walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Iroquois Park on a Sunday

Yesterday was the kind of lazy Sunday I really should invest in more often.

I slept like a log and rolled out of bed around nine, but we still made it to church by 10:10. The service went well — we sang Farrant's 'Lord, For Thy Tender Mercy's Sake,' an Elizabethan-era classic of the school to which my voice is best suited. DD said we sounded really good. Honestly, though, it's hard not to sound good singing that piece.

I'm a countertenor: for those not familiar, basically, that means I'm a guy who sings high-voice (treble) parts. As a kid, my range was solidly high soprano, from about C4 (middle C) to G6 (the G above 'soprano high C') — now it's centered in the contralto (F3 - F5) range, though I can generally sing higher or lower if I'm well warmed-up. From a practical standpoint, this means I sing alto, which is sometimes weird when we're singing a piece I sang a million times as a boy soprano. It's like not accidentally riding your bike to your old job when you've just started a new one: you have to pay attention and make sure you don't deviate onto the old, familiar route!

After church, DD and I had lunch at a weird little hippie restaurant that smelled kind of feety. I don't think we'll be doing that one again. Then we went home and relaxed for a while. I entertained the cat a bit, then went out and stuck the toe clips back on the road bike and swapped my saddles. The new saddle that I used at Kings Cross went on the road bike, and the GT saddle that's been on the road bike for a while went on the hybrid. It was nice to do a little purposeful-but-not-urgent tinkering ... maybe on Wednesday I'll get around to re-wrapping Quicksilver's bars. Today, I really need to knock out a paper before I leave. It's super-short -- just an article review -- but you know how that goes.

After the tinkering I rode up to Iroquois Park. It was warm and a bit humid, but not unpleasant riding weather. My goal was to take an easy spin — and while the hill in Iroquois Park is not insignificant, it's actually an easy climb for me if I just keep it in a small gear and spin. There are a few steeper parts where I like to upshift and hammer; since my goal yesterday was simply to do an easy ride, That Little Voice and I came to a reasonable compromise and I only hammered one of them.

I encountered a fellow on the way up who was gathering osage 'oranges' by the roadside. He was the only rider I saw 'til I got almost to the top, where I encountered another young fellow on an old steel road bike, already on his way down. He actually waved first! :D

At the top of the hill, I was feeling pretty awesome, so I shifted onto the big ring and let the bike run. ...By which I mean I put a little effort into things, but I'm blaming the bike ;) There's a nice curvy, slow-descending loop that really feels like flying when you're doing about 25 MPH, and I am powerless to resist it, even knowing that I can never remember where the short-but-kinda-punchy little climb at the tail end of it starts, which means I always wind up climbing on the big ring. This time, though, I was going fast enough that it didn't really seem to matter. Momentum carried me up most of that little climb without much effort at all, and then I flew down the rest of the hill.

It's kind of weird how riding off-road at speed makes you feel really confident on-road. The course at Kings Cross had tons of very sharp turns, several of which sat at the bottom of steep, fast descents. After riding those on the grass, I found myself much more able to just trust the bike and sail through the somewhat-less-sharp turns on the road in Iroquois.

On the way back down I saw one other roadie type on a nice newer bike, the same assortment of runners I'd met on the way up, and the fellow still gathering osage oranges. I wonder what he does with them. They smell good; I wanted to stop and ask if you can make pomander balls with them, but I was too shy.

The new saddle is a red Soma Ensho, which I picked up on a whim at Parkside (only to realize later that the shop where I now work has a similar model at a lower price point — oh, well). It's actually pretty nice — light and stiff, but comfortable. It's not as tall (for lack of a better word) as the GT saddle, which surprised me a bit. It didn't occur to me that a different saddle would alter the fit of the bike quite that much. I plan to pull Quicksilver's seatpost up a little this afternoon.

I guess I should go finish my paper, so that's it for now.

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