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Bread and fixie

Paddywagon leaning up against the cheese

The park has some bizarre sculptures, none more so than this giant plate complete with cheese (I think it’s a Swiss judging by the holes) and a fine French baguette.  How brilliant though, don’t you think?  I just love it.  It’s quirky and that’s kind of what Montreal is all about in my opinion.  You never know what you’re going to find just around the corner.

Dead straight forks on the Kona

This morning was all about spinning.  Maintaining a good high cadence and working the legs.  I didn’t practice any of the tricks as I wanted to have a completely uninterrupted ride, and save for two minutes off the bike to snap a couple of pictures that’s exactly what I got.  We’re coming to the end of August but the mornings are still lovely and warm, around 16c now at 6.00 a.m., and we’ve got a couple more months of mild weather before the autumn picks up in earnest.

Once again I opted not to take the Edge 800.  Rides like this I don’t need to know how fast I am going or which direction I am heading in.  I know whether I feel good or not and it is pure fun to ride without those gizmos every now and then, especially on this bike.  In fact, purists would lambast me for even occasionally putting on the computer.  It’s just not cricket!

Beautiful simplicity

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Just made it

When I say I just made it, I literally mean it.  I was about 1 km from home when the tell tale spattering of tiny droplets started making little dark dots on my grey shorts.  It was so light that there was not even enough to stain the tarmac a darker hue, but I could see by checking my shorts every ten seconds or so that it was not stopping.When I turned the final corner for home, leaving only 750 metres between me and the dry indoors, the drops became a little more prominent and I could now see the colour change on the front tyre spinning in front of me.  I reckoned I had only minutes before the skies opened.

How right I was.  I had been inside not more than a couple of minutes when the rain came down hard and steady.  Some days you are meant to get wet, and others you are not.  Today, thankfully, was always meant to be a dry day.  I had successfully cheated the rain and got in a 25 km ride in the only ninety minute window of dryness in the whole day.  That felt good.

The Paddywagon at Parc Levesque. Time to get all artsy.

With the VR2 being out of commission for the next little while due to a spoke popping issue (you can read all about that on Charlie Bucket Cycles) I was left with no alternative but to take the Paddywagon out for a quick weekend ride.  Normally the weekends are all about the road bike, as I get plenty of fixie riding on the commute to and from the campus, but today I was actually really looking forward to riding the bike without the 28lb back pack that I shared with you all last week.

42T/16

So I packed my little shoulder pack with the Nikon D3100 and my spare tube, spanner and pump and off I went.  I just love riding this bike.  Today was no exception.  The only thing that bothered me was that I forgot to lube the chain after the ride to work the other day where there was a lot of spray coming off the road.  I then road home without lube as I don’t usually carry any with me, and now I was going out again without lubing it up.  The net result was a little bit of a squeak which I never hear on my bikes.

Mercier Bridge in the background

I took a few shots down at Parc Levesque and then looking up at the sky I determined that I’d better hightail it back home.  As I already described at the top of the page, I only just made it back in time.  I did not have the Edge 800 with me today (I mean, sometimes you just gotta ride without knowing every single little stat) but I am sure I was pulling a good 31 – 32 km/h on the return leg.  I didn’t let up the whole way back and fortunately the traffic played in my favour which allowed me to zoom through every stop sign without even slowing down.

As I write this it is pouring down outside.  I am relaxing listening to the thunder outside and seeing the occasional flash of lightening through the curtains.  We have a cool breeze coming in through the room and you just know it’s going to be a good night to sleep.  Commute tomorrow morning, if the rain lets up.  Ride safe.

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Fixie Photog

This past Sunday I took a ride down to the lovely spit of land that juts out into Lac St. Louis, about 10 km from home.  it is called Parc Levesque and is a long thin peninsular that leaves the mainland and lances straight into the lake.  What’s really magical about it is that a bike path has been built along both lengths of the spit and each is exactly one kilometre long.  You know what that means?  It’s perfect for those dreaded but effective intervals.

Paddywagon looking majestic amongst the sculptures of Parc Levesque

It’s also a terrific place to snap some pictures as the park is littered with all these interesting sculptures and other oddities.  Too many to feature in this post alone I will surely be going back often over the course of the summer and so will include a few more in the future.

As mentioned, the park with its one kilometre straights is ideal and interval training, but I was not there for that.  You have to mentally prepare for intervals.  For them to be effective you have to be ready to go balls out down one straight, recover down the other, doing your best to resist your body’s urge to vomit, and then go hard at it again as soon as you turn the corner.  Each ‘on’ kilometre seems to get longer and longer the more fatigued you get, and the ‘off’ stretch starts to feel like you’re still on, even though you’re moving at a fraction of the speed.

Paddywagon. Steel on steel.

You know when you’re doing it the right way when you lungs are burning so hard you literally feel like throwing up and your lactic acid has no time to drain from your legs on the cool down run, meaning that as soon as you stand in the pedals again your legs have never in fact stopped screaming.  They are effective, however, and you will notice a difference in your short burst power on longer rides.  Useful for showing off up those short but steep climbs.

Now I normally do intervals on the VR2.  I’ve not done them yet on the fixie but I am suspecting that it will add a new level of pain that I have hitherto not visited.  Take away your ability to coast, and you have rendered your cool down lap not useless, but certainly slower acting.  May be it’ll work the other way and in fact make it easier to recover as I will be forced to continue to motion in my legs?  Hmm, I shall have to investigate that.  Either way, stay tuned for an upcoming entry where we explore that world of pain.  In the meantime, ride safe.

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