Monday, June 25, 2007

An afternoon ride (Monday, June 25, 2007)

I decided that I would go out for an afternoon ride today. I recent put new cleats (?) on my shoes, a wireless computer on my bike and I needed a little time on the bike. When I put on the new cleats one of the bolts on my right shoe stripped (argh). I've replace the screw but the new one appears to have the same problem (the hole is also stripped). I'll have to work on that. My right shoe still needs a little adjustment as it swings to far into the crank and my shoe hits it. The computer also gave me a little trouble as the magnets are pretty sensitive to where they can cross the sensor. They seem to work best when they are crossing at the left or the right side and not at the middle. A quick minor adjustment (needs to be about 1.5 mm apart max) and I had no more trouble. Once the computer was working properly I paid attention to my cadence and heart rate. On the Longest Day I noticed that I couldn't generate more than about 18.5 mph on the bike with or without wind and my heart rate just seemed wrong for the gear I was in. Because I was sick last year (very little consistent time on the bike), inadequate proper training this year and my bike problems early this year (two broken bottom brackets on two different bikes) which lead me to breaking in a new bike three weeks before the Longest Day (normally a very bad idea), I haven't felt quite right on the bike though the bike is very comfortable (a Giant TCR2). Well today I finally figured out why I've been so uncomfortable on the bike. I'm not spinning! My legs like to spin, they are most comfortable with a spin in the mid 90's. Today I found my legs spinning at 79 rpm. When I attempted to bring it up the best I could get was the upper 80'. I've begun to start working on getting my spin back. It'll probably take all summer but it will make me feel more comfortable on the bike and it will get my speed back up.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Post ride: CJBC's The Longest Day, Saturday 06/16/2007

Short version:

Start: 4:45 AM, 48F, 92% humidity, foggy, minimal wind
Finish: 7:54 PM, 68F, strong wind, S
Total time: 15:09
Ride time: 12:28
Avg: 16.7 mph

The entire ride was pretty quite, the first half traffic was lower than expected. Many (but not all) of the road ways had been repaired. It was interesting to descend at 40 mph in 48F weather (think wind chill). It warmed up on the middle part, the Pine Barrens seemed to have changed a bit. Down by the Mullica bridge the pine is now more pine and pin oak. It didn't help us with the wind but did minimize the direct sun. We managed to miss one rest stop on Rt 50 (our SAG was on a refill run) but it worked out a little better. I describe this section as the doldrums because it looks the same and we're really far into the ride and physical and mental exhaustion starts to set in. We managed to stop in the middle of that section and reduce the distance between Egg Harbor City (some visual and mental interest), the Pines and the WaWa at mile 183. This helped to make these two sections a little easy mentally and physically. The last 25 miles were all head wind. The gusts were the worst part. We had lots of wind in our training most of it worse. None had gusts of this strength also the traffic increased and we had to deal with discourteous pick up truck drivers and high school graduates yelling out the window. One of the more interesting things was the number of people who were honking and waving hello to us. There were at least as many as the discourteous folks. We managed to pick up one straggler from another team (we totalled 5 people then). When we pulled into the park at the light house most of us felt pretty good. Also, because of the wind there were no mosquitoes. That is unless you were by the reeds that minimized the wind.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

CJBC's The Longest Day, Saturday 06/16/2007


  • Name: The Longest Day
  • Pace: Low 17's mph avg (into the low 20's with pace lines)
  • Distance: 208 - 212 miles
  • Terrain: 2 - decent hills on the first half, 4 for the rest (3 - 4, on a scale of 1 (nasty hills) - 4 (flat as a pancake))
  • # of Stops: 8
  • Destination: Cape May Lighthouse, NJ
  • Starting point: Port Jervis, NY
  • Finish point: Lighthouse, Cape May, NJ
  • Starting time: 4:30 AM
  • Finish time: 7:00 PM (expected)
  • Club ride: Yes (CJBC - Paid registration also required)
  • Cue sheets provided: yes
  • Guests allowed: no
  • Route: Longest Day Double Century
  • Rain doesn't cancel this ride

Weather prediction:

  • Partly Sunny, 55F low, winds SW @4 mph, 8 mph gusts (in Port Jervis, NY, 5 AM)
  • Partly Sunny, 78F high, winds SW @11 mph, 21 mph gusts (in Chatsworth, NJ, 12:30 PM)
  • Partly Sunny, 76F high, winds S @11 mph, 18 mph gusts (in Cape May Point, NJ, 7:30 PM)

