Sunday, December 29, 2019

la règle neuf

Today's ride might have been the last listed ride for the Princeton Freewheelers for 2019 that actually occurred. Team Social Security has one listed for tomorrow, but it's been cancelled.

I've been eager to get back to leading on Sundays, and had today free, so I listed one, even though the weather was threatening. And as the week progressed, the weather prediction deteriorated, to the point that I shortened the planned route, and moved the start time earlier.

Despite better judgement, Chris C, and Sophie T, came out.

I planned a shortened route through Princeton, then up to Hopewell, with a stop at the Boro Bean, then up through Skillman and Montgomery back to the parking lot at Blackwells Mills/Six Mile Run. We maintained a pretty quick pace, for a Plain Jim ride. I switched my usual route to take Pretty Brook road instead of Rosedale, and I avoided the climb to Mount Rose (there isn't any less elevation, the way I go, but it's spread out over more distance).

Despite my hopes, as we pulled in at Boro Bean, there were spatters of rain. We made a stop, nonetheless:

(Sophie was taken with this painting, whom I recognized as St George; that is, after all, the approved posture for killing dragons:)

As we were leaving, I spotted Brent D:

...but no time to catch up with him; the rain was dripping and threatening worse. I made an executive decision to abandon the route and head straight back on 518 to Canal Road; it wouldn't save much distance, but it did save some hills.

And it worked fine, until I caught a flat in Rocky Hill. Chris and Sophie were thoughtful enough (and apparently not too cold) to hang around, then we burned some sugar, as my saying goes, getting back to the start.

Chris is sure that the reason the rain held off is that he had his magic rain jacket in his bag, he says it is an unfailing talisman for warding of weather - evidently bad weather only comes when he doesn't have it. As for Sophie, she is from Canada, and considered today's ride as a jaunt for a balmy spring day. But Quebecois, as she is, I decided that the title of today's post would be translated into French. And even though she would probably pooh-pooh the idea of it, I'm considering today's a Rule 9 ride:

Rule 9: If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

ride with tom to bordentown

Sometimes, I just enjoy a ride with people I like.

Tom H posted a ride for today: 40 miles from Mercer Park East Picnic Area. With the weirdness of Christmas and the family stuff going on, I was glad to have the opportunity, especially since the weather promised to be somewhat more forgiving than it had been of late.

I got there early, but Jack A's van was already parked; he was getting a few extra miles in. Chris C, Bob N, Ricky G, Andrew A, Laura OLPH, and a younger guy, Sean (Shawn?) came out. (I was impressed with Shawn; he while he was wearing long sleeves and tights, he had no-show socks on, and generally didn't appear dressed in such a way as to suggest the cold was any bother to him. And he rides with toe-clip pedals. Much respect.)

Lotta red on those jerseys, eh?

For a Tom H ride, it was pretty tame: no bridges out, no closed roads, no wrong-way-on-a-one-way. We did go along a pedestrian shortcut or two.

We headed down to Bordentown and stopped at a convenience sore in town (is there anyplace else to stop in Bordentown?).

And back. It wasn't an epic ride; there was not much particularly memorable about it. We chatted as we rode, and made a few bad jokes. But it was a good thing to do on a warmish winter day, when there is too much drama in other parts of my life. And it was good to hang out with people I like.

And that's enough.

Do you care where we went?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

ride for dec29 (if we don't get rained out)

EDIT: I'd really like to do this, and the weather might not cooperate, so I'm moving the start to 9:30 and shortening the ride to about 34-35 miles.

I'd really like to get one more ride in for the year on Sunday, so I'm listing this, but if the weather prediction worsens, don't be surprised if I cancel. The way it stands now, I'm planning about 38 miles from Blackwells Mills/Six Mile Run, going down to Princeton, then to Hopewell with a stop at the Boro Bean, then through Skillman and Montgomery; it'll look like this route (but it won't be...).

One of our number forgot a helmet last time; if you do that, ask... some of our members have an extra helmet in the car. I didn't know it either, until it came up, too late for the rider to come along.

