Wednesday, December 16, 2009

42-Damn You Wintery Gusts!! And...My First Honk!!!

Success!! Day 42

Weather: 30 deg F. cold, a crazy headwind
Time I left my house: Late (surprise) 8:25 am
Time I arrived at work: 9:01 am
Distance: 8.08 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.1
Max Speed: 22.4
Time: 32.14 min.

Pre-game: There’s got to be a better way. With all the prep work once my wife leaves, I should be out the door after I feed the little guy. I got him to the sitter’s by 8:14 am, but didn’t get out until 8:27. Go figure. Of course I was late. I don’t think I’ve been on time all winter. It’s also all the layering.

Bad ride today. Well, bad in a sense that the headwind was like the bully pushing my head down with his straight arm as I was swinging away at him. The cold wasn’t a factor, (I was suited up with the blizzard jacket, a neck gaitor I use snowboarding, my Specialized winter BG gloves with Thinsulate flex, my tights and EMS breatheable waterproof/windproof skullcap), but the dang wind! It didn’t help that I haven’t been on a bike in a week and a few days, so I’m apparently slower. Hopefully, it’ll get better. I’ve really got to find a way to get out on time. I’m really trying. And my parents have screwed us again (although, not on purpose) so I don’t have that Friday liberty of leaving at 8:00am.

However, I did get my first honk, which was pretty humorous. It was a lady in an SUV. I was running out of shoulder, I looked back and signaled to take the lane. I took it and heard the big honk. I stopped at the light at the intersection and waited for her. She was turning and I motioned that she had nothing in front of her, so go ahead and turn. She lurched up and rolled down her window,”What, you can take the whole lane now?!!” And drove off. I wanted to yell,”Well, yes, actually!” but it didn’t matter. I had my neck gaitor on and really was over it. Awesome. Unfortunately, motorists are ignorant or forgot we cyclists can take the lane just like they can. Especially those SUV soccer moms on their way to school/work.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 34 deg. F cool, crazy headwind
Distance: 8.43 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.0
Max Speed: 21.8
Time: 36.18

It’s been cold and windy which is such a challenge to make any sort of good time home. At some points during the ride I was only on the second ring (the middle ring, not the granny gear, although I was tempted) so it was pretty rough. It’s the first time in a long time whether I was making a good choice to ride today, all things considered. But like anyone doing this, it’s now a challenge. And it’s personal.

There was a coworker who was going to her car as I was putting on my gloves outside before I set out home. She said her son tried it for two days and gave up. (I give him credit, his ride is much longer- Valley Stream to Syosset is a hike compared to my 8 mile jaunt). And she mentioned she thinks we’re crazy. She did like that I was well-lit because I was wearing my PB rear blinky.

Winter is just hard…. Blizzard alert this weekend. We’ll see what happens.

Friday, December 4, 2009

41-Back On The Saddle... So to Speak

Success!! Day 41

Weather: 46 deg F. cool, a little headwind
Time I left my house: Late (surprise) 8:27 am
Time I arrived at work: 9:02 am
Distance: 8.08 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.7
Max Speed: 23.3
Time: 30.59 min.

Pre-game: I really tried this time. Although bundling up would prove to lose a couple minutes. I should wear all my winter gear (tights and jacket) to the sitters when I drop off the little guy, even though I look like an alien in all that wear.

OK ride today, it’s been a while (two weeks) since my dual flat in the dark and rain… so I was a little cautious and apprehensive. I just wanted to get to work. BF suggested to get some Schwalbes or Armadillos which cost a pretty penny, but are worth the investment. My legs weren’t up to par and the speed/time shows it. I was so late it was embarrassing. Changing out of my winter gear is timelier and I got to my desk at 9:11 am... I can’t believe how warm I got with the Addidas Blizzard jacket. I need to tune up my gearing, a low gear, it’s been jumping so I’ll have to take a look at that this weekend. It’s supposed to be a quiet/snowy weekend.

Hopefully, it’ll get better.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 50 deg. F cool, a little headwind
Distance: 8.43 miles
Avg. Speed: 13.9
Max Speed: 23.3
Time: 36.31

Well, the cookies I had ordered from a coworker arrived. It’s a Crayola cookie dough and cookie design kit that my kid would love to make. I couldn’t NOT bring this home this weekend… especially if Saturday called for snow (which it rained… ALL DAY I might add…) So during lunch I got some bungy cords and found an old box to rig the dough and the bucket of cookie design kit into. I have to say, the Schwinn held up pretty nicely; being a touring bike, I knew it wouldn’t have any problems. I kept it on the middle ring for most of the ride, and obviously, no TT records here folks. I also was extra cautious at night what with the double flat the other week so I shouldered the bike for the shady parts. But… success!!! Needless to say, we made the ugliest cookies known to man… but the kid had fun!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

40- NEW PB with the Schwinn- 27 Minutes Flat! And then... HUBRIS!! Two Flats. In the Dark. In the Rain.

Success!! Day 40

Weather: 48 deg F. cool, a little headwind
Time I left my house: Late (surprise) 8:23 am
Time I arrived at work: 8:52 am
Distance: 8.08 miles
Avg. Speed: 18
Max Speed: 25
Time: 27.00 min.

Pre-game: I scrambled out early enough, but the sitter was chatting up a storm, which means I got out later than expected. All is forgiven…look at the new time!

Nice ride today- It wasn’t too cold. After a day with my Roubaix last week (35 miler in the Bayville area, which was awesome) I took a little rest but my legs are better for it. I topped my avg. and my time today as a PB. Which was good because I was running a bit late. I noticed my waterbottle has been leaking, don’t know if that warrants another bottle… Gatorade got all over my Roubaix last week. Not sure why that happens.

Hopefully I can ride again this weekend as it pays back in huge dividends. Of course my night ride home will be shite but who cares.

UPDATE: The ride home. FAIL

Weather: 53 deg. F cool, RAIN, a little headwind
Distance: 8.49 miles
Avg. Speed: 8
Max Speed: 25
Time: 1.01

So, it actually rained today, and everyone was concerned (as usual) of my ride home. I assured them of my dayglo rain jacket (which I took off later… wasn’t raining) and my lights. It was going pretty nice when two miles left, I start feeling a little ‘bouncy’ with each pedal stroke. I pull over and notice my rear wheel flat. Crap. Then I hear a hissing noise. My front wheel as well… flat. I had only one extra tube and a patch kit, although I couldn’t bring myself to patch in the dark and rain, only being two miles from home. So… on my 2 mile walk home, I decided this:

1. Always bring two tubes
2. Get new tires. Ultragatorskins or Armadillos or Marathons Plus
3. Start driving again when it rains. (joke… well not really, I was so p___ssed last night.

I placed my issues on bf… so it will be interesting to see what pops up. I know it’s a necessary evil that comes with bike commuting, but two flats at the same time?? In the dark?? C’mon!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

39-Addidas Adistar Blizzard Jacket

Success!! Day 39

Weather: 39 deg F. cold, a lot of headwind and crosswinds
Time I left my house: Early 8:09 am
Time I arrived at work: 8:48 am
Distance: 8.07 miles
Avg. Speed: 16.4
Max Speed: 22.7
Time: 29.39 min.

Pre-game: Ah Fridays. It was chilly, so I wore my Performance tights and my Addidas Adistar Blizzard jacket. Got out later than my usual Fridays, since I had to bundle up, but it was still waay earlier than my mid-week scramble.

Nice ride today- I have to say the Adistar Blizzard Jacket rocks- it was a little nippy out there with a wind chill of about 34 deg. F., but I was sweating to the oldies in that thing. By the time I got to work, I had to unzip and cool off. It definitely kept the wind at bay and I didn’t feel cold at all. It’s got a ‘racer’ fit, so it’s snug in the right places (not letting any air anywhere) and ventilated on the underarms and back. I got it from Performance during one of their sales, so I got if for under $100. Well worth every penny. I believe it’s also waterproof. The only thing is that I’m not used to looking like a character from Tron or V. It’s got some shoulder pads and a weird reflective design on the back (which is good for the nighttime). I wonder how long I could go this winter. I imagine I’ll try to set my MTB up as a winter commuter, with my snowboard gear (helmet, goggles, jacket, etc.). But if the roads are icy or aren’t plowed with enough space, I’m not sure it’s wise to go out. I do have a trainer and a DVD set for winter spinning to keep my legs and my cardio up to par, but it’s not the same.

The only thing I have to see is where to dry my tights and jacket… I have a cubicle and not an office so my own private closet is out of the question, so I’ll have to hunt the communal closet space around the third floor.

UPDATE: The ride home. AT NIGHT!!

Weather: 47 deg.F cooler, a bit of headwind
Distance: 8.49 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.1
Max Speed: 22
Time: 36.11

Nothing much to report other than I’m coming back to this after some time- now that I look at the numbers, I was as slow as molasses. I guess the nighttime ride was a bit blustery and cold, and I can’t really see the computer at night, so I just concentrate on pedaling, though I can’t tell how fast. Anyway, it was shite. The jacket still rocks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

38-I Am the Night Rider! 200 Miles on the Schwinn!

