Today is my birthday. My gift to myself, somewhat reluctantly, is a new for me bike. I say reluctant because I was happily pedaling along on an ancient Giordana lent to me by a friend. Just as I figured I’d like to buy this bike from him, he decided, and conveyed by subtle hints, that he’d really bought it for himself. Now, after me having had it for a few months, and on it learned to enjoy bike riding, it was due back to him. So set out on hunt for a newer bike which would allow me to return the Giordana to him ASAP.
After some unpleasant experiences with LBS’s (and one pleasant one) I decided to drag eBay for my bike given my somewhat low budget. I ended up grimly decided to buy a particular bike even though when I found the auction it was already above my budgeted amount. Nonetheless, I persisted and a few days later, found myself with a box of parts and a bright red frame – the thing which caused me to persist on my bidding. That took a bit of assembly and adjusting, but I’d bought Zinn’s. That, along with the help of the Giordana owner, got the bike assembled.
So here, a few days and a hundred or two miles later, I decided to spend my birthday riding for a personal record distance at pace of 40 miles. I’d ridden 40 miles before, but at a snail’s pace. My usual pace distance was a bit over 30 miles. Now I wanted to try going longer at my target pace for what I really wish to try which is a century event perhaps next spring. My goal is to do 60 – 65 miles at pace which, according to training routines I’d seen, would enable me to push to 100 miles.
I needed a new stem because the one on the bike is at least 2 cm too long. I bought one, but discovered when installing it that handlebars come in widths (duh) so I reinstalled the old stem last night and put the front of the bike back together. I didn’t do that good of a job as it turned out.
Although the distance wasn’t that much greater than I’d done before, I seemed a bit nervous about it. I got my stuff together then took off in the pre-dawn non-light hoping to avoid the heat. I got about .3 miles away then discovered I’d forgotten my water bottle. So I returned, and then set off again. This outing when I moved to the drops I noticed that I’d mis-rotated the handlebars. Well, I would have to live with not being about to stretch to the hoods because I’d be darned if I’d return again. Then a bit later, I noted I’d forgotten to switch on my bike computer so I ‘lost’ something like a mile.
From then on the riding went well although my pace was a bit fast. I figured I needed to burn off some energy and then I could settle in. So I moved along feeling fine and truly enjoying the ride. I also have been feeling rather smug over having overspent my budget for my bike, I am enjoying it where I doubt I'd enjoy a bike bought fairly for my original budget. Although it’s a bitsa, it’s a well done bitsa which works wonderfully. If I only had a properly sized stem, but aside from extending me too much I was living with it. I’d sit up from time to time and do stretching exercises while pedaling away. I probably looked silly as heck doing this but gee, for me this isn’t a modeling assignment.
As I approached 25 miles I noted that I’d been picking up power as I went. I felt not only better at 25 miles than at start but I was going faster too. So I figured to try for a half century or another 10 miles. This caused me to add some ‘tails’ to my route. I decided to explore areas of town I’d never been through except by engined vehicle to have a close look at them.
At 40 miles I felt even better than at 25. I was also so far out that I couldn’t get back home by 50 miles anyway so I decided to try for a metric century. I’d run out of water because I only had a small water bottle for my planned 40 mile run. My speed was above pace. So I stopped at a convenience store on the way to buy a sports energy drink. Not knowing what to do with my bike (I sure was NOT going to leave it out with me in) I carried it in with me. The clerk said nothing. Refreshed, I pushed onward.
Whatever was going on persisted. At 50 miles I felt so good I upped the pace to well above 20 mph and started singing. I did that for a mile, but cut it out because I was getting concerned about hitting some sort of wall. From roughly 55 miles on, the course finishes uphill with some of them steep. I hit the steepest hill determined to zoom up it so I stood while in the drops. The stress moved the bars in the stem to where I would have liked them anyway. Thus I had the bars finally where I wanted them for the last 3 miles.
Nothing more to say really. I finished strongly and as the computer clicked over 62 miles (plus some unrecorded fraction due to it not being on for the whole ride) I did a crit like circle of the block.
So that’s it. I’m not even slightly tired or sore. I ended slightly above my target pace for 40 miles and pretty darn happy at my new-for-me bike purchase. It may be an eBay bitsa, but it’s my bitsa and it works just fine for me.
Happy birthday to me.