Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rolling down the highway...

Kinda broke a promise to a buddy today.

Not really, but....

CDH mentioned that he's primed and ready to break spouse BDH's marathon PR of 3:11 and change. Since she ran it over 5 yrs ago and they're both quickly approaching the ripe young age of 33, time is short. He ran a 1:24 half marathon on little training last June; with a concentrated effort, he could probably bust a sub-3.

Sorry, BDH. If he stays healthy, I think he's got you.

Anyhow, C is also a solid cyclist, having dragged my sorry tail up Mt Bachelor many a time,  not to mention Mt. Washington Drive. Short, steep, and a bastard. The hill, not him.

Since we finally got a nice warm day on Friday, I took my rebuilt road bike out for the first time. Up until now, it's been getting a workout on the rollers in the garage. Friday it was about 15 miles around the Butte, including a personal best up Mt Washington. My first time out this year and I'm setting records!

I'll say it again; Nordic skiing is the best cross training. Ever.

C had some knee problems that now seem to be resolved, so I asked if he's ready to bike again. "Sure am," says he. I mention that our triathlon club is putting together a 50-80 mile ride from Wickiup Reservoir up toward Mt. Bachelor. "Slow down," he tells me. "Let's do our 1 hr rides for awhile." Sheepishly I agreed.

Until yesterday, with my volunteer slot at the Pole Pedal Paddle, watching all these people busting butt in the rain. The race didn't fit into my schedule this year, but it got me thinking.

Later that day, I check the weather. What was supposed to be a rainy Sunday was now partly sunny. And I was trying to decide if I should drop six hundred on a lightly used triathlon bike.

Softride Power Wing

Funky looking, all right. The upper beam floats in space, giving a nice measure of shock absorption. Good news for those of us who are missing a couple of lumbar disks. The guy selling it owns Pisano's, a local pizza place. Awesome food, great guy. I make some small adjustments to see if it'll fit ok. He says it's really fast.

Ed let me take the bike on an extended test ride; with a bad back, I need to know if I can handle hours in the aero position. So off I go to the reservoir, with Michelle, Nan, Shellie, Kevin, and Riley, all charter members of the local triathlon club. Pretty soon, we're truckin' up the Cascade Lakes Highway, miles from anywhere. And no cars in sight, just us 6 crazy cyclists.

Just gorgeous out there, isn't it?
Lots of snowpack roadside at higher elevations, too. Michelle is training for her first Half Ironman, Shellie has done a bunch of long races and is monster strong, and Riley, Nan, and Kevin just flew down the road and were out of sight fast.

Incidentally, trying to eat energy gels while riding is a losing proposition. Sticky goo all over the place. Pretty soon, I looked like my daughter sampling the cake on her first birthday.
One big sticky mess...

Soon I hear an ominous rattle, rattle, clunk. Remember when I said I made some tweaks to the bike? Seems I didn't quite tighten everything down.

I couldn't make this up if I tried. The seatclamp was a little loose, and the seat was tilted down in the front. When I leaned forward in the aero position, the net result is a backward push from  my forearms, which means a backward force against the seat. And the whole thing just slid off in mid-flight.

I can exaggerate a lot of things, but not this. Fortunately, I brought every wrench in my arsenal. Problem resolved in minutes.

Then I remember that Ed had told me that the bike is fast.

How fast?

I answered my own question today; it's stoopid fast. We're talkin' filthy.

Ed put a ridiculous 64-tooth platter-sized chainring on the bike; just insane. Most bikes have a 53 or so. 64 teeth need a lot of torque to spin; the gears help you go fast, of course, and the bike frame itself has the aerodynamic footprint of an F-14. Very slippery, and less effort needed, so it's awfully fun on the flats and downhills. Ed has hit 57 mph on this sucker.

Did I mention we were riding toward Mt. Bachelor?

Going up was ok, long and gradual. Coming back was pure nuts. Heart rate about 10 beats per minute lower than on the same course last year, and much higher speed. 56 miles total; sorry, CDH, couldn't help myself. And my grand total for the year is 71, with those two rides in three days.

I already knew the motor was better than in 2010, and now the equipment is, too.

Game, set, match; I'm buying the bike. Thanks, Ed.

Now I'm really looking forward to racing season.

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