Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back on the bike (Afternoon ride added)

I was back on the bike today and I have to say, it felt really good. Of course it didn't hurt that the temperature was about 15 degrees cooler and about 3/4 less humidity than it has been. I considered wearing my arm warmers.

Last night while Bev spent time in her gardens, which look great by the way, I spent some quality time with the Allez. I gave her a good thorough bath, used my new Park Tool chain scrubber to degrease the chain and then gave her a good lube, put some air in the tires and got her ready for the ride in this morning. The one thing that I did fail to do was charge the headlight. It had NO life in it at all. I turned it on in the garage before I left and nothing. Fortunately, I have a back up headlight, I just have to mount it on the handlebars and I will be on my way. WELL, the handlebar mount for that light is on the handlebars of the Roubaix, which is currently in the shop. This ride is not starting off very well. I have a back up to the back up, which, like me, is not very bright but works in a pinch. I threw that on the handle bars and off I went. Fortunately, it gets light very early now, so the lack of a 'real' headlight was not that big of a deal.

I tried to set a comfortable pace, and not push too hard. I did not concentrate on cadence or speed, I just tried to keep my legs turning at a pace that did not burn my thighs. I took the road route from Jumper's Hole. For some reason I enjoy the change of scenery and the openness of Elvaton Rd. Not much of a shoulder, but not much traffic either.

I had a little bit of a head wind, which I would call more of a head breeze than anything, but I don't feel like it affect the ride much. I did think that it will be nice for Mike and the guys that he sails with on Wednesday nights to enjoy an evening with some wind. It seems like the past few Wednesday nights have been very still, to the point of canceling their races. Good Luck tonight Mike.

I am thrilled to be back on the bike and not feeling quite so sluggish. I will ride as much as I can until next Wednesday and then give myself a couple days rest until the big ride in New England.

Afternoon Ride:

What a beautiful afternoon. The ride home was uneventful and felt pretty good. The details are below.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In a bit of a funk...

So the big ride in New England is less than 2 weeks away, and I am in a bit of a funk. I feel very tired, run down and weak. Nerves? Anxiety? Exhaustion? Loss of fitness? Whatever it is, I don't like it.

It seems to have started last week. We had a few days that were very hot and very humid. I had been off the bike for 5 days working the finish line at RAAM. I finally got back on the bike and rode to work Wednesday. Mike was not riding with me that day because of his sailing commitment on Wednesday evenings, so I brought along my iPod. I only used one ear bud, and I was rocking out, riding hard and feeling great being back on the bike. I did the same thing on my ride home and once I arrived at home in the evening I felt like I had a good work out.

The next morning, I rode with Mike into work and home from work. The way in was a struggle. It seemed like Mike was trying to show me how much faster he has become on the bike (or how much slower I had become) but when I looked at the Garmin, it showed that we were traveling at the speed that we normally travel. I was struggling. The ride home was even worse. If I had not checked my rear brakes 3 times on the way home, I would have sworn that they were rubbing. My legs were turning, but I could not get into a comfortable pedaling rhythm. I had zero power coming out of my legs, and looking at my Garmin data, my heart rate was higher than it usually is, but the speed was just a shade lower. So, I am working harder, and going slower.

Thursday night I slathered my thighs with Aspercreme to help with the pain a little bit and see if that helped me on the bike in the morning. I had already decided that I would ride with the peloton into Annapolis on Friday morning instead of commuting into work on the bike. The legs felt a little better, but the hill in Round Bay was about the death of me. I think I was the last one up the hill, and I could have sworn I saw a 4 year old on a tricycle blow by me going up that hill. Once I caught my breath, and the burning in my legs subsided, I was fine into Annapolis. The group split and I enjoyed a bagel and Iced Mocha at the end of ego alley at City Dock. The return home was uneventful, and although my legs were tired, it was not as bad as Thursday afternoon. Maybe the rest from the night before was what I needed. I made the decision to ride just the 7:30 ride on Saturday and to take Sunday off from riding.

