
August mileage total: 412 miles
Easy ride with brother Doug out of Chatham (Cape Cod) along bike trail. Hoping Hurricane Bill does not mess up our plans to ride big either Sunday or Monday.
Left Achilles tendon still a bit tender, a rain day Sunday would keep me off bike and allow some healing for Monday...
Distance: 35.6 mi.
Avg. speed: 19.47 mph
Weather: 89º, humidity 47%, wind W9
Song stuck in head: Poison - David Byrne
MRC Wednesday group ride. In attendance: Jorge, Rich M, Carl S, Stephan, Tom, Rob, myself and newcomer to the ride, Lisa from the NEBC. Late in the ride, we picked up Bruce and Jeff L.
Off to a very brisk start this week, staying at or above 21 mph most of the way to the Liberty Square Road ascents. About halfway up, Rich was zipping his jersey up and captured a bee as he did. He got stung just about on his solar plexus - OWIE! After a brief pause to make sure it wasn't still in his jersey, we continued.
I managed to play it smarter this week on the Oak Hill climb, starting out in front then pulling over to let the "train" pass me by. I think I ended up 3rd wheel to the top. We left Lisa pretty far behind so the regroup pause was longer than usual. It was only 3 months ago they were waiting for ME at the top.
As we made our way to Prospect Hill/Fruitlands, I noticed Carl bobbing up and down as he pedaled. I looked down and saw that his rear tire was pretty low. We agreed to wait for him to change out the tube at the top. Good time of the day for looking west from there as each hill seemed to be cut from darker and darker shades of grey paper, overlapped by the closer, lighter tinted ones.
We were back under way pretty quickly and headed towards the Bare Hill/Scott climb. There was a lot of back and forth on the way up but at the top it was Rob, Jorge and myself out front. We met up with Bruce and Jeff when we turned onto Harvard Road.
On Taylor, it was more back and forth with Tom bounding ahead at first then latching on as the paceline reeled him in. On South Acton Road, it seemed like everybody was positioning themselves to react to a sprint but nobody actually made the jump until Jorge did, very late on the route. I got right in behind him and was accelerating just as he eased up. I'll call that one a tie. ;)
As I decelerated from that effort, I was looking down at my front wheel and totally missed the turn back to the parking lot at Tuttle and so rode all the way up to Red Acre Road and got an extra bit of mileage in. I managed to catch up with Jorge and Stephan along the way.
As we rolled into the parking lot, nearly everyone else was already there. We managed to completely drop Lisa (our bad) as we came down Stow Road and hammered up to Taylor - she did not know the route and so rode back on her own some other way. Hopefully she won't take it as an insult and comes back to ride with us again.
During the post-ride "meeting" I got quite a bit of encouragement to start doing some races NOW rather than wait until next season. Vacation time is nigh so I'll have to see what offerings there are in September.
Distance: 29.5 mi.
Avg. speed: 20.51 mph
Weather: 78-84º, humidity 65-66%, wind ESE3-6
Song stuck in head: Beyond a Joke - Graham Parker
August mileage total: 367 miles
Having shared my training schedule with Bruce and getting a lot of great feedback from him, I promptly went out today and followed neither my schedule nor his advice. What can I say: once I got going, I felt great and didn't want to poke along. I may pay for it tomorrow...
I did my "CC" Maynard>Sudbury>Stow>Acton loop, with the Boon Lake detour added on. I tried to keep an even, moderate-to-hard effort the whole way. A couple of times I eased up a bit and at others, I hammered hard up hills but over all, it was steady as she goes – but not leisurely by any stretch.
Tomorrow, the MRC Friday morning coffee clatch ride then off to the Cape on Saturday to ride with my brother, Doug, for 3 days.
