Saturday, September 28, 2019

beautiful day

I thought Laura OLPH was going to be blowing glass on Saturdays, so I was delighted to see her list a ride from Hillsborough up to Oldwick for today. I checked in with her about distance, and was told about 50-55 miles. Right up my alley.

Starting in January, I started at Weight Watchers; I've hit goal and become a lifetime member, and I still go to the meetings (and track my food, weight, and activity, because that's what worked for me). The topic this week (last week?) was about maintaining motivation, and with my group's coach, the estimable Amy H, it led to a discussion of how our motivations (our "why's", in the WW parlance) can change over time.

Well, one of my "why's" is so I  can do rides like this one. I get to hang out with some extremely cool people, and push my bike around with 'em on some demanding roads, on one of the most beautiful ride days ever.

Tom H, Ricky G, Bob N, and Blake joined.

We started at the park in Hillsborough, and headed just about straight north. Laura made clear that there would be stops for pictures, and when she did, I did:

Well, you can't get that close to Solberg Airport without droppin' in, now can you?

We pass this farm on this ride, and I can never remember where it is... but I loved the twisted sycamore framed by the straighter, darker trees. I got a bunch of these; this was the best of the lot:

Where we turn onto Rockaway Road, there's this nifty ruin...

...and a bit further along, this nifty cottage compound. It's usually obscured by foliage; this was a rare sight of the grounds.

Shortly thereafter, there was this WHIPPIN' downhill on Fox Hill Road... but with a vista like this about halfway down, wouldn't you stop, too? The pictures don't do it justice.

And then to the Oldwick General Store, where I ate about my whole quota of calories and food points for the whole day. But I know I'll burn it off on a day like this.

Bob had some tire trouble on the way back.

My club is the Princeton Freewheelers, and my joke is, Q.: "How many Freewheelers does it take to change a tire?" A.: "How many do you have?"

I have no idea where this was:

By the time we got back, we had a smidge over 51 miles, 2200' of climb. I might have kept up on this ride a year ago, but I would have been miserable. This year, I'm glad I was in shape to do it. And it was a beautiful day.

Friday, September 27, 2019

salvaging the derailleur

It doesn't appear that Laura OLPH has written about it yet,but regulars on this blog might remember an earlier post where I mentioned her derailleur had locked up. She brought it to another mechanic, who apparently didn't know what to do with it; he recommended a soak in thick, viscous oil.

Well, no; what it wanted was a soak in thin oil so that the oil will seep into the doin's and break up whatever has concretized in there. I offered to give it a try, and soaked it in WD-40 for a couple days. I got some very fine particles out... but it still wasn't moving.

I loosened what I could, and attacked the pivot points with a selection of dentist picks. Then I bolted it up to a section of pipe and used screwdrivers to lever it, and got it to move a bit. It wouldn't retract, but it would respond to taps with a light mallet.

OK. Time to try some specialty stuff. I purchased a can of PB Blaster penetrating oil, gave the derailleur a dousing, and let it soak for over a day. More of those fine particles came out, and, after a bit of working it with the levers, it's back behaving again.

It's a bit the worse for wear; the levers left their marks.

I've filed them down a bit and had at them with steel wool, but the marks are still there. There's also a bit of a scar at the top of the clamp:

Nonetheless, it's alive again, which it was not last week at this time.

I have no idea how one might protect against such a thing: these lockups occur so seldom that I don't have a defense strategy (I don't have a big enough sample to hypothesize). Admitting ignorance on this. Any ideas?

Anyway, Laura, I'll get it to you the next time I see you.

Monday, September 23, 2019

fall picnic and weekend rides, and some (probably boring) introspection

If you're looking for the pictures from the Fall Picnic, head on over to the photos & albums page of the PFW website.

As I do on the All Paces rides, it was my intention to do a ride that my wife could come on, so we could ride together. I got a group (at one point, it was eleven); we had one who dropped out of a large, unruly ride; another we picked up at the stop. We stopped once to change a tire (OF COURSE I got all professorial and had to teach everybody how to do it); at another point a rider fell because of the all-too-common failure-to-clip-out problem; another rider suggested that the pedal spring might be too tight. I loosened the offending spring, and the rider indicated being impressed with the improvement.

But the thing I'll remember from this ride is the disappointment of the riders in the back when the fast folks in the front kept taking off. And I was among the fast folks. While we did come in at a C+ pace, we were right at the top end of it - which was NOT what I had either advertised or intended. Hmm.

The next day, I led my Lo-B Ride from Blackwells Mills. I'm developing a following there; I had seven: Peter F, Dave H, Rama K, Laura OLPH, Luis C, and Rolf M. Mini B had signed up, but rode in to say she wasn't coming along, thinking it was more than she could do (although she may just have decided that when she saw the res of us). And on the way down Canal Road, we picked up Jerry F.

