Friday, July 30, 2010

Last ride in Lewes

A little late getting this one posted. I got my bearings and found the tower that guests CAN climb at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes. Friday morning Zach, Erik and I rode to the park and watched the sun rise from the top of the tower. A great way to end the riding part of our vacation. A camper staying in the park had gotten up early to do the same thing and graciously took a picture of us at the top of the tower.

From Sunrise Ride with Zach and Erik

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lewes to OC - 1000 Miles in July

A lot got packed in to this morning. I set out with Dave Boezi again to see if we could match or even beat our zippy ride to OC on Tuesday. We couldn't. Well I couldn't. I'm not sure that Dave might have managed it if he wasn't pulling up to wait for me. The headwind on the way south was just a bit too much and I really flogged my legs trying to pull my share. We were looking forward to the return leg with a tail wind and after a quick stop for Gatorade we set a very hard pace northbound.

But I just couldn't hold it. Remarkable how far I've come that I can finish a 55 mile ride at 19.5 mph average rolling speed and feel slightly disappointed with my performance. That puts me over the top for 1000 miles this month, also a goal that feels remarkable to even consider, compared to my fitness level a year ago.



On return to Lewes I saw my wife and mother talking on the street. I stopped to join them and learned my father had checked himself in to the local hospital overnight with pneumonia. He was diagnosed with CLL around Christmas last year. This is a less aggressive form of Leukemia and after 6 months of monitoring the docs have concluded that it's not getting any worse and they are not actively treating it, but simply monitoring an array of blood parameters every couple of months, ready to pounce if things turn worse and he's generally been doing quite well.

But the CLL does compromise his immune system. The last few weeks he's had a nagging cough and it's been getting worse not better. So he did the right thing to get it checked and he'll be on a heavy dose of antibiotics the next few days.

I'm off to go see him now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Epic 10 Mile Ride

The girls have left our vacation home to go to their summer camp with the church. Tivy took Justin, Zach and Justin's friend Sam to Rehoboth for a day of ocean surf and boardwalk walk "fun". That left me alone for the day with youngest son Erik (age 7). Erik got a new bike for his birthday, which coincidentally was the first day of our vacation here in Lewes. So he's been very excited for any chance to ride it. We set out on an epic adventure to explore the town and all it has to offer.

Our first stop was Cape Henlopen State Park. There we found the open watch tower that is still accessible to climb. These towers were built during WWII to watch for German Submarines attempting to enter Delaware Bay and attack the port of Philadelphia. They were the eyes for a string of artillery batteries that were also placed along the coast. One tower in the park is accessible to the public and offers a spectacular view of the coast line, the point of land that is Cape Henlopen and the surrounding area.

Next was the Dairy Queen for lunch and a snack. I didn't really think a 7 year old belly could hold an entire Chocolate Brownie - Oreo Cookie Earthquake, but Erik proved me wrong.

Then it was on to the Roosevelt Inlet at the other end of the island to see the boats coming and going. Finally we returned to the beach house and then rejoined the cousins and friends on the beach. It was a great day.

From Dad and Erik 7/28/2010


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FAST!

I took yesterday off of the bike. Instead I took the two younger boys, Zach and Erik, crabbing with my father. We caught a half dozen. Just enough to steam up and teach the boys how to pick them. The hot, humid weather finally cracked and it was quite pleasant while were on the boat and later on the beach.

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Today Dave Boezi and I went to OC and back again with the specific goal of improving on our speed from Sunday's ride. We nailed it and then some. I didn't really think I had that kind of speed in me. But we averaged 20.8 mph rolling speed for the round trip and only stopped for about 5 min when we turned around to grab a gatorade.

I consistently saw my heart rate come up a few clicks when I was pulling, and drop back down when I was drafting. Remarkable really that such a simple technique has such a dramatic impact. Before we separated after the ride we agreed tomorrow will be a recover day, probably on 25 miles or less.

Another surprise today was seeing fellow SPPer Bob Chaison riding south along Rt. 1. I didn't recognize him when we passed him and his riding partner. But I was wearing my SPP kit so he easily recognized me caught us in short order to say hello. Small world, meeting a friend on the road a 100 miles from home.

