Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bike MS150 2014!

It was a great ride this year.  We had 19 riders head out on Saturday of the ride, and 16 on Sunday. For every rider, there is story on what brought that person here to this ride.  Some ride for friends and family afflicted with MS, others ride despite having MS, and others ride purely for the joy of riding and the camaraderie of our fantastic team.  Another Bike MS 150 in the history books!

2014 by the Numbers

As always it was a great training season and wonderful ride!  It was a great team this year - small, dedicated, and all friends.  This year's breakdown:

25 total teammates (smaller than years past but more dedicated!)
19 riders who have done the ride >2 years
2 riders who have done the ride >4 years!
$1020 raised at team fundraising events to fight MS!
Training season:
0 - number of bike free weekends since June 28 (team wide)
4 - number of new bikes ridden at the ride
2 - Breakfasts at Serafin's Chili Hut post Saturday ride 
15 - days of training rides
4518 - Miles of training (team wide)
At the MS Ride 2014:
19 - riders Day 1
16 - riders Day 2
13 - riders to completed the Century ride Day 1!
16 - riders to make it to Puye Cliffs on Day 2
17 - riders in Penultimate jerseys
2730 miles rode a the MS150 (team wide)
9 top fundraisers

$19,257 (and counting) raised by the Penultimates!

$211,508 (and counting) raised to fight MS at the Pedal los Pueblos 2013!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Weekend's Ride 8/30 - 9/1: Triple Threat!

The last weekend of training rides!  Has it already been 2 months? (answer: yes, it has been two long months).  Due to travel schedules and vacation, we decided to mix things up and have 3 training rides on each day of the long labor day weekend.  I was going to lead the Saturday and Monday rides, and Ali lead Sunday's ride.  We had good turnout, and I think everyone is ready for the big event next weekend!  The special "Iron Henie" award goes to Evil Gary and Stacey who completed all three rides!

Looking back on the training season this year and it was great!  We had a nice mix of riders and ability, and it seemed like every ride was really fun.  As they say in life, you only get out of it what you put into it, and I thank everyone that trained with us this year! Go Domo!

Saturday's Ride 8/30:

Six of us met up at Oneill's for a quick city loop (route here) of 38 miles (amazing how over the course of the season 38 miles turns into an easy quick ride).  To the horror of everyone else, I chose the route because I wanted to test how the new bike performed on the long climb up Tramway.  The riders today were the Gary Brothers (Evil & Good), Greg, Stacey, Andrew, and myself.
As residents of ABQ, we must post the contractually obligated balloon shot.
The route took us north along the diversion channel to Alameda then over to 4th street and north to the traffic circle.  From there we headed east on tramway where we overlapped with the Unstoppable MSers team and their escort who ferried us through the first leg of the hill to I25. From there it was an 8 mile climb and another mile up the steep spur (>8% grade) to the base of the tram.  All riders completed this difficult task, including Stacey who did it for the first time.  From there we did the last 20 miles of mostly down hill dropping down into Nob Hill. From there we went straight to breakfast at Serafins.
At the top of the Tram!

Sunday's Ride 8/31 - aka "someone must have got a flat"

[Guest writer - Captain Ali] Five riders started from O'Neill's bright and early to head to the east mountains (route here)- Olga, Evil Gary, Blythe, Stacey, and Ali.  We headed up to Smith's where we met Greg and Nellie.  After a quick stop we headed out South 14 to rally at the Tijeras Subway.  The big surprise on the way was the arrival of Mr. Miyagi, who had a quick motivational word for everyone as he headed to catch the leaders (that is 4 of 4 rides for "surprise pop in" Jeff).

