50 on 60
Happy Birthday Ron!
I don’t want to give away his age, but we’ve been e-mailing back and fourth most of the week about the planned “60 on 60” ride on Saturday to celebrate his birthday. Over time, we settled on 60 km, thinking it might be more manageable. Ron picked the route, and several joined the birthday peloton.
We headed out of town on decent roads that were new to me. Our plan was to work our way over to Division Street (Highway YY) and follow it nearly all the way to Highway B, where we would jump over to Lon Road, then take B into Rogersville before making our way back to Ron’s house.
I was expecting a pretty relaxed ride and it was kind of nippy when Chad and I left my house so I rode the Surly instead of my road bike. It didn’t take long to figure out that our route was going to be a little hilly and the pace wasn’t quite as relaxed as I thought it might be. I was never really sorry I had that bike and I can’t say I suffered on the hills, but the road bike would have been the better choice for the day because it’s such a better climber.
With two bloggers involved, Ron and I discovered a couple of times that we had dueling cameras! In the picture above, he had just snapped a picture of me when I turned around and snapped one in return.
When we hit the first real hills on Highway YY, my heavy jacket had to come off. I powered up a big hill to get ahead of the group, pulled over and started to quickly shed the jacket. When I did, I found that the zipper had pulled apart at the bottom, making it impossible to quickly get it unzipped and off. After struggling with the zipper for what seemed like way too long and seeing the group pass me by, I decided to just pull the thing over my head so I could move on. Take my advice and remove your helmet before attempting that maneuver. I was flailing around with my jacket stuck halfway over my head on the side of the road. All I could think of was how embarrassing it would be to have to call for help. Luckily, I finally got it off and headed on up the hill where the entire group was waiting for me.
Needless to say, I didn’t stop to join them.
After a really nice swooping downhill and crossing of the James River with it’s requisite big climb on the other side, we continued our climb onto Lon Road. We suspected we might hit a small stretch of gravel, and that was the case. Luckily it only lasted about a quarter of a mile, and was in pretty good shape. I think a couple of the guys on skinny tires found that section a little nerve-wracking, but the 28’s on my Surly were adequate for the situation.
Near the end of Lon Road, we went around a curve and Ron spied a little grove of persimmon trees alongside the road so we had to take a quick break for tasting. These were nearing the end of their edible life, so I passed on them. Some of the guys had never tasted them before so they got the opportunity to expand their taste buds a little bit.
Just as we got to the old store at the intersection of Highway AD & Lon Road, Mike experienced our first mechanical of the day. It wasn’t much, just a loose saddle, but it did give us an opportunity to stand around and watch him fix it. While we were there, a one-eyed boxer/pug mix dog came over to check us out.
Lon Road dumped us out on B Highway just north of Rogersville, so we stopped at the c-store for our only official “rest stop” of the day.
While we were there, Jim’s bike fell over, giving us the second mechanical of the day. He didn’t realize it until we started riding, but the front derailleur cable broke, stranding him in the small ring. With his MBT gearing, it made for a really fast spin, so we stopped to see what we could cobble together.
I forgot to take a picture of our solution until we were already back on the road, but we got him in in the middle ring by holding the derailleur while pulling the cable tight, then wrapping it around the mounting bracket on his light and cinching it in the seat post clamp to hold it in place.
As we returned to town via Farm Road 186, Mike and Steve dropped off to ride over to their parents house for a Christmas celebration and the rest of us crossed over toward Turners on familiar roads.
We made it back to Ron’s house without incident, giving him his metric 60 on his birthday and paused for a final pic to commemorate the occasion before Jim, Chad and I headed for home.
It was a great day for a ride, and the company was excellent! I enjoyed meeting Sam, getting to ride with Chad for the first time, and getting to ride with Steve again. Thanks to Ron for organizing the party!
Here’s our route for the day. Chad and I pulled into my driveway with exactly 50 miles behind us. Not bad for the weekend before Christmas! You can click the map above to see it on Strava.
Here’s Ron’s version of the day!
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