Like I've said I like long rides and this is the ride of year for me. This will be my 6th Longest Day double century and I'm looking forward to many more. Don't get me wrong I'm proud of rides I lead. I've added a lot of new rides this year (more to come) and a new starting point. But this is the ride I train two months for, I created my own Longest Day web page with the details. I hope for hot weather though my team mates would prefer that it's about 12F cooler than I like (90F). I just really don't want to wear a sweater on the Longest Day. :-)

So it looks like we're not going to be too hot or too cold for this year's Longest Day. Though I may need a sweater at the beginning and towards the end of the ride. It may be a bit cool for me down in Chatsworth, only 77F. The wind is a bit stronger than I'd like but it's what is expected around this time of year. The last 20 miles are going to be into a head wind. Our training has gone well so I expect we'll see the 17's for an average speed. If we're lucky and can find other teams to work with that are of the same pace we should be able to pick up the pace a bit but I'm not banking on that.

I'm not sure how well we'll do on the first half. We're lousy climbers (we're flat-landers) but this year our climbing is better than it's been in a while. So maybe we won't go so slow on the first half but I know we're not going to try and break records (our records of course :-) as that would mean we'd have very little left for the last half. That's the tougher part because of weather and mental and physical exhaustion.

We've picked up one more person so now we're a team of four. I'm hoping that we'll be able to work together and that we don't slow him down too much. He said he did a 150 mile ride at 16.5. With a team I think he'll be able to hold the 17 mph avg. He is a lot faster than we are on the hills (isn't everyone ;-).


I'll post a separate blog entry for this ride as it will be a very long entry.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Post ride: Which ever way the wind blows, Saturday 06/09/2007

Wow did we have a great ride Saturday! There were 6 people who rode with us. One gentleman was as fit as a fiddle (small, muscular and light, a mountain climber) and could out ride us in a split second. He sprinted several times to various road markings including hills and flat windy sections. He was looking for a team to ride on for the Longest Day. He might have ridden with my team but we would have slowed him down way too much. He's now going to ride with a friend's team. They're supposed to ride faster. I'll venture a guess that the team will be split in two at some point and that my friend will be in the slower team. He always pushes it and then bonks midway only to recover later on and go like mad. Either way I wish the best of luck to them, hope my friend doesn't bonk and rides his fastest double century ever!

As for the rest of us, we did pretty well. I still didn't have my new computer yet, it's a VDO C3 DS Wireless Cyclocomputer w/ Wireless Cadence and it's back ordered until the 15th, I'll be riding the Longest Day the 16th so I won't have that computer. Instead I'll wire up my Cateye Astrale (w/Cadence). Without my computer I have a tough time telling what I'm doing I usually go by heart rate, cadence and how I feel. Lately I've been going by my heart rate and how I feel. It's worked out OK but I miss the cadence. Remember that you still need to give your mind something to do on these rides. Anyway the other riders were dealing with the heat (except the sprinter, he likes the heat too), the pace and the wind. We had a rather odd wind from the West and North. Normally we experience a West and South wind which means that we end up with a bit of a tail wind on the way home. We had a head wind and that was causing problems. Early in the ride I had to control the pace and slow down the riders while they had a tail wind (long rides require a conservative approach unlike my friend who bonks on much longer rides). They weren't happy but we were beginning to ride outside ourselves'. Meaning we were pushing the pace past what we could do into the head wind later on. So I did a bit of nagging though it seemed another rider was the problem. I owe him an apology as he save the pace by requesting we slow down (he's a smart ride leader also). I've been busting on him for his past slower pace but yesterday's 17.8 mph average says he's doing fantastic. Three weeks ago he could barely keep 17.0 mph avg over 100 miles. Now he's doing 17.8 and he seemed more much more comfortable at that pace. We're going to have a good Longest Day ride next Saturday (2007/06/16) and our pace should be on target for the 17's. Overall our pace line worked went well, the ride was hot and windy (~13 mph with higher gusts) and we still did well. Wish we could have ridden as well as well as our sprinter. :-) It would have been fun to try but there was no way we were going to be able to.

