Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I just got back from a 38 mile ride to Beals Pt, taking the long way home via WBP. It's the first 'long' ride since coming back from a broken collar bone. More miles. Yeah! (I actually feel like I've been dragged down a few miles of country washboard gravel road)

It gave me a chance to try out the new Romin Expert Gel saddle. I traded in the very sleek and light Romin SL, but I needed more padding.. More padding for the private parts. Yeah!

I've also been paying attention to how much the new Forte carbon bars are helping. Sometimes they don't seem to help at all, but other times I think my tires are flat as they damp so much road vibration. More protection for my aching wrists. Yeah!

I sent the paperwork and some $$$ to the Sacramento Bike Hikers, so soon I'll be an official member. More choice of rides. Yeah!

I'm forgetting a 'more' or two, so when I recover from being more blotto I'll come back and add those if I can remember them. More exercise-induced anaerobic brain erasure. Yeah! (I'll sleep in Zone 5 tonight)

Ironic how a post about more has such a minimalist title huh? More Hegelian Dialectic in the universe. Yeah!

There's a Billy Idol song in here somewhere... hummm, Nietzsche keen!

Hey, I get to have some fun once and awhile blogging. It's in the rulebook somewhere. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

OK, I'm done. Really. This time for sure. ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Techie Tuesday - The Hill & The Blow

As anyone whose ever aspired to being a pilot, and taken ground school knows, wind never helps you. It always hurts you. The same is true for gravity. This is why both wind and hills slow you down. Let's look at some examples.

Assume there is a route from point A to point B that takes an hour to ride in calm conditions. Now assume there is enough of a headwind that it takes 1 hr and 59 minutes to get from A to B. How fast would you have to return from B to A to match your total ride time in calm conditions?  Yeah, really, 1 minute! So what if the wind had been just a bit stronger? It would take you longer to get to B than the round trip in calm conditions.

How can this be? The wind is blowing exactly the same speed when helping you as when hurting you, so why does it slow you down so much? The answer is simple. The wind is hurting you for a lot longer than it's helping you, and the stronger it is, the more this is true.

Like wind, the force of gravity is also a constant force applied over time (you can't crank it up or down), but when climbing a hill the force of gravity is hurting you for much longer than it helps. On really steep climbs, 10X as much.

This is also why a steady diet of rollers is so exhausting. You're spending almost all of the ride time fighting against the added force of gravity. Look at a route full of rollers on a Garmin trace, and pick time as the X axis, instead of distance. It looks like a sail pattern, not a series of upside-down Vs.

NASA uses the force of gravity the same way to slingshot satellites around planets. The satellite approaches slowly, so the force of the planet's gravity has a lot of time to pull on it, but when it passes the planet, it is really moving, so it quickly escapes the pull of  gravity.

In all of these cases, it's the TIME the force is applied that is key. Just thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

2011 Amgen Tour of California - The Heat

Minden Airport with Lake Tahoe in background to the West
I've been looking at the first 4 stages of the Amgen Tour, and nothing will be decided in the first 3. The first stage in Tahoe is at about 6,000 ft of elevation, but the next two are downhill and low altitude stages respectively, so if you've been training at altitude, it won't help much because you'll have dumped most of those red blood cells before stage #4 when the going gets tough.

Of course, there is something to be said for the cardio development that comes with high altitude training, but the trade-off is slower recovery in thin air. If you want to keep the advantage of high altitude training I have a couple of suggestions. If you want to train in the coastal range, Patterson is cheap and provides great access to stage #4 climbs.

One, you can stay in Tahoe. Think France. Expensive and snooty. Or you can go over the mountain and stay in Minden, Nevada. Think Greece. Cheap, warm, and inviting. Minden is part of the high desert that forms on the back sides of the California Sierra Mountains, and as such, has heat to rival Phoenix. (hint, runway direction will indicate prevailing wind direction any place on Earth)

The last year we had a winter like this was '05-'06, and our long, cool, wet spring turned into a week of scorching hot 112-117 degrees of heat after a whole 3 days of 'spring'. I'm going to go out on a limb and say, this year, the big surprise of the Amgen Tour will be the intense heat - especially on stage #7, the Queen Stage in the San Gabriel Mountains north of LA - but also climbing Mt Hamilton.

