Sunday, September 30, 2012

Success, Failure, and a Cold

In the week after my last entry (two weeks ago), I rode just over 30 miles commuting two days. It is definitely getting both colder and darker in the mornings as we are moving into fall.  It has been almost completely dark when I've been leaving for work.  On the plus side, I've been getting some very nice sunrises over the sound.

The sun starting to rise over the Long Island Sound taken from the bridge entering Bell Island.
A view on the other side of the bridge.
One of my wife's bride's maids, Pam, came to visit us for a few days.  I borrowed Andrew's folding bike so that Pam, Kate (pulling the little monkey in the trailer) and I (pulling the big monkey on the trail-a-bike) could go for a ride.  We ended up going over 8.5 miles on a very nice ride around where I work.

On Sunday, Andrew and I went for a longer ride (I ended up going around 25 miles total). At 17.5 miles, Andrew and I were once again in front of the biggest hill I ever saw.  We had not yet decided which way to go.  Andrew wanted to turn left at the intersection avoiding the hill.  "Unless you have unfinished business with that hill."

The last time we tried, Andrew made it the whole way up, but I only made it 3/4th of the way. So, straight we went towards the hill.  As many make battle cries before heading into battle, I thought I needed one too.  "I'm a moron" was the last thing I shouted before heading up the hill.  I lead Andrew and we both made it the entire way up the hill.  Success at last!  I was tired, breathing hard, spent, but happy.

At the top of the hill, we consulted Google maps and decided on our route.  We couldn't quite decide what to do and remembered (incorrectly as it turned out) that continuing on the path on which we were headed lead us into some not-so-nice-on-which-to-ride-a-bicycle roads.  So we turned around and then went down that monster of a hill.

I like going zooming down big hills as much as the next guy.  And just as this was a monster of a hill to climb, this was the steepest hill I've ever descended.  This hill was extreme steep, on a not very wide street that had a fair amount of traffic, and had a stop light not too far from the bottom of the hill.  Because of this, I rode my brakes down and still hit close to 40 mph.  A hill with the same decent but with better conditions, I could easily imagine hitting 50 mph.

We turned right and started climbing a small hill that was easy enough.  But within a mile we were at the base of yet another monster climb.  This hill I only made it up about half way before my front wheel started slipping I had to stop.   Nary 10 minutes after my big success, and it's capped of with a climbing failure.  Ugh!

I entered the bit of route I didn't manage on Ride with GPS.  The two hills are actually very similar as far length of climb, maximum grade (> 12% in both cases, probably more), and elevation gain. When my front wheel slips, I can often pull myself up using the handlebars moving more of my weight to the front (drive) wheel, but I was too exhausted to do this on the second climb. So it isn't a failure of the bike, but rather just the rider.

Within a couple hours of getting home, I had succumbed to the same cold Kate had been fighting.  No fever, but lots of crap in my lungs, etc. Here it is a week later, and my symptoms keep morphing back and fourth, but I still have the same bloody cold and haven't ridden since that Sunday.  Hopefully I'll get this cold licked soon.  Part of me thinks that if I hadn't gotten sick I could have made it up the second hill.  Wishful thinking?  Maybe future rides will tell.


  1. Hey Charles, if you are coughing up green/yellow crud, get thee to the doctor, for some antibiotics...

  2. I'm sure you'll make it up when you're back to full fitness. The fact that you overcame the hill (that you didn't previously succeed on) actually bodes well. You know it's within you to make that hill! Regards, Dave (wannabe Vendetta test rider).