September 20, 2020 Login  


Woohoo! 11 miles!
Last Post 09/12/2020 11:56 AM by Nicholas Arenella. 13 Replies.
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thinline

Posts:285

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09/04/2020 08:11 AM
First day on the bike in 10 weeks.  11 miles, baby!  Looking at maybe 25 or so today.  Then, a rest day tomorrow!  Gotta start somewhere.  So awesome to be outside and somewhat active!

Still pretty damn sore with weak and inflamed ligaments and tendons.  Still mostly using crutches when walking because I can do a nice controlled natural stepping motion.   Crutches down, I reel around like a 2:00 a.m. drunk trying to get home!  And the ankle gets pretty damn sore and swollen in pretty short order.

Gettin' there.
longslowdistance

Posts:2110

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09/04/2020 08:19 AM
Milestones. Hopefully only onward from here. Best wishes for you.
79pmooney

Posts:2413

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09/04/2020 09:01 AM
Congrats! I've done very little damage to my legs over the years beyond road rash and my chronic knees, so I don't know your journey first hand, but I certainly know the routine.

Keep at it. And be prepared to roll with it. You'll have bad stretches where things seem to be going in the wrong direction. Back off and try making gears like 39-18 fun. On the good days, roll with it and enjoy!

Ben
thinline

Posts:285

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09/04/2020 05:59 PM
Thanks, guys.

Well, 26.5 miles at a blistering average of 15.1 mph in the flattest part of the state.  In my defense, I dealt with a cross or head wind the entire ride but the last 1.5 miles!  Adirondacks and Lake Champlain to one side and the Green Mountains to the other and farm fields all around with fall corn ready for the getting.

Awesome ride!
79pmooney

Posts:2413

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09/04/2020 06:23 PM
Good to hear! Thanks.
Orange Crush

Posts:2986

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09/04/2020 06:58 PM
I trust this was feeling similar to when we kayaked 22 kms under variable currents the other weekend utilizing fully untrained muscle units. There was a fair amount of cursing from the other vessel towards the end.

Good luck on recovery trajectory and glad you’re back riding
longslowdistance

Posts:2110

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09/04/2020 07:39 PM
Thinline you need not apologize! "Flattest part of Vermont" made me chuckle.
Old Vermont bumper sticker: "Vermont Ain't Flat". Topographically a fact!

If you are interested in Vermont cultural history (and, c'mon, who isn't?), here is the Backstory on that bumper sticker: it mainly was a jab at the tide of out of state "flatlanders" moving in during the 70s looking for an Eden, especially the yuppies who followed the 60s hippies. The mocked "flatlanders" got the last word and transformed the state from a very rural, farming dominated culture with fiscally conservative but fully libertarian social values into the democratic socialist culture that elevated and supported Bernie Sanders. And most of those old dairy farms are long gone due to economic forces, which is a shame because the state was simply gorgeous with them many decades ago. Such is progress.
longslowdistance

Posts:2110

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09/04/2020 07:42 PM
Although gotta say riding on a road following a manure spreader was not so great. I don't miss that.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:3193

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09/04/2020 10:03 PM
Awesome to hear, thinline....I'm sure it was a great feeling.

Keep us posted on the progress!
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
79pmooney

Posts:2413

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09/04/2020 10:30 PM
I loved the two VT races I did twice each in the '70s, Putney and Stowe. First time at Putney, I raced to win, Took over on every hill but one (when I had just eaten and had to slow to keep things down!). I'd pre-ridden the final climb to the finish and knew I could go steady and hard from the bottom. 42-19. The business gear. Quickly got a real lead and held just fine until a rider I didn't know, but a goat like me took off from the field and flew past a still moving but red-lined Ben. 2nd step but a 43 tooth SR chainring that saw real use.

Two weeks later, Stowe. Didn't pre-ride any of it. The Notch was early. Young David Lamb started up fast (in, I learned later, Florida gearing, a 42-19 low!, a junior geared straight block so 15t high). I'd raced a bunch against him that spring, knew he was strong and decided not to try to stay with him. He pulled out of sight, I left the field and crested alone. Caught him on the (very fast!) Smuggler's Notch descent and 4 more caught us. Then another dozen on the flat. That was the race from then on. A few miles later, the guy who beat me two weeks before and I took off. I knew this wasn't going to last, but maybe we could do some damage. We flew! Fast enough I knew this was good for a few miles, maybe more.

