31 August 2007
I've also found that when the temperature is around 85 or higher, it helps to dump some water on my head every time I go for a drink, instead of waiting until my face is burning. Even at the height of exhaustion, this offers a tremendous boost in endurance.
Saw three other riders last night. One hoople with a complete Team Discovery Channel kit, which was interesting. At least he wasn't wearing yellow.
The ride also reminded me that the Summer is coming to a close. The evening rides will become shorter and shorter as night arrives sooner each day. Then again, Fall brings its own bits of excitement for riding: the scenery, the cooler temperatures. Can't wait.
29 August 2007
In my defense, I was checking my phone at the time, but it didn't matter. This dude would've dropped me anyway. Tonight's ride: 24 miles, 422 Corridor.
*My definition of "pro-looking" = sweet gear, fast, shaved legs. Yes, I happened to notice the shaved legs. So what. Who wants to fight?
23 August 2007
Gnat, mosquito, horse fly, Japanese Beetle. Wait. Honestly, I didn't swallow any Japanese Beetles, but some such species of large flying exoskeletoned creature thwacked me in the ear, hard enough to make a loud THWAP! noise, just as I was descending the upper part of Wooltown at around 30-40 mph. Imagine descending really fast, and then imagine being shot in the ear with a BB gun. No marks or abrasions, just a LOUD JARRING POP SOUND.
Meanwhile, I passed a (very serious and pro-looking) rider on Gaul. He was descending as I was desperately trying to remain upright on the climb. I'm in this mode right now in which I believe that every other road rider is faster and better than me (they are). For the rest of the ride, I kept thinking, "That other rider would totally drop me right now." Yes, I often self-motivate with self-loathing. Therapy, please.
22 August 2007
19 August 2007
So that's the Kutztown University "Golden Bear," presently located on the north campus of my alma mater (class of 1994) between Schaeffer Auditorium and the library. It turns out that Kutz's Mill Bridge is located about a mile away from that damn bear statue. I noted the location of Kutz's Mill Bridge with a thumb tack on the map below.
The morning temperature had to have been in the low 60s, and there was an ass-kicking wind blowing in from the northwest, which sucker punched me from the flanks during the entire ride. And Lehigh Valley winds are famously powerful in the valleys northeast of Reading -- especially in Kutztown itself. Between the wind and the cooler early-morning temperatures, it took about 15 miles to really find some energy.
It's amazing what you discover around here when you actually *look*. I discovered an assembly of relics in Leesport known as The Reading Railroad Museum. It's a collection of vintage passenger rail cars from a time before Detroit and Big Oil all but killed America's rail system.
Take a ride on the Reading (below).
Several Pullman cars from the fabled New York Central Railroad (below).
The spillway bridge at Lake Ontelaunee:
And the map. Note the thumbtack marking the position of Kutz's Mill Bridge:
16 August 2007
By the way, I drove the Gaul route last night just to see what scenery I was missing. Saw two roadies (not together). One was cranking up Steely Rd and the other was descending Gaul. Glad to see I'm not the only one who likes the torture.
14 August 2007
13 August 2007
Almost immediately, I hit a crapload of these dinky yet insanely steep little hills on Faust and Steely Rds. These wall-like rises are invisible in the Google Maps satellite photos so I had no idea, then again part of the fun is the exploration. Too bad I was losing daylight and, well, after a couple miles of this, my legs felt like they were filled with liquid hot magma. Not since my first ride of the season have I felt this crappy. And I blame both my missed breakfast and the steepness of those little climbs. Plus, my sprockets kept slipping the chain down for some reason, so what little energy I had left was spent trying to crank over these little walls (call them BIG speed bumps) with my sprockets going all herky-jerky at random.
You know what else didn't help? On my ride with Lauren the other day, I suffered a boneheaded NO-SPEED crash. In other words, I was stopped and I didn't pull my foot out of the toe clip in time before -- BOOM! -- down I went. Huge black and purple raspberry on my right hip and the frantic struggle to pull my right foot out of the clip has rendered my right ankle a little sore. Bam. Oh and I suffered a gnarly gushing road rash on my right knee. All from falling whilst at a complete stop. Doy.