The weather has also started out just gorgeous today with the temps moderate and the humidity low, very pleasant. After the ride I went straight to the beach for a dip to cool off. Life on vacation is very very good.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lewes to Ocean City

Week two of the family vacation brings some new participants to our family gathering. Today I rode with Dave Waas and Dave Boezi to OC and back. Dave B is an accomplished triathlete and capable of really pouring it on when he chooses to. He was kind to Dave and I who are older and slower. But it was still a spirited ride and a good workout.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lewes - Georgetown - Milton - HOT!

It's Saturday at the beach which means very heavy traffic on the beach roads. It was also forecast to be very hot today. So I planned to ride inland at 5:00 am this morning to avoid traffic and beat the heat. The best laid plans.....

Well last night happy hour on the beach lasted much, much later than planned and I along with my brother and several others of the family got very happy while we were there. So my 5 am start was delayed a bit by the after affects of the demon rum. Fortunately such excesses are now a rare occurrence.

As penance I pushed myself to ride anyway and suffer the heat after taking enough fluids to make sure I started out well hydrated. I stuck to the planned route and rode about 40 miles from Lewes to Georgetown then to Milton and finally back to Lewes. As soon as I was clear of the coastal highway the roads were deserted and the countryside bright and beautiful, but very hot. It's mostly farm land so very few stretches of road are shaded by any trees.

One of the lessons from last Saturday was never to pass up a chance to top off the water bottles while traveling across rural countryside so I stopped in G'town and again in Milton to do just that. At the end of 40 miles the combination of the late night, the heat, and westerly headwind I had for the first half of the ride did me in. I couldn't have done much more. But I'm glad I rode anyway and now, several hours later, I feel great.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sunrise with my sons / Lewes to OC

Yesterday I took my two youngest boys: Erik age 7 and Zach age 9 on a short ride to see the sunrise from the local state park. Got them moving before sunup and we set an easy pace for short legs to to park about 3 miles away. Cape Henlopen State Park was the former setting of Fort Miles in WWII and some of the coastal defenses and observation towers are used to watch for submarines are still in place. I had planned to climb one of the towers with the boys to watch the sunrise but didn't do my home work and we rode to the wrong one, it's not open for access. So we found a nice perch in the dunes and watched the sun come up from there. Great fun.

The rest of the day was full of water sports and beach fun. These two were walking zombies when we put them to bed last night. A sure sign of a good vacation.



====

This morning I set out alone about 6:30 this morning to ride the round trip to Ocean City and back. Yes I just did that route two days ago with Dave Waas but the route is scenic and provides a nice distance with a steady workout if you keep moving. I'd tried to reach Dave by text last night before I turned in to see if he wanted to join me but we didn't connect.

So I made my way to the MD line and stopped at the Dunkin Donuts for a juice and a snack. As I was pulling out after my snack, here comes Dave. He'd been 15 min behind me the whole way. We rode back together at a nice clip.

At 804 miles this month I'm now in to new territory with a record number of miles for a single month, and I still have a week to go. 1000 seems with in reach for the month.

Now for more beach fun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Brisk Pace to Ocean City and Back

My uncle Dave Waas and I set out at 6:30 to ride down to Ocean City and back. It's flat here. Really flat, and as a result we set a pretty zippy pace. We also got lucky and had light wind in our face on the way down, which meant a light tailwind on the way back.

We stopped for a muffin and juice at Dunkin' Donuts in OC then rode back even faster. A great way to start a day at the beach.

The plans were changed and due to a variety of conflicts with golf games and dads wanting time with their kids on the beach, the brew tour this afternoon won't happen. I'm not too sad about this. The ride would be fun and we may try again next week, but I get to go to the beach instead and I've already got 57 miles in the books.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lewes to Bethany

I nice morning ride to Bethany and back. Set out just before sunrise. I pocked around the back roads behind the shopping strip looking to parallel Rt1 but avoid the traffic on Rt 1 itself. I found a way that seems to bypass about 3 or 4 miles. I still had to ride through the outlet malls though. But at that hour the traffic was still light.

After turning around I stopped at Indian River Inlet to snap a few pictures. I don't think that surfer was getting much action. But the construction of the new bridge seems to be moving along.

From Summer Vacation 2010

From Summer Vacation 2010


Shortly after I stopped I noticed a yellow jersey growing larger in my rear view mirror. At first I was frustrated that he was pulling me in, but I didn't want to leave it all on the road with 20 miles to go and big plans for the rest of week. So I kept my pace. Well then he fell in behind me and started drafting. No introduction, no "by your leave" just tucked in behind me to catch a ride. It doesn't really cost me anything and he's the one taking a risk that I'll do something dumb, so I made sure to signal any glass or other hazards I saw and kept my cadence going. After about 5 min he'd caught his breath and pulled up alongside to say hi. He was in town vacationing from Tennessee. Quite a drive for the DE shore.

