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in /home/candycranks/candycranks.com/wp-includes/theme.php on line 467 Pamela – Atlanta
Since myfirst post about getting a road bike, I’ve learned a lot about riding and a lot about what I want out of riding. I’ve always been fairly competitive without a good outlet. Alleycat races are fun and roller races are challenging, but I think the geek in me required something more trackable and concrete.
This season I promised myself to race more consistently at Dick Lane Velodrome by adopting a “NO EXCUSES” policy. No more “oh, I didn’t ride very much this week, I shouldn’t race” or “my nose is running and I sneezed twice today” nonsense because I was ultimately feeling intimidated. I set a goal of racing at the last BIG race of the season, which was the Madison Pro-Series Festival of Speed. This is an event where people actually pay to watch the racing, so the calibre of racing goes up from the weekly training races. I’m proud to say I didn’t get last place and actually scored a handful of points – that’s enough for me…for now! Next season I hope to do more than just hold my own against the others in my category.
Finishing 1st in the Grant Park Crit women's beginner category
My plan for road riding this season was simply to get to know my new bike. I had loose aspirations for obtaining my USAC license next year, but had no firm plans for actual racing. But of course, as soon as I started to get some instincts for riding my road bike… I got the bug. I did three centuries, and even achieved a 5 hour century! I entered (and won… woohoo!) the women’s beginner crit at the Grant Park 2010 Georgia State Criterium Championship. I was a little sad that my category’s race didn’t win a State jersey, but I was excited and totally surprised to be able to pull a win in my first road race ever! I’ve been probationally accepted onto a racing team for next season, with the understanding that I have to cat up from a 4 to a 3 before my races are reimbursed. It’s getting serious, y’all. I’m excited, flustered, and anxious to ride for a team.
Capt. Ahab, a basket, 3 speeds, and me.
I’m told this is the “off season.” Which means I spend time in the gym doing weight lifting exercises and yoga for flexibility. I still plan to ride my sweet new city bike from the 60s. With my dog, Captain Ahab, as my copilot, my off season should be pretty sweet.
This year’s North American Cycling Courier Championship is right around the corner and the Atlanta bike community is buzzing with anticipation. Many of us (including myself) are hosting out-of-town couriers as a way to be involved and to get to know our fellow riders.
My first guest arrives tonight, a female courier from San Francisco. I’m excited to ride around with her in our crisp fall weather to show her the best Atlanta has to offer cyclists. The event starts Friday evening with a “Welcome to Atlanta” ride for all of the out-of-towners followed by a registration party/competition for me since I won one of the Goldsprint fundraisers for NACCCs earlier in the year. All of the winners from the Goldsprints this year are going head-to-head (errr… really, head-to-timer to prevent unfair advantage in the final round) to see who is crowned King and Queen of Atlanta Goldsprints. I hate to admit, I’m a little nervous! That, combined with local shop Loose Nuts Cycles announcing a pre-NACCCs sprint event tomorrow… well, I think I’ll need some caffeine.
More info about the weekend’s schedule at the NACCCs website. Good Q&A about the general event and some questions about non-courier participation here.
Something unexpected has happened: I’ve fallen completely in love with riding my road bike. I thought I was purchasing a training device, but it turns out that I was purchasing a new lifestyle. I suddenly have fancy electrolyte drink mixes and protein shakes and gel blocks. I wash my bibs and jerseys in my kitchen sink and hang them to dry from my bikes. I’ve cut out most processed sugar from my diet, and apparently, try to spend my weekends sweating as much as possible.
Earlier this month, a group of friends and I went up to Dahlonega, GA to ride a route well known to cyclists in the southeast called 3 Gap. There is also a longer, steeper, and more painful route that involves 6 gaps. These Blue Ridge Mountain climbs were included in the Tour de Georgia every year and for good reason.
Clearly, I'm all smiles climbing Neal's.