I promise to be in better shape than I was last week. The more I think about it, the more I think it wasn't the heavy bike, it was the unready rider (me) who was the problem. Still, I'm planning to bring the Maserati this time. I ain't as young as I useta be (I was never as young as I useta be...).

As usual: Princeton Freewheeler Ride, non-members are allowed one free one, then you gotta join. Come on out and keep me company, if the rain doesn't fall.

Monday, December 23, 2019

younger than i am

With the possible exception of Princeton Freewheeler Board meetings, it seems that everywhere I go, everybody is younger than I am.

I'm not gonna do anything stupid like trying to dress like I'm forty years younger (I can't get into them tight-legged pants, anyway), but I noticed it again recently.

I also notice that, if I'm not either overdressed or outrageous, many people just don't appear to see me. So I'm opting for overdressed, at least for now. Plan to see neckties and blazers.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

knife to a gunfight

Can you see those Santa-tights on Chris?

I haven't led a Sunday ride in three months. I knew that October would be busy (and it was), and November turned up with a couple of rainy Sundays and a couple of busy ones, and then the Excellent Mother-In-Law had a stroke, and I seem to remember on one of those weekends Tom H wanted to lead, so I gave it up for him...

...and the next thing I know, I haven't led a ride since September 22. Yesterday was too cold for me to go out on a club ride, but I put one in for today. I had thought to ride in from home for extra miles...

... but then Laura OLPH hinted that she might have a gift that she would bring.It turned out to be this bit of vitreous excellence:

...with reactive color bits that change depending on what else is in the neighborhood. I like it.

Laura appeared, of course, as did a few others of The Usual Suspects: Ricky G, Chris C, Jack H, Dave H... and Luis C, who couldn't ride along, because if a bit of morning frantic disorganization (where WERE those goggles?), he left his helmet at home. Knowing that I'm a bike-socks aficionado (or, at least, enthusiast), he ported these excellent Christmas socks, and I had to get a picture before he left.

Now, I brought the other bike. On most of my rides, I use the Yellow Maserati, the titanium-frame bike that is my undoubted favorite. A few years ago, I built up a bike using a Surly Crosscheck frame. I've never really loved it, and I embarked on a project to rehabilitate it (there's a story in that, which I'll write up eventually). Part of the problem was a saddle that I used to like, but don't anymore. I've replaced that with a Selle Anatomica X2 (there's a story in that, too), and I've replaced the downtube shifters with those Gevenalle shifters I like (I don't ONLY like them because they're obscure and weird, but that doesn't hurt). I like the Crosscheck (which I call the Krakow Monster; Of COURSE there's  story in that) much better with the changes... but it's 12lbs heavier than the Maserati.

Nonetheless, I decided to bring it on today's ride. I paid for that decision; I was way off the back on the hills, way off the back at the end of the East Mountain Road run, and huffin' and puffin' when I was climbing the wall on Burnt Hill Road. (In a fit of misplaced compassion, I decided to try to avoid the climb on Opossum Road. The consensus was that the climb on Burnt Hill going to 518 was worse. Caveat rider.)

It didn't help that I underestimated how hungry I was at breakfast. We made a stop at Thomas Sweet.

I made my way through a chocolate-chocolate-chip muffin faster than it took to type the words just now. It must have helped, because after the break, I was doing much better at keeping up with the crew.

Or maybe they were just being merciful.

In any case, I've got a few more changes to make to the Krakow Monster, but then I'm relegating it to solo training rides and rides rated C+ or lower. Pushin' that heavy thing will help me to keep from running away with the pace, as has been complained about (see the last paragraph in the page linked above for September 22).

Anyway - it's good to be back leading a Sunday ride. Here's hoping for some good weather and open scheduling, so I can do more. When the weather is a bit more genial, maybe youse can come out, OK?

Friday, December 20, 2019

i might wanna do this event

Back in 2011, I did the Anchor House ride (see my huge long post about it). It's 500 miles over a week. I remember by Friday, my sixth day of riding, I was just exhausted; I remember that a rider was killed on the last day. Seven days was too long for me.

