Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Ride and a Wedding

A wedding this weekend prevented me from going on Laura's ride as I had to be cleaned up and in Brooklyn by 5pm. I didn't want to do another ride on my own so I rode over to Cranbury for the 8:30 am ride. It was really crowded with close to 30 people for two different rides. I went out with John on the C+ ride to have a relaxing ride and catch up with a few people I hadn't seen in a while. It was a basic ride to Roy's and back. Herb and I split off at Roy's to add a few miles. I came in with just over 46 miles and was happy I was able to get that many miles in. Although it was hot it wasn't nearly as hot as last weekend so for once in the past couple of weeks I didn't feel dehydrated at the end of the ride.

Driving to Brooklyn is always a fun drive that can take somewhere between an hour and a half and 2 days. Luckily besides an accident on the Verrazano bridge that caused a small delay it was reasonable 2 hour drive. The wedding and reception was in an old club in the park slope section of Brooklyn. As with a lot of old buildings in New York the woodwork and architecture of the interior are of a quality you don't see a lot in new buildings. The rooms were filled with intricate wood paneling with a lot of custom carvings topped off with the classic tin ceilings with more carved moldings. Of course like most old building in New York air conditioning is an add on and usually doesn't work that well. It was over 85 degrees in the rooms we were in and that was before the people were there. The window unit air conditioners just weren't able to cut through the heat. 

It was hot uncomfortable but we still had a good time. We just resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to be sweaty so lets ignore that and help my wife's niece celebrate her wedding. 

They had a simple ceremony that dispensed with a lot of the tradition rituals and focused more on celebrating the couples commitment to each other.There were some of the usually speeches by the best man and matron of honor but for the most part it was just a party. 

By 10 pm it was over and we could finally get back to the air condition car for the ride home. Its going to be a few days before my core temperature cools down. I am looking forward to my trip to Alaska next week where the highs won't be much over 60 degrees. I'm looking forward to actually feeling cold.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Excessive Heat

Hot an humid doesn't even begin to describe the weather today. There was an excessive heat warning in effect today. Somethings these warnings are over used but today it was real. About three quarters though the ride sweat was continuously running down my face at a rate that made it hard to take a breath through my mouth or noise without sucking my sweat back in.  I got out early today to beat the heat but at 7:30 it was already 80 degrees and at least 90% humidity so there was no beating the heat.

I did a 40 ish mile New Egypt run and included Hill Rd along the way. I felt good for most of the ride but definitely felt the affects of the hot weather the last few miles. I have been watching a lot of the summer olympics games this past week and one of the things they talk about was how good athletes must learn to push through the pain. 

I have never been a competitive athlete but I do understand that pain and suffering are part of the sports we enjoy.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

100 Mile Funk

I don't like to do centuries. 60 to 70 miles are the longest rides I like to do. Anything longer can be painful. However every couple of years I do a century just to prove to myself that I can do it. Today was the PFW Event and since I didn't volunteer this year I was able to ride the event. My plan was to do the 65 or century depending on the weather and how I felt. Laura put a group together so I planned to join her somewhere on route as I left from my house instead of the college. It was a cloudy and humid day so my main concern was cramping.

I left my house just after 7am and did this route. I meet Laura, Bob, and a couple of others at the first rest stop 18 miles in. I went through a little rain just before the rest stop but it cleared up quickly. It just meant that I got dirty early in the ride.

We cruised through mostly familiar roads as we made our way in the general direction of New Egypt. The route kept us on some busy main roads which was unusual for the event where they usually keep riders on less traveled roads for safety.

We pulled into New Egypt with 45 miles and here was my decision point 65 or century. I felt good and had been steadily drinking Gatorade so I knew I had more miles in me I just didn't know how many. It was cloudy and humid with a chance of rain so the longer I road the better chance I had of cramping or getting rained on. However for some reason I just wanted to do the century so off I rode with the group come what may.

Laura keep the group at a good pace. On a flat ride like this it is easy to go faster than you should and use energy you are going to need later to get you the last 10 or 20 miles. As I told Bob, who was doing his first century, the ride really begins at mile 80 when you body and mind just don't want to petal anymore.

