Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Short (and Fast) Summer

 Sitting here in the dark at 6pm, with heavy snow squalls and strong winds makes me wistful for the balmy, sunny days of summer.  It has been such a great summer in NE Indiana - no extreme high temps, normal precip, normal winds.  Which means I've gotten a lot of good, quality miles on my bikes.

I haven't gotten too many miles on my 86 Trek 500, though.  I've got in my mind that this can be a primo rando bike, but I want to repaint it before I put new (new to me) components on it.  I've picked up a Shimano triple crank and a Deore XT long-cage derailleur for the mighty and unending hills of southern Ohio.  I can't find replacement decals for this, and I've finally decided I don't really need them anyway.  So we'll see how this bike turns out as winter progresses.

I haven't gotten too many miles on y 81 Trek 710, either.  I've been seriously thinking of turning this into a fixed gear commuter bike.  The frame is a touch small for long rides, but is great for riding to work.  Since my bike commute to work is only 3 miles, I'd like the simplicity of a fixie for quick, easy rides.

In April, I purchased this beauty.  A new Trek Domane 5.2, and have put the vast bulk of my miles on this sweet beast.  It weighs about as much as a pocket full of feathers.  But it really moves!

 These photos are from early in the season - I've replaced these Bontrager tires with Continental 4000s.  While I like the Bontrager tires' ride, they aren't very durable.  I had two blowouts (dime-sized!) on our bike club's Labor Day Century ride.  Fortunately, the second blowout was only two miles from home - I had to walk the remainder since I used my spare tube after the first blowout.

I have nurtured my delusion that I am a fast biker by joining a race team our local bike club sponsored for one race in September.  To my dismay, I was selected for the A-Team.  But I should admit I was the anchor - I slowed everybody down.  The guys on the team are all great people, and they helped me ride way beyond my ability.

Here we are - Second Place winners for the Huntington Team Challenge.  Our team was second of 22 teams.  We rode our butts off!

 Aside from the many times I thought I would pass out and the constant, intense pain, I really enjoyed the whole experience - especially the training rides.  The race was 26.7 miles which passed by in a flash.

 I've been really fortunate this fall.  Dr. Gary Painter, the current US National Time Trial Champion (55 - 59 age group) has asked me to ride with him in his pain cave.  While these sessions are pretty intense, they are helping to make me a stronger rider.

I've never ridden this fast in my life.  Not even when I was in really good shape, doing triathlons back in the 1980's. 

 No quality blogs, however.  I've neglected this blog for the sweet, instant gratification Facebook offers.  I've joined Facebook groups for our local bike club and for the Ohio Randonneurs. 

Anyway, I'll try to do a better job of keeping in touch.  I often times think of how all of you are doing out there in bike land.

Happy riding!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Looking For Groundhogs

The Show 'n Go ride was canceled today because the temperature was too low.  Plus the light lake-effect snow from Lake Michigan covered the roads with enough snow that road tires are not effective.

Jim, Luis, and I met down near Eagle Marsh and rode the Towpath Trail into downtown Fort Wayne and back.   They are among small group of roadies who ride outside throughout the winter.

 Here's Jim with his snowboard goggles.  He's not sure how they are different from ski goggles, but apparently they are.  I'll take his word for it.  One thing he does know is Wabash and Erie Canal history, which is what we talked about quite a bit, since we rode along the old canal route for a good ways.

Luis up ahead on the trail.  Although drafting was not necessary today, Luis is always ready to take the lead to give someone a break.

Jim and Luis just east of downtown.

We had a great ride today, and it was great to get out with good friends.

We had two big melt downs over the past month which melted all of our snow.  The strong north winds the past couple days brought us a bit of Lake Michigan in snow form.  Aside from this light snow, our drought from last summer continues.

Happy riding!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Like Finding a Long-Lost Friend (Almost)

Well!  Sometimes things do come back.  I was moving some stuff around at work and found my camera - I lost this last winter and was really bummed.  We took great photos together, and I knew each function and setting this little marvel possessed.  The last picture I took on this was dated Feb 13, 2012.  So, it's been missing for almost a year.  The last time I had this camera was a week before we left on our Texas trip.

My daughter let me borrow her camera in the interim, but I just couldn't get the hang of it.  The controls were slightly different, but the menu options and features could not come close to what this little camera has.  Plus, I've had this camera since I started this blog in 2008.  It is just the right size, shape, and weight for carrying on the bike or in my jersey pocket.  It is easy to quickly reach for a rare and fleeting photo op.

