Saturday, June 30, 2007

SWC Ride

Thursday evening's ride was a hilly (rolling) 18+miles in the hills east of Saratoga Lake. There were a couple of short challenging climbs thrown in, but only one of any consequence, up Chapman Hill Road. It was probably about 3/10 mile, and steep, but I took it with one shift to spare. Since we started on TOP of the ridge, we also had to climb back up there when we were finished, but that was nothing after some of the other climbs. The bike performed flawlessly, and was especially quiet, since I had just lubed the chain. Good ride, and a strong ride.

Went for a run yesterday after work, and was really worn out last night, so took today off. Planning for a 35-mile, 2400-foot climbing day tomorrow, in the hills between Canajoharie and Cherry Valley. This ride includes part of what I'd been hoping to do on last year's ill-fated tour, and I'm looking forward to seeing it for real instead of just on paper and in 3D mapping software.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2 More Commutes

Monday was a very good day to bike to work, and I did. Early morning temps were in the mid-60s, expected highs in the low 80s,and no significant wind was expected all day. Ran into a fellow commuter cutting through Sage, and when he heard I'd come from Rotterdam, he was amazed. Doesn't seem like that big a deal to me anymore. Uneventful trip in both directions.

Tuesday was another sunny dry day, but morning dew points were up a bit, and highs in the mid-90s were expected. The morning ride in was easy as usual, but coming home was hot, hot, hot! A headwind is a blessing and a curse on days like this - it has a cooling effect, but also requires more effort to continue forward progress. I drank a liter of salt-laced Gatorade over the 16-mile trip, and still got close to some leg cramping. I think in the summer, I'm going to forego this salt-free lifestyle, and revert to older times. I never had this problem before I cut down on salt. Go back to "normal" intake, monitor BP, and see if biking performance improves.

Wednesday had a threat of thunderstorms late in the day, and was forecast to be in the mid 90s again with significantly higher humidity, so I drove in. On a shorter commute, the chance of a storm in any given 20-30 minute period is much less than in my 90-minute period. And with the length of time required to get from work to home, daylight could become an issue if I decided to wait it out. So the 30-40% threat of a late-day storm gets multiplied by a bit as a result of those considerations. As it turned out, I drove through one HELL of a thunderstorm between 5pm and 6pm on the Thruway, which would have nailed me for certain had I been on the bike. Torrential downpours and a wild lightning display. I made the right choice.

SWC ride Thursday evening near Saratoga, in the hills east of Saratoga Lake, with cooler drier conditions expected.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Longer Ride

Felt like I "needed" to get in a ride yesterday, and it "needed" to be either a longish one with some big hills or a longish one with no hills. Kept telling myself I "should" ride some hills, but finally realized that wasn't what I really wanted to do. After a lot of internal tussling with no apparent progress, I finally decided to just get out and get going, doing a river ride of 40-something miles to Schoharie Crossing and back. Strong headwinds as I set out westbound on NY 5, so it was a good workout despite the relative flatness. Couple of good hills and rollers thrown in, along with the wind, but no granny gear needed all day. Crossed the river at Lock 12, extended a mile or two westbound to Auriesville for a strawberry milk shake, and returned via the bike path and NY 5S. 46 miles, 14.1 pace overall. About 3.5 hours on the road, which was the longest of the year, with no hint of leg cramps this time, so that's good. Saddle mostly comfortable, but eventually required frequent stand-ups so the nether regions could breathe and get some pressure relief.

Couple of HOT days coming up, but expected to be dry, so I'll be commuting by bike both today and tomorrow, with temps at or above 90 in the afternoons.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A couple more rides

Got in my seventh commute of the spring on Monday. This seems to get easier every time. I have the night-before preparation routine down pat and can easily get up and out of here in the morning. The ride itself has become very familiar, and I know what to expect and how to handle the numerous "gauntlets" I need to run in both directions. I stopped and talked to an old man who is always jogging on Washington Ave. Extension when I go by. He's 87 years old, and is still out jogging (actually, shuffling) at 6:30 every morning. We'd always waved at each other before, but I just felt the need to stop and say hello. Cool. Tuesday and Wednesday had questionable weather, so I skipped those days.

