Saturday, August 28, 2010

Single Speed Century

The family did the annual camper camping trip at a local campground with friends my wife grew up.  I took this year off and decided that I would punish my body a little and go for a century ride.  Not that big of a deal because this is my 6th this year and I have over 5500 miles of riding in, but I decided to take one of my single speed rigs out instead of my gear Vaya!

My weapon of Choice - Felt Breed
I love this bike but there are downsides - 1 bottle cage, no pump holder, no tube bag, so this means that I carry my backpack when I ride the Breed but it is worth the inconvenience because I love this bike!!!  It is fast (except 1 gear holds me back on long flats and uphill), it is light (except my 175+ body weight adds too much weight to it but I love my food more than I love this bike so my weight is going to stay the same!), it is responsive, and it is cool looking!

My home area
I rode 3.5 miles with my son to start - I never said it was going to be all at once did I?  Then I rode to the Y so I could swim some laps before heading out.  I stopped by home because the new computer's heart rate aspect was not (and is not - yes QBP I will be contacting you to see if I can score another one) and then I headed out.  It was an absolutely beautiful day for a bike ride!

Ski Country - My destination
I ran into a logistics problem - I became quite hungry about 10 miles out from my refueling stop.  I had a huge breakfast but delayed in getting on the road and the energy bars I at were not holding up.  I was a little concerned because energy was fading quick and heart rate was going up quicker!  I could have dove into my bento box but I figured I could tough it out and wait - and I survived!

My lunch view
Not a bad view for lunch - devoured a Personal Pan Pizza, 32oz of Ice Cold Dr. Pepper, 1 Liter of Ice Cold water, and 4 recees peanut butter cups.  Had a great chat with a motorcycle tourist who stopped to rest at the same location.  He asked how far I was riding today and I said oh about 100 miles.  I asked him and he said the same.  It was cool he takes all the side roads that I usually ride down so we had a nice little chat, then he headed off, as did I!

A cool looking bride they refurbished at the county line
My energy levels were much better and I had a great ride home.  Saw some awesome stuff and kept turning the pedals over!

Sun Over Lake Erie

Can you critique my fit please??

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.  Get out on your bike and see the sights.  They are much better at 15mph than 55!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Single Speed Mountain Bike Ride

My riding has been very limited this week.  Well actually all of my training has been limited because I am trying to work back into a 3 heavy 1 light workout week and this is my first light week.  Well that is until tomorrow when I am planning on a century ride on my Single Speed Cross bike.

So when I got home early yesterday the wife was working and we had no plans and I asked permission for a 2 hour max ride.  She approved and I headed out.

My Single Speed weapon of choice
I took the mountain bike because I figured with the new chip seal down in the area I could save some hassle and then I could hit the park for some dirt riding.  It was a blast but the legs are definitely tired after a long year of training (and it is still just August!).

Big waterfall huh?
My local park is a haven for me and I have most of it all to myself whenever I head over there.  Periodically I will pass people on the trail but not very often.  In the winter it is even more abandoned and all mine!  Thanks Erie County!!

My cool bridge shot
So I rode around on the dirt, cracked my knee on the handlebars, and headed to flat asphalt cruising before heading home.

Flat or Hill??
So I came to my option point and I asked the legs - Do you feel froggy?  They said no so I went flat besides my always climb home - some hills are just easier than others.

Should have a lot of pictures tomorrow from my century - Get out there and ride your bike!!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Bike Ride

What a great day for a ride.  The sun wasn't out one time today so I went without sunglasses and only 2 water bottles.  I tucked some food into my bento bag and headed off to Sprague Brook on my Bianchi MUSS.  I love this bike for some strange reason and now that it is road ready I see a lot of time on that bike coming up!

Cemetery 5 minutes from the house
I have passed this cemetery for every ride and run since we moved here almost 5 years ago and I never realized it was there until this past spring.  Today I shot some pictures.  1800's was a long time ago!!

No Hitchhiking allowed
There was a pretty steady southerly headwind heading up the hill so I cut down to the main road sooner than usual to get out of it.  Made good time to the park and it was vacant.  I am still getting used to no suspension again so I stuck to the easy routes for another week or so.  I need to get my human shocks built up again for the rigid beast!

Love the Single Track
I rode around for a while and then headed back up hill to another section and bam - my first flat on the Bianchi this season.  Not my first flat by any means.  I fixed it and headed off to the parking lot to see if I could score a floor pump but no luck.

Off into the woods

So I headed home and hit the bike shop on the route to top off the rear wheel.  Headed over to church to check on the kids who were doing a road cleanup project for youth group.  They were just finishing up and the wife had a funeral luncheon to help out with so I rode home and grabbed the vehicle and went back and grabbed my son.

Have a great weekend - rain is blowing in tomorrow so no bike tomorrow.  They said the same thing last Sunday also so we might luck out!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Salsa Woodchipper Review

Today was a relaxing day of bike maintenance at Sprague Brook.  I had some repair work to do on the Bianchi MUSS so I loaded the bike, my stand, and all the equipment I had with me to the park and set up shop.  Part of my maintenance was installing my 2nd pair of Salsa Woodchipper Handlebars.

