Tour de Leaves

23 10 2008

Last Satuday Nikola and I got up at the crack of dawn to drive down to Tryon for the Tour de Leaves. We were turned on to the ride by alumnus Donald Dixon, who is the namesake behind MHC’s first cycling scholarship. Donald is an avid cyclist and a former owner of Cane Creek Cycling Components, so we were excited to tackle the 66-mile ride with him. Also on the ride from MHC were Scott Lowrey, Jeremy McPherson, and Carlos Quatela. We started in a cool drizzle but it soon warmed up–20 miles in we hit a steep 2 mile climb rising above the Green River; we negotiated 17 switchbacks before we hit the top! A really fun climb, but the remaining 40 miles of hilly terrain didn’t give the legs much chance to recover. Thanks to the great roads and beatiful fall foliage for keeping us inspired and moving along. By the time we arrived back in Tryon, Donald and I were cooked. But Nikola looked like he was ready for a second lap.

Can you ride up Grapevine without hands?

6 10 2008

Well, Nikola and I can. On our Walnut Creek-Grapevine ride today with P.E. professor Bill Hamilton, we worked a little on conscious pedaling. What started as a little training excercise to increase bike handling skills and develop a smoother pedaling stroke ended up being a full-on competition when we started up the back side of Grapvine, the side with the steep hairpins. The lady walking the poodle must’ve thought we were nuts as we dodged her and the poodle on an 8% grade, with no hands! After we slightly recovered from our effort down the other side of Grapevine, Bill must’ve sensed our weakness and put in a last ditch attack, but we finally caught his wheel. The rest of the ride, we just kept the pedals turning to make it home. Ride time: 2:35, about 40 miles. Not bad for two big climbs. Every ride lately has been an adventure. Of note was Nate’s rear derailer explosion on a recent Wednesday. We were still about 4 miles from campus, so Nikola and I pushed Nate on his broken bike while Melissa gave us the heads-up for cars. A great team-building exercise. What will the next ride bring? Come and see…