Sunday, September 9, 2012

Nice, Nice, Nice

No, this posting is not about a city in France.  It's nice outside. Super nice.  We had a cold front move through last night.  Since it was hot and muggy all day, the front touched off some nasty thunderstorms.  Once the storms moved away, the temperature dropped and the air was clear. 

During the muggy part of the day, I installed a new computer mount on my handlebars. It went on pretty quickly and the computer is now working properly again.  I did a helmetless test ride to a bank on US 1.  About a half mile from the bank, I made eye contact with the driver of a new Corolla that was on the access road to the immediate right of the highway. The driver looked right at me then pulled out directly into my path. I came to a stop about a foot from her door and asked the rhetorical question, "What the f%% are you doooooo-inngggg?  Her window was down so she got the message.  I am guessing that she was preoccupied with learning the nuances of her new car and I didn't register in her mind. Well, now I knew that both the computer and the brakes on The Mule work.
I woke up before dawn and made my way to Indian Head Maryland.  The drive took only 30 minutes or so.  I did walk up registration for the Southern Maryland Century. Actually, I did the metric century which was a little shy of 100 kilometers.  I am forever grateful to the science wonks who came up with the metric system.  I can say I did a century and not have to have endured the last 20 miles of a 100 mile ride.

Except today, I half wished I had done the full 100-mile ride. As I started riding I wished I had brought arm warmers. The route took us directly into the rising sun.  With the clear air, it made it hard to see more than a few feet in front of you.

It took me about a half hour to get the lead out of my legs.  Then I locked in to a 15 mile per hour pace, giver or take a mile per hour.  I've done this ride twice before but both times it rained so it was nice to not have to deal with wet roads.

The route took us through Charles County Maryland. Charles County was known for having legalized gambling many years ago.  Today it's an exurb of Washington with miles and miles of tobacco fields that no longer grow the leaf. It's also where John Wilkes Booth tried to escape from the law after shooting Lincoln. Booth was headed for Virginia via a crossing to the south.  He was cornered in a barn and turned into barbecue. 

For some reason, I think of this area as flat, but there are plenty of pretty challenging hills in the ride.  I rode The Mule, which has very forgiving gearing.  I suck at climbing so I was chuffed when I rode past two roadies walking on their clipless shoes up the biggest hill on the course, 48 miles in to the ride.  It's bad enough to have succumbed to a hill but to have to walk like a duck all the way up is pretty sad.

The weather was so nice that I didn't let the things that bother me get under my skin. At one point I was clipping along at 20 miles per hour when I heard a voice say, "Passing left."  He blew by me in an aero tuck in the silliest helmet (it looked like a sperm - I kid you not). I could have stiff armed him; he was pretty close. Of course, the next 6 or 7 riders who were drafting him didn't say a word. A couple of them came within inches of my left arm.  At over 20 miles per hour. With a car approaching from the front.  Maybe they were confident in what they were doing, but I thought they were being reckless and putting other riders (i.e. ME) at risk. Dudes, as a famous doctor once said, "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how."

End of speech.

For the remaining 59.9 miles, the riding was glorious. Puffy white clouds floating in a perfectly blue sky. Like summertime in upstate New York or Vermont. Along the way I did a half dozen descents at over 30 miles per hour. I couldn't hear anything but the wind in my ears. 

After about 4 1/2 hours my ride was over and I headed home.  I stopped twice. Once to get a drink at a gas station. As I waited in line a total stranger starts telling me about his dental problems. He didn't have $250 to pay a dentist to pull his aching tooth. He was going to have his buddy yank it for him. Good luck with that.  The second stop was at my local bike shop. It is next to a fast food place. I'm waiting in line and a guy who is not quite all there starts telling me how he got kicked out of the fast food place. I started to wonder if I had worn my "Tell me your problems, odd people" shirt on.

I had planned on putting new brake pads on The Mule as a reward for a job well done, but it was so nice out I put my feet up and chilled on the deck instead.


  1. You picked a perfect day to go riding. Nice job!

  2. This post made my teeth hurt (the dentist thing) and also made me very jealous. Nice job; metric or no, that's still an accomplishment!