Thursday, August 26, 2010

Feeling good...

Thursday August 26th, 2010

First complete loop in a while. My legs weren't too stale, but there were some obstacles.

Making great time, only 15 minutes in and I'm already at the edge of Clifton and Montclair.  Something's bothering me, why is my stem a little off center.  It's affecting my handling a little, but that's more than enough for me to spend 20 minutes trying to figure out if I should stop and fix it.  I'm at grove street at a light, fine i'll just go ahead and straighten in, 2 minutes later and it's good.  Not so bad, why did I think about it so much?

Red light 200 feet from last stop.  Standard practice, downshift and unclip my shoe, it's my right foot's turn to take ground.  I like to switch which leg I rest on at every stop.  Right foot keeps turning, why is it not unclipping?  Wait I heard a story about this once... a friend's cleat lost a bolt and he tore his foot out of the shoe in time, but wait he was moving I'm standing still.  Wait no I'm not I'm leaning over onto the right, ***T it's too late to shift weight to my left, BAM.  I hope no one saw... oh wait I'm at a stop light with at least 16 cars watching my eyes go wide while I slowly tilt towards the ground... fail... lol.

Body check.  My right arm absorbed the shock perfectly and the fact there was a raised sidewalk to my right helped out.. Pull off my right shoe, twist it ~4 times for it to unclip.  Just as I thought on the way down, one bolt was gone, it must've happened within 200 ft of my stem adjustment.  I take off the affected cleat, and backtrack to see if I can find it, no luck.

I spin as fast as one clipped in foot will let me, which was normal avg speed of 20mph.  Doing drills on each leg has really helped with pedaling technique and I only suffered from the occasional slight fore/aft slip off the right pedal.  2 miles later I'm at Montclair Bikery, tell the guys my dilemma, we all had a good laugh from my reenactment and they hook me up with two cleat bolts, one for the shoe, and one for the road.

I push towards Overmount Ave as fast as my legs would let me.  I actually scale that climb faster than I've done before, average speed of 8mph.  At a max grade of 13% thats a new personal best!  Of course at the top I felt like my heart was coming out of my chest and my HR peaked at 181, still lower than my Ramapo Rally max HR of 189.  Got home with confidence.  I purchased some more gear to help make my rides even safer with night coming sooner.  I love both of them. 
Very bright rear light with built in clip to attach to saddle bag, or two different sized mounts for seat post mounting.  3 light modes of solid, blinking, and left to right progressive.
I was going to purchase a bigger more expensive LED light but since I don't plan to do heavy night riding I went with this fifteen-dollar easily mounted (o-Ring) light.  Two modes, solid and blinking.
Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I ride getting some riding done on Monday, but Mother Nature forced me to cut the ride short with dwindling sunlight and the change from a drizzle to a steady downpour.  I was going to tough it out but when my handlebar started tilting down more due to my inability to tighten it correctly, I took it as a sign to head home and not chance the elements.  I just don't trust NJ drivers in the rain also.  On the way home I paced a bus from one end of Clifton all the way to Garfield.  The big boy protected me from people trying to overtake me like the world was ending, and the occasional "it's a yellow light so lets drift my car through the intersection to make it" driver.  

The rain really ruined my week and messed my schedule up.  Now I'm prepared for the rain, no more excuses.
Sunday, August 15h, 2010

View this ride:

Ramapo Rally 2010.  My first charity event.  Amazing experience, well marked routes, great cue sheets, well stocked rest stops, and very good volunteers.
Late, gotta hurry up... make sure wheel is secure. Check.
Ok inventory check. Gels, cellphone, ID.  Check!

Group ride left 8:15, I was late, caught up to them after 10 miles.... painfully slow pace, so I just did my own pace.  Completed 65 miles in 4 hrs and 5 minutes. Just I was leaving the group I started with was just coming in. I was 1 hour and 15 minutes faster... average speed on flats 19-21mph, top speed 43mph, total avg speed 15mph, great success!!

The week before I was fighting some pain in my right knee, after some reading and a fit I figured out my seat was too low and I was pushing too hard a gear.  Now with this computer I make sure I'm constantly spinning 90-105, my performance and speed has increased and more importantly no more knee injury.

Came with HR monitor, Wireless Cadence and Speed Sensor too!  No zip-tie mounts (O-Ring) for clean/easy install.
The computer was key.  I kept cadence at 90-100 and really pushed it today at that distance, but paid for it.  I fought calf cramps for the last 4 miles and I was basically pedaling uphill with one leg lol so i can "kick" the lactic acid out. I'm very happy with what my training has yielded.

