Ride 4 Love

Today I rode 50 miles (53.6 to be exact) to raise money for an organization called Love146.
Riding buddies Charles and Brad rode with me and we all drove up to the start in Ballston Spa, NY together.

This is the 2nd year for this event and twice the riders (120) turned out for it this year than last year. I heard that $30,000 was raised.

Starting temperature was in the chilly 40s but it warmed up to 65 later and was a sunny day with no wind. Perfect.

Well first thing out of the gate I dropped my chain off my small cog. This was probably because my rear wheel was not seated in the dropouts properly but I didn't realize it at the time. I had problems shifting on to the big cog until I figured out what was wrong.

I had to push it to catch up with Charles and Brad cause there was a long hill right at the start . I don't like to warm up that way.

Then, after the first rest stop Charles disappeared. We didn't see him the rest of the ride. Turns out he took off ahead of us with another group and they took a wrong turn!

It was at this first rest stop that I fixed my rear wheel. The bike was perfectly fine after that.

Brad and I stuck together for the rest of the ride and that made the time go by quickly.

I'm pleased by my performance this year. Last year, I was not only last on the 75 mile ride but ride organizers didn't know I was still out there and shut down all the rest stops. On that ride and the Tour de Cure 100K before it, I deliberately did not push myself because I was concerned about finishing. I think my average speed was only 10 or 11 mph.

This year I was more confident and rode with a 14.4 mph average for the entire ride. I was not last and passed lots of people.

I did push it, although not to the max, and the last 5 miles seemed to be the hardest, in part because it was mostly uphill! All rides should start and finish at the bottom don't you think? ;-)

The ride was better organized this year with well marked turns and a volunteer that checked everybody off the sign up list as they came in to the finish. Made for a less stressful ride for me.

So yeah, I pushed it and I'm feeling it already, not 2 days later as I usually do. I'm going to try not to take any Vitamin "I" (ibuprofen) because I heard from Dr. Mirkin that it delays healing.

I also wound up taking a hike afterwards. 'Cause Mrs. MTBMan1's sister was up visiting from Maryland and we wanted to show her Indian Ladders Trail on the Helderberg Escarpment. We've been there zillions of times but it's fun to show it to someone who has never been. Lot's cool rock formations, caves, cliffs, waterfalls, geology and history.

At first I didn't want to go because I had just ridden 50 miles but I told myself "Walk it out, you weenie!" ;-)

Here's the map of the ride:

new world land speed record!

for the bike that is. personal, that is.

Today I rode with Charles, a wonderful peaceful, low-traffic ride through southern Albany County, dipping into Greene county for just a bit.

Toward the end of the ride we rode down Blodgett Rd., a long steep hill and my 'puter said 47.2 mph at one point. That's my new personal fastest ever. Previously I had done 45.0 down that hill and one other.

I did tap my brakes at that point but it surprised me ... it didn't really seem too scary. Maybe I'm getting used to it.

Whatever it was, it was fun.

That was a super ride. It was a nice 74 °, overcast, a few moments of light rain.
A new stretch of road to me, Newry Rd., very little traffic, scenic, winding, rolling, good pavement ... sweet.

It was a good workout too. I'm trying to be more conscious of any gaps opening up between me and Charles and working to keep them closed up. It gives me a good workout. I also try, on occasion, to spin up the rollers at a relatively good cadence, keeping my speed up.

I know I'm going to be sore and I'm happy about it.

I'll try to take it easy for the rest of the week, easy rides. Need to rest up for the Ride4Love benefit ride for Love146.

Here's today's route:

Some new stuff!

I am a subscriber to the roadbikerider.com premium site. There is a feature called "What's on" that is a list of items that the site's principals, Ed Pavelka and Fred Matheny are trying out.

Based on my review of that list, I bought 3 items recently and I am pleased with all of them.

The first is the Halo II head band.

I have a "Buff" headgear

which is great for cold weather and you can make a head band out of it but it's then too thick and too tight and it gives me a headache. The Halo II also has a plastic channel that shunts sweat out the sides so that it doesn't get into your eyes.

Another item I got was the Crank Brothers Speed Lever.
This is a tire lever that telescopes and snaps on to the axle and helps with getting the tire on and off.

The last thing and the most exciting is the OPTX 20/20 Stick-On Bifocals.

These are plastic lenses that adhere to my biking glasses by molecular attraction. They solve one of my most annoying cycling problems, the inability to see my computer numbers or my heart rate monitor while riding. They work great. Hey, bifocal sun lenses for $7!? How can you beat that?


I been doin' some wrenchin' these days.

That is, bike mechanics.

I had a couple of concerns on my road bike.

  1. I had been dropping my chain off the small chain ring more frequently and
  2. I started noticing a pronounced wobble in my front wheel.
Also, I picked up an older mountain bike
being given away after a garage sale by the side of the road (plus 2 pairs of road bike shoes, my size!)

I thought the mountain bike would make a good comfort bike for Mrs. MTBMan1. The frame was large, our size. The Trek she is currently using is too small, although a nice entry level bike.

