Riding My Asterisk Off

…one mile at a time…

The little town we live in is flat. The closest thing to a hill here is a gradual upslope on one of the streets nearby, and it’s not exactly challenging. There might be another similar street, but I haven’t found it yet.

So in the interest of some not-flat and a change of scenery, we tossed the bikes in the back of the truck and headed 10 miles to Davis, where bikes outnumber cars and there are miles of bike paths. Most of it is flat, too, but there are some tiny hills and seemed like a good starting point.

You can find some fun stuff along the bike paths in Davis

Any real rider would probably laugh at using those “hills” as something to tackle, but for me it was An Event. We started at a park that has a nice path winding around and through it, and then headed up the overpass (the biggest of the hills, which are really just some inclines) and ventured onto the longer paths.

I hit that overpass pedaling hard and halfway thought that was super easy, what had I been thinking, but then 3/4 of the way my legs started yelling at me and I slowed way down…but I made it. We hit it a couple more times, as well as some other little inclines, and finished with ten miles.

The bike shorts I had on did their job; it wasn’t my screaming asterisk that made me want to stop. It was lack of food. My breakfast was long gone and I wanted a burger the size of a small child.

I also wanted ice cream, but after the burgers we decided to head home, let lunch settle, and if we still wanted it in an hour or so, we would ride to get it. And it was a chance to compare bike shorts; I wore another pair, and while they were all right, they were not as comfy as the others.

Ninety minutes later, I decided I did want ice cream, so we jumped on the bikes and took the long way. I want to burn as many calories as I was about to ingest, and came close. 250 calories burned riding there and back, 270 calories for a scoop of chocolate chip.

And that’s a huge difference from what we would have done a year ago. I think then we would have had the burgers, gone straight for ice cream–two scoops–and called the 10 miles good. this year…The 10 miles was almost enough to cover lunch–500 calories burned vs 700 eaten–but back then we would have added nearly 600 calories of ice cream to it with no additional effort.

I think the ongoing rule will be that ice cream once in a while is fine, but we have to ride there, no driving. I don’t envision wanting it that often, though, but it’s still a reasonable rule. Hell, I’ve pretty much reached the mindset that if I’m not going to bring home more than I can fit in a backpack, I ride in town. To Starbucks when I want to write there, ride. Grab something from the grocery store, ride. There’s no reason to take the car, other than laziness or pounding wind & rain.

Light rain, I’ll still ride, though I need to some up with something to better protect my computer from moisture. My backpack is fairly water resistant, but it’s not waterproof, and that sucker was pretty spendy.

Tomorrow, though…I’m not sure I’ll be able to walk. After fifteen miles and those tiny hills, my quads are bitching at me. But if it’s not a wet weather mess in the morning, I’ll still try to do a few miles, because why the hell not?

Twelve miles–with a short break at 5 to rehydrate–and my backside was not screaming. Not sure if it was because I had a different pair of bike shorts, if I’m just getting used to the seat, or what, but I’ll take it. The ride felt great, my speed was up a little, and so was my heart rate.

I never thought I’d say it, but I think I prefer the Marin over the Pedego, at least for riding around town.

We’ll see how I feel when I encounter a real hill, which does not exist in this town.

I didn’t make the same mistake today; I had lunch, waited an hour, and then headed out. Instead of dragging my asterisk, I was able to find a groove, got my HR into the high 130s, and pedaled around town for about half an hour.

Time and distance is not my issue; the bike seat is. Even with a gel pad and bike shorts, I was done at 7 miles because it hurt too much. Everything else feels great, I just have a major case of sore ass after 5 miles or so. I presume that’ll get better with time. If not, I’ll order a Pedego seat because that sucker is comfy for hours at a time.

I’m just not sure how well it’ll work with the new bike’s geometry. I mean, I think it’ll be fine, but it depends on where the crank on the different bikes are. If the new one is more under my hips than the Pedego, there might be some chafing. I’m willing to try, though.

I also need something to carry my wallet, keys, and phone. When it’s cooler our, I’m in track pants with pockets. It was warm today so I wore the bike shorts and wound up wearing my cycling jacket just for the pockets…that got a little warm after a while.

