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Daily Archives: August 30, 2013

Cycling Perfection – A Little Pain, Lots of Gain.

I’m going to come close to 800 miles for the month, a personal best for me by more than 100 miles. It’s a big deal for me not only because of the number of miles but because of the average speed at which those miles were ridden – just under a 20 mph average! The problem is that I’m tired. Even with taking off a day – or even two a week, I peaked about a week ago and I’m having a tough time keeping that pace up.

Last night I did an easy 17 miles at 18.5 mph… On the Venge it’s so easy to keep the speed up, it felt like a 17 mph effort. It was near 86 degrees and I while I did break a sweat, I wasn’t dripping. It was just a nice ride evening ride and I needed that one bad.

Cycling never ceases to amaze me. I am unabashedly grateful that I picked the sport up and enjoy it so much. No matter how chaotic life gets, an hour on the bike and a decent talk with God and I’m good. I can be in a pretty dark place in my head and by the fifteenth mile I’m all but squared away again.

So I’ve got three hours this morning and I only need 49 miles to make 800. More than enough time and 49 miles is no hill for a mountain climber.

Using A GPS Cycling Tracker For Good…

Just a few posts ago I wrote that I haven’t been relying on my Endomondo tracking app as much as I did in my first two seasons of cycling for motivation.  I did add however, that I still use it for a few things such as keeping track of weekly, monthly and yearly mileage, daily and weekly calorie burn and so on…  I find it helpful to know that last week I had to replace about 9,000 extra calories while the week before, it was closer to 12,000.

A new opportunity presented itself after my ride on Wednesday.  I’ve been taking Monday’s off for months but we also got rained out for the club ride on Tuesday so I ended up with two days off in a row.  Generally speaking this is a good thing so I expected to tear it up when I went out on Wednesday.  I pushed really hard, especially into the wind which was fairly considerable on the way out.  I had about four miles with a crosswind that sucked but I thought I did pretty good through that as well.  Then, four out of the last five miles I had the 10-15 mph wind at my back and had my new Venge up to 28 mph, pedaling quite easy.

Even though I hit about every stop light and had to stop at most of the stop signs I was expecting somewhere between a 20 and 21 mph average – I was shocked to see a 19.1 as the average when I shut Endomondo down.  So, the thinking went like this:  “Okay, I know I put in a 21 mph effort and ended up with a 19 mph result (even considering the wind, I kicked some ass).  Either I got SNAFU’d by the lights and stop signs or the setup on my bike is wrong and I’m working hard but inefficiently (a product of a poor setup).

So Wednesday morning I packed my tools and my bike in the car so I could check my setup in my office (fortunately I know all the tricks and can self-perform any adjustments).

Lo and behold, when I could finally look at the ride data Thursday morning I found that it was indeed the stops (and Endomondo’s slow auto-pause) that was the problem, not my effort or set-up.  With the crosswind I averaged between 22 & 23 mph.  Into the wind I was steady at about 20 and with the wind at my back I was anywhere from 24 to 28 mph.  For me, that’s a damned good effort, just a little shy on results because of a bunch of unavoidable stops.

I still checked the setup anyway just because my initial setup was based on the measurements from my 5200 and I initially made sure the saddle height was right by bracing myself in a doorway to pedal backwards with my heels…  The right way to do it is on a trainer where you can warm up for a second and find that sweet spot with your butt – that’s where you want to measure from.  Well, I checked the fore/aft position of the saddle with a plumb bob (just under the knee cap and the bob should end up over your foot, right smack dab in the middle of the pedal spindle), then the saddle height just to make sure…  My feeling well fitted on the bike over the last couple of rides was confirmed – I can’t get it any closer to perfect.   😀

Without Endomodo, because I have an inferiority complex at times, I’d have been pulling my hair out trying to understand what the hell was going on – when there was nothing going on.