Sunday, July 22, 2012

I never did get to the bike shop in Nevada City on Friday, but I did get in a great hike over in Empire Mine State Park, which was only a couple miles from the hotel.  The miners (mostly Cornish) dug hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold in just over 100 years.  They dug 367 miles of tunnels beneath Grass Valley.  Pretty incredible!

Anyway, after getting home last night late, I was able to pull myself out of bed in time to get to today's club ride.  I'm glad I made it - we had a great ride over to Hicksville, OH, then back through Spencerville and then back down to New Haven where we started.

In a chance encounter, the stars aligned and we were able to catch a draft up the hill on Notestine Road behind this Amish buggy.  While buggies generally travel between 11 and 14 mph, with the stout headwind we had today, nobody wanted to venture around this protective shield.  Unfortunately, we turned south after a half mile, away from protection.

I hope you folks out there are gettting in some quality rides.

Happy riding!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On Holiday, Sort Of...

I'm sitting in my motel room in Grass Valley, CA right now, thinking about how lucky I am to be able to be here for work. While I miss my family, I'm enjoying the chance to see a part of the country I've never seen before. To be able to go on to farms and ranches out here is awesome.

I'll be heading back on Saturday, but I'll have a couple hours to myself on Friday. I'm plotting a strategy to get over to the bike shop in Nevada City to rent a bike.

My phone camera decided not to work, so I can't take any photos. This place out here is magnificent!

Today I saw my first-ever tricolored blackbird, western meadowlark, and glossy ibis. In addition, I got to dig in oxisol (really old soil) next to a rice field in the central valley. I could see the coast range far in the distance.

Best of all I am able to meet many of my work peers here in California, Nevada, and Arizona. I can't wait to bring Alex out here - I know she'd love it out here.

Anyway, Happy riding!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dry, But Pleasant

Record heat and no rain since early April make for tough conditions. Very similar to the summer of 1988.

We had 4 days last week of 100+ degree weather - a first since records were kept in Ft. Wayne.

I overheated on the club ride on Saturday, but recovered for a great ride in cooler temps on Sunday.

Stay cool out there!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

 I guess it has been a while since I've posted anything on here.  Life has a funny way of diverting my attention.  I think the fact that I may be in the midst of a mid-life crisis doesn't help either.

Fortunately for my physical and mental health, I've been doing more biking this year than at any point in my life.  My early season, high-mileage rides have given me a tremendous base.  I've been running regularly since April, so my leg strength and post-ride recoveries are shorter than in the past.  And I've been doing as many club rides as I can, because I like riding with people more than riding by myself.


I had an interesting experience at the 600K brevet on June 2.  After 19 hours of pedaling up steep, steep hills in eastern Ohio, I decided to take a break from my randonneuring plans for a while.  At exactly midnight, I abandoned the ride and checked into a hotel in Coshocton.  Sitting on the hotel bed eating a foot-long turkey sub and swilling a half-gallon of chocolate milk, I knew then and there that was the best decision I've made in a long time.

I dearly love the feeling I get out on the bike for long periods of time, in marginal weather.  At least as much as the next guy.  But I was vastly unprepared for the big hills that never seemed to end.  Since that moment in the hotel room, I feel as if a burden has been lifted from my shoulders.  Will I ride more randonneur rides?  Absolutely!  But I don't feel compelled to do any long rides over 300K.  Maybe this winter I'll get the rando blues again and try for a whole series next year.  Maybe not.

Meanwhile, I intend to ride club rides and continue to build cardiovascular strength, as well as leg and back strength to help make me a better biker.


 Alex bought me this cactus last fall when we moved into our new house.  This is it's very first bloom.  Since I took this photo, it's produced 22 more blooms.  Each blossom lasts for only a day.

For the past 7 weeks, Alex has been doing a "Couch to 5K" running program.  She's never run before, but she's completed all of the runs on the schedule, with no real problems.  Her first 5K is July 21st, and I'm excited for her.  Unfortunately, I'll be coming back from California that day, so I won't be able to see her run.


I broke down and splurged for a generator hub, headlamp, and taillight back in May.  It came in handy for the 600K.  Too bad it didn't get me to the end.


 This Seculight taillight is really bright.  It has a stand light (it'll stay on when the generator isn't turning) that lasts for several minutes. 

Here's the rando-rig set for action.  Man, I really love riding this bike.  Just the right size.  And it's tight and responsive, yet its 26 year-old chrome-moly frame makes a smooth ride.  I have de-fendered it for club rides.

I've ridden this bike on several 200K rides this spring.  I want to switch the pedals to an SPD-SL type, but nobody makes those pedals with French threads.  I've googled this, and a site I found said the solution is to re-tap the cranks with a 9/16 - 20 die!  I've tried lots of things, but I'm not going to ruin this crankset.  It's way too nice, and the toe clips aren't so bad after all.  I'd like to put fenders on this bike, but there isn't enough clearance from the top of the front wheel to the underside of the fork crown.  Maybe I can find a fork that'll fit this bike (and my budget) so I can install fenders.


Lately I've been thinking seriously about buying a brand new bike.  I'd like to be able to keep up with the lead riders, who have feather-light carbon bikes.  Just about everyone I ride with here in town has a new (or not-so-old) bike.  

Fortunately, I received my Bicycle Quarterly, and Jan's simple, but eloquent message hit home.  Jan says that, for the most part, bikes are bikes.  While weight is an important factor, it is not the most important.  The most important factor is the power the rider can generate on the bike.  So, I don't need a new bike.  There's nothing wrong with the bikes I have! 

Just the 200lb motor that sits on the bike.  And I'm working at getting more power.

I hope all you folks out there in the blogosphere are well.  I will try to be a little more regular at posting.  Thanks Ron and Jon for checking with me.

Happy biking!