Friday, December 30, 2011

New PB... but just a commute


I suppose leaving the house 20 minutes late, at 4:35 am, helped. I didn't go all out at any stage of the ride. In fact, I was too relaxed at the start as I rolled down the first hill and towards the magnificent sunrise. Work didn't matter for those first minutes...

Having a little computer spitting out numbers as you ride helps. This morning, as I approached the 2 km mark I saw 23 min something on the display. Instantly, I heard a little voice: "You can make it!"

"I bet I can!" I replyed, keeping a steady pace.

It was a steady ride. A nice ride to work.

Time: 24:57.59
Dist.: 13.5 km
Av HR: 152 bpm
Av Cad.: 83 rpm

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ride everyday

Beautiful day, perfect to be riding. Yet, I had to wait for my short commute to work.

It is a thirty-minute ride, which I first started doing over six and a half years ago. I did it regularly for around three years, after that it became very infrequently. The damaged commuter never got rebuilt. And having to get up earlier to get ready and arrive at work on time or having to wind down for 45 minutes before going to bed after a late ride home was affecting my training.

I was getting too tired and I needed to find a balance.

But I still commute and every time I do it I feel great and I think: Why don't I do this everyday?

As we approach the new year, and as much as it might look like a trivial calendar swap, most of us will start thinking on the changes that we would like to make to improve our lives (and the lives of others, when we can). Just this process can be invigorating.

Well, I am planning to simply ride everyday. You?

Photos of my commute.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Here's to a great 2012

I am late. I wanted to post something yesterday.

BSNY likes to post a Quiz every Friday. Another popular blogger posts an old photograph and adds a couple of swear words (or is that all he does?). I like to find and post something that can inspire and help us get motivated for a weekend of riding.

Sometimes I find and post a music video, sometimes a cycling video, yet, it is not an every Friday thing.

Yesterday, I just didn't have the time. Work was busy. But I did think of posting the link I received from PJ in the morning (he knows what I like). The link took me to a RKP post on Cervelo bikes - R3-Part I.

I read the post and found it well written (that inspires me). It explained through some research (and baking) why Cervelos are so good. Something I haven't been able to do because of my lack of experience on other brands.

For that reason, and after 5 years on Cervelos, I am willing to try another brand next year. Something different and suitable for the up-coming project - Tracking the Peloton.

Back to inspiring things, I found this Garmin-Cervelo video. It is also well made and does show how a highly motivated, well gelled, well prepared, well equiped creative team can achieve many of their dreams.

Have fun riding,


PS: Ride of the week, the Christmas Lights Ride.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cycle at any time...

... not just when wet, as the city council sign warns us, or when preparing for the season, or event ahead.

Yesterday, the ride was like that. No small or big ring, no heart rate strap around my chest and no hill repeats. I only took the computer because I wanted to plot the ride and show Toby where we went cycling - all this technology.

There was no need to wear the right socks, the snug jersey or the bike shoes on this ride, either.

I rode my road bike wishing I had another single speed to ride (Sandra would say, a fixie) but we rode everywhere and on everything. Bike paths, busy roads, little hills, footpaths, cycling highways... we just rode and we talked.

We didn't have a route or time to get anywhere. We got to the restaurant when we felt hungry. We stopped at the bike shop because it was there. We, then, rode more looking for another bike shop, just because it was also there, somewhere.

It was a good ride.

Cycling is a simple activity in essence. Sometimes we need to leave this technical, competitive side of it at home and just go riding for the plainness of things. Nothing else!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2 rides this week

You really didn't want to see me last Friday, or yesterday. I was a temporary mess.

The only ride I did during the week was to town, on Tuesday, to see the new physio - I am determined to have my hip fixed. A whole 11 kilometers I rode.

Don't you love not having to train?

But I liked the ride. It was a fast little ride there to make it on time and a fast little ride back, racing the cars in peak-hour traffic. Perhaps I shouldn't write this when living in a politically correct city, in a politically correct state but I had lots of fun doing so!

The next planned ride was the Friday team ride. That was canned because I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a car (Again!?!) and by mid-morning I couldn't even get out of the house.

Then, there was the Saturday morning ride, I wanted to watch the team race but chose to sleep in and gather enough energy to go to work later.

I got out of bed this morning, after three hours of sleep, and told myself it didn't matter what I was doing the 100km team ride with Sandra. I wouldn't have cared if I needed a lift from the halfway mark.