Laura's excellent socks put in an appearance.

I had some GPS weirdness, so the ride page is divided into the first part (including my ride in from home, then to the bagel shop, then to the start), and the second part (including my ride home). It's a route to the Boro Bean in Hopewell that I've adjusted to avoid that climb up to Mount Rose. Laura thinks there are just as many, if not more, hills on this one, but if there are, they are spread out and less enervating. And besides, if you want to climb up to Mount Rose, go ahead; I won't stop you.

When we got to the Boro Bean, Rolf took a call and had to go; I wanted to document that he was really along:

He was a good sport about it. And, of course, I got bike pics:

As we came back, one by one most of the others went off to ride home: Laura, David, then Luis, then Rama... until only Jerry, Peter, and I were riding back.

And Jerry remarked about the speed on the last bit of the ride.

Now, as I think about it, another rider has said that my rides have gotten faster and faster, as I've lost weight and gotten into shape. It was not my intention, but I've got to think about whether I really want that happening on my rides, and whether I want to be a part of it... and what (if anything) to do about it. If I'm honest, I'm a B rider on the flats, who can sometimes ride at a B+ pace for a certain amount of time.

I've discussed with The Excellent Wife (TEW), and the plan we've come up with for the all-paces rides is for me to lead a C ride, planning for the middle-high part of that range, so we can ride together. As for the other rides I lead: next week is the last Sunday of the month; I won't be able to lead, but Peter F might do in my stead. The following week will be the first of the month, but I'll lead my planned C+ pace ride that week. Edit: No, I won't; I'm working that day.

None of you probably ever look at the post labels in the cloud over there on the right, but I have one labeled "competitiveness". It's really about how I'm trying to reduce my competitive streak. Initially, it was because there was some concern that I'd do dangerous or stupid stuff on the bike if I were feeling too competitive. But now that I'm a leader (and, with 24 rides so far this year, I think I qualify), it's also about making sure all the folks on my rides who should be up to the pace and other demands, are safe and having fun. (That doesn't mean I think every rider should be welcome on every ride; we have an individual responsibility not to overreach our abilities - we put ourselves and others in danger when we do.) The club has plenty of rides for people who want to push themselves. I don't want my rides to be a place where I push others.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

ride of attrition

I do two listings for most of my rides: one on the Princeton Freewheelers calendar, and one on this blog. The listing on this blog included the following:

I want to go back to the Pig at a time when they ought to be open!...I won't be able to do the ride the following week, and the 29th will be planned for a C+ ride. So come on out. (Except you real fast folks; you can go off the front, and the rest of us will carry on at a pace.)

Well, it sounded like a good enough idea that eight other folks came out. Mindy B and Dave H were waiting when I got there...

And Andrew A came in...

as well as Peter F and Peter G, Luis C, Bob N, and John W.

Now I tried - I really tried - to keep the pace, but some of these guys were goin', so we got a bit faster than I intended. But I didn't hear too many complaints. But more on that later.

We bobbled through Hillsborough and down to Montgomery where the bridge was out.

Peter G was sure we could have gotten through (and we probably could have), but I had plotted a route through the Arboretum and the park, and I wasn't going to waste it. (Cutting through the park also cuts out an annoying little hill on Harlingen, that apparently nobody complains about but me... but it was my ride, so there.)

 I like that one of John. But when we got to 518, he evidently cut off. I hope it was nothing I said or did.

It was the first of many.

As we were going to 518, we came up on Andy C, The Original Jeff L, and some others. They got mixed in our ride for a while. I tried to get some pictures, and dropped the camera. The camera survived... but there my group went, over the horizon. (I'd posted the route; I'm not surprised they went.)

A group of young fastboys passed me up, and I took advantage of their pull for half a mile or so... and when I got to Hopewell, Andy, Bob, and Mindy (and maybe someone else?) were waiting. So we proceeded to make the turn at Tyburn...

... and met up  with the rest of the ride, who were all waiting. So we went together into Pennington to the Pig. (It's "The Pig", because originally I couldn't remember the name of Sourland Coffee, and there were pigs on the walls, the hats, and the t-shirts. So for me, it will forever be The Pig.)

You might remember it was closed on Labor Day Weekend when we went. It was open today. (Oh, thank heavens. Even though Stylish Barista Woman wasn't there, there were a couple of younger women competently staffing the stations. I do not like to think of a future bereft of The Pig.)

Peter G, who had ridden in from home, left wen we got to Pennington. As we proceeded back through Princeton, off went Luis and Andrew... and them Mindy left at Suydam. So I got back to the parking lot with Dave H, Peter F, and Bob N. Four of us, out of the nine that started.

Oh well. The Donner Party had it worse.

Ride page. It includes my ride home; my ride in from home is elsewhere. You don't really care about that part, do you?