Next thing I knew, there everybody was! What! I looked at them and they were wasted. "Oh yeah! We just took 1,2. There was no way in h*** they were letting us go!" For the first time ever in sports, Ben had respect!

Sadly, I blew the finish, but not before doing more damage. On the first of the final 4 hills I passed David and just gave him the "I'm going. Wanna come?" look. He came. 4 joined us. Next 4 miles were Vermont vertical. Mile to go. The last 5 had been such that a mile was a long ways - but it was flat! Got caught out looking and finished last in the group. But I did win a nice (and compared to Campy, light) Zeus seatpost. Perfect! (I bent my cheap Fuji post that descent on a frostbite i didn't see.)

Next year was post-accident. Early summer. Months off hitting goals but these were going to be my last Cat3/4 races in hills. My job was to get the highest possible place. Winning? Do you hit the moon with a BB gun? At Putney I kept the pace on the hills because that's what I had to do. Went off on the long climb 10 miles from the finish and whittled the field down a lot. Did my best on the final climb and finished in the top 5 or 6. Prize, a dinner for two on the ride home. Treated my ride.

Stowe - David Lamb wasn't there. I went on the Notch and no one followed. Got joined by 5 or so on the long, fast descent. A couple of miles into the flat and another dozen, just like last year but - we caught the dogging Cat 1/2s at the same moment! No way were we going to pass them and waiting to get caught by all those we had distanced on the Notch - really? So the race went on as one jumbled large field. Came to the first of the hills where David and I took off last year. A small group was well off the front. I started to bridge up to them, was about 2/3ds of the way there and set to catch them rather easily if I wanted. Debated 1/2s? Any 3/4s? As I was thinking that, a 3/4 passed me on my right, no big deal. Until he served over into my line with a foot of overlap.

I went down and got passed on both sides by the field as I was loosening my 4 toestraps. (I took Smuggler's Notch seriously.) Got up feeling shaky, got on, started riding but couldn't get up to speed. And Peter Mooney appeared from behind! Pulled in front and gave me a good, hard tow. Pulled off. I still wasn't going on all cylinders. Peter saw that and gave me a better tow, giving all he was worth, then pulled off and as I was beside him, grabbed my seatpost and gave me a world-class sling! (Peter Mooney was/I'm sure still is a gifted rider. A most reassuring presence in close quarters.)

OK, Peter just gave me everything. I'm going 30, he's going 12. I have to catch. I do, at 2 miles to go. Remembering well last year. Mile to go, I just go the left hand edge of the road and start passing people. Roll past the finish in who knows what place. More important, there's a race ambulance. Where is it? "Wait 10 minutes, It's behind the field."

I see the ambulance, go over and get cleaned up and patched. (I'd just started shaving my legs. Sold!) Rode to the start area for the awards and more important, find my ride. Go by the table and ask if my finish was recorded. 8th place! A small Cannondale backpack. Simple, light, stuffable in pockets and very well made. Got stolen 5 years ago and used lots in between. Many, many memories.

In the fall between I rode my Lambert with touring gear from Boston to VT, hit a dog while climbing and crashed. Failed to navigate a stream across a dirt road and crashed again maybe a mile later. That night it rained, turned cold and the weather promised no letup. I rode to the nearest city (don't remember which) and took the Greyhound home. Weeks later that fork broke on the way to my riding partner's house to ride with her future husband on one of his legendary rides which I had never done.

Just a few years ago I spent a night with them north of White River Junction then did a 40 mile far from flat ride with them on one of his bikes. (A very nice ti something!) FOr me. this was completing a circle. Kate, my old riding partner/his wife was one of 4 I remembered from my 3 weeks in the hospital. When I got back into riding and the race scene, their romance was getting serious. Hurt me but I had way too much on my place to spend time thinking about it. Said maybe a dozen words to her all that season,then left the Boston racing/bike scene entirely to find my way back into my profession.