Saturday was a fairly spirited ride from Severna Park to Annapolis and back. I was the last one to arrive at City Dock, but I was making a conscious effort to just ride comfortably and not push it. I also lost all my momentum from the Naval Academy bridge to ask another rider that was stopped at the bottom of the bridge of they were alright. Turns out their light had fallen off, and he had stopped to pick it up. After the ride, I did the normal Saturday stuff, trip to the market... a little bit of shopping with Bev, brought the Roubaix to the shop for a complete tune and lube for the ride in July, etc. By days end I could not keep my eyes open so it was off to bed.

Sunday I slept in as late as I could, went to church and after lunch I found that I, again, could not keep my eyes open. I went back to bed and slept until about 5:30. I came downstairs, had dinner, watch a movie and went back to bed for the night. I woke up Monday morning feeling like I could sleep another 12 hours. Along with all of this my stomach has had issues as well. I know, I know.... "quit your whining. Suck it, eat a little... drink a little... keep pedaling." Well that is my plan.

I have a meeting today that I needed my car for, which should get me out of the office a little early today. Depending on how that goes and what time I get done with that, I may try to ride with the 5:30 group from the Rusty Bridge. After that I am going to clean and lube the Allez and make sure everything is turning as smoothly as it possibly can and I am planning on riding in tomorrow morning. I will let you know how that goes. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

RAAM 2010

I have been off the bike for MUCH longer than I would want to be, but I have been working as finish line staff for The Race Across America. If you are not familiar with RAAM you can read all about it at In a nutshell, it is a bicycle race from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD.

Although I did not actually "ride" in the Race Across America, I did experience it differently than I had in the past. I worked as one of the vehicle drivers that had the privilege of meeting the riders at the final time station on Bestgate Rd, and parading them from there to the finish line at City Dock. I got so much more out of that experience than I bargained for, and I have already signed up again for next year.

A few months ago, I saw the email about an organizational/informational meeting at Capital Bicycle in regards to RAAM 2010. I somehow mis-read that email and showed up at 6:30 pm Wednesday for the meeting that happened 6:30 pm the night before. I was pretty bummed. So when another email was sent out looking for finish line staff, I replied immediately with a few questions. Once I worked out the logistics at work and at home, I signed up. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will say that my motivation was the money that I would make working the 5 days at the finish line. For those of you who are not aware, I am doing a charity ride to benefit The American Diabetes Association July 10 - 16 (shameless plug) and I am donating all of the money that I made working at RAAM 2010 towards my fund raising efforts. Little did I know that I would get SO much more from the experience.

I was scheduled for the 2 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift and was fortunate to work with a group of great people on that shift. It was group of quality people who knew what needed to be done, and did it, or got word to the person that needed to do it. We spent some moments at the wee hours of the morning sitting around talking about cycling, professional badminton, mucking horse stalls and just about anything else that came to our minds at the time.

When the riders leave the time station in Odenton the escort drivers are sent out to meet them and their support crews at the final time station on Bestgate Rd. In regards to the racers time, this is the end of the race. It is here, I think, that you get to see the true raw emotion and excitement of finishing the Race Across America. On Friday morning when Team Type I arrived they had just ridden their bikes across the country in 5 and a half days and they still seemed fresh, and ready to ride the race in reverse. On Saturday morning the second place solo RAAM finisher, Gerhard Gulewicz, rode in with a blank stare on his face and mumbled "I am very very tired.". A little more than 2 hours later, the 3rd place solo RAAM finisher, Matthew Warner-Smith arrived and was nearly tackled by his crew as they were SO jubilant that he had finished. His crew then ran into the bathroom, leaving him laying on the asphalt at the Shell Station. He said that it felt good to lay down, and I am quite certain he dozed until the crew returned from the bathroom. On Sunday Team Type II (which our own Bob C rode RAAM with last year) and The Friars Club, both competing in the 8 person team division, were basically in a sprint to the finish. Team Type II finished 3 minutes ahead of The Friars Club, and were very excited about it. There are so many more great stories like those that I saw play out as more finishers came in.

