Sunday, August 16, 2009

Traffic speed detector on the PBP200

We are such geeks. My cycling buddy Jayjay and I would never dream of sprinting toward a state line boundary sign during a bike ride. There is no allure. But put an electronic traffic speed detector on the side of the road, and watch us go...

We were riding the RUSA Princeton-Belmar-Princeton 200k today in New Jersey. We were hot and tired, and consciously metering our energy consumption so we would have enough to finish within the time limit. And then late in the afternoon, about mile 100, we spotted a police SUV parked with one of these thingies up ahead.

I watched it mindlessly clocking the speed of cars as they sped by, 40, 50, 60mph, in a low speed zone. Then the cars were suddenly gone, and the sign alternated between 13 and 14mph. I thought nothing of it, but Jayjay instantly recognized that the device was tracking us. "Hey, that's our speed!", came her urgent voice from behind me. "Go, go, go!" she yelled. Once again, I had one of those moments where I jumped into action before giving proper consideration to the situation, and I was sprinting like crazy. Equally afflicted, Jayjay kept yelling "Faster! Faster!", louder and ever closer behind me.

Up, up, up, went the sign, 15, 16, 17. It finally got up to 19mph before we passed. "Aw rats", Jayjay said. Her delerious mind wanted to get to 20. Luckily we were only a short distance in front of the sign before we started sprinting, else who knows how fast we might have gotten. As a result, we only had to spend a few minutes stopped beyond the sign, hunched over handlebars, gasping for air, and guzzling water, before we continued on our way. Such geeks.

As for the rest of the day, the weather was beautiful, but traffic was horrendous. Most roads were filled with cars, they were all in a hurry, and most left little space alongside us. (The side of a towed boat came within inches of both our heads.) I suspect it was the gorgeous weather on one of the last weekends of summer which had everyone out and about, especially near the shore. The first checkpoint at a Dunkin Donuts at the beach in Belmar was filled to capacity with people glistening in sunblock. We waited forever on the long line, the clerk didn't want to waste time signing our cards, and then we had to wait on line to get into the bathrooms. Temperatures got really hot in the afternoon. We coped by filling socks with ice and draping them around our necks; this worked well again. We also drank cans of V8 juice, trying to address the needs of the 'Hydration Triangle', carbs, salt, and liquid. But the route itself and the scenery was delightful, and the dozens of other cyclists we passed were all super friendly. We finished the ride with 15 minutes to spare, woo hoo. All in all, a great day.

Many thanks to the owner of this RUSA route. I look forward to riding it again some day when I am back in New Jersey.

1 comment:

bullcitybiker said...

Now that you've been sucked into sprinting for a speed gun, I predict the county line signs won't be far behind. Welcome to the Dark Side!