The horrible, unending saga (four days) of my disabled Garmin has mercifully come to a close. The hero of our story is loyal reader and frequent contributor Folksnake, who provided a link to another blog which was also discussing the issue. One of the several possible solutions mentioned in that blog involved simultaneously pressing three of the four buttons on the Garmin and watching it reset. This worked for me, the only additional nuisance being I needed to reenter all the settings that make the computer work (age, weight, time zone, etc…).
For his contribution, Folksnake has been awarded a Lifetime Membership to There And Back Again’s Premium Content Area, when and if such a section should ever be added to this blog. To be perfectly honest, there are no plans to make a section like this or to charge anything whatsoever for any part of the site, but if this service ever does exist, Folksnake will get it for free!
Crystal Ride Preview. Sunday’s USAF Crystal Ride is the closest thing to a race that I’ll enter this year (or ever, most likely). Although the event takes great pains to point out it is a ride, not a race, they do time riders using cool magnetic chips and publish ride results which include overall finishing position. While I was on the course last year, it definitely felt like a race. Roads were closed and people were hammering through a criterium-style route in the mean streets of Crystal City and around the Pentagon. At times, it felt like the chariot race scene in Ben Hur. Bikes were breaking down all over the place and I saw two nasty crashes. It was a great time!
Loyal readers will know that the 3.5 hour time standard to ride 100km pushed me to the limit last year, and I sheepishly collected by gold medal despite falling short of the standard by 2:32. I was looking forward to breaking that barrier this year, but that will no longer be a challenge for me as the race organizers shortened the course.
Instead of eight 12.5km laps (all cool cycling events must measure their distances using the metric system), we will ride six 15km laps. This trims the length of the course by 10km, and thus the finishing time of 3.5 hours is extremely achievable to me. To motivate myself, I have switched my goals from simply getting the gold medal to bettering my average pace of 17.9 mph (the race may be metric, but I am not) and/0r my overall finishing position of 245th place. Last year there were about 1,600 riders and I understand this year’s field will be larger.
The course looks similar to last year’s, but there are subtle differences that should make it run faster. There are fewer hairpin turns and longer straightaways. This should allow riders to build up speed and form pacelines for longer periods. The straighter course may mean fewer crashes, which will take some of the adventure out of things. As with last year, I will get the opportunity to climb the hill leading to the USAF Memorial, but there will only be six ascents this year instead of eight – another “lightening of the load,” in my view.
I believe I am all set. I am well into my “taper phase” (I have found that I am extraordinarily good at tapering), I’ve cleaned up the Madone, bought my energy food, and fixed my Garmin. Check back in on Monday evening for my exciting race report!