Friday, February 26, 2021

Feb-24: Possum Tracking + Reversing

Instead of doing another "Possum Tracking" ride with multiple different loops as I have done several times in the previous 6 or 9 months, I decided to ride Bay Leaf Ch Rd and then Possum Track and then through the usual neighborhoods to Deer Trail, at which time I would essentially reverse my route, thus doing all of Possum Track in both directions for the first time in about 12 years.
Let's start with an embed of the route ridden, except that this starts from a public location, to whit, "TLC-4-Bikes" in Lafayette Village, whereas I actually started from my abode, which is where the extra distance between the embedded route and that reported later in this post (IF I remember to include the actual ride stats): 
Recently, I've been doing rides staying in faux single-speed gearing of 39/14.  And that seems rather strange that I've been able to complete the rides in that gearing.  Typically, if I faux single-speed a ride, a route north of Raleigh, or even south of Raleigh, I've used 39/15 gearing, which is 7 or 8 % easier.  Maybe if I had been doing a lot of cycling about, 39/14 would make some sense, but I've barely been doing any bicycling.  Perplexing as that seeming contradiction may be to me, I guess I've learned that I can do the rides I've been doing, even the semi-recent 100+ km ride in late November, in that 39/14 gearing, and having at least some measure of stubborn determination, I have refused to go to easier gears within the ride and nearing the end.  I cannot, however, claim that I won't change to an easier gear if I add a bit more tough repeating roller climbing. 
And, to come clean, I had intended to finish the ride on Honeycutt Rd instead of cutting through the "Coachman's Way" neighborhood.  IF I had finished on Honeycutt, the route / ride would have been a tenth-of-a-mile or two shorter, but I am confident that there would have been more total climbing -- and knowing that, at around the 19-mile-mark of the ride, I decided that I would do the "Bay Leaf Ch Rd" loop, which would include steep-enuf climbing into the strong south wind, but I would skip Honeycutt in favor of Coachman's Way. 
Although my head was often on a swivel during this ride in the 65 to 70 degree temps with plenty of sunshine, I took no photos.  As an aside, this was the first 70 degree day for the Raleigh area this winter -- we usually get a 70 degree day once every week or two during the winter.  This winter has been chilly and WET -- 14 days with at least some rain in January, and February looks to be headed toward 22 +/- days with at least some rain. 
I've been including Deer Trail (Rd) in my recent "Possum Tracking" rides because the ramp to get back up to a flat portion of Honeycutt Rd gets steep enough to knock my speed down to 4.5 - 4.8 mph (for a short section); I'm usually back to 5.3 +/- mph by the time I slip past the stop-sign onto Honeycutt.  If one zeroes in on that point in the ride, approx 13.3-mile-mark of the embedded map, one will find that that RWGPS will report a climbing incline significantly in excess of what shows in the "Metrics" section of RWPGS.  I took a screen-print and copied into a Word document -- if I knew how to embed that screen print here, I would.  The best I can figure out is to put the Word document out on Google-docs (or whatever that is now called), but I haven't put anything "out there" for several years, and I've forgotten how to do that. 
There was another steep bit -- an unexpected steep bit -- at approx the 16.1-mile-mark.  Very short, but steep enough, and catching me unprepared, my speed dropped to roughly 3.2 - 3.5 mph.  I thought it was to serpentine a bit at that point.  I was also concerned I might be about to fall over,  However, I was able to muscle the bike and me to stay upright and to get up that section. 
Total ride stats: 
  • 29.5 miles, 
  • 2:17 iin-motion, 
  • 12.9 avg mph, 
  • 2h18 or 2h19 elapsed -- i.e., no noticeable automobile traffic. 
  • However, there were several fast, intense cyclists, and one group of two with whom I crossed paths at least twice, and I think it was actually three times (those two did not seem to fit in the "intense" category. 
  • Oh, also a few walkers and runners. 
  • Almost everyone enjoying the exercise in shorts and short-sleeves -- although the two-some cyclists reference just above appeared to garbed for 50 - 55 degrees instead of 65 - 70.   
That's my non-humorous story for this ride, and I reckon I'll be sticking with this story. 
[Unless I figure out how to do "Google-docs" -- in which case, I might edit this.]  

