Sunday, February 24, 2008

Coming Out of Hibernation?

Just a quick update. The last two months have been pretty tough, with a cataract surgery and my very first roto-rooter job (colonoscopy). Oh, and did I mention I'm now a board member of a local nonprofit?

On the plus side, I figure I've done about 1000 miles of bike commuting on my beloved Winter Wreck. I call it my "winter wreck" because it's the bike set up to ride in the winter: mud guards, rear rack, lights, and--most importantly--it's less expensive, so I don't mind that it's constantly exposed to all that grit and moisture.

Anyway, we've gotten a spell of nice weather here, for a change, so I decided to take my beloved carbon-Ti bike on yesterday's club ride. The first surprise was when I pulled it off of the hooks in the garage: I nearly threw it in the air because it was so light. Pumped up the tires...hmmm...only 40 pounds in there (I ride with 110). Guess I haven't ridden it in a while!

Lynne met me on her bike at my door around 9:15 and we set off to Longbottom's, where the club starts the ride. I immediately noticed that it seems to take nothing to accelerate the bike. I'd stomp on the pedals when the light turned green, and it felt like I was being flicked like a booger.

Portland Velo's route was a pretty flat loop through the farmlands south of Hillsboro, which suited me fine; after doing very little more than commuting back and forth, I didn't feel like doing a lot of climbing. The other thing about climbing around here is that it tends to put you in wooded (shaded) areas, and the sun felt just wonderful. It quickly rose to over 50 degrees with bright sun. I was wearing black, so it felt very nice to be outside.

Down towards Bald Peak we skirted the mountain without actually doing a lot of climbing, and this is where my next surprise came. My Lemond Victoire is one of the stiffest bikes I've ever ridden (that was a surprise when I got it, but I'm still in love with it...). Anyway, stiff translates into fast on the downhills, and I'm used to being one of the first riders to hid the bottom of a hill. (Don Bolton is faster, but he's arguably got more years of motorcycle riding than I have.)

So...when three or four of these guys coasted past me to the bottom of the first hill, I was a little taken aback. OK, so I wasn't really trying that hard: upright, hands on the top, enjoying the gorgeous weather. The second time I was aero (hands on the drops, elbows and knees tucked, feet at 9 and 9 o'clock) and yet a few of the guys were in front of me. Now I was getting a bit curious.

The third time it happened I started to pay attention to what was going on, and then it hit me: these same guys were falling offf behind me as we ascended the next hill! A-HAH! Jason, you just might be getting your weight problem under control! I guess bike commuting all winter has paid off in more than one way.

In any event, this is my first entry into (hopefully) reviving this blog. Family, pictures, and what's generally occupying my life will follow. Take care!

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