Jacque Anquetil's 1962 Tour de France Winning Bike

Saturday, March 3, 2012

257 Degrees

Seriously.  Today, March 3, 2012, it was 257 degrees in Oakland.  I rode in shorts and short sleeves and, surprising for that kind of heat, I was plenty comfortable.

Finally, today I am feeling a little better, albeit after yet another morning of coughing up colorful organic matter.  Still being careful, I decided to TRY to take it easy and get out there for 80 minutes or so.  It was beautiful and calm outside.  I spent the first five minutes of the ride pleasantly absorbed in thought and scenery, but as I rode through Lake Temescal Park, I heard: "On your left," as a whipper-snapper (in my 50th year and beyond I am entitled to call everyone under 35 whipper-snappers) spun past me.  He was wearing a matching Nike (yecch!) kit, sported shaved legs, and was riding a plastic bike whose decals I did not recognize.  Visually and aurally, this totally harshed my mellow.

I am not used to hearing "On your left."  Compared to the matching Nike outfit, however, this was a minor offense.  I have a deep-seated and illogical dislike for Nike and all it represents (LA and TW, for starters), so having to stare at Nike as he rode in front of me, was just appalling.  He exited the park and turned up Broadway, still going in my direction.  I weighed my options.  I could let him ride away, compounding the offense, or I could speed up, again abandoning my plan for an easy ride, pass him and ride away.  I was 80% certain I could pass him and stay in front.  I wasn't so sure this would be a good idea on my first half-way decent day after 12 days of a cold that lived in my chest for so long that it could have sought title on the grounds of adverse possession.

Was there any real doubt that I'd choose the latter?

I reeled him in somewhat slowly and passed him toward the top of Broadway.  The light at the overpass on the top was red and long and he pulled up just behind while I waited.  As soon as it turned, I sped away and didn't look back.  I rode at RPE of 7.0 -- 7.5 for about seven minutes, then glanced back and didn't see him.  I glanced back a few more times to make sure and didn't see him.  I slowed to conversational pace.  I concluded that he descended Tunnel toward Claremont or turned toward Parkview condos.  Either way, I flogged myself -- in my precarious just-post-cold state -- for nothing.  I chastised myself harshly because I could have ascertained that he wasn't behind much earlier, slowed down much sooner, and prophilactically saved myself from a possible relapse into chesty convulsions.  Oh well, better late than never.  I rode easily to Skyline-Grizzly intersection, continued along Skyline to Joaquin Miller and turned around to climb back.

I've been reading Scott Saifer and Chris Carmichael on importance of riding in the drops -- additional position, greater efficiency, greater speed, better aerodynamics, less effort, etc. -- so, at the top I'd remembered about riding in the drops and decided to make this a drops ride.  This included the always dorky-looking climbing in the drops.  Anyway, I turned around at Joaquin Miller and started my in-the-drops climb back up Skyline.  After a couple of minutes of this, whom do I see but the Nike guy.  I guess he didn't turn off... he gave up.  Heh, heh, heh.  With a cheery disposition, I continued up Skyline to Thornhill, where I turned downhill and headed home.  At the bottom of the descent, I got out of the drops and put my hands on brake hoods.  I can tell you that this position has never felt weirder.

One more thing about this ride: I wore my much-compressing 2XU bibs on this ride, just for the hell of it.  I've owned them for a little over a year and didn't like them much because however much I like the compression on my quads, I dislike the roominess of the butt even more.  It occurred to me today that maybe I was wearing the bibs too low because leg grippers as so... grippy that I wasn't pulling up the legs as high as I should.  So I pulled them up higher and they fit and felt just great.  Will try them on a three or four-hour ride next.  The way they felt today, they're in serious consideration for double-century bibs.

Oh, ride 256, was a very easy half an hour on the trainer at home.

Ride 255 was kind of interesting.  I did 80 minutes in class.  The bulk of the workout was 15 one-minute muscle-tension Zone 4 intervals interspersed with one minute relatively high cadence, Zone 2 spinning as recovery.  As I was still hacking, snorting, and spitting frequently, I did the workout 100 watts below the prescribed zones.  I did muscle tension work at 145 watts, which is firmly in Zone 1 and proudly did my recovery at 65 watts.  Recovery spins were more taxing, as I thought they would be.

And ride 254 was half an hour at the gym on the trainer.

All caught up now.


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