Monday, May 28, 2012

The Ride

"Eat when you're hungry.  Drink when you're thirsty.  Sleep when you're tired."  So says a Buddhist proverb, echoed more recently by that prophet of cycling, Velocio, in his Seven Commandments of Cycling.  These are:

1. Keep your stops short and few.
2. Eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty.
3. Never get too tired to eat or sleep.
4. Add a layer before you're cold, take one off before you're hot.
5. Lay off wine, meat and tobacco on tour.
6. Ride within yourself, especially in the first hour.
7. Never show off.

Perhaps Buddhism and cycling are the same...

The ride can be meditation, the full fluidity and presentness of the eternal moment, breathing in rhythm with legs turning.  Is the wind changing?  I'm going slightly downhill now.  What gear should I be in to maintain the rhythm?  Look out for that glass!  Gotta wipe the tires...

A stream of motion coming at me for as long as I can maintain making circles.

Pedaling Squares

Sometimes I go for a ride, and rather than making circles and feeling the fluidity of the moment, I pedal squares. This is not the Ideal State, but many times I can pedal through it, and often those moments of presentness and fluidity can return.

Recently, the bike has been beautiful as far as catching those moments when everything goes together, but the rest of life has been the part that is pedaling squares. The lessons from the bike are to keep going, take care of myself, look at what might be changed, experiment, and repeat.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bike Fitting

Along with the new ride, I also had the opportunity to receive a professional bike fitting from Donnie at Bothell Ski and Bike.  I had several days between purchasing the RS and the bike fitting appointment during which I spent a couple of evenings dialing in the fit to match my position to my other bikes, laying out lines on the wall to get the saddle height, setback to the bottom bracket, and reach to the handlebars just right.  The bike came with some FSA bars that were 44cm wide, but felt really narrow compared to my previous Ritchey bars that are also 44cm.  The Ritcheys are much more square in shape at the tops of the bars, which accounts for them measuring wider at the brake hoods, so I swapped out the FSA's for the Ritcheys as well.

Riding the 15 miles to Bothell at the appointed time for the fitting, the Cervelo felt for the first time like it was truly my bike with everything dialed in.  Donnie mounted the bike up on the trainer in the fit room and used a laser plumb line to check out my position over the pedals both from the front and side.  He also used an angle measurement tool to assess the angle of my leg at the bottom of the pedal stroke and the angle of my upper arm coming down off my body.  I was pleasantly surprised that he made no adjustments to anything on the bike, as I've always prided myself on being more than a little retentive about my position.

After the part where Donnie checked my knees for vertical alignment from the front, he indicated that he thought my knees came in toward the top tube a little too much, and that he'd like to try out some orthopedic arch-supporting insoles in my shoes and perhaps some shims between my cleats and shoes.

Two yellow shims under the cleat at left, a SuperFeet insole inside the right shoe.

I could immediately see in my pedaling motion that my knees were pulled slightly out, more directly above the pedal spindles.  He said this would make the power transfer to the pedals more direct, and if you're a fan of physics, this all sounded logical.  I asked him whether I should have any concerns about riding this way immediately and he told me not really.  500 miles in, I like the changes in my riding.

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Bicycle

2012 Cervelo RS in my driveway.

A confluence of events led me to pick this shiny new ride up from Bothell Ski and Bike on my birthday this year.  These events included the aforementioned birthday, my 41st cycle around the sun, as well as a healthy income tax return resulting from the mortgage interest deduction.  A friend joked to me that I just needed to add an "I" in front of the "RS" on the top tube.  Having put about 400 miles on it since then, I've gotta say that I love riding it.  It definitely seems stiffer at the BB than my Schwinn Peloton Pro, while also being more comfortable at the ass end, which is a worthy combination.  I'm still a little up in the air about the SRAM Rival components, but swapping the gruppo out with the 5 year old Shimano Ultegra from the Schwinn also seems like a non-starter.  Perhaps some future upgrades are in order?

The bike came with a free bike fitting, which was a very interesting and positive experience that I'd like to discuss at further length in a future post.

I would like to ride it across Canada in 2013 for the Tour du Canada.  It seems the perfect bike for that kind of day after day serious mileage event.