Monday, September 10, 2007

Clothing experimentation starts soon

It's closing in on one year since I started bike commuting. When I started, I would usually just ride the 3 miles or so in my work clothes, and drive to the bus if the weather was the slightest bit crappy so my work clothes didn't get messed up. This means I spent the last half of September and all of October riding in Dockers and polo shirts. As weather cooled off, I added a windbreaker. Eventually, I found myself riding in all conditions, just using jeans as my main outer layer.

This morning, I went outside for a few minutes in a t-shirt and shorts and was promptly cooled off to an uncomfortable level. It was 62 degrees outside. I started my clothing experimentation today, which was kind of silly. 62 degrees is a little chilly (to me) to be wearing shorts and a ventilated UnderArmour shirt. I added a layer that I thought would be comfortable, but ended up being overkill. I think it's going to take me a while to get into the clothing groove.

I brought nice, warm pressed coffee on the ride this morning, though. Yum!

One big problem that I have is that my current commute is a completely different beast than it was 11 months ago. I'll post a "then and now" on my cycling rebirthday, which will be September 18th. That's the one-year anniversary of my decision to start bicycle commuting. Needless to say, I've learned quite a bit in the last year.

Anyhow, sorry for being so radio silent last week and over the weekend. My wife and I had a nice ride on Mill Creek Trail last night. Friday, my friends and I had a good time and ended up hanging out at a park. Frogman brought his oldest, Geneva, along. We watched her explore the playground near my old apartment as we discussed things like stage props for improv theater, Leeroy Jenkins (warning: strong language but very funny), lolcats and other nerdy stuff.

Oh yeah. While we were hanging out at the park with Frog's kid, I also tried multiple times to do pull-ups and chin-ups on the playground monkey bars and a somersault on the monkey rings. I failed miserably at both. My delts, biceps, and abs hurt all weekend, and my abs are still feeling it. As strong as my legs have gotten, as much weight as I've lost, and as efficient as my heart and lungs have become, I have virtually no upper-body strength, and obviously my core is lacking as well. It might be time to start fixing these problems. It's a sad state of affairs when I can ride 100 miles in a single day but can't even pull my chin up to a playground monkey bar ONE TIME.

Tonight, there's a fundraiser for the Major Taylor Foundation and Headstrong For Jake. Contador, Leipheimer, and Hincapie (Team Discovery) will be at the KC Trek Store signing autographs for donations. Click here for details. I'll be present, and then I'll also lead a short recovery ride starting at about 6:30 PM from the Trek Store since Mark (the usual ride leader) is going to be busy with the Tour of Missouri festivities this week.

Random Tunage:
Basslimit - Paradise
Orbital - Belfast


sallymander said...

Hey Noah,
I just found your blog last night and congrats on the commuting success. I am new to biking as well. I have the pleasure of working from home, so I ride for fun and exercise.

I'm interested in what you pulled from your closet to layer up. There have been a couple mornings for me that have been on the cool side, so I broke into my stash of ski gear and pulled out a long sleeve Patagonia medium weight base layer. It wicks really well, but keeps my arms and torso feeling warm. I usually shed it by the 4th mile of my ride.

I'm at the point right now in my cycling "career" that I love it, but I still don't want to fork over $$ for specialized clothing. The only things that I wear that are bike specific are the shorts and gloves.

Keep up the great work on the blog. I've already added you to my iGoogle page.

Noah said...

Hey Sally,

I pulled out a hoodie and jeans over my UnderArmour wicking shirt and mesh/padded bicycle short liner.

I really needed a long sleeve t-shirt this morning. That would have sufficed. The jeans were also a little too hot but I don't know what else I would have worn. I could have pulled out the Champion thermal base layer and worn that under a pair of shorts but it would have looked really odd, like wearing tights.

The only pieces of cycling-specific gear that I can't live without are padded shorts and cycling gloves (for more than 10 miles or so of riding at a time, they keep your hands and you-know-where from hurting), and helmet.

I also totally dig my clipless setup, but I went with cheap mountain bike pedals and shoes. I'm not racing, so I don't need the slight weight and aerodynamic advantages of racing clipless pedals and shoes.

Other than that, it's an UnderArmour running shirt or plain cotton tees most of the time. Keep an eye on my blog as it gets cooler out. I'll discuss what I try in what temperatures, and whether or not it worked.

Yokota Fritz said...

It's already been a year -- that's wonderful, Noah.

Do you plan to watch any of the Tour of Missouri tomorrow in KC?

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