Monthly Archives: July 2015

“It’s Dangerous”

I love this statement. Last night during a new rider/low speed group ride, the group went slow up a pretty harsh little climb and yes, traffic stacked up a little behind the group. Riding in a sweep/control role, I was sitting on the back, slightly into the road to create space for the less experienced riders in front of me (and to limit stupid passing). Limit is the right word too, because you can’t stop stupid.

This is a good place to pass you think.

This is a good place to pass you think.

The evidence? white Lexus SUV, female driver, estimated age mid 40’s. Decided that it would be a good idea to pass the group. Uphill. Into a blind corner. Within a quarter mile of a stop sign. With traffic at the stop sign that held her long enough that the entire group arrived at the stop sign about the same time she did.

During her pass, an oncoming car made her dive back into her own lane, right into the middle of the group. Fortunately we were communicating in the group and no one was placed in harms way, but it could have been a deadly situation. At the stop light, she rolled down her window and yelled at us about how dangerous that was. While I would love to discuss the matter with her, she was clearly not in the frame of mind to handle it, so I waved, smiled and said have a nice day.

She is right, it was dangerous, but it was not the bicycles that made it dangerous. 15 bikes riding single file, as far right as possible. On a rural suburban ‘back road’, with a 40mph speed limit. A road that is designated by the city it sits in as a bike route. What made this dangerous? the impatience of a driver. That right there is when I realized the crux of the truth.

We have become so blinded to the dangers our cars represent and so invested in blaming others for our failures that we use the phrase “It’s Dangerous” towards bikes legally using the road legally to imply that the bikes are at fault when what we are really saying is that our actions as drivers make it dangerous.

She did not need to make that pass on any level, and she lives in the area, she knew this. She made the choice to make it dangerous when there was absolutely no need to do so. When the situation went from risky to imminent danger, she rationalized that the bikes were at fault because they were traveling slower than the speed limit and ‘made her pass them dangerously’.

This is what we have to change. “Share the Road” doesn’t cut it. We have to get it into the open and discuss it.

Weekend Adventure Planning

For the last few months I’ve been trying to organize a regular Sunday ride. For the most part I’ve failed due to my own poor planning, scheduling and training schedule. That changes this week :).

Starting this weekend, I am starting a regular Sunday OGRE ride. It is open to anyone that wants to join in. These are designed to be “long” rides, and as such, they are going to be ridden at endurance pacing, not go as fast as we can. What does that mean? probably averages in the 15-17 mph ranges. It means there will be stops along the way.

In addition, the routes posted below are preliminary. I suspect they will evolve a little as we ride them and make small adjustments to them for what we want to ride. The plan is to start from the Alpharetta City Center, and go out from there.

OGRE 100 miler

100 mile tour of Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton and a tiny slice of south Forsyth

Parking is always tricky for something like this. With just a couple of people, you can usually park anywhere, but as these things grow, we can become a nuisance for a business. I don’t want that, so we are planning ahead and discussing parking now. Please park towards the back behind Endurance House, and if needed, use the parking deck immediately behind the area. I will personally most likely be in the deck anyways. It keeps the car cooler for when I get back and don’t want to sit in an oven.

About the ride. The ride is designed to be a 100 mile loop with multiple shorter options. All of the routes share the first 27 miles. At that point, the shorter routes start to peel off, and head back to the start. Just prior to that, there is a Shell gas station in the heart of Crabapple (Crabapple Rd, Birmingham Hwy & Broadwell Rd), that we will use as a rest stop to gather up, reload water bottles and make sure anyone that is peeling off knows the way home.

OGRE 33 miler

33 mile tour of Alpharetta, Roswell & Milton

Ideally, the group should arrive here at about 90 minutes after wheels down. This is where the first split will happen. The 33 mile route will take a right turn on Mid Broadwell Rd right after the ride resumes and head back to the start point. The expectation is that this route should take about 2 hours at 16-17 mph. Fortunately, this route is also the easiest directionally. Turn right on Mid Broadwell, go straight until you get to Haynes Bridge Road and turn right.

The second group that will split off will be the 40 miler group. This group will stay with the group until about mile 32, where it will turn right onto Providence Rd. For what it is worth, this is also the route that I like the least, as I do not particularly like the Bethany Rd/Bethany Bend stretch of road. It is not particularly bad, but the stops fall at inconvenient locations.