Being able to interact with the racers directly was a source of inspiration to me. I was able to see the pride on 13 year old Connor's face explaining that he did normal pulls just like everyone else on Team Donate Life did, even in the mountains. I was able to see Sabrina Bianci break down to tears as she entered the Shell station, over come with the emotion of finishing 2nd place in the woman's solo division. I was able to look at Michele Santilahno's bicycle while she was preparing for the ride to the finish line. Last year Michele attempted RAAM, but was not able to finish. As I looked at the top tube of the bike I saw a piece of paper laminated to it. As I looked more closely, it listed all 55 time stations, distances between each, what time the station closed and what her average speed needed to be to reach each time station on time.

There were also some people who not only overcame the 3,005 mile course, but they also had to deal with what some people would consider obstacles. I am not sure that these people see them that way, and they certainly do not allow them to stand in their way. I did not do the escort for Operation Progress, but on that team was a former LA police officer that was shot in the line of duty and paralyzed from the chest down that completed the race. She was part of a 4 person team, using her arms to turn the crank. There was also team FARA (Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance) a 4 person team that included 2 members that suffer from Friedreich's Ataxia, that completed the race. Kyle Bryant had a very emotional and inspiration message for everybody at the banquet Monday evening.

Each night of the race, there is a banquet for the riders and crews to be recognized and some serious as well as rather humorous awards are given out. I attended the banquet last night and it is here that you really understand the quality of people that are involved in this race, as well as the passion that they posses for cycling.

Fred and Rick, the father and son team that put this event on every year are doing a great job at building the race and making it bigger and better each year.

As with ALL ride reports, there are lessons learned. Here are mine.
#1 - Sunscreen is your friend! I failed to apply any while I was down at the dock, and my face has just begun peeling.

#2 - The theme to Rocky sounds really really good when you are driving down Duke of Gloucester St at 4:00 a.m. at 15 mph.

#3 - I think that "Brazilian" is loosely translate as "moving party". They bring the party with them.

#4 - There are still a lot of people (drunks mostly) at City Dock at 2 a.m.

If you didn't follow RAAM this year, you can still go to the website and check out the video's and the web sites of some of the participants.

Back on the bike tomorrow. I am hoping that still remember how to ride.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Delayed Post

It was a quick moving weekend and I am just now getting a chance to put up ride information from Saturday. I apologize for the delay.

I set out Saturday morning for an easy recovery ride to get the blood flowing in my leg muscles again after the 200k on Thursday. I was hoping that the 6:00 a.m. ride would be leisurely paced, and I would hang onto back of the pack. Well, when Clint and Dangerous Dab arrived on the tandem, I knew it was going to be a spirited ride.

I would love to post the Garmin details for that ride, but I had arrived at the Ranger Station a few minutes earlier than the other and "paused" my Garmin. You know the rest of the story, I did not realize that it was off until I was about half way through the 6:00 a.m. ride. I turned it on for a second and then decided to turn it off and get the mileage from either Clif or Clint after the ride. The ride culminated at Java Diva's, which is usually the case. We chatted there for a little while and then headed over to the Rusty Bridge for the 7:30 ride to Annapolis. Here is the Garmin info for the ride from home to the Ranger Station.

The group heading into Annapolis was fairly large and also feeling a little frisky. The group stayed together for the most part until we hit the hill in Round Bay. I was going pass on the hill and go straight, but I was close to the front of the pack, and everyone else turned right to do the hill. I didn't want to be the ONLY one to NOT do the hill, so I did the hill. I am not sure what the percent of grade is on that hill, or how long the hill is, but I do not like that hill. I am guessing that at some point in July, I will be wishing that I was back on that hill.

The hill served to spread the group out. I had caught my breath and my legs and managed to make my way close to the front again, and we all re-grouped at the head of the trail at Boulter's Way. Chip, Benny and another rider were the last to come up the trail, and it was mentioned that we need to remember the no drop policy.

For breakfast we all went to the Italian place, where we shared good coffee and conversation. I left early to ride to Applebee's for a fund-raising breakfast there. Freind's of ours have a daughter and son that play Lacrosse, and their league was putting on an All you can Eat pancake breakfast. I was not interested in the All you can Eat part (although in the past, my goal would have been to eat all I could.) I just wanted to contribute. I was served a plate with a couple of pancakes, a couple sausage links and a cup of OJ. I took it outside (because it was WAY too hot inside) sat on the bench and enjoyed my breakfast and the beautiful breeze.

