Our first big ride of the year was Friday. Nothing too ridiculous, 36 miles, but that’ll go a long way to knocking the rust off… and it’ll definitely let you know how diligent you were with the training over the winter.
If this is an indicator, it’s going to be a good year for me. Mrs. Bgddy too.
My friends spent my first four years of my cycling taking a lot of time up front, pulling me around various courses. Two three years ago I started doing my fair share. Last year I started paying that back. Well let’s just say I’m excited to continue on that path, doing more than my fair share this year. It was a productive winter for me.
Saturday was 20 on the mountain bikes and back roads with Mrs. Bgddy in perfect weather! A little windy, yes, but 63 sunny degrees. It was my first ride in months without tights. In fact, it was so nice we actually pulled off our arm warmers within a mile. Glorious.
Then came Sunday.
Sunday’s group was awesome – fourteen there, plus Mike, who took the picture. It was beautiful. A little on the chilly side (I think it was 45 when we rolled out but it made it up to 55 before we were done). We quickly worked up to 21 mph and pretty much kept it there for the first half of the “into the wind” part of the ride. There was an upside and a downside to that, though. The upside was that four bikes back, it was fairly easy going. The downside was that there were more than a few guys hiding at the back. I settled, early on, to stay in the front rotation and just take quick turns up front so I didn’t burn myself up too soon and I didn’t have to mess around with the fracas at the back, with five guys trying like hell not to go to the front (it’s always a little choppier when you have a quarter of the group trying to hide at the back).
Twice I had no choice – I had to get to the back for a rest. I’d tried to spend too much time at the front. I don’t know if this is just me, but I feel there’s a time where I feel I should go to the back and rest. If I push through that though, I can last quite a bit longer before I actually have to head back for a rest. This could, of course, just be middle of the season phenomena, I don’t know. Either way, it didn’t work on Sunday.
Once we started heading back with a decent the pace really picked up. With a crosswind we managed to keep it around 23 but with the tailwind we were often up to 25 or 26 mph and there were a few times when it got ugly for me. I almost thought I didn’t have enough… and then Greg headed for home and the pace moderated a little.
Before I knew it we were on the home stretch. I didn’t bother sprinting for the last sign, I’d had enough. I was done. We rolled into the parking lot with 37-1/2 miles and a 21 mph average. An awesome way to start the season.
Of course, I wasn’t done… When I got home, Mrs. Bgddy asked me to go back out with her so she could get a ride in. I put in another 16-1/2 miles but those were markedly slower. It took us a whole hour to get those done, and I needed every second. I ended up with a little over 110 miles for Friday, Saturday and Sunday and 164 total miles for the week.
More Meat Mondays? – http://wp.me/p5bA4U-sQ
I’ll have a Brontosaurus Burger, with a side of free-range chicken fries and a grass-fed, medium-rare side of porterhouse!!!
Let me get that to go. I’ve got about 184 miles to put in before I can actually afford to eat that….
I’ve got an hour and ten minutes before our first big group ride of the new year.
An hour and nine minutes…
All of my gear is laid out and waiting. 28 minutes till I’m dressed and out the door. An hour and eight minutes till we ride.
I’m giddy. Maybe I should change now. Meh, no sense in that.
An hour and seven minutes.
My buddy Mike just texted me, he hates the waiting too. I chuckled when the text came across.
An hour and six…
This is why I ride a bike. It’s barely 40 degrees out and I don’t care. I can’t wait to ride.
I’ve gotta be one of the luckiest people on the planet. A wife who loves me, good kids, a good, clean, happy life…
And a bike and some friends.
I’ve gotta pick up some noodle salad for dinner. It’s one of those “good times and noodle salad” kind of days.
Now ask me, seriously, why I don’t choose the couch.
One hour and one minute…
Screw it, I’m getting ready. I’ll show up early. WOOHOO! Ridin’, baby!
UPDATE: 37-1/2 miles 21 mph average, on the nose. My buddy Mike and I did a mile into town before the ride, just lollygagging around so I don’t have the official time. We did 38.6 miles in 1:55:42 so our average with the extra was 20.0. An awesome first ride of the year!
And I’m going back out with Mrs. Bgddy! Woohoo!
Yes, most decidedly slower. I hurt now. Night, night.
I love me a cool bike. Mountain, road, cross… it doesn’t matter, they’re all good – except those big-box mishmash 40 lb dealios that rust on the way home from the store.
The other day I was picking up some over-shoes (aka booties, foot covers, etc.) at the bike shop, for me, and $70 worth of matching cycling gloves for my daughter and my wife. A very excited woman was picking out accessories for her new Trek. After the car carrier and lock, she asked about a kickstand.