I am glad I went. Why? First, it was a good turn out, perhaps 20. It was a fresh morning and never got too hot. Minimal traffic for most of it. My legs felt great (can't say the same about my lungs) and the best of all, my bike rode like a dream. How? For most of the ride, all I could hear was the sound of the tyres.

I was happy, very happy to be able to ride my bike today.

Averages and max:
Speed - 31.9/75.9 km/h
Power - 159/769W
HR - 131/177 bpm
Cad. - 74/137 rpm

Friday, December 16, 2011

Campagnolo EPS launched: the history

"As we walked through the 11-speed-chain assembly room, I spotted a row of enclosed offices and asked what they housed. Piazza paused, then said, "Electronic gruppo development."

My ears perked up. After more than a decade in development and of anticipation from cyclists, Campy's battery-powered
gruppo was about to hit the market. Few outside the company or the Movistar pro team, which had been selected to road-test it through the 2011 season, had gotten even a glimpse. Shimano, which began its electronics R&D years after Campagnolo, has been selling its Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupset since 2009. Shimano's Di2 gear goes for around $5,000, double the price of top-end Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo components. At Campagnolo, executives believe their gear has to be the absolute best—and work flawlessly—from day one. Otherwise the brand takes a hit. Piazza had no intention of letting me anywhere near the group's development department, because the components hadn't debuted to the public yet, but also because it was full of prototypes, earlier generations and, presumably, ideas that had failed along the way.

"It is not available to us," he said with a smile, and led me away."

Well, American journalist Bruce Barcott doesn't have to wait any longer. Nor do the old and faithful crowd, who have been watching the Gen Y boys (and girls) zoom past on their Di2 equipped Giants.

Yet, the launch of the Campagnolo EPS group will probably elevate the already crazily-high price of top end machines to the $15,000 to $18,000 mark, meaning we will only see those EPS equipped bikes in the hands of the pros (who wouldn't pay for them) and the Gen X boys - sorry, no girls here, too much sense - who find those bikes perfect (and reasonably priced) for the bi-weekly training sessions and coffee shop rides.

It would be nice to be a Pro!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Steel frame for the cobbles? Possibly...

A fair bit has been said, and written, about frame materials. I guess this is a subject that is going to be discussed, and argued for ever.

I would like to do tests with bikes made of all sort of materials, including the ones made out of bamboo, like the Panda. Because that is not going to happen soon, I have to go by what I read and by the advices of experienced cyclists out there.

At the moment, for the cobbles, I am looking at this frame by the German company, Fixie Inc.  

Wheels? That is another story...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Weekend on the S2 and the Dirty Dozen Race

It was a good cycling weekend. And in my terms, even a bit of training was achieved.

There were good intentions to race the Saturday morning crit as well but the early downpour suppressed them fast. I didn't put up a fight, just slept in.

At lunch time, Sandra managed to get us on our bikes and ride 2h 30min without getting rained on. She took me on this great loop. It was one of those fun rides with little traffic for most of it, ondulating smooth roads for a good part of it and through some beautiful lush areas. Of course, we did a bit of urban riding by heading into the city for a bite to eat before heading home.

Average and max:
Speed - 22.5/70.6 km/h
Power - 117/621W
HR - 110/162 bpm
Cad. - 60/131 rpm

The Sunday Team ride was different. To begin, it was a very early start. Up at 1:30 am first because I couldn't sleep (too excited about the ride, I suppose), another snooze and up again before 4:00 am... I drove to the starting point knowing I wasn't going to be in a good shape after the planned 120 km ride, to Mt Tambourine (540m) and back.

On these rides, we can basically do anything we want, as long as the group stays together. So, a bit of training or a lot of training can be done. I am not sure what everyone else had in mind because little got said before the ride but I set off to do my strengthening work - my big ring workout.

I managed just over three hours of it during the 4h 15min out-and-back ride, including a 6.5 km climb, with a 5.7% average gradient. I wasn't able to go as fast as the guys, they just spun out of sight but I was happy to just enjoy the climb as I slowly made my way up.

Average and max:
Speed - 17.2/25 km/h
Power - 251/406W
HR - 140/175 bpm
Cad. - 45/67 rpm

Heading home wasn't too bad, we even entertained ouselves with a couple of sprints. Still, we took it ease for most of it, we were all tired. In fact, I was feeling very ordinary by the end of it and was glad to see Sandra (with her iPhone) as she rode with us for the last few kilometers and see my car parked across the road from the cafe.