The distance between New Egypt and the next rest stop was over 30 miles. The route took us around Fort Dix and through Pemberton on some more busy main roads that I normally won't want to ride on. Bob had a flat about 7 miles out from the rest stop which gave us a mini break we all kind of needed. He flatted again a few miles later as we were going up Arney's mount. It seemed he had a bad tube. Luckily the sag wagon pull up and made a quick work of the tire change.

We pulled into the Island rest stop with 75 miles complete. I was tired but still felt OK. We took a little longer at this stop before heading out. The route back to the start was different this year than the standard route. It took us through Columbus and Bordentown and had us cross RT 206 and RT 130 twice in the space of about 6 miles. I'm think I'm going to volunteer to design the routes for next years events because I know I could come up with a nicer and safer routes.

At mile 90 a few miles before the last rest stop I hit the wall. I was feeling the dehydration and my muscles were feeling fatigued. I was not cramping but I had to slow down. Jim and Don were at the rest stop so as I was trying to rest and build energy for the push how I caught up with them. The good news was that it looked like it won't rain anytime soon. The bad news was the sun was peaking out from the clouds when made it feel really hot. I probably spent a half hour at the rest stop before heading out.

The last few miles back home were a little slow because of the accumulated miles and dehydrated state. When I feel this way at the end of long rides I get into a mental funk that lets me push through the fatigue and get through the last few miles. You mind just gets to a point where you concentrate enough to get you home but you have no energy for any other extraneous thoughts. Kind of like the picture I took at the beginning of the ride of a church sign. Century Bad, Finishing Good

At the end I had 103 miles in (The RideWithGPS shows 101.7 because I didn't record the very beginning or end of the ride to hide the address of my house). I'm glad I was able to do the century especially in the humid conditions. Doing a century is more about eating and drinking right than anything else so I'm happy I was able to do it with out cramping. It also about mental toughness. I may not do a century for another couple of years but as painful as it can be it still feels good to be able to do one.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Jack and Laura and Blake and Tom Went Up a Hill

This year the riding has been a little flatter but today we headed to the hills around Gladstone.  It wasn't the best day weather wise as there was a good chance of afternoon showers and the it was extremely humid.

I have ridden out of Gladstone a number of times over the past few years and decided to reverse my normal route to change things up a little. This meant putting a few hard climbs at the beginning of the ride. We ended up doing this route.

The climb up Calais was a little harder than I it looked like on the map. I had to stop 3/4 of the way up because I was about to go aerobic. There is something with this area that and the hills that seem to cause me problems. It probably didn't help that I gave blood earlier in the week.

After the brief stop I cranked up the rest of the hills to the ridge and along Pleasant Hill. It was so humid that the sweat was pouring down my face. I don't think I have ever sweated so much.

We cruised along the base of Schooley mountain before heading up the hill by Long Valley. The plan was to stop in Califon for the break. This included going down West Valley Brook which was a little too beat up to really enjoy.  I put a few extra miles and a climb in the route before the stop to get the route to 45 miles.

The stop was at the general store where Jack had made a quick adjustment to his rear derailleur to be able to get into his lowest gear. He would need that gear as I took the most direct route up the hill after the break because I forgot to put a waypoint in the route to take the easier way up.    

The payoff was that we had almost 6 miles of perfect downhill down Guinea Hollow and Rockaway Rd both freshly paved. These are now officially the best roads in NJ.

At the bottom of the hill we had only 9 miles left and headed over a few more annoying hills before heading up Black River then one last climb over 206 to get back to Gladstone. The humidity and intense sweating caught up with me as a cramped up on the last climb.

Despite the cramps and humidity it was still a good ride since we did a hilly ride with Jack and Blake and there were no crashes or major mechanical problems. We also got lucky with the rain as it held off until the drive home. This was a very scenic ride so I will be up this way again in the fall when it is cooler and less humid.   

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Firing on all Synapses

Today was the first time Laura and I rode our Synapses on a ride with Jack. The last time this happen Jack crashed on his way down Federal Twist. Laura has a theory that when our Synapses are together they fire off like synapses in the brain causing problems for people riding with us (i.e. Jack and Blake). I would like to point out that this wasn't a problem until Laura Synapse was damaged to the point it had to be replaced. It seems this year we are making up silly superstitions to explain random problems and then coming up with new religious artifacts (Holy Kickstand) to try and ward off random problems.

