Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another Sea Gull Century: My 5th Fixed Gear Century

I again went down to the Delmarva Peninsula for my 7th Sea Gull Century ride. This is the third year in a row that I have completed this beautiful ride on my fixed gear bike, Miss Pinarello. Its flat nature is perfect for any type of bike, and tandems, recumbents, trikes, and almost any kind of human powered transportation will do. The most unusual bike that I encounterd was this:
It is called an Elipti-Go, and the woman who was riding it seemed to be having a great time. It is sort of a treadmill on wheels. She said that it doesn't climb well, but is a blast on flat roads.
Once again I chose the Snow Hill Century route, now for the third year. It does not go to the beach, but tends to be less crowded and more scenic. The less crowded aspect gains importance when you consider that this ride has about 8,000 participants.
So, why would one want to do a 100 mile ride on a fixed gear bike rather that having the advantage of a multiple gear machine? For me , there are many reasons. On a selected and non-hilly route, there seems to be a better connection between rider and bike. With my muscles, experience, and balance, the fixed gear bike simplifies things greatly. Superior modulation of muscular output and suppleness or " souplesse " via regular cadence can be achieved with practice. When coasting, repetitive lactic acid buildup over time can lead to a greater sense of fatigue over a longer distance. As there is no coasting on a fixed gear, lactic acid is constantly being diffused out of lower extremity musculature. Any way, it works for me and has been a rewarding discipline. I also got a chance to check out my new Tektro retro brake levers. They are comfortable, look retro-cool, and have a single release button that snaps back into place when the lever is depressed. This is a good feature for me, as I often forget to return the conventional slider to its original postion, and cannot reposition the calipers while riding.
As usual the Sea Gull Century staff and organizers had excellent rest stops, with live music, adequate bathrooms, and healthy snacks. I was looking forward to the pie, which is always served at the last rest stop. This stop is on the Nassawango river, and is quite scenic. The next day I visited Mom in Rockville, Maryland. She will be 92 soon, and is still quite sharp. Happy birthday Mom! No more organized rides are scheduled for this year. Winter riding will be coming soon. Sometimes ,I dream of snow.........................

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Late Summer Ride in Montauk

Summer was ending, the weekend was here, and it was time for our last ride to Montauk Point of the season. Our friend Michaela joined Helen and myself tackling the hills to the Point. This is one ride that I can't lay off of. As they say, it never gets old climbing to the Point, smelling the fresh sea air, and taking in the wonderful scenery.
On the way, we stopped at Camp Hero, the R&R location for Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders after they came back from Cuba in the Spanish American War. The area has lots of bluff views of the Atlantic Ocean, rocky and sandy beaches for walking, and lots of surfing for participation or spectating.

This ride is not the longest or most difficult that I do on a regular basis. The route follows the main road from town to the Point. On weekend afternoons it can become quite busy. Montauk is the type of place where one can say that nothing is there, but everything is there. I think that I will be doing this ride for as long time
We're sorry to see the end of the summer season of riding. Soon Fall will be here, extermity warmers and tights will come out of storage boxes, and cold weather riding will be upon us. I am looking forward to doing the Sea Gull Century on the eastern shore of Maryland on October 6th. It will be my 5th fixed gear century on Miss Pinarello. Hopefully this year we will not be fighting 25mph headwinds!