25 February 2012



Saturday, February 25th

26 miles on the American River Trail and in Fair Oaks

I need to push myself more if I am to get stronger and faster. So I set up a ride I called 19@12@10, since it was 19 miles, avg 12mph, and at 10am.
Hey, I can't always come up with clever titles.

This ride was not for the casual rider, but rather to serve as a stepping stone between casual rides and longer, faster rides.

I had 6 people show up and a whole gaggle of family hangers on (not my family).
One person dropped out because his pedal threads stripped out. Fortunately, he was local so knew the closest bike shop (they even gave him a lift back to his car. Shout Out for Carmichael Cycle!).
One of the gaggle misjudged the width of the yellow poles delineating the bike path at intersections and wrecked. One person had a flat before she even got there and I never did meet her.

And the wind blew!

Now, I did not find out about any of these mishaps until after the ride. Fine ride leader I am! I was sailing along ahead around 14mph, knowing that my average would drop a little bit on every hill. I did pretty well, wind considering, and managed a respectable 12.4 mph average on the way out.
Now, on the way back, I was POOPED. So I got slower and slower. But that's why I do this ride. To get faster.

We all straggled (ok, I was the straggler!) back to the starting point and I added my yellow high-viz jacket and two flags to my bike. Ate some more orange, some beef jerky, and drank the rest of a bottle of water.
Refreshed, I headed back down the trail to ride north into the Fair Oaks hills to visit a new local recumbent shop: Laid Back Cycles.

Laid Back Cycles, corner of Fair Oaks Blvd and Sunset.

Three new tires bungee-ed to the rack. Worked great.

I picked up three new tires Mickey was holding for me, visited for a moment, then went back down the hills to the river and the bike trail.

Fair Oaks Bluffs, gotta walk up there sometime (off of Bridge St)

Bridge over the river (sometimes called The Red Bridge)

Lovely park in Fair Oaks

Flowers! Spring is here!

Intersection of Grand and Main. Very quiet streets, many fine hills to choose from.

Two climbing roses

And I learned something today.

First, that I'm a crank. (regular readers should already know this).
Second, that bicycling makes me forget that I was ever cranky.
Third, that appearance is everything.

I spent nearly 20 miles on the trail today, generic grey shirt, generic black pants, no flags, no lights, no bright yellow jacket. Unremarkable. The only people who wanted to say anything to me were the usual folks curious about my ride and folks "passing on the left".

Once I was bedecked in flags and bright yellow (and I was only on the trail in this plumage for 2.5 miles, the rest was in traffic) I got all kinds of 'encouragement'.
Encouragement in the kind of voice you'd use for small children who are dubiously potty trained, or tea-cup poodles who for once did not bite the guest or piddle on your foot. Sort of an artificially bright, over-articulated tone. Dripping with condescension. Gah. Give me a break.

Fourth, that adding flags and a yellow jacket on the trail subtracts about 10 mph from perceived ability.

By the time I had picked up my tires and gotten back on the trail, I could barely remember the annoying 'encouragement'. So that's OK.

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