The ride today, lead by Laura, was to Clinton from Lambertville. Besides Laura and myself, Jack, Blake, Celeste, Andrew, and a couple of other people showed up. It was a hot start and an up hill grind as we headed towards Clinton. We ended up doing this route. We don't go to Clinton a lot so I really wanted to do the ride. the way up Seabrook Blake had a flat. A quick inspection of his tire showed that it was worn pretty thin and had a hole I could almost poke my finger through. Blake decided to turn around since he was only a couple miles from the start and there was a chance the tire would not last the ride. It was the safe thing to do.

The rest of us continued on rolling up the hill. None of the climbs was long or hard and we were in shade most of the time. We had a couple of good downhills before we pulled into Clinton for the rest stop.

After the stop Laura took us along the river, and some gravel, before we had to head back uphill. This was the hardest climb of the ride. It was about 350 ft climb over a mile and a half. It wasn't steep enough to down shift to the triple but with the heat I'm glad it wasn't harder and that there wasn't a lot more climbing.

Jack had his new replacement bike which was the same model he crashed on. He has been a little cautious going downhills which is understandable but he did get close to 30 mph a couple of times. We were close enough to go down Federal Twist again but Jack didn't seem to want to do that (Maybe next time).

The last few miles of the ride was along Rt 29 between Stockton and Lambertville. There isn't much of a shoulder on this part of 29 so I don't like riding here but there wasn't much traffic and the road was freshly paved so it wasn't a problem.

Besides the problems with Blake's tire it was an uneventful ride. So the pairing of the Synapses didn't cause any adverse affect.... this time.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Some New Faces

Most of the regular insane bike posse was busy today heading to the beach with Joe so I wasn't sure who would join me on my ride. The ride was originally suppose to be on Saturday but because of wet roads and a light rain I decided to move it to Sunday.

Besides being concerned by the lack of people to join me I also got word that the bridge on 518 was out so I went early to check it out to see if we could get over it.

At 8:15 Bob road up so I knew I wouldn't be riding alone. Then a couple of other people Brad and Andrew also road in followed by Blake in his car who got there just before the ride because of the 518 detour. Then Ed showed up right before we left so I ended up with a good group.

We could of road up to Griggstown instead of crossing the bridge but nobody had a problem going over the barriers and lucky the bridge is mostly still intact so it wasn't to hard to get across.

After getting over the bridge we did this route which lead us up and over the Sourlands and across the Raritan River a few times before the stop on Wawa on 202. Although the Wawa is an OK stop I wish there were a couple of other choices.

From Wawa we did a loop up toward Readington along Cove and Pinebank which are one of the more scenic roads in the area. Then is was back along Raritan River for a few more miles before we worked our way back to canal and where we started. We had a really good tail wind most to the way back which was good for us but I bet the people coming back from the beach were wishing the wind wasn't as strong.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy July 4th

It was almost a perfect weather weekend with  mild temperatures and low humidity. I got two rides in. On Saturday I did an off the books ride before a barbecue at my place.We did this route. I invited the insane bike posse to join me for the ride and barbecue but because of other commitments only Laura was able to join me for the ride which is too bad because it ended up being a uneventful but fun ride. The 66 miles went by quickly as Laura filled me in on her moments of zen in Arcadia National Park.  The only thing that slowed us down was a slight headwind on the way back but Laura still felt good enough to turn the 80 mile ride from her house into a surprise century

By the time I got back home most of the guest had arrived and I spent the afternoon in the pool and cooking for our guests. It was almost a perfect day with a ride in the morning followed by good food and family and friends in the afternoon.

On Monday I went to the all paces ride to check in with people I haven't seen in a while. I caught up with Larry who came in a boat of a Lincoln Continental that he is driving since he crashed his Focus. I ended up riding with Dennis and his C+ group and spent most of the time talking it up with Herb who I haven't seen in a few months. It was an easy 35 mile and a good way to end the weekend.