Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ride it like you stole it

that's the sort of image endorsed by Berkshire Bike and Blade. Racing through 6 (yes six) towns in 2 hours for a total of nearly 40 miles I did my first road ride. It wasn't as demanding as I thought it would be and I didn't have anything to eat before the ride and nothing to keep me powered up during it. Despite this, I was able to keep up and even helped some others out who were struggling a little toward the end by "pulling" in front.

We started at the bike shop in G.B. went through Alford to West Stockbridge (the same back route I took to BCC) and then we rode up 102 to Stockbridge. From Stockbridge we went by the Stockbridge Bowl and Tanglewood in Lenox and then rode to Housatonic via 183 and then back to the bikeshope via Vandeusenville road to 41.

The reason the ride wasn't as demanding as I feared it would be was because, one, the five days of sprinting to work and back conditioned me more than I realized and, secondly, I wasn't aware how much drafting improved performance. By following close behind the rider in front of you, you have to work much less in order to maintain speed as you are cutting through much less air. The real challenge is in keeping in line maintaining a constant speed. I kept going too fast and then falling behind, and then sprinting to catch up again, struggling to maintain a foot or two between me and the guy in front of me. Everyone was very forgiving of my amateurish riding and a certain flashy rider in pink trim coached me in the strategy and technique of the road ride (that would be of course the big bro, who by the end of the summer I intend to smoke). I found it most fun to tuck really low down hills and just coast by other people pedaling. Road riding is all about aerodynamics. Cutting down your drag coefficient. But it's also riding smart, conserving energy and riding as evenly and smoothly as possible. Well, I managed 1 out of 3... I got the aerodynamics part down but I am not efficient... struggling to maintain a uniform speed and sprinting a lot (it's just more fun)

I can't wait for the next ride. I couldn't believe I was maintaining speeds upwards of 20 miles per hour. At the end of the ride when leading two others I maintained an average of 23 to 24 miles per hour without the aid of dragging behind someone else. On some down hills we approached the 45mph speed limit. It was actually a pretty mellow ride but for someone who is new to road cycling the second half was pretty intense. (more VA Beach update coming soon)

Monday, July 09, 2007

VA Beach, Part I: 25 hour day

Vadim from work and I drove down to VA Beach for July 4th extended weekend.

We left late Tuesday night the third at 11pm and arrived at 7am. Then we went to the beach and frolicked in the waves. We went to bed at 12am. 25 hour day. It was a very long day.

7am at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Vadim showing the early signs of needing to get some sleep.

Sunrise over the Chesapeake. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is the longest bridge tunnel in the world.

Just as we approach the end of the pier located near the VA Beach end of the bridge tunnel we see a man pull up a skate that inadvertently got caught on the hook.

The hook is removed and the skate is released back into the bay with a belly flop.

This concludes part one of our trip. Stay tuned for more coming soon.