Tuesday, September 20, 2011

High Country Brevet and the Treasure of Captain Crank

Josh near Sunrise
 The High Country Brevet was held recently and I had intended to ride but unfortunately two of my co-workers beat me to the day off so I was stuck with running support on Saturday and no pre-ride.  Of course this offered the opportunity to bring the kids along.

Adela the Happy Stoker
 The kids and I are training for the 45 mile event at the Cochise County Cycling Classic in a few weeks and I thought we could mix things up a little and do a ride up in the pines while waiting for the brevet riders to get to the ski resort.  This plan worked really well as I learned they had recently paved the road all the way to Big Lake and though I am sad to see the area get more developed, as a road cyclist I am pumped.  We ended up riding to the Little Colorado river and back.

Josh climbing out of the Little Colorado
It was a bit chilly and we even got a few raindrops on us but was otherwise absolutely beautiful other than a few complaints from the kids (they were in desperate need of a nap).
Joseph crossing the prairie
All in all it was a great day and we missed the big hailstorm that hit most of the other riders.

Now, for Captain Crank!  I visited with the kids recently and the consensus was they liked doing the events but not so much the long training rides.  So,  this left me with a quandry.  How do you help the kids train for an event they want to do, but not make it feel like training?  Well,  how about a treasure hunt?  A 28 mile treasure hunt on bikes to be exact!   Every 5 or 6 miles I had a point they had to find with further instructions and candy.  It's really funny to see how a small change in an activity can make the difference.

It was warm,  it was on fairly flat in town streets, it was a boring ride but,  it was a boring ride with treasure at the end and little rewards hidden all along the way and even a playground near the turnaround (and drinking fountains fortunately enough as the ride took a lot longer than I thought it would with all the stops).  The kids are still talking about it to my wife.  This week I need to figure out how to make it work going over Usery Pass so there will be some stuff for me to look at it too.  Josh is supposed to get his team bike this week so we might be able to take advantage of some excitement there.  We shall see!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Must have fallen off.....

Something a little strange has been happening in my neighborhood this week. In the cool dawn hours when the world is silent, a lone cyclist has been seen roaming the streets, on a tandem. He rides alone on a bicycle built for two, but why? Some say he went out riding with a friend in the dead of night and when he got back, the stoker was gone. No one knows what became of the stoker. Was he brutally murdered? Did he fall off? Did he disappear conveniently? Was the oppresive captain so bent upon the road that his stoker was pushed one stroke too far? Who can tell, but the stokerless captain roams the streets with an ominous empty seat. Some say the lone captain roams the streets in search of another victim who he will pedal to their death. When queried as to the location of his stoker he jokes they must have fell off. Joke, or a joke with a hint of truth?.....you decide!

Of course, the other logical explanation is that he's a normal roadie and his bike is in the shop so he rides what he has operational looking like a tool.....:)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Adding injury to insult

Well, first off, let me apologize for not writing in awhile.  First I didn't complete the DM3 permanent I rode with the two Mikes of Az Brevet fame because of mud and that was a downer,  second my Mom died, that also was a big downer, and third we've been dealing with the repercussions of the second.

In other news I did get out for a ride on Monday (kids got my time on Saturday,  they're training for Cochise).  I intended to go to the end of the pavement.  Yeah, intended,  yet another ride cut short but let me get to that tragic,  yet .....well ok, can't Pollyanna this thing,  tragic tragic story.

First off I didn't get off before sunrise so it was going to be warm.  Fortunately it was a little cloudy to delay things a bit.  All the way across Mesa the legs felt blown.  It might have been because I really really crunched them going up Kong with Adela on the back on Saturday,  in any case I was not in a happy place but was determined to get a bike ride in come what may.

I may not have written about this but in the last few weeks I made the discovery that SRAM offers a derailer that allows you to put a cassette with a 32t ring on it on a road compact crankset so I can spin a little better on the steeps,  also spin a little better on tired legs too, which I am sure will come in handy on the Mt Lemmon brevet in November as it came in handy Monday.

The guys at Canyon lake let me use their water spigot since the store was closed fortunately as it was getting warm.  I then kicked myself in the butt and headed out to Tortilla flat right in front of another cyclist who upon approaching asked if I was going to the brevet in Showlow on Sat.  He recognized my RUSA jersey of course.  I'm pretty sure it was Pete who I rode off and on with at the Route 66 300k last spring.  I could only mumble a reply as he passed for my shifter decided to break right then.  Yeah,  the expensive one.  This would make #2 to break on me and I didn't think it would be under warranty the original having been purchased with the bike 3 years ago.

So,  back to the Marina I turn to go lock my derailleur into a sensible gear for the way home since I was now reduced to a two speed.  As I pedalled along in a sad funk,  a wasp decided to give me a consolation kiss.  Fortunately my mouth was not open enough for him to go french on me.  He got my lower lip pretty bad and my upper lip not as much.  Yep,  when it rains it pours.

It was a ride of spinning and grinding from here on out depending if I was in the big or little ring.  Mostly spinning as I erred on the side of being nice to my knees.  At the top of the big climb I re-adjusted my derailleur to give me a nice gear for going 20-21 mph in.  The day was kind of shot after that but homemade ice cream cheered the soul at the end of the day.

Incidentally,  since the replacement shifter was installed last May (after it broke going up the last big hill on the Mines to Pines 300k)  the two year warranty applied since it resets when you get a replacement and not when the original part was purchased!  Thank you SRAM for being cool about backing up your stuff.  So,  even if I could have had the day off today,  I still could not have ridden the High Country 200k which I am running support for everyone tomorrow.  Guess I'll just enjoy the time with the kids and riders tomorrow.