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?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday, March 5, 2017

on a wintry weekend

Colder than I would have expected was Saturday March 4, so when The Excellent Wife (TEW) started hinting at a need for a date, I agreed without much reluctance to go with her to the American Watercolor show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and sent a text to Laura OLPH with my regrets that I would not be risking frostbite on the Lawrence-Hopewell trail ride that she'd scheduled.

The show is great... and HUGE; it goes on for room after room. Winslow Homer...

...Thomas Eakins...

... John Singer Sargent (BLUE ALLIGATORS, of all things!)...

...Georgia O'Keefe.

Neither of us had the calories available to make our usual stop at the Reading Terminal Market (TEW said something about getting something light there, but I've seen no evidence that anybody does anything "light" at the Reading Terminal Market), so we stopped at the Whole Foods in Princeton for a quick feed on the way home.

It wasn't going to be much warmer today, so I didn't even try to get to Cranbury for Winter Larry's ride (he advertises no rides below 34ºF). I did this short one about noon on the Krakow Monster, just to try to keep my inner Jabba the Hutt from emerging (it seems to be a losing battle). I was about to refer to today's ride as "a quick one", but there weren't nothin' quick about it. (I have been complaining about the look of the Monster. I took off the fenders and the rack, and I like it better now. I think I had made it into too much of a minivan.)

Back at home, I helped TEW hang portraits of the ancestors (we now have an ancestors gallery in the front room; ain't we posh and all?) and plan an upcoming trip to England. I've promised pics of the trip to coworkers, but I'm not eager to let them know about this blog. I'll have to set up an online gallery for them. I'll have details for all of youse-all when we come back.

One other thing: we made a donation to the local fire company. After a local scandal a year and a half ago, they ceased their fundraising for a while, but they've started up again. For reasons that should be obvious (if you look at the linked article), they need the money. Count us in.