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Old 06-15-06, 08:46 PM   #1
jppe
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A series of comical events

Today's ride was one of those days that one misstep just seemed to lead to another. I took a day's vacation and drove up to the mountains of NC to do a "reconnaissance ride" for a pretty tough century next weekend. I wanted to check out the featured steep climb that comes in at the 60-65 mile mark that I've heard many stories of people pushing their bikes up.

It was a really comical day. I spent 2 hours putting together a map last night so I thought I knew every turn. It was a route that I had not done before but felt comfortable I could figure out the roads. It started out pretty sad as I turned out of the parking lot the wrong way at the very start and I didn’t figure it out until 4 miles down the road. The only option was retrace the road I was riding on. After that I was pretty gun-shy on the turns so I stopped a good bit just to make sure I was tracking along correctly…….in fact I stopped WAY too much.

It was a really good chance to try out the 34/32 combination. About 15 miles in there’s a really good 1-2 mile 11%-13% climb up Buffalo Rd. I had done this climb before on another ride. I did the first half mile or so in the 34/28 and then shifted to the 32. I could tell from the noise the 32 was making that the chain wanted to jump back to the 28. I even tried to hold the lever over to keep it from jumping but that didn’t work. So I dropped back to the 28 and cranked away.

A little later, I stopped at a General store and borrowed a screw driver and figured since all the other gears were shifting well I probably just needed to adjust the limit screw so the derailleur was closer to the rear wheel and a little past the 32. That did the trick and the 32 really came in handy on the next climb.

I really love riding in this area except for the canines. I'm used to dogs staying in yards and being leashed. I bet I averaged 1 dog for every 5 miles today that wanted to come out and see what I tasted like. The bad part was some of the ride was an out and back so I got them in both directions.....

Since my mileages were off from my map because I had started incorrectly, I was trying to keep up with the next turns in my head. That was about like counting laps at the Time Trials-it just didn’t work. Since I’d never been past the turn to the featured climb, I thought I had passed it so I stopped at the next road and looked at my map. Unfortunately my pride and joy of a map didn't have enough info on other roads so I thought I’d ask the next driver that came up to the stop sign where the road I was looking for was. I had just unclipped with one foot and when the next driver came up I leaned the wrong way and over I went. It was the most uncoordinated and ungraceful move I think I’ve ever made. (at least there weren't any rose bushes in my way!!)

The only thing that got messed up was my saddle. It got turned about 30 degrees counterclockwise. I was afraid to try and swing it back around for fear of damaging the seat tube so I started searching for hex wrenches. It was really interesting trying to ride “side saddle”. The second house I tried, a really nice elderly gentleman named Jack took me to his barn. He couldn’t see very well nor hear so he let me go through his tool box and he had a set of the multi-tool allen wrenches. That did the trick and after a little adjustment I was off again. Thank goodness for kind people!!

Snake Mtn is the featured climb and it is a pretty challenging climb-especially with it being 60-65 miles in. It was not as steep at the top as I was expecting but it did hit 17% for a pretty long stretch and needless to say the 32 really came in handy.

I had to use different water bottles this ride as I'd lost 2 bottles this past weekend (new cages are on order)!! When I dumped the gatorade in the new bottles before riding there was some black pieces that floated to the surface. They were hard and looked and felt like bug parts. I pulled them all out and didn't think any more about it. And then I switched to this bottle about half way into the ride and took a big drink. A BIG piece of bug came out into my mouth.....at least I didn't swallow it!! Yuck!!

After climbing the next to last major climb I got stopped where they were resurfacing the road and had to ride on fresh asphalt and behind tar trucks. My tires picked up every little piece of gravel and I kept waiting to hear a tube pop-but I got lucky there.

When I got back to the car and tried to get my shoe off I realized my "ratchet" had been bent when I fell. I have the shoes where the strap tightens using a ratchet. The bad news was I couldn't get my shoe off until I fixed the ratchet so I could release the strap. At least I was back at my tool box!! It wasn't easy straightening it trying to hold my foot out the side and avoiding cramps but needless to say I got it done.......

I felt like I was out there ALL day but I stopped a lot and took pictures and just enjoyed the day the best I could.

