Where Cheeseburger is a proxy for burgers, hot dogs, chips, candy, chicken, pasta, garlic bread and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
LONG POST. Read it in bites?
I'm talking, of course, about the MS150 this past weekend in New Bern. We drove down on Friday evening along with most of the greater Triangle area. Not only were 1400 riders making their way to the coast for the ride, so was everyone else-- the weather was expected to be sunny and mild all weekend. Surfers, bikers, sunworshippers, triple-pontoon sailboaters, you name it-- all headed out on Hwy 70 for a weekend of great weather and beaches. I'm guessing that I-40 to Wilmington was at least as crowded.
Since SNG was the team captain (henceforth referred to as El Capitan), we had the duty of driving the SEI company pickup truck with a U-Haul trailer at the back full of the team's bikes. We were honored. There was fanfare every time we turned right- Bump! Bang! Ting! and applause every time we turned left (HEY! AAAAH! WHOA!). Although the outside spectator may have thought that these were the sounds of running over curbs and near-misses with oncoming traffic, we knew that we were hearing desperate cries of loyalty to El Capitan.
We had the dogs in the cab with us. They need breath fresheners. I'll say no more about that.
The dogs got to stay in El Cap's parents' garage for the weekend (they live in New Bern). I don't get this- everyone was saying, "Oh, the Poor Dogs! They'll have to spend most of the weekend in that dark, smelly garage!!" Now, really. There's a boat, some old carpet, tools, rags, a garbage can and some smelly overalls. Sometimes there's even a truck in there. It's dog heaven. What more could a dog want? A TV? Internet access, perhaps? Considering the fact that they sleep 16 hours a day, I'd think a dark smelly garage would be right up their alley. They got to take walks in the meadow several times a day, they were given lots of attention from the grandparents. There were no complaints in dog-land.
We had a nice birthday dinner and some blueberry pie with El C's parents and then headed back to our hotel for the night. Nice hotel- besides the stains on the walls and cigarette burns in the bedding, there was a diesel engine-powered window A/C unit that drowned out the siren noises outside.
Saturday we were reluctantly up by 6, down at breakfast by 7, and at the ride start by 8.
Oh, and it was raining.
8:30 rolled around. Some guy is talking about God knows what, then some lady, they're laughing and yelling into a PA system, playing snippets of the SAME THEME SONGS that we heard all weekend last year, and of course again this year, and surely again next year and oh God I hate these songs now "LALALATHEMYSTERYTOUR!!!! LALALTHEMYSTERYTOUR!!! MAGICCARPETRIDE!!! MAGICCARPETRIDE!!! LALALATHEMYSTERYTOUR!!!! LALALATHEMYSTERYTOUR!!!! MAGICCARPETRIDE!!! " Someone sang the national anthem badly (is there any other way to sing the national anthem?).
FINALLY they let the 1st group ride away from the horrible repetitive music. I want to be next year's top fundraiser so I can escape the horrible repetitive music faster. Because once the 1st group was released, the people started bantering again. And then the music started again. Then they released the Hammerhead riders (25+ MPH, mostly riding the century) who raced away as fast as they could singing Diana Ross tunes and Funkytown to try to clean the taste of the Beatles out of their minds.
Then some more banter. More LALALAMAGICCARPETRIDE and group 2 was released-- 20+ MPH. *sigh* why did we decide to go with the 15-20s? We could be gone by now!
Did I mention rain?
Group 3-- they cut our group into 2 pieces-- we were in the latter half. So half of the 15-20s were released. At last, (it's 8:50, BTW) we were released (I chose to cleanse my musical palette with I Feel Fine by the Sundays). Did I mention, 1400 riders? Another 20 minutes, we'd gone about 2 miles, and finally some open space. Um, hey folks, 15-20 MPH means your *average* speed, not "Once I coasted down a hill at almost 15MPH" The first 38 miles were spent passing riders who- knees akimbo, weaving in an out of pacelines, sprinting in aerobars, then slowing down- presented quite an obstacle course.
Rides like this present a difficult choice. To go faster with less effort, it is advantageous to "draft"- ride close to the person in front of you- to gain an aerodynamic advantage, going faster with less effort. Drafting is a key to surviving these long rides and still finishing fresh. On the other hand, in the rain, bike tires throw out a rosster tail of mud and road slime that is at its climax at a tangent to the wheel in the direction of the rider drafting behind.
To draft, or not to draft?
