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.