Friday, December 28, 2012

I guess Christmas ties  are a thing of the past. That's probably a good thing.  I've got more ties than Carter's got pills. Unlike many older folks, I am an easy person to buy a present for.   Now I get many gifts I use with my bike and that's a good thing. This year I received two new tires, a head sweat, long biking pants among other gifts.  Maybe Santa will give me a belated present: a new bike!  One can only hope.
On the biking front, I suspect my outside biking is finished for the rest of the winter.  I alternate between using my trainer in my home fitness center and stationary biking at the rec center.   Come on spring!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hard to believe.  December 14 did my Friday fifty-five mile ride outside in 50 degree weather in central Illinois.  There are some positives from this global warming thing.  I can't remember ever riding outside this late in the seaon around here.  Also, because many of the fields have been full tilled I checked with a farmer and he said it was tilled in this manner because it allows moisture to enter the soil easier and more efficiently than conservation tillage.  I realize that you non-farm dogs out there don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about but the trade off is that more of the top soil will be blown into the rivers this spring.  Enough about that. This is supposed to be a blog about biking and here I'm sounding like a Farmer John.  And yes I did survive the grizzlie attack!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

So, it's Nov. 30-Dec. 1 and I'm still biking outside.  Global warning! Perhaps!! But it's still nice to get outside and ride the local roads in December.  Now the intrigue.  Biking yesterday, about 20 miles into the ride, I get a flat tire.  Not your normal slow leak flat but an out right blowout.  Normally not a problem.  I've changed many flats and am quite adept at doing so.  But, unfortunately it wasn't your normal flat.  My tire had worn down to the point that the tube came through the weakening and flatted.  My tire was toast!! Also, before the ride I knew the tire was not in good condition.  I thought I wouldn't be doing any more riding outside until spring so I didn't change it.  Upon inspection, before starting, I thought I had at least one more ride before changing tires.  No such luck.  And, because I had not brought a spare tire, I needed to call the lovely Veronica to come pick me up.  Thank goodness for cell phones and good reception.    But, all in all, it was still nice to ride in central Illinois in December outside as opposed to inside on a stationary. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Still biking outside even though the temperature hasn't reached 50 degrees.  But, its been sunny so it doesn't seem as cold. Haven't had any near misses to report which is unusual.  Maybe the drivers have automatically become more courteous to bikers.    
     On another note, Barbie who started her cross country ride with the 09 group and finished it in 2011 just got engaged.  No, it didn't take three years to do the ride, she did it in sections over a three year period.  I rode a day on the Iowa Rag Ride with her.  (see prior posts)   She is a fine young lady, an excellent bicyclist and I wish her the best. 
     The picture attached to this post was gleened from Al Newman, who sent it to the 09 group.  He was one of the cyclists in the 09 group.  The  caption was "when helmets make no sense". 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rode the hills of southern Illinois this weekend.  And, yes it was quite windy.  Hilly terrain combined with the wind made the two rides quite adventureous.  Day one was a forty miler to Anna and back along highway 51.  This is a good road with shoulders wide enough so motor traffic would not be narrowly missing me.  After reaching the half way point, with the wind at my back, it was time to turn around.  By this time it had reached the 20 mph mark and was gusting to 25 mph.  Now, coming back was quite another matter .  While not as brutal as the Delhart ride it was tough nevertheless.  I'm still not a great climber but I confess I was too proud to drop into "granny gear" on the climbs. 