We were pushing in to a slight headwind and having someone to share the work with actually made for a nice strong finish. We alternated the lead until we reached the Midway Theaters on Rt1. I had to bail out there and cross the highway to pick something up at Staples. Never got is name, but for 20 minutes or so we made a good team then waved so long.

Stay tuned to this channel tomorrow for the 1st Annual Delaware Brewery Tour!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Recovery Ride

A very light recover ride Sunday. No ride today.



Now for an unrelated post script. I'm not a racer, but I DO enjoy the sense of camaraderie and good natured competition among fellow riders (who rode the farthest this month? who set the fastest pace around a particular route?) but above all I love the no drop rule adopted by my local club. We do not leave our riders behind. It's more than a safety rule. It's also a social pact that makes us all just a little better as neighbors and friends.

Today's post on the Velominati captures the same spirit as displayed by the world's elite cycling racers, very, very well. I recommend anyone who stops by take a minute to read it.

Velominati - We Are Not Animals

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Biking to the Beach

I've wanted to take this particular adventure since I started riding last spring. Yesterday Dave Mumford and I made it happen. We rode from my home in Serverna Park to my family's annual vacation in Lewes, DE. It was a great time and we had a lot fun.

We started at about 5 am and rode to the shopping strip along the service road on US 50 approximately a mile from the Bay Bridge. There we met the Kent Island Express taxi service and he ferried us and our bikes over the toll bridge. The bridge is prohibited for bicycles and a detour north around the top of Chesapeake Bay would nearly double the trip. So the taxi service it was. He was prompt and his van easily accommodated two bikes in the back. I'll use his service again next time.

The taxi dropped us off in Stevensville and we mounted up again to continue our trip. The first thing we noticed was that the humidity in Stevensville when we got out of the van seemed significantly less oppressive than it did on the western shore. A welcome change and a good omen.

SPP members who participated in the OC 10 ride last fall may recognize the route. I borrowed Chip Adam's cue sheet from East Bound leg of the OC 10 adventure to get us from Stevensville to Milton, DE. From there we left Chip's route to continue the last 12 miles to Lewes. Thanks Chip, it worked great.

The only dodgy part of this route is the need to cross US 50 and US 301. That's not a problem with Chip's planning. It simply the geography of the area. The Bay's many creeks and rivers create a choke point on the peninsula and there just aren't any other routes to get through. These are very busy highways to the shore on a summer weekend. By starting early we arrived at these crossings after sunrise but before the beach traffic grew too dense and made it across easily.

We stopped along MD 18 just before Centreville to take a few pictures of the QA County Fallen Heroes memorial. Every community should have a way to remember those who take on the really tough jobs looking out for us, and of course many do. I think QA County has done an especially nice job, set to one side of a much larger county park.

From Biking to the Beach

From Biking to the Beach


After a few pictures we set out again and made steady progress. After passing through Centreville the scenery settles in to a predictable pattern. Corn fields, soy bean fields and the occasional stretch of pine forest. We saw a LOT of corn fields and soy beans. I'm sorry to say much of the corn is looking brown and showing the signs of the dry conditions the last month or so. Despite the fact that I picked the only rainy day in weeks to ride last weekend, they haven't gotten enough rain lately.

Then we hit our first snag. The bridge on Mason Bridge Rd. just outside of Tuckahoe State Park, is being rebuilt. We only learned of this when we encountered our first orange traffic sign a mile or two before the bridge. Unsure if it would be passable by bike we pressed on to the bridge anyway to check it out. But sure enough, it was really OUT, and the creek itself a bit too deep, with steep banks, to portage across on foot in cycling shoes. So we had to detour around it a couple of miles.

From Biking to the Beach


From Biking to the Beach


The next stop was Ridgely, MD at a convenience store to refill the bottles and grab a small snack. A 15 min stop and we were on our way.

As we passed through another stretch of corn fields, we saw two small aircraft approaching from our left one following the other. Getting closer it looked like the lead craft was an ultralight, open aircraft with an engine not much bigger than a lawn mower. The other looked like a hang glider being towed by the ultralight. With no cliffs to launch from I guess the hang glider needed a tow to get some altitude. I wish my camera had a decent lens but at such a distance it can't pick out the details. Then the hang glider cut loose and proceeded to circle around for a while in a gradual descent. Fascinating idea. Being engineers, Dave and I spent several minutes after watching that, wondering about all of the details to make it work safely. We don't know any of the answers, we just came up with lots of questions. Always fun to see new topics for conversation like that.

