Hilly Ride and an Italian lesson

Today I rode with my friend Brad and his wife who are training on a tandem towing their 2 kids in a trailer for the Love146 benefit 55 miler in Sept.

We rode from their house in the "hill towns" outside of Albany, NY. There's no way to ride anywhere out there without encountering some significant hills.

The first was Cole Hill which I had heard about but never done (up, that is. I've gone down it). It is about a 15% grade in sections and fairly long. This was to start without getting warmed up. Wasn't too bad but there was plenty more climbing before the ride was over. That was a hard 30 miles. I'll be feeling it for a couple of days.

One thing I learned. Brad raced for the Air Force in Italy so he taught me how to say "car back" in Italian: Macchina! (pronounced "mah'-key-nah") Or more properly, it's what the Italian riders say when we would say "car back". They're just saying "CAR!"

Dropped my chain into the rear dropout once and off the big chain ring once. Brad offered to adjust everything and clean the chain. I think I'll take him up on it but I want to watch so I'll learn something too.

And hooray! My gps worked properly. Here's the route:


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Coulda, Shoulda

I shoulda taken my gps for a ride today. I didn't because I thought I would just do "Dunkin' Donut" again like I've done all week. But I didn't.

On the spur, I took another route.

I've touted this area quite a bit because of its proximity to so much good country and hilly riding. However, every place has it's limitations and for only having an hour to ride after work every day (at least until the clocks turn back) there aren't too many rides I can take. Especially since I'm kind of particular about avoiding fast roads with big traffic.

It does get boring though so I took a different route and did it in just under an hour (59 min). The first part of the ride is OK. It goes down a residential street and then cuts through a development. Not exactly country but plenty of old greenery, quiet and pleasant. Then there is a stretch of country road followed by "Long Lane". It's not named after a guy named "Long". It is long! ... and straight. Kind of boring and fast 60-70mph traffic. Trucks. Along "Long Lane" is a railroad yard, a plastic plant and a cogen facility. Basically an industrial strip. But it is technically country.

But boy what a headwind today! I normally don't like wind and I didn't particularly today but I didn't really mind it as much as usual. My mind just kind of drifted on Long Lane and before you know it, I was at the end.

Here is the route. I mapped it manually on mapmyride.com:

Now that I mapped it, I see it's not Long Lane but Creble Rd. Well I'm not going to rewrite this post now! I always thought it was Long Lane. I swear they changed it!

I like it gloomy!

It's been a couple of gloomy days but I like gloomy. Today was especially nice as it didn't rain on me but it was dark gray and perfectly still.

I guess there's a peacefullness and quietude about it that I like. Not that I don't also like a bright sunny day.

There were still a few people out riding but you don't find as many. I like that solitude too. It's even better when it is raining. I used to like to get suited up and walk for miles and miles in pouring down rain. There's not likely to be anyone else out and about! ;-)

I tweaked my high gear limit screw on the rear derailleur a couple days ago because I was still dropping the chain into the rear dropout. Very annoying as I have to take the wheel off to free it.

It's been good. I tightened up on the cable and turned the screw in a quarter turn or so.

So far my rear tire has been holding air too. So far so good.

Sometimes my GPS will put me in Canada but most of the time it's been ok.

Nothing epic today. Usual 15 mile ride (Dunkin' Donut) after work.

I was really going to take it easy cause I've had a big headache all day but ... I didn't. I didn't go all out but I did do a couple sprints. But guess what? No headache.


When I was younger, I used to get up at 5AM every morning to do something. Meditate, pray, practice some instrument.

Now I get up later, have a cup of coffee, sit on the couch with my eyes closed, sip the coffee, make another cup and drink it. Then get ready for work. In between all that I may or may not pray or meditate or read for a bit.

A few years ago when I started cycling seriously I rode almost every day. I put in about 4000 miles that year.

Last year it was about 2000 miles. This year I may not make it to 2000.

Why has my discipline fallen off? Age? Maybe I've given up on some goals that subconsciously drove me.

I didn't ride yesterday because I had a really physically hard day at work. I am a network administrator which is mostly a desk job but yesterday I had an assignment that said I needed to go "move some PCs". In a school district in the summer that usually means to load up some computers and monitors on a cart, take them to a desk or classroom and set them up. What it meant in this case was to load up a few hundred monitors and computers on pallets on a loading dock in the sun for pick up by a salvage company. Then it was unloading a tractor trailer load of new computers. I was totally unprepared for this. I had brought no water and was not dressed for the job. I was thoroughly soaked with sweat and dehydrated by the end of the day. Needless to say I did not ride after work.

On another note, I really like my doctor's scale. At home in my pajamas I weighed 205. At the Drs. office in my street clothes and shoes I was 198. Now a doctor's scale, that's got to be the right one! ;-)

Anyhow, I did ride today. About 15 miles. It was little warm, a little muggy. Overcast. Still. I thought it might storm but it didn't.

Oh yeah. The GPS worked right today. I don't know what did it. I deleted all the stored trips in the blackberry and I also setup a new web filter at work. Let's see if it keeps on working.

GPS ... Fugeddaboudit!

My GPS seems to like to put me in Canada. Today, according to it, I rode somewhere north of the US border above Michigan. Mileage was correct, 22.1, but time was only 35 minutes which gave me a nice average speed of 36 mph. Might be conceivable for Lance or Levi. Elevation was interesting at 2490 up and 4718 down!

