Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day weekend rides...

BAM! Summer! Hot! Sweat!

I did not quite 46 miles Saturday in a nice loop from home, out Old Channel Trail to the lake, North on back roads to Stony Lake, East and then back South on more back roads, and then picking up the bike trail in Rothbury and taking that home. It's my longest ride of the year so far, and felt pretty comfortable. I had to stop and wring out the padding in my helmet a couple of times, and I was getting the dregs out of my water bottles at the end - summer weather is definitely here.

Sunday was a JDRF team ride from Ada Park, with maybe 10 people. The high-reading thermometer on my bike computer was reading 97 to 105 degrees for the whole of the 26+ miles. Even if the thing reads 10 degrees high, that's hot enough to take it easy.

Sunday morning was the riding highlight of the weekend, though; Dane and I rode about 2 miles on the newly-paved portion of the trail between Old Channel Trail and Cook street. He rode his little dirt bike with the training wheels, and I rode my mountain bike. Cool.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Da week in da hind view...

Tuesday I headed out intending to do 30ish, but stopped over at a friends house and ended up chatting for an hour or so. By that time it was getting chilly, so I cut it to 18 and change. I also crossed paths with the every-other-Tuesday time trialers from the West Michigan Coast Riders club on Michellinda. Looks uncomfortable, and I don't think my gut will allow that kind of position for more than a few minutes.

Thursday (dat be today) I hooked up with the regular ride group from Rock N' Road in Grand Haven. The average pace for the "B" group seemed a little spicy by description, so I rode off with the four other folks in the "C" group. Well, C ended up slower than I'd hoped, and another guy and I ended up pacing each other for 20 of the 31 miles we did, comfortably cruising at 21 to 24 on the flats between Holland and GH. Next week we both agreed to take off with the Killer B's; they typically average about 20 for a 40 mile ride. I might get dropped, but hey, better that than being bored. That was a bigger group anyway, so the paceline should be longer and steadier.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Nice weekend double

Finally the rain has mostly left us (apparently it's on an extended visit to New England now), and some almost springy temperatures made Saturday a good day for a ride. I wandered North, eventually making it up to New Era, and then rolled home on the bike path for a decent 30 miler. It was my first time this year climbing the New Era hill; didn't feel too bad.

Saturday night some rain accompanied a cold front, and Sunday was barely above 50, albeit nice and sunny. I drove down to Holland to ride with a group from VeloCity, in the oddly-named Pineapple Bob ride. A distinguishing feature of this ride is that dirt and gravel roads, the sort that skinny-tire folks usually avoid like the plague, are intentionally included, in an homage to a cyclocross racer who appeared in old Bridgestone Bicycle ads. They're nothing a road bike can't handle, though - rough, but not to the point of being washboarded or potholed. We only had one flat over the whole ride, between a dozen riders. It was another 30 mile day, and concluded with chips and salsa at the shop.

The weather for the rest of the week looks great - gotta get some miles in. I might join up with the Thursday group from Rock N' Road in Grand Haven; group rides are too much fun.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A brief break in the rain

33 miles, from home to Twin Lake, with a few enjoyable hills.

We had a cold front followed by 5 days of rain and cold and wind and yech. Yesterday was at last decent, so I left work early and did a nice ride. Ruby has a new tube and I have a new combo CO2 shooter/micro-pump. I'd hate to have to try to get up to even 100 psi with the micro-pump alone, but I can use it to get partway there and then hit the rest with CO2. And Kirsten brought home a 25 pack of cheap CO2 carts intended for BB guns.

Today, another cold front is looming, it's raining again, and the yech is back. And the lawn is on the verge of acquiring weapons of mass destruction, it's gone so long with rain and no mowing. Sunday looks like the next definitely-rideable day, and there's a fun ride down at Velo City which I may do.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Danga fragga wugga daga dooga!

