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Bike Love June 30, 2007

Posted by Bill in Equipment.
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In my dalliances on the parkway, I’ve had the chance to chat with a few other mature guys about their bikes. It’s pretty cool. I find that most of treat our rides like friends or dogs. We pet them, we hang out with them, we’re defensive of their reputations. If you’ve got a story to tell about your bike, wax poetic here and help us assemble some stories about our rides. If you’ve got thoughts about steel vs. aluminum vs. titanium vs. carbon vs. hybrid mixes, leave ’em here in comments, and link to products, but tell us about your rides. Yesterday a colleague/friend of mine was talking about his De Rosa, and the sparkle in his eye and his use of the word “romance” told me there was a story to be told. Perhaps many.

de Rosa

I notice a beating heart on their home page. Hmmm…

I’ll go first. As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, I ride a Bianchi Campione,

Campione at the American River

which my De Rosa friend says is equally deserving of amore. From 2003, my ride is considered “entry level,” which means fairly heavy at 25 pounds, but also trouble-free and delightfully balanced and true. The Campy gear system and solid Mavic wheels make my Campione easy to care for and consistent, with nothing twitchy or unpredictable about it at all. Its steel frame is resilient and gives an intimate road-feel my aluminum-frame friends lust after. And then my saddle… my only issue with my ride was wishing for a cut-out in my saddle nose right… there. And whadya know? WTB makes its Speed V Comp saddle with the perfect cut out in the shell right… there. Along with its “Love Channel” – or is it the “Channel d’Amore “on my Campione? – life doesn’t get any sweeter.


The Burn June 28, 2007

Posted by Bill in Conditioning.
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We are told to “ride through the burn.” Maybe, if you’re near the end of a race or you’re riding just ahead of a mother grizzly with her eye on your butt, but not if you’re trying to enjoy yourself and convince yourself to come back for more. The burn of fatigued muscles is their way of telling you they’re not exactly enjoying aerobic bliss. In fact, they’re running out of oxygen, and you need to listen and give ’em some space.

My workouts run about 20-25 miles, and I accidentally discovered that if I hop off at about 2-3 miles after I start my workout, or about the time I first feel that initial workout fatigue, and slow stretch the four major leg muscle groups (quads, hamstrings, adductors/groin & gluts) – no bouncing or yanking – I effectively stop the burn, my leg muscles feel better than fresh, and I can finish the workout without another stop if I choose. Early on I found myself stretching at 5-6 mile intervals, or whenever I felt the burn. I was out there to enjoy the feeling of the trail, not to pass people (or so I lied to myself).

Relax, enjoy, stretch, and hydrate. Who cares if I pass you on the trail while you stretch? With a little pleasant patience, you’ll be yelling “Passing!” from behind me in no time.

Celebrate health and sweat! June 28, 2007

Posted by Bill in Conditioning.
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Some of us on two pedal-driven wheels have been around the track a few times, but speed still rules. For me AARP stands for Animal-Aggressive Racing Position.

I ride the American River Parkway in Sacramento, California, and life is grand. Profession, family-raising and Germanic (or is it Scottish?) work-ethic guilt got in the way of maintaining my healthy body, something I enjoyed in my twenties and thirties. Then I got old, or so it felt – where’d that come from? With 55 staring me in the face, sweet, red Bianchi Campione beckoned, and off we went. I just have to do this! It was work! Then about six weeks into my “work,” my hour-long workouts on the parkway ushered me into endorphin bliss, as if someone threw a switch. Awesome. Now, just try to keep me away.

People my age are all over the place zipping around on fast, usually vintage, bikes. We should all be on faster, new bikes, hunkered down, eatin’ bugs, racing each other with grins on our faces. I see a lot of my baby-boomer age mates out there huffin’ & puffin’, making it all look like work. Hang in there! There is gold on that there trail, and it’s not just the gift of longevity, it’s sweet, sweet aerobic-endorphin bliss awaiting you, just around the conditioning corner.

This blog is for those of us of a certain age to share our secrets and discoveries about getting fit and having a blast on fast bikes. Biking is for everybody, but the joy of speed on a light, human-powered machine is a taste acquired and pleasure earned by the few (million?!) willing to pull on the padded pants, tuck in and take off.