Sunday, September 30, 2018

down at the heels

Change your cleats BEFORE they get into this condition:

That cleat on your left is pretty far gone, eh? Can you tell which shoe I always clip out and put on the road?

No wonder I had a hard time finding that right pedal yesterday. Sheesh.

While you're here, take a look at yesterday's post. It wasn't a Freewheeler listed ride, but all the people on it are people I met in the club.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

chadds ford and brandywine ride

Taking a page out of somebody else's strategy book, Tom H gets his spin on a situation and won't give it up. He'd invited a number of us on a ride in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and his last email before we gathered to depart included this:
P.S. don't pay attention to the actual elevation its looks worst than it will actually be because I exported it from my mapping program. I've ridden down here before. There will be a lot of rolling hills but no real steep or long climbs. 
 And then after the ride he said, "It wasn't that hard of a ride, there was just a lot of up-and-down."

Well, 50 miles and almost 3900' of climb. You decide.

Tom had us assemble at a school parking lot in Bordentown; from there we consolidated bikes, impedimenta, and riders into three cars and headed down to the ride start in Delaware.

Quite near the start was a covered bridge that we didn't get pictures of right away.

Tom's rides are known for obstacles, among other things: "Road Closed", "Bridge Out", and "Detour" signs are so common on Tom's rides that we complain if they don't appear. (We find plenty of other reasons to complain, as Tom will waste no time in reminding me.) We had at least three road closures, all of which we were able to get through.

What we hadn't counted on was the road that, at one end, was marked as a private road, and at the other turned out to be no road, but someone's gated driveway. The gate was locked, of course, and we were on the inside of it.

We lifted our bikes over the gate, snuck through it, and tried to look like we belonged there while Ricky adjusted his dropped chain and Laura added to her collection of photos of spiders on webs.

Tom wasn't sure what kind of breaks we'd have on this 49-mile ride; there was a place at 20 miles and another at 35. Except the deli he'd remembered at mile 20 had magically transformed into a Mexican restaurant. There was a gas station across the way with toilets and water, and we took an "eat up your bars" break (he'd warned us of the possibility).

We were in the "flat" part of the ride, between about miles 15-22. We wouldn't see flat again.

A few miles later, we got lost for just a minute. I should have adhered to my Tom-ride aphorism: When in doubt, go uphill. Sure enough, the correct direction was up a climb that Tom insists was not too demanding, but a few of us other riders found otherwise.

Our other stop, at mile 35, was a a gas station/convenience store. It was good enough, and they were kind enough to let us use the toilet which was hidden deep in the "employees only" recesses of the building.

They ran out of regular gas while we were there, and shortly after that, a woman came up and asked if we thought running her lawnmower on high-test would have deleterious effects. Just as if we knew what we were talking about, we assured her that it would not. And then we high-tailed it out of there to the blessed anonymity of the road before she could return with a face full of lawnmower blowback and point out to us that we might have been mistaken.

Tom told us that he had added "something dumb" to the end of the route. It turned out to be this:

A year or two ago,Tom had led us on a series of rides to all the high points of each county in NJ. So here we were, at the highest point in Delaware (the actual highest point is apparently in somebody's nearby front yard). I felt an eerie symmetry. No, I really didn't. But Tom got a picture of us, as he had at all the high points on the rides we took.

And back to the start, where we added a mile or so and DID get pictures of that covered bridge.

I like that one of Jack coming back from the bridge...

...although purists will probably like the one above better.

Ride page. So what do you think? Demanding ride or no? Well, I'll tell you: for this sixty-something with fewer than 2,000 miles in his legs for the year, it was tough enough. 

I'm glad I did it. It was a great day, and these are my friends; some of them came out to support me at last week's picnic ride. I am honestly grateful to know them and to get invited to do this stuff with them. Thank you Tom, Laura, Ricky, Jack, and Bob, for one of the best days I've had in months.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

great pic

Fellow Princeton Freewheeler Martin Griff got this pic of me doing the tire-change clinic at the picnic yesterday:

That's the best I've looked in a long time! Thanks! (Click on it to get the full-size; it's worth it.)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

princeton freewheelers fall picnic

Today was the Princeton Freewheeler Fall Picnic and All-Paces rides, and I couldn't have asked for a better time.

I led a ride that The Excellent Wife (TEW) came along on. It went great; we had a great time, along with the more-than-a-dozen riders that came along. Among those were Laura OLPH, Tom H, and Jack A, three of my friends from Laura's Hill Slugs and Tom's Insane bike Posse, with whom I haven't been able to ride recently due to either weakness or scheduling. This ride was paced below their level, but they came out because I haven't seen them in a while, and because, apparently, they fell like that is what friends do. they came along for ten miles of our ride, and then went off on their own, and I'm just beside myself with gratitude.

The rest of the group I led did this route (if you're paying attention, it's almost the same as the group rides I led earlier in the season). I had advertised a low C+, but we brought it in as am mid C+ and everybody seemed to be happy, even the folks at the back. A rider who'd had a bit of trouble on an earlier ride came along, and I don't know who was happier when she finished strong: she or I. And what matter is it, anyway?

(Sssh. Don't tell anybody. This is the tenth ride I've led in 2018, after having to postpone FOUR of them for rain on the weekends I planned. I want a jersey next April!)

Yes, there's a picture album on Photobucket. I gotta find a new hosting site; any ideas?

