Sunday, April 15, 2012

65 miles in West, GA - Alabama

Yesterday, I joined the ride from Rockmart. We rode a 65 mile loop from Rockmart to Alabama and back. Nice easy terrain, more rolling hills than anything, lots of open car traffic but a good bit of wind. Overall, a very good day. A few pics below.

We had a dozen show up for the ride.
At 38 miles we took a break at Slaughter's in Easom Hill.
Slaughter's restroom art, ain't that nice?
Fill'r Up!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter, 2012 ride

Easter, 2012 ride.

Big loop in the NW parts of the Atl. metro area.  I think...maybe 71 miles.

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Buckhead Bellyache 2012

Daylight savings has just started and it's time to start up the Bellyache route!

I rode the route Sun. Mon. and Tues. three days in a row. It's a short 24.10 miles but it is loaded with plunging, downhill runs and short, steep uphills. There are plenty of stop signs, traffic lights and of course to deal with. It's been a few years since I have ridden this route but I will say, it seems bumpier with a few extra pot holes to maneuver.

For those of you not familiar with Atlanta, GA, this route starts at St. Phillips Cathedral on Peachtree Street in the heart of Buckhead, just north of downtown. The route runs to the west through the well heeled, Buckhead neighborhoods of north Atlanta. It then crosses over I-75 and the Chattahoochee River into the suburbs of Vinings bordering our perimeter Interstate I-285. From here it's back across the river toward Buckhead and back to the church. The route back is slightly different, but follows many of the same roads.

Thursday evening is the big group ride. The main group usually rolls out at about 6:15, some prefer a little earlier or's a work day so folks start when they can. The main group has always been a very competitive bunch...beware...many are USCF racers. I've started with them and have always been kicked off the back by mile five. If you are a slow, wannabe like me then roll out about 15 minutes prior to the big group and play the cat and mouse game. It's fun to ride really hard trying to beat the pack, looking back every now and then knowing they are there somewhere. Doing this, I've been caught by the pack and I've beaten the pack, either way it's fun!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Utility cycling

The CR1Pro was my utility vehicle today.

In the bleak, darkness of last night my alternator gave its last gasp and rolled over and died leaving me stranded in the wilds of West Cobb. Luckily for me I was able to limp my Ford Ranger to the Racetrac where I was to leave it for the night. From the Racetrac, it was 4.18 miles to my house to complete my journey; I elected to go by foot rather than making as late night call for a ride and after an hour of running and walking I was safe at home.
Since my plan this morning was bicycle to my Ranger, then Walmart for a battery, then back to my Ranger and attempt a resurection, I aired up the CR1Pro to 110 psi, not my regular 120 psi. Although my Mavic Ksyrium Elites are pretty much bullit proof, with the additional battery weight of about thirty pounds in my backpack, I didn't want to overburden my wheels and tires with high air pressure.

The ride to the Racetrac was very enjoyable, it would have been a great day to just continue and ride. The sun was peeking up over the eastern horizon and the road was moving at a very good pace under my tires. Fueled with caffeine, anxiety and maybe a little adrenaline, I completed the ride to the Ranger at a brisk 19 mph.
Before I left the house, I packed a few survival items to help repair and diagnose my ailing Ranger.
During the ride to the Ranger, my mind was churning away, putting together a strategy and an action plan to affect a repair. First order of business was to search the Ranger for a receipt for the battery purchase - none was found. Second item was to attempt a starting to see if the truck had magically repaired itself overnight - no overnight magic, it growned maybe two turns of the crank, but that was it. Third item was to connect the volt meter to the battery to check the voltage and the meter read an even 12 volts, exactly what a properly working battery would say. Even though this read "normal", my guess was that somehow the battery had lost the Cold Cranking Amps needed to turn the starter.
At this point, it was time to throw the leg over the Cr1pro again and chase down a new battery. With a new battery, I could at least limp the truck home or to a garage. The bike ride to the Walmart was only a few miles; when I arrived, I steered the CR1Pro toward the big glass doors of the garden center which opened automatically making me feel very welcomed. Down an aisle, then into the main part of the store, from there I scooted to the battery department where I dismounted. Their battery look-up guide was not clear and pointed me to a battery that did not match the current battery in my Ranger. I looked through the guide several more times, scratched my head, then decided to go elsewhere.

