Monday, July 29, 2013

opinel knives

One of my favorite suppliers of new stuff for old, old-looking, or old-feeling bikes, Velo-Orange, posted in their blog that, "We've decided to start stocking a few items that are not directly bike related, but that we've used and really like."  The first of these is a selection of Opinel pocket knives.

From the Wikipedia page about Opinel knives: "Originally sold as a simple working man's knife, the Opinel has since become an iconic symbol of French culture and lifestyle." I've got two of them: one my father gave to me years ago, and one I found in his house after he died. Mine are stainless steel. Knife purists say that the carbon steel (above) takes a better edge and holds it longer, but I've used my stainless ones for everything from cutting vegetables to shaping molding to cutting sheetrock, and I've never had a problem with the edge. One of mine, in fact, has lost about 1/8" of the blade from repeated sharpening.

These are great knives. In an age when gentlemen carried a knife and a handkerchief, for Gallic men, these would have been the knives of choice.

I'd call these "cool tools", but Kevin Kelly has a de-facto trademark on that phrase.

on gay priests, pope asks, "who am i to judge?"

Well, I'm just thunderstruck.

According to this article in the NY Times:
Striking a breathtakingly conciliatory approach to a hot-button issue that has divided Catholics, Pope Francis on Monday said that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis said, according to media reports.


Words fail me.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

justice jersey

I don't know exactly where it started.

Maybe it started when I noticed that the NeoCons and "family values" folks always co-opted the American flag for their side of any politico-cultural argument.

Maybe it started with the re-election of George Bush, which proved to me that American Christians were willing to ignore pretty much everything Jesus said about taking care of the poor (that was one of the last straws breaking my belief in any kind of god, too).

Maybe it started when I noticed that at the Memorial Day and July 4th rides, some of my fellows had USA-related jerseys on. I thought that was a good idea, and, when a couple of my solid-color jerseys died, I thought I'd get a similar jersey.  But too many of them were either military-related (I have no military history), or were "liberty" jerseys... and, thanks in part to the TeaBaggers, that word has a meaning I can't support.

I needed another kind of USA jersey.

I found this jersey printer, ScudoPro, that will print a "partial-custom" jersey on one of their templates. They'll do a run of any size (including just a single one) and the cost is reasonable (and I'm cheap; if I say it's reasonable, it is).  If you look at the page, you'll see that most of the templates are pretty boring, but one is a USA flag design.

I decided that the word I wanted to face-off with "liberty" was "justice". It's in the pledge, and it just felt right. I went with this design:

And if anybody asks, I'll tell them that without justice, they won't keep their liberty. That a democracy that tramples the rights of the minority is just another form of tyranny. And that if all they want is liberty, they might not really want to live in society of other people.

(By the way, ScudoPro also has pre-printed jerseys, some of which are barfy, but some are cool. I got one of those, too. Check 'em out,)

music to my ears

At one of the rest stops on yesterday's ride, we were approached by a young woman (hey, I'm 58; they're almost ALL young women) who was asking about bikes and group rides. I gave her a club card, and we had some suggestions... but the reason I remember her is that she had the most wonderful Queens accent; I could have listened to her all day.

I would not rule out the possibility that the reason I love that accent so much is that my mother hates it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

joe's ride to the sea

Although Tom H had a ride scheduled for Schooley's Mountain for this weekend, with lots of climbing, early in the week Joe M sent out an email that he was leading a ride from Etra to Belmar. A couple of my friends, including Laura OLPH and Dave C were planning to go on that ride, and I got to thinking that I mostly like the club rides because of the people I ride with. Then Laura emailed that she wanted to do some extra miles, to make it an 80-something mile day in preparation for her plan to do the 100-mile ride at the Princeton Freewheelers Event next week, and so it was decided.

I met Laura behind Cliff H's office at some ridiculous hour this morning, and we rode to Etra to meet the others who were coming. Here's leader Joe and Laura:

Joe B had ridden in from Cranbury...

