I’m not a fan of PedalPGH, for reasons I’ve repeated in my 2018, 2017, and 2016 ride reports. So I won't belabor the same shortcomings yet again, though rest assured nothing changed with this year’s populist urban ride. But there’s plenty of other stuff to talk about, anyways.
Grandview Park overlook
Jim Logan with Ornoth following
The most salient being that I somehow injured my achilles tendon last Wednesday, making it difficult to walk or stand. After three days of rest, it was a little better, but nowhere near normal.
In order to gauge whether I could ride, I made a ten-mile bike trip to pick up my PedalPGH registration packet. It went okay, but not well enough to inspire a lot of confidence. They let me pick my bib number, and I went with my birth year.
I decided I’d try it, and see how it went. Sunday morning was a cool 53º, so I added a baselayer shirt and arm warmers, and swapped my usual sandals for my winter cycling shoes, for more ankle support.
Naturally, I took it pretty gingerly. Other than being stiff and weak, the ankle worked okay, albeit with a few painful twinges. Where I was able to excel was descending, which is usually a weak point. I also had good luck slicing through groups of slower riders, sneaking my way to the front while they were stopped at traffic lights.
Along the way I saw numerous friends: Ben, Jason, Scott, Jim, Stephen, Paul, and others. And the event photographers caught me a couple times.
This year, the organizers added a new wrinkle to inconvenience everyone. The 50-mile rest stop at Highland Park had no water at all, and no apparent fix. How do you run group ride—in August!—without providing anything for riders to drink? This oversight was especially ironic, because the rest stop was just 60 feet from two of the city’s biggest freshwater reservoirs.
I can’t speak to whether the other rest stops had issues, since I didn’t use them. But with iffy support, poor route design, and a registration fee north of $75 that funds a cause I don’t agree with, I probably won’t do this ride again.
On the positive side of the ledger, due to the closure of Serpentine Drive, the ride was re-routed right past my house, so I made a quick stop at home to drop off my now-unneeded arm warmers and baselayer.
I rode straight through the official finishing arch around Mile 65 and made my way down the GAP trail to McKeesport and back in order to complete a full imperial century. Along the way I stopped at a convenience store where another rider came by, riding a 2006 Specialized Roubaix: an exact copy of my old bike, the Plastic Bullet!
Due to waiting for the start of the ride, some long rest stops, and an intentionally slower pace, my 11th century of the year took a full eight hours.
Neither of my legs were particularly happy afterward, but by the next day they were back to where they were before the ride: “a little better, but nowhere near normal”. That’s good enough for the time being, and I expect more healing as I take it easy for the rest of this week.
After all, there’s another century coming up on Saturday…