Sunday, June 30, 2013

the bear was great, but...

The only thing I'm going to post about yesterday's ride is a link to the RideWithGPS upload of my .tcx file. Yes, that really does say 59 miles, 6000+ feet of climb, at 12.7. Good, hard ride.

For the rest, go to the excellent, entertaining, picture-heavy post on Laura OLPH's blog.

(Go check out her post. I'm serious. It'll open in a new tab, and it's definitely worth it.)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

fence-eating tree

Laura OLPH, in her post about Tom H's Twin Lights Ride, pointed out the fence-eating tree. Evidently, it's rampant:

From today's Oddman.

(Tom H has another ride scheduled for today; there will probably be another post later.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

shoe succumbs to rule 5

The Old Guys were going to lunch at the house of a guy I don't know, and I had a gazillion chores to do, and whatever... in any case, I didn't ride wit the old guys today. Instead, I tried to do my usual short route.

This ride was hexed from the beginning. I had a creak in the wheel which needed attention (I think it's fixed...), so I got a late start. And about six miles in, I noticed that my right shoe felt funny. I looked down, and saw the strap was broken.

You can see it in the picture above. On the lower (left) shoe, the grey strap piece connects to the black plastic extension that goes into the buckle. On the upper (right) shoe, they appear to be about to pass like the proverbial ships in the night.

It seems even shoes are subject to the whims of the infamous rule 5.

(Rule 5, for those of you who don't know and won't click on the link, is probably the most famous of the Rules of the Velominati. Most of their rules are about piffle like looking good. But rule 5 says simply "Harden The Firetruck Up." The third word is not "firetruck" in the original, but it is a word that follows the same rules of initial and terminal orthography. And don't give me grief about my vocabulary; I've provided an elucidating link, for heaven's sake.)

I suppose I could repair them, but I got 'em cheap, and I'd never trust 'em again. And I've worn 'em for over 10,000 miles - do you really think they owe me anything?

In other news, I'm in the market for a new pair of bike shoes. But I have some leads on some inexpensive replacements.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

purple cow ride pics

Laura OLPH's pictures are up.

See the rest (and the ones from yesterday's ride) here.

weekend rides

After Laura OLPH's recent rant about impatient riders, I knew what I was getting into when she called for Saturday's Hill Slugs Ad-Hoc Ride:

Saturday's ride will be a hilly metric century with two rest stops.  Ridewithgps puts the elevation gain above 5000 feet, so bring your climbing gears and be prepared for a long, but scenic, day.

First we'll go to Cocoluxe in Peapack, because chocolate mice.

Then we'll go to Round Valley Reservoir, because Round Valley Reservoir.
Five of us showed up, including a newbie to the Slugs. We left from Raritan Valley College, and headed for Cocoluxe (and found a road on which the paving was obscured by several inches of dirt; was it Homestead?). Cocoluxe was all it was built up to be: biker-friendly (there were dozens stopping in), with excellent chocolates and pastries, and Gatorade (so I didn't feel COMPLETELY ashamed of myself).

One of the bikes out front was a vintage DeRosa with lugs, old Campagnolo Record gruppo, and toe clips, ridden by a sweet young thing (probably of the trust-fund set) who, I'm sure, didn't know what she had; it was probably her daddy's old bike. I wept to see it go... partly because she rode off with the toe-clip pedals upside down. That bike deserves more love and respect. I thought of offering her $50 to take it off her hands... but then how would I have gotten it home?

Then off to a long slow uphill up Pottersville Road (it probably wasn't as bad as I remember), and then a right onto Hollow Brook Road. Hollow Brook is a long, demanding climb, steep (my front wheel didn't bounce on that road, but only just, in some places) and unrelenting. It was a great hill, and I would gladly do it again, especially after a stop at Cocoluxe (gotta work off that junk, doncha know!). Our newbie made it up, but it was apparent that he was beginning to tire.

