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.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday biker

Black Friday morning was beautiful - sunny and cool, just a little humid - so I set out to try and burn some of the several thousand calories I'd consumed the day before.

As I passed Bicycle World there was a small group heading out. I caught them at the light and they told me they were riding to Katy, a 48 mile trip, and wanted to be back by 10.00am. I also spotted a couple of pretty serious riders in the group. I wasn't up (or ready) for a long ride at high speed but hung with them down Memorial and Route 6 to the Dam.

George Bush park was predictably quiet (bikers like bargains too), so quiet that there were still deer around. The park is teeming with deer and hogs but the normal traffic level scares them into hiding. Not this morning, I had two smallish deer, one either side of the path. This always makes me nervous because they sometimes decide to cross over to get together, and there is a real risk of a deer strike, which any biker will lose. These two kept their cool though and I made it past.

The rest of the ride was uneventful, although I saw a push me-pull you recumbent tandem on the way back. A couple ride one of these regularly out of Zube and it's always entertaining to ride up to them.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Back in the saddle again

I've decided it's time to rejoin the Mules after a lengthy summer break, and this weekend seemed like a good opportunity to do so. The gang was riding the Red, White and Bike charity ride, which starts in our usual stamping ground near Hockley. The start time was pretty civilized - 8.00am - which also helped my decision.

I duly rolled into the car park and spotted the Mules Barn - Paddy's large awning erected next to his Mules trailer. I'd only seen pictures of it but it's very impressive in the flesh. Paddy was of course there and noted that I was not in uniform (I was wearing my new Sierra Nevada shirt, the Mules shirt is in the wash). I met a new Mule, Shawn, and later had a long chat with him. Nice guy.

I unloaded my bike and pumped up my tires, only for the rear to blow out quite spectacularly. The rubber around the valve had rotted and it came away in my hand! I did a quick tube change and then bought a replacement from the Bike Barn guys who were on duty at the start.

Off we went, north on Roberts, past Zube and then quickly onto roads I hadn't seen before. The Mules set a hottish pace but I was able to hang in there, drafting behind Adam. I was also chatting (mostly listening!) with Shawn, who has recently done some spectacular rides on Maui, and spent three weeks in Europe, too, riding the route of Paris-Roubaix!

I was just starting to feel the pace a bit when we reached the 40/60 split and I turned off. Hardly anyone else was on the 40 route, I had to keep my wits about me and watch for signs - normally you just follow the bike in front. I was ready for the rest stop that duly appeared, and there was Sean (of the dog) chatting with the staff. We joked around for a bit and then he left, with me promising to catch him (as if!).

Back on the road and we turned south, into a pretty tough head wind, with some short, sharp climbs to get over too. I was starting to tire and get sore in the usual spots, but then I got to Roberts road, where I could smell the barn, as they say. Sadly the route took us in the long way round, presumably to build up the miles.

Finally I was back at the start, where I joined Sean in the Barn for a beer and a chat. I had stuff to do at home and couldn't wait for the 60 mile group to finish.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stay away from Crack(s)

It's been almost 2 months since my last post, and basically the same amount of time since my last training ride. I went on a field trip to Utah at the end of September and came back with a cough/cold, that as usual turned into a sinus infection, and I was out for the count.

I'm still not 100% but I'm getting there. I rode into work 4 days last week and decided I was ready to start weekend rides too. David was up for a ride so we planned a run for Saturday morning. Unfortunately his knee was playing up and so I found myself riding alone down Memorial at 7.30 on a beautiful, if chilly morning.

As I got closer to BWH I decided to ride with them if they hadn't started already, and sure enough the riders were just gathering so I joined the gang. Kevin showed up on his new-ish Cervelo, and his sister was there too. Jamie proposed the short ride to Katy Mills and that was fine by me.

We rolled out and I found myself at the front of the pack. I felt fairly comfortable and hung in there, but once we made the first turn along the Dam I decided to let someone else do the work.

Out on Kingsland I discovered just how much I'd forgotten during my absence. We stooped for a red light at Fry, and when we got the green I couldn't get my left foot clipped in. I was looking down at my pedal and didn't see a large crack in the pavement, and my front wheel fell in. Normally when this happens you go down, but somehow I managed to keep the rubber in the road. I didn't flat either and was feeling pretty lucky, until I used the front brake. The crack had scraped my rim pretty badly, making the brakes noisy. Kevin saw this as a golden opportunity to buy a set of carbon wheels, only $899 on!

We carried on, with me trying not to use the front brake. There were two strong riders who broke away but I kept up with the rest of the pack pretty well. After the turn we found out just how strong a tailwind we'd had on the way out! We formed into two lines and rode back together, which was fun.

Back at BWH I had one of the mechanics look at my wheel and he told me it was fine, and to smooth down the scratches with steel wool. So no new carbon wheels for me.

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