I should just label this week "Road Bike Week" and call it a day. The trails are a soupy mess as a result of the crazy bipolar temps we've been experiencing, so really, the only choice is to go with the lycra and skinny tires. Not that I'm complaining though, I'm thoroughly enjoying my time back on the saddle of a road machine.
Today was about a 90 minute ride, high on power output with less spinning. I don't want anyone to think I'm actually training though. The resultant 'high power' ride from today came at the expense of changing the gearing on my bike. You see, the stock crank and stock cassette was a Compact, 50/34 chainring set, and a 12-27 cassette. I'm not saying that I'm putting out pro-level power, but I do happen to be a very strong rider and at my strongest rode a setup of a standard 53/39 crank and an 11-23 cassette. Coincidentally, that's exactly what I set the bike up with today. I pulled the stock crank off, threw on a sweet "new to me" Dura Ace (bought from my good buddy at the bike shop for a shockingly low price), and stuck with the 11-23 cassette I'd put on there when I was trying to make the compact crank useful.
Again, back when I was strong (and not to mention about 30lbs lighter!) I was killing it with this setup around here. The rolling hills were no match for my legs, and I had no problem riding that gearing. Today however, after a year plus off the road bike, I'm strong, and can still push those gears, but have a much smaller amount of muscular endurance. The good news is, I wasn't too beat up by the end of the ride and actually finished much stronger than when I started. The bad news is it was only a 90 minute ride and I've got some work to do before I get out there and start riding hard. My plan for the bike now is to keep the gearing as is, and keep my intensity low and work on building up my endurance. I'm not all into the fancy, scientific training thought right now, I just reckon if I ride more I'll get strong, even if the gearing is a bit steep for me at the moment.
Overall it's been a good week back on the road. The weather's been cooperative and looks like it will be for the next few days. The temps both yesterday and today were unseasonably warm and nice, but it'll all get back to winter starting tomorrow and going through the weekend. I'm hoping to get a mountain bike ride in by the weekend, and if things go well perhaps both Saturday and Sunday I'll get the chance. If the temps can stay below freezing, the mud should freeze up nicely and give us some great, hard, and fast trails to enjoy.