Free Camelbak Bottle, I veer into the oncoming lane to throw it into the car in my loving girlfriends... head.. sorry hun!  I'm all the way on the right.
... two slow weeks passed, but I'm still on my journey...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#bikeschool Pedal Fast to slow life down

NJ view from GWB
Growing up in the NYC Metropolitan area, you get used to a certain lifestyle.  This area is focused on living a high paced, keep working till you drop type lifestyle and just enjoy the money.  Which is fine for most people, hell I've been doing it for a while now.  Living life as an automotive technician caused me to adopt this way of thinking/working/living in order to optimize my income.  I was once told that I'm always rushing and always want to get things done quick and as efficiently as possible.  Frankly, I really don't care about that anymore.  Of course we all need money to survive and to do the most basic things, especially in this area.  But as opposed to going out on the weekends drinking/eating my money away or sitting at a desk at home after sitting at a desk at work; I found something more rewarding physically and spiritually, and I STILL have to work for it.
NYC view from GWB

I've always been a junkie for speed and precision handling.  Most of it was only attainable via a turbocharged motor and beefed up suspension components.  But now I could satisfy that need on two wheels barely an inch in diameter.  In addition, I get to see places and sites I always pass by but never stopped to look or appreciate it.  For example, traveling over the George Washington Bridge via vehicle has always been a hassle for me, the need to pay the E-Z Pass bill, sitting in 45 minutes of traffic just to travel 200 ft to the toll, and my carbon footprint/gas usage idling throughout that whole wait time.  These are things you have to pay attention to when "time is money."  But when I was cycling over it actually got to enjoy the wind in my face, the view of the NJ side and NYC side from the bridge.  You would never think that between the two most densely populated areas you would feel so free and so small.  I was even wowed by the simple sight of the small frames of some jet-skiers going up the Hudson several hundred feet below.

Basically, life has been good since I picked up this new hobby.  When I need to drive somewhere and there is something worth looking at I now take a mental note to try and ride to that point to experience it in a different way, to enjoy what the world has to offer.  My life out of work is less stressful, if I can't get something done in the time-frame I was targeting, oh well let me continue it later.  I am huge video game buff and while I still appreciate it as a form of art I lessened the time I spend in front of the screen either to train, or to complete my chores (yes hun).  Of course life is always throwing it's curve-balls but instead of unhealthily stressing out about it I include it while meditating on a ride.  Honestly, problems don't really seem like problems but reveal themselves to be extremely small obstacles in life.

I'll just keep pedaling... on my way to fitness.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The weekend before the event.

Sunday August 8th, 2010

-View this route:

View from Fort Lee Historic Park
Living Adventure in New Jersey Group ride from Fort Lee - Central Park, via the George Washington Bridge and Greenway.  This was a nice C ride through the city into Central park.  The ride over the GWB and down the Greenway was probably one of the most exhilarating routes I've taken because of the views.  Once we got to the park we had a quick lunch and the leader of the group and I did two laps around the very crowded Central Park.  There were runners, hipsters, really tall kids on really small bikes swerving in and out not maintaining any lines.  We were still able to keep an average pace of 15+mph throughout even though overall our average moving speed was 10mph for the 33 mile round-trip.  That knee pain is attacking again, I raise my seat about 5mm to hope that it goes away.  The pain subsides for a while and only comes back when I pedal a weird angle.  I guess it was my seat height.  I'll ice this right away when I get home.
Balancing camera

This ride was a a nice change of pace for me.  I usually like exploring by myself but having people with me on this one changed the dynamic compared to my usual rides.

Even after, I rode up 9W for several minutes to see how all the people from the city connect to the GWB.  I was able to maintain 15+ mph for 12 miles until my legs started to get racked by cramps, damn I didn't drink enough or eat enough on the way back.  Even though I had refilled with my reserves I was just too lazy to fight through them and continue.  Time to head home and take care of my dog.
-View this route:

Saturday August 7th, 2010

Helped a friend,, with a photoshoot in High Point State Park in Sussex, NJ.  This is the most NW I've ever driven in NJ.  The landscape totally changes from a suburban area into farmland.  It was an awesome 1 hour ride to the park with views of cows and llamas and fruit/vegetable stands.  I learned that there is a lot in NJ, you just have to look for it.

This whole day was spent basically driving.  I filled the tank up in the morning and it basically ran out the end of the day.  I also had to drive to Central Jersey to drop off the girlfriend so she can help with a baby shower while I would ride around NYC.  The total weekend we clocked 300+ miles on the Subaru.  Somehow the car gods make me balance out all my bicycle miles with the car!

Friday August 6th, 2010

-View this route:

30 Mile Training Ride - Gone Bad. 1 mile into the trip some (enter expletive here) forced me to the side of the road and a rear flat tire resulted from that.  Spent the next 10 minutes O.C.D checking the tire for any foreign material so when the tube is inflated I'm not stuck with another flat.  Rode to the LBS in Clifton to get the tube checked out.  The owner Arty found the hole and I spent another 10 minutes patching it just in case.  I actually run into Frank that I met on one of my previous rides and he wishes me well!  It's so cool to know other people.  I notice my knee is feeling weird and I'm trying to figure out why.  Sharp pains just attack my right knee and it's annoying.  I stop for another 5 minutes in Montclair to adjust my cleat, maybe it's too far back.  I   complete a basic route without the loops and it came out to 22miles right when the sun set.  The knee still has that pain after 20 miles, very worrisome.

I've also invested in some supplements to help facilitate the longer rides.  I picked out the stuff that, from research, doesn't spoil while on a ride.  Mixed with Gatorade and water the Hammer Nutrition products taste amazing.  I really am happy with the purchase.
Thanks for stopping by... on my Journey to Fitness.