Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tonight, I did not get Dropped!

A Landmark Ride!

Tonight was the first night where I did not get dropped from the group. Typically a lead group of 10-12 breaks out in front, then followed up by other groups. I usually get caught between groups and wind up pedaling my butt off trying to catch up to the group/person in front of me. Tonight everybody seemed to be in the lead group including myself. I think we got lucky at a few stop signs and were able to keep the group together.

Pulling the Group for a Change...

I was also feeling uncharacteristically strong tonight. On Burnt Swamp Road I was actually pulling the second group and helped it catch up to the lead group. I made sure to pull off the front before I expended too much energy. If I had stayed on the front for too long, I knew I would just get dropped. I found myself pulling the group again in North Attleboro. It was unfamiliar territory as normally at that point I would be along watching a group pull away from me in the front and inevitably waiting for another group to catch up to me from behind.

There must have been 20 or 30 of us racing along Rt. 120 as we approached the halfway point. It got dodgy at times with all those bikers at those speeds. At the halfway point, I checked my bike computer and it read 20.4 mph average. Typically when I get dropped and try to catch-up it reads 19.9. So at that point I knew the reason for me not getting dropped was not because everybody else was slower :-)

The Second Half

As everybody headed out for the second half (after the brief rest stop) the group thinned out and there was no longer one massive group. Ok. So I rode around the Diamond hill Reservoir with Bob. When we hit the end and into the hills he waited for some of his friends who were behind him. As much as I would have liked to have ridden in a pace line at that point, I didn't want to wait for one. I figured, when they catch me, I'll ride with them. Then something odd happened. I reeled in the 4 riders who were a quarter mile ahead of me. Then I dropped them and caught the next pace line in front of them. Then I dropped them and caught the next group of riders at the stop sign where you make a left onto Rt. 121. I stayed with that group knowing that Mount St was coming up (7% grade climb over 3 tenths of a mile).

Mount St.

Once I hit Mount St., I just focused on doing a steady climb up the hill. To my surprise I dropped everybody in this group except for Rowan on his Specialized Roubaix. I also wound up eating a bug in mid-climb.

Why Did I Ride Stronger Today?

I'm not sure. I do know that I typically peak around September. Maybe all of this years riding is kicking in. The only other thing that was different about today was that I was working from home. I went to my daughter's Kindergarten Orientation and then we went to Papa Gino's for a special treat. There I ate a half a Papa Gino's Pizza. I don't normally stuff myself at lunch, but pizza is a weakness of mine. Maybe Papa Gino's should sponsor a bike team ;-)

My Phat Ride Stats
Date Distance Time Avg Mph MAX Mph
June 12, 2007 25.24 1:23:38 18.1 36.2
June 26, 2007 25.25 1:24:51 17.9 36.3
July 10, 2007 25.20 1:21:14 18.6 35.7
July 24, 2007 25.26 1:22:17 18.4 37.9
August 7, 2007 25.26 1:22:24 18.4 35.7
August 28, 2007 25.26 1:18:35 19.3 37.2

Sunday, August 26, 2007

To Wrentham Outlets and Back (via Norfolk)...

Another Humid Day

Today was another humid day, but not as hot as yesterday. There was even the threat of rain, which never materialized. I headed south with no plan in mind. Along the way I decided to bike past the Wrentham Outlets just so I can say "Yeah, I've biked to the Wrentham Outlets...". Right across from the outlets I made a right onto a hidden back road (Nickerson) right off of route 1a. Well, it's not that hidden because I saw a Naragansett Bay Wheelman route marker ?

NBW Route Marker
NBW Route Marker
   painted on the road. I followed these arrows for a bit as they were pointing in the same direction as I was going. Upon further research I learned that I was riding along the 50 mile leg of the NBW-128: Diamond Hill Two ride. A little while after that I saw more NBW arrows in Norfolk that turns out to be the northernmost section of the NBW-088: Scramble Metric ride. The Scramble Metric is the NBW Route that comes closest to my home.

Climb up Brandywine

The neighborhood behind us is having a neighborhood being built behind it. So far it is causing an increase in drivers speeding through an otherwise quiet neighborhood where there are lots of kids playing in the streets. Eventually is it supposed to have its own entrance on Populatic Street. I don't think that will solve the traffic issues as Populatic Street doesn't really go anywhere. Anyway, I had recently driven through the neighborhood checking out the nice $500k+ "affordable housing" homes and I noticed that they had paved the roads all the way through to Populatic (much to the disappointment of all the local mountain bikers). The end was gated (still just construction vehicle access I guess) so one couldn't drive through. However, one can easily jump the gate with a bike. A road bike.

