Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1000 Miles

Seems like it was just days ago that my Surly Long Haul Trucker was new. Today I crossed one of those nominal thresholds atop my Surly. I pedaled the 1000th mile.

Since I didn't have an computer on my Trek 7200 for the first year or so of its life the odometer reading of less than 1000 isn't that remarkable. I surely did put in 1000 miles, but I've put them in faster on top of the Surly.

Much of it has been doing my "normal" ride to Center Point and back. It's relatively flat and I've done it so often I am on a first name basis with several unavoidable deformities in the road.

I am going to have to start going beyond this comfort zone, though. Yes, 25 miles in 2 hours is a quick one. Now we need to challenge something longer. It is time to work the 30 mile route more and then go beyond that to include more hill work.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

The day after my second crash and I went back to do my "short" 24 mile ride. Bumped into some good people, including the owner of Bent Wheel Bicycle Touring. Hope to rid with him soon.

Glad I wnet.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another crash

The light sprinkle before dawn had left the road just slightly damp and apparently slick. I slid out on a turn I do all the time. Landed on my right kne yet again and maybe mucked up my shoulder some more.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rollin', rollin'

Not a lot that's new or interesting to report. I caught an extra day of riding on Tuesday thanks to an offer of a day off from work. I put in 49 miles in the past two days. Not a record, but am happy to get out and have some good, short rides.

I have finally signed up for the Soldier Ride in San Antonio this November. I am not sure if any of the other folks at the hospital will join my "team" but I will go and do this. That's what's important. Doing the right thing for the right reasons, even when no one would know if you just sloughed it off. Helping to support our wounded warriors is important.

On that topic I'm glad to say that one of my other interests is also helping out one of our nation's wounded warriors. I managed to find a kindred spirit recently at the archery club. He's a soldier who is still on duty, recuperating in the States. I've managed to get him in touch with the good people at Garrison Brother's Whiskey to join me in helping to bottle this fall's run of Texas' first legal, straight bourbon. I cracked open the bottle I'd earned back in February's run to share with him for the party after the last 3D shoot. He enjoyed the flavor and hope to see him have fun helping to bottle the new batch. Volunteer work that is not exactly easy, but fun. The first of our two days will be on Oct 5th.

I should be working tomorrow so I won't be at the Thursday evening group ride. My bike was in the shop last week on Thursday. Hopefully it will be cooler next week this time. Those evening rides are a real sweat-a-thon when it's above 95.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A quick one

I did my 25 mile run today from the carport to the Mini Mart in Center Point with a new record average speed of 15.1 mph. It's good to see that I can still improve.

I've had to experiment with some things and found that I had been attempting to set my seat back too far for the best ergonomic effort when pedaling. I had initially blamed me, but just slide the seat forward at the same height and I'm not tiring as fast and I'm rolling faster.

Results don't lie.

I'm seeing a lot more people out riding. Some of it must be people preparing for the upcoming Tri but also the cooler weather has been luring more people out. Shame that it will go up again later this week. It can't last long, though. We have reached September and now we are not going to be as hot. That's my theory, anyway.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

36 Miles and Cat 5 revisited

I dared to venture forth for a Saturday group ride again, even knowing a Cat 5 hill was involved. I wanted to test my LHT vs. the ride, particularly with the latest seat adjustments.

The turn out was low. The ride began in Harper which is not exactly home base for anyone in our group. The route went east from town to Old Harper Road, turned north onto Doss-Spring Creed Rd and followed it all the way to Doss. At Doss the route went south on Maner Rd. from there the route could go longer for riders who wanted to do that. Mine was the shorter route, coming all the way back to Old Harper Rd and return to where we had parked.

Things went smooth all the way to Doss. The ride out on Doss-Spring Creek encountered several down-hill runs which went by quickly, nearly 40 MPH quick. I had been left behind by the group well before getting on to Old Harper Rd, but am used to riding alone so it makes little difference.

Trouble didn't get going until turning south onto Maner. Headwind and the long, long climb back up to the elevation I started at. I had rolled pretty quick on the downhill, now I slogged and slogged as the temperatures got higher and higher.

I eventually ran out of steam. I was geared into Granny Low and could not make headway. Off the bike and push. I thought that was the absolute summit of the Cat 5 that I knew to lurk out there but it wasn't quite. I got back on the bike for a short roll before once more finding out that the road was too steep to continue. Push again.

At long last I reached the real summit and could begin a descent. From that point forward I did not need to push the bike again. I rode the rest of the way to where we had parked in town.

I found that the riding group hosts had turned back early on their part of the ride due to a broken spoke on the recumbent. Not sure where they turned back because after the riders left me I didn't see any of them again until we got to the parking area. Maybe they were riding the course in a different direction.

