Jacque Anquetil's 1962 Tour de France Winning Bike

Friday, December 23, 2011


A completely uneventful half an hour on the trainer in front of another Sharks game.  For the third time they've gone to a shootout.  With me watching and riding they're 2:1 in shootouts.  I've determined that my watching while riding has no effect on the outcome of the games even if I watch 176 of them.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Monday, Monday

The last entry was after midnight on Sunday, so on Monday.  When I looked at the blog, it had entry on Monday, but no ride on Monday.  Momentarily, I was confused and disconcerted, then realized what had happened.  So, back to Monday, again, for 175th time.

On Monday, I did a hard 65-minute ride in class with power builds and cadence builds.  That was good and hard.  Tuesday, I did half an hour on the trainer in the evening.  Wednesday, I did another hard ride in class with more/harder cadence and power builds.  I built until I couldn't build anymore, but fortunately, the class ended just then.  Today, I did easy 45 minutes at the gym during class, watching classmates suffer.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Too Busy Riding to Blog?

Not really.  Well, maybe yesterday.  I'll get to that.  First, there was 70 minutes in class on Wednesday, another 90 minutes in class on Thursday, and half an hour in the gym on Friday.  I really enjoyed the Wednesday-Thursday class because it was really like a bike ride.  I use singular because it was the same class, essentially.  I rode hard on Wednesday and didn't intend to ride hard on Thursday, but I felt good, so I went at it.  The class consisted of climbing/muscle tension intervals followed immediately by a base-speed/cadence steady state ride.  We did this three times for decreasing duration with increasing resistance, with two minutes of very easy pedaling in between.  Just like outside: a two-mile climb that plateaus into a flat ride.  Two minutes to descend, then do it again.  We closed with a cadence build to flush out the legs.  None of 5 over base business.  Yes, I understand it is designed to make our pedaling more efficient, but unless I descend on a fixed-geared bike (and I don't), I see little practical use for that exercise.  I go along, but I don't like it and don't think anyone else likes it much either.

The real ride of the week was yesterday, when David and I rode around Mt. Diablo over Morgan Territory Road.  We had about five and a half hours of riding and twenty minutes of not.  We left at 6:00 and by the time we got to Orinda, it was mid-30s and butt-cold.  I was wearing two thin wool base layers, a long sleeve jersey and was fine above the waste.  I was wearing DeFeet Blaze super-thick wool socks and the toes were OK too.  The fingers weren't doing so great even with a pair of long-fingered gloves and glove liners.  After half an hour of this, I lost feeling in my right pinkie.  I thought I'd pull the finger out of the glove's finger and tuck it with the palm to warm it up, so I grabbed the gloved finger with my teeth and pulled, but the glove refused to come off.  I pulled and pulled harder.  Then I realized I'd bitten so hard that my teeth grabbed the finger too hard and I didn't feel it.  Wow.  I let  go of the finger and decided to leave it alone, looking forward to warming up the finger on the climb.

It was cold and thickly foggy from Orinda all the way through Clayton, clearing only as we approached the Marsh Creek/Morgan Territory intersection.  The last time I rode Morgan Territory I thought that about two-thirds of it is doable in the big ring.  So, I did two-thirds of it in the big ring -- OK, the 46 that passes for a big ring on my Spectrum -- and just kept going.  What the hell, if the road forced me to shift down, I'd shift down, but as long as I could keep going, I was going to keep going.  Well, I kept going all the way to the top, even sprinting up the last steep bit before the parking lot/trail head/bathroom stop/water fountain at the top.

That was a pleasant surprise.  We refilled the bottles, emptied bladders and began the descent.  The descent is narrow, steep, and windy, so we took it easy, which was a good thing, as there were a couple of trucks coming up and it was important to have the bikes firmly in control on this dangerous descent.  We met Gary at the bottom and turned west toward Danville.  There was periodic hammering, but the legs were good, hard efforts were interspersed with recovery behind David and Gary, so by the time it was my turn to pull again, I felt good again.  We made good time into Danville, where we turned north to Walnut Creek, climbed Hillgrade, on to Lafayette, where we climbed the always too steep and too long Reliez Station Road, which I rode aggressively, into Moraga, again more hammering up a slight rise, then by the time we left Moraga and turned onto Pinehurst, I was pretty well legless and had very little left for Pinehurst.  I plodded up it aggressively and descended home.