... and Mary F was getting her first few miles of the day:

So off we went.

(I still haven't got the photo thing down. Laura tells me Chris C can take pictures over his shoulder; I tried that, and here's about the only one that worked:)

(I hope you can see Laura's grin in that one.)

Dave C couldn't come, complaining of illness; I later chatted with Joe about determining how sick Dave was, so I know whether to send the "hope you get better" email, or the "hey, I changed my plans to go on this ride to see you, and you didn't even show up" email.

It was a great day. The heat of the past few weeks had broken, and the threat of rain was holding off until tomorrow. We did this route (link includes Laura's and my extra miles back from/to Plainsboro).

We went to the little mall that includes the Dunkin' Donuts and TR's in Belmar.

We spoke to the owner, who said that, despite Storm Sandy, it was being a pretty good year; evidently, the only thing that makes the difference is the weather: people come out when it's nice, and not when rain is predicted. Despite all the heat, last week was pretty good for him.

And Belmar is just a delight, a circus, even at 10:30 in the morning (which is about the time we were there). Young people trying to look older and more experienced than they are, older people trying to look like kids, lots of skin showing (some of which you wish weren't showing so much), planes trailing signs, parasailing, kites. We saw the beach, and came back.

On the way back, at one point we were chatty and bunched up , and a couple of pickups were stuck behind us; one, as he passed, shouted at us to get off the road. Remembering something I had posted to when this blog was new, I shouted back, "Purple Lampshade Asparagus!" I don't know what effect it had on the driver, but the five of us had a lot of fun with it.

And so back to Etra, and then Laura and I went back to Plainsboro. John B had planned to ride back with us part of the way, but it turned out he turned off fairly quickly. Laura had gotten a call that some mouse brains at her job had suffered ill effects; they were, in effect, cooked. Here's hoping that the fault lay with someone other than Laura.

Probably no group ride tomorrow; The Excellent Wife (TEW) insists that we've been together for nineteen years (I don't believe it myself). The anniversary of our first date is somewhere around this time of year, so we're off to the Washington Crossing Inn tomorrow to celebrate. She'll try to prove to me that we actually HAVE been together that long, and I'll continue to point out that all of my past relationships have fallen apart much sooner than that; how can this one have lasted that long?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

a wallet that works for me

A few years ago, my sister bought me a sports wallet in which I could keep all the stuff I carry (it's a lot), including house keys, and which would keep stuff dry, even when I was sweatin' away on the bike. I suppose I could get into a habit of taking just the stuff I need out of the wallet when I go on a ride... but that seems like too much effort, expecially when I had a wallet that was useful whether I was at work, out on a date, or on the bike.

The gift wallet died. I looked for another, and wasn't satisfied with the offerings I found for sports wallets (the one I had is no longer available). I stumbled on Big Skinny, and these seem to fill the bill.

The selling point they push is the "skinny"-ness of their wallets, the narrowness. But what I like is that they are nylon, and lined with something water-resistant (rubber? latex? vinyl?). I got the World Wallet with Zippered Pocket (gotta keep those keys), because I carry a lot in my wallet. It's just that little bit too big to remove easily from my pants pockets, but it's definitely working for me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

old guys back to old world bakery

I work a nine-days-in-two-weeks-schedule, and get every other Wednesday off. In September, that will go to every other Friday, so I wanted to get in today's ride-to-the-ride with Erich W, as I may not have many opportunities left to do so. The Old Guys leave from Byron Johnson Park in Allentown on Wednesdays, but Erich, and whoever else decides to go, rides from Etra Park in Hightstown to Allentown, adding about ten miles in each direction. Bob W, Al L, and I joined Erich today.

We rode down to Allentown at a somewhat faster pace than other recent rides. I brought the camera, and only got three decent pictures out of the fifteen I shot. Here are two of all of us assembling at Allentown:

(...which reminds me: That gal with her back to you, in the black jersey with the red slash triangle, is Irene; she asked to be remembered to Laura OLPH. A nifty Lynskey she has!)

