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Florida, the Wind Always Blows in your Face State!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

So I must confess; I haven't ridden my bike since September.

No it wasn't the weather (winter is always like a perpetual spring here in the Florida panhandle), it's not like I was too busy (I am, but I've never let that keep me from working out), and it's not that I don't like cycling, I love it.

But I hate flats....with a passion, I...hate....getting....flats!

Last fall, I averaged 1 to 2 flats per ride! It sucked big time. They've got these stupid prickle bushes that bloom around August and they just attacked my tires with a vengeance.

So I sat out these last few months, lifting weights at the gym and doing my cardio in spin classes and on stationary bikes. But I've been itching to get going again....and besides SWMBO gave me a kick in the pants.

Here's how my brain tackled the problem.

"Hmmm, it's a pain in the ass to get the road bike out there, I keep getting flats and it's ruining my mojo. Hey, I like spinning on some of these stationary bikes at the gym, maybe I'll buy me one. Hmmmm, the one I like is about $1800.....sure I can get that. No, SWMBO will kill me, it's more than the love seat she bought that I gave her a hard time about"

"Hey maybe, I can get that trainer I researched a while back! I can put it on the back patio and spin like crazy watching the dolphins and pelicans!"

Here's how my conversation with SWMBO went last weekend:

ME: Hey I'm going to get this really cool magnetic trainer so I can get back into riding

SWMBO: Magnetic what? Why?

ME: It's pretty cool....AND MUCH CHEAPER THAN THAT SPIN BIKE I WANTED (wink, wink!)

SWMBO: Why do you need this again?

ME: It's pretty cool, I can put it on the back patio, mount the rear wheel of my bike on it, and I can spin like crazy on my own bike! AND ITS MUCH CHEAPER THAN THAT SPIN BIKE I WANTED (wink, wink!)

SWMBO: How much is this thing again?

ME: It's pretty cool.....about $340 on delivery!

SWMBO: 340 buck so you can ride your bike on the patio? Why don't you just get new tires and ride your bike on the road......LIKE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO!

ME: Ummm.....well.....yeah but this way I could ride even if it's raining out.

SWMBO: How much are new tires?

ME: About $80....for a pair of good ones.

At this point SWMBO goes silent and just gives me that look signifying, "Do we really need to be having this conversation?"

So I ordered me up a pair of Kevlar reinforced Continental Gatorskins, hardened with a synthetic diamond coating (not really, I made that up). I had a pair of these before, but I've ridden them hard for about 3 years, so yeah, it was time to replace them. They came in last Thursday, I put them on yesterday, then cleaned and tightened up my sweet, sweet Trek 2200

I decided to test out how my spin playlist translates onto a real ride on a real bike.....not so good, it's about fifty/fifty. The fast songs are good on the flats, but I can't always time the hill climbs to real hills here....besides, this is Ft Walton Beach, FL....I am at sea level on the sea.....hardly a hill to be had for miles.

I have noticed, however, that 6 months of squats & deadlifts have done wonders for my riding. I'm trying to find my new sweet spot between cadence vs speed. I had some very good stretches where I was able to sustain 18-20 MPH at 90 RPM on a flat road for a good long while. My goal is to be able to sustain that pace and cadence for about an hour comfortably.

The only bad thing was the was blowing up a storm here today. And I'm pretty convinced that, contrary to popular Spanish folklore, the name Florida is not derived from Juan Ponce de Leon's exclamation of how "Flowery" this land was. No, I'm pretty convinced that Florida is an old Indian Seminole word for "Wind Always Blows in your Face!"

It didn't matter what direction I was going in, I had a headwind at every turn!

But, it's February, and while my mom is snowed in in Boston, I have an opportunity to ride my bike outdoors.....can't be all that bad! And besides, I rode for 90 minutes without a flat!

Have a great night Spark friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I think you'll be in pretty good shape with those tires. I'll be curious to hear how you make out. I'm no fan of flats either and have had my share of learning from mistakes when changing them. One of my biggest shortcomings as a cyclist is my mechanically-impaired nature...ugh!

    1952 days ago
    I'm glad you were finally able to get back out, and really happy you didn't get blown off the road!

    I've been using stationary bikes for the past month, but will probably go out and get my own bike in April, once the weather decides to cooperate (I live in TN). It's going to be interesting...I haven't had my own bike since I was a kid, and things like flats, new tires, etc. are going to be all new to me.

    I had another SP friend comment that extra ST really improved his swim time, so it seems that squats and such will also impact my biking in a good way too!
    1952 days ago
  • BILL60
    How to Avoid Flats 101: Stay on the roads; Inflate tires at the proper PSI; Buy good quality tires; and replace tires sooner than 3 years. Good luck!!
    1952 days ago
    Wow... you basically live in paradise, if it wasn't for the prickle bushes! Good for you to have fixed your bike and exercised outdoors. It surely makes you feel alive to ride a bike through nature and feel the wind in your face. Love it! I am going out now for my run - felt temperature: 12 Fahrenheit. But I know coming back I will feel soooo good.
    Have a good week - hopefully not as busy as last one.
    1952 days ago
    Great job! I'm jealous! It snowed 6 inches on Thursday and today it was 40 and raining. Ugh!
    1953 days ago
    How wonderful not to have a flat!!! I sure saw a lot of people dealing with flats yesterday. And, I love that I can ride here in Texas basically year-round, too! What a great feeling! And, we don't have any prickle bushes. emoticon

    P.S. Thanks for the tip on squats and dead lifts! I really need to strengthen my legs to handle those hills & the wind better!
    1953 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/10/2013 6:47:56 PM
    SWMBO is very wise. *wink*
    1953 days ago
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