Monday, September 17, 2007

The Joys of Chipseal Season

Chip seal season usually starts in August and ends about mid- September, and if I'm lucky, my good friends at VDOT put out signs a few days prior to give poor slobs like me a wee bit of warning. Not this time. Wednesday the roads were fine, Thursday and Friday I had to take off as my hip is acting up again, and Saturday was carnage day.
This is actually a photo from last year during what I fondly call the chip seal wars. VDOT either hires Whitehall to do the work, or does it themselves. Whitehall does a great job, VDOT, not so much. This is of course a VDOT stretch of road. The same road that the station chief told me was fine, and didn't have any excess "flow" on. That was the story until I sent the photo to the acting head of VDOT, Tim Kaine, the newspaper, and just about every organization I could find. Before I got home from work, VDOT was sweeping roads. (Funny, thats kind of how I got them to repave Taylors Creek as well.) I now have a kind of a cold war going on with the station managers. They know who I am. I know who they are. They know that I only ask them to fix things that really need fixing, I'm reasonable about it, but know the person at the Times Dispatch who writes the Stuff to Fix column . Its a workable solution.
Unfortunately for the guys on the Contes shop ride, they dont seem to be more than passing familiar with chip seal season. This year, instead of using small gravel like in the photo, VDOT used gravel shards. Yep, just like glass shards. It rained Friday night. So they were wet, glass shards. I'm not exactly sure why all the guys insist on using race wheels, and tubular tires on a group ride, but they do. As you can imagine, the results were bad.
As Goddess of the Universe, I dont need to ride Zipps on a training ride. So I was fine. As soon as racing season is over, out come the heavy, kevlar tires. So as I was going down the hills from Holly Grove I was surprised at how small the group was. A few minutes later I saw group 2. Hmm. Very strange. 6 miles from home, I saw Pascal Fernandez, walking his bike. Yep, Zipp tubular wheels. Now it would have been about a 30 mile walk back to 3sports, so I told him that I'd be back with the truck, and took off for home.
So now Pascal owes me big time. His number is in my cell. I bet I rescue the guys again before this is over. I may end up with all the guys owing me, because you know they aren't going to give up any advantage they might have on that ride. Even if it means walking a very long way home.

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