Distance: 26.4 miles
Time: about 1:30:00
Avg. speed: about 18 mph
Weather: 78-87º, humidity 77-59%, wind W3-WSW3, sunny
Song stuck in head: What a Day That Was - David Byrne
August mileage total: 302 miles
Bleh, wheels not ready today as promised by Landry's. Probably my punishment for calling them yesterday as I was about to pass their exit on the Mass Pike. So, I had to liberate the Bianchi from it's shackles (the wind trainer) in my basement and take it out for some fresh air.
Went to ride my "CC" route to give me some non-hilly miles to ease my muscles back into riding after a 3 day layoff with some running in the middle. Bike felt quite "small" to me and I couldn't figure out why. I specifically got a longer seat post so I could set it up to be a very close fit to my Lemond when I bought it last year.
After I climbed the first little hill as I was leaving downtown Maynard, my quads, just above the knee felt very tight. I put it off to not warming up enough and kept going. But the bike still felt small. Looking down, I noticed I wasn't getting good leg extension as I pedaled.
Hrm, why the heck would I lower my seat post?? Then it dawned on me: I dropped it down about an inch-and-a-half when I took my wife and daughter out on the Nashua River Rail Trail earlier this summer. Doh! If I'd had any sense, I would have stopped right then and raised it back up, but for some reason, I rode on.
I was pretty amazed at how readily I re-adapted to the downtube shifter location on the Bianchi and no imprecise shifts due to the lack of indexing either. Even though the bike is a heavy-ish steelie, I seemed to be able to bound up the rollers on the route pretty well. One thing that was very noticeable was the larger gaps in gearing it's 6-speed freewheel offered compared to the 10-speed freewheel on the Lemond.
On Sudbury Road, just before the Assabet River crossing, there was a detour, forcing me to turn left. No problem: the road (Barton Road) lead me south along the west side of Lake Boon, giving me a view of it I hadn't seen before. Barton eventually hits Main Street, Hudson which I took to Cox St. that led me onto Hudson Road north to resume the planned route. An extra couple of miles that I didn't mind.
The rest of the ride was uneventful, my legs became adjusted to the odd seat height and I was able to keep a moderate pace the whole way. Mileage and avg. speed are estimates as the Bianchi has no computer on it. Distance was computed by MapMyRide.com
Distance: 21.9 miles
Avg. speed: 18.2 mph
Weather (at start): 57º, humidity 99%, calm
Joined the Friday morning "coffee clatch" out of Northboro. Doug, Rob, Carl, Alan, Chris, Gary S and I rode the fairly hilly route, starting at 5:40 a.m. Once we got going, I was lagging on the first couple of climbs. It was pretty cold and I guess I needed a longer warmup because I kept up with the group after that.
As we headed back towards the traffic circle in South Berlin, Carl initiated a sprint which I responded to and rolled into the intersection just behind him. After, we popped into Taza D'oro (we rode from there) and had some "coffee and...". Not a bad way to start the day.
When I got home, I headed down to Landry's to drop my wheels off to be trued and have the hubs overhauled.
Saturday - Run
Distance: about 2 miles
My family and I were in Milford, CT this weekend visiting my sister and her kids. Since my wheels were in the shop, I ran instead. Felt pretty good, even though at 6:30 a.m., the air was already pretty hot and thick.
Spent the rest of the day lounging around the beach.
Sunday - Run
Distance: about 1.75 miles
I should have left well enough alone. I was warned not to bite off too much too soon.
Went out for another run this morning, same route as yesterday. Legs were only slightly achy and I did a decent warmup/stretch beforehand but with about 1/4 mile remaining in the run, my left Achilles tendon suddenly started to hurt just a little bit. What little I've read on running has warned against "running through the pain" so I slowed to walk the rest of the way back and did some careful stretching.
As I type this, BOTH Achilles tendons are pretty tight and descending stairs is kind of painful. I'm hoping a short spin on the trainer and/or a walk will help loosen things up.
