Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year In Review

It was a good year. I first climbed on the bike in 2009 to loose weight and improve my general fitness. By the end of 2009 I'd done that in spades, shedding over 50 lbs and surprising myself by twice riding > 100 miles in a single day on my hybrid.

Entering 2010 I was hooked. I had a new touring bike, the Surly Long Haul Trucker, and had joined a local club, the Severna Park Peloton where I was making friends and learning to broaden my horizons with regards to what was possible. I started commuting to work on the bike on a regular basis.

I didn't however quantify my goals for the year back in January. I didn't have a specific mileage in mind, or any awards I wanted to earn, I just wanted to continue the fun and the improvements in my general health and fitness. I was introduced to Randonneuring by the SPP and it proved to be a very good outlet for me to channel those objectives. Long distance rides with the goal to finish in a set time period. It's not a race but it requires you stick to a schedule, and no SAG vans, you must be self sufficient and resourceful on the road. The rides are completed year round in all sorts of weather. The rider must judge for himself what is safe and what is realistic based on the conditions he finds and his fitness, experience, and level of preparation. These are many of the same attributes that have always attracted me to sailing as well, especially when going offshore for long periods of time.

I wanted to give it a try. So I did that first 200K brevet back in January with Chris Lane. It was 17 degrees at the start and we never saw the warm side of freezing all day. The wind was in our face, hard much of that day. We finished cold, exhausted and excited to be done on time. You can find that first ride report in the archive links to your left. It was called the Tappahannock 200K.

The sense of accomplishment was almost euphoric. But the level of commitment and logistical challenges to repeat it 11 more times on a monthly scheduled seemed completely unrealistic at the time. So of course I did it anyway. Every month I found a way to make the time and get me and the bike to the start. Rain, heat, wind, snow, I saw it all through the seasons of a single year. Sometimes by myself, more often with one or more partners.

In between I kept showing up in the mornings riding with SPP or meeting Chris and riding to work. The miles started adding up to really big numbers. My heart, lungs, and legs all grew stronger as my stamina improved.

I learned how to dress for cold weather, and warm, how to eat so the fuel would last all day, how to fix things when they broke, and I started to appreciate that I hadn't yet really tested my own limits. I also saw some beautiful countryside. I never ventured more than about 150 miles from home. But I rediscovered how beautiful Central MD, Pennsylvania, Virgina, Delaware and the Chesapeake Bay really are.

There are some goals I have not accomplished this year and some things I'm resolved to do differently. I have yet to ride an event longer than 200K despite plans in September that came within a week of fruition before the logistics fell apart. I haven't lost nearly enough weight from all of this either. I'm still obese by any reasonable standard, and with all of the miles I rode and the calories I've burned this year, that's very disappointing. But I kept shoveling it in so the weight has yet to come off. I didn't take nearly enough pictures. I see a lot of neat things and pass a lot of great countryside on the bike. But I don't often slow down and record what I see, despite the ease of modern digital photography. Time on the bike has also frequently become time away from my family. I want to change that too.

But the best part of it all has been the new friends I've made and the many interesting people I've met along the way. That will certainly keep me on the bike for years to come. Some of those friends I have yet to meet in person. I'm not the only guy using a bike to pound himself in to shape and writing about it. I've met a few others online chasing the same goals and am grateful for their support. It's been every bit as helpful and inspiring as the folks I see almost daily on the road.

This year I rode 8500 miles, earned an R-12 medal from RUSA, and made many new friends. I'm thankful for all of that and quite satisfied.

There are so many people who have earned a sincere "Thankyou" or more from me. If you take the time to read along, then you can count yourself among them. But I must single out my wife Tivy Binnix and our six beautiful children: Taylor, Justin, Jessica, Morgan, Zach and Erik. I love you all and am so grateful.

In 2011 I will also do more:
  • Ride 9000 Miles or more for the year
  • Get my weight down under 200 lbs
  • Take and publish more pictures while riding
  • Spend more time with my family on and off of the bike
Please make a point to stop by the blog to follow along, or better come join me for a ride. Have a very Happy New Year everyone. I plan to.

Last ride of 2010

The biking year for 2010 ended on a high note.  11 of us set out from the RB for Friday breakfast.  It was 29 deg and dark.  There were still patches of ice on the trail where no sun has made it through to clear it out since the day after Christmas.  But 11 hardy souls turned out anyway, as we always do, to enjoy the sunrise, breakfast and some great camaraderie.

Jerry and I split from the pack in Annapolis to join other friends for breakfast at Chick n Ruths then rode back up the trail in time to see the 7:30 crew heading out to enjoy the same. 

8500 miles on the year, the R-12 award complete, many new friends, and a significant improvement in my health and fitness.  Other goals have been left unmet, creating an opportunity for 2011.  But I'm happy with how this one turned out. 

I'll publish my reflections on the year more thoroughly this weekend.  Thanks for following along.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Ride Today

A slight case of "too much itis" when I woke up this morning. I had a great time at the sailing team's Christmas Party last night. But I think that 4th or 5th glass of wine might have been tainted. The result... rolled over and went back to sleep when my alarm went off. So 500 miles this month is now out of reach but 8500 for the year is still in my grasp if I behave myself tonight and ride in the morning.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday Breakfast Ride

Several of the bike club are taking the holiday week off. So instead of just a quick Wednesday lap we rode down in to Annapolis and had breakfast at the Big Bean.   More of the same planned for tomorrow and Friday.

The weather was hovering right at freezing when I set out this morning so I dressed accordingly and swapped the studded tires (heavy, slow, but oh so secure on ice and snow) for the my normal touring tires and set out to meet them.

At  breakfast we called Clint to harass him about not joining us, his excuse was a business trip. He does that others frequently so it was his turn.  After we ate, no one really wanted to leave.  We lingered over breakfast for a while and finally set out for home.

The southern end of the trail was not completely thawed out from Sunday's snow so our route included Ritchie Hwy for the last few miles to town and the return leg.  The shoulders there were well cleared with only a few piles of salt to dodge.

A great start to the morning.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mosey Monday - first ride of the season with snow tires

I put the studded tires on the bike last night in anticipation of wet / icy conditions this A.M. The blizzard passed east of us and we got less than 2 inches of snow. The weather guessers were right, this was a big storm, but it kept them on their toes trying to predict it's track. The Eastern Shore of MD got considerably more snow than we did.

The roads were mostly wet with many patches of dry salt encrusted pavement and a few side street with snow and ice. The Schwalbe winter tires have little carbide steel studs that grip remarkably well on ice and a bit of tread that is useful in very light snow cover like we had this A.M. They are heavy, and loud on bare pavement, but they feel sure footed when heading in to unknown conditions like today.

It got out the door a few minutes later than intended so I followed the expected track of the riders in reverse and met Dave P on Light Street Rd about a 3/4 miles south of the RB. It was just the two of us and we enjoyed the brisk morning.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pre-Blizzard Ride to B'more

The forecast for Dec 26th snow fall has been rather chaotic leading up to this morning. I was disappointed at the prospect of 6+ inches and the chance it would cut down on biking opportunities this week. My mileage for December is way down and I'm planning to push it back up a bit this week.

So I was glad to see the club email chatter last night suggesting a 7:30 ride this morning to beat the snow. Committing to join friends is often the best way to discipline my self to actually get out of bed and clip in on a cold morning. It worked. Janet, Clint, Bryan and I had a great ride up to Bonaparte's Cakes and Pastries in Fell's Point.

Every time the club headed to B'more the last year it always seemed like I had other commitments and couldn't go. So I was glad when Clint suggested we head north instead of going to Annapolis. Entering Baltimore from the south requires passing through some of the grittier neighborhoods in the city. We followed side streets parallel to MD-295 until we got to the city incinerator plant. A bike trail from there took us the M & T Bank Stadium, home of the Ravens, then through downtown to Fells Point. I wouldn't try to navigate those neighborhoods alone or in the dark, but in a group during daylight they provide a reminder that life offers different challenges to different people.

It was a fun ride. The overcast sky and north wind made sure we appreciated the coffee shop when we got there. Gardner lives nearby and when we called, he quickly agreed to meet us there. So the 5 of us enjoyed great service, good pastries and coffee while we recounted our Christmas stories.

On the ride home the first light flurries of the day's snow fall started. I'm glad to report as I write this Sunday evening that it looks like predictions of Snowmageddon appear over blown. 1 - 3 inches now looks likely. I mounted the studded tires today and plan to ride in the morning.

Great service at Bonaparte's. Photo courtesy of Bryan Nelson
From Biking 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Ride with the best bike club around.

Enjoyed a wonderful Christmas party at the Provenza's last night with nearly the entire peloton and their spouses. Wonderful to see what everyone looks like in real clothes, instead of lycra, spandex and baclavas. On the whole, they dress up pretty well. Congratulations to Clif Dierking being named rider of the year. Well deserved.

But of course we decided that wasn't enough so we gathered again this morning for one of our favorite excursions: breakfast in Annapolis. A lovely morning with 15 of us pedaling through the chill just after dawn. It really is a great group.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sailing Down to Solomons - R-12

I completed my 12th 200K ride yesterday to earn my R-12 award from the Randonnueurs USA.For 12 consecutive months I've ridden a 200K permanent route or brevet sponsored by RUSA. When I started my first one in January, 2010 I had no intention of actually doing this 12 times, sure that I couldn't possibly work out the logistics around work and family commitments, let alone survive the physical tests it would represent. But here I am the morning after completing the whole series to tell you about. I'll write up another post in the next week or two summarizing the year and what I've gotten from it. Now let me tell you about yesterday's ride....

