Double-looping it

This morning, I got up early, as planned, and yes, I did about the same ride as yesterday.  I think it was as much warmer as it was supposed to be, I went with the same attire, except without the base layer.  And I did go with the new booties; I couldn't put them on the new way, but I put them on the shoe before putting the shoes on, and that didn't work too badly.

I got out about the same time (not sure why, since I didn't go back to sleep for a few minutes after the alarm went off), and got moving.

I tried, as yesterday, to push my cadence a little bit higher, and that seemed to work pretty well.  Again, though, I don't know how well, because the heart rate meter was a bit flaky again.  But when it started working, things looked pretty good, so I'm hopeful it was good all along.

So I zipped around the bottom loop pretty quickly, until I got to Gravelly Point, where I started stopping to take pictures again.  I didn't get the colors in the sky, like yesterday, though that wasn't a surprise.  But I did get calm water and a pretty good sky, so that made for a few decent shots.  The one above was my second favorite; my favorite, it might not surprise you to hear, was shot on the tripod (this one was free-hand; I'm not sure how I managed to be so steady for a 1/8s exposure, especially without stabilization or a viewfinder).

Regardless, I got moving again after taking a few, and finished out the ride.  I finally managed to save it as a separate route from the Farlex Loop I've been doing for a while (Farlex referred to the geography, and this is much the same areas, so it's the 'Farlex Figure 8').  The new route is much the same, but the little changes make it a bit longer and quite a bit hillier.

Again, 26.5 miles, almost 1200' of elevation, and I averaged 14.4mph again.  Not sure what I'm really doing differently, but it's working.

The only bad thing out of this morning is that I slept on my shoulder weirdly, somehow.  My left shoulder is really bugging me, in a way that used to be typical following rides, but which hasn't happened in a while.  Not sure why it kicked back up again.  Sometimes I can fix it by pushing on a specific spot, but haven't managed it yet, this time.  Hope that changes.

Anyway, I won't be able to go on the group ride on Saturday, so I might do a hard ride tomorrow, or I might take it easy again tomorrow and go hard, on my own, on Saturday.  Not sure.

Either way, I'm happy to say that I finished all of the Strava challenges for the month.  Not sure I'll ever do that again; certainly never come close, before.

Regardless, go Caps!


Picturing the future (updated)

I went with the plan, and got to bed really early last night.  Then I got up at 0415 (actually overslept by a few minutes), and started to get my stuff ready.  Fortunately, since I had arranged just about everything last night, that didn't take very long.

The one thing that was annoying was that I got out new booties, and attempted to put them on the same way I described yesterday.  That didn't work; neither of the new ones would stretch over the heel of my shoes.  So I put the old ones on again, and will revisit that issue later today.

And speaking of lingering issues, I got in touch with Stages again yesterday and sent them pictures of my meter.  It turns out that they had a manufacturing problem with the caps on their meters for a while (you'd think that, since my meter was a refurb - due to being a warranty replacement - that they'd've caught that earlier, but apparently not), and the cap is known to pull the battery away from the terminal.  Don't know for sure if that's my problem, but it wouldn't surprise me at all.  In any event, they're shipping out a replacement, which will hopefully arrive within a day or two.

The temperature was projected to be just under 50F, so I opted for a light jersey with a sleeveless base layer.  A sleeved base layer might have been better (I was a little chilled, occasionally), but it worked out ok overall.

The departure timing seemed about right, so I grabbed my camera and tripod, and got on the road a few minutes earlier than planned (yay, preparations).  The one thing I was planning on doing differently today was to try to maintain a higher cadence than I've been doing (I normally end up around 55-60 on easy days, in the interest of keeping my heart rate down).

Today, I decided to try upping that a bit, to exercise my cardiovascular system a bit more.  Unfortunately, I don't really know how that worked.  If my heart rate meter is to be believed (hint: for much of the ride, it definitely isn't), then I did a great job and everything worked out.  Unfortunately, I don't really know.  The meter was flaky for most of the first hour, flat-lining at different values for most of that period.  The one positive sign is that my heart rate stayed down once the meter did seem to start working.

The one thing I'm not sure if I understand is that I made excellent time on the ride.  Strava admits to 14.4mph, which is a significant improvement on my usual just-short-of-14.  And that's with my camelbak with the camera and tripod, which definitely slowed me both on hills and at speed.  So something certainly went right.

In fact, I almost stretched the ride out another few miles, based on that, but I wasn't sure if I believed the data.  And I'm glad I didn't, really.  I wouldn't have been problematically late, but I would have had a lot less time to eat, for sure.

As you can see from above, the timing did work out well for picture-taking.  I took half a dozen or so pictures, and I think that's my favorite.  I didn't end up using the tripod (just decided it was too much of a pain to take out and unfold), though perhaps I should have (definitely would have saved at least one of the shots).

One bit of amusement: due to pausing to take the pictures, I passed the one lady jogging three different times.  The third time, approaching, I said, "On your left.  Again".  We both laughed.

As far as the rest of the data about the ride, cadence averaged 72 (which likely includes a several minute drop-out of the meter, which I was able to end when I took the last picture), so that might be part of why there was more speed.  Distance was 26.2 miles, with 1173' of elevation (more than I expected).

Overall, I was very happy with the results, and will definitely try to raise my cadence higher on easy rides.  Or maybe I'll try to raise the tempo sometimes, and try to grind it out more on others.  It could be that both will be helpful.  I'll have to give it some thought.

In any event, tomorrow will definitely be an easy day.  I'm not sure about time or distance, but I'll be taking it easy.  I guess if I get up early, I might repeat this morning's ride, maybe with another mile or three thrown in.  The weather should be nice and warm, but heading towards thunderstorms later.  That could make things interesting, in a good way (as long as the thunderstorms don't move up enough to show up for the ride, of course).

Update: I forgot to mention that I was really amused to come one km short of finishing one of the Strava challenges, at the end of the ride.  For a 1225km challenge, I find that very funny, and I wish I could say that I did it deliberately.  FWIW, I'm currently ranked 8195th on that challenge.


The hills are alive...

Okay, that title is probably a little too cheerful.  I decided I needed to push a bit, this morning, although I realized as soon as I got moving that I was a bit sore.  So it might not have been the best of decisions, but I went with it.

I overslept by a few minutes, but tried to keep that from getting in my way.  I even had trouble with finding my phone, which delayed me a couple minutes (problem with getting ready without lights on.  Don't want to wake anyone, after all).

One thing I did do, that worked well.  When I had to take my shoes (and booties) off, I tried a new way I'd heard about in comments on a particular pair of booties.  Instead of getting my shoes on, then putting the booties over the whole thing - which does work, but can easily tear up aero booties - I put the booties on, and pulled them up over my ankles, putting my feet through the cleat holes.  Then I pulled the heel down over the shoe, then pulled the toe over the shoe.

Anyway, I got out on the road a few minutes later than I'd intended, and headed for the hills to do something approaching intervals.  I did ok on the first two hills, but I died pretty soon after that.  Still, I kept pushing through them for forty-ish minutes.  Terrible times, and very sore muscles, but will hopefully make me stronger.

To try to counteract the sore muscles, I kept riding for another half hour or so after I stopped pushing.  We'll see how that works out.

That all ended up with a bit more than 18 miles, almost 1500' of elevation, and an average speed of 14.6mph (16.5 in the 40-odd minutes of pushing).

The one thing that really torqued me was that I wasn't able to see the power meter for the entire ride.  Not sure what was happening, but that's a new battery.  Need to follow up with Stages pronto.

As for tomorrow, it'll be another easy day.  I'll probably try to get up a little early and do 25-ish miles.  The temperature is supposed to be in the high 40s, perhaps warm enough for me to just go with bibs and a short-sleeve shirt (maybe with a sleeveless base-layer underneath).  Today was 45, and I went with summer gloves and a windbreaker, which worked out well.


A bit of a hiccup

Saturday morning, I got up about my normal time and got out of the house ok.  I was going to the group ride, but I started a bit early, and did a few miles just meandering around my neighborhood.  I eventually made it to the meet-up Starbucks, and was still a bit early.  Since I can't get my phone onto my home wifi network, I finally remembered to turn it on and see if I could get to Starbucks'.

That seemed to work fine, and to test it, I opened the Strava app (which came up fine).  But when we went to leave, I tried to tell Cyclemeter to start recording again, and I couldn't get the app to come back.  Force-quitting Strava didn't help.  Force-quitting Cyclemeter didn't help either.  I couldn't use Wahoo Fitness or Strava to record, because I didn't have all the sensors paired.

Not having any time (the others were literally pedaling away), I had to put the problem away and just ride without recording.  We did a fairly long ride (about 32 miles, based on past experience), and that worked out to a decent experience.  The one downside was that my legs were really tired, for some reason, and I was having trouble keeping up.  I managed, but it wasn't fun, and I was just as happy we were going with a quickly-rolling pace line (only leading long enough to get clear of the last guy, basically).  Outside of when we were doing that, I was mostly trailing.

I had a decent time, overall, but my legs were quite sore.  Hopefully, it'll go better this week.

Saturday night, I had my 25th High School reunion.  It was a pretty good time, although I was a little disappointed that the only people from my class who showed up were the ones I've seen in the last couple years.  I'm certainly glad they showed up, but wish a few others had showed up as well.

The point in bringing it up, however, is that it kept me awake until very late (the fact that I wasn't able to watch the third period of the Caps game until afterwards doesn't help either).  So there was zero chance of getting up early on Sunday for a long ride, as I might have done otherwise.

In fact, it brought into question the whole idea of getting up at the normal time.  I managed that, but it was a struggle (I had to resort to my mantra about choosing to ride, which I hadn't done in several months).

