Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Time for a biking update. No outside riding lately. Combining riding on my trainer in the basement and the stationary bike at the rec center. In my basement, I ride for an hour and a half. At the rec center I include lifting with the stationary bike for a total of two hours. These workouts allow me to eat and drink virtually anything I choose without adding pounds. On another note, oddly enough, I'm still getting requests to present my cross country trip to various organizations. I just had a request from the NHS of O'Fallon High School, near St. Louis, to present at their banquet. They asked how much I charge to do this. I told them a million dollars or nothing; their choice. Guess what they choose. While many of these organizations have offered to pay me for my presentations I would feel uncomfortable charging a monetary fee to do this.
On another note, I am real close to deciding to bike with the Cross Roads people at the reunion ride from Maine to Florida. That will put the Kabash on my Great Alaskan Highway ride but I may decide to do both. As I stated previously, time and finances will determine much of my decision. More later

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Unbelievable, here it is in the middle of November and I'm still riding outside. This is central Illinois not Florida but I'm loving it!! 70 degree temps with a 5-10 mph wind. Love this "global warming". Harry called yesterday and is planning a trip to the states when Barbie rides from Champaign to Boston in June. He indicated he might do the entire ride with Barbie starting in Champaign. I am definitely going to meet with them and perhaps ride to Crawsfordville IN. with them. Haven't decided yet but looking forward to meeting them in Champaign. I know all the women at Hubers will be looking forward to seeing Harry. Even though they couldn't understand a word he said they loved the British accent. If any of you other 09er"s have nothing better to do join us. It would make a great reunion. More later as I'm looking forward to avoiding my work schedule and doing my bike route the rest of the week. The temps are supposed to stay in the 60-70 degree range until the weekend with relatively light winds.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Looks like today may be the last day of biking outdoors. I finished a 40 mile ride yesterday with the temp at 48 degrees. However, the wind was from the east at 12-15 mph so it seemed much cooler. Today the wind is supposed to gust into the 20's so unless I want to do a repeated Delhart ride I will use the stationary one at the local gym. Starting to get a bit of wanderlust so I have finished my plans to ride the Al-Can highway. Ronni, the lovely one, is still a bit reluctant but I can tell she is weakening. Otherwise, I have hatched a solo plan with a reasonable chance of success. But, the starting date is next Spring, however, as we all know plans can change.
On another note, a touring semi-tractor trailer promoting the Library of Congress made a stop here in Washington. It is travelling across the U.S. with an exhibit containing Library of Congress information. Oddly enough, while talking to the library director, a comment was made about going across the country and it was mentioned a member of the Washington community, me, had bicycled across the country. The VanGelders, who are in charge of the exhibit, mentioned they followed my blog as I biked across the country. They asked if I were available to meet with them. Of course I found it in my schedule to do so. We all went out for dinner and enjoyed a pleasant evening of dining and conversation. I often wondered about all the people who followed my blog as many did not sign up as followers. Often I had over 300 hits per day so this gave me some insight as to why that number was what it was. I now know that for some reason people from across the country seem to be interested in these types of activities. Following is the VanGelders website and the October 25th post relates to our visit. More later

