Friday, May 16, 2008

It’s good to sweat….

One of the things I really enjoy about riding is how climbing (also read suffering) has the ability to get you so focused on the task at hand that everything else is forced into the background.
Last night a bunch of us went out to Lake Chabot. The ride starts out on the 10 hills trail which is the perfect warm up in that it has a couple of small hills, but is mainly a rolling ride for the first mile or so. After that, there’s a fun little downhill and then a nice long climb behind the golf course up to the top.
On my full squish, geared bike I can downshift and just spin up this hill letting my mind wander and enjoying the scenery. On the SS though, it’s a “climb”. A long, standing, painful, grind
I’ve been busy….too busy….too busy to the point that life this week hasn’t been fun. And I’ve been cranky because of it. As a matter of fact, I almost bailed on last night’s ride with the excuse that I had too much to do. But, I didn’t and I’m really glad about it.

It was a gorgeous night and warmer than it’s been all year so once the climbing started, so did the sweating and it didn’t stop until we got to the top of the hill. The other thing that stopped at the top of the hill was the stressing out over stupid stuff and the lack of perspective. Work is just work, the lawns will get mowed later, the garage will get cleaned someday, the unfinished projects will still be there when I get finished with the ride….. and it’s ok.
What isn’t ok is to get so stressed about stuff that really doesn’t matter that life becomes a series of check marks on your to-do list. That’s not what it’s supposed to be. Life should be lived. If you don’t believe that, just ask anyone that is currently or knows someone going through a serious illness if they wished they had spent more time cleaning their garage….

Thursday, May 8, 2008

This whole gear thing is kinda cool….

As of the first of the year, whenever I’m going out on a mt. bike ride, I’ve been using the single speed. At first it was for the workout, then just because I enjoyed it more.(yeah, I know glutton for punishment, suffering builds character, blah, blah, blah)
Well last week, my rear hub started making some weird grinding noises. Figuring it might be just dirty I tore it apart, cleaned and greased it, then put it back together.
For the first few minutes of the ride, it was better, but about 5 minutes into the first long climb, it started up again.
Needless to say, it’s now beyond my skills to fix it so into the shop it goes.

The result is, that on last night’s ride, I had to take out the geared bike. And you know what? It was kinda nice to just park my butt in the saddle, drop it to the small ring and spin up the hills. Plus that whole full suspension as opposed to full rigid left my wrists and arms feeling a LOT better afterwards.

I also noticed that by the end of the evening, I was tired in a completely different way than when I’m on the ss bike.
I used to think riding the ss bike was harder but now, I’m not so sure it’s harder as much as just different.
My legs for instance, I’m not used to spinning high revs to get up the hills so by the time we got to the top of the first climb, they were burning pretty good.
My lungs though, which are usually about to fly out of my mouth and onto the trail in front of me when on the ss, felt fine. I wasn’t even really winded.
My lower back was tired from sitting hunched over trying to keep the front wheel down whereas on the ss, my upper back and shoulders are tired from pulling up on the bars and hanging on through the downhill.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience to ride a geared bike again and was just one more justification as to why I need to own so many bikes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Well, we did it…..

Last weekend was the Tour de Cure in Napa and we had a great time!
We had a team of 14 riders and raised about $7,000.00 for this important cause.
A bunch of us went up early afternoon Saturday so we could take advantage of the nice weather and the pool. (and the Mai Tai’s – thanks Gary)

Dinner was at the Blue Frog Grog and Pub in Fairfield which turned out great. Good food, a private room and of course….Great Beer!!!
Saturday dawned cool and cloudy and the day never really did get too warm. The wind, which last year was at our backs for the backside of the loop down the
Silverado Trail, was a headwind for the longest part of the day this year. This was a drag for a couple of people that were pretty worn by the end but was a blessing in that the last 2 miles back to the start had a nice tailwind.
All in all a great day! The real question is now that it’s over, which of the riders will continue to show for the Wednesday night ride and which will put the bike away until next year

Friday, May 2, 2008

If I were a betting man….

I’d wager on a couple of things this coming Sunday…

I’d wager that there will be people on the Tour de Cure ride that will get to the starting line and realize they forgot something. It won’t be me, because I never forget anything on my bike rides. Except maybe the time I showed up for a ride with Jerry, got changed put my shoes on, pulled my bike out of the back of the truck and thought, "oh crap, where’s my front wheel"
Or maybe the time I pulled up to Lake Chabot, pulled my geared bike out of the truck only to realize I had moved my pedals over to the single speed I was building. (luckily Roy lives around the corner and also uses shimano pedals)
Or maybe even the time I pulled up for a road ride and realized I had the mt bike shoes in the truck. (I’ve switched to SPD on all my bikes now)

- I’d wager there will be people that even before we hit the half way mark will wish they hadn’t skipped all those training rides I put on. Some will make it further before they wish that, but I’m sure the whining will start before the halfway mark.
- I’d wager that craigslist on Monday following will have quite a few bikes for sale.
- I’d wager that the local bike shops this week were pretty busy cleaning, adjusting and lubing all the bikes that haven’t been ridden since this time last year
- I’d wager that many of the bikes they cleaned and lubed and adjusted will be back there at the same time next year with exactly 50 more miles on them than they have right now
- I’d wager that by mile 49 many people will be wishing they had heard about chamois butter, electrolytes and GU
- I’d wager that I’ll have a lot more fun than some of my counterparts and that their suffering and misery will be fodder for office jokes and discussion for weeks after this....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Glass SUCKS….

Well, last night was the final training ride for our Tour de Cure Team. We had planned 20 miles with a couple of decent climbs thrown in figuring that if we didn’t have time to log a bunch of miles, that the climbing would help with overall fitness.
We headed out for the Dublin grade figuring we’d hit Foothill and head south a ways before turning and coming back.
At the top of the grade Jerry had stopped to adjust Mark’s seat height and when I turned around to go back to see what the deal was….I flatted. The group went on ahead and Jerry and I started to change the tire. A nice little shard of glass was found to be the culprit.
All changed and off again. We raced to the bottom and Jerry won. Of course he didn’t even know we were racing so that made it worse. I’m blaming it on the fact that he uses gears.
We got to the bottom to find everyone else on the side of the road. Mark had 2 flats from those lovely goathead thorns and no tubes.
Roy and I decided to ride over to Livermore cyclery in Dublin and get some tubes. I flatted once more on the way (more glass) and we got there as they were locking the doors. Luckily they were nice and opened the doors so we could get our tubes.
Of course the overpass between old Dublin Cyn and the bike shop was NOT FUN at 5:00 in the afternoon. People were merging on and off the freeway and I’ve found that people in cars at rush hour are just not very friendly towards bicyclists.
Anyway, we got back, Mark learned to change a tube (twice) and in the meantime Greg had ridden back to get his truck, so he came back and gave Diane and Mark a ride back to the start. Roy, Jerry and I had a nice ride back. Of course it was uphill and into the wind which always adds to the fun.
Sunday we’ll do the flat 50 miler up in Napa. I know not everyone has made it to the training rides, but supposedly they’ve all been riding…..I guess Sunday we’ll find out. As they say, the proof is in the pudding…..

One last note.....1 beer Greg???? You brought 1 beer?????