Sunday, July 23, 2017

Finally an OK week

This was one of my best riding weeks of the year, and I will take it.

Monday I dusted off the road bike and headed out for a familiar loop. My so called "Little John Loop" where I ride from home and make a circle to Chicora before heading back home. My ride was hot and a bit twitchy. Having pulled the road bike off the shelf for the first time in 2017 and going from 2.3's to 22mm tires, well...there is your difference. My ride was not fast, but it was mileage that I desperately needed.

Tuesday was the group ride turned solo ride at Cannonsburg State Game area. Solid two laps. Look at the previous post HERE for more info on this ride. 

Wednesday I took the day off. My legs were out of gas. I went and had a nice dinner with my oldest daughter instead.....you know...recovery ;).  I took Thursday off as well. It was one of those days were I probably should have gone to ride, but instead of taking care of the odds and ends of daily life.

Friday, I had to do some electrical work for my sister-n-law. I was also expecting my wife home from her trip so I voted against riding. Instead, after finding out the wife was going to be late, I geared up and headed out on the road again. I was actually noticing some zip in my pedal force. I was holding a pretty solid average. Then I caught a guy that was on a similar route. We rode together for a mile or so and chatted. Then I turned back towards home and he went on the rest of his journey. The rest of my ride was pretty good. Held a constant speed and just enjoyed being on the bike.

After taking Saturday off, it was time to go again today. I loaded up and stopped at the gas station, still not 100% sure where I wanted to go. A quick look at the weather map gave me my direction. There was a bit of rain to the south so I headed up to Luton Park. To my surprise it has rained there some time that morning. Still, I was there and figured if it was muddy I would just ride the interior loop. It wasn't. There was 4-5 small puddles and the rest of the trail was in great shape. 

First lap it did take me a bit to settle in because the rocks and roots were a bit slick. Because I am still heavy I am just riding to be riding....not setting any records. My main notice, it was humid out. I was dripping sweat into my glasses in the first 10 minutes. As it always seems at Luton, I felt like I had the trail to myself. First lap in, I stopped at the parking lot. Refilled my bottle and headed out for another lap. It was only about 11 o'clock but I was pouring sweat still. Not hot, humid. 

On this lap I decided to work more on handling and cornering. Trying to avoid the brakes....because...that is how you get faster right? It went pretty good as I was taking corners a bit faster that I did on the first lap. Overall it was a good ride.

My average speed on the road was nearly .5 mph faster on my second ride.
My average speed at Luton was almost a full mph faster that the previous time I rode it a few weeks ago. So, progress is happening.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Keep on slippin'

Time...as it were.....keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin'

Wow time is going fast. The last week of July is rapidly approaching and while I have some goals for the 2018 season that seem very far away, the weeks are dropping off like panties in the white house when B.C. was in charge. HA!

So, what has been going on? How is everyone? I am sure you guys are putting in more miles than me, but that is ok. I am alive and doing pretty good all things considered.

This past Monday I actually got the Defy out of the garage and did a nice 18 mile ride. First time that bike has been on pavement in 2017. Let me tell you this much, it was a very twitchy first mile or so before I got settled in. The ride went pretty good, albeit slow. That is ok too. I was out there and I was just enjoying being on the bike. The weather was beautiful. Looking at my average speed was not very surprising because I am just a heavy human right now.

The next night, Tuesday, I joined a few guys from work and headed to Cannonsburg State Game Area. The first mile was ok, but then one of the guys (a newbie) shot off the front and we decimated the group. I was holding on for the most part....but I was concerned about the rest of the group, so I backed off....only to be dropped about 1.5 miles later. lol. How was it that I waited for people.....and ended up last...by a long time? I don't remember CSGA having so many roots, but the trail was in amazing shape. I was close to losing it on a rooty section. My rear tire went left, front tire went right. Then, front tire and rear tire went right together. Thankfully I stayed upright and rode in solo. The last section from 3 mile to 4 mile is surely my favorite. Flat and fast as hell. I was reminded of a few years ago when I was pushing Jeff to the point of him puking. I wasn't very fast, but it felt fast compared to the rest of the trail. Once I got back the other four guys were loading up and heading home. I took that opporutnity to head out again for "another" solo lap. This lap was less than 6 minutes slower than the first. That is a huge win for me for a few reasons. First, as a sport level rider I strive for consistent lap times. They might not be the fastest, but they will start getting faster the more I ride. The second reason....I was the only one out of 5 of us that did two laps. Why do 1 when you can do 2 right?

The second lap was just a cruise. Working on flow rather than being choppy in and out of the corners. With a very high center of gravity the handling of a bike is way different. 30 pounds up and different speeds means a whole new way of riding. The plan is to get faster, thinner, and improve my handling skills all at the same time. The hope is to come out in the spring a lean mean cycling machine.


But, back to the Newbie. I get it. I get that you have a desire to "win" every time you do anything. But it is a dick move to invite 4 other people and simply leave them behind to fend for themselves. Sure you "won". But you got to the trailhead 8 minutes before I did. You could have been well on your way home by the time I hit the parking lot. What if someone crashed at mile 3. There is certainly a learning curve there and some etiquette to be taught. Simply stated, this is why I ride alone. I ended up riding alone anyway. 

So, I am probably going back to riding solo for now. I have my reasons and I don't expect everyone to understand. Just know that I don't like being the weakest link. So, I will do what Rocky did: go off the grid and come back ready to stomp some ass.