Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tout a Gauche

Il ne marche pas. Je marche.

I thought about calling this Ernesto and Dario's Excellent Adventure, but it wouldn't really tell the story. If it were a weekday, Ernie and Dario's Day Off would have been in serious contention.

I went out for a 200K with Bill today. It was a beautiful day a few tens of degrees hotter than last weekend. The mountain was out in full force, and it made us think of our blue shirted brothers on the 600K. Good on ya' guys!

Today's goal was to redeem myself from my DNF on the 100K and to get another R12 month under my belt. I held my tongue and didn't point out all the places we changed flats last weekend.

The Alps is basically the same route as the 100K with a bit more suffering. It's got about 9000 feet of climbing.

And then there is Alice.

The climb up to Lake Alice comes about 90 miles into the ride, and you have already had a few climbs to soften you up. The Zoo, Somerset, Tiger Mt., Squak Mt., etc. "Oh," he said, "I forgot about Squak; I suppose we'd better do that before Starbucks."

But Alice is the cruel one. At least she is with me. Bill gets along with Alice just fine. With me, she starts out nice enough. In fact, she's kind of easy at first, but she hides her evil ways from view until it's too late. Once she gets mean, she just never backs off -- not even a little -- until she's just plain old done with you. Then she spits you out and invites you back to play anytime you want. Oh yeah, she's around; just swing by and see her. You don't even need to call.

Bob B. went to France this summer and came home with some new vocabulary. Tout a gauche means all the way to the left. It means you are already in your lowest gear and there is nowhere else to go. Tout a gauche wasn't enough today.

I ended up cramped like a...well like a big cramped thing as we hit Lake Alice road. I have never ever walked on a climb. Never. I've gone really really slow, and I've stopped to rest before, but today I walked. At least I was moving forward.

Still, this ride is a totally different experience on a sunny day with enough daylight. When I rode this in the winter with Greg, who was off jumping out of a perfectly good airplane today, we finished after dark, and we were wet and cold. Today it was pretty good advice to leave my vest and arm warmers in the car.

Last time, I forgot one of my shoes and got bonus miles riding to my house with a big honkin' boot on one foot. This time, Bill fell for my cunning plan to leave my cue sheet home. This way he had to stick with me. Thanks Bill.

Continuing the trend of riding with others with stellar jerseys, Bill pulled this out. "Oh, this little thing? I just threw it on; it's nothing, really."

I'd have Lizzie build you a retaining wall for a jersey like that.

Let's play, "That's Rando!"
Bill and I went light today, so the contestants were few and the pickings slim. The best entry would have to be my flashlight and Very Large Corporation of America badge holder map clip:

Unfortunately, the international judging committee of "That's Rando!" deemed the entry insufficiently rando to earn an award. They refuse to cheapen the award with such a trival entry, and decided no entry was worthy today. The Russian judge abstained. I suppose that's how they earn their lavish salaries and international acclaim. While obviously disappointed, I understand and respect the judges decision, and I will strive to fight another day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Best DNF Ever.

Today was my first Randonneur DNF. I ended up riding with Chris and Robert, and I could not have had more fun. Tires and tubes did us in. This was my second or third Mountain Populaire 100K.

But don't you rando guys carry everything you need? One would think so. Between the three of us we had a metric crapton (about 2.2 thousand pounds for those of you from the UK) of tires and tubes, but it wasn't enough. I suspect we also had enough patches to construct a new tube from scratch. We used our last tube where the course was pretty close to the start/finish line, so instead of venturing off to Carnation, we coasted down the hill and called it day.

Notice any excellent color matching?

Did I mention it rained? This wasn't cooling mist rain; it was full-on Stevie Ray Vaughn Texas Flood rain. Boy was it fun.

Just before we got to the parking lot, Chris decided to lock his rear wheel and slide around for a while before pulling over to the side of the road. Who knew those Paul brakes were that strong? Oops, it wasn't the brakes. A couple of miles before, I mounted my spare tire on his wheel for him because the bead was a bit funky. I didn't do such a good job. We had just enough time to check it out and watch the tube burst out before it blew up. Most excellent.

Thanks so much to the orgainzers.

Now let's play, "That's Rando!"

As you might imagine, a 100K in the rain was ample hunting grounds for the next winner of "That's Rando!" I'd like to express my gratitude to all who played today; you put forth an excellent effort. For a while, this entry of the rear facing front bag (complete with wheel sucker map window) was in contention.

But then, during the first of many, many flat stops to work on Chris's stunning Tournesol:

I noticed this chunk of fabric missing where a rat ate his Berthoud bag. Clearly today's winner. Nobody else bother playing:

Saturday, September 5, 2009


So I tried my first single track today. I had a great time, but I think I prefer a little more riding with my rides. It was wet, slippery, rocky, sandy, muddy, and rooty. I suspect rooty isn't in the dictionary; well it should be. My front shifting got a little sticky; I wonder why? Did I mention it was fun?

While I was falling all over with my fancy-pants 29er, Christian was having no problems with his cross bike.

And for today's edition of That's Rando!, I present this rust proof, rattle proof, color coordinated fender mount. It brings a tear to my eye.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oops, I did it again!

I am such an addict. This showed up on a couple of the forums today. It just had to be my size. I just got the frame, fork, and headset, so I think I'll pull the parts off something else which I will release into the wild. This one is a keeper.