Passing Casa Scrymgeour - the only legit photo from the day.  Captain fail.
After a nice break for food and water, we headed (some of us more slowly than others) up the 9 mile slog with the promise of ice cream at the end.  Ice cream consumed, and the most horrible Powerade fuel up ever (note to self: never buy strawberry lemonade again), we headed back down.  Apparently we had lolligagged over ice cream long enough for the canyon winds to pick up and make what was supposed to be a breezy downhill all the way home, a struggle for all of our tired legs.  No fair!  Even though ironhorse Olga didn't seem to mind (ask her about the title of the post), the rest of us followed a bit further behind. Greg, Nellie, and Jeff split off at Tramway, and the rest of us headed back to O'Neill's.  We were hoping that, once in the city, the wind would leave us alone.  Somehow we managed to have a headwind all the way home...boo!
Somehow no one took pictures, so Captain Snookums found a photo that was probably close to the truth.
All in all I was quite proud of all of us.  While this was by no means my favorite route for terrain, I had a great time with the team.  Thanks again for the support, words of encouragement, drugs and backrub (in no particular order).  Looking forward to doing it again next weekend!

Monday's Ride (9/1) - the last of the last:

The last ride of the triple threat was a quick city loop of 35 miles around the city (route here).  There were only four of us riding - John and myself in the fresh column and the masters of self punishment Evil Gary and Stacey on their third ride in three days!  The ride was fairly uneventful, although we all noticed a distinct fall note in the air - a little briskness and multitude of balloons overhead.
The highlight of today were donuts at Tingley Beach brought there by the wonderful Ali and Scrymgeour boys. That certainly motivated us on session of Bosque Trail frogger as we dodged runners, walkers, cyclists, and roller bladers. After our mid ride donut break, we headed out and finished the rest of the 35 mile ride.  All in all a great training season!
Donuts, and strangely naked Captain Snookums legs.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend's Ride: 8/22 - The long, high road to Santa Fe!

My favorite ride of the year is finally year here!  The last long difficult training ride of the year - a 70 mile ride with over 4500' of elevation gain - and also wonderful team building ride (route here). Several riders met at the Journal Center Railrunner parking lot in the full dark of 5:40 am.  They then slowly and carefully made their way the 10 miles to meet up with other riders at O'Neill's at 6:30 am.  From there we all rode along the southern edge of the city to the final rally point to pick up additional riders at the Tramway Smiths.  There were 10 of us riding today - Eric, Laura, John, Evil Gary, Good Gary, Danielle, Craig, Greg, Olga, and Captain Snookums - plus Calvin who was riding out to Tijeras with us.
The hard part of the ride is the first 20 miles, where you slowly pedal from ABQ up to the Triangle - a 20 mile ride with 1800' of constant climbing.  Spirits were high though as we slowly made our way through the canyon. We were blessed with beautiful cool weather after yesterdays rains (the high of the day was ~84 deg). At the first rally point we all stopped to refill water bottles and eat. We were also surprised by Jeff, who materialized suddenly at the rally point.  Jeff kept his record of showing up unannounced and unexpected on 3 of 3 rides this year.
Yeah, it is this gorgeous
From this point, we had the first downhill leg of the trip - doing a quick 5 leg keeping a brisk pace of ~22 mph for most to the way.  The next 20 miles were a series of rolling ups and downs, gaining back all the elevation we lost in the last 5 miles.  Three riders peeled off to do the infamous Heart Break Hill (Jeff, Eric, and Evil Gary) - a short 2 mile ride with extreme grades in excess of 15%. 
Everyone reconvened at Madrid at 45 miles.  This is always a great stop at the general store with is stocked with all sort of goodies, including my favorite - ice cream!  By my count at least 4 people got some sort of frozen goodie.  As we all know, calories don't count when you are biking!
Pace line heading out of Madrid - Eric looks happy!
The last 15 miles into Santa Fe was a slow climb out of the Madrid valley back.  Compared to last year, this leg of the ride was almost pleasant.  It was relatively cool, and a wind which seemed to be circling, sometimes opposing us but it mostly felt as if it was speeding us on our way.  We rolled into El Parasol, on the sourthern edge of Santa Fe around 12:30, a total ride time of about 4:30.  We all stuffed our selves silly with great New Mexican food.  After a slight rest we then biked over to the Santa Fe Brewing Tasting Room to have a well earned beer.
The best lunch of the year!
From here it was a quick ride over to the Rail Runner stop to catch the 3:48 train back to ABQ.  We were a little surprised when we saw the train approaching from the south.  They were running about an hour late, and a bike sympathetic conductor encouraged all of us to get on here, ride north into Santa Fe before returning back to ABQ.  Good advice - as Spanish Market was today so the southbound train was very, very full.
Not sure why I appear to be embarrassed by my teammates.
After the train ride home, most people were done with their rides and walked over to parked cars before heading home.  Three of us still had ride though, 2 of us heading 10 miles into Nob Hill and John heading onto the Heights.  Olga and I rolled into the parking lot of O'Neill's around 6:30 or so, a full 12 hours after we left.  Quite the adventure, and as always I look forward to our ride next year!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend's Ride 8/16: Out and Up

