Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Giro Rides and Road Paint and Flat Season

Tuesday morning on the levee

The weather was kind of unstable for much of last week but it wasn't quite enough to keep me off the bike. Tuesday's ride was actually pretty good, except for the stop to fix a flat tire (not mine) but it was already looking like Wednesday morning would be wet. 

Thinking the new French Truck coffee shop on the Lafitte Greenway
may become a popular post-Giro stop this year.

As it turned out, Wednesday morning wasn't wet. It was windy. Really windy. I got on the bike around 5:45 am and headed for the lakefront where the WeMoRi had already started. As I battled a gusty north wind I thought to myself, "The WeMo is going to be shattered in the crosswind on Lakeshore Drive." It was. Like in three pieces. I met the first group on Marconi and jumped onto the tail end of it. There were maybe eight survivors. The sprint to the top of the overpass was contested by just a couple of them, but they surprised the rest and kept the hammer down over the top, opening a huge gap. The rest of the group quickly came apart. Up ahead I could see Joe all by himself in no-man's-land so I put my head down and bridged up to him. For the rest of the ride we traded pulls on something like an 80:20 basis, my share being the latter. The group behind us didn't catch us, and we didn't make up any ground on the group ahead of us, but there's no denying it was a solid workout for me, anyway.

By the weekend the weather was looking better and I decided to keep it simple and do the Saturday and Sunday Giro Rides. I needed to to out to LaPlace and re-measure and mark the 5 km and 10 km turnarounds on the time trial course because that section of the highway had been recently re-paved. So after the Giro I went home and had something to eat, put the bike in the car, and drove out to the TT course at the Cajun Pride Swamp Tours place. Since the start and finish are offset in order to avoid having riders going 30 mph coming through the intersection and warmup area, I had to measure the distance between the start and finish lines, divide by two, and mark the spot mid-way between. That's the point from which the turnarounds are measured. Then I set the Garmin to metric, put on a backpack with two cans of road marking paint, and rode the shoulder, stopping at 5 km and 10 km to mark the locations of the turnarounds. I then continued for the next 10 km, where the road had NOT been re-paved and where the shoulder was barely rideable, to freshen up the turnaround at 20 km. Along the way I picked up a piece of wire in my front tire that I carefully removed without having the tire go flat (it would later turn out to have a tiny little pinhole slow leak, but wouldn't be flat until the next morning). Then, way out by the 20K turnaround, yet another piece of wire punctured my rear tire. I needed my pocket knife to get that one out. Anyway, I was quite pleased that my Garmin agreed with the location of the turnaround within .02 kilometers, which is about as good as it gets for a little GPS computer like that. By then, what had started out as a chilly morning was a very warm afternoon, and I was glad to get back home to raid the refrigerator.

Today the Governor eased some of the state COVID restrictions, which I guess is a good sign. As long as we don't backslide too much it definitely clears the way for bike races outside of the city. New Orleans is still deciding whether to ease up more than they already have. Considering that some entire countries are currently in COVID lockdown, I'm not popping open the champagne just yet. 

Last weekend Gavin, Julia and a few others went over to Crockett Texas for the Davey Crockett Classic stage race where there were some pretty huge fields and they were dramatically outnumbered by a few of the bigger teams, but it was definitely great experience and I was kind of wishing all weekend that I'd gone. Some of my age-group riders who I've raced with for decades were there, like Tom Bain and George Heagerty, racing in the 60+ age group.