Success!! Day 38

Weather: 42 deg F. much cooler, a little headwind and crosswinds
Time I left my house: Really Late! 8:25 am
Time I arrived at work: 9:00 am
Distance: 8.07 miles
Avg. Speed: 17.0
Max Speed: 24.1
Time: 28.39 min.

Pre-game: Scrambling to get out- thought I had a good time going, but when I left I looked at my watch and saw that it was 8:25! I blame the cold weather and bundling up. I also had to get my reflective Amphipod vest in my panniers so people can see me tonight. First night ride!!

Not a bad ride today, although I was hurting from yesterday’s workout in the gym- I made the mistake of doing squats with some heavy working sets (I’m trying to add some muscle to my girlish figure) and some other compound exercises. I did have some success before with my mass gaining workouts in the past, where I went up 20 lbs. (albeit, I put on some fat as well, which is usually the case) to 185. It will be interesting to see how this works with my cycling regimen as the workout notes that cardio should be a minimum as to not burn as many calories. Alright for you non-gymrat types…. Seque to: So my legs weren’t up to par today, although I still made it under 30 minutes with 17 avg.

UPDATE: The ride home. AT NIGHT!!

Weather: 47 deg.F cooler, a bit of headwind
Distance: 8.47 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.2
Max Speed: 24.1
Time: 33.23

It took a little more time to get my Amphipod reflective vest on and turning on the lights, but when I got going, it was pretty cool. I kept the PB Phase 1 Headlight on blink most of the way and the Superflash was on the whole ride. The headlight on blink was almost like a laser-gun- I felt like an X-wing fighter shooting down some Imperial Tie-Fighters (for all you Star Wars fans out there…) and as I got faster, it really was some show. I’m curious to know what cars see with me coming down in the side/rear view mirrors. This is the kind of strobe light that’s prone to give people seizures. That said, I don’t think folks had a problem seeing me. The cool thing about the headlight was the opportunity for the light to shine on the side- two little slits for the light- so people can also see me from the side. The only thing were the shady spots when there was no light and I had the blink on… it was sufficient enough, but I felt I needed more. I had to wait for either another car’s headlights or for some more streetlights to come on. The thing I like about night riding are seeing all the cars lights in the distance on other parkways and roadways … usually from the perspective from the top of an overpass. But when it was silent, no cars around, just me and the blinking light and the road in the dark, sort of surreal feeling. I wonder what it’s like to go riding on a trail at night, which would probably more of the same. Such a cool feeling.

Kudos to Planet Bike for their lights!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

37-One of the Best Reasons For Bike Commuting: Traffic on the LIE

Success!! Day 37

Weather: 46 deg F. much cooler, a little headwind and crosswinds
Time I left my house: Early! 8:09 am
Time I arrived at work: 8:37 am
Distance: 8.07 miles
Avg. Speed: 16.8
Max Speed: 24.6
Time: 28.52 min.

Pre-game: Fridays Rule! Took my time again today. Left at a decent time and had time to lag too.

Pretty nice ride today. Sunny without too much wind. I bought a fleece Columbia vest from Sports Authority, which helped out my core temps when I rode. That and my armwarmers did the trick.

On the way, there was a lot of traffic on the service road. For those of you reading (or for me, reading this as I’m sure there are no readers) who live outside of Long Island, NY, whenever there’s an accident or the Long Island Expressway (LIE) is backed up, the service road serves as a detour. However, that becomes a parking lot eventually so other options are limited once there’s a backup on the LIE. So, it was with extreme pleasure that I whizzed by all those cars for a few miles as they inched up to the light. It was so nice looking at everyone just sitting in there cars. The freedom of Bike Commuting at its finest.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 54 deg.F cooler, a bit of headwind
Distance: 8.45 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.8
Max Speed: 22.5
Time: 34.16

Nice Friday ride home… was hurting since it’s the second consecutive day in a row that I’m biking, so I’m a bit slow. Changed the lenses in my sunglasses to clear since it was windy and kind of dark. Had the Superflash on again as a precaution. I felt like I was going 2 miles an hour at some points and when I looked at my time, it definitely showed. Very curious to see how night riding’s going to be next week!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

36-Riding With a Blinky and Showing an SUV Mom The Way

Success!! Day 36

Weather: 47 deg F. much cooler, a lot of headwind and crosswinds
Time I left my house: L-a-t-e! 8:24 am
Time I arrived at work: 8:54 am
Distance: 8.08 miles
Avg. Speed: 17.5
Max Speed: 24.4
Time: 27.46 min.

Pre-game: Had to scramble out the door again- little one wasn’t eating as fast as usual, so I got out longer than expected.

Not a bad ride today. I’m convinced my new detour is cutting a few minutes on my time and helping my avg. speed. Used the new Planet Bike Superflash rear blinky- since there was overcast and fog. A little sense of security there.

I’m considering a windproof vest, since I wore two coolmax type t-shirts that did really nothing to insulate my core. And it was pretty chilly. Twenty minutes in I was OK, but the first couple of miles were chilly willy.

Funny incident at a red light today: I was barreling downhill on the service road to a red light, there was a SUV mom who was certain she was going to hit me as she was coming from my left on the intersection, but I guess she was surprised I could stop on a dime much easier than any car going down that hill. Besides, she was off towards the on-coming traffic lane, so I pointed to where she should go, and she shot me with a look of both shock and annoyance. And what’s funny is that she had a bike rack to the rear hitch.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 57 deg.F cooler, a bit of headwind
Distance: 8.45 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.8
Max Speed: 23.9
Time: 32.12

Nice ride home. Turned on the Superflash once I was at a light as I left a little later from the office and the twilight was going on. It got dark quickly out and I went from shades to no shades halfway home. I’m curious to know how the Planet Bike Superflash looks from the car’s perspective. Just looking at it from my bike is annoying enough, which is a good thing. Next week Daylight savings returns which means riding in the dark. I’ll have to get my reflective vest on soon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

35-Fridays Rule- 27.24 Time New PB!

Success!! Day 35

Weather: 59 deg F. much cooler, a lot of headwind and crosswinds
Time I left my house: Early! 8:07 am
Time I arrived at work: 8:38 am
Distance: 8.08 miles
Avg. Speed: 17.7
Max Speed: 26.1
Time: 27.24 min. NEW PB!

Pre-game: I love Fridays. My parents are here, I can take my time and leave relatively early.

Nice ride today, I’m still thinking of a windbreaking type jersey or vest just to keep my core cool. I’m not sure if it’s worth the money as I’m getting a great winter jacket, but we’ll have to see if I can afford one. The arm warmers are the best investment. And they look cool. I haven’t had any issues, nor did I need to pull them down for overheating.

Went on the direct route on Jericho again today, this time being careful for that split second I go under the underpass- I can’t wait to get my blinky. It’s supposedly really bright in the daytime as well, so we’ll have to see what happens. Daylight savings is two weeks away.

I’m amazed at my time and avg. speed. It’s supposed to be a ‘rest’ day and no TT’ing. I guess you can account for my detour to help on the time.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 50 deg.F got colder, a lot of f_ing headwind
Distance: 8.48 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.2
Max Speed: 24.3
Time: 35.54

Cold ride home with a lot of wind to battle. I had on my rain jacket just as a precaution as the wind and skies seemed to look like a monsoon was coming. It was a little harder (and slower) to get home because of this. It was nice to finally get home after an ordeal like that...since my rain jacket wasn’t breathable, I was drenched with sweat. All in all, successful ride home. I haven’t been caught in any big rainstorms yet, but then again, I have been lucky to commute when I can … at least twice a week.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

34-I Hate Being Sick Part Deux and Detour

Success!! Day 34

Weather: 52 deg F. much cooler, a lot of headwind and crosswinds
Time I left my house: Not too late! 8:21 am
Time I arrived at work: 8:54 am
Distance: 8.07 miles
Avg. Speed: 17.1
Max Speed: 24.6
Time: 28.20 min.

Pre-game: I got a headstart with everything and even with that, I still managed to get out at 8:21 am. Ideally, I need to leave before 20 after, but you never know. I think next time I’ll have to get my arm warmers on and shorts before I get to the sitter’s, then I do the ‘ol basketball sweatpants rip and then I’m off. If only it were that simple.

Nice ride today, I’m not used to this cold weather and not really dialed in as to what to wear. I’ve been sick the last week (some coughing, and fever) and since then I've been weak. I was afraid of my TT’ing today, but looking at my time and avg. speed, not too shabby. I’m convinced I caught something around Columbus day (at my wife’s cousin’s mediocre weddingand my ride on Columbus day was not too enjoyable BTW – it was in the low 40s and I saw other cyclists with jackets and full fingered gloves on… I just had my arm-warmers and jersey. I really need a vest or something for my core. Regardless, ordered the Blizzard addidas jacket and some tights. I should be good to go come winter. I’ll talk about my first ride on the Roubaix later.

