No Name Tour: Day 17 – And Five Went Riding

After a sumptuous dining experience at Subway, Corey, Mark, Sweet T, and I headed back to the hotel where we met Fedya, a Russian guy who began his cross country ride in North Carolina.

We headed to our respective rooms and, by all reports, crashed early and hard. Yesterday was a tough ride.

The hotel was a rather run down place but its breakfast was pretty decent: coffee, juice, cereal (including Cheerios!), eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and yogurt. No fruit but still more than enough fuel for our 60+ mile trek.

(L to R) Mark, Sweet T, Corey, Fedor at the start

We headed west out of Larned. I tried to keep up with the gang but it took me 8 miles to warm up. We were dealing with a light headwind and a steady, gentle climb for 12 miles before turning to the north.

It was 19 miles to the optimistically named Rush Center. Wheat and fallow fields, many still affected by the floods. On and on in a straight line. Fedya, who is fit but relatively new to bicycling, was experiencing serious SBS. You know they are hurting when I blow past them.

I could see the others far in the distance. I’d stop from time to time to check things out and ease by behind. I could see them pulling away.

Riders on a rare bend in the road

At a rest stop at Rust Center, Fedor was despondent; his Burt was killing him. Mark loaned him the Brooks Cambrium saddle that he tried last week. After only 100 yards, Fedya put his old saddle, a Brooks 17, back on. It seemed to work. Sore butt and all I couldn’t keep up with him.

From Rush City we headed due west to Ness City. The wind direction was rotating. A cross wind gradually turned into a tailwind. Just the thing we needed to push us up the 1 percent grade.

33 miles later we rode into Ness City like cowpokes after a cattle drive. Alas there was no saloon with sportin’ women. We settled for a quick break at Dollar General where Mark bought a pool noodle. It made me think of Dave.

The weather had been beautiful all day so we were hoping to camp in the city park. A lack of showers or a pool convinced us to check into the rather run down hotel in town. At least it’s inexpensive. And has a pool.

Tonight we dine on Mexican food. Hola, senorita. Cinco cervesas, por favor.

Miles today: 64.5

Miles total: 1,087

Rainy Friday, Worth the Ride

Rain. Cold rain. On a Friday morning when most retirees stay in bed. I got up and hit the road a little after 6:30. The rain, blown by a northeast headwind, spit on my face. And I rode. I arrived at Friday Coffee Club (yes, we capitalize it) around 8. The crowd was predictably small, given the crummy weather: Ed, Ricky, Andrea, Jeff, and a player to be named later. (Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.) Ed and Andrea were discussing a 400 kilometer randoneuring event they are participating in tomorrow. (Ed is riding. Andrea is volunteering.) That’s 248 miles (plus 5 because the course designer is a sadist.) In one day or so. I can’t even.

Ed brought a lightly used Brooks Flyer saddle with fancy copper rivets. I bought it from him for my tour. It has lots of room for tension adjustments. My tush should be a happy camper.

After Andrea, Ricky, and the PTBNL left, Ultrarunnergirl made her first appearance of 2018. Yay! I haven’t seen my biking-hiking-baseball-flaming drinks buddy in a very long time. Hugs and smiles. She took the bus because she is nursing a messed up hip. We must get her well for future adventures.

After I left FCC, I rode to the gym and went all Hulk for 40 minutes. Next, I did 20 minutes of physical therapy at home. Then, I went to an acupuncturist down the street.

I had a hard time tuning my ears to my acupuncturist’s heavy Korean accent but with some forbearabce, we managed to get the gist of my problem understood. He examined my tongue and poked various parts of my body. Mostly this was painless, but a couple of pokes in my feet caused sharp pain. (A similar discomfort shortened a Thai massage a few years ago.)

As I lay on my back, He pinned me in my upper left arm and at various other points all over my body. After about 15 minutes, he flipped me over and repeated the process. Acupuncture is rather hocus pocus to me but I have had success with it in the past. I have to say that my arm does feel better this evening. I’ll wait a day or two before declaring the trip a success.

At the end of the appointment, he placed small stickers on spots on my hands. This mark points that I should prod and massage to help my shoulder heal.

When I got home I ordered two new maps from Adventure Cycling. Over coffee, Ed has made the road west out of Missoula sound like bicycle heaven. He said there is a 90 mile gradual downhill that follows a river through the mountains. I stumbled across a blog online that described the shortcut to the Cascades in less than glowing terms. I will use the maps to work out itineraries for both routes.

