2022 Close-out

Once again, failure to provide more frequent updates have resulted in a single entry to summarize 6+ months of rides and food; both of which have new additions. Still haven’t completed the write up of the fantastic Bicycle Adventures excursion in WYMODAK. Did spend some time with the parental unit, two different times actually. It was great to be there but also a little sad as Mom has started the cognitive decline of short-term memory loss. Still able to cook for them – nothing extravagant or fancy but they appreciated it.

Also discovered new roads and completed two different Ohio randonneuring rides: Cleveland-Amish-Devo 200K and Wooster-Amish Reverse 200K. Each event only had a handful of other riders and once again, covered most of the distance solo. Absolutely amazed at the number of Amish folk riding e-bikes. It was largest concentration of them I’ve ever experienced with all shapes, sizes, ages, and genders riding them.

Substituted normal mid-year ride of Autism awareness fundraiser Bike to the Beach with the Blue Water International Gran Fondo (BIG) in Sarna, Ontario, Canada. Added a new country to the list of places cycled. Initially blamed the border crossing on failure of rear derailleur to shift but turned out to be a bad, recently changed 2032 battery. Great ride! Being in the lead group earned a motorcycle escort the entire way. Rode with some very strong ladies.

Experienced a minor, physical set back near the end of August. Early on a friendly training ride with a great group, overlapped wheels on the initial climb on Skyline out of Front Royal and crashed. Wasn’t going very fast and managed to tuck the left shoulder and mostly landed on upper back/shoulder blade area. A little tender but finished the ride without too much discomfort. Shared muffins with the rest of the crew and drove home. Chatting with the family after meal of grilled burgers and twice-baked potatoes, not thinking anything about it, I sneezed. Swear I heard a crack and the pain knocked me out of the chair. Managed to shuffle off to the living room to lay on the floor. Back pain sky-rocketed from a very manageable 2 (10-point scale) to a screaming 10. After a short conversation while remaining in a supine position with the Missus and girl-child (who also happens to be a licensed Physical Therapist, DPT), decided to head to the ER. About 4 hours later, after X-rays and a non-narcotic injectable (Toradol), that worked wonders on reducing the pain, learned ribs 5, 6, and 7 were cracked and minimally displaced. Conjecture was the crashed caused the fracture and the sneeze created the displacement. Also discovered my helmet was cracked. Off the bike for a couple of days, limited to the trainer for the next 3 days, completed easy home 30-mile loop, then a 200K on the following day. Needless to say, the Missus and Girl-child were not enamored with the decision. 

Crossed Great Allegheny Passage (GAP)/C&O Canal ride off the Bucket List and did manage to post a summary of that adventure on the blog. Completed the Northern Virginia Randonneuring (NVR) NASA 200K and Warrenton-Gordonsville 300K as bookend rides to the GAP/C&O in September. The NVR Shippensburg 400K was delayed a week due to derecho-like conditions but able to complete that in early October. Scheduled an early return to FL to complete the Pine Island 1000K. At least able to ride with Recumbent Man for that event. Conditions were significantly better than the last foray to Pine Island – no howling wind and rain this time.

Enjoyed FL time with the Missus for a bit and scheduled a couple of Randonneuring events in TX. Yes, a new state to add to the list. Initial plan was airline provided transportation, but Hurricane Nicole disrupted those plans and ended up driving to Houston for the Columbus-Brookshire 400K. Selected this event and a December ride near Austin thinking temperatures would be mild. Very wrong on the first one. Houston was cold (in the 40s) and windy. Experienced navigational challenges, rode off course (missed a turn) and began early return trip before realizing error. As a result, went long, 444K, caused the Missus to assist with staying on course as new Garmin Edge nighttime colors aren’t very distinguishable for old eyes and then panic when iPhone battery died and she lost ability to track progress. Ever resourceful, she called 3 different Houston area police departments, found the right jurisdiction, and fenagled a “wellness check” that was executed while eating and warming up with a cup of hot chocolate at a gas station about 25 miles from the finish. Didn’t finish that ride until after midnight – 18+ hours to complete the event. A new PR for longest time required to complete a 300K!