Went on the direct route on Jericho today, and for a scary moment, actually cut some distance (and therefore, time) going the direct route. I had to because via car I noticed some construction on the road where I usually ride and I decided to take a detour. There’s a section where Jericho meets the North Service-rd (North Marginal Road) near the Jericho Home Depot (for you LI’ers out there) and n’ary a shoulder or wide enough gutter lane. I had to take the lane at some point to be seen. No honking- but need to make sure they see me at the intersections before I take the lane. Luckily, it was sunny this morning and not too much traffic. But I must admit, it was nice to stay on Jericho all the way to Westbury.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 63 deg.F cool, a little headwind
Distance: 8.46 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.7
Max Speed: 25.1
Time: 32.23

Nice ride home- legs were a little hot from this morning, so no real record-breaking this afternoon. The days are getting darker and I hope I get my lights in time. I ordered some Planet Bikes lights. I’ve never biked at night since I was a kid so this will be interesting!

Friday, October 9, 2009

33-Fridays are the Best Days to Ride and Why You Shouldn't Ride on the Wrong Side of the Road (On the Sidewalk)

Success!! Day 33

Weather: 59 deg F. cooler, a lot of headwind
Time I left my house: Early! 8:03 am
Time I arrived at work: 8:43 am
Distance: 8.22 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.7
Max Speed: 24.4
Time: 33.30 min.

Pre-game: It’s nice to not have to race and dash to get ready. The parents are watching the little man and I took my time today. I had some time to even lollygag around before I set out. No TT'ing today, Thank the Good Lord. I knew my avg. speed was going to be down, but sfw, time to enjoy for once.

It was a nice ride coming in- even though it was a bit cloudy and windy, it was my first day with the Addidas arm warmers, which work great, although not sure when to roll them down as I got cooler after every light. But it was Friday and it was a nice ride in.

I did, however, almost get clipped by a Mercedes coming out of a driveway. It was totally my fault, trying to hit the sidewalk (along that hairy area of my route where I break all laws of Bike Commuting 101: thou shall stay off the sidewalk and stay on the right side of the road). This was my second incident and I should’ve been more cautious. I kept going,”Whoa, Whoa…whoah!!!” to no response or even acknowledgement which again proves that cars are clueless to outside noise. Well, those great cars are engineered to drown out the surrounding or ambient noise of traffic, squirrels, Harleys and overzealous bike commuters.

In a few weeks daylight savings time will be coming and it's time to shop for some blinkies and headlights. The gear is endless folks. Endless.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 67 deg.F cool, a little headwind
Distance: 8.48 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.5
Max Speed: 25.9
Time: 32.54

Nice and easy ride home. It was supposed to rain, but it turned out nice at the end of the day. Arm warmers were up and in full effect again, and I can tell it’s getting darker sooner. Time to get some reflective strips and lights going. I am kind of excited to ride at night, although kind of concerned. I guess if they can all see me, it’s half the battle.

Nose is running a bit and I’m starting to cough. I really hope and pray I don’t get sick like everyone else in my family is becoming (my wife and kids are coughing). Well, I have to ride the Roubaix this weekend!! I have to be well enough!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

32-Guess What Happens When There's a Huge Sale at a Local Bike Shop

Success!! Day 32

Weather: 50 deg F. cooler, a lot of headwind and crosswinds
Time I left my house: LATE(as always)! 8:19 am
Time I arrived at work: 8:55 am
Distance: 8.22 miles
Avg. Speed: ?
Max Speed: ?
Time: 32.20 min.

Pre-game: Another mad dash to make it to feed the baby, get him ready, drive him to the sitters, come back and ride off. What’s more since the poor guy has baby eczema, I have to put cream and lotion on and now that it’s winter, a thicker jacket. But the kid’s a trouper and he can eat, so any delay is on my shoulders or… eh…legs.

It’s almost a week since I rode (thought I had to drive in on Friday and Sunday I had a breast cancer walk, so no long ride) I was panting and pedaling. It was nuts that I even made to work on time on the Schwinn, but I did. I got lucky at a few lights and I got to my desk on time, albeit w/out my tie on, but I can put that on when I boot up my iMac. Since I forgot to reset my little cycle computer, I can’t tell my avg or max. My time was OK considering that I was hurting, but it’s all motivated by trying to get to work on time. You should see how I left the house.

So as I was sufferin’ (go Coach Troy!!) on the way in, I couldn’t help but think of how I dropped off my Sequoia and how much money I dropped for…my new Roubaix. That’s right folks, I upgraded, and I feel a little guilty. But damn, can you blame me??? I will have a proper review to come but, as you know, since I got my touring bike and the Tiagra, I was wanting more. And since I can take my Schwinn over the 30 min. mark, I have no real need for a lighter bike and a rain bike… I can use the Schwinn primarily as my commute/errand/rain bike in one. It’s a strong touring bike, so I won’t feel squirrely as I ride with 20lbs. of stuff in my panniers as I did on the Sequoia. And as I’ve been riding those long rides around Brookville and Old Westbury, I have wanted a bike I can grow into. The Sequoia has served me well as my introduction (or re-introduction) into cycling and now, as this insanity grows, I have something I can actually grow into.

Brands Cycle and Fitness has a history on LI. I'm sure if you grew up here you have gotten a bike or known someone who has gotten a bike from Brands. My first Murray from Brands. My brother's hot first racing BMX (Diamondback) was from Brands. We used to ride from Hicksville to Wantagh on our bikes to look at the new stock. The place is legendary and their staff is top notch.

I was catered to by Mill- a senior who owns a LeMond that he upgraded as a 'Frankenstein' bike (Kysyrium wheels, new gruppo, etc.) and he's a commuter as well. His 16 mile trek from W. Islip makes mine look like a joke. I say 'catered' because he took the time to ask what I rode, what I needed, the options they had and he insisted I ride as many as I could think of... several lunch breaks later (driving from Westbury to Wantagh is not a short trip, so let's say long lunches) I thought they'd kick me out. They already new my name from my calls and visits that I'm sure they'd put me on staff to level the stock if I were available. I tried the Cannondale Six and then the Roubaix. The Roubaix was a dream... and although the Cannondale was a bit more responsive (that BB30 is hugemungous!) I felt the Roubaix would tear through the crap streets around my neighborhood and Brookville (I know of many potholes around that route) with it's compliant and stiff frame, Zertz inserts and wider wheelbase. After I put a deposit, Mill told me to wait for a huge sale they were having in a couple of weeks - one that has the parking lot enlisting valets to direct traffic because it's so packed. He said they could get the price down considerably- since they were clearing their 2009 stock. So he said,"Go home. Have a glass of wine. Wait until the sale." So I did, and I still researched other bikes- that '08 Scott CR1 Team in the Farmindale bike shop that I tried as well wasn't the same- but it was fast. And then I found other Orbeas, then thinking I should go to Aluminum since I don't think I deserved to ride carbon ('You Poseur!!'). But then the sale happened and when Mill tried reaching me to give me a price (he wouldn't leave a voicemail, he wanted to tell me in person) it was about 15% off the regular price which dropped a couple of hundred. When all is said and done, I got the Roubaix for under $1700. I picked it up yesterday after yet another long lunch and it's waiting for some pedals and a ride. It's waiting for me in the garage. I can hear it calling me.

I know. I need help. Don’t we all?

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 64 deg.F cool, a little headwind
Distance: 8.48 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.7
Max Speed: 25.1
Time: 32.24

Not a bad ride home, took it easy, well, really didn’t have a choice since me legs were tired (just like the rest of my body—go figure!) I was playing bike courier today; weaving in and out of car lanes to get to the light and then blasting as it turns green. As I’m getting more familiar with this trip, I find I’m getting more ‘ballsy’ and therefore placing myself in some precarious situations. I need to remind myself: Car v. Bike… Car always wins.

The final climb on the service road back home was a killer. I couldn’t push over 15 mph. I had tried spinning more and then as that didn’t work, I got up out of the saddle and made some headway. I don’t know how I kept up the cadence the other day. It’s been hard this long trip. I need to put more miles in and find some more hills.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

31-100 Miles on the Schwinn and Old Man River Legs

Success!! Day 31

Weather: 50 deg F. hella cooler, a lot of headwind
Time I left my house: REALLY LATE! 8:23 am
Time I arrived at work: 8:59 am
Distance: 8.22 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.3
Max Speed: 24.4
Time: 32.20 min.

Pre-game: Another mad dash to make it to feed the baby, get him ready, drive him to the sitters, come back and ride off. I thought I had a head start, but the sitter was chatting it up with me… so I got out really late.

Since I haven’t ridden in a week and a day and my 10K post-race legs have recovered, I’m not TT as I did a week ago. In fact, two minutes slower and getting out later, means… guess what, I was late to work. Honestly, nobody was mad, but it didn’t look good since I strolled in at my desk around 9:04 am with my gear, my tie wasn’t even on, etc. What’s worse, is that I was given Employee of the Month award yesterday by my boss, who gave an eloquent speech BTW—something I wish was transcribed or recorded for my wife and kids to see for years to come (it was that good… almost TOO good). So let’s just say I need to plan more efficiently. Possibly pack the night before or get the little guy up and ready at quarter to 8 or whatever. On Fridays, it’s easy peasy covergirl, since my parents are here. But on the weekday dashes, it’s almost not worth it.