Well folks, it is that time in the season where we are in the last stretch before the big event.  Our third to last training ride would take us north through the Rio Grande Valley before heading East at Bernallilo and up and out toward Placitas (route here).  We headed out from O'Neill's at a surprisingly dark 6 am with 7 riders - Good Gary, Evil Gary, Olga, Brady, Danielle, Andrew, and David - to pick up an additional 4 along the route - Stacy, John, Calvin (yeah!), and Greg.

We all met up by the top of the Diversion Channel, and from there we headed out to Bernallilo.  It was a nice cool morning and the valley was incredibly green from all the rain over the last few weeks.  A peleton of 5 riders headed north, while 4 of us tried to locate a wayward cyclist that got seperated from the flock.  After some discussion (and realizing we didn't have their number) we headed north to catch everyone else at the first rally point at 20 miles.  After some quick refreshment we were just getting ready to head out when the missing cyclist met us at the rally point.  Huzzah!
From here it was another 10 miles out and up through Placitas and up to the end of the paved road - a total of about 1200' of climbing. The only thing major to report from this leg was there was a bike shaped blur that passed everyone screaming words of encouragment on the uphill, then again on the way back down. Various reports indicate it was indeed a human rider, and several people  swear it was a rider that looked an awful lot like Matt Eichenfield, but due to the doppler shift no one was certain.
Approaching the end of the road - everyone, of course, is doing pushups
At the top we all enjoyed the cool mountain air and ate more snacks, while several crazy people did two rounds of pushup.  From this point, the fun began a long 10 mile descent into the valley along fairly quiet and well maintained roads.  We rallied again in Bernallilo and managed to get trapped by Rodeo Day Parade - which was fine, we got to watch horses, boy scouts, bicycles, and floats pass by while we ate and drank.
Trapped by a parade!
From there we headed out on the last 20 mile segment of the ride - a fun and fast 20 miles.  Cruising south out of Bernallilo we kept a very brisk 20-22 mph pace line for most of first 8 miles.  Four people peeled off heading east up Tramway (Greg, Danielle, Brady, and Calvin) while the rest of us headed south onto the diversion channel and all the way back to Nob Hill.  Just before UNM we were caught by Jeff (Mr. Miyagi) who cycled with us the rest of the way and joined a few of us for breakfast at Serafins.  Another great ride in the history books.
Cruising back to ABQ

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Paired Scotch Dinner - August 26th 6 pm

Join us for a fundraiser of a gourmet dinner paired with Scotch hosted by Two Fools on Tuesday, August 26th at 6 pm.

Two options for the meal:
 $100 Tasting Ticket - for the full tasting dinner
 $60 Foodie Ticket - for the dinner but no scotch!

Tickets are very limited so contact us now to reserve yours. (All tickets must be purchased before the dinner so don't delay!) This fundraiser helps us raise money for the National MS Society as we ride in the 2014 Pedal Los Pueblos Bike MS150.