OGRE 40 miler

42 mile tour of Alpharetta, Roswell & Milton

The directions for this return are not too bad. From the Freemanville & Providence Rd intersection where this route splits off with a right turn onto Providence Rd, the route rolls down hill to Haygood / Bethany Rd. A short little climb up Bethany Rd then bear right to stay on Bethany Rd shooting over to Cogburn Rd. Right and then left on Bethany Bend Rd, you will go through 2 stop lights before turning right onto Morris Rd. At the dead end into Deerfield Parkway, hang a left turn, and go through three stop lights before turning right at the top of the hill on Westside Parkway onto Thompson Rd. Thompson Rd will dead end into the Haynes Bridge roundabout in the Alpharetta City Center. There are a couple of notes about this return though. The hill on Bethany coming off of Providence is pretty steep, but short. The last hill coming up Westside is deceptive. It is both steep and comes in two parts.

OGRE 54 miler

54 mile tour of Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton and a tiny slice of south Forsyth

The 54 mile split won’t break off until mile 46. That means it includes the popularThis return route will be familiar to anyone that has done the Endurance House routes from the Wednesday Night Rides. Turning right onto Kennemore Rd / Union Hill Rd, it will follow the Endurance House Wednesday Night Ride route all the way back in. Same right on Tidwell, right on McGinnis Ferry, left on Deerfield, right on Thompson finish as that ride. The same warnings apply as well. Union Hill tends to be a little busy at times, and stay right on Tidwell, as it tends to be a bad spot for cars passing aggressively.

For some reason, the 54 miler finish seems to slow down the average pacing a bit, so while we are showing and estimated moving time of 3:15 minutes, plan closer to 3:25 most days.

OGRE 65 miler

65 mile tour of Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton and a tiny slice of south Forsyth

Next up, we have the 65 miler split. This split actually takes the Harry’s Not in a Hurry Wednesday Night route back to the start, routing through Windward and Webb Bridge Rd. So it will stay with the longer routes until Shiloh Rd in Bluegrass, where the 65 milers will take Shiloh to McFarland Parkway, while the longer distances will loop Shiloh in reverse and turn on Pine Grove Rd.

Once we get to these distances, we generally assume that the riders have more experience and will not be daunted by roads that have traffic but also good bike access and facilities. The 65 miler and longer routes all include a couple of “fast mover” sections where the roads are 45+ mph speed limits but have rideable shoulders that are more than 4 feet wide. The sections are short, can be discomfiting for novice riders.

As noted, the return route for the 65 miler is the same as the Harry’s route. McFarland to a left on Ronald Reagan. Left on Windward Concourse, left on Windward Parkway, Right on Clubhouse Drive, Right on Lake Windward Drive. Right on Webb Bridge Rd. Left on Westside Parkway. Right on Thompson Rd. There is a good rest stop at mile 57.5 at the Shell station at the corner of Windward Parkway and Windward Concourse.

OGRE 80 miler

80 mile tour of Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton and a tiny slice of south Forsyth

Finally, we have the 80 miler split. This split hold together until about mile 66. At that point the 100’s will go right onto Webb Rd, while the 80’s will go left. Both will do a small inner loop of the northern section of the ride to this point. They share some common sections, but won’t be ‘back together’ until the end.

The 80 milers will take Webb Rd through where it becomes Cogburn Rd and continue on through Henderson Place to Cumming St. Taking Cumming St into Alpharetta then turning right on Hwy 9 down the hill to the light and left onto Mayfield. Mayfeilf to a left onto Bethany, a left on Mid Broadwell all the way back to Westside Parkway, right up the hill to Thompson Rd. Right and into the Haynes Bridge roundabout.

Each of the above routes are mapped in Strava, and can be downloaded to a phone or Garmin for navigation purposes.

This weekend, the plan for me is to ride the 80 and then run about 6-7 miles off the bike. Due to the length and projected temperatures, we are going for an early start with wheels down at 7:30 AM. It may just be me, there may be others, and what I do will adjust accordingly.

Calling Bullshit

Obviously I spend a lot of time cycling, but also more than a little reading and listening to cyclist rants. If there is one thing cyclists do well, it is bitch about how cars, cities, and non-cyclists treat cyclists. Sometimes I contribute, sometimes I listen and nod. Today, I’m calling bullshit on a couple of common refrains that I hear in the cycling world.