Now for the ride… BRRRR. It was a little under 50 degrees this morning, so I had the long sleeves and rocking the snot the whole way. I like the cold, but hate the wind. Damn you wind. My legs were weak and I knew I would be slower today. I totally pushed myself at Cow Harbor, getting 50 minutes, not my best, but hey, I’ll take it after just training for two weeks. I realized I pushed too much on the downhill runs and my quads were hurting for two days. All worth it though- I haven’t ran since ’04 (since the birth of my first son) and it was a beautiful day. I have to say I miss that town. If ever you’re in Northport, or training in it, go by Scudder and up the James St. hill and report back. You'll know what pain is. But once on top you’ll see the sound and the water and the view and you’ll forget your lungs and legs are burning. Or maybe not.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 59 deg.F cool, a little headwind
Distance: 8.48 miles
Avg. Speed: 16.2
Max Speed: 27.1
Time: 31.21

Not a bad ride home, considering it was darker and cooler out. One my way near Rte 107, saw a woman rider doing a nice pace. At the light, dorky Fred like myself tries to strike up a conversation,”What mile are you on?” or something to that affect and she shrugs and asks the same of me (which is such a stupid question to ask) and I reply by saying I’m coming from work. Mile seven. And then she was off because of the light turning green. I was on her wheel the whole time, didn’t want to pass her to be rude, but honestly, on the climb she almost dropped me. We were both doing 18 mph on the climb and I got out of the saddle a couple of times to keep up. I have to say, she was pushing at a decent pace. I will never judge anyone… ever. Thank you rider, for keeping my time down and my avg. speed up.

I wonder what she thought of me. Damn this self-indulgent sport!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

30-Once Again On My TTT (Time Trial Touring bike)

Success!! Day 30

Weather: 69 deg F. much warmer, a little headwind
Time I left my house: LATE! LATE! LATE! 8:20 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:55 am
Distance: 8.21 miles
Avg. Speed: 16.2
Max Speed: 27.8
Time: 30.34 min.

Pre-game: Another mad dash to make it to feed the baby, get him ready, drive him to the sitters, come back and ride off. I can’t believe I can’t get out of my house earlier.

Ride was OK. Again on the TTT (Time Trial Tourer) this time only made it in 30 minutes as I hit every light imaginable and my legs weren’t as good as I believed. I got to my desk, sweating, at 9:03 am. Not too bad, but I hate time-trialing it especially when it’s this warm, man what the heck happened to Fall? Once at work, I have to make a run for the handicap stall in the mens room to do my best and look presentable, and trying to cool down from the last sprint before the office building. I was drenched and heaving from the humidity when I got in. This Schwinn is such a great bike, I’m so glad I got it, and so amazed at its speed and ease of shifting- I’m so used to the Tiagra now that the Soras on my Sequioa are now updated. I know, I know, I didn’t even know what groupsets where last April now I’m considering nothing less than 105 Shimano group. That’s what this sport does to you. And that’s why I need a second job!!

So, I put a deposit in for a Specialized Roubaix Elite. I won't tell you how much as it will probably make me cry, but it's going to cost more than both my bikes I have now total. I test rode it at Brands Cycle and Fitness (great service and reps BTW...if ever you have a chance to visit that Bike Shop, Mill and Steve Rock). They're having a huge sale in October and swayed my aluminum thinking to CF. Then I got to looking between the Cannondale Six (awesome sprinter, responded well, a bit too stiff however) and the Roubaix (not as responsive, but felt no bumps buzz or any pain). Since I like comfort and the roads around LI are less than perfect, I chose the Roubaix. And I love that Boonen won a couple of races on that particular model (well, not the elite, but good marketing nonetheless!!). So... I still have time to decide whether to pull the trigger and sell the Sequoia on eBay.

I admit, I have a problem, and I need help. I really do.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 76 deg.F warm, a little headwind
Distance: 8.46 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.2
Max Speed: 25.0
Time: 33.33

Not a bad ride home considering my TT’ing it this morning. Still thinking about my pending upgrade and whether to pull the trigger. I can’t help but think this all started with shifters…now it blew up to a fully-loaded CF bike like the Roubaix or CR-1 Team. This is nuts.

I have to say, had a good time with the final climb this afternoon- I kept the cadence up and the mph to 16/17 mph the whole way up on the middle ring. I wonder what a compact is like.

Friday, September 18, 2009

29-It's Cold Out Here...Look! A Shopping Cart!

Success!! Day 29

Weather: 56 deg F. cooler, a lot of headwind
Time I left my house: 8:07 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:46 am
Distance: 8.16 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.2
Max Speed: 23.4
Time: 34.26 min.

Pre-game: My parents are watching the little guy, so it gave me a chance to take it easy and leave at a normal time. They will come on Fridays, instead of both Thursday and Friday, as my mother is not as spry as she used to be and carrying the baby, who is getting bigger by the day, is trying on her aching back.

Ride was OK. I was on the Sequioa, which is a love/hate relationship, since I love the speed but hate the gearing now (I know) and it was damn windy and a bit nippy this morning- which explains the low avg speed and time. I’m convinced the computer on my Schwinn is messed up.

On my way, as I do everyday, I try to survey the road beneath. As many of you riders know, here in LI, the roads are less than perfect. Especially on the shoulder. We’ve got our fair share of potholes, glass, sharp rocks, garbage and today- a shopping cart. It’s amazing what bike commuters and riders deal with on a daily basis that folks in their vehicles don’t really experience. I wonder if the pros think like this. Or are they just in a zone to keep the cadence up?

It's time to think of jacket options or arm warmers... damn you addiction!

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 72 deg.F cool, a little headwind
Distance: 8.40 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.9
Max Speed: 24.8
Time: 31.42

I always love the Friday rides home- this time made a record time home on the Sequoia. The ride back hardly had any issues on the wind, so it was nice. One note getting ready to go from work- as I was heading down the stairs a girl I guess had a party and was bringing home a box of Krispy Kremes (leftovers I guess). She looked at me in all my cycling gear and saw me carrying my helmet and said,”I should be carrying that instead of these donuts.” I said something to the extent that I would ride to the next Krispy Kreme if I knew any open in LI. She said she didn’t know.

I am seriously thinking of upgrading my speedy road bike. I think of my Sunday rides and that my Schwinn is surprisingly beating the sh__t out of my Sequioa in average speed and trip time. It may be time to shift to a good racing/comfort road bike and leave the commuting to the Schwinn Tourer. I can’t stand the Sora shifters. If I knew then what I know now kind of thing…I sound like a whining baby, but then again, I was told I need a bike to grow into and not grow out of. I’ve been looking at Carbon. I feel like a man cheating on his wife… is that so wrong to look a CF frames??? I don’t know where all this money is coming from, but it will definitely pay off in the end. I need to make some sacrificing in other hobbies, like eating. I don’t NEED this bike, but it would be nice to have…just like anything else.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

28- 28 Minutes and 17 Avg. Time... Not to Mention My First Flat

Success (sort of)!! Day 28

Weather: 56 deg F. cooler, a little headwind
Time I left my house: REALLY LATE 8:20 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:55 am
Distance: 8.23 miles
Avg. Speed: 17.3
Max Speed: 27.1
Time: 28.39 min.

Pre-game: So my wife asked me to feed the little one fruit as well as the oatmeal, which made me think about my time if I wanted to get out early, but the kid ate like a champ. I still got out fairly late and took the Schwinn out again because it called for some showers.

Ride was OK. I made like I was on a time trial again with the Schwinn; I made a good amount of green lights and was amazed at my times! 17 for avg. and new PB at 28 minutes!! This can’t be right- it must be off. But I did make it to my desk 9 am on the dot—it was commented though that I was putting on my tie while I was logging on my Mac.

Got my first puncture (FLAT) today- albeit it was right when I was pulling into work, so thank the Lord I made it to work in that kind of time. I’m going to have to change it during my lunch, but it’s strange that my Conti’s blew after only 75 miles. I wonder if it was from that gash on the last ride. And of course, it’s on the rear tire, so I’ll have to bring the wipes with me. Way it goes… just lucky I got to work on time. I can’t imagine fixing a flat as I’m running my late TT pace.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 62 deg.F cool, headwind
Distance: 8.49 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.7
Max Speed: 23.5
Time: 34.46

As I try in the afternoon after my insane TT-like morning, try as I might, I can’t be any slower. I guess my legs give it for the morning and the return home is just a wash. The new tube was on and in good shape, although I was still riding with extreme caution and praying the whole way.

Lunchtime tire fix took me 20 minutes, which concerns me, since it was my first tire change, and in a cush environment (near the mailroom garage). I have to say, the C02 pump I got kicks ass and will need to get another cartridge before I head out again. I don’t know how folks pump tires manually with all that pressure to get to. One rookie moment: I forgot to release the rear brake calipers so the tire would get in easier. Of course, the mailroom guys were in awe of me fixing my own flat- they thought I’d bring it to an LBS. The closest LBS is 8 miles away. Go figure.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

27-Holy Sh!@#t! Broke New PB on the Schwinn??!!! Broke 30 min Mark!