We adjusted the route so that, while we would still see the reservoir, we wouldn't circle it, and we'd cut a few miles that way. The reservoir is a beautiful sight; Laura thinks it makes the climb worthwhile (there are some who would disagree). We rode through Whitehouse Station, and back to the college (and up the hill to the parking lot from which we'd left; after all those hills, that last one just seemed gratuitous!). Our newbie made it all the way, although he may have been swearing us to the inferno all his way home.

So it was a little shorter than advertised, but the climb was, if anything, under-reported. I, for one, got over 6000 feet of climb.

Today was my Purple Cow ride. Laura came along, as did The Excellent Wife (TEW) and two others, Andrew and Lou. I'd advertised it as the lowest pressure ride in the book, and that was what they got: about 17 miles at 8.6 mph (I made sure we brought it in within the D pace of 8-9mph - but it was a real trial not to chase the riders who passed us!). We went up the towpath from the parking area at 518, and, at Blackwell's Mills, decided we'd go a mile further and turn around (one of the newbies was a doctor on-call, and didn't want to be away all day; it happened he had to take a call during the ride).

I haven't done a towpath ride, and I was surprised to see the traffic: riders, walkers, runners, some with dogs, families with kids riding together. It was neat! Early in the day, we saw logs with four and five turtles sunning themselves. Laura took pictures, and I'll steal or link when I can.

After we got back, Laura, TEW, and I went to the Main St Café in Kingston, where we met a contingent from the Major Taylors, who are not only wickedly fast, but were welcoming and friendly and asked us to sit with them. We talked about the upcoming Princeton Bicycle Event. They were kind enough to ask if we would ride with them, but, luckily, I'll be volunteering at a stop. I'd hate to hear that clunking sound that means they were dropping me!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

purple cow ride 6/23

So let's try that Towpath ride that was rained out last month. I plan to go between 16-19 miles, depending the sense of the meeting at about mile 8. We'll meet at the D&R Canal Towpath Parking Area on Kingston-Rocky Hill Rd., just below where it crosses 518 in/near Hopewell (Kingston-Rocky Hill Rd is what Canal Rd is called below 518).

This quote from last month's post sums up my intentions for this ride:
Since this is a ride for newbies, I'll do an extended version of the safety warning, so people have a good idea what to expect and how to behave on a group ride. You might want to be there a smidge early (the club suggestion of 15 minutes early will be fine). Riders will need bikes and helmets; water bottles and flat repair kits are suggested. The 23-25mm tires on most road bikes will be too narrow for the gravel path, but mountain bikes, hybrids, cruisers, BMX bikes, and even cross bikes should be fine. 
This will be the lowest-pressure ride in the book. We will go at the pace of the group. No lectures*, no attitudes, lots of stops, nobody dropped. Don't let the speeds in the other posts on this blog scare you; The Excellent Wife (TEW) is coming along on this one, and she ain't puttin' up with no nonsense from Plain Jim.

*That's an arrant lie; there will be two: one will be the safety lecture at the start, and the other will be my rant about mirrors. But I'll get them out of the way early, and there will be no lectures directed at individual riders. If you can keep the bike upright for the distance, you can do this ride.
Last-minute details will be posted here... watch this space!

Monday, June 17, 2013

gizmag stuff

Dave C sent me this week's Gizmag. There's a flying bike:

... that only weighs a little more than I do (I don't suppose it will ever actually get produced for sale).

There's also an announcement that the Tesla company is going to dramatically increase the number of charging stations, from eight to 27. There's hope for alternative-fuel transportation!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

pseudo "a" rider

19 miles at 19.8 mph.

Not that I could sustain it any longer, or even ever do it again, maybe. But it's surprising what a decent sleep and enough coffee can do for a guy. (I was slow on the Vineyard.)

