Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fast Club Ride

Cal--the Legend (also a Librarian like Yours)
The Club Rides, all levels, meet at Broken Arrow Park here in Lawrence, Kansas.  Rides are at 9 a.m.  now that its a bit cooler in the mornings.  That later hours means its warmer and I think it gives people the feeling they've gotten to sleep in a bit.  Since I'm one of those guys that gets everything ready the night before--I can sleep and kinda wake up as I'm riding to the Park.  Well let me tell you, Gentle Reader of This Blog, this was a fine morning for a ride indeed!
The fellow you see up there is Cal--Cal is the most respected rider out on the road.  For one, he is above all, the friendliest, most charming man you could ever met.  Also, I think he's pushing 60 years of age, still he is one of the fastest, toughest, smartest cyclist around.  Cal is a Legend.  I've been out riding by myself into the Wilds, and I've seen Cal and he waves!  He recognizes me and says Ahoy!  I interviewed for a job as a librarian at Washburn University (Topeka, KS) and after the interview, we realized that we had met each other on the road when I came out to visit Little Egypt before I moved to KS--we had a great laugh and he told me later he really wanted to hire me--but with all the librarians being men, well, they wanted the young woman librarian instead.  Whatever--he could have just been telling me to make me fell better--I might not have been as good a candidate as the woman.  What a great man--let me say Great Man, mes amis...

Fast Guys, old guys, and can afford expensive toys...
Our two groups took off and the fast guys zoomed out, but we were right with them.  Then for some reason we went a different route, and well, there I was up in this pack of really fast fellows (usually ride in fast group but they're riding with us today) and there I was riding with Cal up front and we were riding 23 mph!  Man, it was awesome--there I was with some of the regulars I ride with, and we're the second group (fast guys are the first) but there's some blokes pulling us along and we are spinning like fire!  Cal and I move up front and do our pull, and then when we drop back, I see that the group I usually ride with are about a mile behind us. 
What I've done is somehow jumped on with the pack of the Fast Guys who were running late and now trying to catch the main group. 
I must tell you that by the time we were about to Lone Star Lake, I could feel my left leg getting weak.  A cramp was coming down the road--but I did my best to stay on.  The pace had certainly picked up and now a couple of riders were bailing out and getting dropped by the pack.  I held on until the very last small steep hill that is the entrance to Lone Star Lake--I was outta gas...
So there I was at the rest stop with all the fast boys.  Mostly they are a mix of fast fix twenty-somethings--and then guys my age or older--oh yeah and the women are well represented too, mes amis!  I saw Rob and Tommy and Brenda and we were like, "Dang how did we get up in this?"  There was no way I was going back with the Fast Guys because I'd be left for dead on the road. 
When Brenda saw our group arrive at the other end of the lake, we took off to meet them and go back at a sane pace.  I was still kind of shaking from the bullet ride I was just on.  I still wanted to be able to walk the rest of the weekend too.
Brenda was up front and instead of stopping she shot down the hill to go back to Lawrence--Laurie followed her, and then some other woman from the fast group.  I went after them, mes amis and the rest followed--but by the time I caught the three girls we had dropped our group.  Instead of having a nice steady ride back, here I was ripping down the road back to Lawrence with three other very fast and strong riders.  We kept a tight four person pace line and things did not let up until the one Fast Girl pulled off to head home.  Brenda (age 54) still kept the pace fast.  Laurie pulled off for her house, so there I was with Brenda for the last few miles back to the park.  We rode side by side and chatted--but dang, that woman did not even slow the pace one bit! 

Arm warmers needed for the first time this Fall

Although my legs were shaky the rest of the weekend, I have to say that I feel I can ride with the Fast Guys one day.  The trick is to actually get out there and ride with 'em!  They can look intimidating but they are all good people and they welcome all newcomers.   Really the deal is that I'm not strong enough to ride with the Fast Guys in that first group--and the slower group is not that slow--but there is that big gap between the two sets of riders.  There's a handful of us that are somewhere in between--when the Forces that control the Universe place us all together--man it is the best ride to be on my friends!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

53 Miles

Riding the Super Grand Prix
I’ve been riding with The Bike Club the last few weeks.  As I’m trying not to get dropped and staying in the pace-line, it’s hard to have the camera out for a few shots—but I will try next time.

I just want to comment that I went out with the Club and there were about ten or twelve of us.  The plan was to stay together until the “Llama Farm” and then people would decide it they wanted to go out further, and do 45-50 miles—or turn back and head into town. 

