Archive for September, 2009

Congratulations Julian Dean

Julian DeanToday marks the conclusion of the Vuelta a EspañaGarmin-Slipstream rider Julian Dean crossed the finish line to become the only rider to complete all three Grand Tours this season.

I can’t imagine the fatigue this guy is feeling.  Not just from all the miles he’s ridden, and not just from the fact that he rode three weeks in a row three times in five months.  Also from the mental energy expended during that grueling time.

I’ll leave it to y’all to do the math on the calorie expenditure.  I’m impressed that he can still have the will to get out of bed and toe the line for another stage after all that.  The number of abandons during the Vuelta this year points to his cycling character.  Charlie Wegelius couldn’t make it past stage four before his fatigue caught up to him.

So Julian – get some rest.  You’ve more than earned it.  Chapeau.

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Feeling Loopy

loopMost of us cyclists have a handful of reliable routes that we ride.  I am no different.  Whether I’m heading south into Vischer Ferry or north and west toward Charlton, my routes are a point to point affair – beginning and ending in my driveway.

Surprisingly, one thing that had never occurred to me was to define a loop course and do laps around it.  About a month ago, I decided to do just that.  It took some getting used to, but I now consider it a welcome addition to my cadre of routes. 

My observations:

  1. Directions: It’s weird riding 11 miles and only making one left turn.  Like most of the terrain out here, it’s rarely flat for more than a half mile.  You’re either going up or down.
  2. Poor man’s hill repeats:  There is a nice Berg about 5 miles into the loop.  Every lap takes me up it one more time.
  3. Passing the finish line (temptation):  I always set out with a predetermined number of laps to complete.  However, if it’s one of those days that I have dead legs, it’s very tempting to just bag it early when I see the start/finish line.  I haven’t done it yet, but it has crossed my mind.  Also, there are two points along the way where I can take a shortcut home.  I always ignore them and consider them for emergencies only – a storm fast approaching, a mechanical problem, bonked, injury, etc.
  4. A nice way to measure out a ride:  It’s almost exactly an 11 mile circuit.  I ride about 2 miles total getting to and from it.  That way, it’s easy for me to know how many calories to bring along and about how long the ride will take (One loop takes about 40-45 minutes).  It’s funny, but when I do the longer point-to-point rides, I feel weird not doing the whole route.  When I ride the loop, it’s ok to only do one circuit because I’m crunched for time.

All in all, I’m glad I did it.  Once again I prove to myself that there can be something more to discover on roads you’ve ridden countless times.

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It’s Go Time

When I saw the forecast for this week, I knew it would be a good one.  I planned on riding four days this week, and that’s saying something this year.

This season has been pretty bad in terms of riding volume.  I counted 7 rides for all of August.  That’s it.  In a normal year that total would be around 12.  They would also be longer rides.  I was averaging about 2½ hours per ride last year and this year it’s dropped to about 2 hours flat.

It’s been the same old gremlins that get me: weather and schedule conflicts.  July was the rainiest on record, and August had a host of non-cycling commitments.  Ergo July and August combine for 15 rides.  Pathetic.

Then there’s this week.  The weather is awesome – 70s, low humidity, light wind.  I’ve already been out twice and have two more on the calendar.  It’s such a small thing, but it’s huge in my riding confidence.  My average speed on rides is down a good half a mile per hour.  If I can push it as I have done so far this week, I can have good form going into the cool weather season of late September and October.  If the vest I’m purchasing works out, I could conceivably ride at least a week into November.  Anything to delay the trainer season.

They say Spring is the season of renewal.  If things go as planned this week, Spring will move to September.

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