Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I'm gonna pedal like it's 2009!

My good buddy Bill posted today's New Year Ride on the bike club email list, and a couple of other guys donned whatever cold weather gear they had and met us at Village Green Park. No worries about me having trouble getting out of bed to do the ride this morning. I was asleep by 10 PM last night. Dick Clark had to ring in the New Year without me. Here are Bill and I at the outset of the ride. Can you see what my 2009 resolution #1 is? Here's a hint: It's located just below the horizontal white band on my jersey.

Bill is sort of getting into the whole wool thing. He has a merino turtleneck baselayer on, and after the ride, he clued me in to a sale at Kohl's where merino long sleeve polos were being closed out at $20 each. The rest of his get up is pretty typical for hi tech wear, but he IS riding a Brooks leather saddle now too. You can't rush a good thing, but I think Bill is coming over to the old fashioned side of the Force. As you might guess, I am not wearing anything in the way of clothing that is not wool. While the others all wore jackets, I went without one today and liked it better than with one. Jackets capture too much sweat and your clothes get soaked. The triple torso layer technique I used today worked great. There are wool shorts underneath the tights and thick wool socks in the sneakers.

This next picture shows the rest of the crowd getting ready. Looking around, I realized that I was the slower going rider of this group, by 5 - 10 mph. Despite that, we all rode pretty much together to the Elmore store, and afterwards, while the two quickest sped on ahead, Joe and Bill never got too far away from me. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and it was indeed a great day to be on a bike.

Today was the 1st ride on the new wheels that came in while we were away in Florida.
This bike came with a nice enough wheelset, but nothing extraordinary. The original issue has Arraya rims (non machined walls) laced 32s to Shimano 105 hubs. A 9 speed Ultegra 12 - 27 cassette on the rear. The picture shows the new wheels. These are Velocity Aeroheats laced 28s to Phil Wood hubs. The rear is a freewheel, and I had a Dura Ace 7 speed 13 -23 on the shelf so I used it. I had heard about Phil brand parts, but never tried any. These wheels are noticeably smoother than the old set, and the braking surfaces are distinctly better. I'm not sure about the look on the traditional style frame, but my bike fashion advising team tells me that the look is fine. The Aeroheat rims are intended for cylcocross use, and they are plenty sturdy for banging around over railroad track crossings and rough pavement patches. I have Velocity Aeroheads (a light racing rim) and Synergys (a wide strong touring rim) on my other bikes.

Being seperated from the pack was a good thing. I don't mind being slower, as long as I am not delaying someone else, and I do a better job of stress relief and introspection when I solo. The seasonal blues feel like they are gone, and I am excited to begin the new year employed and with a chance at having a good year at work. I think that losing 22.5 lbs is within my reach, and staying true to an exercise plan, as well as remembering to take the medications I am supposed to. I'm happy too that I have friends who share this passion for turning the cranks on a bicycle.

We've ridden this route from the Bamacyclist web site before. It features a couple of good climbs. Two are longish at 9 - 10% while another is shorter but about 12%. Plenty of canines out today, including the one eyed mutt who harassed us as we took our last pause before the homeward leg to the parking lot. None were really bad, and no other aninal activity to report. It's a rural route and scenic. the winds kicked up and the flags were straight out from the poles. Usually, I'd crest a tough hill and get a face on blast of it. Just what I need to build character and take off pounds!
We took Possum Trot Rd at the north end of the trip, which was a first for me. I usually go on up a little further to Coosada River and turn there. I liked Possum Trot better for the views. We ended up around 41 miles, and 1,600' of climb. My speed was where it always is :) We saw Scott as he flashed past us on CR 40. When are you going to ride with us again, buddy?

Happy New Year to the rest of you pedalers and non-pedalers alike.

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