I DNF-ed on Hamilton in 2008 in 100+ degree heat, having burned through 3 24oz bottles and 2 donated bottles from a rider returning on the Canyon Classic's Mt Hamilton ride - an out and back. I finished with ease the next year in cool, cloudy, rainy conditions. The road to Hamilton is very sheltered from wind, the asphalt is stripped of stone and pitch black (hellishly hot in the sun), and is gooey and pulled off the roadbed, forming an asphalt washboard. You should also be very comfortable with cattle grates for this stage.

The official stage description is pretty accurate, although RideWithGPS has the grade a bit higher at 9% on average. (drag the mouse over the bottom ride profile ribbon and you can select any arbitrary segment to zoom in on) This trace was taken in '09 in 1-Second mode with the Garmin Edge 305 mounted on a carbon tube zip-tied to my aerobars. The signal strength reported on every ride by the old Garmin site was always, without exception, 'Excellent'. This is as good as it gets.

The descent from 'The Junction', where Mines Rd meets Del Puerto Canyon Rd (last year's stage #3 took this turn and descent into Patterson) is 1,000 ft, and the road is largely straight, and fast, with good surface. There are some wicked twisting descents where there will be crashes, because the surface prevents adequate braking if you're out of position, so keeping your team at the front, or at the rear might be a good strategy.

As you descend, Hamilton will loom larger and larger, and the pastures on the right side of the road will get greener and greener. There are two lakes right at the bottom of the descent. Remember those. When you pass the 2nd one, you have 5km before the start of the approach climb, and 7km before the main climb. Time to bring the team up front, putting your strongman to work, with the goal of flying past the leaders right at the crest of the approach climb. This will stretch the peleton out and give you some maneuvering room while the road is still straight and wide.

Note that this approach climb is quite steep. If your team has a big, strong rider like Thor Hushovd, or George Hincapie, I'd want him at the front, pulling the team's climbers down the backside and into the initial part of the Hamilton climb. There's an intense switch-back at mile 5.6 on the trace. Don't be out of position there, or expect to get dropped. The pack will probably shatter and fall apart right there, as there isn't much room to cut the corner.

Have your climber out in front and he'll have a good chance to lead the rest of the stage. and perhaps, the race. (Tony would find a lot of fellow countrymen at the Minden Airport, as it has the best glider conditions in the world, and attracts many German glider pilots)

For training, I've put together two training rides, one out of Minden that takes in most of The Death Ride climbs (Kit Carson on hwy 88 is left as an option), and one out of Markleeville (or Picketts Junction, where 89 Ts into 88, has a nice parking lot) that includes Kit Carson Pass, but features the fearsome Sonora Pass climb.

Sonora Pass is signed at 26% grade, and has fantastic views. Once over the west side of Monitor Pass, the approach to Sonora Pass is lots of warm to hot 5,00-6,000 ft fast flat-ish hwy 395. The top of Sonora is 9,624 ft, but it's the tight, twisting, steepness that makes it such a great training route for coastal range routes like Hamilton. We had a lot of snow this year, so it should be scouted to make sure it's open, or check the CalTrans website.

There are some mom and pop stores/gas stations along 395, so you don't really need SAG, but the shoulder is narrow iirc, and truck traffic is plentiful, though courteous. There's a USMC mountain training center just after you leave 395, before Kennedy Meadows, and before the main climb. If the road is open that far, ride down to MiWuk Village, refuel at the general store, turn around and head back.

Ebbetts Pass is also packed with tight, steep turns, has a NE exposure, a nice USFS campground with good water and bathroom facilities, and is a climb similar to Hamilton. If the pass is open, you can go all the way down to Bear Valley ski lodge. Climbing Ebbetts from the west side is part of the Death Ride, and will make a worthy addition to your training.

To all of this year's Amgen Tour competitors, I wish you the very best of luck, and hope you feel a little more at home in our beautiful state after reading this. If more competitors knew about these passes perhaps they would find their way into the race. Cheers!

This is what Hamilton looks like with 500X the power. If this looks fast to you pros, this is how you look to us mortals! :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Time Flying - et al

Lots of things flying this week. Me, the time left to file, and refile, my taxes, time to preview the Amgen Tour of California, and time to install my new Shimano Ultegra 6703 drive-train. The latter looks pretty sweet, but as usual, I will be putting it under a microscope, and I think you'll be surprised by my conclusions.

As for me flying, I went riding with the Sacramento Bike Hikers (aka SBH) on Monday evening, staging out of Gold Country shopping center, for what for them was mostly a bike trail ride. I had about half as many miles getting to and from the start from my front door, and half the climbing, so quality 'animal miles' to and from made for 31 miles.

