Saturday, March 8, 2008

What's worse, wind or ice

I'm going to have to go with ice on that one. At least the wind was at my back nearly as much as it was in my face.
The snowstorm they had originally forecasted for today failed to materialize, at least in our area, so I piled on the layers, filled a bottle and camelpack, and saddled up my trusty steed. The steed of choice today was my Quiring, set up in fixed gear format. My plan was to ride basically the same loop I rode last weekend. I headed out of town, and climbed the first hill on Attica Road. At the top, I turned right onto Summers Road, straight into north wind suckage... or shall I say blowage. Yup, the headwind would be with me for a while. I resolved to grunt my way into the wind, knowing it would be at my back for the return trip. Besides, Summers Road was in much better shape than last weekend, having no snow cover.
The headwind stayed with me until Lum Road, where I headed west. Crosswinds are slightly better than headwinds. Lum Road took me through Lum (don't blink... even on a bicycle), and out to Spaulding Road. A bit of a rear tire slip, and I had the sudden realization that I was riding on WHUMP ice. It was kind of neat in a way, a relatively painless landing, and a slide of about 30 feet before I came to a stop. I picked myself up, and walked the short distance back to Lum Road.
I rode back to Slattery Road, and started north. Slattery was in much better shape... to start. Sure enough, Ice, and another gravity check. I got back up, and rode/walked (mostly walked) northward, to see what Curtis road offered. Sure enough... more ice, and more ride/walk alternating. After a while, I came to Lake Pleasant Road. Paved at last. North into the wind. Heartrate at my Lactate Threshold and single digit speeds at points. I rode like this to North Branch Road, and headed west through North Branch.
Just past North Branch, I turned around and basically retraced my path. On to Lake Pleasant Road. South. With the wind. Speeds averaging 18mph, hitting well over 20 on the downhills. Spinning like mad but in a nice zone 2 endurance heart rate. Back through Lum. Down Summers Road. With the wind. Dirt roads seem rougher at 20+ than at less than 10mph.
I rolled into my driveway pretty much spent, and with just under 47 miles showing on the Edge.
Route from Today's ride (ain't high tech GPS toys neat)

Today's elevation profile

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring Fever

Just (im)patiently waiting for the spring thaw.

The bountiful snowfall in Lapeer county this year hasn't stopped me from logging some riding time outside though. Just aching to get back on the trails. Over the past year, I've put together a serviceable assortment of winter riding clothes. For Christmas, my parents got me a pair of neoprene booties, and a new pair of tights (to replace the ones I tore when I crashed at Iceman). I also picked up a pair of Moose Mitts at the MMBA expo to keep my hands warm. Add to that the skull caps, windbreakers, pullovers, long sleeve base layers, and socks that my wife and parents have bought for me, and I'm just about set.

The Quiring is set up in fixed gear format, with a 16 tooth tomicog ( bolted up. I've worked out a nice dirt/paved road route that takes me up through the Lapeer State Game area. So far I've done that route twice.

Route for dirt road ride.

Elevation profile for dirt road ride.

I've also been out on the road bike on a few occasions during February and March. Once I met up with Dave from the RBS bike team, and we rode from Lapeer to Otisville and back; just under 50 miles for that day. Another time I met up with my teammate Curt (blog link on right) and a few others at Stony, where I logged 40 miles of riding at a pace I wasn't expecting this early in the year. I've also done the below route from home, which I had done a few times last year. Basically I ride from Imlay City to Lapeer and back. This one nets out at 35 1/2 miles.

Imlay City to Lapeer route.

Elevation Profile

The preceeding maps and charts were made possible by a great gift from a loving wife to her husband. For Valentines Day, Brandy got me a Garmin Edge 305. This came with a cadence sensor and a heart rate monitor, and has a barometric altimeter built in. I'm hoping this will be a great training tool. At the very least, it will be neat to see elevation, speed, and heart rate statistics from my rides.