Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Long Days in the Saddle

Picture: Scored rear rotor on GT
I spent some long days in the saddle this past weekend, it was the first long weekend ride of the season. Usually by this late in April, I’m pretty much in shape for the long ride. Not this year. I was reminded that it takes time to get in shape for the road.

I felt I was in “mental” shape. I didn’t have any problems staying focused on my riding. The more challenging the roads the easier I find this. On the trip back, we had to hoof back on the highway, the windy conditions provided a challenge; as did my lack of brakes. I was riding 500 miles home with essentially no rear brake pad and a badly scored rotor on the GT. Every off ramp was a challenge, as I used the engine to slow me down, progressively dropping down gears until I was going 10 mph before using the brake. I felt like I was competing in field trials as I feathered the clutch through stop and go traffic conditions. It was sort of fun, I’m grateful that I did not encounter any emergency braking conditions. It was also essential that I was not riding alone. Kevin rode behind me most of the way; he provided the brake lights to the cars behind us, knowing that I was going to be dropping speed with out showing brake lights.

The physical challenges of a 14 hour day are many. First I have to say that my chiropractic investment is paying off. My lower back held up great, I had some muscle soreness at the end of the day, but the joint pain of last year was gone. My wrists and shoulders were unhappy with the weight I put on them. I tend to lock up my left arm to counter the right side pull of the GT. It’s like doing a 14 hour pushup. My knees were unhappy campers late in the day, I made several rest brakes just to straighten them out. My neck muscles are still sore 2 days later, this is definitely something that improves with the season, I don’t know of anyway to get them in shape, except by riding more.

I’m keeping all this in mind because Lisa will be in far less “shape” than I am when we set out. But she has more going for her, she won’t have the wind to deal with, nor throttle control. I think her biggest challenge will be her buns falling asleep and hoisting a helmet on her little neck all day. I am looking to test run our gear for at least two 8+ hour days. And I still don’t have her new helmet.

I was reminded how much I want to resolve the entertainment portion of our ride. I’ve decided to try the helmet speakers offered by Aerostitch, I really could have used some tunes this weekend!

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