A week ago the forecast showed Friday the 17th would be a great riding day. Temps starting in the upper 20's and warming to the low 40's, sunny, clear with calm winds. Nearly ideal conditions. Earl's been itching to do his first 200K and I needed my 12th. Saturday would likely result in a solo ride so I suggested to Earl we do it and Clint chimed in that he'd like to join us to start his 3rd consecutive R-12 series, ride number 25 in a row! We all contacted the Route owner, Crista Borras and registered for the ride on Monday.

Well the forecast slowly deteriorated through the week. Thursday saw a front come through that dropped 2 - 4" of snow all along the route and now the high was forecast to barely reach 32. But at least the winds were still supposed to be calm. It's already past mid month and I need this one to finish the 12 month series. Skip a month and you start all over again. The snow stopped a full 12 hours before the scheduled start. So I put my faith in our public servants on the road clearing crews and wrote to Clint and Earl Thursday evening that I was still determined to ride.

On the radio driving to the start, I heard that Anne Arundel County decided to start school 2 hours late and Calvert County had decided to close schools for the day, both decisions based on the road conditions and bus transportation safety. But of course we would stick to our plan and ride on through both jurisdictions.

We all arrived at the start nearly 30 minutes early, plenty of time to get a coffee, reattach front wheels and other accessories removed for transport, and otherwise prep for the ride. Chris Lane met us at the start by car to wish us Bon Route and to briefly discuss post ride celebrations. Chris finished his R-12 on a solo ride a week earlier and we felt we owed ourselves a pat on the back.

At 6:03 am in the dark with temps around 22 deg F, we did the hardest part of the whole ride, we clipped in and started pedaling. 6 miles later we stopped to change our first flat. Earl's front wheel was going soft. We stopped under a street lamp, standing in the snow and dealt with the flat. We couldn't find a sharpie in the tire so we mounted the new tube and crossed our fingers.

Next came a spectacular sunrise. The first few miles head East South East so the sun rose right in front of us and really was beautiful. We stopped at the top of a small rise where the pink sky was framed over a farm field and Clint snapped a picture. See the link below for all of Clint's shots of the day.

Once we turned south on MD Route 2 the shoulders were mostly ride-able. There were patches of slush that occasionally required us to ride in or very close to the travel lanes. But in general we were able to use the wide shoulder on Rt 2 and stay clear of traffic. At mile 25 we stopped to fill our bottles with warm water at a gas station convenience store. The temp had warmed all the way to 25 degrees and everyone was feeling well.

At mile 37 we stopped at a Starbucks and each ordered an egg sandwich and coffee and took a few minutes to thaw out our fingers and toes. The staff and customers all though we were nuts. 3 guys on bikes riding over 100 miles in the freezing cold with questionable road conditions.... Yeah when they put it like that it did sound a little nuts.

Stopping for a break like that is a mixed blessing. It was so cold we needed to warm up and we needed the extra fuel to stay warm. But muscles stiffen up and it takes a few minutes to get loosened up and back in to a rhythm once underway. I also noticed a slight wobble and that my rear wheel was out of true. It wasn't severe and I suspected a popped spoke. As a touring bike, the LHT has very stout 36 spoke wheels and they can roll without one or two. I kept pedaling and made a mental note to inspect it at the next control stop.

At Solomons we rode through the town and found the information control at the University of Md research center. Solomons is a great little village on the Patuxent river. It started life as a fishing town and there is still a sizable fleet of commercial watermen there, but it has also enjoyed some gentrification in recent years with nice restaurants and shops opening up to server the tourists and a number of well healed residents who've moved in for the easy access to water recreation and gorgeous views. Even with the cloud cover at the time, the river looked great.

At mile 60 on the north side of Solomons we took another break. Bagels and hot chocolate this time. I also addressed the rear wheel, it was indeed a popped spoke. I learned last time I tried to repair one myself that over correcting for a bad spoke is worse than doing nothing. So instead of replacing it, I made only small adjustments to the adjacent spokes to make the wheel run a little more true and avoid rubbing the brake. That was the last I had to mess with it the rest of the trip. I suspect crossing the rumble strip along the shoulder of MD 2 southbound caused it. The vibration those strips induce is rather severe.

Shortly after we left Solomons heading North the SUN came out! It felt great and Clint announced we'd reached the high for the day 33 Deg F! (from the thermometer on his bike computer).

At mile 70 Earl's front tire was going soft again. This time we had sunlight to work with and found the sharpie. A bit of wire had worked through the tread. My needle nose pliers proved useless to grab it as the ends have become splayed and don't close all the way. But Earl had a straight pin and we used that work it out. We also found and removed several other stones and bits of glass lodged in the tread waiting to cause havoc. After all of that was removed and we booted the tire where the wire poked through we were ready to roll again. The state trooper parked on the same side street where we stopped never once asked if we were okay. But we made a point to wave to him as we left anyway.

The sunny ride through the rolling hills to North Beach was fun. I was slowing down a little on the climbs but I really enjoyed the sunshine and that's the most scenic part of the trip. In the bright sun, the Chesapeake Bay was a beautiful blue. We saw 3 large bucks inside the fence where the road is adjacent to a US Navy installation. Other deer were spotted several times as well. Then we saw our only dog. Not a threat, this one had a Frisbee in her mouth and wanted us to stop and play. Unfortunately we knew we were on a schedule and had to pedal on.

The town of North Beach had it's Christmas best on for us. The tree and other decorations at the town dock were really neat. Then we pulled in to Sweet Sue's coffee shop for more hot chocolate and another snack.

Departing Sweet Sue's we had to confront the hilliest part of the route and we knew that the great sunlight we'd enjoyed the last couple of hours would fade. We'd done almost 100 miles in the could and were really ready to be done. But had to press on this last section.

A few miles past North Beach we hit our only really bad section of road. It had not seen a plow or much sunlight in the thick forest since the snow and was covered in hard pack white snow for most of a mile. We slowed, rode with one foot unclipped and picked our way through as best we could. No spills and once we were past it we didn't see any similar conditions again. Actually, I think we were quite fortunate with the road conditions considering the snow the day before.

At the last information control at Tacaro Farm we answered the trivia questions about the lawn jockey and turned on our lights again as the sun was now fading fast.

Now it was time to press on the final 25 miles to the finish. We did, in the dark as the temps fell. All those dark rides in the morning with the SPP 05:45 club paid off. All three of us had plenty of prior miles in the dark and proper lighting equipment. So while I can't say I enjoyed that part, it went by uneventfully.

Finally we turned on to Davidsonville Rd for the final 3 miles to the finish. Flashing lights ahead where the police were gathered at a home for some kind of incident kept traffic to a crawl which I think was a blessing for us. That stretch was one lane in each direction with no shoulder and would have been rough with heavy traffic at full speed. Past the police action it opened back to two lanes and we had no more issues the last 2 miles.

Suddenly there it is... a 7-11 sign never looked so inviting. Client and Earl slowed and let me pass to lead our little peloton in for the big finish! I'd done it, R-12 was complete. It felt great.

Chris again met us at the finish and then we all proceeded to Hellas for dinner, beer and stories. Several other SPP club members came out to congratulate us.

I've been remiss this week not posting a congratulations note to Chris Lane. He finished his R-12 the prior week while riding alone in on a route in rural southern Virginia. We tried several schemes to ride together for the final R-12 ride but couldn't synchronize our schedules.

The dinner was a great time to congratulate each other and celebrate with friends.

I can't thank Clint and Earl enough for joining me. Riding this one solo in the winter conditions would have been brutal and probably would have tested my ability to get it done under the time limit. I've made some great friends on the bike in the last year.

A few links:

North Beach, approx 94 miles, courtesy of Clint Provenza

Note: My garmin battery died a few miles from the finish. The actual distance is 128 miles.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

5:45 with SPP

5 of us met at the Rusty Bridge at 5:45. Temp was around 21 deg F, winds WNW at 17. All standing water had long since turned to ice. Light snow flurries covered the ice and made it look like grey paint in our head lights. I actually thought it was paint at first as there is a lot of utility work going on along the trail these days. Then I noticed Earl's tire was leaving a track in the "paint". It was a light dust of snow on top of black ice. Otherwise the flurries were not accumulating. These patches were small but quite slick. Coasting over them while avoiding the brakes, turns or trying to pedal to accelerate lets momentum work as it should, a body in motion on the bike just keeps going in a straight line.

It was really quite fun to meet up with the gang for a quick ride this morning. Earl, Clint and I are going to ride the Sailing to Solomon's 200K this Friday. Earl has Friday's off and the forecast is about as good as we can hope for in December. Should be above freezing, clear and light winds all day. So Clint and I have each managed a day off as well. It will be Earl's first official Randonee, it will be my 12th and for Clint number 4987.... I think. I'm very much looking forward to completing the R-12.

Another note on wardrobe. Last Friday I ditched the wind jacket in favor of extra layers of wool and tech fabrics that wick moisture and was pleased with the result. This AM it was at least 5 deg cooler and quite windy. I did essentially the same and it worked quite well.

From the inside out:

  • Perl Izumi Amphib Winter Bibs - the bib portion has a light fleece lining and come up to the middle of my chest.
  • 200 weight icebreaker wool base layer - long sleeve
  • 260 weight icebreaker wool base layer - long sleeve
  • Short sleeve summer jersey
  • Long sleeve Perl jersey with a light fleece lining

For gloves I wore the day glow yellow SealSkinz gloves and a pair of oversized summer short finger gloves with padding outside of the SealSkinz. Also a great combination. The wool Defeet liners down to about freezing then switch to the SealSkinz below freezing.