Monday, April 19, 2021

TUCA Ride and a Flying Bike

Giro Ride Optimists Club heading out Saturday for a good soaking

Last weekend was a study in contrast. I got up Saturday morning and, once again, stared at the weather radar for five minutes like a fortune teller gazing into a crystal ball. Also like a fortune teller, I made a guess since weather forecasts this time of  year are just one notch above crystal balls, which is to say they might be right or they might be wrong. In this particular case, my guess was that we might, possibly, with some luck, make it through most of the Giro Ride before the rain started. I was almost right, but could have used additional input from that crystal ball about other near-future events that would be unfolding. So as the 7 am start time approached I wasn't at all surprised to find a skeleton crew of about a dozen optimists ready to roll out under the dark sky. I'd had an upset stomach since getting out of bed - something my morning coffee had done nothing to abate, so suffice it to say I wasn't feeling too hot. Along Lakeshore Drive we picked up a few more riders and as we hit Hayne Blvd. someone at the front put the hammer down. It took me only a minute or two to decide that a hard ride would probably do me more harm than good under the circumstances, so I eased over and eased up. Jeff came by and looked over, "You OK?" I told him I was fine. He hesitated for a moment and eased up also. So with one other rider I figured I'd just ride easy and get back into the group when it was on the way back. A minute later another rider who had lost a water bottle on one of the many holes in the road also joined us. We decided to take a bit of a shortcut, turning onto Bullard to avoid the stretch on the Interstate, and then taking the partially blocked service road to Chef. By then a light rain was starting to fall, so naturally that's when I flatted. After pulling a tiny little arrowhead shaped shard out of my worn-down rear tire, I got rolling again just in time for the rain to get heavier. I looked up ahead and said, "How about we turn around that the next intersection?" which of course we did. So in general, Saturday's ride was kind of miserable, and I got home cold and wet. Taking off my shoes back at home I poured the trapped water out of them and put them in front of the box fan, knowing that blowing humid basement air over wet shoes wasn't likely to get them dry before Sunday. Later in the day I hit both of them with a hair dryer and returned them to the box fan. They were still a little damp when I put them back on Sunday morning.

So Sunday there was a planned 70+ mile Tulane ride up in Independence. By morning the sloppy weather had moved out and it was looking like we'd have a pretty beautiful day with temperatures in the low 60s, a light breeze, and lots of sunshine. Gavin was meeting me at my house at 6:30 so we could drive up together. Around 6:15 there was flurry of texts because Nisha's car wouldn't start and she was supposed to be giving Javier a ride. Fortunately I had all three bike mounts on the roof rack and Javier lives nearby so he and Gavin showed up right on time.

I think we had eight for the ride, which was a pretty good number for this sort of thing. I wasn't expecting it to be a really hard ride since Julia was just coming off being sick and it was Joey's first long ride with any significant terrain. Of course, there were a few Strava segments that were fast, but the longest was only maybe four miles. Otherwise it was nice smooth double paceline looking at the cattle and horses and stuff. By the time we got back to the cars I felt like I'd gotten a good little workout without doing too much damage. I loaded my bike onto the middle fork-mount tray and went across the highway to talk with some of the others for a while. Meanwhile, Gavin and Javier put their bikes on the roof as well. Javier was using the thru-axle adapter since his bike doesn't have the traditional fork ends. There was discussion about stopping for food somewhere around Hammond on the way back, so we kind of rushed off. I asked Javier if his bike was secure and he said it was. I was one of the rare times when I didn't put all of the bikes on the roof myself. Something I'd soon regret. 


We got onto the interstate and within a mile heard a noise above us. Javier looked back and said, "That's my bike!" It had gone flying off the roof at 70 mph. In the mirror I could see his bike lying conveniently on the shoulder of I-55 and thought, "Well, at least it's not in the middle of the highway" as I quickly flipped on the hazard flashers and backed up. A couple of big trucks moved over to the left lane as they approached, and I couldn't help but imagine the disaster that might have ensued if that bike had landed in the middle of the interstate. Somehow the entire adapter, which has big thick lawyer tabs on it, had come out of the fork mount, which should have been impossible if the clamp was closed, and then we realized that the rear wheel had not been strapped down. The handlebar had cracked the carbon fiber top tube all the way across, and both brake levers had obviously hit hard. The rest of the bike was in remarkable good shape. 

This morning I did a nice easy recovery ride on the levee. The temperature was down around 59° which felt quite chilly. It's looking like the next few morning will likewise be on the cool side, but at least things should get a chance to dry out a bit.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

WeMoRi Report and Course Change

 from Nguyen-Tunnel, TJ, not me. Just gonna leave this here for posterity and future reference.

What happened?

Well Well Well. Due to popular demand and just like your favorite menu item (keep this in mind as you read), I am unfortunately back for the 2nd edition of the Yakuza WeMoRi Race Report. I know some of you are pressing F5 (refresh) on your browser and waiting with baited breath to see if your names made it. Read on and don’t complain about the timing just be grateful as my daily mafia related tasks have been reprioritized by the oyabun (that means Boss, we all have one).

