70 KM Bike Ride

After taking a forced rest day, I hopped back  onto the bike this afternoon. I started a bit later than I wanted, but in my mind, I avoided the worst of the scorching sun. Had I known that there was this much wind, I might have chosen a different route. Well, in retrospect, I think I knew that the wind was going to be pretty bad.

Before going on my latest ride on Wednesday, I rechecked the distances via Google Maps. I don’t know why, but I overestimated distances considerably. An error must have gotten in my calculations. So the 65 km rides were only 50 km, and the 34 were actually 25. Oh well, live and learn.

What cued me into the error was that when I calculated my median speed, it was way too high. Still, my average speed for today’s ride was 36.5 kph. Not bad, especially since the wind was so fierce. There were a lot less people on the bike path. There were some light scattered showers, but they were just enough to refresh you.

The wind was actually blowing so hard that some dude riding his scooter on the bike path fell. I think that he was going too fast or not fast enough and the wind just scooped him up and he fell. It wasn’t supposed to be comical, but it was, especially since the guy didn’t really have a scratch. He kept jumping around like a cartoon character, rubbing his bum.

It didn’t take long for my frozen bottles to melt. After an hour, they weren’t as refreshing as before. Still, they had served their purpose. The one in the back pocket of my jersey cooled me down. While I got on the Huajhong bridge for the first time, I debated with myself if I should keep going. My goal is to hit 300 km this week. I’ve got 180 km left to do over two days. The reason why I was thinking about quitting at 50 km was that I felt a bit tired. It’s like I was running out of gas. I no longer had the reserve power in my legs to power through the wind or the little hills.

I stopped for about a minute. Drank some water, and was on my way. It was an important milestone to break the 90 minute bike ride marker. It took me 115 minutes to complete 70 km. That’s not so bad. My last loop was effectively slower than my first two. For the first one, I was slightly slower than Wednesday, at about 38 minutes. For the second, I was at 74 minutes.

During my second loop, I noticed a guy who was also training. He kept to the Taipei side and was on a road bike. I couldn’t tell which model. He was extremely quick and passed me effortlessly. I noticed that he was practicing climbing hills as well.

That last half of the third loop was pretty hard. My legs felt empty, but at least I didn’t have the wind in my face.

Today, I spoke with the Specialized store in Neihu. I didn’t really want to buy anything, but I wanted to know if they had any old frames in stock. They didn’t. The store just opened and they only have bikes from 2009 at US prices pretty much. Still, I wanted to know more about he racing team. This is only my second week of serious training, but I never think that I am ready to join a team or if they want me. Usually, they are impressed with the fact that I go out almost everyday. This team also only practices on Sundays together, just like the Giant team. I know that they are sponsored, but I haven’t found out any perks yet, like if they get rebates on bikes and so forth.

It’s been about an hour or two since my ride and I have to say that I feel pretty out of it. My thighs are tired. That’s a first. I’m pretty out of it.

Update: It’s the day after and I feel a bit better. If I didn’t have to do some more mileage, I’d take a rest day.

weekly km count: 120
monthly km count: 460
yearly km count: 517
(started in June 09)

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

9 thoughts on “70 KM Bike Ride”

  1. Hiya Range. I’m a fellow biker down here in Linkou. Thanks for the ride blog entries. Where abouts are you riding in Taipei? I’m catching that it’s mostly the bike trails along Danshui. Is there other stuff you’ve been doing?

    Have you been up to Mt. Datun? It’s 22.5 km and 1000 meters up from Hongshulin MRT. A nice ride.

    Got any recommendations for GPS trackers? Like you, I’m trying to keep better track of where I’m going.

  2. Hi Michael!
    I live in Banciao, so I hop onto the Yonghe/Xindian river path that’s really near my house. I usually ride until the Siolang bridge, that’s the end of the path on that side of the river, and then hop over the bridge and into Taipei. I stay in the riverside parks and then go back onto the Huajhong bridge. Or I ride till Bitan and back.

    This is my usual route. I do loops. I know that loops are boring, but they are predictable. With the amount of traffic that I see, it’s best to know the path well so that you can avoid traffic. I’m also going pretty fast, and have had to decelerate hard on multiple occasions in order to avoid people. I’d like to find less populated paths, but still with no cars or scooters. Still I’m always open to trying new paths.

    Maybe we could hook up next weekend to go biking, that would be interesting. I’ve never been to that mountain.

    As for GPS trackers, you’ve basically got a few choices. There is the Garmin Edge line that’s quite cheap here. It retails new for about 13,000 TWD ($365 USD) and is a pretty good little machine.

    The only reason why I’m no longer really considering it is because I also run, so I’d like to have one computer for all of my outdoor activities, which leads me to mention the Polar RS800cx Pro Team Edition. It’s a bike computer and coupled with the GPS sensor, it can also be a running computer, tracking your speed, route and recording it.

    Otherwise, I’d have a Garmin Edge for my bike, a Garmin Forerunner to run, etc. It gets expensive. Sure, the Polar doesn’t have a great color screen, but it’s smart. You can use the GPS sensor as your main sensor when you change bikes. You won’t have to reinstall new sensors, just pop that sensor on your arm or bag.

    What’s even cooler is that it’s basically a watch. You can just pop it onto your wrist. It’s also water resistant, so if you are training as a triathlete, it’s perfect.

    http://www.polar.fi/us-en/products/cycling/RS800CX_PTE

    The bad news. You’ll pay about 18,000 TWD ($550 US) for it here. It’s cheaper on ebay and the US. Though that price usually includes the GPS sensor, the cadence sensor and the speed sensor.

