Monday, July 12, 2010

Training - Cape Cod - Bunnies, Bruises, and Brushes

Today signaled the first day on the Cape. As noted yesterday, I really wanted to work on my sprint. I haven't done much sprinting in training, and I want to correct that. I haven't been able to replicate the sprint workouts I used to do on Summer Street, and those were a substitute for the now-gone Tuesday Night Sprints at SUNY Purchase.

SOC and I took off on a 2+ hour ride, something reasonable, a normal day after the crit yesterday. SOC had been taking it easy so he had some fresh legs; I felt okay too, since I hadn't made any major efforts Sunday.

So, with a very modest ride planned, I skipped bringing even gloves. We rolled out with no real expectations, a JRA kind of ride.

At some point I looked back and spotted a rider rolling up to us. I let SOC know that someone was chasing us. We didn't say anything else, but we both waited for the catch.

The rider rolled by us and SOC mischievishly shifted up and grabbed the wheel. I followed suit, grabbing SOC's wheel, and we set off.

Our rabbit hadn't read about the "California Passing Rule", the one where you don't pass unless you know you can hold the pace for a while, like 20 or 30 minutes. He slowed a bit, then turned off.

SOC, his competitive juices flowing, kept the higher pace.

The first unexpected thing happened when a little bunny hopped across the road in the middle of one of the small towns dotting the Cape. Although there are bunnies in Connecticut, I haven't seen any recently so it was nice to see one.

Bunny on the sidewalk. I see them all over - they're to the area like squirrels are at home. Hopping squirrels.

Then we got passed by a truck with a forklift on the back, a big, lumpy thing that makes for a great draft. I made a split second decision to go, didn't have a breath to warn SOC, and jumped after the truck.

I shifted, jumped again, and then, as I wound up my sprint, suddenly I was skating on my right foot, my left knee smashing into the stem. After a bit of a wobbly, I reclipped into the pedal, noticing the chain had dropped off the chainring. I tried to pick up the chain by shifting into the small but the cranks wouldn't turn. I knew that may indicate something more serious so I started looking for a turn off.

On the next road I turned right, stopped, and checked the chain. It'd gotten wedged between the small cog (a 12T) and the frame. I had to take the wheel off to unwedge it. I double checked the limit screw and found it felt a bit loose. I'll have to put some Loctite or something on it. In the meantime I adjusted everything properly.

I'd bruised my thigh pretty well, with temporary red welts showing exactly where I'd hit the stem and bars. My knee started to stiffen up a bit, and suddenly my motivation to ride hard started to ebb.

Before I could get back into the whole "hammer on the ride" mode, we had another close call. A gray pickup decided to pass us on a curve and stayed quite close to us.

In fact, he got really, really close to SOC.

As close as it gets.

I can't believe he passed that closely, but SOC shrugged it off, literally. It's a good thing too, because if he didn't shrug, the truck would have hit him. As the truck started to pass him, he instinctively dropped his shoulder, stuck his knee out, and swung swung right.

When we reached our turn around point, SOC asked if I wanted to ride back on the Rail Trails or on the road. I thought he was crazy to ask, after our ride out (on allegedly quiet roads). I chose the Rail Trails option.

Although a lot more peaceful, we had to deal with a lot of intersections. Curiously enough, as "non-road-users", we got a lot more respect. At points where the Rail Trails crossed the road, cars would literally screech to a stop to let us cross. What they didn't know is that we're supposed to wait.

So at each road crossing we'd stop, the cars would stop, and the drivers would wave us across. We'd wave our thanks and continue on our way.

I suppose it's a good thing that the drivers feel the need to yield to the Rail Trails crossings. Ignorance about various traffic laws works both ways. I'd prefer that drivers give room to cyclists (and, for the most part, they do), but I think it's nice that the Rail Trails users seem to have benefited from this lack of knowledge. The users there tend to be more recreational, less able to fend for themselves on the open road, and therefore it seems fitting that cars give way to them.

When the Missus saw me, after the ride, she asked what that welt was on my chest. Apparently I hit it when I kneed my stem. So it was a bit more of an impact than I realized.

Hopefully tomorrow's ride is a bit more uneventful.


magboo said...

Man - that truck was inches away! Scary stuff. Be careful out there.

Drew said...

Folks are not too friendly to cyclists out there on the Cape.

your sistah! said...

I can't believe that truck! That's so obnoxious and dangerous! Stay safe.