Success!! Day 27

Weather: 58 deg F. cooler, a little headwind
Time I left my house: LATE 8:17 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:53 am
Distance: 8.23 miles
Avg. Speed: 16.4 NICE!!
Max Speed: 27.8 What??!!!
Time: 30.10 min. ??!!

Pre-game: It’s now the Fall and my mornings are shot- I get my 4 yr old ready as my wife gets ready, takes him with her to work to his daycare; I get my 15 month old changed, fed and out of the door to the sitter’s, all of this so I can get home and get my gear ready to bike. I got out later than usual- need to streamline some of the pre-ride prep, so I had to make it to work pretty fast.

Ride was OK. I made like I was on a time trial with my Schwinn World DLX. What I can’t believe are my numbers today: 27.8 max; 16.4 avg and 30.10 min time- all PB!!! This is crazy. This is on my touring/rain bike that is steel and has a rack and fenders and not on my Specialized road bike! I don’t know if it’s the tiagra brifters and the deore rear derailleur or it’s my riding 5 days last week (and within that are 2 days of 25 milers within 1 hour and a half) and it’s got my legs in superhero mode or it’s just the Schwinn cyclocomputer I got at Wally world that is playing tricks on me!! Either way, I’m in shock.

Regardless, I hurried to my desk and as I sat down my Mac clock was 9am so I just made it…hopefully I won’t have to scramble like that again, but it was nuts. Every time I looked down I couldn’t believe the cruising speed at some parts of the commute. Crazy, I tell you.

And can I just say how I’m so in love with the Tiagra brifters, I really do think it makes a difference.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 73 deg.F cool, crazy headwind
Distance: 8.49 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.4
Max Speed: 22.4
Time: 35.31

As much as I did this morning, this afternoon stunk. The headwind was like a hand of a bully holding my forehead and my legs from this morning was recovering, hence, the 35 min. home and 14 mph avg. speed. It amazes me how these Continentals hold up- there’s glass everywhere in some spots that I don’t recall seeing the other day, and I’m never at the skill to dodge them all, so I think I scraped the back tire. When I got home and checked, I was right, no glass was embedded, but it was a nice cut on the surface. Not sure if I should put some Tuffy’s underneath, but… knock wood, it’s been great so far these Contis Ultra Sports.

Friday, September 4, 2009

26- Last Ride of the Summer

Success!! Day 26

Weather: 63 deg F. not as cool but still nice, a little headwind
Time I left my house: 8:10 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:47 am
Distance: 8.16 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.4
Max Speed: 22.5
Time: 34.06 min.

Pre-game: I got out a little later than usual, as my son got up right when I needed to get ready- no worries, got him a raisin bread with his glazed donut (I know, I know, but he’s got to eat!)

Ride was nice. I’m still feeling weak as this was my third ride this week (actually, 4 if you count Sunday’s long ride). Lost a minute on my avg and total trip time. I had a chance to look at the scenery as I was cruising and it’s such a nice day out. I’m kind of depressed that this is my last ride of the summer, and wonder how often I’ll get to ride in the fall as I’m driving the little guy over to the sitter’s around the corner. It was a nice run.

I spoke to a guy at the LBS in Farmindale (Adventure Cycling I think) and he gave me a price to upgrade to Tiagra brifters- total with labor and parts- $350. It’s half of my bike. Then we were talking about consignment and other bikes, so that was a good and BAD talk as the price kept going up. I’m beginning to think I’ll need a second job to support my habit, I mean… hobby.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 76 deg.F cool, a lot of headwind
Distance: 8.38 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.2
Max Speed: 22.2
Time: 35.20

It was a nice ride home, despite the terrible avg. speed and time. My legs have been in pain as well as my right foot (still not sure when I should train for the Cow Harbor Race). But it’s all a part of what we do when we pedal, yes? It was also kind of bittersweet that the summer rides are over and I’m not sure how early I can get out of the house when I have to drop the little one off to daycare. We’ll have to see as I’m sure I can find a way. We always do. What’s more, I have to think about the colder months, daylight savings and then… snow. That’s just crazy talk.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

25-300 Miles on the Sequoia!

Success!! Day 25

Weather: 57 deg F. cooler, bluebird, a little headwind
Time I left my house: 8:10 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:47 am
Distance: 8.16 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.5
Max Speed: 23.3
Time: 33.43 min.

Pre-game: I got out a little later than usual, had to help get my son ready for his Pre-K warm-up for the fall. My wife was running late but since I was ready the night before, I was good to go.

Ride was good. I am definitely loving this cooler weather. Not only does it make the ride a lot more pleasant, I’m not sweating like a pig when I get in. I’m wondering if I should change part of my route on Jericho Turnpike (the scary part) since a part of my ride I have to deal with the jungle near the South Service Road near Jericho. I’m always afraid as I go through the brush I’m picking up ticks or what not.

Still missing the Tiagra brifters on the Schwinn. I don’t know why I need it, like everything else, I don’t need it, it would be nice. I don’t take my hands off the drops. Anyway, I’m going to talk to the LBS about upgrading. As Eddy Merkx said,”Don’t upgrade… ride up grades…” This biking stuff is getting really expensive, but what else does a man in his late 30’s do? Golf? Have you seen the a---holes that golf?

My right foot’s feeling a little better and should start running again soon. I wonder if I could even make Cow Harbor.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 76 deg.F cool, a lot of headwind
Distance: 8.35 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.3
Max Speed: 23.3
Time: 35.57

I left work much later- I was finishing a presentation that was going to be shown on Friday, I won’t bother you on the details, but it entailed photoshopping execs and upper management faces onto rock stars. This is what my career has become. I can’t complain. It pays the bills.

The ride home was a little, strange. I felt slower (apparently, it shows) and felt a lot of buzz on the road. I still can’t find the sweet spot to clip back into the pedals from a complete stop, but I guess that comes with practice. My other shoes (MT 421- Shimanos) clip a lot easier than the road shoes, so I’m wondering since it is a MTB pedal (M520) it won’t work with a Road shoe??? I really don’t know, but it’s dang frustrating looking like a kook trying to clip-in as I’m coasting feebly down the intersection, slipping off the pedal.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

24-Back to Cool; Falling while Clipped-In is Uncool However

Success!! Day 24

Weather: 58 deg F. cooler, bluebird, a little headwind
Time I left my house: 8:07 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:46 am
Distance: 8.15 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.8
Max Speed: 23.0
Time: 32.52 min.

Pre-game: It’s good to wake up earlier when I ride, so I get everything done and get out at a decent time- imagine that people. Leave early- Get to work early. I had to kick my 4 year old out of bed and get him ready as my wife was going to bring him to his pre-K school (getting him used to the place before going there five days a week this fall). We’re both not looking forward to the Fall when school starts next week. Summer’s winding down.

Ride was good. I can’t believe what a difference when it’s cooler. Especially W/R/T coming in and not sweating like a pig, my cool down time is cut to nada, so I can sit and not have to wipe my forehead at my desk. I wonder when I should be bundling up for the fall- arm warmers or long sleeves? Mo’ equipment mo’money. I saw a couple accidents on the way, which I’m hoping they’re OK (had a stretcher come out near Westbury HS).

I didn’t mention my Sunday long ride around town. Short of joining a proper club ride (I was too tired and wanted to test my mettle anyway) I went to Map My Ride and take a nice 26 mile loop around 25A, Glen Cove Rd, Brookville Road and Muttontown. My 26 miler turned out to be a 24 miler. BTW made it home in an hour-and a half, since I was curious to see my avg. time in that distance (15.5). Man, there were some nice hills (I’ll put in the route shortly, it’s on May My Ride right now). Hopefully I can get a club ride in soon, except I’m not looking for a social lunch break at where-ever. I just want a ride. Although it was disconcerting to see some fallen cyclists and an ambulance on my route, some of those winding roads have little or no shoulder or visibility, so I was on the alert.

My right foot has a pain I believe is from my fartlek training on Friday. Could be tendonitis on the outer rim of my right foot. I’ve been doing the RICE thing as well as popping Ibuprofin for the pain. I would like to do the Cow Harbor race in a few weeks (Lance came back, why shouldn’t I?? It’s been five years since… the last time I ran in Hurricane Ivan and made 48 min. It was the time my wife was pregnant with our first, so it was such a nice milestone. Of course, I haven’t run since. I’ve been using the same shoe which led me to believe it was my shoe that caused the pain. I need a new pair of Saucony’s.

