Monday, 10 December 2007

Up Up and Away

The big project of the weekend was to put up this enormous crane and change the Old Town Alexandria skyline for a while. Saturday’s weather was supposed to be really crap, but it turned out great. The tower started going up, things were rolling along, so I left my assistant in charge of the site and rolled out for a couple of hours of slow and boring. I felt almost overdressed in bibs, s/s jersey, knee and arm warmers. Nice! Then got back to the site in time to see the crane very nearly complete.

Sunday wasn’t so great. The team ride was cancelled for weather, and it was looking like a day on the couch with maybe a bit of a spin on the trainer. Around noon, it looked like the weather was holding so I decided to hit it. As part of my “avoid River Road at all costs” plan, I took an interesting route out of town, meshing parts of the 10am ride with parts of the NCVC ride and winding up at the far end of Seneca Road. From there I banked a right onto Berryville Road, which is a great road. Nice scenery, no cars at all, up and down terrain with lots of fun turns, it’s all good. At the end of Berryville I made a right on Route 29 and got to Turkey Foot Road.

I did an interval from Turkey Foot to Travilah and back to Glen Mill or whatever that road is with the brutal rollers on the 10am ride. The interval was meant to be at “low level 4,” which is the low end of threshold. My legs felt great for some reason, despite a hard week of workouts and lifting that, at times, definitely had me questioning whether I would finish certain workouts. Anyhow, I decided to go a little harder than what my threshold is supposed to be and see how it went. At the end of nearly 12 minutes, I had averaged 4 watts/kg, which is better than threshold for me, and I thought I could have gone a good bit harder. Maybe it helped me that Turkey Foot is rolling and I could recover on the downhills, but except for one sweeper turn where I thought I’d wipe out and die if I took it at pace, I was drilling it on the downhills too. Plus, this was after 100 minutes of riding. So in a couple of weeks it will be interesting to retest my threshold.

Holiday season has begun. The first round of subcontractor junkfood has shown up on the site. That great caramel and chocolate covered popcorn stuff, too. And tonight we will be enjoying a night at Lucky Strike for our work Christmas party, which ought to be a hoot. It’s odd that a bunch of people who get up at 5am all rage when we do these things, but it happens.

If everyone else had a weekend like mine, I’m sure there will be lots of bike cleaning going on this week. My bike looks like toasted ass, all covered in crap and grime, plus it’s all dried on. I’m going to have to give my chain some serious affection, as I have something of a past with chains and I really like the sound of silence from my bike.

Tip of the week – rub bar soap on your Speedplay pedals. I noticed that I was getting a Look pedal-esque squeak from my Speedplays at the end of longer rides. No more! I had tried a bunch of different dry lubes, including this sailing lube called McLube that is so slippery it’s almost dangerous, but the soap worked way better than any of that crap.


GamJams said...

Have they finally repaved Berryville? That used to be part of my regular circuit until one day it was suddenly all tar and gravel. I haven't been on it in a couple of months. It's a hoot, but not when it's tar and gravel and you're on a new carbon fiber bike.

That's a great loop. Surprised I didn't see you out there on Sunday. I was on the Murad course and also on Seneca, Glen and some others. I was wet, and cold, and uncomfortable. And my coach had me doing endurance the whole time, so I didn't even get to go fast.

Chuck Wagon said...

Yeah, Berryville is pretty nice. I wouldn't call it silky smooth but it's in good shape.

Kyle Jones said...

I noticed the crane up in the sky the other day when riding the metro. I told my wife that must be yours.

Question about the star on the side. You put that on before you raise it right. Do you run an extension cord from the ground to light that thing. And does the steel structure the crane comes on does that stay inside the building? Questions, Questions, questions.

Chuck Wagon said...

Good questions.
The star got put on after that section was up. Guys walk around up there all the time. They wear harnesses to do so.

There is electricity in the cab up top that runs up from the transformer at the crane base. In essence, yes, there is a BIG ASS extension cord that runs up the crane, with SERIOUS juice.

The entire crane is removed once we are done with it. In most buildings the crane would be entirely outside of the building's envelope. In this building, the crane is inside the parking garage, but outside the above ground part of the building. The parking garage is bigger than the building footprint. There is a small courtyard above ground right where this crane is. Not designed specifically for the crane, but definitely to be taken advantage of. The garage decks will be spliced together after the crane is removed. There are actually four feet that the bottom section of crane are bolted to - those become part of the building.

GamJams said...

In a rewrite of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, the crane would become the elevator in the new building. But I suppose you have more foresight than Mike Mulligan.