Tag Archives: vintage Peugeot mixte

Metric century: Complete!

Readers, you are lucky that I waited two days to compose this post. Had I been writing on Saturday evening, it probably would have been composed mostly of euphoric emoticons, with a liberal use of all caps and VERY EXUBERANT punctuation marks. Because we did it!! (I guess I have a few more exclamation points in me.)

Despite it being a special weather statement sort of day.

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We snapped the photo below just before lining up with the couple hundred other metric century riders for the 8 am start. In case it needs to be said, I was the only one on a 10-speed, and the only one on a vintage bike—although I did see a couple of recumbents.

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After a lengthy prayer, a warbling rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (during which I belatedly remembered to take off my helmet) and a reminder to share the road, there was the sound of a hundred clipless shoes meeting pedals…which Whitney and I weren’t able to join. And we were off!

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The Sunrise Century route loops up into Kentucky and back, passing through the charming small town of Guthrie as well as loads of corn and tobacco fields.

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From the first, it was evident that the ride was well planned: The route was clearly marked, rest stops were fully stocked and there were volunteers directing or stopping traffic at all the major intersections. Most of the roads were very lightly trafficked, and we were often able to ride abreast.

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The course was so flat that I found myself on my big chain ring most of the time, mashing to build speed. My strategy was to maintain as steady a pace as possible, so I wouldn’t tire myself out. Adrenaline and fresh legs carried us through the first 29 miles in just over two hours, so there were some big grins at the second rest stop. Could we really finish the ride in 4 hours?

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Second rest stop photo.

Answer: No. Though the course remained relatively flat, the temperature started climbing and we lost our cloud cover. Those fresh legs were also long gone.

But we pushed on.

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As I pedaled, I spent a lot of time monitoring my body and planning what I would do at the next rest stop to make it as happy as possible. What body parts needed stretching? Was I hungry? Too thirsty? I was terrified of doing the wrong thing and hitting a wall before I realized it was coming.

cornfields

Thankfully, it didn’t happen. I felt astonishingly good for about the first 40 miles, and pretty decent through 50. But the last 12 required increasing amounts of willpower. The sun was high in the sky, making shade increasingly rare (and treasured!). I was exhausted: Salt from sweat was crusted on my arms and legs, I was slightly sunburned despite repeated applications of sunscreen, and a weird heat rash was popping up on one of my thighs. Every little incline started making itself known, and the only significant one was, of course, right near the end! As I slowly chugged up it, a guy who’d been leap-frogging us several times during the ride passed me and said bracingly, “Almost there!” Then he promptly got tangled up in his clipless pedals and fell over. Luckily, when I asked he told me he was fine, because if I had stopped at that moment it would have been very hard to get back on the bike. I’m not sure I’ve ever been as grateful to see anything as I was to see the Rossview High School sign and know that I only had a few more yards to go.

Whitney had finished a few minutes ahead of me, and was sprawled on a bench in the shade near her car and bike. The euphoria I felt from being finished with the ride gave me the energy for a limp cheerleader stance and an exclamation of “We did it!” before I collapsed on a neighboring bench. We sat in exhausted silence for a few minutes before I thought to check the time: 1:45. We’d finished in under 6 hours! I had estimated that we would take at least 6 hours, so knowing we’d done better than our target gave me an even greater sense of accomplishment.

tshirt

Been there, done that, got the 100% polyester T-shirt

After a few minutes of rest, we mustered up the energy to put the bikes on the car and head inside to find Amanda and Andy and partake of the spaghetti lunch. (Garlic bread=awesome recovery food.) Despite a few minor aches and pains (and a deep desire to sit on anything that was softer than a bike seat), all of us were thrilled with how normal we felt, despite our exhaustion. It felt just a little bit miraculous, given our somewhat haphazard approach to training (Amanda, to the guy who took our picture at the start: “We’ve been training a whole MONTH for this!”).

Of course, part of that was because of the accessibility of the course. At no point did I feel aerobically challenged—party due to the terrain and partly due to my slow and steady ride strategy—so it was really only my endurance that was tested. Not that that was a small thing. Sure, bicycling is an efficient exercise, but when was the last time you did something for nearly six straight hours?

I realize this post isn’t getting into the nitty gritty of my bike and outfit setup. or what I ate the day of or night before, etc. I’ll geek out on that a little bit more in a future post. This one’s all about proclaiming VICTORY!!! :-) And, you know, getting all the all caps and emoticons out of my system. If anyone has specific questions they want answered, have at it in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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My first flat (yes, it’s true!)

Well, it had to happen one day: On Tuesday, I left work to discover that I had my first-ever flat. Poor Le Peug!

womp womp

I considered going inside to ask my coworkers for a ride home. I considered calling a friend. But it was a beautiful spring day—the first we’d had in a while—and I had some time before I had to be at the farmer’s market in Sevier Park, so I decided to lock Le Peug back up and walk.

Once I was three blocks away, I remembered that my shoes, while not the least comfortable heels I owned, were not really the best for this sort of activity.

I was jealous of ALL OF THE BIKES that went by. And even one skateboarder, at whom I would have ordinarily scoffed. (Since when has that become a legit form of transportation?)

 

But I made it to the market, albeit a bit footsore, and partook of an Izzy’s Ice as a reward.

The next day, I drove to work. Afterwards, Le Peug and Minnie got to know each other on the way to Halcyon.

When we got there, Andrew offered to show me how to fix a flat myself. Never one to say no to the pursuit of knowledge, I agreed. I’ve always been a little embarrassed that I have never changed a bike tube, because when I first started driving, my dad made sure I knew how change a car tire, change and check the oil, replace the fluids, etc—it was part of being a responsible vehicle operator. Maybe I should be a more responsible bicycle operator? After all, they’re much simpler, right?

Well, changing a tire might be a simple task, but it’s not necessarily easy. It took me a good 30 minutes at least, and there was a lot of awkward fumbling and possibly some moderate swearing. Andrew would demonstrate a 10-second task (like separating the bead of the tire from the rim) and then I would struggle for 10 minutes. My long nails and short dress made it a challenge, and I felt especially inept since there was an appropriately dressed and extremely skilled female bike repairer working at the station next to mine…but eventually I had a new tube in a new tire and that new tire was on my old bike.

While I’m glad I have given changing a flat a shot, I don’t plan to start carrying tools with me on my bike. In an urban environment, when I’m biking short distances, there are too many other options for me if something goes wrong with a bike—calling a friend, taking the bus home and yes, walking, are all preferable to me than changing a flat in my office parking lot. That said, I really appreciated that my LBS offered me the chance to learn something even though I was a woman in business attire—a lot of people would have taken one look and automatically assumed I wouldn’t be interested. Maybe I’ll at least keep a tire lever and some extra tubes at home…although if it takes me four years to get another flat I will have forgotten everything I learned on Wednesday!

Anyone else have a flat tire story? Do you carry tools with you on your bike? Why or why not?

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Some Rules Were Made to Be Broken

Like, “no white shoes after Labor Day.” Especially when one has just acquired a pair of white pumps that one’s grandmother wore as a bride in 1956, and one knows that once winter really sets in, it will be too cold to wear them.

A perfect match for my white vintage bike!

In other news, it’s starting to feel like Christmas as invites to holiday parties start filling up my calendar and my neighbors start putting up their holiday lights.  I can’t wait to see this one when I ride home tonight.

Happy Friday everyone!

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