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

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day

With Sharon off to Clearwater for a 2 week work stint, it was just Alex and me this weekend. The two of them collaborated however on a Father's Day gift for me. My back is often very stiff after standing for a while on a hard floor, such as when I teach each Sunday morning at church. They gave me a cushioned kitchen mat to stand on! How thoughtful :) We're doing a combined summer class in the sanctuary, which is carpeted and therefore better for standing on, but in the Fall when we move back to our regular class room, I'll be happy to have it.

Our Thursday hill route saw one new rider, Max. He's on a mountain bike and keeps up just fine. Which tells me he'll be screaming fast on a road bike, should he ever get one. I've suggested he at least put some slicker rubber on that Gary Fisher for now. Yesterday, he showed up for the Father's Day "relaxer" ride and said "I've got one of those cycling shirts now. I really like the pockets in the back." And he's ALREADY a strong rider. Wait till he gets to know more about how to ride!

Saturday, I thought about showing up at the regular bike club ride, and emailed Dan & Vanessa to ask about water stops on the way. At their avg pace (17 - 19) I'd need lots of water. Dan mentioned there would be a couple of stops for fluid replenishment, and I could check with someone else who knew the route for turn instructions, should I get dropped. He was suggesting ever so delicately that I might be too slow for this gang. Now that hills and wind trouble me less, I have been working on pace. I can hold 22 - 24 mph, but only for a few miles. 18 is really my upper comfortable limit, to avg that, the club riders often are well above that point. I took Dan's subtle hint and decided to ride myself up north of town. I did post it to the club and heard from a couple of interested parties. 68 miles, 3,300' of climb and rest stops every 15 miles. Pretty country too. Riding to the start from our house would add 12 miles, to make a nice 80.

As it turned out, only Roxy was able to join me. I pedaled away from our garage at 6:15 AM and headed over to Millbrook, one town east of Prattville. The new paving on our main drag was like butter to ride on. It didn't last long though, as I turned onto regular old stuff at the traffic light. Roxy came up and got ready and we headed off at 7:00. Mindful of the forecast for very warm temps in the afternoon, I suggested we do the route clockwise, and get most of the hills done early. The route roughly is alternating 1/4s of hilly and flattish terrain. By the time it got hot, we'd have only the last flattish section to do. Roxy didn't really care, hadn't looked at the route and said he was going to tag along wherever the Rivendell was pointed.

I don't like to climb on cold legs, but the easy cruise from home had warmed them sufficiently that I did not mind the immediate 10% grade up CR 009 across from Wal-Mart. We wound our way up to Old Kingston, stopping at a store on US 31 but not needing to rest at either Posey Crossroads or Old Kingston. That made for a long haul when we finally pulled into "Bubba's" Pit Stop Gas just outside of Marbury. Roxy had a couple of bike issues going on. His front shifter was able to shift into his small ring but not out of it. A new cable was recently installed, and it may need some further tweaking. He threw his chain off once if I recall as well. Nothing major at any rate. With the 13% grades we climbed, that granny gear was an item he wanted at the ready. My bike worked really well. This was the 3rd outing on the new 38 mm Pascenti Pari-Moto tires. They have swelled some in girth due to the very supple walls, and the outer diameter has therefore dropped so that they are almost the same OD as 32 mm Grand Bois Cypres (on the Nashbar). While the tires are now just BARELY fitting inside the chain stays, they do not rub at all and they are easily the most comfortable while still fast tires that I have ridden to date. (The Rivendell was built for 700mm tires. Using 650B tires allows fatter models to be used, with a bit less outside diameter. They also lower the top tube of the frame and let me straddle a larger size frame. I prefer to ride the largest frames I can fit on, as they are more comfortable to me and handle better. Where my normal size frame for 700 size wheels is 50 cm, the Rivendell, or "Elrond" as I sometimes refer to him, is 54.5 cm in size.)

When we reached Deatsville Hwy at mile 45 of the route, Roxy & I did a quick weather consult. Our consensus was it was HOT! and we opted to take the right hand fork rather than the left. We sliced about 10 miles off the course that way. So Roxy made it back to the car with a metric in hand and since I still had to ride back home, I tallied 73+ for the day. Our change in plan turned out to be Providential as not 15 minutes after I put the bike in the garage, a lightning bolt cracked nearby, the heavens opened up and we had high winds and driving rain. It didn't last too long (long enough to green up all the grass though) but I would NOT want to be riding in it at any time, much less when I was already tired from pushing against the headwinds which it turned out were generated by this frontal system. I was losing gas in my legs on that last section coming home anyway, and realized from the goosebumps on my arms (in 97F blazing Sun) that I had core temperature issues. I pulled into a shopping center parking lot and went into a restaurant to have a LARGE ICE COLD Diet Coke. Talk about the pause that refreshes! The left over ice went into my water bottles. Something about 100F+ propel just isn't very thirst quenching, you know? Being inside for a few minutes let me get cooled down as well. Feeling ready to go again, I pulled out and finished the ride normally.

There's a definite difference in my riding from last year to now. If nutrition and hydration/electrolytes are managed properly, I can pedal a longer way without problems. I like that. I was also not tired when I got home, or the next day for the relaxer ride. When work pays off, it is very satisfying, and encouraging to reach for more.

For Father's Day, I intended a casual mostly flat ride of 32 miles. I was surprised that 7 other riders came out, and we hadn't gone far before one of them had a flat. He had only changed a tire once before, and did not know how to use tire bars. We had a quick review on the road for general benefit and then we were back on our way. A little while later, I was told we had lost a rider. It was T2. I went back a mile+ to check on her but she was no where to be seen. I knew she had gone out the day prior and suspected when she got to the first hill, her legs were rubbery. That turned out to be the case, and she left a Vmail on my machine. So, a couple of extra miles and lots of sweat as I raced to catch back up with the main group, except for Ray who came along with me to see about Terry.

I held a steady 13 mph pace into a brisk wind, which the new riders behind me said was okay for them. One, on her 2d ride ever, struggled with hills, until she finally got the hang of the front derailleur and found her granny ring. Coming back with a tailwind and mostly downhill was more fun of course. The new folks got all happy footed and cranked. I was not into a race so I did not try to catch them. I'm glad they had fun. Curtis and I brought up the rear at a respectable rate. I ended with a 14 avg, and my heart rate average was HIGHER than on the long hilly ride the day before. NOT relaxing, but it was good fun regardless.


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