Sunday, July 26, 2009

Me and the 8:00am Triangle Riders

As most of the Wheelmen were in Vermont, BobL, Ori, and JeffB suggested that I try riding with the 8am Triangle guys.
I met Billy E. who will be doing the Israel ride with me this fall who rode with them.

The ground was a little wet from an early morning shower so the group went on the service road till exit 52 or so. This was about twenty six miles. I was OK till about 25 miles. What I noticed about this group is when I sprint or pull hard after a red light when I am with the NSW I am usually on my own or with Ori or Bob. Today when I slowed down after a hard pull fifteen guys and one woman went right by me. I then had to sprint again to keep with the rear of their peloton.

What was helpful was their sag van (we need one of those). Jaime the driver of the van is very adept at pulling riders who fall behind by letting them draft behind him. Riding in the draft of the van was like spinning indoors and without the wind I was able to catch up.
By mile 24 or so I was getting to know Jaime really well.

We stopped for barely a rest by NSW standards to refuel at a gas station. I held on for another six miles until I was officially dropped.

As getting lost is easy for me, on the way back for some reason I ended up on the LIE rather than on the service road. The next exit was Route 135. On the exit ramp I was able to climb over the guard rail with my bike and make my way through the bushes back to the service road. A Triangle rider who was also dropped and was on the service road commended me on my sweet short cut! The hot and humid weather and effort was cramping my legs by the end of the ride.

Total for the day was 52 miles and a bruised ego.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wounded Warriors

I took Friday off to ride with the Wounded Warrior ride that was in Babylon. 22 miles with my wife. Average speed - 9 mph. Ouch. It hurts more when you ride slow. Great cause.

Sunday 7/19 - 16 Wheelmen

Record numbers rode to Bayville and up Moore's Hill road. Yes we lost some along the way but the guys at Woodbury Deli did not know what hit them.
Next week: Vermont!
I will try to ride with some Triangle group.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Death By Hills

That's the name of the NYCC ride I did today, and it was an apt one.

We met on the NJ side of the GW Bridge at 8:30. We had a really nice turnout, about 20 or so. Most NYCC riders are expert paceliners and, thanks to the sheer size of the club, you can always get a nice homogenius group that can work together smoothly. Besides, I knew a lot of people on this ride.

We were really crusing on the flats and the downs. Even on the climbs we were holding together for the most part.

Last week's century was definitely brutal. Today's ride, at 85 miles, was a ballbuster of a different kind. The primary purpose of this ride was, essentially, to hit all the steepest climbs between the GWB and the Bear Mt. Bridge. Some stretches of road were just sick. We're talking well above 20%. On one particular stretch one rider was trying to zig-zag across the road and took a fall while attempting the virtual switchback. Others had to put down a foot due to the extra slow speed. I was able to climb straight up only by litterally pedaling as hard as I could, out of the saddle with my head down. Thankfully these beasts weren't that long and I was feeling stronger than last week.

By comparison, climbing Perkins Drive to the summit of Bear Mt. Was a walk in the park.

I finally ran out of steam after crossing the bridge and crawled my way to Cold Spring. Once there we all enjoyed burgers and beer at The Depot. The plan was to take the train back. Helen had decided to spend the day antique shopping in Cold Spring and I was able to get a ride back. If only the Hutch weren't so backed up, we'd be already home.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday MTB

It felt wonderful to ride trail again, after so many miles of road. That is, on a trail bike. Arthur and I met the "daytime crew," the local group we usually ride with.

Glacier Ridge is one of my favorite MTB parks in LI. It's all beautifully designed and maintained fast and twisty singletrack. 15 miles of intense riding will give you quite a workout, and the amount of concentration required to handle the constantly changing terrain is one of my favorite aspects of this type of riding.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Greylock Mountain Century - 7/11/09

I've done many different century over the years, without too much trouble. This one was definitely the hardest one, primarily due to the combined steepness, length and sheer number of climbs. It was harder to get through this one century than through any of the rides I had just done in Colorado, including my 65 mile slog through the desert, into a 25 mph headwind and 95° weather (this after the first 55 miles of that day's ride), or my highest climbs over the continental divide, both above 12,000' of altitude.