I'm glad I went, even though I realize I'm too burned out to do a good ride tomorrow. I need challenges like this to be a reality test for my plans of doing charity rides in the future.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I adjusted the saddle angle. It had slipped into a nose-up position due to my leaning back on the seat and not having the single bolt fully tightened. That could have been a factor in not yet having much improvement on problems I mention elsewhere.

With the saddle level I feel no pressure from the nose of the saddle against my perineum. I find myself pushing back on the rear of my Brooks B-17 with more of my weight on the pedals and handlebar. The bike is not comfortable for a more upright position so this is actually encouraging a more aggressive riding posture.

This takes a bit of adjustment so today and yesterday I kept to the old familiar routes. Initially this morning I thought I would have to cut the ride shorter than I had initially planned. I was feeling some pain in my quads that was unusual. I soldiered on, though and came to a standard "rest" point on my outbound portion on top of the only "hill" of any note on Hwy 27 between Kerrville and Center Point.

I took a breather and drank from my new Camelbak Lobo. I was using up the reservoir on my original, very small Camelbak. The Lobo holds a 3.0 L bladder and has more storage. It also provides more insulation so the water stays cooler, especially since I load the bladder with ice and water at the start. The smaller unit is usually gathering condensation around the lower half of the shell part way through the ride. The Lobo is has more material and no noticed condensation. The ice lasts through the trip, now, as does the water. Good to have even on a morning ride in Texas in August.

Back to the ride. I found myself with more weight on the pedals and it occurred to me as I rode that I might try shifting to my larger chain ring when the bike is in the smaller gears already. Instead of trying to spin my legs faster I used my body's weight to push the crank in the larger ring to go as fast or faster. After that discovery my final average speed for the ride was relatively higher at 13.7 mph. Maybe after I become more used to using the larger chain ring I might find my average speed rising above 14 mph. That would be nice.

It seemed to me that I was on my sit bones and hands and feet for the most part. When I did sit back it was more onto sit bones and feet to take weight off my hands.

From what I have seen on respectable medical sites I should make a full recovery on my other problems if I can fully eliminate the problem that caused it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Average Ride

I'm sure you've heard the old saying about pizza. Even when it's not very good it's not bad. Such wisdom has kept frozen pizza companies in business for years.

I'd like to say the same about rides. Today's ride was just average. I did my standard 29 mile route with almost no variations. I did it without any special observations. No special insights. No special views. It was overcast and I was glad of it for the lack of oppressive sunshine and the accompanying heat.

It was an average ride. And even when a ride isn't very good it's not bad.

It's crazy. The idiot who saw bicycles as transportation or something for children is now looking forward to his rides with anticipation. I hit the saddle and start pedaling, I feel right.

Others see a 29 mile ride like this and think it's something special. I think it's just ok.

And even when it's not very good it isn't bad.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Delicate issues

I've not heard it discussed in person among the group I hang out with, but all of us know that bike seats sometimes impact a man in ways that are not good.

I had noticed some of this when I was riding my hybrid, despite the seat having been largely comfortable for some time. The seat was tilting while I rode and I didn't realize it. I wound up with some numbness in places that are not supposed to be numb.

The original seat for the LHT was not helpful. Instead of things getting better they are worse.

I put a Brooks B - 17 Imperial Narrow seat on this week and it's an improvement. I'm close to the magic 100 mile break-in that I've read about after today's ride.

The Brooks is immeasurably better than the MTB brand seat that Surly puts on the LHT. The narrow variation fits well with supporting my sit bones. I have no problem stopping as needed and also just standing up on the pedals and still rolling for a bit.

I'm hoping that I can recover from the present situation, but so far it's not looking good.

UPDATE 9/14/11

Things are back to functional. Thank Brooks and finding the right saddle position.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

200 Miles

This morning I paused on my ride having crested Eagle Pass on Bandera Highway, taking a breather before the swift descent into Camp Verde. I examined the readings on the cyclocomputer and saw that I had 200 miles on the LHT.

Since I last posted the bike has had one upgrade, the original seat (bad, horrible, evil!) was swapped out for a Brooks B-17 Imperial Narrow (MUCH BETTER and that's before it's even broken in).

The ride went smooth until I was descending the hill by Our Lady of the Hills high school and hit some road debris. My back tube went out in a hurry and I had to put the ride on pause. No tube. No pump. No patch. No tire levers. Cell phone and got the cavalry to ride to the rescue, putting use down in the bike shop for a quick fix.

Then out my old ride area, Guadalupe Street. So challenging once upon a time, but today I'm pumping down the road in the mid-teens. No challenge left in the road that was my home. After a stop at the ATM I dared to go up Harper Road, the hills a daunting challenge... No. Quickly I climbed from Junction Highway to Jackson and turned toward home. Hills I had not dared with they hybrid melt beneath the LHT.

One of these days I need to go and find out how tough Mt. Crabapple is feeling to a rider on a Surly LHT...