From Applebees I rode to meet Bev at the Farmer's Market. We were there a little later, so the selection of scones was very limited. I ended up getting a muffin to bring home for Emily (who, in typical teenage fashion, was still at home sleeping). Bev continued to shop for flowers and plants at the market while I rode home.

Although the rides were not what I would consider "recovery" rides, it was nice to be out on the bike and riding.

Here are the Garmin stats for the 7:30 ride.

*****Mileage calculation is as follows. I rode 8.48 from home to the Ranger Station, and 32.32 on the 7:30 ride. At Java Diva's I asked Clif what he had for mileage from the Ranger Station, he had "...between 21 and 22 miles". After the ride I email Clint and he had "27 miles" Using Bike Route Toaster web site I calculated the distance from Clint's house to the Ranger Station to be 3.3 miles and the distance from the Rusty Bridge back to his house as 2 miles. Making a total of 21.7, which is consistent with Clif's mileage. I rounded down to be on the conservative side and called it 21 miles, for a daily total of 61.8 miles.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Another 200k in the books

On Thursday I took the day off and traveled to Princeton, NJ to ride a 200k to meet my June requirement for the R-12 award. The route would take me from Princeton Junction to Belmar then southwest through Fort Dix and Pemerton, north to Cranbury and back to Princeton Junction.

I have always tried to subscribe to the "7 - P's" (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance)and for the most part I think I properly planned for this ride fairly well. I had the cue sheet modified to my liking (color coded and larger font for the blind rider that I am), I had my food packed, ready to go, e-caps, and extra water bottle to carry in my jersey for hydration, proper clothes for the weather, I remembered to pack my bike, I was good to go. The only thing that I failed to do was look at the route in Google maps to get a "feel" for where I would be. Although this was not a 'deal breaker' in regards to the ride as a whole, it did cost me some time and frustration.

The alarm went off at 2:30 a.m. and I was on the road by 3:00 a.m. with a predetermined start time of 6:30. The Garmin (for the car) had the appropriate address typed in and it showed that my estimated arrival time was 5:52. GREAT, I would have a few minutes to get the bike out of the back seat, put the front tire and rack bag on and I would be off at exactly 6:30. I didn't do too badly in that regard. A pit stop on the way, a little traffic and some construction slowed me down a bit, but my timed ticket at the train station was 6:38. Hit Start on the Garmin and I am off to find Wallace Rd, which is a left out of the parking lot. Wait a minute, the way I came in was Washington St, not Wallace Rd. It must be on the other side of the tracks, so I rode over there, nope that isn't it either, that's Vaughn St. OK, let me ask one of the 50 commuters that I see walking towards the train. NONE of them have a clue where Wallace Rd is. Finally I turned off the Garmin on the bike and used the Garmin from the car to find the street. Now, had I properly prepared and looked at Google maps, I would have had some spacial awareness and at least headed in the right direction. For a good chuckle I have posted the Garmin data for the 1.78 miles I did in the train station parking lot.

It was 7:00 a.m. before I found the road and was headed in the right direction. I had to make one detour to the route owners house to pick up my control card in his mailbox... what if he had a bad morning and had forgotten to put it in there? The way the last half hour had gone, it wouldn't have surprised me. My worry was for not, as I rolled up to his mailbox I saw the red flag was up and not only was the control card there, but in true randonneur spirit it was even in a zip lock bag.

Now, control card in hand I headed to Belmar. This part of the ride is almost entirely flat, which is just the way I like it. One of the concerns about doing a 200k on a weekday, in New Jersey no less, was the amount of traffic that I would encounter. The owner of the route said the traffic has not been bad, but it is New Jersey, so there will be cars. I was pleasantly surprised to find that while in the more heavy populate areas, there were very nicely marked bike lanes. I was also surprised at how quickly this route brought you out of the populated area into more rural NJ.

