Don’t Mash – Spin, Spin, Spin
When I first started riding again, I was obsessed with going faster, naturally. I spent all my time in my big chain ring on the and the smallest one in the back that I could manage. My knees ached, my thighs moaned. I was generally miserable on rides, and I wasn’t fast. My brother suggested that I drop down to my small chain ring on the front when we were riding to together in Lewes, DE in 2009.
I thought he was insane.
Last year, I managed to really mess up my left knee while moving a relative. I mean it was banged up. I didn’t ride for about a month and then when I did, I torqued it up so bad I had to drop out of a planned metric. As I eased back into my saddle last summer, I discovered that I could ride just as fast in an easier gear at a higher cadence – just as Frank said – without knee pain.
Carry Spares and Such
When I first start back on the bike, I’d go out with nothing but my bike and a water bottle. Not even a pump. That was just plain stupid. While flats are (luckily) not a daily event, getting one 12 miles from home would suck. Even if you don’t carry a tube and a C02 cartridge, at least carry a mobile phone so you can call for a ride.
Food and Drink
Speaking of your daily carry, when I first started riding (as mentioned above), I didn’t carry shit. No tubes, no phone, no food, no money, maybe some water. Well, that don’t cut it cupcake. At a minimum you need to care a little bit of coin (either real or plastic) so that you can get some food and drink on a ride.
But, really you need to carry some tools, some tubes, and something to hydrate. Yes water is good, but you lose a shit ton of electrolytes on a ride. Take some kind of electrolyte drink. I like nuun tabs.
Plan to ride more than you think you will…
A few weeks ago, I woke around 6:00 on a Saturday with lots of thoughts running around in my head. Eventually I decided that I needed to go out for a ride and I left to join the Peloton for the Saturday “Bagel Ride”. I figured I’d ride into town have some grub and ride home. I didn’t eat anything before leaving. (I did take two bottles of electrolyte solution.)
Well, when we got to town, we sat down and had some grub. I was still thinking I’d just turn around and head for home so I got a fruit cup and an Americano. We ate, we talked, we drank our coffee. Then someone said, “who’s going to Bay Ridge.” Everyone.
So I went too, but I was already on a calorie deficit. I did fine on the Bay Ridge segment and even back toward home, but then I got a wild hare up my ass and decided to push 34 miles to 50.
Luckily, I had some cabbage in the jersey and I stopped for some chocolate milk and some fig newtons around mile 40. Otherwise, I’d have bonked and struggled to get home. Lesson learned.
Take shit apart (or trust your mechanic)…
On that same ride, I was hearing something that sounded a lot like one of those old red wooden bid whistles (the Audubon bird call) coming from my rear derailleur. I was certain that I had bearings grinding to nothing in the sprockets. Well, I decided to repack it myself. Turns out there are no bearings in there. I filled it with some Pedro’s grease and everything is good to go.
Now, I wouldn’t overhaul my BB30, but every now and then, taking something apart is the right thing to do.