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“Rides #37, #42 and #44: Friends, Hills, and the Slimming Effects of Lightning”

From: Seth Dillingham In Response To: Top of Thread.  
Date Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 4:25:29 PM Replies: 3
Enclosures: None.

Corinne has been hearing about my lack of updates here on [tw] from her friends, who I think mostly just want more pictures of Lauren (I don't blame them!). I've been much too quiet lately.

I'm going to pay for that quietness, soon. The PMC is in less than two months, and I haven't raised a penny yet. What an idiot.

This particular update, however, is not about Lauren, Corinne, her friends, or the PMC. It's about my riding (and weight loss) over the last month. I'll start with:

Ride #37: Birthday Loop with Steve

Steve Davis came down on May 23rd to ride the storied Birthday Loop with me.

Steve is in fantastic shape, much better for mid-Spring than I've ever known him to be, since we started riding together years ago.

I, on the other hand, was still getting over my cold. I'd only ridden three times in the previous two weeks, and was still coughing quite a bit.

The result: Steve was very patient with me. We did the whole ride, of course, but averages only 17.5 mph. He easily could have handled a 19 mph average, which is quite impressive with all the climbing.

My stats are missing a couple of miles because my bike computer mysteriously shut off for a little while. However, Steve had exactly the same average speed as I did when we were done, so I'm just going to stick with what mine said.

Stats: 52.56 miles (84.62 km) in 3h 0' 0" for an average speed of 17.52 mph (28.20 kph).

Ride #42: Cracked 260

This ride is notable only because I finally cracked 260. That is, my weight finally dropped below it.

I thought that was quite an accomplishment, so I checked my stats for last year. EXACTLY THE SAME DATE!! Oy! Still, last year my weight was only below 260 for two days, then it went back up and stayed there for another month. This year, it's continued going down, and I'm hoping to drop below 250 before the end of the month.

How far can I drop before PMC? This will be my sixth PMC, and I've never been below 250.

Stats: 43.91 miles (70.69 km) in 2h 17' 12" for an average speed of 19.20 mph (30.91 kph).

Ride #44: Lightning Has Struck My Brain!

Sorry, the title for this ride was just a hook to get you to read the story. (Ok ok, I'll stop. I'm sure Sean, at least, is moaning by now...)

(Update, 10 months later: that humor was a little too subtle. "Lightning has struck my brain" is a quote from the movie, "Hook". The statement "just a hook to get you to read" was a hint. Nobody got it.)

This ride was on Sunday, the beginning of our current heat wave. I left the house planning to do the birthday loop again, after spending 45 minutes carefully cleaning up my drivetrain. The first 20 miles were quite hot, but I can handle hot. After the first ten miles, I saw the storm coming in but hoped it was going to pass to the North.

No such luck.

I climbed Cossaduck hearing thunder. Second time this year I've managed to climb it "out of the saddle" from bottom to top. Once again, I forgot to set the lap timer on my bike computer, so I have no idea how much I've improved. (My first trip up the hill this year was a pitiful 4:40!!)

Heard a lot more thunder while I was on Gilliver, but they were still five or six seconds after the flash so I figured I was ok. At that point, I was riding away from the storm.

In the last mile of Route 49, just before the turn onto Wyassup, the sprinkling started and I knew the storm was going to catch me, but now I was in farm country. What was I supposed to do? I kept riding.

On Wyassup, with the thunder rolling almost constantly, I crested one of the hills telling myself "think negative thoughts! Think negative!" (Lightning is electrons and have a negative charge. Negative thoughts would therefore repel lightning, right? Keep up with me here, folks.) But, at the top of one of the two hills (I can't remember which, now, but I think it was the second), everything around me went bright purple! I'm not kidding, I thought at first that I'd been struck. There was enough time for me to yell "yi" before my "yikes!" was drowned out in the loudest thunder I've heard in 30 years.

I wasn't hit, obviously, but it must have been cloud-to-cloud right over head. (Or perhaps it hit the ground near me.) That was exciting.

Aside: When I was quite young, I remember standing at my grandparents back door in Berkley, MA, when lightning struck the back yard just a few yards away. That was some kind of loud, and I've had a love for lightning every since.

After that, the rain started in earnest and I just rode home. That took about ten miles off the ride, but it was fun. (Now I need to clean my drive train again!)

Stats: 44.67 miles (71.91 km) in 2h 30' 21" for an average speed of 17.82 mph (28.70 kph).

Oh, and I'm now down to 254. :-D

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