Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sew-Ups and Sprints

Because this post is about two topics, I thought a picture of a tandem would be appropriate. Yeah, I know, there are three of us, but only two of us are pedaling. Left to right, a middle-aged Zombie displaying one of the few episodes of cycling during his 30 year dry spell, his beautiful wife, and his older son, his younger son having not yet arrived.

I am going to use this week's post to update a couple of the running questions I introduced in previous posts; changing sew-up tires on the road, and the effect of brisk rides on my fitness.

Changing Sew-Up Tires On the Road

My Bianchi Specialissima is currently sporting sew-up tires, and I have worried about changing those on the road. Thus, I have been only riding it at the Rice Track, because if I have a flat there, it is only a couple of miles home and I can walk that if necessary. I have been carrying a spare, pre-glued sew-up, but had no idea how a change on the road would work. As I previously described, the problem is that glue is supposed to dry for 24 hours before use. When I first started using my Bianchi in 2008 and 2009, it had sew-up tires. When I had my first puncture, I had a spare but it was not pre-glued and on the six or seven mile ride home, it rolled on the rim, ruining the brand new tire. Although I was now carrying a pre-glued tire, I had no idea how it would work. I just found out. About half way home from my latest (record breaking) 30 minute time trial, my front tire went flat. This was a bit of extra worry as it was my back wheel I had recently worked on and carefully glued, so I wasn't sure about the state of the front. As I tore off the punctured front tire, I could see that the glue was still sticky. To keep the spare tire from sticking to itself, I had covered the glued area with wax paper. The wax paper came off with difficulty, and again showed signs of residual stickiness. Mounting of the spare went easily as did inflation. I was very cautious riding the two miles to home so didn't really challenge the tire, but at the same time, the tire did not challenge me; it stayed nicely in place. This is certainly not evidence that I have solved the "changing of the sew-up on the road" issue, but it is comforting. I think I will take my Specialissima off the road for a bit now that the front tire is off and take the opportunity to replace the front spokes with stainless steel to match the back.

The Effect of Brisk Rides on Fitness

I have reported over and over that I have never seen any evidence of benefit gained from fast riding. Last week, for the first time, I have seen such evidence. As I described on this blog last week, I have been trying a new training regimen to beat the Houston heat that involves only short rides first thing in the morning (and thus no long rides). Because I had a willing training partner and in order to fight boredom, I ended up riding two brisk rides, one 30 minute time trial and one set of intervals, each week during the month of July. Last week, I set a new personal best for my 30 minute time trial and scored 16 mph on a MAF test, the first time I have done that during a period with no long rides. On top of that, subjectively, I have felt good. This suggests to me that brisk rides do provide me benefit. This will surprise nobody but me, conventional wisdom lauds the value of brisk rides, but this is the first time my experience has matched that wisdom. I don't exactly know how this will impact my future training, but it is one more bit of information that will help me decide.

Update on Houston Bike Paths

OK, OK, three people, three topics it is. Construction has started on the promised connection between the White Oak Bayou multi-use trail and the MLK trail. The current White Oak Bayou trail is 7.5 miles long. This connection will create a continuous trail of about double that, 15 miles, allowing for a 30 mile long round trip ride, all on trails. This photograph shows work starting at the current southern end of the White Oak Bayou trail, circling under the 11th Street bridge over the Bayou, extending the existing trail south to meet the MLK trail.

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