Ben Wheeler 85 Mile Ride

I took off on the F5 this morning and rode my loop out to Been Wheeler. I did a few extra miles in Purtis Creek State Park on the way back, and ended up with 85 miles for the day. I had ridden 40 miles Monday afternoon and 30 miles Tuesday afternoon, so had a total of 155 miles this week.

I was really feeling the heat this week. I rode in the afternoon on both Monday and Tuesday, days that were both 100+ degrees in the afternoon, and worked in two very hot machine shops on Wednesday and Thursday, also 100+ degree days. A cold front came through yesterday, and it only got up to 98 degrees this afternoon (some cold front). Of course, I got an early start today, and was finished with my ride before the hottest part of the day.

My bathroom scale showed my weight as 187 pounds all week this week. That’s only two pounds over my goal, but it’s a false reading, because of dehydration from being in the heat every day this week (I weighed 181 pounds right after today’s ride, a reminder of how much water we lose on a long and hot ride). Still, I believe I’m making progress. And I was stronger on today’s ride, feeling better at the end of today’s ride, even though I had better than a 1 mph higher average speed than on last Saturday’s ride. Hopefully, I’ll gain some more before the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred.

Here it is, August already. I ended up with just under 600 miles for the month of July, not a bad mileage month at all.

Today’s route.

Ben Wheeler 80 Mile Ride.

I took off on the F5 yesterday morning and did a different route out to Ben Wheeler, then back through Martins Mill and Purtis Creek State Park. I kept a bit easier pace in the early part of the ride than I did last week, and felt much stronger at the end. I’m still not where I need to be for next month’s Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred ride. I finished around 12:40 in the afternoon, long before the 100 degree afternoon high temperature showed up, but it was still pretty hot. I ended up with 80.2 miles.

I had a total of 150 miles for the week. I did 30 mile rides on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a 10 mile ride on Monday. 10 miles is a shorter ride than I ever normally do, and this one wasn’t intentional. I had installed tubeless tires on the bike last Sunday, and the tire on the rear wheel just wouldn’t quit leaking around the bead on Monday’s ride. I finally had to give up, cut the ride short, and install a tube in the tire. The Velocity A23 rims on my wheels are supposed to be tubeless compatible, and the front rim is working perfectly, but not the rear. I’m thinking I’ll just run a tube for a month or two, giving the tire bead some time to better conform to the shape of the rim, then try tubeless again.

Today’s 80 mile Ben Wheeler route.

Tubeless Tires

At best, I seem to get around a year of service from bicycle tires on my main bike. Replacing tires has become a summertime ritual. But this year, I decided to do something a bit different. I converted the F5 to tubeless tires. With the rough roads I find myself riding since my move to Gun Barrel City, tubeless tires sounded appealing. You can run them at a lower pressure for a smoother ride, without having to worry about the pinch flats you can get with tubes. And sealant in them gives them flat protection.

The wheels I built for the F5 last year have Velocity A23 rims, which are already tubeless tire compatible, so it was just a matter of buying tubeless tires and the other components that go with them. I bought Schwalbe One tires, the Velocity valves and 21mm Velotape that are made for the A23 rims, Stan’s Notubes sealant, a sealant injector, and a presta valve core remover. Today was installation day.

Research had told me that inflating tubeless tires for the first time can be tough. That proved to be true. I’ve ordered a presta chuck for my compressor that should make it easier next time. We’ll see how the tubeless setup does.

The tires are now installed.

They are Schwalbe Ones.

Ben Wheeler 86 Mile Ride

I took off on the F5 this morning and rode to Martins Mill, then on to Ben Wheeler, then a few miles more. I’ve finally found a good road past Ben Wheeler. County Road 4714, south of town, is a quiet little road that’s not too rough. On the days when I still want to ride further when I get to Ben Wheeler, this is where I’ll go. I may work out a loop that uses this road.

I had a very unusual sighting on today’s ride: other cyclists. I met several other riders at the store in Martins Mill. They were leaving as I arrived, so I only got to talk to them for a couple of minutes, but it turns out they belong to the Athens Bicycle Club. I had no idea there was a cycling club this close to me. I’ll probably join them on some future rides.

I had intended to ride 90 miles today, but I was so wiped out when I arrived at Purtis Creek State Park at mile 74, I just rode straight home from there, rather than doing my usual loop through the park. I ended up with 86.2 miles. My weight is getting closer to where it needs to be for the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred next month, but as today’s ride reminded, I’m definitely not ready for it yet, fitness-wise.

I managed early morning 30 mile rides out to Purtis Creek State Park on both Tuesday and Wednesday morning this week, so ended up with 146 miles total for the week.

Today’s route.

Ben Wheeler 80 Mile Ride

It was a busy work week this week, and I didn’t get a single mile on the bike until Friday. But I got in 50 miles on Friday, and today, I rode out to Ben Wheeler and a bit beyond for 80 miles, so I have 130 miles for the week. The same thing happened during the holiday week last week, and I only got in two rides for 100 miles total. Today’s ride left me as wiped out as I’ve been in quite a while. I still have much to do to get ready for the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred next month.

