Sunday, October 19, 2014

Balanced loads down a mountain= very good.

Yesterday was rough and I slept off my aches and weariness.
I woke up early at the Levi Deal and wondered: when was breakfast? I neglected to ask Jan, the innkeeper about breakfast... I had inquired about dinner having heard that Jan serves an excellent dinner... but alas, she had only made dinner for guests when the Morguen Toole was closed for the fire. I heard she had served polenta and I had polenta on my mind. I grew up having polenta on a regular basis. Polenta and sausage with (tomato) gravy is a Sicilian dish I loved as a child in a home where my mother of Irish heritage tried to learn to cook Italian dishes for my father of Sicilian descent. Her polenta and sausage was very good, the bragiola excellent too. The lasagna: not so good.
I dressed and looked out the window to see Jan working feverishly in the kitchen. Maybe soon? I also saw SNOW. Good lord, it was sleeting and snowing! Are you kidding me?

I went over and Jan had coffee ready. Yaaa! This would count for Coffeeneuring#5


The Mansion is simply gorgeous inside. I poked around while Jan made breakfast and I chatted with the other cyclists staying in the main house who were by now, coming downstairs from their rooms.
It turns out there were 2 other parties staying there and we were all heading down to Cumberland. There were 3 tables set up in the dining room, one had 4 settings, the other had two and there was a third table with one set of silverware. Gee, I wonder who that table's for? The couple from Tuscon invited me to their table so they wouldn't have to talk across the room to me. It turns out they were using Sara P's Bike the GAP services and their bagged lunch was already waiting for them. Gotta love that service!

Jan brought out a breakfast of freshly baked bran muffins, a vegetable egg quiche and (drumroll.).....polenta! It was fantastic. I scarfed down the eggs and polenta and wrapped up the bran muffin for lunch.


I loaded up Fizz and was underway, but the other cyclists got on the road before I did as they didn't have as much baggage. Yes, they poked fun at me for having so much stuff.

I loaded the third pannier on the top of the back rack instead of the front rack today and this was a vast improvement.

I played leap-frog with the other two parties most of the day, but in the end, I was the first one to reach Cumberland. I win!

Sometimes, I watch where I'm going. I'm looking out for things that might puncture a tire, etc...
In my head, you might hear this: "Rock, stick, hole, rock." Today it was "Rock, hole, rock, baby snapping turtle, rock..." Wait, what?
OMG! How cute!

"Lady, one day I'll grow up and have the ability to bite your fingers off. Now, put me down! I'm formidable!"


I replaced him over to the side of the trail he was heading in the hopes he wouldn't get crushed by a bike. I think I came within a millimeter of squishing him.

It was cold, but bright and glorious.



We all helped one another get pictures in scenic spots along the way. I made sure Fizz photobombed all their shots.

I remembered to bring pickles.


This is my "I made it!" pose
I remember this nursery rhyme. I had an ear worm for a while today!
Cumberland was reached quickly.

At the Fairfield Inn, nice amenity!


Damn kids! You're ruining my self-timer shot! Go away!
Much better.



Another 32 miles, but much more comfortable, more 'wheeee!' and much better weather.

I took lots of photos, you can view them at FLICKR


More of the GAP gaps are getting filled in!





Saturday, October 18, 2014

Off balance overpacked loads up a mountain= not good

Another overnighter trip! This will most likely be the last until Spring.
I drove to Cumberland early having packed 3 panniers and 2 bags (stop laughing!) the night before and was on the GAP before 9AM.

I stopped for Coffeeneuring trip #4 at Cafe Mark



This was my first real use of the new front rack, I used one pannier on my new rack.






I am reminded when I do things like... load ONE pannier on the front rack... that I'm still a clueless noob. I spent the day trying to figure out why on Earth I was having horrible arm pain.

The weather conspired against me too, it drizzled and spit and misted the entire morning and much of the afternoon. Sometimes it spit-izzled and others it mist-izzled. It was cold too. Even though I was well-dressed, the cold and wet got to me after 6 hours outdoors hauling gear up a mountain. 45 pounds worth.
While the trip was long and tiresome and dreary, I made the best of it. The fall colors were amazing despite the poor visibility from the top of Savage Mountain.




The traffic was awful.


I hope we don't exceed the weight limit!

It was tiring going up the mountain, there was one well-worn firmly packed path on the trail; my side was soft and rutted from washouts and full of rocks. I tried desperately to get some relief from the bad side of the trail and ride on the 'wrong' but delightfully-easy-to-ride-on side. However, cyclists coming down the mountain were always kicking me out of the firmly packed side when they bore down on me at 15-20 MPH while I was limping along at 6 MPH. Oh, how I wanted the other side of the trail.

