Archive for the ‘Road Biking’ Category

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Long Hill Climb

July 31, 2011

Did a 13 mile route from the house that took me immediately into a 400+ foot descent for a mile, then a relatively flat section. This was nice for warming up the legs. After that I re-ascended the hill on a nice steady Cat 5 climb. It’s a 400+ foot climb over two miles with no overwhelming steep portions (like the other options around here).

This one hit me more from a cardio standpoint than a lactic buildup standpoint. This is the first steep climb I’ve attempted since I’ve been at almost zero carbs for the past 3 days. I guess it’s possible to put out some effort on ketones… LOL. Heart rate recovery was pretty quick, but legs still feel like they did something this evening.

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Light Road Riding around East Fork State Park

July 10, 2011

Penny and I loaded up our bikes on the bike rack of our Honda Accord around 7pm Sunday, and went out to East Fork State Park to ride around, and also scope out some low traffic roads that we can ride together in the future.

The “highlight” was the 100 ft drop in elevation from the top of the plateau to the boat ramp and then a climb back up.  Penny powered up it, but I tend to “hamster wheel” it in low gear.  My cardio endurance seems better than my strength endurance although neither are all that great.  It was a nice 8 mile ride though.  I expect we’ll be doing more of the roads around the State Park the next time, if we start earlier before sunset.

 

The new bike rack that we purchased is a Saris.  I noticed that the straps were loose when we got home.  I probably didn’t tighten them down enough, and the weight of two Surly LHT bikes probably caused a lot of twisting and pulling.  Took the rack off until the next time I need it so it wouldn’t fly off on my trip to work.  Will keep tinkering with it until I figure it out.  Otherwise, it seemed to hold the bikes very solid for the 15 mile round trip from home to the park and back.

 

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Cycling Windy Flats, past Marshlands, and Muddy Michigan roads

October 28, 2009

My original plan for the evening was to just pedal in the hotel room with my bike on the resistance trainer, but the sun came out in the afternoon and it turned into a beautiful day.  There was a light wind from the NNW, so I headed a couple of miles west and then started a due north course (easy enough on square grid roads).  The trek took me past some marshy remnants of the Great Black Swamp.

It’s truly amazing to consider that pioneers suffered such harsh conditions to travel through and even drain most of NW Ohio to gain access to such fertile land.

On the way northward, I was stunned to see the paved road come to an end at the Ohio line and changeover to muddy roads in Michigan.  What a dichotomy!

I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I concluded that 25mm road tires weren’t the best option for muddy roads.  Perhaps a cyclocross bike would have been more appropriate.  lol

It took a bit more concentration, but for the most part, the bike fared okay.

On the way back, most of the mud flew off, and I wiped the rest down before I brought the bike back into the hotel.

I grabbed a couple of pics on the Ohio Turnpike overpass just a short jaunt from the hotel.  This is about a mile west of turnpike exit 13.

And the obligatory self-portrait!

There was a steady 6-10mph headwind on the way north, not much, but I could feel it.  This was supposed to be an “easy spinning” night, so I had to keep dialing it back to keep cadence high and effort easy.  However, on the way back, the wind was a great boon, giving me a nice pace on the way back, so I did push it a bit harder than I should have.

My legs are yelling at me now for 5 days of cycling in a row, but there aren’t many days like this left in the year, so I had to take the opportunity!  Awesome night for a ride!

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Checking out the Colors on the Little Miami Trail

October 25, 2009

We finally had the time and temperature to get out for a nice Fall ride.    The colors are a bit past peak, and the recent rains have pulled down many of the leaves prematurely, but there was still some enjoyment to be had!

We didn’t take time for a long ride, but hit the trail between Morrow and Oregonia.  We weren’t disappointed!

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Rolling Hills, “Hill of Death”, and Sprint Intervals… Loving the Surly LHT

October 4, 2009

After a morning workout indoors, I wasn’t real motivated to get out and ride today.  I wasn’t against it, but just had a high degree of inertia working against me.  After Penny got the Surly LHTs loaded, she cajoled me into getting ready, so off we went.

Penny had to test her rear gear changes and get used to the differences.  She actually had lower gears than before, equivalent to the stock Long Haul Trucker I ride, but her forte has never been high cadence pedaling, so it would be interesting to see if the changes would be beneficial.

We started out by taking the rolling hills of Columbia and Turtle Creek Roads.  I’m still surprised how much higher our average MPH is when on the road versus the bike trail.  There was an interesting moment where a couple with a large pickup truck pulling a trailer stopped well past a stop sign where we didn’t have to stop.  Then without looking, they started right across our path, causing us to do evasive maneuvers and a fast stop.  All we could do was glare and shake our heads.  Some people are clueless about the rights of bikes on roadways.

After we warmed up, we turned up the “Hill of Death” using the Lebanon YMCA bike trail. Penny has never made it up this hill without stopping, so today was a test of sorts./

Since I’m the “stronger” climber, I normally head up first, but I suspect that interferes with Penny’s natural pace, so she led out today.  I’d given her a summary of how I approach the hill, but it was up to her to decide what would work for her.  I started out in my lowest gear with the intent of just grinding up the hill using cardio, but Penny hit the hill like a shot and quickly left me behind.   I didn’t think she could maintain that pace, but she smartly down shifted as necessary, just using her momentum to carve out as much of the hill as possible.  Slowly closing the gap, I finally reached and passed her at about 3/4 the way up.  Yelling encouragement as I “hamstered” past, I continued on to the top and then slowly pedaled onward for keep the blood flowing.  After a bit, I looked back and there she was, pulling away from the top, her first non-stop climb of that hill!  Woo Hoo!!!

