Wednesday, April 26, 2017

mine, too

I was catching up with the ODDman posts I've allowed to slip by, and I came upon a graphic that said, "Using Latin phrases to look smart is my modus operandi."

It's mine, too.

I was gonna copy the graphic here, but since the only thing on it is the text, it's really unnecessary, don't you think?

ODDman's post here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

overdid it

I didn't know until I read Laura OLPH's blog post about yesterday's ride that she would have called off the ride if I hadn't shown up. If she had dropped a hat, I would have gone home, with my disappointment tempered by thoughts of her good sense.

Y'see, all week, the weather prediction had been for sunny weather on Saturday and rain on Sunday, then cloudy Saturday and rain on Sunday. Then the late Friday night prediction was for rain later on Saturday, and I thought we might get away with it... but I was willing to defer to Laura.

Instead, the two of us rode ten miles to the ride start, where we met Alan, Ricky, and Peter:

...and we departed on her planned-52-mile route around the Round Valley Reservoir.

We got a drip of rain on the way up to the reservoir, but I thought they could use it; the end of the boat launch is still nowhere near the water.

At that point, Andrew, who had other plans, left us. We remaining four continued the clockwise-around-the-reservoir route Laura had planned.

(By the way, it was Earth Day, and we saw a number of folks, like these, cleaning up various spots.)

From the reservoir, we repaired to Jerry's Brooklyn in Whitehouse Station (which I had unjustly maligned in an earlier post), where we got good treatment, and were visited by bad weather.

We stayed there for a while until the rain let up a bit, and then proceeded. Much of the way got muddy, parts of it dramatically so; the jersey I wore yesterday will never be the same. The rain came and went - as I've heard, we got more in the Sourlands than we did here in the Brunswicks, where I make my abode.

With the wet, I got cold... cold enough that I didn't take a picture of the bridge that was out at South Branch onto Pleasant Run. We added a few miles getting around that.

The we had a discussion about routes, and changed up... and added a few more miles. So my plan of "just over 70" wound up as "just under 80". Although I did better than I had thought (I had energy the whole way; no "hitting the wall" this time), I was beat at the end of the ride, and still tired this morning when I got up. I cleaned the worst of the mud and grime off the bike this morning (I need to remember to brush my shoes...)

Luckily, I only had fourteen miles planned for today. That's the distance between home and the location of the Bike Maintenance Station that the New Brunswick Bike Exchange sets up at the New Brunswick Ciclovia, the first of which for this year was today. The city closes about three miles of road to car traffic, and folks come out on bikes (mostly families with young kids, but also others: aging hippies, tribes of adolescents, Rutgers students, young local professionals). Most of the bikes we see just need inflations or new tubes, although I did a number of adjustments of various sorts.

I claim tiredness in only getting three pictures:

Below, Annie, who went to the March for Science in NYC yesterday while I was wasting energy. I relieved her when I came on.

Below, in the hat, Ben T. He's always that sunny, as far as I can tell. He was there all day, and I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Late in the day, Sr Francisco, mechanic at Kim's, rolled by; they had a stand but only worked on about three bikes. I assure you, we outdid that. (Later, a sweet girl on an English three-speed had to put up with my incompetence when her valve cut while I was filling her tire; after replacing the tube, I had a bit of trouble adjusting her English three-speed... but I got it right.)

So fourteen miles, and three hours on my feet working on bikes and packing up the tent, tables, and tools. I've had it. I'm glad I'm going to work tomorrow where I can relax.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

earth day

I'm afraid I think this is the truth.

It's probably the best thing we can do.

Original at Imgur.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

back to cranbury

My bike club has rides out of Cranbury most Saturdays; they're flat and dependable, and usually get a large number of riders (these days, there are rides at different paces: for me they're too slow, too fast, and just right). I don't go because the Cranbury rides are flat and shorter than I generally like, and I've developed close friendships with folks that ride in the hills... but the hilly riders are going out tomorrow, on Easter. I have family commitments on Easter, including to my mother-in-law who treats me like the apple of her eye (nobody in my family of origin seems quite that delighted with me!), so if I wanted to get a group ride in, it wasn't going to be with them.

I did want to get a group ride in; I feel the crazy coming on, and isolation (even on a bike, sometimes) makes it gallop. So I went to Cranbury, and saw a number of people I haven't seen for a while, many of whom acted as glad to see me as I was glad to see them.

Jeff H, above, led the ride I went on.

And I just like the pre-ride vibe.

Jeff led us on this route. I wasn't expecting anything unusual... but on Dey Grove Road:

It coulda been one of Laura OLPH's rides, or Tom H's.

Mostly, though, i was just good to get out and ride, and to see some people I haven't seen for a while (and to meet some new ones). Andrew and I complained about the Christian demands family put on us atheists; I chatted with Jud and with Donna, with Dave H, with Jeff the leader. We stopped at Phil's.