Greensboro, MD is only a few miles past Ridgely and we still had plenty of water (or so we thought) so we pedaled on through. When Chip designed the route, he did a great job selecting rural country roads with very little traffic. It makes for scenic and comfortable biking. But from Greensborro to Milton, DE it also passes through nothing resembling a town nor any convenience stores. We were not far from modern conveniences but they were not parked conveniently by the side of our chosen roads either. When I last traveled this route by bike in November, 2009 the temps were in the 40's and 50's so we weren't going trough water nearly as fast and this stretch didn't stick in my mind as being "dry". Yesterday the temps got up in to the mid 90's by late morning and it was humid. We needed a lot more water per mile to get there.

There were no stores or commercial establishments, but we did pass farm houses and other homes dotted along these routes. We finally stopped and asked a lady sitting out on her porch if we could use her spigot to refill our bottles. Her name was Geanie and she was very generous. Offering us refrigerated bottles of water and insisting we take enough to completely fill our bottles. Faith in humanity reaffirmed once again. In hind sight, we should have made this call 10 miles sooner instead of trying to push ourselves. The remaining 10 miles to Milton were pretty tough because we were now trying to "catch up" with our hydration requirements. Had we stopped and asked for some water sooner, we would have saved ourselves a bit of discomfort.

At the DE line during this same stretch we also put in a few more bonus miles. Hint: when the Garmin warns you you're off route, don't think you're smarter than the computer and ignore it. Best to stop and sort it out.

In Milton we found the Big Iguana Grill where I'd planned to eat wouldn't open until 3 pm. So we rode across town to where DE 16 passes through and hit the Subway for lunch. Boy did that sandwich and Gatorade taste good.

Refreshed and ready to enjoy the last bit of our trip, we decided it would just be wrong to leave Milton without a visit to the Dog Fish Head brewery. So back across town to the sample room and gift shop. What a neat place to visit. We each sampled the 60 minute IPA, very tasty. Then decided that since we were only recently flirting with dehydration and still had more than 10 miles to go in the heat, it would be best not to go nuts with the samples. I also bought a DFH bike jersey. Sorry, didn't get a photo yet, but I will. When you see the back of the jersey, you'll understand why I had to have this one, even if it is a blatant product advertisement. The cashier in the gift ship was very nice. She was retelling her glory days as triathlete and thought our little adventure sounded like great fun.

Then it was a 12 mile sprint to the finish. We got to Lewes and met my family who were already there and headed straight to the beach. All long rides should end at the beach. A soak in the Delaware Bay never felt so incredibly refreshing.


From Biking to the Beach


Dave's parents met us there later and we all enjoyed happy hour on the beach with my extended family as we kicked off our week long family reunion. Then the Mumford's made their way home and I went back to the beach house for a dinner of ham and corn on the cob. A great day.

Here's the garmin track for the leg from Kent Island to Lewes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Earthquake!

Felt a small rumble while in the kitchen before the ride. Turns out it was a magnitude 3.5 quake centered in Gaithersburg, MD about 30 miles west of here.

A nice ride to breakfast and back. Forgot to turn on the GPS for the ride home. Not sure why that's always a problem.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Safety First / Dude - Read the Rules

Let's start with a safety note....

Sailing last night was a pleasure to be out on the water. A moderate northerly breeze about 9 - 10 kts made for a downwind start in pleasant conditions. It's enough breeze that we had pressure on the sails and the short course made for frequent sail changes and challenging maneuvers. It was fun and the weather was pleasant. It's easy to forget that the pressure on those sails is sufficient to accelerate several thousand pounds of boat through the water. When the boom comes across the deck, it WILL push anyone in it's path.

On Diamond we had a very good night. All sail changes were smooth, we avoided the dead spot in the wind and took second place in our class. But friend Jim U. on another boat was not so fortunate. Standing on deck, he was pushed by the gybing boom until he fell through an open hatch. His arm is very badly broken in several places and will require extensive surgery to pin it all back together. These were not especially challenging conditions. Jim and his crew are experienced and diligent sailors. But in a moment when things were busy a routine maneuver turned in to a very nasty accident. It could have been any of us. Constant attention on a boat, a bike or even walking next to a busy street is always the rule.

