By the Numbers - August 2009

Five days of non-cycling vacation put a dent in the numbers this month, but it did afford me with a long overdue rest (that will extend to September 5th).


Chatham > Provincetown > Chatham


Distance: 103.38 miles

Time: 5:31:45

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.


Did I Blow It?

Distance: 52.3 miles

Time: 2:57:37

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...

To the Cape


Distance: 21.5 mi.

Time: 1:08:44

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.

Time: 1:19:00

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...


Yesterday and Today


Distance: 35.6 mi.

Time: 1:49:42

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.

Time: 1:16:19

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.

Helmet-Cam Video of MTB Descent

Five minutes of what gravity can do for you:

(via dailymotion.com)


Doing it "Old School"

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


Sunday Random Bike Pic

More images from the 24 Hours of Great Glen by Pain Face at Double Hop Fotos

Overdid It


Distance: 21.9 miles

Time: 1:12:17

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

Time: 0:16:49

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

Time: 0:14:38

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.



Monday 8/10

Distance: 20.7 miles (intervals)

Time 1:07:22

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

Time: 1:48:04

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.


New Feature: Sunday Random Bike Pic

Code Wrangling

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: ⌘

Run #2: Fighting Entropy

Distance: 2 mi.

Time: 0:14:47

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.


Damned Chilly for August

Distance: 39.9 mi.

Time: 2:01:38

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:


Pokin' Along

Distance: 22.9 mi.

Time: 1:15:59

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.


That's Me Retirement Grrrease!

Distance: 35.3 mi.

Time: 1:40:22

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.


Back On Track

Distance: 38.5 mi.

Time: 1:59:40

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.


Humility 101

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.


Not a Recovery Ride!

Distance: 40.2 mi.

Time: 1:58:40

Avg. speed: 20.3 mph

Weather: 63-75º, 97-71% humidity, wind N1-NNW3, sunny

Billed not only as "easy" but "EASY" (the all-caps emphasis courtesy Steve K), todays 2 hour ride turned out to be a very fun no-big-climbs rollery stomp around Stow, Acton, Littleton, Chelmsford, Carlisle, Concord and back.

Let's see if I can get the head count correct here: Steve K, Gary S, Vic, Cort, Chris, Smudger, Pattie, Della, Scott S, Len, Doug, Bob C and myself (sorry for any omissions!). That's 13 riders out of Stow Plaza a few minutes after 7 a.m. onto the still-wet roads heading up into Boxboro.

I don't think we even did one mile of "warm up" when the pace picked up to 20+ mph, Smudger and I in front of a double paceline. By the time we got to Hill Road in Boxboro, there was quite a bit of chuckling about how "easy" we were taking it. It seemed like we were soft pedaling the flats/descents but hammering any rise in the road pretty hard. No real complaints from anybody though.

I was feeling surprisingly robust, despite yesterday's effort – I kept waiting for my legs to remind me that had put in nearly 85 miles a day earlier, but no such alarm was raised.

As we wound our way into Chelmsford/Carlisle, the road conditions deteriorated considerably. I'm pretty sure we left a glittering trail of tooth fillings along that stretch of road, but nobody flatted despite the punishment our tires were taking.

In Concord, we came down River Road/Monument Street at about 27 mph with someone noting how nice it was to go up that last climb on Monument with a leadout for a change rather than alone, as one has to do it during the Charlie Baker TT on that same road.

After a brief nature break in Concord Center, we wound our way through West Concord and when we hit Rte. 27, the group headed back down to Red Acre Road for the Stow Plaza parking lot while I went straight home down 27.