Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Riders after the storm

I rode a 400k brevet last Saturday. It was the staff ride for my 400k/600k brevet scheduled for April 28th. I had hoped to ride the 600k but as the ride date approached it was obvious that my injuries from the crash three weeks prior were not healed enough to ride a 600k.

A major late season storm blew through SoCal on Friday and dumped a lot of rain on us. Fortunately Saturday started cold and breezy but not raining. I started riding at 5:00am from Orange and headed up towards Long Beach where I ran into the first problem - the Long Beach Grand Prix. They had completely blocked access to the Los Angeles Bike path. Bastards.

I decided to get to the next control by using the San Gabriel River path so I turned around and rode back to it. The beach trail was flooded in places and extremely slippery. Riding through a large puddle I felt my back wheel slide out from under me and found myself on the concrete before I knew it. Other than being covered in cold water and mud, it didn't seem like a bad spill so after a few choice words I remounted and kept riding. However I did have the foresight to take some pain-killers because I knew the hurt was coming.

The San Gabriel bike trail added a few extra miles, but not many. On the way back I lost control of my front wheel in a flooded area in an underpass but fortunately recovered it. I was being ultra-cautious in any damp areas. With the delay trying to find a detour, the crash, and the extra miles I was 90 minutes behind my target time when I completed the first loop. Not that it really mattered.

Back at the motel I ate, changed clothes, cleaned-up a bit, took more pain-killers, and then headed out on loop 2 up to Beaumont on the Santa Ana bike trail. The Santa Ana bike trail had not flooded like the LA trails had so that part of the trip was less stressful.

Rincon Road in Norco was closed due to flooding. I rode around the gates and up to the flooded stretch. I could still see the double-yellow line through the water so I figured it wasn't that deep and rode through. It was maybe three inches deep and I made it through just fine. A little further I got to the turn from Hamner onto Detroit and verified that the sign is missing - there's no sign at Detroit. Thanks to Eric Anderson for pointing this out to me. I will update the routesheet.

The upper SART was not flooded either which was a bit of surprise as I've had issues under some of the bridges in the past. I've test ridden the stretch of the ride through Redlands, Yucaipa, and Beaumont at least twice this year but never with 130 miles in my legs (and multiple injuries). This is where the most concentrated climbing is with Overcrest registering a 10% grade on my GPS for a short distance. I really felt the climbing this time but the view from the top of Overcrest was worth it. I was certainly never at risk from overheating since the temperature never even got to 70F.

Caltrans has decided to replace a bridge on Brookside and according to the signs they don't plan on being finished until the end of May so we have to detour on Cherry Valley which adds a little climbing. More thanks to Eric for telling me about this. Cherry Valley is a bit more of a grind than Brookside but it's still very scenic and traffic was light as I climbed it. I've made this change to the routesheet too and the new one will be posted asap. The RideWithGPS route has already been updated

I had hoped to get to the top of the ride before sunset so I could descend San Timoteo before the dusk cooldown but that didn't happen. The temperature at the control was 44F so I bought a cheap rain poncho for $6.50 which I wore between my vest and my jacket. Thank goodness I did because I was flying down San Timoteo at 30+mph and the wind chill factor must have been close to freezing. I looked like a complete dork but at least I was a warm dork!

The return leg was fantastic. I flew back to Loma Linda and rode easily from Loma Linda to Corona, but I was plagued by sleepiness and spent a long time trying to deal with that, despite three Red Bulls. At the AM/PM control I drank one of their 'cappuchino' drinks - all caffeine and sugar. It went straight to my legs and brain (fortunately the caffeine went to my brain and the sugar to my legs) and I perked up and averaged 17mph for the last 20 miles to the motel. I have no idea why the coffee worked so much better than the Red Bulls. The temperature on that last stretch dropped to 39F on Green River Road.

I now have a purple bruise on my thigh that is seven inches across (my wife measured it). That's what happens when you crash and then ride another 220 miles. I don't recommend it.

See you on the 28th.

PS. This is weird. The pain-killers were 600mg Ibuprofen and I took 4 in about 4 hours. I should have taken this much over a 24 hour period. Later in the ride I started hallucinating. I could see a red halo around my aerobars. It lasted a few minutes then went away. I have no idea if that was caused by the drugs, sleepiness, or what. Very strange.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Benefits of a home gym

It has been two weeks since my accident and I finally got to ride again. The Serotta is still in the shop so I rode my Bachetta recumbent.a very flat 50 miles on the SART. The knee was very tight until the scab split and some icky stuff oozed out (TMI?). Much better after that happened. Perhaps now I've had some exercise I won't be so irritable.

About two years ago my youngest daughter moved out roughly at the same time as I was looking for a new gym. I was looking at $40 a month minimum for basic membership and realized I could buy a stationary recumbent for less than a one year membership. So I ordered a Schwinn 220 Recumbent Trainer  from Amazon and put it in my daughter's empty room. Then I added a small TV, a towel drawer, and a case of bottled water. Voila - home gym. I never have to wait for my favorite machine and the TV is always on the channel I want. The machines even have a little book ledge so I can watch Netflix on my Kindle Fire. Luxury.

My wife and I were so happy with the recumbent we bought a Schwinn 420 Elliptical Trainer six months later.

So when I hurt my knee two weeks ago, even though I couldn't bend it enough to use the recument trainer, I was able to use the elliptical within a few days. It was another 10 days before I could complete a pedal stroke on the recumbent. Having both machines available was a godsend. I'm sure it sped up my recovery significantly.

It has been two years since I bought the recumbent trainer and 18 months since the elliptical trainer. Total cost was about $800. Total savings so far is about $960. Both machines have paid for themselves and are still going strong. I use them about 4 hours a week and my wife and eldest daughter use them too. I can't imagine ever joining a gym again.