So I did get out, but I still hadn't figured out how to deal with cyclemeter (I had tried a bit more; even rebooting the phone didn't help), so I was stuck trying to give it a go with Wahoo Fitness.  That might have worked ok, except that I couldn't figure out why my speed and mileage data fields weren't showing up.  When I finished the ride, I realized that it had to be because I hadn't allowed Fitness access to location data.  So I had 1:09:22 time, elevation (888', amusingly), and heart rate data, but nothing else.

Since it was my shortest "standard" ride, I knew the mileage, but there was no way to export to Strava.  So I had to do a manual upload for the second day in a row, which was irritating.

As for the ride itself, it was a little chilly, but went pretty smoothly.  Afterwards, I crashed out on the couch for a while (I don't know how long).

The day was busy with kids' stuff, but at least I managed to get in bed reasonably early; I certainly needed the sleep.  I set the alarm for a few minutes early, so I could get a couple extra miles in.  I got up right away, when it went off, but was a little disoriented for a couple minutes.

Once I was up, I tried to get it all in order, and did get most things.  The one thing I couldn't manage was pairing my power meter with Wahoo Fitness.  Not sure what was going on, there, but it couldn't be seen, even after putting in a new battery.

I managed to get the ride in, that I was looking for, and it went pretty well.  Actually, I was trying to go a little bit harder (or at least at a higher candence) than usual, and I thought I might have managed that.  After the fact, though, I'm not sure, because Strava pegged me at about the same average speed, but with good heart-rate numbers.

What's bad, though, is that Fitness kept pausing itself while I was riding.  Mostly, it fixed itself within a few seconds, but a couple of times it couldn't.  Pulling a phone out, unlocking it, and playing with the screen is not fun, when you're moving (don't do it unless you're on an empty road or trail.  And even then, be very cautious).

The result is that it lost about two miles distance, in aggregate, along with an unknown amount of time.  Strava fixed the distance (and elevation, presumably); I don't know what it was able to do with the time.  All in all, very frustrating.

The good news is that I figured out the Cyclemeter problem while riding.  Deleting the program and re-installing it fixd the problem, and it had an internal cloud backup of the data, so that was great.  I lost two days, but not the eight months or more that preceded them.  Not great, but worlds better than I was expecting.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'll do; my legs felt great both yesterday and today, so no worries there.  And I think I kept the heart rate down (the first six miles had no heart rate data, for unknown reason) quite well; at least, I did on the latter two-thirds.

More importantly, the Caps are playing another home Game 7 tonight.  I'm not looking forward to it at all, but I'll be watching.  And if they win, then they get to go face a well-rested Rangers team.  Lovely.  Go Caps!


Push it real good...

As I mentioned, I wanted to try to duplicate my ride yesterday, but with my camera (and tripod), this time.  Things did not get off to a good start, as I rolled over after turning off my alarm.  I only slept another fifteen minutes or so, but that was enough to make things a little more difficult.

I rushed through my normal preparations, thankfully remembering to grab the camera (which normally resides in my camelbak, but was next to my computer this morning).  I got out the door at a couple minutes before five, which was five minutes or so behind yesterday's ride.

Because of that, I tried to ride as close as I could to my 125bpm max, and I was surprised at how well I was able to do that.  I did go over a few times and maxed out at 134.  The ten minutes that I spent, over, was more than I thought, although the average for those ten minutes was only 127bpm.  So I think that isn't too bad.

The bad part was that the sunrise was not terribly interesting, this morning.  We didn't have the break in cloud cover that caused yesterday to be so lovely.  Ah well.

The one pain point on the ride was that it was colder than yesterday (and had more wind, I think; that part's harder to be sure of).  There was supposed to be a one- or two-degree difference, and some of the ride hit that number.  But yesterday it warmed up for quite a while in the middle; a six-degree difference.  So while the difference wasn't as big as I expected, it was constant cold today after irregular cold yesterday (I wore equivalent clothes, both days).  For most of my body, it didn't make any difference, but there was a world of difference for my fingers.  Yesterday, slight chill.  Today, getting close to numb.  Ouch.

Tomorrow is supposed to be about the same as today.  I'm hoping to hook up with the same group as last Saturday; if that falls through, I'll probably head up MacArthur Blvd into Potomac (MD), pushing as hard as I can.  In fact, there's a long, flat stretch in there; if I'm by myself, I'll probably try to do another FTP test.  But hopefully the group ride will happen; that's certainly more fun.


"Like ships in the night..."

Just noticed a really neat, fairly new (I saw the link a couple days ago, I think) feature on Strava called fly-by.  Essentially, it shows your ride and all the people with whom you crossed paths on that ride.

Look in the upper left, and it'll play them like a video, so you can see where other people were while you were riding.  And when you do the animation, it'll animate them, as well.  I don't know, if you're doing something like a short race, if it'll give enough detail to see jockeying going on in a ride (I suspect not), but it's still really awesome.

I'd also call it evil, in terms of time-wasting potential.

But it's fantastic, too, if you meet someone on the road or trail, and can't remember their name (or how to spell it).  Now you can just watch your ride, and look for the intersection or overlap.  Sheer genius.

Disappointed that this now means I know that the person who passed me this morning is not on Strava (well, or hasn't uploaded their ride yet, I guess).  Was curious.

Slow figure eight

I did get up early, this morning, and headed out on a big loop.  It went very quietly, for the most part, although I did have to turn around only a quarter-mile in.  I'd looked at the power meter yesterday, and left the cap and battery off.  I was miffed that the battery was already dead (only an hour and change of run time.  A new record.  I've gotten in touch with Stages about it, so we'll see how they handle it).  The only bits of excitement within the ride itself came when I was passing the airport, and another cyclist passed me.

I wonder what other people think; when he was just behind me, I half-turned and said, "Good morning".  Am I the only one who thinks he was an ass not to respond at all?  In any event, he didn't seem to be going a whole lot faster than me, but I quickly realized I wasn't going to keep up without pushing my heart rate way higher than I wanted to do (and, in fact, I accidentally pushed it up to 132 while verifying that).  Still, I was amused that, even after getting my heart rate back down to 120-ish, he didn't make it out of easy sight until he turned off to take the 14th St Bridge, a mile or two later.

Actually, one other piece was that I stopped three different times, just after that, to take pictures.  I really wish I'd had a better camera than my phone.  The shot above isn't bad, but could be better, especially if I'd brought the tripod.  Still, I was glad to be in position to get what I got - to quote the old photojournalism maxim, "F/8 and be there".

The other "exciting" part of the ride came just as I was riding up the hill to the gate at Ft Myer.  Some jackass decided that he needed to fly by me with about a foot of clearance.  I was irritated, but going to let it go, until I realized he was going to the gate.  So I sped up and gave him a little piece of my mind while he was at the guard shack with his window open.  That spiked my heart rate up all the way to 163, which surprised me, given it was only 30-ish seconds of hard exertion.

I was pleasantly surprised to get it back down into my target range in only a few minutes, afterward.

Anyway, the incident, combined with a couple other recent happenings, has me reconsidering getting a GoPro, or something similar.  I really don't appreciate such behavior.  I think I'll talk to my dad about it.

Other than that, a very pleasant ride, and some decent miles in.  For the first time, I'll finish all the Strava challenges this month.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I'll finish the MTS challenge with several days to go.  Decent ride tomorrow, long rides on the weekend, maybe a couple miles with my daughter as well.  We'll see.

Oh, and I signed up for the Velobici challenge yesterday (veloviewer mentioned it).  It started March 8th, and I was amused to see I've already met the mileage target for it.  It's a little bit of a waste, though, as I'm not impressed with their goods.  Plus, while I'll do more than respectably, I don't have any chance of winning any of the categories (though I might make top ten in nighttime miles, and could move close to that in the steel category by renaming my bike.  Oh, and I figured out a way to cheat so I could reasonably compete in the 'most PRs' category.  I see people there with more PRs than miles, so I wouldn't be alone in that, for sure).

And Competitive Cyclist disappointed me by putting their "dollars for hours" program on hold.  I guess the demand was much higher than they anticipated, and I think they just couldn't keep up with entering people's miles in the system.  Still, I got forty-ish dollars in credit while it lasted, and put a few extra miles in than I would have done, so it wasn't a complete waste, even if it doesn't come back.  I hope it does, though; I loved the idea.

Getting back to the actual biking, tomorrow will be another easy day; I might even repeat today's ride, taking my Coolpix A to get some better sunrise shots (though I'll need to take the tripod to make significant improvements; HDRs don't work all that great without that).

Then Saturday should be another hard group ride; hopefully I'll be fully recovered by then.  Either way, it should be fun, I think.

And hopefully the Caps can put together a much better game tonight, and win.  Go Caps!

Caps even series

As I mentioned yesterday, I did watch the game two days ago.  I thought it was a pretty uneven effort, with OV's goal being a very lucky one (deflection behind the back just going under the crossbar? Ridiculous).

Once again, the Caps were outplayed pretty solidly, and only a great game by Holtby kept them in it long enough to get to overtime.

Fehr was out, as expected.  Glencross was also scratched, which surprised me quite a bit.  I was glad to see Bura on the ice.  It wasn't one of his best games, but he looked good when he was there.  He certainly was far from the worst forward on the ice for the Caps.

Wilson was on a mission to be a one-man wrecking crew.  He got called for two penalties, but one of them seemed ludicrous, while the other seemed merely a bad call.  I think he might have been the only Cap who was matching the hitting of the Islanders (it amazes me that the Islanders are both winning the possession battle, and winning the hitting battle.  That's damned near impossible to do).

I did think OV got away with one with an early hit to the back of one of the Islanders, but given that I'd already seen the Isles do the same thing twice without a call left me feeling rather less than gracious about it.

