10 November 2007

Texter Mountain

Here's a pile of reasons to climb Texter Mountain in the Fall.

Sportsman Rd near the bottom of the climb. Average 5% grade.

The top of Sportsman Rd. Yeah, that's another rider up there. The grade here ranges between 12% and 20%. It's a challenging end to a 4-mile climb. Then again, Texter Mountain Rd has one last steep surprise...

This is the intersection of Sportsman Rd and Texter Mountain Rd looking up towards the summit of Texter Mountain.

This is the same view as the camera-phone shot here.

This is the view from Texter Mountain Rd down into the Cocalico valley and Rt. 897.

Here's one of the awesomely steep descents down Texter Mountain Rd leading into the valley.

The valley.

This last photo is at the 422 side of Texter Mountain Rd. The buildings in the foreground belong to the Wernersville State Hospital.

I won't be doing any climbing tomorrow. My rear brakes are caput.

08 November 2007

Insane Week

My week has been so busy that I haven't been able to write about Sunday's incredible ride. It was probably the most beautiful and satisfying ride of the season through the mountains and Fall colors and crisp air. Yeah, that sounds sappy, but I don't give a shit. It's true.

I climbed Texter Mountain again via Sportsman Rd just like the previous Sunday, only this time, I descended Texter Mountain Rd into the valley to Rt 897. The views were amazing and I curse myself for not bringing a camera. It was definitely the longest and fastest descent I've ever tried. And the road itself was narrow -- a glorified one-laner.

897 was cool too, since I haven't hit that road since the beginning of August (my Google Maps aren't working right now for some reason). From there, it was Galen Hall Rd and back into the mountains. Then it was Preston to Hill Rd and back to Wernersville.

By the way, at the intersection of Sportsman and Texter Mountain, I swear I saw Karl Rove pass me in a white Acura. I think I need a vacation.

03 November 2007

The Last 2007 Weekday Ride

So that's it for my weekday rides until 2008. The days are becoming too damn short, and eventually I'd have to skip work entirely in order to get a decent ride in. Tonight we turn the clocks back an hour and POOF! it's perpetually dark until next Spring.

Sundays will remain intact and outdoors until the snow, but the weekday rides will move into my basement once again, with the exception of perhaps some brief cross practicing over at the school (which also means perpetually changing over to my Maxxis cross tires). I don't really know if I'll be cut out for cyclocross, but it *looks* awesome.

Anyway, this winter I won't be destroying my knees on a stationary bike. I'm buying an indoor trainer today for my Kona, so I'll be doing my weekday evening workouts indoors while watching a 2-3 hour movie. I wonder how long that'll last before I rip my bike off that wretched apparatus and scramble for the door -- our cats tangled in my drivetrain, one of my daughter's drums inexplicably attached to the bars.

I hit the road Friday (yesterday) instead of the usual Thursday for various reasons. And in honor of it being the last weekday ride, I did both a time trial and some climbing.

First, the usual 10-mile time trial. This didn't go so well. I think I hit every red light through Wernersville on the way out, which sucked because I was in a real groove up to then.

I was really moving at around 24mph and my adrenaline was pumping because if I kept it up, I would shatter my previous record. Nah. I usually hit two red lights during each time trial (I know how stupid this sounds -- a post for another time) so my rule of thumb is that I drop 15 seconds off my final time for each stop in order to compensate for the deceleration and acceleration before and after the light. This time, I hit all of the damn red lights. And with on-coming traffic, I had no choice but to stop at each one (when there are no cars around, I cruise on through the red lights because I live on the edge, woo). I lost track of how many 15-second time subtractions I needed for this, but my head started to break anyway and I was losing my will for the time trial.

I turned around at the usual halfway mark and pumped up the hill near L&B Dodge and eventually back through Wernersville where a Trailways bus gave me black lung disease. I mean this son of bitch spewed the thickest blackest exhaust ever in America... into my mouth, throat and lungs... three times through the stop-and-go intersections of Wernersville.

I tried to get around this red and silver Smogzilla in order to salvage the effort, but the bus was too close to the curb. So I had to ride a couple of car lengths behind it. Slowly. With my lungs filling with hydrocarbons. Each acceleration of the bus dropped a big stinking black turd across the road. I mean, it felt like this bus was literally shitting in my mouth.

The bus eventually moved out of the way and I cranked with extreme prejudice and finished the time trial. And you know, all things considered, it wasn't horrible (for me). 31:52. But I dry heave when I think about what might've been. My average speed, due in part to all the stopping/starting/smogging, was a crappy 18mph. I need to find a more remote place to time trial. This is really stupid.

I finished the ride with a bit of recovery spinning, then I decided to climb up Furnace Rd and North Galen Hall. That was fun considering I was hacking and coughing Trailways ass cheese the whole way up. This is when I mention that the temperature was around 45 degrees. By the end of the 2 mile, 40mph descent down North Galen Hall, I looked like this: