June 29, 2008

R-12 pt.5 -- June Permanent Complete

Ahh, the continuing saga of the march to R-12. It's been a pretty good run so far, but this one was pretty cool because I got to share it with someone else, and possible pave the way for another successful randonnuer to get his start. Or to lose his mind. Whatever. Yeah, for the first time since February in Texas for a permanent... and really the first time since April for ANY rando stuff... I have someone to ride with. Noah, of KC-Bike fame, recent radio celeb, IT guru god-guy, and all around good person. Oh, and fresh RUSA member...number TBA. He'd always wondered about rando stuff, and so he printed the forms, wrote out the checks, and showed up at my place at holy-crap-it's-early for the ride. That shows dedication -- or exactly the nuttiness required to try rando in the first place. Maybe a little of both. Closing in on 800 miles for the month, he's well into the "hard core" range. My month.... errrr.... well, I'm gonna commute tomorrow (Monday) so I'll round out the month with a paltry 419 miles. Dang, so he's got me doubled and I call myself a rando guy? Yeesh. Yeah, THIS guy is on his way to full-on nut-bar. Cue that "punch" sound that comes at the end of the Sonic commercials. These permanent routes were designed selfishly: I designed em to allow me to roll outta bed, fall into my cycling gear, and start riding. For him to have made the drive shows something more than a casual interest, I think. We'll give him a few months, and see if the bug still bites again. Maybe in July we'll tempt him with a new route that's actually 200K, instead of 217 that was on tap for this one. After the ride, on Noah's recommendation that came about 80 miles into the ride, in a desperate attempt to talk about anything other than the hills, I enjoyed a bottle of Boulevard Brewing Company's Smokestack Series "Saison". 750ml of pure goodness. Then I promptly snoozed on the back deck with my feet propped up, and then went to bed. What a day. Tonite as I type this, I've decided to make my last beer (of the weekend) a bottle of Rogue Dead Guy Ale. That should help the memories flow a little. Yeah, yeah. I've decided to limit my beer intake to post-RUSA event celebrations only, and since right now I'm only riding a 200k+ per month, I feel that it's appropriately moderated. Now that I have a tall glass of the good stuff, let's tell the tale: I opened the garage door and let in the cool, still night air. It was DARK. Darker than usual, as the moon hadn't yet risen at 2:20am when my alarm rang. Yikes, dude.... this is madness. At least when I started last month at 4am, rising at 3:30 seemed semi-reasonable, maybe form a Bob Burns comparison standpoint. 2:20 was like, you haven't even had a chance to sleep. I rose, showered, and entered the prep-chamber to suit up for the expedition. Tires aired, back pockets loaded, and cards ready. Noah pulled up, unloaded, prepped, and soon we were ready. The pavement was wet - but the skies were kind: a round of severe thunderstorms had skirted the area overnight, and it was supposed to have still been raining at this hour -- but we were blessed. It's hard to start out in the rain. Lights ablaze, we navigated the neighborhood and found Murlen, and the 7-11 a 1/4 mile north. Ahhh, the night guy. Low customer count, not much to stock - no deliveries scheduled. Maybe clean the slushie machine. It doesn't take much more than a total disregard for circadian rhythms to work the night shift at a place like 7-11. And here we come, two wayward cyclists about to embark on a day-long adventure. It's 3:30am. And there we are, alone in the world -- except for the annoying teenagers that should have been asleep.
"hey, can I get you to put the time of day and your initials in this box, please?" Blank stares at the card. Then at me. Wow. He carefully records the time of day. Then pauses. Initials.... Initials...... uhhhhhh....... "what?" "You know, like the first letter of your first name....," I started to explain. As if he recognizes the term "name", he jots down his name... it'll do. "Thanks, sir!" I depart with my receipt and caffeine dose. Noah has the same experience. After briefing on the permanent card procedure and such, that was an oddity. It's not always that bad, or awkward. No matter --- drinks are consumed, and it's time to ride. Saddle up, and head out into the darkness. There is always something surreal about navigating the suburban streets at night. The lonesome whistle of a train, the distant whirr of the highway, and the occasional passing car. Usually with stereo thumping - as it's summer, after all. But, mainly, quiet - serene. The wetness of the pavement squishing under tires. The gentle click of drivetrains under mild load. It's a great time to be on a bike, as traffic is essentially non-existent. Under the glow of the streetlights, and the glare of the traffic signals (that wouldn't change despite the 70 lbs. of steel tubing on top of the sensors) -- finally darkness, and nothing but headlights on the road. What a feeling -- nothing beats it. And nothing quite beats sunrise on a bike...but that was hours away. I tell ya what else is hard to beat on a bike... a distant thunderstorm. As we rolled south, and eventually ended up on 175th and then Antioch for the big climb - first of the day - about 20 miles to the south, light-shifted into the yellowish-amber color commonly called "heat lightning" was the thunderstorm line that had passed thru at about 1:00am. Brilliantly flashing and lighting up the night sky, you could see the cloud deck and the cloud-to-ground strikes. Magnificent, no sound -- just light. Spooky. With the wet roads under us, and occasional little patches of wispy fog, it was dreamlike. First stop came at the Shell station at 199th and US-69, a weird place for me to stop -- and yeah, it was all me, not Noah. Barely ten miles in, my stomach was still having some leftover issues from the early morning. I think I carb-loaded a little too heavily the night before or something -- whatever it was, it wasn't fun. Things were not happy. Not something you want to have happen a lot in a world of terms like "chaffing" and "saddle sore". That's when things are Normal. We roll on, Metcalf now - the long haul for nearly 200 blocks south, past Louisburg, and into the first of the hills. All the climbing on this route (Border Patrol) comes at the middle of the ride, and starting around 303rd street, the fun begins with long sweeping hills carved into the natural hills. It's breathtaking, even at night, with 30 mph coming easily - plunging into the darkness, hoping the headlight beam is true, only to slow to a crawl to climb up out of the mirth. The sun begins to show at around 327th street, and we stop for a photo and a nature break on top of a hill. The song of birds begins to fill the skies in the pre-dawn light, the northeast sky alive with purple and pink. The leftover clouds from the thunderstorm squall line are sharp and turbulent, but far out of reach. We roll on. We finally reach "phase 2" of the route, which is what I've called it after having ridden this perm route for the third time now. Riding along the shoulder of US-69 is not something a lot of local cyclists would consider "safe", but this far south between 335th and 359th streets there is not a lot of traffic in the mornings (or afternoons really) and the wide shoulder with rumble strip is great. With dawns light really coming on, we were in good shape, too. But, the highway stint is something of a divider between the northern part of the ride and the southern part of the ride -- so I kind of use that as a mental placeholder and a landmark. We roll off the highway down onto 359th street, and onto the gravel section of the course - which only lasts a mile -- this morning, it's wet and mushy, tho. No matter -- Noah is well equipped with 32c tires, maybe 35s. He's ready and willing. It's an interesting part of the route, but I honestly can't wait until they decide to pave it over. Wouldn't break my heart - although it does add a certain flavor to the route. Noah is doing well so far - snapping pictures and enjoying the sunrise and sights and sounds. The conversation is flowing, and there isn't much concern so far. Just another ride for the both of us. We talk about the history of the route, the area, as the question comes up why the route is called "the border patrol". We discuss the nearby Indian reservation for the Miami Indians (I'll have to do some more research on that), and I wax philosophical about the La