August 2011 Archives

Final climb

I rode my urban circuit over to the main campus again yesterday. My legs were still a bit tired from the long trail ride on Sunday, but it was good to loosen them up a bit and give them some more work. The traffic wasn't too bad in the urban parts - students are only trickling back into town...not like it will be in two weeks.

I watched the elapsed time a bit more closely on this ride and found that my crotch was starting to burn from lack of circulation at around the 22 minute mark. About that time I started doing some off-the-seat riding for 20 revolutions at a time to restore circulation. This worked ok and I continued to ride until the 38 minute mark. At that point I was in a good spot to dismount and jog a bit with the unicycle. I jogged for about four minutes, remounted, and was totally relieved of crotch burn. I really like interspersing my rides with a little bit of jogging. It relieves the burn , it uses some different muscles, and it makes the exercise a bit more strenuous since you are supporting all your weight rather than letting the unicycle provide support.

The last mile of the 7.5 mile loop has a steep hill next to the seminary. The first time I rode this loop last week I managed the hill without incident other than the usual grunts and groans. This time I tried upping my rpms and charging up the hill. I quickly realized I just couldn't sustain that pace and settled for just trying to survive up the hill. My legs felt like jello this time. About 75% of the way to the crest I starting pitching forward and willed myself to stomp on the pedals and make the wheel catch up with the seat so I could stay on top. I was so pleased with myself that I had regained balance that I lost focus and within about 10 feet I fell forward again, this time with no prayer of recovery. In fact, although I landed on my feet I couldn't maintain the landing and crumbled into the pavement in a heap of laughter and panting. Sure am glad I wore my gloves.

It ticks me off to fall on a hill that I've crested before, but oh well. Next time I'm determined to ride up that final climb more swiftly and easily than ever.

Ride like a kid...with your eyes on the road

I've taken two extended rides in the past week. Well, they were 7.5 and 10 miles so to some that would be a mere ride around the block. The first was noteworthy to me because it was one of my first times in an urban setting in St. Paul. I wore a bright yellow conspicuous safety vest (that Karen got Sam a few years ago, but that he never used) so I looked even more like a dork and headed down the transitway to the TCF Stadium. Once there I kept going into Dinkytown and back to the St. Paul campus via Como. I remember one street corner very vividly. I couldn't stay on the roadway due to traffic and construction on University, so I rode up onto the sidewalk. At the corner a bicycle was coming from my right at a 90 degree angle so that we were scheduled to collide right at the corner of University and the side street I was on. It all unfolded rather slowly so I could decide whether to dismount, speed up or slow down. Unfortunately I got caught balanced on top of the unicycle so I couldn't dismount quickly off the back or I would have. The bicyclist slowed and I was able to make the turn at the corner with a word of thanks for his yield. I know this is a poor description, but the idea is that I have to some more urban riding to get the hang of being around people, bicycles and street corners. And I have to be willing and ready to dismount and remount more frequently.

The second ride was back to the Gateway trail for a completely rural experience. It was Sunday so families with little kids were wobbling down the paved trail. I stuck to the horse trail. Karen brought her bike and rode the trail I think not so much for the exercise as for the opportunity to collect dry horse turds and wildflower seeds for her backyard jungle.

During our conversation on the way to the parking lot on 60th street we chatted about the difference between the way kids x-c ski so well with no regard for life and limb, compared to adults, who approach hills timidly and as a result, fall. I decided to try to ride like a kid.

So I did. I approached the grade up to each challenging hill on the trail with verve. I still got pitched off during the most challenging climbs so it wasn't a miracle method by a long shot. The particular hill I remember most was one that I did get up after some good saves, and as I was celebrating over the top my tire squarely bonked over a big knob of a rock sticking up in the trail, and off I went. The ignominy of sitting on my butt in the middle of the trail, so soon after a victory celebration, was really kind of funny.

So the take-home message to me was to ride like a kid, but for heaven's sake keep your eyes on the road.



root study 2011.jpg

Throughout July work and life got in the way of unicycling. Once example of the type of thing I'm doing is on the left where I'm washing off bean roots to get a good look at disease damage and nodulation differences among eight bean genotypes.

I got my priorities straight today and went out for a nice lunchtime ride. For once the temperature was only in the 80s, and I enjoyed a bright, sunny noon hour with low dewpoint. Whew. Its been a while since the weather has been so pleasant.

Since I haven't ridden for a while, about 30 minutes into the ride my crotch was crying for a bit of time out of the saddle . I hopped off and jogged a quarter mile or so, pushing the unicycle in front of me with one hand on the nose of the saddle. That strikes me as a reasonable strategy for longer rides where you get seat-weary. I'm going to try integrating jogging with riding again in a future trail ride, and perhaps extending the jog to be a greater proportion of the total distance that today.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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