This weekend I left the mountain bike in the basement and rode 100 miles of roads in the last 3 days. The temps were over 50 both Saturday and Sunday, but winds proved to be a minor inconvenience, especially Friday.
I began my glorious return to the road by replacing my cleats. Shimano designs these wonderful SPD-SL cleats not only to make you walk stupid, but also to wear down in about a year. My next step was recalibrating road cycling clothing. While mountain biking in the woods one can be comfortable on 40 degree day with a long sleeve shirt, jersey, and shorts with optional knee warmers. I dressed in a similar way on Friday for a 20 mile ride with my wife and shivered most of the ride.
One of the first things I noticed was how much more bent over I am on my road bike then my mountain bike and how uncomfortable that is on my neck and shoulders. I’ve been riding my touring bike on the trainer and roads all winter and it sets much more upright. I suppose that’s the price you have to pay to be a cool roadie.
The next thing I noticed was how much harder the road bike saddle is then the mountain bike saddle. I’ve tried squishy road bike saddles and while they’ll offer great comfort for the first 10 miles it’s not pretty down there for the next 30.
Of course I also noticed how much lighter and responsive the road bike is even compared to the Touring bike. Even though relatively I’m a snail in comparison I felt like I was dancing up the hills like Contador.
Friday was an easy paced cruise with my wife. When I offered a shorter route she refused and we rode 20 miles, as I had tried to explain the last eight of which was in direct headwind. We both built some character.
Saturday the winds died down a bit and I took a ride with my East Side associate, Joe. He’s about twice my age and can drop the hammer on just about anyone. We did 50 miles without ever stopping except for my flat tire.
And today I did a 23 mile ride with my Mom which was supposed to be a recovery ride, but the strong winds made our 14 mph average speed a strong effort.
Now I’m kind of sore and wore out, but I have to think back to an early March ride circa 2oo4. At 280 pounds and zero miles for the year I set out to conquer the mighty 13 mile Harrisburg loop. I only made it 8.