I’ll figure it out.

But I really would like to get a solid ten miles in without my ass feeling like its on fire.

Major mistake on my part: heading out at 2 pm without having had lunch. It never even crossed my mind. I’d spent the morning getting some work done, and when the chance presented itself, I grabbed my bike and started off on what I intended to be a 10 mile ride.

At two miles, I felt like utter crap.

At 2.5, I realized what the problem was. Between that and fighting a breeze that had aspirations of becoming wind, I headed home. All I managed was three miles, and it wasn’t even a fun three miles.

And it’s stupid, but I wanted those 10 miles for no reason other than I’m up a pound and the ride would have burned up a good 500 calories.

Who the hell gains a pound when they top out at 1200 calories a day?

Cripes.

I’ve always had a nasty habit of finding one mostly-comfortable gear on my bike and sticking to it. From my first 10 speed in the 70s (Schwinn Continental, I still miss that bike) to the electric, I’ve spent a few minutes finding the gear that doesn’t hurt, and I leave it. Uphill, downhill, flat ground…didn’t matter.

But, with the new bike, I figured I’d be better off if I played with it. So, the day before yesterday, after 6-7 miles, pedaling comfortably, I changed gears. It’s a stupid thing to be proud of, but hey, I’ll take my victories where I can find them. I wound up pedaling a little harder, my heart rate went up, and I went faster.

All good things.

So today I took the Pedego out. It was windy and I didn’t want to fight it, and it needs to be ridden every now and then.

And I changed gears. And my heart rate went up. It was harder, even with pedal assist. But, I did not go faster, because the bike is farkton heavy and there was no need to up the assist to get more speed.

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warm, not too windy, so once I get a few things done work-wise, I’m going outside to play.

Who knows, maybe I’ll try another gear or two.

I think this thing is coming off the trainer and going into the shed.

Excuse the clutter…the Room of Pain is a work in progress

Riding that bike is just not comfortable. I can’t figure out if it’s the frame, the handlebar, or the overall geometry, but I feel cramped as hell on it and I get mentally itchy after just 5 minutes. At some point I might replace the bar and see if that does anything, or I’ll save the money (it was not a spendy bike…like $300) and get a used bike that fits to put on the trainer.

The weather is turning favorable, more spring days than rainy, so I expect I’ll spend more time outside riding than inside pretending. That means I won’t really need to think about it until next winter, if even then. Face it, even when it’s cold here, it’s not cold, and as delicate as I am, I can deal with cold.

I think.

We’ll see.

Now, the treadmill behind it, that’ll get used. It gets used. The cats totally love to lounge on it…hell, I bet Max could legit brag that he spends an hour a day on the treadmill.

It’s a decent treadmill and comfortable to use (even when it’s turned on) and we have a 15K to get ready for…so, yes, it’ll get used by the humans in the house, too. Because there is no way I’m going outside to run when it’s 90 degrees outside. I might bike…but not run.

Nope.

Seriously. Ow.

I wasn’t sore this morning, which surprised me, so I headed out for another non-powered ride. I took a 4 mile route to Starbucks, sat there for about 45 minutes while I poked through a chapter on my manuscript, then headed home. I intended to do 6 miles on the way back, but at mile 5 I was waffling and at mile 5.25 I was sure I needed to just get my ass home.

So, 9.5 miles and the only real issue was how much my butt hurt.

I dug around in the closet where my old gear went to die, because I had a pair of bike shorts I liked…but they’re gone. All of it is gone. I have a nasty feeling that it all went out when I cleared stuff out to donate. I hadn’t intended to donate those, but they’re gone, so there’s a good chance I scooped them up by accident.

So, I ordered an inexpensive pair and they should be here by Monday.

I also might venture toward the next town over and see if I can get another pair…though I don’t know how many opportunities I’ll have for riding over the weekend. It’s supposed to rain; if it’s not pounding rain with wind, I’ll likely go out for a bit, but if it’s a real soaker or high winds, I’ll find other things to do.

Like…shop for shorts.

Monday looks to be a good riding day, but I have a commitment in the afternoon, so we’ll see.