Do you ever have crappy rides?

Because I just did. The weather was beautiful, I had a funny podcast to listen to, there wasn’t too much traffic, but I just wanted to OFF MY BIKE. Instead of looking forward to my ride home after work in lovely weather, I was trying to get out of it. The way people talk sometimes, you’d think a ride cures all. IT DOESN’T. I rode on Sunday and had a wonderful time. I rode today and couldn’t wait to be home. Part of the problem might be the routine- I’m bored of my usual commute home. So I don’t look forward to it. So I’m gonna have to fix that, because that whole thing was unpleasant. BAH. 

Because People Always Want to Know

Because People Always Want to Know

Marijn de Vries explains (and illustrates!) peeing techniques for women out on a ride.

The Daily Bike: Fall

What a lovely fall day for a ride! However, what with the truly winter day we had on Saturday, I was anticipating cold temperatures and cold wind on Sunday. I didn’t actually bother to stick my head outside, though, to check and instead of a cold winter day, it was a mild fall day. Therefore, I was way overdressed! Regardless, it was a wonderful, leisurely ride. I’ve been eating like crap lately, and have been feeling guilty about not riding, so the two hour ride I took today helped alleviate some of that guilt.

I’d been feeling nostalgic for my old riding haunts, now that the weather has turned, and decided to ride back to my old neighborhood. A great choice, as the leaves are turning and the trail riding was beautiful. Since I was in the area, I decided to go back to my old bike shop to have them look at my rear derailleur, as it’s been acting wonky for awhile. I was glad I went. Twenty minutes later, I had a derailleur which shifted nice and smooth again, new brake pads, tightened brake cables, and a straightened brake hood. Thanks Arrow!

It was just a great ride. I was in no hurry and just rode along as I felt like it. I don’t even know how far I went or how long I rode- I just went until I needed to turn around and then went back again! The trails were lovely and now that it’s a bit colder, there are fewer people out, so I had the trails all to myself. I’m comfortable riding on the road, but it’s not very relaxing in the city- there’s too much traffic to be aware of. On the trails, with no one around, it’s much easier to let your mind wander and enjoy the scenery. I welcome the return of the colder weather, as I find cold rides invigorating and the roads empty.

So, let us not lament the end of summer, but embrace the empty trails and hardcore status that winter riding gives us.

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#30DaysofBiking: Day 18 | Easter Dinner

#30daysofbiking day 18

Shannon's Easter feast

Before we begin, I must say that although the official #30DaysofBiking might be over, my #30DaysofBiking is not. For me, #30DaysofBiking became not about getting on my bike every day, even though it started out like that. It became about finding ways to share my adventures on the bike. I don’t have a huge social life to begin with and my cycling obsession really cuts into what social activities I do do.  That, combined with the fact that the way my life works makes it really hard to just “pop” back home to get in a quick ride, lead me to very quickly abandon the idea of riding 30 days in a row. Had I done that, I probably would not have seen any of my friends for 30 days. So my 30 days of biking are not over yet.

So without further ado, my day 18 ride!  Today’s ride was thoroughly miserable. And this time it wasn’t the bike’s fault! I had to go to the grocery store to pick up some things for Shannon’s Easter meal, of course left too late, and in my rush to leave, did not realize a) it was WAY hot out or b) I had left my lock on the table. So a 5 minute ride turned into a 15 minute ride as I had to turn back to get my lock. By the time I got home, I was so hot I thought my face might explode. I almost didn’t go to Shannon’s house, but hate reneging on my friends, so I went. And I’m glad I did, because dinner was amazing.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Gilbert is King!

What’s there to say? Philippe Gilbert was the king of this year’s late season Ardenne Classics. With great form, good tactics, a supportive team, and, of course, a little bit of luck, Gilbert was able to take 4 wins in a row. Having won Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallone and now Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Gilbert has done what no other racer has done and won all four in a single season.

Calm start, calm finish

Compared the previous Classics of the season, LBL was relatively calm. There was no bunch sprint, no last minute attacks, no successful breakaways. But even the calmer races still make for an exciting time. A ten man breakaway got away within the first 12km – Sébastien Delfosse (Landbouwkrediet), Jesus Herrada Lopez (Movistar), David Le Lay ( AG2R), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Thomas De Gendt (Vancansoleil), Tony Gallopin (Cofidis), Mickaël Delage (Française des Jeux), Yannick Talabadon (Saur-Sojasun), Mathias Frank (BMC). The break was never allowed much leeway, unlike Flèche Wallonne, where the break had 17 minutes at one point. OmegaPharma-Lotto and Leopard Trek worked to keep the break close, which never got more than four minutes.

On the Côte de la Haute-Levée, a counter move by nine riders, including Enrico Gasparotto (Astana),  Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Laurens Ten Dam, Juan Manuel Garate (both Rabobank), Blel Kadri (AG2R), Kanstantsin Siutsou (HTC-Highroad), and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) went up the road and with 63km to go, they caught up with the original break. In spite of the large group up the road, the group was allowed a gap of 1:43.

Not until la Redoute climb was the gap reduced through Leopard Trek’s hard work. By the top of the climb, only seven riders remained in the break and they had only 45 seconds. Gasparotto, Pineau, Van Avermaet, Garate, Ten Dam, Kadri and Siutsou were alone in the front now, and were allowed to grow the gap while OmegaPharma-Lotto and Leopard Trek argued a bit over who should lead the chase.

The decisive move

With 21km to go, on the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, Gasparotto and Van Avermaet took off from the lead group just as the Schleck brothers took off from the peloton, with Gilbert in tow. The Schlecks and Gilbert quickly reached the leaders, who had been joined by Pineau. Gasparotto and Pineau were not able to hang on, but Van Avermaet stuck with the three favorites as they came by.

With this move, the fate of the race was written. The peloton was only able to get within 24 seconds of the leading four and although Gilbert attacked on St Nicolas climb, dropping Van Avermaet and Andy Schleck, A. Schleck made it back to the two in front with 5 km to go. As they came up the false flat to the finish line, Gilbert put on a final burst of speed the brothers could not match and crossed the finish line to take his 4th victory in 12 days.

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