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Monday, January 30, 2012

Salisbury 300K

"Why do we do this stuff, anyway?" [Quote from Ricochet Robert, about 10 miles from the end of the Salisbury-Hoffman 300K, after complaining that the previous 11 miles were the longest 10 miles he had been on]

I confess I had some negative thoughts of my own, soloing along for hour after hour. You know, this randonneuring is just another form of bike racing, and one of the reasons I joined RUSA was to get away from the club racer (Lance wannabe) crowd. Yet here I am, dropped within the first 2 miles, figuring I will be a perpetual solo red lantern. It didn't help that I racked up 9 bonus miles in the first hour, having missed a turn and following someone who I thought knew the way. We did pool our collective wisdom, consulted a map at a convenience store, and backtracked to where we missed the turn. This individual was kind enough to stay with me for 25 or so miles, and then gradually dropped me as he was just doing the 200K. I resigned myself to plugging along solo, although it was good to encounter the other riders in 3 or 4 groups scattered along the last 6 miles as they returned from the turnaround in Hoffman. Vance was just leaving Hoffman as I arrived, and as I have had at least 2 bad experiences with bonking on 300K brevets, I sat down for some real food and stocked up on supplies.

I never could catch up with Vance, although the clerk at the next control mentioned "a big black guy" had just left 10 minutes earlier.

Night had long fallen, when about 45 miles from the end, I spot 3 randos pulling out of a convenience store on my right in Oakboro. "Tim, I never thought I would catch up with you!" Tim confirmed that the other two were Phil Creel and Ricochet, then filled me in on why they were delayed - 12 bonus miles for missing the left turn on NC 138, and going 6 miles north toward Albemarle. Sorry for the bonus miles guys, but I sure welcome your company! None of us were in any particular hurry, just kind of in that mode of enduring an early season 300K. We took a leisurely stop at the penultimate control, where I consumed some more "bonk prevention" insurance. Then it was 33 miles of more or less soft pedaling our way to the end, although that last long stretch with no turns did a number on Ricochet's patience.

We arrived at the Windsong Bike Shop shortly after midnight, which was actually a little better than I was calculating. I was thinking I was going to have to adjust my saddle back some more, and then noticed that my seat post did not look like there was quite as much exposed as I remembered. Back home, I got out the tape measure, and sure enough, my seat post had slipped down about an inch over the course of the brevet. No wonder I was having to move around on the saddle to get comfortable, as well as stand up to get any power.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jersey Turns 40

2012 marks the year this long sleeved wool jersey turns 40 years old. It is a relic from John F Kucharik, whose name has been synonymous with quality bicycle clothing for several decades. No doubt some of you are thinking that bike I am on in the 1972 photo looks more interesting than the jersey, and you would be right. It is a Bianchi Campione from the early 50s (it was NOS when I bought it in '72). I know, I should have sold the jersey and kept the bike. I think it had the same frame as a Specialissima except the seat lug was not chrome and there were no chrome rings on the seat tube. It had Campagnolo drop outs, Gran Sport derailleurs, Magistroni steel crankset, and long arm Universal brakes. By the time I sold it I had replaced everything with a Nuovo Record groupset, so that would have lowered its "classic" value.

Note that the only bike helmets available in '72 were padded leather "hairnets". I did have one but was not consistent in wearing it.