July 16, 2010

Riding Position

There are two benefits of cycling that I really love:  Fitness and Thrills. 

The thrills come with speed and technical requirements.  I love bombing a road descent, and I love bombing a mountain trail descent.  I love short technical trail climbs.  I love and hate long road and trail climbs.

Fitness plays into the thrills I love.  For instance, three years ago I did not love any climbing.  A missionary once told me he loved climbing on his road bike.  I didn't believe him.  (Those guys are often too exuberent to believe everything they say.)  I now believe that a person can love climbing.  But I reserve the right to hate climbing as much - and at the same time - as I love climbing.

This Spring I rode the Slickrock trail in Moab with friends and family.  I can honestly say that I enjoyed every climb on that route.  They were short and technical, and my fitness level was high enough that I could ride every one...but some of them challenged my technical abilities.  On the other hand...my brother nearly disowned me for dragging his butt around that hellish loop.

Anyway, while riding in for work this morning I practiced riding in the drops most of the way.  I am amazed how good that position feels now.  When I started ernestly riding - 3 summers ago - I only got down in the drops experimentally for very short periods.  Each time I wondered how in the world anyone ever rode in that position.  Of course the position was completely foreign, but more dramatically...my lungs were being squished left and right by my plump legs that, although pumping up and down, never left contact with my bulging middle. 

Now, about 35 pounds lighter and 3 years more experienced, I find myself enjoying the great benefit of fitness every day.  That's why I ride.  That's why I commute.

July 15, 2010

65 Days

Yesterday a co-worker came in and asked if I had ridden in.  "Of course!", I replied. 
To which she responded, "Right, becuase you wouldn't want to give up the good days.  With 300 days of the year being unridable you've got to take advantage of the 65 good days." 
"Yup." I said.  Then I turned back to my work...done with that conversation.

Last year I made a committment to ride year-round.  I'm not perfectly equipped to ride in all weather, but I gave it a good go, and you know what?  There are a few more than 65 rideable days.  Even the day I snapped my chain pushing through 6 inches of snow I saw 2 other cyclists cutting snake-like tracks.

65 days...pfshhh!

July 14, 2010

Rolling Resistance

This morning I rolled my bike out of the garage and remembered that the tires have felt a little soft this week.  Attaching a pump to the valve stem revealed that I was running less than 45 psi!  I topped each off at 100 psi and got rolling.

Monday and Tuesday I rolled out and had to exhert some effort to get up to 18 mph up the false flat.  Today I glanced down to find I was at 19 mph with little effort!  My heart jumped to think that perhaps today was the day!  I surveyed the situation:  little to no wind, nice cool day, tires topped off, and plenty of energy...time for the TWTT!

Over that first stretch as my legs were warming up with pain surging in, I concentrated on breathing deep and even. At the first time split I was about 25 seconds down from my run last week.  Going down Nemesis Hill I only hit 42 mph, but conserved a little engergy for the final stretches.  As I reached the last light, a time check revealed that I might reach a huge goal:  to break 10 minutes! 

My time was at 9:15 as I pushed through that light, and I knew I was about 45 seconds from the mark.  I pushed with everything I had down the hill and across the bridge. When I reached the driveway at work I stopped the timer and steered on in, hardly daring to look down!  Finally I chanced a look to see this:  9:59.91.

July 13, 2010


I stop at red lights.  I love my life.  Not only do I stop at red lights, I also wait for the red light to turn green before I proceed with caution through an intersection.  I love living.

Shortly after stopping at a red light this morning, an old man on a well used ten-speed rode up on my right and hollared, "Good morning!"

I responded, "Hey there." and then I watched that old man slow to about 5 mph and ride straight through the red light of an intersection where there are 5 traffic lanes from each street.  He veered to the right a bit as he did it, indicating to me that he is in the habit of making the "right-hand-turn; U-turn; right-hand-turn" maneuver...which on some streets could be justifiably legal, but still unpredictable and therefore stupid.  After watching him zip through that light in blatent disregard for the law, I wished I had not been so cordial. 

Of course, because I sat at the red light and consequently caught the next red light, I did not catch him to tell him what I thought...which was "Moron".

July 12, 2010


The weather report this morning called out a 15 mph southwest wind.  A quick mental check had me realizing that I should be speedy heading east and slogging heading south.  (I always have to rehash...wind direction is the direction from wich the wind is coming...not the direction to which it is going.)

However, when I got out on the road I had to wonder if I was again confused.  All I felt was wind in my face...while I was travelling east.  So...some of the wind was blowing west (an east wind).  And when I turned south the wind was blowing harder in my face.  That makes the weather report 50% correct with a southeast wind. 

I can only hope that this afternoon, when the predicted wind speed is 35 mph the directions will remain the same!

For a little perspective:  As I rode down Nemesis Hill this morning with power to the drive-train, my max speed was only 36 mph.  On a calm morning I can typically hit 40 mph without pedaling.