On-ramps, chain breakers, and bananas

In my flips through blogs over the past week I came across this interview on The Daily Randonneur with Rob Hawks of the San Francisco Randonneurs. You should really click on the link and read the whole thing, but to get started for my recap of Sunday’s Point to Point Rando Ramble I’m going to point out question 7.

” What is it that you love about randonneuring?
That is, what keeps you coming back ride after ride?

What hooked me at first and continues to be the strongest pull is the company I have ridden with on brevets. There are so many stories to hear and to tell. What is better than being on bikes, talking about bikes and bike rides with other bike riders for 8-40 hours? “

Some days everything is perfect but your brain just isn’t in the right place. That describes how I felt Sunday. Last year I was a not-so-strong cyclist having the magical ride of a lifetime where everything went perfectly. This year I was a slightly more experienced cyclist who was making some goofy wrong turn every 2 seconds regardless of all the stuff that fell into place (great weather, easy route, etc…). Lucky for me I had a great group to help keep me on track.

Beautiful quiet morning.

I was up at 5:45 again b/c it seems to be a little easier for me to have a minute to collect my thoughts in the a.m. before rolling out. I left early and met Bob & Isaias at Sam’s Bagels a little after 7. We met up with the rest of the group in front of the fort at 8am sharp. Like last year, we weren’t able to cruise the trails around the perimeter yet. Have to wait a few more weeks, but at least we got to peek inside this time. Once on the road we cruised on the trails around Harborplace to Fells Point. Halfway between the two I saw Rod and Lenore swing their tandem around like they dropped something. When they didn’t show up at our first ‘pier stop’ I doubled back to make sure they were ok since we noticed some slippery areas along the boardwalk. Turns out that they just took a detour to avoid the cobblestones in Fells Point. By the time we were out of Canton I had caught up with Scott and pulled ahead because I wanted to stop along the way through Sparrows Point to take photos. While scanning for photo ops I had my second mishap for the day when I misread a ‘bear right’ on the cue sheet and took the on-ramp for I-695 headed towards Key Bridge. I got about half way around the bend before realizing I was doing something illegal as well as incorrect. At the same time the photos I envisioned never materialized. Don’t know if the skies were different or what. All the same landmarks were there but I didn’t see what I wanted pics of this time around. Coming out of Sparrows Point I’d lost sight of Scott and was starting to wonder if he was ok so I stopped by the side of the road for a few seconds with Rod and Lenore. Just a minute later he pulled up and we started off again. As we entered the North Point area, I had my third mishap of the day going straight into North Point Park near a signed entrance rather than correctly turning right. By this point I realized the track for today’s ride was probably going to look more like a toddler’s scribbles than a pre-planned route. The rest of the group was waiting for us in the old VA facility and we all took off again soon after our arrival.

On leaving North Point Justin started to have problems with the chain skipping on his new Bianchi. He only has about 400 miles on it so my first reaction was that the cable stretched out a little. We spent the next 28 miles screwing around with the barrel adjuster to no avail. It was maddening because I’ve made that same adjustment just aligning a cog with the jockey wheels a dozen times. Nothing seemed to make it work today.

While at one of our convenience store rest stops Justin went for a banana that he had packed and we all got a lesson in how quickly they ripen when you put them in a black enclosed space for 2 hours in the sun. The temperature really did start to climb and I was cooking in my 3 layers too. He offered to put my jacket in his trunk bag so I didn’t have to wear it all day and I gladly accepted regardless of the banana remnants/odor.

The next section was fairly uneventful and we pulled into the Island View Cafe around 12:30pm (?). While following Justin on the last stretch, I watched his chain skipping through the jockey wheels and decided to give a quick look for a stiff link before sitting down. 5 minutes of back-pedaling and we found the offending link more seized up than anything I’ve ever seen before. Preferring food to wrenches we went in for lunch. I had a Broiled Crab Cake Sandwich with fries. I live for bicycle food now btw.

We finished with lunch and went back outside to figure out how to fix the problem we found. Scott had a latex glove he offered me so I could keep my hand cleaner and I gladly accepted. Inexplicably I didn’t bother to put the glove on – not that it mattered because we all had our hands in trying to break the link and make a decision as to how to repair it. On Bob’s suggestion we finally popped 3 links out and spliced it together. Back on the road just 45 minutes or so behind schedule, we made good time and enjoyed the quiet of everyone’s drivetrain running smoothly. A few minutes after lunch we also bid farewell to Rod and Lenore who were only in for a 62 mile day. Only a few points to go and we breezed through the last rest stop to keep moving (and because the Royal Farms’ ice cream novelties section was decimated).

L-R – Tom, Bob, Justin, Isaias & Scott…

…Ed takes a break for a sec too.

Ebenezer road was crazy for a Sunday afternoon and the group got a little too split up. Justin luckily noticed that we lost Ed at the Bird River turnoff and we did a little backtracking to get the group together. Once reunited, we were motoring just fine for the last 16/17 miles. Isaias turned off to head home (good riding again – sorry I couldn’t catch up to say bye…). We got back to the inner harbor and forged a plan to visit Alewife across from the Hippodrome theater and hang out for a little bit. We took a load off and chat for a while over beers (I had Tröegs Tröegenator, which was fantastic, but a little too aggressive for my mood – last goofball choice of the day…). I really needed munchies but it didn’t work out so when we got to the second round I skipped so I could make it home in one piece.

Once finished up, I donned my jacket which smelled ever so faintly of bananas and pedaled north with Bob. Finally home, I ate a melee of random food from the fridge and my last pale ale while doing a monster load of laundry.

Photos: Click here for the Flickr Set : Click here for Bob’s Flickr Set

Numbers: 7:51’ | miles – 111.0 | moving avg – 14.1 | overall avg – 11.4 | elev gain – 2387′

Data: Garmin pt1 | Garmin pt2 | Garmin pt3 | Garmin pt4

Great day to be out on the bike. Thanks Rod, Lenore, Bob, Isaias, Ed, Scott, Justin & Tom! Hope to see everyone out again soon.


8 thoughts on “On-ramps, chain breakers, and bananas

  1. It was a truly awesome ride. Thanks again for all of your help with me chain. It would have been a miserable ride if I had to deal with the skipping the entire time.

    I hope we get to ride again soon. I won’t be at the Pancake ride because I have to go to a wedding that weekend.

    Let me know if you want to grab lunch or something sometime.

    Talk to you later,

    • Absolutely!, and thanks for the beer too. Sorry you can’t make the Pancake ride as it is a great “transition ride” from the flatter Centuries to the others (at least it was for me), but we’ll catch up again for sure.

  2. Nice report, Dave. Great to meet you in person. I’ve followed the ride reports on your blog since last fall and have wanted to finish a Rando Ramble ever since. I decided tthis one was the one, and it was happily timed because it capped off my big rides for the year. The ride was way better than I had hoped it would be. And the best part was the no-drop ethic, which was infectious. It felt like a nice withdrawal from the karma bank to ride with everyone the last 50 miles. Now I need to make some deposits. By the way, post-century beer is very effective.

  3. Pingback: Point to point X 12 | The Rando Ramble

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