30 December 2012


two hundred thirteen

legs tired, headwind blasting
one rest day: need more.

powered by girl grins
sunshine blue sky clouds blow by
grim joggers, fleet bikes

gasping reaching push
struggling with my sisters
she runs, rides, smiling

turning around now
more wind? Unbelievable
just plain offended

more smiling faces
pink jackets, scarves concealing
skinnier than me

no matter, we all
run/ride together, apart.
more wind blasts in face

no bail out for me
pushpull pushpull pushpull PUSH!
get 'er done. Car sight!

28 December 2012

In the Library... with a book...


Before the afternoon rain came, I slid out the garage this morning and over to the local library to pick up some mysteries.

Ok. It was a little more complicated than that. 

First, I got my cool weather tights on, found a light wool shirt, my fuzzy vest, my arm warmers, my wool buff, my full fingered wool gloves, thick wool socks and my high viz wind breaker.

I took Red Leader's trike and bags out of the back of the car, took my trike out, unfolded it, put the seat on. Put my trunk bag on the back, a pannier on the side and found my full-finger gloves. Put a flag on and attached my birthday lights - a lovely and functional pair from Busch and Mueller.

Then I went in through the garage, shut the garage, through the house, back outside and on my trike and rolled away.

Today was trash day, so there were lots of garbage cans to dodge. All drivers were well behaved, giving me plenty of room on the road. I did cut in behind a few trash cans to let cars pass but in general I kept a steady line. And I managed to avoid all the potholes and cracks in the asphalt. For fun, I stopped at all stop signs, befuddling drivers left and right.

When I got to the library, I sat outside for a bit and drank some chocolate milk (Ovaltine and Nido in powder form in a screwtop mug, just add water) and a small food bar. Sitting out allowed me to cool off a little so when I went into the library it only slightly resembled a sauna compared to the overcast low 40s outside.

I browsed the new books, picking up a Neal Stephenson and a Sarah Paretski, then headed for the fiction shelves for the newly buzz worthy Lee Child.

Pannier comfortably stuffed with books, rolled away, to slog up hills and freeze downhills back home.

My new headlight, ixon IQ, is having a problem staying on, so back to the shop it goes for replacement. So sad.

About 9 miles total, max speed just shy of 25mph, average just shy of 9mph.

Rain and wind tomorrow, I might stay home.

27 December 2012

Steppin' out


Red Leader had the flu over Christmas, so he did not feel much like riding on this sunny, crisp (outdoor-speak for cold) day.

I found a substitute in the Lanky Lad (my stepson) who agreed to a hybrid rental and a short ride in Folsom and on the American River Trail.

Renting a bike was a shallow excuse for me to ask the bike shop to bail me out of my inept brake pad change attempt. My Avid BB7 pads have almost 3000 miles on them and it was time for new ones. Now, BB7s are supposed to be among the easiest mechanical disk brakes to work on, but not in my case. I got the old pads out, got the new pads in, but even with the caliper adjustment backed all the way out, both the inboard and outboard pads made serious contact with the rotors. Scrub scrub scrub. Bleah.

It took the tech 1/2 an hour to sort it out. He got a quick lesson from me in HP Velotechnick's wheel removal, then LL and I headed out for a coffee to avoid hovering over the tech. Mr. Tech took it for a spin around the parking lot and pronounced it so comfortable!
Yes, yes it is.

Lanky Lad has been without a bike at college due to self-admitted neglect of his vintage Schwinn. He received funds for a used bike at Christmas and will go bike shopping for a campus-worthy beater when he returns to Oregon in January.

He may reconsider looking for a hybrid, but I believe the Giant comfort bike he rented was unusually heavy and slow for a hybrid frame. However, he kept up with my junior-roadie speed (15-20mph) down Iron Point Road from the shop, lamented his decrease in aerobic conditioning, but pedaled gamely up the Iron Point hill when we returned to the shop.