Oh yeah, when I got in, my coworker who incidentally also lives in Syosset, said there were 2 accidents on the NSP. I smiled and went, really?? That's tooo bad.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 73 deg.F cool, a lot of headwind
Distance: 8.35 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.0
Max Speed: 22.6
Time: 33.17

I left work later than usual, and my wife needed to be out of the house early (seeing the Pet Shop Boys with her friends) so I needed to book out of there. One thing I noticed is that I got tired real fast trying to battle the headwind, only going maybe 18 mph when I should be typically going around 19-21 mph cruising speed. I’m finding the Sora shifters annoying now, but I have to chalk that one up to experience; since it is my first roadbike, and I haven’t ridden in a while, much less commute on a regular basis (or race) so I’ll have to deal. Ignorance is bliss.

One funny note, I had the new Road Sport shoes from Specialized today (wore them on my long ride Sunday and will give a proper review later) so I’ve been trying to get down the sweet spot of clipping and un-clipping. When I get home, I usually coast into the driveway and u-turn in front of the garage. Today there were some kiddie chairs left in front and I had gone on the lawn since the cars blocked the normal space, I forgot to unclip as I turned and ate it right in front of the garage door. Scratched the hell out of my left shifter, which looked like it moved a few degrees inward. No other visible damage, but more embarrassing than anything. And for those of you who cringe when they get the first scratch on their pristine bikes, yeah, I was cringing like a mofo.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

23-Back on the Sequoia, But Missing the Tiagra Shifters! Oh yeah, 32.07 New Personal Best Coming Home!

Success!! Day 22

Weather: 68 deg F. cooler, not as muggy, a little headwind
Time I left my house: 8:06 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:41 am
Distance: 8.15 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.1
Max Speed: 23.0
Time: 34.43 min.

Pre-game: I was going to take the car, but since the Passat is in the shop for a recall notice repair, for a second day, I didn’t mind going out again. I do need another pair of shorts in this case since I had to wash yesterday’s—luckily there’s always laundry readily available to wash when you have kids. I got out on time again and my son didn’t have any issues, although he did get up with me fairly early today.

Ride was good. Back on the Sequoia I felt a little better, and worse… I like the lightness, the pedals, but not the shifters… do you believe it?? I really am ruined having the Schwinn's Tiagra shifters. I did make my usual time, but it seemed slower today, maybe because my legs are still sore. I’m wondering if I should break down and buy that Endurox recovery drink. Back in the day I was all about supplements, but after a while, you would need a personal loan to keep it up. I’ll see when GNC has a sale again.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 85 deg.F warm, not too humid, a bit of headwind
Distance: 8.37 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.6
Max Speed: 25.1
Time: 32.07 (New PB!)

I left work and a coworker cheered me on (on of the friendlier- more health conscious- execs) and said,”There he goes! How many miles? You go man!” So that was nice. It was a nice ride home, there’s a rattling I think is coming from my bottle cage, and I have to remind myself to tighten it when I get home because every bump I here that thing.

It’s apparent to see the differences between the Schwinn and Sequoia; the Sequoia is more nimble, lighter off the line and faster, but not as sturdy and gets skittish when I’m in rough roads. I could feel the bumps more on my Sequoia, especially when I’m really speeding up downhill, or when I hit a storm grate by accident (hit one yesterday, and scared the bejeebus out of me!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

22-Oohh That Smell!

Success!! Day 22

Weather: 69 deg F. cooler, not as muggy, a little headwind
Time I left my house: 8:00 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:41 am
Distance: 8.25 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.7
Max Speed: 23.7
Time: 33.47 min.

Pre-game: I had made it out earlier since I knew we had a 9am meeting, meaning, I had to get to my desk like 10 to 9. It wasn’t too bad. My little guy is still on vacation schedule, so he’s sleeping later than usual as well as getting up later. I had a lot done early but I’m feeling a bit tired for staying up to watch Mad Men.

Ride was good. It wasn’t as warm which was a nice break than the usual hot, humid trek in. I used the Schwinn again since they said (yet again) it would thunderstorm later. I was glad I did bring the fenders, if not for nothing else than to protect me from this rancid garbage truck juice that spilled on the pavement in front of me. I rolled over it and it totally stunk up my continentals; I hope it will wear off. I’m praying for some rain now.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 83 deg.F warm, not too humid, a bit of headwind
Distance: 8.51 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.0
Max Speed: 23.9
Time: 34.17

It’s been nice out so the rides are much more pleasurable without this humidity. My legs are a bit sore, and I could feel it pushing through the wind, but I still kept my avg. up a bit. I’m still wondering if I should take a club ride sometime. Of course, the only factor is how long it would take. I have to think about the family, waiting at home… waiting for their Saturday or Sunday to begin. So maybe in the Fall or I’ll go solo. But I like the fact that it’s there and I would like to see how I fare in a group. I was going to do the Montauk ride, but it could take all day, and losing a Saturday just so I could ride 100 miles isn’t such a great idea. Possibly next year, when we could book some hotel nearby.

The Schwinn is working out nicely. It’s real solid and it’s fast, despite its weight. I am really glad about this purchase. I’m really considering some pedals for this baby, as the platforms are causing more of a hassle.

Friday, August 21, 2009

21-D!@#n You Wind! Dang it Rain!!

Success!! Day 21

Weather: 79 deg F. HOT, muggy, CRAZY headwind
Time I left my house: 8:03 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:45 am
Distance: 8.24 miles
Avg. Speed: 13.7
Max Speed: 20.8
Time: 36.11 min.

Pre-game: It’s a Friday so I didn’t have anything to worry about. My kid woke up late and my wife didn’t have anything planned so I packed and left on time, without incident.

Ride was OK. The headwind was a killer. Hurricane Bill is coming up NE so it brings this wind and huge surf (which I wish I could watch since it’s been flat all summer). It seems I was working harder to get to 13 mph. average speed. Even with the gearing it was tough and it took 36 minutes (as opposed to 33 minutes.) I wonder what the ride home will be like… and it looks like rain.

Since the forecast called for T-storms later on, I took the Schwinn out again, it’s such a solid bike, it’s like a truck. I’m liking the mountain biking gearing. One thing I'm noticing, is my time off the line is a little slower, I guess because of the extra bulk/weight of the actual bike. I'm curious to see how this baby is off the line fully loaded. How do you tourers start? And, again, the pedals are giving me an issue. I’m constantly trying to turn to get it to clip. I look like such a kook trying to clip in after a light. Might have to get another pair of M520’s that’s on the Sequoia.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 79 deg.F dark, humid, thunderstorm
Distance: 8.52 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.1
Max Speed: 24.1
Time: 33.59

It turned to what looked like the apocalypse at 4pm and the Doppler showed a bright orange and red system coming in- my wife called and asked to pick me up. I declined on the thought that I would try to make it before it was a torrential downpour. I did make home in time, amazed at my speed, it did shower for a bit and I heard some thunder, but nothing too bad. I really need to get some waterproof panniers as I found my clothes wet once I got home. Had I rode in, this would been not too great to wear an oxford with a nice wet stain on it. I also wished my shoe covers would fit so my shoes wouldn't be as soaked. Well, we'll see if Performance could send me the right size. Or maybe I should buy a proper shoe (hmmm)? cha ching!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

20- First Ride with the Schwinn World Tour DLX...this Heat Wave Has To End

Success!! Day 20

Weather: 73 deg F. warm, muggy, a lot of headwind
Time I left my house: 8:03 am (that's right... on time!!)
Time I arrived at work: 8:40 am
Distance: 8.24 miles
Avg. Speed: 13.7
Max Speed: 21.8
Time: 36.11 min.

Pre-game: What better motivator to get out of the house early than a boss who tells the staff to be at their desks ready to work at 9am. Sooo, I got proper time to get ready. The forecasts called for stray thunderstorms in the afternoon so it called for the Schwinn!

Ride was really nice. The chromoly steel, although obviously heavier than my Sequoia, dampened every bump, pothole and rough terrain. That coupled with the Conti-wheels, it made for a very comfy ride. I had no worries carrying all my gear and I’m sure it could haul a lot more stuff. The longer chainstay meant no heel strike which was a nice change. And I was loving the Tiagra shifters- man were they cool… had my hands in the drops and didn’t need to leave it to shift anywhere. The mountain bike gearing (Deore) worked excellent and smooth. My only quirk were the pedals- which I might switch out, although seem perfect if I was going for a long tour and the spd cleats broke/or if I wanted to ride with regular shoes. But I found myself trying to clip in- and possibly cost me some time. I see my avg. and trip time fell, and I wonder if it was any change from the San Jose (?) or me just enjoying an easy ride the day after working out (I was kinda tired, whine… whine… whine).

Yet another racer cyclist blew me away after RTE 107… he was drafting a garbage truck, but was booking (reminded me of that outlandish scene in Breaking Away when he was training on the interstate).