Don't know how far it all was, but I was gone for six hours.  Legs felt horrible the rest of the day.  Then, today, December 170, they felt great, but all I did was pretty easy 30 minutes on the trainer.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

60 Minutes

It took me two days to ride 60 minutes.  Still mourning what's happened with my Llewellyn.  The ankle has been bugging me since my long walk in cycling shoes, so I'm taking it easy on the bike and stretching a lot -- like 165 minutes a day.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Big Bummer

Ride 163 started mundanely enough -- Brian and I met at Domingo Peet's, rode up Tunnel, and headed south on Skyline.  It was foggy and chilly.  I dressed barely adequately, feeling comfortable and sweaty on climbs and slightly chilly on descents.  As we kept riding south on Skyline, we began chatting about riding off road.  One thing led to another and we decided to take the dirt trail from the staging area at the end of Skyline and ride east around Lake Chabot toward Redwood.  The trail started as a fire road.  I was very happy with my Llewellyn's 32mm underinflated tires.  Traction and comfort were great.  Short drops, followed steep climbs.  Mountain bikers gave us weird looks as they saw out bikes.  The weather was improving.  Lake views were wonderful.  My first extended off-road ride was fun, exciting, and challenging.

We descended to the lake and turned north in search of a lakeside campground at the end of Maciel Road, two miles west of Redwood.  We ignored no bicycles signs.  The trail narrowed into a singletrack that climbed the hillside.  The hill was on my left, a precipice was on my right.  I rode reasonably confidently and comfortably, trying not to think about the starboard abyss.  I wasn't shy about unclipping often to get around tight hairpins and roots protruding into the trail.  With four days of Santa Ana winds last week, the trail was strewn with eucalyptus leaves and acorns, twigs, and rocks.  On one climb, I rode over a long and squiggly branch.  It kicked up into my wheel, the wheel took it to the rear derailleur, where it became lodged.  The rear derailleur rotated backward and exploded.  Derailleur hanger bent inward.  I could not run the chain through the derailleur.  It did not occur to me until now that I could have shortened the chain and bypassed the rear derailleur.  This wouldn't have  been easy without an 11-speed Campy chain tool anyway.

Brian came back toward me and was impressed with the damage.  I walked, he rode.  On downhills I remounted and coasted.  On flats, I had my right foot in the pedal and pawed the ground with my left as if skateboarding or riding a scooter.  This was surprisingly effective and I covered the ground reasonably well.  I was in a good mood.  This was an adventure, derailleur straightening is a simple repair, and I was motivated to go on more off-road rides.  We reached the campground in half an hour to 45 minutes.  There, we called Jessica for a ride and I started on Maciel, making my way toward Redwood; again, walking on uphills and coasting on descents.  Made a pretty good time, reaching Redwood by 9:20.  Jessica arrived about 10 minutes later.

At 11:00, I took the bike to a shop to have the derailleur hanger straightened.  The mechanic took a look at the bike and shook his head.  The hanger bent inward and rotated backward, as it had been pulled back.  They can bend it back out, but not forward.  Oh, and when the chain folded inward, it gouged and dented the right chain stay.  My face fell.  It's 5:04 p.m. as I type this, which means I've been really bummed for about six hours.  Bottom line: I'll need a new chain stay, a new derailleur hanger, and the rear end will have to be repainted.  Considering the frame builder is in Australia, this will take time and air freight is incredibly expensive, I may have to have it repaired locally.  And yeah, they say it'll be as good as new and functionally it may be, but...

At least I have other bikes to ride, though I wouldn't take off road my bikes that have clearance for only 25mm tires.