Cygne power plant and how cool it is to ride past it at night during the 600K. The conversation bounces around between dogs, camera gear, bikes, food, drivers, the weather, and what lie ahead beyond La Cygne. Finally, the La Cygne control, about 46 miles in. Time to get cards signed and refuel a little. Bottles are topped off, and I engage the cheesy potato breakfast bites that proved so good on last months edition of this ride. Dude, they are TASTY. Potatoes and a little cheese. Hit me. DANG good. I fill a plastic baggie with them, trying to stick to my revelation that I can save control time if I eat ON the bike. Cards signed and receipts obtained from our friendly cashier Bambi, we're in good shape and we take off for the middle section - The hard section. We roll off across the old La Cygne river bridge, and out of town --- side note, this is kinda sad, and I'm glad Noah was diligent with his camera. I still have not made a good habit of snapping more pics on rides, but he does an excellent job. The La Cygne bridge is fairly old, not sure how old as I've never stopped to record the information from the bridge nameplate at either end, but pretty old I'm sure. Might date back to the 20's... it's an old steel truss bridge, specifically a subdivided Warren truss bridge with a concrete road deck. It's very unique in it's design - and I think it's on the block for demolition, as just to the south of the existing bridge are coffer dams and new concrete pillars in place for a new bridge over the river leading into town. Not only is it probably going to be less visually appealing and unique, but the absolute straightness of K-152 will be altered forever, as the placement of the new bridge will require a couple of curves in the road. For me, being a hard-line party member of the "leave things alone" crowd, it's a real bummer. One of the coolest views around here is either end of Linn Valley, especially looking from west to east towards the power plant -- you can follow the entire road all the way to the other end of the valley. Sticking a weird dog-leg in there is just gonna mess it up, I feel. But, it's done. It's just a matter of building it.
Too bad. But, as I learned with the Platte River bridge up on MO-116, time marches on -- at least we have pictures. We made the turn onto Linn Co 1095 highway, and into the mystery land at the middle of this route. We climbed up and over the first big hill, and Noah was doing fine -- but likely not amused with the steep grade --- nor was I. Feeling pretty good, and having my stomach malady calming slightly, I was climbing better that I'd expected - but I made a point not to be in a hurry today. Leaving someone behind on their maiden rando event? Not cool. Especially in an area where it's easy to assume you're not in the right place. This highway is weird. It meanders along, twists and turns, and seems very odd sometimes. Today was no exception - as I think Noah termed it best -- "are we in Narnia or something?" The grey light of the overcast skies, the smell of fresh rain, the birds and green grass; It was weird out here today, to the point that on several occasions I wondered to myself – and finally out loud – whether or not we had missed a turn somewhere…even though there are no turns to miss out here. Climb number two came, along with a few of its friends that I hadn't bothered to number. Finally we reached the turn to head east directly into Pleasanton - but for several miles it really seemed like we were in the wrong place. And I'd ridden this twice before... so I'm not sure what THAT was all about. Still, we were on course. Finally hill number three, the stupid one. Reminds me still of Colorado's climbs, as today we ascended into some marginal fog -- just mystical and surreal looking, and then getting shot out of a cannon on the downhill side at 42 MPH ... what a rush! Pleasanton, here we are! We meander our way thru residential Pleasanton, make it past the railroad crossing before the morning northbound made its way thru, and make it to the control at the gas station near the highway. To the usual odd stares and muttered comments, we dismount and prepare for the rando-ritual of massive food purchase followed by card signing party. This cashier knows what’s up, tho – always a pleasure.