The path on toward Lebanon is a nicely rolling too, so we continued on and used it for sprinting practice, especially on the return leg.  Going back down the big hill, I had an “incident”.  A bee flew into my mouth, and fortunately I got my teeth closed before it got past.  Spitting and swatting to get it out… while continuing to ride the brakes down the hill… it stung me pretty good.  Ouch!!  By the time we got home I had a really fat lip and felt like Sly Stallone… Yo Adrianne!!

These heavy steel bikes deliver a great workout,  good momentum on the rolling hills, and great climbing ability.  We are definitely members of the “We love our Surly Long Haul Trucker” group!

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Cycling from Yellow Springs to Springfield

October 3, 2009

We needed to head up to Yellow Springs to change over a stem on Penny’s Surly LHT she bought there, and I also wanted to check availability of a trunk bag for the rear rack. Before heading to the bike shop, we stopped in to the William’s Restaurant so that Penny could try the Peruvian cuisine.

When we finally got over to the bike shop, we didn’t arrive empty handed, but came in with the shop owner’s favorite beer, Pilsner Urquell… a Czech libation.

Penny got a short handlebar stem and also got an adjustment on her rear derailleur to return it back to index mode.  Currently, it’s been jumping/missing gears, so she was using friction mode to allow incremental trim shifting.  A short time after we got underway on the trail, she found the chain jumping back and forth on her rear cassette again, so she returned to friction mode.

Although the skies were menacing and overcast, the ride up to I-70 was pretty uneventful.  Also, we mostly had the wind at our back on the way up, so we wondered if it would be a challenge on the way back.  However, the wind had shifted just enough that we didn’t need the relative protection of the trees on the trail, so we actually decided to take Rt 68 from Springfield back to Yellow Springs.  There are splendidly large shoulders on this state route, and in fact, a few signs indicating “Share the Road” with cyclists.  It was a busy stretch of highway, but never once did we feel crowded by vehicles.

Upon returning to the bike shop, the owner worked on Penny’s bike again, making adjustments, replacing the cassette, and then installing a third cassette and new chain.  We knew that some of the components installed on the Penny’s Surly LHT frame had been used when we bought it, but he was happy to replace the necessary components to “make it right” and get it working smoothly.  Perhaps the fact that we came in bearing his favorite beer today didn’t hurt either. 😀  Now, Penny has a rear cassette that is 11-32 versus the 11-28 that she did have.  This should also benefit her on any particularly difficult hill climbs in our future.

Now that Penny has had the opportunity to ride the Little Miami Trail from Yellow Springs to Springfield, she has now ridden every mile of the trail from Newtown down in Cincinnati up to Springfield, where the paved trail becomes a shared road access and connection to the other trails in Springfield, a distance of over 70 miles of paved trail.  Because I have worked in Springfield on a regular basis, I had the opportunity to ride on the entire trail last year.

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Screaming Descent, Taxing Climb and a Steady Ascent Back

September 15, 2009

Tried again to catch the bike shop open in Yellow Springs.  It was actually closed, but the manager was standing outside chatting and had me come in to discuss stems for the handlebar.  They have a nice selection for comparison, so I got one that was close to my adjustable stem angle and took it out for a spin.

I didn’t really feel like riding the trail again, so I took Grinnell Road down past the back entrance to John Bryan State Park.  This is a screaming descent I max’d out at 34mph.  I could have pushed harder, but near the beginning of the descent, I startled a large deer on my side of the road.  Fortunately as it looked at me, it darted back into the woods rather than across the road into me.  At 30mph, it wouldn’t have been pretty!!  That took some of the steam out of my descent, especially as I stayed up high on the handlebars rather than in the drops for aerodynamics.   I reached the bottom and looked ahead at the twisting ascent, realizing that my legs were going to be PISSED when I reached the top.  I pushed as hard as I could, but my legs were toasting pretty quickly.  Eventually, only half way to the top, I was in my lowest gear ratio of 30:27 and spinning my way to the top.  My lungs were screaming and my legs were yelling, and all I could think was… Bob… you’re still a WUSS!!! What I would have given to be at least 50# lighter… LOL!  Hauling my 230# frame to the top was no treat!   Really… I was just glad to reach the top of the hill and the stop sign to turn onto Clifton Road.  Not knowing the topography ahead of me, I chose to stop here and eat a Cliff Bar, chug some water, and let my heart rate settle back down.

The caution was for naught.  Clifton Road, back toward the Little Miami Trail, is a pleasant series of rollers, so my cruising speed was pretty good.  I can’t believe how glass-smooth the road surface was!

Once I got to the trail and headed back to Yellow Springs, the pace slowed considerably.  I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t seem that the trail is conducive to maintaining a decent average pace.  It doesn’t help that the return was a steady 200ft climb for that last 4 miles… not taxing… but I wasn’t flying either as I used it as a chance to cool down and relax my legs.

This is one of those routes that I need to endeavor to do more often.  Steeper hills are still my enigma, and I just need to keep churning through them until my legs and lungs grow sufficiently strong and can say “Bring on the Rockies!!!”

Even though the new bike stem is a slightly different angle and a bit shorter, it worked out pretty well.  My arms noticed the difference, but they’ll quickly adjust.

12 miles, 40 minutes.

Tomorrow is definitely a rest day for my legs!!!