Monday, November 8, 2010

Spare me the .....

After taking nearly 2 weeks off to rest, I had a rather weak ride last Wednesday. There was only one short stretch where I felt my legs were under me. I would have been really disappointed, except I have noticed that while my 1st ride back is typically weak, my 2nd is typically epic.

Friday's ride was no exception. In fact, except for the ride I did hopped up on Claritin in April, the average power in watts set a new PB at 257 for the entire 1:45 minute ride. Sans the warm-up leg to Sunrise via Bannister Pk, average HR was 145 - so ~ 1:30 minutes at LT.

I was a bit late thinking to lean into it on the Beals Pt climb, but still got within 15 seconds of my PB. In short, it was an epic ride from start to finish and my legs felt like thunder and answered every call. AWESOME!!!

I met a guy up at Beals, Jean Claude, who is from the Virgin Islands. That, of course, got us to talking about Tim Duncan, power forward for the San Antonio Spurs, the most dominant forward in the NBA for most of the last 10 years. He's also from the Virgin Islands, and only started playing basketball because a hurricane destroyed the swimming pool he used to train in.

It turns out, Jean Claude used to swim in that same pool, and is now very interested in getting into cycling to get his cardio mo-jo back. A really refreshing conversation, and he was all smiles that someone knew where he was from, and something about his homeland. I am hoping he shows up at as I promised him I'd lend him my freshly rebuilt steel steed if he wants to go riding together. Before I shoved off I fixed the brakes on his daughter's bike. Simple, for an old mechanic like me, but greatly appreciated nevertheless.

It's such a great feeling to make someone feel - welcome!


I got a killer deal on some new Sidi shoes from Competitive Cyclist (great size selection too)  As a bonus, I got a 20% off coupon for any clothing item, which I am going to apply to a water-resistant rain shell. Nice!

I'm not riding with them yet, because I forgot they don't come with cleats - pedals come with cleats. Duh! It does, once again, bring up the importance of having spares for the many, many things required to ride your usual ride.

I found the Shimano cleats I needed at Amazon, which not only had the best price, but free shipping. I also ordered a spare Garmin mount for my Edge 305, as those have a bad reputation - one well-deserved in my experience - for having the retaining clip break off at the tab, making it impossible to remove the unit from its mount without an ice-pick or small screwdriver.

I also picked up a spare Vredestein Fortezza rear tire for my spare rear wheel, on sale at Performance Bike Shop for  $29 (front wheels almost never fail, and if you ride very long you'll find yourself slowly collecting extra front wheels as you tend to buy wheels in sets, and the front one always outlasts the rear one - more on this tomorrow), and a half-dozen spare tubes as I was down to my last spare. You should always have 3 tubes on hand - 2 in your bag when riding in winter, and one at home.

I say in winter for two reasons. First, because while you can stop and wait for help, doing so for very long invites hypothermia - a serious threat in winter (always carry a SpaceBlanket in winter). Second, because when roads get wet in winter, tires get wet, and that attaches very sharp sand pebbles to tires which burrow their way through the tire and pop it. On wet days the race mechanics at the TDF replace the team's tires after a single day. Better bring a pump instead of a CO2 cartridge too, as I have found glueless patches VERY unreliable.

TMMV, depending on where you are, how much you ride alone, the length of your rides, and how tolerant of mechanicals your club members are, but certainly, at least at home, a spare set of brake pads, cables, 10ft of cable housing, 2 extra boxes of handlebar tape, a half dozen spokes of the correct length, at least 1 spare tire, 1 spare roll of Velox rim tape, a dozen or so spoke nipples, elastic HR monitor strap, oh, and shoes.

In general do an inventory of what you put on and depend on when rolling out the door, and buy spares for those. More spares if you call around and your LBS doesn't carry them - the the Garmin mounts. Oh, that reminds me, when I get the rain gear from Competitive Cyclist, I need to get a spare ratchet and strap for the shoes. Those are NEVER in stock at your LBS. Buying spares ahead of time, on sale, can save you a lot of grief and money.


Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Funny that you post about knowing what gear you need and having spares. Scott and I just did an inventory before Austin and since we returned we set up a entire section in our garage with plastic boxes so that we can see what we have and what we need.

Full price on anything SUCKS!

Grey Beard said...

Excellent! I love the clear plastic boxes too, as you can see into them much easier than trying to guess from a label that always seems to be hidden.

I have also found it better to never waste anything, even old spokes, nipples, screws, bits of straps with Velcro on them, and even good packaging.

There are just too many times that you end up needing something you just threw away, and some of the small bits just can't be bought.

EG: The hard plastic container my Michelin Pro3 Race tires come in, taped around a chainstay on a mtb is absolutely bombproof!