Bicycle Wheels

I’ve been pondering the idea of getting a second set of wheels for my bike for a while now. Since I’ve been occasionally racing, it is convenient to have a set of wheels with the the race tires and tubes already installed. I didn’t necessarily want to spend the bucks on a set of carbon fiber wheels, at least not yet, so I thought about getting a second Bontrager Race Lite wheel-set; these came with the bike and I’ve been really pleased with them. They are only 1660g for the set so I’m not saving a ton of weight if I upgrade.

Luckily the folks at Bike Barn suggested a different approach. They pointed me to the Bontrager Race wheel-set, which are only 139g heavier than the Race Lite version, coupled with the Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires. These should prove to be a great and resilient wheel-set for training and long century rides.

Unfortunately the wheels did not come with rim tape properly installed (whoops!) so after a couple of flats this morning I had to go back and have them fix it. They were gracious enough to do it immediately so I should be all set for my next ride.

Marathon Training, Week 1

Yesterday I capped off my first official week of marathon training with the Fort Bend Fit training group. Their training plan have 3 runs during the week with a long run every Saturday morning. I’m in the Red group, for those with a 10 to 12 minute per mile pace over 5K. I’m presently running closer to a 9 minute mile which would place me in the Yellow group, but I want to see if I can maintain my pace over longer distances before I change running groups.

This week’s Saturday run was approximately 3 miles. It was a nice, easy run compared to some of the other runs earlier in the week where for one reason or another I kept bonking. Running in a very large group is actually great fun and really helps keep motivation up. My pace for the entire run, including a couple of waits for lights, was 10:30; average heart rate was 162 with a peak of 173.

This Saturday was also the first time I wore my Amphipod Running Belt with 3 bottles. It was reasonably comfortable, and having liquid available anytime during the run was nice, but at this point I’d really rather not wear it. I can get away with not wearing it on 30 minute or less runs, but longer than that it is mandatory.

For the week as a whole, I ran 2 hours 16 minutes and 10.5 miles, plus a few cycling rides and a cycling criterium on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to week 2 where Saturday’s run is 4 miles.

Running so far this summer has been going well. Resting a couple of weeks after I hurt my knee, plus some running form advice from my friend Teri, led to me being able to run much further, faster, and with no discomfort. I was even able to go on a great ~7 mile run around the US Naval Academy when I was visiting Annapolis for work a couple of weeks ago.

I’m currently signed up for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon on January 18, 2009 but I may try the full marathon depending upon how training progresses and how my run in the Houston Half marathon on October 26, 2008 goes. Balancing running time with bicycling time will likely prove to be the most difficult part of the training season.

A return to swimming…

This week I went swimming laps two times. The first time was a rude awakening. Not only did the swim kick my ass, it was distressing just how poor I was swimming in otherwise good condition. I realized later I started way too fast, and went too early in the morning, before I had eaten anything.

Later in the week I went again, and went deliberately slow and focused primarily on the breaststroke instead of the freestyle. The second experience was much better than the first. I was able to get quite a few laps in and felt great afterwards.

I realized after the first time I went that I hadn’t been lap swimming since high school, when I was on the swim team… so since about 1986. Even though I’m in much better shape now than I ever was then, I don’t know how to swim anywhere near as good as I did then!

Here’s looking forward to many more swims!

Training run…

Yesterday was another run, but unfortunately resulted in an injury. My left knee was a bit sore from wearing some ill-fitting boots the day before, and I wrongly assumed that the run would help it out rather than hurt it more.

I ran about three miles total, at a much faster pace than the prior runs, and all it served to do was make the knee very difficult to walk on. The walk back to the house was even worse.

A few hours of ice, compression, and Aleve helped a little bit, but a night’s rest with the compression seemed to help more. So far today I can walk on it without any pain or discomfort, but it doesn’t feel 100% either.

I think I’ll take some time off from running and throw away those boots!

Rosharon Loop

Yesterday I did the Rosharon Loop again, but I had a little treat. A spring cold front hit about the same time I made it to FM 521. It made for a very fast (~ 24-25 MPH) sprint down 521 in light rain. I got to try out my Fox rain jacket for the first time and it did its job well enough. I still got soaked but my core stayed somewhat dry and I didn’t get chilled.

The front had passed about the time I made it to the gas station in Rosharon, so the ride back home was into a good north breeze that was pushing the front.

This was also my first ride with a cadence sensor installed after not having one for a couple of years. No surprise, but my cadence was very high. A comfortable cadence for me right now is 115 rpm; I focused on keeping it closer to 95-105 rpm for this ride.

Total distance was 52.8 miles; average heart rate of 134 bpm; 2,023 calories burned.