Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

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.

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