cycling


15
May 17

Mondays never have clever post titles

The best restive kind of weekend. Slept in and and then did only what I wanted to do on Saturday. This included turning on lights seldom used and in random combinations throughout the evening. Also, I cleaned out the leftovers from the refrigerator. To most people this means dragging the garbage can over and doing the transfer of goods routine. Or the Transfer of Foodstuffs That Were Once Good and No Longer Are routine.

Me, I just ate them. Two dishes from last week that made their way into the fridge were lunch and dinner on Saturday. Then I cleaned my office.

Sunday, I made the mother’s day calls, went to the grocery store, watched a bike race and road my bicycle.

I made several passes on that deer, so I got plenty of fuzzy photos:

deer

Also, nearby, was a rabbit:

rabbit

Maybe they’ll both come over and help with the next set of leftovers.

Today, back to the office, where things are taking place and some work is getting down and meetings are being held. Then home and, while walking to the car, I saw another rabbit:

rabbit

I’m guessing it was a different rabbit. It could be the same one. The two sightings were only about a mile or so apart. I don’t know why that first rabbit would need to hop this direction, but it is possible. (Not pictured, another rabbit, which was hiding in the shrubbery.)

And then another bike ride. I did an hour in a low gear, mashing and lifting the pedals as quickly as I can, on the flattest course I could find, where I still managed to gain 503 feet over 16 miles. But I held my highest pace of the year so far. That deserves a handlebar shot:

trail

And another ride tomorrow.


11
May 17

Oh no, we have slowed because H20 has flowed

On tonight’s group ride we went slowly. One of the fastest guys in town was there, but he was in a chatty mood. And various other people were only interested in seeing standing moisture on the road and stopping for it almost entirely, as if the gathering of three molecules in a specific formulation in the smallest of volumes could harm their bicycles.

We stopped a lot. Four times in a 24-mile ride. That’s barely enough to get and keep the heart rate where you might like it. These were flowers I found at the first stop, after just six miles of riding:

flowers

Those four stops took place because this is a no-drop group, which means there are plenty of chances to regroup. Or stop and wait, depending on where you are in the scheme of things. The four stops we counted do not include a fifth stop.

Topping the biggest climb of the day, a long and slow 330 feet or so that has hurt me each of the few times I’ve done it, one of the riders in the group had an accident a bit ahead of me. When I got to the top of the hill there were already two cars stopped and someone said a rider had been hit, which sends a chill. But it seems a dog ran out in front of the rider and she took a tumble. Fortunately, she was OK. And fortunately one of the riders was a physician, and one of the people that stopped was a paramedic. After a few minutes, some Neosporin and a few small bandages, she pronounced herself OK, got up and we all rode off down the hill.

The larger group made one last stop, but we skipped it. We were close to darkness, because all of these stops had made a 24-mile ride into nearly two hours. It was damp and chilly and a tiny bit frustrating. I think I am coming to form my opinion on group rides.

On the way back to the house we have to pass over a creek, which was almost ready to to threaten the high banks after more than a week of rain:

flooding creek

All of the water here is swiftly moving, which is more than we can say about our ride this evening.


9
May 17

Keeping up

Tonight I had the chance to enjoy my first group ride of the year. The group has been going out probably for a month or two now, but I’m hanging out with the students on Tuesdays and Thursdays while the cyclists are out riding around. But with the summer upon us, my Tuesday and Thursday evenings are free and I can ride. So there I was, sitting in the office considering with dread a route I’ve been on before, thinking of how poorly I’ve ridden it the last two times out and wondering how today could be any different.