On the head I wore a balaclava and an Underarmor winter skull cap under my helmet.

I plan a similar combination for the 200K Friday. The number of wool layers to be determined at ride time based on the temp. I definitely think the jacket is relegated to wet weather only at this point. I'll carry it in the trunk bag in case we find our selves stopped for any reason while out in the open it will serve as an extra layer to keep warm when the engine's not running if I need it. But wearing it over the wool, even below freezing seems to lead to a lot of damp wool.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Breakfast Ride

Great ride this morning. 7 of us set out from the Rusty Bridge for Annapolis to have breakfast. Clint had his bike decked out with LED Christmas Lights. As soon as I get access to the pics I'll add a link. It was quite an effect.

I always enjoy Fridays. Besides a great ride with friends, I have additional pals who meet at Chic N Ruth's deli on Main St. This morning both groups were well attended. My brother Justin, Franklin Bowen, Mark Paepcke, and Jerry Rush joined us who are not often regulars. Jerry gets extra points for riding his bike all the way from Catonsville.

Talk at C n R focused on tomorrow's Army Navy football game which several of us plan to attend in Philadelphia. It should be a close game with Army enjoying it's first winning season in a decade. I'm very much looking forward to it.

The other big thing I'm still working on is getting my final ride done for the R-12. Right now i have my eye on the 18th, and Clint said he may join me. That would be great to avoid riding alone. But the 10 day forecast on Wx Channel says the 18th may be dreary and wet. So I'll follow the forecast as it gets closer and try to pick a dry day the 17th or 18th. Earl might be available to join me on the 17th. As a pastor, he obviously works most weekends and Friday is his traditional day off.

Either way I'm looking forward to getting it done, if I get to ride with one or more partners that would be a big bonus, and hopefully threading the needle around weather events.

An interesting article has been circulating recently about Layering Tricks for cold weather cycling. It points out that a jacket is no substitute for proper layers and the jacket may not actually be necessary. I've been riding lately with my ShowersPass Elite 2.0 jacket over a jersey and a wool base layer. The Elite 2.0 is a great jacket. Wind proof and water proof and breathes better than any similar jacket I've worn. But breathing better doesn't mean it breathes sufficiently. I'm a big guy and I perspire a lot and with this or any jacket outside of my base layer(s) and jersey I found (again) that the perspiration built up and other garments become quite damp. Then of course when I slow down, I'm susceptible to getting chilled.

This morning I followed the formula in the article and was pleasantly surprised how much less moisture I retained in my clothing. I put on a 260 weight IceBreaker wool base layer, a jersey and a long sleeve Perl Izumi jersey that is slightly heavier than a normal jersey. It worked wonderfully. I might add one more very light wool layer beneath the rather heave layer I wore today, but the concept worked well. The Elite 2.0 will certainly come out at the first hint of rain. In cold conditions on longer rides it will also likely ride along in the trunk bag so I have a layer to add if I have to stop for a flat or other issue that might leave me exposed to the elements without the engine running.

I've already learned this same lesson last winter. But I had to live it and read it again to get it to sink in.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's Winter

I know that the solstice is still more than a week out but two days in a row now I've ridden in the mid or lower 20's and it's COLD.

I met 9 riders this AM at the Rusty Bridge for the SPP 05:45. It was 21 degrees setting out and since it was still dark, the temp continued to fall. It takes us a minute in these conditions to recognize one another as we're all so bundled up that nothing is visible except eye goggles and a nose poking through the mask. Puddles are frozen, road hazards that might be inconvenient at 50 deg if they caused a flat mean risking frostbite and chills while dealing with the problem. Yet this intrepid group still musters every weekday morning and rides on. I always enjoy it when I join them rather than ride to work and will probably do so more frequently as the temps keep falling and the evening ride home becomes a bit less appealing.

Tomorrow we ride to Annapolis for breakfast. Always a great time.

GarminConnect seems a little off this morning, I'm having trouble getting in to load the ride. I'll post the track later when it's back up to speed.

Late Post: here's the track.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Route - New Ride Partner

Bill Cunningham, a fellow SPPer, wrote me over the weekend and suggested we ride to work together this week. Traveling Monday and Tuesday, today was the first opportunity. We met at the RB at the leisurely hour of 6:30 and rode together to the airport. He works at the Northrop Grumman plant about 2 miles from my office by bike.

It was chilly but we had a good ride. Always helps to set a date with a ride partner to make sure I actually get up and get on the bike. When the whistle blew we even managed to synch up again for the ride home. Bill showed me a new route home that avoids the dodgy part of the trail behind the Marley mall, is more direct than my West B & A route, and only has one congested intersection to negotiate. Not a bad option. You can follow the details by clicking the map below.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekend Riding

Not exactly what I'd planned. I had hoped to be celebrating that my R-12 was done about now. But it became apparent Saturday afternoon that getting things for work under control while traveling Monday morning, and meeting home commitments AND riding another 200K on Sunday wouldn't all fit. So I had to pull out of Sunday's 200K. Disappointing but it couldn't be helped.

I did enjoy a nice ride Saturday morning with SPP to Annapolis for breakfast and Sunday afternoon around the river with Chris. But the R-12 will have to wait a couple of more weeks.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Evening Ride

The weather this morning was atrocious. Heavy wind, heavy rain, nasty. My day at work was about the same. So when I got home and the skies were clear, I was ready to blow off some steam. An hour on the bike riding up and down B&A trail seemed just the the answer and I feel much better thank you.

There was quite a bit of small debris and leaf litter on the trail from the big winds that accompanied today's cold front. But no large branches or other big obstacles. Also a few wet spots that might lead to ice if we get below freezing tonight. The forecast on calls for a low of 33 deg F. So we'll see.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Month Completed

Well November is done. I rode on 17 different occasions (round trip to work counts as one), covered 701 miles and lost 3 lbs. The number of rides and weight loss are a little disappointing. 25 rides and 5 or 6lbs lost would be much more satisfying. But it seems there was always a reason to do something else. Cold, rain, fatigue, commitments at work, cub scouts, kids sports, etc. and always a tempting treat or second helping waiting to be consumed. None of this really justified letting the weight loss mission suffer, but there it is. I suppose I can take a moral victory not gaining weight over the Thanksgiving Holiday.

So December's goal: 25 riding days. Tomorrow's forecast (Dec 1st): torrential rain. Looks like I'll be off to a good start.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sandy Point

Out to Sandy Point, St Margarets and back. Just enough to get the heart rate up for a bit.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Around the River

I considered reversing the Wednesday's ride and returning from Lewes to Centreville on the bike this morning, but the forecast was for freezing temps and a strong wind from the west - a head wind. So I opted to wait until we got home and rode a lap around Severn River instead. Still got a nice taste of head wind on the west bound leg on Gen's Hwy. And a nice tail wind coming back down Benfield Blvd.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmas House

Bob C and I discovered last week we both had family plans to spend Thanksgiving in Lewes, DE with our respective parents. The planning to get the day off Wednesday from work and get our families to the shore while we rode proved more complex for each of us than we first anticipated. This left our final plans in limbo until the last minute, but it all came together nicely. I picked Bob up at his home at 8:30 Wednesday and we drove to Centreville. We left the truck at the Food Lion there and pedaled our way across the shore with a tail wind, bright sun, and the last of the fall leaves. We had a great time solving the worlds problems, making fun of corporate America, and taking in the sights along the way. We met my folks in Milton and had lunch at Irish Eyes.

Just a great day to be on a bike. A westbound trip would have been tougher in that wind, but our eastbound trek was really a treat. Many thanks to Bob for suggesting it and for all the effort we both had to make to get the logistics set with our respective families and offices. The hard part was getting to the start. After that it was a great day.

Boring notes to follow in the clothes and gear I used. These notes are for my benefit, no offense if you stop reading here...

This was my first extended ride with the Showers Pass jacket. I picked up the Elite 2.0 size XL after I finally found one in a shop to try on and confirmed the fit was good with room for base layer(s). The first ride was with temps above 50 a few weeks back and it was too warm. This time with temps in 40s and a stiff wind, it was perfect. I was quite comfortable with the jacket, one thin wool base layer and a jersey. I did open the vents. I'm confident will be a good combination for commuting this winter, adjusting the base layer(s) as the temps fall.

On my 200K brevet last Sunday I wore my Wombat gloves all day. They offer excellent thermal protection with moderate insulation and a vinyl cover that converts them in to mittens when it's really cold. The mitten cover can be removed from the fingers and tucked in a pocket when it warms up. That versatility was perfect for a day that started at 35 deg F and warmed to about 50. But they offer no gel or other ergonomic padding in the palm like typical warm weather gloves. This didn't bother me during the ride, but Monday morning I woke up about 1 am with excruciating pain in my right hand. It was partially numb and partially on fire with a pins and needles sensation. Worse it, didn't clear within a few minutes of motion and flexing like it has in the past. It persisted for a couple of hours. I'm not absolutely certain that the lack of palm padding is the culprit, but the location of the pain makes it a reasonable guess.

