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  1. #1
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    A few great weeks ...

    These past three weeks have been rather amazing for me.

    First, on July 3, Mrs. Road Fan and I biked 32 miles in blazing heat, toward Detroit on a totally new (to us) road. The uphill was deceptively easy - uphill but with the wind. All around us were long views of rolling farmland interspersed with forests and streams. On the difficult way back, we were both in need of more water, and Mrs. was looking a bit pale. We stopped at a convenience store for water, a rest, and ice cream - no pie at this shop! I had a few better 20 milers in between the rainshowers.

    The week after that, 7/10, we got out to Chelsea, MI early for the One Hell of a Ride, an extremely-well organized annual day ride put on by the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring society. We chose the 65 mile route, which if we finished, would be the first age ride and the first metric for us each. The weather was fantastic, sunny and moderate with light breezes, and the selected roads were real smooth for our area. Scenery alternated between small towns, state forests, farmland, ponds, lakes, streams, families of water birds crossing the road, the odd curious and courageous deer, and local LEOs guiding the bike stream across some difficult intersections. Watering/snacking breaks were spaced 12 to 20 miles apart, with at least Gatorade, water, and fruit at all stops, and bagels with peanut butter at some, and a full lunch buffet at one of them. For $30. We (I'm an AABTS member) do this every year. We finished the 65 with surprisingly good freshness. Mrs Road Fan rode her Cannondale hybrid with a B72 saddle, and I rode
    my Woodrup now in touring dress, with a Selle Anatomica Watershed Clyde. Both saddles were amazingly good. So that was our first age ride and first metric!

    The following Friday I had a very good job interview, and picked up some visitors from Colorado, my cousin and a co-worker. We planned to ride the Shoreline Michigan Upper Peninsula tour the next week. First ride was Sunday in St. Ignace, MI (at the northern foot of the Mackinaw Bridge), just a warm-up circling Mackinaw Island. We did that tourist-style, just putting along looking at teh scenery and stopping at teh points of interest. If it hadn't been threatening rain we'd have taken teh central island road over the middle, which has unique foliage and some climbing. As it was we had lunch, strolled the shops, pie/coffee, then rode the ferry back to St. Ignace in time for dinner.

    Sunday the tour began with a flat leg east to DeTour, MI, a small shoreline town allowing access to Drummond Island. A fairly hot but easy 57 miles, so it was a near-metric for me AND a second age ride. Stopping at a grassy harbor in Hessle, MI, I got a phone call that I have a job offer based on my interview (back into automotive engineering, as a product safety analyst for automotive electronics products). The company emailed all the paperwork I had to submit, but I couldn't read it on my iPhone. Forwarded it to Mrs. Road Fan, who at home could open the .pdfs. Dinner, ice cream, and a stroll in DeTour.

    The next day (Tuesday) was inland and hillier, taking us north 67 miles to Sault Ste. Marie ("da Soo"). Some hills, a lot of flat, straight, agricultural roads. Population here is rather sparse, so the roads were in excellent shape, while old. Good breaks and routing, but lunch was at the 50 mile point! We stopped for sandwiches in a small town diner, and skipped the formal lunch stop. With 15 miles to go to da Soo, a storm came over the western horizon, so we hauled north at 18 mph (after 50 miles already!) for the last 17 miles. Strategy was good, we had drizzles on the road in da Soo, but the center of the thunderstorm was booming away behind us. I am SOOOO glad I could find a Watershed saddle! Camping was at Lake Superior State College, which is a college with a GREAT kitchen.

    Wednesday was a rest/recovery day. I had some quad pain, but good knees and strength. My cousin (on-topic at 64 yo) and her friend (ditto at 68 yo) were likewise feeling decent. We took a side trip over the International Bridge to da Soo, Ontario to set foot in a foreign country, then on return toured a freighter, watched the locks work, and found ice cream. Dinner was at a local Greek restaurant, then we had a second dinner at the University upon return. Distance cycling IS hard work!

