Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas day 2017-No biking adventures outdoors.  My biking routine consists of 3 days at the rec center and 3 in the basement on my trainer.  Getting pretty boring.  The good news is we got about 6 inches of snow yesterday making for a white Christmas.  Good news, bad news.  Good news-eventually got my snow blower working.   After clearing the driveway the snow continued accumulating another 3 inches.  Bad news-snow blower would not start so I had to use hydraulicsnow removal--my arms.  Prefer to snow blower!!  Already looking forward to spring!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

So, I guess my prediction for outside riding was wrong.  Last Thursday I rode my 55 miler to Leroy.  While it wasn't my fastest time I considered myself fortunate to be able to ride outside at the end of November.  In addition I was able to ride the hills south of Carbondale as we visited Eric.  The temperature was in the mid 60's with a mild 5 mile wind from the SE.  That meant I would have a breeze on my return so it was a good day for biking in December.  Cold weather has set in and I think this time I am correct in my prediction of no more rides outside until spring.  But we will see.  Books sales have done well this year and looking forward to more book signings over the holidays.  More later

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Gloom, despair, and agony.  Haven't been able to bike outside for two weeks.  Thought about last Tuesday riding to Champaign for my last century of the year.  The wind was good but just before I got "biked up" I checked the weather channel.  A huge mass of rain was moving into the area followed by a "wintery mix".  The temperature was in the mid 40's and dropping.  By the time I would have arrived in Champaign, the temperature would be in the mid 30's.  Therefore, sanity trumping foolishness I did my workout at the rec center.  Hopefully at least one more ride before winter sets in.  We'll see.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Haven't blogged for awhile.  Very busy.  Looks like riding outside is going to be finished for the foreseeable future.   My last ride was a week ago Monday.  Since then it has been cold and rainy.  That means my biking is indoors either on my trainer in the basement or at the Rec center.  I cannot believe there will be no more outside rides until the spring but the long term forecaste is not promising.  I was hoping for one more long ride to Champaign but the prospects look bleak.  No big rides planned for the future but I'm getting wanderlust so I will have to look into another adventure.  More later.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fat Tire Ride completed.  Joining friends the ride around Lake Geneva WS was another success.  By that I mean, there were no accidents, bike breakdowns, punctures or any other incident that would distract from the enjoyment of the experience.  Brian, our first time rider was surprised at the amount of hills and their grade; especially the last hill where 90 percent of the riders become "walkers".  Only Roger and I from our group did not walk the hill.  But, of course, we have many miles of those type of hills in our past.  So, a good time was had by all. 
On another note, I just passed 4,200 miles on my new bike purchased in April. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Almost 4,000 miles on new bike.  Couple of interesting rides lately but back in the saddle. Next ride will be the Fat Tire ride around Lake Geneva WS.  Will be joined by Roger,  Rick and newcomer Brian who is visiting from England.  This is the third year we have done this ride but while it is relatively short, 22 miles, it is fraught with thrills and adventure.  A bar about every 4 miles, hills to satisfy climbers and a steep near the end to challenge the best.  Roger and I are the oldest of the riders and two of the few that don't walk the final climb.  Also, not much drinking for us but the younger riders take advantage of the stops.  All in all a good time.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Back in the routine.  Biking 40 miles a day when the weather allows.  Its been hot and humid the last few days but if I get out early enough it is doable.  My new bike has just passed the 3,000 mile mark.  Not bad having purchased it in April.  Looking forward to the Fat Tire Ride in September.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Day 16 ride to Boston Ma.  Finally reached the Atlantic Ocean at Revere Beach, Ma.  1,168 miles ridden with old friend Harry and new friend Tony.  Fantastic bicycle ride across the eastern portion of the U.S.  I made many new friends and met some amazing people along the way.  Livin the dream!

Day 15 of ride to Boston. Today's ride was a 90 mile jaunt from Brattleboro VT. to Burlington Ma. With all the climbing from yesterdays ride I knew there would be challenging hills today. And, man was that a fact. If one were a climber with a bike this would be climber heaven. I'm a flatlander and these climbs were indeed a challenge. I just put my casset on the smallest ring and chugged along. The good news it that not one of those inclines were too much to accomplish. Riding down the descent fast was the reward for all the hard work of climbing those monsters. Passing the hilly part, the road became very busy. With little or no shoulder a biker had to be on constant alert. Enjoying the scenery was not a possibility so this particular ride was one of the most difficult. But the good news is I near the end of my ride and I had a great time. Plus, the weather has been fantastic. Today was in the middle 70"s with a favorable wind. Again, the scenery is best described in the photos.
Since tonight was the last big ride, a banquet offered a feast and sharing of the experience by each rider. Universally agreed was that the experience was more about meeting people and the interactions between them. This was followed by social interaction (partying) by many, but not all and I drag my weary carcass back to the room. If the grammer, spelling and snytax are wrong, one can understand why. 
 Harry and I crossing into New Hampshire

