This Space for Rent

My fastest slow R200 of all time

When I rode the UGB200.bis today, I noticed two things. First, I wasn’t really moving along that quickly, and secondly, when I don’t tarry at controls that makes up for a lot.

It’s a permanent, of course, and not even an “official” permanent, so I can make up my own organizer rules as I go. So today I didn’t even bother to stop at most of the controls (I needed to stop at the info control at Ridge Road & Upper Highland road so I could write down a couple of info questions, and I stopped for food and nasty sports drink in Canby and Gaston) but instead took photos (which are nicely datestamped for the skeptics) which cut my time-at-controls down to about 25 minutes (and, of course, I made up for that by doing lots of stops for photos – my total stopping time was 44 minutes and a few seconds.)

I averaged about 13½ mph moving speed, which isn’t particularly speedy, but when combined with the ridiculously short time I spent stopped (for one reason or another) it meant I was able to go front sidewalk to driveway (20 feet apart if I took a direct route, 125 miles apart if I don’t) in 9h53. The only better time I’ve done on this loop is when I chased a couple of (much) faster friends around it at 15.2 mph last May, and that was only 20 minutes faster than today, because even though the moving time was 55 minutes less we made up most of it by being very slothful about moving through the controls.

And everything “just worked” today; no flats, no derailments, nothing falling off or shattering (though I’m going to need to reload the headset, because I get some alarming creaks when I row the MLCM up a steep ramp), just the bicycle carrying my old and increasingly creaky body around a familiar loop at a relaxed rate of speed.

There are a couple of interesting notes about the route these days:

And in the interesting incidents category, I had a run-in with a wasp when I was on the Springwater Corridor – the poor thing was just flying along when I rammed it with my thumb, and, as they tend to do, it immediately stung me on the second joint of said appendage.

Unfortunately for it, it managed to get its stinger stuck in my skin (despite what all the reference materials say about wasps) and when I vigourously shook my left hand to get the goddamn thing away from me, it left its stinger and the back of its abdomen stuck into me as a souvenir. I would imagine that it spent the last few seconds of its life writing a very hostile warranty claim against the Death of Wasps, demanding that the defective stinger be replaced by one that actually works as a wasp stinger should.

As for me, my thumb swelled up like a ballon, but deflated within a hour. It still hurts where the wasp stung me, but at least it’s a normally sized hurty thumb. I should probably pay $50 to the doctor’s office to have them look at it and tell me whether I need to go out and get an epipen and a round of desensitizing treatment against wasps or not. (Given the number of wasps and bees I’ve run into this year – one wasp that flew into my shirt and stung me a couple of times a few months ago, a couple of bees that flew into my helmet and got drowned by the sweat, and this one – I’d pretty much have to follow a suggested desensitizing treatment, because it would be unpleasant to have a severe allergic reaction when I’m 100 miles the other side of the butt end of nowhere.)

On a more cheery note, it appears that after about 2.5 years of obsessively riding I’m starting to get used to hills. The ridiculously steep ramps up Ridge Road (and elsewhere) on this loop didn’t completely drive me out of energy. I’m still fearfully slow winding my way up them, but I’m not completely exhausted when I reach the top. This is a good thing if I’m going to do any reasonably long deathmarches, because most of them include hills, more hills, and yet more hills, with the degree of elevation and slope depending only on the sadistic leanings of the route owners.


See a doctor before your next adventure! Sis in law nearly died from a cycling insect encounter last year. If your throat tightens up in response to a bite, you are a goner if you don’t have an epi-pen on hand or can get to a ER in a very few minutes. Hard to peddle without breathing.

southern reader Sun Sep 5 06:05:13 2010

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