Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Sign Sez It All

There I was, riding along minding my own business, when it struck. Legs felt like concrete, my tongue felt fuzzy, no power too the pedals, and I didn't really know where I was. I was on the Last Train To Bonksville. But there was no one to meet me at the station. Now, I just said I was minding my own business, but I clearly wasn't. Being diabetic, the bonk, or hunger knock, is to be avoided at all costs. But, I wasn't paying attention.
To make a short story long, let's start at the beginning. Thursday morning, I planned a 40 mile ride down highway 61 from Barnum on South. My new pedals were begging for some real miles to real prove they were worth the money. And, speaking of money, the guys at the Ski Hut called and said the new nose pieces came in for my Tifosi sun glasses. The are 4 years old and the stem rubber had fallen apart, which Tifosi replaced free of charge. Then, one of the nose pads had fallen of. Again, a gratis repair. Top notch service from both parties. While I was there, I inquired about bib shorts. It just so happens that their Specialized line is on sale for 20% off. This brought the Pro bibs down about 30 bucks. That was my price point, so I got them. Now, I have been crushing the Pearl Izumi Attack shorts for the last few years and had good luck with them. The Specialized Pro line has a quite different chamois than the Attack line has, thicker and more defined is all I can say. These too, wanted a test ride to see if they were worth the scratch I doled out. Aside note: I think that the Specialized "S" logo is one of the coolest brand connotations in the world. But that's just me.
Back to the ride. 78f and sunny, wind from the west. Not a bad day to ride at all. Traffic was light, which was nice, because the side wind was trying to push me into the road and kind of backwards. I was glad I started into this wind, as on the turn around, I would be able to fly back.
As Lee Corso would say, "not so fast my wind hating friend" At mile 25, the wind changed, coming out of the north west. It would be a 15 mile grind back to the start of the ride. That's when it hit me, I was weakening and hadn't eaten anything yet. Duh! I pulled over and had a Honey Stinger gel, along with some Hammer Heed. I looked over at the Bonk sign and thought how ironic it was to be sitting there trying to recover. I've ridden by that sign many time and had never even thought about it. Strange.
After about 10 minutes, I got back on the bike and road back, having another gel on the way. My mind registered and filed this ride under lesson learned. You see, these days hunger and thirst doesn't register at the time they happen. I can go most of a day without food and not be hungry. The endocrinologist I see says it may be due to neuropathic nerve damage interrupting the normal flow of information to the brain. That does make sense, since many diabetics have mild heart attacks and don't even know it. So from now on, I'll set my watch alarm to 45 minutes during rides to remind me to eat and drink.
As far as the shorts and pedals, high marks for both. The fit and padding are perfect on the Pros, and no hot spots on the bottoms of my feet after 40 miles with the new pedals. But, I do lay awake at night with the vision of that Bonk sign in my head!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Sorry about the lack of posts lately. I've been doing a big project that has taken all my available time. Well, almost all of it. I had planned on being done yesterday, but the fickle finger of fate had other ideas. Old plaster house hold many surprises when you open them up. Enough said.

I did get an hour of saddle time in a couple of days ago. The new Shimano SPD-SL pedals I installed on the road bike begged to be tested. I've been riding road SPD pedals up to now, but were a pain to clip into, being such a small cleat to catch a one sided clip surface. Plus, they never felt secure. Don't get me wrong, SPD is a great system on a mountain bike or touring bike with two sided clip-in, what with being easy get in and out, and walk-ability with the recessed cleat. But SPD-SL with the wide platform feel much better in that it spreads the pressure surface out and the same wideness makes it easier to catch the cleat on the clip in. I like the feel on the foot a lot, especially with my big feet. That positive click in sound is cool, too. I was looking at the Speedplay line-up, but if you walk in sand or gravel, you could get that in the cleat, which is also the clip-in mechanism. So, I went with the Shimano and am very happy.