This was my first mountain ride, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. We arrived bright and early to beat the hobby car drivers and motorcyclists who also love the gaps for their insane turns and steep roaring climbs. The temperature was chilly due to the elevation and for the first climb, Neal’s Gap (elevation 3,097′), I was both shivering and sweating. This concerned me, since I knew we had two more climbs to go. Once we reached the top of Neal’s, though, I felt a little looser and warmed up, and on we rode to Wolfpen.
pretty, shady, pretty shady.
Wolfpen was more fun to climb albeit more challenging with lots of twists and turns and beautiful scenery. I eventually got dropped by most of the group, but was able to keep one of them in sight for the duration of the climb. I found all sorts of fun mental games to keep my cadence steady and my head up. “Stand up and pedal until I get to that sign!” and “Sit until that rock, then stand until that tree!” …pedal pedal pedal.
Rounding the last turn, I was greated with a sign to confirm I’d reached the top. Hooray! Wolfpen Gap (elevation 3,364′).
Descending Wolfpen was SO MUCH FUN. I had to remind myself to keep my mouth closed and not smile, since there were already bugs flying at me, and I didn’t want a bug flying into my throat at 35+ mph.
After a deer almost ran directly into me (seriously!), we had one more climb, Woody’s Gap. My legs felt great at this point, and it felt like we flew right up the climb. The view at the top was great, and I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather be doing at 10am on a Sunday morning.
obligatory photo of my darling
I can’t wait to go back and perhaps tackle the climb that makes even grown euro-pros cry: Hogpen (elevation 3,655′, 4% average grade, 2 mile 12% to 14% section!). I’ll be singing the blues the whole way up most likely (literally… apparently that’s one of the mental coping skills I use when climbing). But I know the sense of accomplishment will be amazing!
Most US state laws require cyclists to ride on the right of a lane. In Georgia (where I am), this part of the law reads:
(a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except when turning left or avoiding hazards to safe cycling, when the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle, when traveling at the same speed as traffic, or while exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction; provided, however, that every person operating a bicycle away from the right side of the roadway shall exercise reasonable care and shall give due consideration to the other applicable rules of the road. As used in this subsection, the term “hazards to safe cycling” includes, but is not limited to, surface debris, rough pavement, drain grates which areparallel to the side of the roadway, parked or stopped vehicles, potentially opening car doors, or any other objects which threaten the safety of a person operating a bicycle.
This morning my friend posted this very illustrative animation about why riding more to the left is much, MUCH safer. So, keep to the right… but the leftish side of right! And at least in Georgia, you are still following the cycling laws.
Every dangerous situation the animated cyclist encounters I have experienced… great and helpful work!
Saturday, local track enthusiast Luciuspremiered the film he put together from the first Pro Series held at Dick Lane Velodrome. It’s available online now for all those unable to see it then. It really captures the energy of the event and the bumpiness and steep banking of our track. Enjoy!
Anyone who knows me or has ridden with me knows that I’ll ride in any shoe, but I was really excited when my friend linked these heels designed specifically for riding bikes. The $170 price tag seems a bit stiff to me, but I’d be curious if Camper know something that I don’t about what makes a good cycling pump.
We’re all really excited to have a new neighborhood bike shop opening this Friday. Loose Nuts Cycles owners Chris Tavel and Kareem Shehab scoped a winning location in Atlanta’s historic Grant Park. The shop had a “soft opening” for locals to get a feel for the shop’s personality last week, and the look, feel, and location can’t be beat! On top of that, Tavel’s wheel building skills and mechanical knowledge will make this shop a destination for big splurge’n upgrades and/or routine maintenance.
62cm is too tall, even if you are a tall drink of water
When I started riding bicycles (aside from neighborhood Huffy bike rides when I was in elementary school), my first bike was a 62cm Fuji road bike that had belonged to my father. I had moved into Atlanta, lived near campus, didn’t want to pay for parking, and didn’t want to walk to classes. I spent a little bit of money to make it ridable (replaced tubes/tires/brakepads), bought a dinky cable lock, and thought I was good to go.
