Ok,call me a nerd but I follow Lance Armstrong's Twitter. Here's a sneak peek of his 2009 TDF Bike:
1. Diary of a Self-Help Dropout by Chris Hardwick (Wired Magazine) - Great article for anyone who feels they are suffering from "time famine." I relate with his Day 9 under the Getting Things Done sub-heading.
2. Howl by James Vlahos (Outside Magazine) - The starting point of this article is the death of a New Delhi politician at the hands of monkeys. I was in New Delhi the day this happened and recalled the newspaper headlines. Since that time the government of India has been rounding up the city's moneys and transferring them to a sanctuary..thus the storyline of the article. The best quote from the article:
Off to a slow start so far but did manage to get 43 miles in on New Years (in single digit temps).
This ride also marked the baptism of my new winter jacket - The Castelli Insolito Radiation Jacket!
The single digit temperatures proved no match for the jacket which made me feel as if I were on a summer day ride. To be safe I wore two baselayers.
1. Morfit - I first purchased a Morfit last year and was extremely pleased with its performance. It works so well that I can wear the long sleeve Morfit with a regular jersey in a 45+ temperature range. Despite the single digits and wind chill I could have worn the radiation jacket and just the Morfit.
2. Craft Pro-Zero - I did buy an extra Morfit base layer this year, partly because I needed two of them but also because I have gone from a Large to Medium size. I'm not sure what tempted me to also purchase a Craft base layer; when you have found the perfect baselayer why experiment by taking chances with expensive cycling apparel? What can I say about its performance? Well it is no substitute for a Morfit and I will only wear it on extremely cold days for extra insurance.
There are two other products that debuted on this ride:
3. Craft Lobster Gloves - I have been through a number of different gloves, Cannondale, Assos etc and all have failed. Nevertheless I felt there had to be something better out there so I took the plunge and bought yet another pair of gloves. Of the 4 different gloves I have used these are by far the best yet inevitably I still suffer from cold fingers when putting in serious time. I am still considering buying a pair of these: Battery Heated Gloves
4. Castelli Neoprene Shoecover - I considered purchasing either the Sidi or Lake winter boot but both have a high price tag. They performed as advertised and have put to rest my urges to buy a winter boot.
Finally winter riding would be incomplete without a fresh batch of these courtesy of REI:
And here's a few pics from the inaugaral New Years Day ride
Me and John at the turnaround point
John trying to unfreeze his bottle!
I have been messing around with some of my GPS recorded rides.... Using Google Earth Street View mode you can get an idea of some North Jersey/NY climbs.
This is a view of Skyline from across the Pompton River. You can almost follow the red GPS line to the summit. Skyline Drive 2
Above is the view of Skyline just as you cross the 287 ramp.
This was a tough one to do on street view, the closer angles became obscured because of the undulating nature of the area.
This is a good one. You can see the muddy water of the Hudson River in the background as well as the mountain ridge 9W navigates on the way towards Bear Mtn State Park. This view is from about 1/2 way up Bear Mt.
After weeks of not riding I headed out yesterday for a 50 miler.
I have not been on 9w since a local cyclist (Camille Savoy) was killed by a car. On my travel North I passed the memorial and needed to stop and pay my respects.
It's become a tradition in NYC (and perhaps elsewhere now) that when a cyclist is killed a Ghost Bike is erected in the spot to serve both as a memorial and a reminder to motorists of cyclists' rights.
I did not know Camille Savoy as a person but I knew him as a cyclist. What I mean is that anyone who puts in hundreds or thousands of miles on the road has an implicit understanding of the suffering, joy and tragedy associated with the sport. In the NYC area you will see hundreds of cyclists going up and down 9w on any given day. During the peak of the season it is no exaggeration to see well over a thousand in a weekend.
Every time a cyclist is killed it is tough to take. Cyclists respond differently upon hearing the news or reading about it in the paper. Many try to rationalize and find some special cause on why it happened in an attempt to cover their own fears, perhaps it was a new inexperienced cyclist, maybe the cyclist didn't have the proper lighting or safety gear...just looking for some excuse so they can say to themselves when they get on the bike that "it couldn't happen to me."
What hits hard about Camilles death is that it is difficult to see anything in this tragedy but the fact that a driver was careless and not paying attention, perhaps even speaking on a cell phone.
There is no doubt this driver must have seen and passed numerous other cyclists on 9w, the driver must have seen all the signs urging motorists to "Share the Road," Camille was a seasoned cyclists with all the proper equipment and according to witnesses travelling in the extra wide shoulder (in place to accomodate cyclists) yet despite all of this Camille was killed.