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Feb-19-23: More Short Errand Rides

All in 39/14 gearing + standing all the way
I could do this route in a bigger gear, but ... 
And standing all the way is a training exercise, 
More mental than physical, I reckon. 
More follow-up to my recent exercise adventure
Not following-up on the exercise adventure, but following-up on the reason for the exercise adventure.  
1.6+ miles each way.  3.2-miles total.  9min in-motion each way; i.e., 18-min total. 
Almost all on sidewalks. 
[An interesting thing I learned from reading the "Harry Potter" books: 
In Britspeak English, "pavement" means the same as Amerispeak "sidewalk."] 
More follow-up to my recent exercise adventure. 
Not following-up on the exercise adventure, but following-up on the reason for the exercise adventure. 
1.6+ miles each way.  3.3-miles total.  9m,25sec going, 8m,15sec returning; i.e., 17-min total. 
Almost all on sidewalks. 
[Wind-shift between going and returning?  Or just more loosened up?]
More follow-up. 
1.6+ miles each way.  3.3-miles total.  9m,29sec going, 8m,35sec returning; i.e., 18-min total. 
Almost all on sidewalks. 
[I absolutely know that there was a wind-shift between going and returning. 
Even though there were only 10+ minutes between -- a storm front was moving in.] 
More follow-up. 
Future such errand rides will be for other reasons. 
And there are plenty of other reasons in the offing. 
1.6+ miles going.  1.9 miles returning (simplest way to avoid a car was to make a small detour.) 
3.5-miles total.  
8m,42sec going, 10m,00sec returning; i.e., nearly 19-min total. 
Almost all on sidewalks. 
These are NOTHING stories, but I'm trying to get back into the habits of: 
  1. riding more often, and 
  2. blogging every ride, soon afterward (that used to be the "required" protocol). 
Those are my stories for these rides, and I'll be sticking to them.   

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

3.5-miles today. Woohoo!

1.6-miles (maybe plus an extra .01 or two) to the target location.  9m,00 sec in sun-bright conditions. 
Severe-clear skies.  Not a cloud to be seen. 
Some follow-up to activity the night before -- not the exercise I documented, but the reason behind that exercise. 
Upon completion of the follow-up, headed back to my hovel. 
Oops, not quite to the stop-sign, I recall that there is a task I forgot to do. 
Circled back.  
0.3-miles,  1m,15sec to complete the "circle"-back.
A piece of equipment returned to its storage location. 
Back on the bike. 
Truly headed for my hovel. 
Fingers get a bit chilly -- that didn't happen on the way to the target location. 
I conclude that the breeze must have a significant North component. 
1.6-miles,  8m,19sec for the return.  
Into the wind, I pedaled harder, I guess. 
Actually, I know. 
Total distance and time-in-motion:  3.5-miles,  18m,34sec. 
All standing.  All in the 39/14 gearing.  Almost all on sidewalks. 
That's my story, and I reckon that I will be sticking to it. 

Unexpected Exercise

The following was originally posted on Fakebook.  I intend to copy over and NOT edit.  As a result of NOT editing, the presentation in Google-Blogger may be a bit ... not the usual "look."  (Fakebook and, as of their recent "improvements," Blogger each include a LOT of unnecessary / superfluous HTML code which usually results in something ... not the "look" I prefer.) 
So ... frequently, occasionally, once in a great while, I think maybe I should start doing daily sit-ups and push-ups.
Yesterday, I was giving the idea more consideration than usual, but incoming phone calls or incoming texts or no reason at all, I didn't do any sit-ups or push-ups.
Good thing actually, as at approx 6 pm, or just after, I got a call (or was it a text) about some dripping water visible through a grate/vent in someone's house foundation. Phone discussion ensued and, as a result, I went to check out the situation by going into that person's crawl space.
I hadn't been in that crawl space for maybe 10 years(?). I was expecting an easy trip in the crawl space along the south foundation wall, where there was always lots of space (the house is level, but the ground slopes downward from the north end of the house to the south end -- LOTS of space in the southwest corner, very little in the northeast corner -- and it gets tight about 2/3 the way from the south wall to the north wall).
Surprise! When person had a new heating/cooling system installed some 4 1/2 years ago, new ducts had been installed, too. Big, roundish, soft-sided ducts -- reaching all the way from the bottom of the floor joists to the ground -- well, maybe an inch or two above the ground.
Pointing my flashlight along the length of the duct (and btw, that "flashlight" was actually my cycling headlamp -- one with an internal battery that is re-charged by plugging into a USB port), I knew that if I couldn't get under that duct, I would have to crawl and then shimmy 2/3 of the way from the entrance (in the south wall) to the middle of the house, and then shimmy (and maybe be able to crawl some of the way) to get back to the kitchen sink area / the area with grate-vent in the foundation.
I tested the firmness of the duct near the entryway. Deep sigh! I was consigned to the long crawl / shimmy.
Crawled 20 or 25 feet. Then shimmy along on my belly. Then as the space was getting tight, on got on my back to truly shimmy my way at the "turn" under hard ducts and water and waste pipes, in between and around brick columns holding up the middle of the house. At one point, I wasn't sure how to make the turn / if I could make the turn. But I knew that I HAD to make that turn. So ... I paused for a moment to consider my options. I may also have needed a short rest -- after all, it isn't easy to crawl/shimmy along at my age and given that I am NOT used to doing such activity.
After a couple moments, I knew what to do to make the turn -- I think I leveraged my feet/legs against one of the brick columns to make the turn.
Then, it was shimmy, shimmy, shimmy on my back for 10 or so feet. After that, I was able to flip over onto my stomach, but there was not room to actually crawl. Trying several approaches, I finally settled on doing virtual push-ups on my elbows, and using my toes/feet to push me forward when lifted off the ground by the elbow push-up -- probably 6 inches per elbow-push-up. There was a bit more space as I approached the kitchen sink area, but not enough to actually crawl.
I won't go into what I found when I got to the target area because the point of this post is about the exercise gained / incurred needed to make progress in the crawl space.
After completing the inspection of the target area, I had to reverse my crawl space journey. More elbow-push-ups, more shimmying on my stomach, more on my back, more shimmying on my stomach, and finally actually crawling the last 20 or 25 feet. I did pause a couple times to rest as I was winded, getting sweaty, and my arms were tired.
So ... I assert that I got in a long push-up session last night.
And an hour or two ago -- it takes quite a while to type all this -- I decided to do some sit-ups and some push-ups. I won't type how many of each I did, but I will type that my arms were instantly giving off the message that they are tired, thank-you-very-much, so the push-ups should be categorized as half-a__ed ones.
I hope that I have the guts to do sit-ups every morning and also the "guts" to force my arms and shoulders to do some push-ups every morning. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Indoor Blues

