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Discussion: Wut?

in: iansmith; iansmith > 2020-08-08

Aug 9, 2020 9:10 PM # 
Was split three at Plush Imperial or at Jeffro's BBQ?
Aug 9, 2020 11:20 PM # 
A 7-11, actually. The splits must have been automatically generated, as I didn't deliberately take any.
Aug 10, 2020 3:32 AM # 
300 km is a long way! Kudos to you!
Aug 10, 2020 12:17 PM # 
You have gone to impressive lengths to make sure your butt hurts!
Aug 10, 2020 12:21 PM # 
Yeah, it's a major effort to not acquire padded cycling shorts, in particular. But I'm hardly one to talk, having ridden across the US in cutoff jeans.
Aug 10, 2020 1:29 PM # 
"Hamilton was quaint"
Now quaint isn't a word that's often used for the Hammer, but we'll take it!

The one-way portions of King and Main downtown are famous for having coordinated lights, historically it was too easy to drive through the city that the planners have changed that to force people to slow down.

Glad the climb to the Mountain was described as brutal!
Aug 10, 2020 4:47 PM # 
It's probably good for your sanity that you don't think in imperial units because you would have been tempted to go find another 11 km.

Most impressive!
Aug 10, 2020 8:12 PM # 
Congratulations on having hit this distance goal so nicely! With your slightly delayed start time, you even got 300K of the distance done within a single calendar day! You should probably try not to let slight misses on hoped-for speeds or times to cause you disappointment. Bicycling speeds are much more affected by winds, hills, temperature, humidity, and stoplights than running speeds on a track (or even on gradually hilly terrain), and a non-ideal set of conditions can have a major effect on average speed and elapsed time.

I've actually found a couple of your approaches on the distance riding useful on my own cycling this summer. My recumbent trike gets rid of any seat discomfort issues, but it is not very convenient for mounting water bottles in a way with convenient access. Your use of a camelback-style device made me realize that I could pretty easily arrange to hang a 2-liter drinking bladder off the back of my seat, and easily drink when I want to. So not going for two-hour intervals between stops to drink from a water bottle stowed away in a rear carrier has helped out with dehydration issues for me. And although I have not gone to the extremes of starting before midnight on a ride, I probably wouldn't have thought of starting my longest ride of the summer at 4:30 in the morning (and actually getting underway about a quarter of an hour later) if I hadn't been looking at your rides. Another drawback to the recumbent is that the seat back really pretty much keeps the sweat from evaporating off my back, so that the warmer days are more prone to causing overheating problems. Putting more hours of the ride out of the greater than 30C range really makes a significant difference, but the earlier start also makes more total hours available for a longer ride! In any case, I probably wouldn't have tried doing a one-day ride (at least in our somewhat hilly terrain) of 177 miles in my current condition without the realization that by using your start-in-the-dark approach I would have several extra hours available to complete it. So thanks for helping stimulate my interest in doing some longer rides than I've been doing for several decades now.
Aug 10, 2020 9:06 PM # 
I had similar headwind, heat, and humidity for the last half of my 50 mile ride yesterday, so I can just dimly imagine how hard that 70 km stretch must have been. Congrats for toughing it out and accomplishing your goal. And I'll take "huge improvement" as a recommendation for that new saddle, given the distance. I'm looking forward to trying it.
Aug 10, 2020 9:17 PM # 
Darn. I didn't see the 7/11 on the map.

Excellent job!
Aug 10, 2020 10:18 PM # 
Pretty cool! I am in admiration.
Aug 10, 2020 11:23 PM # 
I think Ian is having a midlife crisis a little early. A good one, mind. Better this than the relationship infidelities or Ferraris of earlier generations. Unless of course this was a trip to visit a special friend for a very quick liaison in Niagara Falls or Niagara on the Lake, with a convincing excuse if questioned.
Aug 10, 2020 11:31 PM # 
Thanks all! It was a good adventure.