It was 5 of us, starting as a group. Our friend Larry, who told us of this event and graciously invited us to stay at his beautiful vacation home in Hillsdale, NY (with his lovely wife, Lois), Larry's "protegé" Chelsea, her Boston College cycling teammate Chris, Bob and myself.

The first major climb came right at the beginning. It was Mount Greylock itself. Station #1 was set up on its summit at mile 22. The road that traverses the mountain made for some absolutely delicious riding. The pavement was smooth, most of it was in the shade, with nothing but beautiful New England forest on either side. Near the summit we were treated with expansive vistas of the land below. Mount Greylock rises quite dramatically from the surrounding northwestern Massachusetts. The haze cut down on visibility somewhat. It is the northeast after all. The maximum grade was 15%, but that was a relatively short section. Most of it was still on the steep side (I'm guessing about 10% or so), but there were gentler stretches. We were still fresh and we didn't have too much trouble getting through it. The descent was an absolute pleasure.

There were many other climbs following that. You can't find any level roads in that part of the country. The next serious climb camejust before station #2 (summit set up at mile 50). That one proved much harder to tackle. Maximum grade was 16% and I believe those steep grades ran for most of the climb. At some point I had to stop and rest mid climb. If you know me, you know that I NEVER rest mid climb. By the time I reached the station I was quite tired. Bob had reached it much earlier than me so he had that much more time to rest (not that he needed any real rest, really), in addition to being much stronger than me to begin with.

After we resumed our ride it didn't take long for me to get dropped. That last climb had taken away almost everything I had left in my legs and we were only halfway through. By then, every little rise in the road I saw coming my way filled me with dread, and they kept coming and coming. I had to drop to my first gear most of the time. It was nothing but steep rollers. I tried to distract myself from the pain by reminding myself to try and enjoy the beautiful views every now and then, but it wouldn't take long before the next climb would yank me back to reality.

On almost every climb I'd be facing what looked like an endless ramp, crawl my way up to the top, only to find out that what looked like the end of the climb was really just a minor reduction in the pitch and there was still another ramp, just as long, till the next false crest. There seemed to be a definite pattern to these climbs. Each one some 3 or 4 such segments, teasing me mercilessly into believing that a descent was at hand.

This ride had a very small turnout, maybe 100 riders altogether, so after the first half I found myself riding alone for a good part of the ride, hardly seeing any other rider along the road. I had decided not to bother with the cue sheet, since most of us was carrying one, not expecting to get dropped or riding such a sparse field. For the most part, I had no problem finding the turn signs painted on the road. But at some point I obviously missed a turn. During yet another painful climb I ran out of blacktop and found myself facing a dirt road. The thought of turning around and adding miles to this death march was too much to bear and I instead convinced myself that this must have been the way. I had looked for turn signs very carefully at every junction in the road and I was sure I was going the right way.

I continued on the dirt road, all the while looking for bicycle tire tracks as a way to confirm my hope. Even though I couldn't see any I was still convinced that I hadn't missed any turn. As the dirt road got progressively worse and kept going up and on, I eventually understood that I was, indeed, off the route. But at that point I still didn't want to turn around. Somehow I could tell I was still traveling in the correct general direction and was eventually going to find my back to the route. I rode a couple of miles on loose dirt, including a quite scary descent. I'm sure glad to have my trail riding experience. I couldn't have done that descent and come out in one piece otherwise.

Eventually I reached hard pavement again. I stopped to try to get my bearings. Before I could finish pulling out my BlackBerry and turning on the GPS I saw a rider coming down the road that I recognized from the last food stop. I flagged him down and he confirmed I was back on the designated route. I guess I had taken a shortcut.

After that there was still some painful climbing (not steep, just painful) until I finally reached Station #3, at mile 80. After a short rest and refuel, I started the last bit. I typically get a second wind at mile 80 on every century and, even though this had been my hardest one to date, this day was no exception. The next few climbs didn't feel quite as hard. It probably helped that Larry had forewarned me that the last 10 miles or so were mostly downhill, which they were. I could finally cruise again, after all those miles of pain and a frustrating snail's pace.

As I caught up to a rider that I had been chasing for a few miles on that descent, I only recognized him to be Larry when I was right behind him and we rode the last few miles together. By the end I logged 99 miles. That "shortcut" hadn't cut all that much off my ride after all.

