Saturday, December 27, 2008

And It Rained

Between 2004, when I really started riding, and this fall, rain was something I had never really encountered. That's because it simply wasn't raining - we have been in a drought here for most of that time. Now it seems like it rains almost everytime I go out. Like yesterday. It did wait until about mile 26 of my 33 mile ride, so I wasn't out in it too long. It was about 45 degrees, and I stayed warm. I don't mind riding in the rain at all, and we sure can use the water.

I like the Garmin, so far, it's pretty cool. Right now I am leaving the Cateye Astrale on the bike for comparison - plus it gives me a cadance readout, although I probably don't need that anymore. The elevation function is nice - some of the hills are a little steeper than I thought. More on it later...

Supposed to be about 60 today, and no rain. We'll see.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas RIde

I had no intention of going for a bike ride on Christmas Day, but, it turned out sunny and warm - 67 degree warm, all the windows open and ceiling fan on warm, and there was this one present under the tree; a Garmin 305 Edge, complete with both heart rate monitor and cadence. It had to be tried out, didn't it? I only went about six miles, just enough to check it out, I think I'll like it, but I'll need to get used to not actually seeing my cadence or heart rate, just setting the alarms. The set up before was a Cateye with cadence on the left handlebar and a polar HRM on the right. Lots to see.

My daughter ended up with a Garmin Nuvi for her new car, plus a beautiful hand knitted lace scarf from her mother (I got some nice wool socks, too). We all went for rides in her car to check out how the GPS works, plus she got to show it the car and her driving to her grandfather. Son got a Zune, so he's happy too, and CJ got some knitting stuff. Plenty of CD's, including Jackson Browne's new one.

Oh, I got Ground Hog Day on DVD. I haven't seen it since our tape machine broke.

Tomorrow is a little cooler, but I think the Garmin needs further testing.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Take care, all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today's Ride

Never happened. For various reasons. But. I didn't go to work. I played Wii bowling with my children. And lost. I played Guitar Hero with them, too. I still suck. Don't care.

I may or not ride tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be nice, but it depends on what they want to do.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Puzzling

After yesterday's soaking I went ahead and lubed the chain - it actually had rust on some of the rollers - and the cables where they pass under the bottom bracket. I also wiped down the braking surfaces of the wheels as they were coated with a layer of very fine grit. When I spun the back wheel, it made a strange clunking noise, vibrated and seemed to bind a little at the same time. I thought something must have gotten flushed into one of the bearings. Rather than risk any further damage (and hoping there wasn't anything seriously damaged already) I took the wheel off and took out the bearings to clean and re grease. The bike has 3200 miles on it, so it was past time, anyway. I carefully counted the balls as I removed them - 12 small ones from the left, 9 larger ones from the right. A few of the small ones fell into the hub as I removed them, so I just pushed them through. I couldn't see any reason for the noise I heard, so I cleaned everything, put fresh Teflon grease in the races and put the balls back in. Nine on the
right and, ummm, 11 on the left. No place for number 12. I usually drop and lose a couple of balls when I do this, now I have too many! Try to put it in, and another one pushes out. So, all I can figure is number 12 had been in the hub since the wheels were made and it had finally migrated to a spot where it was interfering with something. The rear wheel's ready for another 3,000 miles, guess I need to do the front now too.
The rain did stop, but the wind picked up, 20 mph with gusts to 30. It seemed like one of those winds that was always a headwind. I actually was using the small chainring going downhill. I got in another 30 miles at 16.4. Tomorrow - vacation day and Christmas shopping. No ride planned.

Timing is everything

Which, of course, is why I got it wrong.

Saturday morning's fog was some of the thickest I'd seen in a long time, but the forecast said it would clear and get up to about 62 degrees with rain showers late in the day. Sure enough, by 11:00 it was clear, the sun was coming out, and the temp was going up. Figuring it would get better before the showers moved in, I decided to go shopping in Asheboro for Christmas dinner groceries and ride when we got back. Leaving Asheboro to come home, about two hours later, the temp was 67 degrees, and the sun was still peeking through the clouds, by the time we got home it was just starting to rain and the temp was dropping. Perfect.

I went anyway. The temperature dropped to about 58 and stayed there, not much wind, and, once soaked, you can't get any wetter. I was surprised how comfortable I was. I rode 33 miles and pushed a little harder up the hills. It helped my average speed come up a little, to 17.2, so maybe there is some hope.

Any remaining "cleanness" left on my bike after Wednesday's wet ride got washed off, it is filthy, and the shifting was getting a little inconsistent, probably from wet grit getting on the cables.

It is raining now, but it's supposed to clear mid morning and be around 51. Maybe I'll get a dry ride in, although my shoes will still be wet. Maybe oil a few things on the bike before I go, too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not 70


Funny how the weather forecast of almost 70 degrees and partly cloudy actually turned out. Foggy. light rain, and a high of 52. I was a little apprehensive about riding in the reduced visibility, but, I had the day off, so I went anyway. It turned out that there wasn't much traffic out there. I got pretty well soaked, but was comfortable, and my clean bike sure isn't clean anymore, but I got in 33.12 miles at 16.7. That puts me at 4003.85 for the year. So both my goals got made (the other was averaging 18 mph), and I still have almost two weeks to go.
I guess it's time to think about next years goals. That Century challenge Sarah is doing sounds like it might be a fun thing to do. I am definitely thinking about it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend Update

Busy weekend, what with Christmas shopping and car shopping with my daughter. She bought her first car on Saturday, so she's happy, and now I can have my "good" car back, so that's nice too. I did manage to squeeze a ride in Saturday, 33 miles at 16.9, and another on Sunday of 35 miles at 16.8. Since I'm not looking so much for speed I made a point of not checking my average speed during the ride. That was actually kind of nice not thinking I needed to pick up the pace or push harder.

It's supposed to warm up this week, I have Wednesday off and it's supposed to be almost 70, so maybe I can get a nice warm ride in.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Wish List


Ok, I know it's not a bike. I can't get it anyway. I can wish, can't I? I can explain. Maybe. Later....
Santa????????????????????
GTI MKV, 2008, 4 door -


Did I mention I don't like wind?

Well, that was confirmed today. It was supposed to be 10 to 20 mph today, but I think it was only 20 - no 10 involved. I was using the small chainring in the middle cogs on level ground when I was headed into the wind. I also have figured out that 40 degrees is about the lower limit of my gloves and wool socks. My fingers are cold, but ok; they could be warmer. My toes, however, go very numb. Some sort of booties might be in order. I hate to spend money on cold weather stuff, though, because the cold doesn't last very long.

I went 29. 74 miles and averaged 16.2. Now it's back to the trainer until next weekend.

Parade Season



It's that time of year again - Christmas parades. One of the neat things that come out for them is all the old cars and tractors. Saturday was Liberty's turn, among others, as the owner of this car told me. He had already been in Pleasant Garden's in the morning and was going to be in Ramseur's today (Sunday). He was trying to find out when Staley was having theirs so he could be in that one too. I rode through about an hour and a half before the start, so the participants were just starting to arrive. Watchers, however, were already lining the road, so I had spectators when I rode through. No one cheered, oh. well.


It was a pretty nice day too. It was 39 degrees when I started and about 43 when I finished, not a lot of sun and very little wind. I got in 40.32 miles and averaged 16.8. I am not really trying for speed so much right now, so I go at a somewhat more sedate (old mannish?) speed. Although I do remind myself that a year ago 16.8 would have been fast.

Today is bright and sunny, but it's supposed to be a little colder with 10 to 20 mph winds (have i mentioned I don't like wind?). I have about 138 miles left for my 4000 mile goal, and while meeting it isn't really a priority anymore, getting this close with 3 more weeks of riding makes it look like it'll happen.

I think I'll wait at least until it gets above freezing to go ride.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Spinning

The weather never let up, so I set the trainer up in front of the TV so I could watch the Panthers play while spinning away. I lasted 53 minutes for 15 miles. It just isn't the same as riding outside, it's hard to stay motivated enough to keep going. Still, though, it's riding, sort of. And the Panthers are winning, at the moment.

Five days away from work. Can't say I'm really looking forward to going back. It was so nice to be home.

Rain

It looks unlikely for an outside ride today unless the rain stops. It's only 38 degrees, and that's just a bit too cold for the clothes I have if I'm going to get soaked too.

