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Stemming the Tide

September 23, 2011

Today’s Ride: 72km—Drumlins to Strabane, then home via Mineral Springs in reverse

Weather: Sunny

It’s remarkable what a change of perspective makes. The final leg of today’s ride involved doing my regular Mineral Springs loop, but in the opposite direction (not backwards, as I realize the description above might imply). I might as well have been on a completely new route; the hills were different, the ride was unrecognizable (even when I knew what was coming), and—of course—I wasn’t at all familiar with the paving on that side of the road. It’s actually a great loop from that direction, and finishes with a long, winding ascent: not too difficult, but a nice capper to the ride. But that was the end of the ride.

I started by going up Sydenham, riding well on the big hill. I could still feel Tuesday’s ride in my legs; I hadn’t stretched afterwards (major sin), and I could tell. But once the ride was underway, everything was fine. I might have been a little fatigued as I took on the drumlins that make up the Good Friday road race, but I maintained a good cadence and put in a good ride. A little shorter than I would have wanted for a weekday ride, but I needed to be home for lunch and the littlest Velonista’s return from Montessori. Another ride of similar length on the weekend would put me at 250km for the week.

The other evening, I also flipped my stem. I’ve been coming home with a sore right shoulder and neck—big knots in my shoulder—which I think might be attributable to my bars being too high. So this is a first attempt at remedying the situation. Here’s a look at the before and after:

Before

After

I’ll need to put in a few more rides before I can determine whether I’ve got this right. And may need to do a bit of fiddling—I didn’t have the bars quite right today. In addition, I had a sore shoulder before I even left, so it’s hard to gauge the extent to which this might be an improvement. In my opinion, though, the bike looks a lot better (which is something).

The ride was actually my second of the day. Before the crack of dawn, I was out the door to lead a group from Dundas to Gore Park as part of the Hamilton Commuter Challenge’s Bike to Work Day. I’ll post about that in more detail shortly—lots of thoughts and reflections about the event.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2011 11:43 pm

    Hope that stem flip remedies your upperback pain. I have to say that I was a skeptic about riding in a more aggressively position, but after some coaxing and a progressive lowering of my cockpit, I have been much more comfortable.

    • September 24, 2011 2:13 pm

      Aggressive = aerodynamic = more pro, so it should be fine. I still have spacers in there, so it’s not as though I’ve slammed the stack right down. But I think my shoulders were absorbing all the front shocks, leading to muscle pain. So I’m hoping it should help. I also spent a bit of time this morning fiddling with the bars; I’ve tilted them a bit more, so the angle is not dissimilar to the angle in the “Before” pic above. I’m hoping that doesn’t put the hoods that little bit too far away to reach comfortably, but riding in the drops should be better. Will report back after a good ride…

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