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Still riding outside and its October 19th. I suspect outdoor riding will be done shortly as winter sets in. But until it happens the weather is perfect for biking. In fact, I just finished a 55 miler to LeRoy. And, as usual, Doris, who owns my destination establishment was waiting with vital refreshment liquids. While she hasn't revealed her age, and without insulting her, she is in her mid to late 70's. She does a great job running the place without much help.
Last week I took a group of bicyclist to Goodfield. It was the second in the series of rides sponsored by the Washington Park District. While it was only 30 miles, the people who joined had a good time. It was an absolute perfect day to bike. The weather was in the low 70's with very little wind. In fact, I broke my rule on rides and actually ate lunch. I normally will only indulge in liquids until after the trip but it was such an easy ride I felt it wouldn't interfere with my ability to ride. I'm still trying to convince my wife, the lovely Veronica, to drive an RV and accompany me to ride the Great Alaskan highway. As late as it is for this season, it looks like Spring will be the earliest I can do this trip. I have most of it plotted and now the only obstacle is to convince my wife to join me. I would enjoy her company on the trip but I am not opposed to doing it solo.
On another note, my good friend Teddy Herrera is in Savannah Georgia in his attempt to traverse the country supporting the need to address Childhood Obesity in this country. From earlier posts, Teddy has ridden from Sacramento to Boston. He is headed to Miami Florida and will complete his trip in March by riding back to Sacramento: 11,000 miles. As I have stated previously, this makes my cross country ride pale in comparison. I wish him all the luck in the world.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Prepping for the weekend ride. Saturday I take a group to lunch at Goodfields Busy Corners Cafe. It used to actually be on the corner of Route 150 and 116. However, it has moved down the street into a new building and is no longer on the corner. Perhaps they should change their name to Down the Street Cafe. It would make more sense. Ha, I jest. They can call it whatever they want and they still serve the best rhubarb pie ever. For non-local followers they actually make a pie from rhubarb. If prepared correctly it is quite tasty. I believe it is an acquired taste. Anyway, anyone who would like to join the ride, it begins at Russells Cycle Shop. We leave at 11:00 a.m. It is about a 40 mile ride but, as I have already stated, we stop for lunch in Goodfield. Our route will be ridden exclusively on county roads so traffic will be minimal. The only thing that could present problems are the tractors, combines and grain trucks taking product to the elevators. However, they always give bikers a wide birth because they know the dangers implicit with slow moving vehicles.
All levels are welcome and we ride to accommodate the slowest biker. The ride, including lunch, will take approximately three hours and Russells is providing a mechanic in case of problems.
Looking forward to the ride this Saturday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Confession time. In this blog, I have often lamented the ignorance and inattentiveness of the motorist when engaging a bicyclist. However, today I almost nailed a biker. Coming out of the establishment that changes my oil in the "geezermobile Buick" the street I turn onto is usually quite busy. Having checked both directions and seeing no autos, I began pulling onto the street. But, much to my astonishment and chagrin, a bicyclist ran directly into my path from the left. Yes, he was riding on the wrong side of the street but I still should have seen him. With my 60 year old cat like quickness I applied the breaks and missed hitting him by less that a foot. I absolutely did not see him. He was not in my visual arena. I have been told and have, in fact, told many people to ride a bicycle like you are invisible. The lesson here is to realize most people do not try to hit bicyclists but when they do it's because they actually do not see them. I will now resolve to have more patience with those motorists who turn my rides into adventures.
