Monday, April 28, 2014


     I'm not referring to me giving up cycling.  No, my BikeCentennial Trail Jersey has given up the ghost.  We are trying to resuscitate by replacing the dry-rotted elastic, but the reflective stripes on the sleeves and back are gone forever.
     In 1976 I had planned to cycle the coast-to-coast ride sponsored by Bike Centennial (now Adventure Cycling).  Preliminary plans were laid, but circumstances prevented my attendance.  Just as well, I was poorly prepared.  Twenty years later, Adventure Cycling came out with a commemorative jersey and I purchased it as incentive to finally get my act together.  Well, in 2001 I did ride coast-to-coast, just not with Adventure Cycling.  
     But I wore the jersey a lot, both before and after 2001.  The jerseys you wear tell a lot about your cycling history.  I have my Hotter'n Hell in honor of the ten I did there; the Six Gap Century of which I'm quite proud; Alpe d'Huez likewise.  The End-to-End is another epic ride jersey that I wear often.  I have more jerseys than Carter has pills.  I guess you could say I have quite a history.


     If you have ever done a charity ride, and all of you should at one time or another, then you know there are two kinds of volunteers: those who are interested in the charity, and have no clue about cycling and those who are cyclists and feel the need to be a giver rather than a taker on occasion.  The Red Poppy Ride is about me giving back to charity rides.  I guess cycling in it would also be giving back, in terms of the portion of my entry fee going to the charity, but I prefer to lend my cycling experience to help offset the other volunteers.
     Not that Rest Stop #5 has any non-cycling volunteers (not counting the spouses of cyclists who understand what's going on).  #5 is staffed by the Georgetown Cyclopaths.  What I like best is the plethora of people who come out to help.  This makes for a stress-free environment.  We were able to set up quickly and then stand around and visit while waiting for the first riders.  There is a story attached, but between the 27 mile riders and the 50 mile riders, we had to move the whole shebang about 150 yards up the road.  It was accomplished rather quickly and easily, with minimum muss and fuss.
     When the 50 milers arrived, a herd of longhorns came over to see what was going on in their neighborhood.  That was cool.  Some of the riders took pictures of themselves with the longhorns.
     This year we had cloud cover the whole time.  We also had a stiff south wind that gave riders a pretty good buffeting.  But with the temperature holding, we had lots of ice, water and Gatorade left over, not to mention oranges. 
     It was a long work day: 8am to 2:30pm.  Didn't sit down the whole time.  Was unofficially in charge of water and Gatorade.  Greeted lots of riders, did bike valet duties (holding the bike while the rider refreshed).  No one needed air in their tires (usually a half dozen require assistance).  Only two people needed to SAG in the last twelve miles.  If you haven't volunteered previously, make it a point to give up a Saturday (or Sunday) ride and assist others enjoy their cycling.

Friday, April 11, 2014


     The weather this spring has really been atrocious in terms of a decent day on the bike.  Yesterday was the first day I needed to use sunscreen.  We've had a few sunny days, but those were chilly enough that I had tights and arm warmers or jacket.  Even so, all was not ideal. 
     Even before the sun came up, the wind was strong.  I planned a 60+ mile out-and-back ride generally north and east.  I also waited until 10am, mainly because I couldn't quite get it together earlier.  I held no illusions: it would be fun for the first two hours and a slow slog for the next three.  the wind was strong and would only get worse as the day wore on.
     Sure enough, even on the eastern leg, the south wind just touched the back shoulder, giving a nice push.  When the route took a left turn, I clicked into the big ring and easily pedaled in the 25mph range.  Occasionally the road turned back west for a short spurt, just to let me know what lay in store for me later.  As I approached the intersection which would continue my fun going north, or turn west to Walburg, I noticed the sign indicating the road was closed (bridge being replaced) was down.  Going into Walburg would cut about five miles from the route.  Knowing what the immediate future held for me, I decided I could do without those five miles.  Plus, if the bridge actually had been completed, I could let the Cyclopaths know.  Thus far, I had travelled thirty miles in one hour, forty-five minutes, or right at 17mph.
     As it turned out, apparently the wind had knocked over the sign, because just before the bridge, the barriers across the road were still in place.  Bummer!  Truthfully, I had taken that contingency into consideration when making the decision.  The alternate route gave me about five miles with trees that would act as a wind-break, and some sections leading back to the east which would put the wind at my back.  I averaged almost 12mph on this section, then it was into the open and my speed dropped to 9.6mph.  Needless to say, the wind buffeted me the whole two and a half hours (27 miles) it took to get back to the car (parked at Old Settlers Park).  The most difficult part was when the wind came from the side, forcing me to lean into it rather than ride in a vertical position.
     I could only use the aero bars into the headwind, most of the time having to tightly hold the handlebars to keep from being swept sideways.  My thumbs, already arthritic, really took a beating. The rest of the body also knew it had been brutalized.  Rest, and aspirin, will heal everything, and today I'll be going to spin class and avoid the great outdoors.

