Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tornado Alley, or how to have fun on a bike in the Midwest

This post is from Will Muller (Kevin's Cousin and high end bike builder).

Tornado Alley: What? Where?
It’s 110 miles of heat, hills, and wind - Schifferdecker Park in Joplin, MO on 07/12/08. Tour four states in one day - Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri. There are also two shorter routes — a 30-mile tour and one that is 77 miles.
1 day, 3 routes:
F5 - 110(ish) miles of rolling Ozark hills touching the four states of MO, OK, AR, KS!
F3 - 77(ish) miles - like the 110 but with 3 states - MO, OK, & KS and with fewer miles!
F1 - 30(ish) miles - like the 77 but with 2 states - MO & KS and without all those pesky miles! Who could ask for more?

Lisa (Wills wife) did the 30-mile ride. She did awesome with only being on the bike for a month of training....
I just like to ride bikes - a lot.
I did the 110(ish)
My stats for the ride: 106.4miles (according to my Garmin 305 )
5 Hours 43 min - ride time.
Climbed 7,168 feet
Calories burned 6143.
total ride time just over 6 hours
16 to 20 mph headwind for the first 54 miles of the ride. Obscenely long distances in one day. The next logical goal would be to do a multi-day ride or harder century rides (e.g., more hills, tougher riding conditions). WHY? 'cause I'm really a glutton for punishment.
I started off riding with the Mercy race team out of AK. They were 6 riders plus me. I rode with them for the first 35miles then 2 splinted off with another group. We were now the first group in the lead that had also done the hill loop (2.5 miles big freakin' hill at the end) There were bigger hills throughout the course - if you did the hill loop you got a prize, a 'pin' -' you did it' - Yoohoo!
My first stop was at the 49 mile rest stop for lunch - grabbed a couple of turkey sandwiches, filled bottles and hit the road with 3 of the group of seven that had ridden with for the last almost 50 miles. All 3 of us stuck together for another 35 miles - but by this point, I was well over my longest ride for the year. Having only one 64 miler under my belt for '08. My legs were feeling it. The flats on occasion felt good. The 7000 ft climbing got me - the 'goats' from Arkansas could climb. I popped off at approx 84 miles and soloed in on my own for the last 26 plus miles. Highlight of the ride: the group of guys that went down with me had decided on the 77mile loop - I caught them on the last 5-6 miles and passed them and 'boy' did that feel freakin' good!
No pictures - sorry. I'll think of that next time 'maybe'.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

4th of July Weekend rides 3 full days of riding

Friday July 4th Fire Cracker ride from Spin Cycle
Hot and sunny ride.
Those seen at the start of the day’s ride include.
Beth Gonzales
Mary Ann Feagan
Sheila Augustine
Doug Augustine
Ron Clanton
Tracy Clanton
Norris Townsend
Steve Sparano
Theresa Smit
Kevin Smit

Bob Holtz who rides with Norris and joins others on these organized rides.

Picture see here
FireCracker 2008

Highlights and lowlights included.

The group was unable to stay together due to mass start and difficulty to sort through the 1,000 riders to find each other.

Clanton’s throw the chain on their tandem at least 2 times. The first time was near the start as the ride crossed the bridge over Highway one on Kildare Farm. This was the last time that most folks saw this team. Once they fixed the chain they pointed the Tandem straight ahead and powered down the road. They finished along with Nicole and Nate about 50 minutes ahead of the group that rode with the Smits.

The group was unable to stay together due to mass start and difficulty to sort through the 1,000 riders to find each other.

Doug Augustine DESTROYED his front derailleur during a gear shift on the first climb of the ride. Kevin was just ahead of Doug when it happened. Kevin heard the racket and assumed someone had miss shifted, not knowing it was Doug and that he had just become crippled for the day’s ride. The group learned later from Sheila that it was Doug who threw the chain and in fact had disintegrated the front derailleur in the process.

Steve Cope and a handful of others left the start early in hopes to not have to deal with the mass start. Once they got to Holly Springs Steve was expecting the A Team to catch them so he and the others could grab on for the ride. Just as they were entering Holly Springs the Sponsored Racing Teams came whooshing by. Steve yelled at the others in his group to prepare to jump on and hold on to get the ride of their lives. Not everyone in his group was able to negotiate the jump. Josh held on for a while and was later seen slipping slowly off the back. Steve stayed with the big boys all the way to Lake Jordan where he flatted. No one cared. The pack he was ridding in took no prisoners. Steve changed the tire, inflated it, took a bio break, and still had time to rest before the next pack of riders came by for him to jump in with. Steve ended up completing the 63 miles on one water bottle, no stops (other than the flat) and averaged over 21 miles per hour.

