Sunday, May 9, 2010

Spring Rides

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It's been an exciting time for me, riding in Ithaca again, finding my legs, and finding that it's a hell of a lot harder here in the hills. I've put in several rides since the last post: 27 miles, 24 miles, and 23 miles respectively. The first was supposed to be 35 miles but, not knowing my own limits, hitting a heat wave, and improper hydration shut my legs down riding up Yellow Barn Road off of Ferguson Rd. I'd gone south crossing Rte 13 onto Irish Settlement and gotten a bit lost. Ferguson seemed to be a road where all the upper-middle class folks live. I've rarely seen so many largish (but not quite McMansion largish) houses on one street. Ferguson, Spring Run, and lower Yellow Barn were all quite the same: Highly manicured lawns, kids playing in the street, long driveways, oversized get the picture. Why people want to mow that much grass is quite beyond me. This is one of the sad stories relating to farm land and beautiful scenery: Back home in Massachusetts I often was discouraged by all the folks from NYC and Connecticut who had so much disposable income they could buy up all our farm land and put god-awful eyesores that they live in for a couple of months at a time. If people want to know why the housing bubble burst they really don't have to look far. All those ugly houses and who can afford to heat them let alone buy them? Horrible investment.

It's not so bad on Ferguson, but that's a bit what it reminds me of. Moot point really. I had originally wanted to ride through Yellow Barn and Hammond Hill State Forest, but I found, riding up Yellow Barn, that my legs decided they had had enough and both locked up on me at the same time. I was amazed, in all honesty, that I didn't fall over. I realized what was happening just in time to pop my left foot out of the clip-in and stretch that leg out, allowing me to straighten the other after the bike tipped enough. I think I stood there for 10 minutes, different muscles in both legs cramped and locked, rubbing them and trying to get them to loosen up. It was rather painful and, although I wasn't thinking about it too much, I had about five miles left and was working out in my mind how to get home while coasting or pedaling lightly the rest of the way.

Eventually my legs loosened up. I drank more water and was thankful for the short rest I had in Freeville where I stopped at a local ice cream shop named Toad's Too (strange) and bought a slush puppy to help cool me off and hydrate a bit. I had gotten a late start to try and avoid the heat, but it was pushing 90 degrees F and was humid. The folks at Toad's were great and helped me get back on track as I was a bit lost at that point. But I digress.

I ended up getting back in reasonable shape, tired, but not beaten. The only casuality being my Cateye bicycle light: It originally strapped to the front of the handlebar, but the strap and lever mechanisim have become useless and the light just flopped down giving me little forward light.

Last year I did all my riding, at least initially, in Quebec. It was fine but it was quite flat. There was one very beautiful ride near Rimouski, Quebec that involved a lot of elevation change and a beautiful view of the St. Lawerence, and in New Brunswick the rides may have been flat, but they were almost always bordering the ocean. Now, in Ithaca, the world once again has a lot more vertical dimension and is a great challenge. I'm finding it exciting training for this Ride for Life while getting to know more of the local roads.

My 24 mile ride was more or less uneventful, but beautiful. And the attempted 27 mile ride that was more like 23 became so only because I was riding with a new friend, we didn't have great directions, and she crashed rather hard. Actually that's an understatement. She nearly killed herself rolling at a speed between 25 and 30mph. She sent me a picture of the bruise on her leg which I'll post shortly, but she had road-rash, cuts, scrapes, and gashes on most of her body. The fact that she rode another 7 miles home was a testament to her strength and durability. I hope she'll ride with me again, but she's off to the Phillipines first and then back for the summer.

Here is a link to the ride:
Finger Lakes Cycling Club

More to come! I'm going to start posting a gear section and a bit more about what type of bike I'm riding. It may not be real helpful, but to anyone starting out it might lend some insight.

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