As I alluded to in last week's lonely post, I have gotten back on my bike. For a number of weeks, between weather and work and family, it seemed that there was no time for bike riding and when I am not riding my bike, it is a slower and more laborious process to write about bikes. In the last number of days, however, I have managed to get in a plethora of rides and have a few thoughts.
Single Speed Niners - After a few months with the single speeds, I am glad we built them. I am convinced that my idea about the bikes for the boys being a good long-term purchase is correct and we have been having fun on them. They are, admittedly, a bit more single purpose than some other bikes. I haven't taken my geared, carbon mountain bike for a ride this year, but I am glad I have it and have to confess that I would keep that if I had to go to one.
Riding with Boys - My boys are 14 and 16 this summer. Our riding has been more fun this year than any prior. They are a size and strength now (they are both coming up on 6' tall) that it is much easier for them to roll along and enjoy longer rides. We had a fun single speed ride on Father's Day and rode the length of the lower Fish Lake Trail mid-week last week. I hope I have last years' Fish Lake trail rides on Garmin Connect because I know our average speed is a lot higher, but mostly everyone was having fun, so that is the idea.
Garmin Edge 500 - Still really like this unit, although we had a falling out last week. I rode up H195 from Hatch Road towards Spangle. That isn't a steep climb, but the Garmin kept telling me the grade was varying between 0% and 3%. I know that it is steeper than that, not a lot, but I would say the pitches vary from 3-6%. I know that it is average a bunch of data to come up with the percent grade, and it always lags as a result, but for some reason it never seemed to hit any higher numbers and, I suppose because I haven't been riding and was working very hard I found myself becoming irrationally angry at the Garmin. I normally just ignore it, but I couldn't. I become obsessed with it acknowledging the work I was doing and kept focusing on it. Very stupid and out of character for me.
Heart rate monitors - Read something over the weekend from a cycling coach that said heart rate monitors were useless. This is usually followed by a pitch to buy a watt meter, but this time I was surprised to see that the coach suggested using "perceived exertion" exclusively. Interesting because that doesn't involve selling anything. A few years ago when I made one bike switch or another, I left off the computer and rode for three years with no computer/HR monitor/watts. I do think that perceived exertion is an excellent way to train, but it also involves spending enough time training that you know your body and can both push yourself and let yourself rest when appropriate. Honestly, I have a harder time easing off. Like my ride yesterday.
I was tired and my legs were sore from more days of back-to-back training than all year so far, including a "run". It's in italics because the speed I go cannot be considered running, but it was an excellent way to make my legs very stiff and sore. Anyway, Sunday's ride was supposed to be recovery, spinning, leg-stretching. I decided to keep my heart rate below 130 bpm as a way of enforcing this (whereas on Saturday's ride I was trying to keep my heart rate over 130 bpm sustained for 2+ hours)(Do either of these strategies make sense? No idea)(Yes, I do realize that it is only in relationship to % of max; I just don't know enough about it). The conflict came when I realized that I was on target for a certain number of miles per hour, and then I noticed each mile where I was in correlation to that, which meant I kept pushing myself to keep up. Umm, that doesn't sound like recovery does it? Like I said, pushing myself I can do. Letting myself actively recover - not so good, but at least with a HR monitor it is easier to constantly remind myself to tone it down.
Ironman - I spent time this weekend seriously considering the CdA Ironman 2012. Normally I am completely against triathlons, but for some reason it crept into my head and I started considering it. Probably because my wife is traveling so she wasn't home to point out all of the reasons it is a bad idea. In honor of her, I haven't sign up. Yet.