   The second ride of the weekend turned out to be quite an adverture.  It reminded me of the times I got lost following the route sheet in the cross country and eastern shore rides.  I had plotted my route using Google Earth and Freetrip.  It was to be a forty miler from Carbondale to Moscow, Il.  Now you might ask "Where in the world is Moscow Il?"  Believe me I found it on the map.  That would be my destination and my wife and the boys would pick me up.  Our plan then was to have an enjoyable post ride refreshment at one of the local wineries.  After leaving route 51 heading east on 146 the road was more of the county variety; hilly and no shoulder!!  The fortunate thing was I had the wind blowing at a brisk 20-25 gusting to 30 mph behind me so it assisted me up the 12% grades.  Thirty miles later with ten miles left on this road, according to my calculations I expected to find a sign indicating Moscow.  But, after 12 miles not seeing any signs for Moscow, I looked for someone to ask for directions.  Another mile later I saw an old farmer on his tractor hauling a role of hay.  I stopped him and asked where I might find Moscow road.  He laughed and said it was 3 miles back the other way.  Apparently I missed the sign.  Yikes!! now instead of having the wind at my back, I had to do these hills into that nasty wind.  When I finally came to the road I realized how I missed it.  There were no big signs pointing to Moscow, rather a small one on a post.  I then called my wife to let her know where I was thinking she would already be in Moscow.  Unfortunately, the instructions I left had the wrong route so she and the boys were driving around trying to find me.   When they finally picked me up I was determined to find Moscow.  We drove several miles along Moscow Road and, indeed, there was no town or anything else.  Moscow Illinois does not exist, yet it is on the Google Earth and Freetrip.  How odd!!   Ahhh...the good news is the adventure ended at Rustle Winery with our group sloshing down Sangria and eating cheese and crackers.  Alls well that ends well!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Started my ride today with the wind from the South at 15-20 mph and gusting to 25.  But, it was in the high 70's so I figured I wouldn't have many more outdoor rides before winter sets in.  Oddly enough, as I started the music that was playing on my head phone was...and yes I know I violated biking protocol....."Against the Wind".  Now what are the chances of that?  Knowing the wind would be strong, I reverted back to my cross country experience particularly the Delhart ride.  It is only difficult if the mind is convinced it is, so my entire mindset was that it is a beautiful day, I'm going to enjoy the weather and the wind cannot detour that fact.  As a result I really enjoyed the ride. 
Riding my bike today, I observed several caterpillars as they were working their way across the road. I noticed they had a particularly thick coat of fur this season. Without referencing Old Farmers Almanac I figured I knew the reason. It meant there would be at least six more weeks of Summer or an early Festivus season, complete with feats of strength. During a brief respite, as I sat under a lone FIG TREE in the middle of a corn field off Crugar Road, I continued pondering reasons for such an abundance of fuzz. Them it fell on me like NEWTONS 5th law of motion. I became as Enlightened as Buddha. The reason was clearly transparent (redundancy not intended). These caterpillars were part of Mitts 47%. They inched their way to Squirmlys fur emporium to get the extra coat they were ENTITLED to as members of order Lepidoptera. There! Simple! Conundrum resolved. Ok……. I get it…… to much alone time riding my bike!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fifty Friday--Just finished my normal fifty mile ride that I normally do on Fridays.  After returning I checked my computer and it shows I have ridden  5,007.2 miles since March.  I know that's not much for you real bikers out there but for me, it's not bad.  If it sounds like I'm bragging I'm not.........well maybe a little, BUT I'm an old man.  At least that's how my youngest son referred to me recently.