    Heard from Mrs. Road Fan in the eve: paperwork for my job has some problems, and it will be risky to leave it for the next week since they are offering me an 8/2 start date. She agreed to come up to Soo the next day and take me home. I left my cousin and her friend to finish the Tour and, and left them my car at St. Ignace so they could drive home. They made it fine around the rest of the loop, and on the drive back to Ann Arbor. With all my paperwork submitted, I'm now on track to start work Monday 8/2. Back in the saddle again!

    To boot, for our 25th anniversary I bought Mrs Road Fan a used steel Terry Classic, her first drop-bar road bike. On some trial rides she is adapting to it very well, and loves both the improved ride and zip.

    With what I've learned about what riding I can do in a day (67 miles was not too hard!), with one 75 miler and a few 40-milers to work up to it, I should be able to do the Assenmacher 100 in two weeks, 8/15/2010. I'll probably take some of the extras off of the Woodrup for that one, and I'm going to spend some time on my much lighter Mondonico to see if less weight (about 9#!) helps me. So far that's the plan.

    Anybody want to join me?
    Last edited by Road Fan; 07-29-10 at 06:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Want to add - I met a fellow BF 50 plusser - Louis!

    It IS great to associate a person with the persona.

  3. #3
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    I was admiring Road Fan's beautiful Woodrup at a rest stop early in the week (of course I didn't know he was Road Fan at the time). We chatted back and forth a bit for a few days before he asked me if I was active on any bicycling internet forums. When I said BikeForums his eyebrows raised and we made the connection.

    I gotta say riding the Michigan UP is a sweet trip. The people are super nice and even the motorists were well behaved. Made some new friends and ran into some old ones as well. Meeting a BF 50+er was a real bonus.

    P.S. - Road Fan, after checking out your decaleur setup, I ordered the same one plus a rack and Campagne bag from VO for my touring bike. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Wow!

    Don't know where to start.

    Congratulations on the new job! Good Luck. Nice to know somebody is hiring 50+ people.

    So ya'll got the Terry? Get Mrs. RF to give us a review.

    Somehow when I read about blazing hot temps up near Canada I'm always a little skeptical. I'm like 85F and 65% oh yeah that would hurt. Not!

    Does Louis look like his avatar?
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Wow, that was a fine streak of days. Congratulations on the new job.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    These past three weeks have been rather amazing for me.

    First, on July 3, Mrs. Road Fan and I biked 32 miles in blazing heat, toward Detroit on a totally new (to us) road. The uphill was deceptively easy - uphill but with the wind. All around us were long views of rolling farmland interspersed with forests and streams...
    Hi RF,

    I enjoyed reading your travelogue. We have exchanged a couple PM's in the past. I am a Michigan native from Detroit and I lived in Ann Arbor from 1968 to 72, visited my girlfriend (now wife) for an additional four years, and our son is now a senior at Michigan. I did several rides from AA to the East Side of Detroit, so I was curious about the idyllic route you've described, especially since it seems the intervening countryside between AA and Detroit is becoming so developed.

    Back around 1971, I joined a loosely organized club under the auspices of the University which I recall was the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society. A couple decades later I came upon the impressive website of the currrent Society and I made some inquires about its origins which nobody currently seemed to know about.

    We did some touring in Southeastern Michigan, and Ontario, and one year sometime after we had moved to Boston we did a ride from Cheboygan around the tip of the LP to Traverse City and back to Cheboygan, and Mackinac Island was on the itinerary. We go back to Michigan about three times a year, and I bring my bike to ride in the Northeastern Detroit suburbs, centered on Fraser where my mother lives. We’re going in late August to take Mike back to school.

    I was particularly prompted to write when you mentioned meeting Louis, a really nice guy. I had the same opportunity on the Second Annual Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour to meet him and a few other active Fifty-Plus BF'ers this past June. I recalled that when it was announced earlier this year, you had expressed some interest yourself. I hope we do it again next year, and I heartily endorse the ride.

