Biking With Beanzie

July 15, 2001

DeKalb, Illinois

63.5 miles

Bicycle:  Cannondale H-300

Ride Info: Kishwaukee Kiwanis

Biking With Beanzie was a quirky-themed ride sponsored by the Kiwanis with 4-H to raise money to support greenway programs in the DeKalb County. For various reasons, I didn't roll out of the parking lot at DeKalb High School until 8:00, even though registration had opened at 6:30. Alas, it  was definitely a day when an earlier start before the sun rose higher would have helped. I chose my Cannondale hybrid, which had been going through a sentimental renaissance of sorts lately (while I rode it exclusively in 2000, by 2001 it had two stablemates that I rode more often). It was also my only bike with decent aero-bars, and I had a feeling they might come in handy on the open plains of DeKalb County.

I started out feeling very good and went a little faster than I'd planned. Aw heck, just go with it, I thought. I ended up spending a lot of time on the aero-bars as the wind seemed to hit me in three directions. I really liked the Panaracer Paselas I had recently installed on the hybrid (switching from 700x35 to 700x28) it was like a whole different bike. Unfortunately, along with faster, skinnier tires I had to deal with running out of gears sooner. A co-worker's wife just bought a Specialized Cirrus with something like 48-36-24 chainrings, which I'd much rather have than the anemic 42-34-24 rings on my C-dale.

All in all, it was a pleasant ride. The roads were decent, except for the occasional bump-bump cracks in the asphalt. The highlight of the route was surely the curvy, hilly roads through Lake Shabbona State Park. Too bad the park wasn't bigger, but at least we got to ride into it twice. There was great confusion in that area as the Naperville Bicycle Club  decided that this year their century (starting in Plano) would also go up to Shabbona. Imagine two rides going different directions on the same roads. At least we weren't going the same direction, but it was really weird. I nearly made a wrong turn, as their arrows were red while ours were a similar red-orange, but I looked at the map and saved myself from a very long day.

So who was Beanzie? From what I gathered, Beanzie was a dorky-looking kid with a propeller cap and big black-rimmed glasses. His two dominant traits seemed to be daftness and flatulence. Yes, that is where the beans come in. The ride organizers had signs throughout the ride of jokes that were, fitting DeKalb's agricultural reputation, corny. And most of them referred to gas. I suppose it was cute in a goofy way, but kind of weird, like a Beavis & Butt-head ride.

As expected, I got tired when I hit some good hills halfway through. And the heat caught up with me from time to time. Eventually, I took my first Succeed cap in I-don't-know-how-long. Things seemed to improve after that. I finished strongly, time-trialing north on IL 23. Amazingly, I passed more than two dozen people during the ride, but only got passed once (that's some kind of record for me). I finished the 63.5 mile route in 3:51 for a 16.5 mph average, significantly faster than I've been averaging on most rides this year. Perhaps because of that, or more likely due to dehydration/low electrolytes, I was more sore than usual the next day. I love the heat, but I forgot just how much it takes out of me on a long ride.

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