Now to get some breakfast.

martha's vineyard trip

I haven't posted much because I was away on the bike club's Martha's Vineyard trip. Here's what I know:

June 9 – We drove to the Vineyard. My old $50 car bike rack is up to the task, but barely; we stopped about every hour or so to check the straps, which had loosened at first (I'm blaming the rough road surfaces in New York State). Because I'm such a nutball, we agreed to leave early, and it's a good thing we did; we got caught behind an accident on the road in Massachusetts and were stuck in traffic for over a half hour..., and we still got in in time to take an earlier ferry (and met Bill C and Bob P, who will be staying in the house behind the one we're in). The early ferry went to Vineyard Haven/Tisbury instead of Oak Bluffs, but it turns out we were only about ten minutes drive from where we were supposed to come in. We got to the house, and found a place to park for a few hours (we later found 24-hour parking), and met many of the other housemates, who are very cool. We have a funny little room, and share two bathrooms among about twelve people (other rooms have their own baths, but we don't). We walked around town, scouted out some places we want to check out during the week. The house backs on a street which also has the rear of a local bakery, and evenings, they do “back-door doughnuts”, fresh doughnuts from 7:30 until (I don't know; I go to bed at 9, remember?). As they used to say about heroin, the apple fritters are so good, don't even try them once.

June 10 – As usual, up by about 4:00, made coffee, saw the sun come up over the water (nice!). Rode around in my civilian clothes. This is a bike-friendly area; most of the cars let you go. By 8:30, the folks are gathering for three rides, the fastest to be led by Mike H, a slower ride led by convener and club president Pat V H, and a slow ride led by Mike's wife Carol. The Excellent Wife (TEW) agreed to go on that ride, and was a little nervous; it was to be her first group ride, and she's been agonizing about her ability to keep up and recover. Here's the route, mostly - I had some trouble with the GPS, so the link doesn’t show ether the full time or the full route... but it did show 56 miles for Mike's planned 45-mile ride (the actual ride was longer – and, in other news, evidently Mike has a reputation for under-representing how long his rides will actually go, although I'm sure he has the best of intentions! All the riders met at a fish store in Menemsha for lunch (those on the short ride drove out). Those of us with Mike took the long route to the bike ferry at Menemsha Creek, only to discover that, while the ferry was there (a trimaran on the far dock), the ferry-keeper was not (according to a friendly park ranger we met), so we were a smidge late to meet the others. On the way back, we stopped at a neat art gallery (whimsical statues on the grounds), and got the idea to take some bike paths around a forest. It took two or three tries to find them, but they did get us to cover a lot of mileage without traffic, which had been an irritant during the day. I got to talking with Bill C about my shower-curtain-hook-cleat-cover-carrier, and promised to give him one of my extras – after all, they come twelve for 89¢!

At lunch, TEW made me laugh when she said she had a good time on the ride... but she thought they could have gone a bit faster!

At night, out to dinner, then some purchases for the house, then to back-door doughnuts. Good thing the bike shorts are stretchy.

June 11- Started off early today; at about 5:00 am, the smoke alarms went off. While we could not find a source for the smoke, this crowd is sketchy enough that I would not be surprised if someone was cookin' up methamphetamine in the bedroom.

Today is supposed to be rainy, so we planned off-bike adventures. To a breakfast-and-lunch place called Biscuit's in the morning (recommended by a co-worker of TEW), then to Edgartown for a trip to the Martha's Vineyard Museum (not all the way open, but better than we had thought), then a walk around the waterfront there and a peek at some of the old houses. Wealth from fishing and whale oil built these houses, and the streets are wide enough for a horse-and-cart, but not much more than that (it's very pretty). The harbor had working boats and pleasure boats, and I saw one with a St. Croix registry.

Then back to Oak Bluffs, where, of all things, the sun was coming out! So after a laundry, I got in a not-too-quick 20 miles on my bike, the Yellow Maserati, down to the Edgartown bike shop (no, they didn't have custom water bottles, sorry; this is an all-Specialized shop), then up to East Chop and the Telegraph Hill light, and back. Then to dinner for all of the club visitors, (both Princeton Freewheelers and Central Bucks Bike Club; Mike H is a member of both and got a number of his club fellows to attend). During dinner, the threatened rain made an appearance. I'm actually relieved.

