Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Saddle Sores

I rode my 600k brevet last week and had a problem I've never had before - saddle sores. I've had a sore butt but never an actual saddle sore. I had no idea they are so painful. I use Lantisceptic as lubricant which normally does an excellent job. I had always thought it had anti-bacterial properties but it turns out it doesn't. I would have been well advised to use some neosporin on the sore. I had some, but didn't think I needed it. My nurse daughter corrected me there. If it ever happens again, I will know how to deal with it better. In the end (pun intended) all I did was to use more Lantisceptic and try to shift my weight off the sore spot.

It has been a week and it still isn't fully healed. Last Sunday's ride was quite painful. Fortunately my exercise bike's seat doesn't put any pressure on it.

I was trying to figure out what was different on this ride and I noticed the sore is actually where I touch the saddle while I'm down on the aerobars. Because I had such a fast 300k by using the aerobars a lot I was making a conscious effort to do the same on the 600k. I had also tried on the 400k but I didn't end up spending much time on the aerobars on that ride because the roads were so rough. I think spending so much time on the aerobars on a 600k might have caused the problem.

Either I need to toughen up that part of my anatomy that rests on the saddle while I'm on the aerobars or I need to simply limit my time on them during long rides. I'm hoping I can achieve the former.

Friday, March 25, 2016

600k staff ride

I rode the Triple Loop 600km brevet staff ride on Wednesday/Thursday last and we have got very lucky with closures. I also checked weather.com and it looks like you might be in for some excellent conditions on the 2nd. Let's hope they don't change their minds again.

I had to ride mid-week because of work so I delayed my start time to 8:30am to be on the Upper SART after the brush clearance crew had finished work. You won't have the same issues on the weekend.

Loop 1.

Even though I was careful to schedule the event two weeks before the Long Beach Grand Prix, I noticed that there is an all-electric race there on the 2nd. I don't know if the bike path around the marina will be affected by that. If anyone knows, please contact me. This is around mile 70.

Loop 2.

The west end of the SART alongside La Palma is closed for pipe installation. They have protected the bike lane on La Palma with K-rail which is cool. However, when returning they divert west bound cyclists to the other side of the street which is stupid. I was riding very late at night and simply rode against their direction arrows. Your call. This is mile 112 outbound and 238 inbound.

Green River Road construction is almost finished. They have marked out bike lanes all the way which is wonderful. They are also installing traffic lights at the Palisades intersection which will make that left turn much safer once they are up and running. Hopefully by the day of the ride you will have silky smooth bike lanes both ways. This is mile 119 outbound and 231 inbound.

Serfas Club Road under the 91 freeway is still a mess. Use tail lights and be careful. This is mile 121 outbound and 229 inbound.

The upper SART is undergoing a major brush removal project around mile 138. It is open on the weekends. You may see signs stating the trail is closed. Just ride around them.

Pomona Road still has heavy construction. It looks like it is closed to east bound traffic but you should be OK. If you cannot get through for any reason simply stay on Railroad Street which will bring you around to Serfas Club Drive adding about 1/2 mile.

It will be very cold riding back from Beaumont to Orange, especially for the slower riders. I begged some latex gloves from the Chevron station at control #7. They give them to people who need to pump diesel. If you get some, please remember to tip the attendant. My fingers were still cold but not painfully so. The lowest temperature I recorded was 43.1F. When you are descending at 30mph this like 20F (I Googled it).

Loop 3.

I took a peek at the shoulder of the I5 at Las Pulgas. They are serious about not riding on it. If you cannot get through Camp Pendleton I have an alternative which will get you credit without risking your life or getting an expensive ticket. I will be handing out the details with your brevet cards. Riding the shoulder is not an option this year. This is at mile 300.

I had no problems at Camp Pendleton so I ate at Angelos in Oceanside because I like to. I was mini-cramping in my legs and hands so I had the Greek salad. It has olives, pickles, feta cheese and greek salad dressing. Lots of salt there. Seemed to help a lot.

There are signs up stating that San Juan Creek bike trail is closed. It was possible to ride the trail on Thursday. If you cannot get through there is a parallel road to the right that will work just fine. This is at mile 340.

I think that's everything. If I remember something else I will add it.

I am thinking of reworking the route for next year by starting further inland at a nicer motel and skipping Camp Pendleton completely. Las Pulgas road will become an info control and I may make the third loop an out and back along the coast. If anyone has any suggestions they will be listened to carefully.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hybrid Bicycle

I drive a Toyota Prius - like most hybrid cars it uses batteries and motors to store surplus energy from downhills and braking and makes it available when under load. It very effectively increases the fuel-efficiency of the gasoline engine. Clever, but no longer revolutionary.

I was wondering if the same thing could be done on a bicycle. Well it turns out that at least two people have had the same thought so we have the Copenhagen Wheel and the FlyKly smart wheel. They both work in a similar way.

Copenhagen Wheel
They contain a motor/dynamo, batteries, and bluetooth communicators. When you brake (by pedaling backwards) the motor becomes a dynamo and recharges the batteries. When you pedal forwards the batteries power the motor providing some level of assist (no specifications on how much).

So if you, the rider, put the energy into the batteries do these wheels break the rules about rider-powered vehicles when it comes to riding brevets?

Article 2.
... Any form of human-powered vehicle is acceptable. The only stipulation is that the vehicle must be powered solely by the rider.

Note that the article does not specify if the power comes directly or indirectly from the rider.

Personally I would not use one of these wheels. On a flat ride there would be no opportunity to charge the wheel and on a hilly ride the extra weight would probably not be worth the power assist. Also, I think it would break Article 2 because it would be possible to start the ride with a fully charged wheel.

If someone showed up at one of my rides with one of these wheels I would DQ them on the spot.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Around the Bend 400k brevet

It's not often I say I will never do a ride again, but unfortunately that's exactly the way I feel about the Around the Bend 400k brevet I rode in Arizona yesterday.

There was a lot to like about the ride...
1. It's flat - really flat. It has about the same climbing as my flat 200k ride. I liked that.
2. The support was good. Tom Baker, the ride organizer, met us at the first control and was waiting for us at lunch with lots of good food and conversation. Then another volunteer was manning a secret control about 170 miles into the ride with more good stuff. No complaints there.
3. The overall design of the route was good. We were never riding into the rising or setting sun - that's always a good thing.
4 We got very lucky with the weather. Although it got up to about 85F it was overcast so there was very little direct sunlight. Also the wind was calm most of the day.

So what were the problems?
1. The roads were abysmal. Some of the worst roads I've ever ridden on. One of the worst was called Broadway. It's eight miles of one inch high ridges every ten feet. I could not ride faster that 10mph because it would have broken a spoke or even a wrist. It was so bad I actually bit my tongue. Overall I would say that more than half the route was on very rough roads. I suspect there aren't a lot of roads in central Arizona - in which case you'd think they could keep the ones they do have in better condition.

2. A lot of the route, especially the second half, was on roads with little or no shoulder and very heavy traffic. I have rarely been so afraid on a ride. Fortunately Arizona drivers are more courteous that Californian drivers so of the five thousand or so cars that passed me I only had two jerks. However, it only takes one to kill you.

I was hoping to do this ride with my daughter but she is too busy with her masters. As it turned out, I'm glad she couldn't make it.