Swiped from a Fakebook comment -- one word dropped, one word changed, punctuation added. 
Cycling kit's all clean and dry. 
Water bottles filled so high. 
Drive train lubed and ready to fly. 
I got them rainy weather indoor blues.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Rain Expected Every Day for the Next Week

With the exception of next Wednesday, Feb-17. 
That's gonna' have a serious impact on my training for possible brevets.
OR, it would have a serious impact if I hadn't already torpedo'd "training" 
By not riding during the latter part of January and early February 
When I repeatedly failed to get on the bike and go for some 3-hour tours. 

Re: Lynn's infected knee

So that I can remind myself later (and since no one reads this blog):  
To: Bay Leaf Irregulars
Sent: Saturday, January 2, 2021, 06:22:37 PM EST
Subject: Lynn

For those not randonneurs (or even if you are but haven't seen what I posted to the NC-rando-Facebook-group), New Year's Eve day, just before noon, Lynn was suddenly suffering excruciating pain in her left leg.  To shorten the story:  
  • I transported her to Wake north Ortho urgent care, and that included actually carrying her some of the distance to the car -- been a long time since I've lifted circa 130 lbs onto my shoulder, wasn't sure I could do it -- but in dire straights, one can sometimes do things -- and acting as a crutch as we slowly and agonizingly made our way down the ramp (built 4 1/2 years ago by the Bay Leaf Baptist Ch group that builds a ramp every Wednesday -- or at least that is what they did then).  Lynn loudly vocalizing the pain -- in all the years Lynn suffered from problems and pains in her hips and legs, from the pains associated with the knee replacements, from all the stuff from being bashed into by that vehicle in 2016, I never once heard Lynn call out in pain.  Oh, she would comment on it, there might be a grunt, but there was never a sound of agony -- this time, while I was carrying her, she was near screaming from the pain in her leg. 
  • We spent several hours at the Ortho urgent care.  35-mm of fluid was drained from the left knee.  After that, Lynn was still in agony, but not as severe as before.  At one point, waiting in the treatment room, Lynn commented that she had been run over by a car, but that had not hurt nearly as much as the knee and leg on this day. 
  • I picked up new meds from Harris Teeter at 4 pm.  Our thinking was that she would start to feel better as the new meds kicked in.  Naively we thought that the main treatments had been done. 
  • However, around 9:30 New Years' Eve, Lynn texted that a friend from down the street was transporting her to Duke Raleigh Hosp because the Wake Med people had called and told her to get to her Orthopedic docs at Duke pronto. 
  • Long wait at Duke Raleigh -- the on-call doctor could not be located, could not be located, could not be located, could not be located. 
  • 2 am, NYD, decision made that Lynn needed to go the Big Duke over in Durham. 
  • 2:30 am, but hosp can't arrange transport until 7 am.  
  • Lynn at Duke in Durham around 8 am. 
  • Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Lynn called -- not texted, but called -- right at noon; she was distraught because she was being ignored, including needing to pee. 
  • 2:30 pm -- supposedly on way to surgery on the knee. 
  • Surgery actually didn't start until 3:30 or 4 pm.  
  • Purpose was to wash out the infection in the knee, wash it off the metal parts of the artificial knee, AND to replace a plastic part in that knee. 
  • Bacteria cannot penetrate metal, but can and does penetrate even the hardest plastics. 
  • Finally done with surgery, mostly recovered from the anesthesia, and in a regular room by around 7 pm. 
  • She'll be at the hosp for at least several days while they culture the bacterium causing the trouble -- so they can use a targeted anti-bacterial agent instead of shot-gunning the process. 
  • Recent news is that the bacterium is growing quite slowly.  
  • Lynn's voice sounds strong.  She is disappointed / nearly distraught, but I reckon that she will let that emotion show to only a few. 
  • Prior to learning that she would need surgery, Lynn's biggest concerns during this epic was that she wouldn't be allowed to volunteer at Wake Med north (the only volunteer job being allowed these days is folding linens) and that she would lose her "Meals on Wheels" route.  Regarding that last, she even mentioned having me do the driving and taking the meal packages to the doors while she officially picked up the packages and rode along in the car.  I haven't spoken with Lynn since about 6:50 am today (Jan-02), but I suppose that the volunteer situations have dropped down the priority list of concerns.  (She did off-hand remark that it will be a long time before she rides a bicycle again.) 
  • She will be on anti-biotics for a long spell, again.  
Anyway, I thought that at least some of y'all might be interested, and hearing from close to the source would be better than hearing via a convoluted rumor-mill. 
Oh, I'll be dog-sitting (at least during the nights) until Lynn returns home. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Feb-06: Short Possum Tracking Ride