I have finally signed up for the premium (paid) Strava subscription and have had fun adding filters to my segments in a (usually) vain attempt to raise my rank on the leaderboard.

I've put the front fenders on my bike, and plan to try to ride every day, barring torrential downpours, high winds, or lightning.


24 December 2012

Recreational Roadie


Recreational riders are known for sticking to the trails. Roadies for riding on the roads.

Today I did both.

I set out up to Beal's point on the American River trail, getting my second best times on a couple of Strava segments, then had the urge to stop in at Folsom Cycle (the sponsor of the bicycle club to which I belong).

So I rode through Beal's Point park and out onto Folsom Auburn Road. There is a reasonable bike lane for most of it and the traffic was cooperative. I was wearing my bright yellow jacket and had my fancy B&M tail light going.

Of course, I got to the shop just as they had closed, so I spent a little while discussing my trike with a rider who was hanging out there munching on a power bar.

I continued down FA road, sort of muffed the intersection at Greenback, but made my way onto the downstream side of the bridge and back to the parking garage and the car.

It may be time for new brake pads in my disk brakes. I think I'll have to take them out to see if 3mm remain. I have replacement pads already and Avid BB7s are easy to work on.

I also spent a little time (since I was going oh-so-slowly) meditating on my rear derailler while the chain is in the granny gear in front. There is an intermittent yet regular tapping/clacking sound from the rear. It is only audible when I'm in the granny in front. I have my right hand mirror aimed at the back of my bike, so I can check my rear tire while rolling, and I noticed today that the tap/clack sound is accompanied by a slight jump in the derailler cage. I wonder if the three master links in my chain are making that sound? If so, why not in all the gear ranges.

Well, that's a puzzle for after Christmas.

Merry Xmas (as my family would always say). I'll hold off on the Happy New Year in anticipation of a ride between now and then.

19 December 2012

Tiny Frosty Delite

#209 / #36

Did you know, if it is 48 degrees F and you are cycling along at 18mph, the windchill is 41 on the new chart and 31 on the old. It felt more like the old chart today.

Did you also know that pushing the boundaries of your husband's temperature comfort results in a post-ride excursion to REI?

Well, it does.

We turned around after about a mile and a half.  Red Leader's fingers got too cold. My old de-padded Terry coolweather tights were chafing in unfortunate places.

I was wearing a lightweight merino wool crewneck shirt from Ibex and my homemade Schoeller fabric jacket (wind blocking).
My ears were protected with my wool Buff. I was wearing the aforementioned Terry cool weather cycling tights.
I don't need that pad any more and after several years of diamond frame riding it was pretty skanky. So I removed it. I was (and am) reluctant to remove the last bits of stitching that held the pad in as I am not sure the tights would remain intact if I did. So it chafed the back of my thighs pretty good. A longer ride would have meant more chafing and discomfort.
I use mesh cycling shoes so I found my nice thick REI 'hiker' wool socks and my feet were fine. My hand were protected with full finger Ibex gloves (more wool).

Red Leader was wearing his Underarmor HeatGear fabric short sleeved shirt under his lined Supplex jacket. Nothing on his head but his helmet. He had cotton cargo shorts and wicking ExOfficio boxers, and fleece leg warmers from Aerotech Designs. Some kind of wicking athletic socks in his non-mesh cycling shoes.
The stretchy-backed Novarra gloves he has did not keep the backs of his fingers warm.
He reports that his fingers were cold (a 7 out of 10) his head was a 5 out of 10 and his legs and so on were fine.

So he has a windproof (and waterproof) cycling jacket now, an Original Buff, and a long sleeved wicking shirt, as well as lobster claw gloves.

Now if only there is another cool clear day before his vacation is over. (More rain on the way).

11 December 2012

Bodacious Beals

#208 /  #35

It was Time, Past time, Time to GO, Time to Climb on our lovely trikes.

So I successfully sold Red Leader (AKA Himself) my husband)) on the idea of crawling up Beals Point and then possibly going around the lake.
We did the Point, but not the lake.

