Monday, April 25, 2011

Riding With Your S.O.

Sometimes you ride with yourself. Sometimes you ride with a group, club, organized ride, or people picked up along the way. Sometimes you ride with your significant other person. Relationships in and out of a ride may be quite different than in their usual social atmosphere. Abilities and goals may be the same, similar, or different, and adjustments inevitably have to be made. The results can be wonderful or disappointing, and sometimes nobody knows why. Helen and I took a Sunday ride on this first truly Spring Day on Long Island. For me, riding represents a significant physical output on a regular basis. Helen enjoys riding, but her interest runs to about two hours of total riding time. To adjust for this I started early, did some major hillclimbing and speed intervals, and met her at a pre arranged place later in the morning. We both enjoyed the day, although at a somewhat differing pace. I took my fixed gear bike, and Helen took her tried and true Cannondale hybrid with lots of gear possibilities. We did some hillclimbing together, and stopped every once in awhile for some sun exposure. Helen left after about her usual two hours, and I did some extra laps around Caumsett park on this lovely 75 degree early spring day. A great adaptation and compromise. First time in shorts this season!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Dreary Spring Day, Just right for MUD !

Last night there was a terrific rainstorm up and down the East Coast. The wind was howling, the rain was coming down in torrents, and I thought that today would be a washout for riding. Due to the fact that I was either on call, in the hospital, or in the office for the past 14 days, I was looking at today as kind of a free day off, and had planned a vineyard ride on the North Fork of Long Island. That was not to happen. A break in the storm gave me an opportunity to do something that I love to do...ride in the mud. Since I took up cyclocross in 2002, I have appreciated the subtleties of cycling in the goo, paste, peanut butter,slime, and grime of my favorite trails after a good rain. Although I did not race cyclocross last season due to an injury, a sloppy day on the trail is still well appreciated, and today ranks up there with the best of them.
An expected additional benefit at this time of year is the fact that Spring is springing. The new flowers and greenery that adorn the landscape contrast with the dark gritty reality of the trail . Ritchey Speedmax cyclocross tires were perfect for the conditions, and although it did spritz from time to time, my Showers Pass Elite 2.0 cycling jacket kept me cozy and dry.
I have to say that although a steady diet of muddy trails is not my general cup of green tea, the trail riding skills and change of pace are definitely a postitve whan it comes to longer road rides later in the season. Many thanks to the passer by who took my photo.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My LOOK Bike Gets a New Crankset

Spring is springing, and its time to get the bikes ready for the cycling season. I decided that my 2003 Campagnolo 53/39 crankset was no longer appropriate for our hllly North Shore of Long Island, with 16% to 26% grades common on many of my standard routes. I considered a triple, but wanted a low Q factor . I settled on a 2011 Campagnolo CX 10 speed Ultra Drive compatable crankset, which had extra sealing to ward off dirt and grime in the bottom bracket. The installation went smoothly, and I was even able to use my 2003 Chorus front derailleur. Today was the test ride, and everything went well.
The crankarms are plenty stiff, and jive well with the carbon LOOK frame. Climbing and dancing up hills was just fine. The new crankset also fits in well with the aesthetics of the frame and other components. The 34 ring combined with the 12-29 cassette should provide lots of gear inch advantage in conquering our rolling and hilly local terrain. I plan to use this bike for the Nassau to Suffolk 65 mile season warm up ride , starting out of Sea Cliff on Sunday, April 17.