 Anyway, on my commute to work, I noticed my front and rear lights flickered today the whole ride in.  Since this is a fairly new generator hub, I was concerned.  When I got home tonight, I found one of the leads is pulling away from the clip which attaches to the hub.

I took the clip apart and pulled the wire down, folded it over, then re-clipped it into the generator.  I moved the generator plug down so that there is less tension on the wire.  I'm hoping this works.  It's good to know that this problem exists.  I'd hate to have lighting issues during a brevet or during a fleche ride.   Not that I'm going to do many this year.  Maybe the 300k and the Fleche. 

The Tricross's backside.  That Seculite taillight is incredibly bright.  When I'm riding in the dark, I feel safe knowing Seculite is glowing away behind me, warning wayward motorists I'm up ahead in the dark.

My grey Trek.  I pumped up the tires for tonight's spin class.  I'm almost recovered from Saturday's spin class.   It was a killer.  My bike-buddy Hugh says indoor spin sessions really pay off.

 The Gatorskins are really wearing.  The trainer puts a metallic sheen on the rear wheel, though I don't think it is bad for the tire.  After spinning for an hour the rear tire gets really hot.  That might cause internal tire parts to wear.

 But I've got new rubber ready for the outdoors.  I bought these at the Hilly Hundred last October for just over half price.  It was a great deal.

Grey Trek ready to head for spin class.

Happy riding! or spinning!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bike Torture

In an effort to try to improve my cycling endurance and speed, I've been spending a lot of time in my Man Corner.  In other words, the corner of my garage.  On the bike trainer.  This is my Bike Torture Chamber, as Sufferlandrians refer to their training places.  Not that I'm a Sufferlandrian.  Actually, those Sufferfest videos scare the hell out of me.  Anything that suggests I ride until blood comes out of my eyes can't be good for me.  My hedonistic nature won't allow it.

Above the snow tube in the top photo I have a couple things on the wall which provide motivation.  When I left Marathon County Forestry Dept for Indiana, the ski club gave me the Leo's Loop sign.  Leo's Loop is a 10k loop in Nine Mile Forest (just west of Wausau), which was my favorite loop.  Named after former County Forest Administrator Leo Baur.  After Leo retired, he became a volunteer on the County Forest, helping maintain and improve the ski trails there.  Jim Adams, a retired pulp mill worker, put in thousands of volunteer hours with Leo during my time at the county forest.  Those two guys gave me an example how to live my life, staying active and engaged with other people.  I hope I have half the energy of either one of those guys when I retire.

I was honored to become a member of the 50mm club in the Wausau Nordic Skiers.  50mm bindings were only around for a few years.  But they were really useful and worked well.  Like the bindings, 50mm Club members worked hard to support the club.  I didn't think I was worthy of the award, but I really appreciated their gesture. 

On Tuesday nights and early Saturday mornings, the LBS has a spin class, where I can take my bike and trainer to ride to one of many Spinnervals videos they have.  For the past 3 weeks, the videos we've been riding have been quite challenging.  Tonight's video, however, was a killer.  Troy, the leader, said tonight's session was 9.9 out of ten.  I survived the hour long session, but now that I'm home, in my easy chair, I'm not sure I'll be able to get back up to go to bed.

I'm getting some quality cardiovascular work in, but man, I can't wait to get back out on the open road for a regular road ride again.

Happy riding!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cycling? No! Helping others? Yes!

Some pre-emptive  notes I'm documenting here before Lance's interview with Oprah:

OK, Lance lied.  Big deal - so many others took performance enhancing drugs also.

What really bugs me is the way he vehemently denied taking performance enhancing drugs for such a long time.  And that he had no apparent qualms working to demolish the reputations of other cyclists and journalists.

I believe that when it comes to competition in any kind of sport, Lance should not ever be trusted again.

What is difficult for me to reconcile is that I believe he did great work with Livestrong, and that Livestrong continues as a great organization which helps many, many people.  That work should never offset Lance's cheating.

As far as cycling, running, and triathlons, his lifelong ban should remain.  He can still do great things helping people, just not through competition.

I feel much better now.  I'm going to head out and spend some time on my bike trainer. 

Happy riding!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Biking in the New Year

Geez, it's been 3 months since I last posted anything.  If any of my blog friends remain, cheers!

