Thursday, February 16, 2012

Life - A Bit Busy

Yeah, it's been a bit busy.

Typically, before I do a long trainer session, the Missus asks me to tuck her in. For us that means I keep her and the cats company until she drifts off. At some point I sneak out of bed or she reminds me drowsily that I need to train that night. Either way the result is the same - I head downstairs and do said trainer session, lasting, at times, a few hours or more.

Anyway, on more nights nowadays than before, I'll get into bed to keep the Missus company and I'll end up falling asleep. My eyes feel heavy, my whole body just drowned in exhaustion.

The other night it was Bourne Supremacy (I think), the book version, not the movie. I started reading the very short first paragraph, maybe four lines or so. Just after 8 PM, maybe 8:10.

I got halfway through the first sentence a few times before I accepted the inevitable. I turned to my side.

"I don't think I'm going to make it on the bike tonight."

The Missus opened an eye and looked. I could tell that she concurred.

Then suddenly I was moving boxes, another thing I seem to be doing a lot lately. This box was really wide, and I worried about squeezing through a narrow hallway without having to turn sideways. The box fit perfectly though, narrowing a bit as I walked into said hallway.


Then I went through the doorway and saw the Missus sitting at a desk.


I looked at her.


She looked at me. I could see her mouth moving but I couldn't make out the words.

"Honey? You need to get up for work."

I opened my eyes.

I was in bed.

It was after 7:30 in the morning. Jason Bourne sat on the nightstand, forgotten, unread.

I mentally chalked up the day before as a rest day.

Wednesday is my day off. With temperatures expected in the mid 40s, I hoped to get out on the bike, wearing 3/4 shorts (as the Brits call knickers since, to them, knickers are "panties"). First I had to visit the vet (with Estelle, our last addition), then head south to IKEA to pick up some furniture for the 3rd bedroom. After that I could go do a ride.

I got out on the bike, finally, at about 3 PM, at the peak temperatures for the day, the upper 40s. I'd scrambled around a bit trying to decide what to wear. Two or three long sleeve tops plus a vest? One long sleeve base plus a jacket? One short sleeve and two long sleeve plus a vest?

I settled on a long sleeve base plus the jacket. Plus the 3/4 shorts, some booties ("Endura" ones I wore in Maine), a Jamoca around my neck, and a PI skull hat thing.

After some debate I decided to use the SRM heart rate (for recording purposes), leaving just speed and cadence to the Sportsiiiis. With the SRM going full bore, all batteries good and the wiring harness 100%, I wanted to record what I could.

The helmet with the helmet cam went on next, and finally the PI gloves I got at the Expo Wheelmen shop, Manchester Cycle.

I'd recently bumped the saddle up a few mm, totally a good 5 mm or so compared to, say, the last race I did in 2011. It felt a lot better on the trainer (as it usually does) but I'd be curious as far as my body's response to the change. I'd be especially aware of cramps, strains, worrying stuff like that.

I could tell my saddle was higher as soon as I got going. My legs felt like they dropped just a touch more, but nowhere near a "stretch" kind of feeling. I still had plenty of room to drop my heel - I wasn't going crazy with the height - but I still had a bit more of a "over the bars" feeling.

The FSA bars felt a bit foreign to me, still, the reach okay but the slightly wider bars (1 cm wider at 42 cm c-c instead of 41 cm c-c) and much higher drops (about 2 cm higher) really makes a difference. The bars felt enormous when I climbed out of our complex, and the drops felt really high when I descended out of our little village.

I headed out on my standard hour long Quarry Road loop. Almost immediately I saw a guy going the other way. He looked like someone more serious than not as he had a mish-mash of kit stuff on. Racers tend to put on whatever they have, whether they match or not, and this guy, although I didn't get a good look at him, he looked fluent.

He didn't acknowledge my wave so I figured he was in la-la land or he had just finished some interval or something.

A minute later I heard shifting behind me. I turned and voila, the mish-mash kit guy was behind me. Now that he was closer I recognized him right away - Jeff, the owner of Central Wheel.

After exchanging greetings we rode in silence for about a minute. Then he piped up.

"I'm just catching my breath after chasing you."

I grinned. And we started talking.

He's the one that first showed me the FSA bars. I actually bought them from his shop on the sly, without him knowing I walked in the shop, thereby skipping the awkward process of arguing that I shouldn't get a courtesy discount. Meaning I think I shouldn't but that shops seem to want to extend me one.

Anyway we talked about general stuff, with some bike racing bits thrown in there. He admitted to me that he'd scrambled to find enough kit for the ride, hence his jumbled up kit. He even had cross or mountain bike shoes and pedals on his Look road bike.

Interestingly enough I rode the section of road with him faster than I ever have while Strava knew about it - I set a PR for that section while talking with Jeff, flying along at a spectacular 15.9 mph.

He headed back to his shop while I headed back home. I slowed considerably on the way back, not really comfortable on the bike. The bars were way too high for sure - I decided at some point on the way back that I'd have to swap bars and sacrifice the brand new tape. I made a small note to see if the crit bend bars would feel a lot less rigid, but I seemed to focus on the fact that I'd be stripping off barely used white tape. I need to get over that and remember that fit is more important.

I tried to do my sprint loop but a massive head/crosswind put a damper on that idea. I blew up almost immediately, rolling through my Strava sprint segment at a whopping 20 mph.

I rolled back up the hill to the complex, not even willing to stand up to speed up.

I flew down into the complex, around the tricky turn onto my road. I had a familiar though as I carved the turn there - at some point I want to make a clip showing good and bad lines through that turn. It's a great turn for practicing good cornering lines since it punishes you severely for turning in too early.

With that I rolled into and up my driveway, hopping off the bike, and walking up the walkway to the front door.

I still had daylight out but I needed to end my ride early. I felt my body getting cold out there and my pedals weren't turning easily. I knew I was tired but I didn't realize just how tired I was until later in the evening, when, at about 9 PM, I called it a night.


MajorMantra said...

Why chuck the tape? Surely you can reuse it?

Aki said...

Once you wrap and use white tape, it gets a bit grey. It's hard to tell until you re-wrap it. Then the grey becomes incredibly obvious and you end up with white stripes. You'd think that after a week or three the stripes would go away but they don't.

Ideally I'd reuse it but with a different bar, different bend, it'll come out all different.

What I will do is save it with the bars. When my orange Tsunami comes back I'll consider putting the bar/stem/tape on that frame.

Or, if it ends up not working at all, I'll save the tape and put it on in the late summer, when sprinting becomes a non-issue. At that point I basically cruise around on the bike so the FSAs would work fine.