Hello Smiley

Standard Pre-ride pose

Standard Pre-ride pose

Adam, Shon and I rode a 55 mile hill ride out of scenic Goreville Illinois Saturday.  The West Side of Southern Illinois has far more riders and just as many good hills and roads as the East Side.  We got about 4000 feet of climbing and hit some of the most difficult inclines you can find in the area.  I’m certain a good time was had by all, though at the end of the ride every one of us was blasted.


Near Grassy Lake

Near Grassy Lake

Things started off a bit sketchy, Adam showed up with a bike problem that we were unable to rectify, he ended up riding my NASHBAR touring bike.  His bike is from Bikes Direct one of those super discount bike websites.  It was a super good deal and its not a bad bike, but he’s had lots of problems with it and I don’t think he’d mind me telling you.

The Nashbar looking slick on the board walk in Makanda IL.

The Nashbar looking slick on the board walk in Makanda IL.

The Nashbar touring bike is around 27 pounds I think, and not very quick, though I have to admit it’s a rocket downhill.  Adam motivated the NTB up every hill and heaped praise on it compared to his bike.  Not bad Nashbar.

Shon had requested a ride with hills so we ended up climbing the famous Smiley Hill, which is a 1.5 mile climb with a big smiley face water tower at the top.   It’s the most popular segment in Southern Illinois with 48 riders on the leaderboard!  I couldn’t move up the leaderboard, but did set a PR on the climb, hard to be unhappy with that.

Adam at Smiley Hill.

Adam at Smiley Hill.

Here are a few things I learned…

SUNSCREEN YOU MORON:  yes I forgot sunscreen, ironiclly after just buying a new bottle.  I lucked out I guess as my burn was only minor and already getting better.


Adam and Shon rolling down into Happy Valley

Bananas=good:  I’ve often experienced bad feelings a few hours after a hard ride. headache, dizziness and weakness.  I think this mainly came from lack of proper nutrition.  I ate 3 bananas on this ride, tried to drink alot of fluids including real gatorade, ate directly after the ride, and drank lots of water afterwards as well.  I never got the dreaded after ride crash.

Carbon frame/seatpost = awesome!  I kept thinking I had a low back tire, I would hit a large bump and it just didn’t feel as hard as I thought it should.  My body felt much better at the end of the ride then it usually does after a long rough ride on the CAAD 9.

About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
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2 Responses to Hello Smiley

  1. Jim Russell says:

    Own a bike shop bike and a mail order Bikes Direct bike. The Bikes Direct bike was a decent quality bike with good components, but the derailleurs, brakes and wheels were in desperate need of adjustment. Add to remove and realign the front derailleur and make major adjustments to rear derailleur. The brakes and wheels also needed adjusting; when done everything worked as should.

    Of course the bike shop bike which was purchased at Bike World was ready to ride when delivered and was fitted to my frame. Had to make some minor cable adjustments after a few weeks due to stretched cables, but overall it was in perfect riding conditioner and a good fit.

    Advantages to both ways I suppose. But if I were buying a more expensive carbon bike I would lean towards a bike shop with a good reputation. A mail order bike would probably work for a back-up or cheaper bike. Just my opinion, nothing else.

  2. rlhoover says:

    My Dear One has a carbon frame, but I cannot ride it much since her legs are longer than mine and that means I can just reach the pedals! I know it’s a good ride, but I can’t do it for long.

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