One of the maps contains a small surprise, a short cut to Missoula from the east. I’ll have to give that a closer look at that. (It probably involves a climb of horrific proportions.)

I think the only way to properly plan for this trip is to go with the flow and see how I feel when I get to Montana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saddles and Rain and Turtles and a PSA

A short while ago I did a ride with my friend Florencia. I had a good time. Most of her had a good time. Her bottom did not. Her saddle is pretty much shot. It offers little support and is fraying all over the place. Ow. While I was messing around in the midwest, Flor and her friend Emilia rode to Harpers Ferry and back along the bumpy C&O canal towpath. Emilia rode a hybrid with wide-ish tires and a decent saddle. She rode the 120-mile ride with a big smile on her face. (If you are reading this Emilia, you are definitely ready for your first 50-States Ride next month.)  Flor not so much. She rode her road bike with its skinny tires and the same old saddle. OW!  At one point she even wrapped her saddle in what looks like a jacket of some sort to give her some cushion. 

Flor’s misery got me to thinking about the saddle on Little Nellie. It’s a Brooks Flyer, a leatherIMG_0220[1] saddle. You’re supposed to keep the leather taut by tightening an adjusting bolt on the underside of the saddle’s nose. I didn’t do this on The Mule’s saddle and the bolt bent rendering adjustments impossible. Well, long story short, the same thing happened on Little Nellie. If you look closely you can see the bend in the bolt as it extends from the nut. Today I sent the saddle off to Aaron’s Bicycle Repair in Seattle to get the bolt replaced. They did an excellent job doing the same repair on The Mule’s saddle. 

As it turns out, I have two bikes and four Brooks saddles, three Flyers and a B67. So I put my third Flyer saddle on Little Nellie today. The ride in was pretty nice. The saddle being relatively new was firmer but I had no discomfort. I rode to work in my usual trance only to be startled by Chris M. speeding by in the opposite direction. “Rootchopper!” (I am so glad I don’t use an off color Internet name.)  I met Chris on last December’s Cider ride. After seeing Chris I climbed up to the Rosslyn Intersection of Doom. It nearly lived up to its name today. I took my usual left across the I-66 ramp. The light facing the ramp traffic was red and had been for a few seconds. The driver of the car in the right lane stopped and made no attempt to take a right turn. The drivers of two cars in the center lane however blew through the light and made right turns. They didn’t come close to hitting me only because I always assume that drivers will ignore the light. One of these days this kind of thing is going to get someone killed.

From the looks of the weather radar I thought I might get wet on the ride home. It seems the radar display is delayed a few minutes. Either that or the storm moved really fast between my last peek at the radar and my leaving the garage at work. I left the garage in a light rain which gave way heavier and heavier rain. It didn’t quite reach full on downpour status but I was soaked to the bone within a mile or so. Riding in the rain is pretty simple because once you get wet, you’re wet. Nothing to it. Cyclists and runners took cover under the 14th Street Bridge and the US1 access bridge at National Airport. Message to these cyclists: if you are wet and you stop, you will be cold and wet. If you are wet and you ride, you at least will generate some body heat. I kept riding.

The rain let up near Old Town which was a good thing since the rainwater had gotten into my eyes making them sting. I was riding blind for a while. I’ve often said that I’ve ridden the Mount Vernon Trail so often I could ride it with my eyes closed. I proved myself right tonight.

About two miles from home, the heavens opened up with roars and flashes and buckets of rain. By the time I got home, I was soaked to the gills. I normally ride across the lawn into my backyard. Because of mud and wet grass I dismounted on the front lawn. As I did, I spotted what looked like a clump of sod near where my foot was about to land. It wasn’t sod; it was a box turtle. My yard is a zoo. 

Finally, a note about last night’s commute. I was 1/3rd of a mile from home, slogging along at my usual 12 mile per hour pace when a pack of riders (probably doing the weekly Potomac Pedalers ride in my neighborhood) passed me so closely that they forced me into some damaged pavement on the edge of the road. They gave no warning. A less experienced rider could easily have crashed. To the riders in the pack I have this to say: If you want to ride like a bunch of hyperagressive douche bags, do me a favor. Ride somewhere else. I don’t need the aggravation. Better yet, why don’t you chill out, call your passes, and give other traffic a little room.