I paired up with a fellow brick, who, it turns out, I had ridden with before, and blogged about, though anonymously. Larry said he's been off the bike about 3 months too, with family matters taking up all of his time. He's riding a gorgeous blue Orbea, and is every bit the brick I am.

It didn't take long for me to end up in front, and Larry on my wheel. Given he doesn't have aerobars, and his long layoff, he did his fair share heading down to WBP into a 10-12mph wind. We set a good solid, 18.2mph average going down, but decided not to continue down to CSUS for the bonus 10 miles as we were both tired by the time we got to WBP.

I had been passed by a lot of the 7-8 woman group (Larry and I were the token males) because I didn't recognize them, but we managed to reel in all but 'Pam'. (can't remember her name now) She was all smiles while we shot the breeze at the drinking fountain, and waited for the rest of the group to show up. She'd gotten lucky and found a good draft to suck on, answering our question about how she managed to stay ahead of two good bricks.

Turning around for home, Pam took off like a shot, and I after her, while Larry had to close up a gap. With the wind at our backs we were really flying, 21-24mph right along. Pam pulled out and I took up the lead, getting down in the aerobars. I knew I was going too hard, but was LOVING the speed - peaking at 27mph. Huge smile, as I pushed the pace, my HR strap at home, I was enjoying my 'Off The Map' time. Larry stayed with me, but Pam disappeared. (phone call as it turned out)

When Larry took the lead I was struggling to hold his wheel, but after only a mile he was spent too, so we backed it down to 15-17 and waited for Pam to catch up. She never did, but it gave us some time to chat and work on a coordinated strategy for next time we ride together - something like push hard, but when the back guy comes up, ease into the power. The effect should be like intervals with short recovery periods.

My quick and dirty look at the early stages of the Amgen Tour is that stage #4, with the grueling Mt Hamilton climb from the NE side, may very well decide the race, and at least, the race until the queen stage in the San Gabriel Mountains. For those teams looking to base out of Sacramento, Iowa Hill out of Auburn is an excellent preparatory ride, as are hill repeats of Prospector's/Marshall Grade between hwy 49 and Georgetown. The latter can easily be made to take in Salmon Falls Rd, the heart of stage #2. Both are much safer practice areas.

Well, duty calls, so gotta go, but I'm excited to be riding again, and hope Larry and I get to do some more miles together. It would be so nice to have a well-matched riding partner.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bread & Butter Beal's - Tasted Like Caviar

The forecast was hardly credible. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and in the mid-70s, so not very likely to end in the high 50's a few hours later. I guess I'm rusty, as I would normally have taken at least my vest with me, but I didn't even think about it until taking a breather up at Beal's Pt - quickly chilling as black storm clouds blew in at 15-20mph.

I went out the door with a half-dose of Sudafed, betting my sinuses would react to the winds, and maybe my lungs, and taking a little insurance against my throat closing up. A good decision, as I was coughing pretty hard at the drinking fountain at Negro Bar.

I'd pushed hard the first 8 miles, until falling victim to some very confusing signage about which route to take  through the Hazel Ave Bridge construction, but picked up the pace again after, attacking the shallow false-flat going upstream. The wind was at my back on that leg, at least for the most part, with 1ft waves at the back of Lake Natomas. The rowing teams were having a miserable time trying to keep from getting swamped in their crewing sculls. They were all gone upon my return, as the wind kept building.

I had a nice chat with a guy and his pre-school son while catching my breath at Negro Bar. HR was 158, but declining, so while I hydrated and ate a little Powerbar I fished an empty bottle out of the trash so the son could catch some tadpoles. They were from San Diego, up for a wedding, and just out exploring. I could have given the son a pound of gold and he wouldn't have been any happier. I guess we built a memory.

The great thing about the Negro Bar watering hole is you have just enough time to get into your rhythm before you hit the bottom of the climb to Beal's Pt. I could feel the Sudafed pushing me on the base leg of the climb, and knew I should back it off a bit, but it felt really good to be cranking that hard. Really good!

I paid for that the last 500 yards, red-lining at 163 BPM, and still 2 mph below my usual speed. My time was 1:45 off my PB, but I was happy my legs would go that hard, so all good.

I rolled down into the parking lot to the concessions area, gasping for breath, smiling. Bending over the drinking fountain, trying to keep the wind from blowing the stream away, I knew I was in for a tough ride home, so I hydrated well, moved to get out of the wind, and watched the sky grow darker and darker as the chill really started to bite. I was getting cold, so decided to shove off a little earlier than planned, kicking myself for forgetting the vest.

