Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘bike riding

Green Everywhere

leave a comment »

For the first time since last October, we can’t see the chicken coop from the driveway. The green of innumerable leaves has returned in a blink.

Complimenting all the green exploding in every direction was the blue sky. Just the kind of weather that would be perfect for an inaugural bike ride of the season, when a person has failed to take advantage of any previous chances.

That meant I needed to hustle home from work, and focus exclusively on cleaning and re-assembling my bike. That is to say, no more disassembly allowed. Unlike my usual self, I somehow made short work of getting the trusty two-wheeler back into riding shape.

After a break for a quick dinner, I decided to see how it rode. I mentioned out loud that I wouldn’t have my bike computer because the battery was dead, and Cyndie reminded me I could use my phone.

It had been so long since using the “Map My Ride” app, I needed to reset my password to get logged in, but once that was done, I was ready to ride.

I like a quiet bike, and I’m proud to say that my bike didn’t utter a single annoying mechanical peep. The problem with quiet bike though, is anything else making unwelcome noises becomes that much more noticeable.

I’m pretty sure it was my shoes. I have a cleat mounted in my shoes that snaps into my pedals. The longer I rode, the more I became aware of what sounded like a squeaky chair as I muscled my way up hills.

Those cleats will get a serious snugging before my next ride.

I made it home just as the sun was dropping below the horizon. By that hour of the day, the low spots on the road take on a dramatic chill compared to the rest of the air. I paused on top of the first high spot of our driveway and checked the app.

Eight miles in 36 minutes, including several fair-sized hills. Minimal traffic and only a couple of farm tractors to pass. Startled someone’s horse napping in a pasture and got stared at by a lot of cows.

That’ll do just fine for a starter.

Now if I could just do that every day for a month, maybe I would be in reasonable shape at the start of the Tour of Minnesota.

The first day mileage will be 80 miles, so I’d rather not show up under-prepared for that.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 16, 2018 at 6:00 am

Inaugural Ride

with 2 comments

The ol’ legs, they ain’t what they used to be. It almost feels like I’ve gotten older than I’ve ever been before. Yesterday, I got out on the bike for my inaugural ride of the season. I do love winter, but there is no way a person can’t fall for a day in spring that sprouts with a blue sky, calm winds, and warm temps.

It was an opportunity that I needed to grab to get my cycling season underway. My annual bike trip in the middle of June is only two and a half months away and I need to break in a new saddle. Plus, I have committed to hosting a warm-up ride in the countryside around Wintervale in May.

I need to scout a route that will be suitable in length and challenge. Yesterday proved to be a chance to both break in my butt and start the process of establishing a route. I did well in both accounts. For the route, when I say that I did well, I mean that I found several roads that will not be candidates for the warm-up ride.

Things started well enough, as I headed out on roads I was familiar with. The superb weather and the idyllic landscapes were as good as could possibly be. As the miles mounted, I recognized the energy in my legs waning. As I approached the road that I was hoping to use for my turn west toward home again, I found gravel.

Ugh. This was my last chance before reaching a state road that was not so bike friendly. So I turned off the pavement. Luckily, this was an old unpaved road, so the surface was hard-packed almost as smooth as asphalt.

I could live with that. After a couple of more turns, I was getting really ready to reach home, thinking that it would have been nice if I’d tucked an energy bar into my jersey pocket.

I was looking for 610th, a road that I knew previously was gravel, but thought I’d seen new pavement in the last couple of years. As I turned onto it, there was a fleeting moment of hope, because the first 50 yards was pavement. The gravel that followed was nothing like the hard-packed old roads I’d traversed earlier.

This stuff seemed like it might have just been laid down this spring. It was the worst of class 5 gravel that offered absolutely no smooth tire tracks and left my rear tire slipping if I stood up to pedal. At the first incline, I had to throw in the towel and dismount.

I walked my bike up the loose gravel road as my tired legs complained about the change. Too tired to walk and too tired to ride is a good sign I’d used up pretty much all the strength reserves my old legs had to offer.

Those roads will definitely not be on the route we will be taking in May.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 2, 2017 at 10:03 am