We did one of leader Dennis W's favorite routes, to the Olde World Bakery in Pemberton (or thereabouts). Here are a few of my fellows solving the problems of the universe:

On the way back, one of the guys was having real trouble keeping up; I dropped back to make sure he made it back. He complained of leg and knee pain, but I thought he was out of breath as well. He made it back to Allentown, but we were slow... and I got closely acquainted with my saddle, as I wasn't pedaling hard enough to keep much weight off it. After the ride back to Etra, I was grateful to sit on the car seat again.

Al had taken off by the time we were above I-195, and I had to resist the urge to chase him. Erich and Bob were with me, and I'm trying to squelch that competitive urge (at least sometimes), and I'm a believer in the adage, "You dance with them what brung ya." Erich is the convener of the ride-to-the-ride (it's way too chaotic to be said to have a "leader"), and I wanted to go back with him and Bob.

And I did.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

snowden inconsistency

I'll admit that I don't really know the depths of what's going on with it, but it still tickles me to hear the far righties trying to make a monster out of Edward Snowden, while at the same time damning the NSA/CIA/US government for doing the information-collecting that he exposed.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

wal*mart and evil

That Oddman site that I visit frequently had a post a day or two ago about Wal*Mart being evil. This guest post writer didn't put all the blame on the store: to him, much of the blame rests on the shoppers. From the article:

[Wal*Mart] customers are the type that will get angry if they see they spent ten cents more then they could have elsewhere. They are the type that will drive across town for a $1 savings. They are the type that will fight each other right in the store to get the sale price. They are not the type that would stop shopping at a place with sick crabby employees. Walmar’st (sic) customers don’t care about Walmart’s employees.

I read an article that said Walmart’s average sale would only go up by 66 cents if they gave all their employees health care, but with Walmart’s customers, that might be too much. Those people might just shop somewhere else.

I found it fascinating. Go check it out.


My sister-in-law is up from Florida, and The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I were scheduled to go up to Bergen County yesterday to visit her at the Excellent In-Laws', so only a short ride yesterday. I knew I had the D ride today, so I went over the route, to make sure everything would be open. It turned out to be about 24 miles. There was some headwind, and YONKS of humidity, and I hadn't had coffee, and whine/whine/whine, and that's why I only averaged 18.1

Today was the second of my D rides. In view of Laura OLPH's ride for today, the Dvoor Farm ride, I didn't expect any others than myself and TEW... but TEW recognized George when we got to the start:

TEW had ridden with him, I think, at the July 4 All-Paces ride, and he had emailed me about the cancelled ride in May, so it was good to meet him.

You want to see TEW, don't you? It's not the best picture, but here she is:

We did a real Plain Jim Brittain route: start at Blackwells Mills, ride down Canal Road to the Main Street Cafe, then go back the same way we came down. TEW and I did it on hybrids, and TEW was not complaining about the hills (or the pace, which was a smidge faster than a D pace, but we figured we could adjust the pace to the group; after all, George was ahead for much of the ride). Here they are coming up the hill towards Rockingham:

TEW has plans to get a real road bike, and George was telling her how much faster and stronger she'd be once she got one. George has also used that Guru Fit System, and could talk intelligently about how it was better for him than the ReTul system. I wouldn't be surprised to see a fourth bike in the garage by Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

purple cow ride 7/21

Edit for weather, 5:03 am: Weather looks OK. Let's do it.

If the weather holds... this time, we'll do a road bike ride. We'll start at Blackwells Mills, and ride about 8.5 miles to the Main St Cafe in Kingston. There we can fortify ourselves with caffeine and nifty baked stuff, before we turn around and go back (total of 17 miles).

The start will be at the parking lot for the Blackwells Mills entrance to the Six-Mile Run bike trail, on Canal Road in Franklin Township, just below where it crosses Blackwells Mills Road. This link to a map for the canal house shows the parking area just below the canal house.

