As a follow-up to my earlier blog entry on the Alabama Tandem Weekend and Friday recap, here now are my recollections from Saturday along with photos taken by Tim, Bev and others who were stalking the tandem teams on Saturday…
Saturday, March 24th
Saturday started off with breakfast around 6:00 am. After eating I got to work on the PeriScope while Debbie stayed behind in the Jameson Inn’s lobby to do a little socializing.
Working on the Triplet:
The awful creaking the Triplet was making during Friday’s shake down ride seemed to be isolated in the front cranks / bottom bracket / eccentric so that’s where I started. As I somewhat expected, the ISIS spline interfaces with the crank arms were dry and corroded, which would easily account for some of the noise. However, after removing the front bottom bracket (which was ready for replacement) and cups I found the front eccentric was just about corroded in-place. After knocking the eccentric out of the frame and filing off the worst of the corrosion, I cleaned-up the eccentric shell and put a good coat of synthetic grease on the eccentric and frame shell. Just to be on the safe side, I put a little Loctite (Blue 242) on the bottom bracket end cups before reinstalling them and also replaced the pinch-bolts with some new stainless steel one I keep in my tool box. After greasing the ISIS splines on the front BB’s and reinstalling the cranks, I decided to pull the cranks off the center and rear stoker positions so I could check their splines for proper lubrication. They had at least been greased at some point, so they were in far better shape than the front ISIS splines. While I had the Trident in the workstand I also removed the rear wheel and did a quick service on the DT Swiss hub’s star ratchets and ratchet ring, not knowing how long it had been since they were cleaned and lubricated. Turns out, this was a spare wheel poached off another tandem and the hub guts were in pretty good shape. The original wheel’s DT Swiss hub had been dropped it off at their local bike shop for service. Let’s see, what else did I tweak? The front & rear brakes got a little adjustment and so did the stem. However, that stem and the bar height would dog me all day. Anyway, with about 30 minutes before we needed to ride into town for the mass start back at the Blue Bell plant, I had the Trident sorted out, reassembled and all of my gear stuffed back in my truck along with our Calfee tandem… which would see no use this weekend.
Around 8:30 am our friends Eric, Linda & Lisa were all set to go on the 700c, school bus yellow Co-Motion Triplet… which was about the same time I had the 26″, “Tropical Green” Co-Motion PeriScope Trident ready to roll, so off we went. On our short, little 2-mile ride to the mass start back at the Blue Bell plant I quickly realized the handlebars were still not positioned to my liking, so upon our arrival at the Blue Bell plant I made the 2nd of four adjustments I’d make to those bars on Saturday.
Our Saturday ride went off at 9:00 am and began with a series of ill-timed, old-time traffic lights that had us coming to a stop every 100 yards for about 5 blocks. Of course, once we were out-of-town we discover Sylacauga really was right at the base of some serious foothills as we spent the next few miles climbing… and climbing… and climbing. Even though we were one of the first five tandems to crest the climb, we lost a bit of ground to our friends on their Triplet who had collected a pair of very strong tandem teams as their riding partners.
We had the good fortune of trading rear wheels with Bob & Patty from Ohio, a really neat couple on a nice Co-Motion Speedster and a REALLY neat “arrest me red” Volkswagon Jetta TDI Sportwagon: I think we may have found the right vehicle to replace Debbie’s little Honda S2000! With Bob & Patty’s assistance, we finally caught up to the other bikes a few miles down the road when they stopped to let us catch-up: pant, pant, pant… I made another adjustment to my handlebars at this stop as I continued to get the bike dialed-in. Except, I did make one BIG mistake. I typically ride on a Sella Italia ProLink TransAm saddle which has an anatomic cut-out. When I went to change out the Trident’s saddles I found it had the non cut-out, gel version of the ProLink and figured that would be “close enough”. Well, about 1/2 way into our ride on Saturday it was clearly not “close enough” as I was definitely in what Phil Ligget would call “a spot of bother: another tough lesson learned.
We spent the rest of the day riding as a group, other than the one REALLY strong team that seemed to always be about 1/8 or 1/4 mile ahead. We truly had a great day of riding near Sylacauga, as most of the roads were quite scenic, constantly rolling and dotted with a few real hills. There were a couple patches of rough pavement, but the big & meaty 26 X 1.5” tires that were on our borrowed Trident soaked those up… along with a lot of our energy.
