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.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Buckhead Belly Ache

Sports fans it's been a while but for most of Feb and Mar the weather wasn't quite right and along with flu symptoms, I just didn't get much riding in.  Since my last entry and before today there have been four other rides.  Once again, I  find myself trying to get in shape.

And no place better than riding the Buckhead Bellyache!

This ride is one hill after another through some of the nicest, extremely monied neighborhoods of Atlanta.  For the most part the hills are short, sometimes steep but nothing really strenuous except Cumberland Parkway, imho.  

Unfortunately my pre-ride activity was more telling than the ride.  I was starting to unload and found my rear tire flat.  Thinking that by sitting in the sun all day my fully pumped up tire just exploded, I quickly pulled the wheel and stuffed a new tube in the tire w/o checking for a possible nail, glass, etc.  still stuck in the tire.  Just before I started to pump it up, my hand ran across something sharp.  A closer examination revealed a small piece of solid copper wire protruding from the tire.  I tried several times to pull it out by hand but had to resort to one of mans best teeth.  Out it came in a jiffy.

With the flat tire culprit removed, my worry now was did I somehow damage the new tube.  I didn't have my real pump, only a small carry along, hand pump,  I put as much air in as I could and hoped for the best.  Not having the real hard tire I'm used to, my confidence was not at it's best.  The fear of a slow leaking tube was at the fore front of my mind.

Across the street, flashing on and off, was the "open" sign at Peachtree Bikes.  My spare tube was already installed, do I go buy another tube so if bad goes to worse during the ride, I'll have a spare?  Looking down at my tailgate at all the stuff I pulled out of my back pockets, I saw some Park Tire Patches.  I quickly decided to do a patch job on the copper wire flatted tube and be on my way.  I came here to ride not shop, and daylight was in short supply.  I gotta tell you, the Park Tire Patches were a breeze, don't leave home with out 'em.

The sun beat me today and I finished the ride at about 8:15 pm. and yes, I did damage the tube, the tire held up through the ride but the next day it was flat.   I really like this route.  Check it out below:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

3 state 3 mountain, May, 2007, Chattanooga, TN

This was a great experience for me on the bike.

Hopefully, this blog will motivate me to ride more and more rides equal more posts.  I hope to have more experiences like this in 2009.

The climb up Burchalter Gap was the hardest climbing I've ever done.  The city of Chattanooga opened their arms to the cyclist and treated us like honored guests, even closing the roads for cyclists only.