Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The not so full pull...

It seemed like a great idea when JR sent out the invitation to do a full pull of the Hilly Billy Roubaix course on Memorial Day. First, I'd never ridden 90% of the course and I really stress about racing on unfamiliar roads, even if I have no chance (and no intention) of finising on the podium. Second, I haven't been out on the cross bike in a while and it might do me some good to change things up. Third, what better way to spend a holiday than to spend it with friends doing what we all love so much.

Bikers Dozen... and all smiles at this point

The plan was to meet at 11 and ride from Mylan. I followed JR into the parking lot and right be hind me was John Pillo. Then, in short order Seth Rockey, Traci and Gary Rodosta, David Cornett, Mike Janeiro, Tim Gregis, Nathanial Manchin, and Marco Piccirilli all arrived. All told, there were 11 strong riders set to take on the adventure.  It seemed there was no reason we shouldn't be back to the cars and heading for home in 6 short hours or less.

A quick photo and we were off. The first mile of the route was all downhill (we started at the main road and skipped the beastly driveway climb). We then made the right at the bottom and then made the left out John Fox Road. Thats when a sign of things to come appeared. Weren't 3 miles into the ride when PFFFTTT! Our first flat of the day. It was already over 90* so no one was complaining that we had to stop and rest in the shade since it was going to be awhile before we got to do that again... or so we thought. We found comfort in the shade of an oak tree while Gary and Traci set to working on her wheel and then we were off again. Up the first climb and down the back side. PFFFTTT! This time it was Gary's turn to have the honors of providing another enjoyable break. On we went and  PFFTTTTT! Guess what, Gary's turn AGAIN. Gary was taking it worse than the rest of us and took out a little frustration with the bike, but we all huddled togther on the shore of the puddle the size of a farm pond and enjoyed the shade of another tree.

An all too common sight (but thankfully this was not mine)

Well, if you are sensing a trend here, you are not alone.  All told, we had 12 flats amongst our 11 riders (2 bailed out early: 1 planned and 1 because the ride was going to over run another engagement). Gary and Traci each flatted twice, Marco, Seth, JR, and Tim each once, but somehow I managed 4 flats. I pinch flatted the front twice and the rear once and then just tooling down 19 south of Mt Morris, PFFFTTTT! flat #4 for me and #12 for the group.  And aside from having a bunch of angry and loud talking chains managed to avoid any other catastrophes. What I wouldn't have given to have thought ahead and brought along that bottle of Pro Gold Extreme Lube that was sitting on the corner of my workbench.
Just an interesting barn with a 3D sculpture that JR pointed out (while we were waiting for flat #5 to be repaired)

But back to the fun parts of the ride... The end.

Thanks for reading, Next Up: (OK, so I'm just kidding, with that many people and that many miles, there were tons of laughs, heckling and sights to be seen.)  One of my favorites was when word got around (hour 5) that we were going to abbreviate the course because we were almost out of tubes and and we were all dragging our tails behind us. JR plotted a course that took us through a secret little passage under I-79 from Osage to the Star City exit. I should appologize to who ever drug the log down to act as a bridge around the 15" deep mud hole because apparently it had a 200# weight limit, and even after sweating for 6 hours and 45 minutes in the blazing heat, I still exceeded that limit and ended up standing in mud up to my mid calf.  Oh well, I know how many miles that shortcut saved us so I was more than happy to be the butt of a few jokes on that one. For the rest of the details from the ride, you will just have to check out the Strava details.  Keep in mind that this is NOT the FULL PULL as we anticipated so don't use this as a cheat sheet for preparing for the race in a few weeks. the first 50 miles are, but then we started to improvise.

Fluid Refill #2 (and they have frozen slushees) and not so many smiles
 Thanks to JR, Traci, Gary, Mike, Marco, Tim, Seth, John, Nate, and Dave for making the holiday so memorable. See you all Sunday at the Fort Classic.