One more little thing, my fellow riders were busting on me for one of my training tools, my Camelbak. It's a Ventoux, which is just short of a full fledged all day back pack. I just throw everything in there and I don't worry about it. It probably weighs at least twenty pounds. I'm detailing it's contents on my Camelbak Ventoux page. There are pictures and a list of it's contents. For the Longest Day I'll unload it's contents and just keep the bladder (a 2L version, not the normal 3L version), 2 tubes, the air pump, cell phone and my wallet. That should lighten it up significantly.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Which ever way the wind blows, Saturday 06/09/2007


Generally I'll decide which route I want to take a day or 2 before the ride. Letting the wind decide which way I ride (hence the name of the ride). What I can tell you in advance is the distance. I like long rides so the later in the season the longer the ride. During the summer rides will be about the metric mark (or better).

  • Name: Which ever way the wind blows
  • Pace: Low 17's mph avg (into the low 20's with pace lines)
  • Distance: 96 miles
  • Terrain: Flat with rolling hills (3 - 4, on a scale of 1 (nasty hills) - 4 (flat as a pancake))
  • # of Stops: 3 - 4
  • Destination: Pemberton, NJ
  • Starting point: Village Park, Cranbury, NJ
  • Starting time: 8 AM
  • Club ride: Yes (both PFW and CJBC)
  • Cue sheets provided: no
  • Guests allowed: Yes
  • Route: Cranbury Pumpkin Patch Century
  • Rain may not cancel a ride, contact the ride leader for further details

Weather prediction:

  • Sunny, with rain in the morning
  • 70F at 8 AM (at Cranbury)
  • Winds from the NNW at 9 - 15 mph, 22mph gusts
  • High for the day 82F at 4 PM

This is a derivative ride, it's the Pumpkin Patch Century but with the start in Cranbury, NJ instead of Monroe Twp., NJ. The Staten Island Bike Club created this ride and I'm posting it here. Many of my rides down south, use portions of this route.

We've been training for the Longest Day but this week we're taking it easy on the pace. The team I'm riding with is ready and we don't need to push any further. No sense in getting injured.


Nothing here yet, I haven't done it yet. :-) ! I'll update this tomorrow after the ride.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Which ever way the wind blows, Saturday 06/02/2007


  • Name: Which ever way the wind blows
  • Pace: 17 - 18 mph avg (with pace lines)
  • Terrain: Flat with rolling hills (3 - 4, on a scale of 1 (nasty hills) - 4 (flat as a pancake))
  • # of Stops: 4 - 5
  • Destinations: Griggstown & Chatworth, NJ
  • Starting point: Village Park, Cranbury, NJ
  • Starting time: 8 AM
  • Club ride: Yes (both PFW and CJBC)
  • Cue sheets provided: no
  • Route: Griggstown/Pine Barrens Double Metric (120 miles)
  • Rain does not cancel this ride.

Weather prediction:

  • Sunny, with an afternoon thunderstorm
  • 70F at 8 AM (at Cranbury)
  • Winds from the SW at 5 - 11 mph, 20 mph gusts
  • High for the day 90F at 3 PM (same for Cranbury and Chatsworth)

This is an unusual ride in that I normally don't do double metrics. A century is usually enough for most folks. We (my Longest Day team) need some extra mileage and since it's going to be hot I think we'll be luckily to keep a fast pace (better than 17 mph). Most of this ride is the same as last week (at least 3/4's of the ride) with the exception that I've added Griggstown, Kingston, Plainsboro. Most of this section is used by the Longest Day Route. It's good for pace lines and we'll experience the the heat that we might expect on the Longest Day. So we get in our mileage (seat time) and we'll begin turning down our training because we're ready. Currently the weather looks to be cooler (mid 70's) for the 16th. Of course it's too early to really predict, so we'll see.


Today's ride went very well. I made one change, instead of using the above route I used this one: Cranbury-Griggstown-Chatsworth-deviation. It is a little shorter (118 vs 120) but the first half of the ride is the Griggstown to Chatsworth section of the Longest Day. This really worked well for us it was hot and humid (like the predicted weather for the Longest Day). We had 90 F and very high humidity. When we got down to Chatsworth the humidity disappeared but the wind picked up. It was out of the South and West so we felt it when we left Wharton State Forest and when we turned toward Tabernacle from Chatsworth we rode into a strong headwind for 10 miles. The wind was harder than the predicted 5 - 10 mph but the gusts were about 20 mph (as predicted). We averaged a comfortable 17.2 mph, a speed we hope to keep on the Longest Day.