Wednesday, August 13, 2008

5 days in a nutshell

Date: 7/8/08
Time: 6:15PM-7:15PMish
Distance: 11.936 miles
Average Speed: 13.3 mph
Time Moving: 54 minutes 07 seconds

Let's see what I can remember of this ride....

Well it had been planned that Jo and I would go out after work. She gets home later than I, generally between 5:30 and 6. Originally I was thinking that we would ride a whole loop, 20 miles, which is approximately 2 hours. But then we realized that the Olympics opening ceremony started at 7:30. The plan had to be changed.

So around 6ish Jo was home and we're getting all ready to go. I went through all my normal getting ready to ride routine of getting the water bottle, puting the cell phone and whatever else I'm taking in the pack, checking the pressure on and adding extra air to the tires. And I was ready to go. So I wheel out of the garage and Jo comes behind me.

I look at her bike and I'm like "umm...forget something?" She looked at me somewhat quizzically and I pointed out that her rear tire was completely flat. Which was odd being as it just came back from the shop, but whatever. So she goes to pump it up and it is determined that she has a flat. D-oh.

So she goes inside to go get a spare and change the tire and I ride around our little loop. I pull back in the drive way and she's unfurling the new tube. I've never actually changed a tire (kinda not idea for as much as I ride now, but hey we'll cross that bridge when we get there) so I thought the tube looked a bit off but didn't comment much. Then I saw the valve. "Umm is that going to fit"? See we both have road bikes with those little skinny tires. And those skinny tires have smaller valves, Presta valves. The tube she had in her hands had a Schrader, larger and what most people are used to, valve. She thought it might still fit, but called the bike shop before she tried...and it was a no go.

So then the plan was completely scrapped and I went off on my own and she went to the bike shop to exchange the spares for ones that would actually work for our bikes, so that she could ride the next day.

Other than all that it was a quite uneventful ride. Although I totally was working hard and pushing myself and so managed to post my fastest average speed yet of 13.3. Yay!

Oh and the Olympics opening ceremony was pretty cool. People in China are crazy. Staying up late to watch that was just the beginning of many nights to come.

Date: 7/9/08
Time: 8:20AM-I don't remember probably 11:20ish
Distance: 31.543miles
Average Speed: 12.0 mph
Time Moving: 2 hours 37 minutes 11 seconds

The next morning came early. But we managed to drag our lazy butts out of bed and were in the saddle on 20 minutes behind schedule.

It was crazy cool, for August that is, and so I got to wear my awesome arm warmers that I got back when it had just started to turn from cool into the summer heat. They were quite good and I like them. I have this amazing ability to be constantly cold. And the wind you generate biking can, in my opinion, make it quite chilly.

Jo was impressed how much faster it seemed like I could go. And it does feel faster, although the final averages speeds don't seem all that impressive.

I was originally hoping to go for 40 miles, and we probably could have pushed it and done it. But I was feeling fatigued even in the first 10 miles so decided to cap it at 30 miles for the day.

One amusing part was where we made our turn-around to go back was just after a long straight on a nice, although sometimes there are cars, road. Heading out, away from home, we were fighting against the wind. I hate wind it is evil and kills me every time. Jo was out ahead pumping away and I just started trailing. But when we turned around to come back you couldn't feel the wind at all any more and I was keeping up with her easily. I was even amusing myself by drifting (aka making her do more work to my own advantage).

So all in all, good, though not spectacular, ride. We then ran all of these errands which killed the whole afternoon somehow. But I did get supplies for some Christmas presents so I'm very proud that I'm finally actually going to work and plan ahead this year. And we also got more fishies - our tank is looking significantly more awesome, and less empty, now. And that evening we watched a bit of Olympics then went and saw Mamma Mia. Which I totally recommend. It's out there and in a good many ways pretty bad. But just so much fun that it trumps any flaws. And after the movie it was even more Olympics and a much too late bedtime, again.

Date: 7/10/08
Time: 8:15am-10:15am-ish
Distance: 23.813 miles
Average Speed: 12.7 mph
Time Moving: 1 hour 52 minutes 26 seconds

It was even more difficult to get up on Sunday. But again somehow we managed it.

Honestly I don't remember much from this ride. Maybe the sleep deprivation was getting to me.

Back on the Thursday prior I had wanted to do 60 on Sunday. But riding that morning I could feel there was no way that would happen. Up on the bike while peddling away, when I am normally quite awake, I totally wanted to take a nap - not idea.

Although we really were pushing it for the first 10 miles or so. Theres this one mostly flat, maybe a bit down hill section that has gentle curves but its open so you can see what's ahead. It's my favorite spot of the ride, albeit brief and I typically race through it a bit. When we hit there today we happened to be behind a small group of other bikers. Jo was ahead and was itching to pass. So when we hit the spot, having come off of some hills, she sped up to get in front. And I sped up with her....and we were definitely flying along at 20mph for a bit. Pretty durn sweet if you ask me.

Oh! one other thing. One of the stops on Saturday errands was to Dick's sporting goods where I picked up the bike gloves that I've been drooling over for quite a while now. I wore them on Sunday and while I wasn't quite sure initially, it seemed like the padding wasn't hitting where I thought it should, I didn't notice ever having the pain in my hands that I'll normally get on a ride - yay!

We just went with one loop, 20 miles, especially because we were originally going to go hiking that day as well. But both of us were pretty wiped and wanted to do things around the house.