Friday, September 28, 2012

And to think I never used to have a rear view mirror or wear a helmet.  
     I would like to thank the driver of the cement truck I encountered for adding excitement and adventure to my bicycle ride today. Mile after mile of cornfields and beanfields can often get boring and monotonous. The fact that, as you approached me from behind with no oncoming vehicles, and chose to not change lanes or even move over to the middle, I was forced onto the small shoulder consisting of dirt and rock. By missing me by mere inches it added to the pleasure of an otherwise routine bicycle ride in the country. In fact, after picking myself off the ground, to show my appreciation, I gestured in an appropriate manner and shouted "I'm having some fun now!!" or words to that effect. The next time you choose to do this, I suggest you stop so I can show you how much I appreciate your effort to make my day.
     And to think I never used to have a rear view mirror or wear a helmet

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fifty mile Friday.  Cool, not too windy and the rain held off until after the ride. 55 mile on Saturday to LeRoy Il.  Cross wind all day but still managed 18 mph for the 55 miles.Many friends have inquired as to my next long ride.  Would still like to do the Great Alaskan Highway.  Suggestions?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Birthday ride-Your're supposed to ride your age on your birthday. I rode a century but I don't feel anywhere near 101.2. More like 99 but whose counting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Confession time. Part of my biking involves avoiding as many of the oil/chip roads as possible. It is getting quite difficult to do it around here these days and it is forcing me to ride on more highly traveled smooth asphalt state roads. During yesterday's ride I saw trucks overlaying one of the favorite parts of my ride: DeeMack road. Two other county roads that I commonly use were overlayed with the oil/chip combination. It takes at least 6 months for them to smooth out and in some cases they never do. In addition, as most riders will acknowledge, loose gravel is inevitable as a bi product of this type of resurfacing resulting in hazardous conditions. Riding on these roads jostles my giblets so I reroute whenever possible. Now for the confession. During today's ride, as I approached DeeMack road, I was certain the workers put rock chips on it. I was forming, in my mind, a letter to the Tazewell county road commissioner. I planned on using strong and profane language to show my displeasure. Approaching the road I did notice a change in the color indicating the road crew indeed worked on the road. As I rounded the corner, much to my delight and unbridled surprise.......ASPHALT!!! Beautifully laid with no imperfections. It was as smooth as glass and my giblets breathed a sigh of relief. I had to mentally apologize to the workers and road commissioner for assuming the worst. Now if they could do that to all the county roads we bikers would appreciate it. Obviously, that isn't going to happen but one can dream.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My best picture of the 2012 olympics

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday was a great day for a bike ride. Saturday, we had about an inch of rain, and lost our power for about 4 hours. But we were in Chicago and missed it. The result of all that nasty weather was to cleanse the heat wave resulting in a beautiful day so I decided to do my regular 55 mile ride to LeRoy. Normally I "rehydrate" at Doris' establishment (see earlier posts) in LeRoy but she has a moral compunction against serving alcohol on Sunday. So after a brief respite in the local square I decided to ride to Champaign and complete another century. I did post the following on my facebook page. It has to do with the motorists and their reaction to a bicycle in their path. Those followers who do distance biking know they drill. As a vehicle approaches from the rear we move to the right as far as safety allows. With no oncoming traffic 99.9% of the motorists will give plenty of room and many actually move into the left lane as they pass. It's that .1% that are the problem. Riding on a road with no shoulder a pickup truck was approaching from behind. Their was no oncoming traffic so my expectation was the driver would give considerable space. Wrong again biker breath. The "asshole" not only did not change lanes, he didn't even move from the normal path taken by autos. The result was that he missed my by the proverbial ____hair. A very close call. Maybe I'm a little more aware of these situations after being hit by a car but I often wonder what motivates people to play these games. If it's an attempt to intimidate it works. If it's and attempt at scaring the biker, it works. If it's all a game, you win. If they think it's funny, it isn't. Yet, when the ride was over and I sat with people enjoying the end of the day sipping a Fat Tire and pleasant conversation, it was mostly forgotten. But let it be said, those idiots that play games with bicyclists on the roadways need to realize the consequences of hitting a biker. Hopefully their intent is not to injure or kill a cyclist but it happens. And when it does, it's not so funny anymore! Just sayin!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Great way to end the day and quite fitting!!
This dude did the Iowa "Rag Ride" on a that's amazing
Barbie joining the dancers in Anamosa
Nice lady? I met along ride
picture is worth a thousand words
Me with group that Barbie travelled with
College jersey day at Rag Ride
Me and Barbie with Cross Roads Jerseys
Just finished my first Iowa "Rag Ride" aka RAGBRIA. I only did one day from Cedar Rapids to Anamosa Iowa. While I had entended to never do the ride for reasons listed in previous posts, after deciding to do it, I found I was correct on only one of my two assumptions concerning this ride. I did not encounter any drunk riders but the number of riders engaged in this ride was amazing. Friday's estimate was 20,000 riders. I can attest that there were at least that many. I had the good fortune of riding with Barbie from the XC09 cross country group. She is an excellent rider and was good companion during the ride. While the trek was only 42 miles, the hills at times reached a 14% grade and the wind was from the NNW at 15 mph gusting to 25 mph. For the first 15 miles we rode in a SE direction and the wind was at our backs. But we then headed north and the wind at times was directly in our face or, at best, a quartering head wind. The good news is that the last 5 miles we turned west and had a nice tailwind into Anamosa. The crowd was so massive that in the small towns we had to dismount and walk the length of their main street. Each town had many attractions to offer the riders so the ride had as much to do with socializing as to the actual ride. I can see the attraction but I'm not sure it's for me. Enjoy the pics.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Well, I'm finally going to do it. For years I have resisted doing the "rag" ride in Iowa. However, several of the Washington riders do it every year and say they really enjoy it. Some of the 09 riders have committed to doing it this year so I will meet with them, along with the Washington riders, and ride the last two days. Now, here is the reason I haven't done it. It's too long of a ride....okay, that's not it. My impression is that it is a week long party with many inebriated riders and many inexperienced riders. Now, that might not be a problem but you combine it with the fact that over 10,000 riders are involved and you get the picture. Friday's ride is relatively short, about 40 miles, so I will "test the waters" to see if I'm comfortable in that environment. Another factor is the weather. It is projected to be in the 100 degree range both days so that may also play into my decision to ride Saturday. We will see and more later

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What's wrong with this picture?

