Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bird's the Word

I went for a ride today. For someone who advertises himself as a Big Guy on a Bicycle, I sure haven’t seemed to spend all that much time on that aforementioned bicycle recently. But I did today, so the appellation sticks.

I met John H. and Duane at Duane’s house. From there we rode one or two miles to meet up with Gary B., who I’ve met before, but haven’t spent much time riding with. He and John H. have done a lot of riding together though, including this year’s edition of RAGBRAI. I must do that one someday.

We headed south, and hadn’t gotten far before they were describing the roads to me and the turns we were taking. “Uh, guys? I know I live out in West Knox and all, but I do an awful lot of riding in this area.” That worked for the most part. I think that on our whole 38 mile ride, there were maybe three miles of road I hadn’t been on before…maybe.

I really don’t get to ride with Duane or John all that often either, because I was a little surprised at John’s tendency to ride off the front every time he got to the front of the paceline or every time the road went up. He’s turning into a very good climber, but I hope he’ll remember not to accelerate each time he gets to the front.

Gary led us on a well-paced ride, calling out the lefts, rights, and straights at each intersection. He obviously rides those roads a lot more than I do, since he knew exactly what route would give us the right ride distance of around 40 miles.

Gary and I were riding along beside each other on Neubert Springs Road when I hit, well, something. It flew in from the right side of the road and hit me square in the chest, both startling me and knocking a bit of the wind out of me. Then it started buzzing like a chainsaw. It took a few seconds for it to find its way back off of me, but it eventually flew off again. I think the whole event lasted maybe five seconds, but it was five seconds too long. “What was that? A bird?” asked John. “No, it was a bug of some kind,” I replied. “It was huge, what ever it was,” said John. “Yeah. That it was.” I’m just glad it didn’t go down my shirt, because I probably would have crashed.

We climbed up the big hill on Neubert Springs to the top, with John and Duane taking the top honors in that order. I wasn’t too far behind Duane, but well out of distance to outsprint him to the peak. Gary came up last, but I think he’d been riding a little before meeting us, and he and I had been on the front for most of the ride (except up the hills). Gary left for home from there and the three of us left over turned back and rocketed down the hill we’d just climbed back toward Duane’s. John learned a valuable lesson on the descent. He may climb fast, but when it comes to the downhills, it’s best to just move on over and get out of the Big Guy’s way.

By the way, old trivia answers are back on the old blog site.


BIG Mike said...

Poor John. I climbed the local monster last weekend with Dave, an old clubmate who didn't stop racing when I did 15 years ago. And, where I live 20 miles from the bottom of the climb, he lives just 4 miles away.

It's nearly 4 miles at around 10%. He climbs it in around 16-17 minutes. In my day I saw 16 once and was a regular 17-19 minute trackie.

This year I've been up 5 times, all about 28-30 minutes. Dave politely stayed with me until about 500 metres from the top then just disappeared. This is a windy switchback monster of a climb.

On the way back down he was pedalling as much as the corners would allow. I was braking constantly to stop from coasting over the top of him. About half way down there's a 400 metre straight and he was pedalling his 53x12 furiously. I freewheeled past him and at the bottom I looked back and couldn't see him.

I stopped and waited a full 40 seconds before he caught me. He may be 6'2" 170lb, but gravity loves me on the downhill at 5'8" 245lb.

Big Guy on a Bicycle said...

Oz has hills? (Just kidding).

Ah, yes. The gravitational disadvantage on the climbs turns quickly in our favor. I do enjoy riding away from people while I'm coasting.