Sunday, February 22, 2015

What-A-Burger Tour February 21, 2015

Weather forecast for 2/21/2015
Yesterday I rode my bike from my house in Albany, GA to the What-A-Burger restaurant in Thomasville, GA.  The forecast for the day was for winds out of the SSE at 10 to 20 mph.  Normally I would not choose to ride under such conditions since I would be riding south for 75 miles.  I like to think that I am not an unusual fellow, but this sort of ride appealed to me so I went anyway.

I have done this ride 3 or 4 times since moving to Georgia in 2010.  The What-A-Burger opened up in Thomasville after I moved here.  When I discovered it's existence I knew that I had an excuse to ride over 100 miles in one day.

This ride is the longest ride to date since my accident last March 17, 2014.  I had all of the fears of not being able to ride this far as I did when I first rode this ride in 2013.  I supposed the thrill of doing things that I am not sure I can do is what drives me to do them.  I also have a fear and loathing for headwinds so what better way to "Get Over It" than to choose to ride 4 or 5 hours into them.

Bike on an oak on Tarva Road to Newton, GA
The day started out great as I took to the road at 8:30 AM with the air temperature at about 40 degrees.  This was warmer than it had been all week at this time.  After the first hour of riding the temperature had warmed up to 55 degrees.  I stopped to change gear by this farm with a beautiful oak tree near the road.  Getting to Newton was enjoyable but I could tell that the winds were going to be strong after I got out of the protection of the tall pine trees that were on either side of the road.
Spirit of Camilla in Camilla, GA
Cycling in Georgia on country roads is nice because there is no traffic on the back roads.  When I venture on the larger state highways there is more traffic and large semi trucks.  The state highways usually have a better paved surface so I like them on long distance rides.  After leaving Newton I was on HWY 37 and that is when I got my first taste of the full force of the headwinds.  The tall pine trees thinned out and gave way to crop fields.  I normally do not have my Garmin set with a screen that shows how hast I am going, but at one point I noticed that I was only going 7 miles an hour.  I thought to myself was I really ready for 4 more hours of this?

I decided to play a game in my head to pass the time.  I remembered when I lived in Oregon where there were lots of hills and sometimes lots of wind.  Some cyclist up there taught me to love rides with hills and headwinds.  Since there are few hills here in SW Georgia I decided to pretend that I was riding up hills as I rode into the rind.

Meigs, GA a small town on HWY 3, the Dixie Highway
There are small towns all along the route from my house to the What-A-Burger.  Sometimes I wonder what it was like to live in these towns when they were bustling way back when.  I am a sucker for taking pictures of water towers with the name of the town on it.  As you can see this town has a focus a cotton crops.

Between Meigs and Ochlocknee is where the hills start.  Nothing like getting a break from the wind blowing directly in your face than it is when you are riding up a hill only to get an extra strong blast as you crest the hill.  I have done this on many rides, but not a ride with this amount of distance.  At this point of the ride I was so tired of my brain complaining about the wind that I actually started enjoying the wind which is the whole point of my decision to decide to ride in it.

Oil-Dri Corp of America Ochlocknee, GA
 One of the curios points on the ride is near Ochlocknee, GA.  the Oil-Dri plant has always raised my curiosity about what product it produced.  I normally do not stop her as there are always a lot of trucks on the road.  This day I decided to take a short video to show how hard the wind was blowing so that I would not forget how hard it was blowing.  I also get mesmerized by smoke blowing from factories.

Nice country home in Thomas County
This route takes me past trailer homes and mansions.  There is so much to look at as I ride it is hard to stay on the bike and not stop and take a picture every mile.  Some of the homes that I see are so nice.

The goal
Getting to What-A-Burger is the halfway point of the ride.  I was ordering my meal and one women employee walked up to me and told me that they had missed me.  She said that she had not seen me in a while.  I was surprised that she remembered me.  I told her that this was my first trip done since my accident last year.  My wife Sylvia tells em that people always remember me and I refuse to believe her, yet people do remember me.  I am probable the only cyclist that stops in for a burger that lives in Albany so that is why they remember me.  Sitting in the What-A-Burger is like going back to Texas for me.  I was listening to George Strait and eating a burger.  It was great.

Nice pond by the road

I did not wast time getting back on the road. I was shocked to find that the winds did not change direction.  for once I would have a tail wind all the way back to Albany.  I decided to buckle down and just pedal home.  I of course could not just ride home without stopping to take a picture of my favorite pond on the route.

