It’s been a busy week and I haven’t been able to post at all so I apologize. Contrary to popular belief, I’m neither a full-time blogger. The 9-5 soaked up a ton of my time this week which makes me wonder why it’s called a 9-5. More like an 8-6 but I’m not complaining. Because I’ve neglected posting this week I’ve got a few things to cover in today’s post. Strap yourself in, squirt a gel, and grab a wheel.

Moving in the Right Direction

On the riding and weight loss front I’m seeing improvement which is great. I saw numbers on the weight scale this week that I haven’t seen in a long, long, long time. Good stuff. I can also tell my riding is getting stronger even though I’ve only managed two rides this week. The weather here has been terrible with today being the first day it hasn’t rained in a while. Today’s ride was particularly nice and I felt very, very comfy in the saddle today with no undercarriage issues. I tried to push today’s pace harder than normal and rode about 85% of the 13 miles in the big ring which is a change for me. I got over the big ring ego a long time ago and am happy to push the small ring until I get stronger. I’m now at the point where I can confidently ride a bigger gear and keep my cadence up. Today’s ride was for 13.12 miles in 54 minutes at 14.4 mph. I honestly thought my pace would have been better but I’ll take it.

I did get the crap scared out of me today and felt like a total noob afterwards. I was about halfway through my ride and was totally zoned out in keeping my pace up. I rarely see other riders out and if I do see some they are always going the other direction. You can imagine my surprise when I’m riding along, handlebars gripped, focused on the road ahead, doing my best Spartacus impersonation, when I hear ‘On your left!’ and a four-man paceline goes crusing by. The lead rider was courteous enough to let me know they were there but I was so focused on riding it totally caught me by surprise and it made me jump. I did a little swerve, apologized profusely, and then felt like a total noob. I kept them in sight for a while and it would have been nice to join in as they were going my direction. They were pretty fast though.

Picked Up Some New Gear

The last couple of weeks I’ve picked up some much needed gear. This included a new helmet, a floor pump, a chain cleaner, and leg warmers. Here’s a little more info:

  • Bell Lumen Helmet. I had a Specialized Echelon helmet that I liked but it was just too big. I put up with it for a while and during last Saturday’s ride I had had enough. I went to the local bike shop on Wednesday and picked up the Lumen. I was immediately sold on the comfort and fit. I rode with it for the first time today and really liked it.
  • Topeak Joe Blow Sport Floor Pump. I picked this up at the LBS a few weeks ago to replace my aging, and worthless, pump. I couldn’t be more happy with this pump. It’s so much easier to use than my old one and little things, like the wider base, go a long way in helping me pump up my tires.
  • Chain cleaner. I picked this up from Nashbar but haven’t used it yet. I’m picking up some degreaser today so I can try it out. Any recommendations on a good chain degreaser?
  • Nashbar Leg Warmers. I was really looking forward to having these but was dissapointed. The quality and thickness seem fine but they’re just too small. I ordered an XL and could barely get them a few inches above my knee. And no way of zipping up the bottom due to my calves. I know I’ve got tree-trunk size quads but this was crazy. They look to be made for stick legs on teenage boys or mountain climbing pros. I hate returns.

I’ll try and get some detailed reviews up on the Lumen, the Joe Blow Sport and the chain cleaner. I’ve got to pick up some arm warmers, jerseys, and bibs too. I’ve been riding in the Giordana Silverline bibs
I picked up a few months ago and really like them except for the narrow shoulder straps. I might get another pair of them. I’ve also looked at the Pearl iZUMi In-R-Cool bibs and may try them.

I really think I’m forgetting something but can’t put my finger on it. Dang. Oh well.

Two questions for the masses:

  1. What’s your favorite pair of bib shorts?
  2. What’s your degreaser of choice?

Update: Want to see my favorite bib shorts? Head on over to Road Cycling Gear Reviews to see my review of the Louis Garneau Neo Power Bib Short.

Thumbnail PhotoC: will_cyclist