Tuesday, February 21, 2012


sunday was the 10th annual Battleship Ride. it was supposed to mark the kick-off for my training for the Total200 by offering me the first century of the year - and my plan was to ride to and from the ride, thus equaling a bit more than the standard 105 miles the ride has to offer. probably closer to 120 - 130 miles.

let's start with the obvious - Don Davis and crew organized a stellar event, with plenty of sag support, lots of helping hands, plenty of food and supplies, and even a wheelset raffle. the total turn out was somewhere close to a hundred people who either started with the roll-out group or popped in or out along the way as schedules permit. i have a hard enough time organizing myself, so i can't imagine what it takes to get everything in order for a ride that is completely free for people to attend and is supported only be people volunteering their time and money (someone has to gas up those support cars and buy groceries!). thanks to everyone. i'm going to give you all a hug, just not right now.

the people: holy wow, dude. i saw lots of familiar faces from the road in attendance, but also saw lots of PORC jerseys and PORC members as well. super stoked to see those guys on slicks instead of knobbies. so many faces. i find it funny - i've always considered pensacola a small town, and in a lot of ways it is. today, however, it finally dawned on me just how many people make up our little cycling community...... not just the people who are out there riding the roads or trails, but their significant others who volunteer their time or who just plain "let" their spouses or whatever go take part in these kinds of things. plus, i know there were lots of people in attendance who have put on, or helped put on, other rides and events here locally - and that's awesome. there were also lots of new faces coming out to ride their first century or to just hang as long as their legs will let them. to me that's another example of awesome. all these people.... just out for a sweet ride together. 

ok, enough butterflies, rainbows, and puppies. lets go ahead and get to some matters of suck.....aka: my ride.

i could hardly sleep saturday night. partially because of nerves; i knew today was going to be a long day, but i also ate three helpings of pasta, and a salad, and a few beers, and lots of water, and.... anyway... my stomach was feeling a bit over-crammed. when i finally ended up getting out of bed one of the first things i did was check the weather. it was supposed to be in the 40's, so i was a little surprised to see the temp sitting at 62. i was not surprised, though, to see the winds slated to be 15-25mph all day with gusts going above and beyond. i decided there was no point in worrying about the weather, got kitted up and rolled out the door to very, very gray skies. wait..... those meteorologists didn't say anything about rain!

as i was making my way north west on Mobile Hwy i started hitting patches of "heavy mist". by the time i made it to Don's house i was pretty much soaked. not soaked to the core, but wet enough for me to notice once i was off the bike and standing around talking to people. i started getting a little chilled.

after much running around and folks signing in and food cramming. plenty of hugs and handshakes, smack talk and motivation, and the entire group of 87 started off from Don's. once the peloton was moving i warmed back up and things were nice. the group was rolling along briskly and it was starting to be a very social and pleasant ride.

without much drama we made it to the first rest stop, refueled and was back on the road pretty quickly. chatting with a few people i began to get this really odd feeling, a kind of mushy feeling. yep, rear flat. pulled off to change it. the whole peloton rolled by as i was replacing my tube so i knew i would have some catching up to do. Don was nice enough to hang back and help pace me back up to the group. a while into this effort, after we had come up on a few off the back of the main group i began to feel a familiar sensation... mushy again. dang, man. as soon as i had my bike flipped upside down to remove the wheel one of the support vehicles came up and "forced" me in. i was pretty bummed at this point, but figured it would be best. i could ride in the truck the rest of the way to the battleship, ride the return half of the ride, and then ride home and still break 100 miles. all was not lost. 

at the battleship i couldn't find anything stuck in my tire that might have caused the second flat. i didn't find anything the first time either. with everything pumped back up and ready to go we take the annual picture and folks start to ride back across the causeway towards pensacola. a group left a few minutes (moments?) before everyone else and they put a pretty nice split between them and everyone else. not having done too much up until now and with the assistance of a fairly stout tail wind i was determined to bridge the gap. i succeed. things were looking up. 

mushy again. by this third and final flat i had pretty much had it. irritated is probably a close description, but not altogether accurate. back in the truck.

i know, i know - flats are part of the game and i shouldn't be so upset. truthfully, i'm not that upset about a substandard performance at my first long distance goal of the year. 

which now brings me to my YTD: i began a small notebook at the beginning of the year to log my miles on the road. i'm not keeping much info, just the date, the distance, and a brief synopsis of what happened on the ride or what route i did. so far, including my truncated battleship, i'm sitting on 946.6km so far. it isn't as much as i had hoped to have under my belt by now, but it will have to do. 

note to self: ride more, complain less. (i stole that quote from Grumpy on the PORC forums) 

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