It's even worse too long for me now. But I found this ride, and it has me intrigued:

The Harbor House Ride for New Beginnings is a three-day, under-200-mile loop around NJ. It's also a supported ride (like Anchor House), and they look like they know what they're doing. I might wanna.

Check out the site. You interested?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

ride for dec 22

I can't believe it, but I haven't led one of those Sunday rides for THREE MONTHS.

Oh, my stars. Between weather and family responsibilities, things just haven't worked out, until now. It appears I'll be able to get one more in before the end of the year.

So just to be sure I can still do 'em, we'll do a route that will look like this one, but will probably be a little different. There has been construction around the area, and it's probably cleared by now... but maybe not. So I'm making a few changes just to be sure.

We'll start at 10 at the usual Blackwells Mills lot. There should be adequate parking; some of the mountain bike riders don't come out in this weather.

If you sign up in advance, I'll try to pre-print you on the ride sheet so your fingers don't get too cold when you have to fill it out. (And I'll know that somebody is actually planning to come, and I haven't been completely forgotten!)

How could I have let these go for THREE MONTHS?

Princeton Freewheelers ride. Gotta be a member; non-members get one ride free (then you gotta join), yadda yadda yadda. (Link to ride listing on Freewheelers website...)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

road morph pump bracket

Just because I'm not ready to buy it and I want to be able to find it again... link to the offset bracket for the Road Morph pump.

The Topeak Road Morph is undoubtedly among the top of the line in pumps you carry on your bike, rating with the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive, but, at about half the cost, less like jewelry and more like a tool. But the bracket that comes with the Road Morph replaces one of your bottle cages. Other pumps have an offset bracket that mounts behind the bottle cage, so you can still carry your usual complement of bidons (see how elite I am, using that fancy-ass word for water bottles?). Well, Topeak has one, too... but it's apparently the best-kept secret in the US bicycle industry; I came across a link in a long-forgotten thread in an obscure bike forum. (OK, maybe the forum is not so obscure.)

So, yeah, when I get my act together, I'll probably get one for the Krakow Monster. I've got a project to rehabilitate that bike so I like it better. In fact, that will likely make another blog post.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

widdershins to sergeantsville

Regular readers may know that my excellent mother-in-law had a stroke a couple of weeks ago. Partly as a result of that, Thanksgiving was chaotic (to say the least), so when Laura OLPH posted a ride for today, I wanted to go, and The Excellent Wife (TEW) made it pretty clear that she was, at least, supportive. (She may have been grateful, in hopes that I'd get some of the crankiness out of my head.)

Laura didn't post a route, but said that she was planning to take a counter-clockwise route to Sergeantsville, which sounded good to me.

Now, "deosil" is an old Scots word that means to travel in the direction of the sun, or clockwise in the northern hemisphere; the opposite is "widdershins", so we were taking a widdershins route. There was an old Northern English and Scots tradition that walking around a church widdershins was at least unlucky, and might actually call up the Devil himself.

But that was not our experience today, except at one point in a minor way.

Ricky and I met Len outside Laura's to get in a few extra miles.

And then we headed over to the Pig, where we met the rest of the crew: Racer Pete, John K, Chris C, Peter G, and Ron, riding yet another in his stable of beautiful old bikes, this one a Raleigh from the 80's with Campagnolo components.

Off we went. Now, this direction is the opposite of the one we usually use to get to Sergeantsville, and it's better in almost every way. First of all, it seems like the hills are gentler than in the other direction. And secondly, we spent a few miles on Yard Road, between 579 and Sandbrook Headquarters Road. Yard Road is one lane, mostly; passing farms and small houses. I thought it was beautiful, and if the group had been willing to stop, I'd have yonks of pictures (if we go when the weather is nicer, perhaps I will, but it was cold today). Laura, consider this a hint: I like Yard Road. It's not that River Road we do by the railroad tracks up north, which is one of my favorites; it's not Alexsauken Creek Road, which I think of as fifteen minutes of vacation, but it's pretty and I won't complain if we go back.

