6/27/2011

Breakdown Averted!


Just barely at that. We had planned on a longer ride on Sunday but cut it in half for various reasons. Man did I ever dodge a bullet.

On the return leg of our shortened ride I noticed my rear derailleur shifting was getting balky and inaccurate. I made a couple of on-the-fly barrel adjustments but they only helped temporarily. A couple of sweeps through the cassette and the shifting was askew again. My frustration mounted but with only 10 or so kilometres to go, I figured I would just do a proper adjustment at home.

Later that afternoon I attempted to get my gears back in order but the cable kept stretching out. The afternoon was winding down and I didn’t feel like walking down to Obsession for a new cable – it would have to wait.


Krista picked up the cable for me today and as I went to install it this evening I happened on a startling discovery. My old cable was in complete tatters inside the shifter body! This would explain the stretchy cable. A derailleur cable is 20 or so very fine stainless steel wires braided tightly together. At the contact point inside the shifter body only 3 were holding on for dear life!
Three little piggies got me alllllll the way home!

Had we gone for a longer ride (as planned) I probably would’ve been reduced to a single speed somewhere along Hwy 99. That would’ve made for a very long and arduous ride home.

The lesson learned here is that I probably should change those cables every season. Although the front shifter cable looks fine, I’ll be changing it this week as well. It may just save me a big headache.


One more tip. Whenever you do any work on your bike, always take it for a spin around the block to run through all your gears, check your brakes and listen for any new noises you may have not heard before. It’ll make you next ride less eventful.
 
 

6/23/2011

Ride Packets: check!


No thanks to Canada Post and the government, we have no snail-mail service. We were to have our ride packets sent to us via this service but it wasn’t meant to be.

Krista and I were going to make a little road trip down to Bellingham to visit the REI and Trader Joe’s yesterday. We changed our plans slightly and decided it best to head further south and pick up our group’s (and a couple friend’s) ride packets right from the Cascade offices. We also changed it up and went to the REI flagship instead of the Bellingham store. The more I read about this inconvenient postal strike/lockout the more I’m glad we made the effort. I’m sure we’ll all sleep better not wondering when/if we’ll get our ride packets. The folks at Cascade seemed quite happy we did as well and are refunding us the extra amount paid for mailing. Solid folks they are!

So now our trip is all set. We even scouted a place for dinner the evening before STP and Krista made a reservation. So despite Canada Posts best efforts, we’re better organized than ever for this ride. We just need to log a few more rides and we’re good to go.

Famous last words….

6/12/2011

Allergic to Centuries


Okay maybe it’s just the cottonwood blooming but anyway you cut it, this weekend's rides were trying.

The original plan was to knock out a Century to Squamish on Saturday. After hitting Deep Cove then Whytecliff we turned around because of rain on the Sea-to-Sky. Plan 'B' would be to complete the Century by way of UBC and SW Marine in Vancouver. By the time we hit Park Royal mall I couldn’t take it anymore – my allergies won. There was no way I could do another 100km with this kind of attack. The allergy med I took earlier in the morning came up a huge FAIL! It’s near impossible to ride when you’re completely stuffed, sneezy, runny and coughing (because you have to breathe only through your mouth). The group consensus was to Kevork the ride and re-try on Sunday. We still got 70km in so not a complete waste.

This morning I front-loaded with a different allergy med and we set off on our Century to Fort Langley. Again my allergies were active until around Pitt Meadows but, thankfully, nothing like the previous day. We got to Fort Langley and rode a 32km loop around the area to bring the day’s total to 166km.
Chili bootin' across the Golden Ears bridge!

We were all a bit on the sluggish side today. Tony’s still not 100% and Krista was battling some knee pain (that I think we may have figured out now). I felt fine after my allergies cleared up but totally hit the wall at the end of the Barnett. Definitely not our fastest Century on record and at the end we were just happy to be done. We’re riding a bit out of sync when it comes to timing our breaks but other than that, I feel we’ll be ready to tackle the STP in a few weeks. Time sure flies!   

6/05/2011

206 minus 0

Seriously long and sunny ride today but my word was it fantastic!

We drove out to Fort Langley and did a giant loop down to Bellingham, over to Lynden and back up to Fort Langley. It was a modified route based on previous rides in WA. The best feature for us was no 0(zero) Ave! Gets to be a bit of a wind tunnel and we've really grown to dislike it. This on'es definitely a repeat but I'm kinda burnt out from the day to say all the great things about this ride. I'll let the pictures do the talking!
Loading out for a day in the saddle
Drayton Harbour just a bit past the border.
T's smiling but has no right to be. Kudos on a superb effort from him today!!!
Fast 1
Fast 2
Smooth wide shoulders was the surface of the day - mostly!
Break #1 @ 55 kms (Birch Bay State Park)
Same spot, different angle
Big sky and light traffic. Ideal! (yes that's Baker in the background)
Is it time for coffee yet?
A firm grasp on what needs to be done.
Recommended coffee stop in WA. The coffee and staff are always superb!
'Nuff said - let's eat... EVERYTHING!
Fed, packed and ready to roll

6/03/2011

The Galileo One Hundred


Krista and I shared a fantastic ride up to Galileo Coffee along the Sea-to-Sky highway today. We both felt really good and it was nice to knock out a 105km before the weekend. There was just enough cloud cover to keep our engines cool. A vest was in order but at least we didn’t need sleeves.

There are a few great things about this ride:
-It’s not terribly long but is a good consistent effort because of the lack of traffic lights. A great training ride!
-The Sea-to-Sky is well paved and there’s a generous shoulder to ride most of the way to Squamish which makes the cars less intimidating. They've cleaned the winter crap off it too.
-Galileo has good coffee.
Outside Galileo
-Last but not least the view is stunning in both directions. It’s easily the most scenic route we ride!

Typical view for the ride!
Now we just need to double that distance on Sunday. Sounds good!
The only sleeves we needed today

6/01/2011

Rocket Fuel


My new favourite breakfast is Steel Cut Oats. I like them because of their texture and they’re less processed than rolled oats. They take a bit more time to cook (15 min on the stove) but you don’t really need to babysit them. I chuck a small handful of walnuts, some sliced strawberries and a splash of milk in them and that keeps me going all morning. Don’t forget the coffee!

Just an example of the difference in these oats
My default pre-ride breakfast is a toasted english muffin with natural peanut butter and Nutella or jam. Wasn’t entirely sure I’d be riding today so I skipped that breakfast. Turns out my new favourite breakfast is like rocket fuel for riding. I wasn’t even trying on a spin out to Whytecliff and turned out one of my fastest times. I even told myself at the beginning to just spin – no max effort ride here but man I had legs today!

Now I’m not all that sure how much the breakfast had to do with quality of my ride but I’m sure willing to experiment a bit more with this. We need to tee up a 200+km ride this weekend so I’ll see how this food fairs for endurance.

I've made these scones with the oats as well. Mine didn't look this good.
Perhaps this will give some motivation to ride. I had all the time in the world to ride yesterday and initially had aspirations of a solo Century. When it came down to it I just couldn’t bare the thought of that distance by myself. Too much time for me to be alone on the bike with my thoughts. I’ll keep the big distances for group rides.