Friday, November 30, 2007

November Wrap Up

I finished up November with a 24.54 mile ride today. It was 34 degrees and breezy when I set out and my toes were pretty frozen by the time I got back, though I was otherwise pretty comfortable. The views and sunshine helped to keep me going. At one point, I was picking my line slowly through a potholed, patch on patch section of road and noticed this hawk perched overhead on a power line. I didn't think it would stay there while I dug in my coat for the camera with clumsy full fingered gloves and then 'woke up' the camera, but it did! I guess it was too cold to bother with flapping away.

Along with dropping temperatures, we had a lot of rain in November which I didn't want to go out to ride in. Then we had some holiday things scheduled toward the end of the month, so it was a little harder to stay on track and get the miles.

I managed to ride a total of 19 days and 525.48 miles. The cx bike has been put to a lot of use as it's great for mashing over acorns, sticks and leaves that litter the roads this time of year. I used it on 13 rides and my road bike for just 6 rides. I don't see many other bikers outside now and only did 2 group rides this month. Jeff did 8 rides with me, but I had to do 11 solo efforts to get the miles I wanted.

Here's the inevitable chart. I know, not exciting blog fodder, but these little bars help keep me motivated, so you'll have to live with it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I understand the usefulness of headwinds or even crosswinds for training, particularly in flat RI where to some extent we can use wind to simulate hill climbing. So, I don’t complain about that…much. But I do complain about crazy, swirling winds that randomly push you from side to side, front to back, down and up. For perhaps the first 10 minutes or so, I guess it’s actually fun, kind of like a carnival ride. But two hours later and I’ve been shaken about so much I hardly know which way is up.

Today was one of those days. Last night and early this morning, we had winds and rain with very warm temps, up to 60 degrees. About a half hour into my mid-morning ride, the cold north winds really picked up and started to drive the warm air out. So, I had crazy turbulence and rapidly dropping temps. Joy!

On the bright side, the weather did make for some dramatic pictures.

What better sky to have over a Gothic cathedral?

The surf was high. Down at the other end of the beach, near the rocks in the first picture, there were a bunch of surfers in the waves.

The sky looked pretty dark out over the water.

But was even darker over the road I was biking on!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

11/24/07 Weekly Ride Report

I'm doing my best to keep up my riding though colder weather and holiday activities! This week I did 3 rides on the 'cross bike for a total of 95.35 miles. Jeff did 2 of those rides with me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pre Thanksgiving Feast Ride

We had a lot to be thankful for yesterday, including a beautiful warm day. It was perfect for a ride and we weren't the only ones out enjoying it. We saw so many other bikers, walkers, runners, surfers and horseback riders!

We biked twice around our beach loop and past the bird refuge (where we saw a Kestrel and a Harrier). Then we biked over to the town rec area for some loops around the fields for a total of 33.74 miles.

I snapped some pics of Jeff. This narrow lane is on the way to the fields.

It's fun to practice turns around the trees at the edge of the field.

A few laps around this big field can sure get the heart rate up!

And these are a couple of shots of Jeff as we headed back home.

It was an easy ride, but allowed us feel a little less guilty about taking that extra slice of pumpkin pie for dessert!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gobble, Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jeff and I biked past this flock of wild turkeys on last Sunday's ride. They seemed very relaxed considering it's turkey dinner season!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I know I’ve been biking a lot when...

Last night, I was telling Jeff about seeing someone we know drive by me when I was out biking. I told him that this person ‘ beeped and waved to me over the handlebar’, when I meant the steering wheel!

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Saddle

I've debated for some time about whether to try a different saddle on my X6 or not. Well, more frequent, longer rides on the stock saddle in cold weather became pretty uncomfortable as I had to keep shifting from one sit bone to the other during the ride rather than just being able to perch evenly. As the saddle didn't seem bad other than not being wide enough, I decided to look for one from the same line. The stock saddle is a Selle San Marco Ponza. Unfortunately, they don't seem to make a Ponza for women, so I ordered a saddle from the same 'Island' series, the women's Ischia. It is an appropriate width which is good, but also a bit heavier and thicker in profile. Luckily it's not at all expensive, so I don't feel badly about experimenting a bit. I ordered it from amazon since it's not something the local shop usually carries.

This is the saddle as pictured on amazon.

Jeff and I mounted it on the bike Sunday and I think we did a pretty good job positioning it, but I'll probably stop by the shop at some point as the owner said he'd help with adjusting it. It certainly won't hurt to have an expert look at the angle of my knees, etc.

This is a picture that I took of the saddles together for comparison. My new saddle is in the foreground and the stock saddle is shown behind, on Jeff's bike.

If you happen to know about saddles for cx and have any thoughts on this one, pros or cons, please leave a comment for me. Or if there is one that tends to be favored by women, let me know the name. I'm just getting started with cx, so I appreciate *all* advice!

Also, Jeff has decided he isn't very comfortable on his saddle, so we'll be looking into an alternative for him as well.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

11/17/07 Weekly Ride Report

Five days of riding this week and 137.56 miles total. Two solo efforts and 3 rides with Jeff. All but one ride on the 'cross bike.

The Japanese Maple tree in our yard is such an amazing color right now! I snapped the pic at the start of today's bike ride. I'd hoped to take some more pics as we rode, but it just seemed too hard to do with the wind, cold and full fingered gloves too!