So for this ride I made a change. I wore wool DeFeet glove liners with an over-sized pair of padded summer gloves with open fingers over the top of the wool liners. Wow, surprisingly warm, perfectly adequate thermal protection for the conditions, and the padding left me with no hand discomfort during or after the ride. I think this will also be a standard combination for a while. It would offer nothing useful for wet weather protection, and I don't know yet what it's lower limit would be for temperature. But based on yesterday, I'm confident it will do well at least down to the mid 30s in dry weather.

Garmin didn't play nice and it appears the track was corrupt. When I loaded it to GarminConnect I got a perfectly straight line across the shore between start and end points. Here's the planning track I used instead.

Have a happy Thanksgiving Day everyone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sailing Down to Solomon's - R-11

After a funeral conflicted with last weekend's Flatbread 200K, I had to get in a 200K permanent this month to stay on track for the R-12 award. I used the old standby: Sailing Down to Solomon's. The route has become routine because it's so close to home. Most of the RUSA permanents accessible in this area require at least an hour's drive from home, and when riding alone would present a significant challenge should I break a rim or otherwise become stranded.

The Solomon's route on the other hand starts 15 minutes from home and at it's furthest reach would be about a 55 mile drive for my wife or son to come to my rescue in case of emergency. The route spends more time in the first half on a major highway than I would normally choose, but it has a wide shoulder which has recently been well marked through a couple of the towns along the way as a bike lane. So riding solo and with a full weekend schedule Saturday making sleep a premium, Solomon's it was.

The days are getting shorter with only about 10.5 hours of useful sunlight, about the same time this should take me. I set out at 6:00 am hoping to get all of night riding in early before sunrise while I was fresh and finish before sunset. It was 35 deg F at the start and after the sun came up it reached the low 50s at mid day.

I've been fighting a head cold all of last week and was a bit concerned. I'd never tried to ride such a distance while dependent on cold medicine to breath. But the SPP is a wealth of knowledge and experience, when I posted the question to our mailing list, the responses generally suggested it was fine to ride with a head cold and OTC cold remedies, but should be avoided if one has a cough or fever. I had neither, so off I went, with a day's supply of meds in my bag. As usual, such advice was spot on and it worked out fine.

I didn't try to push the pace. Instead I watched my heart rate and tried to settle in to a zone of around 60% of max. It was a clear day, the sun was bright the winds were calm. I made brief stops frequently to eat a snack, take the meds when it was time and adjust my wardrobe as it warmed up. Stopping to snack was necessary as I couldn't manipulate the food packages well with long finger gloves. So I'd have to pause to rip open the packaging then resume pedaling while I ate.

The route owner, Crista Borras made one small change since I last rode this route. At the turnaround in Solomons, it now requires a brief tour through the small town of Solomons to an information control. Previously one could turn and head north without actually entering town. The views of the river and the waterfront community were well worth the extra mile or two.

My only extended stop was at Sweet Sue's bake shop in North Beach where I had a chicken ceasar wrap. Otherwise I stayed fueled with the carbs I was carrying and refilled my bottles at every opportunity.

It wasn't my fastest ride by a long shot, but it's always satisfying to finish a long ride like that successfully. There's also a certain satisfaction in pulling it off while riding alone, though given the choice, I'll always prefer to ride with a partner.

I missed my sunset goal by about 10 minutes, but that affirmed my decision to start early. The last few miles in twilight were fine, but if I'd waited for sunrise before I started, I likely would have had an hour or so in the dark to the end and I would not have enjoyed that.

Only one more ride to finish the RUSA R-12 series. I'm looking forward to having this one crossed off of my bucket list.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Breakfast Ride

Good ride this morning with the SPP. 6 of us set out from the Rusty Bridge and picked up 4 more before we hit the end of the trail. 7 made it to Chick N Ruth's for breakfast. Then back home, no commute to work today. I'm fighting a cold and still planning to ride a 200K permanent route this Sunday so I took it easy. That's still 27 miles and plenty of exercise.

I've been tallying my calories every day and while I was over Wed and Thursday for the individual days, I'm still below my net calorie goal for the week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No Ride Wednesday

Didn't ride Wednesday. I had to drive to Richmond, VA and back for the day to meet with a customer. I'm also feeling my first cold of the season coming on. Despite a day off the bike and a day on the road tempted by fast food, I didn't do too badly. Slightly over the daily quota of 2283 net calories but I'm still under for the week.

Food stats on the left are up to date through Wed evening.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Rode to work this A.M. in full rain gear: jacket, pants, and overshoes. Gross. I was hot and tired when I got to the office. There was a slow steady drizzle the whole way with temp just above 50 deg F.

For the ride home I shed the rain pants as temps were now closer to 60. More comfortable, but still a steady drizzle most of the way.

I don't really understand why my speed both ways so much slower than normal, but my heart rate was at or above the average from yesterday the whole way. The rain pants add a bit of friction sliding along the legs with each stroke. But I didn't wear them on the way home and I still felt slower than molasses. Other than the wet weather, both trips were uneventful.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Work then home - split tire

A little grey and overcast this morning for the ride in, but the temps was pleasant in the upper 40s. Everything was fine until I heard a hisss coming from the front wheel just as I turned out of the cross over trail on to Stewart Ave near the State Highway barns.

The bead was separating from the sidewall on the left side of my front tire. The tire only has about 400 miles on it. Very frustrating. What's more, I wasn't sure how I was going to repair it. Just as I was contemplating my fate, Bill Cunningham with the SPP rolled up on his way to Northrup Grumman. And he had a tire boot in his kit. I was saved! The boot is a tough vinyl patch with a supper adhesive for patching a torn or split sidewall long enough to get you home.

It worked. I made it to the office and back home again. I had already concluded I didn't care for these tires as the tread seemed to have terrible grip on wet pavement. The whole reason I'd gone to a fatter tire for the winter commute was for better grip and a little more forgiving of road obstacles. This set was neither and I had a new set of Continental Touring Plus tires waiting at home to go on the bike. So once home I went straight to BD for a set of those tire boots to include in my own kit and a couple fresh fat tubes to go with touring tires.

A quick test ride confirmed I had the new touring tires mounted without any unusual bumps or wobbles before I put the bike away for the night.

I owe Bill breakfast at the next weekend opportunity.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quick Saturday Workout

Squeezed in a quick 20 miles between the funeral and heading to the shore to celebrate with the finishers of the Flatbread 200K. What a great event. 73 riders set a new record for a DC Area Brevet. SPP's Chip Adams and Chris Lane orchestrated the whole thing. 14 riders from SPP all finished in the first third of the pack and eventually all 73 riders finished successfully, the last with still an hour and half left on the time limit.

Sorry I missed it, but paying respects to Charlie's legacy and being there for his family was the right choice. I met Charlie Bare when I was but 14 years old as a Boy Scout and he was one of our troop committee members, working behind the scenes to raise funds, help with transportation and pitch in a thousand ways that us kids never understood. He would keep this up for 30 years! Long after his own sons had grown and graduated from the program. Well done sir and rest in peace.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Breakfast then to work

Saw the first real frost of the season on the grass this morning riding from Annapolis to the office after breakfast. 8 of us had ridden from the RB at 5:45 to Annapolis for breakfast. There I also met the usual Friday gang of old high school friends for a great morning visit.

After we ate I set out for the office near BWI and Earl came along as well. The sunrise over the Bay was absolutely gorgeous. Any portion of grass along the trail in shadow had frost on it. It was cold, clear and still. It was a shame to contemplate a day in the office at the end of the ride.

The trip home was also nice, with a sunset to match the morning sunrise. Wish I could spend 4 hours a day on the bike every day of the week.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Quick Morning Workout and a Sad Loss

Cub Scouts tonight makes the evening logistics of shuttling myself and my son to and fro too complicated to support a round trip bike commute to work. So I rode this morning with the SPP 5:45ers. Dan and Clint were on the tandem getting a little practice in for the Flatbread 200K this weekend. Dave, Clif, Evan and me rounded out our merry band. The south end of the trail is still closed for repair so at Glen Oban we turned in to the community and rode around the loop road. Hadn't been down there in a while. Nice homes with big lots, all well manicured lawns.

I learned yesterday I will have to miss the Flatbread 200K on Saturday. Mr. Charlie Bare, age 71 succumbed to a long battle with cancer. His son's Andrew and David, were in the same Boy Scout troop as my brothers and I and many of my closest friends. It's remarkable that so many of us are still close all of these years later, I consider myself quite lucky to know these men. His years as an adult volunteer with the Boy Scouts were of great service to all of us and his departure is a sad loss, but the angels' great reward. I'll be attending his memorial Saturday morning in Annapolis.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nice Weather

I love the fall weather for riding. Even with the early dark hours in the evening, it was very pleasant riding both ways to day.

I've been doing a decent job with the food this week. Not great, but respectable.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A new week, let's try this again

Last week was a disaster for the weight loss. After two big days on the bike last weekend I was pleasantly surprised Monday that the appetite seemed under control. But by Wednesday the mouth lost all self control and ran wild all week. Up 3lbs!!

Today I'm bringing it back in line. I'll be testing out a recovery shake after the Flatbread 200K this weekend. Weather forecast looks great for another long ride on the shore.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday with SPP

A good morning with the bike club. 6 of us set out from the Ranger Station at 6 am to ride the Solley Rd loop. At 19 mph in the dark the pace line struck a nasty pothole on Ft. Smallwood Rd. My steel bottle flew out of the cage, I was in the drops at the time and my bars actually rocked slightly forward with the sudden down ward pressure on the end of the bar. Cliff in front of me also lost some bottles and accessories. All of the noise and the sudden jolt, I thought the bike was coming apart beneath me. Once we pulled over and the dust settled.. no riders went down, no apparent mechanical damage to any bikes or rims, but it cost Clif two tubes and one for me.

