Part I: The Rollers
This morning I finally installed the new roller belt on the Tacx rollers that I picked up from a fellow BF member here locally. I set them up in a door way and slowly started to get the hang of the things. I started off with one hand on the door jam, one on the bars. I quickly encountered my first problem: carpet. The carpet in this apartment is deep enough that the roller drums were touching the carpet once I was on the bike. A quick look around the apartment for something to keep the feet of the rollers from sinking in too much. Found some thin metal plates that are the divides for one of my filing cabinets (made in the 60's I swear). This helped some, but the metal wasn't quite thick enough to prevent the weight from warping them some and soon the edge of one plate was hitting one of the rear drums. After a few adjustments I thought I had it right.
Unfortuantely even this wasn't enough, and the first of those rear drums were still making contact with the carpet. And I was really uneasy on the rollers when I was on them between adjustments to the plates. I was using my new Flyte SRS-3, and the front wheel appeared to be directly on the top of the front roller. Quite obvious I've got some more practice on these things before I get comfortable on them, but first have to find a way to get them up off the carpet or another location to use them where I don't have to deal with the carpet.
It was about now that I noticed that the sun was (at last) out after a full 10 days or more of rain, sleet, snow, ice and cold. That was all it took for me to make up my mind. One way or another, I was getting outside for the ride. A quick check of weather.com informed me that it was a little over 50 (YAY! ) and I quickly suited up for the ride. The wind was picking up so I grabbed the new wind vest I just picked up off ebay and headed out.
Part II: the ride (first in 2 weeks, 3rd in 2 months)
Such a nice day, a little wind (10-15mph out of the west), but the sun was out and with my long sleeve jersey, vest and leg warmers I was plenty warm to be outside. I headed out for one of the main roads in the area used by cyclists and it wasn't long before I spotted another cyclist on a beautiful Seven. We exchanged hellos and mentioned how nice the weather was after such a long string of bad weather.
Now for my slightly bad decision of the day. At the end of this particular road I was headed down is one of the MUPs in the area that leads down to White Rock Lake here in Dallas. I should have known what I was in for when I reached the trail head where they are doing some construction and had to take a minor off road detour. Immediately I was looking for the grass instead of the dirt as my tires quickly picked up dirt. Uhg, this is the second ride on these tires and they're covered in tacky mud. I was soon back on concrete path and took it slow till most of the mud had worn off the center of the tire.
Over the next 4mi of path I had to dodge numerous mud slicks, water puddles, and flat out mini rivers covering the path. At one point I must have crossed an area of at least 1" deep water across the entire path. Looking down I could see muddy water covering the chain stays and BB area of this brand new frame. Well, I bought the bike to ride on days where I didn't want to ride the vintage steel, so I might as well get used to a little grime on the frame.
What finally got me to turn around was the slick mud in one of the turns in the path that nearly put me down. I had already slowed some to cross some water, but I couldn't avoid the mud and was leaned over in the turn. I felt the front wheel, then soon after the rear wheel slide outwards. Luckily I caught myself and as soon as I had swallowed my heart I shouted back to the rider behind me to watch the mud. I slowed to a stop, took inventory of my nerves, and washed down that heart of mine with some long slips of water.
With that I turned back for home. This was the first time out on the bike in two weeks and after the 8mi trip out I decided that head wind I would experience on the way home would make for enough of a workout for today. I could tell that the nearly 2 full months of very little riding had really done bad things for my conditioning. And all that great food I was eating over those 2 months had more than made up for any weight savings in this new bike over my Gazelle.
I got home with about 16mi on the cyclometer, I could have gone longer and still felt decently well, but have other things to do the rest of the afternoon like studying for my classes this coming week. The 2 months off the bike for the most part had also done bad things for the conditioning of my sit-bones. My Selle Italia Flite which usually is good for at least 50miles was already making itself known after those 16mi. Not sure if part of this was due to the stiffer aluminum frame I'm on now over my 531c steel, but nonetheless I need to get several short rides in when I can to ensure that I'm ready for the longer rides when the weather gets better.
A note on the new bike: I think I've got the rear derailleur pretty much dialed in. I like the Campagnolo shifting more and more every time out. Granted this is compared to downtubes. The Fulcrum wheels and Rubino Pro tires performed well. Still think that the loss of conditioning is making it difficult to give a fair comparison between them and the Open Pros on the Gazelle. I could still notice an improvement on the few short climbs I encountered during the ride.