Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dry Roads

We've had a couple of days with high temps above 32F, and the sun came out briefly this afternoon. Plus the low last night was pretty warm also. The roads dried out this afternoon, and I was on them!

I rode southeast to Woodburn, then back north past Harlan, and then north of Grabill. This is just north of downtown Woodburn. Apparently this isn't Woodburn's photographic side.

This is the Maumee at Bull Rapids. The river broke up in the middle of the week, and the rapids are under maybe 10 feet of water or so. The snowmelt is causing flooding, and the rivers are expected to continue rising.

We're getting a thunderstorm right now - I just saw lightning out the window. Oh, I heard my first red-winged blackbird call of the year on my ride today.

It was great to get out again. I hope you can too.

Happy riding!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The forecast high temps in the mid 30's never arrived today, leaving the roads covered in ice and snow yet again. Early Monday morning we received 1/2 inch of glare ice over everything, then we got 6 inches of snow on top of that. The high temps have been in the teens to low 20's the last two days, so although the snow is mostly scraped off the roads, the ice remains on my rural commute roads.

So, I've been burning expensive petrol the last two days to get my gluteus maximi to work. Looks like the ice will be here through tomorrow, then more freezing rain Thursday night and more snow on Friday.

I shouldn't complain after the nice weather we had last weekend. But I'm starting to get cabin fever. Got to get out for a run now.

I know, I know, I'll be complaining about the heat soon enough. But I promise not to complain about hot weather until after August 1st this year.

I hope it's warm where you are and you can get out to ride.

Oh, yes, the Nokians, you ask? Well, they won't fit my Trek (chain stay's too close for those wide tires). They won't fit on the Tricross right now either because I mounted the fenders too close to the narrower tires I have on that bike now, and the Nokians won't fit inside the fenders (I already cut the fender stays). And my Kuwahara has some issues right now that I won't go into.

So if you want to feel sorry for me now, go ahead, it's OK. I will appreciate it.

If you think I'm whining and don't feel sorry for me, you probably live some place much colder and snowier than where I live. In which case I ought to feel sorry for you. You poor sucker!

I've wasted enough of your precious lives today with my drivel.

Happy riding!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Birthday Presents

It's been a busy week, work-wise, so I didn't get any miles on the bikes during the week. I was really bummed since we had high temps in the 40's all week, and Thursday the high was 57F. Yesterday, Saturday, was a sunny day that got up to 40F. I was able to get out and ride 58 miles on the Trek. And this afternoon, I rode an easy 10 miles.

All of our snow is gone now, but the lakes, and the reservoir here, are still frozen.

My birthday was Tuesday, and I got two Gatorskins. I had Ultra Sports on this bike, but after 6 or 7 flats, I was getting a little nervous. These are supposed to be more durable. These tires are 28mm wide, which is the width I like for this bike. On my Tricross, I run 35mm for commuting. There is a stretch of gravel and the 35's float along with no trouble. These 28's are a little narrow for gravel, but I can use these on gravel if necessary.

I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm 35 lbs lighter than I was on Oct 1, when I started my Spark People diet. I was hoping to make it to 40lbs lost for my birthday, but I'm happy where I'm at. Eight more pounds and I'll be right in the middle of my ideal weight.

Here's another of my birthday presents:

This is a beautifully-photographed book of bikes made by the great French constructeurs from the 1930's through the 1980's. All steel-framed, these bikes are works of art. But they were also functional - the pinnacle of randonneuring technology.

Noteworthy, but not related to bicycling, Alex and I came home from dinner at a restaurant Wednesday night to find this beast had eaten my birthday cake. A beautifully decorated German chocolate cake, every molecule completely devoured.

I hope you have cake where you are.

Happy riding!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Petit Paquet par Avion

I found a curious, but well-secured, package in the mail last night when I got home from work. Hmm, looks like it's from Canada.

It took about 22 minutes to cut through all of the tape and wrapping paper and more tape on the box inside, but it was worth it - a tube! Unfortunately, the tube had more of that same industrial-strength tape wrapped around both ends. Must be the same tape they use to seal cracks in Great Lakes ice-breaker ships' hulls. Another 9 minutes to open the tube.

Alas, me coveted FARATS award! Fresh syrup direct from the finest Canadian Acer saccharum phloem, lovingly prepared in double-boiling stainless steel vessels! I can't wait to cook up some pancakes, or maybe French toast and drown them in maply goodness. And, I've got some shelled black walnuts - I could sprinkle walnuts on ice cream and drizzle with syrup. Man, it's gonna be great!

Thanks Rantwick! You are quite the gentleman, and run a fine contest! Congratulations to Myles at Rat Trap Press, and Paddie at Pedal Talk on their victory! And congratulations to all the FARATS entrants - all of you had lovely photos.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lazy Afternoon Stroll

Needing to avoid early on-set of cabin fever, Alex and I grabbed the dog and headed down to Shoaff Park in Fort Wayne. The park has a two-mile paved road which loops around the park. Most of the road is closed to cars, and the Park Dept. keeps the entire road pretty-well plowed through the winter.

Here's an overlook on the St. Joe River. Just around the bend to the left is the former location of the dam which diverted much of the St. Joe's flow into the feeder canal which fed the Wabash and Erie Canal. And on the opposite bank is the former location of Robison Park, a popular amusement park in the early 1900's.

This is my favorite part of the park. A long, gradual slope down to the river. On the left is a deep, wooded ravine.

A very happy dog. There's a critter under that snow somewhere!

The high temp today is 30F, so the sand and salt the road crews have been spreading is melting much of the ice off the roads. More biking in the very near future!

Happy riding!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Big Snow? No...

Well, we didn't get the big snow that was predicted (again). But we did get about 8 inches, plus we got 4 inches the day before. We did get plenty of wind all day yesterday, and last night. And we received a bunch of sleet, which made the snow heavy to shovel. The sleet froze in the eave troughs and flowed over, making some dandy icicles.

There are some big drifts out there - a friend of mine had a 4 foot drift across his lane. The deepest in my drive was 2 feet. So much for the up to 8 foot drifts that were predicted.

Since we were under a Level 1 Snow Emergency (only emergency vehicles allowed on the roads) this morning, we kept the office closed today. It'll be back to work tomorrow.

Jon, hearing about my crank issue from a few posts ago, sent me a 170 crank arm to match the Sugino crank on my Kuwahara. Thanks Jon!

I mounted that up today, and I am thinking of slapping on the Nokians to try some snow biking. I'd like to see what condition the roads are in.

You might be asking yourself (but probably not), "why doesn't that big dummy put the Nokians back on his Tricross - after all, he just mounted new VO fenders on his bike?" Well, the answer is I trimmed the front fender stays just a hair too short, so now the Nokians won't fit on the front. My 32mm Schwalbe Marathon fits fine, though.

Whenever I do something mechanical, I never quite seem to get the results I am after. Well, I did get the front fender to fit that Schwalbe just right. I just forgot I've got a little bigger Nokian that would be nice to mount in snowy conditions, like today.

The road crews do a really good job of clearing the roads around here, so I'll be able to get the Tricross out in another day or too.

In the meantime, keep the rubber side down.

Happy riding!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Big Snow Coming?

We're under a Blizzard Warning now, something that only happens once every few years in these parts. It's been a really long time since we've had a good dose of snow all at once, we'll see if we get it this time.

I copied this from the National Weather Service:


I like it when they predict snow drifts by the foot.

I probably won't be biking to work tomorrow. (I wimped out today as well and drove). We received 4 inches last night, but the wind has been strong and from the northeast for over a day now. Looks like a Deusy is coming!