Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday in Paradise

Today was as close to a perfect outside day as Cleveland has seen in some time. I opted to take advantage of it and head out on as long a ride as I could. After being productive in the morning, I hopped on the bike around 3:00 PM and headed out towards the Valley Parkway. I wound up turning off the Parkway at Broadview Rd. and stopping at Bike Authority before I turned around. Doug, one of their fine employees, suggested heading down Avery Rd. instead of straight down Broadview, thus avoiding the rather sticky intersection at Broadview and Royalton. It also wound up being easier; the rollers didn't feel nearly as steep as on the way in.

On the way back up the Parkway I stopped at the Wallace parking lot near Berea and met the Skull & Goggles group, an offshoot of the Fagowees ski and social club. I cruised along with them for around ten miles before they turned around (they're a laid back short ride kind of club). I headed all the way up the Valley Parkway to the north end at Detroit Rd., and back home from there. Total mileage was 69 and change, with around 2,000 feet of climbing and an average speed of around 21 mph. Had I not turned off at Broadview I could have picked up quite a bit more climbing and a few more miles, but I think I earned my burger and beer tonight all the same.

Speaking of burgers and beer (and all sorts of other deliciousness), tonight's recovery meal was provided by the Buckeye Beer Engine in beautiful Lakewood, Ohio. The Beer Engine is on Madison, a few blocks to the west of Spin Bike Shop. They have 27 taps and around 110 bottles, all of which rotate on a regular basis. They also have a full bar, though the beer list has kept me more than busy. Food-wise, the Beer Engine is home to probably the best burgers I've ever had in Cleveland, if not ever. Toppings include everything you can think of, ranging from your standard cheese and bun to the jerk seasoning with mango salsa (and bun) I had tonight. If burgers aren't your thing, fear not! Any burger on their menu is available as a chicken breast, portabello 'shroom cap, or spicy black bean variety, and there are plenty of other entrees as well; I just happen to have a soft spot for burgers. The menu is extremely vegetarian friendly, with lots of options for non-carnivores, and anything vegetarian is cooked on dedicated equipment (unlike certain other local chains *coughLizardcough*). Check out their menu and beer list at their website or stop in after a Wednesday Spin ride. You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Friday Training, Saturday Salesmanship

Friday I went out through the Rocky River Reservation along the Valley Parkway with Michael L., and another friend of his named Mike. We rode south along until Eastland Road then turned around and headed back; all told around forty miles for me. On the way back, Michael L. lead us up and over a few hills, including Ruple Rd. to the east side of the valley, back down Cedar Point Rd. and up the other side. After looping up to Columbia Rd. and back down into the valley we headed for home.

Along the way back, two drivers decided to buzz us and generally drive like morons. Thanks to a driver ahead of them who was religiously following the 30 mph speed limit, Michael L. and I were able to time trial up behind the offending parties. We opted not to ride up alongside and salute their fine car handling skills, since neither of us really wanted to get killed.

Saturday I took both the MTB and the road ax over to a friend of mine on the east side. He's recently discovered road biking and wants to buy mine, so he took mine for a test drive. We tooled around the east side around Fairmount, Shaker, South Park and North Park for around 12 miles before heading to Dewey's for dinner. All in all, I think this was a better call than driving three hours south to a race that well could have been in the rain.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bike Riding Rule #1

Headed out to Westlake, Tuesday, since it was a fantastic day and for once I didn't have to work on a Tuesday. Wound up carpooling with Matt O., since both of us enjoy the idea of saving the world. When we got to Westlake, we registered and started to warm up. I wasn't really feeling the warmup, probably since I hadn't been on the bike for a while (like since the east side ride last week with the girlfriend). I line up anyway, since there are no refunds and I'm already there, plus I usually feel better after a lap or two.

I should point out, at this point, that Snakebite makes up somewhere near a third of the B field, so we should have no problem dominating the race.

The first lap after neutral is a cash prime (which seems to be standard for Westlake), and I decide to chase it. I jumped a little too early and got sprinted by one guy, but I decided at that point to just keep hauling ass. So I do. All the way around the first turn into the wind where I die. I barely hang onto the pack for the next lap, but I feel recovered after we cross the line (where the bell is ringing for another prime). So I pick up my pace, and hit the first turn. Which is when I hear the gunshot. Except it's not a gunshot, it's my rear tire blowing out. While leaned over in a turn. You don't need to be a physicist to know that this is bad.

I don't remember many details about the wreck, except that I stayed up longer than I expected, fell in a far more controlled manner than I expected, and managed to not hit my head. That being said, both tires blew out (the front blew on the way down), and I smacked most of my right side into the ground. Work on Wednesday was somewhat less than fun, but was tolerable thanks to lots of ibuprofen.

Tomorrow I get to check out the bike and see if it's ridable. I need to hit Bike Authority anyway, since I need a new rear tire, so the plan is to have someone there give it a quick look. Hopefully everything will check out and I'll be headed to Sugar Grove race Saturday. Otherwise I guess I'll just have to wait for the Soloist...

Monday, May 12, 2008

RATL, Rec Riding, and Entirely Too Much Togetherness

So I raced at RATL #3 last weekend. It was rainy, no one wanted to make a break in the CAT Vs, despite a great opportunity on lap five with Michael L. and a few Stark guys up, with David T. and me ready to block the pack. But it's understandable; I wouldn't want to take the back downhill turns at 40mph on a soaked course, either.

Sunday I opted not to head down to the Bull Run race, but instead to ride over to the east side with my girlfriend and grab some dinner at Dewey's Pizza. This weekend I had to make up some hours at work, and then wound up staying over this morning since we were short nurses. Hopefully next weekend will be a little better.