Finally had the opportunity to get on the bike and ride to work this week. Of course this is not without minor issues – not issues to have prevented me from my commute, just annoyances really. So let’s have a quick-ish look at this week.
I was all set up yesterday morning with the GoPro (some video of that coming soon) and the ELEMNT and lights blaring showing the way and hell, I even remembered my HR monitor, a miracle in of itself. It was a little chilly but all layered up so it wasn’t so bad. Being all bundled up for the cold meant my balacava was being put to use which meant my ears were nice and cozy, but also means no room for headphones – I know I know, lots of discussion and arguments about using headphones – so my commute was a quiet one, but it wasn’t so bad really.
This brings up a good point of discussion, bone conducting headphones. I would really like to give a few different brands to see which really perform well. The beauty of the idea of bone conduction for those of us who thrive with music on our rides can have our tunes and keep our ears free and clear to hear our surroundings. I haven’t not heard bells or ‘on your left’ on my rides, then again I do whatever I can to avoid having that happen in the first place 😉 but I digress. A quick look on Amazon shows Aftershokz and KSCAT as the primary vendors. There were not many varieties but I am assuming that has to do with the technology and needing to be, well, right on the bone. My worry is that with those styles there wouldn’t be anything that would work with my helmet and glasses. I’m sure it will be fine but you know, without having any hands on it I don’t know for sure. Of course for those worried about pollution there is a ‘Bane’ mask bone conduction headphone set-up. Here, just check it out, it is a little odd -> HERE
So, it looks like I have something else to add to my ‘wish list‘ of things I want to review.
Back to my commute…about halfway through I looked down – once it was light enough to see really – and saw that my ELEMNT wasn’t running. When I left the house I thought it had plenty of power but apparently I was wrong. Go figure, I remember the HR strap and the computer powers off. Again, nothing bad or ride hindering, but then again, with no details from the ELEMNT linking to Strava, does that mean I didn’t do the ride? Once I was all cleaned up I plugged in the ELEMNT to get all juiced up.
The ride home that night was really nice in strong part to the nice weather we were having. When I rode in to work it was 33 degrees, when I rode home it was 60, I’ll take that. Of course I did forget to put on the HR strap – I really need to do better. I left a little later than I planned, but that is also a very common thing even when I am not commuting by bike. So I was racing against the sunset and unfortunately the sunset won, but just by a couple minutes, guess I need to work on my attacks and sprints.
The morning and evening rides were nice and I didn’t push it too hard, no PR hunting that day. I was concentrating more on my cadence and how the new shoes were doing. I was still having a little issue with my left foot which was odd because out of the last three pairs of shoes these felt the absolute best. Maybe my issue is multilayered? My foot was feeling squeezed in the Specialized and I think I had a little too much room in the Shimano. With a better fitting shoe what else could be the culprit? It could be my saddle or it could be how I use my feet while pedaling. I think it is a bit from all three. I do need to check out the Specialized 158mm saddle, I am getting some pain and rubbing on these 142mm saddles. The quick fit I did last time I was at the LBS showed a 155mm could be better for me, might need to give it a go. I also noticed I do a bit of hammertoes when pedaling and my toes are pointed down during the downstroke. When I relax my toes and level out my foot I don’t have the same issues. More tinkering needs to be done obviously.
Today I thought getting on my bike was a no-go because of rain based on what I saw from Weather.com last night. Checking on the weather app this morning it make me happy to see that the rain was no longer going to be a problem and the temps were just about at 50 degrees, happy day. I will admit that while I was happy to see that things were working out in my favor I was sitting on the couch taking stock at the awakeness (is that a word? eh, it is now) and energy for riding in and plans for the evening. But, not wanting to lose the opportunity I gathered myself up and put my ass on the saddle and man was that a smart move. Like I mentioned in one of my videos, being on the bike is a zen experience for me so getting my day started by having my feet locked in to my pedals and spinning away – add that to the list of why I need a smart trainer, for those zen moments when I can’t get outside due to time or weather.
Leaving the house I immediately realized that while myELEMNT was nice and charged up, I didn’t have on my HR strap, again – I swear I need to find some sort of sneaky way to not forget the damn thing. Off I went music playing and feeling good.
If yesterday was the day for my bike computer to run out of a charge then today was my light’s turn. It was while I was going through Old Town that I saw the tell tale signs of the rapid flash and then poof, nothing. Having gone through this once before I knew I could cheat the light a couple times for those highly necessary sections of the commute. Well, cheat the light isn’t quite accurate. I can turn it one a couple more times and it will stay lit for 30-45 seconds before going off again. Fortunately I left a bit later than usual so I had the sunrise helping me on the trails, but it is always nice to have the light for signaling cars that I am around.
the reason I left later was because I wanted to see more of the sunrise. It wasn’t from some premonition that my light was going to go out but because I thought it would be fun to take a couple pictures of the sunrise with the water. Well, that didn’t quite go according to plan. I was feeling great on the bike and making what I thought was probably pretty good time. Because I can be just a tad competitive I didn’t want to slow down or stop and hinder that pace I was trucking along at. Photography took a backseat to the speed demon inside of me. And I will say that the time this morning was one of the best I have had, I just missed being under 50 minutes by a 41 seconds. Had I pushed harder when the light was out and not take my time once I was in the garage I bet I could have been under 50, oh well. It was a great ride in and I’m happy with that.
The big question today is, will I remember to put on my HR strap for the commute home?
And the updated answer to that last question …. Nope, forgot the damn thing again.