Average and max:
Speed - 28.4/66.2 km/h
Power - 153/923W
HR - 135/175 bpm
Cad. - 67/138 rpm

I wrote about my next event (here) and mentioned cobbles. A bit of research has been going on, obviously, and during a google search, I found the Dirty Dozen Race in Pittsburgh, USA.

This is a crazy race with a bit of cobbles and a bit of climbing to go with it. It is not for pro riders or look-alikes. Here is part of a piece published by a newspaper a few years back. It described the race and competitor Stephen Cummings, who has won the race numeral times since...

"Stephen Cummings has no good reason for riding his bicycle 50 miles up and down the 13 steepest hills in Pittsburgh, turning his legs into angel hair pasta and his lungs into deflated balloons. Racing up cobblestoned slopes, catching what he calls a winter cough - what normal people refer to as bronchitis or pneumonia - and challenging his heart to race up a hill in Beechview with a grade that is 37 feet per 100 feet of run is an exercise in humility. Or the first signs of dementia for the 25-year-old bike messenger from Bloomfield.

But despite the obvious pitfalls of testing the body's limits in a sustained bout up and down the city's steepest grades, Mr. Cummings and an expected 40 riders with a disregard for pain, and perhaps a disdain for Bengay, are going to participate in 23rd annual Dirty Dozen bike race today up and over 13 of Pittsburgh's confounding inclines.

"Why go ride 150 miles? I guess you could say that's too far," said Mr. Cummings, who beat out 30 odd riders last year to win the race on his second attempt. "People know the race isn't sanctioned by the racing body, so it doesn't count toward anything except bragging rights."

The race, which was started by brothers Danny and Tom Chew in 1983, has evolved into a litmus test for athletes and a urban challenge among avid bikers across the country and the region.

The 50-mile gauntlet of gears challenges bikers through a baker's dozen of hills - the steepest being that 37 percent grade on Canton Avenue in Beechview - and is strictly a race up and down the slopes not in between them. The winner receives points for completing each hill according to how he or she places on that particular leg. The first five climbers of each hill receive points - first place climbers receive five points - and the closest to a perfect score of 65 by the end of the race wins.

No one has ever received a perfect score."

The Canton Avenue climb:

Full story here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

No training this month and The Tree

Let me start saying that the training hasn't started. No, the training plan hasn't been put together yet.

I have a few valid reasons for that. The most important one is It is December!

Isn't this the time when things start to wind down? When we start to attend work functions and drinking a little more beer (it is hot here!)? I think so, it is not the time for training, really. Unless you are a track rider, training for the end of summer state titles, or crits (they are for track riders too), you don't have to do much on the bike.

This morning, in the coffee shop, it crossed my mind that after an easy bunch ride, in a warm December morning, we could, perhaps, go to a bar and have a cold beer instead of having coffees. The track riders too. And how tasty and refreshing would that be?

It would be acceptable because we wouldn't drink more than two beers. Nobody drinks three cups of coffee or more during the two hour long stop at the cafe. And we could have light beers. Even if we didn't have those slightly flavourless beers, by the time we rode home, got ready and had a bite to eat we would be right to head off to work... happily!

And the tree? Well, my sister sent me an email, the subject line had maravilhoso and attached was this video which I thought was about a tree. But it happened to be about something else, something quite wonderful.

Hope you like it, have a great weekend!

And the training plan? I am getting some help for that...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reinvent yourself... or your bike.

Guess what (mostly) has been going through my mind, since my last post.

I think people must know quite a bit about me, just by reading this blog, to correctly guess that I have been thinking (OK, and dreaming) about how I am going to prepare myself and how I am going to tackle my next race - the Paris-Roubaix Challenge.

Some of the questioning is like this:

- How am I going to train for something like that in SE Queensland?
- What sort of bike should I take for a race on the cobbles?
- How am I going to get such bike?
- Should I put some FMB tubular on my old 303s, or should I go the old style with Ambrosio or Mavic rims? - check them all here.
- Should I do a training camp in Germany, Belgium or Holland before the race?
- Could I get a sponsor for all that?

At the moment, the general answer is like this:

"OK, it is not that complicated. I will figure out those things in the next couple of months."

I already know through my own experiences that the Cervelo S2 is not going to be the best ride on the cobbles. I will be looking for something a little supple and compliant for the ride, like a Cervelo R3. Perhaps a different material would do a good job, even...

