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

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My 1st Populaire, sort of

I rode hill repeats this week after work, 25 miles of them, but was looking forward to a real road ride this morning. Jack Frost has taken a week's vacation, and temps have been in the 60s during the afternoons. Today was forecast to start out in the 40s, but get near 70 before yielding to incoming rains. These would be followed by our regular Winter programming of cold, cold, cold. John & John from the bike club posted a Club Lite of 30 miles for today and I figured I'd show up for that. It would be good to say hello to some faces not seen since the Christmas party, and not seen on the road since before Thanksgiving.

That was all before Frank emailed to say, "Let's do at least 50, but I prefer a Metric." His email sounded like my old drill sergeant in basic training. Frank is a retired Master Sgt, so maybe that's why. Frank is also our club's sole card carrying Randonneur ( see for more on randonneuring) so I recast his club metric as a "Populaire."  Randonneurs like looooonngggg rides, with lots of rules and checkpoints, and maps and stuff. Populaires are their intro rides for the fresh blood, the uninitiated, or relaxers for when the real riders don't want to go 200KM, 300KM or more on any given ride. Yes, there are 1,200KM rides. These longer rides are called Brevets. Anyway, I consulted the rules and figured our required times to the 3 rest stops (checkpoints) we would be at today.It was kind of fun to record our arrival and departures on a card I carried for the purpose.

I wasn't sure how the day would go. It's cloudy, windy, and damp. The temp was 47F at the start and 52F when we were done. But, it went just fine. We headed out generally into the wind and came back with it generally behind us. The day tallied at 63.4 miles at an avg of 14.2. For Randonneurs, rest times count too. We had 6:15 hr to complete the course, and we did it in 5:10. Our only mechanical was when Frank's finger rested idly on his handlebar and accidentally unfastened his Garmin Edge GPS. THAT he had to turn around and go find.

Our longest stop was at the Ramer Store. We didn't stay long becuase it was colder standing around off the bikes than riding on them. Just long enough to re fill our bottles, eat a banana, and much some granola bars.  Here we are parked out front, while Frank puts water in his CamelBack.

The sharp eyed among you will notice the OYB saddle bag with ACW pin on it. The saddle bag worked great. If it looks like Army surplus, that's because it IS Army surplus. We just don't know exactly WHICH army though. Frank suggested the Swiss, as they have a bicycle corps.

The ride itself was over generally familiar terrain. One portion was not quite so fresh in mind. Ridden only once before, about 6 years ago, we had to check the Garmin map to get our bearings and stay on the 100KM route and not the 200KM.  The regular club riders were out too, leaving shortly after we did. I relaized that I must have picked up some speed since last year, as they were content to paceline behind ME on the headwind leg south to Union Academy- Ada Rd. I didn't mind it at all, it just made me smile. They rode a different route today, and were earger to be done and out of the weather. I told Bilee (one of the regular club riders)  that was a different way to look it than Frank and my attitude. We looked for ways to add to our ride. Of course, we had warmer gear on too. Wool baselayers top and bottom for me, a Spot (Canadian brand) L/S jersey, mid weight tights, a Gore Wind proof jacket (that still breathes) and MUSA shorts over the tights. Bigger shoes to allow for thick wool socks with air space too. Frank was similarly suited up. As you can see in the picture.

The Bike was great. 650B Maxy Fasty tires (33mm) floated over rough chip seal and RR crossings. I spent just about all the way out in the middle ring and all the way back in the big one. Amazing what a tailwind will do for you! I knew when climbing hills at 18 mph, it was NOT my gearing making that difference. The shifters were adjusted following my bike mechanics class refresher and they were smooth as silk.

Rain tomorrow, so time for maintenance in the garage.  If you ride, ride safe...

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