Here are the details from last years event.  The menu will be different this year, but in the same vein.  This will be updated as soon as we find out:

Course One
Whiskey Dipped Melon Balls
A refreshing summer starter!  Watermalon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon balls gently dipped in a 2Gingers whiskey and agave nectar bath
 Served with 2 Gingers and a rock (Ireland)

Course Two
Liffey Chips
Our Famous beer battered fish cut into bite size pieces and served with a Mandarian Asian sauce
 Served with Glenfarcalas 10 yr on the rocks with a lemon twist (Highlands)

Course Three
Galway Bay Salmon Plate
House cured Gravlox salmon served with a cucumber and caper relish, blue cheese spread, lettuce and house made Irish soda bread.        
Served with Dalmore 12 yr (Highlands)

Course Four
Bangers & Mash
Two traditional English Sausages server over mashed potatoes with a savory Guinness & onion gravy
Served with Redbreast 12 yr (Ireland) 

Course Five
Jameson Vanilla Pudding
House made vanilla pudding topped with a Jameson caramel whipped cream 
 with Two Fool's signature cocktail Fool's Gold, a perfect marriage of Old Forester bourbon, raw honey, & fresly squeezed lemon juice.  Shaken and served with one large ice cube.

Yum!  Hope you can join us so get your tickets today! In case you are wondering, a portion of your ticket price is tax deductible.  Fantastic!  For tickets email us at penultimatesbike_at_gmail.com!  (substitute @ for _at_ and you got it).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend's Ride 8/09: Up, Up, and Away!

Nine riders convened in the delicious coolness of the east side mountains at a lesiurely 7:30 am.  Today we were heading up - up to the top of the Sandia Crest.  This route is only a 28 mile out and back, 14 miles up but just shy of 4000' elevation gain.  The normal crew - Olga, Evil Gary, Good Gary, Greg, John, Captain Awesome, and Captain Snookums - were joined by a few riders we were happy to ride with again - Danielle and Brady!

Still smiling (but less than a mile in).
As we headed out, we quickly separated into A and B team, with Good Gary, John, and I representing the Bs.  I can't speak to exactly what happened for the A team, but I image it was something like this - "ugh, this sucks" and "can't wait to get to the top" and "I am super happy I do not weigh as much as Captain Snookums".  Sounds like they finished in about 2 hours from the bottom.  (14 miles/2 hours = 7 mph).
No photography tricks here.
Thanks to the miracle of photography, the blurs turned out to be Gary and Danielle
Just before the Killer B's made it to the top we started to see the A Team riders head down the hill.  We kept pushing forward knowing that the agony was almost over and the fun descent was about to begin. We rolled in about 3 hours after we started.  A quick calc gives 14 miles/3 hours = 4.7 mph.  Gravity is so mean - check this if you don't believe me.  After a few buggy minutes at the top basking in our achievement (literally, there were flies everywhere), we too headed back down the mountain.  This is always the best part - a long 14 mile descent.  My speeds this time topped out around 42 mph, despite the slight headwind in the last miles of the ride.  Was it worth the 3 hours of cycling for a thrilling 25 minute descent?  This is a question every rider must answer for themselves (but for me - maybe).

Here we see Fezzik standing beside some normal people at the top of the peak.
When we arrived back at the ride start we were greeting with a poster advertising the MS Ride and featuring very prominently our team from last year.  Go Domo!

The Penultimates are famous again!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Weekend Ride: 8/2 - What is this water falling from the sky?