So, for a change of pace, instead of coming my usual approach from the East, I cut through the neighborhood. Well, it turns out that it is roughly 200+ feet of climbing over just 1 mile. There were two parts to climbing through this neighborhood. Each climb was a quarter mile in length. The first climb had a 5.6% grade. The second part, which connected to the older neighborhood, had a 8.5% grade. Nice way to finish up a ride. At least I had a nice descent back to my home. :-)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

To West Holliston and Back...

It's Hot Again

It was a hot one today and I didn't get out until around mid-day. so I decided to take it a bit easy. I headed north to Holliston without any plan. When I got back to Franklin I had only put on about 15 or so miles. I wanted to put in at least 20 so I continued south towards downtown.

Soldier's Funeral

When I reached downtown Franklin all the main streets were closed off for the funeral of a local soldier who had died fighting in Iraq. It was quite impressive seeing the streets lined with hundreds of people bearing American flags all along the route from the Church to the Cemetery. I wish we could do more to honor and support the fighting men who are serving this country aside from throwing a magnetic sticker on the back of our cars...

Monday, August 20, 2007

NBW: South Shore Century

The South Shore Century

I didn't really train to ride a Century this year, however I put in almost as many miles in the previous 10 week as I did when I was training for my first Century last year. So I figured I should be in good shape. This is my 4th ride with the Naragansett Bay Wheelmen. Some of the faces are starting to look familiar.

This is a serious Biking Van. The roof has as many bike racks as its real estate can accommodate.

Morning Meeting

Luca, the arrower, telling us about all the hazards and obstacles to expect. He was more than thorough :-)

Luca was the sole arrower for the ride. He marked just about every single hazard on the route and then some. Somebody commented "A blind man can follow these arrows!" Normally the NBW Club rides are very well arrowed. However, Luca's arrowing stepped it up to a completley higher level. He had compiled a full page of significant hazards and obstacles like "bridge closed" and "road missing". He was thorough yet succinct in his descriptions. There were no surprises.

The ride

As I am learning with Group Rides, the mass start quickly breaks up into smaller groups. The trick is to join a group that matches your pace. I think the is the first NBW Club ride where I managed to do that. We had a fast but not insane pace and I comfortably hung with the group until the rest stop at mile 50.

The South Shore

The South Shore is really nice. At least the expensive, waterfront sections we rode through is nice.

.33 miles of Dirt in Duxbury along Duxbury Beach.

Scenic Coastline in Ocean_Bluff (Marshfield), MA

Approaching the Old Scituate Light Lighthouse.

100 miles and only one rest stop...

At about mile 40 I was wondering if the group I was riding with was ever going to stop. I was 1/4 the way through my second bottle of Gatorade and while I didn't have to "go", I knew it would be only a matter of time before nature called.

Rest Stop at Halfway point. Scotty's in Scituate. Gatorade refill and a restroom :-)

That's Sara on the left. Sitting down in the red shirt is another Marty. He's a Chiropractor.

The second 50...

I couldn't keep up the pace with the group I was riding with. I got dropped around mile 60. Not bad. I wasn't the only one. Steve had dropped before I did and I thought at the time "I'll see him later..., after I get dropped." and I did.

Wompatuck State Park.

The ride through the Wompatuck State Park was interesting.

Pick-up Truck in Norwell

A guy in a green pick-up truck in Norwell seemed to have an issue with me. He yelled something about "grumble grumble follow traffic rules a-hole...". Then he pulled in front of me and hit the brakes. I soooo wanted to respond with a hand signal, but I thought it prudent not to. So I just stared him down. If you are ever in Norwell, MA and see a guy in a Green Pick-up with Mass Plates "1984-TO", feel free to give him a piece of your mind.

Thanks Steve!

This is Steve Rodriguez. He pulled me along for the last 20 miles. The other Marty is his Chiropractor.

After mile 80 my bicycle felt like it was made of lead. That pretty much sums up my state of affairs at the end of the ride. I was glad to be riding with Steve for this last leg of the ride.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

To Chemewa and Back

Nice Day for a ride...

Tomorrow I plan on going on the Naragansett Bay Wheelman's South Shore Century ride. But today was such an irresistible day to ride, that I just couldn't pass it up. I figured that I might go out for a couple of hours and take it easy. Maybe push south towards the Chemewa Golf Course in North Attleboro. My neighbor likes to golf there and I like to tweak him a bit and say "Oh yeah, I bike down there sometimes..." Heh. When he drives there he takes 495 to 95 to 295 to Route 1 and is about 24-25 miles. I shave off 10 miles easy going the back roads on my bike.

