Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Weather-57 degrees Wind-ENE 8 mph

Last two day biking averaging over 40 miles per day. Backing down on the training. Today's ride was a piece of cake with the wind at only 8 mph from the east. This is the first relatively non-windy day in the last two weeks. Since I don't have a computer on the loaner bike I'm riding, I can't discern the precise distance or speed so it is an approximation. Interestingly enough, the rides seem somewhat easier since I'm not challenging myself to maintain a certain speed. Also, with all the recent rain, many farm fields look like they have lakes on them. Water was pouring over the dam at Eureka lake and flooded all the low area east of it. I have never see it do that. I'm sure the farmers are not to happy since planting season has started.

On another note, many people have suggested as I do my cross country ride it would be an excellent opportunity to raise money for a worthy charity. There are many worthy charities that would benefit from this, but I have researched one I feel is extremely important. Therefore, I am going to attempt to raise money for the Alzheimers Association and in particular, the Peoria Chapter of the Alzheimers Association. More information will be added at a later time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Friday Weather: Sunny 68 degrees Wind ESE 10-15 mph

Two day summary of training rides. Following a 55 mile ride on Wednesday, Thursdays ride was 40 miles of uneventful riding around Tazewell and Woodford counties. My plan was to finish the week with 90-95 mile ride to Champaign. But alas, the weather did not co-operate. A southwesterly breeze of 10-15 mph meant I would have to ride the entire day against the wind. Three things bicyclist disdain: crazy motorists, crazed dogs attacking and the dreaded headwind! So, I decided to ride half way to Champaign and ride with the wind coming back. The lovely town of Downs was the turning around point. Doing 40 miles into the wind I could only manage 13 mph but coming back I was cruising around 17-18. The entire trip including stops was about 6 hours. So in the last three days I put approximately 200 miles on the bike. Today I rest!
Observations- OK people. For those who read on an earlier blog that Budweiser was the choice of trash in the ditches along the highway, this is not a contest! Today I noticed more Miller beer products than usual. I can only surmise that Miller people don't want to be outdone when it comes to competition against Budweiser so they are trying to do their best to keep up.
On another note, I noticed another empty Turtle Wax container in the ditch. This is the second one I've seen on my recent rides. Therefore, logic and reason would suggest that people who throw their empty beer containers from cars like their cars to be clean and shiny! Who in their right mind would throw trash from a dirty automobile? Socrates would be proud of this logic!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Weather-Temp: 58 degrees Wind ENE 15-20 mph

Today was a 55 mile ride to Le Roy. The wind was mostly in my face or a cross wind, which made the trip a little more arduous than normal. I made the mistake of putting on a new saddle (seat) for the journey to see if I can use it on my cross country trip and my buttocks are paying the price. Once again I met some very friendly people in Le Roy. Doris, the owner of the local watering hole (I would give the name of it but I don't know it. I stopped to renew vital fluids I may have lost during the ride), another nice lady who I didn't get her name and Ken the retired school teacher made my wait time pleasant. I suspect during my cross country trip I will meet many interesting people and I look forward to it. In the meantime, I'm looking for something to take the soreness from my backside!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weather: Last three days cold-41 degrees, wet-inch of rain, windy-15-20 mph ENE

The last few days have not been conducive to outdoor riding in central Illinois. Therefore, my training has been basement riding while watching TV. Its usually 30-35 miles at approx. 18-20 mph. The good news is that while I train in the basement I haven't been chased by dogs, near misses with vehicles, or counting the numerous items of garbage tossed into the ditches along the road. Also, the weather for the rest of the week is supposed to be very good for my training outside. I plan on riding 55 miles today followed by a 100 mile ride to Champaign tomorrow. However, the weather conditions will dictate how it goes.
Shout out: Russell's Cycling and Fitness Center in Washington Il. Joe Russell and his staff have been very accomodating in helping me initiate and carry out my plan to ride across the country. From a "Camelback" to a foldable tire, every item I have needed has been available and in stock. Thanks Joe and staff!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weather: 55 degrees Wind-ENE 6 mph-beautiful day to ride

Yesterday's ride was a 62 mile traverse around the countryside of Tazewell and Woodford county. Average speed was 15.2 mph. While it was mostly uneventful I am constantly amazed at how some drivers react to a bicyclist on the road. For the most part, bicycle accidents with cars are through bikers negligence or the inattention of the auto drivers. The bicyclist motto is "ride like you are invisible" because in many cases drivers are looking for other cars and often are not aware of bicycles on the road. Usually nothing malicious occurs because of the inherent dangers involved. Any bicyclist can tell countless stories of "near misses" and in some cases getting hit. Its part of sharing the road with multi-ton vehicles. But, there are occasions when that is not the case. So, during yesterdays ride, with a stripped middle line dividing the road and no cars in the lane I am riding, a car approaches from the opposite direction. As it is closing on me it swerves over the middle line into my lane and is headed directly for me. I apply my brakes and begin taking action to avert a collision. Then, the car steers back into its proper lane and, as it passes me, the kids in the vehicle are laughing and waving at me. Very funny! Four teenagers in a car on a lonely country road having fun with the bicyclist. I don't see the humor. This is not an indictment of teenagers in general. I have worked with them all my life and they are basically a wonderful group of people. Unfortunately, a few idiots gives the rest a bad rep. And besides, I have had close encounters with old "geezers" as well. Enough for this entry, its time to replenish my "vital fluids"

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Temp: 51 degrees wind-17 mph WNW
Rode to Bloomington 40 miles average speed 16 mph Good to have a wind at your back
What should I do to keep this bloog interesting? Common observations. What is the most common item people throw into the ditches along the highway. Lets identify and see if you have discarded one of these items.
I don't know if this is an endorsement or indictment of the product mentioned but without question the most observed discarded item in the ditches along the highway are Budweiser products; Bud. Bud Light and especially Busch and Busch light The second most observed product in the highway ditches are Pepsi products especially Mountain Dew. From the litre bottle to the common 16 oz. container Pepsi reigns as the discarded item of choice. Oddly enough, I have not observed many Coke products in the ditches. Perhaps some Sociologist can do a study and determine the causal relationship between those who drink Pepsi as opposed to Coke who discard their garbage into the ditches of America and reasons for doing so based on social class and self image. While these are the most common items I have observed lets not neglect to mention the occasional empty Turtle Wax plastic containers that litter the highways and byways of this great country.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Weather-Temp 51 degrees Wind-ENE 10 mph

Relatively short ride-35 miles in the country with ave. speed 16 mph. Only two dog attacks but I trust they would have done no harm if they caught me. No truckers ran me off the road-which is a good thing-and passing cars showing utmost respect. I always tip my cap to them when they do so. Illinois motorists remember there is a law stating that when passing a bicyclist you must pass with a 3 foot clearance. Next log entry will probably be Monday.