I'm glad I went. I probably should go more often, but there are only so many rides in a season... Still, it was a good day.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

back onna bike

The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I are just back from a trip to London (I'm sure most of the readers of this blog are better travelers than I - it would be hard NOT to be - so I'll spare you the travelogue unless there is a specific request). We got back Friday night at about 9pm NJ time, but it was 2am to me, and those who know me well know that's not my time of day. I was a bit farshimmelt yesterday, so I did this ride in the wind. I caught an email exchange about a ride for today and agreed to go; Peter G decided to lead from a place near out Pennington start (it has PORTA-POTTIES! We need to petition to make this a starting point!).

I wasn't sure I could find it, so, at her invitation, I started from Laura OLPH's with her guiding me there. We met Peter, along with Snakehead and Ken G (whom I now hear is called the Mayor, because he knows everybody, and he really does).

Peter's route was moderately hilly, and included a wrong turn or two, but we weren't a demanding group and didn't complain about that (we saved our complaining for other stuff).

EVERYBODY was out today. We stopped at the convenience store in Hopewell (eschewing both the Boro Bean and the Brick Farm Market)...

... and saw this crew at the Brick:

(anybody know who they were?) And when they rolled out, another group rolled in.

A little later in the hills, we came across a group that included Peter H, Cristina M, John W, and a number of others I'm not fast enough to ride with anymore. And while we were sharing the road with them, we came up on Kiyomi and Brad at the side of the road, as well as meeting (or getting passed by) any number of riders we didn't recognize.

Shortly before the end, one of our number had a flat in the rear, and a few yards later, had another. With remarkable forbearance, we mostly allowed the rider to change the tire alone, but we slowed our pace a bit. The route ended up like this (I'm claiming 50 miles, including the extra with Laura, because I forgot to engage the GPS for a few miles in the beginning).

When I'm in shape and able to keep up, I really love riding with folks I know and like. I was in shape today, and it was a great ride for me. I'm looking forward to more of them.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

better than yesterday

Today's ride was better than yesterday's. Even though I was no faster, and it was a flatter route, I feel a LOT better than I did.

This was Winter Larry's regular Sunday ride. Six came out; I didn't get a good picture of Andrew A, but I got pictures of Marco, Peter F, Larry, and Ralph, and the Obligatory Bikes Pic at the stop.

I'm not going to blather much about the ride; it was colder than I expected, but not to the point of misery; there was the usual banter on the ride and at the stop; it was good to ride again with Larry and others whom I see less frequently than I would like. The key thing for me is that I felt stronger than I did yesterday (or have generally felt recently); a good part of the low average was NOT riding ahead, and making sure we got back as a group.

Maybe I'll be able to make a go of this biking thing.

Welp, I'm still on-call; gotta go and see if there's more work to do.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

best i could do

The predictions of rain for this morning kept getting earlier and earlier, with higher and higher percentages, as the week went on, so I chickened out on Laura OLPH's planned ride and went out by myself this morning.

 (Laura thought the chickening-out was about feeling weak and slow, which it probably was to some extent, but it was really about the rain. She needn't worry; about the only B-pace rides I would feel comfortable trying to keep up with these days are hers.)

I got out a bit before 8am to do this ride; it started out being the longest of my usual routes, but I played with it a bit and found a micro-turnoff that works a little better than what I had been doing. I go out by Six Mile, cross the canal, bobble about a little in Hillsborough before heading towards 601 and Dutchtown. Along the way, I came across a church with this sign:

I don't have much good to say about religion anymore, but if I hadda go to church, I'd hate it less if they had that kind of sense of humor.

I went down by Skillman, and waved and rang the bell at an oncoming rider (as I do), and it turned out to be Bob W, whom I haven't seen in next to forever. Bob doesn't like his picture going up online, so the following picture is not Bob:

Continuing only a bit further, I came upon a guy with a bike at the corner of Skillman and Hollow; I thought he needed help, and he thought I was part of a group that was going right. Neither of us was correct. Continuing down Hollow, I saw a motorcycle leading a YUGE peloton of riders; subsequent research suggests it might have been the Hell of Hunterdon. I didn't get a picture, although I waved to all of 'em. They didn't wave back.

These guys weren't part of that peloton, and the picture's pretty bad anyway.

Since I was close to Sourland Cycles, I decided to see what was up with the vending machine in which they have various parts and tools for sale.

I remember thinking what a great idea that was when I first saw it, but some of that merch looks like it's been in there for ages, the sun bleaching of the packages is that bad. OTOH, I've never dipped my debit card in there, either. They did pop for a new card reader, though; the yellow is new, and the black one above is taped up.