I have them on my Salsa Vaya and a very knowledgeable and reputable bike guru - Guitar Ted (Does it make sense that someone so knowledgeable about bikes has Guitar as his first name??  I was thinking more like Derailleur Ted or Single Speed Ted would be more fitting - but hey I digress!) recommends these bars on his blog and uses them on his bike so I tried them out and loved them on the Vaya.  I then decided to try them on the MUSS.  Needless to say I am very happy!

There they are - I have red tape on both sets - Boring I know!
So I got the bike all set and headed off on the trails.  I have never ridden drops on single track so it took some adjusting but the bars gave me the ability to wrench hard on the pedals of the Single Speed beast.

Top Side View

One change I am planning on making to the cockpit of the MUSS is to add some cross brakes.  I decided on the trail when I almost went headfirst into the river that an upper set of brakes would be helpful for times when it is flat or downhill and I am riding the flat part of the bars.

Needless to say I am very happy with these and will be making another purchase for the next bike.  Maybe even the Felt Breed for cross season to get some more power out of riding SS during cross races.  Hmmm that thought just came to my mind!!!!

Have a great weekend and get out and ride your bike.  Tomorrow is a long ride to Sprague Brook from the house to give the bars and bike another run!  I cannot wait!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Response To A Difficult Question - Why?

Jill's blog got me thinking yesterday a lot about that simple question.  Why?

I posted the following response to her question:

Very profound - Why? Great question that many ponder and hopefully never answer because once the answer is found I believe the drive will be lost!

I honestly believe that!  If you ever really answer the question of Why then all your drive will be gone and you will stop pursuing that never answerable questions answer (does that even make sense?)!  I don't have an exact answer because when we were doing our Freedom Tour this summer we had many question us as to why and we had an answer because we were doing the Freedom Tour for a cause!

So does that make my response wrong because I knew WHY I did the Freedom Tour?  But I honestly don't know why I ride my bike or run or swim or lift almost every day.  Sure I do it to stay in shape and because I enjoy training but there is no honestly reasonable answer as to why I desire to ride my bike in Iowa for 300+ miles or across northern Minnesota doing the Arrowhead 135 in most like sub-zero temperatures.  How about why, if I could run further than 3 miles without pain, I would love to train to do a 100 mile ultra run and then qualify for the Western States 100.  Or possibly learn how to swim strong enough to swim the English Channel.

Or how crazy is it that I would love to move to Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin area just because of all of the gravel races and winter races they have out there and the better winter snow riding and cross country skiing conditions that exist compared to Buffalo.  Or the fact that I would love to move next door to Sprague Brook Park so that I would have instant access to the best trails in Erie County since I doubt my family would agree with me on moving somewhere were they know no one.

Maybe you do know why and care to share with us?

Whatever the reason or contemplations that come from this - go out and ride your bike!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I Learned Off The Bike

My Salsa Vaya (Factory Image - Mine is much cooler looking) - Commuter Rig

Last Thursday morning my alarm was set for my 5:00am bicycle commuter wake up.  The alarm went off and I thought to myself what in the world am I doing??????  Reset it for 6:00am and drove to work.  That morning I decided it was time to take some time off of the bike, so I told myself that I would look at my training schedule (Yeah Right I have no schedule I just ride or run or swim or lift or play tennis), adjust some things, and decide a better way to finish out the commuter season and train for the 60 Mile Iron Cross race October 10th.

First thing I came up with was that I would go back to Boot Camp Conditioning class Mon-Wed-Fri and that would require me to drive those days.  So that would leave Tue-Thur for commuting and Sat-Sun for weekend rides.  I would run Mon-Wed-Fri while my son practiced football and try to sneak off to the pool every chance I got.

Today I rode to work again - 5 days off of the bike.  I came up with a brilliant blog post - 5 Things I Learned on my Bike Sabattical!  Now I just hope I have 5 of them!

1.  Bike Maintenance is as much fun as Bike Riding but not nearly as efficient at burning calories.  My Single Speed Mountain Bike needed some loving to get her ready for the upcoming winter rides so I spent some time on Sunday getting her cleaned up and deciding what I needed new and put that list together.  She is going to be so happy with me come October when I start riding her again.

A picture of Todd and I on our bike tour - the big reason I have so many miles

2.  Effective today I am only 500 miles away from my 2009 total bike mileage.  That is easily wiped out in 1 typical month so this will be the most mileage I have ever ridden in 1 year come the middle of September.  Do I push it and shoot for 7000 miles for the year or do I just let it all fall in place and take what I have?  A point to ponder.  What will 7000 miles get me?  Nothing at all.  So I will probably just let it all fall in place!

3.  I may have a lot of bike miles in but I can say for a fact that I have done interval type bike training less than 10 times all year long.  This needs to change because next year I hit the Masters 45+ age group and I think I could have some fun competing with my peers in that age group but I need to grow some fast twitch muscle fibers instead of my long/steady/plodding twitch muscles I have developed.

