Saturday, April 14, 2012

I know when to say when. Sometimes.

Here is a quick update since I have not been posting much lately. This riding thing keeps getting in the way.

Trans Iowa.

Lee and I are still in. George is out...says he doesn't feel motivated to train for it. Better to realize that now than in some ditch in Iowa in the middle of the night. Pete Foret is in to be our crew guy. I don't actually know Pete but he makes awesome chili and people tell me he is a decent guy. Sounds good to me.

I have been riding a bunch to get ready for the race. I say a bunch when it is really about the same amount as usual for this time of year. Fatigue has been building the past few weeks and I got in one big ride today. I rode the Nature Boy all loaded down with the Wingnut pack on just like I will be setup for Iowa. Gearing 39x19 again.

My plan was to ride out to Horse Pens 40 (about 55 miles from my house) and then come back the long, climb ridden way through Cahaba Heights. I have never ridden in this area and was a bit concerned because of how backwoods it is out near Steele, AL. The ride out there was awesome with cool temps although the 15 flat miles of Highway 11 got a bit old.

Once I turned off 11 onto Washington Valley Rd the climbing began and hordes of cars were replaced with unrestrained dogs. Holy shit...the dogs. Never have I been chased so many times in one ride. Probably drew the attention of 15-20 dogs today. I was singlespeedin' it with a 39 x 19 which kicks ass for climbs and long distances but was proving to be a bit of a bother when it was time to outrun a dog. They don't spin out at 25mph but i do. None were a big problem until I got to the peak of Walker's Gap and began rolling east on Hwy 24. I come around a corner and two pitbulls were on me out of nowhere. They were not looking for friendship or treats.

I dismounted and put the bike between me and the increasingly furious white dogs. I realized I had nothing to defend myself with and resorted to squirting water at them. Obviously this didn't work and I began trying to walk backwards with the bike to get away. I noticed the giant sagging teets on momma dog and heard the cries of fresh puppies nearby. They were protecting their babies and were quite good at it. First time I have had dogs form a flank attack on me, I've been around dogs my whole life and gotten chased plenty. Today was the first time I thought ,"hm they might actually take me down in their frothy jaws". I guess I would be losing my proverbial shit at an intruder also.

Finally I found a dude with a truck who knew exactly what was going on and let me hop in the bed for a quick trip down the road. I quickly found a pine limb on the side of the road and jammed it down in my frame bag just in case any other dogs wanted to play. After the climb up to Horse Pen's 40 (brutal by the way) and more than a couple more dog chasings I had two options:

1. Go back past the dog party on Hwy 24 onto some more unknown rural roads.
2. Go down Hwy 231 and ride 25 flat miles of Hwy 11 into a headwind back into Trussville.

I chose 11. It sucked. Lots. I soon tossed the pine limb in a ditch. Of course a dog jumped over its fence as as soon as I did this but was too lazy to actually give chase.  Nothing tried to bite me except the side mirrors of cars.

After some Coke and Pop Tarts(almost bought a beer in the gas station but it seemed dumb) I was feeling good again and set out for the tough way back home. Up Shades Crest, Smyer, and some other tough climbs...I always do this to myself at the end of really long rides and my legs always hate it. C'est la vie legs. I ran into Frank Young coming back into town. I had been lonely all day so when Frank joined me for the last twenty miles of my ride it made my day. Thanks, buddy.

Interestingly, I felt good on the climbs all day but the "flat and easy" Highway 11 stretches totally sapped my will to ride. Good thing Iowa isn't flat, right?

Here is the ride on Strava: RIDE 125 miles and 8k vertical in eight something hours. My legs hurt and I'm tired, mission accomplished. The setup on the bike seems good and my homemade cue sheet holder did awesome. Here are some quick (i.e. shitty) pictures from my Doritos break at Horse Pen's 40:


I was going to tie in some commuter bike thoughts but this is long enough now so that will happen later. Happy weekend.

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