Sunday, May 18, 2014

As If I Were Never Gone

It's now just a new set of grips away from race-ready.
I have to believe that after such a busy week and more than 2,600 miles of driving just to get to Tampa and then back to West Bend, most people would have taken it easy this weekend. Not me. There was too much bike stuff to do.

It began on Saturday morning with the first Washington County Bicycle Club time trial of the 2014 season. As the race official, I arrived early and drove the course, stopping at each corner to sweep away any debris. Four riders entered the TT, and that’s not a bad turnout when you consider the weather: a breezy 49 degrees. But the sun was out, the roads were dry and the TT was conducted safely. Three of the four riders were on TT bikes and wore aero helmets; the fourth ran a standard road bike and helmet. Any bike will do. This series isn’t about beating others. The goal is for individuals to better their own times. Saturday was a benchmark setting occasion for those who participated. We’ll do it again on June 14, July 26 and Aug. 30.

Next came a series of trips to Pedal Moraine. On the first visit I was rewarded with a Bontrager Ion headlight, something I had ordered a couple of months ago but was out of stock until last week. What a flame thrower! It’s amazing how compact and powerful bike lights have gotten in the last few years. I might do a nighttime Eisenbahn State Trail ride this week just to use the Ion! My second and third trips to the bike shop were kind of a comedy of errors but ended with the proper setup of my new mountain bike wheels, also from Bontrager. I’ve had them for weeks but I couldn’t get the tires to seat properly. I didn’t make too much effort to correct the problem because there was nowhere to ride, but things are different now that the trails are open for the season.

Putting new wheels on the bike meant that I simply had to go for a ride, so late Saturday afternoon I did two full laps at New Fane. I foolishly forgot my Garmin, so I don’t know my lap times. I’m sure they were not particularly fast.

Today began with streaming coverage of the Giro d’Italia during breakfast and the Tour of California during lunch. Today’s stage of the Tour of California was supposed to air live on NBC—not on NBC Sports Network—but Milwaukee’s WTMJ showed children’s programming instead. NBC affiliates in some other markets decided to show infomercials. Pathetic.

I went back to New Fane late in this afternoon and I didn’t forget my Garmin. My lap times of 28:17 and 28:16 were more than just remarkably consistent; they were consistent with times I was posting in mid-2013. And they were a big improvement over the 31:30 and 31:50 laps I rode back on May 3 when I returned to mountain biking after 8 months away. On Tuesday I will test myself at New Fane again.

But most of the coming week will be devoted to preparations for the Gravel Metric in DeKalb IL on Sunday. I had a blast at the inaugural Gravel Metric in 2010 and inexplicably haven’t been back. It’s a real “hard man” ride/race that will expose whatever weaknesses I have in my fitness.

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