Monday, December 04, 2006

"Chain"-ging of the Seasons

It doesn't look cold!
Well, December has brought colder weather, and I think it’s time to change my training/riding habits. I went for a chilly 25 miles out to the Antelope Island causeway yesterday. Starting temperature was about 28 degrees with hazy sunshine and I never really warmed up and got loose. Wearing a pair of shells inside a pair of XC skiing gloves left my fingers still cold for the first 15 miles! I am always amazed at the difference in riding at 30 degrees vs. riding at 40 degrees. So, I am thinking about being more selective about my winter rides. (That’s a nice way of saying I am wimping out about freezing on the bike!) On colder days I will head to the gym and work on both upper and lower body strength, and spin on my Cycleops Fluid Trainer in the garage. Also, I plan to head to Solitude Nordic Center, or Mill Creek Canyon to enjoy some cross-country skiing.
And if I really get desperate, I will head over to the pool for some lap swimming. Many years ago, when I was young and crazy, I was a fairly decent 500m swimmer. I actually swam all freestyle events, but enjoyed the 500m the most. I still enjoy a good swim, but the idea of serious training to race just isn’t there anymore. Am I still going to ride? YES! But, with a few caveats, like not starting late in the afternoon and making sure there is nice sunshine to keep me warm! Yesterday, I started after 2:30 PM and the sun got rather low on the horizon on the way back east to Layton.

Not saying how old this photo is, but the 38th President was in office!

In other news, I am continuing to think about how to configure the Little Red Bike for the longer events in 2007. One issue I am addressing is the size of my chain rings. I currently use 53/39/28 and I find that I spend all my time on flat terrain using the 53t (big ring) and about the middle of the 11-34 rear set. Conversely when I am on a long steep downhill, I find that I run out of gears to spin. That is to say that I spin using the 53t/11t and can’t get any more speed out of the bike at 90-100 rpm. So, what to do? My thoughts are to perhaps change the bike to 54/42/30, adding more gears in the mid-range to spin, and a little more gearing at the top end for going fast. The other reason for this discussion is that I inadvertently broke my front derailleur. My right pedal cleat disengaged while working hard up a hill, and I kicked the front derailleur into the chain ring. So, I would like to replace the derailleur and change chain rings all in one shot. Any suggestions/recommendations for a derailleur to replace the Shimano 105?

I know, I know, time for some solvent and dirty work..

Here is where you get to help!!! As I am a neophyte when it comes to the technical aspect of bike configuration, I would very much appreciate your comments/ideas.

And lastly, lately I have been enjoying my digital camera in black and white mode. When I was a young boy, I spent many a fine evening with my dad, Austin, developing and composing in black and white. Here are a few recent images. Enjoy!

Happy riding, skiing, or whatever fun you can find to do outside!

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