I actually, really did cringe. I looked at her and said, “Yeah, we don’t put kickstands on bikes.”
I know, dude. I know.
She replied, “Yeah, but I don’t want to lay it on the ground”…. and that’s when they wheeled out the brand new leisure bike and it all clicked.
“Yep, put a kickstand on it”, I replied.
I have a confession to make: I put a kickstand on my 3700 when I bought it from a buddy of mine and the mechanic at the shop said the same thing to me. Humorously, I gave the same reason for wanting the kickstand. Hey, I didn’t know any better.
For those who don’t know any better, I thought I would take a moment to show what can be done in lieu of a kickstand… because you don’t put a kickstand on a real bike. That’s a period at the end of that last sentence. I went through photos used in my blog posts over the last four years that illustrate what we do in lieu of the landing gear, in ways that won’t muck up the paint or dirty the steed:
The Standard Lean (Points of contact: rear wheel, saddle, handlebar end):
Possibly the most stable of the leaning methods, this has three points of contact and none are on painted surfaces. Getting the lean, so all three points make contact with the wall, takes a little practice, but your bike isn’t going anywhere.
The Leaner In the Rear (point of contact: rear wheel)
This is a fine balancing act, but as you can see, you can fit a lot of bikes along a minimal stretch of wall just by backing the bike up to a wall at an angle and leaning the rear wheel, slightly, onto the wall. Not recommended in windy conditions. You will look like the cyclist you are when you employ this strategy successfully. Don’t mess it up.
The Saddlehanger Lean (point of contact: saddle)
The Saddlehanger lean is fairly stable, depending upon the amount of lean one puts into it. More is better, to an extent. Too much of a good thing is bad. Not enough lean and you might as well just skip to the end and throw your bike on the ground.
The Break Your Bike Lean (point of contact: handlebar)
The handlebar lean is mainly for photography purposes and should never be employed hastily. This method requires exceptional balance and careful calculation. No wind conditions only and this should not be used in the presence of other cyclists who will knock your bike over.
The Saddle and Pedal (points of contact: saddle, pedal)
This is my favorite for leaning my bike just off of my front porch. Almost, seemingly in defiance of physics and gravity, the bike wants to roll backward. To stop this, wheel the pedal that will rest on the pedestal upwards… Zoom in and you can see the pedal holding the bike from rolling back.
The Bike Shop Special (points of contact: saddle, handlebar)
This is an excellently stable manner of leaning a bike.
The Dubya (Wheel Well Wedge) (points of contact: rear wheel of bike on the tire and wheel well of the vehicle)
Do not force this lest you bend your wheel. This is a delicate balancing act but is exceptionally stable. Also, try not to forget your bike is there when you have to get back in the car to retrieve your helmet. That you forgot. Forgot being the operative word there.
The Stick (point of contact: rear quick release skewer)
The stick is very unstable. Used only in low to no wind situations for photography. A piece of wire (12 ga or better) works better, but who has 12 ga wire laying around? Sticks are everywhere.
A Little Help from My Friend (points of contact: handlebars (bar tape [!]) and seat posts
This one I did in the bike room because I ran out of daylight. Also, I did this myself but two people make this considerably easier to not mess up. This one is used when other leaning options are exhausted or you want to look like you’re brilliant while others, out of options, lay their bikes on the ground getting dirt and grit stuck in parts that don’t do well with dirt and grit stuck in them. My favorite is the drivetrain in the dirt. Brilliant.
Take Him to the Bridge (points of contact: rear wheel, handlebar… and possibly Justin Timberlake)
This is a precarious position for a bike costing several Thousand Dollars. Use with care.
The Seat Post Lean (point of contact: duh.)
This method of leaning the bike should only be employed on a leather couch so as to preserve the paint job on the bike. Period. Notice the cocking of the front wheel to add stability.
On the Fence (points of contact: rear wheel, handlebar)
The Armrest (points of contact: Jens Voight, top tube
If you happen to have a spare Jensie laying around, this’ll work in a pinch. Just make sure and bring a fair amount of rope so you can lasso his seat post while you’re riding.
My friends, God willing, kickstands will never be cool, for a variety of reasons, not just snobbery. That said, the illustrations above are more than enough you’ll never run into a spot where you need one. I haven’t.
Don’t defile your bike. Kickstands are for kids… who, rather ironically, will lay their steed on the ground getting dirt and grit ground into parts that don’t do well having dirt and grit ground in them… before bothering to flick it down.