 Covered bridge on the road to Mass.
 Still climbing in New Hampshire
 Taking a rest from climbing to but Lemonade from kids at roadside stand

 Church in Concord MA.  Across from Concord Square
The British are coming......The British are coming.  Iconic church at Concord Square

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Day 14 of bike ride to Boston. Todays route was from Albany NY to Brattleboro VT. a total of 75 miles. Once again the weather was picture perfect. Clear skies, temperature in the low 70's and favorable wind. Couldn't ask for much more. The unique aspect of this ride is the amount of climbing involved. 5,000 plus feet. For a flatlander like me that is quite a bit. Climbing start virtually the minute I left the hotel. This was followed by hills that were quite doeable.... After mile 34 a 6.3 mile climb ensued. The good news is that the first 2 miles very steep. The bad news was the next 4 miles were STEEPER!!. And if anyone is wondering, I used every gear on my bike and wished I had more. An electric motor would have been nice or even some of Lance Amrstrong's drugs. But I digress. After a short stop at the top I was off again. The terrain was very hilly but nothing like the 6.3. At mile 57 another steep climb was waiting ending at the top of Hogback Mountain. From that point into Brattleboro it was very hilly but not like those we climbed earlies. As for the grade percent, it was as least 10% plus. Not sure exactly because I do not ride with a Garmin; much steeper than I'm used to. Now, about the downhills. In the past, I would have had no problem "deadheading" down the mountain. But being older and wiser, I actually used my brakes coming down. Even with the braking action, I hit 45 mph on one descent. Also, since I last rode this route, the road had deteriorated to the point of being very bumpy. Pot holes and semi's provided excitment on the descent.  But all's well that end's well.
When I entered the city, I saw a bike shop and stopped to make some purchases. The clerk asked how I entered the town and I told her route 9. Her eyes bugged out and she stated "no way". That is one of the toughest rides in this area. It services the ski trails in the mountains around Bennington. YIkes!!
The best way to describe the terrain and scenery is though pictures. Mountains in the background and a stream on the right side of the road made this aspect of the ride very enjoyable; almost to the point of ignoring the screaming in my quads but not quite. Tomorrow is the last long ride of the trip from Brattleboro to Burlington MA. 90 miles. Friday I will be in Boston! Horray

 Entering Vermont
 Cattle farm in the mountains
 Bennington Memorial in the background
 Babbling stream along side the road
 View from top of Hogback Mountain

Weary biker after a day of riding through the mountains of Vermont

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Day 13 bike trip to Boston. Today took me from Herkimer NY to Albany NY. a trip of about 80 miles. And wow, what a great day to ride a bicycle across America. Anticipating rain as per the weather channel, I was prepared to get wet for the second day in a row. But, by the time I started riding, not only was there no rain but the weather was perfect. Low 70's, no humidity with a favorable wind made this one of the best treks of the journey.
Following the confluance of the Mohawk River, in the Mohawk valley the scenery was extraordinary. To my right  the river flowed with verdant valleys, farms and houses displaying the natural beauty of the area. To my left were hills covered with greenary, family housing and various businesses. Mixed along the route were small iconic towns that reflect the history of the area. Examples are Schenectady settled in 1661 and Little Falls in 1723 to name a few. What I like most about these places is they were established before the American Revolution. Oops, there I go again with the history thing.
As much as I enjoyed riding my bicycle in these conditions I had forgotten what I had in store for me. About 5 miles from my destination in Albany I was greeted with steep and long hills that challenged my ability to climb them. Remember, I had already ridden 73 miles so it was even more difficult. But the good news, as a flatlander, I eventually conquered them without using the last of my "granny" gears, I'm saving it for tomorrows ride throught the mountains. And yes, I rode them during the 09 cross country ride I recall they were as difficult back then. The years have not eroded the grade of the slope.
Tomorrow I ride from Albany to Brattleborro VT. 

 Hills along the Mohawk River Valley
Riding Crew, Tom, Tony, Harry
 Harry and me
Mohawk River from road

