Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good week so far

So far it's been a good week for biking.

After the mountain biking trip Sunday, I did my regular commute Monday, but my saddle was really starting to become painful. It's a Brooks B17, and it was beginning to sag--probably a combination of getting wet (and being ridden that way) and possibly too much proofide. On the way home from work Sunday I stopped at a craft/hobby store and bought a leather punch and a spool of leather lace--time to try lacing up the saddle as suggested by Sheldon Brown and many others. I used the pics here as a guide:

Punching the holes was easier than I thought--that leather is thick so I thought it might be a problem, but the hole punch went though without much fuss. I laced it up and it felt nice and tight, but I couldn't put it on the bike. Hmmm, there's something not shown very well in the B17 pictures--where should I run the laces to provide proper tension, but not interfere with the seatpost clamp?

I never came up with a satisfactory answer, so I just mounted the saddle and ran the laces in as direct a manner as I could think of. A few of them run right through the hollow center of the seatpost clamp, but I figure that's not a problem unless I take the saddle off, which I am not planning to do unless there's a huge, unforseen catastrophe.

I'm impressed at how well the laces match the honey saddle--one would think they were made for each other. The ride was improved immensely, restoring the comfort and support of my sit bones on the suspended saddle as opposed to on the rails where they had been resting. (ouch!) I'm happy with the results though. What do you think?

Didn't ride it to work Tuesday, though. I felt like going for speed, so I took the Giant out for another ride. For some reason my GPS didn't want to record distance for about he first mile of the ride (which means it also wasn't recording time), but I made note of when I left and my distance to work doesn't vary more than .01 miles, so I could figure up my average easily enough.

I made it to work with an average speed approaching 16mph. This is much better than I usually manage, and it meant that the elusive sub 1hr round trip could be attainable (my commute is exactly 16.25 miles round trip). I took extra care to not load myself down at lunch, avoided overindulging in the healthy snacks, and prepared myself for the trip home.

The first two miles consist of a short climb and a long downhill, but I managed to resist the urge to sprint on the downhill, knowing my energy would be better spent elsewhere. When I got on the rail trail that led home, I just kept my power output above where it usually is, trying to find the magic sweet spot between comfortable riding and burning myself out. For once, the gamble paid off, and my speed hardly ever dipped below 16.

This sort of effort is much easier on a group ride when you've got people to chase and a draft to try to stay in. It's all the better if you don't know where you are so you think you have to stay with the group or risk getting lost.

I arrived at my apartment, downloaded the data from my GPS, and added on the missing time and extra mile that didn't get logged in the morning. 57 minutes and change, average speed of 16.88. Not an Olympic record by any means, but it feels good to finally reach a goal I've been shooting for. Now I suppose I have twin goals: 1) Make the trip in under 55 minutes on the Giant and 2) Make the trip in under an hour on the Long Haul Trucker. I plan to ride the Giant a lot more from now on, it feels more comfortable than it used to. It's too bad the frame isn't a size larger though, I think that would make a huge difference.

Tomorrow I'll see if I can turn in another sub-60 time on the Giant, but I'm not sure that's gonna work because there's some residual tiredness that I need to expunge. Also, I should take it easy so I have energy to ride to Kroger after work--my grocery supply is dwindling at a rather depressing rate, and it may be that I need food to live.

I'm going to have to give up soda though, I have very little self control around it. In just under a week and a half, I drank four12 packs of Diet Coke. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that even though there's no sugar there's probably something unhealthy about that.

Weight after the fast ride: 254. Hey, it's progress. Slow progress, but still progress.


Phil Lepanto said...

Instead of diet soda, see if your local grocery store or convenience store stocks lightly flavored carbonated water. It's much better than flat water, has zero calories and only a few miligrams of sodium in comparison to diet soda.

My wife and I started out with 12 oz aluminum cans of the stuff because they are really nice, cold and refreshing, but now we're slugging down half-liter bottles of the stuff.

I guess if you are trying to cut down because you want to haul more nutritious groceries then you might as well stick to flat water, but this might ease the transition.

Congrats on hitting your sub 1hr goal!

Lazy Bike Commuter said...

I don't really care for that stuff, but I will drink two pitchers of Crystal Light a day. Water's also pretty good when it comes out of the Brita.

I think today migth be sub 1hr again if I give it a little effort on the way home.

Bob said...

Cyclist are know for having thinner bones than other athletes, so I would stay away from carbonated drinks.

The chemicals in the carbonation of beverages leaches the calcium from your body and interferes with it's absorption. Crystal Light is a much better alternative.

Cool saddle. I remember when I was a kid I had a 10 speed with a leather saddle.