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Has it been that long? (long post w/pics)

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Has it been that long? (long post w/pics)

Old 07-09-07, 02:08 PM
Tęte de Limace
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,578

Bikes: 2001 Lemond Nevada City; ~1987 Peugeot US Express; ~1985 Panasonic Sport 500

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Has it been that long? (long post w/pics)

or, "Riding again after almost a year break."

A couple of weeks ago I took my first ride since Aug/Sept 06. Since that time, a lot has happened in my life. I got married, moved and had my first child. During that time, the bike was totally neglected. So the night before I gave it a quick once over... cleaned and lubed the chain, checked all the cables, checked the brakes, pedals, pumped the tires up, etc... I even took it out in the parking area of my townhouse community. Everything seemed great. However, when I took my bike off the rack the next morning, and put it down on the floor, I heard that familiar squishy sound that only a flat tire can make. For some unexplained reason the front tire had developed a leak. Since I had an extra tube, I just replaced it and went on my way.

I then went on what I thought would be a quick 7 mile ride. Even though I've been the least active I've ever been these last few months, I never really felt out of shape until I was out there struggling with those climbs. So I ended up working a little harder than I thought I was going to, came home and started thinking about riding some more...

This past weekend I had a similar experience in trying to get started. Although I didn't notice anything when I put my bike down to take this picture-

-the rear tire was now completely flat. At this point I'm thinking I'm not going to get to go for a ride becuase I have no spare tubes, and I'm not sure that I remembered where my patch kit was from the move. The good news is I had the patch kit stuff in my seat post bag... the bad news was there was no instructions and I've never patched a tire before. Rather than waste time looking it up online , i go by what I remember from when I opened the patch kit way back when. I think I got it right.

After I patched the tire up, I went out for a slightly longer ride. I didn't map this route before I rode it, so I didn't know much about it before Saturday. I did know that around the 2 mile mark there was a steep descent (it's got one of those hazard signs with a truck going downhill and "18%" under it) to a swinging bridge that takes you into the Patapsco Valley State Park. I didn't get a pic of the decent, but once at the bottom I took a few pics in an attempt to illustrate how steep the hill was. It didn't work, but the picture turned out nice otherwise.

At this point I am painfully aware that I've just ridden down into a valley (duh!), and in order to
get home I'm going to have to climb my way out. My hope was that I would ride to a place where the ride uphill would be fairly spread out. Before I start into the park, another roadie stops and we have a nice little chat about the area. He told me where a nice coffee shop in old town Ellicott city was, and where some of the steepest hills in the immediate area were. Based off of this conversation, I alter the route I had in mind, and take off.

A little ways down that trail is another swinging bridge that put me back on a road. I snaped a couple of shots from there.

(The remains of some old building from the turn of the century (i didn't really read the whole plaque) that some asshat spray painted on)

(I wasn't going to walk it, but there were people there at the time).

When I got to the end of the park I knew it was time to start going uphill again. I wasn't really sure how to do it, but luckily, while I was stopped trying to figure out which way to go, yet another roadie stops to chat me up. He pointed me in the right direction in terms of finding the road I was looking for. Then he adds, "Yea, that Lawyer Hill Rd is a killer..." So much for avoiding steep hills on the way back home I guess. Also, I mentally slap myself on the forehead for not figuring out ahead of time that "Lawyer Hill" might imply, you know, a hill of some type.

The descent into the valley spanned about a mile, I believe. My ascent up was somewhat more spread out, as I had hoped, but not by much. But, even though it was more than I anticipated, I didn't have as hard a time as I thought I would... maybe I was more relaxed, or perhaps my legs were starting to remember how to ride again. Whatever it was, I felt great when I got to the top. The last half mile or so was pretty smooth sailing. I "sprinted" to catch the green light at the intersection leading into my neighborhood. I probably looked like an idiot, but felt great. As I pulled to a stop, I thought, "This is what my first ride should have been like".

Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride for a second straight day ( ) so I tried the route I had done previously, to see how much easier it was. I don't know for sure, because I forgot to reattach my computer, but I shaved somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes off of my time, and wasn't nearly as exausted afterwards.
Les Douleurs de la Mort. :: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus.
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