I’m not sure how much time passes, but we’re not in nearly as much of a hurry at this control, and my stomach decides to give one last revolt before calming down for the day, so I make one more stop inside. Things are not “happy”, yeah… but, I’ve had worse. It’s certainly the meal from the day before – I know that much, as opposed to what I was taking in so far. I’d used the same fueling platform as the May edition for this ride, and it was not only calming things down, but was providing very consistent push with no cramping or other ill effects.


Breakfast: Hammer Sustained Energy (4 scoops), mixed with (2) Clif Gel Shots – raspberry and mocha flavor, with 50mg of caffeine.

Pre-ride On bike: Hammer HEED (1) scoop per bottle, mixed with (3) scoops Sustained Energy for the initial two bottles.
Hammer HEED, (1) scoop per bottle approx for the remainder of the ride for hydration and maintenance calories.

Temperatures were not that high at the beginning of the ride, so I was probably not taking in enough liquid – but it never showed while riding.

Other calories:

- (1) serving of Casey’s cheesy potato bites (latest all day – had one left before arriving at Louisburg on the return)
- Starbucks Double Shot minican at the 7-11 start – approx. 120 cals.
- Bought at Pleasanton, (1) 420 calorie bag of Planters “Pistachio Mix” – mixed into the same baggie as the potato bites, for the road. Ate about ¼ of the bag while standing around.
- Casey’s on the return, (1) slice of cheese pizza --- ended up being a marginal mistake, as it seemed to take a lot more liquid to digest. Minor stomach distress, but it didn’t last long. Also had about ¼ of a fresh orange, courtesy Noah.
- At Stilwell Grocery, a bag of Snyder’s Pretzel Nibblers – Honey Mustard and Onion flavor (mmm) – 2 oz., @ 130 cals per oz. – 260 cals total.
- Supplements: Didn’t really need any today. Had a full load of Endurolytes, but didn’t take any. Vitamins, however, I have noticed are a very good thing on rides like this – chewable vitamin C tablets, 500mg each, I took in two at each control, and the last two at Louisburg. 1000mg every 25 miles or so helped tremendously with digestion, mood, and spirit – and probably assisted in cramp control and lactic acid buffering. Never had any indication of fatigue, cramping, or soreness. Cheap, and easy to carry – this is part of my arsenal from now on. Used them in May, also, with the same positive results.

I’d like to think that the rest of the ride was ridden on stored fat, and that I burned a lot of it. I’m going to attempt the July edition on far LESS pre-ride carb-loading, and see if I can do this distance without having to eat a TON the couple of days before. I think some of that is bunk – yeah, you want to ensure that the glycogen levels in your muscles are topped off before such an event, but I truly think I’ve been overdoing it. The numbers above, let’s figure on 100 calories per scoop of HEED, and 114.3 per scoop of SE….say 300 for the slice of cheese pizza….420 in the bag of mixed nuts…260 for the pretzels (and I got home before finishing them all)…the potato bites are an unknown, but let’s say 400 cals easy.
Totals, 10 scoops of SE, 10 scoops of HEED:

HEED = 1,000 calories
Clif Shots = 200 calories
SE = 1,143 calories
Other = 1,380 calories

Total = 3,843 calories intake.
9 hours rolling time approx. @ 600 calories per hour = 5400 cals needed.

That still puts me at a deficit…and I’m not sure for me personally if the 600 cals per hour burned is accurate or not. If I assume that I burned what I took in, that’s got me burning 420 or so per hour… and I would hope that cycling is burning more than that. However, using BikeJournal.com’s calorie calculator, entering my weight, the mileage and the average speed, THAT shows I should have burned over 6,400 calories, which is 710 per hour! SO, I can safely assume (or hope) that the moderate pace was augmented by a healthy dose of stored fat calories…and I hope so, because my goal is to lose weight. Considering that I never felt weak, fatigued, or bonky – perhaps I’ve found a good balance. Personally, I don’t know HOW I could have eaten MORE. I’ll have to surf the forums a little bit, I suppose, or re-read the UMCA’s guidelines on fueling. Now that I’ve got hydration back to “second-nature” status, it’s time to ensure my nutrition choices are good ones. At the very least, you can see from the above that I did continue May’s pledge to stop fueling like crap: no donuts, no snack cakes, no real Cokes, or anything similar. Everything was pretty much complex carbs, proteins, and very minor sugar. The fats provided from the nuts are pretty good for endurance, too, I’ve read – and it seemed to work nicely. Back to my original notion, based on how I behaved the day of the ride, I’m pretty sure I didn’t need to carb-load to the degree that I did. The post-load digestive trauma just isn’t worth it. I’d rather just eat a carb-rich dinner two days before, and take it easy the day before – and feel fresh and “light” the day of the ride.

