Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Nashville Ride

Monday, May 21st, 2007

First of all, Bike to Work Day (which was Friday) was pretty nonexistent here, as far as I could tell. I didn’t see any more cyclists than usual. There may have been some kind of event, but I’m not even sure. I just rode to work as usual. I rode the Water Works ride Friday night like I usually do, and hardly saw any other cyclists. I guess Friday evening isn’t the most popular time to ride.

Saturday morning, I rode the Nashville Ride with the Bloomington Bicycle Club (“BBC”). This was a 55-mile ride to Nashville, Indiana, and back. I had been wanting to ride to Nashville for some time, so I was pretty excited about the ride. I found an already-existing Routeslip map that covers the route we took.

I was running a little late getting there, because it was colder outside than I realized, so I had to put on a jacket and leg warmers and use my rack bag instead of a smaller saddle bag so that I could put my warmer clothes in it when it warmed up. I’m a bit surprised at how a lot of other cyclists will only use tiny saddle bags — how do they carry their stuff? It seems like a lot of them shove lots of stuff in their jersey pockets. I really don’t like having stuff in my jersey pockets (it’s uncomfortable), and opt for bigger bags to carry stuff instead. It does slow me down a bit, but I’m not trying to be the fastest one out there. Does anyone else out there feel the same way?

The Mad Dog Division was in full force this time; when the ride started, a number of riders darted out of the parking lot and disappeared into the distance, never to be seen again. I didn’t even try to ride with them. There were several different groups this time; I started off riding with the group behind the Mad Dog Division, but soon ended up in the group behind that. However, I felt like they were going a bit slow and broke off at my own pace. I saw a guy riding alone a ways ahead of me and realized I was keeping about the same pace he was. I decided to try to catch up with him. It took 5-10 minutes to catch him, but I was pleased that I was able to do so. I’m also glad I decided to break away from the group and go my own pace for a while. There’s no reason to go too fast or too slow just so you can ride in a bigger group.

The route we took was pretty different from the one I take when I drive to Nashville, taking State Road 45 to some smaller roads, including Bear Wallow Road, which has a really challenging hill. It’s one of those hills with long, fairly steep sections, but it levels out 2 or 3 times, so you think it’s over. Then you go around the next turn and see that you have a lot more climbing to do. Once we got to the top, I heard someone say “That was so much easier than such-and-such a climb!” Great. So we took the easy way, and it damn near killed me. On the other hand, there was a great descent waiting for us on the other side of the hill.

Since we took a different route than I’m used to, and the scenery was different as well, it took me a couple of minutes to realize we’d reached Nashville. This made it a bit anticlimactic in a way, but it was still very rewarding to realize I’d ridden my bicycle to Nashville. Of course, the ride was only half over at this point. We stopped at a gas station to get some more water/Gatorade, use the bathrooms, etc. After a short break, we headed back toward Bloomington.

We took a different way back, Helmsburg Road to South Shore and then across Lake Lemon. I talked to a couple of people from the club some more, and one of them gave me some advice about riding in groups. I have tried to ask various people for such advice in the past and not gotten a lot of help, but Stan was pretty helpful. He also told me about the ride they were doing Sunday, an 80-mile ride to Bloomfield and back, but I told him I needed some recovery time after the Nashville ride. Besides, I’m not sure I’m ready for an 80-mile ride just yet.

I’m still noticing that climbing is my biggest weakness. I think that the biggest problem is my weight. Even though I’ve lost some, I’m not there yet. As my fitness improves, I find that my weight really seems to be the limiting factor. The flipside is that even if I fall behind on climbs, I can almost always catch up on flat or downhill sections.

I broke off from the group on the way back to take a slightly more direct route home. The BBC guys were more friendly and encouraging on this ride, saying it was good to ride with me and to come back. I will. There was a strong headwind on my way home, and that was probably the hardest part of the whole ride.

When I got home, Sarah was walking Rob, and I saw that her friend Julia, her daughter Sammy, and their dog Roxy had arrived. We spent Saturday with them and had a great time, even though I messed up trying to find the place with the tigers and drove in the wrong direction. We missed out on the giant cats. We stopped at a flea market, and I managed to resist buying one of several vintage bicycles I saw and test rode there. We hung out with Julia’s cousin Saturday night, going to the Upland Brewery, eating dinner, and drinking some beer. He has done some mountain biking and is interested in trying to do some computer music, so we hit it off pretty well.

Sunday morning, we had breakfast with Julia and Sammy, and they left. Sarah and I hit a few garage sales and flea markets. Sarah bought a cool mirror and some small sailor magnets, and I bought a small bike pump. We went home and took a nap, and the rest of the day was pretty low-key.

I also found a Routeslip map of the Paragon Ride I did with the BBC a few weeks ago.

3 Responses to “Nashville Ride”

  1. furiousball Says:

    55 miles! nice dude. I will be getting my road bike pretty soon (I hope) I can’t wait to start riding to work and then my plan to head down to the shore to go sailing with my dad for an afternoon on the Barnegat Bay.

  2. John Says:

    I don’t wear cycling shirts and cover my cycle shorts. (They both make me look fat) 8>). So I can’t fill my pockets. I don’t have a problem with a backpack. I have a mid sized pack with a water bladder. I have never used the baldder though. Also trunk and handlebar bags.

    Weight and spin technique are huge factors in climbs. It takes a while to lose the weight, but pedal technique can be immedidate. Get into an easy gear, relax and pull up on the pedal more than pushing down. You will begin to get a box motion. push down in front, pull back, pull up in back, slide forward. It’s very subtle but it will eliminate burning out your thighs on climbs. And it’s slow.

  3. Marty Says:

    Sounds great, despite the lack of big cats in your weekend. And lazy Sundays are the best – when you can get them!

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