My SS Mountain/Snow Bike out on the trails last winter

4.  I cannot wait to ride on the snowmobile trails again this winter.  Last year I found the perfect set-up on my SS to make this a great time and fun training.  I even pictured myself riding out to the local cross country trails with my skis on my backpack and wondering what types of looks I would garner with that look!

5.  I really love riding my bike and there were about 100 times over the last 5 days that I just wandered off into deep thought about how bad I wanted to ride my bike.  I even shouldered my SS Cross Bike to carry it upstairs on Sunday but I put her back and let the love grow even deeper.  I wish I lived in a much bike-friendlier city but I will do my best to make it as bike friendly as possible!

Have a great day and go ride your bike please!!!!  Oh and avoid Boot Camp Conditioning at all cost - it hurts!!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bicycle Maintenance Sunday

So what do you do if you have realized that you are somewhat burned out on biking?

Contemplate why?  Easy answer 5000 miles and it is mid August. 

Contemplate changes?  Easy again, take some time off the bike until you want to ride so bad you will go out on either of your bikes in any type of weather and have a great time.  This is best served riding Single Speed because there is no thought process involved - just crank the pedals until you get home.  I have a SS Cross, SS/Fixie Flip/Flop Commuter or a SS Mtn Bike.  2 of the 3 are ready to ride at a moments notice (Note:  I had the cross on my shoulders getting ready to head upstairs with it but I put it back down - I am very proud of myself).  The 3rd bike was (and still isn't) not even close to being able to be ridden.

So today I decided to get the bike ready.  I purchased some Salsa Woodchipper bars for it recently and had them loosely attached to the stem.  With the new bars I would need new brake levers as well.  Just so happens my Commuter rig has bullhorns now and I had the old hoods hanging around so I took those off and installed them on the bars.  Problem is that mountain bike brake cables and road brake cables have different ends so I need new cables (wanted them anyways!).  I also need new handlebar tape and I am contemplating red for the Bianchi M.U.S.S. just because I think it will look cool!

The brake housing units themselves were pretty beat up from winter riding so I took them apart and cleaned them to the best of my ability.  I now need new brake pads as well but I knew that would be the case also.  One thing I want to upgrade is my chain tensioners.  They have never really been perfect in my eyes and I was eying some surly ones that look pretty cool!  Those need to be ordered so I can do that tomorrow and have them by the weekend I am sure.  That could be my birthday present!

Tubes.  I had to switch my studded tire off and I did so I must have pinched the tube and got a leak in it.  No big deal I have about 4 tubes laying around for the 26" wheels.  Put one in - hole.  Put next one in - hole.  Put another one in - hole.  Take tube out of seat bag - works.  Go to put air in the other tube and the stem had locked closed from corrosion.  No other tubes.  I guess I need some new tubes!

So instead of riding today I worked on my bike which was just as fun - but not nearly as aerobic though.  No complaints from me.  Off to Bootcamp Class tomorrow morning and I shall commute on Tuesday most likely (if my body wants to!).

Hope you all had a great weekend and got to ride your bike.  Not being on mine caused great jealousy whenever I saw a biker on the road, but the body knows best so I just told myself that they were not having fun - but they were and I am still jealous!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My Bike Trip to the Farmer's Market

The View from The Farmer's Market

It was supposed to rain today so I really had not planned on riding.  I figured it would be a good day to start a bathroom renovation project and do some errand running as well.  So I planned on swimming after church, then errands, the running real quick, and finally working on the bathroom.

I hit the pool and saw a beautiful day outside.  I figured it would not last so I hit the deli.  It was still beautiful!  I hit my Fav Store (Red Bullseye is all I am saying) and came outside and it was still beautiful.  I hit the park for a trail run and it was beautiful there (but it is always beautiful when I am trail running at the park!

Fresh Tomatoes anyone?
I had one last stop to make and it was the farmer's market for some fruits and veggies.  I came up with a brilliant idea - RIDE MY BIKE THERE!  You see after I finished the tour I stripped the Masi down and am trying to make her light and fast.  Yesterday my LBS gave me 2 free tires for her (they were demos and he was glad to get ride of them but I was quite happy to receive them) and I put them on last night.  The fenders are off, the racks are off, and about the only thing left to remove are the cross brakes but I am not too worried about those right now.

I wanted to see how much quicker she was so I headed out for a harder type ride even though my legs have been trashed lately.  I hit some hills, powered her out to the market, and loaded up the backpack!

Zucchini, Eggplant, Squash, Tomatoes, and a lot of Fruit
So I headed home with a much heavier load than I left with.  Made for a little slower goings and it was still beautiful out.  The temp was higher than they called for also so I had to make a stop for more liquid which I was not planning on doing but no big deal.

I love when they get it wrong.  My legs are sore and I have to do a little work on the commuter rig for tomorrow but it is August and I had visions of snowmobile trail riding today - I cannot wait but I am loving this weather while we have it!

Have a great week and please ride your bike - it is so much fun!!!!