Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hitting for the Cycle



In baseball if a player hits for the cycle they end up with a single, double, triple and a home run all in the same game, if the player can hit them in that order it's called a natural cycle. As you can imagine a player hitting for the cycle is not commonplace in baseball, only occurring 319 since 1882 when they started tracking such things but it does happen.







On Saturday the SMNDFBR joined up with the first ever Schmidty's Single Speed Shootout Spectacular for a 74 mile gravel course on bikes with just the one gear.


Because we are nice folks, we even allowed the multi-geared folks to join in, some with the special "cheater" number plates.






At 8 am we found ourselves rolling out on a neutral start attempting to end up a HR short of  a cycling version of hitting for the cycle. Ours would be one gear, double digit miles and triple digit heat; I suppose if you wanted to rate the experience and the fun factor then you could end up with a grand slam, thus completing the cycle. All three of the elements of the ride would factor into the day, the hills would not be single speed friendly, the miles would test us physically and the 100° temps would push our mental and physical abilities to the limits and maybe a bit beyond. At the height of the day my Garmin showed a temperature of 106° for a brief time but stayed mostly in the 100-103° range for the second half of the ride. The caveat here is that the Garmin is affected by the sun beating down on it but in my opinion that might make it a little more of an accurate gauge as to what the rider feels when on the bike, I can attest it was hot and I would not have argued with Garmin if it said it was 106°... it felt like it was 106°.


Before I got my first fat bike in 2014, I was almost entirely riding a 2010 Redline Monocog I bought new in '10 and later a Santa Cruz Highball set up single speed so there was a time when I rode bikes with nothing but gear almost exclusively for about 5 years. I also only had two bikes at that time if you can believe that... but it had been some years since that was a normal practice for me so we would see if the single speed legs were still there. I knew it was going to kind of suck but I didn't want to wuss out and bring gears, so this was the theme for the day.




There was nothing neutral about the ride once we hit the road less traveled and the rabbits took off as rabbits do. Roads were dusty and temps were already starting to climb, it's shaping up to be a warm, dry summer this year and I for one am kind of looking forward to it after a few wet ones recently.




Todd and I settled into a fairly brisk but comfortable pace and rolled on down the road. In the spirit of the ride Todd was going to try to not shift as long as he could, I'm not entirely sure how long he made it but he did say that he did not make the entire 74 miles without shifting.



Todd and I found big Mike wandering around out there and he looked pretty thirsty so we invited him to partake in the ditch beer I'd brought with me. I've been trying a Camelbak Chase Vest and took it on this ride, it's a very minimalistic pack which kept the beer outside in one of the stretch pockets, exposed to the sun and it was hot, not warm but hot. I do not recommend the Velvet Rooster after it's been sitting in the sun on a 100° day but I suppose that is probably true of most beverages that are not intended to be served warm.



Even ran into Joe and Gary in the roving SAG bicycle, or at least that's how it's labeled. Technically being a CVT transmission it doesn't have gears either so it fits with the theme of the ride. The watermelon that Joe had in the HRV was scrumptious and did wonders to refresh the body on a hot day, something I'm going to keep in mind for future rides. Probably won't be able to carry it on the bike but it would be good to keep some in an ice cooler in the car for after.



Came up on Ryan just a tad before Milford, which was almost the halfway point. Guy rides single speed all the time or at least at all the events I've seen him at so he was just motoring along like it was any other day.




Casey's was a welcomed site, it was nearing noon and with the sun high in the sky without a cloud in site, the temps were steadily rising. I'd gone through my 1.5L bladder and my water bottle just before Milford but that was 37 miles so it didn't seem too concerning but I did comment to Todd that I bet we'd be consuming water a lot faster in the next 20 miles to Denton. I'm a big fan of these Oh Snap pickles, if they have them they keep them in the cooler and the cool, salty pickles do wonders for getting salt back into your system and for staving off cramps.





The Denton Wall still loomed in our path between Milford and Denton but after 55 miles of single speed miles and 20ish left to go, I walked that sucker for the first time ever. My words earlier about the temps and the water came back to haunt me, I blew through the 1.5L in the bladder and the bottle in about 15 miles and I had to get some off of Todd for the last 6 or so miles into Denton. Not a ton of pictures were taken between Milford and Denton or Denton and Lincoln for that matter, it was time to get this thing done and get out of the heat.

Photo May 26, 2 07 11 PM

There was this picture from Denton, the only one. Todd and I sat there for quite awhile and just drank and drank and drank on just about anything cold we could find, I myself downed a bottle of water, a bottle of Gatorade and a large can of coke and they all tasted delightful. We also opted to buy a bag of ice and fill our bladders and bottles with ice before adding water, if we were going to be miserable in the heat, at least we'd have cold water; well for a little bit anyway. The race was on to see if we could get back before the ice melted, I don't think we beat the melt in the bottles but my Chase Vest still had cubes in it when we rolled into the White Elm parking lot.



Photo May 26, 3 30 58 PM

13 or so miles later and we were back at White Elm enjoying cold pizza and even colder beer. Despite the heat it was a great ride and a good time and if the end of May has been any indication of what summer will be like, we better get used to the heat. Looks like the ride is going to become an annual event but will morph into something much different next year, I prefer not to let that cat out of the bag just yet as it's not my ride but it should be a good time so look for that announcement near the beginning of the year next year.


