All spun up

Another Sunday, another “recovery” ride (still in quotes, as it was more than double Saturday’s distance). Our ever-growing TNT morning after crew met up at the Chain Reaction and rolled out just after 9am. We were a bit behind schedule leaving the parking lot due to both a couple latecomers and Don and I burning time (and zip ties) in an attempt to get my cadence meter functional. Honestly, my frustration with the thing has been pretty high. The meter has worked fine for 2 years on my other bike! How is it possible that it would take three weeks, 6 rides, approximately 20 black ties and at least 2 brains to get this thing up and running?! A combo deal of user error and curve-y bike frame action turns out to be the answer.

When we finally hit the road, the stupid meter was working and I decided to put some of my “knowledge” into practice by focusing on keeping my cadence between 85-95 rpms. (Knowledge goes in quotes since I was actually just taking the advice of one of my coaches… I can’t speak to its validity firsthand!) I shifted down a couple notches and really concentrated on keeping my legs spinning. Somewhere around three miles in, I realized that I was moving so fast that I had dropped the rest of my team. Wow! This fast cadence thing really works, right?! Wrong. As it turns out, one of group busted his chain immediately upon leaving the parking lot, and they’d all stopped to make sure he was OK to get back to his car. Apparently I was so “in the zone” working on my revolutions that I didn’t hear their cries (for me to wait up, not for help… thankfully). Yays for tunnel vision!

I pulled over and waited for the rest of the crew before continuing on my spastic spinning circuit. Once we’d all regrouped, I refocused on the goal… and darted away again. And that’s pretty much how I spent the first half of the ride. I quickly discovered that 90 revs per minute and my big chain ring don’t really mix well. Same deal for 90 rpm and my heart rate. I definitely felt like I was pushing less weight and going a bit faster… but was dropping energy much quicker than normal. I was grateful for the quick arrival of the rest stop, where I put a few new foods to the test.

Brand Flavor Rated (1-10) Notes
Gu Rocktane Vanilla Orange 7 One of the few fruit gels that doesn’t make me gag with chemical flavor badness. Tastes mostly like a melty dreamsicle (appropriately annoying stickiness included). Roctane supposedly has more cool stuff than regular GU (2x the salt, 3x amino acids, almost 2x caffeine, extra potassium), which I can only assume makes it even better for me… right?
Gu Chomps Orange 8 Probably best orange chewy thing yet. A bit saltier than the Clif version, which keeps it from being overly sweet (and is thankfully missing the odd chemical aftertaste).
Hammer HEED Sports Drink Subtle Strawberry 2 The only thing subtle about this drink would be its resemblance to anything strawberry. Tasted something like the aftertaste that you’d expect from diet strawberry candy… only watered down. Why can’t fruit drinks ever taste anything like fruit?!

The climb up Arastradero was pretty quick (although I discovered a completely inability to keep my legs churning anywhere near goal levels). Don and I had a great tiny paceline descent down Alpine – over 30 on the flats!  He then dropped off to wait for the rest of the group while I continued along with my spin-but-don’t-flail exercises. And that really was the rest of the ride. I tried to keep my cadence up and heart rate down, while traversing our well known route. The few conversations with team mates that I did attempt were punctuated with me either cursing my legs or cursing the bike’s still-terribly-clicky middle ring gear.

I rolled into the parking lot with almost the exact same timing as last week, and immediately (well, immediately after breakfast) left my bike to be de-clickified (aka serviced). I am happy to report that the cadence meter stayed functional for the entire ride, even if focusing on its data did nearly kill me.

Up next this week? Our first hill repeats of the season! Stay tuned…

Los Altos Recovery Ride 6_14


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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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