I was playing around on mapmyride.com this morning, just sort of checking it out and I put one of my longer rides here. It's a little confusing because some of the loop gets ridden more than once. Anyway, it was kind of neat to see the elevation changes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beat the rain

I got out around 10:30 this morning, figuring I'd try to beat the rain. It wasn't a problem; it's 5:00 now, and it still hasn't rained. It only got up to 46 today, and there wasn't any sun, so it felt kind of cold. Tomorrows temp is supposed to be the same, so if it does end up raining I may ride the trainer. I really don't have the right stuff to ride in cold rain and be comfortable. We'll see, though.

I ran into Dave, another Liberty cyclist. He was out walking his dog. He told me he had been bitten by a dog last week out on Starmount. He's been riding in Liberty for 30 years and this was the first time he'd been bitten. I rode up Starmount yesterday and had noticed several dogs sleeping in the front yard of one of the houses. Turns out those were the dogs. I am glad they didn't wake up, but I doubt I'll change that route to avoid them.

It was also the first day of firearm deer hunting season. Some people in this house complained about not getting to sleep in late because the gun fire woke them. I was fine, I was up before it started. There is a tiny bit of concern riding through the countryside this time of year, but I think the chances of getting hit by a stray bullet is less than being run over by some teenager texting.

33 and a half mile, 16.3 mph. My 4000 mile goal isn't out of reach, yet.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day After..

We had a nice Thanksgiving - hope all of you did too. Yesterday's feast supplied a lot of calories that had to be used up, and today's weather made the choices pretty easy. I started out with a couple of hours of leaf removal. Since I couldn't find the rake I was reduced to using the leaf blower. Who invented these things, anyway? They are useless for anything more than a few leaves, for an acre of 3 inch deep leaves, all they are is too much work. On top of that you come away covered with a thin film of foul smelling two stroke oil. Eventually the rake was uncovered (it was propped up against a tree and had fallen over, I had nothing to do with that - honest). I moved more leaves with the rake and a plastic tarp in 15 minutes than I had in the previous hour and a half with the blower.

Once I got bored with the yard work I took off on a bike ride. It's the end of November and the temp was in the mid 60's, so I had to. I got in 36 miles and averaged 16.7. Maybe my fitness can come back. Tomorrow and Sunday are suppose to have highs of 48 with rain, but I am planning on riding, anyway. And there are still plenty of leaves, so I have something else to do, too.

Oh, I washed the bike today. That makes two times in 2,955 miles It needed it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vacation Day

Finally took my first vacation day of 2008. This will make for a nice long weekend. Five days away from, well, stuff. It's another one of those typical North Carolina fall days - bright sunshine, and the temp right now at 3:00 is 52. Not bad. I went for my ride at 11:00, it's an early release day from school, and I wanted to be finished before the High School kids hit the roads. Narrow two lane county roads with no shoulder, 16 and 17 year old drivers and bicycles may not be a good traffic mix. I know, because I've been out on early release days before, and it can be scary. I got in 33 miles and got home right at 1:00, right when the schools were letting out, so it worked out perfectly.

Last night I rode the trainer for 10 miles, too. I did a mixture of things I remember from the Spinerval DVD, some one leg workouts and some high intensity intervals (not very many). If I could figure out how to put the DVD on my Mp3 player I wouldn't have to rely on my memory, but then, listening to music is nice too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Deer

The only excitement on today's ride was supplied by a pair of deer that decided to cross the road just as I arrived where they were, which happened to be at the spot I almost always hit my maximum speed on every ride. Today that was 33.4. I had to brake pretty hard but it wasn't that hard to avoid them. It was a little bit of a surprise to see them out moving around in the middle of the day.

Temperature was 45 at the start and 49 when I finished my 36.31 miles. I'm a little slow, only averaging 16.3. I think I lost a lot of fitness by not riding in September, plus I'm being careful not to push too hard until I'm sure the breathing problems are under control.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The hottest part of the day

That's when I went for my ride. That would have been when the mercury hit 43. Since that was about 2:30, and the sun was already starting it's descent, the temperature sort of went the same way while I was riding. Still, I managed to stay mostly warm, maybe borderline too warm, since my two inner jerseys were somewhat damp when I finished. I even went for the ear warmers today. The only things that got cold were my toes. Kinda numb by the end of my ride. Managed 27.66 miles @16.4. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the lower 50's with no wind. Should be good.

To the guy who pulled out of Quik Chek as I passed, went 25 feet to the next cross street and turned right while I was still along side, be thankful I switched asthma meds yesterday from the one with "aggression" as a side effect (that's the reason for the change, 'cause, it works. Hope this other one does). You only got a yell as I braked to save myself, and not chased down. I'm glad I was taking it easy and only going about 16, usually I'm about 21 or 22 through there. I'd not have missed the car at that speed.

F1 driver Mark Webber hit by car while riding...

Here

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To The Dark Side

Ok, I wanted to ride. What was I supposed to do? It's too dark by the time I get out of work, so I really don't have a choice. I pulled out the torture - I mean TRAINER machine. I didn't go see coach Troy for Spinervals, because the TV is gone from my bedroom, it's someplace else, and will never be mentioned again because, well, I'll get in trouble if I say anything about it. The ride wasn't that bad, but if I didn't have the ceiling fan right over me, it might have been. I spent about 45 minutes on it, went about 12 miles, and felt pretty good. Compared to riding on the road, though, it sucked. I dialed up The Killers "Sam's Town" on my mp3 player and spun away.

As far as work goes, who knows. I've managed to avoid going to High Point for over a month now and I don't seem to be missed. Saves on gas, anyway. I have a reason for not going.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Take It Easy

Today's theme. Take it easy. See how it goes. So, alternating The Eagle's version with Jackson Browne's in my head to remind me, I did just that. Starting out was a little rough, but it got better. I even went so far as to force myself to use the small chain ring (gasp) in places that I NEVER use it, but it made a difference. I managed to keep my average heart rate to 146 - low, for me. My intent was to just go for a short ride, but I ended up going 33.5 miles and averaged 16.1. I was pleasantly surprised, after last week's short ride.

The picture shows what kind of day it was. About 47 degrees with a 10 to 20 mph wind. I got out the full finger gloves for the first time.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Industrial Disease (Money for Nuthin')

Not riding much gives me time to think about other things. Too much time. Like most people I am a little concerned with the economy and what our transforming government is doing about it. I was thinking, though, about the auto industry and their claimed "dire straits". They want 25 BILLION dollars. WELL, at an average of $25,000 each, that's one million cars. Why not just buy those cars and keep the auto workers working? Give the cars away, or raffle them off, whatever. Might be a better plan than just handing over the taxpayers money to failed CEO's and bean counters. Whatever people may say about the U.S. auto industry, they do have some pretty decent cars - not great, but good.

Just a thought...

I hope I get to ride tomorrow so I don't have so much to think about. Weather is supposed to be nice. Cool, but nice. My bike looks unhappy hanging in the shed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fathead

I saw an ad on TV about these gigantic sports posters you can stick on your wall. They said to check it out - they had one for YOUR sport. I listened. I checked. They lied. Not a bicycle to be found. Not that I'd buy one if they did, although, I looked, so, who knows.

It was fathead.com if ya wanna look.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Don't Know

Well, I did get out today. It was a pretty nice day, around 70 with a 10 to 15 mph wind, partly cloudy. Great, except my body didn't cooperate. I actually ended up calling CJ to come get me after about 8 miles. Pathetic. My breathing wouldn't cooperate, I started my ride on a different route that has a long climb right at the start (it ALSO has a short steep descent on which I hit 40 mph - cool). I got out of breath on the climb and never recovered. It just hurt so much to breathe. I seem to do better with about an hour of moderate riding before tackling anything hard. When I stopped at 8 miles and used my Albuterol inhaler, it was too late. Sucks.

I have a Dr. appointment on Monday - maybe we can figure this out.

I WILL TRY AGAIN TOMORROW! I WANNA RIDE!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Another Perfect Day

About 80, sunny, no wind, a perfect day, and I was stuck at work. No ride. I should have taken the afternoon off. Tomorrow.....