After enjoying the rest, it was time to roll out for part two of the ride.
Just as we were leaving town, the sky got a little bit greyer, and a few strap drops began to hit us. Hmmm…. That’s different. The temperature was high enough that donning the rain jacket would have been foolhardy – and I was honestly wondering, especially after some ribbing from Noah, why I had taken the rain jacket along at all. Still, it wasn’t taking up much space on the rack – let’s call it a mental preparedness move, eh? The rain steadily increased – but I would never really way it was “raining” – it was really just spitting. The roads slicked up a little bit, but even oncoming traffic were working the windshield wipers at a big interval – when we saw a car at all, that is.

Inevitably, we reached a point where I was starting to get annoyed at the sound of my own voice, but at the same time I still felt it necessary to fill the void with idle talk. Noah was kinda and tactful, and I ended up laughing about it – but I have caught myself more often than not lately just blabbing on about nothing at all, or reiterating the same point over and over – stuff like that. Here’s raising a glass to personal improvement, and sticking to what I’d outlined in this very blog a while back – not to bring up the past so much, and to continue looking forward (even though I just had to look backwards to make that point) Arg. (smacks forehead)
If you don’t have anything to say, stop trying. J
That’s what blogs are for.

On that point, the ride turned very “rando” in nature. Conversation lulled, and the internal dialogue started up. Hills came, we’d spread apart, then regroup – I was determined to keep us together as a group, and not turn Noah’s first RUSA event into a crash course in cue-sheet reading. Still, I caught myself doing the ole “one meter in front of the bike, thousand-yard stare” while riding along, and I’d begin to put in a gap just by hitting my default rando pace, before I’d snap out of it, and bring us back together. This explained a LOT of the “where AM I?” feeling from earlier in the ride; Noah was pointing out landmarks and such, taking photos, and noting the fact that the twin smoke-stacks of the power plant were SO far away, visible thru the trees – a feature I’d never noticed before, simply because I don’t look around a whole lot when riding solo. That’s partially a necessity on some of these rides, especially the longer ones. You simply have to pull the plug, and pedal. To my credit, however, I did notice a huge amount of wildflowers dotting the road; button daisies, little clusters of bright blue flowers, yellow flowers everywhere, tall clover umbrellas – very cool, and plenty of scenery for someone that stares at the road a lot like me. Good crops, too – a lot of soy, wheat and corn coming up. The roadkill was a constant source of comment, too. Even saw an armadillo, along with a really big turtle, and a lot of skunk. Whooof. Stanky, stanky Podunk.

Finally, after the last long downhill adventure at 40+ MPH, we were on the last long flat that leads back to K-152 and La Cygne for the final control…well, the final control out on the road. We stopped here for a pretty long time, probably 20-30 minutes at least. Meeting Badgerland back at Louisburg for a three-way ride back into town was right out of the cards by now. It was 11:00am, and getting 22 miles back to the BP station at 279th wasn’t gonna happen. I dialed in a voicemail to him, and we began to eat, and eat – and rest. Noah’s knee had a little spur in it for a while, but at one point on the return it snapped free and started feeling better = which is a good thing. Still, we were gonna start slowing down for the last part of the ride. Fatigue was coming up fast, and every pedal stroke for him now was a new personal best for mileage. Time to take it easy.
I sucked down the last of my slice-o-cheese pizza, freshly baked, and we were ready to head out once again. A long, slow coal train would have hampered our progress anyways, so it was a welcome rest.

The final climb out of the valley is always a forgotten bear. It stinks. It’s a great opportunity to work on pacing uphill, but geez it gets old. I think it’s probably two miles long, really, from when the grade begins to pitch to the rollover on the top. Toss in the fact that there’s no shoulder, and it’s a state highway… ugh. Still, it’s one of my favorite roads… a great downhill on the way in to La Cygne… and on the out it marks the last major climb for this ride. After this, there isn’t a whole lot to worry about. Well, except for the gravel section.

After we rolled north for a while, thankful that the wind hadn’t really picked up yet, enjoying the fairly new pavement of Jingo road – we said thanks to “Boz” for everything…. We really don’t know what for, but we rolled past some big family gathering somethingorother, and ole Boz was getting accolades from everyone else, so we both kinda chimed in, too. Then came the attack dogs, brothers probably, that would charge their fence line in a vain attempt to kill us. Funny thing is, whoever got to the fence last was a rotten egg, or something like that: it seemed that once they got there to bark at us, they were more interested in killing each other than us. Silly dogs.

