Saturday, September 3, 2011

Silver Comet Trail Training Ride

On Friday morning Chip, Richard and I met at the start of the Silver Comet Trail on Mavell Road in Cobb County.  At 8:30am we were all at the parking area and ready to go.  We picked up a forth rider, Sean Gray as we setup our bikes.  Sean is also doing the 2011 Ironman Florida triathlon.  The group decided on an 80 mile training ride, 40 miles out and 40 miles back.  That would put our turn around point near Rockmart.

Sean, Chip and Richard (l-r)
As I rode to the restroom for a final pit stop I rode by a cyclist who was also getting ready to hit the trail that morning.  He looked familiar.  I stopped and said his name.  Mike Heinz?  He said hello.  It was him.  Mike and I rode together twenty years ago with other folks in Griffin, Georgia.  Mike and his wife Heidi would often ride a tandem with the group.  Mike also had a recumbent.  Apparently, he and Heidi moved from Griffin years ago, like myself, but had kept up his cycling.  He rides with the Bad Boy Bikers (BBB Cycling) now.  Mike said that he and Heidi were moving to Germany to spend time with Heidi's father.  What a cool coincidence to see a guy I hadn't seen in so long just before he leaves the country.

Mike Heinz - Bad Boy Biker
The boys and I headed west.  I took a few pictures on the way.  I still need to remember to set my camera to take action shots.  We saw two deer cross the trail in front of us.  I didn't get a picture.

The crew as we were just getting started
Chip going aero
We stopped at the turn around point along US278 / Nathan Dean Parkway, had something to eat and drink before heading back.  Chip was in the lead, followed by me and then Richard and Sean.  As we took the hard right turn down the hill and back onto the quieter and more scenic part of the trail Chip yelled out for us to stay left.  I elected to forgo that advice and attempted a bunny hop over a crack in the pavement.

Step on a crack, break your momma's back (Bunny hop a crack, hug a pine tree)
That's where everything went wrong.  My handlebar (which I had adjusted weeks prior without the use of a torque wrench) decided to move.  I managed to stay on my bike but my brakes were barely reachable.  I was going about 20 miles per hour with all my weight on the front wheel and I was headed into the woods.  I missed the large oak tree but not the small pine tree before going horizontal.

Direction of travel in blue - pine tree in yellow
Chip disappeared into the distance.  Richard and Sean, a paramedic, helped me recover my bike and composure.  I got scratched up a bit and have a raspberry on my hip.  Luckily for me I didn't land in a pile of poison ivy.  I got poison ivy on my legs but I don't think it was from the crash.  I hate that stuff.

Recovering after my crash (note the handlebars)
We readjusted my handlebars and were back on track in a few minutes.  Chip had been worried about his heart rate all morning.  After his apparent disregard for my welfare, I did my best to make him suffer on the return trip.  I also spent a good bit of the ride back recovering ejected water bottles.  My XLAB carbon cages used to never lose a bottle but now they can't seem to keep one. 

We stopped at Coots Lake Station for more water and Gatorade.  Chip and I each bought a Gatorade 2/$2.50 and a water 2/$2.50.  My bill was $3.58, including tax.  I don't know how that happened. 

Sean said that he spoke to his wife during our ride.  She had expected him to be riding alone.  He said that he had planned to call her to check-in half way through his ride.  When he didn't call her, she called him.  He updated her on his status.  He was riding with a couple of old guys and they were kicking his butt.  She said good.  I'm paraphrasing, of course.  I'm not sure if she was pleased that he wasn't riding alone or that he was getting his butt kicked.

Sean excited to be near the end
Richard riding strong
We finished our 80 mile ride in 4 hours and 13 minutes (ride time) averaging 19.0 miles per hour.  We planned to do a brick with a short run after the ride.  That didn't happen. 

Sean Gray with his Cervelo P2C
Sean will be doing the 2011 Ironman Florida race to help raise money to support a charity in honor of the 343 fallen firefighters killed at the twin towers in NYC September 11th, 2001.  His race kit will feature the design on the t-shirt below.  So, look for Sean on November 5th out on the course and at the finish line.  To find out more go to the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund.

Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund shirt
Sean's IMFL race bib number will likely be 343 if the WTC people fulfill his request.  I hope that it puts him in a good spot in the transition area. 

Oh, I'll be ordering a torque wrench today.

Thanks for reading.