Monday, July 24, 2006

steel is real - a ride report by dr mike

last thursday, dr mike stopped-by my house to pick-up supplies (and discuss borrowing my road bike) for a charity century ride to raise money for an african student who couldn't afford tuition (to Yale i believe). a noble plan. dr mike had trained for about a week - and in so doing has begun commuting the 15miles to work again - which is the ballz. what most folks don't realize when they meet the good dr, is that underneath his nano-engineer overalls is a natural athelete - a scary athlete... this is his story:

steel is real.
i'm a glad i didnt trade in my ride for something else, or spend the bucks for a new one. the old bear was really comfortable, and with a good pressure in the tires it seemed to roll as well or better than the other guys road bikes. surprising, but maybe they were a bit low on pressure. so i made a number of poor choices pre-ride: 1) clean front derailluer in case i need it. as soon as the degreaser hit it it moved in such a way that the chain was always rubbing on the cage plates. fuck. 2) try to fix it. it kept getting worse and worse over the coarse of the evening. i have a manual, instructions, the interweb, everything i can gather together for knowledge and i just keep making it worse. to make a long story short, around 11 i am pissy like you may never have seen me, since the whole point of messing with the bike was to get it ready for this ride, which im now not sure i will go on because i wont get to new haven until 2-3am for a 6:30 ride. but i figure ill be even grumpier if i dont go at all, and if i have to bail out along the way, so be it, someone will pick me up. so i get out the dremel too with grinding wheel and just cut that motherfucker off so i dont have to breaak the chain and risk weaakening it before the ride. 1 minute of sparks flying and the derailier problem is solved, but im committed to the big ring. i get to work out a bit of aggression getting the pedals off my bike and putting the new ones on. mine came by post on friday, so i didnt use yours. roll out and maanage to calm myself down on in the car so by the time i get to CT im tired and can go right to sleep.

3.5 hours of sleep, morning comes too soon, and i
hop up on caffiene and oatmeal and set out. 3 guys on road bikes and a good nights sleep, and me on my old mountain bike and a no sleep. sweet. things are not looking good. technical problems become apparent as my chain keeps popping off if im not very careful about the downshifting. i guess the deraillieru was good for somehting even though i dont use it. but get the hang of it and it only takes 15 seconds to throw it back on if it slips off. but i get the hang of the shifting and i figure out how to not throw the chain for most of the rest of the day. i feel good, and have taped luna bars all over the frame for easy access and hammer sauce in the camelback. feeding every 20-30 min, and drinking enough and by the first landmark at 35 miles when we take a ferry across the ct river, im riding strong and feeling great, trying deliberately not to outpace the group. pproaching east hartford i zone out, get way ahead and off track, so im now on my own until the pit stop at the state line where my parents and steves parents are waiting. the rains set it in, i figure my detour has put me back a bit behind the group and so i pick up the pace to ~20 to catch them but end up hitting the state line 30-40 minutes ahead. fine with me, ill take a rest and have some snacks and chat with the folks. we set out again and i make a better effort to keep the speed in check and not lose the crew. it rains most of the rest of the ride, but once your wet it doesnt matter too much and i think the extra cooling helped keep people moving.

the rest of the ride is eneventful except for
steves flat tire less than 10 miles from the end. we swap tubes, hit the road and by the time we hit northhampton we are only at 93 miles. thinking wed be chumps if we didnt cap it off to a cool 100, we go past the end point 3.5 miles out of town turn around and come back. knowing the day is over and theres beer at the other end, im feeling really good and blow out the last 7 miles at around 22 to put a strong finish on the day. i dont know whats in that hammer sauce, but it must be somehting good. i never felt worse over the course of the day than i do on my commute.

ive decided that its a great way to travel. if i
were driving from new haven to northhapton, the focus would be all abou the endpoints, but on the bike its all about the journey. you can look around, check shit out, know that its gonna take a while so there's no hurry. i had a lot of fun, and think everyone else did too. theres a kick ass german restaurant in chicopee that we passed, then went back to for dinner. bavarian platter baby. schnitzles, wursts, beer, read AND white saurkraut. spaetzle. thats good overall it was a success, and we actually raised enough cash to pay off this kids college tuition. some good footage was shot along the wya, i point you to the link when they get it edited together into a movie. theres a picture of us with Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of mexico, who we ran into along the way. funny shit.


At 7/24/2006 7:57 PM, Blogger Andy said...

good going Dr. Mike and welcome to the sometimes wonderful world of road centuries. There's no better reward than eating your weight in German sausages after an epic day on the bike.

At 7/26/2006 2:26 PM, Anonymous dr. mike said...

Scary? that must have been at 11pm when i had the evil eye and and sparks were flying.
Munich Haus in Chicopee - next yime you fells are rolling back from a ride/race in western mass, give it a stop. the place kicks ass, and its close to the highway.
i think all those hours of riding in the rain gave me a rash on my bottom though.


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