The only redemption for the day was 422. Man, I love riding on that road. Really felt good sprinting at my version of high speed for five or six miles. I think I hit a second wind after the crushing warm-up, or maybe I was just pissed off at my "modified and abbreviated" circuit. What I'd give to have 422 closed to car and truck traffic for a day between here and Harrisburg.
UPDATE, 8/14/07: A year from now when I'm in better shape and more skilled, I'll read this post and laugh at all my whining.
Frame size: 60cm (I'm 6'4" and my ideal frame size should be 61.5cm)
Frame tubing: Kona 7005 Butted Aluminum
Fork: Kona P2 700c
Braze-on fittings: 2 bottles, fender eyelets
Crankarms: FSA Gossamer Triple MegaExo
Chainrings: 53/39/30T (I wish there was a bigger gear.)
B/B: FSA MegaExo
Pedals: Shimano PD-M324 (Custom addition)
Chain: Shimano CN-IG70
Freewheel: Shimano DEORE (12-25t, 9speed)
F/D: Shimano Sora
R/D: Shimano Tiagra
Shifters: Shimano SORA
Handlebar: Easton EA30 OS
Stem: Easton EA30 OS
Grips: Cork Black
Brakes: Avid Shorty 4
Brake Levers: Shimano SORA w/Tektro RX 2.0
Front hub: Shimano DEORE
Rear hub: Shimano FH-M3300
Spokes: 15g front and 14g rear stainless DT
Tires: Maxxis Locust CX 700x35C (super durable, so far!)
Rims: Sun MZ-14
Saddle: WTB Rocket V COMP
Seatpost: Easton EA30
Seat clamp: Kona Clamp
11 August 2007
09 August 2007
Also known as Red Bridge, the Wertz is the longest single span covered bridge in Pennsylvania. The stats:
Builder: Amandas Knerr
Stream: Tulpehocken Creek
WGCB Number: 38-06-06
Also known as: Red Bridge
One of my favorite aspects of any historic area is to find little physical details that aren't always noted in the visitor center brochures.
For example, the bridge is also adjacent to the old Union Canal. The canal was a massive structure with a history going back to William Penn himself. If you ride to the Heritage Center side, the gravel hiking trail along this bank happens to run parallel to a wide trench which was once the Union Canal. In places along the trail, you can even see the old stones used as the walls of the manmade waterway, and at the Gring's Mill park, the towpath and canal remain intact and preserved. More on the Union Canal here.
The bridge is the only Berks covered bridge which is closed to vehicle traffic, but on the Tulpehocken Rd side of the bridge near the park area, you can ride on a small section of the old road which once ran up to- and over the bridge. I love things like that. Remnants of old roads, old structures. I like to imagine what the terrain used to look like before progress changed the landscape (for better or worse, depending on the case).
One down, four more to go: The Dreibelbis Bridge, The Kutz's Mill Bridge, Griesemer's Bridge and The Pleasantville Bridge.
05 August 2007
It seemed like the perfect day for my first half-century, so I did it. The 50-mile round trip to Lebanon, PA and back. I really only "bonked" (lost all will to live) once, and it was just a few miles from home. I wrote it before and I'll write it again: 422 West is awesome for cycling. Just awesome. More details and a map later on.
03 August 2007
Historic Reinholds Inn was built in 1863 by Colonel Jesse Reinhold after its founder Colonel Jesse Reinholds who built a large and commodious hotel in 1863, soon after, the Reading Columbia Railroad Company had opened its railroad for business. This house was for a time occupied as a hotel, ticket-post-and telegraph office, with Mr. Reinhold as postmaster and station agent. During the summer Mr. Reinhold had his house open as a resort for recreation, it being generally patronized by wealthy Philadelphians. Now we offer the saloon downstairs and "The Station" upstairs, second floor, which is open for fine and casual dining offering dinner specials nightly.
02 August 2007
UPDATE: Not sure why the route isn't showing up on the map.