Adam Rice

My life and the world around me

Category: cycling (page 3 of 4)

Tuesday-night course ride

Got together for my first ride with both DuShun and Caeasar in over a year. DuShun took us on a loop he’s been riding–halfway to Buda, then east to Nuckol’s Crossing to make a circuit around the Tuesday Nighter course, and then back home on Slaughter Lane. 32 miles. After a long-ish hiatus from the bike, and a 30-miler the day before, I wasn’t feeling too perky, but with them taking it relatively easy, I managed to hang in there.

Afterwards I met Gwen and her gang at the Springs. Gwen convinced me to get into a yoga position to stretch out my bad hip. I tried to be a good sport and went along. I did not achieve enlightenment before my extremities fell asleep.

Today I am toast.

360 ride

Rode 360 today, my first serious ride in a while. 30 miles, and I’m not saying what my average speed was. I felt really out of shape.

Various observations:

  • There is now a bike path that allows cyclists to bypass a hairy section of Barton Springs Rd. If you are riding outbound, go straight across Stratford when you get to the end of the pedestrian bridge. This will run alongside Mopac and deposit you close to Rollingwood. I imagine it’s accessible if you are riding inbound (which would be good, because you could avoid that awful left turn later), but haven’t tried that yet. The city did a good job with this–kudos.
  • There is a shitload of new construction on 360, to my great dismay. I noticed a bunch of new apartments going up on the bluff over 360 northwest of the bridge. Not sure who is going to live there.
  • What had been Cycles 360 has been replaced by 360 Bikeworks (or something like that). Apparently Richard, the original owner, couldn’t run the place profitably, so the managers bought him out and re-opened the store. Glad to see it back.

360 ride

With no work on my desk today, I decided to get out on my bike.

I started rambling in a generally southwest direction without any plan in mind, not following any of my usual routes. I eventually wound up on that path next to Lamar, which took me as far as 12th St. I felt unaccountably nervous on this path–I’d never ridden on it before, but that shouldn’t be enough to make me feel wigged out. At the southern end of the path, I did run into a few obstacles that justified some nervousness–a few dips, swerves, and one really bad bump in the pavement. I took the bump hard, but thought I got over it without incident.

Eventually I decided to ride 360, and made my way over towards the Town Lake pedestrian bridge. After crossing the bridge, I noticed that the city seems to be working on a new path that will connect the south end of the bridge to Rollingwood, which will be a boon to outbound cyclists–but in order to take advantage of it on the inbound side, one would need to ride against traffic for a few yards.

The ride up 360 was fun and uneventful, but with a wind out of the north, was a lot of work. I noticed a couple of deer grazing right out by the highway, which I had never seen before. Gosh, I wonder if they’d been displaced from their usual habitat? [he said, with great sarcasm] When I got to the convenience store at Steck & Mesa, I discovered it had been more work than I knew: my back wheel had been knocked out of true and was intermittently rubbing against the brakes. That would explain why I had been averaging 14.5 mph. I headed over to Nelo’s, my favorite shop (fortunately very close at this point), and once there, we discovered I had actually broken a spoke. I’ve done that only once before, in a really serious accident, so I was very surprised. Nelo had built that wheel, and I joked to him “you built this wheel–it should be bulletproof!” He put a loaner wheel on my bike and sent me home while he worked on my wheel.

I made it the rest of the way home without incident. Coming in on Shoal Creek, I caught up with a guy on a really fancy mountain bike–full suspension, disc brakes, the works. Except he definitely wasn’t dressed like a cyclist (gym shorts and Keds), and the one serious telltale: cheap quill pedals. Normally, someone with a bike like this would be riding clipless pedals–bikes at that level usually don’t even come with pedals, on the assumption that the rider will want to put on the clipless pedal system of his choosing. If they do come with pedals, they’re cheap throw-aways–like this guy had.

A lot of cyclists are snobs about their sport, and I’ll admit I’m one. There are levels of snobbishness: Some won’t condescend to wave at anyone–I assume this is either because they don’t want to break their perfect aerodynamic position, they view everyone else as a competitor, or at that moment you aren’t in their road/mountain/commuter clique. Some will only be friendly towards someone with a fancy bike that shows they’ve made a monetary commitment to the sport.

What turns my snob-knob up to 11, though, is a rider who isn’t as good as his bike. There’s nothing wrong with being a recreational rider of modest abilities and aspirations on a modest bike. There’s nothing wrong with being a great cyclist on a humble ride or a superbike. But when a guy in tube socks, who considers five miles to be a real workout, is riding a fancy bike, he is a fred.