On another note, last Friday I took several bikers on a twenty mile trip to nearby Metamora, had lunch, and returned in time to drive to Champaign to watch the Fighing Illini pulverize the lowly SIU Salukies. Okay, Okay, what are they doing playing a team two divisions below them. Hey a win is a win. But, I digress. The trip is sponsored by the Washington Park District. We had a great time on the ride and the Park District is having me lead a group on October 9th to nearby Goodfield for lunch. This should be about a 40 mile trek and, with novice riders, it looks to be a lot of fun. I set a leisurely pace and anyone who would like to turn it into a race, you win. More later.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Birthday today. Several people suggested I ride my age today. I did and it is was quite a long ride. I know some of the followers of this blog will suggest I rode a century!! Very funny. Not quite. However, I did ride a century last Friday. This is my second 100 mile ride this summer. I again rode to Champaign but this time it was to attend my class reunion. And, no again, it wasn't my 100th year reunion. Do they still have those? I doubt it. Anyway, I only made one stop in Bloomington. At the grocery store/gas station, while paying for my Gatorade and powerbar, the clerk asked if I purchased gas. I was mildly amused since I still had my biking helmet, biking gloves and spandex on. My assumption was the clerk could tell I was riding my bicycle but apparently not. In his defense, I imagine that response is so ingrained in his speech pattern it was a natural thing to ask. Nevertheless, I still found it amusing. This is the first time I only stopped once during a 100 mile ride. And, with a cross/tailwind it was the fastest I had ridden this route. I averaged 20.1 mph. While that might seem average to many, I had never ridden so fast for so long. I doubt I will attempt this again, especially at my advanced age.
The picture I post with this entry is my second grade school picture. Many followers are wondering if they, in fact, had cameras back in those days. Again, very funny!!! Enough ranting for now. More later.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Biking update-Averaging about 200 miles per week. The weather has been extremely hot 93-95 with a heat index around 105. It may be hot but at least its humid!!
Anyone interested, the Washington Park district has requested that I lead a group of bicycle enthusiast on a ride from Russells Cycle shop in Washington to Metamora, do lunch and back to Russells. This event is on the 11th of September and begins at 11:00 a.m. Round trip is about 35 miles and should be finished in about two hours. All levels of riders are welcome. Then on October 9th they want me to lead a group from Russells to Busy Corners Cafe in Goodfield. We leave at 11:00, do lunch and ride back to Russells. Round trip is around 35 miles. all levels of riders are welcome and we should be back in around two hours. Anyone who would like to make this into a race--you win!! Apparently, the head of the park district seems to think I know the back roads around Tazewell and Woodford County and could safely lead a group. Ha! what do they know. I hope I don't get lost. Anyway, everyone is welcome to join me and I'm looking forward to the experience. Jim, Ira, Karen, Barbie, Hank, and anyone else from the 09 cross country ride is welcome. Note: there are no great climbs, it is relatively short, the corn and bean fields should be picked so the scenery would consist of farm fields that have incorporated conservation tillage. We could have great fun mocking those farmers still using "full till" farming.
Look forward to seeing everyone!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Yesterday was my annual 100 mile ride or "century" from Washington Il. to Champaign. I take a secondary road; rt 150. I had the wind at my back the entire time so with three stops I completed the ride in less than 6 hours. I had no close encounters or other misadventures. It was a very relaxing 100 mile ride if that is possible. Oddly enough, in the last three years, the road has been resurfaced and widened with smooth asphalt. What I find amazing is that it parallels interstate 74 so the only traffic are locals with very few semi-trucks . I imagine the trucks I see are attempting to avoid the weigh stations so the traffic is relatively light. The cost to resurface this road must be in the multiple millions of dollars. However, the most amazing thing is that IDOT is replacing a bridge over railroad tracks in Mansfield. Il. with a population of 200. Now here is the rub. After placing barricades to block route 150, a short detour will put you on a parallel road that crosses the tracks at ground level. There is no need for a bridge!!. The amount of money spent on these roads is okay with me because it makes by bike ride so much smoother. I will suggest that is not the states intent, but I certainly enjoy it. Illinois is in debt to the tune of 12 billion dollars and is still putting money into roads that do not need repair. I find that amazing.
On another note, as I was coming into town from my local ride I had an encounter with a motorist. He berated me for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. We had a verbal exchange and I was in fear for my safety. (Okay not really) Apparently he is not aware of the bill recently signed by the governor that makes it a crime to "hassle" a bicyclist. Maybe I should turn him in. I guess I should come to a complete stop at all stop signs. I will try to do that in the future. (Okay, not really)
