Monday, May 05, 2008

Top five things I learned on the Face of America ride

Well, I'm still alive.

Only slightly worse for the wear, it seems. I learned a LOT this weekend. About myself, the finer points of riding LONG distances, and about strength.

1. Although a recumbent trike is low to the ground, and therefore the center of gravity is low to the ground, that doesn't mean that on REALLY steep hills you won't flip over.
  • Corollary 1: any flags stuck in the flag holder will break when flipping ass over teakettle
  • Corollary 2: landing on your shoulders and head hurts. Helmets work. However, having your bell rung definitely leads to headaches.
  • Corollary 3: Even if you getting your bell rung has given you a headache, it is not polite (while on a charity ride) to give the finger to passing motorists who shout other than well-wishes about being held up for five freaking minutes on a Sunday morning

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Me and BlackFive's LaughingWolf, the other riding member of Team Chuck Z, who rode by my side, unless I was screaming downhill and taking turns on two wheels, and then he was just behind me.

2. When temperatures rise above 70 degrees, and you're burning something along the lines of 3000 calories in a day, you must take on more liquids than a cup of coffee in the morning and a bottle of gatorade at lunch. You also should eat more than a cold bagel for breakfast. Apparently, I'm not 17 anymore.

3. Just because you can't actually feel the skin on your thighs because of the nerve damage, you shouldn't not put sun screen on. Mostly because only artillerymen should be called redlegs, but also because even damaged nerves can get pissed off, and when they get pissed, they tend to make other things feel hurt, which explains why the backs of my legs fell sunburned, and yet they are a shade that can only be described as "fishbelly white" (the front of my legs can only be described as"fishbelly in a blast furnace red".)

4. A four-hour drive, paired with two hours' sleep, is a shitty way to start day one. Next time, I'll have to do something about the Mrs. pawing at me when she's horny like thirsty and I'm a bottle of water. (Okay, I may have dreamed that part after a few gimlets and doubling down on the pain meds after day one.) Still, it's a good idea to get more sleep.

Below, my drinking partner Ski, fellow cripple and a member of the triumvirate of funny people who can screw with Carren when she's driving us to the wrong hotel, and then to the right hotel, and then when she hits the snooze button (again and again, but claiming it was only pressed once...)(Clicky to Magnificate)

5. NEVER let anyone from one of other, lesser services give you an analysis of the terrain along the route. They will tell you things like "it's a good downhill run after this hill" equates to after this hill, the terrain will gradually drop approximately three to five inches over the next hundred feet, whereupon it will again rise for another 400 feet, over a distance of 50 feet.

And speaking of strength, a real hero is seen here, center. I won't tell his name, because I didn't ask to print it. He's using a hand cycle to make his bike go, because his legs don't work anymore. (Unlike yours truly, he's smart enough to still use sunscreen.) The day prior, on one of the many hard turns at the bottom of a steep hill, (recumbent bikes can easily hit 30 MPH and more on a good hill) his front brake failed, and he went off road, off bike, and into an ambulance. I ran into him on my way back from the bar, and he had a large new scab from his wrist to his shoulder. He rode all the way on the next day, some 45 miles. Sure, we helped him up some of the hills, but despite what had to be tremendous pain, he kept going. He finished. (Click to enlargify)

And he never rode alone. Thanks to each of you.

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