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!!