On yet another Wednesday with an 8 mph Asian-East wind, the ancient gods were good to us as it is of tradition to have a Wemorian ride before Sunday’s Tour De Jefferson aka City Championship aka Chase-Sam-I-Am. As I scoured the Robert’s Parking Lot I can see subgroups of Wemorian riders huddled in what seems to be secret discussions of strategies on how to inflict pain on the entire group. Little did they know that these conversations were crystal clear due to the absence of Toe’s overpowering voice(has anyone visited him yet? Rumor has it his room looks like a nursing home with unfinished crossword puzzles.... We miss you Toe). Luckily and unfortunately, there was a substitute voice of equal decibel, my frenemy, Ice Cream, informing me that my GP5000s were predicted to have a flat on this ride(keep this in mind as you read on).

Half Carrot put on his CEO hat (borrowed by Quiet Man Dave who was presenting financial data to the Board like a Boss, see oyabun definition) and dictated a new route based on the poorly designed Lakeshore drive project. An engineering travesty, is it too late to hire one of my Asian brethren? I know a guy that would be perfect for the job. He uses chopsticks to dip his Oreos into milk for a 100% complete submersion rate while having 0 percent residue on his fingers. How does one have so much power?!

Following a strict code of conduct, like Lemons, the clan followed. **Correction** Our Journalist, Comrade, just informed me it is “Lemmings”... (Forgive me, English is my second language). Safety is of the utmost priority and since this is a new/old route, Half Carrot suggested we do a slow recon mission with a relatively slow pace. 

Ice Cream made his only appearance in the front during a very slow warmup. Of course, the moment he peeled off, the pace quickly increased to 23-25 mph against a headwind going towards the Armory dictated by folks with cool nicknames like Kobi, Bobo, Half Carrot, Cuban Missile, Cuban Missile Crisis, Queef Jockey, Tree, Nguyen-Tunnel and Ballerina Boy. The non-named members (defined as kobun in my culture) also contributed and are still being processed by the council: 

  • -          David Gelis (who came back from a non-terminal case of a sinus infection) 
  • -          Saxophone player David Ludman

The Armory Slingshot was particularly brutal with Half-Carrot and Nguyen-Sock at 30 mph as the figurative hammer was dropped (not literally Mystery Ken, there were no hammers for you to pick up on the route).  Along Lakeshore Drive, we heard the grumbling stomach of Eiffel Tower as he latched on to the peloton. And, just like a limited menu item (more on this later), Eiffel disappeared on Marconi as his blistering solo attack was too powerful for the group to overcome.

Onward to Wisner - oddly tame with Nguyen-Chime, Half-Carrot, Ludman, and Tree rotating as we peeked to our right to see if Andrew Asian Dude 1/2 was teeing off at the golf course. He was not as he was most probably doing his best Tiger Woods impression…. Being a half Asian golfer who cannot drive.

Congratulations, you have come to the Title of today’s ride. The Sprinters initiated their startup sequence going up the KOM bridge as sparks literally flew from Tree’s cleats as it was dislodged and scrapped the bridge. Crisis averted, Tree is ok and decided to live to fight another day. None-the-less, the Sprinters' efforts were futile as Eiffel took the KOM heading towards the City Park Sprint. Just like in the strip club, he teased us as his bike light glows faintly in the distance as he took that as well.

Going up Marconi, Half-Carrot, who did not wake up in this terrible weather for nothing as he drove the pace with the help of Lil Joe and Nguyen-Shield to assist the group as we bridged up to Eiffel.  Unfortunately, we were successful but only after Eiffel Tower took the Backdraft Sprint. At this point, even the Asian in me couldn’t do math so I took out my abacas and calculated that we completed 3 out of 4 sprint points and had 1 out of 4 more to go……………….