Anyway, the Caps need to work on their breakout.  It wasn't nearly as bad as in games one and three, but it wasn't good.  Not nearly enough tape-to-tape passes, and way too many forced ones.  I can't say that that was particularly on any one defender, either; it was all over the place.  Some of that's on the Islanders excellent forecheck, of course, but the Caps need to improve.  Maybe getting hit so much is making them tentative; I'm not sure.

Ward has continued to be quietly excellent at both ends of the ice.  I'm still not sold on having him on the top line, but he's done very well there in a strictly complementary role.

MarJo hasn't really been rewarded for the effort, but he's also had an excellent series.  I will say that I noticed him quite a bit less in this game than in the previous ones, though.

Anyway, the important part is that the Caps did get the deciding goal in overtime (nice shot, Backs) and can head back home with home ice advantage (such as it is).  I hope they can just win the next two, though; I do not look forward to the possibility of another home game seven.

A big roadblock just got put in their way, though, as Grabovsky is healthy again.  I can only hope that other players on their team decide that that's an excuse for them to take it easy, though, because otherwise the Caps are likely to lose the next two (which would still avoid game seven, I guess).  Much as I love Grabbo, and wish him well, generally, I'm not keen on having him suiting up against the Caps.

Go Caps!


Following the plan

Yesterday, I decided that I'd head out to Purcellville again, and was debating timing.  I ended up getting up at the normal time, and went out on my normal easy route.

That went well, although I did decide to try to place highly on one short segment in there, which didn't.  Basically, I made the turn onto that segment, and started to push, when I realized that the wind was in my face, and there was a hell of a lot of it.  I realized there was no way in hell I was going to get a good time with that much wind, so I quickly dialed it back down and finished normally.

My wife got out the door early, and I never took my clothes off after the early ride, so I was in good position to get on the road quite early.  Realizing that, I decided to take my camera (and tripod) with me, since I would have the time to stop and shoot along the way.

So I got on the road right around nine AM, not really rushing, but still maintaining a good pace (my goal was 16mph).  I wasn't really out to pass people, but I ended up playing leapfrog quite a bit as I did so, and then stopped to take some pictures.  At least one guy I passed three or four times; I imagine he was kind of curious what I was doing.

The first place I stopped was in Vienna; not too far from where I used to work in Tyson's Corner.  I'd say it's a quaint little town, but it's also one of the richest in the country, so I'm not sure if quaint is really the right word.  Anyway, this rail car is kind of tucked away where you don't really see it unless you're on the W&OD trail.

From there, I kept heading west, making good time despite the massive headwind.  My next stop was in Herndon, where there's a replica rail depot that's been made into a small museum (I didn't go in).

And this is quite a busy town, so it feels a bit odd, here.  That is, too quiet and peaceful.  Still, a nice spot.  You can't see it, but there's a tiny little Town Hall just off to the left; it has the sign, but I suspect that it isn't actually the town hall anymore.  One of these days, I'll need to check on that.

Riding a bit further, I got to Smith's Switch Station, which is a nice little resting spot.  Most importantly for me, it has a few porta-potties, of which I was in desperate need.  This also wasn't my first time stopping here; on my first ride out, this was one of several places where I stopped and snacked (and rested; I was already in bad shape by the time I got there that time).

This time, other than the call of nature, I was in fine shape, so I only stopped long enough to use the facility and take this picture.

From that point, I really didn't take many pictures.  A couple miles from Clark's Gap, I stopped to take a picture of this church.  I really like the color contrast between the tree and the church.

And then I took the shot up at the top of this post, of the end of the trail at Purcellville.

One thing you can't tell from that is that there's a bike shop directly behind me (and across the street), called Trail's End Cycling.  Something's apparently trying to keep me from shopping there.  The first time I rode out, I didn't go around the depot building, and didn't see the shop (I'd been told it was right there, somewhere).  The second time, I went in, but they were having a problem with their distributor, and had almost no stock.  This time, it was a Tuesday, and they apparently close Mondays and Tuesdays.  Kind of annoying.

The good part was that it meant I got right back on the road, and headed back east.  That part of the ride is quite pleasant, without sharp turns or steep hills, and almost all tree-lined.

There were really only two bits of interest on the way back (I only stopped once to take a picture).  One is that I let the phone run down too low, and it stopped recording for several miles before I noticed.  I'd been planning to start it charging when it hit 5%, but it was already stopped before that.  So when I realized, I started the charger.  More annoying, it didn't automatically start recording again, so I went another half mile or mile after that before stopping again to start the recording.

I again stopped at the BBQ in Ashburn to get a sandwich to eat (well, two, actually).  This time I used the vinegar BBQ sauce, instead of the sweet stuff (because of diet, although it's Carolina BBQ, and the vinegar sauce is more authentic for Carolina).  And I screwed up in that I ordered baked beans on the side, forgetting how much sugar goes into those.  Probably not a big deal, with the nearly six hours in the saddle, but annoying.

The other bit of note was that I ended up riding for five or ten miles with another biker who was getting ready for a 400-mile, three day, 13000' elevation ride.  Very pleasant conversation, and it made the miles go by much more quickly (probably literally, as well as figuratively).

After he turned off, I made the last ten or twelve miles on my own, and I was feeling pretty good as I did it.  I was tired when I got home, but not excessively sore.

What I didn't realize until today, was that I got some significant sunburn on the way.  Not as bad as my normal first sunburn from ultimate, but significant. What was funny, to me, was how sharply defined it is, and how little spread out.  Tops of knees, a little on outside-back of calves, and on the tops of my forearms.  And the sharpness of the definition comes from the tightness of the clothes, of course (well, of course, in retrospect.  It wasn't something I'd thought about beforehand, and I was bemused to see it).

Last night, I was very tired (though I still watched the Caps game, of course), but still forced myself to do my exercises - at much lower intensity than normal - and stretches.  I think that helped cut down on soreness this morning.

I had a little trouble waking up, but still got out this morning.  I was a bit annoyed; the temperature was supposed to be in the low-50s, but it was actually low- to mid-40s.  I managed, but I was definitely chilled.  And I did do the full fifteen miles, this time; last time I rode so far, I only did twelve the next morning.

The downside is that I've still been pretty sore today.  I actually felt good when I finished the ride, and then got more sore, later.  Not sure what to make of that.

One funny note related to Strava.  I actually finished the ride yesterday ten meters short of the goal for the monthly climbing challenge.  I did, of course, blow by that today; I'm curious how much I'll beat it by, by the end of the month.  And I'm on course to easily surpass the 1250km for the MTS challenge, which is pretty cool.

I'm thinking I'll get up a little early in the morning, and do a gentle twenty-five miles or so.  If I can average the same 14mph that I did today, that'll even get me home early.  Here's hoping.


Cheese wiz?

One thing I've found, with being on the Atkins diet, is that there's a remarkably small number of deserts and snacks that you can eat.  Almost everything has sugar and/or some sort of bread, often in large quantities.  Even the stuff that seems to be getting most of its calories from fat (ice cream, cheesecake, etc) still get an enormous amount from sugar.

And that's very frustrating.  Which has led to me eating a lot of cheeses lately.  One of my favorites, found at Whole Foods, is Sartori Bellavitano Black Pepper.  Semi-soft, creamy, and with bite from the pepper, I bought this a number of times while they had it.

I've long been a big fan of Brie, and recently have tried a couple different Triple Cream Bries.  One from Whole Foods that is good, but not great.  And I tried a second one at a local wine and cheese shop that was great (and if you watch Caps games, you've probably seen an Arrowine commercial.  I fell in love with the place for its wines, especially ports, but the cheeses have had me returning recently).  Much creamier, with less nuttiness.  I actually didn't buy the latter, but it was very good.

My recent favorite has been another that I found at the wine & cheese shop called Comte, aged 36 months.  A bit harder than either of the others, with some texture provided by protein bits (I'm told) that are inside.  And the flavor is just magnificent.  Really, I could eat a pound a day of that stuff, quite happily.  If we had a way to store it, I'd be tempted to look into getting a whole wheel.

But the reason for me writing this is another new one I just tried.  It is White Stilton Ilchester with Lemon Peel.  I figured that it'd be a good match for the diet, as lemon is the only citrus fruit that is (well, and its partner in crime, lime).  So I got a piece and sat down to eat it.  Delicious.  Buttery, soft, sweet, with just a hint of tang from the lemon.  I was a little suspicious of the sweetness, however, and had to look it up.  The lemon peel must be candied before being put in, because it has a LOT of sugar.  Incredibly delicious, but a definite no for the diet.  A serious loss.

I probably should have suspected, with it being next to the Wensleydale with Cranberries (which we've had a few times over the last several years, and which is also delicious, and very sweet).  Next time I will be more suspicious (although, of course, I didn't realize how sweet it was until I got it home and tried it).

Anyway, if you're open-minded about cheeses, those are some excellent ones to try.

Poop sandwich

I did manage to catch yesterday's Caps game, and man, was it miserable.  I was hoping that their domination in game two showed that they'd learned something that could carry over, but such was not to be.

They got off to a slow start, and never really turned it on until the third period.  They just couldn't connect passes out of the defensive zone, so they were playing most of the game in their own end.  And that's a recipe for getting your ass handed to you.

Holtby, however, was in full-on beast mode, and he kept them in the game (somehow).  He only let one through, and even that one was deflection from in close that also tipped off the underside of his arm.  Can't blame him for that one.

Still, they should have been down by several, but were only down one in the beginning of the third.  It took them a few minutes to get going, then, after which they had an amazing ten minutes or so, where they were even more dominant than the Islanders had been up to that point.  And he won't get much credit for it, but Ward was a particular thorn in the Islanders side, repeatedly outduelling Islanders defensemen on the forecheck or in keeping the cycle going.

