Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Rides

Lots of bike-related goings on this weekend, both on and off the bike. Regarding pro bike racing, the Tour of Ireland, Deutchland Tour, Vuelta a Espana, and U.S. Pro Championships all taking place this weekend. Lots of coverage on TV and online.

On the bike, starting with Saturday, steady rain in the morning washed out the usual Saturday morning Brands group ride. Had a nice big breakfast with the family and relaxed with a cup of coffee. Around 9:30am or so the rain stopped and things started to dry up a bit. I took the opportunity to take the Trek out for a 40-miler on the Brands route to dial in the cleat position on my new MTB shoes. I will be using this setup this winter when the roads are wet or full of road grime and salt. Hopefully this will cut down on wear and tear on the Specialized. Also, this will most likely become my normal pre-work ride when it gets too dark for the little AAA powered light and I need to break out the halogen. I stopped to adjust the cleats after 2 or 3 miles, then rode the rest of the way with no issues. Maybe just need one more sesssion to get it 100 percent.

This morning I hooked up with Ariel agin to head out to Stony Brook for a 70 mile A ride, similar to last Sunday. We started with 5 riders and ended up with 4. A steady A-pace with a 20.1 average over the 70 miles. Really a very comfortable pace, everyone sharing in the work and a few light hearted attacks on the hills. Ariel continued to amaze on the climbs but we all rolled in together and spent a few minutes chatting afterward. Ariel took a group photo so I might see if I can get a copy of it to post.

Got a couple of e-mails from Mike W. but I had already committted to the Stony Brook ride today and tomorrow we have some family plans that require me to be home by 9:00am, so I'll probably end up doing a short solo ride.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stony Brook - Harbor Hills Ride

Went with Ariel to ride out east. A great ride with a strong group. Hills, fast pacelines, great weather. Here is Kris' GPS track of the 75 mile ride:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Brands Ride - PLUS!

Once again, a fast, early morning loop to Jones Beach, then on to Brands for the 7:00am start of the weekly group ride. No Mike or Bob this week but most of the other familiar faces were there. The group stayed all together for the first 20 miles, all the way down the LIE South Service Rd. until Commack Rd. Five of us went north to Vanderbilt for a little different return route while the rest of the group continued back on the normal route.

We attacked the hills, regrouping as needed, hitting Wolf Hill Rd., through West Hills, and Avery. We had a fast paceline to head south again and finished together back at the Brands lot. With my extra morning miles, I finished up with 66.5 miles on the day.

Got an e-mail asking about the workstand I got, so here is a picture with the bike attached (check out my new saddle, too!):

The model is a Spin Doctor Race Workstand. Not the Park Tools model but the price was good and it feels sturdy enough. Time will tell.

Hoping to get another solid ride in tomorrow morning, possibly hooking up with Ariel from the Brands ride.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Solo Century - Highlander Prep

No organized century rides on the schedule this month, so I set out on a solo ride to prepare for next month's Highlander Cycle tour. Probably did only half as much climbing as the Highlander but I've found its just as important to prepare mentally to be riding for 6 hours as it is for the legs to be ready.

I did the "usual" Brands route with West Hills loop, then...did it again! Got the hundred miles with, probably 3,500 to 4,000 feet of elevation. Riding time: 5h 40m.

Home a little after noon and broke out the new work stand to clean up the bike. It worked great!

Its a euro-style stand where one wheel is removed and the fork is locked into a quick release and the bottom bracket is supported by a padded cradle. No camera handy today but I'll try to get a photo of it in action one of these days.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

North Shore Hill Ride

Did a loop to Jones Beach then stopped off at the LBS for the Saturday group ride. A couple of miles in, Bill came up to me and suggested that a few of us could split off and do a hill ride on the North Shore. It sounded good to me since I need to ride some hills in preparation for next month's Highlander. We checked in with the ride leader, Jamie, and a couple of other riders and so it was set.

At the LIE, we continued North wile the rest of the group continued the usual route East. Lots of turns on this route but mostly we headed up toward Lloyd Harbor and did pieces of the Triangle Ride and the Gold Coast Century. I'm sure I can't remember all the turns but we hit the familiar hills in that area: Stillwell, Snake Hill Rd., Turkey Hill, Avery. We were a strong group of five and stayed together. We had one flat in the group around mile 40 but then continued our strong paceline back to Brands.

Just past Bethpage Park, Bill and I got caught at a traffic light and the three other guys faded into the distance as we were left behind. We hammered and tried to catch them but got stuck at yet another light, so that was it. Back at Brands, the timing was perfect as we arrived just at the same time as the other group that did the usual route. It seems they had a slight mishap with another cyclist but no injuries. Great ride and good to change things up a little.

On the technical front, the fizik Arione saddle still feels great! Also, I ordered a repair stand which I should get today. This should make maintenance a bit easier.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Rides With the Brands Group

Saturday morning a did a quick loop to Jones Beach and a couple of laps of the Tour de Parc circuit in Cedar Creek before heading over to Brands for the Saturday morning group ride. We had a dozen or so riders show up. Jamie distributed cue sheets this time with a new return route. After heading east on the LIE service road, as ususal, we would return via Vanderbilt Ave. and Half Hollow Hills Rd. instead of the LIE south service Rd. A good variation with lots of hills and less traffic.

I was part of a group of four that was off the front of the main group when we got to Vanderbilt. I got dropped after the first couple of hills but the guys waited for me and we kept together until Sweet Hollow Rd. They headed North for another 5 miles through West Hills but I took the more direct route back as I had a 10:00am conference call for work. Still got 53 miles.

After cleaning the bike, I headed to Brands for a few odds and ends: chain lube, degreaser, a new water bottle [thanks Tina]. I also decided to treat myself to a new saddle. After 24,000 miles the old one was looking a bit worse for wear and I had also been wanting to get a true racing saddle. After checking out the selection and talking with Jamie, I settled on a fizik Arione. Not the super lightweight version but definitely more performance oriented than the Specialized B/G that originally came with my bike.

Got an e-mail last night from Mike that a few of they guys were going to meet this morning for another hill ride. I joined Mike, Bob, and James and we headed out on a similar route to yesterday except that we returned on Wolf Hill Rd. instead of Vanderbilt. We also did the West Hills loop twice. A more reasonable pace than yesterday but still some challenging hills. We kept our little group tegether for the whole ride and I ended up with another 50 miles. It turned into a good recovery ride.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Early Birds Sunday Ride

Back on Long Island after a weeks vacation with the family in Maine, around Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island. I did get a second ride around Acadia's Park Loop Rd. on Friday. It was a wet ride through the morning mist and overnight rain, but I did seem to have the whole park virtually to myself.

Ten hours in the car yesterday to get back home, so I decided to REALLY stretch my legs with a fast EB ride. Out to Manorville for the 7:30am ride start. There was a huge group today, at least 35 riders, I would say. We headed out on the south route and had a very fast pace with a bit of tailwind. At Dune Rd., things started off tentative but soon we were pulling 25+ mph into the headwind. After my pull, someone unleashed a strong acceleration and I had no time to recover. I lost the wheel ahead and two or three of us were off the back. We struggled on ahead and I eventually bridged up to 3 or 4 other small groups. Three of us powered up over the bridge and met up with the lead group at the regrouping stop probably only about 1 minute behind.

We waited up for everyone else then set off again. Just before the deli stop the group split. About ten of us kept going, skipping the deli. A fast-paced 50-mile ride! Except for last Friday's race, I don't think I've dug this deep for months!

Vacation is over, so back to the work grind and the usual ride schedule tomorow!