Sunday, July 29, 2018

cant get my act together

So I'm not as anxious as I was yesterday... but I just could not get my act together this morning. Instead of getting up at 4, as is my custom, I slept in until 5:30, then fooled around on the computer, then got talking to The Excellent Wife (TEW) until past 6:30, and by that point I was not gonna get it together to ride to the start of my ride at Six Mile/Blackwells Mills, so I threw some stuff in the car and went to the bagel place, which was hoppin'! with customers. I wasn't sure I'd get served and out in time, so I went to another bagel place across the street. It was empty, so I ordered there.

It turns out that it was rightfully empty; they are no longer making bagels on-premises, and the one I got, while not quite stale, was not quite fresh, either, and clumped with butter to the point that some of the clumps fell out of the bagel and bounced off my lap. I didn't have time to finish my bagel and the coffee by the time I got to the ride start...

...where there were just YONKS of riders waiting; I had EIGHT to start!

Well I sure can't keep track of that many, especially in my current state of psychological decompensation, so I hired Dr Lynn to sweep, and off we went.

We weren't far long when somebody noticed that I had the new, completely transparent water bottles in my cages; in fact, you couldn't even tell they were there! They weren't. They were still in the car, safe from theft and road wear. I could NOT get it together today.

We were much faster on the first half of the ride than I expected. The route I use usually goes into Hillsborough from Blackwells Mills, and there are some annoying, if not really demanding, hills near the beginning, and there is the climb on East Mountain. But Joe tells me we were at about 15.9mph before the break.

I usually tell folks they can sprint ahead on East Mountain; we go from one end to the other. Some take me up on it, some don't. I ride at a pace that's comfortable for me. The folks in front can drop in at Carrier and lead some group therapy, or get a pizza delivered, or something. Last time, I was bringing up the rear alone; this time, a few of the more compassionate took pity and kept me company.

Then down through Montgomery to the stop at The Usual Bagel Place.

Heading out after the stop, on River Road, one of the riders missed a shift, locked up the bike, and went over, winding up with some minor lacerations and some feelin' dumb; he said himself it was a rookie's mistake. At about the same time, another rider noticed that the box on his front derailleur was broken and wouldn't shift. I'm lookin' for somebody to blame this stuff on (you can see yesterday's post about that, too...).

And, channeling Tom H, we went up Faculty Road, which was closed except for the sidewalk.

Laura had already turned off to go home, and Andrew did as we went through Princeton (we went within a block or two of his house, and, since he'd ridden from home, he'd pretty much done the whole route anyway). We'd been proceeding at a regal pace after the stop, and were at about 14.7 average when we started up Laurel and Canal Road toward the end, but we made up the pace at that point, and wound up with ride data that looks like this. So it's a low B, sometimes lookin' like a high C+ ride, which is about where I usually come in.

This is my seventh lead for the year; I'm in for a jersey this year, maybe. Two more, and then the fall picnic ride. Maybe I can do it...

Saturday, July 28, 2018

july 28, 2018

I don't know how to start this one. Maybe with the fact that Laura OLPH wasn't on the ride, so we sent her the pic below (that she's already shared) to let her know we were thinking about her...

… or maybe I'll begin with the fact that, since we blame Tom for stuff that happens on rides when Tom isn't there, we decided to blame Jack for stuff that happened on today's ride, since Jack wasn't coming...

… but I've also got to bring up about the work anxiety. I don't make a secret of the fact that I have an anxiety disorder; over there on the right in the label cloud, you can find the posts in which I've made direct reference to it. It's been galloping, recently. I'm not going into details, but my anxiety about work is completely out of control, with false beliefs that border on delusions, physical symptoms associated with the anxiety, and feelings of dread and doom pervading. A demanding ride, with people I like, was just the thing for today.

Tom labeled it a "hillfest", and described it as:

This will be a hilly slow B ride of 45-50 miles through the roads along the PA and NJ side of the Delaware. Expect a couple of tough climbs along the way but I also promise some good views and some fun downhills.
 Five victims idiots riders came out in response to his call; besides Tom and me were frequent Insane Bike Posse members Ricky and Peter, Blake (of whom we've seen far too little), and another Jim, new to me. But you can see them in the picture above, as well as the parking lot pics below:

In order to bring about good fortune, Tom did the ritual of the Holy Kickstand, doused in the sacred Water of Brita:


As we got riding, I might have scared off one or two of 'em talking about just how crazy I was feeling, but it was good for me to do so, and it was good to get my legs working on some tough hills. The day was humid, and sweat just ran out of my headband across my nose; I wrung cups of sweat out of it at several times.

The Other Jim is slightly younger than I am (he rode rings around me), retired, with a collection of more bikes than I have t-shirts, and I don't know which of those qualities I'm the most jealous of! (In view of my anxiety, retirement sounds to me like an ideal life condition.) Jim chatted away as if he'd been in the Insane Bike Posse for years.

We did a tough climb near the start, then what felt REALLY demanding on Aquetong, visited three covered bridges (I decided a covered bridge in Pennsylvania is really a gateway to a tough climb), did a long slow climb to Bridgeton Hill Road, then the death-defying drop to Upper Black Eddy and the stop.

