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Bonus Blog... now, about BIKING!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Y'all remember Brenda Starr Trek, my fitness hybrid bike? She's been my faithful servant and partner in Tri-ing since July of 2012. She took me to work this morning, and in fact, I looped a little farther than the workplace, since I was a tad early, and also since I don't know how much more really good biking weather we'll have. You just never know. So I rode about 9 1/2 miles "the long way around" just appreciating the weather, the scenery, and all.

For the first time since they painted the bike lanes on the downtown streets, I actually USED them. For about three blocks. They kind of freak me out, because they are on the outside of angle-in parking, and I've never much cared for how they laid them out. A car pulled up in the lane beside, even on a Sunday morning when downtown is mostly deserted, but was respectful.

And after work, I rode the trails down to my favorite bike shop where I found an "event" going on. Brenda was about due for a tune up, and I get them for free there, so I went in and they happened to have a free mechanic to look at her and adjust her brakes and gears and such while I went out and drooled over the stuff in the tents set up outside.

Talk about dangling candy in front of a baby... the event was sponsored by an outfit called SRAM, and what they were pitching was power metering technology... power cranks that can be installed on road bikes that feed little computer devices with how many watts of power you are actually producing on the pedals. And get this: they were offering test rides!

Of course I had to try it out. I brought Brenda home first, as they had just sent the bike that would fit me out on a 50 minute ride with someone else. Had my lunch, and drove back over.

You must understand: I had never ridden a true road bike before. These bikes had a different kind of gear shift, a totally different posture for riding, different brake technology. So above and beyond having a gadget measure how powerful my pedal strokes were, I was learning to ride a bike kind of all over again. At least they gave me flat pedals so I didn't have to go whole hog into clip shoes or whatever!

I started out slow, on residential streets, then turned onto the bike path and cranked it up a notch. And discovered cross winds. Aargh! No, I did not crash, but I got to feeling a tad insecure in spots. When I got back, the nice man showed me two numbers. Since I have no reference point, I have little to compare with, but I found one later.

First number: my average Watt production for the 20 minute ride was 60. My comparison - I powered a light bulb for 20 minutes. I have no idea if this number is good or bad.

Second number: my maximum Watt output was 207. No idea where on the ride I was pushing that hard, but I have my suspictions. It is my understanding that one can upload from the receiver device to training web sites and track over time... and now the geek in me comes out. This could be very useful for intelligent training.

So... Brenda my dear, you're a wonderful commuting bike... and a fine touring bike for up to 25 miles... but are you up to an Olympic triathon?

Triathlon is NOT a cheap sport. I may start discovering just how cheap it's NOT. But whatever the expense at this point... I might just decide I'm worth it. But no, I did not purchase a new bike today. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Oh, and yesterday's comparison numbers from the gadgets, which I did not get into the morning blog. Yesterday had a gym strength workout and an afternoon walk. The gym workout included rowing machine for the warmup.

OMRON - 12819
Fitbit Flex - 11605
Spark Activity Tracker - 13008

LIFE continues to be good! Spark on. emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • LEWILL1982
    Oh Barb, I know how you're feeling. I have a bike, much like Brenda. She's a fine bike (mine, as I'm sure yours is, as well), but I am so curious about a road bike. I'm not sure I'd trade mine in, I think I want to save up to be that n+1 that someone referenced above. I rode 172 miles this weekend on my bike, it handled nicely, but what I notice about the road bikes is not only skinnier tires to help you go faster, but different handle bar positions to help you change up your position. YOu've inspired me to go out for a test drive! Enjoy Brenda, and for now, we dream about n+1!
    1698 days ago
  • SHARON10002
    I remember when you bought Brenda. . . you were so excited! You haven't proven to be a frivolous spender so far, so I don't think you're going to begin now. But you will know how much deeper you want to delve into all of this training and exercise. I'm sure you'll do some more research as time goes on. It will be interesting to all of us to see where this trial ride takes you. . . . Happy Biking!
    1699 days ago
    That sounds really cool.
    1700 days ago
    Oh, but you had the fun of trying one out! WTG!
    1700 days ago
    Holy Cow Barb! A new challenge--- You are amazing!-Lynda emoticon
    1700 days ago
    That sounds like a very cool gadget!
    1700 days ago
  • DALID414
    My eyes almost popped out if my head with excitement thinking you bought a new bike!
    1700 days ago
  • BOBBYD31
    road bikes are cool, TRI bikes even cooler but for an OLY TRI your bike is still good unless you are trying place. i ride a specialized tricross now but used an old 1974 schwin 10 speed for my TRI's (yea people blew past me on the hills) have not done any in a few years due to injuries but log about 1500 miles a summer riding. hope to be back running soon and planning a half ironman next fall
    1700 days ago

    Now you are talking triathlon....road bike most definitely but you don't have to go whole hog and spend thousands......get fitted for a GIANT Avant (my ride) at the bike shop just to find out the size of bike you need. Then cruise the for sale stuff on the triathlon sites in your area.....If you can wait you will get a great deal on a new bike in December as that is when the new season of bikes comes in and the shops are quick to liquidate.

    Ohhhh I am getting so excited...don't forget the shoes, pedals and clips. I use MTB shoes not road shoes on my road bike as I can walk in the MTB shoes if I need to hop off the bike (IE. potty)

    Let me know where you go with this!
    1700 days ago
    Biking? Did somebody mention biking? :-)

    Oh my how I remember that wonderful transition when gave up my son's old mountain bike and hopped onto my Specialized Tricross...woo HOO! You're gonna love it!

    1700 days ago
    You ARE worth it, what ever you decide. This is Nebraska. We could potentially have snow next week. Or, we could have lovely biking weather for the next 2 months.
    1700 days ago
    Of COURSE you deserve the best of the best. No question at all.
    1700 days ago
    Bike shopping is fun! I haven't bought a new one in awhile but always enjoy browsing. My trek MTB has SRAM derailers and it shifts so nicely, I love it!

    If you pull the trigger, enjoy your new bike! (Otherwise, keep enjoying Brenda! )
    1701 days ago
    That sounds like a great road bike. Yes, you may just have to get yourself a really good bike (aren't they carbon and super light?) for your Olympic Tri. You do SO deserve it!! -Marsha
    1701 days ago
    Oh, my. I loosely follow a cycling board on another forum. There has been some discussion on the issue of how many bikes you need. The hard core cyclists say you need n + 1 bikes, where "n" is the number of bikes you already have.

    You might be going down the path toward n + 1 bikes.
    1701 days ago
    Sounds like you had a wonderful Sunday!!! And Brenda too1!
    1701 days ago
    Ahhh temptation and you survived. emoticon
    1701 days ago
    Maybe there's a new bike in your future? Sounds totally neat. How do you think bikes work on gravel?? Haven't ridden one since childhood but now I'm sort of feeling like I could get DH's mountain bike out of the barn.
    1701 days ago
    Get some waterproof/windproof clothing, some barr mitts, winter tires and you can extend your cycling season through the coming months. The Barr Mitts alone are fantastic at keeping your hands from freezing in the winter months.
    1701 days ago
    Sounds like a neat device. Love being able to see and measure what i am doing.
    1701 days ago
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