Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 El Tour de Tucson

Oh, hey!  A month ago I rode in the 2013 Tour de Tucson.  I did this ride in 2011 and did the 85 mile route.  This time, I decided to do the whole enchilada which was 107 miles.  While I'm glad I finished, it was the most miserable I've ever been on a bike.  That's saying something since I rode the 2012 MS Bike in Arizona where it snowed and sleeted the entire first day.

This was the first year in 31 years that it rained for El Tour.  And not only did it rain, but it rained constantly for about the first 7.5 hours of my 8 hour ride.  It was cold and wet, and any thought of pace lines and high speeds were immediately put out of just about everyone's mind very quickly.

I finished the ride in a bit over 8 hours.  I must say I was not happy with that time, but I was excited that I didn't give up.  I will admit that there were times that I thought about it.  I was also excited that I avoided saddle sores for the entire ride.  Hooray!

Anyway, it was a miserable day until the last 30 minutes when the sun popped and it actually became a nice day.  Too bad it waited so long.  Oh well...

What a day for a ride!

It was so beautiful today that I just had to figure out a way to get out on my bike.  Unfortunately, the Synapse has a flat and I just can't get myself psyched to fix it, especially since it seems like something in the tire keeps puncturing the tube but I just can't find it.  The fact that it's the rear tire makes it even worse.

Therefore, it was a day for the LHT.  The excuse I used was that I had to run up and pick up a prescription at CVS.  The results were awesome; it was just as nice a ride as I expected it would be.

I guess there are some benefits to living in Scottsdale, eh?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

New upgrades ordered

Well, I've finally scraped together enough StayFit money to upgrade my shoes and pedals.  I've placed a special order at my LBS for a pair of Shimano SH-R320 road shoes and a pair of Shimano Ultegra pedals.  Hopefully, they will be in any time and I can get them installed soon.

I was looking at a number of different brands of shoes, but I eventually settled on the Shimano shoes on the advice of the bike fitter.  He suggested that since I have had great luck with my current Shimano mountain shoes (five year-old SH-M122s), I might consider sticking with the same brand.  He felt that this would increase the likelihood of getting a good fit.  Once I decided to go Shimano, I figured I might as well go all out on the top of the line R320s.  After all, if your feet are not comfortable on a ride it can be really miserable, and every review I read about these shoes mentioned how extremely comfortable they were.  I tried on a pair of Shimano R170s just to make sure we were in the right ballpark sizewise (we were) and then placed the order.

My LBS (Bicycle Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ) is set up to do the heat molding, so I will likely get this done after I've had them for a bit.  Hopefully, between the custom fit, the stiff soles and the bigger pedaling platform will help address the pain the I get in the bottom of my left foot after riding long rides as well as result in less plantar fasciitis than I've been having.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Moving to bib shorts

Anyone who has thought about trying a pair of bibs I say go for it. I recently needed a new pair of shorts and pulled the trigger on a pair of Cannondale bibs on The Clymb. Since they were only $50, I figured I wasn’t putting that much money at risk.

I’ve now been out on 4 or 5 rides in them and I love them. As a bit of background, here in Phoenix it’s very hot (duh!) and you can get very sweaty. Riding a lot combined with lots of sweat and a chamois that can move around a bit is a recipe for saddle sores, and I’ll admit that I started having problems in that area. The bibs seem to really hold the chamois firmly in place and prevent it from moving which in turn prevents the skin abrasion that can give bacteria which cause saddle sores a foothold. It may also be that my new bibs have a better chamois than my shorts, but whatever the case, the issues I was having seem to be solved and my butt has never been happier.

It took about 1 ride to get used them, and now I find them more comfortable than my regular shorts. This is because they don’t roll down in the front because of my gut. It was weird the first day because I felt the bib on my stomach as well as my HR strap and my brain seemed to put those two together making me feel like the bibs went up to my sternum. That weird feeling went away after the first ride.

Anyway, if you’ve never tried bibs I would say go for it; you may never go back to regular shorts again.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My new ride...

Well, I finally upgraded my ride.  I scraped together all my pennies and splashed out for a 2013 Connondale Synapse Carbon 3 with full Ultegra components. 

Here is a photo of my new baby:

And by contrast, here's my old bike (now fully kitted out as a commuter):
I've read some posts where people upgraded to a carbon fiber bike and didn't pick up any speed.  Fortunately, that did not happen for me.  My cruising speed has increased on the new bike by about 3 mph, and I've blown away every Strava segment I've recorded.  This includes a top 3 time on a segment that's been ridden well over 1000 times.  Hooray me!

I guess I should finish up my Tour posts, but...

As you can see, I sort of petered out toward the end of our trip to France.  We saw the TT that ended in Chartes and the finale in Paris, then spent a couple days seeing Paris before heading home.  I will post some more information to finish things up, but in the meantime I might post some non-Tour related stuff.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jet lagged...

I've never been as jet lagged as I am today. I guess in the 12 days we were over in France, my body really got on French time. That, combined with staying awake for about 22 straight hours on the flights home, then getting about 4 hours sleep before I popped up at 2:00am the morning (it was 10:00am Paris time) has me all messed up!

Anyway, I know I've got a lot more France posts to write, but they're going to have to wait for tomorrow.