So, it's the last chance to ride in nice weather for at least a few days - we'll be getting some much-needed rain, but much cooler weather is coming with it. So I head out, figuring I'll do 20-25 miles. After about 13, I feel the rear end getting sort of squirrely, a sure sign of decreasing air pressure. So I stop and shoot in a CO2 cartridge, which was really pretty silly since shooting air into a tube that's clearly if slowly losing air is an exercise in futility. Anyway, I hear ffffffffff, and so I swap the tube successfully - it holds air just fine. And I am now out of CO2.

And, naturally, whooping happily down a hill, I let my attention wander for a moment, peg a rock, and the rear goes almost instantly flat. I have no more tubes, no more way to fill the tubes I don't have, and I didn't bring my good luck talisman. Y'know, the one that says Verizon Wireless on it? Ghaaaa.

So, in spandex and a Herman Miller jersey, I have to seek the kindness of strangers. Fortunately, the strangers were kind, although think I rather startled a teenage girl. Who expects to see a garish ape at their door? They had a proper friendly dog who flopped against my legs at the slightest hint of my scritching her head, and they didn't mind my hanging out until Kirsten came to my rescue.

I have a perfect pinch flat - two parallel slits each about 3/16" long, about 1/4" apart. As hard as I hit the rock or whatever, I was worried about the rim, but it appears to be fine. I'll double check it before I ride it again, but I'm further impressed by how strong these wheels are...

Monday, May 08, 2006


First off, Sunday was another ride with Justin - almost 20 miles! Excellent for a 13 year old on a clunky mountain bike with a dragging front brake. We'll have him up to 30 miles in no time.

And then today, it was 75, perfectly sunny, with a gentle breeze. What could I do but break out Ruby? The first thing I did, before even lifting the bike off the wall, was clear off last year's last numbers from the computer. Those numbers were left over from Asheville - hard to believe that it's been six months since I last rode Ruby!

With the tires pumped up to their full 125 psi riding pressure, I was off, and feeling klutzy. I'd thought the hybrid was twitchy, but it turns out it's just me working off the winter lumps. As I got the feeling back a bit, I could pay attention to how much easier the bike would accelerate, and how precise everything is. You think that bike around a corner rather than steering. A gear change is a twitch of the finger, a click from the shifter and a corresponding click from the drivetrain, and a slight change in pedalling effort and cadence. Nobody needs a 10 speed cassette, but you can have mine when you pry it from my cold dead greasy fingers.

Anyway, bike adoration aside, it was a lovely 33 mile ride, on my new "standard" route. I was rewarded with a 17.5 mile an hour average and a nice saddle sore. Yay for Desitin.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A few days in review

Stupid work is too stupid busy for me to update this thing regularly! Arrgh!

Anyway, I did another rainy 24 mile ride with the JDRF group on Sunday. Among the riders is the general manager of one of the area PBS/NPR stations, affiliated with Grand Valley State University. Cool. Now, if we can just get our CEO to come out and play with us!

I tried taking the hybrid along on our truck rack, which worked fine- almost. For 50 miles, at highway speed, it was dandy, but pulling into the parking lot where we were congregating before the ride, crash! And suddenly there was no bike in my rear-view mirror! Well, the bike was mostly unscathed - both wheels were a bit wobbly, with the rear being bad enough that I had to release the rear brake, but there wasn't any frame damage or bent components. Stupid rack! Henceforth, it's relegated to being used as a back-of-the-car repair stand, never again to be trusted with actual transit. I put my mad Park Tool School skillz to use and re-straightened the wheels over the last couple of days, so the bike's all nice and smooth again.

And yesterday, the 3rd, I did a nice 34 miles south of town, following my new "standard" route until I managed to catch up with a group of women who were riding Northwards, among them fellow JDRF rider Peggy. I rode with them for a couple of miles before turning for home.

I'm jonesing to get out on Ruby, big time. The hybrid is OK, but easy speed beckons with its crooked finger...