Some of the smaller Townships have done work on their road (like putting in new pipes uderground) so there were quite a few spots of uneven and very bumpy pavement. There were other Townships along this stretch that have NOT done any work to their roads and there were lots of pot holes and sink holes. The bike needs to go into the shop for maintenance anyway, but truing the wheels has been added to the list. With the rough roads, I figured that at least one pinch flat would be in my future, but I was blessed to have no mechanical problems throughout the entire ride.

I spent a few minutes at the first control, which is on Ocean Blvd, enjoying the clean air and the view of the ocean. After doing a little sightseeing, I set out to the next control. I was afraid that I would be riding directly into the wind as I turned west off of Ocean Blvd, and I did for a brief time, but the wind really was not a factor all day.

The next control was the LUNCH control, a Wawa in New Egypt. I made a quick run into the store to get the control card signed and pick up a can of Pringle, and turkey and bacon wrap and a Gatorade. I found a small shade tree in the corner of the parking lot and enjoyed my lunch. Went back in to the store, picked up a candy bar and filled up my three water bottles. The one that I was carrying in my shirt pocket I filled with ice and then water. This did a good job of keeping me cool while riding. (for me, it is better than a sock on your neck).

The next leg brought me to the Pemberton Wawa. I arrived there at 2:30 and I knew that I just need to take a bathroom break, pick up a bottle of water, get the control card signed and away I'd go. Well, I was tired by this point, I went into the Wawa without locking my bike. I realized that it was unlocked, just as I was picking up my bottle of water, so I rushed out of the store to lock up the bike, holding the bottle of water. I locked the bike and realized that I hadn't paid for the water. Went back into the store to pay for the water and get the control card signed. Left the counter, control card and recipet in hand. Got back to the bike... I left the water on the counter. I guess that's what happens when you are tired and try to rush through a control. I took a few deep breaths, made sure that my absentmindedness was not a result of malnutrition or dehydration. I chalked it up to just being tired. I could hear Mike's words in the back of my mind "...keep on pedaling." Out of the Wawa, I took a left on the wrong road. I realized it after only about a mile. So I got to do 2 more bonus miles on this ride

I considered the next part of the route to be the 'final leg' as the control is just 7 miles from the end. The coulds began to build and I think that I was riding just behind a little rain storm. I felt a few drops, I was riding on wet road and the oncoming cars had their wipers on, but I never got caught in any substantial amounts of rain. The ride through the little towns and horse farms reminded me of the rides I did in March and April, only with out the hills. I never would have guessed that New Jersey would be so quaint and picturesque. That is why I enjoy these ride. New Jersey looks a lot different at 15 mph on a bike than it does at 65 mph behind the wheel. Anyway, I made it to Cranbury Pizza on Main St. I ordered a slice, sat down and enjoyed my post ride pizza 7 miles from the finish.

The last 7 miles had a little more traffic as I approached the train station. Overall, I found the drivers that I did encounter to be very courteous and tolerant of a bicycle on the road. I made it to the train station, got the control card signed and I beat the 11 hour mark. I was very satisfied to have my June 200k done so early in the month.

Lessons Learned: Eat a little, drink a little, keep pedaling. What a great mantra. On this ride I ate less, drank more and of course kept pedaling. The ride to Solomon's last month, I felt like I ate too much on the bike. I felt good this time. I drank a bottle of water per hour and I took an e-cap every half hour. I was taking two at the top of the hour, but I figured splitting them up would work better and I think that it did. Of course, there is the lesson of doing a little Google map research before you get someplace that you are totally unfamiliar with.

More Garmin data below.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Afternoon Ride Home

Easy ride home. Garmin stats below.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Beautiful cooler day (PM ride added)

The temperature for this morning's ride was a little on the cool side with very little humidity. This was a VERY welcome break from the oppressive weather we have had for the past week or so.

Mike did his 200k for June yesterday so my ride in this morning was another solo effort. I decided that I would try to incorporate some interval training into the daily commute. I have been hearing a lot about intervals and that they not only make you faster, but they are the best way to lose weight while cycling (that is according to Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong's personal coach. I figure he may be a little bit smarter than me on this subject.)

