antimony: photograph of my road bike (bike)
literally all I have done this weekend is eat, sleep, and ride my bike. (Well, okay, not quite literally all, but about as close as one can come and still post to LJ to mention it.)

now to decide: more food or more sleep? no more bike. ow.
antimony: "Course ya do." with animation from Beyond Zork (course ya do)
today was a dubious milestone: the first time I failed at the bench press and had to awkwardly wiggle out from under the bar. oops.

it is possibly the world pointing out to me that it is beautiful out today and it is time to stop lifting so much and riding more. 5+ pounds of upper body muscle are 5+ pounds to carry up every hill, after all. except that I hadn't brought the bike with me because I needed to stop at the drug store on my way home, and it's on my T ride home and not my bike ride home. and then I completely forgot to stop.

alas. I could go now, but I'm home and took off my shoes.
antimony: photograph of my road bike (bike)
(title from an actualfacts sign -- which was accurate, though several other locales along my way could have contended for it)

It was nice to get out for a ride today that was just a ride -- not training*, no specific goals, just pedaling through new countryside. [livejournal.com profile] dphilli1 had to be out at Purgatory Chasm this morning at early o'clock, so I dragged myself out of bed and went with him, plus bike. Which meant I was 60-odd miles from home without having to ride out and back, which was nice.

Not so nice was that it started with the climb to Sutton, while my legs were cold, and it took me a good 25 miles to really feel warmed up and loose. Which has become par for the course, which is just honestly kind of ridiculous -- legs, really?

It was good to be riding by myself -- I ended up doing a ride with a group ride two weeks that I hadn't intended to be a group ride, it just happened that way. That was an organized ride but go-at-your-own-pace; I was just barely fast enough to hang onto a group for a while, and once I started to falter they had decided I was Part Of The Group and they were keeping me, which meant a lot of hill-sprinting and pushing hard. All good things, but it was also nice to be beholden to no one but myself. Especially as I wasn't pushing the pace today -- I just rode until I was back at my front door.

Looking forward to the time change; after getting clipped last fall I haven't wanted to do my commute end-to-end in darkness, and it's been too cold for it to be fun anyway, but that should be changing.

* Well, right now time in the saddle is an important thing to train, because I need to get certain delicate anatomical structures used to sitting on a small brick for hours on end again after months of nothing longer than errands or spin classes. But I wasn't deliberately training anything.
antimony: photograph of my road bike (bike)
Most of the time, I don't think about my right knee. It's come up a few disparate times, though, lately, and then I realized it's been twenty years since I fell skiing** and partially tore the ACL in it. No surgery, just rehab, and it's been mostly fine ever since.

I still remember learning how to walk normally again. I'd been young and teenage and fearless (and stupid), and suddenly I didn't feel immortal any more. It made me a much better downhill skier in the long run. Not a stronger one, but a more controlled one. But it took a long time before I was comfortable again.

I've been feeling like that a lot lately on the bike, since getting in those two minor fender benders at the end of the summer (one completely my fault, one completely not, nothing more than bruises in both cases). I feel fragile, and then I feel silly for it, because I'm no less/more fragile than I was before, and I was much less injured than everyone else I know who got in a bike accident this past summer.

So I've mostly been riding indoors this winter, because I want to stay in shape, and the idea of going out in heavy traffic on slippery roads in the dark is less appealing. And massively overdid it this week, and I knew I was overdoing it as I did so, too. Now both knees hurt, the right much more than the left. And I don't know exactly how much strength it has. Or if this particular injury is even related; I do several things asymmetrically when riding, mostly because the curb is on the right, like which leg I start/stop with up/down, and that could be how I tweaked one more than the other.

That is to say, tl;dr, I'm whining that I can't go for my planned a long ride in the warm-ish (warm for January, at least) rain tomorrow, because being many miles from home and having my knee conk out would be double-plus ungood.

* Well, not exactly today, I don't remember what the date was, but it was early January some time, right before the big midwestern cold snap of '94 that everyone is comparing this year to.

** Well, not exactly skiing. More like, uh, getting off the chairlift at the top of the slope.
antimony: an entry for antimony in a periodic table (Default)
Reasons for distracted driving I will accept:

1. Running chase on an ambulance carrying your kid to the hospital.

I.e. I got clipped riding home. I'm fine -- nothing more than bruises, no damage to the bike -- I think the only thing that touched the car was my thigh, and I wasn't hit hard enough to lose control of the bike, either. Guy stopped, pulled over, and my incipient WHAT THE HELL DUDE was cut off by the blank look on his face. He explained that he was following the ambulance with his kid (an ambulance had passed me a minute ago, so this made great sense), and I told him to go. At this point he realized he should ask if I was OK, I said yes, and waved him off.

