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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 12-10-05, 04:40 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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How My Half Century Downsized to a Half-Metric

* Disclaimer: In the interest of full disclosure, please note that I am writing with an expired literary license, so it's entirely possible that some parts of the tale below have been *slightly* exaggerated. Then again, maybe not!

It was a beautiful morning. I had read all the new posts in the Fifty Plus forum, and had decided to get in a long ride. Forty miles minimum, fifty miles was the goal, and sixty two miles if I was up for it. First really long ride (for me) since putting city slickers on my MTB.

Bike-racked over to Coronado, and began the ride in gorgeous sunshine, deciding to leave my long sleeved t-shirt in the car and just wear the short sleeved bright red one. Started out at the ferry landing, and quickly pedaled over to the Hotel Del Coronado, a beautiful sight.

At this point I decided to steam down the Silver Strand, a 9 mile two lane paved bike trail that goes from Coronado to Imperial Beach. The ride was nearly effortless. I was averaging over twenty miles per hour on the bike, a personal best. My mind soon cleared of all the clutter, and thoughts skipped gracefully from women to food and back to women. In other words, I was oblivious to the fact that I had a tail wind pushing me along.

Soon, I was in Imperial Beach, and just kept going on surface streets. Before long, I had entered Mexico, and I pedalled all the way down the country, until I reached Central America. When, at long last (although it only seemed like an hour or so) I reached the Panama Canal, I decided it was probably a good time to turn around and head back to Coronado.

It was merely coincidence I think that the sun chose this time to move behind clouds, dropping the temperature considerably, and making me wish I had not left the other tee-shirt in the car. But that, it turns out, was not the worst of my troubles. The unnoticed wind was now a HEAD wind, and, I swear, much stronger than before. I could see pedestrians leaning 30 degrees into the wind, just to stand upright.

Add to this the fact that visibiliity was excellent, and I could actually see the Coronado Bridge, miles and miles up ahead, as I slowly made my way back. Shivering from the cold, downshifting to fool the wind, and realizing I was now fighting gravity (as anyone with a globe can easily point out -- going south from San Diego, one is moving DOWN the curve of the planet, but moving north toward San Diego, one is moving UP the curve -- much more difficult!), I slowly made my way back to my starting point.

Luck was not a lady -- I couldn't find an open tee-shirt shop anywhere along the way ("Hey! What have you got in a long sleeve XL under $10?). The sun did finally make an appearance, and the wind eventually tired of torturing me. Back at the starting point, I was just under 31 miles -- so I did a couple of laps around the parking lot, got to the "half-metric-century," and called it quits.

To add insult to injury, I found a cafe where I ordered a hot dog which was horrible.

On the other hand, Mexico was a wonderfully, scenic country and I recommend you all visit when you have the chance!
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Old 12-10-05, 04:49 PM   #2
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Yet another part of your learning curve- Hot dogs and burgers aren't always that good.

In your travels round the Bike shops- Look out for a top made of PERTEX. It is an ultra light material, and packs onto a fist sized package. If I am not wearing mine at the start of the ride, it is always in my back pocket- even in the height of summer.They are not waterproof, have no warmth in them but are completetly windproof. ideal for when the wind comes up or you wish to retain the bit of generated body heat when the sun gets cold.
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Old 12-10-05, 05:35 PM   #3
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Those Coronado - Panama Canal - Coronado afternoon rides can be brutal.

Nothing (well . . . almost nothing) is worse than a bad hot dog -- especially after completing Coronado - Panama Canal - Coronado.

One day you'll have a ride where the tail wind is a tail wind both going and returning. Rare, but it does (and will) happen. Enjoy it.

And, regardless, you got to ride today! And the sun came out!

Me you ask?

Think 20 degrees with packed ice and snow . . . can't even do a home - down the block - home ride here!

Great read for my evening cup of tea.
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Old 12-10-05, 05:48 PM   #4
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I had a similar experience last April in Chicago on the lake front trail. Chicago had an unusual day with temps in the 65-70 range (it was 45 the next day) and sunny but Chicago was living up to its rep as the windy city with a 15-20mph wind blowing from the north, so naturally I headed south ending up at the (*) south Lakeshore golf and tennis club 10-12mi south of the loop. Reversing course wasn't too bad except that all the restrooms I passed were locked and I intended to go up to Northwestern in Evanston. I made about 22mph going south and 14-15 going north til the bike trail dumped me out at Loyola and then petered out, being on city streets instead of the lakeshore path shared with runners, walkers and dogs. Realizing I would hit 40mi by the time I returned, I did so and had a nice 18-20mph ride with the wind til the Navy pier where local terrain produced a 30-35mph wind that was cross to the path and I had to lean about 10deg into the wind to stay upright. Looking forward to repeating the experience next March, weather permitting.
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Old 12-10-05, 06:19 PM   #5
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At least you were able to ride today more than I was. I only saw one hardy sole out braing the ice & snow.

My son had a bad experience with a cheese dog in one of his first soccer games. Some 10 years later, he still will not eat one & turns mildly green whenever one is mentioned. Bob
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Old 12-10-05, 06:28 PM   #6
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Yes, but did you have fun?
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Old 12-10-05, 06:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaosWoman
Yes, but did you have fun?
I haven't had a bad ride since I bought the bike last June. I've had a few moments that I wished were different in one way or another, but I have had fun on every ride. Every single one.
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Old 12-10-05, 06:37 PM   #8
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Exactly as it should be!
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Old 12-10-05, 07:56 PM   #9
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Funny, the exact same thing happened to me when my ship was in San Diego.
If you ride later in the day, you can cruise back up Orange Ave to around 2nd or 3rd streets, and there was a great Mexican restaurant on the left. Forget hot dogs, carnitas and margaritas will warm you back up.
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Old 12-10-05, 10:06 PM   #10
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No shame in 30 miles in those conditions-in fact, it's something to feel very good about. How many people our age would even attempt to do something like that after all.

Headwinds are really tough-I'd much rather have a hill to take than a headwind. Even if your in the drops on a road bike a headwind can work the daylights out of you.
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Old 12-10-05, 10:31 PM   #11
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Oh, that was funny, Gary!!! Man, I just loved reading that. It made me all cheerful!!!
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