Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rider's Notes: Larry on the MS150

[This excellent write up is from our friend Larry who travels down from Colorado to do this ride.  I had the pleasure of riding with him last year, but he was too fast for me this year!  Another example of why this ride is so special - a great cyclist and all around great guy who rides in defiance of his diagnosis.  An inspiration!]

It had everything, wind and rain, heat and hills, and miles and miles and miles of open road, a cyclist’s dream come true. I had it in my mind to do the century but I needed to find a group to ride with.  Our team captain, who I rode with last year, wasn’t in for the century this year and I was afraid that on my own it would be too easy to back out, not that I would ever do that of course.  But still, a group does seem to have a positive effect on will power and it always adds to the fun quotient.  

I crossed the start line at the front of the pack, the desert colors radiating in all their magnificence in the crisp dry air on the morning of day 1.  My plan was to look for a group that I could keep up with or maybe even lead a little and who was set on the century.  I had only gone a few miles when I came across Beth, a girl I met last year and a fellow MSer no less.   She was wearing the jersey, “I have MS, This is Why I Ride" so we were visibly represented.  She was riding with her friend, also from last year, and I learned there wasn’t any question in their minds, they wanted the 100 miles.  She invited me to join them and we got down to business right away, and stayed together for the rest of the ride.  We didn’t hit every rest stop but the volunteers, the homemade banana bread and myriad of homemade cookies and all of the other tasty treats were spectacular at the ones we did hit.  Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, for the great volunteers who care enough to bake home made goodies and bring them to the rest stops they tend.  You are the largest part of the cyclists dream come true.

Larry (left) talking strategy with Ron.
I believe Beth’s friend may be my new idol, she really knew how to do a long ride in style.  I don’t want to give away her secrets but lets just say that we wanted for nothing over that entire ride, including the occasional massage.  Riding in style with a fellow MSer, respectable cyclists all of us, I liked that a lot.  It made a statement, don't count us out just because we have been diagnosed with MS.

I have to compliment Maggie, the ride organizer or whoever laid out the century spur of the ride.  It was gorgeous, the black top was flawless and in spite of the fact that it gave the impression we were descending into a hole which we would have to climb out of, that wasn’t the case.  In fact, the ride back was a fabulous descent to rejoin the main route.

Beth is a marathoner and a genuine thoroughbred on a bike, however, she kept herself in check to ride with the rest of us except on a couple of the hills which she used to stretched her legs a bit.  But, on the longest and steepest hill, I noticed I was actually catching up to her and had to wonder if there might be a problem.  When I did catch her, I saw she was riding on a badly deflated back tire.  I don’t know how far she had been riding like that but it was an 8 mile long hill and we were almost at the top, so it could have been quite a while.  That’s not the first flat I’ve had experience with on that hill either, perhaps we should call that hill Tire Eater Rise.  Anyway, no sooner did we pull over and I began to set about fixing the tire (I mean, it was the classic damsel in distress situation that I always try to be a sucker for) than the Support and Gear crew came along and got us on our way again, headed for the lunch stop.

At the lunch stop, it was a shot of pickle juice, a little rehydration, sandwiches made to order, more home made cookies, a quick shoulder massage, and back on the bikes for the down hill run with at least somewhat of a tail wind most of the time....until the last 10 miles.  

What it is about those last 10 miles?  In some demonic way the wind twists itself around until it’s blasting right on the nose.  And it amplifies itself by an order of magnitude or two.  It was the same last year but maybe only one order of magnitude as opposed to this year’s two.  And it happens just as you start the last uphill stretch.  Now, I love the wind, at least that’s what I tell myself, but this particular stretch has it’s own unavoidable idiosyncrasy which works kind of like this.  At 15 miles from the finish you notice your average speed is around 15 mph and you calculate you’ve only got an hour to go.  When you’re 10 miles out, you see your speed is down to 10 and you recalculate that you still have an hour to go.  And with only 5 miles left, on the steepest part of the hill, still riding into the wind, you’re down to 5 miles per hour fearing you have yet another hour to go.  At this point, you must summon a little faith that the finish line does exist and will eventually appear.  If you can do that, you WILL be rewarded, it WILL happen.  The three of us did cross the finish line together side by side not too long after that last steep little pitch but there was a moment of doubt and small test of faith to be passed there, for sure.

