Archive for December 2010

2010 Mileage

December 31, 2010

4,918

 

That’s down from last year and less than I was hoping for but I can’t really complain.  Eliminate any of the following and this year would have been comparable to last.

  • 2 weeks in Alaska
  • 2 weeks off the bike due to surgery
  • Lots of marathon training

We’ll see what happens next year…..

But, for comparison purposes:

  • 2007 – 3, 923
  • 2008 – 4,855
  • 2009 – 5,342

Here’s to hitting the road more often next year!

God bless…

TW

Neuvation Wheels

December 30, 2010

That dark place on the rim is a dent...

Crack

Deep Scratches

Well, when you figure that the wheel-set on my road bike has 10,000 miles on it, I guess I can’t complain too badly that it’s starting to show it’s age.  The front wheel suffered damage in the form of deep scratches and a dent during Oklahoma Freewheel 2008, and I noticed a crack in the rear rim last August

I had been toying with trying to find different rims for the road bike for a couple of years already because I’m convinced that the low spoke count on the stock rims (20 & 24) on that bike contribute to it’s rough ride.  I’ve been told by folks who seem to know about all things cycling that more spokes contribute to a softer ride so I wasn’t too upset when I found the crack.

Neuvation Cycling had caught my attention earlier in the year as appearing to be a great value for decent wheels.  For a cheap sucker like me, the price of a decent wheel-set was a real issue.  It seemed like even a mid-level wheel-set was going to set me back several hundred dollars, so I was very interested after I Googled them and found pretty glowing reviews of their products.  Neuvation buys components in bulk from Asia and assembles them.  They don’t really offer much variety, primarily a few options in wheels and some mid-range bikes.   The thing about them that is a little unique is their business model.  They don’t use distributers or have their products in bike stores, claiming that doing those things jacks up prices.  They only sell over the net, directly to the consumer, and seem to stand behind their merchandise.

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to get the Neuvation R28XL series wheels.  I caught them on sale for 10% off prior to Christmas, and managed to get them delivered to my door for $296, which is quite a bargain!  Their aero wheels are a little cooler looking, but weighing in at only 1,520 grams, these are their lightest clincher wheels, and to my untrained eyes, appear to be pretty race worthy.  When I pulled the first one out of the box, I was actually pretty surprised at how light it felt in my hand!  I’m a pretty decent climber already, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to tell a difference on some of the bigger uphill climbs out of our river valley.   

I’m off work tomorrow, but it looks like it will be a day that is too jam-packed to get them installed and given a test ride.  It should be a fairly quick effort to mount the new tires and swap the cassette over, but I also want to do a complete stripping and cleaning of the drive train, so that adds time.  Beyond tomorrow, it looks like the weather is going to crash down around us again, so I’m not sure if I’ll get anything accomplished this weekend or not.

If not, I’ll just console myself by picking one up every time I pass through the garage and think to myself, “Gosh!  That thing is light!”

God bless…

TW

Too much responsibility

December 28, 2010

Dang it!  I hate when the responsibility of being a husband, father, and employee prevent me from riding to work! 

The bright spot in this day was arriving home to find this:

Delivery

It’s my birthday present…a few days early because they were on sale prior to Christmas.  Hmmm.  Wonder what it is?  Any guesses?

God bless…

TW

Yoga for Cyclists

December 22, 2010

I often tell people that I lead a full and productive life before I get to work in the morning.  What I mean by that is that I’ve got a consistent workout schedule where I rarely miss a workout of some sort before I get to work.  More often than not, it consists of some sort of workout before I ride to work.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, Pam and I run together.  Saturday is reserved for a longer run, with the weekday distances being anywhere between 3 and 5 miles.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Pam goes to the fitness center for classes, and I’ve been using those days to lift weights in our home exercise room.

The problem with that is I don’t really like to lift weights three times a week.  I stopped doing any form of lower body weight lifting years ago when I figured out that while I could quickly and easily build great strength in my legs, it came at the price of performance while running or riding.  That leaves me three days a week to work on upper body strength…which in my mind is too much.  You see, I don’t want to look like a muscle-bound moron (No offense intended if you happen to have well defined muscles!).  I lift for strength, metabolism, health, and injury prevention.  I feel like I can accomplish that with two upper body workouts a week.