Chemewa Golf Course

Taking it easy... Not!

Well, just under 35 miles and a little over 2 hours later, I pull into my driveway with a solo ride average of 17.1 mph. I'm not a racer, so that is fast for me when I am not drafting anybody. I hope I didn't ruin myself for tomorrow's Century.

Last year, when I did my first Century, it was on the second day of a 3-day 250 mile ride in NJ. The first day was 85 miles in the hilliest part of NJ, where the foothills of the Appalachians are and where Edison had a his mining companies. I got bursitis on Day 1 and kept riding. Compared to that, I feel more confidant about tomorrow :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stupid MBTA!!!

I missed yesterday's Phat Tuesday Ride because my train was delayed for up to 40 minutes due to mysterious "Signal Problems"

I can't even begin to tell you how frustrated I was last night at around 6:00 PM.

Monday, August 13, 2007

West to Blackstone Valley and Back...

A Day Off...

We hit a significant milestone at work last Friday and as a result everybody was given today off :-)

So after sleeping late, and doing some much needed catching up on my finances, I went for a ride. I originally wanted to push out further west and dip into RI and come back via Uxbridge, but I started too late and decided to keep it to right around 30 miles. It was good to get out.

I hope I didn't wear myself out for tomorrow night Tuesday Evening Group Ride.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

To Dover and Back (with Blueberries in between)


It was 47° F when I looked at the thermometer this morning. It's August! I was planning on going out for a really early morning ride, but I refuse to put on cold weather bike clothing in August. So I waited until it got north of 50°. I wore my Germany bike shirt because it is the warmest short sleeve jersey I have. I knew it would get warmer and sunnier, so I dressed for that as opposed to the current reading on the thermometer. Around mile 3 I saw a couple of other bikers with arm warmers on. I was chilly but getting warmer.

I almost wore this...

I almost wore this...

I'm glad I didn't go long sleeve as it did get warmer as I was fine with what I was wearing.

Lots of Bikers...

There were lots of bikers out today. I headed east through Norfolk/Medfield the north to Dover. I even saw a biker twice in Dover. First he was coming south on center st, then he was coming north on Farm street.

I saw a paceline group out for a training ride in Dover also. But the coolest thing that happened was when another paceline group caught up to me on Forrest Road in Sherborn. If I didn't have to get back I would have tagged along for a bit.

A Paceline Group caught up to me on Forest Street in Sherborn.

UPDATE! (March 12, 2008)

UPDATE: I was looking at the CRW site and noticed that their Saturday Morning Fitness (Long 42) ride overlaps this particular ride at mile ~16. Not only that but they start at 8:30 AM. The picture was taken on Forest St @ 9:16 AM. The time and distance are just right if they were averaging ~20 MPH. Coolness...

Blueberry Picking

My wife was going to take our daughter's blueberry picking this morning while I was out for a ride. On my way back I called to see where they were. They were just about to head out so I told her I would meet them there (at Jane & Paul's Farm in Norfolk).

I timed it just right to meet my family at Jane & Paul's Farm for Blueberry Picking.

They pulled in about 30 seconds after I rode up. Talk about timing :-) I spent the next 40 minutes hanging out, picking blueberries, and holding my youngest while she napped. So I got to have it all, a bike ride and time with the family!

Picking blueberries with my daughter.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Big Phat Cramp!

A Good Turnout.

Riding Stronger

At least it felt that way. After a week of riding fast and furious in the flats of Baldwin County, Alabama, it was good to get back to the Tuesday Ride Group. Most of the group has done this past weekend's Pan Mass Challenge and there was "talk" of taking it easy today. However, I guess I rode out with the group that didn't do the PMC. It was fast as usual. However, I didn't get dropped until almost mile 8 and I didn't get dropped as badly as I have before. I averaged 19.1 mph at the rest stop and I was still averaging 19.0 mph for the ride up and until the Mount Street Climb.

Pan Mass Challenge

Speaking of the Pan Mass Challenge, I think I'd really like to do it next year. I'll have to make a point of speaking to Tim about that next time I see him.

Phat Cramp

My left calf had been showing signs of cramping all through out the ride. I thought it would hold off. I was finishing strong coming off of the Mount St. climb and I was reeling in the rider in front of me on the last mile of the ride. I caught him and with only a half mile to go, I figured I would sprint past him and make a really strong finish. However, as soon as I stood up, my right calf cramped up big time. I tried to rub it out but it was no use. I didn't want to stop so I un-clipped my right foot and just pedaled the rest of the way using my left foot. As a result I finished 7 seconds slower than my last Tuesday Evening ride (according to my bike computer, which actually recorded the same exact mileage to 2 decimal places!)

