Please support my 2015 BP MS150 ride!

Please support my 2015 BP MS150 ride!
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Although this blog was originally created by Andy Brickell and continues to be updated by him, the design and layout of the page is credited to his daughter, Mary-Claire Brickell. She's pretty awesome.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The fat cyclist has sung

Every year, on or around Memorial Day, I work out that it's got too hot and The Mules have got too strong for me, and I gracefully retire my jersey for the summer. Yesterday's Zube ride showed me that the time has come again, only 2 days early.

I rocked up to Zube just after 7.00am, to find the car park already filling up with Northwest Cycle Club riders. Richard pulled into the spot next to me, and Kevin appeared shortly later. This made an unlikely threesome - me, my boss's former boss and my boss's current boss! As usual, Jorge wanted to ride, but again as usual, he stayed out too late on Friday and didn't make it.

We rolled out and were fairly quickly passed by several NWCC groups, mostly going at a pretty good lick. When this happened last week, Paddy immediately jumped on the back and we ended up with a record time to the Exxon. Fortunately (for me, anyway) Paddy is in Trinidad, and in his absence we decided to hang back and keep our own pace.

A fresh breeze from the south pushed us along on the out-run but I was still working and sweating pretty hard. After the break we had a tough cross-wind all the way back. We worked together well, riding en echelon just like the pros, although Kevin objected to the shower of sweat I gave him whenever he was down-wind of me.

Back at Zube and I feel pretty lousy, tired and dehydrated. I decide there and then that my next weekend ride will be with Jamie's Truth Squad at Bicycle World and Fitness - 27 miles, 7.00am start and about a ten minute ride from my house.

Train hard and ride safely this summer, Mules -

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Three Amigos (and friends)

Once again, Saturday morning found me heading off to Zube at the crack of dawn. For once there was something on the radio for entertainment. The Houston NPR station, KUHF, just bought out the Rice University license and equipment and have moved their classical programming to their frequency, so now we have 24/7 NPR news on FM 88.7. They are still amusingly amateurish though - they managed an accidental mash-up of "The Splendid Table" and "All in the Game", so for a moment I thought that vine-dried tomatoes in Puglia was one of the main causes of violence in Ivy League Football in the early 20th century.

I got to Zube quite quickly and found Paddy in his usual parking spot. He was pleased to see me, as most of the other regulars had either opted to ride on Sunday of bailed out at the last minute. I was expecting Jorge to roll up but he texted me that he had got to bed very late and wasn't going to make it. Just then Kevin appeared, and I reminded them both of the last time the three of us were out together - the aborted Cheeseburger run. Hopefully we would do better this time around.

No-one else appeared so we set off. The Northwest Cyclery Club has rides every Saturday so we soon found ourselves in a largish group, going pretty quickly in two pace lines. At about the fifteen mile mark I got spat out the back and Kevin and Paddy dropped back to join me (All for one and one for all - wait, that's the Three Musketeers). We carried on at our own, still pretty hot pace, with some wind assistance, and reached the gas station with an average speed of over 20 mph. A very light rain started to fall but it didn't last - more's the pity, it's terribly dry round these parts.

Back on the road and the first stretch along Business 290 is in the teeth of the wind. I get low and grind it out until the first turn, only to discover that I had dropped the other two - that never happens! The rest of the ride was more typical, with me struggling to stay with the other two. At one point the NWCC peloton passed us again. The two women in the tail of the pace line - one blonde, one brunette - were too much for Paddy to pass and he jumped on. About half a mile down the road he rejoined us, a little sheepishly.

Back at Zube by 10.00am, a scorching pace for us. Home to watch as much of the Tour de California as we could before the Rapture. Meanwhile, up in the Woodlands Susan's cousin Grady finished Ironman Texas, doing the 112 mile bike ride at a little under 18.5 mph. Way to go, G-Man -

Saturday, May 7, 2011

T-Bone dog

Jorge and I wanted to ride this weekend, but neither of us were really up for a strenuous Mule-style outing, or for that matter an early start. I proposed a gentle ride along the Bayou in Terry Hershey Park and a gentlemanly 8.30 am start, so that's what we did.