On up to Mount Rose, then through the twisties at Cleveland, then the makes-me-grumpy hills on Pretty Brook. It turns out you can turn left off Great Road onto Mountain at the bottom of the hill, rather than fighting both gravity and traffic to get up the hill to do the left at Cleveland or Hodge, and you can still bobble through to get to Palmer Square. I did. A quick reconnoiter showed that the Rojo's is still there, the Lahiere's appears to be gone, and there are a few other places I might have stopped, but I didn't.

I passed the site of the old Main St Cafe to see if the new thing had opened yet, but it hasn't. Then home; got home before 11, and while there was drizzle here, correspondence with Laura indicates that her crew rode dry-shod like the people of Moses through the Red Sea. So there's that.

42-ish miles, 15.1mph average, 1600 feet of climb (some of it exceptionally nasty, if short).

In other news, my job depends on the continuation of the Medicaid expansion under the ACA, so the defeat of Trumpcare/Ryancare means I'll still have a job, unless the ACA explodes, as Our Orange Leader thinks it might. (It also doesn't hurt that the defeat means that some millions of Americans get to keep healthcare, so there's that, too.) I'm on-call this weekend, earning my keep. There's been a change to the on-call responsibilities so that I could consider a ride like this (or a group ride, on a different occasion). Life is good. Good enough, anyway. And maybe by Labor Day, I'll be able to do a group ride again.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

maybe we're glad he's not alive to see it

Maybe there are only a few of us who will find this as funny as I do. Maybe you've gotta be REALLY geeky AND have grown up in the New York metro area in the 50's and 60's.

Original, of course, from xkcd; aren't you checking him out three times a week anyway?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

you decide

I don't know what to think about this ride. You decide.

I haven't gotten anywhere near as much riding in this year as I had by this time last year; injury, illness, family responsibilities, and meteorology have all conspired to keep me off the bike. Partly due to that, and partly due to general laziness, lack of discipline, and dissipation (defined at one of my sources in the happy phrase, "intemperate living"), I'm up almost ten lbs. from the weight I'd like to be, and I have neither the strength nor the stamina I'd like.

I've also been out of touch with friends (especially riding friends; readers of this blog will know that riding is a large part of my social interaction). I know far too much about what's going on with certain Youtube channels. The Excellent Wife (TEW) has remarked on her concern that all I'm doing is sitting with the computer on my lap for hours at a time.

The only way I know to get back on track is to act like I'm already there. Yesterday's cold and rain kept me off the bike, but predicted temperatures in the 36-45°F range today made me plan to do Winter Larry's "Back by Lunch" ride from Cranbury today.

When I get there, I saw Peter F with the ride sheet; he'd gotten an email from Larry yesterday that Larry was too busy to come. (Winter Larry emailing on a Saturday? Seems out of character to me.) Peter said he thought Sal would come (whom I did not remember), and Ralph (about whom, more later). At go time, though, there was only Peter:

...and Sal:

... and yours truly. We left, but we hadn't even gotten out to Main Street in Cranbury when Ralph appeared. So we were four.

And then we were six. Jeff X L, and another rider whom I did not meet, who were out on their own ride, met us at about mile 6 and rode along for a bit. I doubt either of them was the albatross (go look up Rime of the Ancient Mariner for the reference), but shortly thereafter, Peter had a flat. I got pictures while he changed it:

...and I got this of Ralph.

We were only a few miles further along when Peter felt like his tire wasn't right, and it wasn't; he had only a few lbs. pressure in it. Ralph pumped it up with the niftiest double-action road pump, and I lent Peter a CO2 so he'd be able to get back to the start. Peter gave Ralph a few suggestions on a route, and turned the ride over to him. So we were five.

Jeff X and the other rider already had miles in, and turned off a few miles later to go back. So we were three, and we headed to Roy's, notably along (I think) 624. There was a wind that I THOUGHT was a headwind; but it wasn't; it was a strong wind from the left side, only a degree or two ahead of dead lateral. It was tiring enough anyway. I was glad when we got to Roy's.

At Roy's, I investigated the niftiest rumor I'd heard about Ralph. He's trying to ride every day for a year; he started last June 8 and is just under 78% complete, having 284 days under his belt. He doesn't always ride on the road, but when he does, it's at least 20 miles. When the recent snow came, he went out after midnight, but before the snow would have impeded his progress. And he's doing this with no formal support (as far as I know), and with a real job and a family to whom he has responsibilities. If he makes it, I know who I'm going to nominate for the July "Member Focus" for the club newsletter.

Obligatory bikes pic at Roy's:

After the break, I had the usual stiff legs, but I never loosened up as much as I usually do after the break, and I started to fall back. Sal and Ralph were kind enough to keep back with me, and Ralph made noises like he was tired, too... but I think that was more kindness than accurate reporting.

But we did make it back together. When we got there, Peter's car was gone, and the note below was on my windshield:

Wrapped in the note was my CO2. So I guess he made it back.

I'm back home now, doing the laundry and complaining about how tired my legs are. TEW is rolling her eyes that I go out in this weather at all.

So what do you think?