Friday, February 27, 2009

Little Things Big Differences

The difference between, say 32 degrees and 44 degrees doesn't seem like much, but what a difference! We had our first ride since Sunday and it was a beauty. 44 degrees felt positively balmy, but I won't make the mistake of thinking Spring has really arrived again. But I'll enjoy the day while we have it. And then there is the bike itself. As I reported on Sunday I spent the afternoon cleaning the chains, the brakes, the tires and filling them (which I do weekly - the tires not the rest - but I should) and the difference in the ride was super palpable. I rode much faster, smoother and with more energy. It made me realize (as I remarked to Annie) that if just cleaning and lubricating the chain makes such a difference, imagine what it is like to have way better components. Unfortunately new bikes are not in the plans for the foreseeable future. Anyway, it was a beautiful ride and while I didn't bring my mileage totals anywhere near the pace of precious years I inched February close to 200 and after around 30 something in January that isn't too bad.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wet And Worth It

Not much to report, but a nice ride with Annie in the rain. Temperature 38 degrees and almost no wind. The rain was not falling too hard and was not a hindrance. Off to teach this morning and then clean and lube the bikes this afternoon while watching the last stage of the Tour of California.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Practical Pedaling

Stopped by Traders Joe's this afternoon and saw this bike with trailer carrying a huge payload. Inspiring, really. Not the best shot, but you may get the idea.

Cavendish Out Front, Levi On Top

This is a picture we are going to see a lot more of this season. Mark Cavendish beats out Tom Boonen by millimeters at the front of a bunch sprint ending a stage of a race. And probably we'll see more of Cavendish starting to celebrate before he actually wins the race. His cockiness is part of what endears him to fans. He doesn't think he can lose, and mostly, he can't. Great finish and a good day of hard racing leaving Levi Leipheimer still leading the overall race.

I'm kind of treating today like a day off. Yesterday was very busy as was yesterday and actually Monday as well. Despite being on Sabbatical I'm beginning to feel stretched thin. I didn't feel like sitting down and writing all day today, so I went out a bit late and rode a bit longer. I'll try to get in some writing later in the day. 23.1 miles today. 41 degrees, overcast with an occasional drizzle. Nice ride.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Levi's On Top!

In a spectacular ride yesterday Levi Leipheimer came over the mountain and smashed through to take the leader's jersey in the tour of California. It will be a hard week of racing to come, but it will be difficult to take the jersey off Levi's back. Armstrong incredibly holding 4th place! Great racing in horrific weather.

As for me, just an ordinary ride in 22 degree temperature. The sun was brilliant and the ride invigorating. Don't know if I'd want to face that cold in the dark, so a few days this week are in doubt.

Monday, February 16, 2009


The temperature was 30 degrees and the wind chill was 20 when I went out this morning. But managed a good ride none the less in the continuing sunshine. Compared to what the guys had to ride through in California I'll take it. With all the twitter updates coming from the race yesterday, it didn't matter that the TV guys had no idea what was going on out on the road since the weather prohibited their cameras from transmitting. Nice.
After my regular 13.5 mile loop, I took out the Brompton for a couple of errands giving me 15.1 for the day.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Sun Doesn't Warm

Photo by Richard Masoner at Cyclelicious

Yes, that's the Governator and Levi Leipheimer on the podium after the Prologue at the Amgen Tour of California. Levi took second behind the phenomenal time trialer Fabian Concellara of Swizterland and Saxo Bank. It was an exciting day of time trialing. Especially getting to watch Lance for the first time since I started following racing. He looked mighty good and a 10th place finish puts him near the top of performers after 3 years off and at 37. Not bad. Levi looked great and so did a number of other riders. Floyd, who I've always believed was innocent, was nice to see back, but didn't look ready.Anyway, really glad that Versus decided to televise every stage live and I'm looking forward to watching tonight. Nice to have the time difference working in this direction as opposed to watching the TDF at dawn.

Annie had an all-day conference today and I had to drop her off around 8 AM so I got out a bit later than I'd have liked. Not until around 9:15 or so. But the sun was shining brightly and the prospect of the ride was inviting. Except for the 30 degree temperature and the stiff wind coming of the river. I was laboring again for a while but slowly began to feel a difference over the past few days, a little intuition that the riding form was beginning to come back. So when I turned back down the west side and the wind miraculously wasn't blowing in both direction as usual, I really started to move and by the time I came around the museum I was determined to go around again despite the cold. so I did and felt stronger and stronger as I rode. Managed 23.5 miles, my longest and most satisfying ride of the new year. Felt more comfortable on the bike than I have in awhile.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pitchers And Catchers Report

I know this is a bicycle blog, but come on, the World Championship Philadelphia Phillies begin the long road to a repeat performance this weekend when pitchers and catchers report. As you can see from the photo Cole Hamels, along with many of the regular position players are already in camp. This team is still hungry, I can feel it. And although it will be a lot more fun to watch the Tour of California for now, and the Tour de'France come July, by September all eyes will be on Philadelphia again.

Another nice day. spring has certainly not arrived yet, the temperature was down in the high thirties but still very much riding weather. The wind was nowhere near as dangerous as yesterday, but was still up. And my fitness certainly hasn't miraculously returned as I struggled with the wind and even the smallest of hills, It will take awhile, but it will come.