As before, this will be the lowest-pressure ride in the book; the only lectures will be the safety lecture and my rant about mirrors. No attitudes, lots of stops, nobody dropped. I'm calling this a road bike ride, but The Excellent Wife (TEW) will be on a hybrid, and I might be, too.

If weather is iffy, I'll make a go/no-go decision by 6:30 am; if I call off the ride, it will be posted here.

Edit: Oh. Duh. 8:30 am start. I like to go on time; please be there for that. Thanks.

john & jane do the tour

As noted in a previous post, John & Jane D are off enjoying the Tour de France (what Grant Petersen calls the BORAF - Big Ol' Race Around France). Pics are up. Go check out J&J's Excellent Adventures.

Monday, July 15, 2013

dave moulton's blog

I've just come across this blog written by a guy who was a custom framebuilder in the 70's & 80's, and a local racer in Britain before that.

It's great, I'm reading all of it.

Dave Moulton's Blog. I've added it to my links.

(No, not THAT Moulton...)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

bastille day ride

At the last Sunday ride out of Hart's Cyclery, I bought a top-tube bag to keep my camera in. There may, henceforward, be pictures.

During the week, Laura OLPH had written that she had some friends who wanted to come along on today's ride, but they either did or didn't have the chops to keep up. Laura had promised to drop back if they fell off the back of the ride, to keep them company... but this morning, it was clear that one thing they definitely didn't have was enough helmets for everybody. So I met Laura for a few extra miles before the starting point at Hart's Cyclery. Uncharacteristically for Laura, we were early, and there was nobody there until Matt R appeared, with a bike with astonishing hubs...

...and the most excellent socks I've ever seen on a bicyclist (they're visible in the top photo, but there's another below):

A few others did show up, so that by the time we left, we were six: Bruce, on the right below:

... and John (edit: Laura tells me his name is Larry H, and "Whenever I see him I know it's gonna be a fast ride.") and leader Ken G, center and right in this picture:

(...and then I ran out of room on my memory card. D'OH! Gotta clean that off.)

We did more-or-less the same route as last week, except we stopped at the Boro Been instead of the convenience store. Ken was complaining of overexertion and lack of sleep for not pacing me up some long hills, but it was still pretty clear he could have cleaned my clock if he wanted to. The fellow John Larry was also quite strong; he went off home before we made the last few turns to Pennington.

On the way back home, a rider in a limo was trying to get my attention. It turned out to be John & Jane D, who are off to see part of the Tour de France. John's promised to blog about the trip, so he made me promise (at a light, on Route 1) to link to his blog, John & Jane's Excellent Adventures. There's the link, and I'll put a permanent one over in the links list when I finish this post. Have a good time, John & Jane!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

got rained on anyway

Tom H, Laura OLPH, and some others planned a ride in the hills of NJ & PA, leaving from Bull's Island, for today...

... but the weather called for possible rain and thunderstorms, and when I saw the worry in the eye of The Excellent Wife (TEW), I decided that the better part of valor was to do a flat ride, rather than worry about coming down the hills with wet brakes. So I went out with Ira S from Cranbury. 

I got there early, of course, and met Mark H, who was to go out with Neil C for about 60 miles. I thought at the time they were tempting fate, and the rain gods, by planning that long of a ride, and decided to stick to my plan of going with Ira... but, of course, I had to add some miles; the route shows my ride into Plainsboro and back, along with his route down to Clarksburg. As I usually do for Ira, I swept. I got to hang out with Erich W for a bit, and Spence, and Cliff, who lets me park in his lot, and Ken L, who was one of my favorite ride leaders when he led rides. Some folks needed the sweep, and some didn't.

And while it started out a reasonably cloudy day, after the stop in Clarksburg, we got rained on a little, then the sun came out for a bit, then we got rain and sun at the same time... and then we got rain. Not driving rain, not miserable rain, but inescapable, means-business rain. Several pulled over to put smartphones in dry places; others took off their glasses because, as rain-covered as they were, they were more hindrance than help. And though it cleared a bit as we came into Cranbury, I, for one, had slippy brakes and squitchy shoes, even as I put the bike back in the car.

