Sunday, April 13, 2008

Oh my god, I'm bald!

It was a wonderful weekend for riding in NJ. Saturday's ride (2008/4/12) was a 76 mile flat ride down to Pemberton. The weather was predicted to be rain with thunder storms and low 50's F for a high. Instead we started out with fog and 58F. Within 15 minutes the sun came out. Another 30 minutes and it felt like low 70's. After a short climb in Assunpink Park we removed the excess clothing. Shortly we were on our way enjoying one of the first nice weekend days this year (there have been several really nice weekdays). We diverted from my original route a little bit when one of the riders forgot his Camelbak but had water bottles. That ended up shorting the ride a bit but I didn't realize that until after the ride. Anyway, this meant we had to fill up more often. We soon got into a comfortable pace and were riding and joking like we always do. The miles tend to tick off fast and I was enjoying the sites (wild life and the Pine Barrens in Ft. Dix). We stopped in New Egypt, a busy town, popular with Cyclist. The WaWa is very friendly towards cyclist and they have plenty of goodies (good and bad ;-)). We then stopped in Allentown, I was a little disappointed when they didn't have gallon size water for sale (don't use the tap water). I know of a store that has water just outside Allentown so I'll stop there next time. I instead picked up two small Gatorade, Berry flavored drinks. That lasted the final 11 miles until the end. During the ride there were four of us riding, JD, Sandy, Mark and myself. We each took a turn at the front of the pace line and we were doing quite well. Also the last half had a nice tail wind (I rarely see those). Mark surprised Sandy and myself when 'Sir Issac Newton' (as I like to call him) rocketed over the Rt. 195 over pass on Old York Rd. Sandy and I had trouble catching him and JD. Once we caught on Mark pulled for about four miles (it's how we train for longer rides like the Longest Day). Anyway at this point the corner of one of the thunder storms began to catch us and ! we got a little rain. Apparently we just missed a heavy down pour as the roads were soaked. So only a few rain droplets, very wet road, sun, warmth, sun burn (we didn't apply sun block) and an 18 mph avg for 69 miles. That was a great day. Here's Saturday's route.

Sunday's ride turned out to be almost as nice. It started out sunny in low 50's and windy (from the West). I wasn't leading this ride, Ken Leon was. He had 22 riders for the 16 - 17 mph avg ride. We started out by leaving Cranbury and heading West into the wind. That split the group in two but we soon pulled ourselves back into one group. After a while we started to pull ourselves together but the 'pace line' had a huge problem with yo-yo-ing. I decided I'd spend a bit more time towards the front (although I wasn't on the front too often). There were a few sections where I got on the front but I kept pulling he group apart so I kept it to a minimum. Most of the ride I kept hearing this weird clicking noise. When we reached Clarksburg Deli (Le Chateau to the locals) it became a little more obvious that my tire was bald, the threads were showing through and the tire began to bulge (in several places). I only have around 5K miles on the tire (I got the bike last May). I've never worn out a tire before I tend to buy cheaper heavy tires and replace then when they begin to crack. Well it seemed obvious that the tire had to be replaced right away (I have two spare tires, three spare tubes in my Camelbak). The rest of the ride we a lot more quite. We averaged 16.7 mph for the day. Not a bad two day total. Here's Sunday's route.

Next week, I'll be doing a century on Saturday. I hope we can get to 18 mph but more likely it will be in the 17's. The tail wind on the last 28.9 miles on Saturday's ride really helped with the 18 mph pace. I think I'll be doing the Cranbury - Sooey Rd.