  3. Yep, for the speeds you’re riding, the bike path during the week for loops makes sense. I’m not really able to stick to the same thing and I kind of like urban riding, so I ride all over the place.

    http://www.bikemap.net/user/comprock/routes

    This Friday to Monday, I’m down south in Tainan/Chiayi for an expat group ride. I try to alternate my weekends with expat and local rides. I’m finding for me, that if I’m constantly riding long and hard, my performance decreases. With wanting to be climbing harder and riding faster, I’m trying to cut back on my long rides.

    For one of my riding partners, I’ve got 20 km to go, just to meet up and then climb hills for 30-50 km, then 20 km back. So some of my rides get long. Normally, I’m trying for 20-30 km morning or evening rides and then 50-100 km weekend rides.

    Thanks for the GPS ideas. I’m thinking about trying only a GPS tracker though. I like the Garmin Edge 305 and the output is fantastic, but I already have the cadence sensor on my ride. Also, with the GPS tracker, I can carry when traveling and geocode my photos.

    You interested in the Neverstop Topeak 200K Challenge in Hualian on September 26, 2009?

    http://www.tpe-bike.org.tw/20090926/index_eng.html

    We can see about getting together for a ride next week. I have a long ride tomorrow and long overall this weekend. As such, I need to keep my low-end energy at the ready.

    Ciao and thanks for sharing the rides!

  4. Hi Michael, I read through your blog on Sunday. Pretty interesting stuff. Yep, the Topeak 200k sounds interesting and I’m definitely game.

    I like the Garmin Edge 705 because it’s an all-in-one solution. You only need that computer on your bike, but if you already have other ones, probably the 305 would be great.

    Personally, I’m thinking about the Polar, though I find it a wee bit expensive. I’ll probably wait a few more weeks before getting it, right after I get a road bike because for now, I’m riding a dual suspension XC racing bike, the Giant Anthem, with slick tires.

    I think I’d like getting together for a ride, though as you might have noticed, I do mainly train. I’d like to see other parts of Taiwan. Even though we’ve been here for a couple of years, we rarely get out of the city.

  5. What are you training for?

    I’m aiming for the September 200k within 8 hours, but not sure if that’s real. Probably closer to 9-10 hours.

    Good luck on the road bike search. I’m trying to figure that one out for myself.

  6. I’m training for a triathlon and to join a bicycle racing team, of a shop. Giant or Specialized, I haven’t decided yet.

    I’ve seen the map for the 200 km. I’m not too intimidated by the distance, it’s the terrain that will be a challenge. My goal is to do it in between 5-6 hours. It all depends on the climbs and stuff. Maybe 6-7 hours. I know that I can do 100 km in about 2:35.

    By September, I’ll be lighter. I still have some pounds to lose. Right now, I’m riding a MTB. In September, I’ll be on a road bike, which will hopefully be 10 lbs lighter than my MTB.

    With at least 20lbs less to haul around, from my weight loss and my bike, I will be faster.

    Ah road bikes!

    I love researching them and analyzing them. Trying to get the best deal. My local Giant shop offers me 20% rebate on a 100,000 TWD purchase, 15% between 50K and above, and 10% on 10K or more.

    I don’t know if this is the best possible rebates, I have yet to verify this.

    After pondering things for a few weeks, I’ve decided to buy a high end carbon fiber frame and top it off with some second-hand components. I’ll let my bike shop assemble it.

    I hope to get a Wilier Cento Uno frame, which is designed in Italy, but made in Taiwan by Mitsubishi. Since it’s made locally, it’s as cheap as the local Giant frames. It’s actually the same price as the Giant TCR Advanced SL frame, which is about 80,000.

    This is a good middle ground, as buying a Time, Pinarello or Scott frame is almost double the price of the Giant and the Wilier, even though both of these are high end, and retail for about $4,000 to $4,500 in the US.

    The frame is the main component and I wouldn’t want to buy a carbon fiber frame used. First of all, it’s hard to find M sized frames, and you never know what really happened to them. For components, I have no such qualms. The fact of the matter is that you could get last year’s Dura-Ace for about $550. Sure SRAM Red will set you back $1,300 and Campy Super Record will be $1,700, but I’m happy to have used components. In a few months, I’ll shift them over to my training bike and get either of those high end components.

    After the components, all that’s left is the stem, handlebar, wheels and saddle. Once again, I’m happy to get them used. A few days ago, I was really enraptured by the Kuota Kredo Ultra, but after researching it thoroughly, I’d prefer a Wilier.

    There is one thing that you have to remember. This is something that I noticed when I started going to my local Giant shop a few times a week. None of the guys in the local racing team ride Giant. They ride Time, Scott and other brands. I haven’t seen one of them ride Giant. Not that Giant isn’t good, but that tells you something. Plus, Giant is as expensive here as some other brands, so why not go for them. Time is even more expensive because it’s completely made in France. Wilier is locally made and it’s supposed to be extremely stiff. A kind of superbike.

  7. Good luck on the training. My flat ride paces aren’t the cooking 40kph that you do, but closer to 30kph.

    On Giant, I get 15% off most the way round. Before I hung out at the shop, I’d only get 10% on higher ticket stuff. Since I bike with them and drop in a couple times a week, I get a better deal.

    Like you, the Giant bikes are nice, but am thinking another frame would be better suited to me. I’d really like to give Bianchi a try. Especially if I can find a nice steel road frame with rack mounts on the back for my group 2-4 night trips.

    I really like being able to ride quickly and have a trunk on my bike to just toss stuff into without much concern.

  8. Of steel frames, I like the new Colnago Master X Light. It’s totally old school, but really distinctive. It’s expensive though since it’s Colnago.

    My Giant shop gives me rebates on everything in the store, which I find really nice. Having compared them to shops in Taipei, I can say that the Banciao one is one of the better ones. Great service, nice people and great deals.

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