That push finally led to a goal with six minutes and a few seconds left in the period, and things were looking pretty good.  But the Islanders woke up, or the Caps just stopped trying, because there was basically zero momentum carry-over after that goal.  They went almost back to where they'd been for the first two periods, leaving Holtby to save them again and again.

Which he did, at least into the overtime.  But the overtime only lasted fifteen seconds, as New York won the opening face-off and shot the puck in on Holtby was past the red line.  Holtby snagged it, then passed it off to the defender, who turned it over immediately.  That led to a flurry, with the second rebound being tipped just over Braden's leg and into the net.  Can't blame Holtby for that one either (other than that he should have just frozen the puck, obviously).

Anyway, it was a terrible game that the Caps in no way deserved to win, and which they were mighty lucky to get into overtime.  The one bit of encouragement is that, despite being badly outplayed, they still had a chance to win.

The bad news is that they needed Holtby to basically be perfect.  He's one hell of a goaltender, but that's a lot to ask.  Also, Fehr was injured (probably right shoulder, which is particularly bad news for him, given his history of shoulder issues) and might not be back (no, I haven't heard anything).  MarJo was also hurt, though he did return.

I must admit to feeling very pessimistic about the Caps' chances, going forward.  They've now been manhandled twice, and if they hadn't returned the favor in Game 2, I'd think they had no chance of winning.  As it is, I'm still skeptical.  The breakout, in games one and three, has just been atrocious, and that's the building block of all offense.

I don't know.

I guess we can find out tomorrow on CSN.  Go Caps!

Lots of pedals

I slept in a little bit Saturday, and did meet up for the group ride I've been trying to do the last several weekends.

When we met up, there turned out to be seven other guys, only two of whom I knew (and one other I'd met once).  When we got moving, I ended up (accidentally) at the back, which I was ok with, given how much I'd slowed the group in earlier rides.

We cruised pretty easily across Chain Bridge and into DC, and I was still hanging on at the back.  But then we did the climb up Arizona Ave, and the guys I was immediately following (I eventually noticed) were falling behind the guys in front.  I decided to pass the four guys right in front of me, and catch up to the ones in front.  From there, we continued up MacArthur Blvd to Goldsboro.

We got caught at a traffic light on Goldsboro, at River (I think), where I ended up at the back again.  It wasn't, perhaps, as bad as the first time, but a climb started right after, and the same guys started falling behind again.  This time, I didn't wait, and closed the gap with the guys in front.

From that point on, I rarely led (only thrice pulling), but I stayed in the front three.  What surprised me was that, except when I was pulling, it wasn't a terribly strenuous ride.  I wish I'd had power data, but the power meter died only a minute or two into the ride.  I really need to get in touch with Stages, because this time it was a brand-new battery, not one that had been sitting around the house for a couple of years.

Anyway, the ride ended up at 96 minutes for 31 miles, which is damn-sure better than I could've done on my own.  And the times I was pulling, those were very tough.  I actually kept my heart rate over 180 for a couple of minutes at a time, which is far better than I can normally do.

I set a whole slew of PRs, which was not a surprise.  What did surprise me was that the PRs on the segments I regularly ride were by very small margins.  For instance, the climb from the cemetary to the courthouse, on which I'd set a new PR only a few days before: two of us went ahead of the group to attack that.  We charged up, and it felt good when we made it to the top.  But I only beat my record from the other day by a couple seconds, and I was actually slower on the last ascent (despite hitting a higher heart rate; actually saw 190 flash across the screen).

In any event, it was a very fun ride, and it really felt good to not be the one holding up the group.  And it felt pretty good to be pulling for a bit, too.  Looking forward to more of that.

Despite the fact that it didn't feel all that strenuous when we were riding, and not much right after we were done, either, my legs were a bit tired, later.  Regardless of whether that would have been the case, though, yesterday was always going to be an easy day.  The only question was how long it was going to go.

The answer was that I got up early (yes, even for me), and went for nearly three hours.  I went all the way down to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (though not over), then back up and all the way west to Idylwood Rd.  I was a bit surprised to find that all of that was a bit less than 1300' of elevation, but it did cover 38 miles (I probably should have stretched a little to hit 40, but I was worried about time.  I ended up having the time, but I wasn't sure of that until after I'd finished).

The one big irritation was that I forgot to put a new battery in the power meter, so I didn't have power or cadence data.  Also, I didn't do quite as well on heart rate (though at least a minute or two of that was deliberate), but it's impossible to say exactly how well.

When I first looked down at the heart rate (just a minute in), it said 120, which would be weird, but not inconceivable.  Half a minute later, it read 132.  Again, conceivable, though a bit more weird, since I hadn't been pushing in the interim.  Half a minute later, it said 183, which was impossible (I wasn't pushing anywhere near hard enough to get there), and a minute after that, it said 219 (I have never managed to get my heart rate that high, so far as I know).

It stayed at 219 for a couple of minutes, then dropped back into a sane reading, and mostly stayed reasonable for the rest of the ride.  But I did see a couple of impossibly high readings (153, briefly, seconds before dropping back to 115.  It also apparently spiked to 202 at one point, without me noticing.  And later on, it went all the way to 215 for a while).  Given all that noise, I can't say how much time I spent over target heart rate, but my guess would be three to four minutes, total.

The depressing part of maintaining that strict heart-rate limit, though, is that I was passed on hills by seriously overweight people who were pushing themselves.  I could have tripled (maybe even quadrupled) my speed, which would have been very satisfying, but I held myself back.  It was definitely annoying, however.

Still, I felt good at the end of the ride, and I got home about fifteen minutes earlier than I'd really planned (which was probably a good thing).  I was still a little sore, later in the day, but only a little.

Oh, and I haven't felt much like it, but I've forced myself to do my tabata workout each of the last several nights, and that has helped, I think.  It doesn't last long enough to create lasting soreness of its own, but I do feel good (if very tired) at the end, after I tag five minutes or so of stretching onto it.

Which brings me to today.  It was always going to be a fairly gentle ride, but after looking at the weather yesterday, I decided that Tuesday would be my day off for the week.  Which meant that I wanted to push myself even less today.  Well, not less strenuous on a minute-by-minute basis, since the whole point of the easy rides is that they aren't strenuous, but less distance.

So I did my recently-normal 15 mile course that has almost 900' of elevation.  And I did remember to put a new battery in the power meter, so I had power/cadence data.  We'll see if the battery lasts through tomorrow's ride.

The point being, it was easy, I enjoyed it (it was close to meditative), and I got back on time (I didn't wake up early).  I kept my heart rate within target range for all but 35 seconds, and maxed at 128bpm.  All good numbers.

So the plan, going forward, is to do a long ride tomorrow; something at least sixty miles (and 80-100 would be better).  I haven't figured out the timing, or an exact plan, but that's the rough outline.  Then I'll probably do gentle rides Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, preparing for the group ride on Saturday (which will hopefully work out again).



I missed most of tonight's game; DVR didn't record, and I have no idea why.  And we went out to dinner.  Got them to put NHL Network on a TV there, so saw a tiny bit of coverage near beginning.  But Caps were down 2-0 by the time we left, and I was definitely not feeling good about things.

Forgot to check on DVR upon arriving home, so when I finally turned it on (after getting kids in bed), there were only a few minutes left, and Caps were up 4-3.  Spent a couple of shifts just playing defense (looked like a PK, except with five men on ice), then OV came on and jump-started offense.  Had a nice shift-and-a-bit in the offensive zone before finally clearing in and missing the glass.

From there, they did a nice job killing off the remaining time.

The biggest news of the game was that Gru was in net; Holtby was apparently too sick to go.  Hope he feels better by Sunday.  But Gru's not bad, and held down the fort well enough, I guess.

The other thing that my twitter feed informed me of is that the Caps were completely dominant through two periods on shot attempts.  No way the game should have been as close as it was, it seems.  I'll need to watch highlights.  Either Isles got some really lucky bounces, or Gru did much worse than I'd expect from him.

Still, the important thing is that they won.  They're still not in a good position, as NY still has home ice advantage for the series, but if the dominant play came as a result of strategic changes, then they're in great shape.  If not, well, at least it doesn't look hopeless.

And remember, Sunday's game is at 1230, and is on NBC (not a fan of Doc, so not thrilled with that, but we're stuck with it).

Oh, and if you're tracking such things, Riley Barber left Miami and signed his ELC.  Looking forward to seeing him in red next year, although he'll be spending most of the year in Hershey, I imagine.

Go Caps! (and if you're not on a ketogenic diet, remember Papa John's code CAPS50 for tomorrow.)

Keeping rolling

I was pretty tired, last night, so I got to bed pretty early (though not as early as the night before).  Hence, I ended up waking up to use the bathroom about twenty minutes before my alarm (already set earlier than usual) went off.

Going to bed, there were indications of rain coming, so I got things ready with that (and the temperature in the high 50s) in mind.  Once I was up, though, there was no sign of that at all.  So I dug out a different jersey (one with a zippered pocket; with a jacket, I could just use its pocket), got dressed, topped off the tire (still hadn't fixed the tube), and got on the road.

For the first minute or so, I was wondering if I should have done something more to deal with water, as the roads were still a bit wet, but I stopped thinking about that after only a couple of minutes.

I had planned on doing my long loop that heads down into Old Town, but ended up doing something like my other long loop (Shirlington -> Braddock -> Del Ray -> Crystal City -> Mt Vernon trail -> Courthouse -> Ballston -> home).  Basically, I did that, except that I turned left, on the way back, from George Mason Dr onto Washington Blvd, and took that down to Orland to Powhatan, so as to add a few more miles.