How do you make a great ride even better? add a beer truck of course!  Yep, there it was in all it’s glory exactly where it needed to be, right at the end of the first day’s ride.  The beer truck arrived soon after the last century riders crossed the finish line and about half an hour before dinner.  If I wasn’t the first guy in line I was close.  I’d run into Dave Bexfield, the evening’s speaker, and his wife Laura on my way across the parking lot to the tent.  We both spotted the beer truck as we were saying our hello’s and automatically turned and headed in that direction.  They had just finished pouring the foam off of the freshly tapped kegs as we arrived.  Shortly after, Maggie and Krista materialized too.  That golden nectar of hops was indeed the perfect ending to a 100+ mile day.  Nice touch Maggie and Krista, and thank you John and Matt et al. for somehow making that happen.  And it was great to see you again Dave and Laura, and thank you everyone, for another unforgettable Bike MS experience.

Day 2, Truchas…what can I say?  Far be it from me to discourage anyone from riding up this hill so let’s just say that for the third year in a row, even I, the slowest of the slow, the worlds worst climber, made it to the top, on the bike, under my own power.  And furthermore, I wasn’t DFL.  In fact, I might not have been quite as hypoxic as the two previous years.  

There is a segment of the Truchas hill, which can bring a cyclist to their knees, and make them weep, and it did stop me this year.  I had finished the 4 or 5 eight to ten percent hills leading up to it and was starting to get pretty hot when I spotted the road's path up that massive overhang.  I was grateful for the rain cloud that sprinkled lightly, cooling things down as I started to pedal up it.  But, it stopped me anyway, right in the middle of the last section of that steep little pitch (with a “p”, or a “b”, choose one).  Now I didn’t break down and weep but, for a minute or so, I did beg for air and strength.  And while I was regaining my composure and perhaps entertaining just the slightest thought of turning around and going back down, I heard my Denver bike buddy’s voice in the back of my mind.  She said quite clearly, in her take no prisoners voice, “Get your butt up the hill!”, so, I spun an elongated 360 in the middle of the road, got a little speed up and with surprising vigor and ease, peddled my way to the crest.

By the way, thanks to all of you who commented on my “I Ride With MS” jersey and gave me words of encouragement, and thanks in particular for supporting the MS cause.

In Truchas, I was presented with the traditional cyclotini, Gatorade in a martini glass with a grape this year, on a skewer.  Without dismounting and after a few minutes, I topped off my water bottles, downed a chocolate covered banana and headed back down the hill.

I can’t imagine the thrill of that descent ever getting old.  If I live to be 90 I’ll SAG to the top of Truchas just to re-live the trip back down.  On a set of good tires and riding well maintained equipment, you can reach some mighty impressive speeds on that descent.  It’s also fun to hang around the rest stop after that hill and listen to the riders talk about the speeds they hit as they came down.
In the end, I trimmed about 20 minutes off last year’s time on the first day but I added 15 to my saddle time the second day.  I’ll have to think about why that might be but I already know the real test will come when I do it all again next year.

“Pedal los Pueblos”, an MS 150 ride for those who dare!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Favorite Photos of the MS150 2013

Here are some of my favorite pictures from this years ride.  Summarizes nicely our great team!

Rider's Notes: Captain's Log Day 2

The second day of a 150 mile mike ride is both the worst day and the best day of the ride.  The worst day because the cumulative effect of riding 90 miles on the first day makes getting in the saddle the hardest thing to do.  The best day because these first tortured 10 miles of the ride is truly spectacular - mission churches, farm land, gorgeous south western vistas - and knowing that today's is shorter.  My goal today was only the 40 miles, so I could get back early enough to enjoy a dip in the pool with the toddler before we headed home for the weekend.  I missed the Truchas spur, but getting back early enough to get a descent lunch, massage, and a shower almost made it worth missing the thrilling 6 mile descent from Truchas.  It was a great day of riding though!  It helped I was riding with a great group of fellow riders - LeeAnn, John, Greg, Val, Buddy, and Andrew.  Finished 40 miles and done by 11 am.

