Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Knocked the Bastard Off - Indoor Festive 500

Sir Edmund Hillary's first words to lifelong friend George Lowe upon returning from the first successful summit of Mt Everest in the company of Tenzing Norgay were...
Well, George, we knocked the bastard off.

Later he expressed great regret to his mother for the embarrassment she felt as a result of his infamous declaration. Taking inspiration from his epic feat, I have found it a great way to announce the impending completion of some not-so-epic, but still a reasonable challenge. That said, I do try to be sparse with it, saving it for the end of truly hard rides like a 24 hour fleche or a double century on mountainous dirt roads. Usually, just as we are about to start the last leg, I'll suggest we "get on with it and knock the bastard off."

But after my latest challenge, the Rapha Festive 500 on my indoor trainer, I might just have to retire my use of that phrase in the future! But, by George, I knocked the bastard off!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mudguards - Indoor Festive 500 2013

Why am I writing about mudguards when I am riding inside?

The last time I did any real exercise indoors was over 20 years ago. After I moved from North Carolina to Boston, I was certain that I would never be able to ride outside in the winter here, so I acquired what at the time was a very expensive indoor trainer, a Schwinn Velodyne. It was outrageously expensive for my income at the time, so I left the price tag hanging on it just to encourage me to use the blasted thing! The velodyne was a magnetic resistance trainer controlled by an on-board computer. It was actually quite a nice trainer and I must say much simpler to set up than the devices I've been looking into recently. I recall it had a few modes, including a target heart rate, intervals and courses. The computer controlled the resistance, and varied it to simulate up and downhills on a route, or to keep a heart rate steady or for intervals. The display wasn't fancy, but it didn't need to be. One could select the mode and get basic feedback. I didn't need to see a video of the route I was riding, or super details of the terrain. None of that really replicates riding outdoors, so I might as well enjoy a nice action movie instead!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Screw Loose - Indoor Festive 500 - 2013

Various friends, near and far, have commented on my activity this week as a sign that I must have a screw loose. But I asked the doctors last week about the screws, and they said that all the hardware was firmly in place, no loose screws for me! Check the X-rays!

Admittedly, I have - in the past - gone out in ludicrous conditions for outrageous distances on what some might consider silly bikes. I admit to rarely turning down the opportunity to do something outrageous on a fixed gear bike, including my quest this week. I've made good use of studded tires over the years, and I've considered bad weather to be a great opportunity to make use of all my expensive bad weather clothing. Of course, this year, the studded tires sit unused and all my cycling rain gear and cleated cycling boots and overshoes and such are still packed away from last winter.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Indoor Festive 500 - Christmas Day

Broken Pixie's Indoor Festive 500 continues...

I don't know how anyone tolerates riding indoors, and I have to admit that after just two days of long sessions on the trainer, I feel the same way about riding indoors as I do about ingesting anything with Marmite on it. Izzi on the other hand may be asked to star in their next commercial!

Big Red Bicycle Christmas - By Nora and One Left

Merry Wednesday - thanks to Nora and One Left

2013 Indoor Festive 500 - Dec 24

For the past two years, the last week of the year has been filled with cycling and blogging, as Fear Rothar and I have taken up the challenge from Rapha to document a week of riding at least 500km, in what can be pretty extreme weather conditions. The challenge in 2011 was subtitled The Ride to Redemption, and we took it quite literally, as we designed routes that included Redemption Rock, Purgatory Chasm, Brimstone, and Mt Grace. We were almost sad to have no snow to make it Rapha-Epic, but for us the bitter cold more than made up for lack of snow - what a shame cold doesn't show as well as snow in photos! In 2012, we had a bit more company on our rides as lots of our fellow Ride Studio Cafe club members took up the Festive 500 challenge. We even had some snow last year to help with our epic-lite photos.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Howth Head revisited

While I was off galavanting around the countryside on bike with my brother, David (some posts about which will follow!) Pamela had pretty much exhausted the walking possibilities from my childhood home. I knew that Howth Head, to the north of Dublin, was both scenic and relatively accessible. I hadn't walked there in over twenty (!) years, so I thought it might be a good choice for a little variety.

Looking on-line, I found that there was now a series of signposted walks starting and finishing from the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) station in Howth. So, we bought ourselves day-passes, hopped on the commuter rail in Castleknock, changed to the DART in Connolly Station and were ready to walk in Howth about an hour later.

We decided to do the Bog of Frogs walk, listed at 10km in length. This seemed long, but doable, for Pamela. However, it ended up being quite a bit longer, at around 13km in length. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't have been significant, but given that this was by far the toughest walk she had done since her accident, the extra distance made its presence felt.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Life Interruptus

After riding 18,000 miles last year, I made a New Year's resolution to ride less this year. Getting run down by a truck wasn't exactly what I had in mind to help reduce my bike miles, but it certainly has helped me keep that New Year's resolution.

Of course, as Darwin so aptly put it, it's the one who adapts that survives. So, I'm adapting in order to survive.  Given the restraints of no bending or twisting, this has meant lots of walking. It's not exactly how I had planned to spend the autumn. I may not be able control my destiny, but I can control my response to it !

The truth is that I haven't done much walking since we moved back from New Zealand in 2004. I returned to America with pretty bad osteoarthritis in my knee. At the end of every multi-day backpacking trip in NZ, I would have a massively swollen right knee and severely limited range of motion. A surgeon removed a loose bit of cartilage and carved some more off the back of my kneecap that was close to breaking off on its own. This helped, but I still found myself preferring to cycle rather than hike. I used to joke with co-workers that I biked to work to avoid the long walk in from the parking lot!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mt. Auburn on Ice

I have again been neglecting the blog! (Do all my posts start this way?) I had hoped to spend my down time on the blog, but that just hasn't happened. My last post here was almost 6 weeks ago, when Mt Auburn Cemetery was on Fire.

Fear Rothar and I do have some backlog to get through. We took a trip to Ireland recently to visit with friends and family there. I did lot of walks while John was able to get out for a few rides. His long suffering brother got to play the part of bike model on this occasion, riding back and forth while John got the perfect shot. Of course now Fear Rothar just has to go through 1000+ photos and select a few for a blog post. I have a post in the works from my walks. In the meantime, I give you the beauty of Mt. Auburn on Ice.