Kevin, Theresa, Steve Sparano, Patty, and Sheila all rode together as a group, taking full advantage of each of the rest stops. The hills would split the group up with Patty and Sheila powering up the hills. Kevin and Steve would be seen cresting the hills next, followed in the distance by Theresa. On several occasions Steve would ride with Theresa and pull her along breaking the wind for her.
On Beaver Dam road just before Highway 64 the group was passed by a car that decided it did not need to provide a safe cushion as it passed. This was then followed by another car that passed forcing the oncoming car to stop and pull over. The car passing the bikers had a female driver chatting on the phone as she pushed the oncoming car off the road. Kevin was still upset from the first driver who had crowded the bikers.
Kevin was able to catch the driver and explained that the bikes were entitled to a full lane. He also requested that the driver do a much better job of sharing the road next time he encounters a group of bikers.
As the group continued their ride Theresa’s thermometer that is built into the speedometer was registering 101 degrees as the group turned from Lake Jordan and headed for the start finish. That thermometer later registered 111 degrees as the group did the slow climb up High House as it passes Bond park..
Once at the end all riders thanked each other for riding with them. Kevin commented that Nicole and Nate didn’t even look tired, and may not have even broken a sweat on the days ride.
This was for some the longest ride of the season and was completed in a good time for most.

Saturday July 5th.
Hoping for a recovery ride.
Hot and Humid with threat of rain.
In attendance.

Steve Cope – Fully recovered and looking for a challenge
Ernest Davis – recovered from Blood Sweat and gears and ready to challenge
Steve Ham…. – all smiles and ready to see what he can do as he responds to the speed play from others
Todd Pechner – excited to see Cope there and ready to challenge
Mr. Bridenbaugh – coming back after having twisted his ankle on a run.
Ron Clanton – off the tandem and ready to PULL as if still captain of the tandem
Kevin Smit – Dead tired and giving up on the idea of a recovery ride

Theresa Smit – looking for a recovery ride with the Roses
Tracy Clanton – Looking Fresh on her single bike and proud of the job she did on Fridays ride. (She did all the pushing on the tandem).
Christy Pechner - Todds wife on a new (used) tri bike. This is the first ride for her with the group.

The groups took off separately with no intention of trying to ride together on any section of the route.
Kevin had suggested the 34 mile route that included Ron’s Pull, Up-Chuck, Mt Pisgah, Martha Chapel, Kevin’s Crawl, Horton Pond, Luther, Green Level, then the turn at Wimberly, and on into town doing the run on Jenks, Holt, and the climb up to High House on Jenks Carpenter.
Kevin provided this information knowing he would be unable to direct the group of rabid riders as they would pull away from him all day long.

The riders all jumped into action with the first attacks taking place half way down Ron’s Pull. Todd was the first to disrespect Ron. Todd was third in line behind Ron as Ron was dutifully providing the draft line with a solid Pull hitting 21 mph on his section of road. Todd was seen twitching with excitement and anticipation of the attacks that were expected to take place on the roads that day. This excitement built within Todd to the breaking point and he responded by Jumping early in the days ride. He swung wide pulling out of the orderly draft line to then press past Ron. The draft line was stunned that Todd showed such disrespect for the Draft Leader who has consistently pulled the group along this section of road ride after ride.
The work done by Ron in the past has created such respect by others that this section of road has been named after him.
Todd’s selfish attack demonstrated his contempt for tradition, and suggested that he is looking to rename any section of road after himself.
Steve Cope unable to let anyone get ahead on a sprint showed no restraint as he also disrespected Ron by latching onto Todd’s rear wheel. This was followed closely by Mr. Bridenbaugh who is always alert to a quick move by Cope. The three of them were then joined by Ernest and Steve Ham… who were slow to respond and now had a gap to close.
Kevin and Ron only looked at each other and shook their heads in disbelieve and yet with a degree of understanding that the Youth of Today do not really appreciate tradition, and do not properly r respect their elders.
The group was reunited at the beginning of Carpenter Fire Station with Ron taking back the honored position of Draft leader. The youngsters used this opportunity to rest and recover as they glided along at 20 mph in Ron’s draft. Steve Ham…. Worked his way to the lead position and was happy to help set the pace and spell Ron from doing all the work.
The run down and then up UP-CHUCK was next on the plate for the days route. “which way do we turn?” asked Steve Cope.
“What route are we doing?” he asked.
Kevin explained the route again for Steve including all the details and turns and hills that would be expected in the route.
“So what direction are we going next?” Steve continued to press.
Kevin realizing that Steve can only respond to one command at a time or one attack at a time gave Steve a clear directive.
“left turn and the attack on up-chuck” was all he would provide to Steve’s earlier inquiries.
This was just the right amount of information for Steve to digest, and with that he made a successful turn onto Yates Store headed for up-chuck.