This ride is truly a fantastic experience.  It is more than just a two day weekend at the end of August. For me and the other dedicated folks on the team, it starts in early May as we start holding recruiting sessions, planning for our fundraisers, soliciting donations from local businesses, planning the training season, ordering team jerseys, sending out the countless emails to the team regarding rides and events, growing our ridership, getting out of bed at 5 am on Saturday mornings for 2 months, and finally harassing friends and family for donations.  The actual ride weekend is the culmination of the 4 months of active effort and it is always worth it.  

It is always a difficult to condense every thing I feel about this ride into a short note, but let me try. First, our team is amazing!  Riders from all places in life that come together for a myriad of reasons to ride together for 2 months.  Some of them I have ridden with for over 3 years, and count them truly as extended family. The sense of camaraderie feels wonderful, and the only thing that is close is my long ago rugby days.  

Finally, the ride itself is a great combination personal challenge and celebration.  Challenge, because as life becomes more full with family and children, devoting the kind of time to this ride will become more difficult.  But more than that, if you would have asked me right after my diagnosis 6 years ago if I  thought I would be capable of riding 150 miles in a weekend I would have said no.  At the time, my mind was in the darkest of places as I contemplated my uncertain future.  So this is a yearly challenge to get out and be as active as I can and enjoy what I have while I have it.  So in that sense it is a personal celebration, in addition to the true rolling party the ride is every year.

Rider's Notes: Stacy on the MS150

[Here is a quick write up from Stacy - a new rider to the team this year.  She was a little unsure of how far she wanted to ride, and ended up riding 70 miles on day 1 and 40 miles on day 2!]

Riding the MS 150 was a wonderful experience and for a great cause.  The beautiful scenery, fantastic support from the team and the opportunity to personally challenge myself were awesome.  The best thing about the weekend is the welcoming environment from the MS society volunteers that were just so happy we were riding, it made for a great weekend.

Finishing up Day 1!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rider's Notes: Captain's Log Day 1

This year was the fifth MS150 ride for the Scrymgeour clan - my fifth year riding, Ali's fifth year volunteering or riding, and even Connor's fifth year (he was in utero at the first one).  Every year I look forward to this weekend, and this year was no exception.  It was certainly more difficult this year with two kiddos, but thanks to Ali's parents we were able to do the ride this year.

One of the highlight for me the first day was seeing so many new riders suited up in Domo jerseys and ready to go (16 new riders this year)!  The ride I was planning on today (the 88 miles) is here. The other was being able to ride with Ali for the first 20 miles.  We cruised out in the 2nd wave of riders to take a relaxed ride toward the first rest stop.  There were about 8 of us riding together and spirits were high as we chatted and enjoyed the 10 miles to the first rest stop.  We stop for refueling and potty breaks and then onto the next stop, the halfway for the 40 mile riders.

Look at all those Penultimates jerseys!
I said goodbye to Ali as she and LeeAnn headed back on the 40 mile ride.  We headed out on the next 30 miles toward lunch.  It was fun to ride this year with a few other riders - Blythe, Andrew, and John. For some reason, the last 3 years I did this stretch of ride solo.  We picked up Peggy, Tammy, and Gregg on their return from the century spur,  and we rode roughly as a group the next 10 miles - the long uphill and and then down to El Rito for lunch. 

Lunch - the best sandwich I had or will have all year.
Under cloudy skies (that threatened rain all day to no avail), we enjoyed a nice lunch before suiting up for the next leg of the ride.  It was a long downhill section that John and I kept a nice 18-22 mph pace for most of the way.  After a quick refresh at mile 60 begins the hard work.  This is the point the ride starts to get long, the weather hot, and cumulative tally of miles in the saddle start to catch up with you. But Andrew, John, and I forged ahead to the stops at mile 70 and finally 80.  At the last stop we only had 8 miles to go, but it was a long 8 miles!

We finished around 4 pm.  Completing the ride for me is always a relief.  Glad to have finished, and a confirmation that I can still do it.  This will be my personal challenge for as long as I can physically ride, and I hope to participate in this ride for a long time to come.  It is a fantastic event, and one that is always rewarding - from the volunteers, to the beautiful scenery, to the fellow riders - and I look forward to next years ride (after 10 months off from training that is!).

