The Tuesday Night Hustle – Some New and Some Returning Faces

July 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

I got home early today. This week is VIP week at Fort Dix and I figured I would be tied up all day every day, but so far, this week is easier than the last two weeks! Once the VIPs come through, we can close up shop, and so we did and I was home by 4 o’clock. I have to admit, that today was pretty damn hot, and the humidity stuck to me like a wet drape. I wasn’t sure I was in the mood to go out into that mess and hammer for an hour.

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Stung! The Tuesday Night Hustle Rides Again

July 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

Sometimes it is amazing what you can get when you cry Waa Waa like a baby and call out to your friends “Why won’t you come out and play with meeeeee?” Tonight was the first Tuesday Night Hustle after last weeks rant, and I was both surprised and relieved to see a larger turnout. In addition to Doug and myself, we started out with Maxipad and Jack who rode in with Dougie. Tony managed to make it out tonight and in spite of his already ridden that morning! We got Grant back out again, but he was recovering from an infection for which antibiotics were prescribed. Finally we had a new person show up who had just heard about the ride. Mike from Atlantic Highlands. I had never seen him before, but he was riding a nice bike. I did point out we would warm-up out to Sea Bright and then turn the gas on.

At least that was the plan. I could already tell on the ride over that the winds would be out of the South out at Sea Bright, so once I verified Derrick wouldn’t be joining us, I led us out. In the past I have tended to lead all the way into Rumson, up River Road, down River Road, around RIver Road until we get to Ridge. This week I decided not to do that :P! However, Doug took over for me and upped the pace from warm-up to complete sweat down pace, and by the time we got out to Holy Cross, I think we dropped Mike already.

I was leading us out when we reached the turn onto Ward and as I came around the corner a bee flew right into my temple and stung me instantly. Bam Sting! There was no time to swat it away. An inch from my right eyeball and just beneath the temples of my riding glasses. I squeezed the area but it still felt like the stinger was there. Nothing to do but to ride on. As far as I know I have been stung many times before without effect, so why would this time be different. I would start out in the back on Ocean Ave and move up unless I started to feel anything besides the pain that I was going to feel in my legs.

For some reason there seemed to be an inordinate amount of traffic on the bridge into Sea Bright with a fair amount of it turning North, the same direction as us. It disrupted our start, but we settled down into a pace line quickly, and started the ramp up. I don’t recall who started it, but the pace just kept picking up. I know Dougie took a pull and you could hear the gears dropping down as we all tried to find a cadence that worked for each of us. After Dougie it was Tony, and then Maxipad. I took over from Bobby M and by the time I pulled off just prior to Sandy Hook we had dropped Bob and Jack so it was down to 4 of us. The pulls went like this, Doug kicked our asses, Tony and Grant were more reasonable, and I feel like I was somewhere in between. I was in a GIANT gear, and just kept mashing it, and when I pulled off it was just three of us. Tony was a savior as his pulls allowed me to catch my breath until Doug took over again, and soon it was the same chapter I have read over and over again. I took my pull and while dropping back I pulled in behind Tony and noticed quickly that my 3 inch gap became 4, then 5, then 10, then a yard, and then my legs exploded, or maybe imploded and then I watched the two of them ride away.

The three of us re-grouped on Atlantic and pace lined it again out to the end of the hook. We established that all those that made it out first would sweep up the others as they took a short cut across Ft Hancock. Problem was we got pretty far ahead, and we only seemed to sweep up Bobby. Grant caught us from the back, but we never saw Jack again. Meanwhile in the heat, all I could feel besides my lactic legs was a little pounding in the side of my head that was probably just my pulse, but felt like it was that little stinger still pumping poison into my head. As I finish writing this I don’t feel it at all, so perhaps I should check a mirror just to make sure the right side of my face isn’t the size of a watermelon before leaving for work. All seems well.

Together we pace lined off the hook, taking our turns as usual, keeping it together until around halfway off when the pace picked up again (who knew that would happen?). We were eating the wind this time and though we did drop Bobby, Grant stayed with us and that gave three people for me to sit(HIDE) behind and recover before it was my turn to dish out the pain.

At the end Bobby and Doug chose to wait for Jack, and that left Grant, Tony and myself to wander back to Fair Haven. We(I) chose the hilly route back and we had some nice efforts on the return. When Grant gets his legs back he will be there on all those efforts.

Next week is VIP week at Ft Dix, and I may not be able to get out early again to make the ride, but at least the call is out and riders know that this is a ride to race and a race to ride and participation is key to the fun. Let’s hope the word spreads and we get a few more wheels in there to recover(hide) behind before its our turn again.

Thirty Years Ago – The Adventures of Frank & Stein – Part II

July 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

June 1st 1981 was the set departure date for the journey that would become known as “The Frank and Stein Route”. We had everything we needed, and the time had come to put the plan into action. We weren’t shipping our bikes and gear to San Diego, so we had to get bike boxes from a local shop, and disassemble our machines enough to re-pack them in these boxes. Fortunately there was room in the box to stuff many of the other items we had as well. What didn’t fit in the bike boxes we crammed into two other normal packing boxes, one each, so that we each had one huge bike box and one rather large box to manage at the Airport. We didn’t need suitcases, because we couldn’t carry them back with us, so disposable cardboard was the way to go.