In the history of the Penultimates (4 years now) we have not had a ride in anything other than than bright blue sunny skies.  This is a luxury that most teams across the world do not have.  However, we are so used to our sunny and dry climate that no one embarking on Saturday's ride even bothered to check the weather before rolling into the parking lot of Smith's at Central and Tramway for our weekend ride to the East Mountains + Rollers - a perennial favorite.   
Smiling and shivering!
As I got out of my car, the thermometer read a chilly 63 deg.  (For the record, I vowed I was not going to complain at all, as last weeks ride was so, so hot.)  I met up with a confused (and cold) looking Evil Gary and Greg.  We started the ride sharply at 6:45 thinking a little cycling would get the blood going and get everyone warm!
Where is the blue?
The first leg of the ride takes you out of Albuquerque along the old Route 66 before heading south on Route 14.  The three of us headed out for the first 7 miles to meet up with some riders at the ranger station.  But before we had made it to the first stop, Craig,  in a heroic effort, had managed to catch up to us about half way up the canyon.  After a quick stop (cold!), we collected another rider, Peggy, and the 5 of us headed out for the next rally point.  
After a long 16 miles and 1800 feet of elevation gain, we pulled into the next stop for a chilly rally for food and drink.  We then headed out for the next part of the ride a quick jaunt through the country side before getting to 217 and heading north over the (in)famous rollers.  This part of the ride got contemplative as a gentle soft rain began to fall, making it very quiet as we slowly spread out over the rolling hills heading north.  (You may ask - contemplating what?  Why in the world am I riding in the rain?  Why did everyone else decide to sleep in?)
Just before we all started to separate on the rollers
Things got progressively more soggy as the rain picked up as we headed on the next 20 miles to the Triangle for the final stop before the last 12 mile drop down into Albuquerque.  It was at this point that I think everyone may have hit their (to quote Gary) peak miserableness.  We were all soaked, the temperature hovered around 60. Those of us with ample, let us just say "reserves", were feeling okay.  I was invigorated by the cold, but poor Greg, was so cold he had to hang out in the gas station warming himself by the hot dog roller! 
Staying alive by the warmth of the hot dog tray.
The last portion of the ride was very quick.  The road dried out soon after leaving the triangle, and as we descended the last few miles you could actually feel the air get warmer.  It was pretty fun too, as a stiff canyon winds sped us along.  Gary and I were keeping about a 30 mph pace on the last 5 miles of the ride, as we headed to Smiths.  The other unfortunate 3 had to head up Tramway to get home, but it was pretty warm back here in the city.  A fun 53 mile ride, that will live in Penultimate Legend!  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend Ride: 7/26 - Don't Want to Miss a Thing...

Another weekend, another early Saturday morning gathering at O'Neill's!  This week's ride had it all - mystery riders, deadly snakes, 8 riders but 7 bikes, and heat (my god, the heat!).  The ride was a flat 65 mile ride up to the Jemez Dam (route here) through some beautiful scenery heading north through the valley and then south through a set from Breaking Bad before cruising through Corrales on the way back home.

There were 5 riders leaving Nob Hill - Evil Gary, John, Greg, Captain Awesome, and Captain Snookums - heading out to pick up more riders along the way.  An hour of riding took us to the meetup point where we joined up with Eric and Laura, riding a spiffy orange tandem and wearing matching 2013 Top Fundraiser jerseys!  While they are certainly fast riding their own bikes, like Voltron, with their powers combined they were fearsomely fast on the flats, screaming north at a pace of ~21 mph.
A gorgeous ride!
We split into two groups  (well, two riders took pity on me who missed joining the speed train lead by Laura & Eric) on the cruise into Bernallio.  After a quick regroup and refresh, we snaked our way through the city past the casino and on the uphill portion of the ride to the top of the dam.  Some excitement on the way up as Andrew and I saw a relatively large rattlesnake on the side of the road. Welcome to the wild west!
A rattlesnake who wanted to ride but had no bike or legs
At the top of the dam in the shade, we refreshed and relaxed in the shade.  Well half of us anyway, the other half embarking on a pushup and sit up session egged on by Andrew.  This brought a one of the best quotes of the weekend - "my ass is too thin".  I won't say who it was, but bonus points on who can guess.  (Hint, not me).

