Monday, May 17, 2010

A great weekend biking leads into Bike to Work Week

Finally, a weekend in Boston where the weather cooperated. All weekend long, we had nice weather. So nice in fact that Rach managed to get a pretty good sunburn volunteering at BU's graduation ceremony.

Friday,  I wasn't in a very good mood because I am neither going west for E3 or helping my in laws move; no June trip for me. We wound up not doing much other than watching hockey, and having dinner at a bar by the arena. Even eating perfectly all day til dinner, 2 beers turns into 2 pounds the next morning. It's REALLY frustrating that I can't do even such minimal relaxing on a day I don't workout without a jump in weight. Sorry for the griping, just sometimes it gets to me.

Saturday, I was feeling a lot better thankfully, and I decided I wanted to put what was left of my plane ticket money towards a new bike. While clearly my weight is the biggest hindrance to my riding, my bike has been tasked with something it really wasn't meant to do; namely racing. The Fuji Absolute 4.0 is an entry level hybrid, really designed for commuting and recreational riding. I don't get as much out of my bike, and therefore myself because of the mostly upright riding position. While I love my bike, I am determined to make big performance strides this year, and some of that will be improved by just getting a new bike.

So while we didn't find anything at any of the shops in the area, and Craigslist brought only a couple of near misses (a couple of Fuji frames; one cracked and one an hour away), we did do some exploring and wound up in Salem to see some of the witch related sites. It's still amazing to me that we live a mere 30 minutes from amazingly historical places like this. 

This is what happens when you make me drink when I'm trying to lose weight. 
When we got back, Rach was tired, having gotten probably a little too much sun, and didn't want to work out. As I have a lot more work to do both to get ready for our next race, and most importantly to lose the damn weight. So out I went on the bike, determined to get in a solid ride and learn to climb some damn hills.

And so I did.

Ok, make that Hill. There was just one hill of any significance on my 10 mile ride. Then again, because I did the same 5 miles out and back, I climbed each side of the hill so I guess you could say it was 2 hills. It was city riding at it's finest, well timed lights and a few roll-throughs at empty traffic stops. A good solid effort into and then with a stiff breeze. It felt great having pushed myself to get out there on a day I could just as easily have stayed in and taken a nap with Rach.

The other reason that ride was important is that it's the last I'll ever take on my Fuji.

Just as eating grilled chicken with salad is different than eating a cheeseburger with fries, riding a bike designed for performance is different than riding one designed for fun. I knew that it was time for a change, and while I definitely still want a high end road bike, I've learned enough to know that even a bike with less than stellar components (my Fuji for example) can be a good starting point.

So while cruising around on the web Saturday night I started thinking outside the box, which led me inside the box. The big box. I wound up on, and I found this:

Yes, that's the new bike shine captured in all its glory
It's a road bike. A GMC Denali branded road bike (made by Kent Bicycles) to be precise. It's not anything special, but it's a bike with honest to God road geometry. I picked it up early Sunday morning, and moved the important pieces (wheels, pedals, saddle, and accessories) from the Fuji to the new one, and put the replacements on the Fuji. It's amazing what a little mechanics knowledge and 3 hours can get you. Then I hit the road.

It's funny, you'd think after riding for 18 months that riding a couple miles would be easy. But the difference in geometry actually had me using muscles in my legs that I don't think I've used the entire time I've been back on a bike. Being that I don't have a full shops worth of bike tools, I rode hard for the two miles up to the bike shop for some break tightening and a quick checkout that everything was assembled properly. It's an uphill ride from the house, the kind of slow gradual climb that normally knocks me down a little, but not too much.

By the time I got through those 2 miles Sunday, I was pretty much gassed. Clearly, I have a lot of work to do to get used to this bike. But the fact that I put in another 5 1/2 miles after I was done at the bike shop tells me I'm going to get that work done.

 - While the whole month is Bike Month, this coming week is National Bike to Work week. Normally, I only ride Fridays, but I'm riding every day this week. In fact, about the time this pops up on the web, I'll be on the new bike on my way into the office.

 - No news on the interview front. I'm going to send along my questions, and hope it either prompts a phone call, or I get back an email with all the answers. Tyler's training blog shows him to be further along than Rach and I are for a race only a week before ours. He's going twice as far though, so that he's about twice as far along makes sense.

- I didn't get to the Review page this weekend with everything that's going on. I'll get it up this week.

- I put the Fuji on Craigslist Sunday afternoon. I've gotten a bunch of calls and emails, and I expect it'll be gone by dinner tomorrow. Then I can start looking at the next set of upgrades the bike needs.

- We signed up for the Minuteman Sprint Triathlon on 6/19. It should be a perfect prep race for the Olympic we'll be doing in July.


  1. Congrats on the new bike, Ben! Love the colors! As far as not feeling right on the bike (using muscles you haven't used before, being unexpectedly sore, etc.), if you can swing the extra cost, get fitted by a reputable bike fitter. The better ones make sure your own unique body specs line up where they are supposed to over the seat, pedals, etc of your bike. Perhaps you aren't lined up properly and that is why you are feeling sore. FYI, the better fitters will also send you home with your bike/body measurements so it will be easier to get fitted in the future. Good luck, and congrats again! :)

  2. Anonymous - Thanks! I like the colors too, though I prefer blue. I have definitely thought about getting fitted for the bike, and I'm sure they will make some adjustments. However, I think this is a pretty close fit, and it's that I'm just not used to such an aggressive riding position. Nothing hurts, per say, just a bit sore and tired from the effort.

    Some of it is probably that I took the same route as yesterday, so more climbing. The way home features some nice long climbs as well. I'm going to track my progress with my GPS to see how I'm doing for speed.