Monday, April 28, 2008

Larry Schwartz - April - 100+miles

I waited, once again, till the last possible day to ride my year-rounder century, and I paid for it in bad weather.

Since riding my first one in freezing temps, I decided to wait until there was a really nice day. There were a few that I let slide, so I had to ride in the rain.

While getting ready to go I realized that one of my water bottle cages was still laying beside my bike waiting to be fixed. I had 15 minutes to eat breakfast and get everything else ready, but now I had to fix my bike.

After fixing my bottle cage, indeed having more than one water bottle is a necessity for a long ride, I crammed a bowl of Wheaties down, splashed some water into my bottles and took off.

On the way to the designated meeting point it felt a little cool. With rain on the way, and the skies looking somewhat ominous I asked my son if we should go back and get long sleeve jerseys. His reply? "It's too late now" (we're 3/4 miles from home heading out on a 100 mile ride). So we set off, 56°F degrees with rain on the way, in shorts and short sleeve shirts.

I didn't expect anyone to show up to ride with us but I went by the start point just to make sure. Sure enough, there was someone that showed up, but not who I was suspecting. This particular rider is someone who I've ridden with infrequently in the past. Infrequently because every time I try to keep up with him it's at least six months before I'm recovered enough to forget how painful it was the last time. So these thoughts are racing through my head, wondering if I can keep a lid on the speed, long enough to survive the ride.

So we commenced the exercise, heading south to Beaverdale and following the River Rd to cross 411 and head for the big climb. As we turned onto the River Rd, it began to rain, 25 miles had been covered.

Arriving at the Fort Mt climb, I bid goodbye to our racer friend and started the long grind to the top. Almost as soon as I got on the climb my lower back muscles started cramping up making the ascent extremely uncomfortable. After about an hour of that torture, we were close to the summit and found our friend already to making his descent. There was heavy cloud cover and fog so the scenery wasn't as spectacular as it could have been. After spending a few minutes at the top, wishing for better weather, we carefully made our descent on the wet twisty roads. When your body fat is less than 15% and you're in a cold weather rain, hypothermia is a concern (not a concern for myself as I'm 30% body fat). My son was shivering and covered with goosebumps at the bottom, after coasting for 20 minutes through the fog and the rain. It was 58°F.

We headed for a food stop at Subway, hoping for a warm retreat from the rain. When we stepped through the door we knew we were in trouble. The lady behind the counter apologized for the meat locker temperatures, she had been baking the bread and had cranked the air-conditioner because the ovens were vented into the room and she had gotten too hot. It was actually warmer outside, so we went back out to eat.

I told my son to sit close to me so he could get benefit from some of my body heat. Picture this, two fully(mostly) grown men dressed in spandex sitting close together on the ground outside of a Subway in a (mostly) redneck town. It's survival time.

C warmed up a little, the rain slowed a little, and we took off for home, 45 miles to go.

The rest of the ride was uneventful with the weather gradually warming and the rain eventually ending. By the time we reached home the roads were dry and it was 63°F with the sun trying to peak through the clouds.

It was good to have the extra company. Thanks RH for coming out with us and showing us a different route to the mountain.

I predict the next Year-Rounder to be much warmer, if not dry.

Route and Ride details:

Length: 100.48 miles
Duration: 6:29 (moving) 7:42 (total) (see motionbased player for stopped locations)
Elevation: +9400'

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wheelset Dreaming

No, I don't want an ultra-lightweight wheelset for weight weenies. I need a superstrong reliable set for a 200+lb rough roads rider.

I've had fun building 4 sets of wheels with each one getting a little better. The last set I built was for my father (who is 77 years young today). A car pulled out in front of him and he taco'ed the front into the car, bounced up and over the hood and bent the rear as the bike landed (just bruised him up a little). I rebuilt his wheels using WTB cross rims and Wheelsmith spokes.

I learned how to build a wheel by reading This Manual by Roger Musson. Using this guide I even built my own wheel stand out of some 2 x 2 oak and a couple of digital dial indicators. Works real well for me and gets the wheels true to within 0.01 mm plus or minus (I usually shoot for .05 mm).

Anyway, back to the title of this post.

If I were going to replace my wheelset with another self built set, this is what I want.

Hubs: Chris King Classic 32 hole Red, 268g rear ~$320, Front 113g ~$150

Spokes: Sapim CX-Ray 64 spokes, 278g ~$192

Brass nipples: Original Sapim

Rims: Mavic Open Pro 32 hole black 435g ~$100

Front 687g - $296
Rear 842g - $466
Total 1529g - $762

Anyone have some spare pocket change?

Well, so much for dreaming.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Apison TT - April

It was 5:00pm Tuesday evening and I was anxious to ride.

My son said "the wind is blowing from the west, let's do the time trial course".

So we get ready and ride out. On the way over to the course our ride intersects with one of our riding buddies, TW, who is riding home from work. It didn't take much to talk him into going with us.

We go nice and easy over to the starting line in Apison.

I go first. Within a few seconds I'm sprinting over 26 mph, got to dial it back a bit, I can't keep that pace up. Okay, I'm on the first climb, feeling good, trying to keep it close to 20, I crest the first riser, not feeling too bad. Heading across the stair step for the steep part of the course (Howardsville Rd.) , this one always gets into my head, trying not to push too hard, trying to save some for the hard part of the hill.

Looking back, CRB is coming, I'm giving it all I've got, over the top of the mean little rise, now it's mostly up and down to the finish, legs are like jelly, breathing is hard and ragged. Looking down I see I'm under 6 minutes for 2 to push harder! I'm still holding on to my gap, another half mile to go, empty yourself man, is that all you've got? Faster! Faster!

Finish line...stop the clock, see what I've got.


Now I feel better, a personal best!

8:22 / 21.54mph (WWVF)

My son comes in 3 seconds faster, GREAT RIDE!

TW had a great time as well, only 25 seconds off the fastest time.

We cool down and ride along enjoying our small victory. Isn't riding great?

We finished with 33 miles and rode with 3 of our friends in great weather.

For a look a the ride go to: Motion Based # 5294525