Just as we were saddling up and ready to head down hill, we had our biggest surprise of the weekend - the glorious return of Jeff - who had bike all the way solo hoping to catch us at the top!  It was great to get to ride with the Mr. Miyagi of the Penultimates.  We headed off, dropping back down and heading south down Paseo de Vulcan through some very desert looking scenery.  A catastrophic flat, a quick repair, and we back on our way.
A quick tire change by Mr. Miyagi
Another rally stop for refueling and filling water bottles, and we were headed toward Corrales on the last 25 miles of the ride.  A very hot last 25 miles of the ride.  Weather reports said it was close to 99 deg around noon, but expert opinion on the ride pegged the temperature closer to 120. At Alameda, Laura, Eric, and Jeff split off to head up Tramway and back home, with the 5 of us headed back toward Nob Hill on the Diversion Channel trail - a marvelously shaded route at noon. 
Ha! All stuck behind me on the hill!
We all survived and rolled into Nob Hill shortly before noon.  Some went to a late breakfast at Serafins, with most to limp home toward shade and air conditioning.  In short, a good ride!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Team Stickers!

I am getting some really cool vinyl stickers printed up for our team this year.  These are adhesive free stickers and are easy to put on and take off your bike without damage.  I have been riding with one for 2 weeks now - ask me to see it next time we ride.  These will be sold as fundraisers - $3 a sticker - during the season and at the ride on September 6-7th.

If anyone has strong feelings about colors or different slogans, let me know.  It is no problem for me to get a few printed with your colors in mind, so let your imagination run wild.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend's Ride: 7/19 - The Cursed Ride

Eight riders strong showed up at O'Neill's bright and early on Saturday morning to do the clockwise city loop (route here) a 53 mile cruise around the city with a long, long hill right at the half way point. The riders this fine morning were Olga, Evil Gary, Laura, Greg, LeeAnn, Peggy, David, and first time rider (with us) Carol!  Also, for the first time in our history, we had more lady riders than gentlemen riders.  As we gathered in the morning, Laura was quickly operating on her front tire - a problem that would return again.  But after a slight delay, we were off on the route.  
At the start of the ride
We managed to get separated not far into the ride, as a catastrophic water bottle failure delayed half the team as they performed a quick field repair. Eventually we all grouped up near the airport before the descent down into the valley to pick up the Bosque trail at Rio Bravo.  From there it was quick sailing to our first rally point at Tingly beach.  From there we headed north along the Bosque to play everyone's favorite summer time game - Bosque Frogger!  We dodged cyclists, runners, roller bladers, walkers, and dogs to finally make it to Alameda open space.  There Laura again fixed her front tire, but luckily we did it under the shade of the Bike MS info tent (thanks Scott & Selena!) and enjoyed the huge poster promoting the ride, featuring a great photo of the Penultimates peloton from last year. 
At the Alameda Open Space Bike MS info tent!
From there we headed out on the long slog up to the top of the tram, heading north on 4th before heading east on Tramway, a long 15 mile climb.  But just as we turned east through the traffic circle, we had a rider take a spill on some loose sand on the road.  Luckily there no traffic close by when it happened, and 2 different motorist and the team were able to get there right away.  As of writing this, I think we just had some road rash on the knee and maybe an elbow, but it was bad enough that the Sag vehicle (thanks Eric!) had to come and rescue him.  For the record, our tough as nails rider biked ~3 miles to a gas station to await pick up.  First time in our ride history that someone did not complete the ride.
On the uphill to the Tram.
Most of the team waited until he was collected (leave no one behind), while the slower of us riding (ahem, me) kept going up the hill. A long 15 miles later we were at the top, with all riders catching me just before the top of the hill.  Gary and Peggy, sprinted up to the base of the tram while the rest of us refueled at gas station.  From there, it was the last 15 mile sprint to finish up the ride.  After all the delays, equipment problems, and accidents, we rolled into O'Neill's around 11:30, about an hour later than we expected.  A good ride though, and we wish a speedy recovery to Greg!