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Perfect Days

November 1 and 2. I don't think days come any nicer than these two, this year. Saturday was perfect, about 70 degrees, no humidity to speak of, no wind, not a cloud in the sky. I rode 40 miles at 17.2, and, really, didn't want to stop, but with the loss of fitness since taking the month of September off, it was about all my legs wanted. Sunday was exactly the same, weather wise, except for a little bit of wind. 30 miles at 16.8, and I felt pretty good. With the time change now, there isn't any hope of riding after work anymore, not that I'd been doing it, but I'd been thinking about it. I've been looking at the trainer and thinking I need to maybe set it up. But it's no fun....

Saturday I noticed the long line of early voters at the Liberty Twon Hall. With all this early voting going on I an hoping that there won't be any lines come Tuesday, when I vote. I doubt if I'll be that lucky, though.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday's Ride, Brought To You By

Saturday was a day fit more for ducks than bikes. I had never seen these ducks on my ride before, so they must have thought the same thing. All Friday night and Saturday morning, it rained, but the forecast for Saturday afternoon was "partly cloudy", and , sure enough, around noon it stopped raining and the sky brightened. I changed and got ready for my ride, and as I was about to leave, CJ pointed out that it looked like it was raining, again. She was right, of course it was. Every one's advice was to wait a while and go for a ride later. Since this was good advice from people smarter than me, I did what I always do - I ignored it (that explains a lot about where I am, now). I think it was the most rain and wettest roads I had ever ridden in (on). At least it was about 70 degrees and almost no wind. Aside from getting really wet, it was a nice ride. About an hour in. it stopped raining and the r0ad dried out a bit, and a tiny patch of blue sky appeared for a moment, so partly cloudy, it was. I got in 36 miles @ 17.2, so it was a good ride.

Today was a perfect day. About 65 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and light winds. My shoes were still soaked from yesterday, but still, they were comfortable. I got in 30 miles @ 16.7. I still have about 550 miles to reach my goal of 4000 for the year. Not impossible.

Before I left for my ride I did a little maintenance on my bike, lubed the chain, adjusted the headset, which came from the factory much too tight, bit I have been to lazy to do anything about it, and adjusted the shifting. The headset actually made a big difference. It improved the handling tremendously and made it more relaxing to ride. Shifting was improved too. Maybe I should check this stuff more often? My bike is filthy from the ride in the rain, so i suppose I'll have to wash it. That'll make twice. That's two more times this year than my motorcycle, and once more than the cars. I'll get to it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Endorphinated

It seems that I am a much happier person when I get to ride. Even though I still have some annoying breathing problems when I ride, My mood after is so much better. Must be that endorphin thing.

Both Saturday and Sunday were long sleeve jersey and tights days. It turned cool in a hurry. Thursday was 85. Saturday was 57, and today it was only 52 when I left for my ride. On top of that, the wind was bout 20 mph. You have to work so hard to go so slow battling headwinds like that. I almost stopped after the first 45 minutes on Saturday because I didn't seem to be breathing very well, and it sort of hurt to breathe, but I kept going, and it got better. Not great, but better. I ended up with 33 miles at 16.5. Today was better than yesterday, and I went 30 miles at 16.4.

Maybe I can get a couple of after work rides in this week. The days are getting shorter, so there won't be many more chances.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday

Saturday turned out to be a nice day for a ride, although the wind was 15 to 20 mph. I got in 33 miles. About halfway through I heard an airplane that didn't really sound like anything I'd ever heard before. I finally looked up, and saw it was a B1 bomber - I'd never seen one, either. I was surprised how HUGE it was. I stopped and got out my camera, and even managed to take a couple of pictures, but it was too far away to show anything but a little black smudge. I suspect it was headed to Lowe's Motor Speedway for a flyover before the race.



The leaves are beginning to change, but so far most of them seem to be just varying hues of brown, except for the pretty reddish leaves of whatever this tree is. I think it stood out for me because of the rusted roof on the shed behind it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Still Here

Ok, so, I haven't been posting much - well, anything, for awhile. Truth is, I haven't been riding, either. I rode once in September, and now, tonight, once so far in October. Been struggling with some sort of breathing problems and experimenting with asthma medicines so I haven't really felt like riding. Tonight wasn't too bad - 20 miles at 16.8, and I felt pretty good. Maybe I'll try again on Thursday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm sorry, but....

What a response! Thursday I was riding through town, nice straight section of road, great visibility, speed limit 35, and I was going about 22 when this black Nissan Altima went by me going about 50, not more than one inch from me. I wasn't happy, and i noticed that the driver made a turn on the next side street up ahead. I followed, figuring there wasn't much chance of actually catching him. I was wrong. He stopped at the elementary school to let out his kid for football practice. I'm pretty observant - the kid had a Liberty Elementary School uniform on so I figured it out. After the kid had waddled off to practice I asked the driver what he was thinking when he nearly hit me. His response - "I'm sorry, there was a car coming the other way. What was I supposed to do?" I mentioned that perhaps he might want to stay behind me until it was safe to pass. He didn't agree, so I left it at that and rode off. I wish I'd thought of taking a picture of his license plate so I could post it. Next time.

He must have saved all of 15 seconds by nearly hitting me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Breaking Away

I'm still here - still riding, just not having a lot to say. I'll update the mileage counter over there soon, it's over 3,000, now. I only rode 3 times between July 17 and August 10, though. Had some trouble with asthma and the medicine I was using for it. It's just no fun riding when you can't breath properly. I switched medicines, and it seems a little better now.

Anyway, last weekend I was flipping through the channels and came across Breaking Away on Fox Movie Channel. It was just starting. I told CJ it was on, and she said what's that. I explained that it was a movie about bicycling from 1979, and didn't she remember it? I mean we actually went to the movies and saw it when it came out. But no, she didn't. Angelmonkey came out of her room and watched it for a few minutes, laughed at me, or it, or both, and disappeared back into her room. So I watched it by myself, but at least FMC showed it uncut and without commercials. I still thought it was a pretty good movie. Hard to believe it's 29 years old. I think it was after I saw that movie I went out and bought my Ross 10 speed and started riding a little.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Traffic Stop

It seems that even though the roads I ride are almost empty of cars these days, more of the ones that are out there leave less space when they pass me. Today was no exception, I probably had five cars pass within six inches. One of them, a brown van, passed and, since the windows were down, I mentioned to the passenger that they were a little close. No response, but the next vehicle to go by, less than a car length behind the van, was a Liberty police cruiser. About a quarter mile further I saw the blue lights come on and the van pull over. Since I didn't see the van driver do anything other than get too close to me, I can only hope that was why he was stopped. So many more people are turning to bikes to get around town now because no one can afford gas, maybe there will be a little more effort to keep us all safe.

I know bicycle sales are up, so are motorcycles. I had to get the Yamaha inspected Saturday, and while I was at the (Honda) dealer I asked about their sales. It seems they're great, except they've sold out of everything new and won't be getting any more until October.

Only got in a short ride today - 33 miles @17 mph. I now have 2001 miles on the no longer new bike. No complaints.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Fourth

OK - that was yesterday, but...
Being Independence Day and not wanting to spend any money on gas, we elected to stay home, do a traditional southern barbecue, and, basically do nothing. In the spirit of the day, I purchased some Samuel Adams Boston Lager - as the guy who founded the brewery says on Modern Marvels on the History Channel, the founding fathers weren't drinking tea in the pubs in Boston when they were plotting against the king. Anyway, it's great beer. Tastes nothing like Miller or Bud. Good thing, for the price. We had big thunderstorms blow through, so nature provided the fireworks.

UPS finally found my package from Pearl Izumi. Turns out they delivered it to the house next door, and it was still on the front porch when they went looking for it - a full week after I called to tell them I didn't have it. I'm glad I got the stuff, it is nice, (I've always liked argyle - glad it's made a comeback) but come on, I had to wait a week to find out it was sitting 100 feet away? Not much sense of urgency or worries about customer satisfaction from UPS.

I watched the first stage of the TDF this morning - pretty good stage, and I see we can get live streaming video from Versus before they go on the air - cool.

Got in 54 and a half miles today - 17.6 mph, so the week was 165 miles. With the 2740.99 miles I've logged so far this year it seems like that goal of 4000 may have been too low.

Friday, June 27, 2008

More Bikes

Over the past couple of weeks I've noticed a lot more bikes around Liberty. A lot of them look like antiques that have been put back in use after years of languishing in a shed or garage. Gas prices are having an effect on how people get around. Too many of these riders are either riding on the sidewalk or the wrong side of the road. Part of me wants to say something to them, but I don't. I don't think it would do any good, and maybe they'll figure it out if they become more comfortable.

