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Neils On Wheels Birthday Ride

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Neils On Wheels Birthday Ride

Old 01-07-08, 11:32 AM
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Neils On Wheels Birthday Ride

An account of the Neils on Wheels birthday ride this weekend. I'm 42, and Neil F. is 39:


As odd as it is to find two Neils who ride together, it's odder still to find two Neils who ride together and have birthdays two days apart. So in honor of our joint anniversaries we decided to celebrate by riding our ages. Or more accurately, my age, since I am the elder Neil by three years. So Neil F. plotted a 42 mile route in New Jersey and we planned our ride for Saturday, January 5th.

Our troubles began before we left. Our scheduled 10:00 AM start became an 11:30 AM start due to our laziness. For the first twelve miles or so we made good time, until we turned onto Rock Avenue instead of Rock Road, and took a nearly 8 mile detour through a bad part of Dunellon. At one point someone followed me on a bike shouting "Is that a thousand dollar bicycle?!" Neil F. ran interference for me, I dropped the hammer, and soon enough we were a block away from the guy, who stopped following us.

Some rerouting and my "guydar" got us back to the general area we needed to be in, but that required us to ride on Rt. 22 for a mile, and climb a steep grade to Washington Rock State Park. Once we spent a few minutes enjoying the view, we resumed the ride. Fortunately we had some downhills, on one of which Neil F. set a personal downhill speed record of 32 MPH.

After some more downhills, and more climbing, we noticed it had grown dark. I switched on my main headlight and helmet light. Neil turned on his new Trailrat headlamp. We called Neil's wife to pick us up at a location about ten miles away. And we headed uphill again. And again.

By now I was a little annoyed at the hills on the route. Based on my past experiences with riding in New Jersey I had expected a flatter trip. "Why did you have to route through all these hills?" I asked Neil, half exasperated, half amused.

"You're never satisfied. I don't give you hills, you complain. I give you hills, you complain."

"You sound wonderfully stereotypically Jewish when you say things like that, Neil."

"I do all this for you, and you kvetch. What you want to do, drive me meshu'geh?"

Shortly after this, my main headlight died. We tried to ride with just my helmet lamp, but I found I couldn't see road obstacles well enough, so we pulled over and attached my spare light. And onward we rolled. By now it was 5:30 PM, and very dark.

At about the 40 mile mark Neil F.'s Trailrat light went out. He got it working again, but it kept going out. Since we had completed Neil's 39 miles of birthday, I offered to end the ride now. That would mean I'd need to ride a 42 mile ride on another day to get my birthday logged. Neil F. refused to end today's ride, telling me that "We are a team. We're finishing together." So we slogged on through the night with Neil's flickering Trailrat.

Eventually the Trailrat gave out. We pulled over while Fixit Fein began to attach his back light, a Maglite flashlight strapped, rubber-banded, and velcroed to his handlebar. After ten minutes attaching it, he tried it only to have the light fail after a few seconds. As I glanced around in a "What now?" pose, I noticed my bike computer was showing 42 miles. About now it began to sleet. We declared the ride over and called Neil's wife to pick us up. We rode back about a mile to a major intersection so she would have a landmark to pick us up, I leading and calling out obstacles to the lightless Neil behind me. In another 15 minutes we were picked up, and driven out to a celebratory dinner.

There was one unexpected consequence of the ride, however. I hadn't planned on being out so late or so long. I had long ago exhausted my ride food and water. I was still OK to ride, if not strong, by mile 42 and 43, but I was seriously bonked by the time I had dinner about 7:30 PM. Despite sitting in a warm eatery, dressed warmly, I was cold and my hands were shaking even 25 minutes into the meal. Fortunately a full dinner in good company cured the problem.

Total miles for the day, 43. Over 3000 feet of climbing.
 
Old 01-07-08, 11:37 AM
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Congrats to you and Neil! Sounds like good teamwork and perseverance pulled you through. Happy birthday!
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Old 01-07-08, 11:45 AM
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Happy birthday to both Neils! At the end you've given a good description of "bonking". It resonnates with me. You know, you got to keep those headlights more functional.... he scolds mildly. Glad the two of you were able to finish your ride safely.
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Old 01-07-08, 11:55 AM
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Happy Birthday to both Neils!
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Old 01-07-08, 12:21 PM
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You two continue to amaze me. Not only do you ride in brutal conditions, you also continue to overcome obstacles that would give some of us the willies (for me, that's riding in sleet, and riding without lights).

Congrats on finishing yet another challenging ride!
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Old 01-07-08, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post


You two continue to amaze me. Not only do you ride in brutal conditions, you also continue to overcome obstacles that would give some of us the willies (for me, that's riding in sleet, and riding without lights).

Congrats on finishing yet another challenging ride!
Where did I imply we DIDN'T get the willies? :-) Neither Neil wanted to be riding in sleet or without lights. We didn't have any choice at the time, however.
 
Old 01-07-08, 03:13 PM
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Hardheadedness and caring about nothing but getting it done comes through again. Good job and congratulations and happy birthday. What did you have for dinner after that?
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Old 01-07-08, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Terrierman View Post
Hardheadedness and caring about nothing but getting it done comes through again. Good job and congratulations and happy birthday. What did you have for dinner after that?
Neil F. and his wife keep Kosher, and like many Jews, become vegetarians when dining out. It was a vegetarian Chinese place, with "meat" made from soy and wheat gluten. I didn't lack for carbs. :-)

Incidentally, I saw a button on sale at a New York street vendor's stand yesterday. It read "Attitude is the only disability." That explains why I hiked four miles on pavement yesterday in downtown Manhattan. :-)
 
Old 01-07-08, 06:04 PM
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Congratulations to you both and Happy Birthdays.

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Old 01-07-08, 06:28 PM
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Well, Happy Birthday. Remind me to carry LOTS of lights and batteries and rubber bands if I ever ride at night. It reminds me of some of the chapters in the book I have just finished today, " Cycling's Greatest Misadventures" edited by Erich Schweikher. Your ride fits right in. I recommend this book ( a Christmas present). Funny, awe-inspiring, head-shaking, etc. A quick read.
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Old 01-07-08, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
Where did I imply we DIDN'T get the willies? :-) Neither Neil wanted to be riding in sleet or without lights. We didn't have any choice at the time, however.
You always had a choice -- Neil's wife was available (as I understood your post) to pick you up when you called.

And let me clarify: When I get the willies, I usually don't ride, and will exercise any other options available to me. Fortunately for my family and friends I don't get the willies very often.
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