I took three days off the bike- Monday thru Wednesday. On Thursday I was going stir crazy and went out for about 3-1/2 hours. My left hand was wrapped with gauze and my road rash was still bandaged under my kit. Friday I rested and didn't ride. Saturday I went out to meet the ArcenCiel North ride and it ended up being a 93 mile day, with some really bad cramping in the last hour of riding. On the final hill going up Central Pike towards our starting point in Scituate, I had to shut it down and just whimper up to the top to a waiting group populated with men and women in their fifties. But to be fair, my hand was throbbing all day, I couldn't climb out of the saddle or grip the handlebar with my left hand, and every tiny bump and crack in the road made my hand ache and burn pretty badly. If I saw a rough patch coming up I'd usually take my left hand off of the bars. This also made it hard to ride in a double paceline. With a weakened left hand that's not good for front-braking, I had to let a gap open up in front of me to allow more braking distance pretty much all day meaning that I really never had the full benefit of a draft for 4-1/2 hours. I could barely shift into the big ring without wincing in pain.. so I'll go ahead and forgive myself for cramping and falling apart on the last climb, thank you very much! Saturday I completed my wife's new road bike and we headed to the bike path for an easy 10 miles with our son Reis. Memorial Day I got up early enough to meet up with the ArcenCiel South crew at 8:00 but an abundance of lolly-gagging meant that I left too late to make it under the circumstances (my hand) Normally I can gun it and get down there in 40 minutes flat. Today though, the hand was exceptionally tender, and a stiff wind was blowing in my face the whole way down. With some bad showers showing up on the radar I was apprehensive about a successful ride. Still I puttered down towards the starting point and got there in 55 minutes- almost 20 minutes late. After checking the radar again on my Crackberry and the Advil finally kicking in, I continued straight down Route 2 to Charlestown, all the way to route 1 (very close to Ninigret) and then headed back north on route 1. In Naragansett I detoured back south on 108 and jumped onto 1a North down by Point Judith. It was pretty fast until I got to Narragansett Town Beach but the winds shifted and made the last 20 miles home pretty much miserable. Another 66 miles logged and boy did it feel good to ice my hand when i got home at 11:00. My stitches need to come out tomorrow. I no longer cover up my bloody knuckles and some dark scabs have formed. Road rash is all skinned over- still pink/red/tender and peeling. Sometimes it itches like crazy. No more bandages since day 5 though (Friday). Tomorrow I need to go to Quad Cycles and drop off my pretzeled Powertap wheel for re-build or something.. I also need to check out a lightly used pair of Shimano 7801 carbon tubulars which are available to me for a great price. Selling my OVAL CONCEPTS carbon wheels on Ebay if anyone is interested. They are very fast and very nice looking eye candy but my svelte 154 pound frame does not require such an indestructible pair of wheels in a crit where the name of my game is accelerations.. i've also resolved to begin using only 12-21 cassettes from now on. Yes that's what they call a "straight block" or "corn cob", and back in the 80s it looked a lot more impressive to have a 11-12-13-14-15-16 freewheel. I don't need the 11. I don't need the 23. I want to have an 18 and a 20 for use in the more challenging/undulating crits like Fall River, Attleboro and New Britain. Jumping from a 19 to a 17 tooth cog does not please me, neither does going from 23 to 21.. They don't offer the new 7900 cassettes in 12-21- only the older 7800 is still available in this configuration, and I need to buy a couple- one for the [to be] re-built Powertap wheel and one for the new carbon wheels. I have an 11-23 cassette lightly used which will probably go on to my wife's bike.
I'm tired. Thanks for reading.