Little did I know that I would fall in love with being pedal powered. I soon realized that no matter how much work I put into this old classic steed, a 62cm steel frame would always be too large for me. Being a student, I had very little money for a nice bike, so I did a little research. I wanted something reliable, fun, and with little on it to break that I couldn’t fix/figure out myself. All arrows pointed to an entry level track bike. I purchased a Fuji Track from a local bike shop. I have sinced replaced every single component on that Fuji Track and am completely in love with my custom Soma Rush.
However, years after riding fixed geared bicycles exclusively, I began to have a nagging thought: what training could I do with gears? The thought blossomed into a full-blown infatuation. I started paying attention to which friends I knew that rode both fixed gears and road bikes. I asked questions, I read reviews. Then yesterday, my road bike came in the mail from eBayville.
"Wow, that's a GIANT box!" -countless coworkers
My BMC Roadracer sat boxed up in my cube, teasing me with its presence. I’d already made plans to build it up and get fit at the same time that evening, so I wasn’t tempted to take a “sick day,” but it was a lonnnnnnnnng day waiting for 6:30pm. Finally it was time to pack it into my little Honda and unbox and build it.
Better than Christmas day.
My friend Rob met me at Intown Bicycles to get everything set up just so. With my inseam measurement (giggle giggle) we adjusted the preliminary saddle height; he set me up on a trainer and adjusted the float on my used-but-new-to-me speedplay pedals and fine-tuned the saddle height and handlebar angle. We ended up trading the stem that came on the bike with a longer one to keep my back straighter.
The positioning feels much more stretched out than my track bike setup, so I’ll definitely have to get used to using more of my back muscles when riding. I was given a tutorial on how to shift gears and trim the chain (is that how you say it?), then was set free. It was a little too late to go on a ride that night (bummer) so I decided to ride it for my 3 mile commute this morning.
Riding 3 miles on a road bike and in spandex was definitely overkill since it takes me less than 20 minutes on my fixed gear to get to work, but holy moly did it make for a different experience. I chatted briefly with my mom when I got to work:
(09:54:00 AM) pwnela: rode the new bike today
(09:54:04 AM) pwnela: wow, gears, just… wow
(09:54:07 AM) Mom: ooooooooh
(09:54:13 AM) Mom: i like gears
(09:54:27 AM) Mom: make me feel like you are safer
(09:54:35 AM) pwnela: haha… gears make me safer?
(09:54:37 AM) Mom: well actually it’s the brakes that i like
I’m going to ride tonight to watch the training races out at Dick Lane Velodrome and hopefully dial-in the adjustments even further. I want to do some medium length rides all this week to work out any kinks and sizing so when the weekend comes I can do a nice, long ride and maybe – just maybe – learn how to work this fancy new toy.
Laura & I (via http://www.flickr.com/photos/carleton_hall/ )
This is my first post so I want to say HELLO to all the awesome ladies
who read/write/enjoy candy cranks. I live in and fell in love with cycling in
Atlanta, Georgia – despite it being one of the least cycling friendly
cities in the country. We have hostile drivers, fast roads, poor public
transit, and bike lanes filled with gravel, grates, and broken glass.
But somehow I love it and am not alone. The cyclists here are pretty
diverse: we have road riders, super commuters, serious track riders
(we have a velodrome!), fixed gear trick enthusiasts, and about ten
I own two bikes: a soma rush and a bianchi pista concept. Actually, I
just purchased a third, a bmc roadracer, on ebay, but it hasn’t
arrived yet. I think I have a bicycle buying/building habit that I
have no intention of breaking.
I am learning to race at Dick Lane Velodrome and am trying out this whole
“training” thing. I always enjoyed alleycat races, but am trying to
step up to a more serious level of dedication. We’ll see how that
goes… I have a lazy streak that tends to get in the way. However,
the community at our velodrome is both encouraging and fun, so
it’s easy to get drawn into the race nights.
I plan to post about local events (we’re having a bunch of FUNdraisers
for NACCCs) and my likely difficult fight to learn how to ride my new
road bike (gears confuse me). I will probably use parenthesis too
often (sorry) and hopefully not bore anyone to tears.
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