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 89 deg.F hot, humid
Distance: 8.48 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.6
Max Speed: 26.1
Time: 32.43

It was a fast ride home, considering my bike. It certainly beat my best time with St. Joe, which is why I got this bike, and I loaded a book I bought from Borders in my pannier. I have to see if I could upgrade my Sequoia to Tiagra shifters, it really is so natural to shift from the drop position. I could see myself missing it. Anyway, pretty good times overall and I learned to use the granny gears on the way up back home, to keep cadence and maybe keep my avg. speed up. It showered a little bit, but once that ended, I was praying for more since it was like 90 degrees. This heat wave has got to stop.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Schwinn World DLX - my new foul weather bike and low priced tourer

Jes, I sold St. Joe to a deserving rider from Brooklyn who drove all the way to LI in the rain on a Friday night. He had his stolen when he and his girlfriend were riding in Chelsea, and when he saw my ad on Craigslist, he couldn't believe it, it was the exact one that was stolen. I wasn't so sure if he wanted to buy it or check to see if I actually stole it, but once we met, he couldn't be happier. I'm glad he got his bike back and that I had recouped some moolah for the Schwinn.

For those of you who are avid bike tourers, you probably own a LHT, or Trek 520 or Jamis Aurora or Fuji... the list is endless and the price is upwards from $600 to infinity. I haven't the need to tour the world (Yet!) but was excited of maybe getting the chance of putting a tourer in the stable. I was thinking more and more about the Schwinn World Tour DLX.

Schwinn wasn't even an option, but when I saw this exclusive on Performance, it was worth a look. Chromoly frame; Tiagra STI shifters; Continental sport contact tires; PB fenders and racks... I was interested. And then I saw it was on sale and had another 15% off so I could get it for under $600. Guess what happens next.

Some features...

Continental Sport Contact Tires:

Tiagra STI shifters with Tektro bar top levers:

A mounts for 3 water bottle cages!

The bike came before I went on vacation and let me tell you, it was tough to get away. Well not so tough.

I digress... let me continue.

(FPD NWL-326) Pedals with one side clipless and one side TPR insert

Planet Bike Freddy Fenders and rear rack:

Deore RD and Sora FD (RD is not XT... I know, I know, will need to upgrade if ever I do tour the earth!)

Braze-ons/mounts for front rack/lowrider:

And the kicker for you Surly fans... spoke holders. Yeah, they aped the LHT, but would that be so bad??

So, if anything, it's going to be a great foul weather commuter. And if I want to do some touring, I'm prepared to carry some weight. As I mentioned on other posts, the reason I had to let St. Joe go was 1)Old man river needs gears for old man hills 2)Need a long chainstay (the Schwinn has 17.5" chainstay, longer than the Aurora, which isn't too shabby!!) 3) Need a bike that can haul my gear. 4)If I am in trouble with the wifey, I can always haul myself to the nearest campsite without any incident. And 5)If ever I do want to tour the world....

I haven't ridden it yet, but really can't wait for rain now. I didn't want the cage on the pedals, and really couldn't disassemble the pedal, so I might have to cut the plastic cages or get new clipless pedals. Although I like the fact that I could go clipless or platform with this, so I'll have to see.

I'll keep updates on those times I head out on this. Pretty curious to see- it's much heavier than the Sequoia, but it can haul my stuff worry free.

Here are the full specs from the Schwinn website:

Frame: Schwinn N' Gauged Cro-Moly Bio Tuned Touring Geometry.
Fork: N' Gauged Cro-Moly TIG welded Unicrown with Forged dropouts and low-rider mounts
Bottom Bracket: FSA cartridge square taper
Derailleurs: Shimano Deore rear, Sora front
Shifters: Shimano Tiagra STI
Chain: KMC Z9000

Rims: Jalco DT21 double wall alloy with eyelets with 36 holes
Hubs: Shimano MC18 rear, MC12 front
Spokes: 14 gauge stainless steel
Tires: Continental Sport Contact 700x32C

Pedals: FPD NWL-326 with one side clipless and one side TPR insert
Brake Levers: Shimano Tiagra STI with Tektro bar top levers
Handlebar: Road Tuned 6000 series alloy ergonomic drop bar, 26.0mm clamp area
Stem: Alloy road quill
Headset: 1 1/8" Semi cartridge threaded
Grips: Road Tuned Gel tape
Saddle: Bio Tuned with two tone cover

Extras: Planet Bike Freddy Fenders, Planet Bike rear alloy rack, and alloy seat binder

Friday, August 14, 2009

19-A Hello Then Dropped... And then Dropped Again on the Ride Home! But Hey PB of 15.6 avg. and 32.20 trip time!

Success!! Day 19

Weather: 69 deg F. warm, not too humid, a lot headwind
Time I left my house: Yes, LATE!!! 8.15 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:49 am
Distance: 8.19 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.5
Max Speed: 22.9
Time: 33.53 min.

Pre-game: I was up late last night making our Lake George trip video on iMovie which means I was dragging out of bed today. I get like that when I’m on a creative kick. Not to mention this morning H wanted to see the movie “…again and again” so I had to oblige. Anyway, I really hate vacation just for the fact that I know I have to come back to work. Enough whining. I left late, which is why I got in late.

Ride was nice. I didn’t have luck with lights today and nodded to a fellow cyclist who nodded and said morning back when stopped at the RTE 107 light-- he blew me off the line and I tried to keep up, I almost was at pace, but had to keep on my path. I wonder how my speed would be without my extra work baggage. I’m always curious of that—and wonder if I should join a club to ride like a cyclist and not a commuter (or even a light tourer).

I knocked into a hydrant when I had to make a quick emergency detour on the sidewalk (I know) and hit my pannier, checked to see that there was no damage but the ride was funny thereafter. When I got into work I noticed a squeak when I turn my handlebars- don’t know what that is, and am surprised since I just got a tune-up- or maybe that’s normal. Who knows. I’ll have to check with a tech.

UPDATE: The Ride Home
Weather: 82 deg F. warm, not too humid, some lot headwind
Distance: 8.42 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.6
Max Speed: 26.2
Time: 32.20 min.

Left late from work, because it was the week back from hell... anyway, was gaining good time when I hit, guess what intersection, RTE 107 light and another cyclist greeted me. I was feeling stupid and sporty, so I blew HIM off the line. Mind you, this is the uphill killer (at least to me) before I get home. So I'm climbing around 18 mph, and as I hit the down hill, crank it down to 26.2 mph (a record Max speed for moi) and look back and see this guy just coming down, keeping a steady cadence. I'm on the second, much longer climb when I see the shadow of him on my wheel!! So I'm out of the saddle, at this point I've bonked, and go right to let him pass. He says something cordial like:"You were running up that hill!" as he passes me I try to get on his wheel. At this point, we're at the summit now we're down hill and he's still a bike length and then two in front. I'm wondering how this is possible. I stopped and had to turn off, but I realize, I need to join a club to really test myself (see above re: how fast I can really go). I'm so competitive, this haunted me until, well the next day. Yeah, just like a commuter should. Anyway, thank you cyclists for pushing me and making a new PB on my avg and Max times. Damn my legs hurt.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

18-Back From Vacation

Success!! Day 18

Weather: 75 deg F. humid, warm, a bit of headwind
Time I left my house: LATE!!! 8.16 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:49 am
Distance: 8.17 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.8
Max Speed: 23.5
Time: 33.06 min.

Pre-game: Well, it’s been a week and some since I rode because I had a nice relaxing vacation. I’m sure no one’s reading this blog anyway, so nothing was missed, But, for those interested, within the week I had: my Sequoia tuned; my new rain bike- the Schwinn World DLX (review and pics to follow) delivered; my Spin Doctor repair stand (soon to follow) delivered as well. I also took a nice ride (car ride) to Lake George with the family for a few days. It was beautiful. Since my wife and I were there 13 years ago when we were dating, we found it funny to come back married with children. It’s such a family-oriented place. The kids loved it. Especially the 4-year old. He couldn’t get enough of the hotel pool and the Frankenstein monster in front of the museum. The bonus was fireworks over the lake on our last night. Although a couple days on the road had us thinking of getting (yikes) a mini van or an SUV with a third row seat and DVD player as our 4 year old was terribly bored on the way back. When we got home I also found out that one of my beloved filmmakers had died suddenly- John Hughes. I looked for anything on the web when I got back and I found this beautiful story and documentary in progress. I could go on about this, but this is a bike commuters’ blog. I just want to say RIP John Hughes and my condolences to his family. I wish I had a chance to thank you.

Ride was Great, considering the temps. Such a difference after getting tuned- smooth gear shifting and no noise chain (which could be my doing of not lubing it enough). Thanks Mineola Bike for free tune-ups included with my Sequioa purchase! Now that I have a repair stand, I can hopefully learn to tune on my own.

UPDATE: The Ride Home

Weather: 80 deg.F wet, humid and a lot of headwind after the storm
Distance: 8.40miles
Avg. Speed: 13.7
Max Speed: 20.9
Time: 36.46

I really wished I had my Schwinn DLX set…the bike was needed as I rode through some nasty puddles which accounted for the nice back splatter on my rain jacket and ass. I just need to get the computer on it and maybe take of the cages on the pedals. I’m excited to get on it as it’s such a great tourer for the money. I should have a review on it soon, but need some time to get some pics together and then get it up. Regardless, the ride was poor, the wind—coupled with my weak legs (haven’t been riding for over a week, so I’m feeling shaky) had me put some minutes on my time and lowered my avg. speed. Luckily, it wasn’t a downpour, but the rain jacket, although effective for keeping rain off, is like rubber suit that wrestlers/fighters wear to cut water weight. I was drenched underneath.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

17-"...I Wouldn't Want to Sit Next to You!"

