Sunday, August 21, 2016

gettin' whipped on the kim's ride, and another that's more my speed

Although Laura OLPH had a ride scheduled for yesterday (that sounds like it was pretty cool), The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I had an afternoon commitment with some friends which might have conflicted. So, instead, I went out on the ride from Kim's, which I knew would be done earlier. We gathered at the shop...

...and, shortly after 8am, proceeded up to the Olde Town lot at Johnson Park to pick up the Rutgers riders.

I heard somebody say something about doing some hills.


Instead of the usual route, we did this one. The fast boys went off the front. I tried to sweep for a while, and then I wasn't sweeping at all; I was just one of the guys hanging off the back.

This is two weeks in a row that the Kim's ride has been too much for me. I feel like I'm a drag on the fast guys, and nobody likes to feel like that. I had hoped that last week was an anomaly due to the heat and humidity, but I don't think that's the case. I don't think this ride's for me, and, if I DO go again, I'll tell the fast guys to go on their own, and I'll do a ride at a pace I can manage. If I do, and any other riders want to accompany, they're welcome, but I won't depend on that.

A guy's gotta know his limits. (TEW likes it when I say that.)

After that ride, I saw an email from Snakehead about a ride for today; he was concerned about the heat and wanted to get an early one in with some local riders he knows (most of the others are professors at Rutgers; I try not to display too much of my ignorance). After an email exchange, we agreed on a 7:15 start from Blackwells Mills/Six Mile, and we'd start on one of my routes, improvising as we went.

I rode from home to the Wawa for my apple-fritter breakfast, then to the start, where I met Snakehead and Yair. We did this ride at a pace that was more manageable for me, especially after getting my butt kicked yesterday.

That dodgy camera was being dodgy again today. Although I got this great, calendar-ready pic...

... most of the rest were out of focus or smudgy. 

I'd like the one above better if my shadow weren't so prominent, and I'd like the one below if there weren't such a smudge by the water bottle.

Below, Snakehead and Yair.

The second half of the ride goes through Princeton, which I like; I don't think we do enough of it (on the other hand, we're so lucky to have the variety of routes we do, as close as we do...). I think I also like it because it's a route to which I don't have to drive.

So what have youse-all been doin'?

Edit: After seeing this post, two of the riders on the Kim's ride have gone out of their way to ask me to come back. I'm busy the next few weeks, but I'll plan on going back mid-to-late September. It would be rude to do otherwise.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

better part of valor

To die is to be a counterfeit, for he is but the counterfeit of
a man who hath not the life of a man; but to counterfeit dying,
when a man thereby liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true
and perfect image of life indeed. The better part of valor is
discretion, in the which better part I have sav'd my life.

...Falstaff, speech in Henry The Fourth, Part 1 Act 5, scene 4, 115–121

One might have thought that, after sweating a gallon yesterday, I would have known better than to try riding in equivalent heat, especially on a ride that was to be hillier (if slower) than that one was. But Blake had a route in mind, and doesn't lead often, and I haven't seen him in a while, so I agreed to go. Pre-ride emails had some dropping out due to the heat, and the rest of us promised to ride within our limits and shorten (and flatten) the route, if necessary.

We started in Stockton: Jack, Blake, Laura OLPH, and y'r ob'd't:

...crossed the bridge into Pennsylvania...

...started up 32, and within a mile, ran into this:

Well, we've gone through worse... except that the road Blake wanted to go up was a morass of mud. Laura said something that began with, "If this had been a Tom ride..." hinting that we would have tried to go anyway, but we turned around and climbed a different way.

We took an early stop in Carversville (I think), and proceeded. There was a lot of up-and-down, much of it along roads I think I remember from the CBBO Covered Bridges ride (some in the other direction). As Laura and I had done on another Tom ride, we went into Stover Park.

 (Dirt roads, and another road closed sign. If this had been a Tom ride...)

And from there, along roads that seemed to keep turning into Cafferty, then changing name to something else, then becoming Cafferty again, then changing name again, then Cafferty again... until we dropped down at Bridgeton Hill to the stop at Black Eddy.

I got some bike pics. An older gentleman rode in on this excellent Raleigh with flat pedals; he said he's had it about 40 years.

But we were done. Done with hills, and done with distance; our average at that point was 11.7mph; the heat and humidity had done us in. We came back straight down 29, three of us more-or-less in a paceline (Jack was ahead; he had the politeness to have a flat so we could catch up with him). This is a great route, and I hope Blake does it again, on a day when we can stick to it and enjoy it. Today was not that day.

Edit: D'OH! Forgot to link to the ride page!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

sweating a gallon with the kim's riders

I can assure readers that the predictions of heat for today were well-founded. I chose to do the ride from Kim's Bike Shop today, partly because I hadn't been a regular there, and partly because it would start and end early (and hopefully, avoid the worst of the heat). And here's something to chew on: by the end of today's ride, I was nearly five lbs. lighter than I was yesterday. I figure pretty much all of that is water weight. So that five pounds, plus the three pounds of water I carry (all of which I went through... or which went through me, I guess) means I sweated out about eight pounds of water on this ride, or close to, and eight pounds of water is a gallon.

Whence the name of this post.

Despite the heat, and the slow and uncomfortable ride home, I wouldn't have missed it; these are a great group, and I'm glad I went. I had some GPS stupidity, so here's my ride from home, and the first part of the group ride... then the rest of the loop... and pedaling home, pretty much exhausted.

As usual, we started in front of the shop...

Above: Lwichy is so fast, he causes gravitational aberrations. See the distortion in the window panels? It's not just from the cheap camera, I assure you.

Above: good-lookin' crew. Below: I can't remember the last time I saw Fray. 

From the shop, though, we moved across the street into the shade.

These folks are unencumbered my my ancestral, Puritanical adherence to punctuality, but we did get rolling to Johnson Park to pick up the Rutgers fast boys...

...and off we went.

I think it was along River Road I noticed that a car was hanging back. I got to talk to the driver (well, it was curious, don't you think?); it turns out he rides (and did with Dave Kim a week or two ago); he's newly-moved into the area and was trailing us to get the route (he's been doing a twelve-mile route, but he's up for something a little more demanding and less boring). It turned out to be a mixed blessing: we had less to worry about cars behind, but the ones that did pass him sped by us (I think) more recklessly even than usual.

I don't know if it was the heat, or if my age is catching up, but I was hanging on the back today. I was grateful for the rests, both after Johnson Park and at Six Mile/Blackwells Mills:

Below, the fellow who was trailing us. He told me his name, but it's gone from memory now. He was a racer, and before he moved here he rode in Upstate NY. He thinks NJ is flat (he's gotta get out more), but he thought Coppermine was a respectable hill when he saw it.

I was not the last up Coppermine...

...but after Coppermine, I was done. I was the last to Kim's (I figured out that the younger guys were keeping an eye on my to make sure I made it back alive - my thanks go to them). And while I knew I could make it home, I slipped onto the small chainring to remind myself not to try to push things (I needn't have worried; there wasn't much energy to push. My ride home averaged 12.5 mph).

Then cold shower and sit in the dark in the air-conditioning for a while. And then, this post and a few weekend chores. And probably a ride from Stockton into Pennsylvania tomorrow with some Hill Slugs. Watch this space!

Or don't. I'm not your boss.