Sunday, February 27, 2005

Two Rides This Weekend

Well I did two rides this weekend. First ride was saturday night in Annapolis. Weather was decent app. 45 degrees and little wind. Second ride was this morning up in northern Baltimore County. Weather was also good if not a bit chillier, at 30 degrees and no wind.

Last nights ride was actually pretty uneventful. I left the apartment and headed down through Quiet Waters Park out into Hillsmere. After cycling through Hillsmere I headed down forest drive towards bayridge. This was probably the nicest part of the drive. I basically did the loop around Tali Point . It wasn't this bright out of course, but the area is beautiful and between the amazing houses and the view of the bay it was a lovely part of the ride. After finishing the loop through bay ridge I headed back up forest through a couple neighboorhoods to put some extra miles on and then back home.

All in all pretty uneventful, but I did discover that I had my shoes bound too tight. I had a massive cramp when I walked in the door. I did get a flat tonight, but it was kind enough to wait until I got in the house...its still unknown whether I ran over a tech deck part or it was just good luck that the flat waited until home. It was found pretty easily and the patch took well. Although while I inflated it fine in the warm confines of my home, the cold air I think reduced the pressure the next morning. 21 Miles in probably about 1:45 mins. Saturday night.

Sunday mornings ride was invigorating. I headed up to Oregon Ridge Park in Baltimore to ride with the Baltimore TNT crew again. It was nice and cold this morning, but I had a good set of layers on so I had no trouble with the cold. I don't imagine I'm going to ride if its any colder than it was this morning, so I'm pretty pleased that weather ... well tempature ... shouldn't be a problem.

Again the hills were back. Fortunately I managed to get up all of them without getting off my bike. Granted I was in granny gear and doing 6 mph up the hills, but I did them.

The recurring theme in this morning's ride was climb and coast. There were a number of sections where I'd teeter up the hill and a barely upright pace and then zoom down the hill at 20 + mph. This was good though, got a good workout on the legs and the zooming real fast down the hills is kinda fun., even if it was cold out and provided a nice windchill.

Other than that alot of scenic riding through Baltimore County's horse country. Finished the morning off with three pancakes, order of homefries, ET bagel with egg & cheese, a brownie, large class of water and three cups of coffee. $11 with tip at the Timonium Bagel Works. I don't know if they're a Bagels and ... but I was jonesing for pancakes and they really hit the spot.

Finally, Sebastian the Bear joined the team this ride. I will have a complete post on his duties in the near future. (I'd have one tonight, but a aforementioned cheapo digital camera, didn't deliver!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Test New Equipment During Normal Conditions

Well last night's ride was ... well not one of my best. I set out about 5:15 after meeting a weird new neighbor (ask me about her offline sometime) in pleasant weather ,app. 55 degrees, with no wind and mildly overcast. The mildly overcast part should have been a tip-off.

Well anyway it started raining about 3 miles into the ride. I figured that since it only drizzled for a little while when I came back from DC (and weather moves east), that this was the same storm I drove through earlier in the day that it would be a short storm. Well it was still raining when I went to bed around 10:30 last night. Riding in the rain is not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

Anyway, I muddled through and got in 18 of the 30 miles I had hoped to ride last night. I did learn something new last night though. Don't try out new equipment in the rain. I purchased clipless pedals yesterday, and I must say they are great, but they definately take a bit of getting used to. I could feel that I was putting more power into the bike. I was expecting though that the getting out of the clips would be the hard part. Turns out getting into the clips is a bit of a issue. No fun when you're coming off the line at a stop light. But I'm imaging that I will get a bit more adept at it in the near future. I didn't have nearly as many pedal induced mishaps as I expected.

I only fell over once. At the corner of Hilltop & Spa I stopped at the line took my right foot out and stopped. And then for some reason I can't quite figure out, I think I leaned to my left. Well noramlly I would have put my foot down to stop the fall, but foot .... wouldn't .... come ... out. This realization was at precisely the same time as I was falling. I think I flailed a bit before I hit the road. Fortunately there was no traffic on the road and I think there were only a few people behind me who got to watch this strange guy plop onto the ground with his foot still stuck to his pedal. Funny in hindsight....kinda funny at the time.

Anyway, I'm going to try to get some decent rides in this weekend. Will probably head up to Baltimore for one of their longer hilly rides.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Tonight's Ride Brought to You By:

Reduced Visual Acuity

Departed the office app. 5:45pm. app. 55 degrees out, and a slight wind during the begining of the ride. Returned to the office app. 8pm.

Tonight's ride was a little slower that it should have been. First the stats. 25.5 Miles in two hours four minutes. How do I know this with such precision? I broke down and picked up a computer. Its great. Wasn't too hard to hook up and will hopefully last alot long than the piece of junk I bought from Target. That one's getting returned! I should have probably biked a bit longer tonight, but I saw the memorial bridge and decided to jump back into town. Next monday night, its 30 miles at least!

