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Tuesday, March 15, 2011


In the cycling world there are a lot of people that are very concerned about shaving weight off of their bikes – so much so that they’ll spend hundreds of dollars on new, better parts to drop a few ounces.

I’ve gotten into that a little in the past, too, it can be fun, but more and more lately I seem to be following the Rivendell philosophy of: who cares how fast you’re riding? You’re [37] and you’re not going to get picked up by Euskaltel-Euskadi for this year’s spring classic season. And even if you were to live out that fantasy, they’d give you a free 16lb bike to ride and all that training on your 20-35 pounder would serve you well.

There’s also the idea swimming around out there that for a lot of us it might be wiser to not spend extra money on dropping our bikes weight, but to just drop a little weight off our own bodies. This seems somewhat logical but I don’t think it’s a direct equation. If you loose 3 pounds of fat it probably won’t do as much as losing 3 pounds of bike weight. That’s my belief.

I can never really get a good study going on this. There are so many variables to include that it’s pretty much impossible. I like the idea of someday doing some time trials on each of my two road bikes, one being a few pounds heavier than the other – maybe loops around the Rose Bowl – but I doubt I’ll ever get around to it.

I’ve lost a little weight recently, mostly by intent. It seems like a natural cycle to be a little leaner at the end of winter when, in the old days at least, food was a little scarcer. I think I can feel I slight difference in my climbing speed and ease but I’ve also been riding alone a lot lately and so maybe I’m just riding slower and therefore the hill feels easier without the competition. Incidentally: Desperately Seeking bicycle freaks who enjoy long winding rides…

My recently developing trend has been to ride Mindful Mule (the heaviest of all my bikes and most often used) on longer pleasure routes that were previously reserved for the road bikes. This makes it easier to bring along extra clothes in the basket and locks and encourages more of an exploratory feel to the ride. And I’ve really enjoyed these rides. Sure it’s slower going up over the hills on the Mule but who cares? The coffee shop will still be there when I get there a few minutes slower. And, actually, on the downhills, the Mule is a champ – a rattletrap bomber, of sorts – we hit 37mph the other day descending Lida (our super duper in town mini mountain), not much slower than the road bikes and just as fun (the importantist factor).

Over the weekend I rode Lida three times on Totally 80’s (the heavier road bike but still a lot lighter than the Mule) I’m not sure how to filter out all this data (heavy bike training, been sick, lost weight, lighter T80, ate heartily the day before, inspired by watching Paris Nice, etc.) but I know I didn’t want to stop riding. I’d get to the bottom and just go again. I don’t think I’ve ever done Lida more than twice before. It felt good to let it ride and ride and ride…

The funny catch to that Triple Lida ride was that it started off with a Devil’s Gate Dam Trail run (5K), twice crossing the knee-deep, shoe-and-sock-soaking, mucky, silty, creek so I did the whole ride with soggy feets. Freak!

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