A new first! Flat on the road.

Well I finally had a flat. At least a flat while riding. The last flat I had was after the Tour de Cure. When I put my bike up after that ride I noticed the tube had bubbled out a hole in the tire. I should have had both tires replaced at that time.
I was intending to ride 56 miles on a new route. It was a beautiful day. We've had a string of 'em but I was working each one until today.
I mapped the route on mapmyride.com and one of the first roads turned out to be a dead end! Fortunately, I'm getting to know the area and was able to easily figure out an alternate route. Have to check that out!
I was riding up the first big hill, Blossom Hill Road, almost at the top, only going about 5mph when I suddenly skidded and thought I was going down as if the pavement was slick and I was cornering at 25! But it was a flat on my front tire. I walked it a bit to a level spot in front of a house. The guy came out and offered me tools if I needed it. Must have taken me 40 minutes to change the tire! I don't have a lot of experience.
The small pump that I carry gave me a little trouble but I finally got 60 lbs of air into the new tube.
Anyhow, that tire didn't look too good. I had at least one slice all the way through.
I was kind of paranoid after that. I almost went down at 5mph? What happens at 45!? I took it kind of easy on the downhills after that at first not knowing why the tube flatted and thinking about the hole in the tire. But I got more confident after a little while.

I decided to head straight back to matt's bike shop and get a new tire rather than finishing out the ride. It turned out to be about 30 miles total.
At first Matt didn't think he had any good 27" tires but after a little digging he had a match for the one I got before.
I couldn't get the new tire on the rim to save my life. I was sure there was something wrong. I brought it back to the shop and Matt had it on in 2 seconds with his hands. I was embarrassed!
Here's the route:

Revisiting the Killer Hill!

This Sunday at 6:30AM I met Charles down in Feura Bush for our usual weekly ride. We rode out to a hill that I blogged (and complained) about before as a "killer" hill. It wasn't all that bad this time, as I thought it wouldn't be. I have learned to pace myself for one thing and of course I'm stronger cause I've done a lot worse hills that this often since then.
It was a perfect morning after a lot of rainy and stormy days. Cool, a little presage of fall in the air. We rode out from Feura Bush up Collabeck Road and then Rarick, Rowe and on to RTE 301. Yesterday, I encountered a bicycle race going in the opposite direction here.
From there we continued west on 301 to where it turned north to Clarksville but we stayed straight on to 109 and up the hill. Then right on Derbyshire, the next right on Scutt and then turned south on 312 to the top. Because of time contraints we just went to the top and turned around rather than completing the loop south. I noticed a lot of orange salamanders dead on the road here. Then we went back north on 312 to Clarksville where we looped back.
Door to door for me this was about 29 miles. Yesterday I did 38 with more or less the same start but turned north to clarksville towards Thatcher Park instead of going up 109. Of course you don't care unless you live around here. Even then, maybe you don't care. ;-)
Here' the route!

job and cycling don't mix

Work is definitely cutting into my biking! I am working this weekend most likely and Saturday I will not have time for any ride much less a long one. Oh, well, hopefully I'll get a Sunday AM ride in of 30 or so miles.
Today I just had time for a 10 mile ride cause I had a PT appointment for my hand at 7:50. Then off to work.
I rode at a good pace. At about the 2/3 point I was probably pushing it a little hard when I saw two serious looking riders pull out of a side road ahead of me. They weren't working too hard and I couldn't resist even hammering it a little harder so I could go flying by them ("on your left!"). I realized I was a little overextended cause my legs were wanting to give out at that point.
Of course, they couldn't let this geezer with a retro Raleigh do that so in my rear-view mirror I saw them coming up on me. On the second or third hill they finally passed me and I wasn't going to try another attack. I was pretty much spent and needed to cool down for the end anyway.
Boy I was feeling it today from that little 40 minute ride!
But I'm getting there! Wherever THERE is!

easy? ... or hard?