Get well soon Jim, we want to see you back on the water.

The ride to work was uneventful. But the ride home was was very disturbing. Bikers should really be familiar with the rules. In particular Rule 14. Guys, the lycra shorts really need to be black. But the goofball who turned on to the trail right in front me this afternoon was wearing white shorts. There's no way to delicately describe this on a family blog. Imagine a wet t-shirt taught across a guy's ass. I stopped and let him get a big lead ahead of me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Not my routine commute

I set out this morning with a forecast of clear skies all day and expecting a routine round trip. Well that's not quite how it worked out...

Riding in was pretty routine until I was turning in to the office parking lot. That pot hole has been there for months and I've been avoiding it just fine all this time. As I approach the office I'm coming down hill and usually have some speed on, but the entrance to the lot allows me plenty of maneuvering room. I've steered around that same hole dozens of times. But I guess I was distracted or something because I dragged the rear wheel right over it as I made the turn at about 18 mph. Followed immediately by the telltale hiss from a rotating tire. I took it in to the office and changed it there.

Fast forward to 4:30 pm and the lightening, thunder, wind and rain put on quite a show. But weather radar is a remarkable advancement. It showed I'd have about a 90 minute gap beginning at 5:30. That worked out fine. The roads were wet but I only hit one very brief shower the whole way home.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Randonee Rain on Me

Jim Kuhlman and I rode the Sailing to Solomons 200K ride yesterday. We set out at 4am. This plan was set before the weather forecast was clear and was intended to beat the heat of a typical July day: hot hazy and humid.

It wasn't a typical July day. By ride time the forecast called for a 50% chance of rain all day. The weather guessers were right. It was raining on us for about half of the day. Most of it was in light drizzles, and frankly the cloud cover kept the temps down and probably made for a more pleasant day. But we had a solid hour plus beginning around mile 70 of hard driving showers. We couldn't be any more wet if we'd gone swimming. A few minutes in to the down pour we passed a nursery. The storefront had a small porch and we could have stopped there to let it pass. But we were already quite wet and it was warm enough that neither of us felt chilled. The wind was calm and there was no lightning. Just warm rain coming down in buckets. So we opted to pedal on. We reminded each other to watch the road for pot holes that might be hidden in the sheen of standing water and we weren't going as fast as we might have in clear weather. But we carried on and it worked out fine.

After about an hour of this the rain was beginning to lighten up but I was starting to chill a bit. We stopped for a moment and I put on my wind vest. It drenched through almost instantly but it worked to keep me just a touch warmer and I was fine the rest of the day.

When we got to the North Beach control we stopped at Sweet Sue's bakery for hot chocolate and a snack. Hot chocolate in July, I wouldn't have predicted it but I sure did enjoy it at the time.

This was my first time riding for an extended period in steady rain. In over a year of regular riding, all of the big rides (50 miles plus) I'd participated in had lucked out with clear weather. (Okay I dodged a few when the forecast wasn't clear). There were cold days, and there were days with some showers and threatening clouds, but never a full day of steady rain. I knew it was coming this time and was a little apprehensive. But as a member of DC Rand and the SPP, I have had access to a LOT of lessons learned and suggestions. Fortunately I was paying attention and a few gear choices I made before the ride made for a successful day. Here are some highlights:

1) Chamois Butt'r - wet clothes can cause chaffing. Doesn't matter if the moisture is from perspiration or precipitation. But this little bit of magic lotion, reapplied at each control, worked out just fine.

2) Seat cover - I ride on a leather Brooks saddle and the literature recommends not letting it get saturated. Light intermittent rain will bead up and shed but extended soaking will soften and stretch the leather and leave the rider sitting on the rails. A $12 investment with Velo Orange for a saddle cover worked out great. I was concerned it might affect comfort while riding, but I honestly couldn't tell any difference. Then as recommended I took the cover off when I stowed the bike so the saddle can air out again.

3) Wind vest - I took this along with the wrong idea. I knew my full rain jacket wold be much too hot for the conditions, but I thought the wind vest might substitute for a rain jacket on a warm wet day and keep my core a little bit dryer than if I ride without it. So when we hit our first stretch of rain I broke it out and put it on. I felt like a crab being steamed up for a July picnic. It only lasted a couple of miles. But later after I was thoroughly drenched, I was much more comfortable when I put on the vest and slow down the rate of evaporation. I was actually getting chilled and it did the trick. So I will pack it any time there is a chance of showers again.

