We’ve all had it happen, for one reason or another; you’re out on a ride and you drop your chain. You try to slow pedal shift out of the problem but it won’t work so you hop off and replace your chain. Triumphant you jump back on to your bike and pedal away, only to realize that you failed wipe all of the chain lube off on your black shorts – and now you’ve got said lube on your white bar tape…
The best bar tape cleaner I’ve found is a little dishwashing liquid worked into a damp cloth, but how to avoid the problem altogether?
Carry a wet-nap napkin or two in your repair kit.
I laughed out loud when I bumped into the tip…
UPDATE: iswimbikerunstrong added this in the comments:
“I carry a couple of latex medical procedure gloves in my repair kit. Nice if you have to take off the rear wheel or muck around with the chain. Easy. No clean up and they weigh nothing and can’t dry out like the wet nap packs”. Awesome.
When someone comments on how much you ride, the correct response is:
“Well, I certainly won’t die of a heart attack… It’ll be a Buick up my @$$”.
Thanks Matt, I get a chuckle every time you say that.
I’ve had an ongoing conversation with the owner of my local bike shop, Matt, in which we talk about how I can get faster. A 20 mph average is pretty good, above average even, but I do have somewhat of a desire to bump that up a little bit – maybe 22 mph, with no draft. Matt’s question, of course, is at what cost.
Do I want to sacrifice normal riding time for intervals and heavy workouts?
Do I want to actually take days off from riding for proper muscle recovery?
Will I be happier riding with the big dogs than I am now, after making those sacrifices?
Those are the questions. The answer to the first two are no’s and to the third is probably not. So far I’ve been content with simply trying to ride faster and let any improvements come naturally. The problem is that I’m at my upper level of natural ability – I simply can’t get any faster without putting in some proper training. Matt recommended something I can get behind – Long Steady (not Slow) Distance, and to enjoy myself. Now my definition of Long Steady Distance is probably different from many. Saturday’s ride at 50 miles was long by my standards, and it was definitely steady, though it was pretty fast, considering the distance (19.2 – no wind for the first half, and a headwind/cross headwind as the day progressed – and I got stopped a lot) and I surprisingly still had some gas left when I pulled into the driveway.
Last night’s ride really did a lot to help me come to a decision, at least for now. Here’s how it breaks down:
I’ve exceeded every fitness goal I had last year, by an order of magnitude and I’m so much farther ahead than two years ago that the two “me’s” can’t even be fairly compared. My health has improved more than I thought possible, and I was quite healthy to begin with. My weight and body fat are better than I’d ever hoped for when I set out, ten years ago, to simply keep from getting fat.
The most important fact happens to be that, when I stay in my zone, I’m happy. In all reality, I’ve been contemplating the wrong questions.
The right question is am I good enough for government work?
Yes I am, and it’s time to enjoy the fruits of the effort for a while.
At least until next week when I’ll decide I was nuts. 😀
Before going out for my Tuesday night group ride I set Mrs. BgddyJim up on the Cannondale and ran her through the clip-less pedal tips – unclip with the dominant foot up, unclip before you need to, etc. etc. After the tip session, we went out on a short training run before her friend showed up for their 45 minute ride and she picked it up like a champ. I was beaming with joy, though I don’t think she saw it. I can’t wait for the summer rides up to the coffee shop.
After they got back (no scrapes or bruises) I headed out for my ride and had a blast! I got to speak with one of the guys who lives close to my place and he gave me a great new route to check out with better roads, wide shoulders and less traffic – you can’t beat that. After warming up we got organized and I decided to start out near the back to try a different strategy. Unfortunately the group was huge, 40+, and split in the first mile because of a pounding cross-headwind. I tried my damnedest to bridge the gap but just before I caught them I backed off. I thought to myself, “self, why are you doing this to yourself”? And I couldn’t come up with a good answer. I knew what was coming, I’d be gassed when I caught them, then I’d have to bust my butt to hang on, only to get dropped at some point down the road to fight that ridiculous wind on my own… Not tonight. I fell back a little bit and caught on with a guy that I’d passed just 30 seconds prior. We cruised and took turns pulling, and then something unexpected happened – we started picking guys up who had fallen off the back of the lead group. Before long we had four guys and a strong tri-girl in an echelon cruising down the road at 20-23 mph. We rode like that for miles. I was taking mile long pulls and feeling AWESOME. Alas, I messed up in the end and dropped three of the guys on the way up a huge hill (my hill workouts are paying off to look at the bright side) – and I didn’t drop them by a little, they were back far enough that I couldn’t see them when I took a glance back… Just one kid managed to hang on.
The interesting point to dropping those guys, I didn’t mean to do it. When I’m pulling I keep getting this nagging thought that one of the committee members in my melon keeps throwing at me – that I’m going to slow for everybody and that I don’t want to be the guy to hold them up… I just pushed too hard and I was really bummed that I dropped them. One of the guys, Phil was the guy that helped pull me in on my first ride with the group.
In any event, the kid and I rode the last eight or ten miles together and we picked up one more who had taken the short cut to round out a spectacularly fun ride. 33 miles in 1 hr. 40 minutes, 19.3 mph – and in that wind, that was moving’!