Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cool Runnings

The thermometer said 28F when the sun rose today. By ride time, it had skyrocketed to 36F. At least the winds were calm. I met Joe at the Village Green park for an 8:30 start. Two new faces came by as well, Monty and Ken. And new as in new to cycling. Not just new to Club Lite. They had bikes. Still on the "need to get" list were things like: Gloves (Brrr!), spare tube, patch kit, pump, tool kit. Stuff like that. Actually, Ken had most of it. He had a CO2 kit, but he hadn't tried it out yet. Michelle can surely give him lessons. I'm a pump type myself. If you freeze the grass blades but miss the valve stem with your ONLY CO2 cartridge, you still have a flat. With a pump, you run out of arm before you run out of air. When you're cute like Michelle, guys fight for the chance to pump your tires up. Ken, you don't have that going for you buddy. Sorry. Since no one had a flat, it all was good.

Monty was spending some extra time in the parking lot after the rest of us had cleared the vicinity so we doubled back to check it out. Seems his spd cleats would not go into the pedals. After watching for a little while, it appeared that the tension in the pedals was way too tight. Ken's pocket tool had the right hex key, so Monty was able to loosen it and away we went. For a couple of new guys, they handled themselves pretty well. We had the abbreviated version of the Beginner ride safety talk before mounting up, and no problems came out during the ride. Monty wanders too close to the center line for my taste (Many careless vehicles come across into our lane, even just a little) but how could I complain since JOE does the same thing! No close calls today, just some irate drivers. One old guy laid on his horn and he had NO reason to. We were behaving then.

Ken did the 16 mile version: He turned around at the Holly Mart in Elmore. The rest of us headed up Cesarville Rd to The Boys Store in Slapout. On the way, we passed a solo rider going south and exchanged greetings. A few minutes later, he was behind me in the paceline. "Who's back there?" I asked. "Scott Angus" came back the reply. Hmm, doesn't SOUND like Chief Break-A-Sweat, I thought. Turns out we have TWO guys with the same name in the area. This new one hauls pretty quickly, so the two Scotts would probably have a good ride together. Sweat might even happen. New Scott was very congenial and says that people refer to drafting him as being like "riding behind a UPS truck." I could really enjoy riding with him :) Another shining moment was when he was behind me in the line and asked if my bike was running White Industries hubs (Yes it is) . He didn't get the Paul Neo Retro brakes, but he did good.

Scott went all the way around to Millbrook with us before heading back to his home base. Monty was hanging in with us in good shape all the way. I think that once he dials in his new ride and figures out what works best for him in the way of gear and clothes, he'll really enjoy himself. "How often do you guys ride centuries?" was what he asked me today about mile 23. He's thinking in the right direction anyway. We didn't harass him too much. He thought his front derailer was out of adjustment becuase he couldn't get the large chainring. At a break, I looked at it, pushed the lever and went right on it. "It's the rider, not the shifter" I reported. :) His STIs had indicators in the hoods which were new to me. When you have friction bar ends like I do, you miss all the latest techno stuff. The gear position thingies he had looked pretty cool.

The way back was quicker than the way out, despite the headwind which kicked up. Plenty of dogs today, but all were friendly. The bell worked 100% of the time. The ride finished for us at 13.7 avg, in the advertised (phatt tire bike) range of 13 - 15. I may kid about the riders and the gear, but I keep it straight when giving route, grade and speed info. It matters to me to know what I'll be facing, so it may matter to others too. Joe had to make it somewhere on time so he and Scott left us in a cloud of dust the last 8 miles. Hope he enjoyed his day regardless.

Rides seem a little tougher in the cold, but I am glad when they are over that I've done the work. Learning from last week, I went baselayer: LS SWOBO wool, jersey: LS Nike wool, Livestrong DriFit jacket over it all . Wool Jonesware shorts under medium weight Hind tights. Defeet wool socks in swoosh hi tops, with toe covers on. Ibex wool gloves. Wool Walz cap under the helmet. Worked very well. I've been fighting off whatever is making the rounds in our part of the world this week, so it wa a little harder than I'd like to pedal. After about 10 miles though, I felt warmed and loose, and didn't think about it again. How great it is that we can just get on a bike and ride. THAT never gets old.


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