Wednesday, September 23, 2015

North Shore Century ride 2015

My son Steven joined me for this year's North Shore Century Ride. I'm a happy dad. I decided to show a little mercy on the kid and keep it to the Metric Century, 62 miles (100 metric kilocentimegaters), this year. I'll keep working on him over the next year or so and talk him into the full 100 miles in 2016.

Anyway, 7:30 a.m. in the lakefront park in Evanston, Illinois, found us registering, picking up our T-shirts, and heading west into the high-value 'burbs on the annual ride.

Gosh, we both look so serious about this. In actuality, we were both having a pretty good time. Later, those of us with less long-distance bicycle experience began to feel a bit of discomfort.

This is Sunrise Park, in Lake Bluff. The most picturesque bit of the entire ride, which is why there is this picture.

At about the 30-mile mark, my shifting started going to hell. I couldn't shift any higher than about fifth gear (out of 9). I compensated with the front chainring, but it was far from ideal, since I've become a complete bike snob. When we got to the second rest stop, I headed over to the Trek tent. I was thinking there was an obvious problem that would easy to spot if they put the bike up on the rack. A length of fishing line caught in the derailleur, for example, which had happened to me before after a ride around Whalon Lake.

John from Highland Park Trek was happy to set my bike Shadowfax up on the stand and take a look. His first thought was that the original lubrication around the shifter had congealed. He sprayed some Gunk into the mechanism and let it work while Steven and I rested. After about 15 minutes, John ran the Shimano 105 through its paces: still not working right.

While I was distracted by some ancient Northwesternite — who had noticed my NU jersey and insisted on telling me the entire history of the Northwestern University Chick Evans scholarship at great length — John found that the shift cable was badly frayed and commenced to replace the entire right-hand cable system on my bike. While I watched, astonished, he restored it to better-than-factory readiness in about five minutes. Seriously, holy cow. I was so stunned all I could offer was a handshake. Now I realize a $20 bill (or two, or three) would have been appropriate. At any rate: thanks, John with the chainring tattoo on your elbow. Reply to me personally and I'll treat you to lunch.

Who needs .GPX files as long as you have a cue sheet, a handlebar clip, and sexy knees? Here we are on the home stretch. Nasty-ass pavement on Sheridan Road. You'd think the roadway along some of the most expensive real estate in the nation would be smooth as the proverbial baby's tuchis, but no. I kept having to swerve out into middle of the street to avoid crevasses and potholes on the roadway's perimeters. For shame, Kenilworth! For shame!

The Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette is always a welcome sight. Yes, it's one of the most beautiful buildings on the immediate planet, but it also means that we're almost to the end of the North Shore Century Ride. Total was 63.5 miles in 4 hours, 21 minutes of ride time (about six hours total, including a long stop where John rebuilt my bike).

I insisted on a post-ride beer at Tommy Nevin's pub in Evanston. I studied for (and somehow actually received!) a master's degree at Northwestern, and my classmates and I spent quite a few evenings decompressing at Nevin's after a day of classes. While we sipped a libation and munched a late lunch, a group of musicians ambled in and began to play Celtic music. Serendipity!

Also, there's video.

dsj 150923

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