2013 by the Numbers

As always it was a great training season and wonderful ride!  I still can't believe how much we have grown this year, and how much we accomplished.  This year's breakdown:
48 total teammates (10 more than 2012!)
17 brand new Bike MS150 riders!
13 riders who have done the ride >2 years
3 fundraising events
$3024 raised at fundraisers to fight MS!
Training season:
0 - number of bike free weekends since June 23 (team wide)
1 - tire blowout before the ride even started
4 - maximum number of flats in one ride by one rider (congrats Brady!)
3 - Breakfasts at Serafin's Chili Hut post Saturday ride
8 - chocolate milkshakes at Route 66 Malt Shop post Sunday ride 
12 - days of training rides
6561 - Miles of training (team wide)
At the MS Ride 2013:
42 - riders Day 1
38 - riders Day 2
25 - riders to completed the Century ride Day 1!
25 - riders to make it to Truches on Day 2
28 - riders in Penultimate jerseys
6 flat tires (team wide)
5426 miles rode a the MS150 (team wide)
12 top fundraisers

$28,934.45 (and counting) raised by the Penultimates!

$176,189 (and counting) raised to fight MS at the Pedal los Pueblos 2013!

Go Domo!

MS150 Photos 2013

Lots of great photos from this years ride.  If you are having problems seeing the flash slideshow below, click here to go directly to the online photo album.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Riders Notes: Rob on the MS150

[Here is a writeup from new rider Rob, new to both cycling and the MS150. Rob was one of those surprises that we always get every year - a random person signs up for the team and then fits right in.]

Finishing the 100 on day 1!
The MS Bike Ride was a pretty fantastic experience for me. It was a very satisfying validation of 14 months of very hard work. On July 3 of last year I moved to Albuquerque with the aid of a transitional assistance program run by the VA in order to work on getting into a Masters of Archaeology program at UNM, find work, broaden my pool of peers and possible friends, and get healthy in mind and body. I had recently been diagnosed with Asperger (something that made perfect sense once I understood what Asperger was) and I weighed 250 pounds, had high blood pressure, and was close to pre-diabetic. I did not get back into school, but I found a job and career that was completely unexpected based on my Naval nuclear experience and I engaged in physical conditioning and therapy (much of which was conducted in my own head during many solitary hours on hiking trails) with equal vigor, and when I started at Sandia in early June I saw the notice for the Penultimates in the Sandia newsletter and it was at just the right time. I have not been part of any kind of athletic team since I was forced to be in Junior High, I have not voluntarily joined clubs (except for utterly geeky ones like Sci-Fi clubs and history clubs) in my adult life, and I had never ridden more than 53 miles in a loop around Albuquerque. I was incredibly nervous about joining the team, about whether I would fit in, and I kept forgetting my helmet in the morning and such. I was pleasantly surprised that I fit right in, and that I had a really good time from start to finish. I have a very hard time feeling ‘part’ of anything that has very much to do with my Asperger, and though I was never aware of the Asperger during most of my life I was aware of that distantness. I can, however, feel connections with people, and however faint those connections may be, they made me feel better by participating with the team and those people on the ride. I very much want to thank everyone on the team for helping me feel a part of the team, and for welcoming me, however distant I may have seemed at times. This really meant a lot to me, and I intend to do the ride again next year.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekend's Ride: August 17 & 18th - Santa Fe and City Loop

The last training ride of the 2013 Bike MS training season.  We had a great time on Saturday - over 21 riders headed out for a little road time on the road to Santa Fe.  Sunday saw four riders head out.  Heading into the big ride, we have 45 registered riders, with probably 39 riders.  Go Domo! 

Saturday Ride:  The High Road to Santa Fe

We had 21 riders head out to get some miles on the last training Saturday of the year!  The official route today was our adventure ride heading out from O'Neill's in Nob Hill finishing up in Santa Fe to catch the train home (route here).  There were several combinations that riders did due to the time investment required for the main ride - from riding to Tijeras then down South 14, some rode from Tijeras to the hill over looking Madrid, others from the Smiths on Central to Heartbreak Hill, while others started at the JC train stop before the main start at 6 at O'Neills and ending in Santa Fe.  Whatever the combination though, it was a good day to ride.

