I was pretty lazy Monday, Columbus Day. I had thoughts of going for a recovery ride after the 116 mile, ~10,000 foot, ride last Sunday. On Tuesday I went out to the Helotes Tuesday Nighter. Ed was out again along with some of the usual suspects. I was really glad to see Nic out there. He's a crazy strong junior rider for Bike World Racing who has a bright future ahead of him. We had a decent ride, it started off pretty casually, as usual, to Galm Rd. Then the pace picked up. The real fireworks started on 211. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to documenting any of the riding as it happened so it is difficult to remember many of the specifics. I do recall that one of the triathletes, Kent, went off the front of the group in the first 3 or 4 miles of the ride. We let him go, certain we would reel him back in. We did. Ed, Nic, Greg, Robert, and I were rotating pretty well at the front keeping the pace up. The group split up on 471, a little earlier than usual. I might have had something to do with that, I can't quite remember. 10-12 of us got to 211 together. Over the first couple of climbs most of the group was shed and it was Ed, Nic, Greg, Tim, and I up the last hill. There might have been another rider or too in the mix. Again, it's a bit hazy. I was putting in a good effort on the front up the last hill, checking my mirror to make sure the hurt was sufficient when Ed decided to come around from the back of the group at 21mph (I was pulling at 19). It hard as heck to jump and grab a wheel when you're on the front pulling, but I did it. I was the only one to make the leap and Ed and I crested the hill together. We made the turn at San Geronimo together and he nearly dropped me over the San Geronimo climb. He may have sat up for me a little bit there, I like to think he didn't. I tried to make sure I carried my share of the burden on the way back into town because it was clear that both of us had the same goal in mind- to stay off the front for 7 miles back into Helotes. We traded pulls, half a mile to a mile in length all the way back into town and stayed clear of the chasing group. With the days getting shorter that may have been the last Tuesday night ride of the year. It was a good one.
I had written about my speed wobbles last week. I noted a minuscule amount of play in the headset which I wasn't able to get out by tightening the bolt. I brought the bike over to Bike World on Wednesday and James was able to instantly show me that the plug in the steering tube was sitting too high to allow the headset to be further tightened. He was able to quickly fix it. I am interested to see if that was enough to cause the wobbles, however it didn't stop me from ordering a new bike. I've been welcomed to Bike World Racing so it is only natural I would buy from the shop, which is a Trek dealer. Without spoiling too many of the details, it a Trek Emonda SLR 9. It'll be here in about a month and a half. Full review pending.
I was also able to make it out for the Wednesday evening ride, but just barely. I couldn't quite make it all the way to the gym to meet the guys at the parking lot so I met them about a mile into the ride. It was a pretty casual ride. We didn't push the pace, I tried to keep the effort steady at about 220-250W. The normalized power for the ride wound up being 237. Not too bad. A decent display of moderation, which is not my specialty.
Thursday was a day off but Friday ended up being a short day at work, which was nice. The cumulative fatigue was quite high. Every ride for the past two weeks was hard in one way or another and I needed to just go out and spin. I decided to head down to the Salado Creek Greenway. For all my time in San Antonio I have never been on this bike path, at least not the north end. I was on the south end of the greenway for the first time only a couple of weeks ago. I found out that there is no great way to get to the Salado Creek Greenway from my house. The end of the trail is on Heubner Rd which is 4 lanes, two in each direction, divided by a median and no shoulder to ride on. I didn't have too much fun getting there and it wasn't even peak traffic. Apparently people getting to the trailhead was not part of the master plan when this was built. I'll have to look at a map. Maybe there is a better place to hop on the path that is more accessible to somebody not driving there. The trail itself was nice. Well maintained. There are a lot of curves that make the path interesting but limit speed. That is good fore safety on a multi-use trail but makes it a bit inconvenient for commuting on when you're running late.
|Salado Creek Greeway|
|This one was planning a devious attack. Just finished sharpening it fangs and hoofs. Bloodthirsty, I tell you.|
|Prior damage from attempted homocide by a deer.|
There also doesn't seem to be a decent way to get from the north part of the greenway to the south. Nokoma north of the airport to Mcallister Park? That seriously limits it's use as a commuting route to work. Maybe one of my cycling friends has some tips on the best way to do this.
A quick non-cycling story: My daughter has discovered that she can suspend a sheet from the top bunk to create a makeshift hammock that she actually sleeps in. It's pretty cute.
