Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Live Blogging is underway

I have the liveblogging infrastructure in place.

Really nothing interesting to report right now.  I started packing some of my gear up last night. 

Less than 60 hours until wheels-up.  

Live blogging works though!   I'll try to post as much as possible!


Friday, May 25, 2007

Jacob "Roadie" Soreff Jones

Well jake is now joining the cult. As a present for 5 years of exemplary performance in elementary school we bought Jake a road bike. We're going to put it together and he's going to compete in the family's first tiathlon on Fathers Day. Maybe in a couple years he'll be wearing the maillot jaune. We can hope!! Regardless its going to be hours of fun for us, and frankly its only a matter of time before I'm sucking wind to stay on his wheel!

Here's a picture of the bike.

Backcountry.com: The Goat » Blog Archive » Pocket Shot

HHHmmmm... Maybe instead of stopping at mile 99 for a guiness I'll slip a Pocket Shot into my jersey. Nahhhh...tasty beer is too good and too much of a risk of ripping open a pocket shot at mile 75 instead of 99.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Snickers(ville) really doesn't satisy

So I finished my final training ride yesterday and all in all it went really well It was a 90 mile ride -- which was going to be pretty hilly - so I decided not to kill myself by stomping on it on the pace. Take it relatively easy and knock out the hills as they come. From a riding perspective and a physiological perspective I pulled off the strategy pretty well. Mechanically it went in the crapper.

A quick overview of the ride - the ride was broken into a 50 mile portion and a 40 mile portion with lunch inbetween back at the start.

At mile 12 or so we started a series of climbs which took us up Mount Weather - a climb of 1000 feet in about 5 miles. After that the ride would keep us on the crest of Mouth Weather for a while until is let us bomb back down the mountain into the valley. A note here for fellow riders when the road signs say "SLOW 15 MPH" that's probably a rock solid sign that there is a sharp turn ahead and you might want to take it easy I being a bit of an idiot I didn't and couldn't hold my line coming around the turn and ended up in the oncoming traffic lane and had to bail out of the turn in the face of an approaching car. No damage done, so no harm no foul and we chock that one up to a learning experience -- lesson being hold your turns better.

After that we had our first SAG stop of the day. I refilled on some goodies and rolled out of the stop. Since we were back down in the valley the roads flattened out quite a bit and I was able to get rolling a bit.
An aside -- since I haven't been able to shed some of those pounds I've been wanting to loose, gravity and inertia are still prominent riders in Peleton Jones. Once I get the mass that is me moving and I'm on a flat ground, I can keep it going pretty well - wheras if I am climbing a hill it takes more effort than it should to keep me going uphill ... so I like flats.
So I had been rolling for about 10 minutes and was cruising along the shoulder of the road and encountered the shattered remnants of what was likely one of the locals PBRs from recent times. Anyway I was quickly reminded that glass and bicycle tires don't mix and I got my first flat of the season. Frankly it was surprising I had gone this long without one. The SAG wagon driver for the team rolled up on me shortly after the flat with a floor pump and I was on my way with 110 lbs of air in my tire. As flats go, this seemed like a relatively benign encounter.

The rest of this segment of the ride was relatively uneventful. I picked up Noel along the way and we rolled into lunch without too much excitement. We grabbed some tasty grub and we were on our way. We did note one of our teammates mention that the second half of the ride wasn't too bad -- well expect for Snickersville road. We figured that meant lots of obnoxious rollers with grades steep enough to suck the momentum out of you before you are anywhere near cresting. But hey that's part of training and its no big deal right??

Well Snickersville Road turned out to be deeply unsatisfying for me yesterday. It wasn't so much that the road was physically taxing. It was a good workout and all, and a good part of a good ride, but my bike completely crapped out on that section of road. About 6 miles into an 8 1/2 length of the road my tires started feeling squishy and I was pretty sure in a few seconds that it was flat again. Turns out what I think happened was that the puncture from the glass before left a pretty good hole in my tire...enough for the tube to get worn a bit and punctured. So off came the tire and on with a new one. Also turns out that I forgot to pick up a new tire when I was back at the pit stop so I had no tires in my bag, so I dipped into noel's stash. I refilled the tire (with a boot between the tube and the tire) with my crappy little hand pump and went on my way.