The wind didn't disappoint on the way home, starting with  an unusually slow descent back to Folsom with the wind full in my face, and still building. My shoulder was pretty sore up at Beal's, and I knew I'd need to be as aero as possible going home, so was hoping for the best. The longer I stayed in the arm pads, the better it started to feel. I noticed small changes, like turning my hand so the palm was turned down flat, instead of on edge, made a big difference..

The ride home was pretty uneventful, except for a lot of gear grinding trying to shed the wind and maintain a decent cadence. Again, I had trouble getting the chain to shift cleanly on the cassette and cursed the derailleur. Somewhere between there and home it hit me that it wasn't the derailleur, it was the shifter that was the problem.

I bought my '06 Roubaix at a deep discount with 9-speed gearing, deciding to wear the gearing out, and then replace it with 10-speed gearing. That day has arrived, so I will be out buying an Ultegra 6703 shifter set, cassette, and chain tomorrow, taking advantage of some incredible deals at the grand opening of a new Performance Bike shop in Roseville.

Returning home I was very tired, but also smiling that my first time back to Beal's had gone well. Once inside I realized how cold I was - chilled to the bone. It took a hot shower and a hot soak to finally warm up, and I was pretty stiff and sore yesterday morning, but was happy my cardio hung in there well enough for me to hammer my legs that hard on only the 3rd ride back.

Uploading the Garmin data reported my average power at 258 watts for the 33 miles. Better than expected, and a very good result. Average ride HR was 142, and 148 on the climb, so about 270 watts on the climb vs 300+, but I'll take it!

In short, my bread and butter ride might as well have been caviar. Completing the ride was pure joy, a real confidence builder too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Techie Tuesdays - Tougher Tires

Yeah, say that 3 times fast! :-O

When at Bicycles Plus, reaping my 25% discount on the new Romin SL seat, I thought I'd check out their selection of Continental Tires. I was looking for the Ultra Gatorskins, as I had used those on my mtb as road tires before I got my road bike, and liked them a lot. A few friends who bike to work also like them for their toughness. I found an intriguing new tire that is lighter, and promises to be at least as tough - the Gator Hardshell. This from the mfg...

 After extensive market research, feedback from commuters all over the world showed us that a new type of tyre was in demand. Our Gatorskin race bike tyre had filled a gap for hardcore commuters but they wanted more; MORE casing; MORE breaker; MORE protection...

Taking the Gatorskin as our base, we've added a third Polyamide layer in the sidewall to make a unique 3-ply casing for the Gator Hardshell.

We've also added a wider Poly-X anti puncture breaker belt under the tread which extends down into the shoulder area for wider coverage.

Add this to the Duraskin anti-tear mesh on the outside of the casing and you are presented with a tougher commuter which is also fast and is available in 700x23 up to 28 and 27 x 1 1/4 from January 2010.
It provides a lot of extra protection (at least going by the specs), and weighs only 45 grams more than the GP 4000s - the latest version of this staple road tire featuring Black Chili rubber compound with googlephonic moonrock turbonanontubes.

OK, the GP 4000s looks like a great tire, and for Tri riders the GP4000 700x20 in black with Chili rubber and Vectran at 185gr should be of interest, but I had long training miles and double centuries in mind, so was looking at the weight and suppleness of tougher tires. I am wondering though, why Conti didn't use their top Vectran puncture protection on the Hardshell, instead of Poly-X?

I also checked out the Attack/Force front and rear tire combo. An interesting asymmetric approach where the front tire is 22mm and the rear 24mm, and each case and tread design is tailored to turn and push respectively. With the front tire at 195gr and the rear 205gr, they average 200gr. Again, Chili and Vectran.

Also of interest, Specialized has come out with an Armadillo Elite that weighs only 280gr - much less than the indestructible Armadillo at 405gr. I have refused to consider the latter, as they ride like a lumber wagon. Dead feel, and plodding slow, they are overkill for all but tandems and urban assault bikes. At 280gr, the Elites are about the same weight as the Gator Hardshell..

So, looking at the specs, it looks like to get a LOT of extra protection, you only need to add 40-80gr. Remember this range, as it will star in this show.

