The day after my 2A ride the Missus sent me out to ride on yet another beautiful day. The days get muddled up in my head but I think it was the day where I was worried about the weather as it was wet out. By the time I rolled out the driveway, though, all I could see in the sky were puffy white clouds with a blue backdrop.
I had this terrible creak coming from the left side of the bottom bracket. I figured the bearings weren't bad so it had to be the bearing/frame interface. I squirted some lube there and hoped it would quiet down. I couldn't spend too much time in the breezeway working on the bike because the 15 or 20 mosquitoes there would start feeding on me.
After a quick splash of lube I headed out the door.
I should mention that the driveway is a loose, small stone driveway. With the mosquitoes around I can't afford to dilly-dally on the driveway so each ride gets started with me bombing down the bumpy grass that lines the driveway. It's truly a 'cross type experience.
I'll also add that the 50 feet of "cross" is enough for me. I won't be buying a cross bike.
Anyway for the "ride after the 2A ride" I decided to do the Kingman Loop again. It's easy to navigate, now that I knew where to make the second of four right turns. The roads have little traffic, like all roads around here, and I could sort of remember where the few "challenging" hills sat.
As soon as I headed out I knew my legs were off. Granted, I'd ridden almost 40 miles the prior day, but I didn't feel sore or anything. My legs just felt sort of empty, hollow.
I cajoled them into turning circles along the early bits of the ride, sections with some slightly easier riding. I wasn't feeling it though, I didn't feel comfortable on the drops, not on the hoods, and therefore rode a lot on the tops, fondling the strap that held the top of my pump in place.
I'll point out that my pump is mounted between the front skewer lever and my bars. It's the best place on the red bike to put the pump. I secure both ends with those ubiquitous velcro straps and I've never had a problem with a loose or AWOL pump.
The only thing is that the top strap ends up sitting in the middle of the tops so I end up rubbing it with my fingers while I ride. It's sort of like Junior when he's sitting in his chair, strapped in place, but anxious about something. He'll start rubbing his finger tip against the chair or the tray, like he was trying to rub out a piece of dried on PB&J.
Anyway I rolled along, pretty uncomfortable, along 170. I passed the Springfield Fair, the big event for the town of Springfield each year. The whole lot of us had been there so I knew what to expect, but to see more than one or two cars at a time on this road still shocked me.
Springfield Fair, the big event of the year.
I can't resist posting a picture I took while at the fair. It's a joke but it sort of says it all.
We found this and thought it was pretty funny.
That's my phone for scale.
The fair sits on an area about as large as a large soccer field. Back at home it'd fit in the grass field in front of the bandshell in the middle of town. They have rides, food stands, tractor and draft horse pulls, blue ribbon things, ducks, geese, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, all sorts of stuff. No alcohol, but you could go out to your car and come back inside as many times as you wanted (in a day). I saw people eating and drinking in the parking lot, obviously trying to save money on the food past the gate.
Anyway on the ride this was where I saw the most number of people in one spot.
After that it felt like I was riding through a set from the Walking Dead.
Well, not really, because there weren't abandoned cars everywhere, there weren't dead people everywhere, and there weren't any zombies trying to eat me.
So it wasn't really like riding through a set from the Walking Dead. It was just really empty.
Route 6 was tough on me. I had to hit my small chainring a number of times, on what were upgrades just a little steeper than "slight". I don't remember a ton of wind so I think it was just my empty legs.
I didn't miss the turn onto 168 aka Winn Road this time, but man this road really grew sticky since a few days ago. I felt like my tires were sinking into the pavement, to the point that I actually checked to see if my brakes were rubbing. I twiddled my pedals along this road, wondering how the heck I rolled it so easily the first time 'round.
I ate half the Pop Tarts on this road. I'd have eaten "one cake" (it's a cake?) but after spending a day in my jersey pocket yesterday I really had a bag of Pop Tart Crumbles. Therefore I ate half the crumbles and saved the other half "just in case".
Route 2 wasn't much better although I wasn't hungry. I ended up using the small ring all over the place, I never found my rhythm after the hill out of Winn (the steepest hill of the ride). I did pass the party house and a half dozen kids hanging out in front of it. I didn't notice if they were drinking this time, and I did notice that the cars looked newer than they did last time.
I crawled up that hill in my 39x23.
Miraculously my cranks suddenly quieted down. I guess it takes about 2 hours of pedaling to work the lube into the bearing/frame interface. Suddenly I lost my creaking metronome.
I wondered if I'd be riding faster or slower because of that.
I got back to 170 and felt a bit better. I tried to roll a few times, getting a decent gear going, but within a half minute or so I'd shifting down and resting my legs. My legs loaded up on lactic acid almost instantly and I felt like I was pedaling with wooden logs instead of legs.
Two little kids, maybe 4 and 6 years old, playing in their yard, said hi to me.
I waved hi back.
I struggled on my now-quiet bike. I stood on short rises, trying to get over them in the big ring, but ended up sitting down and shifting down through the gears.
I rolled past the funny school sign. Ha ha.
I rolled up the last little rise before the final steep hill to the Outpost. On that rise I tried to roll the big ring. In a race we'd be flying up it in a 53x14 or higher, but today, for me, the 53x21 was too big.
10 meters from the top I was in the small ring and crawling.
I managed to get up the last steep hill, a couple hundred yards of climbing where I try to go faster than 3 or 4 mph, fast enough to stay out of mosquito tracking speed.
I rolled into the driveway and did my customary power slide - dismount - entry move.
Two mosquitoes bit me in the breezeway.
I got inside, a bit itchy, tired, fatigued, thirsty, and hungry.