Check out the brand name on The Other Jim's bike:

...and although they're not fuzzy, he has dice - REAL DICE - on his cable caps.

(He also belongs to a bike club called the "F-bombs" but the picture of his steering tube cap didn't come out to show off the graphic.)

Back to Jersey, where we had a more sensible climb (is that a thing?). On the way to Federal Twist, we saw a tractor-trailer canted off the road at about a 45° angle because the right wheels had gone into the ditch. We're trying to figure out a way to blame that on Jack; after all, he had that trouble on Federal Twist,, and we went whipping down it a few minutes later. (I did some pretty whippy riding, too; as bad a descender as I am, I came close to my record-on-a-bike speed going down.) See the ride page, with my respectable top speed (but slow average) here.

And so I'm back. The crazy anxiety is not all gone, but it is better. Here's wishing you better, and calmer, days than I have had. Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down, and I'll be grateful for your assistance in trying to keep life in perspective.

Edit 7/29/18: The Other Jim included a reasonable photo of his "F-Bombs" stem cap:

I especially like the "Hello Kitty" detail.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

ride for july 29: 42 from blackwells mills

So let's try again for that ride I had to cancel a couple weeks ago: A visit to Rocky Hill and Princeton, avoiding Mt Lucas; 42 miles. We'll stop at my usual bagelry at about mile 20. Not too much climb. Hill Slug rules apply. Low B, unless the group gets away from me (as they did last time; I was bringin' up the rear, leadin' and sweepin' at the same time).

Route page. The elevation is probably underestimated, but it's not hilly.

Princeton Freewheeler Club ride. Hope to see youse there.

Link to the listing on the Club page.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

just about where i should be

Laura OLPH's ride listing on the Princeton Freewheelers ride calendar included the following description:

Flat ride at an honest B pace. 100 miles from my house (contact me for location, 7:15 a.m.), 85 miles from MCP East Picnic Area (approx. 8:00 a.m.), 68 miles from Etra Park (approx. 8:45 a.m.). 3 rest stops. No pace-pushers.

Well, I'm not doing 100 miles these days, and even 85 is probably beyond me in my current condition, but i figured I could handle 68 miles at the pace that Laura would probably go, so at stupid:30 in the morning I was at Etra, readying the bike and engaging the plumbing (which was actually open). Some time later, Winter Larry drove in, and at 8:30, the five who were starting either at Laura's or at Mercer Park rode in. Chris C came in shortly thereafter, and while he prepared, Laura did the ride speech and the rest of us cracked jokes and made small talk. Laura asked if I would sweep, and I gratefully accepted; I've been leading some rides, but I really belong in the back, shepherding the slow and those with mechanical problems.

We were eight: besides Laura, Chris, Winter Larry, and me, there were Jack H, Ricky G, comparatively new Hill Slug Brad, and Len, for whom this was his first Hill Slug ride and his first century.

Tom H wasn't along for this ride, so we decided early on we were going to blame him for any inconveniences or difficulties.

We took to the road at a spirited pace. I've been feeling poorly recently (I'm blaming a new hypertension med, but it may simply be a coincidence that the poorly-feeling started at the same time as the pills), and I was a bit concerned about being able to maintain the pace, but I didn't let on my concern, and I did OK.

Our first stop was at Ely Harmony and Jacksons Mills, where I had a bottle of OJ. Much of the ailment passed; perhaps what I need is more fruit juice. It was a hypothesis I would test along the way.

Rain was predicted, but the timing was a matter of dispute from the various sources. Laura said she'd decide at the Manasquan Reservoir if the route plan needed adjustment. I think she just wanted to see the Reservoir again and get some pictures. She wasn't the only one.

We rolled to the usual place, TR's in Belmar, and met Judy's ride; she evidently also thought a visit to the shore was a good idea for the day.

The Slugs got some food. I got a sub and another orange juice. So far, this hypothesis was fruitful. (Was that a pun?)

Mandatory establishment pics: yes, we were really near the ocean, with people on the beach and all:

And so, back. On the way back, Jack had a flat. Then, a half-mile later, his bottle cage needed tightening. Then a half-mile after that, his pump needed to be better mounted, or something. We decided to blame Tom H for the bad juju. (Of course.)

We stopped at the Dunkin Donuts at Wemrock and Monmouth Corner, where I got a gatorade substitute for my water bottle, and another orange juice. Don't mess with success.

And back. We headed back to Etra along Disbrow Hill Road, and I'm disappointed to see that the legendarily bad paving, about which I'd warned Len, has been redone. My credibility, never very good to begin with, has taken another hit. It may be because of that that Len jammed on his disk brakes and went down. I rolled back to see him, but it was clear that there was more damage to his pride than to either his bike or his knee. He resumed riding rings around me, as he had done all day, as we went back to Etra and the rest went on to Laura's.

Ride page. 67 miles, sweeping, on a flat Hill Slug ride to the shore. Except for the higher-than-usual average speed, this was  just about the kind of riding I had hoped to be doing. I hope there are more of 'em, and I hope I'm up to riding along.