So…that leaves me with a morning to burn.  When the weather is warm and the days are longer, that’s not a problem.  I simply go for a bike ride.  During these dark, cold days of winter, however, I try to rotate other activities into the mix on that morning.  I’ve walked, incorporated a light weight workout, tried to split up my normal weight workout,  and played on the WII Fit, but today I tried something that I hadn’t given much thought before – yoga.

Before today, I had tried yoga one time in my life, and that was in conjunction with a running class Pam and I took last spring.  I was thinking about that a couple of weeks ago and decided to try to find a yoga video for cyclists.  I found one on the internet, and was about to buy it when I spotted a yoga for cycling podcast out there that I could use for free!  Being the frugal sucker that I am, I decided to give that a try before spending money on one.

We’ve got a TV in the workout room, but I don’t have the right cable from my laptop up to it, so I just scooted my lifting bench out of the way, plugged my laptop into the speakers I normally use for my phone, and pushed play.  I really enjoyed myself and felt awesome afterward.  In fact, I still feel nice and loose and mellow, so I guess that’s a good thing!  I’ll definitely do that again, and may go ahead and buy the DVD I found.   The video itself is just about a 20 minute workout, but it seemed about right to a beginner like me.

Here’s a link if you’re interested in checking it out yourself:

http://video.yahoo.com/watch/4754676/12698713

Afterward, I hit the road into a cold north wind that reminded me the nice weather earlier in the week was just a teaser.  It was only 29 degrees at the time, but that wind made it seem considerably colder, and riding into it most of the way to work was not very fun.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I was rewarded with the view at the top of this post.

Have a very merry Christmas, and God bless….

TW

Drafting the solstice

December 21, 2010

Hey, you know what?  Winter’s here!  At least it will be this evening.  Yep, the ole’ Earth is tilted as far back on it’s axis as it can go before it falls on it’s axx (if that can happen?).

What that means for us commuting cyclist types is that we do a lot of our riding in the dark until the days start getting longer again.  It seems like it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to ride to or from work in the daylight…well, that’s not entirely true – I’ve gotten in early enough a couple of times that I’ve headed home 30 minutes earlier, but even doing that gets me home after the sun sets.

I really don’t mind riding in the dark most of the time.  In fact, the past couple of days have been downright delightful.  With the temps and humidity up and traffic volume down, yesterday and today couldn’t have been better commuting days here in the Queen City of the Ozarks.  I’m hoping the weather will hold for one more day!

I did have a minor issue on the way home last night.  Really more of an annoyance than an issue.  I have four pair of cycling tights.  One pair is cheap, thin and worthless, so they don’t get worn except when it’s barely cool enough to need a little something on your legs.  The other three get worn in regular rotation all winter long.  Last night, I was wearing the oldest pair.  They’re the first ones I bought, and I thought they were ridiculously expensive at the time (little did I really know!).  About halfway home, I started getting a draft on my left ankle.  In fact, it felt kind of like it was down in my boot top.  It was apparent that the bottom hem of my tight had worked it’s way out of the boot, so while I was stopped at a light, I loosened the boot top and pulled it down over the top of my sock again.

I hadn’t gone another mile before I felt it again.  That same draft on my ankle.  Dang it anyway!

When I got home and pulled the things off, it was pretty obvious that the elastic band on that left ankle of the tights was stretched out.  I guess they’re probably going to be  officially shoved to the back of the drawer and set aside “for emergencies only” for a while.  It’s not a huge loss, as I prefer the other two pairs because they have zippers down the calf and are a lot easier to get into and out of.

On an entirely different note, Pam and I had a thoroughly enjoyable run this morning.  Forty degrees is perfect for running!  Just cool enough to be cool, yet warm enough to not be suffering or wearing a lot of extra clothes for warmth.  We ran just under 4.5 miles and we were both kind of disappointed to be back at the house so soon!

God bless…

TW

 

 


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