4) Rack and Trunk Bag - A 200K ride isn't really that long. When the weather forecast is for a clear day, I've learned to make do with a repair kit under my saddle and what ever I can carry in my jersey pockets for accessories. It took a while for this one to sink in. I got advice to lighten my load several times before I finally acted on it. But once I did, I learned that shedding a few pounds makes a big difference.

But anything in the jersey would be exposed to the elements in the rain. So I mounted the rack and trunk bag and stowed my food, wallet, phone, brevet card, and small kit of personal items I always carry in the bag instead of in my jersey. Then covered the trunk bag in it's own little rain cover. All stayed dry and sound. I was happy with the decision and will do it again. But note that Jim didn't do this. He wrapped similar gear in plastic bags and carried it in his jersey. He didn't seem to suffer for this choice, nothing essential dissolved in the water. But I was glad for the peace of mind.

5) Extra change of clothes - this was just silly. I was thinking that if the wet clothes caused chafing I might want to change in to a dry set. Well the obvious problem is that if the rain continues, the new dry clothes won't be dry for long. They were still dry in the zip lock bag at the end. Should have left them at home.

Besides the gear choices for preparation the day also reinforced some important safety lessons while riding in wet conditions:

1) Be visible - the harder it's raining, the worse a typical driver can see through his own windshield. The red "beacon" I ride with on the rear is so bright, some other riders have commented it's an irritant while riding behind me. I'm not insensitive to this and have on occasion doused it for a conventional blinky when riding in a peloton. Today I used it all day. Three miles in to the ride we came up on a section of road blocked by the police while a work crew cleared a down tree and wires. One of the officers had just arrived and had passed us on his way there. He commented how well he could see that light a half mile behind us. I was glad to have it during that downpour. They passed us through as the left shoulder was passable by bike without interfering with the work.

2) Brakes work poorly when wet. I was startled on one decent as we approached a turn that I couldn't brake effectively. There after I moderated the brakes early in each decent and kept the speed down. I'd hate to think about the need for quick stop at 30 mph with no brakes, or even a descent that ends in a sharp T intersection.

3) Watch the road surface carefully. Standing water or a thick sheen of running water on the road during a heavy rain can block your view of pot holes and broken pavement. Slow down and avoid the standing water where practical.

I've ridden with Jim in the SPP on many occasions since I joined the group, and we routinely cross paths in other parts of the community, kids' sports, school events, etc. So we've known each other for some time, but this was the first time we'd spent so much time together for a full day. I always enjoy getting to know other other riders while cycling and this was no exception. I'm glad Jim came along. I was prepared to ride alone to stay on track for my R-12. With a family vacation coming up later this month, there would be no other good opportunity to do it on another day. I've done a 200K ride alone in the past. I enjoyed perfect weather that day and it was a great experience. But I think the rain would have just been discouraging riding alone. With someone else to share the discomfort and make the odd joke about our plight, it made for a good day despite the weather.

I'm not sure "fun" is the right way to describe the day, but I'm really glad we did it. It validated what I already understood about riding in the rain but had never really experienced. I will ride in foul weather again and will feel a little bit more confident about it next time.

Finally a little perspective. Jim and I took 11 hours to cover a distance and terrain roughly equivalent to a single "flat" stage of the Tour de France. The tour riders cover the same distance in half that time, and get up to do it again every day for 3 weeks.

While we were riding I found a note on the blackberry that the 3C's successfully finished the 1000K Lap Around The Lake. Clint, Chip and Clif rode the circumference of Lake Ontario in 68 hours, covering 5 x the distance that we rode yesterday.

I feel great about finishing my 7th 200K ride in as many months and am confident I will finish my R-12, including at least 1 300K ride, by the end of the year. As great as that feels, there is still so much more to strive for.

Congratulations guys on finishing the big ride around the lake. I'm looking forward to reading and hearing about the experience.

Chris reports from New Hampshire that day one of his big charity ride went well, despite a jarring pot hole strike which could have been much worse than a flat tire.

Thanks Jim for a good day.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Breakfast Ride - MUGGY

Another very muggy morning. Six of us met at the Rusty Bridge at 5:45. We got a bit more strung out than usual. We don't always hit the Round Bay hill on Friday's but we did today. I didn't push it up the hill. I told myself I was saving my legs for tomorrow but I also think I was just struggling with heat, lack of sleep, lack of motivation, etc. I've also been eating like a pig lately and my weight is creeping back up. So poor diet could be a contributor.

