Sunday, February 23, 2014

crankier-than-usual ride with winter larry

Especially at this time of year, any ride from which you return with no injuries and no arguments is a good ride. I'm certainly glad that there are people who are willing to lead rides, especially in this weather; I'm grateful for the company, and I can't do it myself. I just wish I felt better about this one.

Before the end of the work week, Winter Larry had sent around an email indicating his plan to lead. By the time we left the start in Cranbury, we had sixteen, including a number who had ridden on Laura's ride yesterday (and perhaps a couple who had not, but wished they had). Larry asked me to sweep, and then expressed his intention to go to the Battlefield Orchard, which meant that we would get to the stop about 1/3 the way into the planned route, and we would have to ride out 522 through Englishtown and Freehold. A request was raised to reverse the route, but Larry thought that the traffic would be worse as the day got later, so off we went.

We did this route. We'd barely gotten to the far side of Route 130 when one of our number picked up a screw in his tire, which required not only a tube replacement, but a boot. About four of us waited while the others went ahead for a bit. It took a while to do the replacement, and during that time, Al L instructed me in the lore of tubeless tires (and the more I hear about 'em, the better I like my clinchers). The extra bit took some time, and I got a call from Laura OLPH on my cell asking if we were OK, but by the time I got the phone out I'd missed the call, so I left a message with her... and then crested the hill, and there were the rest of the riders! The best laid schemes...

As we rode along 522, I was disconcerted by the amount and intrusiveness of the traffic; I was certainly glad that we hadn't gone later than we did. One of our number who's sometimes a little behind, was a LOT behind today, and I suggested to Larry at the stop that we keep an eye on him.

Shortly after we left the stop, Larry had a flat, which also took longer than usual to change. He may have felt stressed about having lost so much time, but soon after that, as I was staying behind with the person who was lagging, he and the rest went through a traffic light, that then turned red and caught the two of us. At the next intersection, the rider who had been lagging decided to go his own way (he was back at the parking lot at the same time as the rest of us, so that was probably a good idea).

Can I brag for a bit? Two of the riders from yesterday and today needed either cable or housing, and asked if I had some (they know I do my own wrenching). It turns out I had what they were looking for. I wonder, if the bottom ever falls out of the mental health business, if I can get a job fixing and assembling bikes -- or would any self-respecting bike shop owner take a good look at me and decide I'm too crazy to spend that much time in such a small shop with him or her?

Pictures (not as many as yesterday). At parking lot before the start:

Below, at the Battlefield Orchard:

Below: Ed C's carbon bike needs some mechanical attention; this is a nifty old lugged Trek with downtube shifters. (Ed asked, "Don't you want me in the picture?" I said, "Nope.")

(I really like that picture above more than I have any right to do. That happens to me with some of my pictures.)

Below: waiting for Larry, et al, to fix his tire:

Below: Larry's tire-repair crew:

Back on the road:

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