After replacing the tubes and gathering ourselves, we had to cut the route a little short to make it to the Rusty Bridge by 7:30 to meet the rest of the club for the breakfast ride to Annapolis. Despite the close scare and the abbreviated route, it was a good workout and a fun ride in the early chill. Another 10 or so riders were waiting to meet us at the Rusty Bridge. Always lots of fun to visit with folks, share stories from last week's OC ride and generally catch up.

After breakfast the Italian place I returned home with Clint while much of the rest of the group was planning to head out to Crownsville and enjoy the sunny day.

The rest of the day includes overlapping football games for Zach and Erik, the Cub Scouts Rain Gutter Regatta, Navy football vs ECU on TV and dinner out at friends' house with Tivy tonight. A typical busy weekend.... love it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Breakfast ride then Work

Only 4 of us met at the Rusty Bridge for the breakfast ride. Temps in the 40s and a light drizzle weren't the most inviting conditions for the start, but the forecast suggested the rain would pass by the time we finished breakfast, and it it did.

But the time we reached Annapolis Dave had opted to not accompany us across the river and we picked up Jeff, Dan, Chip and Bryan. So 7 of us rode in to Chick N Ruths were we met Charlie and Doug for some good morning grub. From there I made the Friday check all the way to the office near BWI.

It was my first run with the new Showers Pass Elite 2 jacket. I'd had my eye on this one for a while, read several great reviews and got a thumbs up from Chris when he wore his for a portion of the OC ride. This wasn't too tough a test, the rain was light and cleared early, but another factor was how well it vents to avoid overheating and let's moisture wick out. My first impressions are very good.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An unenventful commute

Nothing really to report about the ride to work. It was cold in the morning, just above freezing. I broke out the wind pants again and the winter boots for the first time this season. Coming home it was warmer and had to lug most of the layers in the bag.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

OC11 - Ride to Ocean City and back

I rode this past weekend with the SPP round trip from Stevensville, MD to Ocean City, MD on Saturday. Then back again on Sunday. A round trip of just over 230 miles. I intentionally waited a couple of days to blog this one so I could get a better perspective.

I've been looking forward to this for a year. I participated only on the Eastbound leg to OC last year and had a great time. This year I was very much looking forward to making the round trip. Saturday was a great ride. The temps started in the upper 40's as predicted and quickly warmed. The wind was mostly on our beam and not a significant factor until the last 3 miles on Highway 1 in Ocean City. The sun was bright and the company was fantastic, there was nothing not to love about this leg. 17 riders set out. 2 had planned all along to turn back after the breakfast stop at Dave's Place about 37 miles in, so they could keep part of the weekend available for their families. The remaining 15 of us continued on to Ocean City and had great stops at Dave's Place in Ridgley, at Irish Eyes in Milton, the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Dairy Queen in Middleboro and finally to the finish in Ocean City. You couldn't hope to find a more fun group to spend the day with.

Saturday evening in O.C. we enjoyed a happy hour and Italian dinner to toast our great day. It was fun and I had a great time.

But Sunday was a lot tougher. I didn't feel hung over, but I suspect one or two too many servings of wine and beer set me back a touch before I even got out of bed. My job intruded as I was getting myself sorted for the day and I had to get online and solve a problem before heading out. Thank goodness Chris brought his laptop. If I'd had to try to talk the data center staff through it over the phone it would have been much worse. I was a few minutes late to breakfast, and the service was slow. The forecast was for a stiff headwind all day. Then we got held up as soon as we clipped in when the keys were accidentally locked in the SAG van. None of these were really a big deal. The day was clear, the temps were mild and this was the same group of great friends I rode in with. Yet for some reason my water bottle was half empty Sunday morning and I couldn't figure out why.

Our peloton now numbered 12 as Jim, Fran and Neil met their wives in O.C. and took Sunday for some time to themselves. For the first 8 miles due North the wind was on our beam, but we knew we had to turn left in to the teeth of that breeze. For those not familiar with the terrain, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware is very FLAT terrain. Much of it is cleared for farmland, some still forested and dotted with small towns. On a windy day, there's really nothing to break it up. We had to head North-West to get home and the wind was out of the North-West at 15+ miles an hour nearly the whole day.

The occasional break of trees would provide some shelter, and the odd turn would head slightly South-West or North-East until we connected to the next country lane going our way. But these breaks were short and provided only a tease before we were back in the open plodding in to the wind. By the time we got to lunch 55 miles in to the day, I seriously considered climbing in to the SAG van and quitting the ride. I was tired and didn't feel right. But I decided it would be better to eat first, then ride a little to see if I felt better before making that call. I'm glad I did.

I didn't eat and drink enough that first 50 miles. To conserve energy in the wind, we rode in a tight line most of the way and still managed a respectable 17 mph average rolling speed. The stronger riders graciously shouldered a disproportionate share of time in the lead. But with gusty winds riding in close quarters at a brisk pace, letting go of the bars even with one hand to take a gel, a drink or fig newton was harder than usual. So I didn't take in as much fuel as I needed. I'm glad I put off my decision to drop. As we were suiting up after lunch I could feel my rear tire was soft. I opted to pump it up without changing the tube since it hadn't gone completely flat and likely wasn't a complete puncture, but I was still thinking my day may need to end short of the finish.

5 or 10 miles in to this next leg things started looking up. As I digested my lunch I started feeling much better. The wind was still tough but it was becoming clear it was not going to get the best of me. I took a brief turn at the front, once. I forced myself to eat my snacks and drink more regularly. I learned, AGAIN, that proper fueling is THE key to success on a long ride. Training and fitness, proper equipment, navigation, and other factors are important. But they can all be addressed within the limits of Murphy's Law before the ride. Your eating PLAN can also be set ahead of time, but you have to discipline yourself to stick to it while you're riding.

Fully half of us were setting new two day personal records for distance on this ride. I wasn't the only one feeling stretched a little too far and each of us worked through it in different ways at a different pace. But we stuck together as a team and the miles kept ticking off. Stronger riders literally took position to the left of those who needed a hand, reached out with their right hand on the small of our back and gave us a brief push we needed to close a gap and tighten up the line. The miles were clicking by. As we approached Centerville with just over 20 miles left we finally detected a slight drop in the wind speed.

We pulled in to Stevensville Middle School before dark about 5:45 in the evening. We popped a celebratory beer in the parking lot and the group started to break up to return home tired and happy. 7 of us extended the evening with dinner at Rams Head before driving over the Bay Bridge to return home.

I'm really glad I didn't pull the plug at lunch Sunday. In January I rode a 200K ride in subfreezing temperatures. That is still the toughest ride I've ever completed, but Sunday's head wind is a very close second. At 230 miles, the weekend represents a two day personal record for me and at least half of the group who rode both days. But we did it, and it proved a very effective team.

I can't say enough about the people I was with. John and Janet Bodine each rode one way, and drove their van one way to provide SAG support. They also hosted the Happy Hour Saturday night in their suite at the hotel. Thank you. Clint and Chip provided leadership as always, thank you. Dan, Ben and Jeff took the brunt of the head winds at the front of the pack on Sunday, thank you. Earl has been riding less than a year, and completed 3 century rides this month.. Wow! Randy is preparing to compete as a solo rider in RAAM next year. Talk about an epic ride! I'm looking forward to watching that contest and to watching his finish in Annapolis. Each of us has our story, and they're all fascinating.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading along and tolerating my "it's all about me" narrative. Others have documented the day quite well, and addressed details I've omitted. To learn about pole dancing, Halloween costumes, riding the whole way on a fixed gear bike and other interesting bits, I recommend Earl's blog and Clint's pictures and video.

At The Start

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday breakfast ride

Six of us mustered at the Rusty Bridge at 5:45 for weekly ride to Annapolis. Most of us are also doing the big round trip to Ocean City this weekend so the pace was modest and we skipped the big hills.

The trail is closed south of Severn Way for work on erosion control and utilities. So got on to Richie Hwy at Arnold Rd south about a mile and then back on to Boulter's Way at the exit ramp for US 50.

Northbound this meant using the shoulder of Ritchie Hwy all the way. Not ideal, but the shoulder is wide and we're all well lit.

Very much looking forward to the weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mid week tracking

No ride on Wednesday. I've allowed myself two days per week off and with the big rides planned this weekend, wed and thu seemed like good days. Friday will be a light morning ride then the weekend will rack up over 200 miles to Ocean City and back.

M - W I've ridden 2 of 3 days - still on track. I've consumed under my daily target for net calories 2 of 3 days, went over a bit yesterday, but for the first three days of the week I'm at 4298 net calories vs a 3 day target of 6813. Overall not too bad.

The Surly is in the shop getting a tune up and having a spoke replaced on the front wheel ahead of the big weekend.

Tonight is my first den meeting as the leader of Wolf Den 2, Pack 858. Me and 5 or 6 second graders. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Work, Pizza, Home

The weather was unseasonably warm today. I rode in shorts and a jersey with no cold gear at all. A pleasant change.

Mid way through a tedious work day I got an email that a few of the SPP were meeting for a Tuesday night ride and a pizza. Something to look forward to for the rest of the day. I met them at Squizitos and enjoyed a couple of slices and a couple of brews. Everyone is looking forward to the big OC ride this weekend. Stevensville to Ocean City on Saturday. Then we enjoy a big spaghetti dinner and stay overnight in hotel. Sunday we're up early for breakfast and a return ride to Stevensville. Approximately 225 miles round trip.

