Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beating the Demons

So, after the Big Crash in which I wiped out on wet railroad tracks and broke my dominant hand so severely that I wasn't out of the splint until Thanksgiving (and still have nerve damage today), I was feeling a bit beat by the road.

This weekend, it has been one year since the Big Crash.  So I returned to Vermont (this time, with M) to ride the ride again.

It was about as different as it could be.  I ran into Brian, the really nice guy who was tailing me on a mountain bike and who helped called SAG.  I think he also pulled my bike off the road.  His wife is also an M, and she's also doing TNT- she's a marathoner!

The weather was GORGEOUS- clean, clear, a little breezy, cool.  Basically, the sort of riding weather cyclists sell souls for.

The HydeAway Inn and the owner Margaret were the same as ever- perfect, gracious, cheerful Vermont hospitality.  I don't know how many years I will be able to make the Mad River Ride, but she operates in ski season too, and Margaret and her Inn will always have my business.  They ROCK! (And make a good breakfast).

My only goal: ride past the crash point and to the next rest stop afterwards.

I rode the first 40 pretty strong.  Then psyched myself out for the next ten.  Then I saw them:

As I approached, I got off and walked across.  (Karmic balance, you know.)  And got back on and road to 60 miles where I stopped and ate a few peanut butter sandwiches.  The picture above was taken by M.  He really wanted a picture with me in it, but I didn't realize I was over 45 minutes ahead of my estimated time.  He arrived at the tracks just after 11.  I thought I'd be there between 11:15 and 11:30.  I breezed by just after 10:30, by our estimates.

At 60 miles, I rested well, but was beginning to worry- I'd been plagued by some slow shifting, and it was getting worse.  I knew I had at least 20 miles left in me, but if the shifting didn't ease up, I might have trouble. At 70 miles, my gears locked up completely, stranding me in a high gear- i.e., totally improper for climbing hills!  Riding should be fun, and climbing on the big ring in a high gear is not fun. It's painful, and this isn't the event that I need to put my energy into.

At 80-something I saw M's car.  I searched him out knowing he had to be in a nearby espresso-serving joint.  He got me ice cream.  The man knows me.  And nothing beats the SAG wagon when it's your own Beetle.

Update: the culprit was a stretched cable.  The bike is in for its pre-tri tuneup now!


Ben H said...

I loved reading this entry. I'm glad it went so well and you triumphed at the scene of the crime!

Tommy said...

Good luck on your tri. Since your question at my blog, I have been looking for new beetles with tow hitches and I fianlly saw one a few days ago. So, it is possible to mount a 1 1/4 hitch on a beetle.

The Vagabond Priest said...

Cool! Thanks, Tommy. Maybe if I save my pennies, I can find some good racks at the end of season sales!