2004- Ride #5: 30.4 miles, 118.9 total.

The goal: Ride the first 30-miler of the year, and break 100 miles total. The result: Success. Discomfort. …ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz…..

Early Corn FieldToday is 80°F and partly cloudy. A bit windy, but a nearly perfect day for cycling. I reluctantly tore myself away from my new PowerBook and hit the road. The ride was even better than I’d expected. Some fragrant plant or flower is blooming now, and the air smells wonderful. I’m sitting next to an open window, cooling down as I write this, and it is just beautiful outside. I am ready for a nap, though. I really did leave it all out on the road today.

I brought my good digital still camera, and snapped 55 pictures along the way. I even grabbed a 30-second movie during one of my steep downhills. For some reason, the damn thing froze just as I was approaching the Twin Towers. I really wanted to show how they go up, and up, and up, and… Well, I’ll have to try another time. In the meantime, here’s a picture of my favorite corn field. This is the same place as the shot from my last ride. The field has been tilled. It’ll be fun watching it grow throughout the season. I’ve created a iWeb page of the good shots; check it out if you are so inclined. I really am blessed with some great scenery on my rides.

I continue to feel stronger, and suffer less on the hills. More of the hills are just rolling terrain to be powered over. The good news is that I made it up the first of the Twin Towers without resorting to great-granny gear, although my heart rate hit 190 by the top. To be fair, I think part of the reason I seemed stronger on the hill is that I was futzing with the dead camera before I realized I was a third of the way up. The bad news is that halfway through the ride, my toes felt crushed inside my shoes, and the balls of my feet were burning. Maybe that’s just one more thing to acclimate to, now that I’m applying more torque. Shimano SPD-M747 pedals On the other hand, it could be my clipless pedals. I use the Shimano SPD-M747 pedals (pictured at left). I picked them because I could get a matching shoe I could walk in. They are actually mountain bike pedals. In five years I’ve never had to take that long walk home, but if I can avoid walking in hardcore roadie shoes I will. Have you seen them? They practically have a half a potato under the ball of the foot! Pro-level Shimano clipless pedals On the other other hand, I have heard of serious roadies refusing to use the little Shimano clips because the balls of their feet feel like they’re burning. I gather the pressure is concentrated on too small an area of the foot, so the typical Shimano road clip looks like the one at right. You can see where the potato goes. But they are light, and they do spread the pressure over more of the foot.

The other bit of discomfort I experienced today was Recumbent Butt, my first case of the year. For the uninitiated, Recumbent Butt is a burning, achy sensation you may feel in the muscles of your gluteus maximus after an hour or so of riding. It seems to be caused by the focussed pressure of the “sit bones” (the bony, downward-facing points at the bottom of the pelvic bone, on either side of the coccyx) on muscles that one is actually trying to use for locomotion. Imagine doing curls for a few hours while someone gives you a vicious bicep noogie. Painful. Plus your glutes need lots of oxygen-rich blood when they’re moving you around, and the “sit bones” get in the way of good circulation. Riders of upright bikes don’t experience Recumbent Butt, since upright seats are designed to leave the glutes free to get about their work. However, the tradeoff is having a goodly portion of one’s body weight concentrated on a small and sexually significant area of the body. Several years ago, Bicycling Magazine ran some articles about upright seats, pelvic numbness in men and women, and impotence. No thanks.

Back to the subject. Recumbent Butt is worse the more upright one sits, since more weight is concentrated on said Butt. While temporary relief can be found by shifting one’s buns forward and back as needed, a more permanent solution is to sit tilted farther back, or to try different seats. I’ve found that more time in the seat also helps.

Today’s Stoopid Stuff Stuck In My Head During The Ride was The Blues Brothers version of The Chips’ Rubber Biscuit (iTunes required for link), in particular when Elwood is singing his rhythmic gibberish. Also, again with the adult theme: Frank Zappa’s “Stick It Out,” a way-off-center look at a man’s love for, ah, a cyborg, from the album “Joe’s Garage.” It’s got a good beat to pedal to, though. The single line that I kept hearing was, “Aber beklecker nicht das sofa, sofa.” Don’t ask for a translation, kids.

There’s two hours my brain will never get back. Still, I’m not complaining.

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