On my way to the Walmart, I rode by an Advance Auto Parts store, so I went back there and told my story to Charles who called Robert up to the counter to listen to my predicament. Robert said my problem was probably a bad alternator or wiring harness and recommended testing both battery and alternator. Robert let me use a loaner battery to retrieve my Ranger for the testing. We packed the 30 lb. battery into my backpack and I gingerly rode the short distance to the truck and switched the batteries. In no time, I was driving my Ranger back to Advance with the CR1Pro resting comfortably in the Ranger PU bed.
The parking lot test confirmed the battery was deleted of Cold Cranking Amps even though it showed 12 volts on my meter. The next step was to charge the battery and while it was charging, the alternator needed to be removed for a full bench test. Robert provided the tools for me to loosen the serpentine belt and remove the alternator, he also helped out with one of three connectors that didn't want to come loose. Not wanting to damage the connector and make more trouble for myself, I let Robert provide the expertise. With the parking lot removal of the alternator complete, I brought it inside for the testing.
With the skill and ease of the pro that he is, Robert attached the alternator to the tester and started pulling levers and pushing buttons. I stepped back a few paces and quietly looked on as the testing machine roared to life. The meter gauge tried but failed to make it up to the green, "good alternator" range; a new alternator would be needed. I think Robert said the "stators" inside the alternator were deficient.
With a new alternator in hand, it was back to the now hot, sunny, parking lot for the installation. The installation would be a simple reversal of the removal. The repair was all very easy, I purposely bought my Ford Ranger because of its old school, simplicity and ease when a repair was required. With a shiny new alternator installed, I reattached the breather hose and I was good to go except for the battery.
The battery was being charged while all the alternator work: removal, testing and installation was taking place. The hope was that the Cold Cranking Amps number would come back up but it only increased from 197 to 243 while the battery was rated at 640 CCA. A new battery would be needed. Robert directed me to take my old battery back to Brand "Z" auto parts store where Robert said, they would probably do their own test and provide a pro-rated warranty reimbursement where I could go ahead and buy a new battery at a steep discount. Robert let me use his loaner battery to get my new replacement from his competitor...what a guy! Brand "Z" was very amenable and everything transpired just as Robert had said. I was out the door with a new battery in no time and did the replacement in their parking lot.
Many, many thanks to the gang at Advance Auto Parts, especially Charles and Robert pictured here. These professionals were so very helpful in getting me back on the road. At Advance I received the tools, advice, direction and courteous professionalism to successfully repair my Ranger. My odyssey began this morning at 8 am with the spirited but anxiety filled bicycle ride to the Racetrac and ended at 12:15 this afternoon with a comfortable, air conditioned drive back home in my repaired Ranger.

If you need auto parts, go to Advance!!!!

Many, many thanks, God Bless and Cheers!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Buckhead Bellyache & the Strock Guy

Although this route always has riders on it, Thursday is the big ride day.  As with previous Thursday rides, I rolled out ahead of the main pack...those guys are too fast for me.

Rolling out ahead of the pack leaves me constantly thinking of someone behind me, sizing me up to be overtaken.  I've had the fast pack overtake me before and it's not fun.  I was wondering IF, WHEN and WHERE they may catch me.  I saw many riders riding in the opposite direction, heading toward the start or toward the pack with plans to catch on as they came by.  I thought with my head start, they should catch me near the end and I should be able to catch on for a fast pull for maybe the last few miles.  Also in my thoughts were the ominous, grey clouds that looked to dump buckets of rain on me at any time. 

By mile eight,  I was also overtaken by a solo rider.  He rode by, said hello and I jumped on his wheel for a little pull.  He was a big fella riding a Strock 0.9 or something like that.  He was keeping a good steady pace and near Cumberland Parkway, he pulled away a little bit.  I figured well, I guess that's it, he's gone.  But as we approched the first little climb on the Parkway, I was reeling him in.  He didn't like the climbs.  Even though I topped the first of these little climbs in my 25 cog, I was still pulling him in.

At the peak of the first little climb, I pulled around him and pushed harder.  I wanted to create a gap and he didn't like the hills so with two more little climbs on this stretch, now was my chance.  After the three little climbs, approaching Paces Ferry, I slowed down to catch my breath, have a drink and get ready to bomb down this little stretch into the quaint village of Vinings.

