Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ride to The Ride (and other Pan-Mass Challenge News)

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I still find the time to check other people’s blogs, but just haven’t felt like updating mine lately. We’ve been pretty busy with company from New York, some camping with the kiddos in Maine, and general summer time laziness.

This past week has been all about bikes here, gearing up for the Pan-Mass Challenge this coming weekend. I feel strong, and am not so worried about the distance; 111 miles on Saturday, and only 84 miles on Sunday. I’ve been doing 60-85 miles training rides by myself for the past couple of months, and though I actually enjoy riding by myself, I am looking forward to riding with the team. One of the other members of the team and I have decided to ride to the starting line in Sturbridge on Friday. It’s about a 60 mile trip from his house in Westwood, so we are planning on leaving early Friday morning and taking our time. Some people think we are nuts for wanting to add a third day of riding onto the weekend, but for us it makes the most sense, neither of our wives are able to drive us, and we don’t want to wait until everyone else gets off work to leave. Some other members of the team are transporting our camping gear, so we are able to travel light. From what I hear, quite a few teams and individuals ride to Sturbridge, so we shouldn’t be alone. I just hope we don’t have any mechanical problems (see below) and we should be all set.

Over the past couple of months of doing longer rides, I’ve learned the importance of staying hydrated and eating. You just can’t ride for five and a half hours and NOT eat. My problem is that I don’t like to stop and eat, and I don’t like to feel weighed down carrying, then eating, “real” food. I’ve been trying all sorts of energy gels, and find the GU ones to be my favorite, not as sweet tasting as the Power Bar gel, which are a little hard to get down. I have also been digging the Clif Bar Shot Bloks, which are almost like gummy bears. They also contain 50 mg of caffeine, which gives you a little boost.

When I get sick of all the electrolytes and organic ingredients of the gels, I plan on stashing a couple of these in my jersey pocket, from what I can tell they just may be the perfect cycling food:

Check out the ingredients of the bar; applewood smoked BACON and milk chocolate! What more could you want? I wonder if they come in dark chocolate? Thanks to Sean for the heads up on this one.

To get ready for the ride I decided to splurge and buy some new tires last week. I went with Panaracer T-Servs (700 X 25c) again, which are closer to 23c when you actually measure them. I’ve been training on 28c T-Servs and felt the narrower tires would be a little faster. On Sunday I went for a ride, and 50 miles in the rear tire failed, not a flat mind you, but the tire actually began to separate from the bead. I felt something wobbling in the rear end, then a loud crack, just like a firecracker going off. I think the sound was the tube pushing through the opening in the tire, then bursting open. Scared the shit out of me. Check it out:

I don’t think I was in any risk, glad I wasn’t bombing down a hill at 35 mph, but it definitely makes me nervous, wondering if it could happen again. Needless to say, I am getting new tires tomorrow. The guys at the bike shop said they have never seen anything like it before, probably a faulty tire to say the least. I am just glad I went for that ride, because it would have really sucked to have it happen this weekend (or worse, on the ride to Sturbridge). The good news is I'm getting two new tires, so I will have a spare tire to fold up and keep under the seat, just in case anything like this happens again.

I’ll post an in-depth review of the ride next week. Thanks to all of you who have supported the cause, I am getting close to my goal, and the team has raised almost $50,000! Go Team Luca!

Now I got to go find those bacon bars!

Listening to: Sonic Youth- Daydream Nation