Finally, a sunny day

It was finally sunny, and I got out for a nice loop. 1300 ft. of climbing, 32 miles and change.


As a bonus I found a way to ride the significant hill into Harriman that leaves me on my bike. You see, I’ve been beating myself against a wall of hill that is insidious in its elevation. It starts at a 10 percent grade, but quickly eases to 8 or 9% and then again for a span to 7 or 8. But it’s just a setup. Just when you think all is well it rises back to 9% and stays there for a while, and then if that hasn’t gotten ya, rises back to 10 and then, once again, just when you think you’re good — it finishes with a section at 13%. Ow.

There’s a road that joins just before the 13% grade but that road stair steps its way to that point. Plenty of time to catch one’s breath, etc.church_jenni_hoop.jpgOn the far side of the hill I took a side road (the benefits of having a GPS with me) and found this sign, which had been nicely modified.

A great day for a ride.

Worn out gear (5.10 Camp Fours are the new hotness!)

5.10campfours.jpg Now that summer has arrived, despite the wet weather, I decided to go through the gear and chuck or giveaway the worn footwear and replace that which needed replacing.

Many of you will recognize the dislike of removing well broken in gear… stuff I’ve been happy with for years. At the same time, the companies move on and you sometimes can’t replace stuff. However, sometimes, stuff works out.

I’ve been wearing Five Ten shoes for a long time. It started way back when I was hiking and climbing. Their slippers were a standard amongst the crowd, and I very quickly fell in love with their Guide Tennies (the down to the toe lace adjustment, super sticky stealth rubber, and supportively stiff soles) and have worn them ever since (about 4 pairs worth at this point).

Naturally, looking to replace some light hikers I’ve had for a while, I turned to them and found their Camp Four model a mid ankle style that I like for hiking (not too high, not too low), a sole stiff where it needs to be, a nice fitting heel cup, and the down to the toe lacing. Some were suggesting a half size larger, but I found my regular size was best.

It’s been a few days and I can assure you they’re as good as one would hope. They’re light, comfortable, have the right balance of cushion to stiffness. They’d make an excellent hiker even with a heavyish pack (although I’m from the “go light” school myself (Tuckerize that pack!)).

Anyway, If you’ve never tried Five Ten, give them a whirl, they have a nice range, are a family owned business, and produce some of the stickiest rubber for hiking and climbing. (The pair of Teva sandals that I use for river running has 5.10 stealth rubber on the bottoms… they are so much better than everything else I’ve tried on slick wet rocks.)

More gear stuff (which everyone seems to ask me about) as I have time.

Disclaimer: I have no relationship with Five Ten other than that of happy customer.

It’s so not gonna be flat…

climb_toward.png Yesterday’s ride never had a hope of being flat. And it’s time for me to get hilly. I need some fitness and the hills are one way to do it.

Lately, there’s been a fairly consistent crowd for the Sunday morning rides, but they are clearly more fit than I. Little wonder considering the dearth of riding for me this year… but it does represent a challenge I’m up for. Anyway, a few weeks ago I had an abortive ride caused mostly by my being over-medicated in the blood pressure dept. following a significant change in diet. After 500ft of climbing I had to call it quits with my heart racing in my chest. No pain, but completely toast. I basically turned around after 5 miles, rolled back down the hill as far as I could, stopped to let my heart slow, and continuing. When I reached the bottom, after sitting still for fifteen minutes, I finally caught my breath and slowed my heart. Then, I rode some more, because while I was cooked, there was no pain, so I felt safe. The next day, with my Doctors consent I dropped the BP medication and haven’t looked back. The next ride had the leeway that comes along with only riding with one other person, but began to suggest that things were getting better.

Of course, there was a two week layoff from riding again (I simply can’t get my schedule together this year, yet. Maybe my boss can help me out…) so once again I had no idea how I was going to feel on a ride that I knew would have some steep climbing.

I started poorly as I left any hints of cash at home. I also forgot that the Park where we were starting starts collecting parking fees at 8. I was there two minutes after. Sigh. So I used an old trick that allows me to park free of cost, but does cause me to ride a short steep at the end of my ride in order to get to my car.

So I roll out for a warmup loop, carefully timed so that I’m at the starting point nicely warmed up when I realize that I’m not wearing my sunglasses. It’s not really a problem, but the glasses I had on are not nearly as protective, so I hustled up a bit and climbed back to the car, exchanged glasses and rolled back to the parking lot.

The climbing started shortly after we left. First good sign, I wasn’t completely off the back. Second good sign, I was close enough to stay with the group for about 15 miles before I finally hit a patch of climbing that separated me from the pack. Finally, there was one other person who was in roughly the same boat (while climbing) although better than I still, but close enough that we formed a gruppeto and made our way back. We were sorely tempted to bail and have my wife deliver us back to the start since we were very close to my house at the time, but I was determined not to bail. That’s a bad habit to get into.

In the end, we had a great ride back, and another frien we met in the parking lot was kind enough to toss my bike in his van and drive me up the last incline. I was cooked, but in a far better way. And while I climbed slowly, I never redlined or got to the point where I needed to stop. Good stuff. Now to continue to build on my dropping weight and increasing fitness.