Monday, May 26, 2008

The Weekly Long Ride

This week's long ride goal was 215 miles. I ended up riding 213 miles total, which is close enough, in my opinion! The original plan was to get things ready after work on Friday then try to get a few hours sleep before heading out around 2:30am. I was pretty anxious to hit the road so after lying in bed for about an hour I convinced myself it didn't matter if I left at 9:30pm or 2:30am. I would just arrive at my parents house earlier which would make them super happy.

So out of bed I get, don the cycling clothes, and head out the door and in to the noisy Friday night of Manhattan. I quickly left Manhattan and entered the Bronx. New territory almost immediately. I knew I had a quick turn to make on to Riverdale Ave for my ticket out of the city, but I didn't really know exactly where it was. I just took the first random street and luckily it turned in to Riverdale Ave. Northward!

This was the first night I would really get to test my Dinotte 200L with the 4 cell battery. Specs say 200 lumens and 8 hours with the 4 cell battery on high. I put it on the helmet this time due to the Shimano cables sticking out and blocking the light when mounted on the bar. I could hardly feel the weight atop my head. I've used a few different lights over the years and I have to say the Dinotte comes with the best accessories and smartest mounting features I've seen. They are very simple and just work. No slippage, very light, and durable. Light years ahead of the Niterider MiNewt in all regards which the Dinotte replaced, and while not as bright as the Light and Motion HID, significantly lighter and sufficient output with slightly better mounting and much longer battery life. And most importantly, I think the Dinotte is bright enough for most night riding conditions on the road. It fills an entire street lane and throws out the beam quite far. The battery lasted as long as I needed it to, which was around 6 hours.

The first few hours of the ride were uneventful. I pedaled my way out of the metro area, and entered much more pleasant forested, country roads. I saw racoons all over the place, a few deer, and some other furry monsters, possibly beavers or woodchucks. I love the random noises emanating through the woods at night when the winds are calm and that wet, humid sticky spring air blankets everything. The sky was lit up by a nearly full moon. Night riding. Go do it if you haven't yet. It rivals the sun-filled days.

4.30am. Thump! PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Doh. I hit a pretty large hole in the road and pinch flatted the rear tube. A car passed me shortly after and slowed down to a crawl eyeing me suspiciously. I had stopped right outside a driveway in a rather wealthy area and I guess I was suspect. The man rolled by and turned in to the next driveway just past where I was working on the tire. A few minutes later he walks out in the street and looks a bit drunk and asks in a very heavy accent whether I can patch my tire or not. I said yes and he stumbles back in to the darkness. Okay, then. Next. In goes the Forte Lunar Light (52 grams) tube. I pump it up with a quickness with my C02, bracing for the inevitable BANG, but, again, to my surprise, nothing so terrible. I guess these ultra light tubes are A OK. Off I go.

Shortly after the flat tire event, the sky started to brighten. That means the temperature starts to drop. Let the shivering begin. I froze for the next hour or two. The bike was wobbling all over the place on the faster descents. I'm not a big fan of dawn in the Spring:) C'mon 8am!

I was still able to enjoy the scenery. I was fortunate enough to be crossing a dam on a pedestrian only bridge just before the sun crept over the hills. Beautiful! I took a pic with my very below standard 1.3mp camera on the Blackberry Pearl.

The rest of the ride was rather uneventful. It got warmer. That made me happy.

I finished around 10am at my parents, and staggered in, to their surprise, and was craving some milk so the b-line was made straight to the Frig.

A summary of the ride would be extremely hilly. I'd love to share it with you but it would take forever to input the roads in to map my ride. It's definitely one of the hilliest rides I've done to date. It included 60 miles of major climbing about 50 miles in to the ride that was nearly continuous. I knew about this piece as it's the main route I take to get to my parents. I don't have an altimeter but gauging from past races I estimate a total elevation gain of 20 to 25,000 feet overall over the 213 miles. Brutal!

The lack of sleep coupled with riding all night made my stomach not so happy. Nothing terrible, I just had no appetite - maybe it was the intake of too much fiber from the bars (i ate two that I normally don't eat when riding and they have lots of fiber and quite a bit of fat from nuts.) I ate a big bowl of granola - definitely not ideal but all I could think to eat - then went and passed out for a few hours. I woke up around noon feeling pretty groggy, but forced myself up to go eat some more food. I still didn't feel so hungry. I lounged around all day feeling tired and basically did nothing. I did start drinking very strong beers in the late afternoon though:) Dinner came, and I ate a bunch of food, finally getting a slight appetite, but still not what I usually have after such a long ride. O well, I give up. To bed I go!

The next day I woke up and after 4 trips to the bathroom I finally had a raging appetite - more than most of you wanted to know I'm sure. So, perhaps the fiber suspicion was correct! Two hours later I was hungry again. and so on for the rest of the day...

I went for a 24 mile recovery ride, if that is possible in the CT hills, on Sunday. The weather was just too nice to not go out on the bike. Not a cloud to be seen and temperatures in the high 70s. Calm. I felt great and enjoyed the views and for the most part did not ride very hard. The legs felt solid still with no soreness.

Then I heard a metallic clinking sound in the right pedal/cleat area. I discovered a lot of play on my pedal but could not tell exactly where it was. Great, just as I thought everything was perfect on the bike. Love the new Pro 3 race tires, by the way! A touch nicer than the GP4000 I had before. I inspected the pedal when I got home and it wobbled quite a bit on the crank arm. I thought at first it was not tightened all the way. So I grabbed the wrench and, nope, it's tight. Look closer and see that the actual interface the pedal screws in to is wobbling wildly within the carbon crank arm. FSA K-Force is the crankset I have. High end, really expensive, neat looking, all around uber fancy cranks. They are only a few months old. I ran to the internet and a quick search turns up this happening to A LOT of people. And, worse, the crank is trashed. So, tomorrow I have to deal with that. I decide even if they replace the crankset I do not want these anymore due to this poor manufacturing, or design (whichever) so I ordered a Dura-Ace Crankset from Pro Bike Kit in the UK. A whopping two hundred dollars less than most US online sites. Crazy. The FSA cranks are very disappointing.

So that's all for todays ramblings...

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