Internal Detours
Saturday, March 18, 2006
  saturday ride(s) with a $9 digital camera

Today's ride was interesting. Let's make that rides, plural. Ainsley and I had originally planned to meet at 9:00 for a longer fixed-gear ramble, but a change in his plans scotched that. I rode Julius down to the fountain at 9:00 anyway, just to make certain that no one who had seen the emails had showed up for the ride.

Jim was the only rider present. We went out for a quick spin before the club ride scheduled for 10:00. A couple of miles into it, I realized that the pace the club would want to maintain would not be possible for me on the fixed-gear, especially after whacking myself in the ribs Tuesday night in the woods. I turned back and rode home to switch bikes and meet everyone downtown for the later ride.

I pumped up the tires and headed back downtown aboard Belle, shifting through the gears and feeling I'd made a wise choice. Waiting for me at the fountain were Donis, Jennifer, her husband (T.J.? I'm bad about names!), Jim, David Craig, Bill Thompson, Andrew and Bill Evans ... and Rick Flowe.

I used to ride with Rick back in the early 80s. I had the white Puch then, and he was riding a Trek, if memory serves me right. He was faster than I am then, too. On the plus side, he showed me some great roads to ride back when. On the minus side, he introduced me to the guy who sold me my first car, a Volvo 164 that never failed to let me down at crucial moments.

At any rate, we set out in groups. Donis, Jennifer and her husband had left first, so Bill Thompson and I set out in pursuit, catching them near the beginning of the rail-trail. The rest of the pack caught us at the end of the trail, where it dead-ends into Florida Avenue. We wound up retracing the route we'd done a couple of weeks back, but going all the way out to Cedar Springs.

We split up along the way, of course. I found myself riding with the faster pack, talking with Bill Evans about his plan to ride the 200 km brevet the Spartanburg Freewheelers are doing next weekend. On the first long-ish hill, I realized I really HAD done a number on my ribs when I fell Tuesday night. Deep breathing became, well, challenging.

Bless their hearts, the guys would wait up at different intersections for me. Rick dropped back twice to pace me back up to the bunch, as did Bill and young Andrew.
Unfortunately, picking up the pace was not an option.

I took pictures as I went, giving a field test to my newly-acquired Aiptek pencam. A small, 1.3 megapixel digital camera, refurbished examples are selling for $9 plus shipping. There's been a lot of discussion on the iBOB list about them. When mine arrived on Friday, Ana the Tech Goddess found a Mac-compatible program that would interface with the little beast. She liked the results enough to immediately have me order two more, one for her use and one as a spare.

Anyway, following Kent Peterson's method, I wore mine on a lanyard around my neck and would periodically drag it out, switch it on, and see what I could get. I misinterpreted the beeps at one point and foolishly dumped some images I'd gotten earlier in the day, but I think I made up for it with the shots taken over my shoulder while riding.

We worked our way back through Promised Land, going right on Whitehall, then left on Briarwood and heading back towards town. Jim doubled back and picked me up and paced me back up to where Bill Thompson and David Craig were discussing taxes while riding very slowly. I took a couple more pictures, and we headed back in on Alexander.

I let them go on up the road, and they decided to let me come in at my own pace. I stopped for a moment and devoured a peanut butter-stuffed pita and drank some water. I checked my mileage and started cycling through the functions of the computer and realized I had 6,996 miles on Belle. I left the readout on total mileage when I got rolling again. The odometer rolled over the 7,000 mile mark as I rode in on the trail.

Everyone was packed up and heading out when I hit the fountain, so I waved and rode home. I checked cycle computers and came up with 9.58 miles on fixed Julius and 36.32 on Belle. As I figure it, if I can ride 45.9 miles while still feeling beaten up from a fall in the woods, despite letting others set a pace that wasn't comfortable for me, and ride through a bonk induced by not stopping or eating along the way, then I'm on track for a metric century April 1. We'll see how it goes.
 
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