Archives for the month of: January, 2014

This year I am going to do another full SR series of volunteer rides just like I did back in 2011. Carlos did that series with me and when he heard I was doing it again he signed up for the same thing. I am doing the volunteer series to help out the club and to toughen me up for a run at the Orr Springs 600. I am not sure why Carlos is doing another volunteer series – I guess he wants to keep an eye on me or something – who knows?

The toughening is starting well, as it rained quite steadily from the climb out of Inverness and all the way to the lighthouse. The rain was aided by a pretty good headwind that only served up stinging rain for a quarter mile or so, which makes me think I need more toughening. But I am getting ahead of myself – back to the start of the ride.

Rob the RBA needed to help out at the first ride of the year, our populaire, and we needed to do our volunteer ride the same day. Since I was going to be there anyway, I decided to volunteer to help check in riders for the populaire. Checking in riders is always fun because you get to see your old friends and run around and look important and make mistakes that makes Rob give you those sad looks – great times!

After sending off the populairists we departed at 815 or so. Carlos needed the late start because he did not sleep well. I guess his dog was howling at the ambulances again and keeping him awake. Rob, Carlos and I stay together until the climb of Camino Alto and then we separate. Rob is in good shape, having reduced himself from a size large to a size medium rain jacket and jersey. I know this not because I help Rob dress in the morning but because he announced the sale of a rain jacket and jersey for that reason on the club google group email list.

I start passing Populairists in Corte Madera and keep on passing them until my turn off onto Bear Valley Road in Olema. On the way I passed lots of friends and got to chat to each for a minute or two.

Carlos caught me and passed me just as the rain started out in Point Reyes National Seashore. Visibility was very poor, but I did get to see some HUGE waves in the mist at South Beach.

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There is no escaping Carlos, sigh.

Rob stopped to chat with us on his return from the light house near Historic Ranch C, which is just before Historic Ranch B where most of the poop on the road is (you’ll see – and smell it).

Historic Ranch C has the most interesting horses that they breed there. They have large bodies with small heads and skinny legs and mottled black and white coloration (pinto? apaloosa?) – and such teats they have! It was a wonder how some of them could walk their teats were so large. The horses did seem rather placid and I think I could ride one without much effort – I must investigate if they offer rides around Historic Ranch C, that would be a fun date with my girl.

One of those horses at Historic Ranch C - photo swiped from the interwebs without asking

One of those horses at Historic Ranch C – photo swiped from the interwebs without asking

The lighthouse parking lot was packed with tourists enjoying the mist and rain and cold just like me. Carlos wrung out his socks while I left to head back to Point Reyes. There is no control in Point Reyes but I always like to stop at Black Mountain Cycles and say hi to Mike, the owner. This time I wrung out my socks and insoles before I purchased a Floyd t-shirt for my girl.

Just north of Point Reyes Station I see Rob coming back from Marshal and he warns me of a rolled vehicle ahead. I ride past the rolled car as the laughing high school kids roll it upright from the roof it was resting on. The car is near totaled but everyone is in high spirits so it must be that no one was hurt.

The sun is now shining, and the north winds are slowing me greatly as the late start and the rain and headwind has me in the sweet spot for wind, the hour from 2pm to 3pm. I see Carlos leave Marshal just as I arrive – bye Carlos! Marshal has a little bit of chowder left for me and I wolf it down to escape three loud obnoxious drunk people who are watching videos or FB on a phone and hoot and pound on their table, and get out of there.

On the way back it is so pretty! Only two cars buzzed me, an elderly couple in a Cadillac and the drunk people from Marshal in a white mini. Thanks folks.

Boring and typical Tomales Bay with sun and tail wind, sigh.

Boring and typical Tomales Bay with sun and tail wind, sigh.

The rest of the ride is forgettably placid and uneventful, and I get back just before 7pm. Done! Carlos finished an hour before me, and Rob finished an hour before Carlos.