A local club that did a karaoke night two nights ago is doing a Motown night tonight, so the 9:30 ride call for the morning may get postponed. Or not. Most people may have more resilience than I.

June 12 – Didn't do the karaoke last night. The cottage, while lovely, is wide open to the light, and it's a strange bed, and I'm up early anyway, so here it is 8:30 am, I've been up since about 5:00 (this time; it's my third time waking today), and TEW (who also has been waking early due to the light pouring in before 5:00 am) and I are complaining about the late start of the 9:30 rides (I'm waiting for a 50-or-so miler that Mike H is set to lead). Winds are predicted for up to 20 with gust to 30, so a number of folks are foregoing the ride today.

While I brought a camera, I forget to use it, and I don't have a way to carry it on the bike. I hope to steal pictures from others to post or link to.

Later: Nine of us, including a few of the Central Bucks folks, did this route. There were similarities to Monday's ride (Mike likes the food in Menemsha), and some differences. There are only a few roads that go from one side of the island to the other, so you've got to take your pick.

I got into a discussion with Metta C about the comparative friendliness of Martha's Vineyard drivers versus those in Jersey. I said I thought the MV drivers were friendlier, and I think, in general, they are, because many of them are other vacationers. She pointed out that she thought that the trucks here were worse, and I think she's right about that. There is a network of bike paths on the island, as wide as a lane of traffic and paved. They go many places, but they don't go everywhere; riders take them where we can... but Metta thinks (and now, so do I) that the commercial drivers object to riders being on the roads slowing them down when there ARE so many bike paths.

We went back to the Menemsha light, and afterwards, to the Outermost Inn to see their view, which was wonderful. They know it, though, and they did not approve of a bunch of bikers coming to hang around and look at the view; we got the bum's rush from one staffer, and, when we didn't depart quickly enough, another came around on a golf cart to see us off the property. Then to Menemsha, then back to another art gallery... where we found a bike tour guide who pointed out the entrance to the bike trail that we couldn't find Monday. It turns out it was simply further along a dirt road we looked at, but didn't investigate far enough. (I'll admit I was probably the crankiest one on Monday about getting on the route; I am not graceful about ride leaders not knowing the roads, perhaps because I am so frequently lost myself.) Then back to Oak Bluffs. The Garmin led us the last of the way in – it worked!

I gave one of my shower curtain hooks to Bill C for him to carry his cleat covers, and he's far too grateful!

Tonight, a private dinner with TEW. I am lucky to have her.

June 13 – Rain called for later, so I went out for an early ride. I had downloaded a metric century and half-century from Cycle Martha's Vineyard and adjusted them so they started and ended at our house. I decided to try the half-century (which wound up about 23 miles with the adjustment), but about six miles in, I noticed a binding in the back brake... and, sure enough, a broken rear spoke (on the drive side, which is unusual). So I opened the brake and rode home (faster than I should have, probably, but I've been so slow on the group rides that I had to burn it up a bit).

A pain, but if you're gonna break a spoke, the last day of the trip, with rain predicted later, is the day to do it (and why am I in such a good mood about the limping bike?). I'll try Edgartown Cycles when they open to see what they can do.

Later – Well, I will sing the praises of Edgartown Cycles to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen. It wasn't the spoke that broke; it was the nipple that sheared off. They were able to use the old spoke, and then they trued and tuned the wheel and put in a new rim tape for $30, less than my local shop charges, and did it while I waited (it helps that they aren't busy; the craziness doesn't hit for a couple of weeks). They sell a raft of Martha's Vineyard jerseys at $80, but I think they're missing a bet by not having Martha's Vineyard water bottles for sale; I would have bought a matching set for myself AND one for TEW.

Later we went to Vineyard Haven (it used to be called Tisbury, and still should be; Tisbury is a far better name) to scout around; dropped in at a bookstore, and drove by the B&B where we'll stay tomorrow night, and had lunch in a local place. The unintelligible language going on all around that cafe turned out to be Portuguese; there's a Portuguese population on the island (but you might not know it from the folks who meet the tourists; I suspect the Portuguese-speakers are doing stuff like building and trades work).