Eventually, I was able to ascertain the cause of my arm pain: the off balance load! I once drove a car on a regular basis that needed a front-end alignment and my right arm always hurt from pulling the steering wheel to one side to compensate for the wonky alignment. Logically, this translates to bikes too! By now, I was 25 miles into the trip. I switched the pannier over to the other side in the hopes that I'd give one side of my upper body a rest from the strain... but it still ached in spite of the switch. WAIT... this pannier doubles as a backpack!
I turned the pannier into a backpack and strapped it on. No luck, I was so tired and sore by then that any weigh on my back was an objection as well. I arrived in Meyersdale a little after 2 PM and was too early for a check-in at the B&B, so I hung out at the Museum and enjoyed the wifi.
The hours between 2 and 4 are rough in Meyersdale if you arrive hungry. Thankfully, I brought snacks and fortified myself along the way.


I rode down to to Levi Deal Mansion bed and breakfast after I checked my email and met Jan, the inkeeper. She showed me the guest room where I'd be staying and the codes to get into the garage where I could store Fizz.




I showered and rested... I was so very tired and needed a lie-down. A hot shower helped to get my core temperature up, but I was still chilled.

Note to self: take photos of your room before you mess up the bed and don't leave dinner's leftovers in your shots.





The room was decorated in a Asian theme.
I think those are two monks.
I shivered and my teeth chattered on my walk down to the Morguen Toole for dinner. I was still penetrated by cold. I couldn't get warm. They were out of the Octoberfest entree I had my eye on, so I opted for the burger and Jameson's again.

The wifi at the Levi Deal wasn't reaching the guesthouse, I was resigned to walk down to the Morguen Toole and linger outside in range to pick up a signal.

I slept hard and soundly even with the trains going by and blasting horns every 20 minutes.

32 miles, and an agonizing lesson learned.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Feeling foolish at Flock

It's October 17th and today is the monthly Flock ride! That means everyone comes dressed in a costume, right? Yaaaaa!
Nope. I was the only person who arrived costumed and boy, did I feel dopey.


I enjoyed some Palestinian Conflict Kitchen cuisine beforehand.

No one even knew who I was supposed to be! I mean, isn't it obvious?



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Just Three Seconds



This is a 3 second .gif from today's ride Downtown during lunch hour.
*WHEW*

Friday, October 10, 2014

Coffeeneuring with the stars

Before last night, I hadn't had a plan for the remainder of my coffeeneuring trips. Being the spaz that I am, I spreadsheeted out my plans and when I'd intend on hitting those shops.

Today's shop is Constellation Coffee in Lawrenceville.

New saddle!
 I got the Trucker back yesterday! I had a few things installed by Thick Bikes and a tuneup to get rid of my shifting problem, I was without her for over a week! *twitch*

I started early and was on my second day of breaking in a new Brooks saddle. I'd ridden 15 miles yesterday on the saddle's maiden voyage and spent much time getting off the bike, making a minor adjustment and riding in discomfort, repeating the process over and over again until I thought I had the perfect alignment of height and pitch. By then, my bits were so numb and angry from riding in a bad position, I couldn't tell if my saddle adjustment was good to go for a long ride.
This would be a leap of faith, but I brought along the old saddle just in case. I feared I'd made an expensive mistake after yesterday's ride.

6 miles to the coffee shop and my bits weren't all that angry. This was a good sign.
On the way there, I happened upon this weird yard display... I was drawn to it. Bowling balls and a saint with a mohawk and barbie-doll-head.







At the coffee shop, I got a latte
Some deer friends joined me.



I stopped at Whole Foods and checked out the hair products. I find that my hair loves African American products and I found this Oyin Boing! curl custard/goo stuff. It smells like candy or some sort of dessert. I hope my hair loves it as much as my nose does.


Another dinosaur statue...

Yes... yes they do.

Over to the South Side to pick up some proofide that I forgot to get for the new saddle and look at a cover. None in stock! Chrissy offered to MAKE one for me... yes... could a handmade yellow Brooks saddle cover be in the works? I can't get over how incredible Thick's employees are!

Before I made it over there, I encountered some jagoffs at the Chute. I've been listening to my fellow cyclists complain about the Chute, but this was my first taste of the danger here. I've got NO ONE yielding to me even though I've got the right of way with a right turn that I'm signalling for. Then white van passes me on the left around a sharp turn. Idiot.
Normally,  my angst is with the outbound trek and there are inbound cyclists IN the Chute.
I have to agree, the Chute sucks.





Lunchtime!
I finally got to try some fish-n-chips at this place.

Some artwork glued to a section of cement along the trail out to Sandcastle.

I have a theory that if I lug rain gear around with me, no rain will fall. If I forget my rain cape, it will pour on me.

33 miles, and no rain fell that was forecasted!