Wednesday, July 1, 2009

PHAT Birthday Ride

Happy Birthday to Me!

It has been 3 years since I did my first Century. It was on day 2 of a 3 day, 250 mile ride from High Point, NJ to Cape May, NJ. [].

New Tires

My Conti 4-Season tires were shot. The rear tire had a puncture hole it it (it was also worn flat like a drag racing tire) and the front tire was coming apart at the seams (on the sidewall). So I waited until the last minute to pick up some road tires from the bike shop in Maynard across the street from where I work: Ray and Sons Cycle.

The owner is a bit of a character and I sometimes wonder if he is all there. Their selection of accessories and supplies is very limited. However, like I said, they are across the street.

I walk in and ask if they have any Conti's. "No. We haven't ordered any in a while" was the response. I told him I was looking for a set of road tires, size 700x23. He goes into the back and comes out with Specialized Armadillos and All Condition Sport tires. With such a limited selection I opt for the less expensive (and lighter) All Condition tires.

I really wanted a set of Conti Attack/Force tires, but at least the set I did get was half the price.

I arrive at the PHAT Tuesday ride early enough for me to mount the new tires onto my bike. Of course I mount the rear tire backwards (they're directional). I'll fix that this coming weekend, like it really matters.

The Specialized All Condition Tires

They feel heavier that tires I have run in the past (Conti 4000, Attack/Force, 4 Season). They are meatier and almost feel like I have motorcycle tires. This actually helped me when I lost my concentration descending past the Big Apple Farm and almost ride off the road. I had to quickly brake and turn to avoid going into a ditch. When I did that my bike over-steered a bit but the meaty rear tire regained traction real fast when I got pointed in the right direction.

I'll keep these tires for a while and see how I like them. Maybe I'll get a different set when my personal economy gets better and use these as a spare.

Mistake #1 - The Fast Group

Yup, I tried to hang with the fast group. Yup, I was out of my league. Yup, I burned myself out a bit trying to hang on. Nope, the motivational coaching by the guy in the Team Landry's gear didn't help my legs pedal faster.

I dropped back and rode with the second group. I got dropped by them on Fales St. Not by much though. They were probably 200" ahead of my all the way until 120. Jonathon (blue jersey, blue & silver Trek), and I worked together to try and catch the group. We lost the group on 120 and that is where I got dropped by Jonathon also. I need to get better on the climbs!

Hiroshi came up behind me and pulled me into the halfway point. As he was doing so, Maryellen passed us by riding like she was on a leisure ride on a bike path.

Dam Dogs!

After the rest stop a group of us was climbing onto the Dam by the reservoir. There were three teenage girls with two Chocolate Labs, unleashed. The dogs were running in front of, around, and chasing down the riders ahead of me. One dog was running less than 6 inches along side Jonathon's rear wheel. Not a good situation. I knew I was next. So I grabbed my bottle of Gatorade and got ready. As soon as the one dog started to chase me down, I turned around and gave him a face full of Gatorade from my bottle.

That stopped him in his tracks.

I learned about this trick from the article on How to Deal With Bad Dogs

Play douse the Doberman. If you see big, fast Prince up ahead and know that he sees you, sprinting might not work. Especially if the road is tilting up. Take out your water bottle. Just having it in your hand may make him stay away. If he does come near you, give him a faceful and a loud yell. This distraction will slow him down, though he may come back for more. Just don’t distract yourself and ride off the road.

Mistake #2 - Make Sure the Rear Wheel is "On"

With the dogs behind me I focused on riding with the group I was with. We were slowly reeling in the group ahead of us. The ride around the reservoir it typically moderate as at the end we start to climb up into some rilling hills.

Things are going good when we hit the first climb. "Crunch" "Grind" My rear derailleur is making weird noises as I stand up to attack the hill.

Apparently, when I changed my tire, I didn't tighten down my rear wheel enough. So when I applied extra torque, it torqued the wheel loose. I had to stop and reset the rear wheel. So now the second half of tonight's ride would become a solo excursion.

Summary for this Ride

18.7 avg at the halfway point; 17.4 avg overall.