It ended up being 28.4 miles, 1300' elevation, and just over two hours.  Per Cyclemeter, it was just over 14mph, which made me very happy, although Strava knocked that down to 13.8mph.

I did more time above 125bpm, just in the first mile, than all of yesterday, so there was some movement in the wrong direction.  But it was still less than a minute over (and a peak of just 127), so that's not really anything to worry about.

All in all, I was very happy with the ride.  And to make matters even better, I did time it so I got home in plenty of time to get the kids out of bed and ready to go.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping for a group ride; if not, I'll probably do a long ride on my own.  I'm not sure whether it'll be a hard one or not.  The weather's supposed to be fantastic, at mid-50s and dry (Sunday's forecast is a few degrees cooler, but still dry), same as today.  I'm looking forward to it either way.


Not a good start

I don't have a lot to say about last night's Caps game, but I do have a few thoughts.

One, the shot totals would seem to indicate that the game was much more even than it felt like.

Two, I think the shot totals are misleading; now looking, and the Isles had many more missed shots.

Three, the power play needs to adapt a bit to NY's aggressiveness.

Four, tape-to-tape passes are critical.  It did get better as the game went on, but there were way too many giveaways.  The Isles are too good to be giving them the puck for free.

Five, there is no world in which Beagle should be playing over Bura.  No excuse for that.  Heck, I'd rather have Galiev up there over Beagle.  Possibly over Chimmer, too.

Six, the Caps miss Wilson's ability to draw (even matching) penalties.

Seven, MarJo had a hell of a game.

Eight, OV didn't seem like he was accomplishing much (outside of hitting), but his Corsi and Fenwick numbers were very good.  And his 11 shot attempts were also quite good.  Not sure what was going on, there.

Nine, the young Islanders having very little playoff experience didn't seem to hurt them in any way.  They got a little bit lucky, but they still solidly outplayed the Caps.

This is well short of the time to panic, but things definitely do not look good.  Hopefully, Barry can come up with some effective counters to the Islanders' tactics (Bruce never managing that was the biggest reason for the Caps not doing well in the playoffs under him.  And why I don't expect him to make it out of the second round (maybe not even first) this year).

Short note on socks

I recently mentioned how much I like my Thorlo hiking socks.  Well, the existence of another high-end sock maker recently became known to me; Darn Tough (I do love that name) makes wool socks that are guaranteed not to wear out.  That guarantee is pretty freaking awesome, so I've been curious to try them since.

Well, over the weekend, I took my daughter to ballet, and wandered over to REI while she was dancing (REI is a few doors down from the dance studio).  While browsing, I ran across Darn Tough socks, and decided to get a pair to try them out.

So, the next morning, I wore them on my bike ride.  The guarantee is nice, but I wasn't thrilled with the comfort of the socks.  The fit was fine, but they're not nearly as soft as my Thorlo's.  Plus, they're 20-30% more expensive (actually, the discounted price I got on that pair was almost 30% more than what I paid for my last purchase of Thorlos).

I might buy a couple more pairs if I find them at a huge discount (that guarantee IS quite nice), but otherwise, I'll stick to my Thorlos.

Getting moving

I woke up a little early this morning, to try to knock out a few extra miles.  I got up when the alarm went off, and was about set to get out at my projected time (despite forgetting to put the new battery in the power meter last night) when I noticed that my heart rate meter was showing nothing.  Since I had the batteries close at hand, I turned around to change that one, also.

I quickly realized I didn't have anything to open the meter, but then tried using the battery itself.  That actually worked well enough that I'll probably keep using it for that purpose.

After that, I got out the door a couple minutes late, but got on the road.  Things didn't start off great, as my heart rate was pushing a little higher than I wanted at first.  Not too high, but pushing it closer than I'd prefer.  Then, after a couple minutes, I noticed there was a weird noise that sounded akin to something rubbing the wheel.

I stopped to look, but couldn't find any sign of what it was.  For certain, both brakes were ok, so I got back moving.  After that, things went very smoothly.  I did my normal, 15 mile loop, except added the three miles that I often do in Shirlington.  And since I was still a few minutes early, I also added a mile or two on the end that pushed me onto a bit more in the way of hills.

Factor all of that in, and I did 20.5 miles and 1200' of elevation.  Again, cyclemeter and strava disagreed severely on the time; cyclemeter indicating 91 minutes and strava insisting on 97.  Still, hit all my goals; heart rate maxed at 126, and was only there for two seconds.  Went about as well as last night's Caps game didn't.

Get off your Assos

Just ordered a few jerseys and (summer) base layers from the Assos Factory Outlet yesterday.  Good prices to start with, and found code 'bean10' to knock an additional 10% off.  Very cool.

Shipping from the UK, but says it'll arrive tomorrow, somehow (ordered last night).  Color me skeptical on that (I can't remember if I paid for slightly expedited shipping, but I definitely didn't pay for their fastest shipping.  I have philosophical objections to paying extra for shipping, and almost never do).

Update: Color me both impressed and confused.  Ended up with two orders, placed within minutes of each other.  Put a comment in on the second one to combine them; no luck (tracking numbers were less 100 apart).  Still, one did arrive today, as predicted.  The other seems to've gotten stuck in customs in Newark.


Quick note as follow-up to my post about shaving, the other day.

Yesterday, tried again shaving the "right" way, this time with a new blade.  Man, I must have been pushing too hard or something, because I tore up my face something fierce.

No, I don't mean disfigurement, or any such, but I had so many nicks and cuts that I walked out of the bathroom (to get a paper towel) looking like an extra from a horror movie.  Seriously, my face was about covered in blood.  I did note that the blade I had been using was almost two years old, so it was quite a change to a new one.

Anyway, it certainly wasn't the first time I'd nicked myself, but was, by far, the worst.


Quiet, then not

Yesterday, I did manage to wake up early enough to get out and get my long loop done, even though my daughter needed to wake up early.  I didn't make it by a lot (I had to inhale my breakfast, and didn't have time to get a shower before taking my daughter in), but we made it.

And I did do something a little different, yesterday, on that loop.  I normally dodge over to the trail to get down into Shirlington, which adds a mile or two, but I decided to instead go straight down on George Mason Dr.  I figured that, if I had time, I could add distance on at the end pretty easily.

So I went through a gentle ride of 25 miles, which did end up including a couple extra miles at the back end.  And I stretched out the last mile or two as well, to make sure that I had the ride over two hours (cyclemeter said 2:00:15, while Strava said 2:05:10.  Given that they're working from the same data, I wonder about that discrepancy.  I'm sure some of it is stopped time vs moving time, but I have a hard time imagining five minutes of maybe-moving.  One of the big advantages of riding when I do).

As far as heart rate, I think I did a good job except for a second or two of attempted track-stop at a road crossing.  I had a hard enough time staying there that I ended up pulling one cleat off, and that ended up spiking my heart rate by 10-15bpm (I was on a very slight uphill, which didn't help).  Total, though, I only had five minutes above 125bpm, which isn't bad.

The only irritation about the ride was when I stopped getting data from my power meter with a couple miles to go.  In fact, it was a situation I'd never seen before; I was getting readings, but they were all zero.

I felt pretty good when I finished, but my legs felt pretty tired for most of the rest of the day, which had me feeling a bit depressed (after two recovery days, my legs should not be tired, even if I did forty-five miles over those two days).  But I forced myself to do my stretches at night and got to bed early.  Plus, I didn't try to wake up early.

So I got on the road just before 0530 (my target), and aimed to do essentially the same course as yesterday.  My one big change was doing the big hill on Walter Reed Dr, near Shirlington, and killing it (PR by 14s; down to one minute, even.  Moved me up 22 spots).  I felt killed, at the end, too.  Still, I pushed again on the other side of Shirlington, setting a PR by four seconds on the 31st St South segment (moved up eight places on the leaderboard, there).  The latter especially surprised me, because I did blow up before the end; I probably would have been another 8-10 seconds faster without that.

Anyway, I kept up the fast pace without trying to set any records for most of the rest of the ride.  I was really happy (especially after those two big climbs) to hit 12.6 miles in the first forty minutes (nearly 19mph avg).

The two exceptions I made were when I got to the cemetary.  There's a long climb that goes from there, all the way to the courthouse, that I've been trying to improve on for quite a while.  Well, I killed that one too.  Not as much as the other two; I improved by eight seconds over nearly five minutes (previous PR was exactly 5:00).  But just to beat it felt like an accomplishment.

The one other place I tried to push was when I got back to Washington Blvd and George Mason.  I took the left there, and started pushing just before Greenbrier St.  Unfortunately, that was a segment where I didn't know where the end was.  But I did improve my PR by about 8%, which was enough to move me up to fifth, overall.

For the whole ride, I got 26.5 miles in 92 minutes (I stretched out the last three miles or so again, for the same reason as yesterday).  I have no idea how, but the elevation ended up a hair less than yesterday.  I had expected it to be more by 100-ish feet.  Regardless, it was a good continuation of my volume, and work on the challenges.

So, especially given how I felt when starting, it's hard to complain about the ride results.  My one complaint was that the power meter was out again, and reseating the battery (one mile in) did nothing to help that.  I'll put a new battery in, later.  Irritated that I need to, though, as that's less than a week with the current one.  At least the heart rate meter wasn't also dead, I guess.

Oh, and the great thing was that it was warm enough to get by with a summer jersey and bibs.  Very comfortable.  One conclusion I've come to about jerseys; I'm not buying any more (at least not summer ones) that don't have a zip-up pocket.  Too worried about dropping my phone.  That might well mean that the Assos ones get worn more than I would prefer; we'll see.

Tomorrow and Friday will both be gentle days; all other details TBD.