Anyway, I learned a couple things. When you can't see very well, you can't ride very well. A couple observations. The Mt. Vernon trail is not the best place to ride sounthbound during rush hour. This is becuase a significant portion of the trail is very close to the road and you get hit with headlights as you're moving down the trail. As your eyes adjust, it becomes difficult for you to see the trail ahead. Additionally, I was out shopping the other day and lost the lens to my glasses, so I was biking without my glasses tonight. That wouldn't have been such an issue, if I wasn't getting hit with headlights. On the upside, I did have a light on, but I think I could stand to toss some better batteries in it.

Anyway, all in all, a good ride tonight. I zipped from the office down to the 14th street bridge. * An aside...I would reccomend walking across the bridge one evening. Its a really exciting experience to have the river and the monuments on one side and a 737 zooming by 50 feet overhead. After crossing the bridge I jumped on the Mt. Vernon trail and headed down almost to Belle Haven. I finally decided that it was time to turn around when I was having trouble seeing the turns. At that point I turned around, rode back up, came under the bridge and then came across the memorial bridge and zoomed back to the office.

I'm going to crash out early tonight I think. There's a bird the was perched outside my window this morning who decided I needed to be up at 6am. Fortunately I'm farily confident that its not an endganged species, so if it should somehow meet an untimely demise, at least I won't have the folks from Fish & Wildlife hounding me.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Hills ... gasp ... Are ... wheeze ... Hard ...

Today was about quality, not quantity. While I had planned on a 30 mile ride this am, the 15 miles through the hills we're much tougher and much better for me!

I was on road at 10:15 am. app. 45 degrees. Little wind. Very sunny and an excellent day for a ride. Back into parking lot approximately noonish.

Well I did fifteen miles this morning in the scenic hills of northern Baltimore County. The Sparks neighboorhood I believe. We started out at Sparks Elementary and cruised through the back country. There were alot of hills. Which I knew going in but I discovered quite quickly that I am not prepared for the killer hills. The way my legs feel right now, I'm not even sure I could get my bike over a speed bump. Anyway, that hill might not look too daunting, but behind those trees it descents for what seemed like a mile. in fact if it was 1000 feet I'd be surprised. But it was pretty big and Iam pretty inexperienced.

Anyway, there were a fair number of hills in the 15 mile ride this morning. I did ok I think. Only pooped out a couple of times. There were two hills where I had to take a break and start again. I was pleased though that I rode the bike all the way up the hill without walking it. Next time no stopping though. The first time we hit the big hill, it was a surprise. I slogged my way up it (after finding out I hadn't gotten lost) and made it to the top. My legs were much fresher. But when I suddenly recognized the Gunpowder Friends Meeting HouseI realized I was on the cusp of hitting the hill again. Anyway I made it halfway. Going up that hill my legs felt like lead and it felt like I wasn't moving at all. I imagine this gets better. Anyway, I took a short breather and got going again and made it to the top and zoomed back the school parking lot. I think knowing the hill was coming psyched me out. Either that or I was tired and not in good shape yet. One or the other.

A couple lessons picked up today. One, while I'm new to this biking thing and not super up to speed on the appropriate nutrition, I have learned that, coffee and two power bars are not the best pre-ride breakfast. I was shocked that during the ride I didn't puke. Maybe that is saved for the longer more experienced rides.

I also learned that hills are hard, but they're good. I feel much more burn than I do from my longer flat rides. The folks in Baltimore are riding on Sundays which is much more convenient for me. I think I'll do more hill rides with Baltimore. Will have me in much better shape for Tahoe.

Also I must give a huge shout out thank you to Andrea the mentor for the Baltimore team (she's in the yellow top in the photo). As you might imagine, my butt was dragging at many points during this ride and her encouragement and pointers were much appreciated. She made hammering out those hills much more doable this morning.

Finally I realized that my idea for taking pictures while I am riding is a joke. I'll keep bringing my $30 cheapo kids digital camera, but I was having to work at keeping my face from meeting the asphalt on downhills and keeping up enough speed on uphills to keep the bike upright to worry about snapping a few shots. It sounded like a good idea though.

I hope to be on the bike tomorrow night, probably doing laps around Haines Point or maybe zipping up and down the CCT or the Mt. Vernon trail.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My Awakening

So at time of departure (5:15) it was approximately 63 degrees (farenheit of course.....even my nifty under armour would not have been able to keep me toasty at 63 kelvin. alright...I just made a joke that incorporated the kelvin scale....and I'm mining the depths of my brain to find a way to work absolute zero into a biking reference. UGH. I've worked for scientists too long.) Anyway, the weather was great. Zero in the way of wind and it stayed pretty darn warm.

Tonight's route was pretty good. Headed down 15th to Haines Point. Got lost. Was reminded of home when I got a good wiff of scaled fish and algae from the DC Waterfront. It was actually kinda nice. Anyway, made it to Haines Point after a short diversion and proceeded to do some laps. Six in total by the end of the evening.

