Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Requiem for a Peugeot

My bike sits against the wall lifeless without a functioning derailleur. The sun rises early but I can't greet it in the way I want. I run yet the desire to crush scores of miles remains unfulfilled. Scouring the depths of the web and bike junkyards yields only sore eyes and greasy hands, respectively. It's time to move past the old frame, old wheels, old gears, and worn out everything. I've been hindered repeatedly in continual ways, from slipping gears, damaged brakes, bent chains, and now complete dysfunction.

It's only a matter of moments before you hurt me: rattling and crashing during a steep drop, sliding and crashing on a simple turn, or not able to brake leading to an unknown mess. Perhaps you will be resurrected for commutes, a river-ride, or a happy-hour; but for now, old friend, sleep and rest- you've earned it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Journey of the Century Dérailled

I didn't want to end 2009 without completing my first 100 mile bike ride. With the arrival of fall, rain, wind, and cold weather the window to tackle the endeavor was closing. This past Saturday, Nov. 7th, it was an all or nothing ride. A ride that took me over unfamiliar road, endless farmland, and daunting hills. The morning began early and I loaded up on a nutritious breakfast and an espresso (in hindsight I should have had a double). Overall I felt good, the bike was tuned, the road food stored, and an extra bag of supplies ready for pick-up. I was fortunate to have Cristina acting as Directeur Sportif, providing necessary nourishment and water after I hit the 50-60 mile mark.

The scenery surrounding the small country roads outside of Davis, CA are simply stunning. It's a view that keeps you going. The rolling landscape is dream-like and feels endless. It's something you don't see when you drive over freeways and major highways. It provides for a grand bike ride until you hit suburbia. I was able to handle rolling hills and natural grades; then I rolled through a small suburban community and met hills of the likes I had never tackled. They weren't major but after going 50-60 miles they took a toll on me. The toll it exacted made the return trip feel worse but invigorating. When going over some of those hills I felt pain in my legs such as I had never felt. Yet, it fueled me to continue and fight it out.

I was lucky that day for several reasons. The weather was perfect in that I never had to remove my top layer merino sweater over a short-sleeve merino jersey. The air proved crisp enough to cool me down but not enough to have me shivering or feeling cold and the wind was mild. A small seat adjustment fit me into the saddle better than ever and Cristina's support made the trip easier. Then I got unlucky. I reached Davis, the final destination that got me into striking 100 miles. And then it happened...my bike would not stay in gear. The chain was jumping up a gear then down and around. I hopped off only to notice a damaged cage.

This would have really sucked 25 miles prior or even 10. I finished the ride and have learned several valuable lessons (other than carry a spare derailleur ha.ha.):
  • know where your water refill and restroom stations will be
  • pack plenty of water packets (I used propel and it worked out well)
  • eat, eat, and eat
Biking this distance was tremendously enjoyable and didn't leave me hurt or exhausted the next day. However, it does leave me wanting a more reliable bike (my Peugeot is older than I). It has also left me wanting more: more bike rides, longer distances, faster speeds, improved pacing, etc. etc. My 2009 cycling goal is complete and the winter season will leave me with strength conditioning, indoor cycling fun, and chilly weekend rides.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sunken Ships

Daylight savings hath arrived and it doth provide morning shine.

I'm not much of a fan of getting up early to go for a run, head to the gym, or entertain an exercise routine. However, it has become enjoyable and easier to wake up when heading out for a bike ride. It's sort of like the first day of school or Christmas, but probably more like Saturday morning cartoons; I can't wait to get up, down an espresso, get the gear on, and carry my bike down the stairs. In short, it's fun.

Sacramento is blessed with many biker friendly streets and several bike trails. As of late I have been journeying south, after trekking the Davis and American River trail routes numerous times. Sometimes I see an odd bum peering through bushes, deer munching on foliage, squirrels jetting for dear life, etc. But on the journey south I found a washed up paddle-boat along the river banks. It's novel just to see it resting there, reminding me that biking on a river trail beats the hell out of weaving through traffic and swearing at cars that cut in front of you. The river appears motionless, a once powerful ship sits dead, and the only thing moving with great speed is you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Warmer Climes Kill

Sacramento's mid 60s to mid 70s weather filled with sunshine and light breezes are effectively making me semi-insane. It's perfect weather for a long bike ride, a light cruise to the park for a picnic, and/or sitting on the balcony enjoying some cold cold ones. Unfortunately, I'm stuck. Stuck in a building with regulated temperatures and pumped in air. A building that offers large windows displaying an unusually gorgeous November day; and what will probably be a gorgeous week. In short, the 9-5 has me in a strait-jacket.

Once I'm off work the sun is setting and outdoor fun is no longer within grasp. I have an hour for lunch that will allow me to take a brisk bike ride to the river and take in the invigorating atmosphere, but that's a tease. Luckily daylight savings is in effect and I can knock out a quick morning ride as the sun slowly takes shape around 6:AM or so, a longer tease but a tease nonetheless.

Winter is right around the corner and thoroughly enjoying what's left of the Indian Summer feels unattainable.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ewoks on The Today Show

4 minutes and 45 seconds of your life well spent if you watch this funny Star Wars themed Today Show episode; in which the ewoks steal the show:

The brown Ewok appears to be the infamous dancing Dwarf of the New York subway. And this video comes just in time for my annual Star Wars Holiday Special viewing.