Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! Mind if I use your shower?

A few weeks ago I kind of off offhandedly made plans to ride to our families Thanksgiving dinner. The only real problem was that I off offhandedly made the plans out loud, in front of people, real people, not just The Warden, who wouldn’t give me too much grief should I back out, but real people from work, and certain other family members, who despite their inability to pedal a bike for more than a mile,3 would give me a rash of shit till next Easter for wussing out of this ride.

I ended up leaving about two and half hours later than I had planned on, but I eventually got everything I thought I would need, and a whole bunch of crap I wouldn’t actually need crammed into my back pack, not to mention the things I knew I would actually need, and had prepared, but forgot to load on the bike, like my water bottles. Thank God for debit cards. I was about 5 miles out when I realized I forgot them, and turning back at that point would have pretty much put me past any acceptable window, and warm white meat doesn’t last long with my family.

My original plan was to take the Great Western bike path all the way east till it turned into the Illinois Prairie Path, which hits York Road about a mile from my aunt’s house. The path is paved in parts but is mostly crushed limestone, so I opted to take my single speed, it’s got slightly fatter tires and is more suited for that stuff than my road bike is. I had already put a bigger chain ring back on up front, and swapped out my cross tires, so it’s pretty much good to go for winter road riding.

The problem though is that it’s not really winter yet, it was sunny, and 46 degrees out. The path was kind of frozen at parts, but thawed in others, it was like riding with two flat tires. A pretty significant effort only yielded about 13 mph, and I needed to hold at least 15 mph most of the trip or I was going to be eating cold & clammy dark meat for certain. After about 2 or 3 miles of that crap I hopped onto route 64. A little louder, and not quite as scenic, but I could hold about 20 mph easy enough.

I was surprised by how good the ride went. I held 20 mph most of the time, on a single speed, by myself with nobody to draft. Joel would be proud. I was really starting to feel it by mile 35, and by mile 45 I was ready to be done. The last 15 miles took me through some pretty dense strip mall territory, and the stopping and starting all the time really took its toll. I ended up riding 50.1 miles. It took me 2:45 minutes and according to the computer I averaged 18.2 mph. Not too shabby for a single speed. That would have killed me back in May.


durtdemon said...


Joel said...

Sweet! Gotta love the soggy limestone! :(