For me I chose to keep going, mes amis.  I wanted to see how far I could push my leg and my heart.  One thing that has been slow to return is the cardio—cardio that was so awesome after spending the winter in Celebrity Spin Class.  So at the Farm, I said I’d go, and it turned out that there would be just the four of us—the three other riders being faster ones.  There was a guy Ed, Aagje (from Amsterdam), and Brenda—power-house woman, oh and Yours.  I told everyone that as long as I could see them up ahead, I’d be okay.  We’d be in an area I didn’t know, and well if I got lost I’d just use the Sun to get my bearings and head northwest back to Lawrence—it would be fine.  We were off and we were off fast!  On the hills I got dropped but the guys waited for me at the stop signs—after two long slow climbs (and in a headwind) then on the flat prairie, we were four fast riders making our way to Gardner, Kansas.  Hey all I did was stick on my pals’ wheels and try to take my turn doing a pull—which was not often as any hill punched me out.

The Day was beautiful and cool with thin autumn clouds over us as we rode.  Me I felt stronger as we went further and faster.  The roads were new and I liked staying together as a group.  The bike club has fast people and slow people.  We tend to really spread out and people get dropped.  There are always the five or six people pushing a fast pace—a few in the middle a bit back—and then the slower group.  We really don’t ride together much.  Since my injury and recovery, I’ve been back in the slower group—and hey it is fun!  You get to talk to people and make friends!  No one’s trying to out-do you and stuff. 

Now I had a chance to work hard and stay with faster riders—being in better condition I know I’d be up there right with ‘em instead of struggling to keep a wheel--them looking back to make sure I was not dropped. 

We made it to Wellsville, Kansas, Gentle Readers of This Blog—a beautiful place and on a lovely Sunday morning while the villagers of said town were in the large old church that we came upon.  This was God’s Country—pick-ups and mommy vans neatly nestled in the church’s parking lot—one hundred years ago it would have been the same except for maybe a few saddle horses tied up in the shade trees that lined the brick Main Street.

Water bottles filled and then with Aagje and Brenda wanting to get back, we thought we’d go back and skip Gardner—saved for another day, mes amis.

With a strong tail wind and a slight descent, the miles went by quickly.  I got to talk to Brenda for awhile and things seemed effortless even with the fast pace she kept.  As we neared Baldwind City, there were a few climbs to tackle, and I got dropped but could see everyone up ahead--I was able to gain on them as things flattened out, but even with a tail wind they were a group and the inched ahead.  We regrouped in Baldwin and filled our bottles.  We would have a bullet fast downhill waiting just ahead outside of town on Palmyra Hill--I usually max out at 40 mph and that sets the pace for the return to Lawrence.

A few miles from town I had a puncture and I told everyone to just keep going.  I fixed the flat in a few minutes and then was on my way again, and then rolled up to the Little House at 1 o'clock.

The best thing about this ride was the fast pace, but still better the recovery time.  After my other rides with the club I'd come home and be shot the whole rest of the day.   This time I didn't feel too bad--it did help that later I got to have a two hour sleep.

I'm just feeling better every day, and every ride stronger and better on the bike. 

Thanks for stopping by, Gentle Reader of This Blog...

Cheers!  Bruce

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Fresh Milk from the Farm

 We've had some rain, Gentle Readers of This Blog, but not enough to help out the farmers and ranchers around here.  I've been riding to work by bike, as you can see above, and I've had my last few session of physical therapy.  I rode to my sessions twice a week early in the morning before work.  That actually gave me 10 to 15 minutes extra with my therapist, Dorian, as I was already warmed-up.  Will, my personal trainer (whom I credit getting me stronger which lessened the impact of my accident) met with Dorian for one of my last sessions so she could just show him what she was trying to do--this will certainly help me when my knee is better and I'm working with Will at the Jim.
All I can say is that I was a bit impatient and wanted to heal faster.  Things just take time--and I will have at least another two months before I can really be 100%.  That is a hard pill to swallow--there have been times when I've been pretty angry and depressed this whole affair.  I cancelled my NYC trip twice on account that I just could not walk more than a few blocks without pain and an awkward limp.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've had to accept that I am older and there have been changes.  I'm not as fast and as strong--some things are harder.  I'm only human--I have and will make blunders--I'll be faster than some--I will get dropped.  But happily I am still riding and still find new roads and new challenges.  And as I ride with bike club I'm getting to know some fine people--makes me miss my friends in Tucson terribly...

 I get home from work and Little Egypt wants me to go get some milk.  Why drive (still rush hour traffic) when I can bike the half mile (or less) to the corner Dairy?

 So there is this small dairy operation not far from Lawrence, Kansas, USA and they have this tiny store on the corner.  The milk is so freakin' fresh mes amis that really I should by two of these.  One to drink there in the store and one to take home.  You'll see that they have chocolate milk too.  I got a sample and I was very tempted to buy one--by like I told the young woman working there--it would be drunk up in a few hours, possibly that very evening.


 Well, there is this part of the old street that will not stay paved.  They repave and then a few weeks later the bricks are back.  There is as a stop sign before a bit more busier street (Barker the one I take to Haskell) I don't know why or what happened here but the bricks have a story.  It will give you a jolt when drive over it--I do not ride over either--gives me goose-bumps.

 Milk and me are home!  That super fresh milk will taste divine with my Wheaties tomorrow morning mes amis!
Cheers!  Bruce