Things haven’t eased up too much since my flurry of posts from the beach. Bob and Charlie had another party ride this year which was great, but I came straight home and started working again. I did post 4 photos on Flickr but that was the extent of my documentation. I’ve ventured out for a few short, uneventful jaunts on the weekends and kept up with my commutes. At least I’m not getting any LESS fit. Bob posted his ramble for September and I was instantly both excited and mortified. The Old Roads Ride was the one I missed out on in 2012 by scheduling an injury the week prior. I was hyper with the idea of riding but realistic that my fitness is still in the toilet. He gave us a long route and a short route to pick from and I could have gone with the easy one but figured if I did: 1) I’d only be cutting out about 18 miles. 2) I wouldn’t see anybody all day because even if I was riding I wouldn’t get passed by anyone at any point. 4 days before I was looking at the site and saw Ken’s comment asking if he could ride the route on his road bike–at which point Bob emphatically said no. I emailed him and offered him the use of my mountain bike which led to Ken telling me that he had an old bike of his own that needed some attention. We hatched a plan and he found himself in my garage swapping out saddles and tires for stuff in my parts bin at 10pm the night before while I sprayed half a can of WD-40 onto the links of his rusted-out chain in hopes of freeing the links enough to make it rideable. He ended the evening with a thorough 90 yard test ride after which he deemed it a worthy craft for venturing off into the wilderness.
In bed by 11 and up at 5:30 – I tossed my stuff in the truck and headed for Ken’s house. As we were loading his gear he passed me a smoothie. It was his own concoction. I gave it a shot and as we were driving he started to run down the list of ingredients: apple, nectarine, banana, dates, almonds, flaxseed, cucumber, sweet pepper, spinach, kale, raw egg…I don’t remember half of it. I’m not a fan of cucumber and between that and the thought of raw egg it’s all I could smell/taste. It wasn’t bad, but definitely an acquired taste. I hadn’t eaten anything else and was already behind my schedule enough that I didn’t want to stop anywhere so I just kept taking sips since it was pretty much all the calories I knew I was going to get this morning.
Ken & his Trek ready to go…
Hit the parking lot by 7:30, and were moving in short order. Ken’s Trek looked like it was going to be alright aside from the horrible sounds it would make when he applied the front brake. I also could see a ridiculous amount of flex in the fork with said brake application while riding along side him. We got half way up the first hill and had to take the first of many stops to adjust and try and tighten his saddle. The mechanicals were annoying, but it made us a good pair for the day–while he struggled with his bike overshifting off the largest cog and a perpetually tilting saddle, I struggled with climbing the hills in my lowest gear at 3.6mph.
The first of many mechanical stops. Early morning riding makes for the best views…
I climb first (photo credit: ken)
I was running the GPS and we were both glancing at our cue sheets. About 8 miles out we hit washboards on one of the downhill sections. Half way up the next hill I looked down and noticed that the Etrex was off. Shoot. It came back on fine, but refused to get a satellite lock. After 10 minutes of riding and power-cycling the unit I said ‘screw it’ to myself and decided to navigate manually for a while. Glad we had an idea where we were on the sheet. Eventually it came back 2 sheets later, but far enough down the road that my final track missed out on documenting about 2k worth of climbing. In its year of neglect, the Trucker’s computer battery died so I have no idea how far I went aside from looking at the paper cue and map Bob gave us.
I managed a little energy drink and 2 clif bars, but was still running pretty close to empty. I felt ok so there must be something to this whole ‘kitchen-sink smoothie’ thing.
One of the few breaks where Ken didn’t pull his tool kit out…
We made the lunch stop around 11:30, which was about 1/2 hour before the main group caught up. I had originally envisioned ordering ahead of them and sharing a table for 20 minutes or so, but the way it all shook out we just hung around and ate with them. No matter because there was still plenty of daylight. We left by 1 and soft-pedaled up the Central Trail for a few miles as a group. After the hills started most everyone took off–never to be seen again–but Bob hung out with us. That made for an even better afternoon since I haven’t spent much quality time riding alongside him lately. My goal was simply to enjoy the day while trying not to be too much of a millstone. Worked out ok. I just kept my head down on the climbs and let the brim of my hat block the view so I couldn’t see all the hills unfolding in front of me. At times it was demoralizing to think of all the work I had to do before getting home. The route was awesome, the scenery was breathtaking, and the weather was perfect. Aside from the fact that I was rationing my water all afternoon b/c we didn’t pass a convenience store I didn’t have a care in the world.
Close to the 60 mile mark, Bob pulled away for a bit. Ken and I figured we were going just a bit too slow, but he had ridden ahead to see if he could catch the rest of the group for a photo op at the one point which doubled back on itself. We caught up to him and he described how the next 2 miles led you right back to the point we were at. After 2 minutes of hemming and hawing we mutually agreed to skip it and try to huff it back to the start. Bob really needed to hit the road by 5ish and we wanted to grab a beer if we could.
Bob & Ken share the last (memorable) break for the day…
I spun up every hill in the saddle and had saved a few standing sprints for the end. We pushed just hard enough that Bob had time to have those beers with us as the perfect end to a perfect day.
No data on the ride not that it would be non-embarrasing enough to share anyway… Here’s some more photos with additional markups though… Think I have to plan some weekend interval training trips out there on the hills and build my base back up.