Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snug As A Bug

I pretty much have all my winter gear now (though I might try wool socks) so my rides this weekend were warmer than before. I wouldn't call them "warm" or even "not painfully cold" but they were definitely warmer. Got the toe covers, the arm warmers, and even wore the rain jacket, which makes a nice windbreaker.

First up was a 34-mile ride on Saturday. This was awesome. I felt good and even did a few intervals going up the big hill ("Okay, at least 60 rpm to the next light."). With just a few miles left I saw a couple of riders going the other way but then they made a U-turn and were behind me. For the rest of the ride I made a game of making sure I kept ahead of them. They even caught up with me at a stoplight but I pulled away on the green. Probably a stupid ego thing but games like that can make a ride more interesting. Finishing the ride I felt great and not even all that tired.

Contrast that with this morning's ride. Before starting a ride I do a quick check of the bike and this time I found a flat front tire. Sigh. It took me quite a while to pop the tire over the rim (I'm not a weak guy but I just have a problem with that) and then I had to use water to find the very slow leak. Patched that put the tire back together (I have a tool to help me get the tire back over the rim) and I was on the road 40-minutes late (which tells me I need to practice tire fixing if I ever hope to do this correctly during a race). Things were going well until the wind kicked up out of the north. That didn't mean it was colder. It meant that my 3-mile uphill was going to be done with a headwind. Sigh. It was blowing so hard that when I finally went over the peak and was heading downhill, I needed to pedal because the wind was slowing me down so much. That hill really wiped me out today. After it, small hills that I zoomed up yesterday were granny-geared slowly today. At least the last part of the ride had the wind to my back. A fun thing happened when I tried to outrun a stoplight. As I was crossing the intersection I noticed that I was at 26+ mph. Cool! Tried another sprint interval and went over 26 again. Not bad, even with a tailwind (which wasn't blowing nearly as hard as the one blowing during my uphill). I came home wiped out. I think I might not have been eating properly yesterday, either. I was more concerned with not eating too much and, in the process, I might have eaten too little.

Funny story (to me): I picked up my front wheel from the bike shop on Wednesday (it was getting trued and having a spoke replaced). I asked about sturdier wheels and the guy said he's show me some. First up was a nice little number by Bontrager. It was $800. I think if I had brought in the 15-year-old bike that goes with my wheel he wouldn't have shown me that one, given that that wheel is three times what I paid for my bike (used). And the Montrose Bike Shop isn't even what I'd call a snooty shop. The Bontrager site shows that they do have less expensive wheels but did I really need to be shown the $800 variety? I think he showed me another one that was only $400...

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