Yesterday after work it was 97 degrees and the air quality was orange, so I went for a 30 mile ride. Didn't seem too bad to me.

I saw Pearl Izumi's new argyle shorts last week so I ordered a pair along with the socks and a black argyle jersey (already had the white one). UPS said they delivered the package today at 9:15. Not to my house, they didn't. CJ and both kids were home at that time, too, so we would have known. UPS is putting a trace on the package, hope they find it, but I wanted to wear the stuff this weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still Flat

Since Monday wasn't a ride day I took the flat tire off, found the hole in the tube and patched it. I looked at the hole in the tire and it didn't look too bad, so I remounted everything and inflated the tire and looked at it again. This time a little piece of glass was protruding from the little cut in the tire. I pried it out and put the wheel back on the bike, thinking all was well. I shouldn't think.

Tuesday I went for my ride. I noticed about halfway through that the back felt like the tire was soft. That couldn't be, so I didn't bother to check it, just kept going. Towards the end of the ride I seemed to be using more energy than normal, but I ended up with 35 miles with an average of 17.5. Not too bad. When I got off I felt the rear tire. It was soft. About 40 psi. Still leaking. I took the tire off, and sure enough, that little piece of glass had put a tiny puncture in the tube. I also noticed a spot on the tire sidewall where all the cords had been cut through, probably from hitting something with the tire soft, so the tire was scrap too. But... my door prize from the first Tour De Lions in '05 had been a Vittoria folding race tire - size 25-622. Didn't fit the old bike, but it sure fits the new one. I'm glad I kept it.

I had to work in High Point today, so on the way back to Liberty I stopped off at Performance bike and picked up a little patch kit and an Innovations Second Wind CO2/hand pump to put in my seat bag. Now I won't have to call CJ to come get me if I get a flat.

Monday, June 23, 2008

NC State Games

We went to the bike races, and I took my bike along, just in case - although my mind was pretty well made up to do it.
These are the CAT 1,2, & 3's

Into the first turn.
Novices (me too)
The start of the novice group. There were only four of us. Right before the start the rider second from the right rode over a piece of glass and flatted his rear tire. He managed to get it fixed in time. I had been warming up in the same area and figured I was lucky not to have the same thing happen. When we got to the first turn and the back of the bike tried to slide out from under me I knew I had not been so lucky. My tire wasn't flat, but it was well on it's way. I finished the first lap, pulled into the pits, grabbed a tire pump and re inflated the tire. I spun it, and found the hole by feeling the air escaping. The referee said it was a long way to go to do just one lap, but I was thinking that the tire had to have been leaking for several minutes before the start, it had gotten me around once, so why not try another lap? I mean, maybe I'd have to stop at the end of each lap and pump it up, but I could at least try. So, off I went. That lap the tire felt pretty good, so I kept going. I didn't want to get lapped, if at all possible. The next lap the bike started feeling a little unstable through the corners, but not too bad, so I kept going for the last lap. The tire was really low, and I had to be slow through the corners, but I made it to the end, and almost caught the next rider. Anyway, I finished. I don't think there was 15 psi left in the tire at the end. I want to do it again, with air in my tires.


OK, I was the only one in my age group, so I "won" a medal. I'm not sure how I feel about that - I only beat the people that didn't show up. Next time, though....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Race

The only bike races I've ever seen have been on TV, and I've never even seen a criterium, but Sunday there is one in Greensboro - the NC State Games. I've been thinking about it. Do I race or not? I almost think maybe I should just go and watch, but then, I think, if I'm going to be there, why not enter? I have raced cars, so I do have some idea what is involved, and it's a 20 minute race with other novices, so....

I've got another day to make up my mind, but a race might be fun.
Any advice?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Temperature Thing

I don't understand this temperature thing. The ride Sunday morning was awful. Last night I got out at about 5:50. The thermometer in town said 100, and the one in the car on the way home said 101. You would think it was pretty hot, but the ride was nice. I mean, there was a lot of sweat, and about 70 ounces of liquid got consumed, but it did not feel too hot at all. I definitely have to rethink the early morning, beat the heat weekend rides. It was almost 8:00 by the time I got home after another 33.16 miles. It is nice to have it light so late.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Numbers

122 - The number of dollars I spent on gas Friday (filled the motorcycle and Taurus) and Saturday (filled the Camry). I can't afford this. Friday I had to make the 35 mile trek to the High Point office just to get my paycheck since they "forgot" to send it over to Liberty. I took the motorcycle, so it only cost me about six bucks.

Big number - use your imagination - amount spent on groceries Saturday morning at Sam's club. I don't want to put it in writing, that will make it too real. Wow, have prices gone up.

101 - I didn't bother with the picture of the thermometer. It said 101 when I rode Saturday evening. It dropped to 96 by the end of my ride. Hot.

33.26 - miles ridden Saturday.

86 - Temperature Sunday morning at the start of my ride. At 7:50. I thought I'd get out early and beat the heat. Even though the temperature was lower, it felt much hotter. I don't know if it was the humidity or the intensity of the sun as it came up, but it took everything out of me. I need to get used to this heat!

29.83 - Sunday's miles, 17.4 mph. I cut the ride short.

One thing both CJ and I noticed Saturday morning on our trip to Sam's club was the lack of traffic on the interstate in Greensboro. It's usually very heavy on Saturday morning, and Sam's Club is always packed. Sam's club was almost deserted. It looks like no one can afford anything except gas.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Warming Up

I think summer is here. This was during Thursday's ride at 5:50 in the evening on my first trip through Liberty. My second time through, 24 miles later, it had dropped to 96. I finished up with 27.5 @17.1. It really doesn't feel that hot as long as I keep moving.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Indecisive

I can be a little indecisive, but so can the weather. Yesterday there was a 50% chance of thunderstorms, some severe, and sure enough, around 4:30 they started popping up all around, along with the warnings. I looked at the weather map and figured riding was out. It was spitting a little rain on the ride home, so that seemed to seal it. But... a few minutes after getting home the sky started to lighten, so, on with the TV to check out the local weather. The storms had all dissipated and the weather guy was saying it looked like we might see a few showers, but that was it. So I changed my mind and went for a ride. I didn't get started until 6, but I got in 20 miles at 17.5. I also got rained on while the sun was shining on me - that's pretty indecisive too, I guess. I hope I can get back on my schedule of Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday now.


I found this on my ride. Now I can take a break and watch the traffic roll by.

Ok,

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sunday

Sunday's ride - same temp and same humidity as Saturday's, but less wind, plus it was a bit longer at 49.45 miles (why didn't I go that other .55 and get 50?). Looks like summer has arrived.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

5 MM

Since the 5mm adjustment of my cleats worked out so well, I thought I'd try some other adjustments. I started with my seat height. I raised the seat that 5 little millimeters. It didn't feel too high, and my knees were still slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke. I rode 33 miles, and the results of that adjustment was a lot of lower back pain and the saddle exerting pressure in places I don't want more pressure. This was all last Thursday, by the way. Before yesterdays ride I lowered the seat that 5mm and then rode 36 miles. No back pain, no pressure. I think I'm through adjusting.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sun, Sweat, and Wind.

Today started out dark and cloudy with a chance of scattered thunderstorms - some possibly severe. Not wanting to be caught in any storms, I decided not to ride. I worked a little in the garden, then went to Lowes to pick up some more garden stuff, then Walmart to do a little grocery shopping. It was around noon when I got back home, the sun was out and the sky just about void of clouds. I changed my mind about riding. It was also 91°, according to the bank thermometer in town, and 80% humidity, according to Weather.com. The wind speed was - well, I didn't look, but it was strong. On a hill that I normally hit 31 mph, the best I could do was 19. Definitely the hottest day so far, but a good ride. There really aren't many cars on the roads now.

It's just the end of May and I'm more than halfway to my goal of 4000 miles.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Don't Pay Taxes?

I went to Greensboro today to get my allergy shot. Since it's such a beautiful day and gas costs so much (well, that's just a bonus) I rode the motorcycle. The nurse that gave me my shot asked me what kind of bike I had. I told her it was an old '83 Yamaha. Then she said she had heard something about there being a ride your bike to work day. I gave her a brief explanation of of national bike month, told her ride our bike to work day had been a couple of weeks ago. She then said the "weather guy" had told people that bikes (bicycles) had the same rights as cars and to give them room when you passed them.