Also, I started to work on fixing my body, this time with Victor Popov, one of the best physios in town. The "hit" two years ago and all the stress I have put my body through over the years created a fairly imbalanced skeletal framework which has been giving me a good amount of pain, not to mention the loss of power in my right leg.

I can't reinvent myself to become a Boonen, a Cancellara or a Stuey on the bike but I still believe that with a bit of help and smart training (on and off the bike) I can become a stronger, faster rider. I am planning to do just that.

And talking speed, who said the colour red made bikes look faster? What about black, or white?

In the last three weeks, a project of reinventing the S2 took place. It got reinvented into pure speediness.

I reckon!

Training for the cobbles next.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Do I need to start training?

I certainly do. I am missing the feeling of being fit and I found a new challenge.

But what is to be fit anyway?

For the more academic inclined, it is simply a state of good health, or good physical condition, specially as the result of exercise and good nutrition. For me, it is the feeling of taking my bike up to a speed and holding on to that speed for a long, long time. A time that, by my own dimensions, may feel like eternity.

I remember many years back, and just slightly unconnected to riding a bike, being in situations where, after a huge wipe-out, I was held under water for a long time. They were just a few terrific seconds and they could feel like eternity. Other times, when I felt fit, I would live those seconds with my eyes wide opened, and a smile.

Now, it is time to train to be able to hold that speed for longer. Longer than I ever could and in an environment that I am not accustomed to. It is time to start training for the new challenge.

Luckly, one of the hardest one day races in the world, and a favourite of mine, is also run for amateur riders. It is called the Paris-Roubaix Challenge and without many thoughts, I sent my registration email for it.

The unexpectedly fast reply came minutes later...

"Bienvenue en Enfer !

Vous êtes inscrit(e) au Paris Roubaix Challenge qui aura lieu le dimanche 1er avril 2012. Une semaine avant les professionnels vous allez pouvoir affronter comme eux les pavés du Nord, préparez vous bien, ils sont impitoyables."

Welcome to Hell and you will fight the cobblestones, get ready, it is going to be tough... Those words kept coming to my head during that night.

The route: one hunfred and forty-eight kilometers from Saint-Quentin and Roubaix, thirty-one clobbled kilometers (19 sections including the Tranchée d'Arenberg) and the Vélodrome de Roubaix for the finish.

I want to finish this one, time to start training. And the unavoidable crashes? Well, I hope they will be just like some wipe-outs...

Monday, November 28, 2011

McAfees lookout in 17:55... and more good news!

The graph above simply tells me that I have been doing very little (and nothing in terms of training) in the last four weeks. The good-red line (form) showing that I did rest over this period but in the other hand, a nasty-blue line showing that my fitness dropped to the lowest level since March.

However, it is interesting what a bit of competition does to one's ride!

With unintentional insensitivity, Mt Nebo (710m elev gain) was chosen for the Sunday team ride. Add four extra kilograms to the topic (I am not going to elaborate on that because it could send me into a state of acute depression right now) and the last thing I wanted to do is to go on any road that has a gradient of 1% or more.

But, what else but the competition found in a balmy Sunday team ride would have helped me to do the 6.4 km climb to McAffees in 17 min 55 sec, or close to best this year in another words?

I did push a big gear to start and I almost blew up chasing a couple of guys and had to slow down because my heart rate reached 170+ bpm (I maxed at 180 bpm, an all time record for McAfees, but that was at the end). I also waited for a couple of mates because I thought it was a balmy team ride after all, and jokingly gave TW a bit of a push while trying to start a conversation on his new 404s...

Also, I had Sandra's Timeless bike, not mine, but I am not going to repeat myself here...

So, the time did impress me (not again!!) but, as a cyclist, it did bring the everlasting questions: Could I have done a better time? or What does it mean?

I think I could if I had the mental strength to keep hurting and I think I could gone faster if I was 65 kg... oops. It means the rides in Rio (all that big ring riding) made my legs a bit stronger. And it tells me that I am rested, a good thing before the training starts again.

Distance: 6.44
Time: 17:54
Elev gain: 294m
Avg Speed: 20.4 km/h
Av HR: 161 bpm

Some good news. My rest heart rate was 46 bpm this morning, the lowest in two years, or since I started using Maca as a supplement in my breakfast. It feels good to know, that's all.

And to finish this Monday morning post, I will add a link to Sandra's post where she reveals her new alpine challenge.

Very exciting times ahead - Tracking the Peloton times.

Have a great week!

Friday, November 25, 2011

It doesn't really matter what bike you ride...

