Solo Rides, Racks, Puppy Birthdays, Margaritas, & Flops

My schedule has been a bit on the topsy-turvy side the last couple days, but I’ve still managed to shoehorn in my cycling, even with the rather heavy rain we have been having…luckily all of it in the late afternoon and evening.

Monday was one of those rare days where I actually rode alone for a change of pace. With no solid group riding plans in place, I headed out early morning to the Sweetbay Market hoping to find some riders to tag along with, but unfortunately, the parking lot was barren of the lycra clad kind, leaving me to do the Coconut Point loop on my own. Not that it’s a bad thing, in fact it was a great opportunity to work on some intervals as well as train according to heart rate…something I can finally do as my new Bontrager Node 2.1 computer lets me track heart rate and heart training zones. I’ll be adding the HR metrics to the ride stats from this point on.

Happy First Birthday to Chloe & Morris

I’ve mentioned in previous posts about the joy of relaxing solo rides taking in the sights and sounds of the environment, but this ride was quite the contrary as I constantly kept the pressure on the pedals never dropping below 20 MPH, even with the unfavorable wind and heat…and boy was it hot. At times it actually felt like it was drizzling from all the sweat pouring off me. My frame was an absolute mess, and mind you, the pavement was dry. By the time I got home, I had lost a little over 4 pounds (yes I always do weigh myself before and after a ride). Not unexpected as I spent nearly half the ride in zone 4…I’ll cover Heart Rate Zones and training with a heart monitor in a future post.

It was a great training ride to start what would turn out to be a rather busy day. The stats for the ride are below…

Route: Coconut-40
Ride Time: 2:07:45
Stopped Time: 16:23
Distance: 38.27 miles
Average: 18.97 mph
Fastest Speed: 25.85 mph
Ascent: 329 feet
Descent: 336 feet
Calories: 1989
HR Average: 133
HR Max: 162
HR Zone 1: 7:42
HR Zone 2: 12:18
HR Zone 3: 29:21
HR Zone 4: 1:07:24
HR Zone 5: 8:52

Once home, rested and showered, my attention turned to my car and finally deciding on a bike transport solution. If you know me or follow this blog, you’ve heard me mention my “15 mile rule” which basically states that if the start of a ride is 15 miles or less away from my home, I’ll cycle out to it. There are times that I actually pack up my bike and gear and use the car to get to the ride. Luckily my wife’s car is an ideal bike hauler, as I can drop the back seat and lay the bike flat in the cavernous bay, unfortunately, this causes problems if the three of us are traveling with the bike, and/or we need to carry bags for extended duration out of town rides.

The solution is to carry the bike(s) outside of the car, be it on top, or behind the car on a hitch type mount or a trunk mount. I’m not the biggest fan of carrying the bikes behind the car as they become targets for wayward drivers, but it is the most convenient. Not having a built in hitch let me discard the hitch mount solution quickly, especially since it would be a very pricey solution, including a major modification of the rear bumper to install the hitch.

The trunk mount was viable and the most cost effective solution, but I’d loose a ton of utility on the vehicle as I would not be able to open and close the rear hatch (the car is a wagon). Combine that with the obscured rear vision, the hassles of installing and deinstalling the rack, and the general “looseness” of the mount (with all due respects to companies like Thule, Yakima, and Saris, who all have elegant and proven trunk mounts, bikes still hang rather loosely on the racks and tend to sway quite a bit on the road), I also discarded the option.

That left a roof mount application. The car was already half way there as it has factory installed rails up top, so all that was needed was the cross rails and the actual bike mount. Thule and Yakima are the two big players offering tons of options and a variety of carrying purposes…who knows, some day I might need a cargo pod or perhaps even a kayak. Sure the roof mount is perhaps physically the most inconvenient solution, particularly if you have a tallish vehicle, but it is the safest and most secure solution, baring the forgetful driver who drives into the garage with the bikes still on the roof.

Both companies play nice as you can interchange gear with each, so you are never really locked into a single provider. Both are also well respected and reviewed, so it all came down to looks and pricing. To make a long story short, I was favoring Yakima, and I was just about to pull the trigger when my wife suggested I take one more look at Craig’s List. Sure enough, a posting was made that very morning for the Yakima rack base I needed. A quick phone call followed by a drive down to Naples netted me a very gently used Yakima RailGrab system at a very good price…got to love Craig’s List. I still need the actual bike mounts, which I’ll be ordering later this week (I’m favoring the Yakima Viper).

We detoured off to our dear friend Nat’s house afterwards to celebrate the first birthday of our puppies (they are brother and sister). Nat went all out providing a specially doggie cake for the two as well as inviting many friends and their dogs over to celebrate. Naturally there was all kinds of good food for the two legged species too, not to mention lots of margaritas…too many in fact, but then that’s what margaritas are for. Needless to say, we stayed far too late as both my son and puppy were completely “out cold” on the drive back home. Regardless though, it was a great time…Thanks Nat!

Yesterday’s margarita fueled late night out made for a rather lethargic ride this morning…well at least in the case of my legs. Although the pace was not fast, I was definitely in wheel sucking mode the first half of the ride. Luckily that first half was on slower bike paths which was just what I needed to wake up. By the way, before I forget, while riding through the Forum, we stopped momentarily for a mechanical issue. Mel, AKA “The No Drop, Two-Wheeled Barcalounger Rider” had to take a break of his own…not the mechanical type…so he rode off the road towards some convenient cover. As he rode through the wide grassy shoulder we witnessed a very nonchalant Flop of Disgrace as he struggled to ride through the surprisingly deep dipping shoulder. Now he vehemently insists that he did not flop, but we saw both arm and leg touch the ground as well as a very peculiar listing of his land yacht-like, two wheeled barcalounger… commonly known as a recumbent bike. I tried to take a picture for proof, but he daftly evaded my ever present camera. Had I taken the picture we would have all seen what he was doing behind the cover!!!

All composed and back on our way, we completed our ride in a very spirited fashion with some fast runs through the airport and up Tree Line…amazing how some caffein can wake up tired legs.

Route: Gateway Airport Loop
Ride Time: 2:17:37
Stopped Time: 51:36
Distance: 40.57 miles
Average: 17.69 mph
Fastest Speed: 28.83 mph
Ascent: 689 feet
Descent: 714 feet
Calories: 2063
HR Average: 116
HR Max: 162
HR Zone 1: 20:58
HR Zone 2: 55:30
HR Zone 3: 40:33
HR Zone 4: 18:06
HR Zone 5: 4:02

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