Sunday, May 20, 2007

Moving on up

Date: May 20
Mileage: 14.4
May Mileage: 75.6
Temperature upon departure: 58

I going to start keeping track of my cycling mileage again. Why would I bother? Well, after three months of flailing defiance, mistake after mistake after mistake interrupted by short periods of indifference, I think I may finally be poised for a comeback.

My recent numbers tell most of the story themselves:
December, 476.1 miles
January, 893.4 miles
February, 361.1 miles
March, 14 miles
April, 25.3 miles
May, 75.6 miles

Somewhere in there, I went very, very wrong. Maybe now I have finally learned my lesson about the perils of overuse, and the virtues of steady increments. But probably not.

I managed to whittle myself back to the bottom; now there's nowhere to go but up. Because I'm facing the slow climb as an alternative to the depths of inactivity, I feel like I have nothing to lose. And so I amble.

I tried out my clipless pedals for the first time today. I was a ball of nervous energy; suddenly thrown back into traffic with a loose rear hub and a sagging chain and a touring bike I definitely did not like being attached to. Even worse than the cars were the tourists, who treat downtown Juneau like it’s Main Street Disneyland; every move they make is unpredictable, and every pedestrian law goes out the window. Today Geoff yelled out, "Hey, did you know that this is a road, not a sidewalk?" But it's true. Maneuvering around tourists takes more skillz than singletrack, and I am not known for my roadie skillz.

Geoff and I rode out to Thane. He lectured me on the decrepitness of my road bike and my unwillingness to master the clipless, but we had a good ride. At the turnaround, he took off for a run on the coastal trail and I ambled some more, covering about three more miles on foot (For which I had to bring an extra pair of shoes. How annoying is that?). Someday I will appreciate clipless pedals. And someday I will be able to ride more than I would ever want to. Someday.

But for now, I wanted to say congrats to all who rode the Kokopelli Trail this weekend. I've been thinking about you and your 142-mile desert epic as I chart my next planned ride. Tuesday, 18 miles. We all have our thresholds, and my goal is to not find mine anytime soon.


  1. Jill, I have been following your blog for a while now and it is great to see that you are back in the saddle. You've been such a great inspiration for me and you still are. I am originally from Germany but live in Omaha, NE and do XC MTB. I am dreaming about doing some long distance racing someday. If you are interested, check out my blog:
    Keep on pedaling:)

  2. It's so great to see you getting more miles in again! Don't give up on the clipless pedals...I started with them in February and am thrilled with them now! Always love the pics!

  3. Click-in cycling shoes are a miracle of marketing. There are times when being that joined to the pedals is helpful. Racing and all-out efforts in wet weather group rides, for example. For general riding, though, double-sided pedals and almost any shoe that’s lightish and has a rubbery sole works fine. Teva Hurricane sandals are hard to beat, but in fact there are tons of non-cycling shoes that work well.

    Every sport has its own footwear, and the message here isn’t to turn your nose up at cycling-specific shoes, but to point out that when you don’t have them, you needn’t stop riding.

    One of the issues is sole stiffness. There’s a misconception (lie) that cycling shoes need to have super stiff soles. They do if the pedals are tiny, like some clipless pedals, because the pedaling force is so concentrated. But if you use a wider pedal, it’s not that important that your shoe be super stiff. Actually, I much prefer a sole that lets me feel the pedal, not painfully, but enough to know where it is under my foot. That’s an important thing to know when you’re not connected to the pedal.

    There are lots of good cycling shoes that aren’t made for cycling. Teva Hurricane sandals are excellent. They’re light, stiff enough, and cost just $39. You can wear them sockless in the summer, or with double-thick socks in the winter. I’m sure there’s somebody out there who knows somebody who knows somebody who heard from somebody about a guy who crashed while wearing sandals and hurt his foot because of it; but that’s pretty hard to do, and if you’re afraid of that but like the sandals idea, look at the Keen sandals, with toe-guards. Shimano makes sandals, too. The Adidas Samba Millenium indoor soccer shoe is a favorite shoe for many riders—it has a stiff-enough, grippy but smoothish sole, and is fairly light. The Puma Kugel is especially good, too.
    Sandal note: Chaco is sorta-kinda-mebbe considering (as of December 2006) making a cycling sandal. The Chaco rubber grips super well, but the current models tend to be on the heavy and thick side for cycling. The folks at Chaco are cyclists, too, but they're into the clickers like everybody else is, and can't quite bring themselves to making a cycling sandal that works with double-sided pedals.

  4. Jill - I found your blog just randomly clicking through Blogger and just wanted to tell you I love reading your adventures and viewing your GORGEOUS photos. I've linked to you from my blog -- keep on writing/shooting and I'll keep reading.


  5. I think there is a sandles salesman in the room.

    I just had my cleats implanted, no more shoe shopping!

  6. Hey---good on you for trying out clipless! I am still a total chicken about them, although all of my serious cycling friends sing their praises.

    And---you are tagged! See my blog for the rules of "Seven Strange Facts." I hope you do it!


  7. Hey Jill,

    Do whatever the heck you want with pedals & shoes but yeah if you can't walk in them are they shoes? I've even ditched the Power Grips from my bikes lately and I still clocked in a 250 mile day wearing my Keens and riding my clunker bike. Keep experimenting and find out what works for you.

  8. I wear bike shoes almost all the time. with receseed cleats. Walk a lot in them.

  9. The clipless pedals are mostly just an experiment. I still plan to stick to platforms on my mountain bikes, and probably ride the majority of my miles on those anyway. But it's worth a try

    My shoes must be different that yours, Shawn. They have a huge platform on the bottom - it's like walking with a deck of cards stuck to each foot. I can't walk five feet in those things. Must be the cleats, huh?

    VeloCC and Cynthia, I'll have to check out your blogs and link up. Thanks again for stopping by.

    Eero ... hah. I don't get tagged very often. I'll have to post soon. I'll let you know.


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