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

Saturday, January 3, 2009

1st Club Ride of 2009

A dozen of us showed up at Pintlala today for the '09 edition of MBC Club rides. Patty, Billie, Robert, Mike 1, Dan and Vanessa sped away at regular pace, while Joe, John, Jim, Roger (NTCP), Therese and Mike 2 joined yours truly on the Lite version of a ride. Joe had some mechanical issues and turned off early on, and hopefully has already scoped out the problems and made adjustments. Sounded like something in his outboard crank bearings. Sounds on a bike, as many of us know, can be deceptive.

I posted a couple of ride options at Mapmyride and we went with the middle distance, a 36 mile collection of roads we have been on more or less frequently while doing other rides. This one had plenty of rollers, and we passed over the Glassner Classic Maillot Pois, painted in the intersection of Brady Rd and West Hickory. There are 31 and 41 mile routes posted as well, just variations on what we have been doing for years, but sometimes a little mixing up of the roads freshens the appeal.

It rained here in Prattville early on, and was cloudy most of the day, but the weather held for our trip. If anything, we had too much on. It was hard to believe the mercury might climb to 70F today, but it did. I haven't had to think about sweat management in several months, but the salt was in our eyes today.

The riders ebbed and flowed in the pack, and enjoyed conversation with whoever they happened to be alongside at the moment. I heard about plans for new bikes and new biking trips, and the pros and cons for various lighting and other bike set ups. Roger filled us in on his exclusive Ramer luncheon from a few weeks back. (He chatted up a local when we made our store stop, and wrangled an invite. Better him than me. He says they sized him up and decided they needed to put some more meat on his bones. I need to get meat OFF my bones)

It was painful to watch Therese work up the hills. The poor thing has a classic style 53/42 crankset up front paired to what looks like a Shimano 12 - 21 cassette in the back. I'm going to make her try the rear wheel I built for garage trainer use. It at least has a 24 on it. For those who may not know, the relative effort of pedaling is the # of gear teeth in front divided by the # in back. So, the easiest Therese can get is 42/21, or a factor of 2. The Saluki I rode today has a front gear set of 50/40/26 and rear of 11 - 34. I can get as low as 26/34, or about 3/4. Today, I only needed the middle ring, so I went as low as 40/26. That's still about 25% easier than what she had to work with. I told her to think about going to a 50/34 up front too. 34/24 gets her effort down from 2 to 1.4.

There seemed to be a large number of dogs today, but all obeyed the magic bell. We also came close to a large hawk, and many farm animals. Traffic was generally light and there were no problems with the driving public. I found that a Nashbar Stretch rain cover for your helmet also does great as a rain cover for your saddlebag. I had room to roll up a rain jacket under it as well. You can buy specific saddle bag rain covers for a lot more money, but this works just as well. Of course, if you only have ONE cover, it can't be both on the helmet and the saddlebag. Hmmm..

We all agreed it was a nice ride. 36.2 miles at 14.2 avg, with 680' +/- of climb. After getting home and cleaning up, Alex and I took down the Christmas lights. Good thing we did too, becuase as I write this entry, rain is falling to the sound of thunder. While I was putting stuff away in the garage, I noticed the grease was still out from some fix it job or other. Before putting it away, I managed to service the hubs on a wheel set not in use. Great afternoon!

Still time for some football, and to get tomorrow's lessson ready.


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