The serious bicycle training begins...

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    Sep 03, 2012 8:48 PM GMT
    I stripped my Cannondale touring bike today, of all its extras for carrying cargo. And also tweaked some of the ergonomics, to convert it from a local errand bike to a faster long-distance-capable ride, like I've done before. The clip pedals were also replaced with clipless.

    And for the last 3 days, over the US Labor Day weekend, I've ridden 20+ miles each morning. I'm working up to 40, which is adequate to get me down to Key West for our 165-mile November charity ride. Pit stops occur at roughly 20-mile intervals, allowing 15-minute breaks with refreshments, which I know from past rides is enough for me to recover and do the next 20 miles and so on, for a total of 100 miles the first day.

    The issue is how fast my strength & stamina are recovering following my cancer treatment, plus I'm a year older now, 63, and carrying a lot more weight than previously. But I feel more confident than ever that I can do it once again. A few months ago I could barely climb a flight of stairs, much less ride the bike, but I seem to be bouncing back at last, so I can begin daily training rides.

    I'll post my progress here, maybe some pics, too. And BTW, one of the best new things I bought is a "CamelbaK" water backpack, making hydration much easier than using bike-mounted bottles. I was afraid it might be too hot to wear in these Florida temps, and hurt my bad back, but so far so good. This manufacturer pic is the identical model and color to mine.

    rec_packs_2012_rogue_racingredcharcoal_s
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    Sep 03, 2012 10:27 PM GMT
    Awesome! Good luck! Here's a cool (no pun intended) trick for the Camelbak to help keep you cool during the summer months. The night before your ride, fill the bladder up half way with water. Put it in the freezer over night and let it freeze. When you're going to go for your ride, take the bladder out of the freezer and top it off with water.

    By the time you start your ride, the ice would have melted sufficiently enough to drink out of. The water will stay cold longer, and it will cool your back off nicely.
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    Sep 04, 2012 4:35 AM GMT
    Here's a factory production pic of my Cannondale t1 touring bike (now out of production). The rack has been removed, along with other items I had installed to make it more practical as an around-town bike. Living in a small condo I don't have the space for several bikes, so I have to take the "one size fits all" approach.

    But an advantage is that its larger touring tires are more shock absorbing, and puncture resistant. The biggest problem bikes face on the Key West ride is flats, from the nasty road debris all along narrow US 1, especially on the long bridge sections.

    580_400_1821_4735.jpg
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    Sep 04, 2012 4:39 AM GMT
    Thats awesome and good luck with your training!
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    Sep 04, 2012 4:43 AM GMT
    And here's my actual bike, in full city attire, ready to run local errands before I stripped it.

    DSC01808_2.jpg
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    Sep 04, 2012 1:15 PM GMT
    I should be home by Friday afternoon...lifting off at 6:05am tomorrow.

    Can't wait to get down there and ride. I may join ya for one of those morning rides. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 04, 2012 2:01 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidI should be home by Friday afternoon...lifting off at 6:05am tomorrow.

    Can't wait to get down there and ride. I may join ya for one of those morning rides. icon_biggrin.gif

    Sure, pick a route. I have a car bike rack and can get down to you (provided you don't relocate to Miami, I won't drive that). I usually do without the car, and simply pedal the whole way from home & back, although that involves some congested traffic here, and a route that's less than ideal. But then South Florida has few bike routes that are ideal.

    BTW, did I already tell you that our November SMART Ride has been closed to new riders since July, we're booked solid. 525 riders, 731 total with crew. I'd like to get you involved in that, and we still have openings for crew, or else wait until 2013 to ride.

    http://thesmartride.org
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    Sep 04, 2012 3:04 PM GMT
    uoft23 saidThats awesome and good luck with your training!

    Thanks! I see your own cycling interest. If you ever want to do our HIV/AIDS ride to Key West let me know (though this year is booked, unless we have cancellations).

    We have riders from Canada and all over the US. We use a couple of bike shops here to which you would ship your bike. They then transport it to our starting point, where they reassemble it for you. After you arrive in Key West they disassemble and pack it, transporting it back to the Miami area for return shipment to you. That way you can fly or use whatever method you wish to come down here without the hassle of traveling with your bike.
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    Sep 05, 2012 5:47 PM GMT
    elvis_tlh saidI love to ride my bike during the winter months when it is not as hot as in the summertime. We have some pretty good hills around here too.

    Good for you! We have no hills in the southern half of Florida, but the numerous bridges between the keys when pedaling to Key West are a man-made substitute I would gladly do without.