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Extreme Commuting Club: week 6

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Extreme Commuting Club: week 6

Old 12-17-06, 10:10 PM
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Extreme Commuting Club: week 6

What is the single greatest challenge you must overcome in your extreme commute? For me, it's a geographical feature called Cumberland Head. To look at it, it's not impressive at all, only 3 miles of road. The thing that makes it a it of a challenge is that the geography is humped, so you have to climb 1.5 miles in the moring and again on the way home. The climg is shallow, so that isn't so bad. It's whenteh climb is in combo witht he wind. The Cumberland Head road is aligned N-S which also happens to be the diretions the wind is nearly always blowing. On days when the wind is blowing 20 mph, combined with the uphill climb, things can get tough. Throw in lashing rain, or -0 F temps, and it can get downright depressing.

So XCC members, what is the biggest challenge you face on your commute?
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Old 12-18-06, 08:06 AM
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getting out the door in the dark

train safe
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Old 12-18-06, 08:35 AM
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This morning it will be 5 or 6 degrees when I head out for work. The biggest *daily* challenge is freezing my butt off when its 18-28 degrees. I have no idea how I'm going to fare this morning.

I shall think warm thoughts.
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Old 12-18-06, 08:42 AM
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If I were to go to work today, the biggest challenge would be the Puget Sound Energy crew barricades. Power's still out at work and the crews have the road closed off for line repairs.

Most days it's the rain. I don't mind riding in the rain, but after 20 straight days of it, it can get a bit tedious. Other days it's the wind. I get a nice tailwind on the way to work, but after a 10 hour day, the 7.5 mile trek home into a 15-20mph wind is just horrible.
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Old 12-18-06, 08:43 AM
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The rocks and mud. Also, that since it is rock and mud - it changes day to day. I have to be alert. The hill on the way home can be pretty brutal too if I am tired or not feeling well.
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Old 12-18-06, 09:03 AM
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For me its going to be the wind. Since my path is a semicircle if there is any wind I am almost certain to be able to enjoy a headwind. Oddly enough the one bit of hill climbing I have is not usually the target of wind. I think tree cover and curves protect much of that stretch.

My second choice would be those frozen footprints and tire tracks that form in refrozen ice and snow. Even with studs those are a stress inducing hassle.

Had a great ride in this morning except for my brief respite to fix a flat. At least it was nice weather for the repair.
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Old 12-18-06, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Marylandnewbie
For me its going to be the wind. Since my path is a semicircle if there is any wind I am almost certain to be able to enjoy a headwind. Oddly enough the one bit of hill climbing I have is not usually the target of wind. I think tree cover and curves protect much of that stretch.

My second choice would be those frozen footprints and tire tracks that form in refrozen ice and snow. Even with studs those are a stress inducing hassle.
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Old 12-18-06, 02:27 PM
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My nemesis is the same reason I dont really have too much to post here anymore.
m - o - n - o - t - o - n - y ................
Ditto the wind but I have two sections of road, Rt's 3 and 7, that are sooooooo
ponderously monotonous .... . Unfortunately, these roads combined
account for about 8 miles of my trip. They are much less tedious when its light
in the morning but now they are so dark I cannot see anything but whats in the small
circle of road my little headlite lites up. Its like going through a looooong, boring tunnel.
I can only recite War & Peace, solve all the problems in the world or replay the latest
Pu$$Y Cat Dolls video in my head 2 or 3 times before they get old, too.........
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Old 12-18-06, 02:49 PM
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I can honestly say that I don't have anything especially challenging, although my commute changes often (every few months) the challenge is to adapt to each new commute when the time comes, but that usually only takes just a week or two.

My current commute has a long steep climb that took me several weeks to get accustomed to. In the beginning it took me 30 minutes in granny, now its 25 minutes in one gear above granny, and its starting to feel easy enough that I may try it in one gear higher very soon.
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Old 12-18-06, 05:25 PM
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Well, lately in DC my biggest winter challenge it is lugging around all those extra winter clothes Today it was 72F and sunny for my ride home! This is my first winter in D.C. when people warned me about the winters I thought it because they were cold!