Bob was of course comfortably waiting by his car, next to two other riders who were having beers from a cooler they brought along (a must on every century). They graciously offered us some too and we finally relaxed while waiting for Chelsea and Chris. In the end they weren't that far back.

After driving back home we finished off the day with hot tub, martinis, shower, more martinis and a delicious dinner at a nearby gourmet restaurant. We knew there was a severe storm bearing down on us. In the end it blew by just while we were inside the restaurant enjoying dinner. What perfect timing!

I'd do it again next year. Thanks for the invite, Larry!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday 7/12

Sunday was G DAY II: Double Goats in preparation for Vermont.

Present and accounted for were Jon, Dave, Amos, Isaac, Alan, Harold, Dave G, Herb and myself.

Dave Goldkrand and Herb had to return early and went up Wheatley.

Before regrouping at the Corset Shop, we met Glen from Syosset, who asked if he could tag along with us. Why Not – the more the merrier!

After regrouping at the Corset Shop, we headed down 108 to the Fish Hatchery. We waited several minutes for Alan, only to be told (can not remember who it was) that Alan had left us at the wishing well. We surmised that Alan must have had an early tee off time!

Up the first goat (Harold asked where the hill was) then on to the second goat. At the top we regrouped and I was absolutely wasted. Dave who has a Garmin GPS, advised that the maximum grade was between 11 and 12 per cent.

I thought Nassau County restricted all roads to 10% or less – but who knows???

Steve is this a potential lawsuit?????

Amos and Glen went up Sandy Hill, while Jon, Dave, Isaac and I continued into Bayville. Dave gave us a strong pull along shore road, where we averaged between 21 and 22 mph.

It was a very quick ride – averaged 15.5 mph including double goat and was at home by 11:15. Total was 53 miles.

Bob and Ori: How was Massachusetts?


PS: Sacked out and watched the Le Tour and noticed that the gradient on the Col du Tourmalet was only 9.5% - less than the second Goat!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Socks - Cheap

I needed socks and discovered that on the Defeet socks website you can order 12 pairs of cycling socks for $25 plus shipping. The socks are overruns and seconds.

Today I received my socks and they seem great. I am now part of Moose Racing, Harder Cycling, and Peloton Cellars, you know "Good Ride, Good Wine, and Good Times". I also received a Tour De France wool cycling pair.

Go to
Go to the socks drop down menu, go all the way down to the bottom of the drop down menu. Enjoy

Happy July 5

Thanks to all for showing up on time! We were on the road by 7:40.

The “A” group was Bob, Isaac and Dave. At the corset shop they did the Sunny Side spur into Huntington. The “B” group, JeffB, Alan, Harold, Joe, Amos, Rich Levine and myself, did Snake Hill into Huntington Harbor.

We all met within 1 minute at the Woodbury Deli. How’s that for timing!

It was a good ride, 56 miles, without incident until just before the Campus where Bob flatted. His first attempt at changing the tire was not successful. However, High Council leader JeffB, he with the golden fingers, was able to rectify the situation.

On the way back we “visited” Harold’s new home. It is very, very nice, with plenty of room for a pool in the back yard! Best of luck to Harold!

Next week Ori and Bob will be doing a grueling century in Massachusetts. JeffB will be in Mexico. In preparation for Vermont, I suggest THE GOATS!

Weather is getting warmer, so let all of us do our best to be at Wheatley by 7:30 AM. This way we are home by 11:30 ahead of the mid day heat.


Friday, July 3, 2009

7/3 The Independence Day ride?

Were were 5 this morning: Jon, Bob, Isaac, Eddie and myself. Group "A" (Bob and Isaac) went to the Corset shop, Sunny side extension, etc. Group "B" Jon and myself did Woodbury road, past Wishing Well up the Big Hill and left at the old Beefalo into Syosset, then the bumpy to the campus and home. Eddie had commitments at home and had to turn back early.

Group "B" did 44 miles.

SUNDAY: This will be group "B's" first extended ride: Snake Hill into Huntington. So please try to be on time: 7 AM at Lakeville and Northern and 7:30 AM latest at Wheatley. As we know the ride, this should save at least 20 to 30 minutes at Wheatley!

Everyone have a great 4th and see you on Sunday.


Group "A" update:
BobL and Isaac did the sunnyside extention, snake hill, wishing well, bumpy, and campus. Total 57 miles. Back to Great Neck by 11:45.