The biking is really having an effect on me. Its really making a dent in my perception that DC has no redemening value not associated with being the seat of the greatest government in the history of man. Anyway, the sunset was beautiful tonight. Watched a couple planes take off and land across the river. And did six trips by the awakening sculpture. Really very impressive. Much more so than when I saw it in the Tom Clancy movie.

Anyway, I did about 20 - 25 miles tonight I think. The loop around Haines Point is about 3 to 3.5 mile. After I finished the six laps, I proceeded to get lost...well just made a wrong turn (not unlike my adolesent visits to DC which invariably included me crossing a bridge into Virginia) Anyway, I finished my loops went by the FDR memorial I think, in front of Lincoln, by Viet Nam Veterans Memorial, down Const. left at 17th, in front of the White House and back to the office. Arrival at office was approximately 7:30.

My butt hurts. My stubborness last night came back to bite me in the rear this evening. By not fixing my saddle last night I had the privledge of having the properly adjusted seat rub up against the spot where the inproperly adjusted seat was last night. The upside is that this is temporary, and there is nothing inherently defenctive about my saddle or my rear. A relief!

Taking a couple days off of riding. I think I'll be back in the saddle Sunday morning. Depending on any number of things, maybe I'll bang out 30 Miles!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Watch out roads

Well I was on the road tonight. Weather beautiful. ~55 degrees. Little breeze. I think I did about 15 miles tonight. Its hard to tell becuase the craptastic schwinn bicycle computer I bought died and the person I was riding with didn't have her computer.

Anyway we ran around town and ran up the Capital Crecent Trail from the begining in G-town up until the Dalecarlia Tunnel. Apprently there was a body found not too far from the trail tonight. I'm not too terribly enthused about that, but what am I too do. And I guess it is better than them not finding it. Anyway, when I riding buddy's husband mentioned that they found a body near the trail, I assumed it was past tense (like hey, did you hear that ages ago they found a body around here...neat huh), not an explanation of the flashing lights near the trail up ahead. Anyway it was not a significant part of the ride.

In the ongoing saga of DC Roads/Trails vs. Tom Jones, you'll be happy to know the score is roads/trails 2 : Tom 0. As some of you may recall a couple weeks ago, kenilworth avenue, left an impression (get it, bent my rim, left an impression...) on my front passengers tire. Thanks to the good folks at Lowry's in Annapolis, the rim was bent back into shape and tire remounted for free. Well tonight, I grabbed a good bump on the trail and my fat rear came down on the saddle and gave it a free adjustment. Not wanting to stop the ride I rode much of the trail with a seat at precisely the wrong angle. Anyway, in the --violence inflicted upon Tom's vehicles is cured by kinda sorta stranger's-- saga, my riding companion's husband was kind enough to readjust and tighten the mounting hardware for my seat. Thank you much! Made for a much more pleasent ride. Level - good. Saddle wedged in rear - bad. Tom learns bike lesson tonight. Expect this to be first of many. Hopefully few of them involve asphalt.

All in all though it was a very good ride I though. I went with the short sleeve shirt and the under armour and it servered me well once I got moving. The cold was even a bit envigourating. I like the Capital Cresent Trail. Sans bodies of course. Seems fairly well maintained, not much of grade (although I'm going to need to get friendly with some hills soon) and the commuter traffice wasn't too bad. Although at night, dogs on the trails need lights!

Also big props to riding companion for pointing out the stars. I think she was right that this might be the only place in the district where you can see the stars. There were plenty tonight and I feel good at the end of my ride. Planning on riding tomorrow night.

I rode tonight with the same person I rode with last Tuesday night. Last Tuesday we rode when it was COLD. I mean it wasn't super cold. App. 32 degrees. I was pretty well bundled up. under armour, wool socks, wicking undershirt, and windproof shell. It went well the trails were a little icy and we only did about 11 miles in an hour but was good to get out and get moving. I need to log time in the saddle and I'm not going to do it from behind a CRT!

528000 Feet

What's the deal you ask? Well, I have to get my not-so-in shape body into good enough shape to ride 100 Miles (5280/mile ... somewhere in middle school we all learned these conversions) by June 5th as part of America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride. Anyway I'm confident I can do it. I'm riding as part of Team in Training on behalf of Reagan Feld who was recently diagnose with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. You could help me help the Leukemia and Lymphomia Society find a cure for blood cancers by visiting my LLS webpage and donating to LLS. It would really be appreciated!

And what pray tell am I riding this race on. Well I'm riding a Trek Navigator 200. Ok so its not the lightest thing on two wheels, but frankly neither am I. The extra pounds on my rear are probably a bigger issue than the extra pounds on my frame. Anyway, when everything is performing as required, its a pretty comfortable and I'm confident I can do 100 miles on it.