Manor back loop

Rode the Manor back loop with DuShun. 34 miles; 17.7 mph average. Not bad–faster than it would have been if I were riding alone. The back section, on a stretch of road where the name changes every three miles, was wonderful–new pavement, few cars, and just enough of a breeze to take the edge off the heat.

360 ride

I stopped hitting the reload button in Friendster long enough to go on a good bike ride today. The 360 route northbound. 30 miles, average speed 15-point-something. It’s been too long since I went for a ride, but I felt pretty good and had fun. Traffic on 360 was relatively mild. I noticed a new stoplight had been installed (I can remember when there were none on 360).

One of the many good things about cycling is that it exposes one to so many little blog-worthy tidbits.

At Steck & Mesa, I stopped for a giant soda at the kwik-e-mart there. A Coke delivery man was making his drop-off–an entire pallet-load. Some observations: Lots of Dasani, only one crate of Evian. Bottled Coke and Diet Coke were roughly even, but in cans, there was only Diet (or Diet+Caffeine Free), ie, if you want a regular Coke, you get it in a bottle. There must be some sort of weird demographic phenomenon behind this. Harebrained speculation: Bottles are larger than cans (I think the smallest are 20 oz, vs 12 oz for a can). Larger quantities probably appeal more to guys. Diet Coke probably appeals more to women.

I stopped by Nelo’s shop and ogled a Merlin Cielo, an exercise in technoporn costing about $7400. I don’t dispute that there may be $7400 worth of technology, materials, and craftsmanship in that bike. But the law of diminishing returns must apply to this sucker in spades. My own bike was hardly cheap, but I can’t imagine getting a 2x or 3x advantage riding that thing.

Shortly after leaving Nelo’s, I (barely) heard my phone ringing. It was DuShun, calling to say he had just seen me from his car and congratulated me on getting out to ride.

At the end of my ride, I stopped by Chango’s for one of their excellent burritos. As I was eating, three EMTs stopped by to grab a bite. Two lit up cigarettes. I found this extremely bizarre and funny. I wonder if dealing with life and death crises every day gives them a cynical view of their own mortality.

Manor ride

Rode out to Manor on Saturday with DuShun. About 30 miles total, though I forgot to reset the cyclometer until we were a little ways into the ride. Much less hard on me than the last ride we took together. He wanted to go farther. I told him “Look, I don’t want to ride so much that I don’t want to ride anymore.”

We stopped at the Manor grocery, and DuShun noticed, alongside all the usual “pigs for sale” signs and such, that someone had drawn a | inside a circle on the back of their receipt and taped that to the window. He speculated this must be some cryptic signal for a secret society. Anyone have any idea what that means?

On the ride back, we saw a truck in the ditch. It was hitched to a trailer fully loaded with 2x4s; the truck was perpendicular to the road, nose-first, and the trailer was jackknifed past 90°, digging into the side of the pickup. As we rode by, we marveled at this feat of vehicular contortion and wondered how, exactly, it had gotten into that position.

Webberville-Manor loop

After too long off the bike, and a long run of foul weather, we had a nice day today, so DuShun and I agreed to go riding. I wanted to do something relatively flat, so we headed out towards Webberville. With the wind at our backs on the outbound leg, we made good time, hitting the Webberville convenience store 17 miles out at an average speed of 19.2 mph.

We stopped at the convenience store in Webberville. I was surprised to see a display-case full of bling-bling crapola in front of the counter. There was a large dog-run next door where some guys were training pit bulls to be attack dogs. What has happened out here? Webberville = gangstaville?

Anyhow, I thought it would be prudent to turn back at this point–after all, I hadn’t done a serious ride in a couple months–but DuShun must have been feeling his oats, because he pushed on.

We wound up putting in 42.5 miles. Our average speed at the end was…considerably lower. I was starting to wish the ride was over around mile 30, meaining I am badly out of shape. Which means I need to be doing this a whole lot more.

360 Southbound

Rode 360 southbound today. 28 miles. Hot hot hot. Ugh. I haven’t been riding enough and wasn’t prepared for the heat (nominally 99°F–actually a lot more out on the road). I was reduced to my bailout gears by the last couple hills on 360, grinding along at a miserable 6 mph, under a cloudless sky and atop egg-frying pavement.

360 ride

30 mile ride with Caesar today, northbound on 360. Wind out of the south. Fast. Whee. Light traffic. Caesar showed me a shortcut that I like.

Webberville-Manor short loop

Rode the Webberville-Manor short loop today. 36 miles. Managed to keep my average speed at about 17 mph, despite very strong winds that seemed to be against me for most of the ride (funny how that works). The weather was otherwise beautiful, though.

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