The Wine Cyclist

Tag: training

Loaded Up and Ready to Go!

by on May.15, 2009, under Cycling

Fully Loaded BikeLook at that bike there, all loaded up and heavy. Man, is it heavy. I’ve pared down as much as I think I can get away with, and it’s still heavy. Guess I’ll just have to suck it up and work it up those hills. My legs are going to be ripped at the end of this summer.

The weight is somewhat handy in some instances. The obvious would be going down hills, but actually, the weight is of limited usefulness there. Sure, you pick up more speed as your mass relative to air resistance is much higher, but it also makes it harder to stop the bike. The real usefulness is the added momentum when you catch a headwind. My air resistance is higher to be sure, with more flat surface area from a front profile, but those heavy panniers just want to keep on going.

Windsor Vineyards PannierOn the flip side of that big red bag is a bit of bike craftiness. I picked up the big red bag as it was not too expensive, it’s got a waterproof main pouch (complete with roll-style close top for the true waterproofing), but mostly because it zips off it’s pannier mount and become a decent sized backpack. That’ll be handy when I’m out in some national park in Montana and want to trade a day of biking for a day of hiking in its stead.

Yet, it was only one side of the bike, and I wasn’t really going to bother getting two of the backpack panniers. I found the lovely Windsor Vineyards tote bag you see there while cleaning out one of my closets. With a few bolts and zip ties, I mounted it to the rear rack and lo and behold, it’s just the perfect size for my tent and sleeping bag. To balance out with all the clothing in the red bag, I also shoved my U-lock and cable in there to give a little extra weight on that side.

So, all loaded up, I’ve been doing training rides along the towpath today and yesterday. I’m nicely exhausted, now. Tomorrow is my break day from cycling. I’m driving up to Rochester and hanging out with my buddy JP for the evening. On Sunday, the brutality begins. Eight days of up and down some crazy hills in the Finger Lakes.

I’ll be sure to check in when I can, with pictures of course, and tasting notes from when the mood strikes me to drop in a winery along the way.

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Towpath on a Tuesday

by on May.05, 2009, under Cycling, Wine

Towpath Trail SignOne of the nice things about being unemployed is the ability to do things like bike along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail on a Tuesday, when it is much less crowded than it is on a Saturday or a Sunday. It’s about three miles from the house to the Harvard Ave trail crossing, making it extremely accessible by bike. From there it’s a mere 19 miles to Peninsula, OH. Some good distance was put in today, totaling about 44 miles in all.

Looking down the trailThe Towpath Trail is really a wonderful stretch of cycling in northeast Ohio, running from Cleveland all the way down to Akron and a little further still, in fact. The stretch from Brecksville to Peninsula and through the rest of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is fantastic, with some nice riverfront views and no shortage of gorgeous foliage, especially now that it’s properly spring around here and everything has started blooming.

Peggy and I set out shortly after 10am, having finished a nicely sized breakfast of bacon and eggs. Early on in a ride I like to push hard to really get the blood going and see how quickly I can get to the “endorphin-rush” stage of things. After that I tend to mellow out. So, I took a significantly lead early on the ride, but around Rockside Rd, I relaxed a bit and let Peggy set a leisurely pace on down to Peninsula. We stopped for a quick snack of granola bars and apples while I picked up a couple things for my bike at Century Cycles in Peninsula. Rested and restocked we turned around and headed back towards Cleveland.

Papillon Pinot NoirIt was a bit of a struggle towards the end; it’s been several months since I’ve done this many miles in a day, and there’s a decent-sized hill at the end just before we get home. We arrived to a nice potful of lentil and beef chili that was cooked up the night before. Two bowlfuls of that barely sated my voracious hunger, but it was delicious, and followed by a hot shower, we were ready to get on with the evening.

We moseyed on over to Visible Voice Books to enjoy a bottle of wine on their patio (it’s a bookstore with a wine bar — how cool is that?) and poke around a few books. The nice thing about the bottle of Papillon pinot noir we had (from Cherry Hill Vineyards), is that while it goes very well with food, it is at it’s best enjoyed outside on a warm evening. It’s not two-thirds as expensive as Cherry Hill’s main label pinot, but is almost as good, making it a much better deal. What better way to celebrate a nice, long ride than with a bottle of delicious wine on a beautiful May evening?

I’ve got some more pictures of the ride today if you just click on through.
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