Distance: 20.7 miles (intervals)
Avg. speed: 18.44 mph
Weather: 73-76º, humidity 89-82%, wind S4-WSW4, sunny
Felt much better this morning than last week's day-after-run ache fest. Still I got off only 8 complete 30 sec all-out sprints with 90 sec recovery in between. The 9th was a joke. Last week, I managed 10 jumps. 6 miles of moderate ride to where I did the intervals and back.
Distance: 35.6 miles
Avg. speed: 19.77 mph
Weather: 73-70º, humidity, 80-83%, wind SE7-ESE8, cloudy
Song stuck in head: Darling Corey - Crooked Still
MRC Wednesday early evening ride. Start pushed back to 5:30 p.m. as it is getting dark earlier. In attendance: Alan, Michael C, Tom, Carl, Rob, Rich M, Ian, Bruce and myself.
Slow start as Bruce's car crapped out on him a mile from the parking lot and we passed it just as they were dragging it onto the flatbed - we soft pedaled all the way down to Boxboro Road to let him catch up with us (he didn't at that point). Hammer down from there.
I pulled us the next 3 miles up to Summer Street in Acton. Felt good to get things moving along finally. Found myself on the pull again when we hit Oak Hill and I pushed too hard at the beginning which left me 2nd to last up to the top – but within 20 yards those ahead of me.
At Fruitlands, I was 3rd wheel and the guys in front of me took rather short pulls as we started up. About halfway up the first rise, I jumped into a sprint to the top. I could hear a small cry of surprise from the guy behind me as I took off. I was able to stay out front across the top of the next rise and on down to Rte. 110. That felt really good.
The group spread out a bit during the regroup on 110 enough that Michael and Rob (?) got a good head start up Bare/Bear Hill Road. As we climbed, I tucked in behind Carl as he started passing people and then when he was maybe 30 yards behind Michael and Rob, I jumped again.
It was the perfect spot to accelerate, a slightly flatter spot on the way up. I was down in my drops, out of the saddle and spinning at least 120 rpm as I blew out in front of everyone. But I made the jump about 100 feet too early and ran out of gas before the top... everyone eventually passed my gasping carcass as I struggled to latch onto the last wheel that went by.
We were a cohesive group all the way down to Taylor Road until I found myself out in front again, this time I didn't sprint but only took my pull then rotated out. Down on S. Acton Road, I was really tapped out and had to work pretty hard just to stay in touch with the group, gapping the last wheel and catching up again two or three times.
Pedaling home, I noticed my front wheel pretty out of true. I'll have to get up early to tomorrow to deal with that.
It took all summer to get it down, but I'm liking the schedule of intervals early Monday, rest on Tuesday, MRC ride late Wednesday. The interval sessions are definitely helping and my ability to recover quickly has improved immensely.
Managed (finally) to get the blog to display a "continue reading..." link ONLY when I want it to. Previously, it would show for every post, whether I set it to be summary/full-post or not. Here is the place I found the way to do it.
So from now on, if you see [continue reading...] in a post, click it to see the rest of that post. I will signify the end of a post with this symbol: ⌘
Distance: 2 mi.
Avg. mile: 7' 24"
Weather: 36-68º, humidity 81-74%, wind calm, sunny
iPod: On the Media (podcast)
Goal for today's run: do the whole 2 miles without stopping. Admittedly, the bar was set low but I really don't know how much "run" I have in me right now so I'm a cautious approach plus I don't want to mess up what I've achieved so far on the cycling side.
I stripped the equipment haul down to just my iPod, which has a stopwatch that also deliver splits. Don't need more than that for 15 minutes of running.
5 minute walk warmup and off went. The first 1/2 mile or so was as bad as last week but after that I felt like I could go on for more than two miles. Don't get me wrong: I was working pretty hard but it was not so hard that I felt like I wanted to stop right where I stood.
After the run, I walked another 5 minutes and stretched for 5 minutes. It will be interesting to see how my legs feel tomorrow and Tuesday.