Due to construction, the last sprint point, The Flying Flea, was changed and agreed upon by the brave souls that participated this morning (not really, it was solely decided by Half-Carrot being a dictator). The Bayou St John bridge finish was most appropriate for our Recon WeMo. Being an honorable group of respectful cyclists, we communicated to Eiffel the change in plans (maybe that was why he let us bridge to him?). As we proceeded a second time around the disastrous Elysian Field circle, another slingshot maneuver caused us to go upwards of 34 mph. The contenders were tightly grouped with Tail-Nguyen, Half-Carrot, Kobi, Cuban Missile, and Cuban Missile Crisis vying for a chance at glory (and to give Effiel a 75% on his test). Smelling victory and some freshly made biscuits waiting for me at home, I slowly broke away and saw the top of the bridge within my grasps. Hope was disintegrated when Eiffel towered over the last sprint point making what amounts to a very rare and complete Royal Flush as per some of my gambling family members who frequent Harrahs on Saturday nights. 

Congrats Eiffel – savor that Early Bird Special at Toast which includes 2 eggs, any style, bacon, grits, and a biscuit for only 6 dollars (plus tip).

Notable quotes on today’s ride. Disclaimer: All quotes, having any semblance of sexual innuendos, were neither intended nor coincidental and should not be construed. Translation: Get your minds out the gutter as that is reserved for the slain enemies of the Clan, the Barnacles of WeMo, and my bowling skills.

  1. That’s a big gear – Kobi
  2. It’s Wet – Ballerina Boy
  3. I learned to appreciate the journey, not the destination – Kobi
  4. Staying Fresh – Cuban Missile
  5. Vinegar and Piss – Spillway and Mystery Ken
  6. That’s a big rock – Unknown
  7. Toe, we are getting  stronger, you are getting weaker. We will squish you like a bug when you come back – Mystery Ken
  8. 真剣にアイスクリームはどこにありますか – Nguyen-Surfer
  9. Where’s Ice Cream? – EVERYBODY

Part 2 – New Course

Yes there is a part 2. This is important.

Our carefully curated saved WeMo Routes and Segments have been sliced up into sashimi pieces. Speaking on behalf of the Secret Society of Wemorian Elders Safety team, the newly approved route going forward on Strava is called, based on historical significance, WeMoRi – Stroker’s Course  save it as a favorite.

Part 3 – New Final Sprint Point 

Figure 1:Mount Marconi WeMoRi Sprint #4
Going forward, with an old/new route comes a new final sprint point to temporarily substitute the Flying Flea Finish. Ironically called Mount Marconi for its extreme 5 foot elevation, the beginning of the bridge was deemed appropriate by the Council for a nice flat finish to officially conclude a fast and furious WeMoRi.

Part 4 – New Wemorian Name

For those of you who was not aware, we have a King amongst us. Colin Brooks and his family have been the proud franchise owners of the restaurant serving the iconic Whooper sandwich for 20+ years. Colin has demonstrated self restraint, a trait honored by the yakuza clan, to focus on his 52T big ring versus those delicious pseudo-onion rings I always super-size up.

Therefore, I henceforth, by the power vested in me by the Ultra Secret Wemorian Naming Counsel, I am honored to reveal a new WeMo name to be added to the Asian scrolls written on papyrus paper that will forever tell this tale.

McRib for being Sweet, Brown, and sandwiched between two buns and randomly, seasonally, and surprisingly appear due to popular demand.

Part 5 – Warm Down Change

At the request of Lil Joe – He would like to take a stroll down memory lane and suggest the old school warm down route that historically goes through City Park.

Part 6 – Ice Cream

By the way, Ice Cream flatted on his non-GP-5000s.

See you all on Sunday,

Nguyen _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday, April 11, 2021

April Showers

Saturday's northshore ride was pretty nice

Sitting here on a Wednesday looking out the window at another rainy weekday and just now remembering I hadn't logged anything from last week, so here 'tis.

The weekday rides were complicated a bit by the weather, which has been the very definition of unpredictable lately. Somehow I got through the week without missing a day of riding, although at least one of those days involved sneaking out around mid-afternoon when there was a window of mostly dry road in-between rainstorms. I somehow accidentally got out to the WeMoRi early, or technically on time, which gave me a few more miles than normal. Thursday morning was rained out but I was able to make the afternoon Tulane ride, so that was good. Then on Saturday morning the Giro Ride was entirely and unquestionably washed out. I did, however, manage to get in a good 44 miles on the levee later in the day, though, so all was not lost. 

