Sunday, August 17, 2008

Abortive Strongland scouting attempt

The plan was perfect; leave the house around nine, punch up to the Vandergrift/Apollo area via 380 and sundry back roads, ride the 21-mile course, then back to town via New Kensington and over to Jim's for the Pittsburgh Randonneurs (rando-nerds?) meeting. What could go wrong?

In a departure from my usual style of ride report, let me start with the Lessons Learned, as, well, they kinda paint a picture of the day.

Lessons Learned
  • First and Foremost. Don't eat a big meal at Wendy's, then immediately hop on the bike and pretend you're a road racer. Let's just say my digestive system, metaphorically speaking, sent in some big guys named Guido and Nunzio to explain to me the error of my ways. For about an hour of, shall we say, less than stellar pedaling performance.
  • Listen to your Gut. Okay, this one has nothing to do with the Wendy's-related problem. When the little voice in the back of your head says "Hmm, this is kinda narrow and high-traffic. Seems odd.", there's probably a reason. When it subsequently points out that there's been what, to the bike-racing naïf, seems like an excessive amount of up, PAY ATTENTION. That way, you may avoid going off curse[sic, yet apropos] before even hitting the course proper.
  • Don't be a Hero. Assuming one has more-or-less recovered from digestive mishaps, and one has consequently made it back to town in relatively good order, choosing to climb High St/Seavey Rd as the most direct route after riding a good, hilly metric century is unwise. In fact, I'd go so far as to call it bloody painful, not to mention mildly embarrassing.
So, the upshot of the Wendy's meal debacle, followed by going off-course at the very first opportunity, is that I didn't scout much of the route. After getting back on course, I made it so far as Northmoreland Park (Park Rd), before deciding that I'd best head back to town...slowly. After another 45 minutes, I was feeling okay, so opened up the throttle a bit on the way into New Ken. Crossed the river and picked up Freeport Rd through Springdale, Cheswick, et. all (new pavement, by the way...very nice!). Then, for some reason, decided it'd be a good idea to strike off for yonder ridge, so hung a quick right on Guys Run Rd and up into the hinterlands of Fox Chapel. Eventually ended up bombing down Saxonburg into Etna, then picked up High St as the quickest(!) way over to Millvale. Over to Larry-ville via 40th St, coffee at Dancing Goats Crazy Mocha, then home for a quick shower before wussing out and driving ye olde infernal combustion device over to Jim's place in Shaler.

All in all, it was a nice ride; just wish I'd actually accomplished what I set out to do.

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