Descriptive Route Names

After several weeks of atypically cool weather, things are warming up around here, and I expect the club’s scheduled rides will have more participants. We have several club rides. There’s the regular Sunday ride at 8:15 a.m. For the A riders, it is not a no-drop ride, and riders are expected to average 16-18 mph over 50-60 miles. There’s also a Saturday no-drop ride, but it’s still relatively fast. Some of the retireds or work-from-home types do a Friday morning “Zoo” ride, which takes them out to the Austin Zoo and then back via some hilly roads. The main hill ride is Wednesday morning.

But in recent weeks, we’ve seen a lot of riders modifying start times, routes, speeds, etc. It was finally enough to prompt one member to post to our Yahoo board that ride names need to be changed.

“We need some ride names that will more accurately reflect what we can expect,” he wrote. He had a few suggestions:

The Janet Hangover ride, that starts an hour later than scheduled because the ride leader partied a little too hard the night before.

Jack’s I-Forgot-to-Download-the-Route-and-I’ll-Sort-Of-Improvise-As-We-Go-Along Ride, which often results in turns onto roads under construction, or roads that used to be paved, but are now gravel, or roads that dead end. Riders can expect to ride 10 miles farther than they anticipated.

Martin’s Last-Minute-Hill-Ride-Alternate, that takes place without notice, when Martin tackles the main hill ride and finds it’s too tough for him. His version is much shorter and involves a lot less climbing.

I suggested the Ray-Sunday-B-Ride-But-Because-He’s-So-Slow-Lately-It-Oughta-Be-a-C-Ride-That-Takes-Place-Every-Sunday-Except-When-He-Doesn’t-Show-Up-Which-Has-Been-A-Lot-Lately.

Then there’s Greg’s Saturday-No-Drop-That-Turns-Into-a-Not-No-Drop-Ride-Because-He-Thinks-We-Should-All-Ride-Faster Ride. The name speaks for itself.

On a regular Sunday, the post-ride coffee klatsch yields several other descriptive ride names.

But for some reason, the club’s information page still lists rides by their standard names.

Do the riders you travel with have their own descriptive names for their routes?


Pull It Down

On our Sunday club ride, we were joined by our friend Jerry, whose bad crash and broken leg I detailed in a post earlier this year.

Although Jerry has done some riding on the tandem he shares with his wife, this was his first ride on the roads with the club since his crash. Jerry has always been one of the more cautious riders I know, which is funny, because he’s also one of the faster riders in the club. But to ease back in, he decided to ride with the B’s today. He had decked himself out in a new kit, all in hi-visibility green — including his new helmet. He would be hard to miss.

Our ride was more like an A- group. A lot of folks decided the planned A ride wasn’t to their liking. Jordan came up with a good route, so some of us scrapped our plans in order to go with him. We had some strong riders, several who just wanted to take it easy after a grueling ride Saturday.

The ride got off to an inauspicious start. Just miles in, Maggie called out that she was abandoning. She had gotten a new crankset Saturday, and it wasn’t working out well. A clicking sound that started almost immediately got worse and worse. She decided to head home, and run her bike back to the bike shop for an adjustment.

After a quick run out to the zoo area, which features a nice, fast, twisty downhill, we had to turn around and head back up the hill. The group stayed together, which helped to negotiate the traffic, that was heavier than normal this morning.

Kenny was the next one to go. He had done one of the tough rides the day before, so he peeled off to head home after about 12 miles. Six of us were left to head east, and take a leisurely ride through a nice neighborhood on its ring road — a wide, smooth thorofare with almost no traffic.

It was after we left that spot, and were headed back to the start, that we regrouped at a stop light. Laura turned around to make sure we were all there, and noticed Jerry at the back.

Not Jerry.
Not Jerry.

“What’s with your helmet, Jerry?” she asked.

We all turned around to look.

Jerry’s lime green new helmet was sitting funny, way back on his head. He wears an orange cycling cap under his helmet, but his forehead was now mostly unprotected.

“Pull it down, Jerry!” exclaimed Laura. “You look like an amateur!”

I’ve never had a problem with wearing my helmet too far back on my head. I’ve caught my wife doing it, and gently had her pull it down. If your forehead isn’t covered, an important part of your head isn’t getting the protection it needs.

Kids seem to have the biggest problem with this. Maybe it’s because their helmets are too big off the shelf anyway. Maybe they think it’s more comfortable to wear the helmet back.

Be sure to do your kids — and your riding companions — a favor if you see this problem. Just tell them to pull it down.

Herding Cats

Our club president was out of town this weekend, mixing business and pleasure (he brought his bike on a business trip so he could sneak in some rides in the San Francisco area).

That left a big hole in our club organization. You see, he’s the guy who plans the routes for our club rides on Sundays. He urged someone — anyone — to come up with a plan for rides while he was gone.

So, the messages started flying on our club’s Yahoo group, which is where we do all our communicating.

Shane:  “Pepe hates Fitzhugh and I hate riding in the city so it looks like we might end up doing some different rides. That’s all good too though, options make life interesting right? Leaving at the usual time for a 57mile round trip and probably somewhere in the region of 3800-4000 ft of elevation.”

That drew almost immediate reaction. Jim was concerned about a potentially dangerous stretch of road:

“The Slaughter to Nutty Brown stretch of 1826 suggested is 5 miles and probably the most dangerous section in most people’s opinion (no shoulder, steep rollers, and heavier traffic than Fitzhugh).”

Clark suggested we depart from our normal routine and drive to a starting point some 10 miles west of our neighborhood. He pointed out a variety of scenic, low-traffic roads we could choose from.

But the afore-mentioned Pepe didn’t want to drive to a ride. To his credit, he came up with two options, one of 49 miles, and a shorter one of 34 miles.

Jerry said he had to be somewhere about an hour’s drive from town by 1 p.m., so couldn’t do the 50 milers that had been suggested. He came up with a plan of his own — one that we’ve done before and is about 32 miles. It has some potentially hazardous stretches, and some challenging rollers.

Frank, Yasmin, and Maggie — who all are B riders (Frank’s really an A, but it hasn’t sunk in yet) — declared themselves in for Jerry’s route.

But Shane, who was first to come up with a route plan, was getting frustrated by all the different options:

“I have now used every damn course creator I know of so if this doesn’t work, just assume we are doing Fitzhugh Road with an added loop on the way back. No 1826, no 290 – so NO WHINING!!!! Only whining allowed is my whining as I suffer up the little hills on the ride on Sunday.”

And Janice decided to add her two cents’ worth:

“I feel left out of the clusterfreak of the Sunday ride ‘planning,’ so I too will propose a ride.  My ride will start sometime between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.  The location of the start will be announced 2 seconds before the start, and the route will be depicted on an encrypted map which will be distributed after the ride.  I can tell you that the ride will travel on the left lane of Interstate 35 for several miles (only because it is probably the only road more dangerous than 1826).   A preride breakfast of baked potatoes will be available Easter egg style – you will have to find the potatoes hidden around the ride start.  This is not the worst ride posted, so I would anticipate a big turnout.”

In the end, we had three groups for the Sunday ride. One did Shane’s long route, another group started out with them, but shortened the distance considerably, and I joined Maggie and Brian for a B ride on another route that had never even come up for discussion on the online group.

As it turned out, we had three excellent rides.

And Joe, the club president, who was watching all of this online from his California base, was so pleased with the way things turned out, he has relinquished ride planning and is leaving it all up to us.