This stretch of road was rough from construction, thick with traffic and the traffic lights slowed me down...all this took away some good momentum.  I was thinking about the Strock guy, I'm sure he wanted to close the gap but I will say; I was feeling pretty proud of myself so far.

A right turn and a nice long, high speed dive back down to the river.  As I expected, the Strock guy stormed past me.  He was driving hard and so was I but I knew that the climb going up on the other side of the river would bring us back together.  As we crossed the river, the sky's finally opened up and the rains came.   Up ahead coming toward us was the main back of maybe 25 riders.  Ain't no way those guys were going to catch us today.

I took a break and rode the wheel of the Strock guy for the majority of the climb.  As I pulled around him, I thanked him for the pull and mentioned that the pack wouldn't catch us today, his face was looking down and there was no reply.  A right turn, the road levels out then starts another long down hill and back comes the Strock guy.  I'm behind him now, not on his wheel, he's ahead by about 10-12 yards.  The rains were getting stronger and we were pretty much side by side now for a good long stretch.

Another downhill and yes, another climb.  This time, I let the Strock guy have it.  I took it easy, spinned my crank but gained ground at the same time.  From here, I pulled ahead of the Strock and never looked back.  The rains were still with us and I was feeding off it.  I just kept digging all the way  to the end.  Back at the parking lot, I thanked the Strock guy for the ride and pushing me, he replied that I didn't need a push. I thanked him for the compliment and with the rain still pouring down on us, began to load up.

A very satisfying ride it was.   Considering the rain, a solid pace for this hilly course at 16.9 avg. speed, 43.4 max. speed.  Looking forward to my next ride. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

55 mile solo ride

Rode out from my house to the Silver Comet trail.  10 miles to the trail, 22 miles on the trail then Old Lost Mountain Road to my Tour de W. Cobb route.  

For the most part, I was pretty much just seeking some saddle time.  I like the comet because there are other riders to watch, other people watching opportunities and because it's flat, there is no rest, you have to keep your crank turning all the time.

Once off the Comet and onto Old Lost Mountain Road, I came across a few Garage Sales.  I wheeled into a few of them but didn't see anything that I just couldn't live with out but enjoyed the diversions.   

I started this ride in the early morning and with a chill in the air, I dressed accordingly with wind pants, shoe covers and long sleeve undershirt and long sleeve jersey.  At this point in the ride I was ok but as the ride wore on, it got warmer and I could feel the sweat under my layers.

I took a diversion off my normal route from Mars Hill Road to Hancock Road which runs into Stilesboro Road of my original route.  I think I might make this a permanent change, Hancock has less traffic and my not so favorite parts of Stilesboro are bypassed.  Back on Stilesboro the road construction guys were hard at work installing new curbing and from the concrete dust that was everywhere,my red tires were turning a light gray.  Passing by one of the neon vested workers, I notices him bending down with his pocket knife digging something out of some old road tar, looked like a penny to me.  Times aren't that hard, are they?  

I soon was upon my favorite part of Stilesboro, the downhill section to Barrett Parkway, but by now I was feeling the effects of my saddle time and just wanted to get through it.  One more Garage sale stop then on through Kennasaw Nat. Battlefield Park, then home.  The final push included a climb up Burnt Hickory that always slows me down but once over that I was home free.  

Total time:  3:29:51, Avg. Speed:  15.8 mph.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tour de W. Cobb

Well, Tiger putted out on 18 so I I ride.

I had a hard time getting going today and rolled out at 5:30 pm.  There were other rides I could have joined this morning and enjoyed that "group ride thing" but, hey, some people have stuff that has to be done and I had many chores today.

So how was the ride?  Well, pretty ordinary, same as many other rides on this route.   This ride did feature a new piece of gear...I recently installed one of those light weight inner tubes on my rear wheel.  In the bike shop I could tell the difference in weight between the regular tube and the light weight model.  I remember someone telling me about reducing the weight of rolling mass, something about resistance  Anyway, this is supposed to make me ride better...who knows.

I tried to maintain a steady pace and was doing pretty well at 17.2 mph through Mars Hill Rd. and onto Stillesboro but those hills on Stillsboro took a toll on me and the pace dropped. Rolled in with a 16.5 mph avg. over 26.55 miles.  I hope to ride tomorrow, we'll see.