Just kidding - I know that I will be be complaining about the cold tomorrow - but it sure was a nice ride home!

I have two real challenges - the first is to get out of the door in the morning. I try to get to work my 7:00 (meaning I need to leave by 5:30 to get there, shower, change and log-in my computer by 7:00) Often at 5:30 I am debating on another cup of coffee and trying to justify riding the bus. (If I hop in the shower at home at 5:30 I can catch the 6:00 bus and also make it in by 7:00)

The second challenge is a small hill at about at the 2/3 mark on the way home. It is only about a mile of light up grade (right before the stone bridge for those of you familiar with the Mount Vernon Trail) but it is just at that point where my body needs to change fuels (clygogen or whatever, I am not a physiologist) If I am going to boink that is where it happens. I am usually ok if I ate my cliff bar before I left work, but if I forget - by the time I am on the stone bridge I am barely moving and the rest of the ride home is crap. Then when I get home I eat like a horse and undo any karma/fitness/weightloss that I gained on the ride.

Today I remembered my cliff bar, the sun was out (I left early) it was warm enough that the pretty girls were back out jogging in shorts. There is never a bad time to ride, but some times are better than others
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Old 12-18-06, 08:44 PM
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I know global warming does not affect the weather on a particular day, but something is just not right when 1 week before Christmas you can ride home in shorts and a long sleeved jersey and be comfortable!!! Xroader -- no girls in shorts jogging when I went home, but this morning I saw a herd (gaggle, passle, gossip?) of young women jogging. Almost made me forget the joy of fixing a flat.

Tomorrow should turn a little more seasonable, but still a long way from true winter. It looks like we will be into the new year before I need to put the studs on.
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Old 12-18-06, 09:00 PM
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I might not get a chance to drop in again so from me and my family all the very best wishes to you all.

Have a safe and happy christmas, be carefull out on the roads, and enjoy some quality time with those that love you. Enjoy the presents, I hope you all get something nice... and don't forget a little present for that trusty long-suffering steed that's faithfully carried you for so many long and extreme miles (mine is getting pampered with a major service & lube, and a new chain! )

....and remember - you can eat and drink as much as you want because you're going to burn it all off during your long/extreme commute anyhow, isn't that just great?
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Old 12-18-06, 09:58 PM
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For me it's the wind. In the spring time it's from the east in the morning and west at night. then in the winter it's from the northeast all the time.
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Old 12-19-06, 03:21 AM
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Punctures!
Because I have done the same route for so long and have no other realistic option of getting to work, I just accept the conditions I find on any given day and ride. Therefore the biggest challenge i face is anything that stops me riding and the most frequent thing to do that is a puncture.

Conditions this morning were the coldest they've been this winter though - just below 0 degrees C and a bit of ice on the (always untreated) cycle paths and side roads. It's the first time i've ridden the roadie in those conditions so i was exercising a lot more caution than usual with those skinny tyres.
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Old 12-19-06, 07:28 AM
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I have a new condition that I am having to deal with - dogs. I don't know if a new crop has developed or what, but there are some new dogs that are in need of educating. The process has started, should be over soon.

When a dog chases me I slam on the brakes, jump of the bike. Any hesitantion on their side to tuck tail between legs and run for cover results in a well slung rock. Usually I miss, but sometimes they are unlucky (I am not trying to hit them)

Once is invariably enough. This morning I did it with the owner watching - and the owner thanked me! I love Costa Rica - they are very practical about dogs. No one thinks their dog is more important than people and if you will help it to learn the facts of life, they are happy.

It seems to me that dogs chase something, and if that immediately turns and attacks them, they remember that it was a mistake - cyclist are not prey - but they are predators. Act like a predator and they get the hint.
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Old 12-19-06, 09:11 AM
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Crtree -- I love that, "Cyclists are not prey!" I ride through the exact opposite dog conditions where some of the dogs wear clothes and are on those retractable (and all but invisible) leashes. Thank god for winter since it keeps many of the more ridiculous dogs and their owners inside.