After a pizza dinner brought to me by Juliayn I am planning my volunteer efforts the lighthouse.  I have made a bunch of mud flaps to sell for $5 a pair, and I am going to go through my bike parts and bring things to sell for $5 or $10 each so bring some cash in small bills and pick up a bargain or a story from me at the finish of the Point Reyes Lighthouse 200!

See you then!

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Fit, like choice of bicycle type is highly idiosyncratic to the individual but here are some guides to consider if you are unhappy with the way you fit on your bike currently:

Bar Height: If you are riding a bike with drop handle bars, set yourself up so that you are most comfortable in the drops. By doing so you will tend to be stretched out a little if you ride on the brake hoods. Being most comfortable in the drops is important, to allow you to ride for long periods while heading into a headwind and to encourage you to ride in the drops when descending.

I tend to set my bikes up with the bars about 1 -2” below the saddle. This results in a fairly upright position which is desirable so that I can see ahead without having to tilt my head up too much.

Saddle Height: For saddle height I place my heel on the pedal with my leg locked while wearing the shoes and padded shorts I will be wearing for a ride. This results in a very close approximation of where I need to be and usually only results in an adjustment of 2-3mm in either direction (usually up) of the saddle after riding down the road for a few miles.

Comfort: To be comfortable for long rides it is essential to have strength to hold yourself up and to absorb road shocks and bumps. If you are not strong you will feel pain on the bike and off the bike at the controls and after the ride is over.

The basic to strength, and thus comfort, is your core – that is your abs. If you have weak abs you will have limited power for climbing and for headwinds, limited comfort on the bike, and probably will walk funny after a few hours on the bike.

To build your core strength not much is needed other than some discipline to do crunches and leg lifts everyday (or nearly every day). I perform 60 crunches and 20 leg lifts nearly every day as a part of my 10 minute physical therapy routine 5 days out of the week. No gyms, equipment, or privacy is need to do this, and if I just to the abs, I am done in less than five minutes.

Results are not immediate, but if the work is done with consistency in a few months back soreness and pain will be a memory and you can lift things and throw the kids around without any pain and you will enjoy long bike rides with less discomfort.

Along with the core, I have had soreness during long rides in my shoulders and in my triceps, so I incorporate some additional work in the form of 20 pushups and reps of 10 or 20 with a 10 pound weight for shoulders and I do those exercises with regularity as well. After a month or two of the added routine to my ab work the pain has ceased to arise on rides. I started my own exercise routine to recover from a shoulder injury ten years ago, and I have stayed regular with the work because the benefits are so great.

Using just a set of 10 pound dumbbells and reps of 10 or 20 is plenty for developing useful strength and muscle tone in whatever part of your body needs a little bit of work.  Similarly, if you happen to have foot, ankle or calf trouble simply doing a series of double and single calf raises in reps of 10 will go a long way to make foot, ankle and calf pain go away. Stretch your calves after you do the calf raises.

Don’t ride your bike: Find some other activity that you enjoy and do it as a change for your body and your mind. I have always been a runner, so I run once or twice a week. Running is helpful for the core work out, the endurance (no coasting) and for the discipline. Running also increases the strength of tendons and increases bone density which can be lost if you only ride the bike.

Know your body: It is important that you know the difference between a sore muscle and a strained tendon. Strained tendons take a long time to heal, and bike fit changes do not fix strained tendons, only time and strength does.

Other things for comfort:

Ginger! Candied ginger can ease an upset stomach and ease swollen ankles, knees and elbows. Look for it in the junk food section, most places have it.

Raise your hand to the sky! If your hands are sore, instead of dangling and shaking, just raise them up above your head and hold it for a little bit. When I do this, I can feel the blood flowing out of my hands and back to my body and it feels very good. Dangling and shaking keeps the blood pooled in your hands and won’t help much for very long.

This is the end of my ‘technical’ series – I am going to skip my explanation of planing.