Then, the old highway comes into view, and BAM – gravel section. Careful to avoid the gigantic and ever-growing hole at the precipice of the section, I take the middle, and begin the charge. Coming this direction, it’s basically all uphill until 359th street, and still being marginally wet and sloppy from the AM storms, it’s an exercise in cadence and traction. Anxious to get it over with, and basically to not fall over from my thin 25c tires digging in, I toss the engine into George Hincapie Paris-Roubaix attack mode. Making matters more interesting were the three cars that happened to be here – not sure where everyone was headed, but it’s odd to see ANYone on this section of road, much less having three cars in fairly consistent spacing have to squeeze past us, and it forced me to take lines on the road that were not my first choice. This is one of those rare times where 30c mixed tread cyclocross tires would be nice, if only they’d fit under my fenders.
Hammering the last uphill, I’m back on pavement, and I slam on the brakes. Yeesh, what a trial. I am reminded that only a month before was the Kanza 200 race out near Emporia, KS. 200 MILES of these kinds of roads… and the winner of the event, Cameron “somebody” (I can’t remember) finished in ELEVEN HOURS. A double in 11 hours is tough on pavement, but not out of reach…but on gravel like this? I SUCK. It’d sure be fun to try, tho!!! With my heart pounding after this charge, it puts that whole effort into serious perspective. It doesn’t take much to sit on a bike all day… but to do it quickly? Dang.

Noah catches up, and we’re finally back on the smooth stuff heading back towards Phase 1 of the route, but first we have to complete the highway section back north. It’s pretty nice, same good shoulder on both sides of the road – and it would be utterly unmentionable had it not been for the two miles of tire shrapnel we had to ride thru, finally coming up behind the “victim” – the trailer of a recycler’s truck has a double blowout, dropping the wheels to the pavement. That must have been an interesting ride!

Another nature break, one that always seems to hit in the same place --- each of the three times I’ve ridden this route, it’s always after coming off the highway. Near Rutlader, KS, as usual, looking south into the protected grasslands near the road, it seems like it’s turning into a nicer day – the cloud layers are burning off, and I can see my shadow for the first time today as we roll onward for the last nasty section before reaching Louisburg. Up, and down, and up, and down – 30MPH, then 9 or 10….over and over. It’s weird, and I think it’s all slightly uphill overall as you head north – or it’s the fatigue setting in – but I never seem to remember this section being so hilly in the early morning hours of the ride.

We finally make it back to Louisburg, and traffic is picking up. It makes me really wish for an alternate, fully paved alternative to Metcalf sometimes. With summer in swing, yeah – people are going to be out and about – but you’d think some of that would be stifled by the gas prices, and in a relatively small town there would be more people walking about and such – not so here. Louisburg is sadly turning into another Olathe or Overland Park, just off by itself. No real planning – just a lot of sprawl and car-centric culture. It’s amazing how many houses are near the main strip of town, and yet there are freaking cars EVERY-where. Nip it, people!

Of course, we rando guys are pretty much numb to traffic – bike commuters moreso. It’s something to comment on, but not a deal killer. As we make our way out of town, the traffic does subside a little, especially after crossing 247th street. On of these days I’ll also be looking at a route that heads east from here over to Cleveland, MO. That might be a fun road.

Noah and I are spaced about ½ mile apart here, riding our own rides, and taking in the new sunshine and bold scenery – as if from a postcard. The skies are loaded with puffy clouds against a striking blue backdrop, intersecting seamlessly with a carpet of lush greens and tans of good crops on either side of the road – even a John Deere making its way up the road towards us, we are suddenly thrust into rural Iowa, perhaps, instead of only being a few miles south of a burgeoning suburb, and new business park.