Now if you go to Sergeantsville, you probably stop at the general store... but there's a place with bagels that Laura likes next to the Delaware Township Fire Department. It's named Bagel Barn, and it was worth foregoing the general store.

I got the picture of John, above, and he insisted I take another with the diabetes logo on his jersey legible. Herewith:

I got a couple of pictures of Ron's gorgeous Raleigh, but they don't do it justice:

And back. By this time, the weather had warmed up a bit. We came down Sandy Ridge-Mt Airy, then climbed up to the farm at Mt Airy, then down again and up to Rock Road.

When we turned onto 579, the bad luck of widdershins caught up to us: about every car in the county was out for Thanksgiving Saturday. With no shoulder and oncoming traffic, the cars did what they could to get around us, some with better humor than others. It seemed we were on that road for hours; I was grateful when we turned onto 623.

And back after that. We returned to the Pig, where a few of us had coffee and junk before heading out.

Re: that last picture: Laura didn't want pictures of her unless she was on the bike. That's her arm encroaching from the left. Perhaps she is rethinking her decision.

Ride page.

It looks like rain for tomorrow, so probably mostly chores and maybe some bike maintenance (I got a new Selle Anatomica R2 saddle, which I don't think I like; I'll probably swap it back out for the older one, among other things). So while Thanksgiving itself was difficult, I'm grateful I got this ride in today.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

not without incident

Tom H wasn't up for a B-paced ride this weekend, so he emailed a number of his Insane Bike Posse (most of us are also number among Laura OLPH's Hill Slugs, and the Usual Suspects who come along on my rides) suggesting we go on Tru Tran's C+ ride. A few of us changed plans to go along.

Because of my mother-in-law's condition, I was grateful for the invitation and the fellowship.

I got to the start early, and found Barry...

...but I was extra early, and wanted to put a few miles in, partly because I'd made some adjustments and modifications to the Yellow Maserati (maybe I'll write about those in another post). When I got back, others had shown up to the start.

We hadn't gone a mile when one of us, fiddling with his bike GPS, ran int a car side mirror and went down.

He wasn't badly hurt, but his front wheel may not recover (and nor, apparently, will the car's mirror). The driver of the car was very kind; they exchanged information, and the rider limped back to the start, while the rest of us continued. It was probably a bad start to that rider's winter.

On we went on a circuitous route from Cranbury to Princeton Junction. If you look at the ride page, you'll see that twenty-three miles in, we took a left onto Cranbury Neck Road, a point at which we could have arrived in about four miles if we'd ridden directly. (But, of course, these rides are hardly about riding directly. We would have lost out on the miles and the fellowship had we gone straight there!)

Shortly thereafter, I came up with a flat in the rear tire. When I examined the wheel, I found a piece of glass not quite big enough to be one of the projects that Laura is working on. I found it when it sliced shallow gashes in two of my fingertips as I examined the tire. (I have bandaids on those fingers as I'm typing this, and the usually-sluggish speed of my typing has now devolved to a glacial pace.)

I fixed the flat (with the gang looking on, but not insisting on helping, which is unusual for a FreeWheelers tire change), and we got going to the stop at the Dunkin Donuts in Princeton Junction.

I got pictures of a few of the bikes (well, DUH!).

Below, Steve S's handlebar. I think he needs to carry more stuff.

And back. On the way back, Steve S dropped ff the ride for a bit; it turned out he'd found something on the road he wanted to pick up.

Shortly thereafter, we got split; Tru was falling back to keep an eye on one of the riders. He'd bonked, and didn't want to go on. We loaded him up with Gatorade and got him to a location where he could be more easily found by the ride he was calling to pick him up.

After that, I said to Tom that I was definitely going to go on Tru's rides: everything that could have happened on one of Tru's rides, already had that day, so Tru would probably be the safest leader in the club from now on.

Tom, with a degree in engineering, said, "Statistics don't work like that."

I said, "They do for an English major."