Monday, April 9, 2012

Early Spring Hiatus

A lot's happened the last month, most of it's been good. Between family stuff, work, and yard work, there hasn't been any time to put together a quality post. Not that any of my posts are quality, but I do like to be able to take a few hours to put together an idea and match with some photos.

Shortly after my last post, the weather changed from a mild but cloudy, crappy winter directly into summer. We had 9 straight days of record high temps.

You might imagine what that might do to a simple mid-westerner. Bike! And mow. For the first time in my life, I mowed grass in March - March 19th was the first, then March 24th, then March 29th. The damn grass won't stop growing. Actually, it has slowed substantially as we are now entering mild drought conditions. I'm not a fan of grass mowing or lawn care in general, but now that we live in a subdivision, I'm getting the hairy eyeball from really nice people who are wondering where all those dandelion seeds my lawn is producing will go. I've even heard there is a bet whose lawn on our cul-de-sac will be covered next spring with the yellow blooms (which I find quite lovely).

Commuting weather has been fantastic. Here's the Tricross commuter. This bike is so much more than a commuter, but this is the way I like it.

Much has changed with the old grey Trek 500. It's finally sporting the Velo Orange compact crank (48 - 34) I bought last year, but stuck too far out to the east for the front derailleur to engage the large chainring. My bike buddy Luis had a narrow Shimano bottom bracket cartridge that he ordered online, but it doesn't fit his bike. But it did fit mine perfectly.

Note the new pump location - I mounted it on the seat stay on the old blue Trek and almost had a major catastrophe on the Nashville Brevet when the nozzle came loose and ended up between the seat stay and spokes. Can't happen in this location.

The warm weather has allowed me to get some serious mileage in, which has me in much better condition than I was this time last year. I've ridden several Saturday Show 'n Go rides with the club even. I go into serious oxygen debt on every ride. This past Saturday, I hung in with the group for almost a whole hour. I found myself staring blankly at the ground, gasping for every bit of oxygen I could suck in on the same big hill I was dropped on 3 weeks ago. Chuck held back with me, Luis, and Jeff to pull us back into the main pack. We had to beg him to leave us alone, but not without a fight. I thought I was going to have to offer him money to leave us be. He finally ditched us when the group ahead grew small in the distance.

We are forming a Saturday and Sunday touring group which will ride a more moderate pace than we've ridden the past several years. I like to go really fast, but my really fast is still pretty slow. I'll have to work to keep up with the moderate group, but I'm looking forward to riding with those folks. I suspect it will be the same folks I wind up riding with who get spit out the back of the mad peloton the touring group has become over the past few years.

I'm digging the late sundowns now after the time change. It is staying light until after 8 pm, so I can get a few really nice rides in after work each week.

The Ohio Randonneurs' series is underway, and I rode the 200k a week ago last Saturday. I was able to ride the whole way with people, and through 80 miles we had a decent-sized pack of riders, maybe 8 or 9. Paul and Rich, below, and I kept going at the 80 mile mark when the rest of the pack wanted to stop. By the way, between these two guys, they've completed 8 Paris-Brest-Paris's! What's even more amazing, is Paul, on the right, is one of only 3 people to have completed P-B-P 7 times! I really fortunate to have the chance to ride with him and to be able to learn so much on this ride, and several of the rides last year.

I think this is the control at the 91 mile mark. We had caught up to the faster people, but they left shortly after we came in.

There is a large group of people who I can't even hope of keeping up with, but at the 114 mile mark, we passed a Wendy's and noted the large number of randonneur bikes outside. At the finish, we realized it was the large fast group. And Paul, Rich, and I had beat them to the end!

Randonneuring is not about beating the next guy or gal. We each do our best on each ride. But I am happy they had a hunger for beef!

This Saturday is the 300K, and two weeks after that is the Fleche ride. This will be my first, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Bon route!

PS - thanks to you folks who sent me emails asking if I'm OK. You know who you are - I appreciate your concern.



RANTWICK said...

Your tri-cross commuter looks like I built it, for myself. Perfect, right down to the mud flap.

Jon said...

Good to have you back. I wish I was putting in the miles you are laying down!

limom said...


Big Oak said...

Rantwick - hey,thanks. I'd need a plastic tub to finish it properly, then. which I may do this next winter.

Jon - thanks man!

limom - at the speed I ride, I take the bonk out of the bonkalicious!

Trevor said...

Great to see all is well and that you are putting in some miles......

jeff said...

I've been pleased with my mileage at this early stage of the cycling season, but it pales in comparison to yours. Good job!

John Romeo Alpha said...

I also like the Road Morph pump, but like you have had issues with the supplied mounting. The Mountain version comes with a much more secure mount, perhaps I will order up a spare to prevent unacceptable mount rotation--mine was on the seat tube, but due to being on an older, smaller tube, kept rotating around to the chainring side, also unacceptable.

DAN said...

Looks nice there.

Pondero said...

Great to finally get an update. I've been looking forward to more randonneuring insights.

I loved your, "but my really fast is still pretty slow" line. I totally relate to that.

rlove2bike said...

I too had noticed no posts, but you made up for it with this one. Great post. I sometimes go for a few days computer free.

Sweet looking Tri-cross...and the miles you're riding, downright impressive.

Thanks for the great post!!

Big Oak said...

Trevor, Jeff - yes mileage is ok, but I think fitness is better. Just getting out to ride is the real treat.

JRA - I struggled mightily on where best to locate the pump. Like the days of yore, I wanted to mount the pump on the seat stay in true Randonneur's fashion. Guess that only works with frame pumps. I hope you have luck with your mount. Btw, I love the Road Morph pump. For such a small item, it carries a powerful punch. I can get my tire to 100 psi without going into oxygen debt!

Dan - it is beautiful here. Having lived many years in northern Wisconsin, I have to say the springs here are magnificent. We did get snow yesterday, however.

Pondero - I'll bet your "pretty slow" is pretty fast to me!

Rlove2bike - thank you! I do love the bike.