Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2000 KM

A really short blog post this week, simply to say that, with my latest two rides of 68 and 61 km respectively, I've successfuly reached the 2000 km mark for 2009. If you told me at the the beginning of the year I'd ride 2000 km this year, I probably would have laughed at you, but there you go. Looking back it seems like quite a distance to ride, so I thought I'd see if I can put it into perspective. My now 2006 km would have taken me (give or take a few kilometers) from:

  • My hometown of St. John's, Newfoundland to Edmunston, New Brunswick
  • My current home of Toronto, Ontario to Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Los Angeles, California to Vancouver, British Columbia
  • London, England to Naples, Italy

At a rough average of 25km per hour, that also amounts to approximately 80 hours in the saddle. Not bad for a weekend rider.

Now, with my goal set at reaching 2100 km, I'm only 94 km short of one hell of a season on the bike.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another 51k closer

Since my latest ride was really a very short 51k, I'll follow it up with a very short post today.

Given my lack of regular riding lately and the recent leg cramping issues I've been having, I've decided to go easy for the next little while by doing shorter rides. I'm doing this in hopes of regaining a little of my mid-season form before I attempt another long distance ride.

My ride was quite enjoyable actually. The weather around Toronto was fantastic on Saturday and perfect for cycling so I took the opportunity to hit the road and bite off another chunk of my 2100 km goal. In hopes of avoiding any sign of cramping, I took some advice from a friend on Twitter and brought along loads of fuel (food) this time around. I really shouldn't need this advice of course, but I just never feel like eating while riding so it always becomes an after-thought. I basically have to force myself to eat while on a ride.

I brought along lots of drink, energy bars and even a banana and was pretty much empty handed when I got home. Fortunately, it seems to have helped as there was no sign of any cramping. Mind you, it was a pretty short ride but it's usually around the 50k mark that I start to feel the onset of cramps. I managed a fairly good pace of just over 27kmh as well, so I certainly wasn't taking it too easy.

My biggest problem on Saturday was getting started. On Saturdays, the traffic around Toronto is pretty crazy, so rather than ride north from my house, I decided to drive up to my start point where the country roads begin and traffic is much less congested. After about a 30k drive, I pulled into the start area parking lot. As soon as I shut off the engine though, it hit me. No shoes! I forgot to bring my cycling shoes. After banging my head on the steering wheel a few times, I started up the truck and headed back home. Undaunted though, I grabbed my shoes and returned once again to the start area some 30k away. Other than that glitch, the ride was perfect... albeit a little environmentally unfriendly. 51k of riding, approximately 120k of driving. Al Gore would be proud!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Closing in... slowly

Well, another few weeks have passed since my last post. Unfortunately, time and circumstance have prevented me from doing a lot of things over the last little while, including keeping this blog up-to-date. I haven't been able to do a lot of cycling over the last several weeks and as this blog is supposed to be about my cycling exploits, there hasn't been a whole lot to report. In fact, August was pretty much a total write-off in terms of cycling.

I am happy to report that I am closing in on my second mileage goal for the year, albeit very slowly. If you recall, I reached my first goal of 1200 km back on June 27th and at that time, I reset my target at 2100 km by the end of the cycling season. Here it is now, more than two full months later, and I'm at just over the 1800 km mark (1825 to be exact). Only a little over 600 km in more than 2 months. Not so impressive in retrospect.

My last two rides, separated by two full weeks, totaled 55 and 65 kilometers respectively. Neither ride was remarkable and worthy of much comment really. The first started as a group ride scheduled for about 100 km, but having suffered out a couple of cramp-fests in previous long rides, I decided to peel off the group after about 30k and solo back home. I actually found it to be a very enjoyable ride. Riding a sensible distance (given my lack of recent conditioning) at my own pace sort of reminded me how much I enjoy solo cycling. The long cramp-filled rides before had started to discourage me a bit and I more or less decided that I'd rather enjoy a short ride than suffer a long one.

I stuck to that line of thinking for my most recent ride of 65k just this past Saturday, but unfortunately couldn't avoid the cramps again. With about 15k to go, the first sign of cramping in my quads started and I struggled home from there. I could blame it on a lot of things, but mostly I think it is simply a case of poor conditioning with such low mileage recently. I also think it's time to switch back to a more specialized electrolyte drink like Gu2O. Mixed Gatorade just doesn't seem to be getting the job done.

The best news out of my recent rides is that I finally fixed that annoying click in my crank set. After 2 months of listening to that, and a overhaul of my bottom bracket that didn't solve it, I decided to turn my attention to my pedals. I removed each, coated the threads with lube, soaked the bindings in Jig-a-loo and it seems to have done the trick. Not a click to be heard on my last 2 rides.

With nothing else noteworthy to report, I guess I'll end this post with a couple of pictures from my most recent ride. My favourite route takes me past a rather nice horse farm and I can't help but stop and enjoy the scenery there when the horses are out. There are about 7 or 8 foals with their moms and they are really quite remarkable to watch. They even came over this week and let me pet them, which I found kind of surprising. I thought the foals would be more cautious with a stranger. Maybe I have a little horse whisperer in me. Anyway, without further ado..