09 July 2011
At The End Of Today's Limits
Well, the thunderstorms we had yesterday got rid of the heat and humidity--for a couple of hours this morning, anyway. To be fair, although it turned into a warm, sticky day, it wasn't nearly as bad as yesterday. Still, I overdressed: After going to Parisi's for a couple of snacks to take on the ride, I changed from the tank top I'd been wearing, and intended to wear, on my ride for a heavier, three-quarter sleeve shirt. At least the shirt is cotton, and kinda cute (or so I've been told).
Anyway, it felt good to get out earlier than I had been riding, and to ride with Lakythia. She says that today I pushed her past an old limit of hers. It was funny to hear that: For a moment, I though of myself riding in a studded leather bustier. Then again, I've never owned one of those, and finding one to fit me probably wouldn't be easy!
What she meant was that we went on a longer ride than any other she'd taken in a long while. The funny thing is that I wouldn't have known that unless she'd told me: She was tired, but so was I. It was the kind of day that would have tired out just about anybody who was riding five or more hours and wasn't a Cat III racer.
I do have one excuse for being tired: I rode in a fixed gear. I don't mean to blame the bike; Tosca, when I pedal her, just wants to keep on going. But I simply didn't have the option of shifting gears, which I would have liked later in the ride. When you can't shift gears, even ascending a ramp to a bridge walkway can seem like a real climb.
I find that it's always late in a ride of two hours or more (depending on the season and my condition) that I notice the difference between the way my bikes feel. Arielle and Helene remain comfortable and, like Tosca, just want to keep on going.
However, I feel that of all of my bikes, Arielle can "carry" me the most at the end of a ride: I can just find a comfortable gear and she'll get me home. Plus, the drop bars allow me to find a position that's comfortable. Paradoxically, sometimes I want to ride in the "drops" when I'm tired, because the efficiency of the position helps the bike to maximize whatever energy I still have left. Of course, I can also do that on Tosca, but I can't shift to a lower gear. On the other hand, on Helene, riding on the forward position of the Porteur bars isn't as efficient as riding on drops. Then again, if I want to, I can ride upright on Helene, which I can't do on Arielle or Tosca.
Of course, I didn't explain all of this to Lakythia, mainly because I wasn't thinking about it while we were riding. However, if she wants to know more about such things, or turn into a gearhead, I can help her with that, too. For now, I'm content to have found someone else with whom I enjoy riding.