My experiment with getting more familiar with twitter is going well. Especially since I found a desktop program that brings me instant updates from both facebook and twitter. The twitter part really connects with the larger cycling community. I was able to get updates from the Tour of California Press Conference, for example, from Cyclicious. And a tweet from Lance Armstrong when he arrived in Sacramento. Cool

Thursday, February 12, 2009


First of all, I rode my Brompton to a meeting and very nearly got blown off the bike. Not good.

However, the real reason for this update is that my son commented on this morning's post supplying the link to his Lincoln reading and I wanted to supply it here for those of you who don't follow the comments.
Here it is Enjoy!

Finally, you can now follow me on Twitter. See the sidebar.

I Hate To Complain...But

For those wondering: Here is a view of what used to be the south Street Bridge. The roadway is gone. I will try to get closer next time I get west of the river to see what is going on. Not the best shot, I admit, but it should give you an idea.

Before today's report, just a note about the debut last night of the Jim Strait Bike Show on WIFI 1460 AM out of Florence NJ but easily accessible on streaming web here. It was kinda of cool to have a local bike show. The host had a phone conversation with someone from the Amgen Tour of California, and also John Boyle, director of the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia. I missed the beginning but look forward to listening next week.

As for this morning's ride: I hate to complain when one can ride out with the temperature at 56 degrees in February (Happy Lincoln's Birthday, BTW. Take the opportunity to read the second inaugural address today. Or better yet, check out Shaul Stone's Facebook page for a recording of it by my son) BUT it was a killer wind today. So much so that when the first blast hit me about half a block from home and came very close to toppling me over, I turned around and started back, ready to give up on the ride. As I rode back to my house I decided not to wimp out and give it another try. Truth is getting up Lombard Street was the worst part and I was hit by a second blast that again almost turned me homeward. I managed to go on and ride the entire loop, but most of it at not more than 8 miles an hour. Sure there were a couple of spots when the wind died down and I was up to regular speed, and one short segment where the wind was at my back and I flew (someday I will understand why the wind is in my face most of the way going in either direction)but for the most part it was a struggle. Of course, being out of shape doesn't help and from that point of view I think it must have been a very good workout. Luckily I'm not on a tight schedule because again the total time for the ride was ridiculous.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Now If Only It Could Stay this Way

46 degrees at 5:45 this morning. You might ask:"What was I doing riding at 5:45 AM on a Wednesday, my generally sacred day off?" Well, I'm on Sabbatical so I picked up another course to teach at the college in addition to my teaching Monday morning. For both love and money. So on what is an incredibly beautiful Wednesday, I was unable to sleep in a bit, not take a long leisurely ride. But I did get in my usual loop and it was very invigorating. I have convinced myself that the weather is going to stay this way, though it is only February, and spring has arrived. I know it ain't so, but I can't admit that to myself.

Meanwhile, the 13.5 mile ride killed me! I am feeling so fat and slow after not only riding so little, but eating so much. I'm back in training now and hope to shed the pounds and build up the stamina quickly. But it took me almost an hour and a half to do the ride that usually takes me an hour. And then I had to rush to get to school on time.

It is, of course, tempting to go back out in this beautiful weather now that I'm home after teaching, but I need to maintain the discipline of my writing, so I'm heading back into my cave.

Check out this story about Ride Of Your Life, a new book by David Rowe as featured on

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Yes, I'm Back

It has been over a month since I rode anything more than a mile here and there doing errands on my Brompton. The weather has just been miserable and even as it warmed these last few days, I was afraid of re-freezing ice-melt in the early morning. But the snow and ice are finally gone and the temperature this morning was 34 degrees and there seemed to be nothing to fear. My sinus condition has improved markedly, so out we went, Annie and I for our first ride. Let's say it was the first ride of a new season and hopefully there will be few breaks from now on. Of course, after not being out for awhile the first thing we had to deal with was a train, two trains to be exact, one on each track, blocking the entrance to the trail. We decided to carry our bikes up and down the Walnut St stairs rather than riding through the traffic on Chestnut. Silly decision but so be it. We lost some time and Annie had to be back for an appointment so we had to shorten the ride a bit. Managed just over 10 miles, which felt really good and given my shape also felt like enough. But now I'm started so hopefully things will improve quickly. Of course, it is still only early February and the weather can still present many challenges these next few weeks, so we'll have to see.
Meanwhile, my bike wrenching has come to naught. I haven't entirely given up the idea, but I'm close to it. I feel a bit sheepish about it, but I'm really enjoying not having someplace to go and working on and off all day on my writing. The writing is coming along nicely, but there is still an awful lot to do and I'm a bit paranoid that it won't get done if I get started at the Bike shop. Truth is I guess I've discovered that my inner do-it-yourselfer is really and inner let-the pros-do-it. Not motivated enough. I will say I'm still thinking about it and maybe a few days riding and watching the Tour of California next week will re-motivate me.
Speaking of which, I'm very excited that the Lance factor has brought the TOC more exposure. Versus will be carrying it live throughout the race. You can check out the schedule here.
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