Nice ride this morning. Temps were a little more seasonable, but still comfortable. A surprising number of riders were still out today. I guess the weather gods are still enabling the faint of heart.

Last edited by Marylandnewbie; 12-19-06 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 12-19-06, 12:28 PM
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Well had another check up at the surgeon's office today. I am hoping to get clearance to ride this Friday.
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Old 12-19-06, 12:40 PM
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Well, perhaps the reason people are polite is that the average Tico is 5'4" and I am 6'2". You don't look that big until you get off the bike. I probably look like either Herman Munster or Lurch (both shows are popular down here) to them...
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Old 12-19-06, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tibikefor2
Well had another check up at the surgeon's office today. I am hoping to get clearance to ride this Friday.
Go tibike go!
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Old 12-19-06, 05:34 PM
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Today it was 6F/-14C when I left the house for my 5.5mi commute. Platform pedals and boots today. Yesterday I nearly got frostbite on my toes. I sported goggles both mornings, and tons of clothes. Today was much more pleasant, if you can call it that. Its the most extreme thing I've ever done!
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Old 12-20-06, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by crtreedude
Once is invariably enough. This morning I did it with the owner watching - and the owner thanked me! I love Costa Rica - they are very practical about dogs. No one thinks their dog is more important than people and if you will help it to learn the facts of life, they are happy.
Absolutely - as a bike rider and a dog owner, I wish more bike riders would do just that with my dog. He loves to chase bikes (mainly just to run along side of them, but he can be scary) I had to raise the fence in the back yard because he would jump it. . Unfortunately if a bike comes by (even when he is on a leash) they typically "act like prey" which just encourages him.

I have to admit, I was part of the cause of the problem - when we lived in California, our place backed up on a few thousand acre recreation area that didn't require leashes, My dog would run next to me while I rode (he would run 10-15 miles no problem) and came to really enjoy it. Now in the No. Va. area there is no place to do this, but he would still love to.
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Old 12-20-06, 04:04 AM
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-3c and freezing fog today. I arrived at work with ice on my face and clothes.

Unfortunately I also had my first commuting crash while trying to turn on black ice. Fortunately the only damage was to my thigh where it impacted with a bar end. I shall take it as a sign to take it easy on ice when cycling with normal tyres.
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Old 12-20-06, 08:44 AM
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Finally had some winter like temps this morning -- good for setting a Christmas like mood. It was very cool this morning when I rode past the DPW yard. They have a large pile of mulch like stuff stored there and this morning the front end loaders were digging into the pile and loading trucks. Steam was rising everywhere from the composting effect, even as the top of the pile was still covered in frost.

I managed to leave the house this morning without my helmet. I was several miles from home before I realized it. Thankfully the weather and trail are completely clear so as long as I don't do something stupid I should be fine. Only one more day to ride before the Chritmas vacation starts.
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Old 12-20-06, 10:57 AM
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Well it's hitting 80F today with a 10mph tailwind going to work. The ride home will be fun with that 10mph headwind all the way.

I'm thinking about getting some clipless padles. I need some that not only work but are easy to get out of. I have a lot of traffic and need to stop every 3/4 of a mile or so do to lights. So let me know what you guys ues.

And as a side note I have 6957.1 miles so far this year. The most miles I have ever put on a bike in a year. That's like riding from Largo, Fl to San Diego, CA 3.36 times.

Last edited by CigTech; 12-20-06 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 12-20-06, 11:27 AM
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Not sure if this qualifies as extreme commuting, but I rode to work today (only about 3 miles) in a blizzard (I live in Denver). It wasn't THAT bad except for the hard snow absolutely pelting my eyeballs. Next time I wear goggles. When I showed up to work, hardly anyone else was here because of weather.

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