Ended the year with a nightmare and vacation. Purchased a new bike to be the primary wheels for randonneuring events. Enjoy riding My Cannon (2017 Cannondale SuperSix Evo) but limited to 25 mm tires. Amazing how much frame geometry and ‘standard’ tire sizes have changed in the past 5 years. Purchased a new Cannondale Synapse – when comfortable with a given manufacturer’s product, why change? I’ve ridden bikes made by Trek, Giant, and Wilier (have one) but none of them are as comfortable to me as Cannondale. Didn’t even ride it Rode it before heading south to FL with the intent of flying to Austin for the CBD 600 in Georgetown, TX. The transmission in my 2014 Ford Escape died just across the GA border in the large metropolis of Pooler. Managed to make it to a garage who confirmed it was the transmission – error codes for gears 2-5. The garage didn’t do transmission work but was familiar with a shop that did and they would pick up my car. Luckily, Pooler is only 8 miles or so from the Savannah/Hilton Head International (presumably Caribbean Islands) Airport that had several rental car companies. Temporarily misplaced my driver’s license and learned having the physical card is required to rent a vehicle. Even filled out the information on-line and had proof my license was in good standing from VA DMV still wasn’t sufficient. Uber’d back to the garage and searched the car again. Found the license wedged between the center console and driver’s seat. Uber’d back to the airport (same driver) and completed the rental car reservation and drove back to the garage in a Ford Edge. Transferred the contents of the Escape to the Edge, went across the street for dinner, and continued the drive to FL. Destination reached about 7 hours after planned arrival time based upon departure time that morning. What a day. But wait, the story gets better. Spoke with Jimmy from Vidalia Transmission the following day and learned it would take about 10-14 for a new transmission to be delivered. Seems Covid interrupted the supply chain and workforce that increased the timeline.

After a couple days of riding (61 total miles) the Synapse, packed it up in the SC-ICON soft sided travel bag and headed to the airport. After an uneventful flight, retrieved a rental, loaded it, and drove to the hotel. After dinner, (Tex-Mex, naturally), unzipped the bike bag to reveal a severely cracked left seat stay. There would be no CBD 600 for me. All kinds of emotions and none of them positive – incredulous, angry, dejected, depressed. Immediately filed a claim with Delta Airlines. Informed the ride leader of the Heart of Texas Randonneurs that I wouldn’t be joining them for the 2-day ride. Several other members suggested renting a bike from a local shop and two riders offered the use of their spare bike for the event. Wasn’t mentally prepared to ride 600K on an untested bike but did commit to riding the second day which was also a separate RUSA-sanctioned event, Dime Box 250K. Able to review each of the offered spare bikes: Bianchi with Campagnolo components and Volagi with Shimano Ultegra. Intrigued by the unknown American bike manufacturer (2010-2016), chose the Volagi for the weekend. Rode part of the first day’s route but turned around early and finished with a 100K ride. Intended to ride the Dime Box route with the rest of the group but threw that thought out the window after covering the first ~10 miles at a 14 mph pace. Must admit, the Volagi was rather comfortable. Nice to have additional hand positions with the aero bars. Finished the ride well ahead of the others and placed the bike in the truck of the ride leader. Although the weekend didn’t go nearly as planned, still able to achieve the RUSA R-12 award (completing a RUSA sanctioned event of at least 200K for 12 consecutive months). Completed 6853K, a Grand Randonnee, and a Super Randonneur Series (ACP brevets of 200, 300, 400, and 600K) in first year of randonneuring.