It's day 2 on my new goals program. I'm under my net calorie goal both days and I've ridden both days. After 40 miles, even a couple of slices and light beer didn't push me over. So far so good, but I'll reserve the glowing optimism until I can track a consistent trend on the scale.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Need further refinement...

Counting calories has been a bit of a roller coaster the last few weeks. I fell off the wagon again this weekend, though the weigh in this morning was flat. So I'm making a few changes to my approach.

First I've changed my weight loss target to 1 lb / week rather than 2 lbs/week. This in turn changes my net calories per day target to 2271 calories per day. At 1755 I felt like I was starving, especially when I didn't ride. Once I blew that number on a particular day, it had a negative impact. As soon as I new I was "out of bounds" for the day, I would just keep going.

Next I'm also going to set and track a goal of riding at least 5 days per week for at least an hour. That means more 5:45 rides with the SPP on weekdays I don't commute, and some weeks that will mean tolerating more wet weather.

Finally I'll also keep score each week of how many days I stay under the 2200 net calorie limit. The changes above are intended to make it easier to stay on track for the net calories 7 days / week.

These are all behavioral targets that can be measured daily and weekly to hold myself accountable. They are intended to further my one real goal which is continued weight loss. But that naturally moves in small increments each week so I feel like tracking my behavior gives me something more tangible in the short term.

Also made a change on the bike. I have two sets of wheels now so I can mount different tires for different conditions and switch easily. I've been riding 700 x 28 tires on the Surly for some time now. But since the dark commute hours have set in I can't see the potholes as well to avoid them. That's resulted in more pinch flats and some popped spokes. I've put a set of wider tires on for commuting when I will be riding mostly in the dark, more heavily loaded, and potentially more in the wet. This morning was the first ride on the 700 x 35 rubber. No issues, the ride was comfortable and they handle fine. We'll see if it helps.

I can still switch back quickly to the 700 x 28 set for longer rides when I expect to ride in the daylight and dry conditions, they are lighter and firmer. The forecast this weekend for the big ride to OC and back is looking good. It's a supported ride so I don't need to carry anything but water bottles and light snacks. I expect I'll still use the skinny tires for that unless the forecast turns wet.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A good Saturday Pedal with the Peloton

I met four others at 06:00 at the Ranger Station for an early work out. We completed the Sulley Rd loop at a crisp but not blistering pace until I developed a pinch flat as we turned on to Ft. Smallwood Rd. With the others' help we made pretty quick work of it, but I did go through two tubes, pinched one getting it back on the rim with the levers. (I know, I know, the new tube should installed sans tools).

Then we collected about 8 more at 7:30 at the Ranger station for a very nice ride to Annapolis. The morning was cool and clear. My first time this season with the full length riding pants and two base layers.

After breakfast in Annapolis I rode over to PAL park to watch Zach play football. Zach and the Hornets won 13 - 6. Now I'm watching Navy have it's way with Notre Dame. It's been a very good Saturday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A couple of good days

The commute yesterday was uneventful. I'm quite enjoying the fall temps, even if it's a bit damp the last few days.

This morning I rode with the SPP 05:45 crew. Chris sent a text last night and suggested we meet for the ride. I'm glad he did. My first reaction when the alarm went off was to roll over for two more hours of sleep. But peer pressure and not wanting to disappoint got me up and moving. Six of us met at the RB for a nice quick workout before starting our day. Bryan is expecting a reasonable settlement soon from his accident and looking forward to spending it, shopping for his new bike to replace the one lost in the accident. We joked about the recent email threads by the SPP club when someone asked a general question about choice of winter riding jackets. Many Many members chimed in with opinions leaving the original questioner with no clear consensus, and a checklist of possible choices that he could have assembled more quickly with a simple google search. It was all very well intentioned, and the club can be a wealth of knowledge when looking to solve a problem, but in this case result showed the disadvantages of tapping group knowledge and was a bit humorous in the details.

Bryan opted not to use the same approach looking for "advice" selecting his new bike.

Tonight is my first as the new Den Leader for Erik's Cub Scout Den. To ensure my timely arrival I drove to work. I haven't ruled out commuting by bike to the meetings one evening per week. But that means working out a ride for Erik and clothing. I'm not sure bike tights on the scout master would go over well working with 2nd graders. My normal commute pattern takes only a shirt and undergarments on the bike. Trousers and shoes are left at the office. So I'll need to add a uniform of sorts, like a scouting t-shirt and lightweight pants to the commuting kit on scouting days to make that work. We'll see.

Food intake the last 36 hours has been consistent with my targets. Looking forward to a better weigh-in next Monday. My food diary is available for inspection at MyDailyPlate. The link is also visible on the left side of the blog. The key target I'm watching is the net calories or calories eaten less calories burned. Any day below 1775 net calories is on target. Some days it's actually negative. I'm not sure that's necessarily good. I think a couple of negative days last week may have set me up for my weekend binging, and a disappointing weigh in this Monday. So yesterday when my mid afternoon craving set in I went to the Kabob shop here in the building and ordered a small serving of curried chicken and rice. Didn't blow my quota since the day would include over 40 miles of biking and associated calorie burn, and I didn't feel starved later in the evening. It feels like I'm getting the hang of this, but we'll need to see a couple of weeks' of weight trending down to be sure.

The diary also shows other opportunities for improvement. There is still too much sodium and fat content in my choices. All very educational.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Work, Football, Home

I had a pretty good day today. It started rough, but kept getting better. I rode the bike in to work in intermittent rain showers. Dark, cold and wet. It wasn't pleasant but with the right clothes on, it felt good to be back on the bike. Then the puncture fairy struck about half way to the office. Changing a tire in the rain is definitely not my idea of fun. Took care of business and got the to the office a bit later than I had wanted.

But my thermos had kept the pumpkin spiced coffee nice and warm, things started looking up from there. The work day was productive. The food intake was consistent with my goals for eating versus burning. I got out of the office on time and rode to Zach's game at Kinder Park.

The game was a cliff hanger. Zach plays on the line both offense and defense and his coach usually leaves him in for almost every play from scrimmage. Tonight was the same and he carried himself quite well with several good blocks and a couple tackles. His team scored a touchdown to tie the game with 30 seconds left. Then they made the extra point to go up by one and hung on to win it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Overall a Poor Showing this weekend

It started Thursday evening. I'd had a sensible dinner and if I'd stopped there I would have ended the day just a few cals over my target of 1755 net calories per day. But some serious cravings set in and I succumbed to temptation. The trend would continue through the weekend. A good ride Saturday morning help offset it some, but no ride on Thursday, Sunday or today... well the scale told the tale this a.m. up 2lbs. Grrr.... Tailgate parties and other weekend activities are no excuse, I just have to keep the larger goal in mind and learn the phrase "no thank you....".

Saturday's ride with SPP was fun. Having our daughter Taylor home from college was wonderful. I enjoyed the weekend. But set my fitness and weight loss goals back at least a week, maybe two in the process.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Breakfast Ride

A great morning ride. It was 48 deg this morning when I left the house at 5:15 to meet the SPP early riders for breakfast. I wore knickers which come down below my knees and have just a slightly thicker construction than regular bike shorts for warmth. A light weight wool base layer, a short sleeve jersey, a wind breaker and long fingered gloves. I was actually just a tad warm. I probably could have zipped the sleeves off of my jacket and worn it as a vest, with the upper back ventilated. When I took the jacket off to sit for breakfast I realized I was a little damp with perspiration which then induced a slight chill.

That much detail is for my own benefit dear reader next time I'm trying to figure out how to dress for the current temps. If it's too much info for you... well it's my blog.

5 of us met at the Rusty Bridge at 5:45 and we picked up two more a mile in to the ride on Jennings Road. I enjoy these rides at a conversational pace. Everyone catches up on how the week has been, weekend plans coming up, and any news or excitement they have to share.

Once in Annapolis I met Rod and Doug for breakfast at C & R while the rest of the bike crew went to for the quicker service at Hard Bean. Had a great visit with friends then rode home in the bright morning sun. A great start to the day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back on the Bike

I knew after the big weekend that I'd need a day off. So I stayed off the bike Monday and slept in an extra hour before work. But when I woke up yesterday morning it was clear I needed two days off. So I didn't ride Tuesday either. Today, it was clear that was a smart move. I felt fine riding in to the office and again coming home.

From work I went to Kinder Park to watch Zach play football. This was game 7 of their season. They are 3 and 3 so far and a win tonight could decide their playoff chances. But the referees didn't make it and the came was called. Very frustrating for the parents and the kids.

On the food front.... I'm seeing a pattern. The program recommended by the Daily Plate service looks at "net calories". Calories eaten minus calories burned. It recommended I shoot for 1755 or fewer net calories per day. So the pattern... it's easy to stay well below that target on days when I ride, and burn plenty of calories. Much tougher on days when I don't. Today I rode, so it was a good day, only 212 net calories.

Tomorrow, the forecast calls for temps in the upper 40s when I strike out for work. Break out the wool base layers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another recovery day

No ride again today, when the alarm went off at 4:45 the body made clear I needed another day of recovery from the big weekend. I expect to commute in tomorrow.