The two miles split like this: 7' 22" and 7' 25". I need to find out if I should be worrying about time at all or if I should just do the run and see the results after.
Meanwhile, the running shoes I've had since about 2004 (and have worn about 10 times) are falling apart. I'm off to Marx Running later today with any luck.
Distance: 39.9 mi.
Avg. speed: 19.67 mph
Weather: 51-67º, humidity 90-55%, wind calm-NW8, sunny
August mileage total: 197 miles
MRC group ride billed as "flat" with pace of 19 mph - delivered as advertised. Same loop as done last Saturday.
It was very chilly at the start, about as cold as the mornings this past May. Arm warmers were nearly enough. In attendance were Gary D, Gary S, Mark, Steve K, Ian R and Tony W.
Apart from a bit of hammering as we headed down Monument Street in Concord, the pace was well above leisurely but just below brisk. Moderate effort to a "T".
I was hoping to add on an additional hour but killed the idea as my stomach was a bit gurgly during the ride. Otherwise, I felt pretty good – took a few good pulls as we went along.
After the ride, Ian passed out the sweet new retro wool MRC jerseys he ordered for us (there is quite a bit of moiré in this image) – I wish I'd had mine on for the first half of today's ride:
Distance: 22.9 mi.
Avg. speed: 18.11 mph
Weather: 77º, 41% humidity, wind NW15 G21, sunny
Song stuck in head: The Yellow Rose of Texas - Mitch Miller
August mileage total: 157 miles
First, I must explain that while I was running errands this morning, I listened to a podcast of On Point where they discussed the Seige of Vicksburg during the Civil War and used today's SSIH as one of the bumpers. I can't even remember who's rendition they played but a childhood of my parents playing Mitch Miller records made it logical that I dredged up Mitch and the boys. Once lodged in the empty vessel of my brain, it stayed all day. I apologize if my mentioning of it infects you as well.
Easy-to-moderate effort today, stayed out of big chainring, away from big climbs and kept cadence mostly in the low 100's. Don't know if my level of effort fell into the "crap miles" category (ie., no benefit to my fitness level) but it was good psychologically to do a ride where I could pay more attention to the things I was riding past. Excepting for the damage that song was doing as it looped over and over again in my mind.
As I rode up Boon Road past Honeypot Farm, a hawk paced along with me, 25 feet up and to my right for a few dozen yards. That experience alone made the slow pace worthwhile.
I also noticed that the hills that I'd dread riding up at any speed back in May were nothing to me today. In particular, the Pompositticutt Road hill on the way home was always something that would loom in my mind as I neared it earlier this season. Today, it was just another feature on the route, a minor inconvenience, at most.
Distance: 35.3 mi.
Avg. speed: 21.1 mph
Weather: 78º, 55% humidity, wind SSW8, sunny
Song stuck in head: Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
August mileage total: 134 miles
Got out and tore apart rear hub and freewheel to put a steak in the heart of the noise I've been getting the last couple of rides. Grease on right side of hub was disconcertingly brown (it's green out of the tube) so I cleaned everything thoroughly, loaded it good with grease and reassembled.
I need someone to clue me into how to adjust the cones on the rear hub of my Bonty wheel: it has a cone and a lock nut on the left side and only the cone – which is fixed – on the right. I'll get some pics of it all next time I tear it down.
Over the left cone is a rubber, cone-shaped cover that keeps dirt/water out but you can't lock down that cone without putting wrench on it as you tighten the locknut because the cover has to be installed on the axle first. It took twenty minutes of fiddling about before I finally tried squashing the rubber cover over a cone wrench as I tightened the lock nut down with another cone wrench. Then I had to "massage" the cover back into shape so it would seal properly. Gotta be a better way.
Had a tight riding window of 2 hours today, which included prep and post ride reorganization/shower, so I rode the rollery route - and rode it hard.