Monday, July 2, 2012

HOT, HOT, HOT  101 degree temp. Forty miles each day the last two days.  I dn't have to remind myself to rehydrate.  Currently planning on joining Barbie the last day of the Iowa rag ride.  Looking forward to it and seeing other members of the 09 crew.  The XC12 group just finished and I talked to Carol, Hank's wife, who was a member of the support crew.  She stated that the riders did not have any rain the entire ride except for the last 15 miles to Revere Beach on the last day.  Now I am officially envious. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

                                            Cyndi, Christopher, Me
                                                 Beginning of ride
Nice charity ride Sunday for environment and climate.  Cruising Chicago's Lake Shore Drive with son Christopher and friend Cyndy.  It was an excellent day for the ride but with so many riders every riding protocol that I'm familiar with was violated. This  includes, but is not limited to: riders with no helmets (when they were required), passing riders with no warning, texting while riding, using cell phone while riding, riding three abreast blocking the path, riding in opposite lane with oncoming bikes, and many others.  But, it wasn't very long (twenty five miles) and my concerns make me sound like a bike snob so I will focus on the positives.  Beautiful day, cool wind off the lake, and riding with great people followed by lunch and re hydrating at local German restaurant.  Eat your heart out Harry!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

From Mt Mingus-Car missing turn

Riding vicariously with the 2012 crossroads cross country group. I find it mildly amusing they are complaining about the searing heat of the Mohave and Sonora deserts. What were they expecting? I recall those days vividly. In fact, with all the appropriate precautions three of our riders were admitted to the emergency room to get re hydrated. Anyway, it will not be the last of the adventures they will endure on their trip. And, actually they are getting quite a tailwind the last few days unlike our experience of virtual headwinds most of the way. I am including a picture they took of a car that was trying to take a shortcut off Mt. Mingus. Fortunately and amazingly no one was injured especially the bikers it missed.
I know many people in the Midwest, and in our area particularly, lament the lack of rainfall.
But, for myself, it is great. No lawn moving and biking outside almost every day. Now, can it get better than that. I suspect not!! More later.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rode my first "century" of the year. Never did my 100 miler this early but Wednesday was a perfect day to ride 100 miles. The weather people predicted a NNW wind which meant I would have a tailwind the entire route. The temperature was in the high 50's. As usual I planned on riding from my house in Washington to Champaign for a total of 101.5 miles. Before leaving I stopped for a few supplies from the local bike shop. When I informed them I was riding to Champaign, Bob said "the wind must be blowing hard from the WNW". The implication was clear. When riding that distance I always need a tailwind, thus, I was a "wuss". Well, he is absolutely correct. I am, indeed, a "wuss" because I have ridden with the wind and I have ridden against the wind and I prefer to ride with the wind. I guess that makes me a "wuss". However, karma was to play it's hand today. Instead of the wind being NNW, as was predicted by all of the prognosticators, it actually blew from the ENE which meant I had a cross wind or a quartering head wind. I did not have a tailwind the entire 100 miles. Now, I realize the implication of riding that distance in April. It was very close to April 15 so karma made the ride very "taxing"......get it. Ha, Ha, no more "wuss".
On another note, the Hankster called while I was on today's ride. When I finished, I called him back. His wife, the lovely Carol, is going to be on the support staff for this year's cross country adventure. She is a wonderful woman and joined the support staff on the East Coast ride. She did an amazing job so I know she will be great for this year's trip. I am trying to convince Hank to meet us in Champaign as the 2012 group goes through in early June but he indicated he may have other plans. Regardless, I plan on seeing Carol when they arrive. Ronni and I will take her out for a nice meal at one of our favorite eating establishments. Looking forward to seeing her and hopefully Hank will be able to join us. For those folks riding the 2012, your adventure begins in less than a month. Good luck and I will be following your journal entries.