How to Bike 2 Marathons (52.4 miles) in 9 Hours (With Stops) and Not Die

Be Prepared
All the gear I took with me on this ride

1.  Prepare Asbestos You Can

Be prepared!

That’s the Boy Scouts’ marching song.

Be prepared!

As through life you march along.

Don’t solicit for your sister, that’s not nice

Unless you get a good percentage of the price (bum bum bum)

                                –Tom Lehrer, satirist singer, pianist, composer and MIT professor

Prepping ahead of time for any significant activity in life, sporting or otherwise, is essential for success. But if you’re like A Dude Abikes, real life gets in the way of being 100% ready. And perfect is the enemy of good enough. So part of prepping means being flexible when you find you aren’t fully set to go. Fortunately, riding a bike is a lot like… riding a bike.

However, biking medium to long distances does require a bit more effort than a stroll around your neighborhood. Depending on your perspective, 50 miles is not much or it’s quite a lot — I’m in the latter group. I’ve only ridden 50 miles or more four other times: Hill Country Ride for AIDS (50 – April 2015), Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer and a training ride for the same (55 and about 52 – September 2015) and on my birthday (50 – October 2015). So today’s ride was an accomplishment, another notch in the belt. Even if it did take all day.

But the gist of it is ideally you get a good night’s sleep, eat well, drink a lot of water, have all your gear laid out the night before, and make sure your bike’s in tip-top shape. In A Dude’s case, none of that really happened. Still, I got my act together enough to manage, and it turned out to be a great day. Here’s a picture of all the gear I used, minus the box of Girl Scout cookies (Do-Si-Do’s – yum!) I stopped to buy in a parking lot like a desperate drug fiend — which essentially I was after about 43 miles. I was very prepared to scarf them all down. Considering how many calories Strava says I burned, plus the fact that I was beginning to bonk (get really tired) but more so light-headed and loopy, I didn’t count calories.

2. Be Willing to Ditch Your Plan

When a newer rider was left at the back after the sweeper had a flat, I stayed with her. After catching up with another ride leader who I call Frank because he’s chairman of the board of the Ride, we found they knew each other. So Frank and I stuck with the nurse, who struggled but kept at it. Turned out to be a nice, relaxed ride instead of the harder ride with a faster pace I was expecting. Sure, I missed the extra ride after the ride, but then I did my own thing anyway. Riding solo is harder but also more rewarding when you meet your goal and finish

3. Have Good Luck

Luck comes to those who are prepared. Nice weather helps, but if it turns bad and you don’t have a jacket, then that’s on you. But this day had cloudy skies, cooler temperatures and not much wind. Not having more flats than you have tubes, or wrecks, an upset stomach, no major mechanical problems and more all need to be present for a successful ride to happen. Fortunately this day was free from bad luck.

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The Daily Grind (Bike Commuting Blues) & Hill Country Ride for AIDS

February 14, 2016 – Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Dude Abikes has not blogged for a while, but he’s back with a vengeance. He succumbed to Austin’s annual “Cedar Fever,” in which Hill Country juniper trees poison the Austin area air with a horrible cloud of yellow pollen which comes out of the body as green mucous. It envelopes the city and pollutes the lungs of its denizens like a big huge smelly fart that brings tears to the eyes and lingers — for three months. In addition, A Dude had to move due to rising rents without a similar increase in the filthy lucre from his daily labors. He’s looking for a new crib after his temporary place kicks him to the curb. So, he’s busy.  To make up for it he’s including alot of photos from recent rides.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy them.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding; of course I have. (Yes, I know I’m changing from 3rd to 1st person; A Dude likes the shifting perspective. So get on board with it already.) Aside from saving money, one of the benefits of my new abode is that it requires a 5-mile commute each way, every day. Thus, the daily grind title. Grinding in cycling means to struggle on the pedals using the outer cogs of the chain rings that transfers the power from one’s legs to power the bike. The answer is to shift up to an easier gear to save the legs. The smallest chain, often referred to as the “granny gear” is derided by serious riders, but A Dude enjoys 27-gears on his Fuji Silhouette, and he uses the GG as often as he pleases with no regard for the taunts of the pros.  A Dude loved both his grandmothers and that takes a much tougher guy than most of those skinny dudes in Spandex to own that.

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