By Thursday Chuck and Charles had hatched a northshore ride plan that would ultimately turn into a good 77 mile ride up to State Line and then back the long way to the Lee Road ballpark. It was still a little chilly when I arrived, quite early, for that one. The rest rooms were locked because they'd been having vandalism problems, so I relieved myself of my morning coffee back behind the big container amidst the flourishing poison oak, and waited to see who would show up. I think we had seven or eight for our 8:30 am start time. There was another group starting from the same place about half an hour later. That group was also going up to State Line but coming back the shorter way.

From the start, and for no particular reason, I was not feeling too great. Sometimes that happens and then half an hour later you're back to normal. This wasn't one of those times. On the plus side, I wasn't feeling worse as the ride went on. Anyway, this turned out to be a good group that was keeping a steady pace without any huge surges, so even though I clearly wasn't firing on all cylinders, it was OK. The sun was ot and the temperature rising, and it was really starting to feel like summer. I was wearing my sunscreen arm-warmers, which worked out pretty nicely for the temperature that was mostly in the mid-60s and riding to near 80. I ended up doing a couple of extra miles at the end just to get my total over 80. Somehow, by the end of the week I'd logged 290 miles, which was at least more than I'd expected considering the week's unsettled weather.

Thursday Tulane Levee Ride

The city relaxed some of the COVID restrictions last week and things seem almost normal in many respects, although I'm still working from home mostly because of convenience than necessity, and the fact that nobody else in my office is in the office. I guess we're now just watching a race between vaccines and variants play out right now - hoping for the best. Around here the COVID numbers have been slowly creeping upward for the past week, which I guess shouldn't surprise anyone given the relaxed restrictions, increased travel, and more infectious variants. Many of the people I know have now been fully or almost fully vaccinated now, and on Friday we went to an actual restaurant with a couple of the neighbors. Danielle is getting her second Moderna vaccine shot today. At Tulane, where the surveillance testing program has continued, they have had only 14 positive tests over the past 14 days, out of 21,388 tests, which means you'd need to use scientific notation to show the rate of positives. Will we see another surge?  Nobody knows. There are just too many variables now. 

We're moving ahead with plans for the Time Trial in May, and soon I will need to get the Tour de Louisiane event permit done. We are planning on our usual date in the first week of June and hoping nothing happens between now and then to derail that. This weekend is the Tour de Jefferson, and I think a lot of people are planning on doing that in lieu of the Sunday Giro. The course is pretty crazy with six U-turns, so we'll just have to see how that all plays out.


Monday, April 05, 2021

Crash of the Week

Most of last week, at least Monday through Friday, can best be described as "difficult."  Tuesday's ride went OK, and I made it out to the WeMoRi on Wednesday a bit early, but then on Thursday everyone bailed on the 6 am ride thanks to the gusty 15 mph wind that I battled alone for thirty-odd miles on the levee. Farther upriver Steve took the opportunity to nab a Strava KOM on a conveniently oriented segment that day. Friday was another solo ride with the temperature in the mid-50s and a still significant wind around 8 mph. So by Saturday, even though it was still pretty chilly, I was happy to see that the wind had died down a bit as I rode out to meet the Giro. 

The offending chunk of concrete
(the one on the left!)

Although the Giro route quite intentionally uses mostly 4-lane roads with mostly good road surfaces, the definition of "mostly good road surface" around here by no means means "free of wheel-eating cracks and holes." Nevertheless, most everyone knows where the problem spots are and takes them into account, since they have all been clearly identified previously by blown-out tires and/or crashes. Saturday's Giro was, for the most part, a perfectly normal Saturday Giro. The wind was light, as was the aggressiveness at the front, which kept most riders in the fold on the way out despite the occasional brief surges into the low 30s. A light easterly tailwind added a couple of mph to much of the return trip as the temperature warmed into the mid-60, so it was generally pretty smooth going all the way down the long string of riders. As expected, the pace picked up once we got back onto Hayne Blvd. where the tailwind kept the long line of riders going at 28-31 mph. We successfully negotiated the sharp-edged potholes in the concrete near Read and Crowder, leaving just a short stretch from there to the base of the Casino overpass. That stretch doesn't have any holes or cracks or anything, and I usually feel like I can relax my concentration a bit by that point and start thinking about the overpass climb and super-fast stretch between there and the sprint to the top of the Seabrook bridge. That's right about when it happened.