@Ari - during the long period of private contemplation, 321.8 did occur to me. But I was quite dehydrated and overheating, and imperial units are stupid.

@eldersmith: Thanks! The fresh perspective of someone too dumb to know not to do something can result in innovation. You should log your rides; the ride doesn't count unless it's logged. 177 miles with hills sound difficult; I chose this ride as my first 300 km both because it was largely along a public transit route and because it was mostly flat. For other rides with a less clear destination, I plan to start even earlier; this ride was somewhat constrained by a goal of getting to Niagara Falls at dawn. I imagine the recumbent is considerably more efficient, which probably makes for a more pleasant ride despite the sweat. How do you break up your long rides; what's your pattern of bouts and fueling/stretching?

@feet: At a 7-11? Even a 24 hour convenience store is about as comfortable as a convenience store. I suppose I could try to train my partner to yawn on command.

@Nevin: I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that "New Mountain Road" - or indeed any road up to "Ridge road" would have some climb. Climbing 120m up to Ridge Road would be a joke for West Coasters, but that 70m stretch over 1 km on New Mountain was quite the shock. I definitely dropped to my lowest gear on the peak gradient, which looks like about 15-16% according to komoot.
Aug 11, 2020 2:02 AM # 
Recumbent "considerably more efficient"? Nah. Probably not, unless he has a fairing on it.
Aug 12, 2020 7:35 PM # 
Some imperial units are more annoying than other ones, and the mile really wasn't so bad a choice for the time, just the awkward subdivisions. It's actually pretty neat that the length of a human pace is surprisingly weakly dependent on height, and that Roman soldiers were doing just about the same 60 paces per 100 meters as they marched from one encampment to another over 2000 years ago that orienteers are doing in the woods today. If the British had subsequently just made the sub-units paces rather than feet, whose sizes are so much more variable, they could have had a pretty nice base 10 system to be working with.... And surely with more modern requirements for precision, the same new standards could have been found to meet the demand that are now used to re-define the meter more accurately than trying to measure the distance along the perimeter of the earth from the pole to the equator!
However, your putting the metric system into more prominence was certainly making me think on my longest ride of the summer that if I had started at 4am rather than 4:40 it would have been very tempting to add in an extra ten miles at the end to hit the 300km mark, after the temperatures had dropped off enough so that I was moving more comfortably again. But with my homecoming time already around 11pm, it wasn't really clear whether I would just make or just miss the distance within the one day, so persuading myself that just doing the originally planned trip was quite adequate wasn't all that hard!

JJ is I think correct that the unfaired recumbent isn't much more efficient than a standard bike. Probably a little better on the flats and downhills, but rather worse on the steeper uphills, where there is no option available for getting up out of the saddle to shift some of the work to other muscles. I actually was wondering how much of my decline in speed from 35 years ago on most of the rides this summer was due to less riding and more age, and how much was because of different bicycle (I'm going about 2/3 as fast now as I was doing back then). So I dragged out one of my old bikes and did a couple of comparison rides on just the commute to and from work. The answer seems to be that I can get to and from work a couple of minutes faster (out of a little over half an hour) on the conventional bike, but nowhere near a 50% difference. On the other hand, the old bike could really use a new front wheel (or at least rim), and there is a different feel to the pedaling between the two different machines, so maybe with a little work on the machine and the technique I could make some gains. More importantly, from a sightseeing point of view, the recumbent has a really major advantage in my opinion, so it is likely to continue to be my primary riding vehicle for the remainder of at least this summer.