I continue to follow Teddy Herrera's biking adventure. It will be something if he completes his 11,000 mile ride. When he arrives in New York I will alert Peter. When he passes through West Palm beach I will alert Fred Hampton. When he passes through Tampa I will alert magic Mike. When he passes through LA I will alert Ira and Jim and when he finally arrives in Sacramento I will alert Karen and Hank. Hopefully they will find the time to seek him out and exchange pleasantries. More updates later.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This has been a very interesting week related to my biking. It's not about the heat and humidity. It's not about the near misses with auto's or trucks. It's not about the horrible conditions of the newly graveled country roads I normally ride. It's not about the oppressive heat. (Hey I guess it kinda is). It is about some very positive happenings. First, on Sunday, Harry called from England. We had a very enjoyable chat. He, again, invited us to visit and I'm close to accepting. Ronni and I are tentatively planning a trip to Europe in late August or early September to celebrate our anniversary. I have a good friend, (yes, I actually have a friend) Brian, who currently lives in England. I would be able to visit both while there. I am looking forward to finalizing our plans.
Now, on a more curious note, I was having breakfast with good friend Luke (ok, so I have 2 friends) at the Galley. It is a small restaurant in East Peoria that locals (not crazy...hummm maybe so!) patronize for a good breakfast with friendly service. It is not the "chain" variety so there are not many tourists. But, as I was entering the establishment, I noticed a touring bike with heavily loaded panniers. My first thought was that whomever the owner was, they were going on a very long trip or were returning from one. Upon entering the Galley, I observed that the only person capable of owning that bike was a young man sitting alone in the corner of the place. So as not to intrude on his privacy, Luke and I had what for us was our normal Tuesday breakfast. Soon, media types showed up to interview the young man. Since his privacy was no longer an issue I went over to introduce myself and inquire as to his circumstance . It turns out his name is Teddy Herrera he is 24 years old and is currently riding across the country. Subway is sponsoring him and he is riding to bring awareness to childhood obesity. Now, while that might sound impressive, here's the rest of the story. He started his ride in Sacramento CA. (sorry Hank and Karen, he doesn't know you guys/girls) and is going to Boston. But then, he will be heading down the East Coast to Miami Fl. and ride back to Sacramento. That is over 11,000 miles. It is a totally unsupported venture; thus, the 35 pounds of equipment he is carrying on his bike. He indicated he was going to Washington Il. to Russell's Cycle shop to get a tune-up and acquire needed supplies before heading to Chicago. He is stopping in major cities along his route to address organizations and various groups to promote awareness of the problems of childhood obesity. After a brief chat whereby I shared I had ridden from LA to Boston, I wished him good luck and headed for my daily ride. Before leaving Washington, I rode up to Russell's to see if I would run into him but alas, he had not arrived. So, I went on my two hour sojourn (heat-96 degrees, humidity 80%-mad dogs and Englishmen-shout out to Magic Mike). After returning, I decided to check and see if he was still in town. The good people at Russell's told me he left about 10 minutes before I got there. However, a patron indicated he had seen a young man at the local Subway and he still might be there. I immediately headed to the Subway and lo and behold there he sat. Fortunately, I brought my camera and we took a picture. After a brief visit I left and pondered the irony of running into Mr. Herrera. What are the chances that one of the few people in the area that bicycled across the country (me) would encounter this individual who was doing the same plus more. The stars had to be perfectly aligned, with the moon in the 7th house. Now, to me, that was amazing. So, to sum up, I wish the young man a safe journey, hope he accomplishes his goal and raises a ton of awareness to fight childhood obesity. There is a video a local channel 25 made of his ride so far. I have tried to download it onto this blog but have been unsuccessful. Now there is more to the story. After learning he would be in town until tomorrow, I invited him to stay at my place for the night and he graciously accepted. The lovely Veronica had a meal prepared and it was greatly appreciated by me and Teddy. This morning I was going to direct him to the route he needed to take to get to Chicago. But, I went ahead and biked the first 10 miles to be sure he would not get lost. I then proceeded to do another 30 to finish my riding day. All in all a very interesting experience. Here is his blog site.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