"I'll do that for motorcycles," she said, " not a bicycle. They don't pay taxes or have to get license plates." Pretty common theme. Of course, bicycles don't do the damage to the road (or environment) that larger vehicles do. Plus, most people have a car too and are paying taxes. Me? I have two cars and a motorcycle. If I choose to ride my bike and leae them parked, well, I have paid the taxes for the road use, haven't I?

I didn't say anything to her, though, she DID have a needle she was going to stick me with.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Adjustments

It's amazing how much tiny adjustments can make such big differences.

Since getting my new bike I have had some pain running along the outside of my right knee. It was always pretty minor, so I didn't think about it very much. Until last Saturday. By the end of the 75 mile ride the pain wasn't minor, although it wasn't excruciating, either. It wasn't any better on Sunday, in fact, it was probably a little worse, and that, combined with the weather (more rain and thunderstorms) convinced me not to ride. I started doing the RICE thing and taking plenty of Advil. I figured I'd ride Tuesday, but the weather intervened again, this time with severe storms, complete with hail (which didn't do much for the 45 tomato plants I stuck in the ground Monday night). I went Wednesday, 33 miles, and there was some pain, but not too bad. I rode again on Friday, the same 33 miles, with about the same level of pain.

Saturday morning I decided to move the cleats on my shoes to see if it made any difference. I pushed them forward about 3/16 of an inch (that is a little less than 5mm for you metric people out there). I rode 41 miles, and NO PAIN. Not only that, but since getting the bike I have consistently had trouble locking my left foot into the pedal. With that small change that problem went away too. Who'd a thought.... not me, anyway.

It looks like a beautiful day today, but I don't think I'll ride. Got to watch the Monaco Formula One race, Indy, sleep through some of the NASCAR race from Charlotte this evening, and of course check out Versus week late coverage of the Giro.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Finished.

Some of the 383 participants before the start.
I don't think you could have asked for a better day for a ride. Temperature starting in the mid 50's and rising to about 70 by the end, low humidity, air quality in the green, and not a cloud in they sky. The organizers told me that they were a little worried that 500 people might show up because the weather was so nice. They didn't get that, but it was still a record turn out by about 20 riders.
I started about in the middle of the group and started moving up. After maybe 10 miles, and passing what seemed like 70 or 80 riders, I had made it into a group of 10 or so that was going at a comfortable pace. Then, my chain came off. When I stopped to put it back on, everyone passed me again. I never made it back into a group, so I spent the rest of the ride by myself - I caught and passed a lot of other riders, but never found anyone going close to what I wanted to go.
At about mile 57 there was a point where, if you were on the 75 mile ride you could turn onto the end of the 40 mile loop and finish with a 60 mile ride instead. I felt OK, so I continued with the 75 miles. As I was deciding that, I somehow managed to turn my left foot so one of the rear wheel spokes caught the back of my shoe. Of course, this locked the rear wheel, and I slid to a stop. It also bent the spoke. I spun the wheel, and, sure enough, it was now out of true and rubbing the brake. Bending the spoke back a little gave the wheel enough clearance to stop rubbing, and off I went.
About 5 miles later I was starting to struggle. It didn't help that this last 17 miles included hills steeper than anything I had ridden in the past 4 years, and it was all into a headwind. It was really hard to keep going, and I figured I'd really screwed up my pace and didn't have enough left to finish. I did make it, though, although the last 10 miles were all in the small chainring. Total miles: 76.82 @ 16.7. My average up to when I bent the wheel was 17.7.
When I got home I discovered that the rear wheel had actually deformed even more and was making hard contact with the brake in two places. I wish had known that on the ride! That is probably the reason those last 17 miles were so tough to complete.
My legs are beat today, but I did enjoy the ride. Now, I have to go true my wheel.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Goal

Well, it didn't really matter if the last ride fulfilled the 18 mph goal; Tuesday's did. 33.17 miles @ 18.0, and it was on one of my harder routes. So, now I have to set a new one. Tuesday's ride even met the ride to work criteria, as I stopped off at CK and checked on a job that was running.

Tomorrow is the 75 mile ride. I think I'm ready, although Tuesdays ride was the only one since last Saturday. The weathers been uncooperative. I guess as a rest week, this qualifies pretty well. It's supposed to be 78° and sunny tomorrow, although it's going to start out around 50° so I'll probably freeze at the start.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Does It Count?


One of my "why not, might as well try" goals for the year was to ride 30 miles and average 18 mph. Well, yesterday. at 36 miles I had exactly an 18 mph average. But.... I was 2 miles from the end of my ride. Those last 2 miles were mostly uphill into a 15 mph headwind, so the ride ended with a 17.8 average. That's what gets recorded into the training log. Does it count as an accomplished goal, anyway? Does it matter? Maybe the goal gets changed now to get one of that distance - or longer that I can record.


Next Saturday is the Tour De Lions 75 mile ride. I think I'm ready, I rode 65 miles on the 3rd and felt pretty good after. I skipped last Thursday's ride because of the impending storms, we ended up in the path of a Doppler indicated tornado, but the storm fell apart before it got to Liberty. Greensboro wasn't so lucky. We've been under another tornado watch most of today, so I didn't go out- the storms pop up so fast. I did drive into town this morning, it was raining and the wind was probably 25 mph, and I saw a group of about 15 cyclists battling it to get a ride in. I almost felt a little guilty - almost.


I watched the Giro on Versus today - now I have to wait until next Sunday to see what happens this week. Too bad about Dave Zabriskie, hope for a quick recovery. His loss will hurt Slipstream a lot.
Hope everyone had a great Mother's Day.

Friday, April 25, 2008

To ride or not to...

Twice a year one of the biggest antique festivals on the east coast takes place right here in Liberty. The spring version is today and tomorrow. It has expanded so much that there are mini festivals and flea markets all along the surrounding roads and almost everyone has a yard sale (except me - I threaten to , but I'm too lazy to drag the stuff out of the house). This leads to much traffic with not much attention being paid to anything on the road. Even last night when I went for my ride the traffic was heavy - mostly with incoming vendors, I guess, and they sure were not shy about seeing how close they could get to someone on a bike. I may skip tomorrow - I hate to miss a Saturday, but it's not the kind of traffic I feel comfortable playing in.

I had to work in High Point again yesterday, this time doing more fun IT stuff instead of just running cable. I didn't get out for my ride until almost 6:30. It was about 78 degrees with no wind, the most perfect conditions yet this year. I got in 20 miles at 18 mph. Oh, Tuesday's ride was 27.5 @ 17.3, and I got rained on again, but Wednesday I WASHED MY BIKE - that is a first, for any bike I've ever owned.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Different Stuff

For those of us that believe that real race cars don't have FENDERS, the past month has been one good thing after another. First, the two competing U.S. open wheel series finally unite. Then they make headlines when Graham Rahal becomes the youngest driver to win a major open wheel race in the U.S., in his very first start, followed, of course, by Danica Patrick becoming the first woman to win a major open wheel race - anywhere. I hope they get some mileage out of this and open wheel racing can become relevant again. You can't by positive publicity like this.

Now, if only there were some decent bike racing coverage...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

3 Quarts Low

Being a good bike trainee, I consistently weigh myself before and after each ride to see how the hydration thing is going. I think I stared it because in the summer a lot of my rides are in the evening with temps above 90, and high humidity. Today's ride started with the temp at 57, and ended at 77. Not exactly hot. I rode 60.79 miles and averaged 17.3, and when I got home, I found I'd lost 4 pounds - that's 2 quarts. During the ride I drank 40 ounces of Gatorade, and 20 ounces of water. Not enough. I mowed the lawn after the ride (push mower), and decided to weigh myself after that, and discovered I was down another 2 pounds.

That 60 mile ride was the longest I've been on since the beginning of September, 2006. Since I'm hoping to do the 75 mile ride on May 19, I need to get the miles up. I am not sure I could have done another 15 today. I've still got some time to get better, though. Tomorrow, though will just be an easy 30 or 40 miles.

