Finally: The Top of Chutes
The race coming up in September will include the Chutes Ridgeline trail, so I took the same approach to Chutes that I did to Rock-It.
Rock-It was physically challenging. That's not Chutes. The top of Chutes is entirely a mental challenge. So I trained the mental aspect. I built up my confidence by mastering sections of trail that previously intimidated me, and finally headed up to Chutes and took the Music School approach: I broke the section into three parts, and mastered each part individually before putting them together.
Foot Pain & Cleats
A few weeks ago, I noticed a nagging pain in my left foot after a couple of bike rides. Classic cyclist pain: right over the cleat. It was minor, and faded quickly, so I didn't really think too much about it. I chalked it up to all the walking I did while my wife and I were on vacation.
But the pain grew, and on Saturday I noticed it after lifting weights in the garage. (I lift barefoot, and walking barefoot on hard surfaces had previously helped the pain go away.)
So I got my shoes on the workbench. Long story short: the bolts used to secure the cleats were about 2mm too long, and were slightly deforming the interior sole of the shoe. I think the insole protected me when it was new, but now that it's a couple years old, and pretty compacted, it's not doing much.
I dug up some shorter bolts that don't warp the sole. My foot pain hasn't magically disapeared, but it's noticeably better.
New Saddle Bag: Seatsleev
I had to toss an expensive pair of bib shorts because the strap on
my saddle bag got old and crusty and eroded the inner
have had two pairs of those bibs, and they're the
best bibs I've ever owned. But... I'm not happy that they
didn't cope well with the friction. All my other shorts
show some signs of wear, but have
lasted years. These gave up the ghost after about four
So I replaced my mountain bike's old saddle bag with a Seatsleev, which has no strap around the seat tube, so my bibs are henceforth safe.
The Seatsleev itself is pretty great. There are a couple things I'd change about it, but it's still the best saddle bag out there. Holds everything I need in a compact, secure bundle that stays out of the way.
Training: Hitting the Weights
I'm listening to Tim Ferris talk with former US national team gymnastics coach Christopher Sommer. Sommer said something that I'm trying to take to heart: If you want to be a stud later, you have to be a pud now.
So I'm trying to let go of being fast on the bike for every ride, and instead focus on long-term gains in strength and muscular endurance. I've dialed back the weights until I can complete all the reps with correct form, and I'm addressing my mobility issues. (Hamstrings, calves, shoulders.)
The Agoura/Simi area of southern California is positively stuffed with excellent trails within a few minutes of my route to/from work. Parks and trails are sprinkled around, and I could pick from dozens of great 60- to 90-minute rides.
My new digs in Orange County don't offer that kind of luxury... that I know of yet. So I'm making it a point to go and explore as much as I can. For a long time, I've ridden on my lunch hour and before/after work. I think that I'm going to end up making a weekend ride part of my routine so that I get to go ride somewhere new on a regular basis. I don't want to arrive five years from now having stacked up a thousand rides at Santiago Oaks.