Yes, velcro tire (tyre).
Definition: A wheel sucking road surface, typically consisting of sand and water, akin to wet concrete. The surface is so power robbing, it is like riding velcro tires (tyres) on your bicycle. Tyres from 1.8″ to 2.0″ (Specialized Renegade or Schwalbe Furious Fred) fare no better.
Suggestion: Stay home, or borrow K-Dogg’s lawn mower, which has 14″ wide tyres. From K-Dogg, “I could drop you bitches on any surface you can throw at me. Provided you don’t go faster than 9mph”.
Or, shut up and ride bitch.
The radar map for the Live Oak, FL area had been covered in green blobs for over 24 hours, interspersed with angry yellow and orange patches. Keeping with the trend, those same blobs appeared again at 3am, morning of the ride. The storms dissipated, but the rain was still falling when everyone arrived at the agreed meeting location – somewhere between High Springs, FL and Lake City, FL. In all, eleven riders appeared:
K-Dogg, Mrs K-Dogg, JOM, Dr Pain, Rob Robins, Todd Leedy (BHT), Mark McBroom (Broomz), Steve Mace (Ocala), Roger Sutton (Ocala), Cabe Crisler and Sebastian Morfin. Great turnout considering the weather!
Let the Sludge Begin
Within two metres of rolling onto the first limerock road, everyone was covered in $hite from head to toe. Nobody complained, as the group relished the much reduced temperatures. The heat and humidity around North Central Florida of late has been rather rude. The pace was steady, but the Ocala lads were overheard saying “The pace is not very fast”. Hmmm… would they change their tune later?
Knowing this was a 70 mile ride, yours truly, JOM, sandbagged quite a bit (noticed by Dr Pain) during the earlier miles. While Roger, Dr Pain, Cabe, BHT and Rob were quite active on the front, everyone else was hiding, slacking, or struggling in the conditions. JOM was generally avoiding any responsibility near the front. JOM isn’t a dumbarse. The wind was almost non existent, but there was that road surface. The ever power robbing road surface, which makes hiding a moot point. There is no hiding here.
We have no clue what happened, but Broomz was towards the rear of the group with Steve Mace. Without word, Broomz turned for the next paved road, about 25 miles into the ride. We can only assume he was suffering a bit, and needed to take it a little easier. Admittedly, the pace was rather hard at this point. Riders were attacking each other at 14mph in deep, wet sand… on their small chainrings. Try it some time. Broomz car was gone from the parking lot when we returned, so we assume everything was OK.
A large crevasse appeared with little warning, nearly swallowing K-Dogg, but claiming BHT as a victim when he rear ended K-Dogg’s wheel. Oops. BHT is a tough nutter. BHT picked himself up, and remounted within 30 seconds. His only complaints were a sprained shoulder, sore neck, and bike part rash, from the various metal parts he intertwined with. BHT finished the ride no worries.
We’re happy to report that BHT is fit and well today, just a little muscle pain here and there. Sunday night’s IPAs helped a lot.
Dr Pain’s much vaunted tubeless tyres had a slow leak. Fortunately for him, the small town of Wellborn, FL rolled into view, the planned convenience store stop for the ride. Everyone piled into the store, barring Dr Pain, who was busy fixing his puncture. Turns out it was a phantom flat, the wheel was holding air sans tube today, perfectly. Dodgy valve seal?
Nobody purchased any suspect or weird food items worth writing about, and there were no interesting local publications to be browsed while waiting in line.
The ride terminus was still 50+ kms away, or 30+ miles if you prefer. BHT left the store early, in order to get mellow head start on the group; or, do some bike pilates when nobody was around. Our lunch stop didn’t help with the conditions any. More rain had fallen on parts of the course since our departure, and conditions seemed to be sludgier during the second half, if that was possible.
Rider’s legs. People were starting to fatigue and crack. Steve Mace from Ocala, who’d made the trip to the ride with Roger Sutton, was having an off day. Still, rather than whinge and complain, he soldered on. Nice riding Steve! Sebastian, a very fast Cat 1? road cyclist, was also feeling the pinch. JOM was feeling the pinch, but used the ride slower tactic, as an excuse to wait for those slower than him. Such is the responsibility of a ride leader (modest too).
Smell the Barn
With approximately five miles of the ride remaining, the pace was jacked significantly. If you call 10 – 14mph in sludge significant. Those who cared were in the move, consisting of about three riders. Everyone else was done. There was no sprint or victory, just knowledge in the fact today’s ride was awesome, and everyone pushed themselves hard to make the distance.
Quotes and Screams of the Day
K-Dogg to Roger, “You guys have fun today?” Roger looked at the ground a second… “we have never done a ride like this… ever”. Roger and Steve both had that faraway into space look, similar to Scott Pfaff’s face after Rouge Roubaix crushed him.
Mrs K-Dogg reports rolling past a dying Steve within the last five miles. He was so crushed, he was moaning and whimpering loudly.
Sebastian said “you just never got a break the whole ride!”
From Dr Pain, “the sand is a great equalizer”.
JOM said, “that ride was like a non erotic experience on the beach, but sand was in every orifice”.
The Ride Video
K-Dogg was running his camera on and off during the day’s proceedings. JOM put together the highlights package. Please enjoy in the beauty of High Definition!
To everyone who came out on September 7, 2014. Let’s do it again soon, but not so wet next time.