Friday, November 16, 2007


That was the sound of the wind blowing past my ears on my ride today. No, not due to my great pedaling speeds, rather due to a constant NW/W wind speed of 14-18 with gusts to 27 mph! It was all I could hear for the entire duration of my ride, in fact, I still feel like I'm hearing it!

When I stopped for a drink and uncapped my Gatorade, the wind blew a spray of Gatorade right out of the bottle! The wind also made a foghorn like sound as it blew across the bottle opening!

It could have felt really cold today with temps no higher than 46 and a ‘feels like’ temperature of no more than 40 based on wind chill, but the sun was very bright and my black tights soaked up the warmth of the rays pretty well. I only felt cold when I was pedaling straight into the wind and there were some long stretches like that. At times I was practically doing a track stand into the wind gusts!

At the start of my ride, when I pushed the on button to wake up Garmin, it said 'bleeep' and shut off immediately despite having been fully charged on Wednesday. Aarrghh! As much as I like it, Garmin can be a real pain sometimes. So, I had to go without a computer today and just did a route that I know the mileage for exactly: 29.52 miles.

I’m trying to do a lot of easy Base Effort rides and think I did as well as could be expected at it today considering I had no computer/heart rate monitor and the wind was making me work a bit just to have any forward momentum at all!

I snapped a couple of pics where I stopped for a drink and look at the waves.

If you look closely at this one you can see some of the spray blowing off the tops of the waves.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


It was a cold ride for Jeff and I today. No one else braved the weather with us! The best part was jumping back into the sun-warmed cab of the truck at the end! Here’s Jeff, styling in his skully and showing the average for the day.

He can actually pull off the shades and skully look. I quite like this shot of him!

On the other hand, I can’t work the skully look, and opted to go with really bad hat head. Oh man, maybe I shouldn’t be posting this shot!

How cold was it? The high temperature during our ride was 35.6 degrees with a NNW wind direction and wind speed of 11.5-14.9. We rode 25.44 miles at 16.5 mph average with a quick stop to share a coffee and cookie mid-way. It’s so hard to ride in the cold. You want to go fast enough that you get warmed up, but not so fast that the wind-chill becomes unbearable!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

11/10/07 Weekly Ride Report

I feel like I'm getting over the little cold that dragged me down a bit earlier in the week. I have a total of 117.20 miles to report for the week. I did 5 road bike rides, 3 were solo efforts and 2 were with groups.

One group ride was the Sunday cafe route. The other happened on Friday at lunchtime. Jeff and I had plans to ride with one other guy and the three of us ended up with a chance to meet up with two other guys we know for about 12 miles of the route. Those two guys are pretty fast, so I know they were holding back, but it was still a great feeling to work in a pace line with them.

The total distance was 28.83 miles. On the charts, the part where the five of us rode together is from about 5 miles to 17 miles, mostly down and back on a road with no crossings. The rest was just three of us. The overall average was 17.0 mph and the elevation gain was 1,533 feet.

This chart shows speed:

Here's the elevation:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Easy Rides This Week

Seems I’m not over trained or sore from my posture on the cx bike as previously speculated. I’ve come down with a low-grade cold that I can attribute the muscle aches to. So, bad news is that I have a cold, but good news is that the biking wasn’t hurting me!! Today, I’ll take a day off since it’s going to rain. I’ll do easy rides the rest of this week as long as I feel up to it.

Sunday, I did the (now pretty regular!) café stop group ride instead of a more intense ride I’d hoped to try. Yesterday morning, I did 24 miles solo and the cool, fresh air felt like it cleared my head a bit. I took it mostly easy, but couldn’t resist a more intense effort for the long, flat stretch along the beach as it seems silly to me to pedal that part slowly.

I stopped for a drink and photo break by the lychgate at a little churchyard.

Here’s my road bike a little closer up. The new X6 has been getting photographed a lot lately so I thought I should make sure to include a shot of my road bike!

Do you think it’s embarrassing to ride with someone who still has the plastic thingy on the rear wheel? I still haven’t removed it and so many people give me grief about that! Apparently, it makes me a geek!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

11/3/07 Weekly Ride Report

I accumulated 146.43 miles this week over 5 days of riding. (3 road bike rides and 2 cx rides. 2 solo rides, 3 with Jeff and 2 of those were group rides.)

I took yesterday and today off to let my body rest and refresh for an upcoming group ride. Lately, I've noticed that my muscles are tired and don't have much extra output when I want to sprint or power uphill. It's probably a case of 'over training'. It may also be related to a lot of miles on the new 'cross bike which works my muscles a little differently.

Friday, I got this Winter 2007 special publication from Cycling Weekly magazine. I haven't had a chance to do more than browse through, but I think there's some stuff in here that will help me manage my winter riding. There are articles on what to wear, what to eat and some sample training schedules as well as articles on the body's physiology.

The leaves are really falling now. The ones already on the ground keep getting caught between my wheel and brake and make a scraping noise until I can reach down and pull them out. The ones drifting down from the tree limbs can be a hazard as they seem to aim straight for my sunglasses! Twice, I’ve had soggy leaves plastered over one lens like some sort of eye patch and had to peel them away! Nonetheless, they are pretty.

Here's Jeff doing his first bit of trail riding earlier this week on his new X6.

This is just a very short path, but it's fun to get off the pavement even for just a few moments.

Most of my pics are shot from the saddle, but off pavement, I definitely stop and plant both feet first!