Is a said earlier, I have been using the Camelbak Chase Vest this ride being my longest one to date. As the name implies it's more of a vest and less of a pack but it works and it's not at all hot like you'd think it would be. If you're in the market for a hydration pack give it a gander. I hope to get my initial thoughts up in a post on here soon, after I've had a few more rides of distance with it.

This week the SMNDFBR isn't doing an official ride but some of us are heading out to the Buffalo Stampede ride in Hastings to benefit the Crane Trust and then doing THIS. If you're so inclined you can come out and do either or both but keep in mind that the linked ride is self supported, nobody will be able to bail you out if something happens unless you make those arrangements yourself.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Be Quiet, Pedal Slow, Nothing Is Going To Be OK

Photo May 17, 10 25 31 AM

The very first Ride of Silence was held in Texas in 2003 and was meant to be a one time ride to remember Larry Schwartz, who was killed earlier that month by the mirror of a bus. But cyclists didn't stop being senselessly murdered and automobile drivers didn't stop getting off virtually scott free, so the rides continue.


I rode my first ROS in 2010 and it was a pretty moving experience but it means just a little bit more this year, I didn't know a single person killed or injured by a motor vehicle in 2010 but this year I can't say the same thing. The world is a little different this year and the ride a little more meaningful.






It's been 8 months since Randy was senselessly murdered for nothing more than riding his bicycle on a statistically safe rural road. That is until another statistic (drunk driving) decided to selfishly get behind the wheel and create a third statistic (cyclist killed by motor vehicles). When it all boils down to the meat of it, we are all just numbers in a column on someone's spreadsheet somewhere. 8 months and the dude that murdered Randy still hasn't gone to court, 8 months and the guy that murdered Randy still lives his life like nothing happened on that September day and somehow that's fair. Somehow that is justice in progress, somehow that is not complete and utter bull shit, somehow that is not a system flawed that has put the motor vehicle driver above all other types of humans on the planet. Top of the food chain, king of the heap, billions of dollars spent on an unsustainable form of transportation; the single occupant vehicle. By and large society doesn't value the lives of cyclists or pedestrians if it means spending money on infrastructure or inconveniencing the motor vehicle public in any way, shape or form, your life is worth less than 5 minutes of potential delay in their normal routine... let that sink in for a minute. That's not an opinion but more a fact, we are a society ruled by a majority vote, if the majority of voters wanted safer roads, inclusive infrastructure and less cyclist and pedestrian deaths we would have it but they don't and so we don't have it. Most of the people you interact with each day might sympathize with you when a pedestrian or cyclist dies but thoughts and prayers don't change things and very few of them will vote for needed changes.

I still catch myself occasionally looking at Randy's Strava account and all those mind boggling miles. He still sits near the top of several segments; always there but not really there at all. 10,400 miles in 2016,  9,400 miles in 2017; not a single mile in 2018, not a single mile ever again.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Wear Yellow


Saturday was the annual Wear Yellow ride to help support the fight against cancer, it's the second year that they have had a gravel route but the first year we decided to do that route. I opted to dust off the Pugsley and ride that since it's been awhile since Pugs came out to play.






Early morning rain and thunderstorms made the course a tad less than ideal but it wouldn't be the first time we've ridden roads that weren't as dry as we'd like them to be. The fog, low temps and overcast skies weren't going to improve the conditions too much over the course of the day either.



Saw a few people turn back and a few others second guessing to stay the course or find the nearest pavement out of Dodge.




One positive thing about the conditions is that the ditch beers stay nice and cold, there were some tasty ones on this ride.





Despite the overcast skies and soft gravel, the route was pretty good and had some decent scenery.



Gravel had some of the same stops as the more familiar road routes from years past... there was even a reenactment of the now infamous banana incident.




Ran into a few roads that weren't exactly opened to traffic making the off road course a little more off road than was originally planned, the rains did not help with this either, some of these sections were muddier than the gravel.






Just a few pictures from the route.


Little bit of mud on the fender, doesn't look like much but it helps keep a portion of the mud from ending up in your face and that's always a good thing.





Greenwood was the first town on the route, also a popular spot due to a bathroom with running water and everything. Looks like the Co-Op is permanently closed however, which is too bad as I was looking forward to a nice cold beverage but I guess that would have to wait.


We also crossed paths with the road routes at Greenwood, they looked no less dry or warm but were noticeably cleaner than we were but what fun is staying clean.




Shortly after we flew through the town of Ashland, not sure exactly why but the pace ticked up noticeably after we left Greenwood.


I decided that heading back to the finish with a full beer went against the rules of ditch beering, so Mike, Todd and I stopped on a nice gravel road a few miles from the end and enjoyed a tasty beverage whilst the rest of the group was nowhere to be seen.



That beer hit the spot and the three of us sort of settled into a cruising pace after that and even met up with the Luebkes and Bill a little ways down the road and rode in with them to the finish.


Pancakes, sausage and either OJ or coffee always await you at the finish and we of course stayed and indulged in the battered goodness. That ended the WYR for 2018 and it was a fun one as usual, I headed home, cleaned up and then headed back to Mahoney to meet up with the crew at Dave and Carlos' campsite for more fun.




The cooler temps were perfect for sitting around the campfire eating, drinking and enjoying great company; all in all it was a great weekend with even better friends.