Steve Ham… attacked first working to put himself in the lead on the down hill and to gain as much momentum as possible for the climb that lay ahead. This move provoked Steve Cope, Ernest, and Todd to all jump on the wheel of this first attacker. Mr. Bridenbaugh stayed close by out of the path of the frenzy that was unfolding ahead, Ron Clanton was setting himself up for a momentum gain and ensuing gear changes that would take place on the climb. Kevin coasted allowing his heart rate to drop slightly in anticipation of the gasket blowing effort that was about to unfold.

The hill stage was won by Steve Cope with Ernest, close behind followed by Todd and Steve ham…. Kevin and Mr. Bridebaugh took turns leading short sections with Mr. Bridenbaugh pulling away at the crest of the hill. Kevin and Ron each worked the hill as best they could only to roll into the turn towards Mount Pisgah. The group rolled through the hills with Steve Ham…., Steve Cope, Todd, Ernest and Mr. Bridenbaugh leading to the turn on Mount Pisgah and its three steep climbs. Todd was the first to attack with all the others responding in kind. Again Kevin and Ron rode a more mature ride with each working the best they could to meet the challenge of each hill.
The group gathered again to make the run towards Luter Shop and used that section of road to recover from the resent speed play. Once on Luter Shop the group worked the draft line with Steve Ham… and Mr. Bridenbaugh producing most of the draft efforts.

The turn on 751 was followed by the left onto Martha Chapel. Everyone in the group knew what was about to unfold. This section of road is smooth and is a gradual down hill for over 4 miles to the turn at Lake Jordan resulting in a fast run with a last minute full on sprint to the intersection.

So far this section of Road had not been named after any one of the riders in this group. The last couple of rides Tim Travitz has produced a pull that reached 27 mph for a good portion. There has not been any one rider that has fully owned this road yet. John Majikes has won the sprint at least once, Steve Cope has dominated the last few yards many times, Todd has been seen right there with Cope, Ernest is always in the fight, Mr Bridenbaugh is capable of pulling at or above the 27 mph speed.
So this section of road is anybodies game on any given day.
On this day Mr. Bridenbaugh pulled the group splintering off Kevin and Ron early.
The finish was not clear as Kevin was so far behind he could not record who the victor was and what each rider in the group was able to accomplish on the run to the lake.

The left turn onto Farrington signaled the start of “Kevin’s Crawl”, named for his consistent accelerated Pulls up Farrington towards the next turn. All riders slowed and circled letting Kevin take his honored place at the start of this gradual climb from Lake Jordan. The speed began at 12 mph as the group slowly assembled into a single file draft line. Kevin and Ron were at the front. “Lets frustrate them by holding the speed to 11 mph on this section” Kevin whispered back to Ron with a devil’s grin on his face. “Hey they are conspiring to do something” Steve Cope shouted to the group. The speed was dropping at that point. “Hey do you have mechanical problems up there” barked Todd.
Just as he finished his statement Todd swung wide and scampered past the draft line leaders.

Todd again demonstrated his inability to relax on the ride. If one could monitor his heart rate they would notice that is twitches rather than beats like normal hearts.
Steve Cope was attached to Todd as if he was a tick that had fallen from a tree.
Ernest had jumped with the others and was also passing the draft leaders.
The action of these immature riders provoked all others to accelerate in kind with the resulting climb covering the distance at 19 mph for the group left following Kevin.
The group made the turn onto Horton Pond.

Horton Pond is another section of road that produces various responses from day to day. Today the group took turns in the pull position with minimal attacks that were short lived. Ron and Kevin would watch as all others would provoke or respond to the short spurts.
The turn onto 751 and then left onto Luther had the group splitting further due to the fast down hills and short climbs. Steve Ham… was again seen jumping into the lead on the sweeping down hill with Ernest close on his wheel. The up hill had Todd pushing to jump past Cope with Mr. Bridenbaugh in the fight. Steve Cope was not about to allow any one to take the win so he jumped out of the saddle and did not look back until well past the climb and down the road. These riders were discovered circling at the next intersection by Ron and Kevin as they rolled to the turn onto Green Level. Kevin was well into Sweat management issues by this point in the ride and was found squeezing his hand to help eliminate some of the moisture that was trapped in his riding gloves.

