Stroker Road Wind Slam Bike Ride

Normally when I ride the Stroker Road – Huffman route the wind is coming at me from the start and then the return legs are easier. Today I enjoyed a tailwind until I turned onto Stroker Road from FM2100. For the first 2 miles on Stroker Road I was still able to ride at 17+ mph but when I turned north onto Ramsey Road that dropped down to 11 mph real quick. I struggled riding into the wind on Ramsey Road until I made a left onto Old Atascocita Road. The wind was still a problem but at least it wasn’t coming straight at me. I think tired legs made the pedaling harder as well. This is the third day in a row biking and I am out condition to say the least.

I passed 4 other riders today along the route. 3 of the 4 waved. It was a great day to ride except for the wind. The temperature was 82 when I got back home. The blue sky was beautiful. The wind was not. It was from the NNW at 15 mph with 24 mph gusts. This was what caused the pain and slow speed. I had built my average speed up to 15.5 mph at the 21.5 mile point and that is when I turned into the wind. It started to drop and at the Huffman Chevron rest break it was at 15.0 mph.

Today the stop at the Chevron was necessary to let my legs recover for the 11+ miles home. I ate a trail mix bar, whole grain fruit bar and drank a SunKist 10 drink. Sitting in the sun felt so nice I had to force myself to get back on the bike and get home. The last 11+ miles home on this 39.56 mile long ride was not too bad. I recovered some of my lost average speed getting back up to 15.1 mph. Once I reached Kingwood Drive it fell back to 14.7 mph.

Riding across Lake Houston today was not as chilly as yesterday thanks to the warmer temperature and strong wind. I was able tot get across quicker too.

Now that I am back home my wife says I have to get a hair cut. It has been at least two months since the last one. I keep telling her I am attached to my hair but she isn’t listening. Today I told her it has been around so long that I named each hair (I don’t have that many anyway). She is still not buying it.

It looks my body is starting to get some conditioning if the weather will cooperate I may be able to continue. Tomorrow I plan on taking up an invitation from James Webster to drive to his house west of the Grand parkway construction on FM1314 and begin riding from there. If the weather holds to the forecast it will be a good day to bike. I need to figure out a route but it will be going west for sure to stay away from the construction.

February miles now are 143.44. A good start to my goal of 360 miles. YTD is 284.95.

RideWithGPS map, metrics and charts.

Motivated by the Weather Forecast to Ride

After being a couch potato yesterday I was a motivated biker today especially after reading the weather forecast starting tomorrow (Tuesday). Today’s weather was a big draw to be outside. When I got up this morning the temperature was 46 but by the time I left home biking it was 77. The 31 degree move happened in 3 hours. I was out the driveway at 11:43 and back home at 3:02.

Tuesday between 9 AM and noon a cold front is supposed to move through the Houston area dropping the temperature for the rest of the week into the 50’s for highs and maybe the 30’s for the lows. Since I am a cold weather wimp this means today was probably my only shot at biking this week if I believe the weather forecast.

The big factor in today’s ride was the wind. When I started out it was from the SSW at 14 mph with 21 mph gusts. Whenever I got in an open area I could feel the wind trying to move me around. Deep dish rims do not help. By the time I got home it had changed to the south at 9 mph and 18 mph gusts.

I chose a longer route to take advantage of the sunny sky and warm temperature. I wore a long sleeve jersey just in case the wind was cool but it wasn’t that cool until I was riding west over Lake Houston. Sometimes I though I was overdressed except for going over Lake Houston. The “Stroker Road – Huffman” route has some places when I was the tallest thing around and the wind was both a hindrance and a helper. I rode 40.92 miles on this route. This is a mile longer than usual because I took some extra streets in Kingwood to add mileage. With the wind it 20 miles or more before I got my average speed to 15 mph. Once I got there I was able to keep it there and add a little to it. The turning point was when I turned off of FM2100 onto Stroker Road. This put the wind to my right until I reached Ramsey Road and turned left. On Ramsey Road I was able to ride at 20+ mph. My average speed increased to 15.3 mph until I started going west on Old Atascocita Road to FM2100. This was into the wind again. This is where I passed another biker going opposite of my direction.

