Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dead Weels A'rollin

I went out the door for a quick ride Thursday, noticing at the last moment how little time I had left before sundown. Intending to head off to Beal's Point, my bike kind of went right instead of left at the Sunrise 'Y' , so I ended up heading downstream to William Pond Park. It was a nice day with a 5-7 mph headwind and I picked up a trailer somewhere around Hagen Park.

I felt slow and sluggish, so when he passed me I let him go a bit and then realized he'd pretty much spent himself getting around me, so I bridged up and rode his wheel for awhile. We ended up riding up over the WBP bridge side by side carrying on a nice conversation.

I was feeling a lot better by then - all the rust was falling off and I had some snap in my legs - so I decided to head downstream to CSUS. Doug bailed about a mile down from WBP, but I put in a plug for HammerinWheels and hope to see him again on a club ride.

I picked up the pace, hunkered down in the aeorbars, and tried hard to slice through the the wind while keeping the sweat from dripping off the tip of my helmet and spattering all over my glasses. I was blowing hard as I rode up the long ramp to the Guy West Bridge at CSUS. Amazing how much of a lather I can work up in 60 degree weather at 20 mph.

Eager to trade in the headwind for a tailwind, I hit the Garmin's lap button and pushed off 5 minutes later. I set a pretty solid 22-23mph pace and passed a half-dozen riders along the way. As usual, I got no challenges along this section, so I had to focus on my Garmin and kept pushing myself till my HR monitor would alarm and then back off after a minute or two.

After passing a fast commuter with rear panniers filled, I put on a sprint to keep him off my wheel. No point pulling the kitchen sink. Just as my HR alarm settled back down I ran up onto the back of the mythical Park Ranger SUV (it exists, really, I swear!) doing a very proper 15 mph - the legal speed limit on the ARPT.

If anybody actually observed that speed limit the bike trail wouldn't be much use to anyone, but there he was, stuck in my face anyway. I should have peeled off the trail for surface streets at the edge of the WBP park, or at least hit the lap button, but as it was I ended up crawling along behind him and ruined my average.

Once home I found I had spent about 50% of the ride in Zone 5 - low Zone 5, fortunately. I often ride the hardest going downhill or with the wind at my back. Speed begets speed.

Last night I was cleaning and prepping my bike for a ride tomorrow from Auburn to Foresthill - a nice climbing route - and decided to finally Scotchbrite my rear wheel's braking surface clean to get the undulation out of the rear brake. I was shocked to discover a spoke breaking out through the rim, splitting it in the process.

This is not a welcome expense, with winter clothes and Christmas to budget for, but at least I didn't end up sprawled all over the road coming down a 10% grade at 50 mph. Besides, I have a zero-guilt reason now to finally put some good wheels on the bike. They have always been the weak link on my Roubaix.

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