The epic ride of the week was on Saturday. Justin wanted to go ride a gravel grinder ride out by Bandera. Apparently, about 3 weeks ago Lance Armstrong and some of his fellow riders from Mellow Johnny's and a handful of San Antonio riders had ridden this 60 mile route and it looked interesting. Justin had loaned me a beautiful Ibis Hakkalugi cyclocross bike, built up with full ultegra and a nice wheelset with Chris King hubs, since I own neither a cyclocross or mountain bike at the moment. It was an hour drive and then a bit of a cluster getting the day use parking paid for at Bandera State Natural Area. Finally, around 9AM we were on the (unpaved)road. The bike was awesome and the roads, for the most part, were all you could ask for in unpaved roads. Our route was probably 70% gravel. We were cruising along quickly out to the town of Utopia. It was Justin, Dan, and myself. Dan also doesn't own a CX bike so he was out on his mountain bike. He had told us he was a bit out of shape due to a lot of school work recently. I didn't realize how hard he was working to keep up with us. After a quick stop in Utopia to refuel it was clear his tank was empty. Justin and I decided the best option would be to trade bikes. Dan and I switched pedals and continued on. The mountain bike was certainly slower. IT was heavier, the gearing was too low for the terrain we were on, and the tires were over-inflated leading to an incredibly rough ride, especially on South Seco Creek Rd. We had a couple fun water crossings on the way back. With about 15 miles left to go Dan sent us off ahead, in full bonk mode. I know I've been there before so I felt bad for him. Justin and I continued on but we were starting to feel it too. The last 3 or 4 miles is a gradual uphill slog on dirt and Justin and I were struggling to maintain 15mph. My heart rate tells the tale of two bikes. On the cross bike my average heart rate was a cool 124. On the last 25 miles of predominantly gravel it was 157bpm, although I swear every time I looked down it was in the mid 160s. That's up around threshold for me.
I had only a brief rest from a ride that left us feeling wrecked before heading out for dinner and a night at the San Antonio ballet with a beautiful woman.
Yeah, that my wife, also known as Animal. She's no slouch on the bike and despite some setbacks she'll get back there. Dinner at Ocho was great and the ballet was well done.
This morning I had planned to get up and ride with Aaron early in the morning but after my long ride and night out I wasn't feeling too spry in the morning. I slept in for an hour or so. Option B was to go meet the Wheelmen for a ride that was leaving from Leon Springs, about 4 miles from the house. That sounded like a nice relaxing option. Just what I needed today. At that point my wife announced to me that I would be bringing Noah. She and my daughter were going to see my neighbors perform at a church function and she didn't think Noah would do too well sitting through that. There is no easier way to turn a relaxed ride on a single into a sufferfest than to add a tandem with child stoker kit and, naturally, a child. I was feeling yesterday's efforts and I wasn't sure if we'd be able to stay with the group for long. We made it the 27 mile out to Bulverde at 19.4 mph average speed. I definitely burned a couple matches on the way out. Some were necessary, trying to keep momentum going and wrestle the tandem up the hills to stay with the group. One, the biggest one, was entirely unnecessary. Andy was doing a great job pulling on the front, about 21.5 mph. He'd been up there for about 5 minutes and I'm sure he was tiring. I spotted a rider up the rode and couldn't resist the urge to pull the group around the lone rider on a tandem with a 7 year old. I moved forward, bumped up the pace a bit and made the catch. I pushed my heart rate up to 175 during that effort. That was my max for the day and with the fatigue from the day before that was probably about as high as I would be able to push it anyway. I'm sure everybody responds differently to fatigue but I know I can only reach my max heart rate of 185 when I am well rested. We stopped at the store in Bulverde and Noah and I had some Snickers ice cream bars and a coke. I use my boy as an excuse to spoil myself. At this point I announced my intent to head home the way we had come because the group was going across Ammann Road to Fair Oaks Ranch. Ammann is several miles of continuous rollers which are too steep to keep momentum going. I didn't really want that kind of abuse but I allowed myself to be talked into going along. I'm sure the group would have moved a little faster without me but I appreciate them encouraging us to join and even sitting up occasionally on the couple of occasions we were slogging over some of the hills. Noah did awesome, putting in 56 miles, his longest ride to date. Not bad for a 7 year old who is under 50 lbs soaking wet. There were no complaints from him, only from me. The two rides this weekend left me pleasantly exhausted. My legs are aching as a type and I'm looking forward to a rest day tomorrow, otherwise known as my day job.