About ready for my first century of the summer. Waiting for favorable winds and will be biking to Champaign Il. from Washington. Riders from the Cross Country ride remember will remember Champaign as a rest day in a university town. Bob, Tom, Hank and myself as well as Willie and his guests ate at Italian Inn. Later, many of the riders went to my favorite watering hole, Hubers. The wait staff still remember Harry and his "foreign" accent. They have asked if he plans on returning at some point. Apparently, Harry left quite an impression.
On another note, Ronni and I recently purchased a condo in Champaign so we will have a place to stay during our frequent visits. I am now officially "land poor" More on my century later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wow, it been awhile since my last post. On the biking front, governor Quinn just signed a law that makes it a misdemeanor to hit or intentionally hassle a bicyclist in Illinois. It could result in a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail. This is in addition to the "three feet law" that requires motorists must pass a bicyclist by at least three feet. I guess Illinois is getting serious with the "share the road" concept. Most of us who bike frequently understand that motorists who nearly hit us either don't know the law or choose to ignore it. Now, here is the ironic part. Yesterday, during my regular ride, (I still ride between 35-40 miles a day, six days a week) a car missed me by a mere half foot. There were no cars coming from the opposite direction. As he went by I glanced over and, of course, he was texting on his cell phone. After cursing him and, yes I admit it, I flipped him off, we passed a crossroad. The corn in this part of Illinois is at least seven feet tall and makes good camouflage for state troopers. Lo and behold, a troopers car was parked and the officer observed the entire episode. He immediately pulled out, put on his lights and pulled over the motorist. The guy in the car must not have seen the cop because he didn't pull over until about a mile down the road. I guess he was busy doing something. As I biked by, the officer had a big grin on his face, his ticket book in his hand, and he waved at me to keep going. I don't know if he ticketed the offender by I'm sure the motorist now knows the law.
Checking on the XC09 crew, it looks like Harry (England) is visiting California and he and the "Dalton Gang" are going on a very scary ride. Also, there is talk of a reunion ride in 2012. I hope I would be able to join them but we will see. Also, Ira, one of the faster riders from the XC09 crew, has purchased a new bike. It is awesome and I suspect Ira will now challenge Lance Armstrong for bike supremacy in the U.S. Good luck to the "posse" and stay safe on your ride.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wednesday I got very ambitious and did a 55 mile ride to Leroy. Yes, there is a Leroy Illinois. My usual stop is at a local bar where eighty something Doris always welcomes me with a "recovery" beverage. That ride again shows the universe is composed of yin and yang that equalizes everything. For example, riding into Bloomington in years past, after entering MeClane county on route 150 the road is horrible. Well, Wednesdays ride coming into McClain county, the road had been resurfaced and I was elated that the ride would be smooth and even. And it was. After going through Bloomington, I saw construction signs. Lo and behold, the road from Bloomington to down, about 10 miles was like riding over railroad tracks. Absolutely terrible riding conditions this Yin/Yang. Can't avoid it. Had two flat tires in my last three rides. I wonder what is going on but even though I am quite capable of changing flats, nevertheless is is bothersome.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I will start with a shout out to Ira. You have ruined my biking protocol forever. There must be something inherit in bikers that, when they see a bicyclist ahead of them, they will attempt to chase them down. On my normal route today I saw a soloist about a mile ahead so I went from Clydesdale mode to racehorse. Soon, I caught up with the rider and as I galloped past, in an homage to Ira, I exclaimed "I come in peace"! We both laughed as I left him in my wake. (Okay, I'm mixing my metaphors again). Ira you rule!! "On your left" when passing a biker has been deleted from my biking protocol.
On another positive note, my intention was to meet with the XC10 riders in Champaign. But, because of other commitments it looked like I would not be able to do this. So, I drove to Springfield because I knew the current group would be there. When I arrived, I saw Tracy in her familiar role. She was in the support truck doing who knows what to be sure the riders needs were addressed. When she saw me we shared a hug that showed a genuine respect for our shared cross country biking experience. I inquired about her back, which she injured during last years ride and she indicated she was doing okay. I later found out that even after two surgeries she still experiences back pain daily. Of all the people I have encountered during my life experience, Tracy is one of the most committed professional individuals I know. Her positive nature and unbound energy are amazing. She also explained that this year's expedition was one of the easiest crossings her company has experienced. I explained that the XC09 group used up all the bad weather, brutal headwinds, and other negative karma so the yin/yang of the universe allowed the XC10 group to "gloat" about "great weather conditions", "strong tailwinds" virtually the entire ride, and other lamentations that the 09ers could only dream of. For all intent and purpose, the current riders should thank our group for their relatively easy crossing. To be honest, I would not trade our experience for the world because of all the obstacles we had to overcome; bike accidents, incessant rain, constant head winds (Delhart TX. is still embedded in my memory bank) cars (motorcycles) hitting bikers, food poisoning, hemorrhoids, broken bike parts, etc. to name a few. That which does not destroy us makes us stronger!!
On another positive note, after talking to Tracy, I waited for Barbie to arrive. When she saw me she greeted me with a big smile and hug. I remembered her from last years ride as an individual that exuded a positive attitude, a friend to all, and a very strong rider. While the XC09ers embraced Barbie into our group, the current riders had already formed their cliques when she joined them, and she indicated she would often have to ride alone. On this particular day, two riders actually rode from Quincy to Springfield with her. I met one of them (can't remember his name) and indicated there must be something wrong with people who would not like to accompany a pretty young woman on a ride across the country. (Hey, how sexist is that?!) Anyway, Barbie shared some of her current trip experiences and indicated she would be leaving after the Champaign leg, but would finish the ride to Boston next year. I wish her all the best. I also wish the XC10 folks continued good karma. Barbie, I pirated this pic from your blog. Hope you don't mind. Talk about a rose and a thorn! Those of you who would even question which is which need your eyes examined!! Enough for now, I rambled enough.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'm following the xc10 bikers and it is like de ja vu all over again. Barbie is doing the best job with her blog and she started with the 09 riders