Success!! Day 17

Weather: 75 deg F. humid, warm, headwind
Time I left my house: 8.07 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:41 am
Distance: 8.14 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.4
Max Speed: 23.1
Time: 33.54 min.

Pre-game: Had a better day of getting ready, still sort of tired but OK. I looked at the weather and of course, hazy, hot and humid. Already it’s over 70 degrees but the humidity is what gets you. I left again, with my son and wife at the door, waving to me. I really don’t ever want to go to work whenever I see that. I don’t know how people leave, bike or not.

Ride was OK, considering the temps. I hit a lot of greens along the way which explains the shorter trip time. My legs are still sore and I haven’t the strength to go all out on the hills, which makes me think the singlespeed was a bad choice. Maybe good for urban commuting, but out here in the ‘burbs, with hills, I dunno.

Some a__hole commented when I came in (I caught him at a couple lights before the office, and then I saw him in the parking lot, coming in at the same time even with his corvette beating me at the light). “You’re a brave man for riding in today. It's murder out here. I wouldn’t want to sit next to you!” I smiled, took the high road, because I couldn’t be bothered. I guess it’s the way it goes. Looking back, it sort of bothered me for not having a witty retort, I guess I was in the zone from riding or just not on it. I should have said,”Well,you won’t have to, since I’m sitting upstairs in the office and you’re sitting in the basement by the mailroom. BTW, I'm going to be relaxing at home while you're at your second job as security for one of the worst hospitals in Long Island. Take care brotha!” But that would be small and petty.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 85 deg F. hot, humid, headwind
Distance: 8.40 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.8
Max Speed: 24.4
Time: 34.07 min.

It was an OK ride- even if it was so hot and humid. It’s been bad trying to avoid glass shards on the road, sometimes difficult when you’re going at a steady pace. I found a little piece sticking out of my front tire – took it out so hopefully there were no other pieces in there. I’ll have to inspect the wheels after every ride it’s been that bad. No flats yet (knock wood) but will have to take preventative measures, maybe some ‘tuffy’ in the tires.

Monday, July 27, 2009

16-Tired And Hot is No Way to Start a Monday

Success!! Day 16

Weather: 73 deg F. humid, warm, headwind
Time I left my house: LATE! 8.15 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:49 am
Distance: 8.16 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.2
Max Speed: 21.0
Time: 34.27 min.

Pre-game: Of course I had a few things to do before leaving, did I wake up early to do so? Nope. Did I go to sleep late again last night because my wife and I were on the internet looking for places to go on vacation (next year mind you, for our 10 year anniversary…) Yes. Was I exhausted this morning and which explains the time and avg. speed? Yes and Yep. I got to get it together. Maybe because I’m out next week I’m slacking.

Ride was OK, my body was aching – which puts me in a quandary with my Bianchi- I’m at no age to be pedaling a singlespeed up a hill I realized. So I’ve decided to try to sell St. Joe and recoup the money to buy a proper bike for the rain/foul-weather. I’m looking at touring bikes (longer chainstay, steel and wide tires to carry a load as well as MTB gearing for my weak legs). I have to find a place to ship the bike today, which I hope they can do at a reasonable price.

Kind of bummed that the Tour is over, but congrats to Lance for making the podium! I can't wait to see the lineup for Team Radio Shack for 2010.

BTW, I hit over 200 miles today for the Sequoia. 264 miles total. Three months and 264 miles of commuting on bike. Unreal.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 85 deg F. hot, humid and a bit of wind
Distance: 8.41 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.6
Max Speed: 23.8
Time: 34.23 min.

It’s days like these when you wonder why you commute. You push yourself through traffic, through humid, hot air, up a couple of big hills, and you think you’re making some ground. But then you get home, and you realize you’ve done your workout for the day and you haven’t filled up your gas tank in how long and your legs ache (the ‘good’ ache) and you smile.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

15- Sunny and Back on the Specialized Sequioa

Success!! Day 15

Weather: 68 deg F. warm, headwind
Time I left my house: LATE! 8.14 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:47 am
Distance: 8.15 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.6
Max Speed: 21.8
Time: 33.22 min.

Pre-game: Had a few things to take care of before I left, w/r/t the kids, my laundry from yesterday (dang you rain!), and inflating my tires on the Sequoia, which explains the late departure. It was so crazy yesterday coming in from the rain and having to pick up my wife’s car in Bayside (don’t ask) and then driving home and taking care of the kids.

Great ride- except for the fact of leaving late, it was OK.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 80 deg F. hot, humid and a bit of wind
Distance: 8.38 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.0 (whoa!)
Max Speed: 24.0
Time: 33.32 min.

I left late from work due to an unscheduled/informal/after-hours meeting on our website, so I was hammering it to get home. I broke 15 mph avg.!! Crazy. I’m still trying to get home sub-30 minutes. That would be nice. Although, if I do leave late again, reminder to self: CALL THE WIFE. She got into a little fender-bender today and was worried that I got home after 6pm. She didn’t know I left late—speaking of cars and fender benders- damn near dropping a grand for scratch!! I hate autos- pieces of metal that depreciate and have no value. Of course, I’m going to drive tomorrow.

PS- Congrats to the Schleck Bros. today- W for Specialized! (and WTF Contador???!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 14- Bring on the Rain! (Another Day with St. Joe)

Success!! Day 14

Weather: 64 deg F. humid, drizzle to light rain
Time I left my house: late-ish 8.09 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:42 am
Distance: 8.19 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.6
Max Speed: 21.2
Time: 33.47 min.

Pre-game: After flip-flopping my decision (my wife offer to give me a ride) I decided to go out. It wasn’t thunderstorming, which I think will be the deal-breaker for future go-outs, so I just got an extra set of riding clothes in case I got drenched. What kind of bike-commuter would I be if I didn’t go out in the drizzle? Besides, I spent all that money on equipment for this kind of weather.

Good ride-luckily it only started raining once I got within 2 miles of my office. I’m amazed that I increased my average speed on the St. Joe. I wonder if it’s because I wanted to beat the rain??

Like boys scouts’ motto “Be Prepared” everything I bought (equipment-wise) held true: the Planet Bike Cascadia Fenders kept me dry; my Banjo Bros. Panniers kept my work clothes dry; my Performance Bike yellow neon rain jacket did its job as well. My only pet-peeve about the jacket was its lack of breathability, but I guess you lose that if you want to keep from getting wet from the rain. I wonder what it will be like once the temps drop and the wind gets involved?

UPDATE: The ride home

Weather: 69 deg F. raining steadily
Distance: 8.44 miles
Avg. Speed: 13.6
Max Speed: 21.7
Time: 37.26 min.

The rain was coming down- I have to say it's my first trip with this much rain- luckily it wasn't that cold.

Equipment thoughts:

Waterproof vs. Water-resistant Panniers: My Banjo Bros. Panniers had either a leak- which I sort of expected as they are not waterproof-so I'm maybe going to get waterproof panniers for such a ride. I know I should've gotten them to begin with, but then I thought I would never ride in so much rain. Luckily, it was worse riding back than going to work- imagine taking our my wet, work clothes!

Clear Lenses: I saw those the other day when the stage was set in the mountains and it was raining- good idea to have since I was squinting or looking down the whole ride when it was coming down.

Waterproof Helmet cap- for obvious reasons

Shoe covers-My shimano MT shoes were pretty dry considering (compared to my running shoes, that absorb rain like a sponge, and you hear the squish/squish when you're running). But probably something to consider for future rides.

I really hate to say it, but I admit I was missing a geared bike for obvious reasons in that rain- I don't know if I made the right choice (I know, I know!) to go with a singlespeed as my foul-weather bike. I know it's easier to maintain, but after Monday's horrible ride and today's rain, I may have to rethink this as a rain bike and look for some gears. We'll see.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 13-Why You Always Pay in Dividends After a Day of BBQ and Drinking

Success!! Day 13

Weather: 69 deg F. humid, warm,
Time I left my house: late-ish 8.10 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:45 am
Distance: 8.19 miles
Avg. Speed: 13.9
Max Speed: 23.7
Time: 35.10 min.

Pre-game: Had a little BBQ yesterday-coupled with the cleaning, de-cluttering, hosting, BBQ’ing and drinking, I’m worn out to ride. But I got out earlier than I was expecting which was good.

Good ride-no headwind but I was just tired. It was still a nice ride in…I don’t consider it one of my best times, but I’m amazed I got in like I did. I assume I'll be dragging my tuches around all day- what's worse, I have to walk to the bank to deposit a check in this nice humid, 80 degree day. Yess!

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 79 deg F. warm
Distance: 8.39 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.1
Max Speed: 24.3
Time: 35.45 min.

Nice ride back-still don't hurtin' and don't have the legs to do the Service Road hills at the end, but I have to say I tried to get back in a good time. Never ever ever again...(well, yes, we know!)