Returned to FL and waited until the Escape was repaired. Did take 2 days off the bike in the first 3 weeks of December but also completed the Tour Of Pinellas County 200K (which counts for PBP qualifying), and a frustrating Uber experience, and run in to by an older driver on the second to last day in FL. The rear wheel picked up a short, fat screw that sealant couldn’t plug (mostly my fault as there was insufficient sealant in the tire. Have to refill every 2 months in FL versus 3 in NoVA). Ordered an UberX (XL wasn’t an option) and a Toyato Prius showed. Messaged the driver before arrival that I had a bike with a flat, rear tire. Upon arrival and noticing the bike, driver walked to the rear of the car, opened the hatchback, shook his head, mutters no room, closed the hatch, got back in the car and drove away. Order another UberX and 20-minutes later, a Nissan Sentra shows up. Removed the front wheel and it fit in the trunk with the rear seats folded down. What a fiasco. Certainly colored (ugly shades and outside the lines) what was intended to be a short, quick recovery ride. The senior driver incident occurred about 5 miles from home on a multi-laned road with a bike lane. Generally have a favorable wind on this road and this ride wasn’t an exception. About half a mile short of turning off the heavily trafficked road and moving around 25 mph, a small white pickup truck slowly pulls up alongside and before he’s fully passed me, turns right into a mini-strip mall. Grabbing a bunch of rear brake which causes the bike to fish-tail, I manage to extend my left arm and push against the right quarter panel to prevent a more serious impact with the truck. The bike goes down and my chest lands on the handlebars. I quickly stand and raise my arms to signify WTF? The driver begins to pull into a parking space, stops, backs up, and proceeds through the parking lot and turns onto a cross-street towards the road he turned from and hit me. I clipped into the pedals and rode straight at the truck. I mimic rolling down the window which he does and I ask, “Do you have any idea what you just did? You hit me when you turned into that parking lot behind me!” He looked down then back up and said, “Sorry. Are you hurt?” “It could’ve been a whole lot worse. I have no idea how you didn’t see me. You probably shouldn’t be driving.” He muttered again about being sorry then I just road off and made it home. Bruised the left front ribs (likely the same ones fractured in Aug) and earned a candy-cane shaped strawberry on my inner right thigh. What a bad month of cycling! 

Finally, 26 days after leaving the car in GA, a new transmission was installed and ready for pick-up. To be honest, wasn’t aware the transmission repair shop was so far away from the engine repair shop where the car was left. Vidalia is about 85 miles from Pooler and potentially adding 3+ hours to the normal 12 ½ – 13 ½ hour drive back to VA. Able to convince Jimmy with $200 to place the Escape on his trailer and follow me to return the rental back to Enterprise. After an initial nonhelpful response from Delta, they did reimburse their maximum liability, $3800. It doesn’t come close to covering the replacement costs but will look into having the frame repaired. A very expensive final month of the year: new Cannondale Synapse cracked, $5200 for new transmission, $2100 for 4-week rental, bruised ribs and scraped handlebar tape and brake lever on the Wilier.

The last 6 months also saw new recipes and meals (casseroles, muffins, desserts) added to the list which will be presented pictorially as opposed to verbally. Spent the final 5 days of the year in Mexico City visiting our son, seeing some of the local sites, having quite the gastronomic adventure, and not riding a bicycle; only completing 2 days of the Rapha 500. Food pictures mostly as I wouldn’t be able to describe them anyways other than most were definitely not traditional Mexican meals but can say they were all enjoyed. Even tried new things: crickets, whole soft-shelled crab, and octopus. Visited Xochimilco (not really worth it), Coyoacon (quant old-town and cathedral, Teotihuacan (definitely worth it) and lots of walking (Chaplutepec castle, Angel de la Independencia, Polanco, Anthropology Museum, Centrico Historico). Ended 2022 and began 2023 with a bad virus (negative Covid test results with home test and Walgreen Rapid NAAT. Glad to still be Covid-free (5 total Moderna shots over 20 months) but still felt miserable.

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