Jorge hasn't done a ride in Terry Hershey before and he enjoyed the scenery, if not the traffic, so we were glad to get to George Bush Park and open it up a bit. He's been in Bush Park before and likes it. He particularly enjoys the stretch of boardwalk which I frankly don't - I'm always worried that I won't be able to make an emergency stop on the wooden surface. Anyway we made it to Fry road in pretty good order.

After a break I suggested the Four Parks route, instead of doing an out-and-back. The only drawback is that there are several stretches where you have to ride in traffic, but having grown up in Colombia he's used to sharing the road with 18-wheelers. So we headed north on Fry towards Cullen Park.

Once in the Park we stopped for water and then hit the trail. I warned Jorge that we would have to take it slowly, as there were lots of blind turns and usually a fair amount of foot traffic. I should have listened to myself! Towards the end of the park I saw a man and woman walking with a dog (looked like a white bull terrier). I though the mutt was on a leash but it wasn't - the man tried to call it to heel but it swerved away at the last minute and I T-boned the damn thing. I was braking hard anyway but moving fast enough to go over the handlebars, landing in a heap in the dirt on the side of the trail. I got up and was immediately concerned for the dog, but that breed is basically a tube of muscle, and it had pottered off up the trail, completely unscathed. Its owner was much more concerned about me than his pet but I was fine apart from some scrapes. My bike was OK, too - the handlebars were out of alignment but easily straightened, the brake hoods and levers were scraped but nothing else.

Jorge and I remounted and set off again. As we went we heard a jogger chewing the dog owner out for running his pet without a leash - quite right too. The rest of the ride was uneventful, but overall it was a bit longer than we had planned, about 39 miles. We got back to my place and regaled Susan with the tale over cold beers.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Recovery ride

We're back in Houston after our mostly unexpected Easter trip to Illinois and I thought I'd see how my derriere would respond to a saddle after the MS150, so I saddled up the fixie and set off for Terry Hershey. My road bike somehow acquired a flat front tire between Austin and Houston and I haven't repaired it yet, but I fancied the fixie anyway.

I immediately ran head-first into half a gale of wind blowing off the Gulf. This was a cross-wind for most of the ride, but curtailed any thoughts I had of going all the way to the end of George Bush park. I settled for an out-and-back to Route 6 and mostly enjoyed it. My butt didn't really grumble, either.

I took some cycling gear with me to Illinois, planning to get Susan's old Schwinn Varsity out of the barn and see if I could find a longer route around Morris and environs. In the end, the weather was pretty bad for practically the whole trip, and we were a bit tied up anyway.

Morris has a bike shop, so I went in to see if there were any cycling groups in the area. They usually congregate around the bike shops, at least down here. The bike shop owner (something of an odd duck, it has to be said) gave me the newsletter for the Joliet Cycling Club. Joliet is some distance from Morris, but it turns out that they have regular rides starting from here. I made contact with the club president and he was much more friendly, inviting me to join several group rides. Unfortunately I didn't bring any rain gear and decided to give it a miss. However we may well find ourselves in the area again soon, so weather permitting I'll join them.

Bear Creek - Terry Hershey loop

Bear Creek - Terry Hershey loop

Daily commute to work

Daily commute to work
This isn't quite right but it's close. 9.5 miles, about 40 minutes.

Terry Hershey Park

Terry Hershey Park
10 miles of safe, paved cycling bliss - except for all the foot traffic

The Sealy ride

The Sealy ride
45 miles through very pretty Texas countryside. Looks benign but there's a very hilly section at mile 35.

The Katy ride

The Katy ride
It's on the Katy prairie - flat, flat, flat