Trapped? I think not.

November 30, 2010

This weekend I dropped some bills on bike lights, a helmet, and some reflective tape: the result. There may be more tape in it’s future.

Then today, while sitting at my desk, I felt trapped. The in-house cafeteria is overpriced and everything else seems far away….. Then I realized: “WAIT A MINUTE! I have a bicycle, I have independence!” So I biked around until I found a place that looked nice. Yay, choices!

Yes! I biked to work yesterday and today, but tomorrow Boston is expecting rain. Where is that fender? Where is my umbrella, for that matter?

No, I don’t know what I’ll do, but it’s good to be back, regardless.

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Let me reintroduce myself.  I was formerly a cyclist, cellist, martial artist, and teacher.  Since I moved (the landlady foreclosed!) I’ve been tech support.  I’ve recently rescheduled my time, but I can’t spare the 2 hours a day to bike to work.  It stinks, and I’ll figure something out sometime, but not right now.

During the last week of December I decided I missed my bike too much.  The sun was out and I thought “-15º windchill is as bad as it gets.  Let’s do this!”

24 minutes later my legs hurt and I had learned a very valuable lesson: Don’t Forget Your Booties.  The wool socks didn’t do much for me.  Everything else was fine though!  Legs, arms, torso, head, hands, everything was covered.  Except my feet.  Somehow I managed to keep all my toes.  Lucky Me!

Today, however, was a workout of a different kind.  I decided I wanted to work my chest and belly.  Honestly, it’s been a while.  I thought I’d start easy:

One Hundred Twenty Five pushups.

Two Hundred Crunches.

I am insane.

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 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.

Gear Test: Cold Rain

February 22, 2009

It was pouring rain outside today, and cold too, but the new jacket was great for keeping the weather out, as I knew it would be.  I had no trouble with the rubber pants either, though they were wet inside, it didn’t seem to be a problem.

The only problem was my ankles.  Since my boots are waterproof I just tucked the pant legs over and got moving out into the cold rain.

Very soon water was pouring down into my boots and I was not at all entertained.  After some impromptu tugging and unzipping, I decided to just finish the ride and figure out a solution later.

I still don’t have one.  My Trek is in the shop for maintenance.  I have a solution for that: booties over bike shoes.  But the booties aren’t designed to fit over my boots, and that seems silly for a number of reasons.  I’m not too worried, though.

Also, today’s trip for groceries on the winter bike confirmed that it is just fine for the task at hand.  Maybe I’ll get studded tires at some point, for a bit more turning confidence, but other than that the gearing is just right for a quick 4 mile trip to the grocery store.

Bold New Jacket

February 20, 2009

Today I took the winterbike on it’s first snowy ride.  We have a couple of inches on the ground that haven’t melted yet, and I needed to go to the bank.  Unfortunately, I never cleared the cyclometer from my last trip for groceries (Monday?) so I can only show you the combined ride.

0’23:41, 5.7mi
avg 14.6mph, max 22.6mph
25ºF, SS Odo 5mi

Clearly nothing spectacular on the SS, not that I really was trying for such, I was just running errands.  And normally, I wouldn’t have even posted about it except for one awesome thing:

my new jacket

my new jacket

That picture was from my 20 mile ride last week, at 33ºF.  Note that I’m only wearing two layers: The coat, and a single long-sleeve jersey.  These are from today:

Yes that's snow on the tires!

Yes, that's snow on the tires!

Note the butt-flap.  It snaps up and away when you don’t need it.  Today I had it out (opening it while riding was slightly more difficult than I  would like) in spite of the rear fender, mostly to insulate better.  It was COLD!

And finally: the hot cyclist of the year award goes to…..

Probably someone with hair

Probably someone with more hair

With all the snow I haven’t biked to work this week.  I was playing with the idea for Thursday, but was told to work from home due to ‘inclement weather.’  I’d like to bike in on Sunday, but chances of me waking up in time are slim.

A Bold New Plan

February 15, 2009

This winter continues to plague my cycling dreams, but Spring’s hope is budding restlessly!  Tomorrow I’m buying the coat. I own the coat.  Now I can ride in freezing rain fearlessly!  The plan is, of course, to start riding to work again.  I’ll start next week, with my shift change.  I thought I’d ease myself back in, so I put on the jacket, other gear, and took off for my first ride of the year.

I thought I’d take my favorite route, the hilly twenty.  With a total climb of 1182ft, I was fairly certain I would not ride the whole thing.

The weather was sunny, 33ºF.  It was one of those ‘warm feeling’ days, in spite of a cold wind.  I made good progress, keeping my cadence up and generally getting used to riding again.  At my almost-half-way intersection point, I felt like it was time to go back, but wanted to see how much more I had in me.   How could I settle for 10 miles?

I kept my cadence around 90 for 3/4 of the ride.  After I conquered the biggest hill (mile 13) with a cheer, I pushed down the other side and hit my top speed: 37mph.  Half way up the next hill cluster, I felt my exhaustion sap away my hopes.  Immediately I rose out of my seat and tried to blast up the hill, but there was nothing left.  I had already resigned myself to using the granny gear on the previous hill, but now was a different kind of resignation.

The last few miles were horrible.  I was hungry and physically exhausted.  Water didn’t help, I could only pushed on.

1:27’20, 21.45mi
avg 14.7mph, max 37.0mph
33ºF, Odo 21.4mi
Cadence: Good for 15mi!

Home. Pain. Fear. Please god let the door lock open. Failed. Again. Opened!  Drag the bike inside, immediately desire to raid the kitchen.  Too hot, peel off stinky gear.  Hang it up first, eat second.

I knew, on sight, that the stairs would do me in.  After a brief stretch I had the confidence to climb them.  This was a tremendous mistake.  Sure, I climbed them, slowly, carefully, and it did hurt; but it was the way back down where I thought I was going to die.

My legs were jelly.  Each step down the stairs prompted the question “Is this leg going to buckle?”  This was less like descending stairs and more like a controlled fall in slow motion.  I was afraid for my life.  It took every ounce of effort I had not to fall down the stairs.  It was critical fatigue and I couldn’t have stopped if I’d wanted to.  And yet here I am: safe and sound.  Instant relief when I braced against the wall at the bottom of the stair.  Yay, I’m alive!

Thoughts on the ride: I’m so glad to be back.

Winter Bike?

February 15, 2009

I have been thinking about my ‘winter bike’ idea, and I realize the bike I bought is trying to be too much.  It can’t have it be a fixie and a mountain bike and a winter commuter.  However, it is possible to salvage the bike.  I could put a big chain ring on it.  Right now the gearing is miserable.  I detest the handlebars, too.  Maybe they can be adjusted.

My other altertative is to sell this bike and buy an old junker track bike, put some cross tires on, and go fixie.  This is the attractive idea, at the moment.

Humbling Experience

December 10, 2008

This morning as I drove to work (for shame!) I saw something I will not soon forget.  I coasted up to a red light, warm and cozy in my car, listening to Yo Yo Ma playing Bach when I noticed a light on the side of the road.  It was bouncing far too much t o be a bicycle, and not moving fast enough.  Jogger.

Remarkable!  I thought, in this weather: chill and rainy.  It was snowing yesterday, all day!

She was very thin, out there in the dark, and had a sweatshirt around her hips.  There were two joggers behind her.  Again, girls.  One in one of those day-glow vests with no headlight, and then the third.

It was the third girl that shocked me.  I already felt like a lazy bum for driving when I could be on my bike (thanks for the motivation!).  But I felt like a total wimp when I saw her.

She was in shorts and a sports bra.

I’m such a wuss.