Sunday, March 27, 2011

Under pressure

Yesterday I put another 80 or so miles in with the Road gang.  Things started out fairly normal with the goal of keeping the pace somewhere near medium.  One of the fellows started to bust loose as if to say: "Enough of the base miles already!!" I couldn't just let something like that happen without participating, so it certainly made for an interesting ride. 

Been wrastlin' tires on and off trying to sort out a couple of options.   Racing Ralph Evo TL Snakeskin on the back for most stuff, Racing Ralph Evo regular on one front rim for the faster smoother courses.  Nobby Nic Evo TL Snake skin on another slightly heavier front rim for the Gnar..   Hopefully no matter what tires I'm running I won't be pinch flatting this year.

Afterwards I went out and did a few test runs IMBY with different combos & pressures.  I have to say, whoever lived near the property before us:  Thanks for wheelin' around and creating some killer berms.


Whee!!!  Man, these tires *do* roll fast.

You can see I kinda ran out of daylight.  Looking forward to putting something together that ties the little course together.

My next bloggery should involve something racy.  The smell of trees and freshly churned dirt is in the air. The season is prit'near here. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

One guy, two wheeled, geared down Prius eater

(Clears throat - steps up to the mike)

Listen, I just like to ride my bike OK?  I don't ride it because it's green, low cost, rebellious or politically correct.   I ride for pleasure,  adventure and the visceral / endorphin rush that accompanies every ride.  I ride it for it's damn near mechanical perfection.  

I've been sensing a little tension amongst the two Prius folk I encounter.  One of them is an individual who I see while commuting.  We meet at the same traffic light crossing Victory Highway from time to time - and it has gotten a little silly. Often when I approach the light I'll tend towards the left side of the lane for two reasons: To make it clear to oncoming traffic that I'm in the intersection, and to let the motorists behind me who want to turn right pass.  On a few mornings - the little blue Prius with the bearded man will approach quietly from behind as the motor doesn't run while slowing and stop pretty close behind.  Umm dude.  I know your there.  I got this mirror thingy.   Sometimes - we'll be approaching the light simultaneously and he'll make an attempt to get ahead to claim the alpha position.  Of course - that means when he gets to the intersection his car is pretty much in the other lane.  Umm dude.  Just get in line, I promise - you won't lose any time.  When we meet along the road - he tends to drive past without slowing a little closer than the regulars..  Umm dude???  In the end - there's really no harm done.

But I think something else might be going on.

The other Prius guy I know - works with me.  For awhile he had been driving a sensible beige colored Toyota Corolla that probably had another 5 years left in her. Not too long ago when gas prices started getting close to half what the rest of the world pays, he came in with a shiny new Prius.  It was on *that* day - that he approached and stated "well, ya got me beat"  - "no way I can compete with a bike".  I just chuckled - because he is right, and because he just showed his cards.  It's not fair to lump buying groups together - but I'm thinking Prius folk are trying to win something and they know "bikes have them beat"

Really dude...  I wasn't competing.

Beating the Prius at its own game is another of those circumstantial benefits you get from biking.  Nowhere near as worthy as the mental and physical health benefits - but damn tasty in it's own way. 


Sure hope I don't get flattened by one.  Karma's funny like that.  Or would it be "Carma"?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I've been riding some.

Really, I promise. 

Three Sundays ago I connected with some real roadies.  Yep... Real ones!!  From time to time you'll see them out and about whipping around like the Borg.  They are indeed a collective, and indeed resistance is futile.  After all - as a collective there's less resistance.  Get it?

The first outing was a bit blustery and chilly- constant winds in the neighborhood of 20 mph with gusts around 40 - temps right around freezing.  I headed down to the meetin' place - a Gazebo in Scituate and connected with three other riders on my trusty Salsa Vaya.  Why Vaya??  Cuz it kin hold good fenders good.  While a semi-road, semi mountain bike isn't exactly on par with a real road machine - I did have the smarts to swap out the 833 grams each Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires for some Continental Gatorskin 700X25's.  Hooo whee!!! 2lbs off the wheelz FEELS GUD!

About halfway into the ride we connected with some Connecticut folk and bombed around at a decent clip fairly close in.  After brushing my handlebar ends against the juicy bits of my fellow riders it kinda dawned on me why road bars are so narrow. (8" more narrow- yeah, measured that when I got home) No one got hurt or really even frazzled - but I think I lernt something.

Overall the first ride went well for me.  It's apparent that I have built or maintained a decent level of fitness - and it was apparent that this may have come off wrong with a group of guys who haven't been out biking nearly as much.  It's also apparent that in turn, they will soon be increasing their fitness and at that point "school will be in session" - as in I, being the punkass can count on some schooling in a couple of months.  Things to look forward to!  I'm not exactly sure how far I went (no computer or nuthin - that's about to change) but it was somewhere between 80 & 90 miles.

Last night Jeff from the road bike collective emailed that they were heading out at 8:30.  Initially I had considered bagging it as I have been getting a solid 4 days worth of commuting weekly - which translates to 112 miles not counting any recreational riding. But, this morning Lucy prompted: "You should go out riding - it's already like 36 degrees out".  Maybe I'll just keep her to myself after all- (see comments).

This time  around I was armed with my trusty old C-Dale CAAD 5 equipped with some brand spankin new CRUD MKII fenders.  Now we're talking! The C-Dale may be a little old - but she is something vicious when you stomp on it.  Gawd I forgot how awesome that feels.  Every pedal stroke is a little whoosh in the panties. Now that I have admitted my love for the old girl I must warn you - love hurts.

At first, the ride to the meeting spot was going perfectly fine.  Road conditions - just a little wet.  The meeting spot in Scituate is about 8-1/2 miles away and goes through some nice back roads.  Roads that pass by low spots next to wetlands... and stuff..  you know.. stuff conducive to retaining cold roads... and stuff.  I'm whizzing along delighted to be riding the old girl  so effortlessly and get to a little downhill with a nice curve at the bottom.  I start to apex the sucker with style and accelerate out of it - only to have the acceleration induce the inevitable that much quicker: My beautiful impeccable C-Dale that I might add, has never been down - went down... fast.  I reckon I was moving at least 25 or so.  The good news:  Icy roads don't have alot of friction - I just skidded with the bike for 30' or so.  Resultant carnage:

Left Brifter - Yes, it's only 105 stuff

Right Brifter

  What's wrong with this picture?

I know!  Half of my brand new effin' rear fender is strapped to the top tube!

Leftover rear fender - "Cafe" look!

Last but not least:  First blood of 2011 -  I'll try harder next time.

The night before, inner voice says "hey man, it's going to be freezing overnight so the roads might still be icy in the morning".  I ignored my inner voice - stupid, stupid, stupid.

Being a mountain bike stud - there was no way a little blood and scrapes were going to get in the way of a good ride. I picked myself and the parts up - checked everything out and showed up at the Gazebo a minute or two late. Immediately on arrival Jeff and Jon ask:  "How was the ride in?".   It seems that another of the riders also went down on the way in and someone in a car may have experienced an even worse situation as there were cars backed up on Rte 101 with sirens heard in all directions.

The ride followed the same course as prior and this time we even got in some real road riding stuff.  Like that rotating paceline stuff.  It took a couple of rotations to smoothify my performance - but I started to get the hang of it - and even liked it.  There is a kind of natural "flock of geese" beauty to a nicely performed rotation. 

Please don't tell anyone who knows me about this.  I am not known for being a team player.  The words "lone wolf" have been uttered in public - lord knows what they say behind my back.

Oh yeah.  Them guys are getting stronger already.