Monday, April 7, 2014


     In truth, his wife, Pat, was the instigator and he was the implementer.  I had an early hill ride today, leaving the afternoon for errands.  Things hadn't been going well.  Getting gas was ok, but the garden shop only had one brand of fungicide and wanted an arm and a leg for it, so I moved on.  Getting prescription was ok, but while they had vitamin B-12 (regular readers know I do a plant-based diet and need to supplement), they didn't stock Alfalfa (an allergen).  Next stop was Lowe's, who also only had one brand of fungicide.  Bummer!  The Euonymus are beginning to look powdery.  Next, Barnes and Noble didn't have the book I was looking for.
     I received an email this morning from Bicycle Sport Shop, advising that due to the crummy weekend weather, they had extended their fabulous sale.  This at the same time my bike gloves really started looking shabby after the last wash.  So, I ended  up at the Parmer BSS store.  Art made sure I found the gloves and explained that they had already taken down the sale signs when the word came of the extension, so he would advise what they cost once they were entered at the register.  Truthfully, there wasn't much variety from which to choose, but with my arthritic thumbs, I go for the good gel anyhow.
     As I handed over my credit card, Art looked and then asked: "Are you the Jerry Dusterhoff who has a blog and wrote the book?" or words to that effect.  I confessed to being one and the same.  He said his wife really liked my blog and my writing style and had just ordered my book.  My second book, Gotta Go! had just hit Amazon yesterday, so I quickly inquired as to which book she ordered.  Alas, it was Bicycle Journeys with Jerry.  I said I'd be happy to sign it when it came in, and we gave our mutual good-byes and I left.
     As I drove out of the parking lot, it occurred to me that a signing as I'd suggested was too much trouble, so turned around, grabbed a book out of the glove compartment, and returned to the store.  Art told me his wife's name, and I autographed it for her.  She can gift the other book to someone else who needs encouragement to take a cycling vacation.
     Anyhow, thanks Pat for reading my blog, and for ordering my book.  My second book is a better read, is an E-book available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble (the print edition is a few weeks away), and has links to over 1,000 of my photos.  And thanks Art for paying attention to your wife and remembering the author's name.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


     Last month, as I trolled the Txbra list of scheduled events, I noticed the addition of Iron Haus Time Trials, the first Saturday of each month.   That got my attention, so I clicked on the link for more information, only to find that it is held in Castroville, 120 miles south (go through San Antonio and turn west).  That kinda put me off, and the final nail in the coffin was it wasn't a sanctioned event.  So I decided to let it slide, even though there are no more time trials between now and USA Cycling State Finals.
      Coming in second last week at Senior Games State Finals left me pondering.  I was only seven seconds out of first, and had no doubt I could be faster.  My drills and practices weren't getting the job done.  For the past several years, usually after Tour de Gruene in November, I floated the idea of getting a coach.  Earlier this year I rejoined the Bicycle Sport Shop club road team (after several years hiatus), with the idea that the Sunday rides would increase my strength and speed.  This iteration is much better than the previous, has two excellent captains, and a congenial core group of riders.  This past Wednesday, at a club social, I inquired of Todd who he would recommend.  First on his list was Dave and second was Stefan (whose name I knew from his winning so much at Gruene).  Todd advised if I came to the Driveway (criterium racing) on Thursday he would introduce me to David, so I did.
     While Todd was out racing, I introduced myself to David and we had a long chat, leaving me extremely impressed (especially his knowledge of how to work with old folks like me), the upshot being I would send him an email, then we could get around to the paperwork.  David (or his company) is not officially my coach yet, so we leave that story for another time.  But part of what he wanted me to do was attend the Iron Haus races.  Ok, pressure was on.
     So, with the first rider going off at 8:02am, I needed to be there at 7am, thus leaving home at 5am, rolling out of bed at 4am, after having taken my thyroid medication at 3am.  All went as planned and I was pleased to see the Iron Haus Fitness Center open as I pulled into the parking lot.  I have no problem getting up early, but other body functions are never happy this early in the morning.  Even though the website indicates the order of racing is done by the order of checking in (first one in goes out first), it looked to me that the first one there got to choose his start number.  In any case, with the weather indicating possible rain blowing through in the afternoon, and knowing that the wind increases with the rising of the sun, I had no problem grabbing the first spot.
      The problem was in the warm-up.  It was chilly, with a northeast wind, fairly stout.  I have long since given up trying to warm up on the trainer, it just doesn't happen.  The official sunrise this morning was 7:19am, even though we had cloud cover.  The route is on a nice farm road, with shoulder.  Even so, I cut my warm-up from thirty minutes to twenty, giving me just enough time to change to my time trial bike and accoutrement, and take a few rounds of the parking lot before heading to the start line.  Problems continued.
     Apparently when I hit the Start button, I didn't push hard enough.  About five minutes later I caught on, and started the timer.  The HRM was showing me erroneous readings in the 220s, which happens in the cold and wind.  Breathing was ragged, but coming along.  At the four minute mark (nine minutes into the ride), the HRM began showing proper numbers, not that it mattered much.  I was having a hard enough time fighting the headwind.  Thankfully, the course is mostly flat, with only a few short rollers.  Based on my 10k and 40k times this year, I estimated a thirty-five minute outing, which should be around fourteen minutes on the computer for my turn-around.  Sure enough, but closer to fifteen minutes, the motorcycle officer motioned me around.  At this time of morning, there was precious little traffic for him to hold.
     Now with the wind mostly at my back left shoulder, my speed increased.  That was more like it.  But as I approached the last mile, it seems to shift more to the east, becoming a side wind.  It probably looked like a grimace, but I assure you it was a smile, as I once again guessed right with the weather.  Putting on a decent acceleration for the end, I crossed the line at thirty minutes, fifteen seconds (plus the five I missed).
     I came home with a gold medal.  First in my age group, and first overall!  But we must refer to the title of this post for more explanation: The first shall be last, and the last first!  Sadly, no one, repeat, not one other person, signed up for the 20k.  They all went for the 40k.  My stats, which hopefully will be perused by my new coach, are woefully skewed.  But at least I have a baseline.  They have an award ceremony about fifteen minutes after the last rider, but I was looking at hanging around for another hour while traffic in San Antonio and Austin built up, so I requested a one-person ceremony and headed for home.  I don't think any of the 40k riders would be impressed with my winning.  With all the early business, even with the two hour drive, I was home by 11am.