We got to the parking lot of the giant church where the group meets and there are 17 or 18 people and we all set off on this little 25-mile course. I think I was the third wheel at the beginning, which basically just means I pushed off from the parking lot early. So there was Kyle, who is in IT at the university, and then The Yankee and then me and behind us a bunch of other interesting and talented people. And after a bit The Yankee passed Kyle and I went with her and some people latch on to my wheel and we just go. She’s crushing rollers in the 20s and I’m not even using any of my gears. I’d put my chain on one of the harder gears and it stayed there for the first eight miles, until we got to a real hill. My legs, which had felt tired all day, came alive and I’m sitting just off to The Yankee’s side and she’s leading the whole group. My heart rate is up a little and the breathing is up a tiny bit and I’m singing. I’m singing while I’m riding and just trying to hang on to the leader of the pack.

And she was so strong on her bike today that if you slowed up to take one picture — or to get a swig of water, or to glance at your gears — you’d spend the next two miles working hard just to catch her again. So this was the one photo I took:

ride

There were never more than two or three people ahead of us, the real climbers of the bunch put us in our place on the hills, which we are still learning how to deal with. But we were bombing the downhill runs into the low 40s with ease, and then riding that momentum until we’d get to the next uphill.

It was my first “fast” ride of the year. The sort where you are a bit silly with the speed and delirious about how your legs are moving up and down. It was positively average, really, but I’m taking it.


8
May 17

From our long(ish) weekend ride

It was hard and slow, like all of my rides have been so far this year, but the weather was nice and the company was pleasant and the scenery was pretty. So you don’t complain. You do, but no one wants to hear about how slow you’re going. They just want you to keep up with them.

Anyway, it was a 45-mile ride and here are some of the pictures I took chasing The Yankee and our cycling club buddy Stephen around. Here’s one of the few flat spots, with wildflowers growing in the fields just off the roadways:

ride

Two people riding better than me at the moment:

ride

We went over a causeway on the lake. Still chilly, I’d bet, but awfully pretty:

ride

Looking up through the trees as I went uphill one more time:

ride

Where would you like to go next? They’re deciding, I’m catching my breath, probably:

ride

Seriously, almost all day, just like this:

ride

This picture doesn’t do it justice, but we topped off on a hill and the trees opened up and you could look down and out on what felt like just about everything. It is silly, no higher than we’d climbed, but it was a real top-of-the-world sensation:

ride

And one more slight incline to enjoy.

ride

They teach you, in a photography class, all about using lines in a composition to frame action and attract the eye. I often think about that when I’m shooting, of course. But not when I’m riding and huffing and puffing. It just worked out this time. That’s the great thing about a bike ride. It can be hard. You can be slow. It just works out.


24
Apr 17

This isn’t entirely about cycling

We saw the women’s race on Friday and the men’s race on Saturday. Both days it was supposed to rain. Both days prevailing winds kept the showers away. And late in the day on Saturday spring returned again. It is a skittish spring.

Anyway, the race strategy is all about transitions. There are up to four members on a team and you are swapping out riders left and right to meet the rule requirements and to keep your teammates fresh. The ideal thing to do is to break away from the pack so you can have a bicycle exchange without losing any time. So the guy leaving the race is revving up to about 130 RPMs only to stop on a dime and let the teammate take over. And sometimes that leads to crashes. And sometimes there are just crashes in the field itself. I could do without that. But these guys were moving, averaging just over 24 miles per hour for two hours, counting a few caution laps.

Here’s a green flag restart after one of the race’s three big cautions:

Little 500

And here is the winner coming across the line, the paper calls them the people’s champions, the Black Key Bulls:

Little 500

A fine bicycle race! Here are some clips:

I made a gif, too, if you prefer:

By Sunday afternoon it was fully spring again … promising another attempt at the second season of the year, this one destined to last a full 48 hours before some cold and gray day moves back into the region. So it was spring and sunny and crisp and we set out to enjoy. On our bike ride on the north side of town I found two cool barns:

Barn

Barn

Which brings us to today. We got to play the part of tour hosts for a bit today. The grandson of a family friend is making his college trips and he was here for a quick stopover for a few informational sessions, some building tours and meeting a few students. Late in the day we caught up with them at the Sample Gates:

Sample Gates

Truly, it was chamber of commerce weather. It is always just like this here young man, no matter what they tell you.