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Monday, August 15, 2011

“Fatten Me Up, Please?”

A friend called Corinne today (on her birthday!) and asked, "Please fatten me up?!" (referring to herself). I think she wants to look more matronly.

(Personally, I think the children she's corralling do a fine job of matronizing her, but nobody asked for my opinion!)

1. This may be the best birthday present Corinne ever gets.
2. She came to the right place!
3. This friend may not realize what she's in for. Seriously, buy the larger clothes before she delivers your first meal, or you'll have a major problem.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ride #67: First Century of the Year, with Tom Tinory

Rawson Hubbell, who joined us for the first time on the Huckleberries Ride last year, wrote to ask me if we were doing it again this year. I knew we were, but there hadn't yet been any communication between the group, so I (eventually) wrote to everyone to talk about starting times. Even tried to fool them (half-heartedly) into thinking we should start at 6, to beat the heat.

We'll be starting at 7:30, at the same spot on the MA/NY border, on Friday, August 1st, the morning before the PMC.

In the burst of email which followed (between the fifteen or so riders on the cc list), one mentioned being in CT for vacation so he wouldn't be available for a proposed hill-ride sometime in the next couple weeks. "In CT?" I thought. So, I asked him if he was in my area, and (if so) if he would like to go for a ride.

Not only was he in my general area, but he's staying at his mother-in-law's house right in the very same town. Another Huckleberry right here in town? There's only one thing to do.

So, at about 5:40 on Saturday morning I set off to meet Tom Tinnory somewhere between...

Er, what's that, you ask? No, it's not a typo. 5:40 a.m., that's right. FIVE FORTY IN THE MORNING. No, really, I'm not kidding. Stop it, I'm serious!

As I was saying, I left the house at 5:40 AM, just a few minutes after sunrise, to meet Tom somewhere between his place and mine. That place happened to be on Route 117.

I mentioned the ride on Twitter, yesterday, and someone asked me for the route. My response managed to compress the whole ride into a twoosh! (A twoosh is a post on twitter that uses exactly the limit of 140 characters.)

@dreimiller 184->201->Cossadduck->49->184->River Rd->1->Watch Hill->Misquamicut->1a->1->215->117->184

That doesn't include the approximately 4 miles from my place to the meeting point on Route 117, but it says, in English: Route 184 to Route 201, to Cossadduck Hill Road, to Route 49 (actually, I forgot to include Route 165, as 201 never intersects 49 as far as I know), to Route 184, to River Road into Mystic and Route 1, to Westerly and the back roads into Watch Hill Road then Misquamicut, to Rotue 1a, back onto Route 1, to Route 215 in Mystic through Noank, back onto Route 117... er, hang on.

In fact, that route was wrong. After Route 215, we turned right on Long Hill Road (still Route 215?), which ends on Route 1 at the top of the hill. Tom turned left to head home, I turned right — away from Route 117 — and took Flanders Road back to 184, then to Haley Road and home. Whatever, it was close enough.

There were two mechanicals on the trip: the first was Tom getting a flat on Route 49 after riding over some glass. We saw quite a bit of glass, in fact, because we haven't had rain in ages so there's been nothing to wash it out of the road. The second mechanical was shortly after his flat: my bike started making this incredibly annoying metallic ringing sound! Turns out it was just a broken bottle cage.

With Cossadduck and Route 49 in the first half of the ride, we were mostly done with the hills before the temperature went too high. Our first water stop was actually my house, where we went for a little side trip after returning from Route 49 (about 45 miles into the ride) because I had left my Gu (energy gel) there. Second water stop was a gas station on Route 1 a couple miles East of Mystic Cycle and just a couple minutes after 9 a.m.

Another bit that my "twoosh" left out: from Route 1 in Stonington we turned right onto Greenhaven, followed that to the Pawcatuck River and swooped left onto River Road. This takes us into Pawcatuck, right on the border with Westerly.

Tom had never seen Watch Hill from the road, only from his boat. Not sure he really saw it this time, either, as he was focused on both not being hit by any tourists in their big cars and not running over any of the many careless pedestrians.

In Misquamicut I did what I always do: pick my way through the stopped cars waiting to enter the beach parking lot, and then crank up my speed to whatever maximum I can manage all the way around the big curve of the parking lot. This time, that speed was 30.1 mph, for about 30 seconds, then about 26 mph for another 45. Slowed down at the far end so Tom could catch me (I didn't warn him), then told him Steve Davis hates it when I do that. It's nice to stretch my legs a little, sometimes.

After the beach area we had rabbits: five cyclists ahead of us, and I wanted to catch them before the end of the road in Weekapaug. It was a struggle, but we did it with just a few dozen yards to spare. Rode with them to our next water stop, the Mobil station Dunn's Corners. Turns out they were all from URI, and were also doing a century.