I have to admit, since I got my iPhone, it is much easier to post stuff to Facebook and Twitter.  Those systems match my very short attention span.  Blogger, in comparison, is an investment in time.  Something I don't seem to have too much of lately.

But I can't believe how easy it is to load pictures now!  And in the same order I clicked them!

I finished 2012 with more miles than any other year.  It was a fantastic riding year.  I'm sorry I didn't share more with you folks.  Many miles were in pacelines, and I was afraid to take too many photos because I didn't want to cause wrecks.

Hi Luis!  A summer ride with the gang.
I had a ton of fun riding with these people this spring, summer, and fall.  I rode enough, and fast enough, that I could help pull at the front of the paceline, at least for a little while.

I've been riding Courteous Mass rides as much as I can also.  Here are a couple photos from the November ride.

The new Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge.  Awesome at night!

 Alex and I were able to do some rides on rail-trails.  We did rides in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota this year.

Alex and I with Brooke and Anders in Door County.

I think I have finally come to terms with my randonneuring exploits.  After my failure to complete the 600k ride again this year, I've decided to concentrate on shorter brevets, although someday I'd really like to complete a 600 and even and 1200k someday (like PBP in 2015).

I did brevets in Ohio, Illinois, and Tennessee this year.  Best of all, I met some really cool people on each ride.

New biking buds in Tennessee

I did several brevets on the Trek 710 I purchased last year from Jon.

I got to meet the Dallas-Fort Worth blogger clan in February.  Unfortunately, the few photos I took at that event are somewhere in the cyber grave yard - our old computer finally gave up the fight.

I did the Hilly Hundred this year in Bloomington.  I did it one other time, back in 1985.

Buzzard Lady

K-Mart Dave at the finish

Mike and Luis

Blue Trek - built for hills - note the triple crank

Outside riding continues this winter as I have mounted my studded tires on the Tricross.  I had to de-fender the front wheel to make room for the studded tires.  Here are some photos from the Chilly Challenge, Fort Wayne's New Year's Day ride.

Studded tires mounted

Roller-bladers welcome too!

A stop to Johnny Appleseed Park to watch the Polar Bears

Luis and Jim

K-Mart Dave and I rode back to our starting point - Shoaff Park
I wish all of you a Happy and Safe New Year!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

 Today was our club's Jersey Ride - where everyone wears their club jersey.  Unfortunately, temps in the 30's had most of us wearing jackets over our jerseys.  I was able to lay on enough layers and pull my jersey on over the top.  My weight loss from the last two years (two years already?) still permitted a comfortable jersey fit over several layers.

 Here's Kathy giving some pre-ride instructions for the official jersey photo.
Just a few miles from the start our group was splintered by a train.  Not too many times I get to yell, "train left!".

Once the group re-formed, we rode on to the 37 mile split.  I did the 51 miler, and took this photo shortly after the split.  I'll bet there were at least 60 people who were on this ride at the start and a little more than half took the 37 mile route.

Although this is one of the hillier routes in the area, we still had miles and miles of flat, open riding.  We had a head wind for the first half of the ride - winds 15 - 20 mph.  I did my share of pulling at the front, but only for a mile at a time.

We rode along the Wabash River from Huntington to Andrews, and shortly after passing through Andrews, we climbed up out of the Wabash floodplain up on to the Rim.  The Rim is a geologic feature that runs for maybe 100 miles or so from Roanoke all the way to Lafayette on the north side of the river.  It's a big hill, and it separated the group.  Fortunately I was able to stay near the front.

5 miles after the hill we turned back to the east and had a ten mile run back to the start with a mighty tail wind.  My training this year, starting last winter, rando rides in the spring, and fast riding in the summer culminated in the fastest 10 self-propelled miles of my life.  We flew at 23 mph for many miles.  Big Carl and Steve cranked up the pace again with about 7 miles left.  As bodies started dropping, I looked at my speedo - 28 mph!  Another hill just 3 miles from the end, and Carl, Steve, and Hugh slowly pulled away from me.  I was able to catch Hugh right at the end, but Carl and Steve churned a might pace back to the start ahead of everyone.

We had brats and baked beans waiting for us at the end, cooked by Patrick, our club president.  Riding together on a brisk, fall day, then getting to share a meal at the end - a great day.  I'm glad I made the decision two years ago, on October 1 to start my weight loss.  After carrying 260+ lbs for many years, spending the last year at 200 lb or less has been like going back in time for me.

Happy riding!