Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stuff I think about when I ride

Sometimes a good ride helps me turn off my brain and just be. Sometimes not. Maybe it's the coffee, but I occasionally find myself in senseless contemplation of ideas and issues such as...

• It feels unfair that no matter how far I ride, it always fits on the screen at the same size in Strava, RideWithGPS or even my Ascent program. Two hundred miles looks just like a ride to the grocery store. That can't be right. Something here needs to be fixed.

• It seems that however hard I work on a climb or interval, coughing up a lung and crying, as soon as I stop, I think "I could have gone just a little harder. I should have gone just a little harder." I keep telling myself I'm going harder than the guys that are home on the couch, but right about then some other cyclist will roll past at looking calm and rested, confirming that indeed I should have worked just a bit more.

• Do Hammer products really work, or do they just make me focus more because I spent so darn much money on them? Mitocaps? Do they do anything? Phytomax? Really Curtis? And does Recoverite really help recovery, or is much-cheaper chocolate milk just as good, as some claim? I don't know, but right now I'm into voodoo and will give anything a shot. Well, maybe not the Dark Rage, or the Size On I saw in the weight lifting section of "The Vitamin Shop." That stuff is just scary. I think. Unless some cyclist tells me it works. I'd try it then. Unless it kills you after it makes you better. Then I'd only try it a little.

• The best thing about drinking wine is not that it tastes so wonderful. It's not even that it's so relaxing. It's that if you wake up not feeling well, a bit sore and grumpy and with an aching body you can think "Hey, I should have skipped that last glass of fine vino." Now that I've cut wine out of my diet (temporally, as a weight loose measure,) when I wake up hurting the only thing I can think of is "Damn, I'm getting old." I miss the wine.

• How much is a gram? How much is an ounce? I'm pretty sure that a lot of either added up makes a lot, which makes a difference. But how about one, or just a few? If I drop 100 grams from my bike, that's more than four ounces, which is a quarter pound, which starts to sound like it might matter. But then again I carry a 16 ounce water bottle (that's the water itself, not even the bottle weight) and sometimes even two of those. Are 180 gram tires worth their delicate nature, or are 225 gram tires really more appropriate for the riding I do? If I have two tubes in the tires and one spare, should I use 49 gram tubes, or are 100 gram tubes smarter even though there's that 150 gram difference slowing me down?  Should I stop carrying a pump and a spare tube? Do I really need bar tape?  How much does a Road ID weigh? Do I need a haircut? Should I trim my nails? Is it wrong to carry a phone? How about a camera? Should I weigh my clothes?

• And cassettes. Oh my.  My 11-28 Ultegra weighs 242 grams, but I'd really like a lower set of gears for an upcoming ride with lots of super-steep hills. There's a Tiagra 12-30 that might be perfect, but it weighs 329 grams. Do I trade lower weight for the lower gear?  It makes me crazy.

• Compression: Is it just more voodoo, or or a legit way to aid recovery? I feel both more silly, and more like a super hero, in my black compression tights and shirt. But do they do anything? Are they tight enough even if compression does work? And do I really work hard enough that I even need this "recovery" everyone speaks so highly of? Tricia asked me "How are those different than the sup-hose the oldsters wear?" and I didn't have an answer. Blacker? Pricier?I'm not sure. Maybe I should get some for her and she'll not ask such questions. Or ask more.


  1. "I'd really like a lower set of gears for an upcoming ride with lots of super-steep hills."

    Doing hard rides like this
    Means committing 100% percent to breakfast.
    Do like pigs, commit: Chickens are interested

    Does my
    Metaphor confuse you or

    1. Confused AND dazzled. Just as I like it.

  2. Clever idea for a blog post... I'm copying it. And yes, Recoverite does work!


    1. More on Recoverite: I used it during Cycle Montana last summer and was really pleased with the results. It does seem to keep muscle soreness down quite a bit.


  3. Anonymous6:57 AM

    Love the post!

    I think compression really does work. Maybe it's all in my head, but I definitely feel better after a hard workout if I pull on my compression tights. I also do the cold bath thing. Those weeks I have 4 tough leg days scheduled in a row... A cold bath, while not enjoyable, seems to help.

    I've been wearing compression socks to work since I pulled a muscle in my foot and that seems to be aiding the healing. After one day, I was no longer limping.

    I use Trader Joe's chocolate protein powder mixed with milk as my recovery drink. I like the taste, that's really all that matters. Oh... and it has less sugar than straight chocolate milk.


  4. Sounds like you kind of turn into Andy Rooney when you get on your bike...
    As far as gears...What are those? Who has time to shift? I'm too busy thinking about weird shit to do that!

  5. Great read ! I love it. I love it so much, that the greedy visual-data gnome in me wants more !


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