I registered for a ride on Sunday on a whim, called the Fahrrad Tour in Frankenmuth, Mi. It’s “only” a 100k so that’s not exactly shaking anything up. What’s new is the “who” that I’ll be riding with. It’s considered a racing tune up ride so I’ll be riding with the big dogs. Daddy’s stepping off the porch.
Generally speaking, it’s historically a windy ride but according to the weather channel, we’re finally going to get a breeze break so we’ll get a good draft out of it at least. Also, and this can be a good or a bad thing, it’s a pancake flat circuit. The roads won’t be closed so I’ve been told to expect speeds to be “relatively tame” at around 25 mph (40 km/h), until they kick it in gear for the last 20k or so. “Kick it in gear” will translate to averages around 22-23 mph (35km/h) for the first 50 miles and somewhere near 27 (43 km/h) for the last twelve miles.
Generally speaking, that kind of speed has proven to be a little bit over my head unless we have a huge group and I can tuck in about half-way back and hide. I did that last year for the Assenmacher 100 and we did the first 58 at just shy of a 23 mph average (37 km/h), but when I say “hide”, I mean it. I didn’t take a pull up front after the sixth mile.
Sunday’s ride will be a different story. Because it’s a short ride, I’ll take a few pulls early, then hide for a bit to recover, but that last half, I’m going to give it hell and if I burn out, so be it. Funny how 62-1/2 miles, after a few year’s worth of 100 mile rides can be referred to as “short” or “only”. That is how it goes though.
Fortunately I’ve had a lot of rest this week. We’ve had rain every day since Monday – it’s been nasty so I was off Monday and Tuesday, got 22 in on Wednesday and I was off yesterday. The Mrs. and I will be going out for an easy 25 mile ride today and I’ll do something easy tomorrow (25-35) so my legs will be spun up but relatively fresh for Sunday.
I’ll be sure to post something about it Sunday afternoon or Monday morning.
Bradley Wiggins probably has the most famous sideburns of any modern cyclist, he’s a ginger version of a 1970’s Elvis. In fact, I actually read a report that he’d shaved off his prized ham hocks so he could be a little less recognizable.
That said, I have some pretty mean sideburns as well, though I was sporting them before I ever shopped for my first bike. My wife likes them. So for two years I cycled with sideburns before I learned they give me a distinct advantage over other cyclists. Seriously. The All Seasons Cyclist wrote a review for a very odd looking product that made everything make sense.
Sideburns disrupt the air that flows over the ear so I don’t experience quite the same wind noise as a clean shaven fellow. In other words, I can hear traffic better, even in high winds. In fact, the science is sound – Cat Ears came up with a faux sideburn that the facial hair challenged can Velcro onto your helmet’s strap in front of your ear. So how well do sideburns work? I can hear a car behind me before my wife can see it in her bar-end rearview mirror. And she can see it in the mirror before she hears it. This isn’t without its flaws in the new hybrid/electric car era but I can still hear a Chevy Volt coming up behind me.
Now, the question will arise, “how bushy do they have to be”? Well, I may have long sideburns (ear length) but when I get my hair cut, I don’t mess around. I’m not quite high and tight but clippers are involved. When I’m sporting a new cut, and my sideburns get cut the same length as my dome, I can definitely tell the difference, I lose a few hundred yards. On the other hand, they don’t have to be Elvis bushy either, not by a long shot. I’d say that when the hair is 1/2″ to 3/4″ long, that’s just long enough to work well.
So that’s why some cyclists have sideburns: They can hear better. Seriously.
Elisariva added that she’s got Cat Ears, and they work… And it’s a small world – she won the pair that the All Seasons Cyclist gave away in the review I linked above.