Suddenly, five or six riders ahead of me, near the back part of a long thin line of riders going 30 mph, there was an explosion of bikes and bodies. I escaped to the left, narrowly avoiding the riders on the ground and the other riders doing the same as I. Though concentrating on safely finding the exit door, I remember seeing one rider launching over the fallen rider ahead of him. About half of the group never knew what had happened since the paceline was so long and it had all transpired near the rear. Turning back, I saw Perryl hunched over on his knees, and Geoff still on the ground with riders already assisting. I could hear Perryl's Garmin incident detection app beeping from his phone lying on the road a few yards behind him. Across the street one of the residents was already calling 911 by the time I got to them, and an oncoming car had circled around to block the right lane for us. Although Perryl had a cracked helmet, and possibly a mild concussion, both riders seemed to be at least as mentally intact as they had been, so that was a relief. It was also a minor miracle that only two hit the tarmac, considering the speed. As I approached I said, "What the hell happened?" and someone pointed to a big chunk of concrete in the middle of the right lane. Although most of the group had avoided it, inevitably someone near the back didn't. Geoff wasn't feeling like he couldn't put any weight on his hip (the artificial one that he re-broke about a year and a half ago). Perryl was favoring his left shoulder, the side where he'd broken the collarbone probably less than a year ago. He said he could feel the crunching and figured it was broken again. The fire department arrived and checked them out, but both were able to call family for extraction, so a few of us waited around until everyone was safely on the way home, or to the ER as the case may be. Perryl did indeed break the collarbone along with at least one rib. Geoff still can't put weight on his leg and is trying to get in to see his orthopedist this morning (Monday). I rode back home with a few others feeling pretty lucky and reminded of my own crash into an unexpected chunk of concrete a few years back. It had been quite a long time since we'd had a crash on the Giro Ride.  Update 4/8/21: Geoff has a fractured wrist and a fractured pelvis.

It was still chilly Sunday morning went I went out for Giro #2, but was looking like it would warm up pretty quickly. Perhaps I was still a bit on edge following Saturday's incident, but there was one rider who was really making me nervous as I cruised along in the ample draft of the group. I eventually made an effort to get ahead of him just for my own peace of mind. Otherwise, it was a routine Giro Ride, though, probably one in which I should have been more active I guess.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Laps and Laptops

It wasn't a great week. There was lots of scattered and not-so-scattered rain around, along with lots of wind. Tuesday morning was a shortened solo ride with 12 mph winds. Wednesday's Giro was rained out, but I snuck out around mid-day when there was a little window in the weather for another short ride with more 12 mph wind. Thursday was yet another solo ride on the levee, this time with even more exciting 14 mph wind. By Friday morning the wind had finally settled down, but there were only four of us for the Tulane coffee ride that didn't include any coffee because people had to be back early. That was around when Dustin asked if I could help out at the Velodrome for the first race of a track series that included a morning clinic for new riders. I knew that would mean a really low-mileage day for me, and the forecast at the time for Sunday wasn't looking too great, but then one of the Tulane riders needed to borrow one of my track bikes so I decided to make the trip.

The weather up in Baton Rouge was pretty nice on Saturday, and there was a really good turnout for both the clinic and the races, which in this case were limited to matched sprints. I snuck in a few laps around the track, although not really enough to call training. I watched the clinic riders from a safe distance behind as they got accustomed to riding in a track paceline. Nobody crashed, so that was good, and it was nice to see the old Viner track bike back in action. After the clinic we had over twenty riders for the matched sprints, which were done as two-lap races in single-elimination format that unfortunately meant that a number of riders got to do only one sprint. Even so, watching the other sprints was probably more instructive than actually doing them for the newer track riders. We started with a 16-rider bracket, and even with the shortened races it took a long time to get down to the finals, which is typical of matched sprints. I had brought the LAMBRA finish line camera and laptop, largely so I could re-acquaint myself with them and make sure everything was working since the only use all last year was at the Tour de La road race, and I wasn't even sure if we'd used that particular laptop and/or camera.  It was a good thing I brought them because the laptop would not boot up at all. The manufacturer's "Lenovo" screen would come up, and then nothing. I restarted it numerous times to no avail. When I got back home I got it to it's "auto-repair" thing, which never works, and didn't. So I ended up with a version of the blue screen of death. I have no idea what could have happened while it was sitting down in the basement in its case, but whatever it was it wasn't good. It looks like my only hope is to download the files to create a USB startup drive and hope I can re-install Windows 10. No time for that at the moment, though. Fortunately my personal laptop has the camera software on it. Anyway, I guess I got back home around 3 p.m. with wasn't too bad for a track day.