The jury is no longer out on the seat that came on the new bike. It's not great, but its light years better than the one I was using on the other bike.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

4.5 Short.

A perfect day for an after work ride. 76 degrees, sunshine, and almost no wind. I had to work in High Point today(at least I got to take the motorcycle), so I didn't get out until exactly 6:00, which is about 40 minutes later than if I work in Liberty. That was too bad, since one of my goals for the year is to do 30 miles at an average of 18 mph. Tonight's ride ended up being 25.5 miles with an average of 18.2. If I'd gone for the last 4.5 miles it would have been getting dark by the time I got home, so I stopped. Maybe next time. It's fun to go fast.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Petal Storm

One of the cool spring events here is when the wind comes along and blows all these pink petals off the trees. When you look out the window and see them blowing by it looks just like a snow storm. Here is a little petal drift.

Overtraining?

Finally, over the past week or so I've been able to ride a few times without getting rained on. Now I'm going to have to wash the bike - something I never did on the other one. Not sure I know how....

I sent my $20 in for the Tour De Lions ride, now I have to convince myself I can do the 75 mile loop. The furthest I've ridden so far this year is 52 miles, so I have a ways to go, but the ride is four weeks away.

Last night was supposed to be for intervals. The plan was for four at 5 minutes each with 3 minutes rest in between. I found that my heart rate wasn't responding very well, and my breathing was labored. I pushed through the first one, and on the second, it was even worse, so finished it and then just did a low intensity ride. Everything I've read seems to say that a low heart rate is a sign of over training, so I guess it'll be easy rides for the rest of the week. Still, I managed 33 miles @ 17.3 mph.

Yesterday a water main broke in front of C-K and 300,000 gallons (according to the city) of water flowed through our building. Quite a mess. Everything in the downstairs office is soaked, once again, so I'm sure the mold problems down there will only get worse.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dodging Raindrops -

Last year I didn't ride in the rain. Not one single time. The fact that it didn't rain for most of the year had a lot to do with that, but I doubt that I've ever ridden more than a couple times in the wet stuff anyway. Now that I have a new bike, it seems I have to choose between riding in the rain or riding inside. Today, the rain won again. Originally thunderstorms were predicted, but they were gone from the forecast this morning, and it was about 65 degrees, so there was no danger of the frozen feet and toes of last Sunday's ride. I did two loops with the steepest climbs I've found around here for 44 miles at 17.1 mph.

After last years drought it's kind of nice to see that all the creeks have overflowed their banks. Hope the water table recovers. I think we were down something like 40 inches of rain last year.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tuesday

According to the Weather Channel Tuesday was going to be the fourth consecutive day of rain, with the added bonus of thunder and lightening thrown in. I was resigned to setting up the trainer and riding inside - rain is ok- lightening I try to avoid. Around four 0'clock I noticed the sky was starting to brighten up, and by the time I left work at five, it was mostly blue with a few clouds. No trainer for me! By the time I got home, got changed and got the bike out, the temp was up to 75 and all the clouds were gone from the sky. So much for the thunderstorms. It was kind of breezy, but beautiful.

I decided it was time to start my weekly intervals. I managed 4 at four minutes each with three minutes in between. All of them with my heart rate between 169 and 174. They weren't much of a problem. What I can't figure out is why the 90 second ones on the Spinerval dvd seem so much harder, even though the intensity is the same. Is it simply because I'm on the road, going someplace?

This was the first ride I pushed the new bike. I love this bike. It feels right.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

One Down - Three to Go

The first 1,000 miles is in the book. That's a pretty good start on the goal of 4,000 for the year. The best mileage at the end of March in any other year was 496.

I didn't get to ride much last week, just Sunday and Tuesday. I usually ride on Thursdays, and even though it was 80 degrees and perfect, for some reason I didn't. Friday is go to Salisbury and get angelmonkey, so that was out. Yesterday I had to work for a while, then went and spent all my money at Sam's Club. Even though there was enough time when I got home, it was only 42 degrees and raining, I opted out. Too lazy to set up the trainer too. So, today, it's 41 degrees and just spitting a little rain, I need to put some more miles on the new bike, and I decide I have to go. CJ points out I could ride inside, but I want to ride on the road. Off I go, and it's not bad until about 19 miles have rolled by. It starts to really rain. It has sleet mixed in. Sleet stings, I find out. It does not take long to soak all my clothing, and I am no longer glad I passed on buying neoprene booties because I will never, no NEVER, ride in a cold rain. Having once known the pleasure of hypothermia, and not wanting to experience it again, I head for home. By the time I get there, 5 miles later, I can't feel my fingers or toes anymore. Still, I enjoyed the ride, and the rain. I just wish it had been warmer. Booties and rain gear that will fit in a jersey pocket need to go on my wish list.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Yesterday's Pic

I posted this yesterday, but forgot to post the plaque that's in front of it. A little Baptist history. I'm not one, but it's interesting, all the same.


Rode 47.48 miles today, only 16.1 mph, but the wind was pretty strong. I haven't ridden that far since October 2007, and my legs are complaining. I need to get the mileage up. I am planning on riding the Tour de Lions in May, and they have bumped the long route up to 75 miles. When I did it in '05 and '06 it was 62. I've never gone 75 anywhere.
Can't tell if the new ride is faster or not with all the wind, but it sure is fun to ride.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Veloproject

There was a large group of cyclists riding through Liberty this morning, maybe 20, or so, something you don't see very often. They all stopped at Quik Chek, so I pulled in (I was driving my car) and asked where they were riding from. Turns out they belong to a cycling club in High Point. Here is their web site. They invited me to join, of course, but I have a problem with driving 35 miles to join a group ride. It isn't just the price of gas, which I can't afford, its the whole concept of doing that. It would be nice if there were enough people around here to get a group together.

After I left them I wondered if I should have warned them about Sweet Pea, since they were headed that way. She looks pretty fierce when she runs out to race. I'm sure she was thrilled to see them.

First Impressions

New and Old



Finally. I got a decent ride in on the new bike. I love the shifters, no more reaching for the stem, although I have to admit I still did a few times today. I had heard that aluminium frames can be a little harsh, and having only ever ridden steel, I was a little worried, but with the carbon fork and seat stays the ride is actually softer than the steel bike. That surprised me. Handling surprised me too. I'd describe it as twitchy, except I know it's me and not the bike, it's responsive. I like that, need to get used to it, though. For some reason I found I was pedaling about 10 rpm higher most of the time, and I don't really understand that. Both bikes have 11-25 cogs (the old one has a 34 thrown in too, which can be nice). The new one is spread over 10, the old one over 6 (34 is the seventh). I'll figure it out. The saddle is different, and I need to give it some time to see how it works out. It may be better than the one on the other bike (a Specialized Alias), though. They both seem to put pressure in places I don't like, although the new one is better if I slide back far enough on it. Stem might be just a little long, I might try a shorter one later. Just little adjustments to make it perfect. Bikes sure have come a long way in 30 years. So far, I love it.
Now I have had three new bikes in my life. A red Huffy for Christmas in 1962 - and I had to wait until spring to ride it. I recall, that sucked, then a Ross 10 speed that was stolen - probably the best thing that could have happened to me since the blue Fuji replaced it. It was slightly used when I got it.


I did 36 miles at 16.8 mph. I don't really know how that compares because it was a bit windy.


On today's ride - beautiful blue sky.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

3.5

It was windy at 5:00 when I left work, and there were a lot of clouds, but the weather map looked ok, and it wasn't raining so I hurried home hoping to get in a short ride on the new bike. I got changed, took the bike up on the street and calibrated the computer and took off. It started raining. I ended up going 3.5 miles, and would have gone further except it started raining a lot harder, so I gave in. The bike feels good, but it's going to take a bit of tweaking to get it perfect. I put it in the trainer when I got home and adjusted the seat height and position.

Got it

My new bike came in yesterday. By the time I got it home it was almost dark, so I only managed to ride it about a mile. WOW. If the speedometer was anywhere near accurate (and I'll measure the tire to make sure), it is a whole lot faster than "ol' blue". For sure it is more responsive. Can't wait for a longer ride, but... thunderstorms tonight, have to go to Salisbury and get my daughter (angelmonkey)on Thursday so it looks like I have to wait until Friday. I have Friday off. It'll be a long ride.