This has been a public service announcement from Fit Recovery.
UPDATE: One reader who commented mistook my being a bike snob for being an @$$hole. Please don’t. I am a bike snob, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, but I am not an @$$hole. It’s all good-natured fun.
UPDATE II: Biking to Work offered the pedal park, a nice one, here. I don’t use that one on the Venge because; carbon fiber crank set. That notwithstanding, it’ll definitely work in a pinch.
This beautiful Friday will be the beginning of a rare great week in February. I can’t ever remember having a decent cycling weekend this early in the season. We’ve got 30 miles on tap for today, and undecided amount tomorrow and another 37 on tap for Sunday. In total I should end up between 90 and 100 miles on the weekend.
While this isn’t perfect for April, it’s unprecedented for February. Under normal circumstances we can’t hope for weather like this until the middle of March. It won’t last, of course, but we’re going to make hay while the sun is shining.
This leads me to an important point, my friends. Many people, myself included, start out as solo cyclists. We often figure there’s no way we can hope for people who will be able to bend to our schedule so we don’t bother getting involved. If you’re like me, you figure riding alone is fun enough anyway – and it most definitely is.
Even if riding alone is enough for you, try to find a group to ride with. Please. Social cycling is simply better, if one can find the right group. While cycling solo may be a touch more convenient, cycling with friends one can enjoy the experience with other likeminded enthusiasts – and this is what I failed to grasp as a solo cyclist.
I was invited to ride with a group over a period of six or nine months and I put it off because I thought I was having as much fun as I could possibly have. After a short time I decided that I’d give the group a try but I wanted to improve my skills first, so I could get into the group safely. I can still remember my first club ride and the exhilaration of riding with a large group. I rode alone five or six days a week and once with the club for almost a full season. I got to know people, slowly. At some point I met enough of the right people and that’s when things really changed for the better; That’s when the weekend invites started. Before long I was riding with friends three days a week and solo three days.
After some time with those friends I bought a great bike for my wife and she got into cycling. That was essentially the end of my solo cycling days. I rode alone last year, maybe a couple of dozen times and surprisingly, I missed the company on all but one or two. Solo cycling has become my backup plan – it’s better than not riding.
My friends, if you’re thinking riding alone is as good as it gets, try putting the effort into finding a group. Meet some people at the local club ride, get to know them, and take a few road trips. Only when you’re sitting around a dinner table after a great day on the bike, laughing about the little intricacies of the ride, will you be able to grasp just how much better cycling with friends is.
I started writing this blog, not this post, the collection of my posts, with a purpose; To share what I’ve learned in recovery with those not fortunate enough to have “a program” as well as share my experience with those who do.
I’ve written a lot more about cycling than initially intended but that’s only because cycling is awesome and the sport makes my recovery more enjoyable.
Thus far I’ve received exactly nothing for my effort, and that has always been the idea. We don’t sell recovery, we give it away. Free of charge. A bunch of people gave me a new outlook, a good, happy, wonderful outlook on life so I’m simply doing my part to make sure others get the same, if they’re willing to work for it.
It turns out I’m not a very good sponsor, mainly because I expect people to work for their recovery as I did. Not exactly skirt-blowing news (most people prefer the “osmosis method” which typically has poor results). I have, in the process, been able to reach more people that I ever could attending meetings. I’ve gotten several “this post changed my life” comments and that’s what has kept me going. That’s all this blog has ever been about (again, the collection, not the post).
As cycling goes, I’ve never sought out ambassadorships, free stuff or sponsorship. I don’t even race competitively. I’m too busy having fun and being happy. That’s what sobriety is all about… Good, clean living in lieu of bad choices, sickness, dependence and mayhem.
I did end up with a cool bike though, but even that has ties back to recovery. My bike is the biggest thing I’ve ever paid cash for:
32 One Hundred Dollar Bills laid on the counter. My wife’s was the next biggest, though I wrote a check for that one, the novelty of the thick stack was done. This is what happens when one chooses the path of recovery. Good decisions tend to lead to good results.
The best I could manage as a drunk was delivering pizzas and living at my parents’ house. I wasn’t very good at delivering pizzas. Today my efforts provide good, high-paying jobs for dozens of families.
Back to writing… I was contacted last week by the publisher of an endurance sport magazine about a post I’d written a short time ago. They want to publish my post, and not only that, I’ll be paid. Not a lot, of course, but dude!
I took my bikes into the office yesterday to work on some better, cleaner pics to go with the article.
I don’t know if my post will become a real, honest to God article yet, but you can be sure that if it does I’ll let you know where it’s published… More, I hope, to come.