Thursday, October 28, 2010


A windmill style of anemometerImage via Wikipedia
By: Brent

After buying a bike, no matter the price, you have a constant urge to ride. If you paid $7.50 at a garage sale for a 1984 Huffy, you bought it with the intention of riding it.

After the purchases of Jeff's and my bikes, we have been lucky enough to meet other cyclist through local group rides. We joined 2 different shops, the Spin Zone crew in Granger where we got our bikes on Thursday's, and All About Cycling in Elkhart on Wednesday's. Due to work, family, and logistics, the Wednesday ride is a lot easier to get to. We have joined them a number of times now and have always had a great time. With a group ride a couple things happen.

1) You get to ride and talk about riding with other people who ride and like to talk about riding.
2) You get to wear Lycra amongst others who will wear Lycra, and not have to hear, "Hey, you're wearing Spandex!!!"
3) Clears your mind. Stress relief. Helps let it all go.
and as the Middlebury P.I.G.S. tell me
4) We ride so we can drink beer.

Wednesday was to be the last outdoor group ride of the year. Problem was, Northern Indiana has been laid on its side with high winds. There has been one tornado, and 30 mph winds have been pretty standard. AAC (All About Cycling) decided we would just ride indoors on trainers, but of the normal 8-10 riders, I was the only one to show up. So Steve (owner of AAC) and I decided, what the heck, lets go for it and tackle the wind.
We set off into the wind as much as possible heading 6 miles south east. It seemed to be a crosswind of maybe 10-15 and we averaged about 19 mph. All in all, it felt pretty good. I can't say at this point there were any concerns. We crossed the tracks and I expressed my want to go down to CR 28 and climb what I refer to as "Hall's Hill" (my group of friends know the guy at the base of the hill (Mr. Hall, hence....) This is the most significant climb anywhere close to this route so I really wanted to hit it. Well as we set down the one mile road of CR 15 I thought, huh, this is a bit windier than that last stretch, then we made the turn down CR28. I believe "OMG" says it best. First we tackle Hall's Hill were by the end of it, I was struggling to stay above 10mph, then to get to the flat and deal with what must have been an F4 tornado coming across the road. For 3 miles we got smacked across the face by what Steve declared "The second windiest ride he had ever been on." Mind you at any point Steve could have dropped me and left me for dead, but he stuck with me and we toughed it together. Then the greatness began, WE TURNED. Within an instant, 22 mph was no issue. You don't even notice the wind. When you have it in your back, you forget all about it and tack it up to your own personal greatness. "Wind? What wind?" Then, about 6 miles from the shop, I felt this tiny piercing in my right calf. "Odd. I wonder what that crazy feeling in my leggggggggg!!!!!!" Charlie horses are the work of the Devil. I knew then, I was done for. But (what I felt was a relatively quick healing process) for about 90 seconds, I got my leg extended, stretched and kept pedaling. My biggest concern at this point was the daylight. It was vanishing quickly. We do ride with tail lights, but still, darkness is darkness. My concerns of finishing were growing greater. Luckily, by starting into the wind I know that we have the luxury of being pushed the rest of the way back so I didn't mention how close we were to my house so I wouldn't get dropped off. Really, the last 6 miles, post Charlie, were pretty uneventful. We did have to wait on the end of a train but again, there is not a lot of story there.
Upon return to the shop Steve took my bike in and discovered what I thought was a bad pedal, was actually a bad bearing on my BB30 bottom bracket. Now I get to call Sarah at Spin Zone and ask her again, "Why BB30?". I asked this question when shopping for the bike, where she told me, "Because it's the best." Hmmmm.....
Next week.....TRAINERS!!!!!
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple Cider Century 2010 - 50 Mile Review

Rider Braclet
[sorry this review is a little late, but better late then never]
By: Jeff

The day was finally here.  Brent and I had been waiting for this day for awhile now.  Bright and early on Sunday morning Brent and I headed up to Three Oaks, MI.  The temps were in the high 40's, needless to say we had multiple layers on.  It was partly cloudy, but overall looked to be a great day to test our legs on our first official biking event.

As we approached Three Oaks we were seeing more and more cars with bikes attached to them.  This only added to the excitement of the ride ahead.  The Apple Cider Century attracts 5,000 cyclist every year!!!  When we finally entered town, the realization of how many cyclists this is finally hits.....Holy Cow that is a lot of people on two wheels.  I have to give it to the organizing committee though, there were plenty of people to direct you to parking, and also plenty of people to direct you where to go for packet pick up.  After packet pick up we went back to the car and unpacked the bikes.  We got everything ready to go.  We got on all our geeky bike gear, helmets, gloves, drink bottles, cycling computers.  We were ready to go!!!

ACC Starting Line
Brent Fixing Flat
 At this point we headed away from the parking lot and towards the start/finish line.  Honestly with so many cyclist around I was just thinking, "don't hit anyone". We then proceeded through town and then towards the countryside.  I wouldn't say it was crowded, but still a good group of cyclist were all around.  The only hills of the event were as we crossed into Indiana.  (Now let me point out that I am talking about northern Indiana and southern Michigan, if you live here you know that it is flat. So if you are from a mountains type region please disregard all talk of would be laughing at me.)  About 10 miles in a pack of racer wanna-be cyclists passed us....oh they were all decked out in their "team kits".  As they zoomed by us I thought, hmmm we'll never see them again.  But then Brent says, "do you know that guy?"  After looking ahead I thought, hmmmm maybe I do.  So I stepped it up a bit, and was able to latch onto the back of the wanna-bees.  I was actually a bit surprised I was keeping up.  I finally got beside one of their riders and asked for the guy's name that I thought maybe I knew.  Turns out it was not him.  So then Brent says, "does this mean your going to slow down now?" , "No I'm feeling pretty good". As we started up a incline that is when it happened.  15 miles into the ride I hear Brent say...."Jeff.......Flat".  So we got a slight break as Brent put a new tube on. At 25 miles in we got to the first SAG stop.  It was a nice setup.  Again you are reminded how many cyclists are there.  Everything was orderly, Food and drink tents, and bike repair tent.  It was great having a bike repairman on duty, Brent was able to get his tire properly inflated, and had his shifting tweaked.  We are not sure where the repairman was from, but thanks for the help!!!  The food setup was great, grapes, bananas, Clif Bars, cookies, hot potato soup, and of course apple cider!  It was pretty comforting knowing that we were all ready at the half-way point.  The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful.  The wind picked up a bit, but wasn't unbearable.  Over all we had a really great time and a really great ride.  We finished the ride and then had the included spaghetti lunch. Next year we plan to do the full century.  Can't wait!!!
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