Beat best previous time by a slim 2 seconds. Felt very strong throughout and did a great job of spinning it hard all the way (97 rpm avg. cadence). Faded a bit on Parker Street during the last few miles but got a second wind and kicked it back up for the finish.
Distance: 38.5 mi.
Avg. speed: 19.2 mph
Weather: 76-88º, humidity 87-66%, wind SW7, sunny
Song stuck in head: Party Out of Bounds - The B52's
August mileage total: 99 miles
So, what is the sensible thing to do if your quads are a little achy the day after doing your first feeble attempt at running after a very long (years) lapse? That's right: intervals!
Monday, I rode out to Sudbury Road (about 6 miles) and did 10 sets of 30 second max-effort sprints with about 90 seconds rest in between and then pedaled home. The whole workout took about an our and I logged about 20 miles total. I was able to hit 28-30 mph during each sprint.
Well, by Monday afternoon, my thighs were really upset with what I had done.
And yesterday - a planned rest day - they were in full rebellion. I made sure I batched together all the things I had to do upstairs in our house so that I would not have to go down them very often, as that was when the pain was most intense. By day's end, it seemed like they were doing much better but the quads got a good layer of Tiger balm applied at bedtime.
Meanwhile, I snapped up some new cleats at Belmont Wheelworks (the ones I ordered at Landry's haven't come in yet) to see if that would cure the new noises coming from my bike's drivetrain.
I set out for today's ride hoping that I was recovered from the "pain cave" I was living in earlier this week because I wanted to get some climbing in. I started things off with the Sudbury loop (map at end of post) and got to the foot of the Stow Road climb in about 45 minutes and feeling pretty good - but this first big climb would be the test.
I made it up in 5' 51", second best time ever. On top of that, I made the point of staying seated the whole way up and spinning HARD and fast ( >100 rpm) during the steep parts which worked very well.
I had the same experience going up the stepped climb of Prospect HIll, going up Rte. 111 back into downtown Harvard and up Taylor Street going back in to Acton. But Oak Hill Road coming out of Havard Center was different, as usual. I got up the first ramp without issue but that second part always slows me alt the way down to 7 mph. But I stayed in my seat and gut it out all the way up.
The rest of the ride was uneventful and I felt great the whole way.
Forgot to mention: I was walking through the grass in bare feet on Sunday and stepped on a bee, which paid me for my insolence by depositing it's stinger in that thinnest of skin at the base of the "little piggy that had roast beef" (medical llustration here). I haven't been stung by a bee since I was a kid and was blissfully ignorant of the "second sting" risk to people who are allergic - I'm pretty sure I've been stung more than once.
Anyways, I dropped to the ground because the pain was exquisitely intense, running from the site of the sting all the way up to my ankle. I got the stinger out and made sure there was nothing left in the wound. A little antibiotic ointment on the spot and I figured I was done.
Later that day the itching began, so much so, that it felt like poison ivy. When I got a look at my toe, it was pretty swollen and red as well as an area of my foot about 1.5 inches up from the base of the toe. The wound itself looked fine. It probably didn't help that I did that run after I got stung: the impact of my foot on pavement probably helped spread the venom around. I took some Benadryl as a precaution.
Yesterday, I was Googling about bee stings and seeing horrible combinations of words like "progressive necrotizing fasciitis". I figured if my toe was necrotizing, it would smell a bit worse that it usually does and be a different color than pink.
As of last night, it was still itchy, red and swollen - I was ordered by SWMBO to call the doctor if it wasn't better by this a.m. I took another Benadryl before bed so I wouldn't itch it in my sleep.
I'm happy to report that today, about 50% of the redness has gone and it no longer itches.
Distance: 2 mi.
TIme: I have no idea
Weather: 77º, 71% humidity, wind S11, overcast
I could have titled this post, "How to Make Other Muscles Hurt A Lot" or maybe "Riding High on Cycling Endorphins, Biker Goes for First Run and Gets His Comeuppance".