It may be harder to switch back and forth between bikes than I thought.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ides of March

There was a lot going on today, had to run down to Salisbury this morning to bring the college student home for the weekend, then go into Greensboro so the other child could buy the Xbox he'd been saving for. I didn't get out to ride until 2:30 or so. The same weather system that created all the havoc in Atlanta was coming, so I looked at the weather radar on The Weather Channel website (I can do that now with the high speed internet. It looked clear, so off I went. ABout 16 miles in, it started to thunder. I was riding by the middle school right then, so I rode down to it and got under the entrance way to the building and called CJ to come get me. The rains came while I was waiting. I don't mind riding in the rain and getting wet, but I hate lightning, and there was a lot of it. When we got home, about 20 minutes after I called, we were under a severe thunderstorm warning. Glad I had a place to stop and wait.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Speaking of commuting...

I found this at the News and Record. Here is the commute challenge page refferred to in the article. I signed up. Maybe I'll win a prize! Yah!

Commute

Well, I finally did it. I rode to work this afternoon, three mile to and three miles from. I changed my riding style a bit for the ride. If I ride in my usual "go as fast as I can for as long as I can" style I'll be drenched in sweat by the time I get there. So, low cadence, slightly slower speeds, and try not to elevate the heart rate too much. It seemed to work, but it was only about 72 degrees. If I'm still employed there (or anywhere else - looked at the help wanteds lately? Nuthin') in a couple of months even slow won't prevent perspiration. I was practicing this technique on the way home - forcing myself to go slow, when Sweet Pea saw me and wanted to race. I couldn't disappoint her, so I accelerated (up hill into a headwind). She let me win this time.

It looks like I'll have to wait until Monday to get my new bike. I really wanted it for this weekend. Two more days for the old Fuji. It's going to be restored though - it'll make a great grocery getter/commuter. It already has a rack, I'll probably put a basket of some sort on the rack and put the old flat pedals back on it. It's not going to get to retire.

Formula One racing starts this weekend - real racing!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

830 More

830 more people that had jobs about ten miles from here won't any more. Another plant closing. I see all the manufacturing going, but I didn't see chicken processing going as well. I wonder how that's going to effect the people who raise the chickens.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Flats


I came home from work last night looking forward to my first real evening ride of the year. Plenty of time before the sun set. I got my clothes changed and all my stuff ready, went out to the shed, grabbed the bike, all by about 5:20 and - the front tire's flat! Well, at least it's the front, I don't need any wrenches to take it off, and I've got a patch kit, so all is not lost. As I work the tire off the rim I look for anything that might have punctured it, but I don't see anything. When I finally get it off, I find the stem has failed. This isn't the first one I've had do this, and I don't know why it happens. Fortunately, I've got a spare tube, too, so I put that in, remount the tire, pump it up and see that I put the tire on going the wrong direction. Let the air out, take the tire off and remount it in the right direction. Finally I get to leave, but it's almost 6:00. Still, I got in 26 miles @ 17.4 mph. It was almost dark when I got home.

Spring is here. This time of year, from now through May is beautiful here in NC. This is the plum tree I planted in the front yard last summer.

The trees lining the street in front of the place I am still working at. The new place in High Point is in an ugly, dirty, old industrial area. I think people will miss this.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Short ride

Some of today's scenery. Nice green grass.

I did 31 miles today, and sort of think of it as a short ride now. I think that means I'm getting in shape. I thought I was dressed warm enough when I left, but I only went about half a mile and had to turn around and go get my ear warmers. The thermometer said it was 48°, but it must have been baked in the sun for a while, or something, I don't usually need ear warmers at 48, or even 45. I had to cut the ride short because I was cooking a pork butt on the grill using a really great barbecue recipe, and had to be home to finish it. Ok, so it isn't in Chris Carmichaels Eat Right to Train Right, but it's good, and, well, it's good.




Saturday, March 08, 2008

MINE!

I don't have it yet, but it's paid for and coming.

Went to Performance this morning and looked at the bikes. The only Roubaix in the 58 cm size was an '07, and there weren't any 61's of anything for me to try. They got it down off the rack, and it felt pretty good just sitting on it in the store. The salesman put some pedals on it and I took it for a spin. It felt really nice, but just a little too short from seat to handle bars. I asked about the Pro model, which was the one I really wanted, anyway. He checked Fuji's inventory and said he could get either the 58 or the 61. I was about to order the 58, but changed my mind and went for the 61, even though I couldn't try one. I figure it can't be too big, and the 58 felt a little cramped. The one I'm riding now is a 64, and feels just a tiny bit too big, so 61 ought to be perfect. I'm 6'2" and Fuji's sizing chart also says the 61 is right for me. It should be in by the end of the week. I can't wait. It's been a long time between bikes, I bought the one I'm riding now sometime around 1980, I think.

We had 30 mph wind today with gust of 50 mph. I set the trainer up in front of the tv and forced myself to do an hour and twelve minutes while watching the NASCAR race. That worked out to 20 miles, but it's hard to stay motivated sitting in one spot. Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be 15 to 25, so I'll probably go play in traffic, which is pretty sparse now with these gas prices.

I want to ride my new bike.

Friday, March 07, 2008

New Bike?

Left work at 11:30 yesterday to take the oldest to the orthodontist for a 12:15 appointment. It was just a 10 minute check up, so after I treated her to a visit to the Performance Bike store just down the street. Ok, she looked a little bored, but she didn't complain - too much. I bought a new pair of Pearl Izumi Gel Lite gloves, two pairs of De Feet socks. Being suddenly fashion conscious, I got a pair of yellow and a pair of red to go with the jerseys of the same colors. Don't ask, I just wanted to. Couldn't find any blue. I also got another Headsweats skull cap (can't stand sweat in my eyes). I noticed they had some Fuji bikes there, so I looked them over. Then I found an '08 Fuji Roubaix, and when I flipped over the price tag I found it was on sale - $400 less than MSRP. At the checkout I asked if they had the larger sizes. The clerk looked it up. They have the 58 cm in stock, but not the 61, but he said he could get it. I think I probably need the 61. I'm going tomorrow to see about getting fitted to be sure, and maybe get a test ride. Maybe I WILL get a new bike after all. I mean, I DO have the money, and CJ's objections are not all that strong.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Partial goal achieved.

I've been working at the place in High Point since Monday hooking up computer equipment and resolving problems my replacement can't be bothered with (read "can't do"). I finished early enough today to make it back to Liberty and then home in time to get an after work road ride in. I did a 13.52 mile loop and managed to average 18.2 mph. That would be my fastest ride ever, my previous best being 17.4. One of my goals for the year is to average 18 mph over one of my 30 plus mile loops, so I'm part way there. Even us old people can improve, from the looks of it.

We had some strong storms come through last night. About 10:00, a half hour after they diminished the power went out and stayed out until 7:30 this morning. For some reason it's harder to sleep with the power gone. Makes no sense.

Time changes next week. Longer after work rides!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pickup and Dog

Another perfect day for riding, another 40 miles. Much less wind and an average speed of 16.9 About halfway through I stopped to take my long sleeve jersey off. While I was doing that I noticed a pickup truck slowly approaching me. I wasn't too concerned, but I was all alone out in the middle of nowhere. When it got to me, it stopped, and the driver asked if I was ok. I said I was, then he said not to worry about his dog, it wouldn't bother me, then drove slowly away. I didn't see a dog at first, but then it appeared, running down the opposite side of the road. It was following the truck. Of course, when it got to me it had to stop and come over and check me out. The pickup driver saw that and blew the horn and the dog took off after the truck again. That's a pretty good way of taking the dog for some exercise. I'd never seen that before.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

March comes in

Ok, 64°, brilliant sunshine, an absolutely beautiful day. It should be a no brainer (which makes things easy for me, the ultimate no brainee) to ride on the road. But....... The wind, 20 to 30 mph. It was ALL of that. I thought about doing the trainer on the deck thing, but ended up convincing myself to ride on the road instead. Man, when that kind of wind is behind you you can really fly! 'Course, when it's in your face, it's not so much fun. Hills I can go down on a windless day at 33 to 34 mph I struggled to do 19 today. Still, though, I went 40 miles, and I wouldn't have done that on the trainer, 30 would have been a struggle. I don't feel very motivated pedaling into the wind, so I don't push too hard. Still, I managed to average 16.4 mph. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same temp, but only a 5 to 10 mph wind. I'll take it.

My heartrate monitor kept stopping today. I'm going to attempt to put new batteries in it and the sending unit tonight. They're about 2 years old, and the wrist unit has been showing a low battery icon for three months. Wish me luck.



Train station in Liberty. I think all my rides go past it.



