Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Smokey and the Doughnut

With all due respect to that epic Hollywood film masterpiece, I feel compelled to share a recent experience while training in the hills of southern California. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, one of my favorite rides is up to Lake Matthews Dam. This is a 40 mile round trip ride which involves about 3400 feet of vertical climbing on some rather isolated out of the city roads.

This particular section of the ride is a 3 mile, constant 6-8% grade so as you might expect the cars tend to really fly down the curvy road. Naturally, the police are often waiting to reward those drivers that seem compelled to push the limits of the legal speed restrictions. 

Anyway, one recent day I was climbing this particular leg up to Lake Matthews Dam on a beautifully overcast and quiet morning. At the section shown in the photo on the right, there was a County Sheriff sitting in his car with the radar gun at the ready.

As I passed pitifully slow up the hill he dropped the gun on me and said in a good humored voice…’7 miles an hour….’ Shaking his head as he beamed a broad smile.

Now only separated by 30-40 feet, I passed in the quiet morning and responding in like humor: ‘You should put down that doughnut and try pedaling up this hill……’

I continued up the grade and echoing behind me in the still morning was the wonderful good-natured laugh of a friend I’ll probably never meet again. This is the kind of fleeting encounter that I’m looking forward to on the cross country ride, with people, with sounds, with sights and smells. Close and intimate; you can only experience on a bicycle. Experiences I plan to cherish.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mighty Steed....Rocinante

Hello again Life Ride Followers.....

Well, it's hard to believe that the beginning of the Life Ride is only 4 weeks away; the first riding day is ironically Mother's Day, May 13th 2012.

Many of the followers have asked about what bicycle I will be riding coast to coast so here is a quick report on the mighty steed .....

My mount is a Specialized  Roubaix road bike with a little bit of improved manufacturing process that is labelled 'S-Works'. A little stronger and a little lighter than the normal Roubaix. The bike as you see it is all carbon construction and weighs 16.5 pounds including the pedals. There are a total of 20 gears available; low gears for climbing the mountains and the high gears for faster cruising and downhills.

The gearing arrangement is called a 'compact double' which means that one of the front chain rings is somewhat smaller than usual resulting in lower gear ratios. Some of the riders on tour will have a triple front arrangement which will make the hills a bit easier for them but my compact double is what I have so I hope that will be sufficient. :)

Of course, I'll be carrying some extras such as spare tubes, repair tools, patch kits etc but all in all the weight will be less than 19 pounds on the road. This machine is a great bike but many times during training these last few months I'm convinced it needs a new motor!!!

Hope you are all enjoying the spring season. Continue to check in at the Life Ride Blog!!!!!



Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rider List Received

Many of you have asked about the other cyclists on the ride and we now have the list.    It is amazing the variety of locations which the 22 coast to coast cyclists are from!  Only two are from CA.  The others are scattered around from OH, CT, TN, NM, NJ, FL PA, MO, TX, NY, CO, MI, two are from Great Britain and two are from Canada.  There are three husband and wife teams one of which is riding a tandem bike.  The ages range from 48 to 70 years.    There are also seven cyclists riding part of the trip instead of the entire coast to coast.  It sounds like a nice group and we are looking forward to meeting everyone. -Michele

No more riding for a couple of days since I dropped the bike at the shop yesterday for a safety inspection and overhaul. - Tom

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Three Months Down.......40 Days to Go!!!

Hello Life Ride Followers,

Well March was an interesting month indeed: I got 13 good training rides in for a total of 563 miles. That's not too bad considering I lost about a week to that nasty flu. Anyway the year to date totals are:

38 Rides
1547 miles
40.7 average mile per ride
65,337 feet of vertical climbing

One interesting test that was suggested by the CrossRoads Cycling Tour Group was to ride three consecutive days with miles of 60 then 80 then 60 again on the third day. You can see from the graph below that I completed that exercise near the end of March. That was 205 miles in three days and I held up really well.

The 80 mile ride on Saturday was in miserable weather by our CA standards. I expected the marine layer to burn off and I was not dressed for the strong wet ocean breeze, the rain/drizzle and temps in the upper 40s to low 50s that remained all day. Those numbers don't sound too bad unless you were dressed in just riding shorts and a very light windbreaker. I got wet and cold about 20 miles out, was too stupid and stubborn to go back for better clothes and paid the price later. Oh well, live and learn. At least no saddle soreness and the legs were pretty strong overall.

Hope you all have a most blessed Easter weekend. I'll be in touch!