Thursday, September 15, 2005

Strange Objects of Desire

Tell me you don’t want one of these. See, you can’t, can you ?

Apparently you can take four people inside this and still pull a water skier. When I win the lottery this baby is at the top of the list.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Riding the MS150 - winds and the saddle

This weekend was my first ever century ride - actually 100.52 miles. When you ride that far you make sure every single pedal stroke gets recorded. It was quite a start to event. Michael and I arrived on Friday evening and set up a tent. We had a good meal out with Drew, my ex-boss who was also riding and his buddy Wayne, then back to the tent. It started to get windy. As I'm a light sleeper I woke lots of times. Michael is unfortunately a heavy sleeper so I had to pinch him awake most of the night to share the joy around.

The following morning's coffee was very welcome.

By 8:30am, after the group photo we were all set up and ready to go. Team GSK raised the most money last year so we had about 100 people all wearing Boniva cycling jerseys at the front of the pack. It was quite a sight to see a stream of around 1,500 people leave New Bern heading out onto the road.

The ride was ... windy. All day. It blew a constant 15mph, gusting up to about 25mph. It would have been too easy for my first 100 miles otherwise. Hurricane Ophelia was offshore and blowing. About 40 miles in I had to stop with pain starting in my right knee - I'd got a new saddle and the adjustment was off. That could changed at lunch time, around mile 53, and things improved considerably.

I was riding on behalf of Jill Bishop, my office mate's daughter who has MS. Todd had provided me with her picture which was attached to my saddle bag. She attracted quite a lot of attention from the guys on the ride - no wonder I was in front of the pack most of the time :)

My total ride time was 5:21, with an average speed of 18.7mph. And by the end of the day, after constant refills I think I'd invented my own brand new flavor of Gatorade in my bottle.

My riding companians were awesome. Michael rode extremely well, taking long turns pulling us forward. We were a regular foursome - me, Michael, Drew and another GSK guy called Jason. Hopefully I'll get with these guys next year. I did unfortunately lose me a Carl, a regular Clydesdale who took long turns at the front. Carl is a BIG guy and blocked a lot of wind. He disappeared around mile 35, last seen with most of the rest of the ride hanging of fhis back wheel.

I felt pretty good by the end of the ride, with the only issues being the nagging knee pain and some numbness in my hands from all the road vibration. I ate massively that night, dong the sensible thing and taking two plates through the buffet. I still managed to lose three pounds when I weighed myself on Sunday. We heard one of the riders who also has MS talk about living her life with the disease at the evening presentations. Her message was to just keep going, keep pushing forward as best you can. It made me feel good to have helped raise money to hopefully beat the disease.

Since the wind was picking up and the predictions were not good for the next day we headed out late on Saturday. My knee is happier this way I think.

Here's what the view was like most of the day

- Paul

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A big day picture

A picture of Ryan on his first school bus ride. He looks a little unsure still.

He actually had a really good day. He thinks he may even want to go back.

A big day

Ryan got on the school bus for the first time, for his first ever "real" school experience. He was very excited to be going, singing and dancing around the house this morning. His backpack looks just huge on him, but it didn't faze him at all.

When the bus came he got straight on like he'd been doing it for months, and didn't look back. Mum had to go onto the bus to get a decent photo of him. He's growing up.

Mum was in tears after the bus pulled out. It was an emotional morning for all of us.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

34.8 miles, 19.1mph average

My total is now north of 1,100 miles since March 17th. A great ride with Michael today on what's becoming a favorite route from the house. Pleasant Green Rd kicks my butt each time on the hills, but the 40.3mph descent on the last downhill section is worth it. Who knew you could get winded riding downhill ?

Today was the first time that the bike really "sat down" for me in a long fast corner. We were doing around 30 mph and pedalling smoothly. I'm not sure what I did differently but the bike just felt very solid and comfortable under me, like it was really holding onto the road. It was a very pleasant feeling.

The weather was good too - the high was probably around 85F or so max. Tomorrow's weather looks to be even better - highs in the low 80s.

Oh and I bought a saddle off eBay which I'm hoping gets here before the weekend. I don't think I can stand my current saddle on the MS150. Micheal and I swapped saddles as a test today and his looks the same but is 100x more comfortable. If only he forgets in case my new saddle doesn't arrive in time then I'll be golden.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina's impact

After posting yesterday about my bike miles seeming low compared to car miles it looks like I'm going to be offered a chance to do more miles. The local news is reporting that we get about 50% of our gasoline from the Gulf of Mexico. As a result of Hurricane Katrina the main pipeline between Mississipi and NC is down. Also the refineries down on the Gulf Coast are closed, and it's not clear for how long. Gas prices jumped 25 to 30 cents a gallon over the course of the day yesterday and some gas stations ran dry as desperate motorsits filled up. The state is urging people to limit driving to only essential activities.

I don't want to ride too much ahead of the MS150, but maybe two days next week is called for. After the 150 I'll try to ride in three or more times a week.

The issues here are small in comparison to the ones on the coast though. Having seen the pictures on the news it looks like New Orleans as it was has gone. My heart goes out to all those down there. If it were me and I had a choice I wouldn't be going back.