Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Playing With My New Toys

It's mid-November, the skies are clear, and the temp is not half bad. Looks like a good day for a bike ride! That, and the fact that I'm doing a Strava Challenge (40 hours in 3 weeks), means I did a long one today.

This was also the perfect opportunity to try out my new toys--my GoPro camera, and my Garmin Edge Touring. Today I mounted the camera on the handlebar. With that, the Garmin, and my regular bike computer, there was pretty much no real estate left on the bar (or the stem).

Before leaving the house, I put a route into the Garmin. I wanted to do Bordeaux, but in the reverse from the other two times I've done it. I put in a waypoint of Mima Rd. first. Then I added the other points for the route I wanted to go. That worked out pretty good, except that I didn't look to see what route it gave to the first waypoint. Due to some settings I may have changed, the Garmin did not take me onto Yelm Hwy. In fact, it took me on roads that I would not normally go on because they don't have shoulders. Yelm Hwy is actually safer (in my opinion, anyway) because it, at least, has a bike lane. I changed the settings. We'll see if that works. 

With the exception of somehow not putting in the waypoint to take me on School Land Rd to Littlerock Rd (for the entire length of School Land Rd it kept telling me to make a U-Turn), the device was spot-on in the turn-by-turn directions. The beeping before a turn startled me at first, but I came to anticipate it.

I discovered something important with my other toy, the GoPro camera. If I am riding on rough chip seal roads, it would be better to utilize the helmet mount versus the handlebar mount (I just think I would look a little funny with the camera on my helmet--much like a California Quail bird!). Here's a video that illustrates my point. This was not even the roughest part of the route. Notice near the end, when I hit the smooth pavement, how much less bouncy it is.

It was a great day for a ride. I'll continue to practice and learn about what my new toys can do.

Total miles: 66.5

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hedwig Lives!

I'm referring, of course, to Harry Potter's owl. 

Tonight, 11 of us gathered for the first official Night Ride of the dark season. The Night Rides will continue, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from now until we change back to Daylight Savings Time. I really like these rides. They are not terribly long (under 40 miles), they make me work, and, well, they're fun! They also help with my bike handling skills, which is great come race season.

Chip gave a nice speech about safety, and how the Night Rides are not for sprint intervals and high heart rates. The pace is not at all fast. I felt compelled to make a comment that they might not experience high heart rates, or a fast pace, but that I would certainly experience both in just keeping up with them. But, that's okay. It makes me stronger and faster.

With the speech-ifying done, we headed up the trail. Not long after starting, Brad and I were on the front when a Snowy Owl flew right over our heads! Hedwig lives! At the same time, I glanced to my right just as a possum went scurrying into the brush. You don't see that on a daylight ride!

We went north to the end of the trail and out onto the road. Because there is currently a lot of debris on the trail, I much prefer the road--particularly the roads with no shoulders. That may seem counterintuitive, but the shoulders also have a lot of debris, yet cars expect us to ride on the shoulder.

Coming back into town on Eastbay Dr., I ran over a stick (some of that debris I mentioned). Even though I was riding my rain bike with a Schwalbe Durano Plus rear tire, I flatted. Fortunately, there was a street light nearby. The group stopped, and Dave pretty much changed the tire for me. I inflated the tire and put it back on. With a couple of adjustments, things were good to go. I had a brief moment where I couldn't find my glove. Dave found that too. The beauty of having teammates!

We rode the rest of the way back into town and back to the trailhead. I topped off the tire pressure with Maria's floor pump at her car, and headed home. 

The Inaugural Night Ride was just under 40 miles for me. Average speed was 16.2--still pretty peppy for the dark.