After the hill, Dave P got a flat just before he would have dropped us to turn back around. He assured us he had it under control so we went on. Then there was another stop to rescue a turtle.

When we got downtown, Dave M and I went to C&R and met Doug, Doug, Allen G, and Allen's son Zach. Breakfast was nice and seeing Allen and Zach was fun.

But I'm excited about the upcoming activity. Tomorrow's permanent to Solomon's should be fun, even with a forecast of intermittent showers. I'm also looking forward to riding to the beach to start my vacation next week.

News from Chip, Clint and Clif (the 3 C's) at the 1000K Lap Around the Lake has been good so far. Their mid day progress was a little slower today due to weather and probably some fatigue, but I'm hopeful it's going well for them and looking forward to hear another report tonight that they're at or past 3/4 done and still felling fit.

Chris will clip in for Day One of his big ride for Diabetes tomorrow so here's wishing him fair weather and a tail wind.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

An Evening Spin

BD Arnold re-packed the bearings in the rear hub. Seems fit and ready now. I took it for a quick spin to Sandy Point and back to test 'em out.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Good Luck to Friends on Some Big Rides

Several friends are heading out this week on some very big biking adventures. Bill Beck, Clint Provenza, Chip Adams, and Clif Dierking are all headed to New York for the 1000K Lap Around the Lake. Beginning Thursday they will have 3 days to complete a 1000 Kilometer brevet. The route is a lap around Lake Ontario, passing through New York and Canada.

Chris Lane is headed to New England to participate in a 500+ mile charity ride raising money for the fight against diabetes. In our fat lives both Chris and I were warned by our doctors to loose weight or inevitably become diabetes and / or heart patients. So this issue comes close to home. He'll enjoy a few days of flat riding along the New England coast a few challenging days climbing some big hills over the course of a week.

Best of luck to all of you and to all of the riders in both events. Very inspiring.

Today Chris and I met for the ride to work. I stayed late and rode home solo. It's very hot and humid today and for the next couple of days. But I kept drinking and seemed to tolerate it well. Not sure how it would have gone if I rode mid afternoon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bike Maintenance Woe's

After a nice morning ride yesterday with Chris, I used the afternoon to strip and clean the Long Haul Trucker. It was filthy and long over due.

1st problem, the bolt that attached the lower front portion of the rear fender to the small horizontal member between the chain stays sheared the head off rather than come out from it's threaded fitting in the frame. There's no way to reattach the fender with the stub of the bolt stuck in there. I starting with the smallest bit I had and carefully drilled out the metal of the screw until the diameter of the bit approach the thread size of the fitting. At that point I had a small hole thorough which I could thread a zip tie to reattach the fender, and I'm reasonably confident I didn't touch or damage the actual frame threads. But that fitting will need to be re-tapped to remove the remaining metal from the bolt and expose the correct threads of the frame fitting.

The rest of the project was completed without incident and the final step was to install a new chain. This work wrapped up about 5 pm and I was looking forward to sporting my new clean bike on the holiday ride to Sweet Sue's in North Beach this morning. (I'm always a little self conscious that my efforts at bike hygiene never seem to match others in the group).

After dinner as sunset was approaching it occurred to me that a back country road far from any support van was the wrong place to discover a problem with my chain installation and I'd better give it a check ride. Not sure why I didn't think of this before the tools were put away but I didn't. So I took a quick lap around the neighborhood just before sunset and fireworks started. FAIL!! The old chain had worn it's unique pattern in to the 6, 7, and 8th sprockets on my old cassette. The new chain simply could not grip them and began skipping like a school girl at the slightest pressure.

By now the bike shop was closed. Re installing the old chain seemed a temporary fix at best. I really needed to get that cassette replaced and get the entire bike right. I have plans to ride the Sailing to Solomon's permanent for my July segment of R-12 next weekend and then we're leaving town for 2 weeks, with the bike, for vacation at the beach on the 17th. In between will be two very busy weeks making sure work is ready to live without me for two weeks. So I emailed my regrets to the SPP and made plans to hit the shop at 11 am sharp when they opened.