When we got back, I took the bike out for a quick spin between the raindrops and in the wind, which was picking up. The bike feels good. With the rain and cold, it was a lazy afternoon. We went off to the Black Dog for dinner (a Vineyard institution, but now more of a merchandising opportunity; there are Black Dog outlets for hats, t-shirts, hoodies, &c. various places around the island). Then back for more of those back-door doughnuts (I've developed a chippie for the apple fritters; I expect to go through the withdrawals when I return to NJ).

The storm that was a big deal in NJ yesterday is beginning to hit us tonight.

6/14 – My sometime (and not always unwelcome) acquaintance, Insomnia, made an appearance last night, and while I was entertaining him at about 1:30 in the morning, I heard what I thought was a dripping. It was; there was a drip from the ceiling above one of the sofas in the house we're renting; I moved the sofa and found a vessel to contain the drips (there's a sponge-mop here, but it's next to useless). I read for a bit, and shortly heard dripping from two more places, and put pots under them. The storm was whipping up outside.

I went back to bed, and when I got up again, TEW was complaining of bad stomach upset, probably food poisoning (how bad to happen away from home, and on vacation!), and the storm was still going. I moved the car from the can-park-it-overnight-a-gazillion-miles-away spot and moved it to the close-enough-to-pack-it-up-but-gotta-move-it-by-noon location, braving the wind and rain. As I write this, the laundry is in, I'm finishing the pot of coffee, and beginning to pack the room. We're to be out by 10, and we're going to the B&B later.

Later – as the morning progressed, so did the drama. TEW's illness was such that she didn't want to leave the house until we had to, which meant we were the last to leave. In the meantime, the storm meant that the regular ferry reservations were up for grabs, as the ferry companies cancelled trips and changed docking locations (they should be cleared up by our reservation tomorrow afternoon). One by one, we said our goodbyes and “hope to see you again, maybe on a ride”. Finally, all the others were out of the house; I threw out the last of the trash and leavings, and we locked up. After a last apple fritter (I will miss that bakery), we went to the Thorncroft Inn, the B&B where we will stay tonight. The innkeeper was kind enough to allow us into the room early, and, as I write this, TEW is sleeping; when she awakes, she'll decided if she wants any of the whole-wheat bread we had me walk to town for, or if she's even thinking of dinner.

Later – While TEW slept, I went out on a short ride, but I was so tired and stressed that it's not worth linking to. Late in the day, although she's feeling better, TEW still wasn't up to dinner, so I went alone to the Grace Church Lobster Roll fundraiser. It's an excellent lobster roll, but the best part is the small-town church theater of the thing, with the apparently gay guy doing the cash register, the old gals from the altar society collecting money for the island homeless, the minister passing out the pie, and the old black fellow with the excellent lobster hat making jokes over the lemonade. After a walk around town, to bed.

June 15 – Up several times during the night, but I finally got some sleep... and TEW feels better! Yay! I got out and did this ride; not as fast as I'd like, but not bad for not knowing the roads. Now in for a shower and breakfast.

After breakfast, loaded up the car and went home. We caught an earlier ferry (just barely; ours was the last car on). The ferries that come into Oak Bluffs are smaller than the ones that go into Vineyard Haven. It struck me that these boats (ships?) might be built specifically, no only for this company, but for each mooring: the ones that go into Oak Bluffs might be built to fit the width and depth of that particular harbor.

I was taken by the line that held the boat into the slip. It was a two-inch-diameter line under such tension that it made the hull creak (with some resonance) every time the tension changed. It went out to a concrete stanchion, about 20 feet in diameter and about that high, on which were two young men to lift it off the cleat to which it was attached. I was eager to see how they did it, but I turned away to answer a call from TEW, and when I turned back, it was done.

