Looking at my last post, I realized it’s been since January 4 since I gave any update as to what I’ve been up to these days. In short, work and cycling. Some staffing changes at my new job has me working 4 days/week (12+ hr shifts each) and man is it a bitch. Still, I get on the bike every chance I get. So, let’s talk about those times.
My bike shop set me up on a trainer for over 2 hrs to get my bike fit in the best possible way. It was interesting and a little difficult since I was at the tail-end of a cold at the time. Moved my saddle up and back, cleats out and back, shorter stem with a 7º slope and now a 0.5 inch drop from saddle to handlebars. All in all, my body’s still getting used to it in little ways (mostly muscle soreness), but the overall feel is much better!
I believe there’s some people that really shouldn’t drive. Most of them live here, in America’s most friendly retirement community – The Villages. Sarcasm aside, some of these people pose a real threat to public safety. People here are active for their age (mostly 55+, but I’d say the average age is at least 65). There are people running, walking, cycling, even mobile elliptical bikes are abound.
And let me preface this story with this one fact about my cycling whilst anywhere cars can go – I am super careful. My eyes never look away from the road, but are constantly scanning the landscape for people who would kill me. I wear bright colors on my jersey and tend to have flashing lights on my bike – both front and back (unless in group rides, then it’s just the tail light).
But nevertheless, as I come up on a T-intersection in which I have the right-of-way and very little vision of the cars intersecting, someone in a sedan, not paying attention, came to a California “stop” and rolled into the intersection, leaving me approximately 15 feet to stop before nature quickly resolved our “take up the same space conundrum” with death and mutilation. I did my best, leaned back on the bike and did my best not to lock up my wheels. My bike began to fishtail and I was quickly turned around on my bike and thrown backwards onto the pavement.
My poor Giro Aeon took one for Team Joel. I’ll keep you in storage simply because you’re the first helmet I’ve had to retire.
Giro, you saved my life. My head flung backwards to catch up with my body and slammed hard into the asphalt. I slid for about 10 yards, while watching the driver of the car peel out to the side of me, throwing dust in my direction. Another person, gone from the scene. On-lookers ran to my aid, most of them in disbelief at what they had just witnessed. I had missed the car by less than 5 feet, due to the fact that the driver just took off and left room for me to hit the pavement instead of her car (Before the females scream foul-play, witnesses saw 2 women in the front seat). I’m not even sure she knew someone almost ran into her car at 25 mph.
My bike is luckily OK. I am still recovering from minor whiplash, but I’m still able to work and ride. Longer stents of the latter start to hurt, but at least that’s the worst of it.
Above – my poor quick-release! Right – My new pedals, smudged and illegible ULTEGRA.
After this fun incident, my cousin had made a trip down from Seattle to visit his mother, just 3 hours away. With a bike stored in her house, we set our “play date” to get some coastal mileage.
He’s a very strong cyclist, to say the least. He’s been riding since he was young and hasn’t missed a day of it since. He set the tempo before we even began pedaling by basically saying that he’d pull first, enough to warm up, then I could pull at the pace I’d be comfortable with over a 30-50 mile route. Almost immediately, I noticed something was different. I was cycling just as I’d been used to, but it felt like my chest was going to explode.
Turned out, my heart rate was pretty much 180+ the entire ride, maxing out at 204! YIKES! Looking back at the numbers, it’s no wonder I bonked hard on the first ride. He pulled me home over the last 10 miles or so and my heart was still pounding out 185-190 bpm.
Not really knowing what was going on, we went on another ride the next day, with the intention of keeping a close eye on my heart rate and trying to keep it down. It was better, but still not great. Every time I pulled my heart rate easily got up to 180 and we weren’t really trying to keep a high pace.
West Palm Beach – Taken from South Lake Trail at the Royal Park Bridge.
The nameless Propel at West Palm Beach.
In any case, both rides were OK. I bonked for the first time since my near heat-stroke, which sucks, but it’s good to know I’ve improved my nutrition and hydration that much. They were both tough rides – lots of tall bridges, 1 flat (with no pump!), and a TON of wind. I felt like I was back in Kansas, suffering through the spring time monsoon-strength winds.
Nevertheless, it was great to see yet another higher skilled cyclist in action to learn from and improve with. He gave me some great training advice to try to bring down my resting heart rate as well as my threshold.
In retrospect, having just finished a couple of really tough rides, I was probably really anxious in the saddle. 2 accidents in 2 months? That’s bad! So, I think I’ll chalk it up to road anxiety, which has calmed down substantially. My heart rate tonight, after a pretty quick 15 km, only got up to 182 bpm.
All you need is time
Now if I could only get more time for the bike, I’d be happier. I even told my boss, “If you ever want to gauge my mood, just ask how many miles I’ve ridden this week. They are directly correlated.”
My cousin’s 1990’s Trek in front with cage pedals. He rode this thing with what seemed was reckless abandon, but was actually the result of years of 5-ing it up.