Bike to Work, day 11

March 31, 2009

Everything about this ride felt good.

0:22’02, 6.77mi
avg 18.4mph, max 27.6mph
38°F, Odo 224.1mi
Cadence: 70-80rpm

It’s not a record.  My time on Friday was faster by 30 seconds, but I’m still a minute faster than every other time in!  Woo!

The ride home was amazing.  Only one minor traffic problem, and somehow maintained an amazing average speed:

0:19’50, 6.76mi
avg 20.4mph, max 32.3mph
53°F, Odo 230.8mi
Cadence: 70-90rpm

I am beside myself.  After only 11 days commuting.  It took me all summer last year to break 20 min.  How fast would I be if I’d ridden rollers all winter?  Would I have an average speed of 25mph?  30?

Broke the record by 48 seconds.  Powerbar and no annoying traffc stop helped.

Bike to Work, day 10

March 30, 2009

Today’s rain provided useful insight into how my leggings and shoe-covers should interact.  My soaking wet socks and shoes will remind me which direction keeps the water out of my shoes.

Yesterday I took a huge nap then couldn’t get back to sleep for the rest of the night.  Yes, I set an alarm.  So I spent the last 6 hours before my regular wakeup time awake.  I played a bit of cello.  Finally I gave up and read a book from 2am until about 4am, when I tried sleep again.

my 5:20am alarm took it’s time, probably because I did not sleep.

The ride was effortless:

0:21’34, 6.19???
avg 17.2mph, max 29.8mph
41°F, Odo 210.5mi
Cadence: 70-80rpm

I thought 21’34 seemed a bit low for the effort I put in!  No wonder.

0:20′35, 6.78
avg 19.8mph, max 29.7mph
44°F, Odo 217.3mi
Cadence: 70-80rpm

I am completely unable to describe how I beat my fastest time this year, and yet still had traffic problems, rain, and a total lack of sleep.  It must be the temperature.

Yesterday I took a sick day and didn’t ride in.  Stayed in bed most of the day.  I feel bad about not cycling.  I’ll make it up this weekend.

The ride was poetry.  It started dark and gritty, and late.  I had a goal so I hit the gas and did not let up.  Soon I was hauling up every hill, every straightaway.  And I did it all in the big gear ring. The ride flew by!

0:21’38, 6.75mi
avg 18.7mph, max 25.7mph
40°F, Odo 197.1mi
Cadence: 65-76rpm
*very wet, light rain

I have never been fond of keeping my cadence at 90rpm.  It just feels like too much spin.  Sure, I understand ‘racers’ keep their cadence up at 100 and higher, and it really is my goal to race at some point, but it just feels wasteful.

In spite of my nearly constant hammering on the pedals, I did actually ride smart.  I ‘coasted’ down hills, though I did not stop pedaling.  I only used the smaller cog up one hill (the overpass).

Nearly one and a half minutes faster than my fastest time last week!  Woohoo!

0:18’19, 6.21mi
avg 20.34mph, max 29.2mph
61ºF, Odo 204.3mi
Cadence: 70-85rpm
*pulled clock at the park entrance

Well I have a beautiful average speed if I cut the clock at the park, before the intersection of doom, but then I drop it and forget to measure the rest of the mile home and it’s a mess.  Stupid traffic.

Bike to Work: day 8

March 25, 2009

I went from barely crawling out of bed to this:

  • 50 pushups,
  • 40 situps,
  • 5 pullups (pausing at the critical point half way up and half way down, each time)

and this:

0:23’16, 6.75mi
avg 17.4mph, max 30.1mph
24°F, Odo 183.6mi
Cadence: 85rpm

During the ride I was very mindful of not moving my head.  I’m trying to keep the wind from going down my neck.  My hat was pulled down and tucked into my glasses.  Gloves carefully tucked into my coat.  Shirts carefully tucked into my weather-proof pants, in turn tucked into my shoe-covers.  Not more than a shred of skin exposed, by my eyes.

This doesn’t make for a particularly pleasant ride, however.  I wasn’t really having a good time.  And then something happened.

I shifted gears and pushed down a long gradual hill.  Suddenly I was flying again.  I kept a debate in my head about weather or not I’d have time for a full shower, weather or not I should get very sweaty.  While the debate never finished, I pushed and worked and flew.  And I was having a good time again!

Not a bad turnout for a grouchy, cold, grumbling, unmotivated morning.

On the ride home I pushed from the start, and as I remember from last year, that never works.  Still I got some great speed down, but lost a bunch of time to traffic, again.  I’m thinking I’ll just pull the clock before that stupid intersection.

