Saturday, April 29, 2006


Earth, Wind and Fire

OK, not quite in chronological order but what the heck, the title sounded good.

The Earth, from a Friday afternoon ride.

I'm really liking the way the Tri-Cross rides. Even in sandy single track

The Wind, as I was finishing the first 20 miles of a Thursday morning ride, getting ready to meet the 8:00 group.

I was snapping the this picture my cell phone rings. I get a frantic message from the office - "You better get here quick, the adjacent building is on fire and the flames are blowing our way. "

The Fire - or at least what is left after it was put out.

Luckily no damage to our building, just a lot of soot/debris on the roof. Yeeesh

Fast forward to today, and the Tar Wheel Century down in Elizabeth City NC. A big showing this year with no rain in the forecast. Many that weren't in north western Va racing the Ed Elliot Omnium (<--pdf) came to throw down at the century. There was no rain, but the wind DID show. Steady 21 mph with many gusts at 30+. ECity is wicked flat with miles and miles of wide open farmlands. Windstops were all but non-existent. At least this wasn't a point to point ride like last weekend's TourdeCure which was into a strong wind the whole way.

At the second train track crossing, maybe 15 miles into the ride, the main group was all together, and hammering at 27+. Yep, we had a side wind. As we rattle across the tracks water bottles start flying out and bouncing around. NOOOOOOOOO - I flashback to last week. I could hear Yogi Berra mumbling :

"It's like deja vu all over again."

BIG difference was the experience of the group. No one did anything stupid and all was well. Many stopped to help fix punctures. I later heard four people flatted there.

I really just had one goal - ride as long and hard as I could, and keep stops to a minimum.There was some serious power in this group. People I couldn't hang with for very long even if
I was on my best form. I rode on as the dust settled from the train tracks. The lead pack flew by me at about 2 hours. I'd get a string of JB....JB....JB...hey JB, then they'd be gone. They were flat out crankin'. BillG, TimS, el Presidente, JDiesel, the Genes, and a few others I didn't know. They'd stop at the rest stops. I wouldn't. This led to the same getting passed scenario 3 more times. I last saw 'em somewhere around the 77 mile mark as I was pulling in for my one refueling stop. I really wanted to get a good photo of the group, but they were just going too fast. By the time I'd get my camera out and turned on, they were speeding little dots in the distance.

Ended up riding ~83 of the 103 miles solo, and finishing in 5:26. One 4.5 minute break. a few loooong red lights and one turn around to get a bottle cage that had dropped off. Note to self - locktite that dam thing. 5:16 riding time. Not a wicked fast time for 103 miles, but I'm happy. It was freaky windy out there.

There was a time not too long ago that a 5-6 hour bike ride was just a good warm up. Not now. But this was a good step in the right direction. I can't say I felt great, but I didn't feel too bad. Still able to stand an sprint at the end, but my legs are wicked sore right now.

The whole ride I was thinkin' of my brothers in Trans-Iowa. It helped me keep pushing on. Now home I hear they called the race at Algona, not even half way because constant rains turned the gravel roads to mush, and the "B" roads were totally unrideable. It looks like the first rider will get to the end (at ~154 miles) in 14 or 15 hours. Good on all of you. I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad that I missed it.......................



even with the current health issue, you're out there busting sub-6hr centuries, almost a sub 5. you're one mile-eating hombre.
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