The run down Green level would be short with one hill that could be managed through momentum gained from the previous down hill.
It was on this uphill that Steve Ham… was heard suggesting that the water he was feeling must have been falling from the leaves of the tress that lined the road. Kevin was ridding just in front of Steve and realized that it was not drops of rain off of leaves that Steve was sensing.

“ That’s not Rain drops off of Leaves, It is Sweat Management coming from Me” announced Kevin as both riders glided to the top of this climb.
Right turn onto Wimberly would provide the riders a short flat run to recover and a fast down hill ending with a momentum sucking long flat followed by a two step climb to Jenks road.
From that intersection the group rode splintered with the speed freaks still engaged in their persistent attacks on each other.
The light at Highway 54 pulled the group back together for the brief time it took to remount the bikes and clip into peddles once the light turned green.
Again it was Cope, Pechner, Bridenbaugh, and Ernest that rushed on ahead to the next turn. Steve Ham… planned to turn off the route and take the bike path home since he road to the start for the day’s ride.

At the turn onto Jenks Carpenter, Steve Ham… joined the other leaders on a forced run down the hill. The difference was that Steve planned to pull off the route at the bike path and everyone else needed to tackle the climb beyond to make their way to High House.

Kevin , Ernest, and Ron were all relaxed and took advantage of the down hill coast. Kevin had not shifted to prepare for the uphill climb and found himself still on the large chain ring of the crank set. Rather than shifting Kevin elected to stand and respond. He was able to match the power with the resistance of the hill for the first 2/3 of the climb. Ernest was on his real wheel and was commenting on what Kevin was thinking, to have attempted such a stupid trick.
Kevin acknowledged that it was not planned, it was just a result of his failure to shift in time. At that same point Kevin imploded, sitting back into the saddle and shifting both front and rear detailers in desperation to find any gear that would allow for forward motion.
The group all met again at High House with Todd Pechner pulling off to head for home.
The group continued toward the finish with the last attack taking place as it always does on the down hill of High House to try and make it through the last stop light of the days ride.
The route was completed by the group covering 34 miles at 16.4 mph average, almost a mile an hour slower than normal. This must be the definition of a recovery ride.

Sunday July 6th.
Wet roads due to heavy rains during the night.
Riders in attendance drinking coffee and letting the roads dry and waiting to see if any others arrive.
Steve Cope
Kevin Smit
Theresa Smit
7:30 still the same crowd drinking coffee and happily visiting.
7:50 – Todd Pechner rides up with his bike looking for a short fast ride allowing him to make it back in time for Church.
8:20 am still drinking coffee and visiting.
“I think I am going to join the 9am Cycling Spoken Hear Ride” Steve suddenly announced.
Kevin looked at Theresa who did not provide any indication of her position on the idea.
Todd was not overly disappointed in the group’s unwillingness to join him on a short sprint. Not sure if Todd actually rode more than to the coffee shop and back home.

Kevin , Theresa, and Steve Cope all gathered their belongings and headed for the 9am organized ride leaving from CSH.
Steve planned from the beginning to ride with the A team. Kevin expected to ride with the B team, and Theresa was expecting to follow the group out of town and then ride solo. The route was provided on cue sheets and included roads ridden many times before by these 3 riders.
The ride proved to be one easily handled by Steve Cope who rode the entire way with the A team and having Steve attack on the last hill of the day to finish first.
Kevin rode with the pack up to the 12 mile mark were the A team was turned loose ahead of the B riders. At that point Kevin was waving good bye to Steve as Steve was egging Kevin on to join the A riders. “What the hell, I will see how long I can hold On” Kevin announced as he clipped in and wormed his way through the B riders to join the back of the A team as they began their acceleration away from the stop. Steve Cope remained near the front of the A team mixing it up with each attack and responding to each surge. Kevin found himself slipping off the back on at least 3 occasions as he was too slow to respond to the sudden surges. He would then work hard to close the gap only to catch the pack just as they would surge again. Kevin was able to hold on to the A team for the run on Luter shop to 751, and again he held on during the run on Holland Chapel only to collapse as the A team accelerated through the turn onto Farrington and the run towards lake Jordan. Kevin was now in no-mans land, riding solo.
At the turn onto Martha Chapel Kevin checked his average speed to that point knowing he would be reducing that average from that point on into the finish. His speedometer registered 18 mph average with the last 6 miles having been done solo. Kevin continued to ride solo to the finish completing the 33 miles with an average of 17.8 mph, having ridden half the route solo.
Steve Cope completed the route taking the win and completing the 33 miles at an average just under 21 mph.
Theresa rode the entire route solo at a pace of 14.4 mph. A stellar performance having done the most miles in a week this season for her.