0:20’59, 6.77mi
avg 19.3mph, max 31.0mph
54ºF, Odo 190.3mi
Cadence: 80s

Still, that wasn’t bad at all! And after the ride I did 10 pullups, paused, then another 5. I would have done more but my roommate was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him up.  It’s a collapsable staircase and it makes a bunch of noise when I’m opening and closing it.

Wow fifty degrees outside!  What a beautiful day!

Bike to Work: day 7

March 24, 2009

In light of 10-12mph headwind, and another 23° morning, I could not motivate myself to push any faster.  I took my time.

0:27’57, 6.75mi
avg 14.5mph, max 24.0mph
23°F, Odo 170.0mi
Cadence: 75rpm
*10-12mph headwind

So this is spring.  Fascinating.

Now that was more like it.

0:20’57, 6.75mi
avg 19.3mph, max 32.0mph
46ºF, Odo 176.8mi
Cadence: 80s

What a ride!

Not as fast as yesterday’s, which is odd since I didn’t push hard at all yesterday.  Today I pushed but came up short.  Maybe it was diet related?  The world may never know.

Bike to Work: day 6

March 23, 2009

This morning’s ride felt like I was pushing into the wind the whole time.  It was bitter cold and very windy.

After checking the weather, I was bearing straight into a 14mph headwind from the nnw.  Eew.  That and the temperature help explain why my time was so bad:

0:25’43, 6.75mi
avg 15.7mph, max 26.0mph
21°F, Odo 156.5mi
Cadence: Low
*14mph Headwind!

This was not a fun morning ride.  On the other hand I did 50 pushups, 40 situps, and 8 pullups.  I could have done more but I didn’t want to push myself too hard before the bike ride.

What a mess!

District Cotton Tees

District Cotton Tees

The ride home was the perfect opposite of the ride in.  During the ride to work, the head wind actually helped through the expansive corporate park.  On the way home, it hindered there but boosted me the rest of the way:

0:20’47, 6.75mi
avg 19.5mph, max 30.8mph
30ºF, Odo 163.3mi
Cadence: 80s
*fastest ride?!

Somehow, after all that activity this weekend I do not feel motivated to go out tonight.  It’s strange, usually I’m all over dancing.  Maybe I just really need a nap.

Busy Weekend

March 22, 2009

Before yesterday I’d never jogged more than 3 miles. My goal this year is to run a marathon (just over 26 miles).  I’d started the weekend with a goal of 80 miles on the bike, but was quickly deterred from this plan, by a family dinner Saturday.  Since my aunt has a treadmill, I decided to run 5 miles.

I wasn’t sure how to pace myself for it, so I just set the machine for 5mph.  This was a mistake, and I could tell immediately, but I couldn’t be sure 6 wouldn’t kill me.

At 2.5 miles I felt good.  At 30 minutes both shoes came untied, one then the other.  Then suddenly I was at 4 miles, and I felt un-tapped.  Time to bring up the heat!

I set the machine to 8mph, and as the mile flew by, I knew I still had more in me.

At a quarter mile, I maxed out the machine at 10mph and ran my heart out.  This was the burn I was looking for!  Huge superman strides, suddenly my upper body wasn’t moving up and down.  I was just staying in place and throwing my legs.  Honestly I think I could have sprinted faster, but certainly not for any length of time.  I’ve never run so fast for so long.  When I was done my amazing 5 miles, I slowly brought the machine down to 5mph, then 3, then 2.  I felt wonderful!

Today I set off for my 40 miles, but miscalculated slightly.  There’s a few miles from my house to the ‘loop’ that I didn’t ride twice.  Still, I’m very satisfied with the ride for several reasons:

  • Since I can run at 10mph, I would not allow myself to ride slower than that.
  • I never used the granny gear.
  • Wheeler Rd is fun!

Ride stats:

1:55’37, 31.01mi (week: 98.81mi)
avg 16.0mph, max 38.9mph
41ºF, Odo 149.8mi
Cadence: 80s (Not bad)


Total climb: 1779ft

Total climb: 1779ft


This was a very fun ride.  I took my hilly twenty and went straight up the first big hills (Pine Hill to Farley to Nevins).  I climbed the longest, most painful, ascent (Farley) then took Pine Hill out to Rt 130, and rode Wheeler all the way back.  I estimated this was my ‘half  way’ point, but I wasn’t even beginning to feel tired.  I had allowed myself use of the granny gear on the second twenty miles, if I felt tired, and packed a power bar in case I wanted to stop in the middle.  I never want to stop.

