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Monthly Archives: March 2016

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Happy Easter My Friends… Celebrate Enjoyably. Rubber-side Down.

After our Easter Egg hunt this morning, my wife and I will be spending the morning on the road bikes.  The weather is supposed to be perfect, much warmer than yesterday, and sunny.  Then we’ll head down to my mom’s house for an early dinner party before coming home to chill out and watch a movie before going to bed for a good night’s sleep.

Doesn’t get much better than that.

It’ll be another 200+ mile week in the books.  The weight seems to be burning off nicely and I’m glad to be out on the road again regularly.  I missed it.

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Happy days are here again.

Happy Easter, my friends.  I hope you are able to enjoy the day well.

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What Every Omnivore Needs to Know About Steak…

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Enough said… though I’d extend that to medium well also, but I’m a steak snob so I shouldn’t count.  Technically.

Power Line: The Week in Pictures: Superman vs. Batman Edition. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwtIPb5ik

How Much and How Often to Eat on a Bike Ride…

Eating on a bike ride is highly personal.  It depends on how far, how fast one rides, one’s weight, how much one ate before riding, and how many calories one takes in with powders added into water (my personal favorite is Hammer Perpetuem for long rides).

I have a blog friend who was told you shouldn’t eat anything if the ride isn’t more than four hours long.  This is among the most idiotic advice I’ve ever heard given to another cyclist – unless very specific criteria are met.

First, if I go out for anything more than 25 miles I bring a Gu.  I probably won’t eat it, but I bring it just in case.  More than 33 miles and that Gu is going down the gullet.  More than 35 miles and I’m bringing a Gu and a banana.  Fifty miles and I’m bringing an extra backup Gu just in case.  We did 44 miles earlier today and I was darn near Betty White status at 23 miles.  We took a minute to eat at 25 and I felt infinitely better, almost immediately (banana and a Gu).  The last 19 miles were comfortable and fast.  I pulled into the driveway with a smile on my face.

Here’s the trick, we did that 44 miles in less than 2-1/2 hours.  18.5 mph average in some pretty hefty wind and a lot of it in our face the last half.  Without that fuel, I’d have bonked between 33 and 35 miles.  It’s all in the pace.  If I’m cruising around at 15 miles an hour I don’t need much in terms of food.  I get into that magical “fat burning” Zone 2 and I can go all day.  At 18-20 mph, and above, I need some calories to sustain the effort because I can’t ride that fast in the fat zone.

Now that is where pace and weight dictate what to eat.  What about other calories?  Hammer Perpetuem is calorie rich with all kinds of good stuff to keep one’s effort sustained.  A bottle laced with Perpetuem obviously means less edible calories are required on board. 

NOW, and this is important so pay attention you who happen to be newer to cycling… The tendency is more often for noobs to overeat on the bike. Gu’s, Perpetuem, bananas, sammiches, energy beans (Jelly Belly rocks)… Stinger products, the list is endless, too much is just as bad as too little and means you can’t enjoy that wonderful post-ride lunch or dinner.

In fact, I’ve read posts before written by people who consume two Gu’s for a 5k run or a ten mile bike ride. Now, if you happen to be doing that 5k while doing a handstand or riding that ten miles on a unicycle, then maybe I could see the need for a Gu. Maybe.

We want to find that butter zone where we’re not eating too much but we’re taking in enough to sustain our effort. To find that zone, I like to assume that I want too much but once I start heading down the path to feeling like Betty White, I have to rectify that immediately if not sooner.

So definitely, heading out for a couple of hours on the bike, eat a little bit. You’ll feel better and ride faster.

Ride hard, my friends.

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The Perfect Apres Mountain Bike Breakfast

We went out yesterday for a 21-1/2 mile ride on the mountain bikes. We finished in well under an hour and a half. That’s pretty decent effort on a mountain bike, a 15 mph average. Immediately on finishing, my daughter and I got to work on breakfast – gotta refill that tank…

Cinnamon Sugar sprinkled French Toast Sticks.