Those little minipumps suck...but I didn't want to use up noel's CO2. So we headed down the road but within a few hundred yards I could feel the tire slipping around and realized I needed more air in it, so I borrowed noel's CO2 canister and filled it up. We started rolling and within 30 seconds the tube exploded. What I think happened this time was that I put too much CO2 in the tire and when it expanded in the warm air (as pressurized gas is want to do) it found that it could get itself way beyond the 125 psi that the tube was rated for. Having burned through noel's only C02 I was forced to put the third (and last) tube into the tire and pump it up with the minipump. I think I got it up to 80 psi which was sufficient to get me to the next SAG stop where there was a floor pump and I could top it off.

The remainder of the ride was uneventful and we cruised into the parking lot, where some of our teammates were making best use of some cows!! UMMM burgers and beef dogs!! (there was also some magical animal, but well we know I'm not down with the magical animal)

I thought that all in all this was a fun and challenging ride. Sadly though I don't think I will be enthused about doing it again. Not because of the mechanical troubles. My bike problems were a combination of "shit happens" and thoughtlessness on my park. What I did not like about the ride was that it seems that all the drivers in the greater middleburg area are jackasses. Noel and I had one situation where one women wouldn't pass us on a hill climb even though the road was clear and instead decided to sit on her horn and yell at us. We also had another situation where both of us bailed into the grass because the truck behind us locked up its brakes when it couldn't get into the other lane to pass us. And there were too many situations to count of people just going too fast on country back roads. There was one instance of a nice older guy in a cicra 1950s pickup letting a line of 3 or 4 widely spaced cyclists all pass before he turned. He was a super nice dude. Unfortunately I think he was the exception to the rule. I've ridden out there twice and the car & truck drivers sucked both times. At some point that area's going to claim a bicyclist life if it already hasn't. That being said, I'll likely ride out there again becuase so many rides depart out of there.

The ride was good though. At the end of the ride my Garmin said we did 6420 feet of climbing on the ride. Not bad at all and - even though I can't find an exact number for Tahoe - likely more than we will do in the ride in a couple weeks.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bike helmet crushed, but head fine

Check out The Capital Times article "Bike helmet crushed, but head fine" I've always believed in the importance of wearing a helmet (having had my noggin make contact with the pavement before), but WOW!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

NYC 5 Boros Ride - The roads of NYC are mine!

So in my last post I pointed out the logistical mess that was "getting ready for the weekend rides." Well surprising everyone involved we got to NY fine, check in went well and we were ready to go for ride day.

I think all involved on our little trip will say that the ride was a new experience. The 5 boros ride is billed as the biggest biking tour in the world - depending on which account we heard, we were sharing the 30,000 - 37,000 - 32,000 or 42,000. I haven't checked on the final count yet, but safe to say it was in excess of 30,000 bikers - which regardless of which city you're in and how well things are organized 30,000+ bicyclers in one place at one time is ALOT of people. And I must say it was really cool to see that many people on bikes in one place at one time all together. It also creates some obvious problems. There were alot of folks on the ride who hadn't ridden in a while or were just not up to speed on road etiquette. Road etiquette (announcing when you pass, slower riders to the left, etc.) becomes all the more important when you are sharing the road with 30,000 other people. So much so that when we were rolling through Harlem and April (a friend who went up with us) had someone pass her on the right and clip her and caused he to fall. she was lucky enough to sorta clip out of her pedals before she fell and to fall into a spot where a car wasn't parked. We ran the guy off the verrazano narrows bridge later in the ride. (kidding)

All in all if was alot of fun. I have always wanted to ride my bike on a multi lane highway and this gave me the opportunity to do it. We also got a great cross section of NYC. We even got to ride over a couple bridges that are normally verbotten to bicycle traffic. I don't like bridges so much, so I whiteknuckled it and stayed to the center, but it was still pretty cool to ride over the Triboro bridge and Verrazano Narrows bridge on your bike.

I think I would do it again. We'd probably not rush up to NYC right away and have to be so harried, but all in all if was alot of fun and a really fresh and different perspective on the city. You can see our photos here:


Tom H. Jones' Five Boros Bike Tour photosetTom H. Jones' Five Boros Bike Tour photoset

Here is a map of where we rode, I borrowed it from another rider because I didn't charge my Garmin all up the night before so it croaked before we headed towards Staten Island.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Training Ride in D-ville

So Saturday took Noel and I on a training ride in Davidsonville. This is a little town about 5 minutes from us where alot of the local rides starts. Also turns out that its about the only Team training ride that does require us to get up at 0-dark-30 to be to the ride on time. Unfortunately circumstances dictated that we dragged out sorry butts out of bed particularly early for this training ride -- in fact we were up at 5ish moving around getting ready to head out the door by 6 so that we could be rolling by 630. Heck we even packed our bags the night before, made our energy drinks and filled up the camelbacks Friday night! We were super on the ball!! As will surprise no one we were actually on the road at 645, but still over 45mins ahead of the rest of the Team. Why so early you ask. Well let me explain.

