Summer Doldrums

A room with a view It was another weekend of back-to-back Giro Rides, and there was no doubt that summer was upon us. As often happens when it starts getting hot and miserable, I was feeling fine and spent more than usual in the wind, which isn’t actually saying much. Saturday’s Giro was kind of a series of flat tires – not mine. I turned back to help for the first one, along with a few others, as the rest of the group kept rolling. We made a really fast tire change and I was kind of looking fo A room with a view It was another weekend of back-to-back Giro Rides, and there was no doubt that summer was upon us. As often happens when it starts getting hot and miserable, I was feeling fine and spent more than usual in the wind, which isn’t actually saying much. Saturday’s Giro was kind of a series of flat tires – not mine. I turned back to help for the first one, along with a few others, as the rest of the group kept rolling. We made a really fast tire change and I was kind of looking forward to the team time trial that would be needed to get us back to the group. I figured they were not catchable, and was planning on taking the Bullard shortcut, but as is turned out they had been soft-pedaling and we caught them within a couple of miles. Then, right after turning onto Chef Highway, there was another flat. Fewer people stopped for that one, but it went quickly. We had just gotten going when we saw Judd off on the shoulder up ahead. I assumed he’d flatted, but in fact it was slightly more dramatic than that. Apparently Jaden had chucked a water bottle at him when he rolled through the red light at Michoud Blvd., and then there was some kind of confrontation about it that ended up with Judd going down or almost going down and dropping his chain. Anyway, we all got going again and rejoined the group when we saw it coming the other way, a couple of miles from the turnaround. Sunday’s ride was relatively civilized. Both days I made a couple of efforts that got my heart rate up into the 178 bpm range, which would be around 92% of max, so I guess that’s good. I felt strong sprinting up the overpasses, anyway. On the down side, I haven’t been reaching into my pocket for my camera very much since it’s been hot and humid and sweaty and in general there hasn’t been anything very interesting to take pictures of. In the middle of last week we finally got the office furniture installed, which basically involved a couple of days of disruption. I’ve still got a few boxes on the floor and haven’t taken time to hang anything on the walls, but at least it’s coming along. With today being the day before July 4, things are super quiet around here, not that I’m complaining. So halfway through the year, I’m showing around 5,700 miles, which is pretty decent considering the low-mileage weeks after the collarbone incident. Since I’ve been using Strava I have four full years of data with annual mileage totals ranging from a low of 11,724 (another collarbone year) to 12,378, so I guess I’m on track for a normal year mileage-wise. I have to admit that I really use Strava mainly just to keep track of mileage, both mine and my equipment. For example, I know that the Campi group  that I bought used from Matt a few years ago has over 50,600 miles on it now, and the “new” Bianchi has over 30,000. Where it really comes in handy, though, is keeping track of specific equipment items. The current headset is at 18,200 mi., and the most recently installed chain is now at 2,100 miles, which means it’s time to start looking for a replacement on sale. Surprisingly, I have over 25,000 miles on the Bont shoes, which are a little beat up from the crash into the car a while back but still serviceable. I really hate having to change shoes. The sizing is always inconsistent, the new models are never the same as the old ones, they’re expensive, and the local bike shops never, ever, have the brand and size that I need in stock so I can try them on before buying them, so getting new shoes is always an expensive roll of the dice. It’s neat to kind of know someone in the Tour The Tour de France started on Sunday, and it’s kind of fun for a lot of the local guys knowing that Nate Brown, who won the 2011 Tour de Louisiane, is riding it with the Cannondale team. Even better, he was in the KOM jersey after stage 3. Meanwhile, the USAC National Road Championships were going on over the weekend. There were a number of LAMBRA riders there, but no outstanding results. I got to watch a few of the races on the live web stream via VeloNews, which was great. The commentary, however, was pretty lame. The Women’s race had a big crash with five laps to go and they ended up stopping the race and re-starting it with six to go something like thirty minutes later. The two-person break that had been off the front survived, which must have been hard. I was sorry to see Debbie Milne go down hard in that crash. I wasn’t sure it was she until today because the commentators never said which riders went off in the ambulances. Apparently she whacked her head, so they didn’t want her to continue. Everybody else got to re-start, so in a way it was lucky for some of the riders. Brings me back! Anyway, I pretty much killed Sunday afternoon sitting in front of the computer watching the criteriums. I did, however, get rid of an old bike that I’d had sitting around in the basement since 2006. It was a French 10-speed from around 1971 or so that I’d gotten from a faculty member who was moving after Katrina. He’d also given me a really nice Peugeot mixte that I subsequently fixed up for Candy as her commuter. The “Olympique” bike, however, was in pretty rough shape and way too big for me anyway, so I hadn’t done anything with it. About a year ago I kind of cleaned it up a bit, thinking I’d put it on Craigslist for $20 or something, but that never actually happened, so it was just kind of in the way for a long time. When Tim posted that he was looking for a frame to build up I told him about it and he came over and picked it up in exchange for a bottle of wine. I think I may have gotten the better end of that deal, but it will be interesting to see if he is able to fix the bike up. It’s a solid old lugged steel frame with some vintage parts, so it does have some historical interest. It’s exactly the kind of thing that was being sold around here during the 70s “bike boom” when I first started riding.

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