Sunday, July 22, 2012

I've been busy...

 ...and busy riding, too. Obviously I haven't been blogging lately, for two main reasons... Things have taken a (tentative) upswing at work, which has made me more motivated to be there, so I've been busy with that. Secondly... I just haven't been motivated to blog. It struck me a while ago that most of my blog posts are the same "I went on a ride, here's some pics" blather. That's my view, anyways. Maybe a break will do me some good, in that sense.

That's not to say I haven't been riding... In lieu of bloggery, feel free to poke at my RideWithGPS profile that I keep linking to, and you'll see what rides I've been on. I may start putting the pictures I take on each ride up there too, so there's less of a "photodump with some words!" on the blog. We'll see. Not that I'm abandoning the blog... just posting a little less frequently.

Aaannnywhoo... None of that is the point of today's post. No, today, I shall blog about a bike ride. A long one. One I look forward to every year, this year especially, since I got to do it with gears.

Yup... the Taylor House Century Ride.

I managed to get Friday off from work, so I could spend the day being lazy and resting up for the ride.

Yeah, that's not what happened.

I ended up getting struck by inspiration, and took Henry for a ride to Home Depot for supplies.
Here's what the end of the ride looked like.

 The rest of the day was spent building the frame for my new bed, because, what better way to get ready for a 100 mile bike ride than to spend the night before in a new and unfamiliar bed?

Fortunately, my new bed was comfy, and I slept great. I showed up at the ride start at the hospital ready to go. Exegete was even there, having volunteered to drive one of the SAG wagons.
Some Team Absolute riders, waiting for the start.

Everyone lined up behind me.

And everyone in front of me, too.
 We all took off for the roll down Beaver Street and through downtown, which is always a little nerve wracking for me, this year especially. People rode their brakes all the way down the hill, and it was a game of dodging other riders, loose bottles, and at one point an inner tube. But I made it down without incident, and rolled through town fairly quickly.

Unlike last year, we had to stop for the train this time.
 The roll down Townsend Winona and through Doney Park was smooth, and while a lot of people passed me on the downhills and flats, I passed a lot of people on the uphills, even pulling for a bit.
Once again, the view I grew up with. Mt. Elden on the left, Cave Hill center, and The Peaks.
 I made very quick work of Highway 89, and passed a lot of people on the big climb out of Timberline. It seemed like I ended up being the first one of the pack I was in to make it to the aid station at the top of the hill, which was nice for a couple reasons. No line at the outhouses, and short line for water refills and snacks. I felt good, so I didn't spend a lot of time there, and kept on trucking down 89 to the next aid station, which was a repeat.

Riding away from station number 3.

Onward, to the desert!
 The stretch through Wupatki, between station 3 and 4, is beautiful, and I never seem to catch enough pictures of it. It also goes fairly quickly, as it's mostly downhill until about 2 miles before the next aid station. At this point, I was loving having the gears, as the miles were melting away, and I was staying in the big ring for the most part. I was making great time.


Blurry picture of the painted desert. Shortly after this point, the road disappears from under you.
 And it really does drop. It's about 500 to 600 feet of elevation drop in about 2 miles. It's a 40 mile an hour drop. It is an absolute blast.

After that, things start pointing uphill. I spent less time in the big ring, started moving slower, and for the most part, crawled into my pain cave, and ground away at the miles.

At this point, I really couldn't tell a difference between doing this ride with gears or without.
The only difference was that the cockpit looked different this year.
 At this point... my camera decided the battery was dead, so no more pictures of the ride. But there were still high points to be had... like the guy at aid stop number 5 who was spraying people down with a water mister.

That felt incredible.

There's also a great picture that the ride photographer took of me rolling in to the last aid station at the top of the climb out of Sunset Crater.

But the best part was the finish. I hit rain at the bottom of Cedar Hill, which is the last obstacle of the ride, between me and the food at the finish at the hospital. The rain is my reset button, and I powered up Cedar Hill, and down the other side.

Pizza, salad, and cookies were eaten, the rain stopped, Exe finished his driving rounds, and I rode home. Exe arrived shortly after, with the most delicious strawberry shake ever, to finish the ride.

And after a shower, my nice comfy new bed was waiting for me.
It may or may not have a different hammock today than yesterday. >.>
While I can't say if gears were a good choice or not for the ride, I can definitely confirm that a hammock is the best way to relax after a big ride.
Mileage: None today, 102.something yesterday.

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