I did a good job with the food yesterday, stayed on target for my calorie goals, even saved enough to have small treat for desert last night.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekly weigh in

Down to 235.5 this morning!! That's 5.5 in a week. Probably a fluke with the big riding weekend, but it's nice boost and good reinforcement to stick to managing my intake correctly. I'll be happy if it continues at 1 - 2 lbs / week from here on.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Eastern Shore 200K

After Seagull Century I took advantage of the hospitality at Salisbury U for a bit and visited with Earl and his wife. Then I moved out of the flea bag motel that I had to book at the last minute for Friday night in to more comfortable digs for the evening. Got the bike cleaned up, the route for this morning plotted in to the Garmin and turned in. Not surprising I slept very soundly. The surprise came when I got up this morning and felt reasonable.

So I was up and out of the hotel by 5:30 to drive south about 40 miles to Wallops Island for this morning's start at 7:00. Saturday I rode 100 miles of flat terrain with a couple of friends and 8000+ other bikers I didn't know yet. It was a great time. Today I set out on a 200K trek all by myself. I was unsure of how my legs and body would react to two big rides back to back, but I was determined to find out, even if meant a 13 hour ride to finish today. It was very gratifying to find that if I kept fueling the fire with plenty of carbs and glucose, the wheels kept turning just fine.

If you click on the summary below you can see the route was a straight shot south from Wallops Island to Cape Charles and back with only a little variation on the northbound leg. You'd be hard pressed to find a flatter elevation profile anywhere in North America. It's FLAT. It's all farm country, mostly soy beans with some cotton, corn and chicken farms scattered for variety. Dawn over the fields, with a light mist hovering over many of them, was absolutely spectacular.

As the sun came up and I warmed up to the idea that I was going to be able to hold a brisk pace all day, the miles started ticking by. But it wasn't all the same farm fields. The little towns like Onely, Modest Town, and Parksley gave the landscape a little variety. And there were dogs. My first encounter was comical, a little dog with surprisingly fast legs fell in 5 feet behind me yelping in a cute little high pitched squeak, but finally gave up when I kicked up the pace a bit. The second one was a bit more menacing. A black lab was crossing the road in front of me with two pups in tow. I assumed the pups where hers. At first she looked at me with her ears cocked in a way that suggest curiosity and her tail wagging. Then very suddenly she lunged as I approached; her bark was clearly threatening. But instead of trying to bite me as I went by she paced me and kept barking, finally letting me go after another 50 or 100 yards. I guess she just wanted me away from the pups.

I found I was a little more sensitive today to eating than I usually I am. I assume that is because my muscles started the day with a lower level of stored energy (glycogen?) and I had to eat more frequently. You can see my heart rate started to climb before the mid point break without a corresponding increase in speed. I got focused on getting to the control and forgot to eat. I took a few extra minutes at the control to eat, rest and regroup. I felt fine again and made sure to keep shoveling the snacks on the return leg.

Chris Lane was driving from Va Beach back home and timed his trip to catch me at the turnaround control. It was fun to run in to a familiar face after riding alone all morning. He had done the same route in recent months and provided some helpful intel about what to expect.

So I finished the day in 8 hrs 34 minutes elapsed time with a rolling average of 17.3 mph and a rolling time of 7 hours 14 minutes. That's my best time in 10 rides at 200K, though it's also the flattest terrain I've ridden so the correlation isn't a complete coincidence. I'm exhausted but feel good about the weekend.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Seagull Century - A good day with friends and family

I rode the Seagull Century in Salisbury, MD today. This will be short as I have another big ride tomorrow and will be turning in shortly. In attendance with our group where my brother Todd (his first century ride) my uncle Dave W, Earl J from the SPP, Jeff S from the SPP and Jerry R a friend from high school.

This represents a diverse experience level. We set out together but knew that we may need to split based on desired pace. At different points throughout the day we came together and split apart again, though Todd and I made a point to hang together. The pace was harder than I'd originally intended. We averaged 19.5 mph over the first 63 miles to Assateague! Todd and I both left a lot on the course to support that and decided to the let the others continue on while we throttled down for the last third of the ride. We finished at 2:00 sharp 7 hours after we started with 17.8 mph overall average. 19.5 to Assateague then 15.5 from there to back to Salisbury.

As usual the logistical support from Salisbury U was fantastic. Food, entertainment and all the fun you could want to have with 8000 of your closest friends on a bike. The weather was incredible, though the headwind the last 30 miles or so was unfortunate. It was great was great to spend the day with my brother and other friends.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Big Biking Weekend Coming Up

Last night I got the drive train cleaned and lubed, tweaked the brakes, took the rack and other commute specific gear off and otherwise readied the bike for this weekend. This morning I rode with the SPP 05:45 crew to breakfast in Annapolis. It was an easy pace and felt good to stretch my legs before the big weekend.

I leave tonight to drive to Salisbury and ride the Seagull Century with my brother Todd, Earl J from the SPP and perhaps a few others. The weather forecast looks darn close to perfect. Low 50's at the start rising to the low 70s by the finish, with clear skies and little or now breeze. Biking doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday I'll ride my 10th 200K permanent of the R-12 series on the lower Eastern Shore starting in Wallops Island, VA to Cape Charles and back. The weather forecast is for more of the same.

That'll be 225 miles in two days. I've done 125+ on 9 occasions this year plus 100 on my ride to the beach in July. Just never done it two days in a row. I'm looking forward to it. I'll post updates from the road on Twitter, not sure if I'll get a blog entry up tomorrow for the Seagull or not.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 2 on the calorie tracker

Okay, I've stuck with it for a second day, and kept my calorie log up to date on the "MyPlate" service at I think I can stick with this program. I made a poor choice for dinner. That and no ride pushed me over my 26 calories, but I think I'll survive. By measuring my intake I think I can learn to manage it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A New Focus on Eating and Weight Loss

I've mentioned several times I've packed on weight the last two months and I'm not happy about it. So I'm taking some more concrete steps to address it.

First - I've joined an online weight loss challenge group. Ten people, trying to loose a collective 300 lbs. I've actually not met any of them personally. But several of us have become online pen-pals of sorts through our blogging, including several who took up cycling specifically to confront their excess weight. So we all have a lot in common. I'm excited by the idea and look forward to trading tips and encouragement, maybe the occasional scolding or stern suggestion with them.

Second - I've opened an account with the Daily Plate service offered by the Livestrong Foundation. It offers some pretty slick online tools. You plug in your vital stats and weight loss goals. It recommends a daily calorie quota. Then you log your activities and food consumption and it estimates whether you are on track to meet your quota.

I documented that off the bike, my life is rather sedentary working in an office on a computer all day and that I wanted to loose 2lbs / week. It suggested a net quota of 1791 calories per day to achieve this objective. "Net" means I can eat 1791 calories per day for life support PLUS whatever I burn exercising, in my case that's mostly on the bike.

Today's meals consisted of the following:

Breakfast: 16 oz of coffee sweetened with honey and low fat cream, a large banana, a pack of Nature Valley peanut butter granola bars (2 bars per pack), and two Fig Newtons.

Lunch: A large chef's salad.

Mid Afternoon Snack: a pack of Nature Valley honey and oat granola bars

Dinner: a bowl of Taco Bean Soup

Consumption: 1492 Calories.

I rode from home to work: 21 miles at an average pace of 15.6 mph for 80 min.
Then I rode from work to Old Mill High School to watch the twins play field hockey, 13 miles at an average speed of 16.4 mph.

Burned: 2943 Calories

1791 quota + 2943 burned - 1492 consumed = 3242 calories below my quota, a good start for my first day.

Don't worry, I won't blog this much detail every day. I'm just highlighting how it works. But I think keeping such a detailed log might be just the tool I need to hold myself accountable.

Check back in here next week to see how I'm doing keeping the log updated and acting on the feedback it provides.

I plan to take the day off of the bike tomorrow and ride a light day to breakfast on Friday. Then Saturday and Sunday will be big days riding on the Eastern Shore.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Good Commute to Work - Then Tuesday Pizza

I had a good commute in this morning. Chris is all jammed up at work himself and indicated he can't connect for commutes this week, so I set out a little later than we do when he has to catch a train. Took the Brightview Rd route in and managed to keep just over a 15 mph pace the whole way in.

Did the same on the return and met the SPP evening crowd at Squisitoes for the Tuesday Pizza. I'll need to grow some will power next week and order a salad rather than pizza and beer. But it's fun to meet mid week like this and I hope it continues at least a few more weeks until lack of sunlight will probably end it for those without adequate lights and wool clothing.

If you've been paying attention to the little bike ticker at the top of the screen you can see it's gone the wrong direction lately. Note what I said about salad. I'll be getting more detailed here about my dieting and logging my discipline sticking to it as I make another push to slim down again after taking my eye off of that goal the last couple of months.

Temps are cooler now and light wool base layers with a wind vest are keeping me comfortable.

Big plans this weekend. I'll ride the Seagull Century with my brother Todd and with Earl on Saturday. Then Sunday I'll try to tackle my October brevet for the R-12. That's 225 miles of flat Eastern Shore riding in two days. I've never done that much before in so short a period. Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tour de Elon

This past weekend my wife, eldest son and I drove down to Elon University to see our oldest daughter during the University's annual family weekend. Bob C of the SPP also has a daughter at Elon and made the trip with his family. We took our bikes and had a great ride around town Saturday morning. The only snag was our plan to stop for coffee after. Apparently college students are not typically "morning people". So the coffee shops near campus don't open until 9 AM on Saturdays!! It took us three tries to find a shop open before 8.

