Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Who Rocks the Atl?

I do!

So, you know how I volunteered to be a bike escort for the ING 1/2 Marathon? Well, the group is doing two fun rides to get escorts used to the course and allow the racers to practice on the course. These fun rides are Sunday, March 15 and Sunday, March 22 at 7:00am. The actual race is Sunday, March 29.

Do you see a problem here? I take Grammy to church on Sundays. Attendance at these fun runs would require 3 weeks in a row of rescheduling for Grammy. Not very fair. So, I emailed the escort coordinator and he said that I can still escort if I go down and ride the course at least 2 times. OK!

So, the plan was to go do the first lap last Friday. Annika was home sick, so we rode the course in the car. It was painless and except for the gas wastage, I think we did a good job. I was able to pull over several times and make notes on the course so that I would be prepared on my bike.

Then, Sunday came along. Time to try it on the bike after I took Grammy to church (minus Annika because she was still sick).

I parked at Centennial Olympic Park. It cost $10. Don't park at Centennial Olympic Park on a Thrashers Game Day. Park at Georgia Tech or Marietta Street instead. I took a picture so Doug would know I made it.

Here is my very fancy cue-sheet holding device. You can't read it, but I have every turn listed on this piece of paper. You can even flip it down to see the other side of the ride. Pretty snazzy, huh?

I emailed Doug after lap 1 so he'd have an ETA. Then I saw these guys. They offered me a job. It sounded good until I saw the two very large ladies that the guy had to take all the way to the World of Coke. On a recumbent. Whew!

I took a finishing photo before heading home so Doug would know I wasn't dead.

Mission accomplished, sort of.
I corrected my cue sheet and emailed it to the coordinator who sent me last year's cue sheet.
Not the same. The differences are not major but it will be interesting to see which is the correct route. At race speed, no less.
So, today is my last Wednesday off before I go back full-time at work so I drove downtown again (parked on Marietta St this time - only $5) and did another two laps with what I think is the correct route. My phone apparently keeps only 4 emails at the time so I couldn't look at the one the coordinator sent. I spent 10 mins in my car trying to figure it out with a map, but no dice.
I have to report several things from my downtown riding experiences:
  1. Downtown/Midtown/Little 5 Pts/Ga Tech/Va Highlands/Piedmont Park is way more bike-friendly than Roswell.
  2. I only got honked at once during the two rides and that guy was from out of state. I think he did it just to let me know he was there because he didn't look angry and had plenty of room to pass me.
  3. No one yelled at me on either ride. No yelling at ALL. One guy gave me the "hey baby" once over, but that was kind of nice. No one ever gives me the "hey baby".
  4. In-town riding is easier because the cars treat you like a car (which is the law, people). Some of this may because the traffic moves slower so I'm about the same speed as the cars, even from a dead stop.
  5. Once you start acting like a car, it's not so scary.
  6. There are some beautiful areas of town that I never get to see.
  7. I really want to run the whole ING marathon just so I can see that much more of the city from the ground.

That is all. Huge biking victory for me. : )

Sunday, March 08, 2009

You, Yes YOU!

Cyclists, you need to follow the laws of the road.

We had a family birthday party last night and two different non-cyclists illuminated the car driver's point of view on cyclists for me:

  1. They HATE cyclists.
  2. Cyclists don't follow the rules.

Legal or not, if a car is scared to pass you and finally they have gotten by and are breathing a sigh of relief because they didn't run you over, how do you think they feel when you blithely right up past them at a stoplight so that they must try to pass you again?

Or, how about when a driver cannot pass because you are riding in the middle of the road talking to your bud Susie about what kind of nachos to get at the Taco Mac on the way home? Can you drive two abreast in a car and talk while you drive? Don't you honk at people who do that in your neighborhood?

Same thing with buzzing through stop signs. If the car must stop at a stop sign, so can you. I've done the Roswell Ride both ways and the "come-to-a-full-stop-and-put-one-foot-down" method was only 2 minutes slower than the "roll-through" method over 40 miles. That is nothing. Think of stop signs as a part of your interval training.

Share Schmare

Doug thinks the whole "Share the Road" idea is part of the problem. He thinks it gives car drivers the idea that they are doing cyclists a favor by letting them use the car drivers' road. One of the family members above said as much to me last night and also pointed out that bicycles are not licensed and therefore don't pay taxes to maintain the roads. Extemporaneous speaking is not my strong suit, so I was stumped for a witty comeback to that ridiculous argument like "You mean the taxes that I already pay on my car?" Jeez.

But the hatred was palpable.

The one lady, who is admittedly not the best driver, wanted to know what she is supposed to do upon encountering a cyclist. She doesn't want to endanger herself by crossing the yellow line to pass and resents a cyclist "forcing" her to do it. When I pointed out that she could just slow down for a little while, she said "to 20 miles an hour?!?!??" like it was unthinkable.

That is the problem.

It is unthinkable for car drivers to slow down to the speed of a cyclist for any length of time.

That is why I'd like to live in Colorado, where it is not a weird thing to ride your bike and you aren't taking your life in your hands every time you do it.

I'm going to ride the ING half-marathon course today to get familiar with the course so I can be a wheelchair athlete escort on race day. Please nobody run over me.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sometimes it Snows in March

I know the song says "April," but cut us a little slack. It's pouring snow here. Two days before the Ride to the Capitol. Wow, I hope it warms up fast.

As you can see, the poll for the 5K group is up at the top. Group - don't forget to vote! There has been good news from all of the 5K folks. I'm so proud of their progress!

In other news, my MRI was done on Thursday. We hope to have the results for discussion on Monday. It's really hard to keep still in the machine. I told myself that I was tough and it would be easy, but no. I had to sing songs and ABCs to keep from twitching even though they tied my foot down. The CIA should think about using that machine to help convince recalcitrant terrorists to reveal their secrets. I think it would work. Seriously. Then again, those guys are probably a good bit tougher than I am. Worth a shot, though.