After our first main rally at the Triangle, 18 of us headed north on 14.  It was a pretty quick trip on the downhill and then we separated into a few different groups. Most headed north, but a few brave ones headed up Heartbreak Hill before turning back to ABQ or heading on to Madrid. This leg saw one of the weirder things I have encountered on any bike ride - a mass migration of large caterpillars heading west that covered the road for about 4 miles.  Unfortunately, many of them met untimely ends bisected by bicycle tires.

The next rally saw 15 of us meet up in Madrid for refueling.  Lots of water and ice cream sandwiches were consumed.  Four riders headed back toward ABQ, heading up the long 4 mile uphill segment we just descended into Madrid (a harder ride than the full ride to Santa Fe). 

From there, eleven brave riders continued on to Santa Fe.  The last 23 miles were the test - with shifting wind, hot noon time temperatures, and the slow uphill grind.  But we persevered, because we knew what awaited us at the end - lunch at El Parasol.  We ate a wonderful lunch and waited for the four riders who overshot lunch by a few miles (lesson here - know the route!).  After a leisurely paced meal we wandered another mile over to the Santa Fe Brewing Company for a pint before heading over to the Railrunner stop for the hour long train ride home.  After a very packed train ride home (Spanish Market in SF), a few people headed east uphill to return home, with another 3 heading back to Nob Hill, the remainders getting picked up by sympathetic family or driving home.  All told, another great ride that I look forward to next year.

Heading out from the Triangle
The few, the crazy, that did Heartbreak Hill too
In Madrid 
At the Santa Fe Brewing company just before the train home

Sunday Ride: City Loop

The last Sunday ride was a different 35-mile loop around the city (route here).  Ali, Blythe, LeeAnn and Stacey headed out a little late due to making sure all our tires were inflated properly.  Thanks LeeAnn!  (Editor's note:  our delayed departure was also due to the late arrival of yours truly [sorry Chris].  Baby's do not seem to understand schedule or the importance of being timely - those jerks!) The goal, for me, for this ride was to approximate the actual ride time - with stops included - so we planned stops for every 10 miles to have a good idea. Super kudos go to Stacey for doing both rides this weekend!

Ride from diversion channel to Bosque
First "rest" stop at Passeo and Bosque
Starting to heat up:  A view from University by the Rental Car Return
The reward/motivation for the ride - milkshakes!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Wee Dram for Charity

Our third annual paired scotch dinner hosted by Two Fools went off like a Macallan 18 year - smooth and tasty.  Over 22 foodies and scotch aficionados joined us for my personal favorite fundraising event of the season.  Five courses of food each expertly paired with delicious scotch by the always impressive Russell of Two Fools.  The menu can be found here.  Check it out and then come back, but be warned you will be sorry you missed it!

We kicked off the food and scotch just after 6 pm and finished our 5 courses by 8:30 that night. Russell began the evening with a quick primer about Scotch.  With every new round he explaining a bit about the scotch, where it comes from, why it was paired with the food.  The best part of course was the always delicious Two Fools food and the expertly paired scotch. Three appetizer courses, a wonderful off menu Blackberry Whisky Pork Loin main course (Russell's personal recipe), followed by a delicious dessert.  Everyone had a great time, and we even had a few converts to the magical ways of Scotch Whisky!  The best part, we raised over $1000 for the National MS Society!
Happy patrons
The man of the hour

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weekend's Ride: August 10th & 11th - Placitas + City Loop

Another training weekend in the books. To this point in the season we have ride over 350 training miles for the long rides, and 105 for the short rides.  This weekend saw over 24 riders head out on one or both days. One more training ride before the big event!

Saturday Ride: Ride to Placitas

The second to last training ride of the season!  Today we headed around the mountain the opposite direction, headed north out of ABQ on the way to Placitas (route here).  We had a record turnout of riders show up today - by my count 23 people (details below)!   We started off from Nob Hill with 21, collected another 2 at the Alameda open space, before heading north on 313 toward Bernalillo.  We kept a pretty good pace heading north rallying at the Conoco in Bernalillo around mile 25 mark.  My favorite moment of the day was the interaction with the other bike team that was also rallying there.  They were representing Day of the Tread.  We were representing Bike MS.  Uncomfortable staring, some tough talk.  Then a West Side Story gang war complete with "When you're a Jet, You're a Jet all the way, ..." and dance provided by Gary W.  Or it should have happened like that.

