belated Saturday ride report

Gilby has been all up in my grill for not blogging, or at least as up in my grill as anyone can be when they're two thousand miles away. So here ya go, Gilby.

I left you last with the bikes still locked to the rack and no way to get them off. That night I missed all the excitement because I was so wiped out from 25 hours in the van that I just passed out with the lights on and missed all the excitement. When I woke up in the morning (an hour late, incidentally, because nobody thought to set an alarm) all the bikes were in the motel room, the rack having been thoroughly dismantled. Two bikes, however, had giant U-locks dangling from them. As mine was not one of them, and because I'm a selfish bastard like that, I went ahead and left at 9 with the group while Nate, Sascha, Scott, and the unlucky Bella whose bike had been on our van (I should ask them about using their names on the internet, so no names for you yet) waited for a locksmith to arrive.

So I took off in a huge crowd of cyclists, wearing just a sleeveless tri-top and shorts -- not a scrap of neoprene in sight -- and we got all of three and a half miles before Bella P flatted rather dramatically. Our group all stopped to wait for her to change it. Well over a hundred others blew past us as we stood there. We had been in the front group, but by the time the flat was fixed even the slowest stragglers were long gone. P thought something was wrong with the replacement tube so she decided to head back to the motel and ride later with the people that were waiting for the locksmith.

That left me, Bella S (Nate, Sascha, Scott and I hooked up with a crew from the Velo Bella team who was also coming down, so there's a total of 10 of us), and Bella L, who is an 18-year-old Belgian exchange student who is on the Belgian national team and who finished in the lead pack at Worlds. We hopped into a line with Belgian Bella in front and hammered like hell to catch up, and after a bit we started passing people left and right. We let up and got into a looser, more social formation, but continued passing people left and right because we were at the tail end. We never did catch the lead group again, but we were passing people all day.

Ultimately it's a cool thing that Hell Week is so loosely organized, but we were expecting gas stations where we could refill water bottles and load up on Clif Bars. No such luck. The only stop all day was a bar -- yeah, a bar. Not just any bar, though -- an outdoor biker bar (the other kind of biker) where cheap beer and greasy food was served from barns and all the seats are picnic tables around a bonfire pit. Feel free to do a Google image search for "Luckenbach, Texas" if you want to see it. It could've been a pretty happenin' place at night with the bonfire, but for mid-ride fuel it was a bit of a letdown. I ate a giant pickle and a crapalicious hamburger, and once we hit the road again I regretted them both. Belgian Bella has pro aspirations and did not partake of the hamburgers, so Bella S and I had to tell her to slow down pretty frequently over the next five or so miles. I recovered; Bella S didn't really, so when we pulled into the parking lot it was just me and Belgian Bella left. I showered and waited for the others to trickle in, and as they did I chatted with them, thinking Sascha and Scott and Nate would be showing up any second, but I guess I overestimated the locksmith because they didn't show up until a quarter to six, by which time I'd read half my book, painted my toenails blue, and bought a huge tank of apple-cinnamon hammer gel, which I will probably also come to regret.

Then we stuffed ourselves with pasta and I discovered that Fredericksburg does indeed have Fat Tire beer in abundance, so I will be bringing it back to Minneapolis in abundance, as well as drinking it in abundance while I'm here. God, I love Fat Tire. It makes me happy.

Thus concludes Saturday. I know, I know, it's Monday afternoon, and I'm behind. I will try and blog Sunday and Monday this evening if I get some computer time -- my laptop doesn't work very well so I didn't bother to pack it, which puts me at the mercy of everyone else's computer habits. I'll try to catch up! But for those who are counting (Gilby) the Saturday mileage was 63.76 and as of this afternoon the three-day total is 185.73.


Blogger Squirrel said...

A true trooper indeed, bringing back Fat Tire for the rest of the pack up in MN, now thats a good mate:)


3/14/2006 7:33 AM  

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