Resting on the move

I did get up early this morning, as planned, although a slightly upset stomach kept me from getting moving as quickly as I would have liked.  Also, I still haven't really fixed that flat, so I still have a latex inner tube in that tire, which necessitated a fill-up before leaving.  Still, I got on the road a few minutes after five, and felt pretty good.

The temperature was mid-high 40s (a couple degrees colder than forecast); I had debated wearing a jacket, and I'm glad I did (just a light windbreaker).  That jacket is quite comfortable, as I've previously noted, although the looseness of the fit is starting to bother me (even though it shouldn't).  I was never really cold, but I could definitely feel the cold on my hands and lower arms.

That was far from enough to ruin the ride, though; it was very pleasant, and I cranked out twenty miles in 90 minutes.  Not great speed, obviously, but then, that wasn't the priority.  Heart rate was, and that stayed pleasantly low.  In fact, it was almost perfect, as my max was 126.

And there were about 1100' of elevation to go with the mileage, so I'm keeping up with the challenges for the month.  I figured out that I'll need to average a bit more than 20 miles per day to finish the MTS challenge; even if I don't keep cranking out that many miles every day, keeping my average high enough should be simple.

In fact, next week I'll probably see about cranking out another 50-80 mile ride, which should make it downright easy.  Maybe I'll go out to Purcellville again; that's a nice ride.  Or maybe I'll do it piecemeal, as I did last week.  Plenty of time to contemplate that.

Regardless of how that ends up working out, tomorrow is the more immediate issue.  It'll be warm (60-ish), but probably wet.  I'll try to get out early again, maybe try to do 25 miles or so.  I'm really looking forward to another 60-ish day without the rain; rain doesn't ruin things, but it certainly doesn't improve them.

Cutting it close

I've never been one to shave the "right" way.  I started out using various electric razors; in my experience, they generally do a good job, but require many passes over any given spot.

Eventually, I moved to using a disposable razor, and/or a cartridge one while showering.  That works pretty well, although also requiring several passes.  I also always had trouble with nicking myself the first couple times using a given razor (I would use a razor or cartridge for weeks before replacing them).

Fairly recently (actually, now that I look, almost two years ago), I switched over to a safety razor, and I've been pretty happy with that.  It still requires two passes, but does a nice job.  I'm not sure, though, how the speed compares to the disposable.  Basically, I do one pass to start (after rinsing with hot water then soaping up) with the grain, then re-rinse and re-soap and do a second pass against the grain (don't go against the grain to start; not good).

That does a good job, except getting just underneath the sides of my jaw; that spot, on each side, is really tough.

For several years, I've been contemplating trying to do it the "right" way, with a brush, and shaving cream, and aftershave.  Well, Bevel has a subscription service that I was contemplating.  Then, the last time Tapjoy did doubling of diamond rewards (for My Singing Monsters) for a weekend (and it was a bit over 1k diamonds to begin with), I finally decided to give it a try.

I got the package a week ago, and was impressed with the packaging and look.  So, yesterday, I gave it a try.  It definitely did a better job on the first pass, as that one was quite close.  However, it wasn't as close as I usually got with two passes, so I did a second pass after the first.  And that worked quite well.

So, the good: you can get a good shave relatively quickly.  Also, I liked the aftershave (lemon flavored, as I recall).

The bad: still not as good as I can do otherwise.  Not especially quicker once you take that second pass into account.

The one complication: I didn't use a new blade, which I probably should have.  I also used my old razor, not theirs, although I can't imagine how that would really matter.  They do suggest shaving more often, though, and that might also affect the calculus (of course, they're not without motive in suggesting shaving more often.  And changing blades more often).

Anyway, mixed feelings, but I'll try it again, at least a couple times.

As for Bevel, I'm not thrilled with the monthly subscription idea, but their execution is quite good.  The packaging is slick, and looks good, and their price isn't bad (much better than, say, The Art of Shaving).  I'll have to see how I feel about it, though.  If it doesn't improve, I might just look into getting more shaving cream and aftershave from, say, Harry's (about whom I keep hearing from various podcasts).


Weekend of extremes

Yesterday, I got up at 0400, but didn't feel like going anywhere at that early time, so I went back to sleep until 0500.  Then I got up, got dressed, and got out on the road.  I wasn't feeling great, right away, and my power meter didn't help by crapping out again (battery, after only a week or two.  I even tried stopping, a mile in, to reseat the battery, but that didn't help).

Nevertheless, I kept going, and was feeling quite good after a few more minutes.  I did, indeed, do a variation of my Old Town loop, which worked out nicely.  One thing I noticed, that I normally don't, is that I averaged almost 16mph over the first hour, with which I was very pleased.  I was having no trouble with keeping my heart rate down, which also made me quite happy.

I ended up doing thirty-three miles, taking two hours and a few minutes, and covering 1100' of elevation (a bit less than I expected, but still a decent number).  That was enough to put me over the halfway point for the Strava Climbing Challenge, with nineteen days left.  Again, pleased as punch.

And best of all, I was still feeling great after finishing; I felt like I could have gone another hour without any stress.

Last night, I decided that I really needed to do another hard day, today, just because of scheduling.

Well, events interfered pretty quickly, as I had a flat before I even left the house.  I didn't even bother with trying to patch the tube, but just grabbed my spare tube and installed it.  That got me on the road fairly quickly, although still considerably later than I'd planned (and to emphasize that point, I saw the first pre-dawn light right by the house).

One good thing: I did remember to replace the battery in the power meter before leaving.

My plan was to attack the hills for forty-five to sixty minutes, then tack on some more recovery miles.  Well, getting to the hills starts with some mild uphill, and I wasn't feeling great, even with that.  I thought of taking that to mean that I should just go elsewhere for a gentler ride.  But I started feeling a little better almost right away, and held with the plan.

The first hill I attacked, I beat my PR by two seconds (again, more with better pacing than with all-out power).  But I was already feeling pretty toasted after that.  It could be that I was still feeling some residual effects from the century the other day.

Still, I persevered.  I can't say as I was pleased with my results (actually, they were pretty terrible), but I stayed roughly with the plan.  I didn't bike as far as I'd planned, although that was as much due to not knowing the time as anything.  But I still got twenty miles in, with 1700' of elevation.

And I broke my plan a little bit, too, by trying to push a couple times after finishing the hills.  I went to Highland Dr in Falls Church, and tried to push up that hill.  I was shocked, at the end, to find I'd gotten 9th place on the segment that covers the whole street, because I didn't start right at the beginning (couldn't remember where it started) and blew up while still close to the bottom of the hill.  With a decent try, I should be able to get into the top 3-5 without killing myself.  Not sure when I'll try, but I will.

Tomorrow and Tuesday will definitely both be easy days, with mileage mostly determined by what time I wake up.  I might try to wake up early both days to get 25-ish miles in; we'll see.


Marching into the postseason

I haven't been talking about the Caps at all, lately, although I've watched almost every game.  The only one I missed since my last update was the game against the Rangers (and I did watch the rest of the game vs the Bruins the other day).  With the ass-kicking that appears to have been, I'm very sorry about it.

With one game left, they're in second place in the division.  With the Islanders having just won tonight, they could swap positions tomorrow, but the only effect that will have is on home ice for their series.

Third place in the Atlantic Division, along with the two wild cards, is impressively up in the air, though.  Right now Detroit has that third-place spot, but they could be knocked down by Ottawa.  Conversely, Boston could knock Ottawa out entirely out of the playoffs.

It's also possible that a Boston win could knock Pittsburgh out; wouldn't that be a shame.  That's really funny, in a way.  At the beginning of the season, both of those teams were considered front-runners to win the conference.  And now they're fighting for the playoff scraps.  Couldn't happen to two nicer teams.

Most of the top of the conference is set, although Tampa could pass Montreal on tie-breakers for first in the Atlantic.

Anyway, not too important.  A couple notes on the Caps.

First, it's good to see that they've found some secondary scoring the last few games.

Second, congratulations to Galiev for making it all the way up.  He's had a bit of a rough road.  He killed it in junior, with St John.  But he crashed and burned in his first appearance in the AHL.  He got sent down to the ECHL, and he wasn't exactly killing it when he got there, either.

His second pro season started in the ECHL, and he wasn't great, but was good enough to go back up to Hershey.  He was ok there, last year, and stayed with Hershey this year.  And this year, he's been killing it in Hershey.  I don't know that he'll get more reward for his efforts than his appearance with the Caps against Boston, the other night, but you could definitely see he wasn't taking anything for granted.  Congrats to him for turning it around.

Third, the Caps look pretty good, especially on the defensive end.  Trotz does a good job of keeping the defenders involved offensively, and that's fun to watch.

Fourth, the recent line shuffling has been a bit weird.  Ward isn't a bad complement to OV, but I'm not sure about Kuzya centering them (unrelated, but K's assist to MarJo vs Boston was incredibly sweet).  Separating OV and Nicky didn't work well for a while, but Nicky's finally getting scoring help from his new linemates.  Also, I do like how Nicky and OV get reunited for offensive zone faceoffs frequently to try to set up the instant goal.

Fifth, I wish it hadn't taken an injury, but I'm glad to see Bura back up.  I still can't see any reason for him getting sent down; he needs to stay.

Sixth, I hope Wilson is back soon, although I even more hope that he isn't rushed if he isn't ready.  I do like the way he draws penalties (even if he's had some mystifying matching penalties, lately); the Caps could definitely use that.

Seventh, we took the family to see the Nashville game the other day.  We had the clubhouse deal, which wasn't bad.  Get there early, though, to do that.  We didn't end up getting to our seats until just before the end of the first period, when the Caps were already down by three and Holtby was on the bench.  The rest of the game was quite good (getting goals in the first 21 seconds of both remaining periods was pretty amazing), but that wasn't cool.

