Monday, June 25, 2012

Faux Pas Fashion Show

I was treated to the most unusual fashion show at the end of my ride on Saturday.  I left the group a little early and was riding back to Healdsburg solo.  As I rode along Dry Creek Valley Road, there were many, many cyclists coming from the opposite direction.  You could tell from the somewhat matching  jerseys (more on this later)and aero bars that they were all practicing for the upcoming Vineman triathlon.

Before I describe the show, let me describe the progression most semi-serious cyclists go through with regards to clothing.  Since buying your first bike can be an expensive endeavor, you decide that you don’t need all that fancy clothing when you have a drawer full of shorts and t-shirts at home. 

Vegas MTBWhen you come back from your first ride, chaffed in all the wrong places, you realize that bike shorts may not be such a bad idea.  And, since your buying shorts, you should get at least one jersey because those back pockets might come in handy.  Now, you have a pair of black bike shorts and a sales rack jersey.

FJ KitAs you ride more, you begin to pick up more jerseys.  Then you buy a wind vest, which has to color coordinate with your jerseys.  You don’t know it yet but this is the beginning of the end for your black shorts.  You see, not long after that you buy your first matching kit.  Now you’re hooked.  A few short years later you now refuse to wear anything but matching kits and all your original black shorts and multi-colored jerseys are relegated to trainer rides in the garage.

IMG_3751There is one exception to this rule and that’s guys who kick ass on the bike.  I have friend, who happens to own a great Italian restaurant (don’t worry GP, I won’t tell them it’s you) and his philosophy on what to wear is “I wear what’s clean”.  You may be lucky enough to ride with him one day as he rolls up in red & black shorts and a lime green Liquigas jersey.  If you decide to tease him about this on the ride he will simply drop you. Hard!!!  He may then come back and drop you again just for fun.

With that as a base, let’s get to the faux pas fashion show from Saturday.  All of these folks were from a team that raises money for a devastating disease by completing a triathlon, marathon, or century.  While they may get coaching on how to ride, I’m guessing they missed the class on how to dress.  Here’s just a sampling of the awesomeness I saw on the road.  (BTW, their team gear is purple.)

  • Team singlet (no sleeves) with white arm warmers.
  • Team singlet with knee-high black compression socks.
  • Team singlet with white arm warmers AND knee-high black compression socks.
  • Team jersey (with sleeves) tucked into black shorts.
  • Black shorts worn over team shorts with just the team name showing underneath.
  • Team singlet with baggy shorts.

I could go on but you get the point.  While I’m very proud of all these good people for raising money and improving their fitness, I can’t help but to poke a little fun at them for their fashion choices.  After all, when I first started riding, people couldn’t help but poke a little fun at the way I was dressed.


Monday, June 4, 2012

It’s time to climb!

In my last 5 rides, not including recovery rides, I’ve climbed nearly 12,000 feet.   The rides themselves have not been all that long with most of them in the 40 mile range.  They’ve just had a lot of up and down to them.  Yeah, you could say I’m focused on climbing right now.

This all started a few weeks ago when the Saturday club ride included a little climbing.  Frankly, I did not do well.  I was laboring up hills I usually get up with no problems.  As I slowly climbed it gave lots of time to analyze what was going on and then it hit me.  I’m not climbing well because I haven’t been climbing (duh!!!).  For whatever reason, our club rides have been on the flatter side so far this year.  It was time for a change.

Harrison-Coleman Valley-Bittner

Ride 1This is one of my all time favorite routes so I could not think of a better way to get back into the climbing groove.  This was a club ride so I also had great company.  Well, I had great company until we reached each climb.  Then I was by myself.  This route brought out some of our better riders who simply dropped me on every climb.  But I didn’t care.  I had a plan and I was sticking to it.  If it worked, I would be staying on their wheel soon enough.  Beside, like I said before, this is one of favorite routes so I also took the time to enjoy the scenery.  This would not be the case in the next ride.

Sonoma Mountain – Roberts Road

Ride 2I found myself riding solo on the Memorial Day Weekend so I chose to continue my climbing.  This time it was more serious.  I chose to climb Sonoma Mountain, which is not one of my favorites (because of the road condition) but it is a great climb for building strength.  Although the scenery on this route is very beautiful I was more interested in gearing, cadence and heart rate.  It was on this ride that I felt my climbing strength was beginning to come back.

Crane Canyon-Lichau-Roberts-Fountain Grove

Ride 3The next day I decided to tackle every major hill near the house.  This included riding Lichau Road for the first time, which is that second spike on the profile.  Lichau Road will get its own post here soon so let me just say this was an awesome ride.  I was toast as I approached the last climb but I held the course and completed the ride I started.  

Hill Work in Fountain Grove

Ride 4For my Wednesday after-work ride, I decided to continue with the climbing strategy.  The hills of Fountain Grove are less then 3-miles from my house and even closer to work.  The first 5-miles of this route was the ride to work so the hill work is really miles 5 through 20.  The coolest thing about this ride was that it was completely done in the middle ring, which told me I was getting stronger quickly.

Half of Rockpile

Ride 5Saturday’s club ride was going to the top of Rockpile, which is a very famous climb in Sonoma County and one of my favorites.  However, as soon as we began to climb I realized that my hill all the hill work was catching up with me.  I turned around about half way up with one of my fellow riders.  After a screaming descent, I was back at the car ready to call it a day.

Now, it’s time to recover.  I spent the last 3-weeks improving on the climbs and I am really feeling it.  That’s ok.  I know all this hard work will pay off in the end and I look forward to more climbing in the very near future.

Until then, bring on the recovery rides.