So the hiking was canceled and I had a nice rather lazy Sunday: cleaned my room and the kitchen, read a bit, started testing and even had time to complete my Christmas present craft (it came out well, I'm happy). And of course watched the Olympics, got sucked in, and stayed up too late.

And now just because I've a bit of a theme going (the whole stay up too late Olympics thing) I shall deviate from the bike-centric blog, which this kind of-almost was.

So oddly enough while we were out on Saturday I got in line at Dick's Sporting goods and who is in the line next to us but Ally, who has been taking ballet class with me all summer. It was one of those slightly awkward moments where you first see someone in a completely new context. But the real point is that she said that our teacher had moved class to Monday. This was news to me, last I heard she had moved it from Tuesday (which was different than the original Thursday) to Thursday. But sure enough on Monday while I was at work she called and left a message to remind me that class was on Monday. Take note that it was a 'reminder' of the thing I had never been technically informed of.

In all of the original planning Monday was to be a day off so by body was not quite so keen on ballet. But I went anyways and my teacher denied that Thursday was ever an option - that irked me a bit. It was a rather uneventful class, except that I forgot my shoes -grr. And I came home and was sucked back into the Olympics, although I did exercise some will power and went to bed earlier than the past few nights.

So yesterday I finally got my rest day of no physical activity. And I used it to get a good bit of reading before, once again, letting my addiction get me. But womens team gymnastics was live. And since they're on the other side of the world that meant that it began at 10:30. But they were actually showing nearly al....

whoa the post was cut off by the MS annoying.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Date: 7/6/08
Time: 6:10-7:10ish
Distance: 11.647 miles
Average Speed: 12.3mph
Time Moving: 65:53

I'm back!

The last time I rode was July 19/20 when I participated in the Central PA MS ride. It consisted of riding up and down 100+ miles of way too many hills in scorching heat. Rock on.

So basically I'm crazy for this all. But it actually felt quite good to be back on the bike again after about 2.5 weeks off.

I made one serious adjustment to my bike. I raised the seat probably about 2 inches or so. Now I'm not a bike or fitting expert but I'm pretty sure that my bike frame is too big for me. So to compensate when I first started riding I lowered the seat so that it was all but sitting on the cross bar (this is a good 1+ inch lower than the 'do not lower past this line' on the seat post). This was just more comfortable for me. However as I rode more I realized that I wasn't extending my leg as much as I could, and should, but I didn't want to raise the seat before the big ride #1. A random guy on the ride actually said it looks like you should raise your seat...and I was like yea I know.

So anyways the seat is up so now I do quite literally have to hop on and off of the seat when I stop being as my leg does not reach the ground from the seat. But I do have quite a bit more power to my petal. It was pretty sweet. Felt weird...but hopefully I'll get used to it. I could get up to 16mph and maintain it much more easily. Although I was fatiguing quickly, I think that was more to do with the break/out of shapeness.

So seat change = good. Now I should just clean the drive train again (that was a mess last time) and if I can actually zip tie my cycloputer (thing that gives me those stats at the top) instead of twist tie-ing it to the frame my bike shall once again be tip-top.

Now that I'm done rambling on about that the actual ride:

Uneventful. Jo was sore from the gym so I went on my own. But it was just a short jaunt. I wanted to do an hour at try to make 12 mph. Check and check.

A rather amusing thing that happened was as I was approaching the big steep hill that is the start of the Greenbelt this other biker came out of no where and passed on my left. I don't know what I was doing but I was just poking along, still getting used to the new seat position I think. He was an older gentleman riding a mountain bike/maybe hybrid. I could tell that he was a somewhat serious rider by how he moved. And he was also wearing a volunteer shirt from the Tour'de'belt that I rode a few months ago.

So anyways he kind of blows by me in a not really 'greater-than-tho' fashion, but not particularly friendly like either. The gap between us grew, partially because I go slow on those crazy switchbacks. But then once we were down on the trail I found that I could go fast given my new bike-awesomeness so I kept him in my sights most of the whole ride. Then fairly close to the half way point he stopped for some reason and was standing there when I breezed (is that english?) by. By now feeling quite confident in my bike off I went. But then I soon started being all slow like again and was taking a drink when he came up next to me again. "I thought I left you way behind" he said. "Nope" I just smiled as he proceeded to get in front of me again and pedal away. I proceeded to not stay right on top of him, but definitely kept up for the 1 maybe 1.5 remaining miles before I turned around. I'm pretty sure he kept looking over his shoulder to see if I was there.

So that all was quite amusing. The most crazy part of my ride, in my humble opinion, came right near the end. The last 7/10 or so of our ride is downhill. Which is pretty sweet. So I'm just cruising along, seeing what speed I could keep up for it (a little over 20 mph). And I just happen to glance down a fairly wooded driveway on my right and what is standing in the middle of the drive way but a peacock. Now the plumage did seem a bit on the ragged side, but I'm positive it was a male peacock. Well that or I'm positive that I am delusional and I saw a male peacock. I was incredibly amused, considered turning around to check for my sanity's sake, but decided the uncertainty was more amusing, and proceeded home.
Jo says that peacocks do exist in the wild....but I think it's crazy that one could exist in 'the wild' of someones drive way in suburban Harrisburg.

Good times.

I intended to ride today but there a Thunderstorm so that plan was scratched. The new plan is to go out tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. 60 miles by Sunday maybe?