The bike was sandy and muddy when I got it home, and I decided to clean it up - which was good, as the sand (or something) was gumming up the shifting, as well. After a take-the-wheels-off-and-wipe-and-rinse cleaning, I cleaned up the brakes and wheel surfaces, and adjusted the shifting. I may have fixed an intermittent problem I've had where the rear derailleur doesn't shift cleanly from four to five (it just clicks and I have to over-shift and shift back, and it makes me crazy).

While I was working on the bike, and once since, there have been short rain showers as well. I hope Tom H et cie. are well, and I'm glad I didn't go with. I willing to take the possible ribbing about wussing out on the ride in return for being safe; I've heard too many stories of accidents (including those of Don S, and Ken L), and I'll lean towards caution (for today, anyway).

Last week, I bought a top-tube bag for my camera. Because of the threat of rain (the bag is open), I didn't bring the camera today... but I'm hoping to put up more pictures.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

let 'em go

I've just found out that there is a "League of the South". From their "Core Beliefs" web page:

At its founding meeting in June 1994, The League of the South adopted the following Statement of Purpose:

We seek to advance the cultural, social, economic, and political well-being and independence of the Southern people by all honourable means.
"Independence". Good heavens. Couldn't they just petition to leave? And why would we not just let 'em go?

But they gotta take Texas.

Monday, July 8, 2013

who I wanna be when i grow up.

Something just struck me about the fellow leading the ride yesterday. I'm pretty good goin' up a hill, and, using a bike not geared for hills, this guy caught up and rode right behind me on at least two occasions. He could have cooked me... but he didn't.

That's the kind of rider I want to be. I want to be that strong, with that little need to prove myself.

Thanks, Ken.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

sunday ride from hart's cyclery

I was looking for an easy ride today, and Gary W's out of Etra is usually a bit harder of a push than I wanted to put in; it's hot, and I'm tired. Laura OLPH suggested that she might or might not come out today, but when I mentioned going on a ride from Hart's Cyclery led by Ken G, she said in an email:

Ken used to ride with us back in the day.  He's a former racer who's been out of the loop for a while.  Ken is a top-notch guy, a gentleman cyclist... However, it's a hilly B on a post-metric day where the heat index will already be 90 at 9 a.m.  I don't know if I'm up for that.  On the other hand, I know the turf and can drop out at any time.
...and in a subsequent email:
For tomorrow, I'll see how I feel when I wake up.  There's nothing a shot of caffeine can't paper over for a few hours.  Plus, I have to hit up Ross for an RfM donation, and there's the matter of the RfM posters, and I need a pair of gloves, and Big Bear sometimes has dried pears, and peer pressure (which I don't mind succumbing to in this instance because I know the roads and can bail)... So, I'll probably see you tomorrow.
 And she did. 

I was at the store long before she (and long before the start), and saw a reference to the Guru Fit System, about which The Excellent Wife (TEW) has been showing some interest. I texted her about it, and she texted back asking if anybody knew anything (about which, more later).

Besides Laura and I, seven others showed: Ken, sometime-Slug Robert, and others I don't know as well, including a married couple from the South visiting relatives locally. We did this route, which didn't go into the Sourlands (much; see edit below), largely because many of the best roads were newly chip-sealed, and until traffic has had a chance to wear the new chips into the road, the gravelly-surface does not play well with road-bike tires.

Heavens, it was hot. I was grateful for a less-challenging ride, and for every bit of shade we had. We stopped in Hopewell at a convenience store a bit before the half, and I had learned my lesson: lots of sweets and drinks for me! Then off again. One of the newbies fell off the back; when I went back to find him, he had dropped a chain and was having a bit of a problem getting it back on. He later said that this ride was just the pace for him... and I unapologetically tried to recruit him for Laura's Hill Slugs.