Today’s route.

Martin Mills Metric, again.

I took off on the F5 this morning and rode my Martin Mills Metric route. I was finished before noon, so the heat wasn’t that bad. That 60 miles, added to the 40 mile rides I did on Wednesday and Friday, gave me 140 miles for the week. Both of those 40 mile rides were done in the afternoon heat, and I’m obviously still not used to this summer’s heat and humidity.

I rode 130 miles last week, 135 miles the week before last, and now have 525 miles for the month of June. I’m hoping to get another 30 mile ride in on Monday or Tuesday, so it won’t be a bad mileage total for the month. I’m still behind the pace I need to be on to make my mileage goal for the year.

Today’s Martin Mills Metric route.

Martin Mills Metric

I took off on the F5 yesterday morning and did my Martin Mills Metric route. That 60 miles gave me 130 miles for the week. Every year at this time, the first hot weather arrives, and it takes a body a while to become acclimated to that heat. This week’s rides were tough. With the record rains of May, there’s so much water still on the ground that the humidity is really high. That, combined with the ninety-something degree days we’ve been having, make for a tough bike ride.

I ended up with a total of 401 miles ridden in May. That’s way too low for me. The record rains made it tough to get in my miles. I’ve said this before here: I really don’t like riding in the rain, and with the 19 inches of rain that fell here last month, it was hard to get in a ride between storms. There’s nothing to do now but get myself acclimated to the heat, and try for a good mileage month this month.

Yesterday’s Martin Mills Metric route.

Ben Wheeler 80 mile ride

I took off on the F5 this morning and rode out to Martins Mill, following my usual 60 mile route, but then on to just past Ben Wheeler. In this spring of seeminly unending rain, I only got a few sprinkles on today’s ride, and ended up with 80 miles. There haven’t been may days lately where you could ride that many miles without hitting some serious rain. I had ridden 40 miles Thursday afternoon, so ended up with 120 miles for the week.

Last week, between work and all the rain, I didn’t manage a ride at all until Friday. But, 40 miles on Friday, 40 miles on Saturday, and another 30 miles on Sunday gave me 110 miles for the week. Near the end of Friday’s ride, I hit some hard rain for a short stretch, but managed to stay dry the other rides. The forecast of rain every day continues for next week, so I’ll again be trying to dodge storms long enough to ride.

Today’s route.

570 Miles in April

I ended up with 570 miles on the bike in April, not a bad mileage month at all. I managed 140 miles last week, and with 30 miles on Monday, 60 miles yesterday, and 30 miles today, that makes 120 miles total for this week, in spite of the fact that I won’t get any miles this weekend. I’m boarding a plane tomorrow, and joining other lung cancer survivors at the LUNGevity National Hope Summit in DC for the weekend.

I didn’t do anything longer than yesterday’s 60 mile ride this month, but I ended up with 15 rides for the month. That’s averaging a ride every other day, and that will usually translate to a decent mileage month. This still leaves me well behind the pace I need to be on to make my 5,000 mile goal for the year, and my weight is still too high, but this looks like progress. With warmer, and hopefully drier, weather coming, I should be able to have another good mileage month in May.

Yesterday’s 60 mile Martins Mill Metric route.

50 Mile State Highway 19 Loop

I took off on the F5 this morning and did my loop out to State Highway 19 and back through Purtis Creek State Park. I ended up with 50 miles. I rode 110 miles in each of the three previous weeks. I ended up with 402 miles for March, which isn’t bad, but January and February were both pitiful mileage months.

Between the weather, a cratered disc in my back, bronchitis, and strep throat, I’m well behind the mileage pace I should be at right now. Nothing to do but try and get in some better miles in the coming days. I’ve also been ignoring my blog again. My mileage has been poor, and my rides have just been short solo rides that don’t seem worth blogging about. I never figured I’d be one of those who is enthusiastic about a blog for a while, then loses interest and stops posting, but that’s what it’s looking like these days.

The other news is my weight. At the peak of riding lots of miles and really watching what I eat, I got down below 185 pounds. I set that as my goal to remain at. I figured that as long as I stayed under 190 pounds, I wouldn’t worry too much. I set 195 as my do-something-about-my-weight-right-now weight. During the four years where I was riding 7,000+ miles, I figured out that I wasn’t going to put on much weight no matter how much I ate, and I eased up on my eating restrictions a lot. The problem is that I’m no longer riding 7,000 miles a year. I’m riding 5,000 miles a year. And at 5,000 miles a year, I can’t just eat whatever I want and maintain a healthy weight, it’s becoming obvious. I had long since quit weighing myself every day, but when I made that trip to the scale one morning last week, the news wasn’t good at all: 197 pounds. That’s too heavy for me. It’s back to trying not to eat everything in sight, and see if I can get my weight back to where it needs to be.

Today’s route.