Having said all that, I'm not too much caring about the results of tomorrow's finale against the Rangers.  Basically, I just hope no one is injured.  If they get home ice against the Isles, great.  If not?  Well, the Caps might be the worst playoff home team in the league, so no great loss.

I'm definitely looking forward to the playoffs; I think they'll make some noise.  Go Caps!

Keeping it cool

I got up when my alarm went off, this morning.  The first thing I did was order the Apple Watch for my wife.  Two hours and a few minutes after opening for orders, they were already up to June delivery.  Well, hopefully that's the first half of June, and I can make it a birthday present for her, which wouldn't be a disaster.

Apparently, they sold out of the initial availability within minutes.

In any event, from there I got dressed and on the road.  I wasn't feeling as bad as I anticipated, but definitely wasn't feeling great, either.  I did a slightly shorter version of my normal loop that worked out to twelve miles.  And it took me a few minutes more than an hour, so I was definitely not hurrying.  My heart rate still wasn't great, despite that, though.

I maxed at 131, which wasn't bad, but it just seemed to keep getting to (and staying) higher than I wanted it to be.  And higher than I thought it should be, given the relatively little exertion.

There was some rain, but it wasn't bad.  The temperature was about five degrees cooler than expected (40F vice 45F), but still not too bad.

Anyway, tomorrow should be clear, dry, and medium temperature (50F).  The people in the group ride aren't going to be around, which is probably just as well, given how I'm feeling; they're going to be doing a 13-hour off-road race.  Ouch.  Glad I won't be involved in that.

I'm going to try to do a slow thirty miles or so.  I still haven't figured out the route, though I'm leaning towards a variant of my loop that goes down through Old Town Alexandria.

Fortunately, the bike shop that did the work that led to the problems yesterday was very fair about handling the problems.  They fixed the front derailleur in a way that shouldn't replicate the problem, gave me a cheap tire (unexpected bonus, actually.  We had talked, and I had said that leaving it without a tire was fine), and gave me store credit for the tire that was slashed (wouldn't have that tire available for a month or so, plus the credit will go towards that wheel re-spoking).  Works for me.  Definitely won't be afraid to go back to Papillon.

Oh, and I should mention the National Bike Challenge.  As near as I can tell, it's a sponsored event to encourage people to bike more, especially as a substitute for driving.  Feel free to sign up, and get riding.  If you're using Strava, it can automatically import data from there.  It won't really start until May first, but you can still build up points before then.  I was shocked to find out that I'm number fifty-one overall; that seems way too high.  I guess I was helped by riding every day this year; you get points for miles and points for days riding.


Better day

I was able to find a bike shop, yesterday, that could fix the derailleur yesterday.  Several good things came out of that: I was able to ride today, of course and I found out that the derailleur hanger had gotten bent (which probably caused the jog wheel problem).  This also led to the chain hosing up a number of the spokes, so they'll need to be replaced  (scheduled but not done).

The bad thing that happened yesterday was that I got roped into a teleconference for week in the early afternoon today, which really messed with my plans for doing a century today.

Last night, I decided to skip on the Caps game (I watched the first fifteen minutes of play earlier today, and will try to watch the rest tonight) and went to bed just after nine.

Then, when I woke up just after 0300 (bathroom call), it occurred to me that I could do a three-hour ride in the morning, then get the kids ready, then try to finish the century in the mid- to late-morning before the telecon.

So I got out the door a few minutes after 0400, and got on the road.  I was going to go Harbor Center (~35 miles, round trip), then add something else after.  But when I got to the foot of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, it occurred to me that I could turn left, instead, and head down to Mount Vernon.  Making a snap decision, I did that.  I made it down there, turned around, and headed for home.

That turned out to be just under a 3hr ride, at 50.9 miles, which would have been perfect if I hadn't had any stopped time.  I will say, though, that I did not like going down the Mount Vernon trail; south of Old Town, it had many wooden bridges over gullies or creeks, and those scared the hell out of me.  I avoided problems, but man, they made me nervous.  In fact, for much of that stretch, visibility was the limiting factor on how fast I could go (rather a new situation for me).

I got the kids ready and ate breakfast, then got back on the road.  I headed out towards Purcellville; my plan was to go out 24 miles and turn around.  Unfortunately, by this point, I realized that the work done on the front derailleur at the shop yesterday left the end of the cable rubbing the tire.  Nineteen or so miles out, that finally caused a pinch-flat which left me walking back towards a place where I would call a cab.

Before I got there, a helpful biker stopped and talked me into taking a look at the tube to see if it could be fixed (the tire did look slashed, which is why I hadn't already done that).  With his help, we were able to effect a temporary fix (the tube had a small hole for a failure, not a slash.  We fixed that, then put a boot in the tire to keep the tube from bulging out from one spot that was slashed), that got me back home.

From there, I showered, ate lunch (two burritos without wraps) and watched that chunk of the Caps game, then did my telecon.  The telecon was, at least, useful.

Once it was over, I got back on the road to try to do the last twelve miles or so (which also required forty-ish minutes to get over six hours, for Competitive Cyclist purposes).  I lost half a mile or so when I forgot to hit the start button right away, but still was moving.  I wasn't moving super fast, although I did still manage to power up some of the hills (my peak power meter reading of 700W was actually hit right at the 99-mile mark, per Cyclemeter), and got back home at 99.8 miles.  Not wanting to get hosed by Strava, I did a small loop around the neighborhood to get to 100.5 by the time I got home.  And I was pretty beat, so I let it go at that.

I wish I hadn't; Strava calculated the ride at 99.3 miles, although it said almost 4000' of elevation.  That was enough to put me at second place for the Bike Arlington club on Strava, I think the highest I've ever been, there, and first on elevation.  It won't last till the end of the week, but it still made me feel good.  And final moving time was 6:12, so that'll be good for $6 at Competitive Cyclist (I think I'll save up to get to $80 by the end of next month, although I don't know what I'll use it for).

So, definitely less than a perfect day, but far from a bad one.  I just need to find a way to watch the rest of the Caps game and still get to bed early.

Tomorrow will certainly be an easy day (and I need to order the Apple Watch for my wife when I wake up).  We'll see how I feel on Saturday.  Normally, I would try to get in on the group ride then, although I'm not sure if I'll feel up to it (Strava rated the ride as an 'Epic Suffer Score').

Still, it's very cool to find myself twenty miles over my weekly goal in only four days.  Perhaps my goal will be to clear forty miles for the rest of the week, and beat my all-time record for mileage in a week (although that record might have been Sunday-Saturday, not Monday-Sunday; I don't remember).

One other cool thing is that I'm on track to destroy two of the challenges for this month.  In fact, I might even complete the monthly MTS challenge, which I've never even come close to, before.  December was the closest I came, at 120km short (I did 706 miles; I'm at 303 already, this month).


And it all blows up

This morning's ride was promising.  It wasn't raining, that I could tell, when I woke up.  I checked the forecast, and it said no rain for the next hour.  So I decided to take a chance, and dress for no rain.

I had to tweak a little bit when I opened the door and realized it was colder than I thought (last night, 50F had been predicted, and I think it said within a degree or two of that when I looked at the precipitation.  But maybe I ignored temperature when checking).  So I grabbed my windbreaker, and got going.

The minor irritation was that, as soon as I turned my headlight on, I could see that it was, in fact, raining a little bit (misting, basically).  I wouldn't normally care about that, but I had put the Lakes on, and was a little concerned about the leather uppers (I really need to find out if there's any reason to worry about that).

Regardless, I got going, and was mostly enjoying the ride (the other irritation was that the power meter wasn't reading anything) for the first twelve miles and change.  Then, I went up a hill, and I heard something.  Glancing down, I thought I'd dropped the chain, but closer inspection revealed that the problem was much more serious.  I'd somehow dropped one of the jog wheels.  I really have no idea how; I didn't hit anything, it was purely a shifting issue.

Well, that was annoying, but at least it should be easy to fix (hopefully, anyway).

So I coasted back down the hill, and started riding (as much as I could, with no transmission) towards home.  I realized, once I started going significantly uphill, that the way I was propelling myself was really going to hose up my shoes, so I stopped to take them off.  From there, I alternated jogging uphill with coasting (on the bike, of course) downhill.

And that worked great until I was about half a mile (maybe less) from home.  At that point, I think the chain slipped off the crankwheel, got caught on something (the tire, maybe), and pulled hard on the derailleur.  The derailleur wasn't used to a force from that angle, and all hell broke loose.

The chain snapped (fairly new chain, too), the derailleur was sheared almost in two, and the arm of the derailleur was sheared in two, with the smaller piece getting lodged between the cassette and the spokes.  And the chain ended up wrapped all over the place.  It looked like a small bomb had gone off, down there.

I really didn't have time to try to figure it out (most of what I described above I figured out after getting home, getting the kids to school, and then pulling it apart), so I just hoofed it the rest of the way, carrying the bike (the rear wheel wouldn't turn).  So I arrived home with my shoes in one hand, and my bike in the other.  And extremely wet socks.

Fortunately, my feet came through unscathed.  I'm sure it helped that I was, as always, wearing heavy hiking socks.  And that I went through a stretch, some years back, where I went barefoot as often as possible (which I recommend, actually; it's very good for your feet.  Just a pain, often, from a practical standpoint).

In any event, I was hoping to make another attempt at a century tomorrow; but I don't think I'll be able to get this fixed in time.  I still need to make some calls to verify that.  I'll almost certainly be riding the hybrid tomorrow; we'll see how that goes.

Update: I forgot to be more specific.  The initial problem (the jog wheel) occurred roughly three miles from home, and the final blow-up happened just over a quarter mile from the house.


