Tonight’s regularly scheduled Wednesday ride was my last warmup ride before the MS150 this weekend. With this ride, that’s 70mi this week (31 on Sunday, 10 yesterday and 20 today), and a pretty good warmup for this weekend’s activities… I hope!
I practiced drafting a bit off Sue tonight — her pace and mine can be pretty close. I was really surprised how much of a difference that made in my ride. Being a foot or less off her back wheel seemed to make my ride noticeably easier. For the first few miles tonight I tried this, and will definitely remember it come the weekend!
I also worked on some pedalling. I’d been trying to push myself into 3-6 and 3-7 gears during my rides, but I’m finding I last a little longer pedalling at 3-5. It’s a faster pedal for the same (or greater) speed, but the bigger benefit is that it just feels better.
The only bad news…. I noticed some kind of tire abnormality on my rear tire. This is the same tire that burst on the trail a month or so ago. On the Katy, I don’t notice it, but when riding on the blacktop at the Family Arena, it was very noticeable. It almost appears that the tube/tire have shifted on the rim, but I’m not quite sure how that could happen. I’ll ride it up to West County Cycles tomorrow after work and let them diagnose it, assuming they have time. I’m sure there are tons of folks getting their bikes tuned up right now, so we’ll see if they can get to it. If not, I’ll just let the air out, try to shift the tire and tube manually and refill it. If I’ve still got a problem, I can change out the tube, and I could buy a spare tire while I’m at West County and change that out myself too. The bike mechanics can do that in about 15 minutes, where it takes me 45-60 minutes along with a noticeable shift in my language skills. My innocent eardrums would probably prefer them doing the work. 🙂
I’d also like to talk to them about some kind of pedal straps. Don has been telling me how much benefit he gets from being able to pull up against the strap on his upstroke, and I’d like to try that. I have no interest in shoes with clips — I like riding in my sandals — so the straps seem to be a good answer. Dunno if that means new pedals or if straps can be added, but if they can do the tire work, maybe they can do this too.
And, I’ve been looking at a new cycle computer. I’d like one that does the normal speed functions (including average speed — my current one doesn’t do that), along with cadence and perhaps even heart rate monitoring. The cadence functionality would measure the pedalstrokes in RPM, and as I mentioned above, I’m discovering that’s probably more important than measuring the speed. Getting into a good rhythm and staying there is really critical, and I’ve seen that lately with the riding I’ve been doing. Keep the bike in 3-5 gear instead of 3-6, pedal faster but not as hard, and go faster with less fatigue — it makes sense. So, I’d like to figure out what RPM I’m comfortable with, and try to shoot for that with this new piece of gear. This functionality can be cheapish in a wired configuration — maybe $30 for a Cateye that’s not wireless. That’s probably the Astrale 8. There’s a wireless model too, the CC-CD300DW, but I’m finding that the wireless models are easily a C-note. Vetta also makes some good ones from what I read. The wireless model is the VL110HR T2X, and looks like it’d do everything I want, including heart rate monitoring. The HR monitoring is merely a toy for me right now, but as I get more serious, that becomes a bigger deal…. at least that’s what I read. Without the HR functionality, the VL110 T2X is the better choice, still wireless, with the cadence features I’m looking for. We’ll see what I end up with, and if I even pick up one before the ride.
I’ve also got to put the other bags back on the bike — the underseat and handlebar bags. The underseat can be used to store one of my replacement tubes, along with other emergency gear, rather than stowing those in my bike trunk. I’d like to reserve the trunk for my camera, and maybe another lens. The handlebar bag can be used for nibblies for the ride — fruit cups and whatever else sounds good. I’ve been finding that I’m much more fresh with a fruit cup about every 7-8 miles. I’m sure that much fruit over a 75mi course will be interesting, so I’ll need to watch that this weekend. I’ve not played with any of the energy bars or gels, and I’m a little unsure of them until I’ve had a chance to use them in a little more controlled environment than the MS150. There’s tons of folks that swear by them though.
So that’s it. Next cycling stop is Columbia Friday night, and off to the course on Saturday and Sunday!