alpaca princess (renniekins) wrote,
alpaca princess

Team Alpaca Tours Detroit

Saturday started bright and early with the Tour De Troit! After some internal debate, I decided to use my hybrid bike "Red" instead of my road bike. I also decided to put it into the back seat of my car, rather than strapping my bike rack to the back of my car. This decision is not unprecedented, as I've managed to do so in the past.

My Ion quad coupe has a spacious back seat, and the opposite-direction back doors make it easy to get large items into the back. It is incredibly easy to slide my road bike in there (minus front tire). With my hybrid, also minus its front tire, it's a bit strange -- 50% of the time it slides in like it was born to be back there. The other 50% it is a huge battle, and the darn thing just won't line up, won't fit properly, and it looks like it's completely impossible. I have yet to figure out what the difference between the two experiences is, other than luck.

Unfortunately yesterday morning was the second kind. The darn bike fought me tooth and nail. We both did damage to one another -- I came away with a huge scratch on my inner thigh, and it got its handlebars completely swung around in reverse. Finally, somehow, with much wiggling and arguing, I got the door closed.

Evidence of the battle. Note that the scratch (just under the elastic mark from my cycling shorts) is as long as my finger! Also I am giving the peace sign, in an effort at reconciliation....

Finally I made it to the site of the event. First I parked my car and picked up my registration packet. Not seeing any of my teammates there, I went back to my car. Warily Red and I stared one another down. He seemed peaceable though, so I opened the back door and let him out.

The bicycle is hard to manipulate with its handlebars on backwards! After pulling it out of the car, I worked on turning the handlebars right again. It took some maneuvering, but finally I got the fork straightened out, then adjusted the handlebars. Then I put the front wheel back on. Then I discovered that the brake cable wouldn't connect. Frustrated, I decided that maybe I didn't really need the front brake.... really all I needed though was somebody to lend a hand. Two hands weren't enough.

I walked the bike over to the main square, and there I spotted Jer! We exchanged hugs and hellos, then I told him of my woes. Between four hands and two pairs of eyes, we got Red all straightened out and put back together. Whew! Then the rest of our team started to trickle in, and it was time for a beautiful day of riding.

First, we grouped together for a team photo. Jer's phone did much better with this than mine did.

There were close to 1000 people riding through downtown Detroit yesterday! We all crowded down a street, waiting for our police escort to start blocking off roads for us. There was a lot of waiting, so I asked a fellow in front of us to take the pic that I posted from the road yesterday. That's the (sadly) abandoned Detroit train station in the background.

Finally, it was time to get started! It was a rather slow and wobbly start, as all those masses of people spread themselves out enough to be able to ride properly. Then we were moving, and the Tour De Troit officially began.

Directly ahead is Kathy cruising along on her recumbant, and Jer is on the right. I'm riding while photographing, of course.

The ride was about 40 miles, with a stop for snacks and water halfway through. I was glad, because I had forgotten to refill my waterbottle before the start of the ride. I only had about 1/3 of a bottle, and it did not last long enough. Oh well... given the bike-battle before I began, I was lucky to remember my water at all -- I went back for it last minute.

We didn't all ride together, although that had been the plan. There were so many people on the road, it was easy to get separated. Once separation occurred, everybody's pace tended to change and it was hard to find people again in the crowd (team shirts (and Jer has a flag idea) will help that in future rides I hope). I managed to spend at least a little bit of time riding and chatting with each of my friends though, so that was cool.

By the end of the ride, I was down to just one riding companion. We all managed to hook up again back at the train station though, and everybody had made it! Hooray, Team Alpaca! We split up shortly after that, although in retrospect it's a shame we didn't pause for a final victorious photo. Preferably with the alpaca, who I finally spotted just after everybody else had left.

Tags: alpaca, biking
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