America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

Thursday, July 21, 2011


In a classy place like Turkey, you get to deplane in the middle of the tarmac and board a few futuristic bus which takes you to the terminal for passport kontrol.
I surprised my son by bringing his 20" Felt dirt bike. They charged 60 € for the privilege, even though there are parents checking in strollers and car seats for free. They inquired about the hard case contining my bike and I told them it was "full of socks and underwear- take a look". This sufficiently embarrassed the ladies in charge of playing God with my wallet.. But they drew the line with the open dirt bike. I just turned the handlebars sideways and removed the pedals- no erap or container. We will probably leave it here for a young relative to grow in to..
Enough about that. I am riding the new Fuji and finding that I made an error in choosing the Zipp handlebars. They have too much forward extension, and I'm too stretched out when I'm on the hoods. So much so that if I'm climbing a steep hill out of the saddle, it's hard to keep the rear wheel down. If I happen to hit a wet patch- forget it- no traction at all. So a shorter stem and a different handlebar are needed.
Saturday I am joining a hillclimb organized by the media company the route begins at 155m above sea level and ends up at about 1900m. We are climbing in honor of Rifat Caliskan, an old time pro racer from the 60s and 70s who passed away a couple of years ago. Highly regarded as Turkey's answer to Eddy Merckx, he is sorely missed by the cycling community here. So about 100 cyclists will start out on a 54 km route together, the first 13km being mainly gentle grade until we hang a left onto an unimpressive country road. We will ride neutral until this point and then whammo- balls to the wall for 37km. The climb has two phases. We will climb about 800m for 15km and then a 3km descent. Then we ramp up again for another 20km or so to the top. It's all switchbacks and pine trees and breath taking views. There is a yellow jersey for the first one to the top as well as trophies for the top three men and women.
I don't know how I will go on Saturday. I still feel jet lag and my lower back is really pissed about the 10 hour flight. But my legs feel strong. I did some climbing Wednesday and did pretty well with all things considered. Saturday I should be one of the top five to the top, who knows? There will be a fair number of lesser trained folks who are doing it for fun, and probably 10 or so guys with the ability to put the hurt on others. I'm not a climber so my FT pace is probably much slower than the specialists, we'll see. I suppose my best approach is to treat it like a zone 5 workout. I should attack at 5-6w/k for about 1 min and then recover at 3-4w/k for a minute. That's what I'm built for. This is much more likely to shed riders from my wheel. Can I do this for 2 hours straight? I'm not so sure. Wish me luck. Thanks for reading.
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