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Copenhagen Cycle Chic - Bike Advocacy in High Heels: The Retrovelo Balloon Bike

Copenhagen Cycle Chic - Bike Advocacy in High Heels: The Retrovelo Balloon Bike

CJ says this is what I am looking for in a riding partner. How could she think such a thing? I mean, really. Ok, well, maybe.

Oh, Joy

512k DSL!!! Just got it hooked up. WOW. What a difference. We have been struggling with dialup for too long. Ok, so it's a bit pricey, given there isn't any competiton. We have a privately owned phone company, and they won't let anyone else in. We can't get cable out here, either, but man, the internet actually works. There are PICTURES, there is SOUND, by God, there are even VIDEOS!!!!

We even got WI-FI, so the WII and DS can do their things. When the oldest comes home from college on the weekend, her laptop will work. She says now all she needs is a little refrigerator in her room, and she'll be all set.

No ride tonight, gonna surf instead.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In the Evening


I was planning on riding indoors tonight and doing the time trial Spinerval. On the drive home I noticed how high the sun was in the sky and decided I could probably squeeze in a road ride before it got too dark. I was right. I got in 10.44 miles and averaged 17.2 mph(!). It was a little cloudy, so it got dark earlier than usual. That's not a bad thing because this time of year my route always takes me directly into the setting sun. I worry about that a little, since I figure if I can't see, then it's unlikely anyone coming up behind me can see either. So, less time torturing myself on the evil trainer. I still plan on doing the technique Spinerval, though, because those one leg drills seem to help.
I got the Bicycling Magazine buyers guide. There are a lot of nice bikes in there. Many in my price range of $1200 to $1800. I keep leafing through it and wishing I knew how long I have before my job goes away, or I when I might find another one. Not much out there right now. It would be nice to get a new bike.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Commuting

With more daylight hours, weather consistently moderate, and gas prices over $3.00, I ought to ride my bike to work. It's only three miles. I can't in the morning, of course because of taking a child to high school, but I sure can in the afternoon. I came close today, but decided, instead, that I'd save some fuel by taking the motorcycle rather than the car. Motorcyles didn't start, and by that time it was too late to ride the bicycle, so I took the car. Didn't save a thing. Somehow I have to convince myself that riding the bicycle to work is the right thing to do. Maybe tomorrow?

Share the road? - Cycle-Licious

Share the road? - Cycle-Licious

Bikes belong, and it's great to see what others are doing to get the message across.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

$3.09

Price of gas today is $3.09. Has anyone else noticed that whenever gas is over $3.00, the roads are empty of motor vehicles on the weekend? I bet that I didn't see 20 cars on my 40 mile ride today, except right in the center of town. It's kind of nice. Does that just happen here in NC, or is it nation wide?

On the Road Again.

Maybe there is something to this recovery week thing, or maybe it was all those trips up and down the ladder, I don't know, but Saturdays ride felt a lot better. My legs felt great, and my average speed for 40 miles on the road was 17.1. For most of the ride it was 17.5, but I slacked off toward the end.That's the best since September 10, 2006 (that was a 17.2). That 17.2 was shortly after my move into an office space where I experienced a building related illness that caused serious breathing problems, and today marks three weeks since my return to my former office space. There were a lot of 17 plus mph rides before 9/10/06, and I have some hope now that there can be more, since I can breath again. Management doesn't believe it, of course. Doesn't really matter what they think. I am getting faster and riding is more enjoyable.

The last couple of rides I've noticed frogs chirping in all the little ponds and brooks. They aren't big enough to croak yet. It's strange to hear them the second and third weeks of February. I saw buds on the plum and peach trees in the yard too. The day started out about 41 degrees with dense fog, so I postponed my ride until afternoon, when the sun came out. It got up to 67 degrees. Great day for a ride. Oh, Sweet Pea came out to play. I hadn't seen her for a while. She beat me, again, but barely.

This blog isn't going to accept anonymous comments any longer. If someone doesn't think their comment is good enough to put their name on, I sure won't.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Not lazy, exactly -

Haven't been on the bike since my 30 mile ride last Sunday. I got ordered to the new facility to run network cables and phone line for the office staff on Tuesday. You might think that would have been done before they moved there, what, three weeks ago? RIIIIIGHT. It took me until today to get it finished. Since I had to run the cables overhead, about 10 feet off the ground for a distance of more than 100 feet, and I was working alone, the trips up and down the ladder wore me out. You know, climb ladder, pull cable, unclimb ladder, move ladder 6 feet, climb ladder..... seem to use different muscles from cycling for that. Plus I got home a lot later, and just didn't feel like getting the trainer out.

I may put the scoop on the new place on the other, invitation only blog. The place needs some exposure.

The weekend looks like it might be nice. I plan on being out there again.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cyclist at fault

Typical. The bike rider was at fault because his bike was in the path of a car.

A Crawfordville man was badly hurt after he veered in front of a car on Spring Creek Highway in Wakulla County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Clarence Farmer, 59, was taken by helicopter to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. It happened about 4:35 p.m. Saturday. Farmer and a Toyota Yaris driven by Amber Edwards, 23, of Tallahassee, were both northbound on the highway. Farmer was hit after his bike went into the path of the car.Edwards and a passenger were unhurt. The crash is still under investigation.

The article is here . Read some of the comments on the page. The readers think it's the cyclists fault too.

Tradition

CJ saw the picture of the bottle tree and asked me if I knew what it was. If she has to ask, then it must be obvious that I don't. Now I do. The short explaination below was found here . It seems that now it's become a southern garden decoration. I am all for tradition. I keep learning (and forgetting) that things tend never to be what they seem. Now that I understand the bottle tree, I think it's pretty cool. And if it traps a few evil spirits - all the better.


Once a common site in the Southern landscape, the bottle tree is now an increasing rarity as ancient folk beliefs and customs fall from common usage. The origins of the tree go back to the 9th century Congo where hand-blown glass was hung on huts and trees as a talisman against evil. The practice consists of removing the foliage from a tree (preferably a cedar because all the branches point heavenward) and placing the tree in the yard of the house. The bare branches are then covered with colorful glass bottles that attract any evil spirit that may be lurking near the house. The spirit becomes mesmerized by the play of sunlight through the colorful glass and becomes trapped inside the bottle. When the wind blows past them, the moans of ensnared spirits can be heard whistling on the breeze

TOC

What's with tbe Versus tv schedule for the Tour of California? Nothing on until 11:00 pm EST, and then only an hour? I'll have all the info from the 'net long before that, so there's no point in even recording it to watch the next day. No, I can't stay up 'till 11 anymore, not every night, anyway.

Yesterday, they at least had it on at 5:00. I planned on recording it, since I was watching the Daytona 500 (way to go, Penske). I forgot to press the record button, so I didn't even get to see that show. Guess I'll have to wait for the TDF.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Year to Date

My training log for this year. Don't know why I keep track of this stuff, I just do.


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Saturday, February 16, 2008

You don't see this every day


You don't, but I do. Every day. I pass it when I take my son to school, and on most of my rides. There are no words....

You would think that at some point along a 40 mile loop the wind would be at your back. Me too. Wrong. It always felt like a headwind today. Still, though, another 60 plus degree day in February. Can't get much better than that.

Yield to Life

I think most all enthusiast bikers (is that ME??) know who David Zabriskie is. I think all of us, every single one of us, who rides a bike on the road, has been cut off, intimidated, frightened, and harassed by someone in a motor vehicle. Many of us have been hit. I have not, exactly, but I have been touched by a mirror. I have also been run off the road and, one time complained to a corporation whose truck nearly hit me (see this post). I never got a response. We all know when we leave the house that we may not be coming back. We all are aware that our lives are in the hands of strangers. Dave has started this web site, Yield to Life to advocate safer cycling for us all. Thank you, Dave we all support you. I hope it works, but I'm afraid it will only be seen by cyclists. I still believe we need to somehow get a campaign going like the seatbelt and drunk driving public service ads to inundate the public with the message. It has worked for those issues, it would for cycling.

There is a TV ad by an insurance company, I think it's Allstate, that shows people in the road and stresses that is the reality of what traffic is. People, not vehicles.

It's Saturday. I'll be out there. The ride is always the first thing on my "to do " list. Everything else gets squeezed in around it. Got the races at Daytona to watch, too. Good thing the DVR was invented. That would be right behind the mp3 player and, of course, cell phone, in must have tech wonders.