Friday, March 30, 2012

Solvang -- My Tuchus!

Last Friday, I drove to Solvang for the first double of the season.  Forecasters promised rain, so I shelved the newly-repaired Llewellyn and went with my fendered Spectrum.  Checked into the hotel and dressed for a ride.  I hadn’t been on this bike in over a year, so definitely needed a shake-down ride.  Rode into the wind, westbound on Highway 246, then north on Drum Canyon Road -- also into the wind -- and back for 70 minutes.  When I returned to the hotel, my sit bones weren’t feeling good.  So I decided to raise the saddle.  By half a centimeter.  It’s not as bad as it sounds – on the ride I’d wear my Riivos that have a thicker sole than the Rocket 7s I wore on this ride.  So, yes, a different bike, a new position, and different shoes.  I also felt a bit cramped with the 10cm stem that was on the bike.  Stupid?  Very much so!  Oh well, what the hell.  Kevin Thornton came by in the evening.  We’d met online and would ride this double together.

Solvang Spring Double.  Sucked.  First 101 miles took 5:32 at 19.1mph.  The return took 7:40 at what felt like 12 mph into 15-25mph headwinds.  Fucking demoralizing.  The wind did a complete 180 from the day before.  Had this double been of Friday, we would have finished at least 1:30 earlier.  Last year’s 90 miles of rain was better than this.  Glad I brought the fendered bike, it made the rain stay away until late evening, but I wonder if my fenders were catching the wind and slowing me down.  Funny thing is legs felt OK at the end of the ride and responded well to efforts with no hint of cramping.  There was severe brain cramping, however.  I’m pissed at this ride and it’s all wind-related.  Fuck it; don’t want to write about it anymore.

Oh yeah, the bike fit and the shoes worked out just fine.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Looming Double

It's the week before Solvang Spring.  Every year I feel in equal parts excited and anxious as this double approaches.  This year it seems these feelings started bubbling up earlier.  Maybe it's because I was training well a month ago and felt optimistic.  Then I got sick and it took me two weeks before I felt normal and another ten days before I felt normal on the bike.  So I was nervous that I may have a bad ride or DNF, god forbid.  For the past week, I've been training well, albeit doing mostly intensity work.  But this training has returned the optimistic outlook.  Then there's the weather.  We have had a very dry winter until ten days ago, when it started dumping daily, just as I had hoped to do one last endurance ride to prepare.  I've been checking the forecast for March 24, the day of the ride and it's been changing daily.  First it was showers the day before, then showers the day of the ride, and for the past two days it's been partly cloudy the day before and the day of and showers the day after.  Since it's now four days before the ride, I hope that forecasts become more precise as the time to the ride shortens and it remains dry for the 24th.  Of course no one told Mama Nature that it wasn't supposed to rain on the day of the ride last year, when it dumped for the last 100 miles of this ride.  But even a cyclist very well prepared for louse weather doesn't look forward to riding in the rain -- at least one doesn't.

In other good news, my Llewellyn frame has been repaired and I'll have it built up and ready to ride at Solvang, if I choose to ride this bike.  I think I will.  I'll have to do a shakedown ride or two to get used to the bike again and for the bike to get used to me.  I think we can work together well.  Unless the forecast changes.  Then I'll take my fendered Spectrum. 

Hmm.  Just checked the forecast for Morro Bay, the north-most point of the ride and it has 30% chance of rain on the 24th.  Glad I looked.  Plan B is becoming Plan A and I will be taking more rain gear than anticipated... unless the forecast changes again.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I've been riding daily and writing about it not quite daily, albeit not here but HERE.  But this post is not about cycling.  Happy New Year, by the way.  No, this post is about something I hadn't done since March 29, 2011, the day I broke my ankle -- ice skating!

It seemed important to return to the ice during the calendar year of the accident.  December 31 was the last chance and I had to take it.  The entire family went back to Oakland Ice Arena, the scene of the calamity.  Honestly, I was apprehensive about putting the skates back on, in no small part because my left ankle is bigger than it was before and I worried about inability to put the skate on.

We went inside, I put on the skates and rushed toward the ice.  I strode from the plastic edge of the rink onto the ice, leading with my left skate.  Just as I pushed off with my right foot to step onto the ice, my right foot slipped on the plastic and I lost my balance, nearly falling before I had a chance to skate.  That was mildly frightening, but I regained my balance and found myself gliding on choppy ice that had been in heavy use for an hour and a half.  Not the kind of ice on which you'd want to figure skate or play hockey, but good enough for cautious recreational skating.

I was cautious for the first lap.  It was completely uneventful.  Encouraged, I picked up my pace, beginning to do turns and cross-overs.  For several years, I worked and rode with Mike Abel.  Mike was at the rink also, so we skated together for a while, catching up, and I entertained him with the tale of my ankle.  Then Sophie and I skated together, doing our best pairs skating impressions.  At the end of the session, Jessica and Sophie skated together and I just let it loose, skating fast and turning hard for a few laps. Just as I was exhilarated by my return to cycling, I am thrilled to be back on the ice in good form.  But I promise, no more skating sessions after 90 minutes at VeloSF.  Or maybe it was such a freak event that it could not happen again...?  Hmmm, let's not find out.