Then to the long drive back. The GPS warned us of a traffic tie-up before the Bronx, and arranged another route, but it led us through local streets in the Bronx. I'm not only sure it didn't save any time, but I was so upset I nearly drove into a column. Finally, we got home, where we're unpacking; TEW is making herself an egg for dinner, and I will go out and get something less healthy. What a great trip.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

more bike kickstarters

Friend Dave C forwarded me a Gizmag newsletter that included two new bike projects on Kickstarter. The first is the BananaHama bike:

With that long of a space between the front and rear wheels, even I could probably ride it no-handed. Note the hammock in lieu of a saddle; this thing is built for comfort, not for speed, despite the marketing of a 27-speed urban model (there is also a cruiser, with only 18 speeds, and a kid's trike that doubles as a stroller). The Gizmag article makes the obligatory banana hammock reference; if you don't know what that is, Google it yourself (not on a work device; definitely NSFW).

It's low enough to have your feet comfortably on the ground when stopped, and the position is almost recumbent. But it LOOKS heavy.

The other is one of those bike weirdnesses that just make me giddy, like the Fohawx helmet add-on and that Trotify thing that uses coconuts to make your bike sound like a horse. This is every bit as cool and wonderful as those:

See? Lights! In your spokes! The spinning of the wheels makes 'em into patterns & images! Check out the video:

How can you not love that? Lightning! Space Invaders! Nyan Cat! Piet Mondrian! Oh, my stars.

No, I don't want one. But I'm glad they exist. As long as people will make, and buy, wonderful stupid stuff like this, there is hope for humanity.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

missed it

I missed Tom H's ride today.

Laura OLPH sent me back this photo.

First century of the season, and I missed it. Doodies.

edit: On some devices the photo above is upside-down. The original was sent to me sideways, and my photo program auto-corrected it. On a real computer, in a real browser, the photo shows is in the correct orientation, and the bike computer shows 100.0 miles. I missed the first century of the season, and I am exceptionally grumpy.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

cycling cartoons

I just found CyclingCartoons.Com.

Could someone tell The Excellent Wife (TEW) why I need more bikes? She threatened if I got another bike, I'd have to buy a bigger house with a bigger kitchen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

cyclist pounds

"Cyclist pounds are like dog years; being ten pounds overweight as a cyclist is like being 70 pounds overweight as a Walmart cashier."
— Thom Parsons - Bicycle Times 023

He got it from somewhere else, but I got it from Tae Likes Bikes.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

new brunswick bike exchange website live

The New Brunswick Bike Exchange website, although limited, is up and live. There's a permanent link over there on the right, in the "Some Links" box.

I'm there most Tuesdays. C'mon up and fix a bike (or learn how to do it), make a kid or a student happy, hang out with some immensely cool people (way cooler than Plain Jim, I assure you), and support PRAB.

recovery ride with wottons

Winter Larry's Bloomsbury Boogie was scheduled for today:
Larry promises this is the BEST ride in NJ visiting the towns of Little York, Bloomsbury, Milford, & Frenchtown. Ride along two beautiful rivers and cool forest road. Route designed to minimize the significant hills. Nobody left behind... 
...but after yesterday, I wasn't sure I wanted significant hills (whatever they are), minimized or not, so I decided on Gary W's ride out of Etra. I wasn't sure until I actually got in the car whether I was going to add miles... but then, of course, I did. Several weeks ago, Laura OLPH had adjusted the route from Bagel Street in Plainsboro to Etra so that it missed the most dangerous intersection, and I used RideWithGPS.Com to re-create the route, and loaded it into the GPS so I could follow it this morning (yes, I really am that ditzy when it comes to navigation).

Mary F's C+ ride leaves from the same place at the same time, so I got to see a number of people I like, including Erich W, who either is or isn't feeling better in his bum hip; it was hard to get a clear answer out of him. There were to be 17 on Gary's ride, but two mutinied before we left and went with Mary, so we departed Etra with 15. One of the riders was on a carbon recumbent with 700 wheels (edit: that's the size, not the number of wheels, although a bike with that number of wheels is quite an image). I'd never seen such a thing and chatted with him about it' we got to talking about hardware, techniques, and so on.

