Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just Ride...an ongoing ride report

Been back riding the last 5 weeks or so. It feels GOOD. Been doing about 45 minutes to an hour each ride (I won't embarrass myself by telling you my average speed). Or, if I can't ride, I'll do the same time spinning at the club. I like going on the road...much more interesting. So far the results have been encouraging: weight is down, lung capacity is way up, heart feels strong.

I have written about cycling a few times before but it occurred to me I've never talked about the equipment. I have 3 road bikes and a mountain bike, all Treks. My favorite is actually a cyclocross bike, a 24-speed Trek XO1. It has a little bit beefier frame, slightly more upright riding position and can take mountain bike tires or road tires. I have mine set up for the road:

The tires are Specialized Armadillos. They are almost flat proof. I don't like the way the bar tape gets nasty over time plus the road vibrations from our *wonderful* streets will beat you up after a while so I borrowed from my wife's horse stuff: I do an under wrap of gauze strip until I have a half inch cushion then do an over wrap with Vet-Wrap (same stuff they put on you when you give blood except this stuff is way cheaper). The Vet-Wrap comes in a rainbow of colors and when it gets ratty I can change it out in about 5 minutes, saving the expensive bar tape underneath. The head/tail light combo is from CatEye. The headlight is a blinding LED. It's saved my bacon more than once. I like the rear view mirror I added last year to the end of the bar drop on the left...perfect view and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. The Shimano peddles let me use either cleats or flip it and use regular shoes.

There is one other essential piece of equipment:

I won't leave home without my MP3 player. I love my iRiver. Had it going on 3 years now. I know there are higher capacity and more fashionable players out there but this one gives me about 3 hours of music and 12 hours on 1 AA battery. Plus, it's tough as nails (try dropping your iPod on the ground and running over it with your back wheel and see what happens).

Took off and rode around my end of town for a little over an hour. I'm trying to build up leg and 'seat' endurance. Felt fine. The weather was perfect...68 and no wind. I just wish you didn't have to go 40 miles minimum in any direction to get out of the city. Everyone has this image of Texas as wide open spaces...not around here. It's like living in New York except the traffic is worse...instead of Yankee drivers you have a bunch of red-necks in land yachts that don't pay attention to their driving. Usually my rides are pleasant as long as I stick to the side streets. So far we don't have bike lanes like some of the other more enlightened cities do.

On May 19 there is a bike ride that starts at Texas Motor Speedway. You start the ride by making a lap around the track. I'm shooting to do the 30 miler. My goal for later this year is to try to do the 80 mile route at the El Tour de Tucson in late November. I hear Arizona's nice that time of year! I did 70 miles a couple of years ago at a local ride. My ultimate goal is to do a century: 100 miles in a day.

In the meantime I'm just thankful to be out riding again.

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