Bicycle Diary: Feb. 14

Route: A slow, flat warm-up, then up and down Arlington Avenue in Berkeley, El Cerrito, and Richmond. An easy, gradual climb followed by a short, steep, un-technical descent and a flat route back home. (Here’s the Gmaps Pedometer route link.)

Time: 00:58:40.6
Distance: 12.6
Climb: 940
Avg. speed: 12.7
Weight: 228
Heart rate: 139 avg./165 max.
Notes: My shadow has a gut.

Pine Flat Road: How Levi Descends

By way of another Brekke–Thom–a cool video of Levi Leipheimer descending the scarifying Pine Flat Road in Sonoma County. Any steep, technical descent on a single lane of shattered-looking pavement would be a little frightening for the average cyclist. What elevates this is the demonstration of how a racer throws himself at such a road. It’s just part of the distance between us–the folks who ride for fun and the occasional thrill–and them–the people for whom the bike and life is not readily distinguishable.

Levi Leipheimer Descending Pine Flat Road from Roger Bartels on Vimeo.

Top Reasons Not to Ride Your Bike

1. No more altercations with surly, clueless motorists.

3. Carry your spare tire with you everywhere, not just on the road.

5. Fewer saddle sores and miscellaneous numbness issues.

6. Drive more, do your part to hasten end of Oil Era and onset of Clean, Green Age

8. More couch time for aerobically challenging sports on TV.

9. More leisure to drink beer, set up empties in a “pace line.”

Lance and Us

Lance Armstrong is a renowned champion bicycle racer. Lance Armstrong is making a comeback this year after several years of celebrity and celebrity hangover. Lance Armstrong crashed earlier this week during a race and broke his collarbone. And now Lance Armstrong is starting his recovery training regimen. Today, and perhaps today only, Lance Armstrong’s workout routine resembles something I might recognize as human. Here it is, as reported on his Twitter stream: “Got on the spin bike for half an hour today.”

(And here’s the link to the Twitpic of Lance on said spin bike:

Short Layoff, Long Comeback – New York Times

Short Layoff, Long Comeback – New York Times:

Good piece last week from Gina Kolata on how the body reacts when training is suspended and what sorts of activities do or don’t help performance in specific events (if you’re a cyclist, walking ain’t gonna help a lot with that, no matter how much you walk. …).

“WHEN Helen Betancourt, an assistant coach at Princeton, was preparing for the World Championships in rowing in 1998, she suffered an overuse injury: stress fractures of her ribs. She competed anyway, but then had to take five months off.

“Like most athletes, she did her best to maintain her fitness, spending hours cycling. Finally, she returned to her sport.

“ ‘I lost half my strength,’ she said. And rowing just felt weird. ‘It was like I had stepped off another planet.’

“Yet a couple of months later, much faster than it takes to get that strong to begin with, Ms. Betancourt felt like her old self on the water. Four months of rowing and she was in top form.”