Mountain bikers have been migrating to tubeless tires for years now, and for good reason. Those giant inner tubes can weigh as much as 300gr, with more typical weights being 200-250gr. That's a lot of weight just to hold 30psi of pressure, add nothing to the sidewall stiffness, puncture protection, tread, or durability. By using that weight to build a more supple, stronger, tougher tire with better grip, that lasts longer, they make much better use of that weight.

Guess what? Stan's NoTubes, the leader in mtb tubeless systems, has now come out with a line of road wheels and rims, along with Hutchinson Tires (and many more starting this year). At 350gr, the rims are 90gr lighter than the standard bearer, Mavic Open Pros measured (not claimed) weight.

The tires are between 70 and 120gr heavier, but when you subtract 75-125gr for no tube, you can actually be ahead of the game, have a much tougher tire, AND superior road feel. Add the 90gr savings from the ZTR Alpha rims, and you are definitely ahead of the game.

You don't have to build your own wheels either. Stan's is selling handbuilt wheels weighing as little as 1200gr a pair for $1,100.00. I'm not a fan of American Classic hubs, in part, because they posture as being American, when in fact, they are made in Taiwan, but mostly because I don't like the design of the rear hub.

Chris King's gorgeous R45 rear hub - Made in America

I would build on DT Swiss 240 or Chris King's new R45 hubs with low spoke count drillings, and use DT AeroLite spokes to take advantage of these rims. R45s are super light, support radial spoking, are made in Portland, Ore, excellent quality, and great warranty.

I'm a big fan of finding a good local wheel builder, and using him/her for all of your wheels. Mine is Eddy at MadCat Bikes on Marconi. They can tailor wheels to your needs in ways impossible for factory builders. A good wheelbuilder you can communicate with is as valuable as a good dentist. (these flanges are sized to allow building with a single spoke length, saving you money)

In part, this post came about in response to thinking about problems friends are having with equipment riding double Centuries and Brevets. Flats are a serious problem, and Stan's NoTubes Tubeless road wheels are here to stay, and will eventually take the industry by storm. It's about time!

PS: 7/21/2011
It turns out that Michelin makes an asymmetrical tire set for the front and rear that is targeted specifically at long mileage riders. It's called the Pro3 Optimum. I don't want to run a 25mm in front, and they only come in 25mm, but for the back, a tire that is designed to last as long as a 25mm front tire would be fantastic. They are sold separately online, so I think I'll give this a try.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Reincarnated Virgin

The skies kindly cleared here after a solid week of heavy rains, just in time for my 1st week back riding. Aside from a squeaky chain, and badly scuffed seat, I went out the door with the bike in ship shape, and with a lot of anxiety.

It took me forever to get suited up, find my water bottles back, mix my Gatorade, find my jersey, gloves, shorts, socks and do a final fitting on my new helmet. As I was going out the door I realized I didn't have my riding keys or sunglasses, so I had to leave the bike on the stoop and go back for them. 

I just wasn't sure how comfortable I'd be on the bike after 3 months of rehabbing the most painful injury of my life. Beyond that, I have read that many pro riders have problems psychologically recommitting to their sport after a bad crash, so clomping down the stairs in my cleats I was happy it was an epic, gorgeous spring day, with blue skies, puffy clouds, and 80 degree temps.

Hitting the start button on my Garmin I clipped in and rolled down the sidewalk for the driveway and street, shifting into a gear I could actually pedal. The new vibrant red Deda bar tape looked sharp with the new Ghisallo helmet, and red jersey, but more to the point, I hoped it made me visible as a stop sign as I approached the narrow in the road - down to 2 narrow lanes with no shoulder. The 2 SUVs left me 3 ft, but still made me nervous.

The back wheel felt a little greasy, and the bike just a bit twitchy, but at least the legs were working OK, and after a few blocks, my shoulder seemed fine - no pain at all. Unfortunately, the chain, pulled out of storage, was squeaking like I'd left it in the Libyan sun for a year, and generally reinforced my impression that I was c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g along.

About a mile into the ride I noticed my Garmin wasn't giving me a HR reading. It couldn't. I'd forgotten my HR strap! Darned! Still, after so long off the bike, it turned out to be the only thing I'd missed, and that was certainly better than forgetting my helmet or gloves.

The first good downhill is about 3 miles from the house, and I put down some power and dropped into the aerobars. OUCH! The shoulder complained immediately, and with a sharp turn at the bottom of the hill I moved back up to the hoods as quietly as I could. The bike just didn't feel quite right under me.