For those who are unsure, intervals are a form of training in which you ride at a higher intensity than you are able to sustain for the entire ride, forcing your body to operate under stress. Your body handles stress by adapting so it can better handle the same demands in the future. It is recommended that you start with 2 minute intervals. 2 minutes of higher intensity and 2 minutes of recovery.

Well, riding in the morning (dark or dawn light) it is difficult to see the Garmin to know exactly what your heart rate is, or what your cadence is, so I just sprinted for as long as I could and then recovered the best I could and did it again. No where near 2 minutes of high intensity, and much longer than 2 minutes recovery, but it is a start. If you look at the Garmin data really close, and squint your eyes just a bit, when the light hits it just right you can see where the heart rate and speed went up for a short burst... that was my interval. Places where the speed goes up and the heart rate goes down... those are downhills.

The idea is to ride faster and to lose weight. Doing the intervals did make the ride in this morning faster. I made it to the train station in under an hour and twenty minutes. Maybe that Carmichael guy is pretty smart.

Garmin stats below:


If you thought intervals could make you faster, you should see what a nice tail wind will do. On the way home, pedaling at what I considered a normal pace... looked down at the Garmin, 20+ mph. Today makes up for those days that I fight a headwind home.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

GREAT Saturday ride!

I set out from home at 5:45 or so and headed out to Sandy Point. The majority of riders that make up the 6:00 a.m. Saturday ride were NOT going to be riding this morning for various reasons, so I knew that I would be riding alone for the early part of the ride. I made the loop out to Sandy Point and then through St. Margret's to the World War II Memorial then to the trail to meet up with the 7:30 group. I was a little ahead of schedule so I took a little detour down Asquithview Rd, which is a steady climb up from the Severn River. I did better this time than the last time I tried it, so I am encouraged. I expect to have a lot of climbs like that on my ride in July, but I expect that they will be quite a bit longer. Stay tuned for my reports on the ride in July.

I met up with the 7:30 group and I saw quite a few different faces. We headed to Annapolis and after turning back on the trail from Old County Rd, I notice that Mike was not with us, so I turned around and finally found him, Jim and another rider just finishing up with a flat tire repair. The group was pretty well strung out along the trail by this point, but at the head of the trail, we regrouped and headed towards Annapolis. Once at City Dock, we all seemed to have our own favorite place to get breakfast, so we made our purchases and congregated outside the Market house to enjoy our goodies and some good conversation.

At this point the group split up with some heading out to Crownsville I think and Mike, Jim and I heading back up the trail. I commented to Mike how spoiled we are to ride the trail at 5:00 a.m. when there is the occasional jogger. Today the trail was very crowded, with lots of people out enjoying the beautiful day. Mike and I turned off the trail at Jones Station Rd and he headed home to do his "Dad" and "Husband" things, and I went to the farmers market to meet Bev for Breakfast.

After the market, I was ready to head home on the bike. I noticed that only 11 more mile and I would have 50 for todays ride, so I told Bev to enjoy shopping for plants at the market, I was headed home, but was going to take the scenic route to try and get 50 miles in today. I was able to do that, and right after I got home, Bev pulled in as well. We couldn't have timed it better.

It was warm and humid, but an awesome day for a bicycle ride. I am looking forward to a nice long ride tomorrow morning as well. Good luck to Mike, Janet, Gardner, Theresa and Jim on their 200k tomorrow. Stay cool, Drink early and often!!!!

Ride stats for the day...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tempting fate.... DON"T DO IT!!!!

The forecast calls for showers this afternoon, but I decided to ride into work anyway. Nothing like a refreshing thunderstorm to help you keep a good quick pace on the ride home. Hopefully, I will have the same luck that I had on Tuesday. By the time I got to my bike, the storms had blown through, and although the road was wet, and the humidity was oppressive.... there was no rain. Stay tuned to see how I make out. (I did bring my rain jacket this time)

The morning ride was an uneventful solo effort. It is nice to have brightness in the sky at 5:20.