Tom was a little concerned that we were going to end up with a lot more than 100 miles, but instead of retracing our route we took the most direct route back to Mystic Cycle. It took almost 30 minutes for them to replace the bottle cages on both bikes, because one of my bolts was completely stripped (the inside, where you put the allen wrench). They finally ripped the cage off and then used pliers to grab and turn the round bolt.

After last year's disastrous PMC ride, I was really worried about how I'd handle my first century this year. Would I be ready for three days in a row?

Once this was all done, though, I felt great! Tired, of course, but still far better than I expected. Plus, I got to ride with a friend instead of going out solo. Thanks for a great time, Tom!

Stats: 101.46 miles (163.3 km) in 5h 30' 13" for an average speed of 18.43 mph (29.68 kph).

My weight for this ride was 244 pounds. Last year at the PMC I was 253, and my lowest ever at the PMC was 250. (I've been down to 239 later in the summer, but never this low so early.)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Great Mojo Bars Taste Test

Months and months ago, my friend Daniel Berlinger offered to send me a box of Clif Bar Mojo Bars if I'd comment on them — good or bad — here on the site.

He sent them almost immediately. I, however, never got around to writing about them. Ahem. That darn Seth!

He's reminded me over a month ago. Then he reminded me again a couple minutes ago! OK, he's been very patient, so here's my side of the deal.

Mojo bars are "energy" granola bars. They're intended for cyclists and hikers, people who need to keep their energy levels way up. Unfortunately, I've never been a big fan of the combination fo granola bars and cycling!

My first experience eating a granloa bar while cycling was in my first or second PMC. I remember it quite clearly, because I thought it was going to kill me! I had been riding pretty hard, but slowed down to eat the granola in my jersey pocket. Took my first bite, and found out the hard way that they take too long to chew up! Duh. But since I'd been riding so hard, I couldn't breathe deeply enough through my nose... so I inhaled through my mouth, and with all that wonderful air came a lung full of granola crumbs. Cough, cough. Cough, cough, cough... ack... I'm dying here... cough, cough. Stop on the side of the road, everything goes sparkly and dark for a second, cough up the rest of the crumbs, breathe a little...

Anyway, that was years ago. The mojo bars were this year. I was more careful this time, and knew better than to eat one while still huffing-and-puffing. They didn't try to kill me, and that's a major point in their favor!

It's been a few months since I tried them, and I'd be lying if I said I could remember the names of all of the flavors. Instead, I looked up the names in one of Daniel's old posts. Once I saw the names, I did at least remember what I thought of the bars.

  • Mixed Nuts: Eh. About what you'd expect. Tasted like mixed nuts, but in bar shape.
  • Fruit Nut Crunch: I liked this one.
  • Mountain Mix: Eh. So-so.
  • Chocolate Peanut: Very tasty. Two great tastes that taste great together, and I've always been a sucker for a Reese's.
  • Honey Roasted Peanut: I was expecting (or at least hoping for) the taste of Planter's honey-roasted peanuts, but it isn't really like that. It's more like really sweet peanuts.
  • Peanut Butter Pretzel: If I remember this one correctly, then it's one of the four I would buy again. Sweet and salty.
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly: This had one of the best flavors, but could have a used a touch of salt.

I'm still not a fan of granola bars during bike rides, but I do like to have one at least 30 minutes before heading out. Unfortunately, Mystic Cycle doesn't carry them, so I need to talk them into picking some up for me if I'm going to make them part of my daily routine.

Sorry this took so long, Daniel!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

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

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ride #63: Thirty Two Miles on a Rocket

I know, I know, it's been way too long since I posted a ride update. I could try to explain just how busy and over-committed I am, and that in fact a lot of people are mad at me right now because some important things fell by the wayside, but what would be the point? It would sound like an excuse — and a bad one, since it's my fault — and the ride reports just aren't important enough in the first place.

However, I certainly have been riding and keeping my stats.

Yesterday, almost a full month early, I had my first "over 21" ride. Thirty-two miles at about 21.3 miles per hour.

What can I say? The weather was perfect (in the seventies, sunny, almost windless), I had the right lunch at the right time, and the weight has been coming off. Zoom.

I still have a ways to go (both miles and weight-loss), but I'm starting to think I'll be ok for this year's PMC. This winter I need to do something about not gaining so much weight. Just don't know what. If I don't enjoy it, I probably won't do it.

Stats: 32.12 miles (51.71 km) in 1h 30' 32" for an average speed of 21.28 mph (34.27 kph).

Stats to date: Rides: 63, Ttl Miles: 2,241.5, Ttl Time: 5 days, 0h 45' 10", Avg Miles: 35.57, Avg Minutes: 1h 55' 0", Avg Speed: 18.56 mph


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