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If it’s any consolation, we used some kind of really highfalutin bread… and I did opt for the milk (vitamin D whole organic, of course).  Oh, and the eggs were actually laid at a farm house down the road…

If you’re just a normal person and none of that stuff matters to you, dude those French toast sticks were frickin’ awesome.

Mix some cinnamon and sugar in a container.  Cut the bread into sticks.  Crack a bunch of eggs in a bowl, add a dash or two of half and half, then a dash of vanilla…. whisk throughly.  Dip the sticks in the egg and cook em like regular French toast.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar immediately after they come off the skillet and place the plate in the oven at 170 degrees to keep everything warm till all of the sticks are cooked.  Enjoy dipped in syrup because cinnamon sugar and syrup is awesome.

Not recommended for anyone with a BMI over 24 or those with diabetes, or for anyone who isn’t exceptionally active.

Gotta love the mountain bike food!

On tap for today is our first long ride of the year, 50 miles. We’ll be going back to the French toast sticks when we’re done… but we are adding bacon as a side. The bacon transforms that breakfast into road bike food, just so you know. ūüėÄ

Bicycle Maintenance and Riding by “Feel”: Know Thy Steed(s)

Over the winter I had a new chain put on the Venge.¬† I also took the steering assembly (head set) apart, had it cut down¬†then cleaned it up, lubed it and put the front end back together.¬† I also¬†completely cleaned and lubed every component on the bike that could need it….

Saturday two weeks ago I took the Venge out for a spin with my wife and buddy, Phill.¬† On the way home my saddle didn’t feel right…¬† It was squishy.¬† We stopped by the local bike shop to say hi and I looked at my saddle.¬† This is what I saw:

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No big deal, right?¬† Well, I’m sitting there wondering what would make the leather rip like that…¬† Sure enough:

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I was lucky, the shop had the exact make and model (even year) in stock.¬† I had the new one put on and we were on our way.¬† You’d think with the saddle busted like that, it would be quite flimsy but it’s not.¬† I have to squeeze¬†quite hard just to get it to separate by a few millimeters (as I did in the photo above).¬† It sure felt weird sitting on it though.

A few days later, after going through and making sure every bolt on the bike was properly torqued down, I headed out to the club ride.¬† Now, the ride is fast and requires a little bit of brake from time to time in order to bleed speed to maintain a safe distance in the pace line.¬† So after two hours in the saddle on that bike the other day, on the club ride I noticed¬†a mild pulsation in the front brake when I hit it at high speeds.¬† Even with a mild wobble in the rim (which I don’t have), brakes don’t do that.¬† I knew what the problem was though.¬† The headset was just a smidge loose from when I’d cleaned and lubed it.¬† Not loose enough that the brake test would show it, but the brake applied lightly at 28 mph, it was fairly obvious something wasn’t right.¬† I loosened the stem bolts and tightened the stem cap a little more than an eighth of a turn.¬† Problem solved.¬† Or so I thought.¬† It happened again so last weekend I took apart the whole front end again and found a problem with the way I’d¬†installed the collar that fits into the fork – it was sticking up¬†two millimeters.¬† To get into how I fixed it will be quite long and drawn out and rather unnecessary for this post.¬† Once I realized the mistake I’d made, fixing it and getting the bike back together took ten minutes.¬† Now the front end is solid as a rock again.¬† What’s important is that I didn’t assume that I was being too sensitive and I didn’t ride a bunch of miles like that before looking into it which could have ruined my headset if I’d let it go for too long.

I’ve got some serious miles¬†on both the Venge and the Trek and I know them intimately enough that if anything is a little bit off I can feel it.¬† If the shifting is off, as happens with a lot of miles, I know it. ¬†Also, I know of something doesn’t quite feel right, it probably¬†isn’t. The trick is to trust my instincts. That and know one important rule: If I don’t know, ask.