Thursday evening's SWC ride was the Florida/Bull's Head/Thayer/160 loop from Kiwanis Park, about 19 miles. The first half is a long climb, and the second is a screaming downhill. Overshot my small ring on a downshift on the way up the hill, and the chain got caught under the N-Gear Jumpstop, and I had a hell of a time getting it out, bending the thing in the process. Otherwise, aside from the threatening skies that never followed through, it was a good ride. This climb seemed much easier than the last time I did it, earlier this spring or last fall. Hit 40 mph coming back down, and held back on other parts of that hill. Have hit 45 before, but not comfortable with it last night. Jumpstop is now fixed, and I hope to get out for some more miles this weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another lull

Had a good commute yesterday. I just felt relaxed and enjoyed the ride. That was a little bit less true on the way home, with much heavier traffic, but I was in no rush and just went with the flow. It was more a state of mind than a difference in the riding, but it felt good.

No SWC ride scheduled this evening, and no more riding until at least Sunday evening, if not Monday. Out of town for the weekend, so will pick up again when I return.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rynex Ramble

Well, now that was a ride! I didn't have good feelings about the weather holding all day, so instead of a long ride, I decided it was time for a hill. I rode out along the river for about 7 miles, then turned left, and climbed Rynex Corners Road, 900 feet in the next 3 miles:

This was the longest climb so far this year, and it wasn't a problem at all. I stopped once after about a mile or so, not having quite gotten my legs or breath yet, but after that, it was a steady non-stop climb to the top, mostly with 1-2 gears to spare. And the nice thing about a climb, is that then you have to come down. I came down North Kelly and Currybush to NY159, and back to the car, for a total of 23.6 miles, and 100 in the past 4 days. Very satisfying ride!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Catch-up time

For this blog, that is.

Thursday evening was the weekly SWC pizza/beer ride, this time in Guilderland/Altamont. 20 miles, at a 16.0 pace - WHEW! Nice to know I can do that, but WAAAAY too fast. I wasn't exactly keeping up to the lead group, but they were mostly always in sight. Strong ride!

Friday, I wanted something more, so rode from Rexford to Waterford down the north side of the Mohawk, crossed at Peebles Island, and came back the south side, mostly on the bike path. All was well until about 30 miles, when I noticed the first hints of legs cramping. I'd been hydrating sufficiently, but hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. It was also a relatively warm and humid day. I should have grabbed lunch, something salty, in Waterford, but just blew it off and kept going. No snacks or anything. I need to remember that anything over about 90 minutes to 2 hours is going to require some electrolyte management, and some food! Stopped at Lock 7, stretched and walked around before the two last big hills, and never did cramp, but I was close. Total distance was 37 miles.

Today, I squeezed in the Grant Hill Road loop again, for 20.6 miles. It was another warm day, but no cramping, and no problems on the hills. I should also note that this time I had laced my Gatorade with salt just to be sure. It changes the taste some, but it's still cold and wet, and the salt replacement is pretty automatic that way.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping for another long-ish ride, in the 40 mile range, with some hills, maybe in the Mariaville/Esperance/Duanesburg areas. I need to start bumping up the daily mileages and managing the nutrition and salts, so I can get this right now and not run into problems on a real tour.

Total mileage for the year is now at 498, right on pace for a 1500-mile season.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Grant Hill Road

Had a hard time getting inspired this morning, since outdoors looked and felt like a steambath. Originally, I thought I might do a 30-35 mile river loop, to Amsterdam and back, and just take it easy. But there was this "Rexford Ramble" organized historical tour at 1:00, and I wanted to be back for that, if the forecast deluge hadn't arrived yet. So, I settled for a 21-mile loop from home, out Kings to Old State, cross Western Ave at Willow via Siver, up Grant Hill, and home via French's Hollow and Fuller Station Road. Grant Hill Road itself is only about a 0.4-mile climb, but then there were additional ups and downs the rest of the way. Anyway, the climb seemed MUCH easier this time than the last time I did it, back in late April. Made it home before the rain, but it appeared to be imminent, so I called it a day and skipped the Ramble. No commuting this week, with really sucky weather predicted for MTW. SWC ride on Thursday evening.