Early mornings

Yesterday, I needed to get up early to go into the office.  Well, not my office (I mostly telecommute), but another office for the company, about thirty miles away (as the crow flies; driving it was just over forty).  I knew about how long it would take to get up there without traffic, but I had no idea how much rush hour would affect things.

So I got up at 0400 so I could still get my bike riding in.  Even with that, it was tough to get ready in the morning (also, Competitive Cyclist finally put up a page with their credit details.  Basically, I was right except that it's in half-hour increments, not full hours.  Yay, although my ride yesterday was 88 minutes, so I just missed).  But I got out of the house about when I wanted to, and headed up.  It turned out that the traffic wasn't bad at all; I made it in a bit less than an hour.  I'd budgeted enough time that that gave me time for a half-hour nap (which I needed) once I arrived.

Getting back to the ride, I knew I had a little while, so I did roughly my normal morning ride, adding in about three miles by going through, up, and around Shirlington.  As I mentioned, it finished at 88 minutes, 18.3m, and 1061' elevation.  The weather was forty-ish and dry, which was nice.  And I did a pretty good job with my heart rate: 119bpm avg, 131 max, eight minutes over 125 (which is more than I thought, actually).  And yes, replacing the battery on my power meter and heart rate meter fixed both.

This morning was a little different.  I actually started about the same time, and decided to do my big loop (the 27-mile version).  The weather was a bit more mixed; it was warmer, but it was drizzling when I started (and it was hard to tell what the rain was going to do after I started).  So I wore my wet-weather attire, and got out there.

The rain got harder for a while (it was pelting me for a little bit, in there), but then slacked off to nothing for, probably, the last hour of the ride.  I ended up riding with the jacket mostly open for a bit, which was a first for me.

My biggest irritation with the ride was that water got into my shoes pretty early on, despite my booties.  I think it came in via the vents on the bottom; I taped the back ones, but not the front ones.  It never got to be a lot of water, but it was distracting for a bit.

But once the rain stopped; well, actually once it stopped being hard rain, the ride became quite pleasant.  And I timed it just about right, finishing in a hair over two hours.  Twenty-eight miles and 1200'.  Power was a bit lower than I'd like, but heart rate was almost identical to yesterday.  That is, same average and peak, but only six minutes over 125.

Don't think I can keep doing the 0400 rising (even though today it happened with my alarm still set at 0500), but it does make for a nice start to the day.

Tomorrow will need to be another hard ride, although I haven't picked out a course yet.  It's also supposed to rain, and I'm not looking forward to that.  We'll see how it goes, I guess; at least it won't be cold (50-ish).


Not the best start

Riding didn't really get off on the right foot again, this morning.  The temperature started out a few degrees colder than expected, which was made a bit worse by my wearing a lighter base layer than I really should have, with the jersey I wore.

Plus, almost as soon as I got moving, I found that both my power meter and my heart rate meter were dead again (which works out to something like a week's life for each battery).  Not cool.

Then, I found that that sore spot from yesterday was back, very quickly.  But fortunately, I was able to shift around on the seat (and/or shift my posture) such that it stopped bothering me.  Score one for the good guys, there.

I ended up doing a two hour ride, and it was quite pleasant.  Aside from the fact that I might well have overexerted myself due to not having any power or pulse feedback, it was a very easy ride.  Average speed was pretty good, at 13.4mph over the two hours (and a couple minutes; further corroboration to my theory about Competitive Cyclist credit, as that did earn a $2 credit).  That worked out to just short of twenty-eight miles, with 960' of elevation (I was a little disappointed that the elevation wasn't a bit better).

The one irritation once I'd been moving for a while was that I didn't bring my camera.  The sunrise over the Potomac was quite lovely, and I'd've loved to have captured that, somehow.  Can't make up for it next time, but maybe sometime soon.

Tomorrow the weather should be pretty nice, at 45F and dry.  Unfortunately, unless I wake up super early (for me), I still won't be able to do much more than an hour of riding.  I need to actually go in to work, and not even to my normal location, so that's going to pretty well hose my day.  I need to finish a bit early, and get on the road quite a bit early.  And I probably won't have much time to help get the kids ready either.  Not good at all.

One note on the diet today, too.  We went out for a really nice brunch with the whole family (both sets of grandparents).  There was a good selection, and I ate a tremundo amount mostly keeping to my diet.  But I decided that I'd cheated enough that I'd actually get desert (the cherries jubilee were calling, and they were delicious).  Then I went back several more times for the cherries jubilee, as well as for a couple of fresh-made cinnamon rolls (I blame this one on the smell of cinnamon from the graham cracker my youngest was eating when we left the house).

Bundle that all together, and I'm pretty sure I nuked the diet for the meal.  Hopefully I can get it back together tomorrow; going to the new location, I have no idea what will be available for lunch.  If not, I guess there's no reason to think it'll be a problem to fix it the day after and beyond.  But annoying that it might need it.  We'll see.


A very mixed day

I woke up at 0400 again this morning, although this time I opted to head back to bed until 0530.

Before leaving, I saw that there was no rain (yay; pulled the fender off quickly and did wear the Lakes), but there was a lot of wind.  I wasn't going to wear anything over my jersey until I opened the door and felt the wind.  Going with the fastest expedient, I grabbed the windbreaker that's next to the door, and put it on (over the camelbak, accidentally, though I ended up leaving it like that for the whole ride).

From there, I rode to the meeting point and tried to meet up for the group ride, but probably people are out of town (no one was there).  So I wasn't thrilled about that.  And the roads were quite wet, which also wasn't great.

But I was still feeling good at that point and decided that the MacArthur loop was a fine idea for a hard ride.  I got rolling, and set a couple of PRs on the way to the bridge to DC.  I went over the Roosevelt Bridge, which dumps out into Georgetown, and the crosswind on the bridge was just crazy.  Competitive Cyclist has a pretty good deal on some Enve deep-dish wheels that I'm contemplating; well, glad I don't have them now, because they're not the newer model that can deal with crosswinds well.  That might have been ugly.

Regardless, I made it across without incident, and headed northwest on... M St or Foxhall, or whatever the name of the street is, there.  From there, the wind was blowing into my face all the way, but I forced my way all the way to Falls Rd.

There were really three annoyances along that stretch.  The first was the wind, which was badly slowing me down.  The second was that my power numbers were quite bad every time I looked, even though it felt like I was pushing pretty good.  And the third was that that sore spot on the inside edge of my right sit-bone started bothering me again.

The latter was quite a surprise, because I hadn't felt it since changing saddles and because I was wearing my best (for comfort, at least) bibs (Assos T.cento).  I tried shifting around on the saddle, and eventually came to an accomodation with the irritation.

Unsurprisingly, I didn't set any records along that stretch, at least until I got to the big hill at Angler's Inn.  There, I was surprised to beat my previous record by eleven seconds (on a five-minute climb); my peak power along there was certainly less than my previous record.  Perhaps not pushing as hard meant I kept a better pace, overall; I'm not sure.  That's the only thing I can think of, anyway.

From there, I had the wind at my back (and I think I did better, power-wise, as well), and set a sh-load of PRs (just counted: 36, several of which were ties that showed up as second-best).

Once I was back in Virginia, I kept pushing until I got to George Mason (on the Custis), then turned right.  At that point, I had done 34m in 1:49, and knew that I wanted to stretch it over two hours (I'll come back to why), so I decided to stretch it a bit longer, even though I was basically doing cool-down.

That added about two miles and another 1-200' of elevation.  I didn't succeed in cooling down as much as I'd hoped (I didn't help by pushing on a few of the hills), but I'm sure it all helped.

Overall, it was 38 miles (averaging 18.6mph before the cool-down), with almost 1900' of elevation.  Strava ranked it as an extreme suffer score, thanks to sixty-nine minutes in zone 4, with half another minute in zone five.  That much was all good.

What was less good was that the power curve was well below peak, and that there was only seventeen minutes at/above threshold power (again, I'd like to hit thirty).

Once again, the connection between power and speed seems pretty tenuous (to say nothing of the connection between power and heart rate).

Other not-so-good bit: the Vorttice gloves, I've become less thrilled with.  For the second day in a row, I had numbness issues with my arms/hands.  It didn't occur to me yesterday, but that could well be caused by the gloves (both rides being longer than my normal certainly doesn't help either).

The sore spot under my leg... it actually felt fine for the entire second half of the ride, so maybe it was just the exact position in which I was sitting that exacerbated it.  If so, fine; if not, that could be very bad (and I should note that the sore butt I complained about yesterday did not touch on this spot, so it might or might not be related).  The situation will certainly require close monitoring.

To get back to the two-hour threshold, I attached my Strava account to my Competitive Cyclist a few days ago.  I had no idea what that did at the time (they made only a vague claim about getting credit), but it appears to give a dollar in store credit for each full hour ridden in one ride (so two rides that are each 90 minutes will give only $2, I think).  That's pretty sweet, so that was why I wanted to make sure the ride topped two hours; if I was going to get that close, I wanted the extra dollar for it.

All that said, looking ahead, tomorrow is definitely going to be a recovery day.  I'll probably try to do two hours again (easier on a Sunday), which would push twenty-seven to thirty miles.  That could get me to exceed last week's mileage, which was already pretty good (pushed along by that 66 mile ride, of course), although without quite as much elevation (probably in the neighborhood of 8000', as opposed to the 9800' from last week).  Both would still be good enough to keep me ahead of pace for Strava's Spring Classics challenge and April Climbing challenge.

And I'm probably going to do another long ride later in the week (maybe Friday, which, despite the rain, should be nice and warm); no details yet, though I'm thinking seventy or eighty miles.  It'll help with the preparation for the Tour de Cure ride.