So, in spite of going the wrong way, riding 75 miles instead of 65, my new gear not working at first, lost of dogs chasing me, falling over in front of someone, twisting my saddle, drinking bug parts, riding on fresh tar and not being able to get my shoe off..........I was still smiling when I got off the bike.

It was a picture perfect day and I just really enjoyed being out on the road. I know the next ride will have to be better!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Top of Buffalo.jpg (52.7 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Todd's General Store.jpg (72.9 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg Todd RR Sign.jpg (44.0 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Todd Adventures.jpg (70.7 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg In God we Trust.jpg (60.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Covered Bridge.jpg (77.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Top of Snake.jpg (59.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Church on Hill.jpg (43.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Creston Church.jpg (73.8 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg The Cyclist.jpg (60.7 KB, 45 views)
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Old 06-15-06, 10:20 PM   #2
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...and yet you still maintain that you're no relation to Digital Gee!!!

Last edited by Big Paulie; 06-15-06 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 06-15-06, 11:09 PM   #3
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Hmmmmm...That's probably why today's ride went so well for me, all the cycling gremlins were down in North Carolina takin' care of business with jppe. Glad you could fight them off and turn a possible catastrophe into a nice ride.

Nice pics too.
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Old 06-16-06, 06:11 AM   #4
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Great pictures! It looks like a wonderful place to ride.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to read your post. It's so nice to know that I'm not the only one who does the "Oh, crap; I'm falling over" panic dive. Despite your trials and tribulations, it sound's like one of those rides you'll remember for years to come, and if you're at all like me, laugh about it when the memories do come back. That's one of the most unexpected things about riding - the hard, not-so-much-fun-at-the-time stuff creates great memories. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-16-06, 07:56 AM   #5
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jippe:
You do live in a nice area for biking and the season is longer than around here. I am envious.
Your description of challenges bring back memories of the cross country tour. Similar things happened. Wrong turns, dogs, mechanical problems, etc.
BTW, I am already planing my next Fast Across America Tour in 2008. Would you be interested? We would have a blast.
More BTW: I think you ride Litespeed as well as Trek Madone. Would you care to make a qualitative comparison statement about these bikes? Specifically for a Cross Country Supported (unloaded) Tour. My weight is 190-195 lb. (no fat, 6 ft)
Keep biking.
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Old 06-16-06, 09:05 AM   #6
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Great story, this is why I keep coming back.
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Old 06-16-06, 09:14 AM   #7
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As long as you had a good time is all that counts. Remember a bad day of bicycling is still better than a good day at work.
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Old 06-16-06, 10:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edp773
Remember a bad day of bicycling is still better than a good day at work.
EDP having a great time!!!

Last edited by Big Paulie; 10-04-07 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 06-16-06, 11:44 AM   #9
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I have two words for you jppe....... MULTI TOOL
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Old 06-16-06, 05:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Hammer Boy
I have two words for you jppe....... MULTI TOOL
I can't tell you how many times I thought about it myself. I almost took it with me knowing it was somewhat of a test ride but didn't since I'd already ridden the new setup 100+ miles. I wasn't planning to fall over!!

I used to carry mine with me but I've gone 4 years without needing it but a few more of these rides and it will probably be back in the pockets again.
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Old 06-16-06, 05:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will dehne
jippe:

BTW, I am already planing my next Fast Across America Tour in 2008. Would you be interested? We would have a blast.
More BTW: I think you ride Litespeed as well as Trek Madone. Would you care to make a qualitative comparison statement about these bikes? Specifically for a Cross Country Supported (unloaded) Tour. My weight is 190-195 lb. (no fat, 6 ft)
Keep biking.
Depending on the work situation in a couple years I may very well have an interest. I really think I'd enjoy the ride.

Actually I'm riding 2 Treks and a Cervelo as far as road bikes. I have a Trek 5900, Trek Madone and a Cervelo P2k. The 5900 is about 3 lbs lighter than the Madone but I'm getting ready to trim some weight of the Madone by moving the DuraAce stuff I removed from the 5900 over.
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Old 06-16-06, 10:15 PM   #12
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Looks like beautiful country. Glad you had a good ride despite all, but maybe you should have gone golfing instead
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