Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Planning to Succeed - Part 1

Before signing up for the Hotter n' Hell 100, I realized that I needed a training plan.

Living in New England and having a disdain for cold weather, I usually start my riding some time in late March or early April. These are usually fairly easy 10 - 20 mile rides that increase in intensity but rarely go farther than 30 miles and those are usually looped. This is because I have no SAG support. If I'm stuck out in the boondocks, I'm on my own when it comes to getting home or back to my car.

There are three things that I need to change right away. The first being that I need to start riding as soon as possible, the second is to increase my weekly mileage, the third is that I need to ride in a group setting more often if I'm going to enjoy riding with 13,000+ other cyclists.

I ride a 1981 Fuji Monterey that I purchased about 5 years ago for a hundred bucks. It has no quick-release stems so I carry wrenches. It also has no quick-release mechanism on my Dia-Compe brakes.

Luckily for me, the first time my tire blew was while my bike was in the back of my van. I'm guessing it was a pinch flat since it was the beginning of the season and I had just re-inflated the tire. I drove the bike home, lugged the 30-pound monster up two flights of stairs, and, after I had changed out the tube with no problem, realized that I was absolutely incompetent when it comes to dealing with those brakes. Even working with wrenches, it would have taken me less than 10 minutes to change that flat had it not been for the brakes. As it happened, it turned into a 30 minute House of Pain that included consulting with my husband on how to deal with fitting that wheel inside those brakes.

Frustrated with the exercise and now insecure about my ride, I simply stayed close to a bail-out when I went riding the entire Summer.

For 2011, I certainly want a lighter bike, and a more trust-worthy brake system. However, I also want to ride as soon as possible and that means I am about to spend more on the Fuji than I actually paid for it with a new wheelset and brakes that I found over at the Harris Cyclery web site.

I am not going to pay into 4 figures for a new bike and drag it out onto the salted, winter roads.

So, to start the year, I'm going to do what women love to do - go shopping.