Riding Napa and my psychic intuition

August 7, 2008 at 9:10 pm Leave a comment

When I planned this trip, I hadn’t planned to go see Napa.  I had planned on riding across the Golden Gate today and then riding around the Marin area.  However, when I woke up and looked outside I noticed that the fog was thick and there was a mist coming down.  The weather in Napa on the other hand was 80 and sunny.  A road trip to Napa was in order.

I decided to take the scenic route up so I crossed the Golden Gate and then took the highways up to Napa.  It was slower than the way back (mostly freeway), but it was a much more pleasant drive.  Once I got to Napa I found a place to park and started to get ready.  My plan was to ride up the Silverado Trail up to Calistoga and back.  Although this was my plan, there was something inside my head telling me that this wasn’t going to happen.

As I was getting ready, I told myself to double-check that I had a flat kit with me.  I never remember to check for a flat kit.  I remember thinking that, knowing my luck, I would get a flat today even though I haven’t had a flat this entire season.  Despite this thought, I proceeded forward.

Less than 1/4 mile into the ride, I should have known this wasn’t going to be my day.  I had a bike fitting done yesterday in San Francisco using the Retul 3D bike fitting system (more on this later) and part of this involved adjusting my cleat position.  I use Speedplay pedals and if you tighten the screws too much, the clamps don’t work.  Well, my left cleat didn’t work completely (only half clicked) and I didn’t have any tools with me.  Still…I soldiered on.

About two miles into the ride I hit a bump and my seat post dropped about two inches.  Apparently we didn’t tighten this up quite as good as it could have been when we adjusted it the day before.  Still…I soldiered on.  I drove an hour to get to Napa and I was determined to get in a good ride before I went back.  

Nine miles into the ride, my premonition came true: I flatted.  I wasn’t surprised.  There was a ton of loose gravel and little rocks in the bike lane and it was impossible to avoid them all.  The road conditions combined with my current lucky streak of not flatting and my premonition made it inevitable that I would flat today.  

The flat itself was no problem.  Five minutes and a little CO2 and we were good to go.  However, I had to make a decision: I was only 9 miles in to a 25 mile out on an out and back, I didn’t have another tube or a CO2, and I was basically in the middle of nowhere.  Although there was the occasional cyclist out there, unless I planned on trying to hitch a ride with a car or hope somebody at a winery had a flat kit, I’d be screwed if I flatted again so I made the decision to cut my ride short and turn back.  I’d rather have my ride cut short than end up having to walk 15 miles back to my car in bike shoes.

So, my ride was cut short, but Napa was beautiful.  I’d love to go back there one day with a significant other and do a weekend of wine tasting.  I didn’t stop to do any wine tasting because I was by myself and was stinky/sweaty from the ride.  Oh well…at least I’ve seen it.

As far as the fit goes, if you’re not familiar with the Retul system just google it.  Basically it involves using 3D sensors to analyze your range of motion and your fit on the bike.  I came to one conclusion: the joker that fit me before didn’t know dick about fitting.  I had always felt I was a bit low, but I didn’t realize how low I was.  My fitter yesterday moved my seat post up about three inches and I was instantly more comfortable on the bike.  Additionally, we raised the bars a bit and reduced the degree of drop.  

Overall, I think the system is great because it utilizes science to reduce fitter error.  If you combine this with a good fitter, you’re golden.  I thought I had a good fitter when I bought my bike.  I wasn’t necessarily uncomfortable, but recently I found that I was having to contort my position on the bike to maximize power and/or feel comfortable.  Basically, if you KNOW you have a good fitter, this system isn’t going to do anything for you that the fitter won’t be able to do.  The only problem is that it’s tough to know whether or not your fitter is good.

My first race is three days away.  I’ll post an update on Sunday.

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