Weekend off

I’ve been sore every day since the end of July, due to training for the Highlander. Having ridden it last weekend. I’m taking this weekend off.

Once a year, whether it needs it or not (as if) I clean the oven. Today is the day. I like to do it in the autumn while I can still have the windows open. While the Easy-Off does its thing, I have a little bit of time. Later I’ll mop the floors and clean the bathroom.

Yesterday I had brunch with a friend, then helped her at her place out in the ‘burbs for a while. After, we went to the Wal-Mart in the 315. The 315 Wal-Mart is the only place I can find Gatorade powder that I like in the three-pound canisters. The Wal-Marts here in town are always sold out of everything but the lemon-lime—which to me tastes just like Pine-Sol. And BJ’s carries only the Pine-Sol flavor.

So I bought a two-year supply of my favorite, the blue stuff—Frost Glacier Freeze—and the red stuff—Fruit Punch. I bought $80 of the of it, which combined with my existing stock, I have enough Gatorade powder to make 84 gallons of the stuff, or enough to fill 448 24oz bottles.

At $2.25 a bottle the last time I bought it mid-ride, that’s a savings of over $950.


On the way to the Highlander last weekend with my ride partner Bikerjohn, we were talking about how we’d approach the course given the weather forecast. Neither of us really wanted to spend the entire day riding in the thunderstorms.

It occurred to me that we were talking about making our own 35-mile or so cut of the 70-mile cut of the Corkscrew Century. Why bother with that when there’s also a 40-mile figure-eight route called the Yodeler?

Getting sprinkled on during the ride to the start at Bristol Mountain Ski Resort, I pitched the idea. John though it was worth considering. Picking up our numbers, we checked out the maps, and decided that yes, the Yodeler it would be.

Outside, I swooned just a bit as a guy with shoulder-length hair rolled up on a bike with full fenders, dyno hub, Schmidt Edelux headlight and Arkel Tailrider trunk bag. Good-looking and on a rig equipped the same as Mr. Portland.

I had to let all lascivious thoughts go, given the mixed company and John and I set off to start our ride.

I immediately liked the Yodeler. The first four miles were flat to maybe a minus half-percent, and with our backs to the wind. It was a great warm-up to work the morning kinks out before the road pitched up at Bristol Center. The first rest stop in Cheshire came much too early, but we stopped anyway.

Since John and I ride at different paces, our plan generally is that I’ll wait up for him at the rest stops. Since the ride was going to be so short, I also waited at the top of significant climbs. It worked out nicely, I think. But he still saw a lot of my taillight.

The overcast was heavy enough that the Schmidt’s ambient light sensor kept the lights running. It also made it easy to recognize other dyno-equipped riders. It felt like a club within the larger ride.

From Cheshire, the route dropped down to Canandaigua Lake. I kept the speed reined in due to the heavy crosswinds. The max on the descent was 40.7 mph. I was grateful for the fresh brake pads that I’d bedded them in the night before.

Suddenly, I began to recognize things from way back in the spring of 2008 when Hndlebar took me out for hill training before I went out west to the Rocky Mountains. Here was Miller’s Hill, which I remembered had a false summit. Rounding a bend it begins the second half of its rise high above the lake.

Mr. Portland had been climbing well enough. I’ve gotten spoiled by the light wheels on both Jeeves and Blue Steel. But remembering that, back when I was much less of a climber, it had taken me up Mt. Evans and up to Rocky Mountain National Park, I settled in.

Earlier it had bothered me that a couple of guys on carbon wonderbikes were passing us on the climbs, but those earlier climbs were easier than Miller’s, and I wasn’t really working them either. As the road pitched up on Miller’s, Mr. Portland and I passed a dozen or so carbon wonderbikes.

brucew and Mr Portland in the rain Brucew and Mr. Portland in the rain


Into the wind.

Running the lights on the dyno hub.

With fenders, luggage rack and trunk bag.

Shortly after, we came across longhaired guy with a dyno hub again, (apparently on the Quads Hilla route) and again I swooned as he checked out Mr. Portland, and—I was hoping—me too.

Next thing you know, we were back on 21 heading south when the skies opened. Two hours earlier than forecast.

The high headwinds whipped the huge drops right into my face and they stung. There was so much rain that soon the runoff from the rain got between the helmet vents to my head was running down my face and into my eyes—behind my glasses.

It hadn’t occurred to me to wash my helmet pads before the ride. Mom Nature did it for me, rinsing a summer’s worth of salt into my eyes. That stung too.

We soldiered on, across the top of Bopple Hill Road where the Quads Hill riders were torturing themselves on its 23% grade.

Talking about yesterday’s thunderstorms, Rochesterian Crankyolddude, who I know from Bike Journal’s Commuter Cycling Century and BikeForum.Net’s 50+ Forum, perfectly described what happened next for me on Saturday’s ride.

After battling through two miles of wind-driven walls of water I was absolutely thrilled to finally emerge into a nice downpour!

Yep. That sums it up.

By my arrival in Bristol Springs, all the salt had been rinsed from my helmet pads, my shoes were full of water, and I was glad John and I had agreed to return to the start, rather than to continue on to the second loop of the figure-eight.

And it stopped raining.

I ended the day with 28 miles of an intended 40-miler (down from the 70-mile cut of a century) under my wheels, and was completely satisfied with the ride.

Later while we were inside the ski lodge having our post-ride meal, the skies opened again, which rinsed all the grime off Mr. Portland. When we arrived home, even the underside of the fenders were clean. I was delighted that I wouldn’t have to get wet again to wash the bike.

August rides

August was a perfect month for summer cycling. I had to use the A/C at home for only four days in the month. Warm sunny days and cool nights meant that every workday fell into a routine of the 16¼-mile long loop to work, followed by a 7-mile cut of the hills, parks, cemetery and trails route home, where I used Genesee St and crossed the river at Brooks Landing to cut out the flat trails bit.

So I got LSD (long steady distance) and some hill work in every day. Twenty-two miles every workday made it easy to hit my mileage goal for the month.

In September, I’m going to have to work for it given I lost 40 miles last weekend and I’m taking this weekend off. Plus, I took a day off on Monday intending to recover from the Highlander, and there was Labor Day a week ago.

Still, I have a nice cushion built up, so even if I don’t make the monthly goal, I’ll still be ahead on the year-to-date.

Eat my shorts

I’ve long had a characteristic wear spot in my cycling shorts. Earlier in the summer, I discovered how it was happening. I still have boyishly narrow hips, and certainly not a wide stance. So the saddles that fit my ass are the classic ass-hatchet types with the narrow nose.

Blue has a fairly steep 74° seat tube. Coupled with my long femurs, the saddle is set back on the seatpost with the clamp all the way to the front of the rails. Turns out, the inside of my left leg rubs on the seatpost clamp,. So Blue eats my shorts.

The fix is simple, just replace the seatpost with a setback model. But simpler still is just to ride a different bike. So Blue has very few miles this year.

Recently it hit me that another solution, is to just wear old shorts that already have the wear spot on the inside left leg. So that’s what I’ve done lately. It’s nice to have Blue back in rotation.

Maybe Santa will bring a nice setback Thomson Elite (in black).

One Response to “Weekend off”

  1. bikerjohn Says:

    For sure it was an abbreviated version of the Highlander but the weather created some hazards worthy of the modification. The description by CrankyOldDude about the Saturday morning weather accurately describes my Highlander experience too. Something more un-encouraging was the steady rain on steep grade downhills. Post-ride hoppy notes Beer was delicious. Great post-ride meal especially the Beef Minestrone soup . Two servings of Grape Pie? Yes! I didn’t notice any Swoons…