Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lovely Sunset

Well, I was hoping to be able to post a photo of the setting sun, but my camera battery was dead. It was especially beautiful tonight because we could actually see it. And it was up until 6:00pm.

Although it was cold and windy again today, it is another day closer to spring. Lately I seem to be saying that to myself more and more. I like winter - I like the snow, the cold, and I like to ski and ice fish. But when the temperature last Sunday ventured into the low 50's, an obsession of looking at the 10 day forecast several times a day has gripped me.

We still have a long time before warm weather returns, and I have to keep telling myself that. I've been riding regularly all winter long so far, and plan to keep riding. But that one warm day was sweet!

Anyway, I just needed to acknowledge that I am looking forward to warm weather riding again. Look at Old Fool's post about fresh tomatoes. I'm looking forward to those again too. But we won't be picking any out of our garden until late June at the earliest. Anticipation makes them taste especially good.

Happy riding!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


It was even warmer today than yesterday. All of our snow is now gone. But it was nice to ride in shirtsleeves again.

The legs felt surprisingly good after yesterday's hard ride. I guess the legs are strong, just need to push the heart and lungs now. Tomorrow (Monday), we go back into the freezer. Got to enjoy this warm weather while we have it.

Happy riding!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Club Ride 2010

I did my first club ride of 2010 today. I tried to ride with the club last Sunday, but no one showed up due to thick fog. Five of us rode 34 miles today at a brisk pace (for me anyway). Much thanks to Chuck and Steve who occasionally dropped back to bring me back up into the group. I got to meet K-Mart Dave, who is a local biking legend.

Since the vast majority of my riding is solo, it is fun to ride with others, especially experienced riders who are steady on the bike. Chuck and Steve tucked me into tight formation and kept me well protected from a fairly strong southeast wind. Since I am probably as big as both of them put together, I wished I could have spent more time at the front pulling for them. But I know as the year progresses and I get more quality (i.e. faster) miles under my belt, I'll gladly return the favor.

I want to ride the Ride Across INdiana (RAIN) this July, so I will try like heck to get faster and stronger on the bike. I've gotten a good riding base from the last 3 years, so now is a good time to start mashing the pedals a little more. It did feel really good to finish the ride with the group, although I slowed them down a fair bit. Next week I'll be a little stronger, and a little stronger the next week...

On a side note, the temp got up to 40 F today, the second day since November it has reached 40. My cold weather biking this winter has toughened me up - although the wind was blowing and a mist was falling, it still felt warm.

Happy Riding!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Looking Back...

Bought a mirror to put on my bike. Now I can see cars coming from behind.

Since the roads are clear and we don't have any significant snow in the forecast, I switched back to the Schwalbe Marathon tires. Oooh, they roll nice! Quite a bit less effort than the studded tires.

I also put new brake pads on all around. I noticed the old pads were severely worn when I went to adjust the brakes. The sand the highway dept puts on the road must be very abrasive to the pads (and probably the rims, too). I cleaned the wheels up nicely as well.

Happy riding!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Short Ride

I got back from a 3 day conference late this afternoon and went for a 10 mile ride on my Trek. I enjoy seeing people I haven't seen for a while, and I got to play Euchre till after midnight on Monday. After sitting in meetings all day everyday, though, and a 2 1/2 hour car ride home, I was ready to ride.

The sun was shining and warm southerly winds brought the temperature up to 32 degrees today. Great day for a short ride. This photo presented itself as I passed by the Cedarville Reservoir.

Happy riding!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sweet Steel

Since the roads are clear and dry, I took another 20 mile ride today, this time on my 1985 Trek 500. I had an old Avocet saddle on this bike that was not comfortable anymore. So when I got my Brooks saddle for Christmas (it's on the Tricoss), I put the Specialized saddle from that bike on here. It's a good saddle, I had very little trouble with numbness last year, even with the longest single ride of 116 miles. I need to slide the saddle forward an inch or so.

Here's the steel-framed beauty on the Roth Road Bridge over the St. Joe River.

Even with a 15 mph wind, I was able to ride 9 minutes faster than the 20 miles I did yesterday. I attribute it to the tires. I have these tires pumped to 90 psi.

I bought this bike when I lived in Indianapolis in 1985.

They don't make lugs like this anymore.

Hope you are able to get out to ride wherever you are.

Happy riding!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stretching the Legs

The roads again are clear after the 4 or 5 inches of snow we received Thursday night. I went for a 20 mile ride today to stretch my legs.

Here I'm coming into the small town of Grabill, Indiana. Grabill is unique because it is completely surrounded by Amish farms on all sides. I don't know that there are any Amish who live in town there, but there is a large Mennonite church in town.

Steve from Dallas-Fort Worth talks about the line of sweetness and these buggy roads have a sweet line also. In this photo, I am riding in the "trough" where the horses run. Just to the left of this is the sweet line.

While the asphalt and chip and sealed roads are clear, the gravel roads are still snow packed. The county doesn't use much salt on these because the salt eats into the frozen gravel surface and will create a severely wash-boarded surface.

I was able to commute by bike 3 days last week by parking and riding part way. I'll be out of town for a three day conference this week, but maybe Thursday or Friday I can do the full 19 mile commute.

Anyway, happy riding!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunny Day Ride

I took advantage of the first all sun, no-cloud day in weeks by riding 18 miles today. The wind was quite strong from the northwest, but it was good to see the sun. Temp was 10 degrees for the ride, but it warmed up quickly from the 5 below overnight low.

These alpaci (that's my attempt at pluralizing alpaca) don't seem to mind the cold. For some reason, more and more people are raising alpaci. It's always good to be the first people raising something, because you can sell the young 'uns for an outrageous price. I don't know if the alpaca train will crash like emu's did, but I'm not jumping on. These critters are very social and not afraid of humans. They came at me right after I took this picture.

The biggest downhill of the ride today and no problem on the studded tires.

I don't know why I even brought water bottles - the front one froze on Friday's ride and the blue bottle was a freebie from the New Year's Day ride.

One thing I found out today is snot freezes on contact with cold fabric.

Happy riding!

Remember, we're one day closer to spring!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day Ride

I rode the 15th annual Chili Challenge on this New Year's Day in Fort Wayne. A bunch of people turned out, but only about 1/2 as many as last year. Last year the temp was around 30 degrees, this year it only made it to 18 degrees with a stiff breeze.

All in all, though, it was a great day to be on the bike. There were several wipeouts along the Rivergreenway where there was a bunch of ice. Not a problem for me however with the studded tires.

About mid-way we stopped at Johnny Appleseed park (a historical note - Johnny Appleseed (Chapman) is said to be buried along the river bank around here somewhere in the park, but nobody knows exactly where).

Hundreds of people gathered for the annual Polar Bear Festival.

The swimmers are lucky - the area just below the dam here is ice-free. A little farther downstream the river is frozen over.

Madness, I tell you.

At the other end of the park, we re-grouped for coffee and cookies.

This guy's fixed gear attracted a lot of attention. It was a Schwinn World frame - a beautiful conversion.

There were several cut-offs, I was one of only seven people who went the whole 21 miles. It was a fun day.

I ended up riding 3,448 miles in 2009; my goal was 3,000 miles for the year. Bike-wise it was a great year for me. I did a bunch of organized rides, 5 of which were centuries. Alex and I went on 3 weekend trips with our bikes. And, I commuted to work more than I thought I would.

I don't have any goals for 2010, but I would like to ride as much as I can. I plan to do more club rides during the week this year. There is a group that meets on Wednesday nights to do some cyclocross training - the only down side is during the summer Wednesday nights are the summer disc golf league nights.

Happy New Year, have a great ride!