From there, we climbed the up the mountain toward Placitas, a gain of over 2000 feet by the end, way up in the cool mountain air.  We had a few riders peal back early, but all told we had 19 people at the top. We sat around at the end and watched Eric and Andrew attempt to fix Laura's front derailleur (unsuccessfully), before heading down to stop in Placitas for a refueling.  From there it was a free for all back to ABQ.  Several people peeled off to head home, but the majority of the riders made it back to Nob Hill.  Eric and Greg caught up with Stacy on the return trip and rode with her home to the bottom of the diversion trail (no rider left behind!).  Some of us met up at Serafin's (our great jersey sponsor) for some delicious breakfast!  Great morning!

Riders today: Greg V., Rob, Andrew, Gary C., Gary W., Brady, Danielle, Amber, Chris O., Laura, Eric, Olga, David, Daryl, LeeAnne, Maureen, Will, Matt, Michael, Stacy, Tammy, Peggy, Diane
Penultimates as far as the eye can see.
At the top
Breakfast at Serafin's
Sunday ride:  City Loop

Blythe wrote up today's ride, a 36 loop around the city (route here). 

Our ride around the city started with a cool, brisk morning thanks to the rain the night before.  Ali, Gary C., John M., Lee Ann, and Blythe.  Ali was a cheerful morning greeter in flip flops, as she explained that she would not be joining the ride due to baby Ethan affording her little sleep the night before. (Ed note: jerk baby!)

Our group of four headed east towards Smith at Tramway where we took a quick break as we texted Erica to let her know we were close to our rendezvous point at Indian School and Tramway, which received the response, "Ok Wow".  I think we were faster than anticipated!

After picking up Erica and Gary W we raced up Tramway until we got to the road leading up to the base of the Tram.  John M., feeling he should punish himself a bit more, asked if we would join him on an extra uphill jaunt up that road.  Only Gary C was brave enough to follow, and the two of them headed up for a bonus round of hills while the rest of us gleefully headed for the beckoning call of the Tramway downhill stretch. (note scenic view pic below)

When tramway ended at the roundabout we headed south on 4th, stopping once or twice to check on how to connect over to the diversion channel.  After passing our initially intended turn (oops!), we regrouped at Osuna (see pic of Gary W, Blythe, and Erica) and took that east to the diversion channel where we enjoyed a smooth and pleasant ride back.

All in all, a nice way to spend a Sunday morning, and excellent weather for riding!

The descent down toward the casino
Blythe, Gary W, and Erica (back in the saddle!)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Weekend's Ride: August 3rd & 4th - The Crest + City Loop

Another great weekend of riding.  Saturday saw 10 riders head up to the peak and Sunday's ride involved 6 riders and a great breakfast.  Two more weekends of training rides and the big event is here!

Saturday's Ride:  Crest Assault

We all met over at the Triangle in Sandia Park for a 7:30 departure, which meant we all got to sleep in for the first time past 5:15 am.  We had 10 riders today - Rob, Daniella, Greg, Brady, Calvin, Olga, Tammy, Gregg, Andrew, Jeff, and myself.  Today we headed up to the Crest (route here) - a long 13 mile slog with a gain of elevation of of 4000 feet.  Aside from a very brief down hill at the ski area, it is nothing but a long uphill climb.  As we headed out, the pack separated right away.  Well I say pack, but really, everyone went fast and I went slow (see also my rant about how evil physics is here).  After a long meditative haul up the mountain in the cool green mountain air, the first riders got there an hour before the rest (again, me).  After a quick picture at the top, the fun part - the long descent back down. There were some tales of 46 mph maximum speed and a flat tire discovered on a fast turn on the downhill, but all riders made it back safe around 11:30 am.  Not a bad morning!
Tire repair on the downhill.

Sunday's Ride: City Loop

Ride captain made executive decision to reverse ride route this morning (original orientation here).  In her brilliance, she determined a gear problem to be minor.  In reality the whole front derailleur needs replaced - so climbing was pretty much out.  Sorry guys!

Beautiful, if humid, morning for a ride. 6 riders started out from O'Neill's (Stacy, Gary C., Greg and Nellie V., LeeAnn and Ali).  We travelled through the university to the diversion channel to Indian School and down to Edith, across to Mountain and down to the Bosque.  Next: a quick trip down a pretty empty Bosque trail to Paseo, and up to the diversion channel. 