We did this route (that, of course, includes my ride from Plainsboro to Etra and back). On the way through Jamesburg, I was SURE we were going to stop at Mendoker's... but we didn't; we went to the Wawa instead (where there are toilets, a convenience not to be despised). And on the way out of the Wawa, up behind us comes a young Asian fellow all fitted out in Specialized gear: kit, full-black-attack carbon bike, making us look like we were stopped for directions or something. He asked about the ride and the club, and seemed to recognize me, and I was sure I recognized him, but couldn't place him until about ten miles later (after he was long gone); he was the eponymous Kim of Kim's Bikes in New Brunswick. I need to go there and spend some money again!

Then back. The prevailing west wind in the Cranbury area was not in evidence today; instead, it seemed to come from the southeast, meaning that we were riding straight into it for some of the ride home. John D and I got up front and pulled (and probably pushed the pace) for a bit, until I noticed that we were getting too spread out, and I went back to try and pull some others. By this point, two others had left the ride, one from being tired, I'm sure, and the other was the person he'd come with (a stronger rider, but I like it that loyalty to his friend trumped completing the ride). At another point, Gary himself was complaining about the wind, but he found his legs again to lead us back through the bike path to the park.

And so back home. Sergei, who was a ride partner of mine when I first started this blog, was at the Memorial Day All-Paces ride and was out again today, we rode together for a bit while I told him about my GPS (before we went our separate ways back). Now I'm home, and it's time to put the laundry in the dryer and take care of other responsibilities to home and family. Life, as I so frequently say, is good.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

fast cory's ride

My initial email said:

Cory's Ride is Saturday; I forgot to register. Are any of youse planning to go?
... but I had a slow day at work, and I got to thinking... and later I sent this:
Folks, I think I'm gonna take a respectful pass. I'm planning to do the ride, but I want to see if I can do it at an average of over 17-17.5mph. I rarely get a chance to do a course this long, marked, with SAG support, and I'm going to take advantage of this. The idea has been eating a hole in my head all day.
Luckily, I have understanding friends. I got this reply from Laura OLPH:
Jim has the need for speed.  Let him get that A rider out of his system so that he can re-join the Slugs next week.
(She also has a somewhat optimistic view of my abilities... but she's right on the money on the "getting it out of my system" thing.) And this from Dave C:
I wish you luck. I would join you but I have 180miles in already this week. Let us know how you get on I expect a full mile by mile report on the blog. Oh full bragging rights expire after 21days.  
Well, I wasn't sure how much bragging I was going to be doing. I met Dave and Little Joe at the ride start, and Dave gave me the tips on time trials: about breaking the course into smaller units, and allowing more time for the first so I didn't burn myself up, and trying to do the last faster than the others. I tried to keep to his advice, but I found I was way faster than I expected in the first part of the ride, forgetting to take into account the tailwind, which would be a headwind later. I also found, after about 30 miles, that it was taking longer and longer to recover from an uphill; when I got to a flat section after an uphill, sometimes I couldn't get up to fast cruising speed, even after a quarter-mile or so (even grinding on the downhills got tough).

Still, I not only met my goal, I blew right through it. Here's the link to my result. I'm not "A" rider material, but I'm very happy with that average and time.

The ride organizers provide a lunch starting at 11:30; when I got back at about 10:20, one of the support staff asked in dismay, "Are the riders coming back? Do we need to get the food out already?" THAT was oddly gratifying; I assured her she did not.

One sour note: I was first to the rest stop, and met one of the support staff I had first met when I did the Anchor House Ride two years ago. I mentioned that I was a member of the Freewheelers, and she had a complaint about the club's large groups riding four and five abreast. I expect complaints from people who are not riders, but this is a person who has worked support on the Anchor House ride for years, and whose husband rides. I'm afraid I think that we must take seriously complaints from this kind of person. I'm composing an email that might get sent to the membership (at the risk of sounding like a grouch... but, then, that would be in-character for me).