It is either me or the Garmin website, but for some reason I am unable to upload the ride from this morning. The strange thing is that I am able to upload the info from the Garmin into the analysis software on the computer, but not up to the web. As soon as I am able to do that, I will post the info from today.

UPDATE: Garmin info below

Afternoon Ride --- This is where tempting fate proved to be a big mistake.

OK, so there were thunderstorms in the forecast for this afternoon. Last night said between 4 and 6 pm there was a 30% chance. This afternoon when I checked again, there was a 40% chance of T-storms at 5:00. OK, so that is when I am getting on my bike and riding home, maybe I will miss them, or they will be somewhere that I am not.

I got geared up after my train ride and was on the bike at 4:59 headed home. It was partly cloudy but it did not look too bad... except for that patch of clouds over there. I was riding away from them, so maybe I could stay ahead of them and not get too wet. My plan was to ride until it started raining, and if it got too bad, there are several places tha I could find shelter and ride out the storm. Sounds like a great plan, don't ya think?

As I came around the corner of the BWI trail, and began heading east, away from the bad clouds, I heard a "pop" and a fizz. No, it was not an Alka Seltzer... a flat. I knew I shouldn't have tempted fate. But, at this point I am thinking I am still OK because I have a tube and a CO2 cartridge, I can change the tire and still out run the storm. As I was bending over to remove the rear tire, I heard thunder. All I could imagine was having the tire half changed and the sky opening up with rain. So, I walked the bike to the 7-11 just up the road and changed the tire under a tree near the air pump. I was about halfway done when it started to rain. I picked up the bike and the tire and carried it to the gas pumps which were under a roof at 7-11. I got the tire on, filled it with a little bit of air, checked to make sure it was seated correctly before filling it all the way... CRAP. There was a bulge in the tire and upon further inspection I could see that the tire was splitting just above the rim line. Then it started pouring... and blowing... thunder, lightening... the whole 9 yards. It seemed to be right on top of me too. At times I swore the lightening and thunder were simultaneous. If I was still riding, I would have been hunkered down somewhere waiting for this storm to pass.

I called Bev and asked her to come and get me. I knew that if I tried to ride with the split tire, I would end up with another flat, so I was dead in the water so to speak. I took a chance and texted Mike, who works close to where I was, explaining my dilemma. I was hoping that he was still at work and could swing by and pick me up.

As it turned out, I caught him just heading out of his office on his way home. He swung by, put the bike on his truck and we met Bev at Severna Park Middle School. Mike's twins had a performance at 7:00 and although he would have gladly taken me all the way home, we both thought it best to meet Bev at the school so he didn't have to rush and fight traffic to make the performance. He saved the day.

Thanks to Mike for bailing me out. This is the second tire that this has happened to, so maybe they had a bad batch. I will certainly be bringing it to Capital Bikes sometime this weekend. These tires are not cheap, so you would expect them to stay together a little better than that.

The moral of the story is be careful when you tempt fate... because she may just beat you like a red-headed step child.

Check out the disappointing Garmin stats:

Almost immediately,

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday morning and evening ride

Mike and I made arrangements last night to ride to BWI together this morning. I was surprised by him wanting to ride so soon after his blistering paced ride to Deale MD on Monday. (See his blog for details).

We met at the Park and Ride at 5:15, and we rode at a comfortable recovery pace. (I didn't need the recovery.... my Monday ride was at a wimpy 13 mph pace). As we were talking he mentioned that he put his windbreaker in his bag, because the forecast called for showers this afternoon. Well, crap. I didn't even look at Oh well, if I get wet, I get wet. At least it is warm out.

As the work day starting coming to an end, I looked at (better late than never, right?) and it showed showers forecast for 3-6 pm. Prime commuting time. I wasn't going to adjust my schedule. I would take what I got as far as weather goes on the ride home. I missed all of the rain. There had been a storm while I was on the train, and it had to have been a pretty good one, because there was a river along side the bike path that is not normally there. When I got off the train, the sun was shining, and it was HOT.

The trail and the roads were wet, and the air was thick with humidity, but at least there was no pounding rain.