I’m baaaack! On the road again

I’m baaack! On the road again.

I know it’s the wrong song, but it my head I sound like Aerosmith singing “Back in the Saddle”.

60 degrees in early March in Chicago, weekend — I’m riding! Get that bike out of the basement; dust off my helmet and the riding glasses; and let’s see whether all this riding on rollers is going to pay off.

First of all, no amount of indoor training can truly prepare you for the road. No matter how fit and strong you think you are, the road is hard. When you’re going 20+ miles per hour and spinning at 80+ RPM in your largest chainring, it is likely not the months of off-season training paying off, it’s the wind in your back. Unfortunately, you only realize this when you turn around and that wind hits you in the face.

Second, it still is early March in Chicago. Going out in shorts and a short sleeved jersey with just a t-shirt underneath may not have been the best idea. When the sun is behind clouds and that wind is in your face, it is bloody cold.

And lastly, I missed my kung-fu movies and definitely did not miss suburban drivers and unchained dogs.

But nothing can take away the joy of actually being outside, on the road, watching the empty brown fields and bare trees fly by. And, all joking aside, the off-season training really does pay off. Even on this first ride of the year, you feel stronger and better prepared than you would have been otherwise. You can actually enjoy the ride as opposed to struggling through it and cursing all those rich winter-time foods.

So here’s to a great start of another riding season.



How I was rescued by Performance Bicycle team

Just want to say many thanks to the wonderful folks at the Performance Bicycle store in Schaumburg, IL for rescuing my behind or rather my tire yesterday.

I was out on the road, about 10 miles from my home when I suddenly felt that something was wrong with my back wheel.  I found a pretty good sized bubble in the back tire.  Never having experienced that before, I didn’t know what caused it.  I changed the tube, but even with a new tube, the bubble was there, smaller but still there.

Realizing that I was less than 1 mile away from the Performance Bike store, I rode down there.  Luckily, I had 20 bucks on me.  I explained the situation to Bob in the service center.  He had the exact same tire in stock, which I believe lists for about 30 bucks.  They applied whatever discounts they could find, even replaced the tire for me and got me out of the door all for $18.

Again, many thanks for saving me a 10 mile walk of shame of home.

Winter Olympics = time for my road bike

Winter Olympics XXI are on but I’m not much for winter sports.  I grew up way too far south to ever have any permanent snow or to develop any taste for playing in the cold frozen water.  The sun is out, the roads are clear and dry, it a little cold and windy – but what the hell.  I figured today was a perfect day to get on my road bike for the first time in 2010.  Nothing major, just 10 miles at a leisurely pace with an occasional sprint.  After several months of not riding a road bike, you don’t want to overdo it on the first day out.  It is too easy to try to go out there and to try to push yourself to ride as fast and as hard as you did at the end of last year, but if you’re like me, if you were inactive for several months, you’re just gonna hurt yourself.  I was in no mood for getting hurt, so I took it easy and it felt good.  The speed, the nimbleness of the bike through the turns, the bike answering to bursts of acceleration – it all felt good.  Made me realize how much I did miss it during these cold months.

So, all you folks always criticizing Chicago for its bad weather.  While you dig out from under all that snow that was dumped on you, I was out there riding today.  And riding a road bike, not just a mountain one with big off-road tires.