Just returned from 5 days in North Carolina. Wife and sister-in-law visiting their aunt on business matters. All they needed me for was to drive them from place to place. (Can you say driving Miss Daisy) So, I loaded up my bike and while they took care of business I was off biking the local back roads. Unbeknownst to me, most of central North Carolina is part of the App. mountain range. For three days I was reminded of the cross country trip and all the climbing. I must admit I have gotten better at climbing or at least I think so. On three separate rides I encountered two to three mile climbs of 10% or better. Day one was intimidating but by day three I had gained my confidence. I also have gotten much smarter when it comes to traffic. On 6 separate occasions, with virtually no shoulders on the roads, when a semi truck appeared in my rear view mirror I stopped and got off the roadway until the trucks passed. I like to remind people that while I might be ignorant, I'm not stupid!
I have decided to meet the xc10 folks in Champaign.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Okay followers. I'm officially jealous of the riders of the XC10 cross country bikers. They have not encountered any headwinds the entire trip to date. Their blogs exclaim riding at an average of 22 mph with tailwinds virtually every day. I think they can thank the XC09 riders for using up all the headwinds. In addition, they have not, as yet, had to ride through an all day downpour. Recall Hamburg NY to Canadiaga among others. We must have used those up also. Anyway, I hope this doesn't jinx their journey and wish them continued safety and success.
On another note, I have given the last of my bike program for the season. The Sierra Club at Forest Park Nature center was the venue. An overflow crowd attended but they didn't have the technology I needed (compatible computer, projector). However, I always bring backup equipment just in case so the evening progressed as planned. The highlight for me was the vegan treats following my program. I also received a recycled pen made from discarded materials. Sierra Club members who requested the Youtube site I have provided it on this post.
Today's local paper covered the Peoria bike clubs silent bike ride to bring attention to those bikers who were killed or injured in encounters with trucks and cars. The state of Illinois is making it a misdemeanor crime to hit a biker and a felony to hit and seriously injury or kill a bicyclist. It passed both houses and is awaiting the governors signature. The article also stated many bikers have had near misses while biking. I suggest ALL bicyclists fall into that category! I am traveling to North Carolina next week and taking my bike. Hopefully I can find interesting and challenging bike trails. More later.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hey how about the XC10 riders. They seem to be enjoying fantastic riding conditions and I wish them well. Maybe we used up all the bad riding days. When we crossed the Mohave it was 105 and 110 degree temp. The bloggers for XC10 were delighting in describing the mid 70's with a 20 mph tailwind. They even mentioned, but had the facts somewhat in error, that "a few years ago 5 riders were sent to the ER for dehydration. Actually it was last year and three of our guys had to be re hydrated in the ER. So continued good riding, may the wind stay at your back and above all, be safe!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mixed feelings viewing Jims posting of the pictures of the XC10 group that left yesterday for their journey across America on a bicycle. I had to chuckle seeing them leaving the beach and immediately begin climbing at a 10% grade. While a little envious, I am familiar with the difficulties (headwinds, 12-14% climbs, numb body parts, traffic, possibly going over ones handlebars) and other hardships they will encounter. At the same time they will experience the thrills, friendships awesome scenic views and other positive dimensions that are part of the trip. Just so they know, the bad days (ex, Tumcumcari-Delhart) will fade and the good days will eventually prevail making the experience a once in a lifetime, memorable episode. I recall on a particularly horrific rainy day in Pennsylvania that Hank mentioned "we will look back and forget was a horrible day it was"
I was so motivated by Jim's pics that I did a 50 miler today. It was a beautiful day to ride a bicycle though the farmlands of central Illinois. I would like to inform fellow riders who still follow this blog that the fields are about a month ahead in terms of plant growth. In fact, I thought it interesting that as we passed through central Illinois last year, the plant height then ( a month into the ride) is about what it is today. I was mildly amused that Chris G. had trouble identifying the difference between corn beans and wheat plants.
XC10 riders-I wish you well and may the wind be forever at your back!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Getting close to the one year anniversary of the 09 cross country bike ride. Has it been a year already? Wow. I was told that the older one gets the faster time seems to pass. It was certainly true this year. Just finished presenting my program to three high school classes in O'Fallon, about 20 miles east of St. Louis. As stated earlier, my focus is to empower people to set goals, knowing there will be good days and bad days, and striving for success in attaining ones goals. I use my cross country ride to exemplify that concept. I have one more presentation scheduled before summer, on the 19th, to the local Serria Club. I am amazed at the interest people have shown in these presentations.
As for my biking, I am still getting between 35-40 miles per day 6 days a week. I am very concerned that if I reduce my rides I will lose the endurance I have built up over the year. In fact, I am doing a 65 mile charity ride from Zion Il. to Chicago with my oldest son Christopher. He may only do 20 miles of it since he hasn't done any training. I offered to loan him a pair of my biking shorts but he is afraid he won't look "cool". Ha, one must sacrifice "cool" for comfort. The weather has been co-operating lately except for that nasty 15-20 mph wind.