And back to Hart's Cyclery just about noon, when it had just opened. Ken asked us to at least go inside, but I had resolved to buy something to support them for supporting this ride; I had planned on cleats (I can always use cleats and tubes), but I wound up with a top-tube carrier that I can put my camera in (maybe there will be some pictures on this blog, eh?). While we were there, a contingent from the Major Taylors dropped in; they had ridden from Plainsboro and were going to head back there. Sheesh, just thinking about it makes me sweaty!

And I saw the very-impressive Guru machine. It looks like a fit can be fairly dialed-in; seat height and setback, and bar height and for-and-aft position, can be adjusted while the rider is pedaling. I'm not sure that much precision is necessary... but it might make TEW more confident about a bike purchase, and that might be worth the money. I'll chat with her about it when she gets home.

Edit: From an email this afternoon from Laura: "We were on the Sourland Mountain when we went up Stony Brook to Snydertown and down Linvale. The Princeton Ridge (Great Road to Ridgeview to Cherry Hill and Cherry Valley) is part of the same geologic formation but isn't called part of the mountain."

pump problems

The Excellent Wife (TEW) has been riding more, and is sensibly concerned about what might happen if she gets a flat. The frame pump that had been on her bike went missing (as they sometimes do). I had a couple of others in the garage, so I checked them out.

Neither the Wrench Force mini-pump nor the Specialized Windpipe (neither of which are still available in the models I had) were able to get any air in the tube at all. The Wrench Force could fill the tube when it was off the wheel, but when I mounted the tube, no air went from the pump into the tube.

I had the Race Rocket on the Yellow Maserati road bike, and that one will work for either Presta or Schrader valves, so that's now on TEW's bike. I had a Road Morph that I had bought some time ago, but never mounted, because the mounting options with the included bracket were either to hang it from the top tube (ugly) or replace one of the bottle mounts (not happenin'). The bracket for the missing pump fit the Road Morph in the offset postion next to the water bottle cage, so that's what's on the Yellow Maserati now.

The Road Morph is carried by many of the people I ride with, and whose opinions I respect... but it's bigger than the Race Rocket, and seems like more of a commitment to repair than I want to make. The Morph is also a bit harder to use than the Rocket. But it's got an in-line gauge, and could be used instead of a floor pump. But I keep a floor pump in the car, as well as in the garage.  And I can get a tire pumped up enough to get home on with the Race Rocket, and I carry two CO2's ...

Do I wanna bag the Road Morph and get myself another Race Rocket?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

emery's blueberry farm ride

Laura OLPH's announcement post about this ride said:
The Slugs will be in the flatlands on Saturday.  Meet us at the East Picnic Area (Edinburg Road entrance) of Mercer County Park for an 8:30 a.m. start.

I'm planning for a few miles more than a metric.  However, the heat index might well change my mind.  We can cut the ride down as we see fit.

Extra-milers can start with me from my house at 7:15 a.m.  It's about 8 miles to the ride start.
So I got there for the extra miles at that ludicrous hour (after having been out to a Somerset Patriots game*, and fireworks, last night), and found her barely awake and surprised. "Did I put 7:15 in the post?"... and off she went to make sure she had the correct start time for the ride at the park in the blog post (she had).

The heat index DID change her mind; she went with a planned 50-mile route out to Emery's Blueberry Farm, which. while not far from many of our usual rides, wasn't really on our maps. We went to Mercer Park, and picked up Tom H, Gordon, and John W, and, complaining about the heat (no wonder we didn't have more takers!), off we went.

A mostly flat ride (that's a link), and, while we were grateful for what shade we got, much of the ride (especially the bit on Long Swamp Road before the farm) was in the hot sun. That made us opt for a straighter route back, along 539 and then Gordon Road towards the park.