Running Stop Signs

Talk to cyclists and you will hear all manner of reasons why they don’t stop at stop signs and red lights. No, not all cyclists, but enough of them that there is a legitimate gripe against them as a whole. Yeah, seriously it is time to call bullshit and get our collective attitude straight. Yes, a bicycle can slow to a near stop, look both ways and move through a clear space. However, you cannot legislate a ‘near stop’ and expect uniform enforcement. In a car, it is a California Stop, on a bike it is legislatively the same. There are a hundred reasons, I’m going to dissect a few:

I can see what is coming on a bike

Of course you can. You slowed down, you head checked both sides real quickly and are still travelling too fast to make a stop if you see something even a little late.

The red light won’t sense my bike

You are probably right, it won’t. But it will sense that car behind you, or across from you. If those aren’t there, you can waddle over to the pedestrian crossing button. If that isn’t an option, and you’ve stopped, you can check all directions completely, and proceed.

It is dangerous to stop and clip in mid intersection

That is like saying a manual transmission shouldn’t stop at a stop sign because it might stall mid intersection. I don’t think this one works all that well. If it is a problem, I encourage you to, oh I don’t know, practice clipping in until it isn’t an issue.

Cars don’t stop why should I

Apparently we are in kindergarten again. Joey did it, why can’t I? Such a compelling argument point, I think I’ll respond the same way my mom did. Just because Joey jumps off a building doesn’t mean you should. Let us all stop justifying our own bad behavior because of someone else’s bad behavior.

There are plenty of others, but let us stop here.

At the end of the day, I am calling bullshit on all of the cyclists playing fast and loose with the rules. As someone with many miles in the legs, there are times for doing things that violate the letter of the laws, but are in keeping with the spirit of the laws. What I am really trying to say is this. When out on the roads, honor the one cardinal rule:

Don’t be a jerk.

It really is that simple, regardless of your conveyance.

Training Opportunities with the OGRE’s

Just a heads up for any Atlanta area readers that might want to come suffer along with the OGRE’s. IT is Wednesday, so we will be out with the Endurance House crew riding their Wed Night Ride. OGRE Dru is expecting to lead the B2’s on the EH WNR route at about 16.5-17 mph and then follow that up with an 8 mile run around downtown Alpharetta.

Feel free to come out and get your sweat on (weather permitting, or not).

The Ride (Wheels down 6:15PM)

The Run (Feet on the pavement after the ride)

Roller Coasters as Cross Training?

Well, I suppose it is not a traditional way to roll, but last weekend the family and I needed a break. So we ran up the road to Charlotte, NC and spent the weekend riding roller coasters and water slides. It was a good way to spend the weekend, but it certainly put a crimp in the training schedule. 26 miles of walking over 2 days though. I’m login to call it a wash and move on. Back to the grind this week.

Weary Legs, Weary Body, Rest Day Blues

I’ve joked a lot about how much I struggle with rest days. Here we are, another week in the books, with less than 10 to go until IM Chattanooga, and it is rest day. For once, I am truly grateful for my rest day. My body is telling me it needs today in a bad way. It is not anything specific, but more of an accumulation of the last 3 weeks combined with a lack of sleep. The lack of sleep is mostly a side effect of work + training + family stresses all hitting high points at the same time. Eventually it all catches up with you, and that is exactly where I am today.


It really is the best word for it. Nothing is broken, nothing is injured, but I need a day off nonetheless. The worst part is that by this afternoon, I will have forgotten how worn out I feel this morning and I will have to resist the desire to do something. In the grand scheme of things though, these days are arguably more important than workout days. They clearly indicate that the training days are getting it done. It is however, high time this old body takes the day, so that is what I am going to do.

Bike Alpharetta Kits & Fundraising

For all the local riders, I want to remind everyone to get their orders in soon. Before July 31. This is a great opportunity for us. First, we can pick up these fun kits, with the Share Our Roads logo on the back. The colors are vibrant, but not garish. Second, these are very good kits made my Castelli Cycling. If you don’t know your size, Endurance House next to Publix in Alpharetta has a sample fit kit you can go try on for sizing. Lastly, this is a major fundraiser for Bike Alpharetta. Purchasing these kits helps them fund their counting advocacy and vocal support for our growing cycling community in the Alpharetta area.

Bike Alpharetta Kits

Yes, when I say advocacy, I mean advocacy. They are directly involved with the city, they have worked hard to support RAMBO and the mountain bike trails on the Greenways. They worked with REI and the City of Alpharetta to create, publish, mark and put up signage for the designated bike routes in Alpharetta. What they have accomplished on a small budget to date is remarkable. What they can do go forward should be fun to watch and enjoy the results of their work. If you can’t be involved as a volunteer, take the time and get involved with a few dollars for a great kit.

In the words of Woody from Toy Story. “If you don’t have one, GET ONE!”