Looking forward to reading the blogs of the XC10 crew to compare notes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Today's ride involves a shout out to the posse, Harry, Karen, Ira and Alec. Notice I never refer to them as the Dalton Gang since the Dalton gang was really nothing more that a bunch of thugs robbing people. However a posse is after the "bad guy" so as they chased me across several states I was in the "bad guy" mode. On today's ride, after about 25 miles of a 42 mile trip, I noticed two riders a couple miles in front of me. I decided to "reel them in" as the posse had done to me many times. Since I was riding into the wind I knew I needed to increase my speed from my usual 16-17 mph to at least the 18-20 mph level to see if I could catch them. About a half mile from where I normally turn onto a different road, I finally caught them. In an homage to Ira, as I passed, after wishing them a "good afternoon", I announced "I come in peace". We all had a good laugh and I was off. Oddly enough they took the same road as me and after I got about three hundred yards ahead I noticed I was not increasing the distance between us. It then became apparent they were in chase mode. I know the feeling well. I still had over five miles to the end of the ride and I was not about to be caught. Since there was no wind in my face I rode the last five miles at 20+ mph. rate. They were not up to the challenge. By the end of the ride they were no where to be found. The 42 mile ride was accomplished with an average speed of 19.2 mph. Now, while that might not seem especially fast for many, for me, that was a personal best.
But, now here is a problem. I conceded long ago I am not a racehorse. If I continue with that type of behavior I will lose my Clydesdale status and get embarrassed by the real racehorses. Therefore, so I won't have to surrender my Clydesdale card, I will attempt to never again engage in that type of unseemly behavior. To the other Clydesdale's out there, I apologize seeking forgiveness and place the blame squarely on the posse. Ha!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ok, so when I play golf, every once in awhile I hit a shot that is absolutely perfect. I sense your doubt but its true. Would I lie about something like that. Ahhh, maybe I would but you have to trust me on this. That's what keeps me coming back. While most of my shots are average at best and some are absolutely horrendous, that one shot is the one I remember. So I continue playing the silly game once again seeking that elusive shot. The same concept applies to riding a bicycle. While most days are average in terms of temperature, wind speed, and conditions in general, some are absolutely horrible with winds of 20 mph, a sudden rainstorm and a flat tire. But then there are those days with relatively no wind, temperature in the low 70's, no traffic; a perfect day to ride a bicycle. Well, today was that perfect day. Riding 45 miles in perfect conditions was a real treat. In fact, I thought about increasing my distance but other obligations would not allow it. While I still consider myself a Clydesdale, certainly not a racehorse, I averaged over 18 mph. Not bad by my standards. So, like that perfect golf shot I can't wait for tomorrow to recapture those perfect riding conditions. Obviously, its a long shot but one can still be optimistic!
Getting wanderlust and can't decide my next great adventure in the biking realm. Still considering the ALCAN highway but have encountered obstacles. None of which can't be overcome. When the decision is made I will post it. Had a great Easter and hope all of the followers of this blog did the same.
Wouldn't you know it. After my ride today, I took my bike in for it's annual tune-up. Just got a call that my entire drive train needs to be replaced. It seems like I wore down the bushings, derailer, and chain. I have only had the bike a little over a year and only rode it to church on Sunday. I wonder if its still under warrenty. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wow, rode my usual 37 mile route today. First real extended ride of the season. After 3 months of riding in my basement on a trainer or on a stationary bike at the rec center I had almost forgotten what the different actual biking on the road entails. First, I again had to contend with a 15 mph headwind which is becoming commonplace, but as usual the road took its toll. The ride started out quite normally but after two miles I got my first puncture of the season. That's flat tire for all you non-English Cretans. I think that it is an involuntary response when the sound of a slow hissss followed by a loud pop results in an outburst of profanity. What the _____ fill in the blank and you get the idea. The good news is that I still retain some ability to fix a flat in a relatively short period of time. So, after the repair I was off. It is now becoming routine that dogs will attack virtually every time I'm on the road and not always from the same location. fortunately, even at my advanced age, I was able to outrun those critters and not have to blast them with water from my bottle. But, as usual, and I'm reminded every time I ride, motorists forget to look for bicycles on the road. Two very close calls without oncoming vehicles. I suggest the motorists were not paying attention because the only other alternative would be they were trying to barely miss me. Anyway, it appears I have only lost one-half mile per hour during the winter layoff. Enough for now, the ride actually tired me out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ok followers, its about time I made an addition to this blog. The weather today was in the 60's. It was cloudy with a chance of meatballs but a great day for riding outside. Unfortunately, the wind was from the SSW at 20-25 mph. Can you say Delhart Texas!! It wasn't an indicator of what I lost this winter so I will reserve judgment until I can ride where the wind is not a factor during the ride. I am hopeful that with biking on a trainer in my basement, mixed with an hour and a half on a stationary bike at the local rec center, the endurance I had before winter will not have totally diminished. Time will tell.
I am now considering my next distance ride. I, along with a friend, have been looking into riding the ALCON highway. My preference is to do it with wives providing support in RV's. My wife isn't quite supportive of this. She prefers motel rooms when on vacation. My other option is to do a group ride like my cross country trek. The advantage of going with the RV is we can establish our own daily mileage and do as much or as little as we deem appropriate. However, it is still in the planning stage. I need to do more research and planning before it is a go but at least it is a possibility. Looking forward to better weather for outside riding. I'm getting a little "cabin fever".