First priority was the road bike, 'cause I have a 50 mile charity ride coming up in 2 weeks.

My strategy for the chain was to totally degrease and relube the drive train and then adjust the derailleur if needed. Done. However, while cleaning everything up I noticed that when I installed the new rear shifter cable recently I missed running it through the guide under the bottom bracket. So I partly pulled the cable out to rethread. I had some difficulty 'cause I had almost screwed up this cable when I originally installed it. After I clipped the nipple off one end, it started to unravel making it impossible to thread through the guides. I wound up salvaging it by soldering the end and a place a little ways back from the end where I clipped a strand that was also coming apart. The solder enlarged the cable diameter a bit making it a little hard to get through the holes but I managed it.

Similarly, this time I had trouble because of the soldered areas. I clipped off a little of the end with my cable cutters but they still deform the cable from true round and it has to be finessed back into shape.

Then I tackled the wobble. I thought this was just a matter of spoke tension but I found that a spoke had broken off at the hub. This was the original Raleigh labeled wheel (circa early '80s). I replaced the rear last year after breaking 3 spokes on it at the start of the Tour de Cure 100k (I finished!)

My LBS, Mad Dog Bicycles, won't be open until tomorrow and I know he doesn't stock the 27" wheel that I need so in order to keep in training, I decided to take a spoke from my old rear wheel (even though the spokes are shorter and thicker) and install it on my front.

I got a lot of practice removing and installing my tube on this one. After replacing the spoke, tube and tire I broke another one while tightening it up, so back off with the tire and tube and replace another spoke. I think I broke 2 additional to the original broken one!

After that, I didn't bother trying to tune up the spokes, I just made the replacements "tight enough".

Then a 9 mile easy test ride. Everything seems good.

I got a Crank Brothers speed lever which helps some on the tube/tire removal/replacement.

As for the mountain bike, the shifting was a little sluggish so I decided to replace the rear shifter cable. In trying to remove the old one, I sheared the nut off the shifter top (the cover was already missing). This is an old Shimano Deore XT 5 speed indexed/friction hybrid. Not likely to find a replacement for that so I just ordered a friction shifter.

Also ordered and extended stem and I will put some riser handlebars on it and we should be good to go.

OK, NOW I'm sore! The "second day" effect.

Last post I wrote of my concern that I didn't feel any soreness the day after a very hard ride.

I should have known better.

Commonly, I don't feel sore until the 2nd day.

Such is the case now: I am VERY sore.

Unfortunately, I also took a moderately hard ride with a steep hill on Saturday before noticing any soreness. I wondered then, why I felt so sore immediately after that ride.

Of course! It's the "second day" effect!

Mo' Pain, Please!

I've been thinking about this for awhile and it really disturbs me.

As I said in yesterday's post, yesterday's club ride was probably the hardest I have ridden in a long while, if ever, although not a particularly long ride (18 miles).

Yet, today, I'm not sore at all! Some of you, not knowing, might say, "Well, that's good, isn't it?"

No, not at all. If the goal of training is to tear muscle fibers, thereby making them sore, and then recovering until they are no longer sore, meaning that they've healed and gotten stronger, then, no that's not good. At least it's not good considering that I want to get better, fitter, stronger and faster!

Now, as I said, "I gave it all I had." Well, maybe I gave it all I was willing to give. From a pain perspective it was uncomfortable. Pain is a negative. You don't want it when it's occurring; you want it to stop.

You look at the people that compete in the "Tour de France". Sure, they are among the fittest men in the world. You might say "It's easy for them, being such superior athletes." But that's only part of the equation. Perhaps equally important is their ability and willingness to endure pain we can't imagine. In fact, that's how they got to their present level of fitness, genetics notwithstanding.

I guess what I'm saying is, maybe I'm NOT giving it all I've got. Maybe I have to ratchet it up a notch. It's hard. It's not pleasant. It's not "fun". But there is a reward! Can I do it? More to the point, WILL I do it?

I don't know

.....stay tuned

up the down staircase

Today I finally rode with the local bike club. The first time this year and it was perfect.
I only rode once with them last year.

There were about 23 riders and this was billed as a 13-14mph casual ride.

It started from a local school, basically went downhill the first half of the ride and then back uphill for the rest of it. Hence the ride name "up the down staircase".

This could have been a pretty easy ride as most of the pack was way behind. I decided to try keeping up with the leaders and it took everything I had to do so. My weight was an advantage on the downhills but, I assume, equally a disadvantage going back up! ;-)

It was a good workout. I did my best average speed to date, 15.8 mph and my average HR was a whopping 148bpm!

It's good to know that I could have done it as a recovery ride without being totally left behind. It was also gratifying to see one pretty good rider with a vintage bike like mine.

Next week's ride is called "Wine Country Casual" and it is billed as "hilly". I hope to do that one especially as it's the last one for the year for this series because it's starting to get too dark to start at 5:30 or 6PM.

Here's the route!

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com