Emery's Farm was hopping, with people picking berries, and people coming into the store to pick out pies and whatnot. They had water, iced tea, muffins, and porta-potties (and air-conditioning in the store), which made it a near-perfect rest stop for a hot day (the porta-potties were penitential in the hot sun, however).

And the roads on the ride back, despite being busy, were not bad: good shoulders mostly, and traffic was able to get around us.

Most important to me, however, was that I made this hot, long ride without the bonk, after such an unpleasant experience on Thursday. I probably over-sugared (it was a tempting muffin, though), but I think I got it just about right on the fluids (and I think dehydration and low sugar were the culprits on Thursday).

The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I have had a pump crisis, about which more later. I'm off to do the grill; how can you have a long Independence Day weekend and not use the grill?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

july 4 all-paces

The Excellent Wife (TEW) has been gearing up for the All-Paces ride scheduled by the Princeton Freewheelers for today. She has had her eye on the D+ ride, and said that if she met her mileage and pace goals, she wanted to come with me to do that ride while I did one at my pace; she is eager to meet some more of the club members (and she realizes that if I'm going to ride as much as I do, one of the ways to spend more time together is for her to ride, too).  So off we sent this morning to Mercer Park for the 9am start.

Now, let me tell you some of my thinking that wound up not working out very well: I usually add miles to my rides, and I wouldn't be doing that today because TEW isn't about to add miles. So I figured, instead of adding miles, I'd do a B+ ride; perhaps that would be about the same effort. So, although Tom H and a few friends decided to do a pickup ride, I decided to go out with John & Jane D. Laura OLPH decided to go with them, too.

We did this route.There was a woman who came along with John W who has ridden mostly C+/B rides, and I figured if she was along, I'd certainly be able to keep up.

We started with eighteen, including Sergei, with whom I rode a bit a few years ago. Sergei's a bit of a charger-ahead, and we weren't far into the ride when he and three others missed a turn (they were far ahead of the leader), and we were down to fourteen. I swept for a while, and did my turn at the front of the group as well. We did a number of roads I remember from Winter Larry's rides (we passed the Russian Church), and went up the hill at Rues that I remember coming down a number of times with the Old Guys.

Going up the hill at Rues, though, I noticed problems breathing and dull neck and chest pain (no, not heart-attack stuff, just exhaustion). I'm sure I neither drank nor ate enough, and I didn't sleep well last night, and all that, I'm sure, was catching up to me. Pride, however, would not let me let on how tired I was.

Another rider, later, seemed to be tiring and having trouble in a headwind. Having a bit more energy than he, I gave him a pull into the wind, but, truth to tell, I was grateful for the opportunity to fall behind the group. We stopped to gather at an intersection, and, shortly after that, I couldn't find him among the riders; I think he fell behind. I caught up to John & Jane, who thought he was ahead, but then they didn't see him either, and went back to get him. I had sat down in the shade, and, when the rest of the group got up to go on, I was dizzy when I stood up. It cleared a bit when I got on the bike, but I still didn't have the speed I had earlier.

I maintained a B+ pace on the flats and downhills, but on the slightest upgrade I slowed way down. I eventually made it back to Mercer Park (remember that woman who'd done the C+/B rides? We had a conversational exchange about, "I'm done." "Me too."). I got the last soda out of the cooler, and made TEW drive home.

Her good news, though,was that she had done her D+ ride, and had a good time... and her computer was still under-registering, so she is faster and goes farther than she thinks (she was ALL bucked up by that news!). And she would ride with the group again, and she's thinking of getting a road bike (her fellow riders were urging her to do so!).

So I'm happy to say that it seems there will be more rides that both of us do in the future. And I'll try not to be an idiot about overexerting myself, and being too proud to admit it, next time.

Y'know what else? It may be partly because I didn't know these people that well, but this ride wasn't as chatty as the B rides I usually do. That's a lot of the reason I like groups and club rides, and I missed that today. I guess every now and again I gotta get my speed on, and over-extend myself (and pay for it), but I'm going back to B rides. For a while, anyway.