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back to reality!!
The girls enjoying the beach scenery

Ronni, Hank, Carol doing the quad ride

Sunset from Hanks veranda

Hanks finally meets Jesus

Taking a siesta, muchacos

Carol and Ronnis enjoying a beverage

Waterfall at the beginning of an arroyo

Riding the "Quad"
Be very aware of which way the waves are coming ashore!!

The lovely Veronica enjoying the kayak

Ronni and Carol sitting on Casa Darlington's veranda

Hank and I sitting on Casa Darlington's veranda. Evening temp dropped to 65 degrees, Thus the sweatshirts

Just got back from Cabo Mexico, more specifically Los Barittos, visiting Hank and Carol's Casa Darlington. What gracious and beautiful people they are. The five day visit went quickly filled with many activities. The trip from the airport to their Casa took about an hour. After the hard road of route 1 the other roads were gravel, sand and VERY bumpy. Good thing for super duty shocks on their SUV. The mode of travel for short distances was ATV's or quads as they are referred to by the people living in that area. A trip to the beginning of an arroyo was filled with scenic beauty, pictures of wild donkeys and a waterfall where the arroyo began. Unfortunately, a company built zip lines with platforms over the waterfall which disturbed the pristine beauty of the falls.
Hank introduced us to the joys of kayaking on the Sea of Cortez. When the water is flat it makes for smooth sailing. (pun intended). When the waves increased, it was better to watch from the patio of their home enjoying a drink. I was fortunate to do a solo trip of about 4 miles later in the week. However, my solo excursion started on an interesting note--see photo.
I was also able to get in a bike trip which reminded me of some of the mountain climbing we did in the cross country ride. While the incline was not especially severe, the views from the top of the mountain were spectacular. Good news: it was a fun ride. Bad news: for the first time I used clip pedals. Coming into town where roads were sand and gravel, I heard a pair of motorcycles behind me. I pulled over to let them pass and rode into a very deep sand pile. It was like those sandy thingies that stop out of control trucks coming down mountains. I slowed immediately. No problem I thought. I would just stop. Oops, forget about clips and fell like a fallen timber onto my side. Not much damage (ego excluded) except for road rash. All in all an excellent experience but I still won't ride in clips!!
Super bowl Sunday was spent at a house of friends of Hank and Carol. They seem to know just about everyone in the neighborhood everyone was friendly and courteous to us "outsiders".
Another one of our trips was a 7 mile quad ride to a somewhat remote hotel built, primarily, for people who fly their planes into the area. Those who come by other means travel on narrow, bumpy, and in some places hazardous conditions. But, the hotel is very nice. I learned a valuable lesson from that stop. In the bar area, we ordered drinks. I was going to order a shot of Cabo Yaba tequilla. Both Hank and the bar tender mocked me. I was informed that while it may be popular in the U.S., Cabo Yaba is like a yuppie drink and not well received by the locals in Mexico. I immediately changed my order to Patron which was an acceptable alternative and met with Hanks approval. Now, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story. Drinks were on me so after getting the "la quinta" I was shocked and amazed. The cost of my Patron, only one shot, in American dollars....are you ready for this?....$18.50 plus tip!!! Yes, I learned that one can get ripped off anywhere!! A great, yet expensive, lesson for the Gringo.
Now as much as I appreciate Hank and his hospitality, I must give kudos to Carol. She is a wonderful cook to the point that I suggested if she would ever open a restaurant I would be her first and most frequent customer. What she did with vegetables and combinations of fruit salads was truly remarkable. My palate waters as I write this!! (I know, I know, I just mixed my metaphor).
We had a great 5 days with great people. The sun, warm temperature, ocean air and relaxing atmosphere made the time to very quickly. By contrast, when I arrived back in Chicago I needed to shovel 10 inches of snow off my van before we could drive it. And, when we got back to central Illinois, the temperature was 8 degrees and I had to shovel 10 inches of snow off my driveway to get into my garage. WE MISS CABO. but back to reality. Enjoy the pics

Friday, January 22, 2010

Okay, so in this blog I will attempt to answer the question of what was the best and worst ride of the 2009 cross country bike ride. Top three worst. 1. Tucumcari NM. to Delhart Texas. Not even a close call head winds of 20-30 mph in the morning gusting to 30 mph in the afternoon. 2. Albuquerque to Santa Fee-head winds, rain and a climb to 7,800 feet. Lost one of our riders!!. 3. Not even close, although riding into Erie Penn. was very wet, Hamburg NY to Caladaguea N.Y. torrential rain the entire day. Wet and soggy feet!!
Best days riding-St. Joe Missouri to Marysville-town cheering as we rode into town. 2. Riding into Dodge City Kansas. A tailwind which allowed us to easily ride 20 mph. 3. All rides in the Green Mountains of Vermont and White Mountains of New Hampshire. While the grade was severe, the scenery was magnificent.
For followers of this blog, note that my last presentation of the transcontinental ride across America to a group of high schoolers was met with a thunderous round of applause.
I am preparing for my trip to Mexico to spend time with Hank and Carol. Looking forward to the journey and hope that all the rain inundating southern California hasn't affected the southern tip of the Baha peninsula.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The biking scene currently in central Illinois consists of the indoor variety. Ten inches of snow with the temperature at -8 degrees prevents any outdoor bicycling activity. As a result, I bike in my basement (no, no not in little circles as many of my friends have suggested, but on my trainer) or on a stationary bike at the local fitness club watching reruns of the Rockford Files. Now, I know that followers of this blog from warmer climes are seething with jealousy but, to enjoy the cooling benefits of the Midwest winter climate, you should visit or move into these areas. Okay, Okay, of course I'm being facetious. I am wondering why I have not moved to California, the desert Southwest (yes, I still remember the temperature riding from Indio to Blyth) or even (omigod) Florida. No offense Mike or Nancy but I prefer the "dry" heat to the stiffling, moisture laden heat blanket known as Florida. I am really looking forward to my visit with Hank and the lovely Carol in Mexico. February is the perfect time to leave this mess in central Illinois and we are quite looking forward to the visit. For those of you in the Midwest who follow this blog, I will post pictures of the Mexico visit so you can seethe with jealousy. And, in this case, I'm not being facetious. It will be interesting to see how much stamina and conditioning I have lost when the weather gets warm enough to return to my outdoor biking regiment.