I probably spend more of my time riding and less resting than you do. On the longer ride three weeks ago I took a 20 minute break for water and a nutrition bar at a little over 4 hours in, stopped for 30 minutes at about 6 hours for a Big Mac and a 30 ounce Coke, again 30 minutes at 11 hours for a 30 ounce Coke and a medium fries, and a few minutes later for 10 minutes to fill my empty 2 liter water bladder. Then finally for three or four minutes at about 16 1/2 hours to phone Mary to let her know that I was running a couple of hours behind schedule, but would be home under my own power just fine, and wouldn't be needing any sort of bail-out.
But last week on a 102 mile ride, which was on a cooler day and just took a little under 8 hours, there was just a 5 minute break to drag out the iPad to check that I was at the right road junction for a turn (hadn't remembered from looking at the map in advance that the small road I was turning onto was actually a cross-road, no just something teeing in from the left), and another 5 minute stop at the set of locks up at the north end of Cayuga Lake to eat a nutrition bar and use a convenient porta-john. When I was younger and rode faster, I used to take longer breaks. This summer, I have been much more hesitant about stopping places because of virus risk. Earlier in the summer, there were very few places to stop where one could buy food or drinks, or even fill a water bottle. Now there are many more places open, I'm just hesitant to use them! As a result, I find that I'm typically spending a lot of the ride probably way too dehydrated. I always have had some problems that way since I sweat a lot, but there have been many rides this summer where I get back home weighing 10 pounds less than when I started. Not really a problem, because over two or three days I can get rehydrated again, and as long as I get enough electrolytes in with my drinking, I haven't been getting any cramping problems, but I have been slowing down more than seems really reasonable in the last few hours of many rides. I'm certainly hoping for a return to somewhat more normal conditions by next summer!
Aug 12, 2020 8:12 PM # 
What model of recumbent trike do you have, Eric? And what does it weigh?
Aug 12, 2020 11:44 PM # 
Hi JJ, It's an Australian Tri-Sled that looks pretty much like what they currently call a Gizmo. It's presently just under 40 pounds in weight, though not all that is the fault of the basic trike--I've added some fenders and a rear carrier. I've had it for probably ten or twelve years, but have mostly used it for commuting to work during the seven or eight months of the year when the salt and snow are off the roads here, so it only gets maybe a bit over 3000 miles a year of use. Until this summer, I've probably only taken it on two or three rides of over 50 miles in length, orienteering having somehow taken over too large a percentage of my weekends and work having occupied most weekdays. Being currently restricted to 3 days a week in the lab, and having many fewer convenient rogaines to attend on weekends, it has come into heavier use, and I've been enjoying it. For me, anyway, there seems to be some sort of psychological effect of riding much closer to the road (my rear end is about six inches off the pavement, and eye level a little under 2 1/2 feet) that makes it feel like you are going considerably faster than you actually are, a pleasant phenomenon when you no longer can ride all that fast! It has 406mm wheels, which is some sort of tradeoff between better maneuverability and transportability with small wheels, and better riding efficiency with larger ones. I imagine that having three wheels rather than two also isn't so good for efficiency, but the stability seemed nice when I first thought about buying it immediately after prostate surgery--the surgeon had initially said I could resume full normal activity two weeks after surgery, and it wasn't until afterwards that he mentioned that of course bike riding would be out for six months because of pressure from the seat. It is also nice, however, to be able to come to a stop and not to have to even think about unclipping a foot so that you don't tip over! The big thing I really like about it, though, is that just sitting up and looking straight ahead really makes it nice for looking at the scenery compared to riding on a standard bike.
Aug 13, 2020 12:20 AM # 
Excellent account, Ian. Pedaling in shadow-casting moonlight to a spectacular turnaround point to witness sunrise and return, striving all the while, is the stuff of unforgettable memories.
Aug 13, 2020 4:58 PM # 
There's such variety in recumbents, and mine (one-off homebuilt from 1983) is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Eric's in many regards: two wheels (27" rear, 20" front), my seat is 28" above the pavement, and my eyes are about the same height as on an upright with hands on the top of the bars and arms straight. Stopping/starting took a bit of learning, since I can only get my toes on the ground. I've fallen over a couple of times, but what hits the ground is all bike, not rider. About 30 pounds, and not so bad on hills.
Aug 13, 2020 6:58 PM # 
Miles are a base unit, rather than measuring distance in kilometers, which are really lots of meters. Saying "two hundred miles" is five syllables, while saying "three hundred kilometers" is seven. But, yes the subdivision is weird. If the Imperialists had made a mile 6000 feet, and a pace 6 feet, and a foot a foot, it would make a lot more sense, because a mile would be 1000 paces.