On Saturday, February 6, 2021, 04:01:41 PM EST, <> wrote:

Whopping 18.8-miles today. 
Repeating roller climbing miles. 
All in the 39/14 gearing. 
[I pretty much needed to short the ride because I decided to NOT shift from the 39/14.]

IF I had used gears, or had ridden in the 39/15, I could easily have gone further, but ... 
I was being a bit stubborn. 

Actually, the 39/14 was not even a hint of a struggle -- although I did do a fair bit of just spinning / grinding on several climbs, e.g., the third climb outbound on Honeycutt Rd, Bay Leaf Ch Rd back up to Bay Leaf Ch from the lake -- until after I rather unwisely decided to include Deer Trail Rd in the mix. 
Deer Trail gets steep before getting to the stop sign at Honeycutt -- I recall Lynn expressing how difficult / steep that was a year or two or three before she did her first rando ride in 2009.  We used to do almost all our riding on the roads I've been "keeping" to since late July-2020.  
Anyway, I thought I was fine, despite the speed having dipped to 5.4-mph on Deer Trail just before the stop sign (and 4.6-mph as I turned onto Honeycutt without actually stopping at the stop sign), once on the FLAT section of Honeycutt and then on the flat of Brassfield Rd, and was going to do some more rolling / hilly stuff, but then I realized that I had forgotten to bring my phone with me and I remembered that my last real ride was in mid-December and I want to be able to walk tomorrow, and whatever. 
So I turned to take the 1.3-mile decline on Durant Rd to return to Honeycutt.  The first mile or a bit more on Honeycutt is a climb, with varying percentage inclines of course -- and although I kept the pace up to a semi-reasonable one, I was tempted to shift to an easier gear, but I refused to do so.  
Honeycutt on the southbound return flattens considerably once it gets to / crossed I-540, and suddenly it felt as if I was moving quite quickly -- a check of the confuser revealed 12+ mph.  That was not the first time on the ride that I had experienced an apparent fast speed only to find that I was only going 12+ or 13+ mph.  
However, Honeycutt's southbound flat is rather long and I may have been motivated by the slowness of the "fast" pace and suddenly I was going 14+, then 15+ -- I don't know if I made it to 16+, but if I did, it would have been just before cutting through the gas station at the corner of Honeycutt with Falls of the Neuse Rd (and after the gas station, it is almost all sidewalks to get back to my hovel. 

I was intending a simple three or four or five line / sentence summary, but suddenly found myself explaining and explaining and explaining. 

18.8 miles -- 1h29 in-motion -- elapsed probably the same -- a whopping 12.6 avg mph pace. 
The route? 
Honeycutt - Bay Leaf Ch down and up (but without the extra loop onto the side residential road) - Possum Track to the bottom -- back up to Lindley Rd to Shallowford (actually, I missed the turn onto Shallowford, but that only added a couple hundred yards as Lindley cul-de-sacs shortly after the intersection with Shallowford) - Shallowford to Pendelton to Hardee to Raven Ridge to Brassfield - straight on Deer Trail - right onto the flat section of Honeycutt - left on Brassfield - left on Durant - right on Honeycutt. 

I think I'll draw a RWGPS track just to get a gross climbing estimate -- but I won't save the route. 
To get an idea of what the course entailed, this RWGPS track is a longer version of what I did today: 
Anyway, training has renewed.  I think. 

RWGPS came up with 970 ft gross climbing in those 18.8 miles --> avg 51.6 ft climbing per mile. 
I conclude that I got in a decent workout. 
Enjoy the ride,