    Jim

  7. #7
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Jim, I was just looking for a summary thread on the June ride, and couldn't find anything, not even the thread title.

    Louis DOES look like his avatar, but a little less buddha-like.

    Terrierman, I just started the job today!

    this past weekend Mrs. RF and I went out, she on teh Terry and me on my Mondonico. I think if I do the Assenmacher, I'm doing it on the Mondonico - it's an awesome bike, now that I have some strength to put to the pedals, after all these big rides. Gotta watch out the saddle selection and positioning - a Toupe was a nice fit but rather hard, the B17N Imperial was nice but toward the end of the ride I was back on teh steel cantle, and because of the bike's 75 degree seat tube angle it's hard to fit a Brooks farther back. I've been using a Thomson bent post and an American Classic post - neither positions a Brooks the way I want. Next thing to try is the other Selle Anatomica on the Am Classic post, or maybe a Toupe Gel? But the bike flies!

    I've seen a few other racy frames with this upright seat angle, too. With this bike, sitting so far forward makes spinning very easy, even with longish 172.5 crank arms. And somehow the steering is just great, even with a 71 degree head angle and 62 degrees of trail.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    Jim, I was just looking for a summary thread on the June ride, and couldn't find anything, not even the thread title.

    Louis DOES look like his avatar, but a little less buddha-like.
    See:
    "Sticky: Second Annual 50+ Forum Ride Weekend (Official Thread)"

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ficial-Thread)

    The adventure begins with a flurry of departure posts beginning with #106 on page 5 on that thread. The actual ride reports begin at post # 121 on that page.

    I guess if I was trying to categorize Louis, it might be "grizzled, friendly prospector type," maybe like Gabby Hayes, but more "sophisticated." (with all due respect and admiration).

  9. #9
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Road Fan,
    Be careful. Be very careful. A run of good events is bound to be followed by some sort of difficulty or danger. Just sayin....


    There is a time to resign oneself
    to old age and infirmity. You first.
    My Cycling Blogspot

  10. #10
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I did the Helluva Ride, too. I did 94 miles (skipped the last 6-mile loop that would have made 100.) My overall average was a touch over 21 mph. I had to spend a while at the last rest stop because that stretch after Portage Lake was hotter than, well, you know...

    Weather permitting, I plan on doing the Assenmacher, too. Haven't decided if I'm taking my highracer or my lowracer, or even if I'm going to do the 60 mile route or the 100. If you see a really fast-looking recumbent, it'll either be me or one of my riding buddies; so come over and say hi.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    Road Fan,
    Be careful. Be very careful. A run of good events is bound to be followed by some sort of difficulty or danger. Just sayin....

    Thank you, o oracle of joy and doom!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    I did the Helluva Ride, too. I did 94 miles (skipped the last 6-mile loop that would have made 100.) My overall average was a touch over 21 mph. I had to spend a while at the last rest stop because that stretch after Portage Lake was hotter than, well, you know...

    Weather permitting, I plan on doing the Assenmacher, too. Haven't decided if I'm taking my highracer or my lowracer, or even if I'm going to do the 60 mile route or the 100. If you see a really fast-looking recumbent, it'll either be me or one of my riding buddies; so come over and say hi.
    If it rains I'll take my gold Woodrup which is nicely outfitted for rain, and if not I'll be on a silver Mondonico, both smallish frames. Say hi as you blaze past me, since I don't expect to be near 21 mph other than on descent.

    Right now the Mondo is wearing a Selle Anatomica, and I better start dialing it in if I'm gonna live there for a bunch o'hours.

  13. #13
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    RF: Thanks for the post. I needed a "positive" real life story this morning. Hope the new job and you turn out to be a great match. BTW, just put the Selle Anatomica back on my Jamis Eclipse. After 45 miles last night I was wondering why I ever took it off.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

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