Wednesday, January 30, 2008

cycling goals

I mentioned in my first post that I have a couple of cycling goals for 2008. The first of which is to ride a century a month. The second is to ride the Desperado Dual. Since January is just about over, I thought I'd make a little progress report.

For the first goal. I'm failing. I've ridden a grand total of ~170 miles this month, mostly in 4 1/2 mile segments, the length of my commute each way. I think my longest ride this month was a little over 21 miles. Barely a fifth of my goal. But, consider qualify for the Larry Schwartz award for riding 12 century or longer rides, you're allowed two make-up rides. They do this to account for people like me, who live where there's snow on the ground this time of year (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) and it's freezing. That means that I can now ride two centuries in some up-coming month and I'll still qualify. This is good, because it's supposed to snow again tomorrow and I have to work anyway so a hundred mile ride is out. I just wish I didn't have to mis a month already. Not a good precedent. But, I'm still excited by this goal. I'm going to do it.

For the second goal, I haven't registered yet because the registration has been suspended. Apparently, the main organizer of the Dual died after a ride at the end of December and the Color County Cycling Club, who puts on the event, has put it on hold. So, hopefully it'll still go on but I can't commit to it yet because, well, I can't. It's still in the plans, though. It'll only count as one ride toward goal #1, though.

As for where most of my January miles came from, my commute, I'll tell you a little about that. As you probably remember, it's about 4 1/2 miles each way. I leave my house about 6:20 am. It's cold and dark then. Very cold lately. The coldest actual temperature that I've made the commute in, that I can remember, was about four degrees (Fahrenheit). Wind chill? Colder.

During the winter months, I'm riding my old '81 Miyata 710, outfitted with a pair of Tioga Bloodhound cyclocross tires (ever try finding a studded 27" tire? Not easy.) They barely fit with the brakes I installed (Shimano 105's) and I had to remove the cool fenders that Robyn gave me for Christmas to make them work, but I opted for traction over dryness. Because I don't want to loose my 710 to the rust and salt gods, I wash her regularly as best I can.

What I wear is some combination of the following. Bike shorts, knee warmers, tights, winter shoe covers, arm warmers, long sleeve base later, standard bike jersey (or two) and a rain shell. Along with a balaclava, helmet, and a pair or two of gloves. I don't have much by way of proper winter cycling gear, actually/ It's all about the layering. One of these days, I'll break down and go shopping for a few choice items that I really want. If you're so inclined as to want to buy me a present, post a comment and I'll give you the list. (kidding) (unless you aren't, then post away!)

My "real" road bike is a Specialized Allez Comp, I think about a 1999. I bought it last June through a friend from CA for an ungodly reasonable price. After a winter of the Miyata, it makes me feel like I'm riding on air. It's not the best bike in the world, the prettiest, or the lightest. But she's mine, she was affordable and she hasn't let me down yet.

So, as you might have figured by now, I'm more of a cyclist wanna-be than anything all too serious; but who knows what I'll become over the course of the year. That's one of the reasons for this whole blog thing, to chart what happens. Who knows, I may take up racing! (I'll admit...I'm a little intimidated to start as a 40 year old cat-5, though.)

Hell, I may even shave my legs this year...

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