Water, water everywhere

Wheel full 70px I had hoped to do major miles today over a particularly flat area, including stopping at a bike shop and meeting up with a friend.

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Wheel full 70px But, as that ominous TV music goes… dah, dah, dah, DAAAH!

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Wheel full 70px It is an understatement to say that there is rain in the forecast today.

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Wheel full 70px This is on top of it pretty much pouring from 2:00 pm on yesterday.  The bike and I were soaked when I finally stopped for the night.  Everything except my shoes pretty much dried overnight, but it looks like I’ll be doing that all over again today.

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Wheel full 70px But nothing inside my panniers or handlebar bag is even damp, thanks to Ortlieb’s “Waterproof Classic” series.  The panniers, front and rear, are essentially heavy-duty dry bags on a frame that allows easy attachment to the correct kind of bicycle rack.  They do a lot towards helping me keep my spirits up on wet days.  I recommend them unconditionally for the kind of trip I’m making.

No Ferry for You!

Wheel full 70px Well, it looks like my ferry ride from Boston Harbor to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod is going to turn into a bus ride.  There are 9-10 foot/~3 meter seas later today due to the high winds in the area and that is apparently too rough for the ferry.  The company is substituting a bus, which I am told will accept my bike and panniers.

Wheel full 70px So I’m disappointed.  I had looked forward to seeing Boston from out on the water, but that’s just not going to happen, I guess.  The day will still be a good one- I’m getting together with some friends when I arrive at the ferry terminal, which will be a treat.

Wheel full 70px Concern has been expressed about my riding in downtown Boston.  Here’s my route.

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Wheel full 70px I am riding across the city on the “cover” that they built over the Big Dig- the former I-93 Central Artery.  I rode on it in May on one of the city’s rent-a-bikes, and have no qualms based on that experience.  So, film at 11.

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Took a Break

Wheel full 70px I took a break yesterday.  It was my birthday- my 64th- and I figured what the heck.  So I didn’t do anything.  Well, almost.  I did get on the (unloaded) bike and ride a half mile/800 meters downhill to get a Subway footlong double meat roast beef sandwich for lunch, then back just past the motel to a Rite-Aid drugstore for some first aid kit stuff and a tape measure, then back to my room.  Later I ate a middling size bag of air-popped olive oil and sea salt flavored popcorn and went to bed early after a nice phone call with my wife.

Wheel full 70px Oh, and I glued my rapidly falling apart left shoe.

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Wheel full 70px Today it’s so far, so good.

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Wheel full 70px We’ll see.

Wheel full 70px And, now that I think about it, I used the tape measure I bought to check out my waist size.  I got some bad news- none of my pants will even close to fit when I get home.  I’ll spare you the photo, as I’m sure you get the idea.

Wheel full 70px The rest of the day I relaxed and tried to figure out why a month’s worth of riding every day hadn’t seemed to translate into greater stamina and endurance.  I seem to continue to be running out of both go-power and daylight right around the 35-40 mile/~55-65 kilometer point each day.  I really had hoped to be solidly into 50 mile/80 kilometer days by now.  I’ve managed two.

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Wheel full 70px I rolled different ideas around and around during the day yesterday and think that I have come up with the answer.  Along the Nova Scotia coast where I started, pretty much every day the total elevation gain was under 2,000 feet/600 meters, with most days less than 1,500 feet/450 meters climbed.  Since I’ve been riding in New Brunswick and Maine, comparable distances every day but one or two have seen a total elevation gain of over 2,000 feet/600 meters with a handful over 2,500 feet/750 meters.  My experience tells me that the hills in Maine and New Brunswick have been by and large more steep, too.  It is hard to get good grade information off of the RidewithGPS app on an iPhone, but I’m pretty sure that there have been a number of significant hills with a 10% grade or more.  I have a hard time believing, given my physical condition at the start of the trip, that I am pedaling all the way up these hills.  I know that a few have left me completely spent for a half hour or so after I reached the crest.  I know that I was not dealing, with but one or two exceptions, with any hills like these in Nova Scotia.

Wheel full 70px So I do have more stamina and go-power.  I’m just expending it on more significant hills, and my daily rides are shorter as a result.  There’s good news, though, ahead.  The total elevation gain projected by RidewithGPS for the entire trip is right about 90,000 feet/27,000 meters.  I have overcome, based on my cumulative daily ride stats, just about 55% of that gain- a little less than 50,000 feet/15,000 meters in the mileage ridden to date- about a quarter of the length of the entire ride.  This leaves 40,000 feet/12,000 meters of gain for the remaining three-quarters, and I’ll burn through about 10,000 feet/3,000 meters more before I leave Maine.

Wheel full 70px What I’ll do then is reduce my planned daily miles for about the next week.  I figure, adding in yesterday’s rest day and the low mileage days in the Acadia area, that this will put me five days behind the schedule I published in a post a few days ago.  I now expect to be in Boston on the 28th of this month and arriving in Key West in the second week of November.  I’ll update the entire schedule in a day or so.

Wheel full 70px In the meantime, I need to get back on the bike and ride.

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A tough couple of days

Wheel full 70px I had no idea how difficult it would be to let go after spending a few days in Acadia National Park.  At first I thought that I was just a little bit more stiff and achy than usual, or that the change in the weather had affected my mood.  No matter what direction I would ride in, it always seemed uphill with the wind in my face.  It’s taken me two days to ride about 30 miles, and the road signs are still full of directions to the park and other references to it.  I finally realized last night that the issue is leaving a place to which, for so many reasons, I have a tremendous attachment.

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Wheel full 70px So I’m up early this morning after a good night’s rest, determines to put 50 miles/80 kilometers between me and a place I would probably be perfectly happy to just stop at and stay forever.  The great philosopher Mick almost certainly nailed it when he wrote

You can’t always get what you want
No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, you just might find
You get what you need

Uncool Shoes

Wheel full 70px Specialized is going to get a very unhappy email from me.

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Wheel full 70px You might recall that I bought these shoes in June of this year.  They are less than three months old.

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Wheel full 70px I don’t walk on the toes or otherwise mistreat them. The stitching on the left shoe came apart first. The right shoe has  followed in recent days.

Wheel full 70px Looks like a design defect to me.   I  don’t think a replacement pair is an unreasonable expectation.  If those come apart we’ll just have to deal with that when it happens.

Almost Timely Advice

Wheel full 70px I think I set a personal best speed record yesterday on one of the incredible steep hills I encountered.

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Wheel full 70px That’s 400 pounds/~180 kg of bike, rider and loaded panniers in essentially what felt like free fall instead of a controlled descent at just a hair under 40 mph/65 kph for quite some distance.

Wheel full 70px Oddly enough, I spotted this article [linkie] when I stopped for the night.  Good advice, and pretty much how it all went for me.  I don’t want to do this very often, but it’s a memorable experience.