Sunday, February 8, 2009

1st Ride of '09.

Well, I got out for a road ride on Friday. I did my out and back loop to I94, about 17.6 miles. This route basically goes up until I94, and then you head back down (with a few small rollers, just to burn the legs a bit!). Needless to say, this time of year in WI there is a bunch of crap on the roads. Salt, rocks, sticks, metal, chunks of unknown junk, you get the picture. Well, I was heading up the last grade nearing i94, when it seemed like the seat was getting bouncy. I was seated and turning a nice, steady cadence, not jamming on it, but just hit my pace and was feeling good! But I was thinking as I cranked, man, this new seat didn't seem that bouncy on the trainer. Hmmm, that's interesting. Wonder why I'm bouncing like that, must be tired. Well, it is the 1st road ride of the year.

Well, I wasn't that tired. And the Fizik saddle isn't that bouncy, really. I looked down and took a hard look at my rear tire, sure enough, it was about 1/2 flat. Dam. And I had just commented yesterday at the LBS that I don't get too many flats, maybe one or two a year, but I was looking for a hand pump small enough to fit in my jersey pocket for back-up air. I'm sure I jinxed myself in saying this, and no, I did not knock on wood.

So I rode the 1/2 flat down a short downhill section to I94, limped it across the Interstate overpass and stopped at a fireworks store on the west side of the intersection. Here is what it looked like:

Lady luck was shining at me, despite my poor luck in my choice of comments the previous day. I had one, yep, one CO2 cartridge with me, so I had one shot at getting the tube inflated (I carry a spare tube every ride, as well as a patch kit; I generally do not patch a tube on the road, too much risk of something not holding and getting stuck with no air way out in the boonies). And I was thinking to myself, as I pulled the tube, found the large metal staple stuck through the tire and tube, you know what happened last time you changed a flat? Yeah, I had one CO2 with that time too. But, that time (last fall sometime), the valve froze and the tube would not hold air. Either that, or I got the one out of one thousand tubes that was defective; either way, that time, I blew the CO2 and the tire was still flat. Game over, time to call the SAG wagon (aka: my wife and the van, hauling kids in two). Today, there was no SAG at home. I started doing a mental run down on who I could call at this time of day to come way out to pick me up.

This time, the tube inflates, and I still had CO2 left over! Wow, that wasn't so bad. I got back home, no other problems. I rode the loop in just over 60 minutes, which is not bad for this time of year. I didn't even have a bike computer mounted, just my Polar F6 for HR. I was OK with that, not worrying about speed or cadence, just riding and going by HR. I might do this more often with early season training on the bike!

By May 1, I'll have this loop down to 56 minutes and change on my road bike, 54 minutes on my TT bike. This route, by the way, is like my tested tride and true ride that I can judge my fitness level on. I can tell if I've had too much coffee that AM, drank too much beer the night before, or if I'm simply off my game. Some days, I feel like complete crap, and don't want to even throw a leg over my bike. But, you know what? These seemingly "bad mojo" days have turned into some of the best riding days I've had since 2006, when I started riding again after my 2nd back surgery. I've ridden this route many, many times, and will do so once again this Spring. I'll post an elevation chart and map one of these days when I get the time.

The weather was fairly nice, especially when you got 10 miles away from Lake Michigan. The temp was 31 deg, it felt like 22 deg with the WC. The winds, speaking of WC, were blowing fairly brisk out of the S/SE at 12-15 mph. So going back in towards Lake Mich was a bit tougher, and a bit slower. Thats another beautiful thing about living in WI; the dreaded winds. Some days, riding into that wind is sheer mental anguish, just pedaling along at 60-65 cad trying to stay upright. But, it adds to that ride, and it sure makes you HTFU and feel good that you did it!

So here's to the start of another road biking season! Whoop, I'm getting psyched up for this one!!

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