Sunday, May 19, 2013

Coffee Cup ride

When you look at the map of this ride it sort of looks like a coffee cup.  The Pecan City Pedalers call this the coffee cup ride for this reason and because the ride starts at the Starbucks in Albany, GA.

Today was another ride in which I rode faster than my usual bike commuter pace.  While my bike commuting pace is not really slow by most cyclist it is slower than the pace of the B class cyclist on these club rides.  The pace today was suppose to be 18-20 MPH and my normal pace is 16-17 MPH.  Since I am working on building up my speed and endurance having these club rides along with my bike commuting make a good opportunity to cross train on the club rides.  I have not missed a day bike riding since May 5th and these fast pace club rides are improving my ability to recover from an intense ride and still be able to bike commute the next day.  This week I logged in 373 miles.

I am also glad to find that my weight has dropped to 184.6 pounds.  I have not weighed this amount since I was a freshman in high school.  I have not been on any diet and I am still eating the same foods that I usually eat.  I have never over eaten in my life and usually eat sensibly, but I always know that if I want to lose weight I exercise more and the pounds will drop off.  I have never cycled at the level that I am cycling before in my life.  Even when I was cycling in Portland Oregon in my late 40s I do not recall riding this fast.  I did ride 2,000 miles in the month of June one year, but I did not ride consistently at that distance for several months.

Anyway I am having fun on my bike and meeting lots of other cyclist and that is what is important.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Riding in the country is not always full of fresh air

 Last year I got dowsed by one of these sprayers as it turned at the end of a row and did not turn off the sprayer and I rode through it like a dufus.  I just assumed that the driver of the tractor would turn off the sprayer when he reached the end of the row.  He did nothing to stop spraying the whole road and I was covered in what smelled like roundup.  I rode home and took a shower and washed my riding gear.
One of the hazards of riding down country roads is getting exposed to fertilizers that farmers put on crops.  I love the pecan groves, but I pay attention to the loud noise that I hear when the farmers are spraying the groves.  These pictures were taken on my morning commute down Mud Creek Road.  there were two tractors pulling these sprayers that were targeting their chemicals at the bark and the under side of the leaves of the trees.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Urban Assault Cycling (UAC)

Lonnie's Cannondale Jekyll 700
Today I wanted to do a short ride on my mountain bike.  When I ride my Cannondale Jekyll around my neighborhood I have to be creative as there are no official off road trails near my house.  I resort to riding next to the paved roads on the gravel shoulders and up and down the drainage ditches in front of houses.

I love to go down a hill and when I see a lawn with a big drainage ditch I do a shalom from the road down into the ditch and spin up the side and then quickly turn and loop down back into the ditch and up out of the pipe onto the pavement.  If home owners see me doing this on their watch I make it a point to do it so quickly that they do not have time to react.  I make an effort
Drainage road
not leave any tread marks on lawns, but most homeowners around here do not care about the drainage ditches, they just cut the grass in it.  this sort of riding is what I call Urban Assault Cycling (UAC).

There are also a lot of drainage "lakes" in Albany, GA.  Some folks call them lakes, but the old timers say that these lakes were created when developers drained the swamp land to build houses.  There are lots of channels that feed these lakes.  The maintenance roads next to these drainage channels are nice to ride on with a mountain bike.

On today's ride I started off without any idea of where I was going to end up.  Even though I know my way around Albany in a car, when I do UAC I can get lost easily.  I like being able to get lost riding my bike in the city.  I know that eventually I will get to a street that I know and then go home.  Today I rode some nice off road behind Darton College.

Lonnie Wormley
If you get bored in a gym in a spin class and hate the instructor yelling at you to pedal faster to music that you can not stand, then spin on a mountain bike.  I love riding my road bike, but it is nice to train on a different bike.  A mountain bike lets me ride in higher (easy to pedal) gears and spin to get more torque when I am riding through mud, deep sand or soggy grass.  The exciting part is as I ride on trails I never know what conditions I am going to hit, so my adrenaline is always pumping when I ride through conditions that I think are going to make me get stuck and get my feet wet or dirty.

So the ride turned out to be longer than I planned, but it also had some surprises.  I will look forward to more rides like this on Saturday afternoon.  Riding UAC style is slower pace, but the workout is still vigorous and the brain activity that comes with riding off road makes you focus on the trail plus looking at the scenery.  Riding the free trails is almost as good as paying to ride in Chehaw Park.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The morning commute

I am smelling ligustrum blossoms for the first time this year. I am watching the cotton and corn grow.

I saw my first alligator this evening in a cow pond.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Slowly but surely

Riding into work this morning was a deliberate effort to focus on my riding posture and not speed.  I played a game on upper Lilly Pond by riding as close to the fog line as possible.  I am also training to use my left hand to drink so that it gets a break from bearing the weight of my upper torso on the handle bars.  Consistent breathing and heart rate over a long distance 100+ mile are more important to me than the fast pace on a 30-40 mile ride.

My goal for the month is 1,000 miles to equal last month's 1,000+ miles.  My focus is to do 250 miles each week as a minimum by riding 50 miles round trip on my bike commute.  This new pace ups the ante for my goal for the year of 10,000 KM or 6,214 miles to 12,875 KM or 8,000 miles. Ideally I would love to ride 10,000 miles this year.  I'll see how close I get.  Maybe 2014 will be the 10,000 miles year.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The reality of bike commuting finally settling in

This week is the first week of bike commuting in total day light.  I am in the sweet part of the year and I want to enjoy every minute of it.  This is the time of year in SW Georgia when it is cool in the mornings, but not chilly.  It is cool in the evenings and not hot, humid and full of bugs.  The days are long and I can ride both ways to work and back (50 miles round trip for 3 hours on the bike) without using my head lamp.

Today was extra special for me in that this week I had my Flight Deck bike computer fail.  This bike computer came as part of the original equipment on my bike and was integrated with the Shimano gear  shift levers.  I rode with this setup since 1999.  I removed them Monday evening along with my aero bars and for the past two days I have been riding my bike like never before.  I can not instantly see how fast I am going so I can relax and ride how I feel and enjoy the singing birds and the passing semi trucks.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Last Ride of April

I rode with the Pecan Pedalers group ride this evening from Starbucks. I rode a little too fast for my comfort level, but it was good training.  So far this year I have cycled 4,268 KM (2,653 miles).  I am feeling good about riding and I am having fun.