A quick stop at the top to refuel (and wait for ride captain to catch up) and we headed back along the diversion channel to the finish.  I managed to convince almost everyone, with promises of milkshakes and burritos, to stay and have breakfast.  Two little Penultimates joined us as well.

Breakfast at the Malt Shop
Post ride breakfast at the Malt Shop - yum!  The consensus was that chocolate banana milkshakes (with or without malt and/or peanut butter) may be the best recovery drink ever.  Great ride everyone.  And special shout out to Nellie for her first Penultimates ride!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekend's Ride: July 27 & 28th - East Mountains + Balloon Fiesta Park

Another great weekend of rides - a long 65 mile loop out through the cool east mountains and a 20 mile city loop.  All told we had 17 riders hit the road this weekend.  Go Domo!

Saturday's Ride: East Mountain Mosey

Those that survived Friday night's epic thunderstorm/hurricane showed up bright and early at O'Neill's for a long ride out to the East Mountains (route here). Five of us (Gary C., Jeff, new rider Daniella, old rider TJ in from out of state for a fun ride, and myself) made our way through the mess of broken trees and diversions around downed power lines toward the second rally point where we met up with more riders (Gary W., Calvin, Rob, and Olga).  The 8 of us headed out on a long 17 mile uphill climb through Tijeras Canyon and south on 14, picking up another 5 riders (Laura, Brady, Peggy, and Brady).  

It was a beautiful morning - cool and clear after an evening of rain with the smell of pine trees all day. We rallied for some refreshments before the lucky 13 headed east toward the rollers.  More gorgeous vistas, some interval training over the 10 miles of long rollers before the rally point at 217/333.  At this point some riders headed back to ABQ, others finished out the ride up to the Triangle, before the long downhill back to ABQ. All told a great day of riding, and another 65 miles in training.
Heading uphill on South 14.
On the rollers

Sunday's Ride: Up to Balloon Fiesta

Sunday's ride was a pretty vanilla out and back up to Balloon Fiesta Park and back from O'Neills.  4 riders tarted out (Ali, John M, Sam and wife) started out on a beautiful, cool morning.  Despite threats of morning showers, the skies stayed clear for us.  We picked up Gary W along the way and paused briefly to refuel at the park before heading back into a bit of a headwind that, sadly, slowed us down. Starting to feel like I have my bike legs back!

Highlights of the ride include: watching the progress of about 20 hot air balloons (including one daring pilot who appeared to be trying to land in a subdivision) and a very brave (read: not so smart) person running in the arroyo.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weekend's Ride: July 20 & 21 - Jemez Dam & Short City Route

It was a great weekend for the Penultimates!  We had two successful rides: our long Saturday ride, a 70 mile loop out to the Jemez Dam, and our resurrected Sunday Short ride which was a saunter up the diversion channel.  All told we had over 20 riders attend the rides this weekend.

Saturday's Ride: The Dam Ride!

Ten riders left O'Neills in the rain and headed north on the diversion channel where we picked up another 6 on the way on our way out to the Jemez Dam.  It was a beautiful day for riding, with an overcast and cool morning which stayed with us until just before noon. Lots of excitement today: a few slow motion falls due to clipless pedal unfamiliarity, vegan free range baby sun block, Princess Bride quotations shouted while cruising downhill, and most shockingly someone actually looking at the route map before we rode, a new Penultimate first (thanks Amber).  Congrats to Gary who finished his longest ride to date! All told a long 70 mile ride with few people finishing up with a breakfast at Serafin's.
Potty break - also training for standing in line just like the MS ride.
At the top of the dam.
Sunday's Ride: The City Saunter

Four brave riders met up early Sunday morning for a short ride from Nob Hill north up the diversion channel.  Leaders Blythe and Ali met up with veteran John M. and brand new rider Chris!  The conversation was lively as everyone headed north.  At the turn around point just north of Osuna, John split with everyone and continued on toward the Balloon Fiesta Park intending to add a few miles and catch everyone riding on the way back.  A quick 18 miles in and all before 8 am.  Not too shabby!

Victorious John heading north to get some more miles in!