Three in 1:30

Thursday and Friday, I rode the trainer for half an hour and Saturday, I rode around the neighborhood for another half an hour.  The Saturday ride was quite enjoyable.  I sought out all the short and sharp hills and went pretty hard at them.  Legs felt better at the end than at the beginning, so it seems that was beneficial.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Wild (B)ride

There was nothing wild about this evening's late 30 minutes on the trainer.  It came after we went to see Berkeley Rep's The Wild Bride, an English-Irish hill-billy musical narrative of a deal with the devil, an unwitting victim, and triumph over many awful obstacles.  The cast played a set of 159 devil-related songs ("Sympathy for the Devil," "You Look Like an Angel," etc., etc.)  in the lobby after the show, complete with dancing with members of the audience.  We had a great time.


Monday, December 5, 2011

A Private Lesson

I was the only "student" at Velo SF noon class today, so throughout the class Alex, the instructor, and I engaged in a running discussion of training methods and their benefits, such as why every class we pedal at 5 mph over base when we hardly ever pedal that fast when we ride outdoors (base is cruising speed/cadence and mine is 25.5 mph and ~93 rpm).  Alex posits that we do this to create neurological adaptations and for muscle memory, making slightly faster than base cadence more efficient.

The conversation was a good distractions and the 60-minute class flew by in 65.  Most of the hard work wasn't too hard or terribly memorable, except for the last set, during which we pedaled at 7 below base with resistance set at zone 4-5 border.  We did seven of these.  After the first four, which weren't that hard (RPE of 6.5-7), I asked Alex where his zone 4-5 border is and he said 375, so I bumped my resistance 100 watts just to see what it feels like for him.  It wasn't so awful.  The way Computrainers are designed it takes the resistance a bit to catch up, so the first 8 seconds were almost easy.  Next 10-15 seconds were hard, but not bad, and the final 7-12 were on the painful side, but RPE did not exceed 8.5.  I did three of those and we were done, as was ride number 158.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

157 Bottles of Beer

Santa Ana winds finally died down and we had a perfect December fall (? -- yes) day: mid to high 60s in the sunshine, cool in the shade.  Jessica and I walked our dog on Dunn Trail in Oakland hills for 90 minutes.  We did flat, we did, up, we did down -- it was the longest dog walk I've done since my ankle accident.  I intentionally stepped on berms in the trail to make my ankle turn in and out to test it and it did just fine.  By the end of the walk my back had had enough, but the ankle was ready to keep going.

Nice weather continued into the afternoon, so I did what any self-respecting cyclist would do -- I took a nap.  Got up after an hour and a half, dressed, and went for a 45-minute ride at self-conversational pace.  It was still very pleasant, albeit by then it was knee-warmers weather and I had to turn on the lights for last 10 minutes of the ride.

With dinner, I had a 158th beer, Chimay, to celebrate the preceding 157.

P.S. Speaking of ankle accidents, Sophie wants to go skating on Tuesday -- yay!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Out and Out

On Friday, I did half an hour in the neighborhood, up and down hills.  Since the neighborhood is just about all hills and no flats, the ride was about mostly hills, since I spent 80-85% of the time climbing and rest descending.  Physics.  As Jeff Meredith said, "I have a love-hate relationship with gravity."  I climbed semi-aggressively, which felt pretty good and I did not worry about Saturday's 3-4 hour group ride.

On Saturday, I rode with Brian, Howie, David, and Todd.  We climbed Spruce, descended Wildcat, did San Pablo Dam to Castro, where we turned east and went toward the Bears.  Up and down Mama Bear, then over Happy Valley into Lafayette for coffee at Papillon, then up Moraga Road into Moraga, then up Pinehurst back to Oakland.  Since I don't have a computer on the Llewellyn, which I rode, I estimate the ride's distance at 156 Vladometers.  A fun and windy way to spend 3.5 hours with friends.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pucking Around and Around

No, I haven't returned to the ice.  I'm emotionally ready, but not sure whether my bulky ankle will fit in my skate.  There's one way to find out, I suppose.  Stay with me, there's a cycling connection.  I watched 17:46 of the third period of Sharks-Canadiens on the trainer.  17:46 of hockey time worked out to 32 minutes.  Sharks tied the game with 1:26 left, so I rode for five minutes of overtime, which decided nothing and the shootout, which lasted six rounds, instead of regulation three.  I stayed on the bike for extra two minutes after the Sharks won to make it 50 or was 154?