Most NYC area cyclists are saying to themselves, "this could have been me" and "if this could happen on this section of 9w where is it safe for us to ride."
I fly a lot due to work related travel. One of my favorite activities is to stare out the window and try to follow the topography of the land I cycle. It gives an interesting perspective on time, distance and geography not to mention allowing me to daydream a bit.
However, what started as a curiosity has now turned into an obsession. First some background.
I have a bike specific GPS attached to my handlebars. Prior to a ride I pore over maps and Google Earth absorbing the lay of the land I am about to explore. When I return home I upload the ride and then using certain software overlay my GPS cooridinates into Google Earth so I can see exactly where I have been.
Now I have begun snapping photos from my airplane window and when I get back home from travel I try to figure out exactly the location of the photograph. Here is a photo I took while returning to Newark from Buenos Aires (via Houston). We were about 100-200 miles outside of Newark but with flight routes you never know for sure which direction you are approaching the airport.
After going over Google Maps and Google Earth I am pretty sure, not certain, that the first lake is the Clinton Reservoir, the second is Oak Ridge Reservoir and behind is Green Pond. All located in West Milford and Jefferson Township NJ.
"This year, Hillary Clinton took things to a whole new level. She didn’t run for president as a symbol but as the best-prepared candidate in the Democratic pack. Whether you liked her or not, she convinced the nation that women could be qualified to both run the country and be commander in chief. That was an enormous breakthrough, and Palin’s nomination feels, in comparison, like a step back."
"This pick is some strange cross between the selection of Harriet Miers and the decision to have Alan Keyes challenge Obama for the senate."
Students entering college for the first time this fall were generally born in 1990.
For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.
Tomorrow morning I will be leaving with several friends on a bike trip from Jersey City to Montreal. If all goes well I may put up some pictures/videos from the ride each day.
What's really cool is this GPS tracker application which should show our progress via a google map embedded below. To see an updated position you must manually click refresh on your browser, just opening up your internet browser will show the previous location. I am going to keep this post on top..newer posts will be below this one.
GPS tracking powered by InstaMapper.com
Lately I have not had much motivation to ride. In the last 2 weeks I've only really ridden twice yet when I look at my totals for July I managed to log 732 miles.
More than anything I was suffering from mental fatigue and was also starting to feel a bit over-trained. With a 4 day 400 mile ride on the horizon (starting August 9th) it's probably not a bad thing to have slowed it down a bit.
Today was typical of how I felt lately. There were two rides I knew that were going on, an 85 miler north into Bergen & Rockland County and also a ride leaving from Newark going down to New Hope, PA (125 miles). I woke up and just sat in bed ignoring calls from folks doing both rides.
The 85 miler had a start time of 730 and New Hope was to start at 7am. Then around 9:45 I started feeling extremely guilty and regretful. It was a beautiful day and here i was sitting around petting a cat. I called a friend who was on the New Hope ride and said I was leaving (3 hours late) and that I would catch up to them somewhere as they were heading back.
I took off at a decent pace. These guys roll very fast and I wanted to be able to hold my own when I caught them heading back to Newark. I kept riding and riding and riding and still no signs. Then about mile 20 I saw two guys who only went down part of the way, they told me the main group ended up leaving more like 8 and they had to make a few stops. It was looking like maybe I would catch them in New Brunswick giving myself a respectable 55 mile ride for the day.
I rolled in to New Brunswick and stopped at the 7-11 to refuel. I figured I would wait there till I saw the freight train of the peloton but then I got a call. The main pack was at New Hope and didn't even start heading back yet. I jumped on the bike and kept pedaling.
At mile 41 I saw one lone man from the group flying. He was being chased by a hardcore group of about 6 guys who were trailing by 2-3minutes. I didn't recognize any of these guys as personal friends but figured the guys I knew had to be in a chase group right behind. I got on the other side of the road and pedaled slow heading back figuring the 2nd chase group would be coming.
Sure enough at 27mph about 15 cyclists flew by, all I heard was "Mathias, get on the back." I had to sprint to catch up. The pace was screaming and my legs were killing me, all I thought was that there was no way I would hold this to Newark. I settled in to a rhythm and drafted. Eventually the pace cooled down to about 21mph with a few quick sprints here and there.
All in all it turned into an 87 mile ride and it felt great to open up the legs for a fast hard pace back to Newark. I didn't regret not leaving at 7am, I'm not sure I could have handled that kind of riding for 125 miles.