Monday, September 17, 2007

River ride

I was feeling the need to get out and do SOMETHING yesterday, and it was a nice day for a ride. Didn't much feel like tackling any climbs, so decided on a ride up and down the river, either 15 or 32 miles, depending how things felt when I got out there. Motivation seems hard to come by these days, having accomplished my big goals for the year, and with only some scattered weekend time available for riding. The only goal left is to hit 1500 miles for the season, and I'm well within reach of that one as well.

Left SCCC and headed up the bike path, and when I got to NY103 and the 15-mile turnaround point, I forced myself to continue on, despite the temptation to cut it short. There was a slight headwind on 5S, but not bad riding. When I got close to Amsterdam, I started wondering if my seat wasn't high enough. I wasn't getting as much leg extension as I'd like, and my legs actually felt a little confined in the size of the circles they were doing. Stopped and raised it a bit, and kept going. Still not enough. Stopped again and raised it some more. Better. Crossed the river on NY30, and headed back eastbound. It was hard to tell how much of it was due to the tailwind and how much to the fuller leg extension, but I was really moving along on the return trip. Overall, I covered 32 miles at a 15.8 pace, so that was pretty quick for not having been riding much.

Still not sure the seat is quite as high as it needs to be, so will try this again soon, adjusting as I go. Hard to believe I've had it in that too-low position for most of 2 seasons now. I have to wonder how much that may have had to do with some of the cramping problems, too...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hot hundred... least for some people. I did the metric myself. This is MHCC Century Weekend, and yesterday was the better weather day, so off I went. I once had thoughts of doing the 100-mile ride, but decided that I just hadn't done enough other big stuff this year to successfully take it on. And a good thing it was! Temps in the upper 80s and dew points in the mid-70s made for a pretty tough day. Met Ted from Long Island at the start, and we wound up riding the whole ride together. Compatible paces and similar interests made for good conversation and helped the miles fly by.

When we got to about 55-57 miles, there was a hill. It was no worse than any other hills we'd done all day, but the cumulative effects of the heat and the miles suddenly hit me, and I cramped up solid. There was no comfortable position other than a squat next to the bike, so I spent several minutes like that. Anything else led to continued cramping. After a few minutes, I dropped the bike, grabbed my Gatorade, and got up and started walking around. Thankfully, the cramps passed, at least temporarily. We continued on, gingerly, and I got off and walked any further significant hills before any cramping set in, riding the small ones, and finally made it back to the finish in about 5 1/4 hours. It was a 65.5-mile day, and a tough one at that. I don't know how anybody could have finished a century in that heat.

Although I was drinking what felt like enough, there were a couple of times when I could tell that I was coming up short. The obvious sign was thirst, which means it was too late. I also was not forcing salt to the extent that I probably should have. It would have been a good day to lace the Gatorade with a teaspoon or so per bottle, making SURE I got enough. But it was a much warmer day than forecast, so I hadn't done that, and was not prepared in that way. After the ride, I had some cold cuts liberally sprinkled with salt, and had no further cramping problems that day or night.

All in all, it was a good ride, and I was able to finish it even after 3 weeks off the bike, so that was satisfying. I'm still struggling to find a nutritional balance that includes enough salt and enough calories, but will probably now have to continue that battle next year. That was most likely the last long ride of this season.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


I've been home from Orlando for 2 weeks now, and off the bike, more or less, for that same amount of time. Commuting seems to be about over for the season, with morning daylight getting a little short. I could probably still do it, but motivation also seems to be lacking, so haven't biked in again at all. In fairness, the first week back wasn't very good weatherwise either, so that was also a factor. Did one short 8.4-mile ride in Burnt Hills to play mini-golf, and it felt good to be out, but weekend time is getting a little scarce with other things going on.

Next weekend is MHCC Century Weekend, with choices each day of 25, 50, 62, and 100-mile rides. I'm going to do something, but haven't yet decided which or when. I've put on a lot of miles this year, and that's in my favor, as are the numerous hills I included in those miles. But I haven't done very many long rides, meaning 50+ miles, so that could kill me if I try to do the 100. It will either be the 62 (metric century) or the 100, but a lot will depend on the weather and my energy level as the time approaches. In either case, nutrition will be crucial, and LOTS of calories will be required throughout the day, in addition to watching the salt intake as I have been. More later as I decide what to do.