Friday, April 12, 2013

Category 5 Hills, Bike Breakdown and Encouragement from a Stranger

Wednesday and Thursday was my ride to New York from Philly. My cousin Jesse, who lives in Mount Holly NJ, rode the first day with me. Great day for riding, it started really warm, but after we worked up a sweat, a cold front blew in. We got to 55 miles, and then the sun set and the rains started. It absolutely poured. We were separated from the van at the time, so we rode up into a residence and kind of hid under their porch awning waiting to get picked up. Then Jesse took the train back home.

The next day Jack & I got off to a bit late start, but I finished the ride of 66 miles. On Wednesday, I finally had the carbon fiber Cannondale shifting perfectly again after running the derailleur into the spokes on Sunday. What a great bike, I found the hills so easy to climb. I got areobars installed that morning, which are AWESOME. They let me get down in headwinds and power through flats.

All great things cannot last. Because on Thursday, I had to begin the ride at the bottom of a category 5 climb. If you live in Annapolis, hear this: there are no category 5 climbs in Annapolis. Think of the longest, steepest hills in Annapolis, Davidsonville, or Crownsville. None of them are cat 5. Well I began my ride on a cat 5, and I began running up to the higher gears really quickly. I knew I wanted to get down into the small chainring, so in anticipation of a huge gearing change, I went to start shifting to the smaller cogs. And then BAM, derailleur in the spokes again, ripped the hanger from the frame. There is actually a hole in the frame now where the hanger connects.

So pretty much, my whole ride yesterday was on my old trusty Jamis. There were FIVE category 5 climbs yesterday. The shortest one was only .23 miles long, but man was that hard. It was a really steep climb to get up to the George Washington Bridge. I was almost dying up going up the hill, when a SUV passed Jack in the van. Then the SUV got right next to me and this bearded young guy climbs halfway out the window and shouts "YOU GOT THIS!" and drove off. I shifted to a higher gear, got out of the saddle and gave a spirited sprint up that hill before shifting back down and getting back in the saddle.

Encouragement from the guy in the SUV definitely got me up that hill faster than I otherwise would have.

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