I will defend Fahrenheit for experienced temperature to the grave. 0 to 100 for a normal range of temperatures, with 0 being "really cold" and 100 being "really hot" and the appropriate level of gradations in between. C is fine for other temperatures, but then shouldn't you be using K?
Aug 13, 2020 7:30 PM # 
I don't follow your "base unit" argument for miles. If I call a km a "click," does it become a base unit? And aren't your arguing that a mile is actually 1000 paces? I suppose the natural units (hbar, c, G, eV for reasons) could be called base units, but even they can be redefined in terms of other units. They just happen to be a bit special.

Miles are stupid, especially because very few people in the world use them. I suppose you could define "base unit" as a unit defined independently of other "base units;" this would often then be a unit with a difficult to remember conversion to other "base units." But as SI points out, there is absolutely no reason to have more than one base unit for a given measurement. Or, you can define any unit system with three base units, and under no circumstances should a mile be used as one of those units.
Aug 13, 2020 7:46 PM # 
It's a base unit in the sense that it doesn't have a prefix, which would bring more syllables. Although I suppose you could do it in theory, it would be weird to describe your armspan as two millikilometers.

One thing that has always bugged me is that the SI base unit for mass is the kilogram. The base unit shouldn't have a prefix. But it also bugs me that the kilogram was defined in terms of an artifact, and the mole derived from that artifact, rather than the mole being defined as Avogadro's Number of things, and mass derived from there. But last I heard they were finally on the verge of fixing that part.
Aug 13, 2020 11:18 PM # 
I like the way water links SI units through mass, volume, distance, density and you can throw temperature in there too. If you were able to have a 10cm sided cube of water that's a kilogram in weight and a litre in volume. Freeze it and the temperature is zero, boil it at 100C. Pretty neat.
Aug 13, 2020 11:49 PM # 
But when you freeze it, the volume is something like 1.1 liters.
Aug 14, 2020 11:09 AM # 
You forgot to mention the increased volume of steam.
Aug 14, 2020 11:45 AM # 
yes, but can water link an SI unit's punching speed with its mass?
Aug 14, 2020 5:59 PM # 
Why bastard, wherefore base?

I had to emigrate before experiencing minus double digits Celsius.
Aug 14, 2020 7:01 PM # 
Nice route! Congrats. Epic.

I count your route going by at least 15 orienteering maps (mostly in Hamilton and Niagara).

By the way when the World Cycling Champs were in Hamilton in 2003 they did 20 laps of a route that climbed the escarpment two times on each loop. Check out some of the cycling routes that Sudden rides in Hamilton's west end (Dundas). Clara's climb on Sydenham is just over 10% average grade.
Aug 14, 2020 10:41 PM # 
Ari, the base unit is the pace, not the foot, and the mile (coming from the Latin for 1000) is a kilo-pace. The place the British messed up was not in taking up a continental measurement system, but in thinking they liked a foot better than a pace and dividing the mile they inherited from the Roman invaders into 5280 segments the length of some king's foot. Then, not satisfied with that, making 3 feet to a yard, 22 yards to a chain (many would probably claim that the chain, the distance between wickets on a cricket pitch is really the fundamental basic length unit in the Imperial system), going decimal again and making links 1/100th of a chain and a furlong out of ten chains, finally going over to a binary approach and making 8 furlongs into a mile. It was a sad way to have things go, but at least no worse than ounces, pounds, stones, quarters, hundredweights (the obvious name for 112 of something) and two different kinds of tons (and also two different weights of pounds each with a different number of a different sized ounce, depending on what you were weighing).

In any case, I'm all in favor of Kelvins for temperature units!

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