Bike on a gate
My first ride in a long time with bungee cords on my bike bag.  I had all of my jackets on this ride as I did not know what the weather was going to be like.  I like riding long distances, but I also do not want to worry about riding and being cold.  i am currently looking to replace my seat post rack to allow more clearance between the stuff on the rack and me seat.
200 year old oak tree near Camilla, GA

200 year old oak tree near Camilla, GA

I was getting closer to home and as usual I did not want to stop, but the lighting was so nice on this tree that I decided to stop. The owner of the house came out to talk to me. She thought I was lost. I told her I was taking pictures of the oak tree. She tome me that she bought the house from a man who was over 100 years old. He told her the oaks were that big when he was a boy. The woman said that the oaks in her yard are 200 years old.

Georgia Power plant Dougherty County Line with deer
 I never get wildlife in my photos because it takes me so long to get my camer out of my back pocket.  The deer in the picture was standing near the woods when I stopped.  I thought for sure it would run by the time I took a picture, but it did not.
Georgia Power plant Dougherty County Line
This is the last photo on the tour.  The first time I road this ride dead batteries at this point of the ride.  I was using my phone to keep track of my mileage and it died.  From here on it will be a slog to get home.

One thing to mention in closing is that I say it was a slog home, but in fact it was not.  On Locket Station near the school at Winterwood Avenue I heard in my head that Michele Moulton called a sprint to Gillonville.  Kent Wheeler chimed in that "Poor Lonnie is tired, he will not do it".  Here we go so I decided to ride as hard as I could up the rise to the school and to past the two rumble strips to the stop light at Gillionville.  I was not surprised that I was not tired and had the strength to ride hard like this at the end of a 140 mile ride.  I noticed a car behind me driving slow and not passing me but that did not slow me i rode has hard as I could.  I maxed out at 23 MPH on the sprint.

As I crossed Gillionville into my neighborhood I slowed down a bit, but I still wanted to ride strong to my house.  I always want to finish a ride like I still have 50 miles to go.  I never want to finish a ride and be dead tired.  I had a nice ride.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Winter Ride Home

Seven Cycles 622 SLX leaning on a street sign pole
 at the corner of Lily Pond Road and Denson Road.
I wanted to take advantage of the day light as I rode home this evening.  The wind was blowing 13-15 MPH from the NW, so I knew I was not going to have a speedy ride home.  I decided to just enjoy the ride and take some pictures.

I have become a more relaxed cyclist post accident.  I use to get so frustrated when I could not ride at least 50 miles a day.  I would beat myself up if I was riding slower than 17 MPH.  Now I just really enjoy the ride no matter what.  It takes a lot to really calm me down, but now I think I finally get it, cycling is for relaxing.  You may think that I was already aware of this fact since I have been riding all of my life, but sometimes it takes a life changing event to make you realize reality.

I am glad I do not have deep dish rims.  The wind was blowing so hard my front tire took a little more effort to keep on course than I am use to.  This is the first strong cross wind that I have ridden in by myself.  The rims on this bike have a little higher profile than my old bike.  The carbon fiber fork is a lot wider than my steel fork on my old bike.  Not a big deal as this bike rides way better than my old bike.

Looking down Denson Road.
Lonnie Wormley in Yellow Bicycle Commuter Cabal Jersey
I have these glasses that I really love.  I got them at an REI sale last year.  I normally do not like full framed cycling glasses, but these are OK.  The best feature is that they have photo chromatic lenses. The glasses are made by Tifosi.  These glasses are what make my bike commute easy. I am always riding when the light is changing from dark to light or light to dark.  Having to changes lenses or ride with sunglasses in the dark is a problem.  I enjoy riding during the transitions of light so these glasses make it so easy.

Tonight I had the opportunity to have company on my commute home.  I ran into my neighbor Alan Bitterman as I turned from Leary Road onto 8 Mile Road.  We had a nice chat and ride home together.
My wind gauge on Old Pretoria Road

Holly Hill Plantation

Holly Hill Plantation

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Reflections on my time away from cycling

Edomondo mileage report by month
Next month will be the one year anniversary of the most traumatic event of my life.  I was cruising the Internet relaxing today and was looking at my mileage for the last few months.  In March 2014 I was on target to break the miles that I rode in February 2014 when I was hit on March 17.  For the next 8 months I hardly rode my remaining mountain bike.  Starting on December 2, 2014 I started bike commuting my new bike.

One of the key successes that I can attribute to my quick recovery to getting my miles back up on my bike so quickly is that my wife +Sylvia Wormley has taken excellent care of me.  I decided to let her manage my diet and health during my recovery from the accident.  She is my crew chief when it comes to keeping me on a path to better health. During the 8 months off the bike I did not gain back the weight that I had lost the previous year.  I cut out all of my consumption of products with corn syrup.  I eat a lot of salads with protein.  I take vitamin and mineral supplements.  I am consulting with a functional doctor.  All of these factors have helped me to remain healthy so that when I am out on my bike I can fully concentrate on the bike.

