Sunday, March 11, 2012


I rode yesterday morning, leaving at sun-up to make the most of the day. It was supposed to get up to 50F yesterday, so I thought by leaving early I could get a nice, long ride in. At the start it was 25F, and a pretty lively SE wind was blowing. By the time I got out 20 miles, all into the wind, I began to think how important it was for me to get home to clean out the garage. So, I turned around and headed back home so I could tackle the garage. I got home and the temp was still only 28. Glad I didn't go any further. I had frost-bitten my toes and 4 fingers. First time that's happened all winter.

Anyway, I ate a snack, then Mrs. Oak and I headed out to do some pre-migration birding. Darn, we didn't make it back in time for me to work on the garage.

So, this morning I headed into the garage with my Mustang Island coffee cup (a souvenir from our Texas trip a couple weeks ago) full of coffee to begin organizing and cleaning. Before I started though, I thought it might be good to rebuild the axles on my grey Trek. I took the bearings out, cleaned them, re-greased them, and then re-adjusted the bearing cones. A simple project for most, but it took me several hours. I had to refill my Mustang Island coffee cup (I don't think I mentioned how much coffee it holds - it is really big!), then make a piece of peanut butter toast. After all that coffee, I took bathroom break, and another cup of coffee. Well, I dinked at it for a while, but eventually got everything back together. By the time I finished adjusting the brakes, it was early afternoon, and the sun was shining, and the temp had climbed into the 50's!

So off into the wilds of NE Indiana I bounded, grey Trek and I, headed for who-knows-where. I figured it might be good to get in some hill climbing, so I headed west of my home, toward the lake country.

About 10 miles out I had a flat, so I pulled over and quickly changed the tube.

As I inspected my old, worn Pasela TG rear tire, I found at least three holes of which any one may have been the culprit. Tiny pieces of wire were in two, and a small, sharp rock was in the third hole. The Pasela's served me very well in last year's rando rides, and for the summer with the home club's weekend rides. But they are now worn and not looking so good anymore.

I am so glad I took my blue Trek yesterday - with the new Gatorskin tires I installed two weeks ago, a flat tire yesterday would have crippled me. Being the proud randonneur, I wouldn't have called for help. But with numb hands, it would have taken quite a long time to change the tube.

But look at this shiny rear hub! I cleaned it up when I re-packed the axle this morning. Cleaned up the freewheel too.

Soon, I was on my way again, tooling down County Road 68.

The temp got up to 60F today, and was the nicest day we've had all year. Mrs. Oak and I took dog out for a long walk when I got back. It is good to hear the robins once again sing!

I hope you folks got out to ride this weekend.

Happy riding!

Oh, no, the garage still isn't cleaned out.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Great South Wind

Spring is coming. Barreling its way in, like a freight train, on massive south winds. This morning, we went from 28 deg F to 60 deg F in a little over an hour. It'll get plenty cold again, but I've tasted spring, and I have hope.

Not that it's been miserable here. In fact, the entire winter has been very mild. The coldest weather we've experienced, over the past month, was still above normal. Even so, with summer birds beginning to show up, and big south winds, and big sun, it's impossible to feel anything but good.

So, after pedaling the 3 miles home from work, I changed into bike clothes, then headed east of home, then south, directly into the wind. A steady, grinding, pace into the headwind. Ah, the burning in my thighs reminded me of what it means to work hard again.

Out here on the old lake plain east of Fort Wayne, there is little to block the wind.

Flat ground. But heading directly into the wind is like climbing a great big, long, hill. Look at that sunshine - it was with us the entire day!

The ride back to the north was like coming down a big hill, almost. With the wind at my back I maintained an easy 21 mph. Going into the wind I had to work hard to maintain 12 mph!

Spring, go ahead and bring your wind. It is good to have you back!

I wasn't able to get a photo, but the eagles are nesting again just outside of Cedarville, only 2 miles east of our new home. I saw one of the eagles perched at the very top of the tree where it's nesting.

Happy riding!