During the day on Saturday the weather forecast kept shifting back the arrival of rain, and so by Sunday morning it was clear that we'd be able to do the Giro Ride without any serious threat of rain. This particular day there were at least four TT bikes in the mix, along with a fair amount of horsepower and a bit more wind. That resulted in some really fast stretches and some people getting gapped off, especially on Chef toward the end. I barely closed one gap at around 34 mph myself. Otherwise, though, I felt pretty good for the ride. When one of the riders flatted on Bullard the whole group stopped, and after that the pace settled down for a while.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Double Giro Weekend

Saturday Giro heading back on Hayne Blvd.

Warmer weather last weekend made for a couple of good Giro Rides, even though Sunday's switch to DST cost me an hour of much-needed sleep and much-wanted daylight. We had just gotten to the point at which I could ride out to the Giro around 6:30 am without feeling like I needed a front headlight, and *bam* back to the dark on Sunday. 

Saturday's group was pretty big and for some odd reason I decided it was time for me to actually use it to get a workout. 

On Friday I'd ridden out to the lakefront despite all of the Tulane riders having bailed on the morning Coffee Ride, primarily to check out what Lisa had earlier described as the "Cyclists Death Trap" recently installed by the city at the Elysian Fields traffic circle. What a mess! It was bad enough when, at some time last year, they painted a little bike lane in the gutter through the circle that included a couple of turns you could never make at more than ten miles an hour - maybe less after riding through the often-wet and grimy lane up against the curb. To make matters even more confusing for everyone, they had at the same time reduced the regular traffic lanes from two to one, but just through the circle. Of course the regular riders would never ride in the gutter, and didn't, but at least they could ride in the cross-hatched space that used to be the right lane, so it wasn't much of a problem. Well, until last week when the city decided to stick about a hundred of those 3-foot high flexi-posts all over the damned place. It's like unexpectedly coming up on a downhill ski slalom course without being able to tell which posts go on the left and which go on the right and where you can cut through in order to not ride through the puddles and debris in the gutter. We've been riding through that traffic circle since the early 70s without a problem since there used to be two lanes. Now it's a problem, especially in a group because if you're behind two or three people you can't see those little posts as they are completely hidden by the riders in front of you. The bottom line is that most of us feel like the posts have made the traffic circle considerably *less* safe than it used to be. Hopefully there won't be a big crash when someone in the WeMoRi hits one of those things.

But I digress...

So I felt pretty good on Saturday and did indeed get a solid workout, after which I decided it was time to cut down some of the dead plants along the backyard fence (from the freeze) and also to take down part of a tree that had gotten so big it was starting to shade out a whole section of the backyard. A few hours later the back yard was much improved - quite the opposite for my back and arms.

Sunday morning came early, of course, and I rode out to Starbucks in the dark. The ride itself was more tame than Saturday's had been, and since I'd already decided to make it a Recovery Giro Ride, I had a pretty easy time of it at the back. On the way back home Pat and I were in the "protected (aka imprisoned) bike lane going under the interstate when Pat hit a big piece of broken cast-aluminum that was cleverly camouflaged amongst the sand and dirt and trash in the gutter - I mean bike lane - and sliced his rear tire. 

Monday and Tuesday mornings on the levee were both kind of foggy and damp as the icewater-chilled air over the river met the 70° air everywhere else. On Tuesday Rich flatted way out by Destrehan, and then flatted again before we found the tiny offending shard of rick embedded in his tire. The fog was pretty thick in places, and combined with the darkness that didn't abate until we were already heading back from Ormond, the situation was bad enough to keep me from getting too close to the wheel in front. It'll get cooler later in the week, but nothing below the low 50s, so that's good.

Meanwhile on the home front, the road work crew packed up and moved out on Monday, leaving a dirt road with water pipes sticking out of the sand and all of us wondering when they would come back to start working again.