On the health front, my knee is holding up well, considering I'm up and down stairs all day, up ladders, down on the floor etc. The very things it didn't like aren't bothering it much. Could be the cycling and weight loss (20+ lbs) have made a big difference. The weight loss plus diet changes have also contributed to improved blood sugar control. I've had to back off on the insulin quite a bit with meals, or I go low. Eventually, I want to get off insulin all together. That would be a major improvement in my life style, not having to haul a pen and needles everywhere I go. It doesn't seem like a big deal until you have to do it. This disease is on your mind 24/7, and that is the worse thing. It lives in your mind rent free. Not fair, but what in life is?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What The !!

Carbon, 28 gram bottle cage at Walmart for under $30.00. Part of Bell's platinum series. Bolt one of those on your Magna. You know, you have to save weight somewhere!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Tale Of Two Rides

This last Sunday, I met up with Jeff, Doug, Dave, and Dave T. It was Dave T's ride, starting at Starvin' Marvins and heading up Hwy 2 to the Canosia Road, then north. I was a mess the first half of the ride, which was mostly uphill. Into a head wind. Need I say more? I suffered untill we hit Twig, where the ride went east, and featured a nice tail wind. Just what my dead legs needed. I felt great all the way around Pike Lake and back to the start point. 22.8 miles at a 13.2 mph average. Not tip top by any means. But, Doug was riding his gorgeous, classy, new Ellis custom frame. The paint and details are very well done. He said it was a super smooth, comfortable ride. He just seemed to be floating along on his dream machine. These guys were great to ride with and I look forward to another meet up with them.

Today, I took a solo 40 mile cruise on the Munger Trail. I started at Barnum and headed south 20 miles, turning around a little past Rutledge. Saw some deer, enjoyed the near 70 degree weather and loved the lack of wind. Since I felt strong, I mixed in some intervals which I have been neglecting lately. I averaged 14.4 mph for 40 miles. That's more like it. Tomorrow, some rest and core work. Then back to it. I have to stay on track to loose more weight. I hate being slow on hills and holding up the group.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Against The Wind

30 mile in 2 hours and 14 minutes. The last 12 miles grinding it out at 8-15 miles per hour. The first part of today's ride featured a top speed of 42 miles per hour. Yes, you guessed it : my nemesis, THE WIND!!

42 degrees, winds to 30+, not the ideal riding conditions. But, if fitness and blood sugar controls are your goals, then kit up and get going. I've had to cut back on the insulin due to dropping weight and adding fitness. Example: This morning's reading when I got up was 112. Toast and scrambled eggs with the boys at 6:30am, used 8 units of insulin. 2 hours later, pre-ride, 118. Perfect. After ride including cool down, 80. Just what it should be. And, for me at least, the harder the effort, the longer the effects last.

I really had planned an hour and a half of zone 2, fat burning spinning. Mother nature had other plans. The quote Mr. T in one of the Rocky movies when asked for a prediction on the fight "Pain". You just can't spin into that 25-35 mph wind. You just sit back and make like Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voight when they're trying to pace Cadel Evans to the front. Mash, apply the power, no dancing on the pedals. And riding alone makes it worse, what with no one to share pulls with.

On the flip side of this coin, is the fact you really appreciate the warm, calm days when riding just seems effortless, like you always have a slight tail wind. Plus, it builds strength and character, that you didn't turn around and head back home. Gutting it out just seems to make you a better person in the long run.

I haven't been riding with head phone lately, no music or pod casts, just me and my thoughts. I usual don't on the road, just on the bike trails. That's just me, self preservation when the traffic is so heavy around here. I've got a lot of things to sort out, such as my possible divorce, possible relocation for a job, a permanent home, relationships, and so on. When everything you thought was real, wasn't, when it looks like your life has been dashed on the rocks, you've got plenty to occupy your mind. You can turn all that energy and time into something positive. And the bike gives me just that.