I rode on for a bit, but I was feeling nervy at all the intersections where I have to make the same maneuver I was doing (right turn only lane, I'm going straight, have to merge across), and there were more coming, so I called [personal profile] dphilli1 from a Whole Paycheck parking lot and then got some dinner while I waited. Hopefully I'll get over the twitchy soon -- that move is safer when done aggressively.
antimony: photograph of my road bike (bike)
I haven't been posting, because all I've been doing is working and riding my bike. Work is good to do but boring to talk about, and riding is better summed up by (terrible cellphone) pictures.

Pictures, and an attempt to keep the word count down )

And then the next morning I got to see [livejournal.com profile] sofer and [livejournal.com profile] sheepboyofchaos and meet their adorable daughter. Plus they gave me home-grown rhubarb, which is now strawberry-rhubarb shortcake. Although I managed to buy half-and-half instead of whipping cream and didn't notice until it wouldn't whip. Alas.

Now that I've hit my big goal, though -- anyone want to go riding? I'm going to be a lot less training-focused and more about just riding around for the rest of the summer. As long as you're OK with a max speed of about 14mph average -- I'm still not a speed demon.
antimony: photograph of my road bike (bike)
Still liking the new bike -- took a little trip out to Bolton to have lunch at Nashoba Winery. And to learn how to read a cue sheet. The lunch went better than the reading -- I got lost a couple of times, most of which were after I'd run off the west end of my map. Oops. Next time, print maps.

I wish I had more time to ride. I've been doing more multi-modal with my commute (if nothing else, my arms are definitely getting stronger from hefting the folding bike around) to get more miles in, but it's going to be all-dark soon, which makes it a lot less fun. (Also, I can, in fact, outrun the headlight on the folder.)

So, with detours, 74.09 miles, a little under 12mph average (but it was running around 13 most of the ride -- I just chilled out on the last ten miles or so).

ETA: I also went back and poked at an elevation profile, and have figured out that 7% is about where I run out of gears. Will see if getting in better shape changes that, or not -- I'm running a compact double on the bike, no granny gear, but there's room for futzing with cassette sizes.
antimony: an entry for antimony in a periodic table (Default)
So the last time I posted, I mentioned getting a new bike; it arrived about a month ago, and I finally had a chance to get it out for a long, fast ride yesterday. Whee! I missed riding like this. Yes, I used to do it on my Nishiki (1984 Nishiki Bel-Air mountain bike), complete with fairly knobby tires, but it's really nice to do it on a bike designed for speed. And yes, some may remember that I had another road bike, a Bianchi Brava, but it never fit right, and I gave up on it a few years ago.

(In other news, I am still not fast enough for group rides, sigh. There is a dearth of rides that a) actually, honestly, state their speeds and b) go 13-15 mph on flat ground. I like riding with people, and being the slowest person in a group sucks. Even if the leader clearly didn't mind hanging back, some of the other folks clearly did.)

High points of the ride: I can climb the hills on Trapelo Road while tired without a granny gear, which means I'm not completely out of shape. Also that not having a granny gear on the new bike was not a horrible mistake. :D I've been riding a lot more lately, though I am still out of shape compared to when I was riding 10-20 miles a day. I need to commute more (though not on the new bike). Even if it's getting dark out there.

Low points: a squirrel fell out of a tree and hit me. Seriously. Something dark and heavy came flying down, too fast to swerve or do anything but hold my line, and bounced off my left wrist. The guy behind me said "that was a squirrel". WTF, squirrel. It was probably a low point in the squirrel's day, too.

And, since there were very few reviews of this bike out there when I went looking, I'll post mine (warning: super-long):

click for pictures and not-so-mini-review )
antimony: photo of the bow of a canoe in the water taken from inside the canoe. (canoeing)
Adirondack pack basket: confirmed good for grocery shopping. Also confirmed to almost, but not quite, hold more groceries than I can successfully bike for 3.5 miles while carrying. Mounting a bike with a rigid, ~40# basket on one's back: entertaining, but possible, given a curb.

In other news, hello DW/LJ. I've been biking a lot more lately, which is good, since I'm buying a new bike. :) Not for grocery shopping, though. I might get the grocery-shopping bike repainted, as several years of outdoor living (frosh year at Swat, most of my time at MIT) did a number on the paint, and it's getting past the point of nail-polish touch-ups. I'll miss the old color, though. Weird to think of it being any other shade, since I've had the bike for over twenty years. (Yes, I could, and might, pick out a very similar color, but I'm also going to lose the decals and the only replica ones I can find online aren't exactly the same, though the same era, so I might go with a completely new look.)

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