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

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nycthemeron in Mooresville!

Days 1 and 2 of this year's BikeMS ride, upstate edition, could hardly have been more different. Some things though, WERE the same. The generator used in the meal tent would cut out if both the lights and coffeemaker were on at the same time. Lights we can live without. See for yourself:

Breakfast Call! by you. No lights...

About 100 were pre registered for the ride, but stormy forecasts kept some of those away. We got 30 "dry" miles in. "Dry" because the prodigious humidity provided the moisture that drenched us before the 1st raindrop fell. That 1st drop was in the form of a brief sprinkle, and then we had another, and finally it rained for real. Real as in, flash flood warnings issued. Standing water on the road in low spots, etc. At about mile 32, I pulled into a side drive and donned my rain kit. Pants on sale at Performance and a jacket from Ebay. It was a good field test: how easily can you manage a task when you're tired and wet? The yellow helmet cover went on first, then the jacket and finally the pants. I cycled in open sandals with wool socks, so no need for shoes covers, as in cooler weather. The gear was very comfortable and it worked well. Once I had it on, it really was no problem riding in the heaviest rains. The visor of my cycling cap did a good job at shielding my eyes from the rain, although visibility was certainly limited. Water filled pot holes present dangerous potential booby traps as well. It's more work to pedal through water, but not awfully so. Certainly less trouble than a headwind. The 37 mm Panaracer Pasela tires were surefooted at all times. They make the bike more an all rounder style than a road bike. Gravel, dirt roads, grass, pavement. It's all good.

The rain went on for the rest of the ride. Now I know if I can swing all day in the saddle in rain. The volunters continued to crew the rest stops, for as long as there were riders out on the course. Some sagged back in, but many stayed out there. The ride really was a good one, until the end when there were no longer any road markings to go by. Seeing the ride organizer in a vehicle along the road, I asked for guidance and was pointed. As it turns out, the wrong way. After coming to a T intersection and no signage, I took shelter under a church entrance and cell phoned for help. The organizers realized the A) the rain washed away the most recent paint marks and B) they had sent me on Sunday's route. They came and got me since I was already over the mileage and had no idea where I was.

A good meal, a solid night of sleep and I was good to go for day 2. The weather was just perfect today, perhaps to make up for yesterday. Cooler and drier air, and visible road markings! The staff had pancakes going and we got off on time after breakfast. I rode to rest stop 2 basically by myself, but met the Alabama Power team there. We had pedaled together briefly on Day 1, but they were faster then me on flats, and I was faster in the hills. we separated in the hills, and I finished the day 1 ride pretty much alone. Anyway, today everyone made an efort to keep pace with each other and it worked well all around. I pulled some and followed some. But we were together to he end. This group missed a turn yesterday and was 5 miles shy of the total so they wanted to get that 5 back today. I tagged along so I had some bonus miles too.

Once again, the volunteers were much appreciated and there was enough to eat and drink at each stop. SAG support was good on both days. We talked while we pedaled, and I count that crew (Nancy, Jim, Chuck, and Phillip) as new found friends. Chuck and Nancy are the #1 and #4 statewide "top bananas" respectively. Nancy, in addition to fund raising for MS, fights it herself. It makes her cycling more of a challenge, but she manages. Here's a pic at the 25 mile stop today:

Cycling Chic by you.

When the MS chapter uploads the event pics, I'll add some group shots of us and whatever of interest they may have.

We saw many snakes, driven up from low land by the rising waters. Most of the scenery was farmland. My cotton field pictures were blurry, but here is a typical view of a back country road we traveled today.

On the way from Greenbriar by you.

That's Phillip following me down a hill, the other three are just cresting it. They tore it up on the flats though.  We passed on the offer of a free kitten at the last rest stop today, but here's a little guy who seemed to warm right up to me:
Rest Stop Guard Dog by you.

So, 155 miles, 14.63 mph avg, 2,900' of climb.  It was a fine weekend, night and day. 

Update:  Some more pictures from various sources.

Here the gang heads out on the great adventure:

The pack heads out on day 1 by you.

A closer view of the Amici Veloci jersey:

Starting off on the Bike MS! by you.

Here's a view of my rain kit:

Packing for the weather by you.

Pedaling happily before the rain:

HIghway overpass Day1 by you.

It's looking wetter

Looks like rain  day 1 by you.

Day 2 dawned nice and dry, and featured pancakes:

Pancakes Day 2 by you.

Not only were some riders competitive, some rest stops were too. This one is a 'house divided" for sure:

Rest Stop Harmony day 2 by you.

3 of my new friends, Ned (77 and rides great) Nancy and Charley. They invited my join the APSO team next year.

Ned, Nacy, Charley by you.

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