"... and in case of doubt, just go!"

That's what the coach told a really, really young Jens Voigt and that's what I would say to the young, or the new rider if I was their coach.

I think this approach will develop a rider's character and stamina, everything else, like speed or tactics, can be taught later. It is unlikely that it will lead to many wins in the beginning, but it is possible and when one does come around, it does feel very, very gratifying.

Back to Jens, my friend PJ sent me this video and wrote: "I think you will appreciate Jens view on racing."

He was right and I decided to post it here, hoping that it will bring a smile and motivation to those training and racing their bikes.

Any bike.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Premium bikes. What's the point?

Looking back a couple of years (2009), I was searching for a new racing bike. With lots of time in my hand, and home bound for a few weeks, I searched and searched until I found a bike that would make me a little faster without having to increase my training time too much or make me sell the car to pay for it.

I haven't changed but as the subject of the so called halo bikes, or premium bikes have surfaced once again, I got my old list out, made a few changes and added a couple more bikes to it.

And here we go: Would x Would not buy it

Pinarello: couldn't justify the price (but if I win the lottery, I get a black one) - Would not!

Eddy Merckx: pay 20% more because of the name - Would not!

Trek: too much involvement with LA and dope cases - Would not!

Time: great ride, but I still don't like integrated seat tubes - Would not!

Look: same as Pinarello - Would not!

Giant: the powerful Taiwanese manufacturer sent USA's Schwinn broke - Would not!

Orbea: long story, still can't elaborate on this one - Would not!

Ridley: "We are Belgium..." - Would!

Felt: one of the F Series - Would!

Cannondale: rEVOlution - Would!

Storck: German technology at its best - Would!

Cervelo: only if Phil gave me a R5CA (picky, hey?) - Would not!

Canyon: affordable German technology at its best - Would!

Hey, how could you forget the McLaren Vange? - I hear a terrifying scream.

I didn't but I will choose one of these futuristic Specialized machines for my "must have" list.

Or perhaps one of these if they don't blow my Super totally before I get my hands on it.

And an Italian job.

CyclingNews put out a really good article on the issue of designing, building and selling superbikes, premium bikes, halo bikes, what ever we might call them. The question was: What's the point?

CyclingNews story

My question? Would a $10,000 bike make me a better rider?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Buying a pretty blue bike

I don't think I am different. I look at bikes on the net, almost daily. I buy magazines full of new-best-bikes often and I did admire the $12,000 plus treadly lying on the ground, shaking my head slightly and guessing that it belonged to a Gen X racer, who might not have made top ten in the C grade derby that morning.

The truth is, and my partner can verify that, I buy a dream bike every week. In my head that is. In fact, and only yesterday, I decided on getting this "old-school-ferocity" bike as it was sold to me in a magazine. It is a hand-welded Dedacciai 7000 series frame built for racing, not for show after all and for half the price of the premium types.

A perfect criterium bike experience tells me but do I need one? Perhaps not. If I realistically look at the type of riding and/or racing I will be doing in the next twelve months, a big NO. In addition, I already have a racing bike!

On that, and because we need a change now and then, I decided to have my own bike painted. It needed to be pulled apart and re-built after almost 2 years and something like 25,000 km, so why not give it a paint job and have a new bike for the summer season?

A couple of hours fiddling with Paint and I came up with this. A couple of phone calls, a two to three week wait and it should return to give me the feeling I am going faster than ever. At least the feeling.

However, I found this pretty blue bike on the net and decided that I was going to buy it without second thoughts. It might not go very fast in the local criterium but surely will go much farther than I will ever go. What do you think?

Check the specifications and geometry HERE.

And watch this video, imagining how far we can go with those pretty blue bikes...

Have a great week!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Timeless Time

I planned to stay off the bike to try to do the just cycling thing, the single speed thing. But one step on the scales, two days ago, made me think again and in a few seconds I was giving up patching the twenty-something tubes I collected in the last 18 months and was setting up Sandra's old bike for the team's recovery ride Friday morning.

Fixing tubes? Now and then, I get into this mood and I have to do something that makes me feel I am doing some good. As simple as it sounds, fixing and re-using tubes does it for me. It is almost like a meditative exercise. And, admittedly, one of my pet hates is to see tubes on the roadside, and I do see a few.

You had a spare new tube in your pocket when you left home, why not put the punctured one in the same pocket and bring it home with you?