I won't bore you any more with this. Yes my GPS readings are off. I suspect it has to do with the fact that internet access through this work provided blackberry goes through my connections back at the office. I think the uploads are getting corrupted somehow.

Rode with Charles today. In the rain. Was nice actually. Made it comfortable temperature wise and it wasn't so hard as to be a visibility problem.

The only thing I don't like is that after about 1-1/2 hours my shoes are real squishy.

And watch those wet brakes! Yowsa!

p.s. I tried something new today. Got tired of my homemade lemonade so I loaded up my bottle and Camelbak with cherry cola and filled one of my pockets with peanuts. Munch 'n' ride. Interesting. But I still missed my Clif Bar!

Got a nice 2 hour ride in today. Not too hot, about 80°. Bike was good: tires held air, shifting was good, only dropped the chain once off the little chainring. No problem.

But the technology! Ai-yi-yi!

First the heart rate monitor dropped out, lost communication with the chest strap. OK. No problem. Restarted it. Then once I looked at it and it was reading 66 bpm. Uh ... I don't think so. After I've been slamming it for an hour? That's almost my resting heart rate when I get out of bed in the morning! OK,mMaybe the batteries are down. But I haven't had it that long and I haven't been riding that much.

Then the computer said my cadence was 104 when I know it was down in the 60s or 70s at least. And it stuck there for awhile. Hmmm.

Then, when I got back the GPS said I had gone to somewhere in Quebec in 2 hours, 930.2 miles averaging 424.5 miles per hour. Pretty good huh? Good thing I didn't get a speeding ticket. But then, what police cruiser could catch me? Hard to enjoy the scenery at that pace! Don't believe me? Check my route here:


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*** sigh ***

Good thing you don't need all those gadgets to ride, eh?

Tire changing ... the bane of my existence

Had another flat tire today that I had to repair before going on my ride. I took the day off from work so I had time to do some wrenching.

As usual, I couldn't find a leak in the tube so I just swapped it out. But why is it so hard to get the tire off. Some people do it with just their hands. Yeah right. I'm struggling with 3 tire levers and it's still a wrestling match. Goes back on somewhat easier.

I stopped off at Mad Dog Bicycles the other day to pick up some Slime® but Matt says he doesn't carry it. Doesn't believe in it. He says if the tube does blow it makes a mess.

Does anybody have any experience with this stuff?

The second worst bane of my existence is shifting adjustments. I've been having problems with the chain dropping off the little chain ring, sometimes even to the outside on the big chain ring, it won't shift onto the biggest cog, and worst of all, the chain drops off the smallest cog and gets wedged in between the cassette and the drop out necessitating removal of the rear wheel to free it.

After I changed my tube today, I put the bike up on the rack and adjusted the derailleurs.

Today's ride was 100% malfunction free! Hooray!

a time to weep and a time to laugh

I've been silent the last couple of days because I have been struggling with something.
If you are a regular reader you know I try to keep it light and humorous and of course, about fitness, particularly cycling and skiing.

I try to keep the serious side of my personal life out of it.

But sometimes you can't ignore the elephant in the room. They say the show must go on but life isn't always just a "show".

You may have heard about the 10 aid workers murdered in Afghanistan. Well the team leader, Tom Little, is someone I have known for nearly 30 years. We've been invited to their home here in Delmar, I have hiked with Tom in the Catskills a couple of years ago and see him and his wife frequently when they are in the states as recently as a few weeks ago.

So you can imagine this has put a damper on my spirits the last few days. I can't wrap my head around this and I can't pretend it's business as usual. My weekend riding buddy Charles was even a close friend of Tom's and he is really broke up.

Yes, Mrs. MTBMan1 and I rode a little yesterday and enjoyed the beautiful day down by the bike path in Albany. But it was a quiet and somber ride as we tried to digest the news.

And yes I rode by myself a bit today and it was a good ride and I thought a lot about Tom and his family.

And that's all I have to say about that.

140 miles per hour

Before my ride today I was going to title this post "Sore calves, slow leaks". I had sore calves, not from cycling, but from painting. At least that's the only exercise I had this week. Mrs. MTBMan1 and I journeyed to Baltimore to visit our son and meet up with our daughter who bussed down from NYC. Our original plan was to travel from Baltimore to Hancock in northwestern Maryland to rent bikes and ride the Western Maryland Rail Trail as a family but son had plans to work on his house so we pitched in to paint his study. I did the cutting in and it was up and down the step stool innumerable times and crouching on my knees on the floor. That's the only thing I could conceivably believe could have made me sore. We never got to the Rail Trail. It was very hot and humid anyway so I'm not sure how much fun it would have been.

As to the slow leaks ... I mentioned in a previous post about my mysterious leaking tire which rode fine one day and was flat in the garage the next and I could not find a leak to save my life. In fact, I reinflated the tube and left it out for days and it never lost any air. So I packed it up for a spare.

But on my ride today, first in 6 days, I used my GPS as usual and when I got back it reported that I rode 69.4 miles from someplace south of Boston, MA to near Durham, NH in about a half and hour. Basically a straight line as the crow flies at an average speed of 140.3 mph. Pretty good for a bike, eh? Must have flown. Perhaps I went into a trance and did a bi-location like superman did in one episode. Cause I thought I was sloggin' it in upstate NY. Who knew?

Or maybe the trip to Baltimore confused the GPS. It got disoriented.

Now my cycle 'puter says I did 21 miles in about 1-1/2 hours. But it doesn't know about bi-location!