Back on FM2100 I saw many signs put out to honor our veterans. They were on both sides of FM2100 for several miles. I am not sure who puts these out but each sign has a yellow ribbon and the veteran’s name. With the wind they were getting blown around a lot.

I stopped at the Huffman Chevron to rest my legs and eat some snacks and Gatorade. Sitting in the sun I was warmed while the wind blew. This was at 39.2 miles. My average speed was now 15.1 mph. After resting I got on FM1960 and headed west. The wind was determined to make me pay for every tenth of a mile and my legs were suffering. I was relieved when I got over Lake Houston and turned north on Atascocita Shores Drive. This put among houses and the wind kind of at my back. From that point it was about 8 miles to home. Weaving through Atascocita the wind tried to slow me down and sometimes it did. Going north on West Lake Houston Parkway helped me keep my speed up and I increased my average speed to 15.2 mph until 38.6 miles when I reached Kingwood Drive and the many stops and starts to get home.

This is the tenth time I rode this route this year. The ride comparison is in the slides below.

November miles are up to 92.9. Year to date stands at 6264 miles. 236 miles to reach my 6500 mile goal. With the weather the Spirit Ride in Livingston does not look good. Maybe the weather man is wrong.

Garmin Connect and RideWithGPS metrics, charts and maps.

Carbon Fiber vs. Rust

After yesterday’s ride I went to the garage to investigate why I could shift the front derailleur. Putting the Stradalli in the work stand I tried the shift lever several times but nothing moved. I flipped the bike upside down to look under the bottom bracket. Where the cable entered the bottom bracket I could see some rust. Trying to move the cable it would not move. After several attempts I cut the cable and tried to pull it out. It would not budge yet but pliers enhanced my grip and I finally got the cable out of the hole. Removing the cable from the lever I tried to insert a new cable into the hole but it would not go in. Looking at the old cable and new one I saw the new one was slightly larger in diameter. I decided to take the bike to my local bike shop, Bike Werks in Kingwood, and went inside to shower.

Arriving at Bike Werks I carried the bike inside and explained the problem. Jeremy took the bike into the shop area and started to insert a cable in the bottom bracket hole. It would not go in more than 1/2″. Several attempts later it was decided the hole was blocked with something. The cable was not stiff enough to move the blockage. Several squirts of penetrating oil didn’t help any. Searching for something stiff one of us, there was another mechanic named Tom, suggested a spoke. Tom tried a spring he straightened out but no success. The spoke was too big of diameter and Jeremy used a grinder to make it smaller. Sevral stabs with the spoke didn’t do anything. I asked if the hole could be accessed if the crank was removed. Jeremy tried that but no good there. I suggested heating the spoke with the grinder and inserting it. A couple more squirts of penetrating oil and Jeremy inserted the heated spoke. Now he started twisting the spoke and a little black powder came out. More twisting and oil and the black stuff broke loose and the spoke went through the hole. Next a cable with lubricant went in and out and the hole was opened. By mow I had been there about 45 minutes. Jeremy installed the new cable and adjusted the shifting. I told him about the chain skipping and the extra links I left in the new chain. He said the skipping was caused by the worn cogs in the cassette but took the links out just in case. I headed home relieved with the repairs and shifting front derailleur. I am not sure what the black stuff was but my guess is a combination of Teflon from the old cable and rust jammed in the hole. I don’t shift the front derailleur much so the rust isn’t disturbed.

With the Stradalli now fixed I planned a longer ride on my “Stroker Road – Huffman” route. I wanted to enjoy the smooth flowing chain and gears. Before leaving I put a couple of drops of oil on the cable where it enters the bottom bracket housing and shifted the cable a few times to help the oil go down into the hole. I left home a little later than I wanted at 11:52. I was delayed by a trip to Baker Paint and Body to get the last part installed on our Jeep Grand Cherokee. Rolling out the driveway I was on my way. The weather was good with the temperature in the upper 80’s, a partly cloudy sky and a light breeze.