My new motto for this year is "Ride Like You Mean It".  This is not to say I am not going to enjoy myself on my cycling adventures.  This is to say that I am going to be focused on my cycling adventures. Never again will I take it for granted that I will always be able to ride a bike.  Being off the bike was not a show stopper for my life, things when on and I made it through.  What cycling does do for my life is add the icing to the cake.  Cycling is the cherry on top of my life.  So every time I put on my cycling gear and get on my bike I am going to make sure that I have the best ride of my life.  I am going to ride and leave nothing to be said that I did not do on that ride.

In 2014 I wanted to ride 10,000 miles, I only rode 3,094 miles. Riding 10,000 miles is my goal for this year too, but I am also adding some extras to my cycling goals for 2015.  I want to ride 100 miles with 15,000 feet of elevation.  I also want to do a 200 mile ride and ride for 24 hours without sleeping.  When I set a goal of 10,000 miles in one year I have to add some fun into the miles so that I will enjoy accomplishing my goal.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

2015 Winter Training Series Finale

Anyone who has played sports and has had a good coach knows that you have a love hate relationship with training.   The 2015 Winter Training Series was one of best times on a bike for me.  At times I really loved it and at times I really hated it.  One thing for sure, I am a stronger rider because I decided to "Ride Like I Mean It".

As Kent Wheeler yelled out to me today as I was dropping of the lead "Oh I am not a sprinter, I can not pull into the wind".  He was giving me sarcastic encouragement.  When I was in college I had an art professor in a studio painting class who would intentionally mess up my paintings.  He would only do this to my paintings.  At first I thought he did not like me, but later he told me that he was making me a better painter because he wanted me to be able to fix mistakes and know how to mix colors.  Kent's comments made me push beyond my comfort zone and go all out in all of the sprints and attack zones.  One thing for sure, you have no time to think about how tired you are when you are going full out trying to catch up with the race team as they leave you in the dust.

I have to also give credit to my Seven cycles 622 SLX.  When I ride my bike as a commuter I ride about 15 to 16 MPH average.  Today I rode 66 miles and average 19 MPH.  My bike likes to go fast.  When I ride my bike slow it hurts by butt.  When I ride my bike fast, no saddle sores. I am sure that my bike is encouraging me to pick up the pace by using my saddle to gently encourage me.

Anyway I had fun today as usual.  riding out in the daylight is always a treat.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rainy Commute Home

Weather forecast at 1 PM
Weather forecast at 1 PM
I finally had a chance to ride int he rain last night.  It rained for the whole hour and 45 minute commute home.

This was the first real test of my Shower Pass Elite 2.1 jacket using the hood.  I was eager to see if rain water would drip from my head and helmet down my neck and into my jacket.  My old Burley rain jacket was nice, but it had this flaw and I was always annoyed that I was warm and dry except for the rain dripping off my head.

Weather forecast at 7 PM
 Most of the time down here in SW Georgia the rain is nice and warm, but this time of year the temperature will drop 10 to 20 degrees on my commute home.  Last night according to my Garmin I started riding and the temperature was 59 degrees and when I finished it was 39 degrees.
Weather forecast at 7 PM

Selecting the correct clothing to wear with these temperature variances is tricky.  figuring out this puzzle is part of the fun of bike commuting.  sometimes I get is so right and sometimes I fail miserably. I like using the Shower Pass jacked because it is light yet wind proof.  I can ride with it and if I get too hot I can loosen the sleeves at my wrists and unzip the large vents under each arm and let in some cool air.

The tricky part of riding in the rain when it is cold is dressing so that you are not too hot, but as the temperature drops and I get wet I do not want to get too cold.  Last night I nailed it with my upper torso and my legs.  my hands started to get really cold as I have not replaced my worn out Seal  Skin gloves.  I was using my Pearl Izumi clam shell gloves over some long finger cycling gloves.  I knew they would get soaked, but I just wanted my hands to be warm for the ride home.

My bike picked up the usual road grit as I rode.  Typically with brake pads the rim will get scored when you use the brakes and there is a lot of fine debris getting thrown up on your rim from the rain.  I never have to worry about this when riding with disc brakes.  I did hear a little noise coming from my brakes as I rode.  I figured debris was getting on the rotors so I depressed each brake slightly to clean it off and the noise went away.  On my mountain bike I never hear this sort of noise I suppose because there is so much other noise from the bike rolling over gravel.  On the road bike I hear every little noise out on a quite country road.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The smells on a bike commute

Today on my short ride home I decided to stop and take a picture of my bike next to the new Mars sign.  When I first started bike commuting here in Albany, GA I discovered the location of the Mars plant.  I had heard that they were here, but I never knew where it was until I started riding my bike.

As usual when you are in a car you can not smell the world around you like you can on a bike.  When I lived in Portland I would love to smell the smells of hops and the beer brewing from the Henry Weinhard's plant as I rode through downtown.  Here in Albany I love the smell of roasting peanuts and chocolate when I am downwind from the Mars plant.

East facing side

West facing side