My Phat Ride Stats
Date Distance Time Avg Mph MAX Mph
June 12, 2007 25.24 1:23:38 18.1 36.2
June 26, 2007 25.25 1:24:51 17.9 36.3
July 10, 2007 25.20 1:21:14 18.6 35.7
July 24, 2007 25.26 1:22:17 18.4 37.9
August 7, 2007 25.26 1:22:24 18.4 35.7

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fairhope Dot Race

I was just reviewing my rides on Motionbased.com and checked to see if anybody else was riding at the same time. It turns out that on Thursday, the FAST RIDE day, another person in the group had a GPS device and was tracking the ride. Now the cool thing about that is anybody can use Motionbased.com's Dot Race feature and see how I fared against the other rider.

The "Dot Race"

Thursday's "Fast Ride" Dot Race. - You can only view this in IE only and you need the Adobe's SVG Player Plugin. More about how Motionbased.com uses this plug-in on their Wiki.

Be sure to check off the "Real Time" check box and click on Race to restart the race and see us riding together. You can also see the two times I got dropped. I think I held up pretty well for the most part ;-)

Cool Stuff...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Fairhope Recovery Ride

Taking it easy...

Taking it easy with a 23 mile ride at 18.3 mpg average. Today's ride was more relaxed. Except for the part where I pulled the group up a hill and dropped off of the front. The group then took off and dropped me. Jim wasn't happy about that as it was supposed to be a recovery ride. So he dropped back and pulled me back to the group.

After that, it was a nice, quickly paced social ride. These are a great group of rider and I am glad that I hooked up with them. I am sorry that it is only for one week out of the year.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fast Ride Day

Apparently Thursday is Fast Day

I should have been nervous when only 5 other people showed up. Today we were pushing for speed. It was also the first time I got "an assist" going up a hill. I checked my Garmin and it said I was averaging 21.1 mph when I got dropped at mile ~8.5. The nice thing about the dark and the bike lights is how far away they are visible from.The group was kind enough to wait for me. I think they were worried about me getting lost. I should have mentioned that I rode a lot of these roads last year and that I also had a GPS device tracking my routes.

Dropped II

So once we got into more familiar territory (aka, the previous day's route) I got dropped again at about mile 17.5. This time for good. Yeah, they were going fast and I'm not at that speed level yet. Especially with flat terrain and little opportunity to rest and recover. The group kept going. That was fine, I didn't want to hold them up anymore. They were kind enough to send one guy back to check on me. Though I think he was glad for it. He was struggling just like me and I provided a good excuse for him to fall back.

Oh well, I won't get faster if I don't go faster. The best way to do that is ride with faster people. Though I am starting to yearn for the hills of Massachusetts a little bit ;-)

Jim - The Un-official Leader

Jim is the unofficial leader of this group. They are trying to get it going much like the group rides around Mobile Proper. Like just about everybody down here he is very nice and welcoming.

This is Lee. He comes all the way from France, where he races!

Lee is the one who gave me the "assist" up a climb. He also gave me a number if tips during the ride. They helped, but not enough for me to keep up the pace.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fairhope Group Ride

No Drop Day

I was told about this Group Ride out of Fairhope from Phil at Eastern Shore Cycles. I was corresponding with him via email prior to my trip. They met and head out on weekdays at 5:00 AM. That's early. He recommended I meet with them on Wednesday as that day is a "No-Drop" day. So I set my alarm for 4:15 AM and joined them. There were about 12-14 people in all.

Dark and Flat, first the Dark...

It is quite an experience riding in the dark. And by dark I mean roads with no street light or any other ambient lights dark. The only thing lighting the way was our lights (mine was bright enough to be seen, but that was it) and the half moon when it peeked throught the clouds. It is a little nerve wracking hanging onto somebody's wheel when you can't see yours. It was great though. I think they ride this early because it is the only time you can get 75 degree weather is at 5 o'clock in the morning.

Now for the Flat...

The roads are straight and flat. I swear you can see the curvature of the Earth. I didn't because it was dark. Riding with a group on mostly flat terrain is a much different experience than riding with a group through the hills of Massachusetts. No tactics, no strategy, no saving yourself for the upcoming hill, no resting on descents, just flat out pedaling. I averaged 19.3 mph on this ride. I could never do that on my own.