Friday, September 05, 2008

Training - Trips and Mis-steps

Ok, so I haven't posted anything in a while. Writer's block isn't really the right term. Maybe it's more that life got in the way.

In case you didn't notice, I tend to write a lot in my posts. Many of my posts take a bit of time, an hour, maybe more, and a significant number of them get framed and then lay dormant, waiting for the right time, the right spark, before the bulk of it actually means anything to anyone except me.

In the past week I've started, and then stopped, posts almost every day. Posts not up to my liking, not worthy of sharing. One thing I didn't want to do was to become a "I woke up. Showered. Had breakfast. Went to work. Then wrote this post." kind of blog, and that's really all I had to offer.

Okay, not quite. But you get the idea.

I've been focusing a lot of energy on my pet project. Those of you familiar with it know what it is, and for everyone else, I just hope that I can tell everyone else too.

I've also taken some time to catch up on friends we've neglected in our whirlwind "buy a house and move".

But I've also been preparing for two things. One is an upcoming race, one that seems slightly out of reach but to prepare for it I have to act like it'll happen. So I've been fixing up some of my race gear, trying to get some speed work in, and trying to get some time on the bike.

Since I rode tonight for the first time since Monday (and before that Wednesday), it's not working out too well.


The other is making a trip up to the New England Velodrome. I have a track frame, a rear wheel, and a few other parts, but I don't have a track bike. The latter would include things like a front wheel, pedals, and, well, that's it. I have some 3ttt track bars I want to put on and I have a nice spare saddle.

I want to convert a beautiful front wheel I have into a track wheel. Campy NR hub, nice rim, etc. Problem is that a 10x26 solid axle seems to be non-existant, and the nuts to thread on to it? Forget it.

Oh, I do have a really nice seatpost. Thomson, aluminum, beautiful, just got it in, zero setback for my preferred forward position. Really a beautiful post, silver to match my retro track bike.

I should probably mention that it's also 0.2 mm too wide.

Ay caramba!

Yeah, when you ask your local shop to order you a post, make freakin' sure you know what size it is. Not "when I last rode the thing in 1992 or so I'm pretty sure it was a 26.8 mm so that's what I'll order" sure. Because that kind of sure gets you a 26.8 mm post for your 26.6 mm seat tube.

A mis-step for sure.

I think I'll get by with the set back post I have now - it's an old Super Record post, complete with my one trick light part on the bike - an aluminum seat clamp bolt. I'll just slam the seat forward and try and act like that's what I meant to have on my bike.

Kind of funny, really. The track bike, with no gears, light tubulars, etc., weighs about 2 pounds MORE than my Cannondale. I'll do a post on the bike when it's finally together, but as I pointed out, no front wheel, so it's not a bike yet.

The combination of moving and the new job has been a significant factor in interfering with my writing and training. Instead of allocating a couple-few-several hours a day to hammering the keyboard, I've been reduced to maybe 30-60 minutes a day.

Hardly enough for Mister Motor-Fingers here.

I spent a lot of time and energy moving boxes around, building shelves, moving boxes onto the shelves, looking wistfully at all the things I want to do, moving more boxes around...

And that's just the bike stuff.

Tonight I finally got on the bike again. I'm testing a new wheel - it'll be a post topic in the near future - and because I haven't ridden in so long, I decided to do rollers.

I admit that not being able to find the front wheel block was a major factor in this decision.

Nevertheless, with rollers on my mind, I whipped out my trusty 800 or so Mhz laptop, brought up WinAmp, plugged in my earphones, and started cranking away.


100 rpms felt rough. Really rough. I struggled not to bounce, keeping the front wheel on the roller was a challenge.

Do I really know how to ride rollers?

I tried to convince myself that it's always this way. Rough at 100. Then spin up to 120, 125 rpms. Then coast down to 100. After a couple spin ups, 100 is smooth, easy.

It took a lot of convincing.

Ultimately, after a spin up to 140 or so, 100 seemed like I was crawling. 105 felt okay, 110 started getting a bit rough.

I spun away, jabbing the front wheel at the same spot on the roller over and over, forcing my bike to hold a line on the roller. The rear wheel flailed away as my pedaling force moved it side to side. I worked the pedals, spinning smooth but with effort.

I looked down.

120 rpms. 53x11, so the tires were humming along.

I started ramping up the speed again. Slowly, steadily, the rpms climbed. At 154 rpms I eased again.

Started pedaling. Looked forward at boxes, boxes I'd just moved onto the shelves I'd just built. Then, when my cadence steadied, I looked down again.

110 rpms.

See, it's true. 100 seems rough, do a few spin ups, and suddenly 100 is slooooooow.

I did a few more low wattage (I never went over 400 watts and most of the time I was at 150-200 watts) high rpm efforts, a minute here, a minute there, and my recovery rpms kept climbing steadily.

After an hour of pedaling I felt good at 120-125 rpms. 140 felt kind of fast, sort of like how 100 felt when I started.

So maybe I don't have the right post, maybe I need to do a few more things on my race bike, maybe I need to move a few more boxes.

But I'm half way into my two day program to get my spin back. That's got to count for something, right?

Well, that's what I'm telling myself, for what it's worth.

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