Fixing tubes is a fairly easy task but the low success rate these days bothers me a little. After doing all the work and testing them I usually have a 50-70% success rate. That's pretty low and I think it is caused by the use of the crappy glue sold to cyclists in those colourful repair kits.

This time, and under recommendation from a friend, I am using the heavy-duty rubber cement they use for car and truck tubes (who fixes those though?). While I am not doing the stitching they recommend, I will post my record breaking achievement later.

Now, to the ride on Sandra's bike, the Time Edge. I was very wrong assuming its age and the kilometers it had covered over the years had made the ride on it sloppy and slow. I rode this bike in the past. You know, the swap bikes for a while and the "can we swap back?" seconds later deal but I have never had it set up for me.

Anyway, I am not going to write a bike review on the Time Edge, I am just going to say that I have now realized why these frames (all Time frames must present a similar ride) have such good reputation. The Edge rides exceptionally well.

Sandra's bike has a smaller frame with a short stem and narrower bars, all I could do was to adjust the seat. That seemed enough and I felt very comfortable on it but what really surprised me was that I was riding on the big ring for the whole time, effortless. It might be that its geometry suits my body more than Sandra's. She thinks her Canyon offers a better ride but I have witnessed too many great performances by the pair to agree with her completely.

Yet, the Edge doesn't feel like it is fully intended for racing, it is much more comfortable than what I am used to. It does deliver a beautiful, plush ride.

Next, I need to get my bike back to compare the rides and to try to substantiate some of my statements. For now, I am going to enjoy riding Sandra's bike and will call it the TIMELESS bike.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just cycling

I have been off the bike - racing bike that is - for over a week now and might still be for another two weeks or so. Sickness is a reason but not the only reason. It is time to rest, to restore (the bike as well) and to ponder and decide on the approaching summer season.

Race or not to race and how much training I should do aren't the only thoughts, there are others, perhaps not so trivial. One thing I know is I must do more cycling, just cycling.

This is because the world needs more cyclists, all cyclists.

At the races (Nundah, 12.11.11).

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Ship Song... a gift to all folks out there

It has been a while since I last posted a song here. Too long maybe but, and because it is never too late to do anything in this life, here it is... The Ship Song.

Many versions of this song can be found and I don't even know which one I like best. Perhaps the one with Nick Cave himself, or perhaps the adaptation by Concrete Blonde that Steve put on a tape for me. That was back in Adelaide and many years ago.

Anyway, this is a gift to all folks out there, if I may, from me and from where I am right now - at home.

I hope you like it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cycling in Rio and the best ride

OK, riding in Rio's traffic was a little crazy at times. But, avoiding potholes and bumps was probably the hardest task. Overall, it was fun and, like in my childhood riding on the streets of Copacabana and to school, I happily got into riding in between the cars, and even amongst the buses - and there were thousands of them.

Safe? I wasn't there long enough but I felt the drivers didn't mind sharing the roads or sitting behind me in the traffic. When they did, they just changed lanes and overtook me as if I was just another vehicle on the road.

Thumbs up were frequent and there was the occasional salute from the traffic police men and women. So friendly, and warm in a way, it was nice not to feel the get-the-fuck-off-my-road I frequently feel when cycling at home. And if I felt uncomfortable I could just jump on the ciclovia.

I rode from Barra da Tijuca to Ipanema. I rode in the Autodromo Int. Nelson Piquet. I did a couple of bunch rides. I rode to the beautiful southern beaches of Grumari and Prainha and I even rode on cobbles to get to my sister's work to meet her kids.

But, and by far, the best ride was the climb to Corcovado.

I did this ride last time I was in Rio, in fact more than once, and liked it so much I had to do it again... and again. This time(s) I was a bit more comfortable though. I knew the roads and I was riding my own bike. I also listened to my cousin's advice and added the 4.5 km Estrada da Castorina climb to the ride (the video is a small part of it). Thanks Xiko, I am so glad I did it!

And the ride? Well, flat along the coast with a little climb to warm up. Then, up and up towards Tijuca Forest Park, a stop at the Emperor's Table and the descent to Vista Chinesa and Jardim Botanico. Back up the new climb, and off to Alto da Boa Vista, Estrada do Sumare and Estrada Redentor (Redeemer's Road). No need to say where the road ended...

Great views, good roads through fantastic and vibrant rain forest, or coastal jungle as they use to call it. The best.

It was fun and invigorating to be back and to be riding in Rio. Time with my family was priceless and treasurable. What's next? Perhaps it is time to organise a trip for my friends.

Enjoy the video!

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