This is a repost from Noah’s blog, but I love this photo from that moment, as I stretch the shoulders a bit:

Soon, we’re at 199th and the Stilwell Grocery stop – and after a little rest, some hose water, and bottle refills, we are set to mount up again, as the wind begins to slowly pick up. Finally, which is REALLY odd for such a nice day, we see another cyclist. Contrasted to May’s ride, I had seen at least a dozen riders between Louisburg and Olathe before finishing – today, we hadn’t seen ANY, until now. A lone triathlete girl, stopping in for her turnaround stop, decked out in the KC Multisport kit on a nice grey Orbea (I think?). It was nice to talk to someone else from the fold, instead of the local passersby. But, it was over quickly as we mounted up and headed towards Antioch for the last charge, the last big downhill, and the last long steady run-up back towards Olathe – this time, pretty much directly into the growing wind. The fatigue of the day was beginning to show now, and Noah was entering “just get home” mode, so I tailored my pace down to help keep him in sight. It was done for me more than once, and it was time for me to pay it forward. Working together towards a common goal is what makes Randonneuring so appealing to me, and helps keep it a unique culture. There will always be time for a personal best, but not at anyone else’s expense.
Noah even asked me after the ride, something to the effect that I’d be lying if I said that the “finish sprint” never happened at a RUSA ride… you know, it was hard to explain. I’d never been a witness to it, personally – although I think between friends, it does happen – but more often than not I’ve seen a lot of people make a point to cross the finish line together, to hit the control together. I’ve even had more experienced riders completely turn around and ride the route backwards to regroup with the slower bunch, sometimes several times during a ride. Yeah, Ort and I would engage in speedplay once in a while on brevet – and the Warbird and I sometimes would give each other a run…but it was always short-lived. More often than not, the gaps in the group grow slowly, and unintentionally, just because everyone ends up in their own pace, their own world. You look back fifteen miles later, and realize there’s no-one behind you anymore, and it’s never because you were “trying to drop someone”. It’s refreshingly anti-racer. But to say that rando riders are slow is a horrible mis-representation. I just think that the speed is a secondary concern, as is the competition. Everyone is out on the road fighting their own personal battle, and the personal bonds that are created from the shared misery are far more valuable than the “sprint points”.

Finally, we are back on Lackman – a couple more climbs, and it’s 159th, then Murlen. At this point, my backside is ready to be done. Although it’s not really hot, at probably only 77 degrees, the sunshine after a full day under the clouds seems brutal. It’s time to wrap this one up. In the last mile, the pace naturally lifts a little, and Noah and I sail into the parking lot for the 7-11, and to personal victory. Noah has done it! And I have one more notch in the R-12 belt….. seven to go. Back at the home base, we once again have a slight issue with the language barrier on the subject of what “initials” means – as we both get the time of day recorded by someone named “7 eleven”. Nice. Now, all we have to do is ride back to my place – something that seems almost ‘easy’ now, but it’d certainly be better if our cars were right there in the parking lot. Oh well… we make it back in short order, and NOW we are officially done.

Shower time….. whoooo!

Now the before and after road grime shot, for the books:

I think I’m gonna try my hand at another route in July, maybe the Wellsville ride, or the WMG Memorial, since I designed that one but hadn’t ridden it yet. I’ll ponder it a little, but I definitely want to do it earlier in the month, so in case something happens I have at least one other weekend to reschedule. I have cut it close two months in a row by riding on the last Saturday. I think more of a buffer than that is appropriate! No major lessons this time out… keep doing what works, commute, and see what July brings!

Thanks for reading – now, go check out the photos and Noah’s write up on his blog! Do it! KC-Bike Blog.


Chris said...

Man, sorry I missed you! My phone never rings loud enough when I'm riding... :( Let me know if the 19/26th Saturdays are a go for the July version.

O. T. said...

Let me know what the schedule is for July as well. I cancelled my perm for tomorrow.

Great job! Sprint finish? I had to laugh at that one.....only a couple times and only because I was with friends and it seemed really important to come in 17th instead of 18th out of 20 riders....