It is 9.7 miles round trip from the parking garage in Folsom to the Beals Point section of Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

We went across the newish bridge rather than the old wooden ped bridge.

We spent a little over an hour, with a moving average of 8.5. My max speed was a paltry 21 mph. I did considerable braking on the downhills due to washes of sand across the trail and lots of leaves.

Whoever it is that maintains this trail has fixed the lumpy root problem in the two underpasses on this ride. Which is nice, since I did not bounce out of my seat this time. I think the suspension on my trike makes fast curvy bumpy downhills even more (unnecessarially?) exciting.

Most of the other rides were skinny fit roadie types, passing us in a blur of legs. And there were not too many of them on this workday afternoon. And the weather was a lovely low 60s, mostly overcast, with a breeze at the top of the climb.

I dropped my front chain between the rings while shifting, so I had to stop and pry it out. The end of a tire lever works pretty well for this. No other mechanical issues. Red Leader got his heart rate up to about 165, high but he did not feel nausous or dizzy. So no worries there. Our legs are tired.

08 December 2012

The Coach on the Couch

#207 / #34

Today was another ride around Lake Natoma, where Red Leader and I herd a gaggle of assorted Meetup casual bikers around the lake.

Today was a low attendance day, it was around 50 degrees F, a bit cold for all but the most diehard of the casual set.

We had 2 repeat offenders (folks who've been on the ride before) and two newbies. No mechanical issues and a nice pace for the ride.

The pace of this ride is determined largely by who shows up. I always hope that I don't get a sharp division between rabbits and tortoises. One of the folks today, by no means a tortoise, worried that she was too slow. She was fine!.

I swept, so I got to hang out with her. We will call her Ms. Green, since her bike is a lovely pastel green Trek. Ms. Green had been off of her bike for a while, and when she'd gotten it back from the shop from a tune up, the shop had raised her seat for her.
This is a common thing with the casual rider. The seats are almost always too low. Ms. Green's seat was just right. She didn't like the tipped forward posture the higher seat gave her, so I told her that she could have the shop see about raising the handlebars a bit.

Ms. Green's bike is a 27 speed, and she was not sure about shifting the front derailler. So we got to talk about gears and hills and I encouraged her to shift down to her littlest ring when a hills was coming up. She got a little more confident as the ride went on

My work here is done.

One of the jobs of a ride leader, in my opinion, especially of a group of casual bicyclists, is to be there to provide information if it is desired. I'm always happy to do this, as I think if someone is going to bicycle, they might as well be as comfortable as possible. Mentally and physically comfortable.

That's how I roll, bellowing useful advice from my rolling lounger.

02 December 2012

Noah's got nothing on us

#206 / #33

It has been raining for days. Folsom, where we rode today, is not very far above sea level, and the bike paths generally follow either Willow Creek or Humbug Creek.

The creeks were raging. We had to detour several times to avoid flooded areas.
Our trikes are covered in speckles of mud.

So was I.

The trails were covered in leaves and twigs and entire branches. I got swatted in the bottom by twigs, my front headlight fell off somewhere, and we each had to pull vegetative debris out from under our trikes.

It was FUN.

After days pent up inside, when Red Leader suggested riding in Folsom because he'd seen blue sky there, I was all for it.

I knew we would not be able to use the underpass under Bidwell. It is designed to carry the creek's water when there's been a lot of rain.

This picture does not convey it well, but the water was moving so fast that the actual creek, on the other side of the metal fence, was shooting up in the air as high as the fence and roaring. The water at the foot of the " flooded" sign looked like it would wash the sign away at any moment.

We detoured around on Bidwell, then came to a section that I did not know would flood. The 'pond' in the middle distance is actually the bike path.

This water would be about chest deep on me. I'm nearly 6 feet tall.

So it was back out to Bidwell to retrace our route back to the car instead of finishing the loop.

Tomorrow, after some errands, I will be cleaning off two trikes.

Stay dry and warm out there!