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Daily Archives: June 2, 2013

Note to self: No time trials before mountain biking…

I went out mountain biking with my buddy Tim this afternoon after cutting the back forty. Now I like to put in some miles on the weekend but riding with my wife yesterday, I didn’t want to burn her out with too many so we kept that to 30. This morning I got the bright idea that I’d take the Trek out for a test drive to make sure I got my crank assembled properly before the club ride on Tuesday – this way I’d have some time to tinker… So with gusts up to 15 mph I headed out for a short suffer fest, just eight miles – one north, two west, one south then back the way I came – with four stop signs that cannot be run. My first mile was pretty quick with the crosswind but with the wind at my back I really put the hammer down. Even with two stops for traffic signs I was at a 23 mph average after three miles. I started to slow down after four and my average was down to 22 at the end of five. Then I turned I to the wind, put my head down and pushed for all I was worth. I tuckered out about midway through mile six and just held on till I got home and still ended up at 20 mph.

Then I went mountain biking on half dead legs. Now, in my post earlier this morning I wrote that he was going to hurt me… Oh my, I was right. I had all kinds of mechanical problems with the front derailleur so I had to ride the first third with only my middle chain ring. Some of the climbs kicked my butt. We stopped for a second and I monkeyed with it till I could get the small ring and rode the rest with only the bottom seven gears – and I still beat my last time by several minutes, even with a crash (picked the wrong line on a granny gear climb and timed a pedal stroke poorly getting my foot jammed on a root – dead stop, down, that fast).

This gets a bit interesting though because I was pretty much cooked at 8 miles (of 13 total). We were at the end of the easier loop pulling 4:40 minute miles. The second loop is much more technical with sharper climbs and my legs were starting to burn. Each climb hurt, each descent a few seconds of relief. But I didn’t let myself get down, I didn’t let that sinking feeling take hold – I never even got to a mile countdown, never tried to figure out how many minutes I had left to go. I just kept rolling, hard as I could, and then we were done. Freaking cooked. Note to self: No more time trials before mountain biking with Tim. Good God. On the good side I will sleep well tonight.

The weather for the next few days is going to be perfect for cycling so tomorrow will be an easy 16 followed by the club ride on Tuesday. No rest for the wicked weary (see below).

My Cannondale SR400… It’s ALIVE!

My old trusty Cannondale SR400 survives!

My first road bike had gone to my wife, and was to be sold as it’s one size too small for me, when I bought a newer bike for her now that she’s shown an interest in the sport…

Well, as used bikes go, it’s spent the last several months forgotten, relegated to a corner of my garage with an obnoxiously large padded saddle on it, and no pedals. The saddle was a noob-ish mistake. It was my first saddle and I didn’t believe the notion that no padding could be comfortable. $35 down the tube, that thing sucks ass beyond fifteen miles. I found I was spectacularly ignorant when I finally bought a properly sized but thinly padded Specialized Romin saddle for my 5200.

Well, yesterday morning my wife expressed interest in riding with me to the running club for my usual 30 mile ride and I thought about that old, trusty Cannondale sitting there, all lonely, in its corner of the garage. I actually felt bad for the bike that got me hooked on road riding, then did the same for my wife, so I made an executive decision. Bikes are meant to be ridden so I treated it like a pet, with emotions… I went outside and got that bike out if the corner, took the saddle and pedals off of my 5200 (after measuring the saddle height of course – I had set it by feel, not based on a measurement) and put them on that Cannondale and gave her some time in the sun.

There were only a few moments that I really missed my Trek on that ride… With seven instead of nine gears, there’s a bit to be desired for gear selection. Also, damn, there’s a reason the cycling world went to STI shifters long ago. On the other hand, I was able to spend the ride home in the big ring rather than spinning in the middle ring to avoid cross-chaining.

On the other hand, because the frame is so small, in order to get to the right distance for leg travel, the saddle is a good eight inches over the top tube and six over the bar top. In other words, I can get really low and still be quite comfortable. There are problems with the setup though – I’ve got a really long stem to make up for an otherwise short cockpit, the crank arms are too short, things of that nature. But really, for short, easy rides with my wife and for a crappy weather bike, it should do just fine.

So I rode that 30 miles with my lovely wife and a smile on my face. Happy to be sharing the time with my babymama (Elvis sense of the word, not the newer, disrespectful ‘baby’s mother’ version) and to give my old Cannondale a run and her due. When we got back, I decided to hang on to my Cannondale – to get me to the proper number of bikes to own without fear of adding “S” to the equation:

While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

To wrap this post up, I had a big chuckle about a few tiny setup issues that stuck out like a sore thumb within a quarter mile, that I’d completely missed as a completely green noob… First, the left hood was cocked in towards the center of the bike, about 8 mm to a full centimeter! I thought it was good when I gave the bike to my wife. Second, the stem was a millimeter off center – not much but it sure is noticeable now. Such is the transformation from green noob to, well, something a little more knowledgable than a green noob.

Later on today I hit the trails with my buddy Tim – who just picked up a new 2013 carbon Cannondale Scalpel. I’m a stronger overall cyclist than Tim, but his trail experience is light years beyond mine – then match his $3,500 Scalpel against my $400 3700 and this is gonna hurt – but good.