Around the 33-mile mark we arrived at “Big Daddy’s” gas station, mini-mart and grill. It was only 11:30 am local time, but for me that meant 12:30 pm and my tank was empty. So, I decided this would be our lunch stop as my poor decision not to change out saddles, coupled with the trouble I had getting my riding position and handlebar adjustments sorted out, had finally caught up with me. I knew I had at least another 10 good miles in me, perhaps even 20-miles, but clearly not another 30. On the bright side, the Ribeye steak sandwich I had was Excellent! Debbie’s Patty Melt was pretty good too. Total lunch tab? $11. Nothing wrong with that. I also made one more adjustment to the bars on the Trident which turned out to be perfect. The last 12 miles we rode back to our hotel was actually pretty great: my riding position was good, my tank was full and our threesome was still laughing and carrying on. We also rolled-up on a few different couples whom we knew and chatted with them for a while before catching back up to Larry & Martha T., whom we rode the last 4-5 miles of the ride along side.
All-in-all, it was a GREAT ride. We had a blast on the Triplet, noting this was the first time we’d done any serious riding on a Triplet and, therefore, the first tandem rally we’d ever done on a Triplet. No real issues other than that poor decision on the saddle and, well, poor fitness and form on our part since we didn’t do much riding over the winter. Oh yeah, and our decision to skip the 30-mile loop after Big Daddy’s? Great call… our friends kinda hit a wall 10-miles short of the end and wished they’d opted to got a little shorter.
In addition to planning Saturday’s ride, Tim & Bev also planned an afternoon filled with additional activities at Lake Howard, about 8-miles from the Jameson Inn. Lake Howard features a number of off-road cycling trails and is ideal for paddling and fishing, so they made arrangements for several Kayaks, canoes, mountain bikes and even a pair of tandem all-terrain-bikes to be available at the Lake Howard trailhead and pavilion near the boat ramp. From all accounts, the beginner to intermediate level trails were very-well planned and maintained. Several couples ventured into the woods on single bikes Saturday and our friends Paul & Jody from Atlanta took their Ventana out on the trails Sunday, in lieu of doing the road ride. They described the trails as very tandem-friendly and also very fast: something they thought we would enjoy.. which is probably true: perhaps we’ll bring our Ventana along next year.
As noted, they also made arrangements for several kayaks and a canoe to be made available and quite a few folks took advantage of those and had a great time paddling around the lake on Saturday afternoon. We opted to visit with friends while staying on terra firma. The park doesn’t permit power boats, jets ski’s, ATVs or alcohol in the park which is probably a good thing. However, I really needed a cold-one out there: something about being next to water on a beautiful Saturday afternoon just seems to demand a brewski.
Dinner at Giovanni’s
Our rally banquet — well OK, the 2nd rally banquet given that Friday night was essentially a banquet at L’Acosta — was held at Giovanni’s just about 2-miles from the Jameson Inn. Interestingly enough, Giovanni’s was housed in what was at one time part of the service area of a former Ford dealership. The showroom was now an antique store. Regardless, we didn’t know what to expect and arrived early with the idea that we’d go to the bar, enjoy a few adult beverages and watch some sports on the tele. However, when we walked in about 15 minutes ahead of the groups official 6:30 pm planned arrival time we found that there wasn’t any bar! So, we grabbed a seat at one of the long tables they had set-up and waiting for our party and used it as our bar: well OK, beer and wine only. We weren’t there alone long as our friends Paul & Jody joined us shortly after we walked in, then Jose and Sherry arrived along with several other “new friends” whom we’d met at the rally. The wait staff did a great job taking care of us and the food was outstanding, with HUGE portions. I had a Stromboli because I wasn’t looking for a huge meal: the thing was 15″ long and weighed 2lbs. Debbie’s Lasagna was easily a 2lb portion. The pizza’s all looked good and I don’t think I heard a single complaint. We even found ourselves scarfing down a couple of cannoli for dessert: yeah, they were delicious too.
As dinner drew to a close, our hosts held a little quiz to determine who would take home a beautiful Jewel Box quilt with a stylized tandem on the back that Bev had created. The quiz, as it turns out, was something of a charade in that the original premise was that we’d all be asked to answer questions about things we would have observed during Saturday’s ride. This was something Steve & Wendy B. had done at their two events in southern Alabama. Once was all said and done, everyone had a good time playing along but the quilt was awarded based on a random drawing of the team names and Jose & Sherry R. took home the prize. After that, Linda Wood — representing Jack & Susan Geortz who had to miss Saturday’s activities due to another commitment back in nearby Birmingham — presented Tim & Bev with a framed Bobtail White print as a token of appreciation from the Goertz’s… who find enlist the hosts of both the ATW and Southern Tandem Rally.
After dinner it was back to the motel. About the only missing element of the tandem rally was the lack of a hospitality suite where folks could comfortably mingle and socialize. Some of the folks turned the pool-side patio deck with two tables into their lounge, which worked well, while others like us retired to our rooms. It was a good ending to a great day and we were looking forward to one more day on the Triplet with Brenda.