When I first started cycling about a year ago, I sort of had the idea in the back of my mind (sounds better than semi-conscious idea) that as I continued to ride it would get easier. Climbing hills would get easier and I would go faster with less effort. I guess that's true more or less but I don't have easy rides these days.
The other, I think, more significant aspect of getting fitter is that you can tolerate hard effort for longer durations better.
So, yes, while it is easier to climb the same hills I did a year ago and to ride 10 mph like I did a year ago, I find myself tackling harder, steeper and longer hills at a greater effort and kicking my average speed up on rides but overall putting in a higher intensity of effort ... and enjoying it more. I have to keep working harder to get that cyclist's "high".
Does that sound like addiction?

Sunday: Charles' Hill of the week

Today for our Sunday early AM ride (6:30 to 9), Charles and I rode out to the Thatcher Park area which is part of the Helderberg escarpment. We rode up to Pinnacle road but did not take the more difficult route up Beaver Dam road and then up Pinnacle. Rather we came up behind Pinnacle, as it were, up Indian Ledge road which is still a pretty good climb, and then down Pinnacle Road and Beaver Dam.
It was a great day. Cool, partly sunny, still, except for a little time when we approached the escarpment when some gusts blew by. A presage of Fall in the air. I felt somehow like I was on vacation in a National Park. Some gorgeous views coming down Pinnacle Road and Beaver Dam.
My front derailleur performed flawlessly, a great relief. Just about 30 miles round trip.
Here's the map:

Almost made it!

What's the saying? "Almost only counts in horseshoes and ..." something else, can't remember. But it counts in cycling too. As in, "I almost beat the rain." After all, riding one minute in a downpour is better than an hour. I don't mind riding in the rain. What I dislike most is having to wipe the bike down real good (which I don't do) and oiling the chain to prevent rust.
I was also uber careful stopping and cornering after the pavement got wet 'cause of a little slide out I did a couple of days ago.
I hopped on the Ross MTB which is my about town bike to take some books back to the library (2 blocks away). It was starting to rain so I really hammered it like some hotshot MTBer so the books wouldn't get wet in my backpack. I was feeling pretty good about my ability until the last corner in the library parking lot before the book drop off. I guess the library was not concerned about high speed cornering when they paved the driveway cause it is real nice and smooth. I had just pumped up the tires to max pressure too the day before for some road riding. There were just starting to be a few drops on the pavement and I found my wheels sliding out from under me and I went down. Right on my right knee again. I just can't keep that thing scab free!
So I'm a little paranoid right now about cornering at high speed.
I originally thought about doing a 30 mile ride but decided not to because of time limitations. So I did about 18.
My chain didn't drop off this ride either after I adjusted the front derailleur yesterday. Nice and smooth shifting so far!
Had to stop for a train though! I heard it coming but I couldn't beat it to the crossing. It's amazing how often that happens. It's not like I'm riding by there the same time everyday either.
Here's the route for your perusing pleasure!

new route

Whew! Working full time sure cuts into my bike riding. :-(
And my blogging. Full-time-and-a-half I should say! Been working 8+ hour days plus Fri nights and weekends. Oh, well. I'm getting paid by the hour. Might as well make hay while the su....
Actually we haven't had a lot of sun either. Lots of rain, thunder showers, etc.
Today was pretty nice, though.
First ride I've taken over 10 miles since last weekend.
This time I experimented with a route that I thought would avoid active train crossings.
I did miss one and I did have to stop for a train! Fortunately it was at the end so I only stopped for a few seconds.
Had a lot of trouble with my front derailleur. It has started throwing the chain. Then it wouldn't shift onto the big ring
After I got home I adjusted it so it would shift then when I test rode it, it threw the chain off the small ring!
Can't figure it. Maybe I need a new chain? Rings?
Anyhoo, here are the stats for today: Av HR 130, an hour and 17 in Zone 3, that was nice. about 45 min in Zone 4. 36 miles in 2-1/2 hours. Average speed13.8mph. Not bad considering I couldn't shift into the big ring.
One nice thing about election years. All the back roads get paved. Nice! That's one thing that benefits bikes as well as cars.
I need some new rides. Where's Charles?
Here's the route for you locals!