Tuesday, April 29, 2008

weird and lucky

I got to deliver this guy a cheque. He lives in Kits and I work downtown. I thought about sticking it in an envelope and mailing it out but something just does not feel right. (weird #1) I have to hop over to the school at lunch time today. The sun is out so I decided to take a detour and drop off the envelope at John's place.

While I was heading over, somebody in an SUV was honking at me. I thought about chasing him down but don't have the legs to...

I was not able to access his mailbox (lucky #1). I could not see his name in the directory so I called the building manager. She told me that he moved a while ago. (weird #2) So I sadly turned around and head back to downtown. While on the way to Burrard bridge, a pedestrian was waving at me. It was none other than John himself! So I yelled, stopped and dropped him my envelope. (lucky #2)

That's not all. John told me he gave me an updated address in another email. When I got back to the office I forwarded the updated address to our membership director. Turns out the address and postal code do not match (weird #3). So even if I caught the updated address the cheque might still not get delivered (lucky #3).

My EV count today is technically 1 although if I count non-cycling guys too its 3.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

we'll see how this goes

First time in my riding life I broke a chain while riding. I was going uphill and felt like the chain has skipped off. Lucky when it happened I was close to a bike shop and got help. The owner and mechanic knocked 4 links off and send me on my merry way. He said the drive train is still good for another 6 months although I have doubts and estimated 3 months. I have been very tentative with my commuter bike since and actually rode my race bike to work the majority of times - partly because of training and partly because I don't feel comfortable about the chain.

Last Saturday was my fourth ride after the fix. It snowed Friday night and the road was wet so I thought it might be better to ride a bike with fenders. I left the group and was on my way home. I was actually saying to myself that I should go to buy a new drive train when the chain snapped again! Stranded between Richmond and the airport I called for help using the universal repair kit known as the cellphone. While waiting for the support car to arrive I decided to try fixing the chain. The theory is that you can knock 2 more links out and at least ride home with a shortened chain. After 20 minutes of fumbling around I was at the point where I could try to put the pin back in when the support car arrives.

I bought a new drive train the same afternoon along with the necessary tools. It does look like I would need a new drive train every year so the tools are worth investing.

Last night I finally got the time to put the drive train on to the bike. The rear cassette was relatively easy once I figure out the chain whip and wrench should be position like scissor handles. Next come the hard part: the cleanup of the bike. The rear derailleur was so filthy I spent about an hour cleaning it up. The chain I bought (SRAM 991) is very easy to install because of the powerlink feature.

We will see how long this drive train will last. The previous one lasts about 13 months and the one before that about 2 years.

Today's EV count is 2: I met 2 EV guys riding.

Friday, April 11, 2008

the season till now

I went to the last road race of the Spring Series as a 'C' race - a race that I used as training and done without preparation - and it was hard.
The course is the 'snake': a 10km loop with a climb about 600m in length with average grade of 10.4% and max gradient of 15.4%. Using my granny gear of 39-27, I was climbing with a cadence of 50's to 60's which was very uncomfortable. The first lap I climbed sitting down (which I prefer), the 2nd lap a coach was yelling "stand up" (to his people that was around me) so I tried standing up. My heart rate shot through to the roof and my quads were sore after the climb.

On every lap after the climb people get away. People like Stuart has the ability to accelerate after the climb. If they were around me I would try to sit in the group and try to bridge back. Because I do not have as much acceleration I would lose contact with the chase group and have to ride in time trial pace all the way down the hill to catch back to the pack. At lap 4 just ran out of gas. Lap 5 I was at "tempo" - a notch below time trial effort and rode with a guy. By lap 6 I have let that guy go at rode at a warm down pace. Climbing that hill was hopeless so I stopped after lap 6.

Anyways not a bad day - weather held up, race conditions was acceptible. No accidents in the C race. Can't really complain.

A couple of things I have learnt that day: when the roads are dirty with manure, you have to spit out the first squish of water you drink to rinse the nozzle and avoid getting sick. It was a bit of a mess but I survived. Also for older cyclists it looks like more training at zone 4 (time trial pace) to 5a (a little bit above) is more useful than short intervals at zone 5b (which is my max range).

Yesterday I did my first Time Trial Test: 8 miles, full pace. It took me more than 20 minutes which averages about 35kph. When I got home I was wobbly and hungry. It was more intense than most of my workouts this year. Definitely more of this type of training in the coming weeks.
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