As I turned through the maze of riverside streets, wending my way towards William Pond Pk I tried the aerobars again, as the headwinds were substantial in places. I stayed down for a few minutes, but my shoulder was complaining, although seemingly a little less with each try.

On the way down to CSUS the wind was generally 5-8 mph in my face, so I kept testing the waters, dropping into the aerobars until my shoulder got angry, and then back to the drops. Slowly things got more comfortable, as muscles and tendons found new ways to support the altered topology of my shoulder.

I was breathing hard by the time I got to CSUS, so I rode up onto Guy West Bridge and took a breather. My glasses were already streaked with sweat, as I had decided against wearing my headband. I spotted a guy with a gorgeous Trek Madone and we had a nice chat until I mentioned I'd given up on low spoke-count wheels in favor of custom built. It was only then I noticed his wheels sported 16 :-O bladed spokes.

He'd gone on about his 'real' bike being a Cervelo' and all the trick carbon bits, and ceramic bearings he'd put on his Madone, and suddenly I was kind of peeved with this RUB - so I decided it would be a badly needed plate of humble pie if I could chase him down.

He took off like a shot, and I encountered some traffic at the bottom of the ramp, so he had a few hundred yards on me by the time I got into the power. Amazing what a good dose of adrenaline will do for performance, and pain suppression. I stayed in the aerobars, and with a few patches of tail-wind, was doing a decent job of redeeming myself.

With each small group of traffic, and each turn into the wind, I closed the gap. I was mentally shaking my head that a guy would ride ridiculously fragile wheels, but not aerobars. Ha! Advantage me! I finally closed the gap, and stayed on his wheel until he looked over his shoulder, and then backed off. I'd made my statement, but more importantly, was red-lining. I averaged 19.1 mph on that leg, almost exactly 2mph slower than my PB.

I cruised up to the drinking fountain at WBP, and had a nice chat about bike fit with a fellow 'brick'. His seat was back as far as it would go, and with a 73/17 stem, I told him he was probably giving up 2mph's worth of power, and suggested he work with Mad Cat to get a better fit.

I returned home and was anxious about what would happen overnight with my shoulder. It actually felt better than usual, especially since I had dislocated it twice the night before, enduring two intense pain spikes.

One of the women I ride with on occasion was unable to ride due to saddle sores, so I had this devious plan to ride for her -signing in with her name on the sign-in sheet - and thought it would make an entertaining mystery that she could meet her Spring Challenge while surfing her couch.

The rub was, my own seat was killing me. Torn, and scuffed, it badly needed replacing. After a lot of research I had narrowed my search down to a Fi':zi:k Arione CX Team Edition at Performance Bike Shop, and a Specialized Romin Expert (Caesar is rolling in his grave at that spelling, I'm sure) from Bicycles Plus, a LBS in Folsom.

The Romin Expert is the same saddle as the Romin SL from last year, which was priced at $150, so I was thrilled when I called for price and availability, and they had a 155mm black one on sale for $75. If it doesn't fit, I can take it back for a full refund.

The Romin saddle is tailored for riding in drops or aerobars, but the Fi`zi:k is 300mm long - almost an inch longer. The Romin saddle won out, mostly because the rails are anchored at the front about 20mm ahead of the nose of the saddle, so I expected the nose will give a little, and stop sawing me in half like my old saddle - which is basically a shorter version of the Arione CX. Hollow Ti rails, a LBS, and a lower price helped too.

Rushing around, I was able to drive to Folsom and back, buy the seat, mount it, remount the saddle bag, tail light, and aero bottle rack and get out the door in time to join the Sac Bike Hiker's ride - except I went to the wrong shopping mall! Arrrghh.

Once I realized my mistake I decided to focus on getting the saddle dialed in. I got the seat height adjusted, but decided not to fool with moving the seat fully forward until I had more tools, as that potentially would create problems for the saddle bag mounting.

I got things as dialed as I could and then pushed hard from WBP to Sunrise Blvd, averaging 237 watts for the whole ride, and scaled for HR, about 255 watts for that leg. With the seat so far back my power just wasn't there, but I still managed 18.1 mph, and averaged 147 BPM. I was pretty happy with that, and even happier that my shoulder felt good all day yesterday - although sore last night after some rainy weather rolled in.

I'm pretty happy with my conditioning, as I haven't lost nearly as much as I'd feared. I feel a lot more confident now that I can begin some rehab exercises for my shoulder and not have it blown up. Now if I can just get that very thin seat dialed in ....