Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ride Baby, Ride!!!

A good friend of mine always tells me that when it's time to get the bike out. So today, when he emailed me and said, "RBR!!!" (ride baby ride), I had too!
27.5 miles with an average heart rate of 143 and a max of 171. I burned around 1600 calories, so the Frito's I had at lunch were fully justified and enjoyed! It was a nice ride, good average heart rate and when I looked at the Garmin print out, it was like a good EKG read out! Nothing eratic! The sun was out and it was beautiful...tomorrow, PLRA!!! Trails...for the first time this year!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Specialized Romin SL Saddle

The latest bicycle component that I have purchased is the Specialized Romin SL saddle. While it is designed for the road, specifically time trialing and triathlon, I thought it's design would lend itself well for the needs of my backroad rocket ship the Specialized Tri-cross single speed.

The Specialized Body Geometry components are designed for comfort which in the end will equal performance. The saddle is medically proven to assure blood flow to sensitive areas, while I'm not a doctor, one ride on this saddle proved to be one of the most comfortable saddles I have ever had the pleasure of throwing a leg over. The cutout in the middle of the saddle is not felt in the least bit, which is probably the intent of the design, no pressure points or areas, just pure comfort.

With the nose of the saddle almost an inch longer than a regular saddle like the Toupe, it gives you valuable real estate fore and aft to gain valuable traction or get aero. The titanium rails keep the weight don and the tough Micromatrix cover is water resistant.

You may ask yourself what difference a saddle would make on a bike primarily used on the gravel and dirt roads of rural Michigan. With one gear, you are forced to use a different riding style than normal, momentum and power is a key element. For instance, if you are on a long sustained climb where you can stay in the saddle, I'm usually sliding foward on the seat to throw more power down on the pedals. With the Romin SL, I am able to do this more effectively with a more comfortable position, thus holding the position longer and if it's a longer ride or race, I can do this more often without fatigue.

When it's all said and done, the comfort of this saddle and its ability to provide me a more efficient ride far outweigh (no pun intended) any weight weenie saddle I have had previously. The Romin comes in two versions, the Romin SL (tested here) with titanium rails and a slightly higher price tag and a comoly version along with a smaller price tag, but the same great ride qualities!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Barry-Roubaix 2010

The first race of the season was a real test of mettle. With not knowing much about the course except for what my misleading buddy told me, =;) I was able to make the proper selection in gear choice and weaponry. With a 1.5 mile rollout and over 600 cyclists, the first part of the race was probably the most eventful. I could tell the "roadies" from the mountain bikers and I each have their own uniqueness, some good, some bad, some that shine and some that doesn't shine. If you can determine who you are with, you can use it to your advantage.

My second concern was with the fixie and how much time I would lose on the downhills. Being a fixed gear bike you HAVE TO PEDAL all the time, no coasting. So with that said, I would actually have to use the brakes to slow down on downhills so I could keep pedaling. Any group I was working with would be long gone. I was getting a little bummed out but soon realized that everyone in my class would be facing the same issue.

After the first part roll out we got to experience the most "technical" part of the course, it was very reminiscent of the certain sandy area's in a certain first weekend of November race near Traverse City complete with carnage and tailgating racers, which induces even more carnage. Once past this section, it was wide open racing with some good and challenging power racing. And when I say power racing, I mean climbs that are not sustained, pitch differently and just require some power to get up and over. I seen a fellow fixie racer on such a climb walking his trusty steed and I thought this would be a good time to pounce. He had other ideas as his gear was more condusive to higher speeds everywhere else. I stayed with him for a short time, but was unable to keep it up on the downhills.

With each successive climb and downhill, I would be losing time until my calves starting cramping and I was forced to do something about it, this would be the exact moment I would learn something about "fixie racing". I would unclip after a burst of energy and let gravity take over. It must have been a sight to see and one fellow racer commenting on my technique, little did he know I discovered it out of necessity, but it allowed me to go faster on the downhills, sometimes 4-5 mph faster!

With my new technique I am somewhat reenergized or maybe it was the fact my calves werent' cramping anymore. With part of the last course being all downhill, literally, race fans and volunteers just weren't saying that, it was all downhill and I could tell as geared folks were flying by at high rates of speed and a tandem passed me like I was standing still. But once it flattened out for the last 3 miles, I put head down and gave all I had left, spinning like a madman, drafting off some gear folks and then once we entered the park road, it was soooo much fun. Along side of me was Dave Massey the Specialized Rep and some other fast cat, we all took turns turning up the heat and it as a blast, with the last chacane thrown in complete potholes it made for an exciting finish.

I ended up finishing fourth in the Expert Fixie Class with a time of 2:08:13. I learned a few things about the bike, the race and will return with some different fitness in mind and a few tweaks of the gear...and the technique...the technique will be improved!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dog bite ride

I have a favorite loop that I do, I've done this loop many times with friends (all two of them) and all alone (which is normal...sniff, sniff). Anywho, about 10 minnows into the ride is a long gradual climb, along this climb is many houses and a dog. I've never seen the dog until tonight and I seen it under a good head of steam and I seen it's teeth up close and personal...and my ankle not only seen it, but felt it's teeth. Yes, I got a bite. 35 years of serious riding and this is my first dog bite! It's not really a bad bite, it didn't break any skin, but it made some contact and it bruised a little.

After the dog altercation I got my mojo back and started to get going again. This loop has Rattalee Lake Road hill and Granger Road hill, two climbs where a 64 gear inches ratio will be put to the test...or more like 64 gear inches putting me to the test. I survived all climbs and did the loop 22 minnows faster than I have done it before...excellent!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Back Road Ride

I just completed a 1 hour and 50 minute back road ride with my good friend Richard. I am in Barry Roubaix training mode and am looking forward to the B-R on March 27. The bike of choice for this race will be my Specialized Tri-cross single speed and it's "fixed". So no coasting for me, just pedaling my little heart out until I cross the finish line.
I have enjoyed the "fixie scene" so far, I've racked up a fair number of miles this past winter being "fixed". It has been an easy transition from the my usual single speed riding and I have been fortunate enough not to have the dreaded Superman-over-the-handlebars-
because-I-forgot-I-couldn't-coast crash.
But back to today's ride, it went well, we did one of my favorite routes that includes the Rattalee Lake road climb, it's long and has a nice steeper pitch at the top just to remind you that you are human. A lot of the roads were freshly graded, so the skinny tires were dancing a little more than normal. According to the Garmin, my top "fixed" speed was 25.9 mph, which is some serious spinning with a 39x17 gear!
Tomorrow at 10:00am at the Cycletherapy Bicycle shop will be the 24 Hours of Spinning for the Waterford Youth Coalition. Our team and others will be spinning from 10:00am Saturday to 10:00am Sunday. Lot's of stuff to do, trainer drive-in theatre, seminars for everything concerning bikes and racing, a fashion show at midnight and some good ol fashion spinning! Everyone is welcome!!!