The Road is Long: Hor-moans…a grumpy ride

The Road to Everest Challenge Stage Race 2012
The Road is Long: Hor-moans…a grumpy ride

Some days you just wake up in a bad mood.  Maybe hormones, maybe my attempt to go 3/4 decaf 1/4 caffeinated coffee (not doing that again before a ride!) or maybe the stars just aligned to put me in a foul mood.  Whatever, I started yesterdays ride in a grumpy mood.

A group of about 12 of us were supposed to do 60 miles including Boulder Creek (11 miles of dirt road) with a stop at Julian Pie shop in the middle.

4 miles in I wasn’t feeling the thunder, plus something wasn’t feeling right with the bike. After a few checks nothing major seemed to be wrong other than a worrying noise and a bit of movement in my headset (see below – how to check your headset).  By this time I’d tightened it up I was off the back by about 1/2 mile, feeling terrible and not relishing the thought of having to catch back on up a steep dirt road climb. So, not wishing to inflict my bad mood on the group I opted to veer off and do a 70 miler on paved road instead and maybe meet the group somewhere along the way.

Here’s how it panned out:

The Message: Having no cell coverage at that point I couldn’t let Rob or anyone from the group know my plans.  However, 10 seconds later a flatbed truck came by me, so (saying a quick prayer to the cycling gods that this wasn’t a cyclist hating red neck) I flagged him down, put on my sweetest English accent and asked him if would very much mind letting one of the cyclists ahead know that I would meet them in Julian.  He agrees, looking a little confused and repeating my message back to me twice.

The Bee: 5 minutes later, I’m descending Boulder Canyon and am stung by a bee which attaches itself to inner thigh.  In my mad panic to detach said bee from my leg I slam to an abrupt stop, totally forget to unclip like a complete newbie and topple gently onto the ground (fortunately only a slow embarrassing topple rather than anything spectacular). Unimpressed with my cycling circus antics, the bee detaches itself mid fall, but kindly leaves me with the stinger stuck in my leg.  Having not been stung by a bee since I was about 6 years old I have no idea what to do, other than alternate between whimpering and cursing.  Finally I invoke rule 5 (don’t pretend you don’t all know what that is),  pull the stinger out and get back on the bike.

The Confusion: In the meantime ‘Guy in Truck’ tells Rob: “Jo…. the one with the accent…. she’ll meet you in Julian”.  Rob hears.. “Jo… the one with the ACCIDENT… she’ll meet you in Julian”.  Rob then spends the next hour thinking that I’ve had an accident and can’t get hold of me to check I’m ok.

The Detour: Passing Rob and the group around Julian I take the car keys since I’m slightly ahead and likely to reach the car first.  At least that was the plan before I completely missed a turn, took a 5 mile and 500 feet detour, discovered some lovely roads around Julian, but ultimately put myself back behind the group who arrive at the car 15 minutes before me.

The Upside:
- I managed a reasonable 70 mile ride, in 90 degrees + (good hot weather training for Everest Challenge)
- I discovered that I do not go into any form of anaphylaxis if I’m stung by a bee.  I do, however become a complete cycling numpty and revert to being 6 years old again.
- I discovered some new cool roads around Julian
- I learned to ease off the caffeine more slowly next time!

Hints: How to Check Your Headset for Looseness


1.  Straddle your bike facing forward
2. Apply the front brake fully
3. Grab the handlebars and push forward and backward against the grip of the brake

There should be no looseness, movement or knocking in the headset. If there is, you need to either tighten it, or get your local bike shop to check it out.

This entry was posted in The Road is Long, The Road to Everest Challenge Stage Race 2012. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Road is Long: Hor-moans…a grumpy ride

  1. jill says:

    This is hysterical Jo….laughed my ass off. Please write more of these.

  2. Lan says:

    Jo, you are so self reliance and self confidence. My hat’s off to you. I like the part that you flagged the guy down and charm him to help you. Classic.

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