We had a wonderful weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Very gratifying to see our oldest launching in to the world and doing so well. The weekend activities included ballroom dancing with club Taylor has joined, my early Saturday bike ride with Bob, a football game, watching an ultimate frisbee game with Taylor's team, brunch at the University President's home and plenty of time to visit with our girl.

I have pics and video of the dancing but have been threatened with being disowned by my elder children if I post them. Hmmmm seems I should be able to blackmail something from them for the original files.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Murphy's Ride

Murphy's Law is alive and well.

If you haven't checked in for a while, read yesterday's post about my spoke repair.

Okay now forget all that crap about how rugged the bike is and how I have what I need to fix it and finish my ride. I don't know squat about tensioning the spokes on a wheel to get it straight and true. All the tools and parts in the world don't help if you don't know how to use them correctly. In fact they can set you up for bigger problems later.

The ride in to work this A.M. was uneventful. But I did notice that the rear wheel felt slightly wobbly. I made a mental note to check it out over my lunch hour, then promptly forgot until I felt the same wobble on the way home. I stopped two miles in, near the Amtrack station and started checking spokes on the rear wheel one by one. A few felt loose. I tweaked them and it seemed to spin reasonably true. Okay I'll make it home and take the wheel to Bike Doctor for a proper alignment.

FAIL! As I turned from WB&A to Thompson Rd the rear wheel slipped as I turned. The pavement was wet and I thought maybe I hit a slick spot with a little oil or something. Another 1/4 mile, nope the rear tire is going soft. Stop to change the tube. The tire is wet and bubbles are coming out from around a small piece of glass. At least I found it quickly, maybe this will go fast. Then I discover another busted spoke. I suspect incorrect / uneven tension after serial adjustments made on the fly.

45 minutes later I have my second (last) spare spoke and a new tube on the rim. I made it home under my own power, an hour late and frustrated. BD is now closed so I can't get the wheel in tonight.

No ride tomorrow, the forecast is truly horrible with heavy rain and strong winds. But after I get through work tomorrow we get to travel to Elon to see Taylor this weekend. That should be fun.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spokes and Bunnies, Nothing is Safe

Left at 5:00 for the usual ride to work. The forecast called for a slight chance of light rain but nothing was falling when I left. It was uneventful until I was on the trail behind the Jumpers strip mall. The first rain started to fall and it appeared that it might be accelerating. Then I herd a distinct TWANG that is familiar to heavy bikers. Sure enough I could then feel the rear wheel dragging on the brake each revolution. I'd busted a spoke. I don't recall hitting a pothole or other obstacle. Just ridding along and it broke, honest Dad, I didn't do anything.. Oh sorry I'm digressing.

So it's dark, it's starting to rain and my bike is busted. I carry a super sized multi-tool with a gazzillion tools on it, including a spoke wrench. I also ride Surly Long Haul Trucker. It's a touring bike meant to be rugged, simple to maintain/repair and self sufficient. It came with two spare spokes in the standard build. They are attached to special braze-ons affixed to the left chain stay. The wheels are Alex Adventurers with 36 spokes. I've got what I need to deal with this, but it's dark and starting to rain.

I opted not to try a spoke replacement in the field. It was a left side (non drive side) spoke that broke. So the rim warpped to to the right. I took up a little tension (1/2 a turn) on the left spoke either side of the brake, and eased a little tension on the right side immediately opposite the break. That got the wobble down to where it stopped rubbing the breaks. Then wrapped a zip tie between loose end and an adjacent spoke to it wasn't flopping inside the wheel causing problems.

That got me to work without further incident. At lunch, in a well lit office, I took a few minutes to fit one of the spares and true the wheel as best I could.

The SPP had set a plan for a Tuesday evening ride that would conclude at the local pizza shop. If I ride down the trail, I'd pass right behind the pizza place. So while they were riding a loop to Sandy Point and Annapolis, I was heading south form the airport and met them at the shop for the za. My wheel repair appeared to hold up well. John, Janet, Jeff, Jim, Jane, Earl and Lori were already seated when I arrived. It was nice mid-week break from the routine.

After dinner I had a few more miles in the dark to ride home. Riding the trail always includes games of chicken with the local population of bunnies and squirrels. I've never made contact and only rarely did I have to swerve to avoid one. They usually start in a bad direction, see me, then change course and get clear with inches to spare. I just hold my speed and try to ride straight so they don't have to guess where I'm going. Well in the dark this bunny wasn't so quick. He made contact with front spokes but did not fall beneath a wheel. By the time I could stop and look he was gone. No blood or fur that I could see on the bike, so I don't really know if he was hurt or not.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wet Wet Morning

I've frequently used tight deadlines and busy days at work as an excuse not to commute in by bike. Usually after the crunch passes, I've regretted the lost miles and exercise. I knew today would be a crunch trying to squeeze in one too many meetings and the wet forecast also offered an excuse not to ride. So I ignored both and rode in anyway.

It was wet and dark riding in. I resembled the proverbial "drowned rat" when I finally arrived at the office. But a thin wool base layer under the rain jacket and jersey kept me comfortable. Visibility was lousy and my pace showed it. I keep a spare kit with degreasing fluid, rags, lube, and a few tools at work in case an especially wet ride or other issue requires attention on the bike. So after I cleaned up and got in to dry clothes I took 5 minutes to wipe down and re-lube the chain. Then I started the day. Even after all of that, I was glad for the exercise before all of the meetings and troubleshooting.

Note: It's time I look for a new lube. The wax I've been using is easier to keep clean, but it has no staying power in wet conditions.

On the way home I suspect an angel must have been hitching a ride on my shoulder. The skies looked very threatening, but I felt only a few drops, traffic seemed to have lightened up more than usual. Most of the traffic lights were even green.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Severn - Ft. Meade - Elkrdige - BWI - Home

No ride yesterday. Zach had a football game on the Eastern shore and had to muster at 9:00 in Centreville, MD to warm up with his team. I took Erik along too and my parents met us there. Zach and his team mates on the Severna Park Green Hornets 90lb team dispatched the Queen Anne's team 12 - 0!

After the game, Zach, Erik and I drove to Cambridge and caught the transition of the Iron Man relay from bike to runner. This is an amazing event, 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles on the bike, then a full marathon. For the competitors doing the entire event, my hats off. What a challenge for endurance. Friends Desi (swim), Clint (bike) and Dave (run) competed as a relay team and won their division!! We caught the transition as Clint finished his bike ride and handed the baton (really a computer chip on a velcro strap) to Dave to begin the run. Temps were in upper 80's all afternoon, much higher than normal for this time of year, making for a long day for Clint and Dave on the roads of the Eastern Shore with only harvested corn fields for shade.

Here's Dave waiting in the staging area before Clint arrives for the handoff....

From Chesapeake Man - Iron Man Relay

This morning I met Fran, Steve, John and Janet for a Sunday morning loop planned for 40 miles. Fran put out the call and led the charge. I wouldn't choose MD 175 for a weekday ride, but on Sunday morning it was fine. Steve got a visit from the Puncture Fairy near the airport, but otherwise it was a nice ride with no incidents.

Temps were warmer than forecast, in the mid 60s and a light sprinkle of rain started earlier than forecast. On balance the light wool base layer I wore kept me quite comfortable. Absent the rain, it probably would have been too warm.

As we returned Severna Park, John, Fran and Steve broke off at various points to return home and pursue Sunday activities, home chores, etc. Janet and I opted to drag out the fun a bit longer and stopped at Big Bean for coffee and a snack. Then it was home and chores for me too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friendly Friday

I took a couple of days off Wednesday and Thursday. The legs were more worn after the brevet last week than I wanted to admit. It worked and I felt great today.

I met the SPP morning ride at the Rusty Bridge today at 5:45. There were 11 of us and 5 stayed for breakfast at Hard Bean Cafe downtown. The morning was warm and muggy. As we ate, muggy became foggy over the Severn River. It was quite thick riding back across the river.

Earl rode with me from Annapolis towards the airport on my commute to work. We enjoyed a brisk ride and set plans to ride together at the Seagull Century in a couple of weeks. We also observed the effects of the high humidity and small pockets of air at different temps. Riding behind the Jumpers Hole strip mall, we hit a pocket of cool air and both of us experienced sudden fogging on our eye glasses. Normally this clears as quickly as it forms but not this time. We had to stop and wipe them clean. It was especially remarkable that it affected both us the same way.

We split along Andover Rd. I continued on to a day in the salt mines, Earl later reported he rode a full century for the day!

After work I rode to Kinder Park to see Erik and the 70 lb team play football. Unfortunately I got a late launch from the office and only caught the last few minutes of the game. But the Severna Park Green Hornets won the day and Erik was credited with several big tackles.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Cool Morning

Chris had to adjust his schedule this week and isn't commuting on the bike so I rode solo this morning. Unfortunately this takes the pressure off to get going to make a rendezvous and I got a late start. But once on the move it was a nice ride.

Had to break out a base layer and pair of bib nickers this morning. I tried a new merino wool base layer. Quite comfy. I'm looking forward to more days like this.

I invested in a new light set from Dinotte about a month ago. It includes a 1200 lumen and a 400 lumen light engine with a variety of mounting and battery options. I've been experimenting with best configuration. The big one clearly has to go on the bar, but the smaller one can mount on either the helmet, the bar or down on my fork. On the helmet the 400 + it's battery were a bit heavy. On the fork the 400 didn't seem to add much to complement the big light. So then back to the helmet, but with the battery on an extension cord in my jersey pocket. Now I can see quite a field ahead of me. I think this is the right configuration and will continue with it for a while.