Now, over my racing days. I hung out regularly at a hippie bike shop, Open Air Cycles, an ex-car garage. The mechanic, Jim, lived in a loft overhead. Bill, Kate's to-be husband, owned the shop but was rarely there. I barely knew him although we all knew a lot abut him back then. After my head injury, when I started appearing at the shop, Jim quietly took on the responsibility to look after Ben. Never said a word. But he got me on a bike for my first post-accident ride when I couldn't possibly hurt myself (on 10" of packed snow from the 1978 blizzard on a Raleigh DL-1), offered me my first pot after the accident and watched carefully to see how I would react. (A Godsend! For a few hours I got to experience "normal". The first time the non-stop "new" slowed down.) He connected me with his brother who had rollers I could both train and develop bike skills on where I could be watched. His brother watched and in a month I was cleared to do out on the road. One of the two of them got me a job at the bike shop that sponsored the club, assembling bikes under the eye of a veteran mechanic. I got to learn manual skills I'd lost.

So back to Vermont, Kate and Bill. I got a very warm welcome. It was a homecoming of sorts for me to see Kate, then ride with her. (We did perhaps a 1000 miles together that summer of '77. No romance, but it was a special time for both of us though that was never said.) That VT ride on that nice! borrowed bike with the two of them was sweet. Rarely did we ride as three. It was all combinations of 2 and 1. I was happy to ride alone in the beautiful, very early Spring Vermont (mid-May!) Riding with Bill was new and fun and riding with Kate was a reminder of just how good a rider she is and how easy riding with her was. I got to thank Bill for the angel that was his employee decades before. And pass on what Jim told me when I called to thank him. "That's just what friends do."

So, a long story. Riding in Vermont has been special for me. And probably the little trigger for the apocalypse of my life.

Thinline, there's a little envy. I've done far less riding in your state, but I love that it is so wonderfully vertical! Though I really cannot complain. I've got some pretty good choices here and many more places where fix gears work well. Drove my regular riding roads to jury duty this mornng, didn't get picked and retraced my route late morning paying attention. I get to live and ride in beautiful country.

Sorry to steal your thread. Keep up the riding, go through this recovery BS with a smile, and enjoy your beautiful state (for me when you are having trouble doing it for you).

Ben
thinline

Posts:285

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09/09/2020 02:37 PM
Ben, great tales. I have pedaled the Notch many times over the years but oddly, never climbed it from the Stowe side. I have this bad feeling about it being so steep with all those totally blind hairpins with the huge boulders blocking sightlines. I have this picture in my mind of me slowly coming out of one of those corners and some a**hat in a car slewing around it behind me never seeing that a bike is there until too late. Going down, hey, bikes can go faster than cars around those things! And yes, descending the Smuggler's Notch ski area side into Jeffersonville can get crazy fast. I love the upper parts in the dense woods but then there is that long straight plunge when you pop out into the open. Yikes!

Didn't get there this year for obvious reasons . . . yet!

Heading out shortly for about 30 miles or so and will test some inclines to see how the ankle is progressing. I did a 2+ mile climb Monday but most of it is only 2-4% gradient but there are two short pitches up around 8% and it went fine. Just a little discomfort. Hoping to get up the App Gap road by the end of the month! And hey, 3 or more miles today gets me over 100 miles for my first week back. Not bad for a recovering gimp!
79pmooney

Posts:2413

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09/09/2020 03:21 PM
Good work!

Yeah, I'm not sure I'd want to go up Stowe side without police escort. The first year was funny. The 1,2s started 2 minutes ahead of us. I spent the last half the climb passing dropped riders. Some were slaloming the full road, blocking our leading escort so I just blew past it! (Overtaking a police car going up Smuggler's Notch? How often do we get to do that?)

After the race, the officer told us he had to go 60 between turns to stay with us on the descent!

David Lamb was a junior and started 2 minutes behind us. He left his field and was at our front when we hit the Notch! 8 mines? That he was a junior and not in our race never crossed my mind. So technically I should have been tossed or relegated for asking him to go with me later in the race. The next year, I should have been DSQ'd for the tow and push from Peter Mooney who was riding the 1,2 race.

Ben (the dirty racer you wouldn't want your daughter to meet)
Cosmic Kid

Posts:3193

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09/09/2020 09:06 PM
Sounds like you are making great progress, thinline....good to hear!!
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Nick A

Posts:595

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09/12/2020 11:56 AM
Nice to hear about your healing. One of my cycling iterations was touring as an adolescent with AYH. Rode many miles in Vermont with loaded saddle bags and 27x1/4 tires.

N
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