Turns out the middle was closer to 15 miles, and while I did start to feel tired near the end, I still never used the granny gear or the power bar.  After my first time over wheeler, I took the (steep, short) Farley hill up to S. Merrimack Rd and flew down Nevins (38.9mph).  I backtracked from there.  Nevins to Wheeler to Rt 130 to Pine Hill and home.  As a 30 mile route, it was lovely.

The hikers and bikers and I all smiled to eachother, as if we shared a secret.  What a beautiful day!

Bike to Work: day 5

March 20, 2009

Today’s victory had nothing to do with numbers: not how many times I pedaled per minute, nor my average speed, not even how long it took to get here.  Today’s victory was simply rolling out of bed.

I went to bed earlier by 30 minutes and tried to get up 10 minutes earlier.  The combination failed completely.  I snoozed forever, and was almost ready to give up on the day when one thought saved me:

It’s Friday, I’ve cycled every day this week.  Am I going to quit the first time things get difficult? NO!

I did some pushups and crunches.  Not many, but I still did something.  The ride was a joke.  I pushed and pushed and came up short.

0:23’35, 6.77mi (week 61.01)
avg 17.2mph, max 28.5mph
30ºF, Odo 112.0mi
Cadence: Poor

It feels good to push harder, slower.  I know it’s not optimal.  I know I need to change, and that struggling for 90rpm cadence will make me a better cyclist.  That doesn’t make it fun. On the other hand, pushing like a chump and coming in slow isn’t fun either.

Familiarity is comfort.  Comfort does not encourage change.  This morning I needed comfort over speed.  And that’s okay once in a while, if I’m aware of it and don’t let it become a habit.

Rocked this ride home!

0:20’58, 6.77mi (week 67.79!)
avg 19.4mph, max 32.1mph
41ºF, Odo 118.8mi
Cadence: Not bad

I had to wait for one red light, but not for the other.  I pushed the whole time (except at the top of a hill.  Once i’ve climbed it and start rolling, I stop pushing.  Yes, I know I need to fix that).  The protein bar before my ride helped.  Simply put: I had energy for the whole ride.

Bike to Work: day 4

March 19, 2009

It couldn’t last.  Still, I at least matched yesterday’s time.  It could have been cold legs (no tights!) or the 50 pushups and 40 crunches I did before the ride, or that I burned my toast.

0:22′54, 6.77mi (week 47.44)
avg 17.7mph, max 28.0mph
44ºF, Odo 84.8mi
Cadence:  Miserable

For the effort I put in I’m surprised it wasn’t faster, but I really shouldn’t complain.  I blame the toast.

In other awesome news, my fixie junker idea just became a bit more real.  I found this amazing site: Urban Velo’s Singlespeeds for 2009 which has several pre-built singlespeed bikes for under $500, and several for more.  and more.

I’m currently ogling the Oso bike:

Simply Sexy

Simply Sexy


*note: this bike may not be the one.  First Impressions.

Sorry for the late update, after my ride home I needed a nap and was not impressed with my ride time:

0:22′16, 6.79mi (week 54.23)
avg 18.3mph, max 28.6mph
44ºF, Odo 105.2mi
Cadence:  Meh

I blame traffic.

So in the review of the Osobike, they mention two problems: they used a mountainbike crank (meaning i cannot adjust that chainring to be larger) and that the chain is not lined up properly.

Honestly, I probably will never need to put a BIGGER chainring on that, but the chain not lining up does bother me.  And I don’t know how to fix it.

It also seems that I wouldn’t be able to put cross tires on, which defeats the purpose of the bike.

Bike to Work: day 3

March 18, 2009

Another minute off! So cool!

0:22′54, 6.77mi (week 33.87)
avg 17.7mph, max 25.7mph
27ºF, Odo 84.8mi
Cadence:  Not bad

I can hardly believe it.  I took a moment to do just 20 pushups and 30 crunches.  That’s only half, but I didn’t have a lot of time and didn’t want to burn myself out before the ride.

Monday: 25’01.  Tuesday: 24’08.  Today: 22’54.

This is completely amazing! If this keeps up, in 23 days I’ll be arriving before I’ve departed.

I pushed very hard to get home fast, but only took 7 seconds off yesterday’s time.  I blame traffic.

0:21’38, 6.77mi (week 40.65)
avg 18.8mph, max 28.8mph
62ºF, Odo 91.6mi
Cadence:  Pretty good

Today I will take a much deserved nap. and practice cello. and go to bed early.  Oh and don’t forget the laundry.

Behold my exciting life!