BD Arnold confirmed my diagnosis, had a suitable cassette in stock, and a mechanic available to install it. Things were looking up. But as they worked to do the installation they let me know that the bearings in the rear hub were also shot. These were not in stock. They ordered new ones and adjusted the worn set as best they could. The bike is ride-able but the play in the rear wheel is noticeable now that I know what to look for. Wish I'd picked up on that sooner.

So I managed a loop around the river in the heat, and I have an appointment Thursday to take the bike back in to have the rear hub repacked. As I sat down to write this, I read Earl's write up of the morning ride to Sweet Sue's. It confirmed my worst fears. They had a great ride without me.

I did get to see this super display of holiday spirit on my ride.




Sunday, July 4, 2010

Round the River - A great start to Independence Day

Met Chris at 7 for an Independence Day ride around the Severn River. Being the wild guys that we are, we went in reverse. After riding the same route clockwise for months, we rode it counter clockwise. I know, we should be careful about such radical adjustments on the spur of the moment, but we're rebels, what can I say.

When we got to downtown Annapolis, the crowds were already out and about enjoying the beautiful day down on the waterfront. Pretty sure we saw Janet B ride through as we were waiting in line at City Dock coffee for our order.

As we left downtown we unfortunately met one driver who was definitely NOT in the holiday spirit. We were riding up Pinkney St, one of Annapolis' narrow cobble stone streets towards State Circle. Cars are parked on both sides and without a biker to pass, no responsible driver could pass at more than 12 - 15 mph or risk breaking mirrors on his own or parked vehicles. At 13 mph on the bikes apparently we were holding him up. He hit a loud continuous blast on his horn then told us if he hit it us, it would be our fault. Chris tried to school him in the traffic laws but he didn't seem to be taking very good notes.

Climbing up St Margret's Rd and then out to Sandy Point was quite pleasant. A long line of cars was also waiting to enter the park for a nice holiday at the beach there. Lots of folks getting in to the spirit of the day.

After a quick stop along College Parkway to replace my front tube we wrapped up our ride. Another nice morning, despite the A$$h**e driver downtown.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What a great morning riding with the SPP

A great morning riding with the SPP. The weather was near perfect. I started out meeting 6 others at 6 am for zippy workout around Pasadena. This wrapped as usual at Java Divas for a quick shot of caffeine served by one of the stunning young ladies that runs the joint.

From there we met a larger group at the Rusty Bridge for the breakfast ride to Annapolis. I think I counted 18 of us setting out from there. The trail was quite crowded with all manner of bikers, walkers, runners and dog walkers enjoying the delightful morning. It's nice to see so many people getting out and about.

One reason I enjoy riding with the SPP is how accommodating it is for riders of all skill and fitness levels and even of various family schedules. Throughout the morning different riders joined or left the group as it suited their plans for the day. Of the 18 who set out for Annapolis, about 10 of us ate breakfast together at Aromi de Italia. A few others peeled off for other eateries downtown and still others skipped breakfast to rejoin family for the holiday weekend.

After breakfast about 12 were still together for a lap around Bay Ridge. I always enjoy a loop through that community. The homes and views are truly magnificent. Today was even better than usual as the low humidity meant no haze and a crystal clear view across the Bay.

Finally we were down to 7 riders heading to Crownsville and little bit or fun in rolling hills south of General's Highway.

I'm so glad I met this group and have the opportunity to ride with them frequently. I've made a few close friends, always enjoy the company on these rides and ride further, faster, and stronger than I could hope to if left to my resources.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Can we bottle this for later?

The weather this week has just been wonderful. A great change from the hot and humid days last week. Of course it's won't last, it's July on the East Coast. Hot and humid is the norm and will return soon enough. But this morning was another treat to be outside, cool, dry, temps around 60 Deg F at dawn.

A nice turn out for the Friendly Friday ride. I think I counted 11 riders at the start. Half went Annapolis while the others turned back at the end of the trail. I didn't press on to work because Tivy and Justin return from their Habitat for Humanity adventure this afternoon and I want to be sure I'm home to meet them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Great Day to Ride

Wow, what a nice day to be outside. Would have been a perfect day for a long brevet if I wasn't stuck an office all day. But I did get to ride to work, met Chris and we had nice ride in. He says he's feeling much better after being under the weather for a few days. We couldn't synch our schedules for the ride home. He managed to get out early. I couldn't.

Went straight to BD Arnold on the way home. They installed the new seat post. For the mile home from the shop it felt good. I'll get a better idea how it feels tomorrow.