My dad used to tell me, the trick to driving in the snow is to feel the road with my butt. Cycling is the same idea, feel the bike through my shorts, with my feet and my hands, the contact points.¬† My bikes are well cared for so they should not feel funny in any way…

Last season, my wife and I had just gotten back from a ride and I did her the favor of taking her bike inside.¬† We have a small step-up to our porch and I always let the front wheel lightly¬†hit that step rather than lift the front end up because if anything in the front end is loose, I’ll feel it when the tire hits the step.¬† Sure enough, her headset had some slop in it and I immediately tightened it back up.¬† I mentioned that I’d tightened it later that day and my wife responded by thanking me and adding that something didn’t feel right but she didn’t know what it was.¬† My friends, if you don’t know, ask.

Getting the lingity down when dealing with bikes can be tough, I know this as well as anyone (I wasn’t a noob all that long ago – and to many seasoned cyclists I still am a noob).¬† No doubt it can seem a little daunting going into a bike shop when you know something’s wrong but you can’t quite articulate what it is.¬† Doing nothing is the wrong thing to do.

The right thing is to suck it up and push through it. Eventually your vocabulary will catch up, it just takes a little time and effort…¬† And don’t feel bad if you don’t get all of the lingity down – I’m still corrected on a fairly regular basis at the shop.

A photographical how-to enjoy veggies…

As the miles are cranking up, two weeks in the 190’s, I can finally stop worrying about my diet so damn much.¬† Please keep the fact that I’m a freaking cycling nut as you read on.¬† During cycling season, food is my friend…¬† All of it*… Except broccoli.¬† You brocconazis are frickin’ nuts!¬† I digress.

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This post has to do with the proper way for an endurance cyclist to enjoy carrots.

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Get it so far?¬† Okay, let’s fast forward a bit…

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The proper way to enjoy carrots during cycling season.  Period, end of story.

Oh, btw… Yes, restaurant quality good.

  • ¬†On eating “anything I want”… within reason, my friends – I can eat anything I want, just not “as much of anything” as I want and it helps that I don’t “want” crap food.¬†¬†I’ll never shy away from a burger during cycling season, though there are obviously limits.¬† This all depends on your definition of “anything” and “crap”.

How to Fix a Flat Butt… With a Smile on Your Face.

This post is for moms who have skinny kids with flat butts.¬† I was one of those kids and my mom used to freak out because I was skinny.¬† And I did have a flat butt.¬† Women, I’d assume (because I’m not one but have overheard complaints about having a flat butt) have concerns about this as well.

This can be fixed, easily.  It just takes a some time.

Step 1.  Buy one of these at a local shop:

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*For once, buying the cheaper one (the mountain bike or flat bar hybrid) will work better at fixing something, a flat butt in this case.  Also, you will have to live with something like the bikes in the photos as mine are most definitely not for sale.

Step 2.¬† Buy a helmet and some bike specific clothing.¬† It helps if the stuff matches the bike, and skip the cheap, ugly stuff.¬† If you’re looking for a “good deal” on clothing and helmets, try Nashbar or one of the online markets.¬† End of season sales at local bike shops are pretty good too.

Step 3.  Ride the bicycle.

Step 4.  Rinse and Repeat.

Step 5.  Join a cool cycling club.

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Step 6.  Smile.  Flat butt is a thing of the past.

** Side effects include:¬† A thankful end to chicken legs, good health, happiness, and an overall fantastic feeling.¬† Be careful, feeling good is highly subjective and dangerous to other’s narrative on life.¬† So be happy, but don’t seem too happy, lest you make others feel bad because you feel good.¬† We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

*** Follow local cycling laws and ordinances for cycling.¬† Ignorant cycling is dangerous to one’s health.

UPDATE:¬† Elisariva added below, in the comments section, that genetics can play a role in this.¬† She runs a lot more than I do nowadays and she rides a lot too and she’s not been as fortunate as me.¬† I am befuddled.

UPDATE II:¬† On the other hand, Eckels says I’m right on the money (see the comments section).