On Sunday we were planning on doing the five boros bike tour in NYC. As part of the tour were were staying in NYC the night before and we signed up for a package that included a 6pm dinner at the youth hostel where a small portion of the 37,000 cyclists were staying. Dinner at 6 in NYC means arrival at the hostel at 5:30, which mean we need to be rolling out of Maryland at 1:30 which means that to get an 80 mile ride in at roughly 15mph we needed 5 + hours of riding time, plus some time for rest stops stop lights etc. plus another half hour or so to get changed and fed. so that put us at 7 hours from when we got on the bike to when were in the car on the road -- a 6:30 take off. Like I said we rolled out at 6:45 and I think we finally got on the road at approximately 6:45 and I think all told it was 2:00 pm before the Corella was pointed north.


If you travel in the Northeast, BUY AN EZPASS this thing shaved probably at least a 1/2 hour off my commute to NYC. Basically you don't have to get in any of those obnoxious toll lanes. Was super convenient that I could pick it up at the local Giant.


As for the ride it was pretty uneventful. Since i was keeping myself to a schedule I did not partake of the always yummy pies at the galesville deli and market. So far I think that is my biggest regret of the cycling season.

My butt handled the 6 hours or so in the saddle pretty well. My bike is making odd noises that I really can't seem to run to ground. i have to take it in for a tune up in the next week or so so hopefully the helpful wrench at the local bike shop will be able to figure out what is making all the noise on my bike. Also hydration - much better this week. 2 gatorades, a clif drink apple thing and probably a 1/2 gallon of water. Much better!

The map and elevation chart is below. 4100 feet of climbing. Pretty surprising for what felt like relatively flat roads.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Still spinning

So things have been going really well. Nothing earth-shattering in the way of riding, but its been slow and steady going recently.

I discovered that when I am spinning in the trainer its alot more fun if I actually take it outside. So sunday night instead of spinning downstairs watching the TV, I decided that I would take the bike and trainer out on the deck and set it up. It turned out to be alot of fun - I spun around 730/8ish while the sun was setting so I got to watch the sun go down. Only down side was that the wind was pretty still so I didn't have much of a breeze. Not the coolest ride (breeze wise) I also zoned on hitting the start button on my Garmin so I don't have any recordings of how my heartbeat was doing -- but HILLacoius felt good and gave me a nice hard ride.

I also don't have a map of my recent ride because I zoned and forgot to plug in my Garmin the night before so when I slapped the puppy onto the stem of my trusty bike I almost immediately got a "low battery" message. It went blank 5 minutes later. This meant I had no mileage on my bike so I was forced to guess at how far I had ridden -- specifically how far along I was on my cue sheet and when the next turn was coming. But the issue quickly became moot when I realized that the first turn I made was a wrong one and regardless of how far along I was never going to get to that turn onto St. Georges at 2.7 miles. Anyway it turned out ot be not too big a deal since I vaguely knew my way around the area and was able to work my cue sheet to get me onto the main road through town. It actually turned out to be a fun ride, because all the riders from the local snow valley team were out on the road. First a group of about 6 guys blew past me, but another guy came up behind me and I was able to stay with him for about 15 minutes or so. When we got onto Rt. 2 the guy said "The main group is right behind us. They'll blow our doors off in a few minutes." Well boy was he right. I was probably doing about 20mph on a nice flat part of road and as these guys came past me, I got out of the saddle and tried to keep up with them, but it was no use -- I was able to hang with them for maybe 3 minutes. It was actually pretty impressive, there must have been 25 guys in the group and getting blown out the back of the group was fun. There's a very visceral feeling to being part of a large group of folks. Maybe one day I'll be able to hang with those guys.

This weekend I'll be on my bike alot. I've got an 80 mile ride in the Davidsonville area on Saturday and then on Sunday I am going to head up to NYC with Noel and couple friends for the 5 boros bike tour. It should be a hoot. 30000 people riding through NYC on closed roads, heading over closed bridges and generally having a cycle-tastic time! My bum will probably be hating me Monday morning though.