Friday, December 02, 2005

Not Eliminated Yet

As of December 2, I have 75 miles to 4,000. In actual training terms, mileage alone means nothing. But when a round number hangs within reach it gives me a goal when I have no other reason to choose to ride the bike rather than train in some other way.

Monday and Tuesday I rode 30 miles each day on the fixed gear in the rain. Monday it was just above freezing. Tuesday it was just below 40, except when I rode up high enough to go into the inversion, where it was a steamy 50-something, and raining much harder.

Monday I got a flat tire at 15 miles. There was a paved driveway close by, so I didn't have to hunker in the slush to change the tube out of the way of what cars might pass.

Both rides were good. I got a muscle spasm in my back while I was changing Monday's flat, but Tuesday's ride loosened it up. In certain cases, if you just throw yourself at the pain it will give way before you do. The trick is knowing when. Experiment on yourself. Either you'll discover self-healing or cripple yourself.

Early winter days have no middle. The sun crawls reluctantly above the eastern horizon and immediately ducks toward the side door over to the west. It's far too busy in the other hemisphere to have time to climb anywhere near a decent noon height in this one. You have to run right out and grab whatever you can, in whatever weather you get.

Thursday I was able to take a dawn patrol. Wednesday's heavy rain had ended with a freeze, but the black ice didn't seem too bad. I felt my way onto it with the fixed gear again.

The fixed gear provides the closest thing to security on mildly slippery surfaces, because you control your speed directly through the driving wheel. If the surface is good, you just slow down. If it's slippery, the rear wheel locks up, but you can immediately relax your legs and let it roll again, or control the fishtail by dropping the pedal into the skid. Try not to let the bike cross up too much or you might flip over the high side if you hit grippy pavement while still sliding.

Obviously you don't want to let the bike go too fast when you suspect ice. The fixed gear is your friend there, because you can't coast down hills at foolish speeds. Nothing makes it idiot proof of course. You have to have bad enough judgement to be out there, but good enough judgement to be able to handle it.

The frost seemed to thicken after sunrise. Sections that had not been slippery on the ride out were a little dicey on the return. Only a little dicey, though.

From now on I will have to dodge storms to nab the final 75. I hope for a dawn patrol tomorrow and another 30 on Monday. After that a storm threatens for Tuesday.

I've been stopped as close as 3,945. It isn't in the bag until it's in the bag.

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