Heading south to Atascocita the bike was going great. As I made my way through Atascocita south of FM1960 two bikers rounded the corner probably going home. I waved and said hi. Even though the wind was not that much I worked hard to get my average speed up to 15 mph. Coming out off of Atascocita Shores Drive I turned east on FM1960 to go over Lake Houston. The long straight stretch was a good place to check the skipping gears. I shifted to the third smallest rear gear and the chain went a round the gear but quickly began to skip. This confirmed the gears are worn and I was glad I ordered a new cassette last night. Today though I was able to compensate using the big front ring. I shifted the rear gears up two and shifted onto the big ring. It worked perfectly. I stayed in that gear for several miles as I rode to FM2100. On Fairlake Drive two more bikers passed going the opposite direction. I waved and said hi to the women bikers. On Old Atascocita Road I had to wait for a long, long freight train to cross. Then I rode to FM2100 and turned right. I was still in the big ring but after about a mile or so the wind was slowing me down so much I shifted to the small ring and moved to the smallest rear gear that didn’t skipped.

I hoped turning east onto Stroker Road the wind would not be so strong but it was and I stayed in the same gears. Once I reached Ramsey Road and change direction to the north the wind was behind me and I shifted back to the big ring again. I used this gearing all the way to Huffman and the Chevron station. With all of the effort i was looking forward to a cold Powerade and the snacks I brought. When I arrived at the Chevron I walked over to get some paper towels to dry off some and then back to the bike. That is when I realized I forgot to put my seat bag back on the bike. I removed it to put it in the work stand. It was laying on the workbench and it was in my sight when I brought the bike back from the shop but I guess the joy of a fixed bike blocked my senior mind from remembering to put it back on. Without the seatbag I had no money to get the Powerade so I settled for water from my water bottle. As I was getting ready to leave I went inside to refill my water bottle and there was sign on the Powerade dispenser that it was out of order. I couldn’t buy any even if I had the money. Good thing I didn’t need to patch a flat.

Back on the bike I headed home to finish the 39.29 mile long ride. With the help of the big ring I built my average speed up to 16.1 mph where it stayed until the 36.8 mile mark when the starts and stops in Kingwood slowed me down. It ended up at 15.8 mph. I will wait to see how much my leg muscles complain about those big miles.

Looking at the Marshall weather forecast for Saturday the chance of rain has increased for the morning. The Tour de Fireant will have to wait another year unless there is a change in the weather.

Mileage standings:

  • 96.51 miles for the week
  • 237.85 miles for October
  • 5769 miles for the year

Links to Garmin Connect and RideWithGPS.

Love Bugs and a 1959 Ford

I wasn’t the only person riding today. I saw 11 bikers on Old Atascocita Road and Ramsey Road. All but 2 of them were women. This is probably the women I saw on other Tuesday rides. I saw them because I rode the Stroker Road loop in reverse. Another thing I saw was “love bugs”. The fall season for them has arrived, I guess. They appeared near the Old Atascocita Road and Ramsey Road intersection. I saw some later when I was at the Huffman Chevron too. They were not thick enough to be a nuisance yet. This was around the turf farms.

Another sight was this 1959 Ford. I have thought about taking pictures before but didn’t. It is sitting in the yard and looks like it has been years since it moved. This was at the Stroker Road and Ramsey Road intersection.

I rode 39.49 miles on the route. I did not ride the usual streets at the beginning to keep the ride a little shorter. The sky was partly cloudy, temperature 92 degrees and 7 mph SSW wind. The wind wasn’t really a problem as far as slowing me down so much. It was nice when I was sitting under the canopy at the Huffman Chevron. While I was resting there the wind helped to dry up the sweat; paper towels did too.

Average speed ended up at 15.6 mph. Up to 36.9 miles I had it up to 15.8 mph. The side streets and stops slowly ate away at the speed.

September miles are up to 285.85, 83.68 miles for the week and 5467 miles year to date.

Garmin Connect and RideWithGPS