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Daily Archives: May 16, 2014

Time to Shake Things Up…

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.

Cycling 410: Why Cyclists Have Sideburns

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.