Monday, June 19, 2017

Day 12 of the bike ride to Boston. Syracuse to Herkimer was a 70 mile jaunt. Per yesterday's prediction, today turned out to be a ride in the rain. As I have stated on previous occasions I do not mind riding in the rain. In fact, I prefer it to the 90 degree with high humidity we had yesterday. All in all it's good to have a diversity of weather. The better news is that the wind was favorable and the temperature was in the low 70's as the high of the day. Starting in a slight drizzle, the rain slowly subsided. It was not until with about 5 miles to go that the heavy rain started. Needless to say, by the time I arrive in Herkimer, I was drenched. At this time I will share a well known secret to keeping warm on a bike in the driving rain. Newspaper!! That's right. If rain is anticipated, simply put a section of the newspaper between your skin and your jersey. It keeps the core warm and the rest of the body responds. It works. Professional bicycle racers use this trick.
I really enjoyed today's ride as we are now entering the hills leading to the White, Green and Hampshire mountains. Green hills with the mountains in the background make it a much more scenic ride.
The highlight of the day was the stop we made at the "smallest church in America" located in the middle of an algae covered lagoon. I made the same stop in 09 and we almost missed it today. After pictures it was suggested we take the boat nearby to actually go out to the church. But in the interest of time and good sense, it was decided it was a bad idea. So, after a few snapshots we were down the road. It was a great day for riding across America and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's ride to Albany; a 78 mile distance
 Early 1900"s road grader
 Tony modeling the latest in biking apparel

 Me with the newspaper I used to keep warm
Harry relaxing near the smallest church in America

Sunday, June 18, 2017

 Lake Seneca-Memorial for fallen U.S. soldiers
 Seneca Falls NY  Home of the first woman's rights convention-1848
Standing by the Erie Canal
Day 11 of my ride to Boston. Today's trek took me from Canadaigua NY. to Syracruse New York. While the distance was only 70 miles there were still plenty of challenging hills to overcome. Weatherwise, it was another perfect day. The temperature was a mere 90 degrees and the wind was not particularly favorable. But it is what it is. I had plenty of water and enough gears on the bike to handle the conditions. This section of the ride takes us around Seneca Lake to Seneca... Falls NY. I do not mean to insult your intelligence but I will remind the readers Seneca Falls was the site of the first womans rights convention in July of 1848. While there many others this was the first. There are many websites to describe the events as this historical site.
The second point of interest was riding past the Erie Canal Park .Boat rides are stilled offered on that part of the canal which their historical society managed to renovate. Because I had already taken the boat trip in 09 I stopped just long enough to gulp down two glasses of their delicious lemonade.
I took a lilttle more time enjoying the scenery today as it is changing from farm land to wooded, hilly terrain. Until I reach the mountains looming ahead this type of terrain will be the norm. Looking forward to it.
Tomorrow looks like it will be a rain event. The route takes me from Syracuse to Herkimer;  named after the famous American Revolutionary General Nicholas Herkimer,. Oops, there I go again with that history stuff.

Day 10 of the Boston ride. The trek today took me from Hamburg NY to Canadaigua NY. A total of 94 miles. Again the weather cooerated. While the temp may have been a little high, 89 degrees, and the wind was not favorable, it was great day to ride a bicycle across America.
Today began with hills. After that, there were more hills. And then then when you thought the hills had ended, more hills. I was grateful for these, and by hills I am talking some as steep as 10-12 percent grade. As the day wore on, the hills seemed to get longer and steeper. Great, I am preparing for the mountains. Not much more to describe here since I didn't see much of the country side since I had my head down grinding up the "hills" Tomorrows jaunt takes us to Syracuse NY. a mere total of 70 miles.
 Looking for my next new bike.  Maybe this one
Rest stop with the gury
 Hummm wonder what this does
 Memorial to Civil War vets in Avon NY
Neat abandon house along highway 20a

Friday, June 16, 2017

Day 9 of the bike ride to Boston. Yesterday was day 8 and we rested in Erie PA. I took advantage of the rest to go to Niagra Falls.......Slowly I turn.....step by step.... inch by inch. Well, you know the rest. First time at the falls so, of course, I was impressed with the site. However, there were a gazillion people and I'm not much for crowds. Nevertheless, the falls and the surrounding area were very impressive. And, since I was so close to our neighbor Canada, I t...ook the time to cross the border and have lunch. It was interesting to see menus that had both Canadian and American prices. I was glad when we drove back to the states...USA.... USA..Patriotic indeed.
Today's ride took me from Erie, PA to Hamburg NY. A distance of a mere 80 miles. Again, and I hope I not jinxing us, the weather was perfect. Blue skies, mild temperature and favorable winds. Loved it. While the terrain is still relatively flat the corn/bean fields turned into mile after mile of grapevines. Yes, easten PA. and western New York are the second largest wine producing areas in the country. In fact, there are 128 winerys in the area. Nothing of note to report, but we were joined by a former 09 rider Chris Legette. It was fun having his ride with us and share what he has been doing in the years since the ride. At one of the SAGs he indicated he really missed the biking experience. In the 09 ride, he was among the strongest bikers in the group. It was an honor to have him ride with us today.
Tomorrow, we trek 94 miles from Hamburg to Canadaigua NY. Hopfully we continue our luck with the wind and weather.

 Niagra Falls

Crossing state line
Chris, 09 rider who joined us today

Eat your heart out Jim.