Thursday, July 14, 2011

River of Time

Things change. Tires, bar tape, bike clubs, and pro riders. I've been riding 100 mile weeks again, and more of it with a bike club than in 2 years now. Lance Armstrong was in Davis last weekend in support of that city's LiveStrong fundraising ride. First time since the ATOC in 2009. My friend Jodi was there and really psyched!

Jens Voigt in perfect climbing form. One of the true giants of the sport.
It's mid-July, and the Tour de'France is in full swing. I was so looking forward to the RadioShack team crushing the Pyrenees and hoping Chris Horner would have an epic tour and maybe win it all. Their luck has just been atrocious though, so I find myself rooting for Big George and Cadel Evans' BMC team, and hoping they can punish the wheel-sucking Schleck-Tard team, and put Contador to rest.

I will really miss George Hincapie and Kloden when they retire. True hard men of the sport. I think this photo of Klodi says it all. If we'e talking about the greats, I just have to mention Jens Voigt as well. In the meantime, I'm really enjoying Thor Hushovd's reign at the top, and Cav's peevishly quick smile when winning.

Andreas Klöden : Hard man  
 I had a really wonderful ride on the 4th of July with the Sacramento Bike Hikers, was able to ride near the front on both legs of the roughly out and back route, and really enjoyed the company, route and pace.

On Monday we did a breakfast ride, and it was so cool I wore arm warmers both ways. Some good climbing, including Iron Point Rd, and some of the bike paths and neighborhoods where the views are magnificent and the houses are paid for by Intel stock options..

The Tourmalet circa 1937
On the way home we averaged a bit over 20mph for about 12 miles heading into a 8-12mph breeze, and I put my aerobars to good use pulling a fast group of 5 into the wind in the most exposed area of the bike trail. I got some compliments on that pull, and was a bit puzzled by that until I looked at the Garmin trace. Instead of a spiky saw-tooth my pull was nice and even.

I had to dig really deep after 2.5 hours of riding to keep the hammer down, but was very happy my legs felt so strong so late in the ride. Also nice that we started 10 minutes behind the main group of 30 riders and passed them doing about 23 mph on a long straight stretch.

I'm still a little tired though from that one, as I did about 45 minutes above LT, and 30 minutes of that at better than 90% of max HR. I think next time I'll stay with the peleton on the way out, and hammer home. Mostly though, SBHs are about riding. Just putting in a lot of miles, and not gear, or egos (well, not too much, anyway). They also put on their annual picnic last weekend and I met a lot of my FB friends in person for the 1st time.

So what happened to my old bike club, Hammerin Wheels? Not really sure, but they seem to have imploded. Not many rides and all very poorly attended. I put a lot of time and effort into teaching members there about gear and nutrition, so as sour as the vibe got to be there, I'm a little sad to see it come to this.

A couple of panic stops (idiot peds on the ARPT) ripped through the tread, and by the end of our speed run Monday, the chords were showing through on my back tire. I used up a gift card at Amazon, and dividends at Performance Bike shop, and put Conti GP 4000s on the front, and when they arrive, Ultra Gatorskins on the back.

If I am still getting flats in back I may move up to the Gatorskin Hardshells. I like the pointed crown on the GP 4000s better than the Michelin Pro3 Race I've been running for 3 yrs now. Very sticky rubber too. Like super glue sticky. Will have to see how they perform.

Conti has an asymmetrical Attack/Force tire combo with a 22mm in front and a 24mm in back, with construction tweaked for turning and pushing respectively, and it got me to wondering how much sense running identical tires front and back really makes. I think I may have flatted once in 3 years in front, and 2-3 dozen times in back. I also can wear through at least 3 back tires before the front goes, so I'm going to try tailoring the tires to the task and see how that works.

As expected, I have had to move the shifters enough to require retaping the bars, and after going from blue sidewalls to black on the tires, I want more viz than royal blue and black dapple provides, so I am going back to blazing Ferrari Red. The Black & Blue tape was Profile Designs, and it has no sticky on the back. Weird, but it did allow me to move the tape up a bit to follow the shifters.

The red tape is a new up-scale tape from Performance, which admittedly is a little like saying upscale Yugo, but I ride in the aerobars so much the bar tape isn't that critical. (although I am riding on the blocks a lot more now riding with the SBH, so wrist swelling is an issue again) At any rate, it seems worth a try, and I like the fog-horn subtlety of all that red up front.

Oh, I am absolutely swimming in my new PI Elite In-R-Cool shorts. I got back from the ride on the 4th of July and had to pull them up over my naval to get them fully stretched out. I don't know if they've stretched or not, but they are causing my back muscles to cramp that far up on my kidneys. (aside from being completely ridiculous) I've received a very strong recommendation for Assos bib shorts, so I'll try those after returning the PI shorts.

Finally, it looks like the Specialized Avatar Gel seat has done the trick. Yea!

Descending the Tourmalet at 60+ mph. God's roller coaster!
So that's where I'm at, rowing along on my river of time. Keeping at it. Staying healthy. Learning, and stopping to smell the rubber along the way.

1 comment:

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Well for someone who has been "too busy" to post you sure wrapped up your details nicely!! Love how you drifted in and out of the tdf and straight into your hammering rides.

You sound like you are in a zone...and that is a GREAT THING!!!! :)