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What Happened To The Tuesday Night Hustle?

July 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

If you are a bike nut, and of course when I say bike I mean bicycle, and not a motorcycle. Really we would say a cycling nut because we are “cyclists”, and not just “bicycle riders”. What is the difference? WTF knows, but there is a difference! So, if you are a cycling nut, and you are nuts enough to race your bicycle, and by race that could be race in mass start events like weekend criteriums, or road races, or it could be race as in you are a tri-head, but you really really really love the cycling portion of the event, and to go fast on the bike is something that you think about all the time when you aren’t riding.

Along comes a weekly ride that you have been waiting for. A ride that you have read about in other parts of the country, or friends of yours from Ogalala post to their Facebook accounts every week about this ride that totally kills them, and you think “Damn, why isn’t there a ride like that at The Jersey Shore?” Sometimes you have that ride on weekend if the right people show up, but generally you want something like that during the week. Something to break up the week and give you a decent workout mid-week, and prep you for whatever the weekend will bring. Something that has you just on the limits of your abilities, until you fall back and drop back in behind the last person of the pace line and ahhhhh, just enough relief that you realize you can hold on for another turn.

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The Adventures of Frank & Stein Part I

July 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Every year is an anniversary of “The Adventures of Frank & Stein” played by myself as Stein, and a college friend and roommate Frank Falcione. The name really has to be credited to Thomas Dudek, another college friend. Tom was a somewhat streetwise Philadelphia fanatic that played a great game of pool, and lived in the same student housing slum as both Frank and I. We were in the same small Engineering Science department at Penn State, and we spent a lot of time together in class, at the Rathskeller shooting pool, at The Hub shooting pool, and drinking lots of beer. Somewhere along the line in this friendship Tom gave me the nickname Stein. Pretty soon that was how my circle of friends knew me. Very much the same way that I am known today amongst my cycling contingent as Bird (yes, it is short for Big Bird). I don’t really recall how Tom came up with stein. It was not like we were all looking for nicknames. We weren’t sitting around drinking and smoking dope thinking out loud “We should all have some nicknames….Eric you be stein”. Suddenly it was there, and that was who I was. So the following (and subsequent posts) is a recollection of an adventure that was hatched by me, and drew in Frank so that by the time we left for this adventure it was already being called “Frank & Stein’s Big Adventure” or something like that. “What route are you taking?” “It’ll be the Frank & Stein route.” “What the hell is the Frank & Stein Route?” “It will be the route that we travel, where ever that takes us.” Mostly it should end up being a tale of friendship, and the people we meet along the way. What are stories, but the recollection of past events shared with friends? So here is the recollection of one of my major past events.

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NJ AT Sectional Hike #3 – Culver’s Gap to High Point State Park

June 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

June 28, 2015

It’s been a month since our last hike (4 weeks technically), my oral surgery is still in recovery mode, but I am under no restrictions other than I am still on a soft food diet. Our plans of camping Saturday night, so that we could observe the Sunrise from Sunrise Mountain, were thoroughly washed away by a near tropical storm that came through late Saturday.

Getting Started Culver's Gap

Getting Started Culver’s Gap

I awoke in a daze. I had fallen asleep in the chair I had last been sitting in watching another episode of The IT Crowd. (Episodes on Netflix!) I hadn’t done anything to prepare for my hike and I needed to get some bed rest before awaking for real at 4:30. I did take some time to put a lunch together and then retired to my bedroom. I wanted to get to bed, so I figured I would just put everything together in the morning and I crawled into bed.

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NJ AT Sectional Hike #2 – Mohican Outdoor Center to Culver’s Gap

June 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

June 1, 2015

As is the custom with these sectional day hikes, I don’t exactly get myself fully together until the last moments the night prior, and then I don’t sleep well to boot. Last Saturday night was no different. On the plus side, at least I had managed to get everything together and ready to go, so there was nothing to do in the morning except drag myself out of the sack and get to the car. Negatives? Sleeping, or lack of it. Thoughts of what I was forgetting, or sleeping through the alarm raced through my mind all the while, side thoughts of “I am not asleep yet” percolate occasionally to the head of my consciousness issues queue.

Stupid issues were keeping me awake as well. It’s warmer weather now, so I wasn’t planning on long hiking pants, however, I don’t really own a pair of short hiking pants. I have shorts, but they are all cotton and even though rain was also forecast, no one wants to sweat-wet cotton shorts and wear them all day. So all I had were some pocket-less gym-style shorts which being pocket-less meant that it wouldn’t be easy to access my iPhone for picture taking, and now that I had spent some cash on a Pic Stick, a phone case with a tripod adapter, and a remote shutter release, I had been planning some hiking selfies! Jeopardy! Then I remembered that I had purchased a waterproof pouch, for my backpacking trip in Utah last year which could attach to my shoulder strap, except I didn’t have the slightest idea where it was, and I certainly wasn’t going to find it at 4:30 in the AM. THAT, and whether I should wear compression calf covers during the hike because I was reasonably certain of sore lower legs in the days after the hike if I failed to do something about it. So, little sleep was achieved.

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