After the picnic lunch, I did a quick class on tire changing. I did all the work; if I do it again, I'll make a point to tell people to bring their own bikes and have three or four people work on a single bike. But the people in the class seemed to be satisfied, even if I wasn't.

We talked about a few things I promised I'd link to. I get my sunglasses at; the type I use is the Uvex Genesis because a prescription insert is available. To get the lenses inserted, I couldn't find a local guy to do it, but the folks at LensesRX will put lenses in your frames for a reasonable cost (go for the progressive lenses; I tried the bifocals and it was a stupid economy that didn't work).

I also talked about the cheap tubes I get, these Duro from JensonUSA. The price has soared to $3.79 from the $3.00 I remember paying (possible in response to Our Orange President's tariffs), but the price is still good if you buy 'em in bulk and add enough stuff to qualify for the free shipping at $50.

So the laundry's in, I ate too much, and I'm doing another ride out of Franklin tomorrow. TEW and I are still glad of each other's company (which was not the case for much of LAST Saturday). I'm planning to attend the Freewheeler Board meeting on Monday, and there's already talk of getting me on the board, and I haven't even shown up yet!

Life could be worse.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

barely b

So I posted a ride, and this time the weather cooperated and I didn't have to cancel, like I've done four times this year (!). I've done thirteen listings, and led four times. Hmm.

Laura OLPH and Joe M came out for this one. I'm still pretty crazy in my head, and I was glad of the company. Laura and I chatted about work, friends, bikes, and such (she use parts that are no longer made, and has been haunting Ebay for "new old stock" and "used but usable"). Joe is quieter, but I was glad he came as well. I have terrible pictures I'll post below.

Now, for my thirteenth listing, SOMETHING had to happen...  and as I was riding I felt water droplets on my leg. Huh? I looked down, and, of all things, the lid to my water bottle had gone missing while the bottle was in the cage:

We traded theories about how it happened. Any suggestions?

We did this route (that ride page includes my ride from home and back). My average was just 15.0, barely into B range, and Laura and Joe were with me the whole way, so I doubt their numbers were higher by much!

We stopped at the bagel place in Princeton North, where I got these pictures that border on libelous:

Laura left for home after the stop; Joe and I road back to the start.

I'll be leading a slow C+ ride at the picnic next week. I hope I can keep up.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

ride for september 16

So y'know that ride I wanted to do last week that got rained out, and I wasn't in any shape to do it anyway?

Let's try it again this Sunday. This will be the third time this year I've moved a ride by a week. I'm getting good at it.

35 miles or so, at my usual low-B pace.

Route page. If you're riding in, you can figure where to cut out.

This will be a Princeton Freewheeler club ride. Link to listing on Freewheeler site.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

ride for september 9

I'm working Saturday September 8, so I was glad to see the weather prediction clear up a bit for Sunday 9/9. Let's do about 35 from Six Mile/Blackwells Mills. I'll list at at my usual low-B pace, but I went out with Team Social Security today, and couldn't finish the C+ ride, so the pace may be slower (I hope that the heat, and the brake bind I found later, were the problem, and not my general decline).

Route page. If you're riding in, you can figure where to cut out.

This will be a Princeton Freewheeler club ride.

Link to listing on Freewheeler Website.

 Edit Sp 8 2018, 8:19 pm: Weather threatens  again, and my sole sign-up has family stuff to do. We'll try again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

visiting mom

Shortly after my father died, six years ago, my mother moved into senior housing in Buffalo, a few miles away from where my sister and her husband have a house (the announcement of the move came as a surprise to me). Mom's birthday is today, so every Labor Day, The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I take a long weekend and drive up to visit.

We stayed in a guest room at the apartments where she lives, and dropped in on her after the drive up on Friday.

On Saturday, before mother was potting about, we went to a HUGE farmers market near my sister's house. It's big enough that there's competition, and instead of paying a premium for buying at a farmers market, as seems too often to be the case here in the Garden State, stuff is actually cheaper (and, usually, better) that stuff in stores. Here's TEW, my sister, and her husband rejoicing in their farmers market finds:

From there we went to the Burchfield Penney gallery. Burchfield was an artist who mostly did trees, and I wish i liked his stuff better than I do. He left some money for the gallery, as well as his works and collection. They specialize in modern (many of them, living) artists. Some of the stuff was cool...

 That above is Backpack by Jason Seeley, from 2013, and I thought it was great. But much of the stuff is disturbing in various ways, like this Little Dancer by Jonathan Rogers from about 2000:

It's part of a series of works, and they were NOT comfortable.

Mom came out with us to the gallery, though, and loved it. I think much of what she loved was being out with family, though. More later on that.

The next day, Sunday, my sister and her husband, and TEW and I, did the "Maid of the Mist" boat trip that goes to the bottom of Niagara Falls.

...and a gajillion other pictures that didn't come out.

Then back to Mom's apartment, where her little brother, who's 83 and the life of the party, came over from Rochester. We went out to dinner and had a great time.

But mother is 88 now. She can take care of herself with some help, but she can't retain new memories, and doesn't remember that she's already told you what she just told you, to say nothing of what she told you last week. She's not to the point where she can't be trusted living on her own, but I won't be surprised if she's at that point by the time next year rolls around.

She's twenty-four years and a bit older than I, and I worry for my own condition in the upcoming years, as well as hers. My ride home was thoughtful and emotionally difficult. And the end is not yet. I am lucky and grateful to have TEW to put my parts back together.