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.