If you can breathe mouth-closed, draft. If you need to open-mouth breathe, fall back. Take some wind. Spit.
Three of us from our team rode together and did pretty well balancing drafting and not drafting. We skipped the 1st and 2nd rest stops, and stopped for lunch at the third. Lunch 1: PBJ sandwich, Ham sandwich, 3 orange segments, 4 cookies, 1/2 moon pie.
After the lunch stop another team member rode with us and many riders were either still at stops 1 and 2, exausted from hammering all-out the first 38 miles, or way ahead of us finishing up the century. It was great. Skipped rest stop 4 and stopped at 5 to re-fuel. HOMEMADE COOKIES! 3 cookies, 1 brownie, and a toffee graham cracker bar.
Only 13 miles back to New Bern!
We were in by 1:15 or so and I made a bee-line to the massage table to work out a walnut that was forming underneath by left shoulderblade.
We learned that one of our teammates who started behind us had a crash in the 1st half of the ride and was taken to the hospital. She was drafting and while putting her water bottle back in the holder, the guy in front had slowed a bit, she hit his rear wheel and POW onto the pavement at about 20 mph. Some road rash, but most of the impact seems to have been on her head. Helmet was split, she had a goose egg on her head and was a bit disoriented. They released her from the hospital after some xrays determined nothing was broken, but of course, sat out the rest of the day's ride. We laughed about the story over dinner, but I kept thinking, without the helmet we'd be visiting her in the ICU. It was one of those accidents that could have happened to anyone. Friends, please wear helmets when you ride. Please? (end of psa)
The weather finally cleared up in the afternoon, so after some long showers and hosing down the bikes, we walked around NB with El C's mom and did a little shopping. Lunch 2: beef jerky, chips, 2 cookies.
Dinner was at the convention center. Garlic bread (5 pc), chicken (6-7 oz), salad (about 1 cubic foot), 2 cookies, 2 brownies, veggies with cheese sauce.
Sunday was sunny and warm.
"LALALATHEMYSTERYTOUR!!!! LALALTHEMYSTERYTOUR!!! MAGICCARPETRIDE!!! MAGICCARPETRIDE!!! LALALATHEMYSTERYTOUR!!!! LALALATHEMYSTERYTOUR!!!! MAGICCARPETRIDE!!! "
*grumble&*%$&*grumble**why is there the sound of a toilet flushing in that song??*
We rolled out at 8:15, and by 9:15 we were in a double paceline with some seasoned riders and a lot of Indoor Cyclists. Indoor Cyclists: people who train for a big ride by doing spinning classes. They usually have lots of fitness and zero bike-handling skills or etiquette. They take the bike to the shop when the tires are low. They do not know to point out crap on the road, that you should signal your intentions to nearby riders, that you might not want to go chase down every single rider that passes the group, because you WILL be sucked back in again once you've busted your lungs, that in a double paceline you shouldn't cruise up.the.middle and stay there.
In classic style of SpiderStan's daughter, I finally decided that this was no place for tolerating fools lightly. "Hey! Hold your line. I need you to tell me if you're going to swerve around for no apparent reason," etc. Did I get a few ugly looks? Probably. We got rid of several offenders and a few others chose to ride a little more neighborly. And several people thanked me for my, um, frankness.
We actually finished day 2 slower than day 1 because it was WINDY WINDY WINDY. How can you ride a 76 mile loop and have a headwind or crosswind the entire way? I swear, we only had maybe 10 miles of tailwind total. We were exausted.
LUNCH 1: 3 PBJ sandwiches, 1 hummus pita, cookies, cookies, cookies, oranges, 1 ritz cracker.
Our teammate who wrecked on Saturday (and the other teammate who she wrecked into) rode Sunday in her brand new helmet. They decided to start out at the VERY BACK of the 1400 rider crowd and still blew us away by the finish. You might chalk it up to those fabulous tri-bikes they were riding, or maybe the fact that they were riding on fresher legs-- whatever it was, they made it look easy.
At the finish there was a big picnic lunch.
LUNCH 2: hamburger, 2 patties; chicken patty; hot dog no bun; pretzels; 4 cookies, salad.
We cleaned up and picked up the dogs, drove home, eating lots of Truck Stop snacks along the way, and went to a salad place for dinner. Woke up 4 lbs heavier this morning than I was on Friday.
I burned an estimated 6000 calories on the bike, and I replaced it with about 5999. A girl could get used to this kind of dieting.
So how was your weekend?