I've been thinking about adding a bit of running to my fitness routine for a few reasons. One of them being a recent study showing that serious cyclists can suffer from bone loss due to the low impact nature of the sport (LA Times).
The other reason has been my increasing interaction with the various triathletes in the MRC, some of whom have been posting advice to other cyclists in the club interested in taking up running.
I've been leery of running ever since I suffered a severe sprain of my right ankle in 1989 during a volleyball game. I'll spare the details of how I injured it (it involves twisting my foot in relation to my lower leg in a way it was never meant to go), but one result was that my medial malleolus (the knobby bit on the inner side of the ankle - it's the lower inner end of your tibia/shin) sticks out significantly more than it did before the injury - my guess is that some connecting tissue that held it in place tore.
In addition to looking kind of odd, for quite a few years, I could not run any substantial distance (over 100 yards) without my ankle starting to hurt like the dickens. Now I know, I should have had it looked at way back then and my only excuse is that I was a mere child of 30 or so and, in my mind, still wore the "Superman cape" of invincibility. It took the discovery of a benign tumor in my hand many years later to make me give proper attention to the feedback my body was giving me.
Consequently, I avoided running. I had no problem windsurfing, which I was very addicted to at the time. Volleyball continued to be a big part of my sports mix even after I moved up to the Boston area from Southern Connecticut.
My ankle has never given me any trouble when cycling - gratefully the knobby bit does not whack the crank arm of my bike on the way around.
And so, I decide today to go for a short run. A bit of stretching, a brief walk and I'm off.
First thought, "God and Baby Jesus, gravity sucks!" Each and every time one of my leg/foot structures completes a graceful launch of my now lean body from the roadway, those damn undiscoverable "gravitons" keep sucking me right back down at 32 ft/sec2 and I have to rush get my other foot out in front and down on the pavement to prevent disaster. I have to do this over and over again, this fighting gravity thing. This is what is known as "running".
On the bike, one is keenly aware of gravity, but only at times. Certainly, when falling, but let's assume that only happens once in a while. On flat roads, gravity is pretty much invisible to the cyclist, we pedal along only battling the friction foisted upon us by the atmosphere (can't ride in a vacuum, kinda hard to breathe) and the mechanical underpinnings of our bikes.
Even when dealing with hills, on a bike one coaxes, cajoles, massages, wheedles gravity to relinquish its grip in a smooth, continuous fashion. I'll admit on very steep inclines, climbing on a bike can seem to approach the rhythm of running, but never the pile driver impact one experiences while running.
The reward for the cyclist seducing a hill the way he does on the way up, is of course the descent: gravity repays in kind for the effort given over to it for the skyward release.
Gravity does not relent when running: you pound on the flats, you pound up hills, you pound on the way back down.
The first few hundred feet found me breathing very hard, my body asking, "WTF do you think you're doing??" A quick look at my HR showed it in the mid 150 BPM, so I kept going and soon enough, my breathing began to be less labored.
At the end of mile one, I stopped to fool around with the cockamamie arrangement of waterbottle sling and bike jersey full of iPod, phone, keys, etc. that were bouncing around me in counter movement to my running - I think I looked like a wet hound dog, shaking his loose skin about his body to dry off.
I got things adjusted to my satisfaction (and made a vow to find better ways to carry all that crap around with me) and continued on.
Mile two wasn't so bad, I fell into a pace that felt less like my feet were going "bang bang bang" on the pavement and more like they only needed to occasionally contact the ground to keep my body aloft. This was more like it. I began to see where I could do this on a regular basis.
Problem was, the novelty of this activity had faded from the interest of my leg muscles.
6,500(oops that's how many minutes I've ridden so far this season) 1,800 miles of cycling is no preparation for two miles of running.
The second mile ended at my doorstep but I walked another 10 minutes in the hopes of staving off the worst of any aches I might experience later. I'm glad I mowed the lawn before I ran.