Sunday, November 30, 2008

Belt Drives

Article in local CJ about belt drive bikes. Locals are throwing in their 2cents. Trek seems to be prime mover, but another I found was Spot cycles. They have several nice models.

That said, no new technology for me at the moment.


568 is my November total, my highest monthly mileage to date, beating the old record by some 80 miles. I'm even more impressed with those folks who do 700-800 miles a month. I was too lazy to go out today in the cold and wet, but I'm pretty dang satisfied. I also topped 3,000 miles for the year. I'm pretty dang pleased with that too. It makes me excited for 2009 that I can do even more miles, not just b/c it's more miles but b/c it is so great to be out on the open road.

Peace to all and hope those injured mend soon enough to get out on the road themselves.

Maysville Dowtown Loop

Date: Nov 29 Sat
Weather: 40F, windy
Mileage: 21
November mileage: 568
Year to date: 3041

After the going-into-Maysville ride Friday, I took a morning 21m loop from the house and into downtown Maysville hard along the great Ohio. It wasn't earth-shattering like this ride, but it was as pleasant a 1.5hr that I could spend. Simply marevelous.

Morning view south towards Lewisburg.

South Fork of the Licking River along Strodes Run.

2 dead horses...Just Joking!

The Adams farm, according to my fatherinlaw

Telephotoed Adams farm pic. I like these 2 as much as any pics I've taken.

The famous Magee's Bakery. Word is, George Clooney, from nearby Augusta, still orders their transparent puddings (chess pie) for mailing. I stopped and bought the good wife a dozen tea cookies. I also arrived at Magee's a bit taxed after a mile-long chase with a young, healthy and exuberant black coon dog.

Maysville bridge down the river.

One of Browning factories. It's pertinent to you cyclists b/c the famous Wald baskets, given the seal of I/Grant approval, are made here.

Maysville bridge again.

2nd Street in Maysville. Like so many others, downtown is fighting a losing battle vs. the Wal-Mart sprawl from up the hill. As I understand it, Maysville is one of the oldest few towns in KY, and was its capital at some point.

Maysville and Ohio River.

I finished off the Maysville portion of this ride by climbing the infamous Old 68 Buffalo Trace hill. I had driven the car up it before, but had never climbed in on 2 wheels. Not unlike some of the climbs yesterday, the Buffalo Trace- and yes, the road was originally carved by bison- provides a near mile-long climb peppered with gradients anywhere from 7% up into the high teens (according to mapmyride). It's a colorful elevation display. It was a fantastic 2 days of riding.

Maysville TDay Ramble

Date: Nov 28 Fri
Weather: 45F, sunny
Mileage: 37
November mileage: 547
Year to date: 3020

We went to the in-laws in the country on Friday and Saturday for that portion of the TDay festivities. With that in mind, I hatched a plan to have the family drop me off on the way to give myself a fun and rural Friday ride. Originally I had planned a 50-miler leaving from Millersburg. We left quite late and I had concerns about lighting in the latter reaches of the ride. I could've taken the LHT with its SON, but I wanted Bleriot miles. As a compromise I took the the helmet with the Princeton light and a rear flashie for those last few moments of light and ended up doing 37 miles on the Forest Retreat/Maysville ride. I won't go into a long ride review because fundamentally it was a very rural ride with several roads that didn't really even have homes on them; it was the true "sticks". The ride was also punctuated with several short, sharp hills, all of which I cleared without walking. Below are the 3 memorable ones, including data gleaned from All 3 have have portions that ascend in the teens, as far as gradient goes. It was fun.
  • 1029 near Blue Licks climbing up to a short pitch at 18-20% and several at 7-10% in the .6m climb- 203ft ascension in .6m
  • 5 Lick Creek Rd was a .4m climb straight up side of hill into Sardis with a quick 20%, then flattening a bit then up a steady 7-10%- 100ft ascent in .3m
  • Lowell Rd. up to 596 out of Smith Creek valley was another .6m climb with a quick 20% followed by some 6%, then more 20% then leveling off before finishing at 5%- 210ft ascent in .6m
I did finish in the waning light, with both front and rear light blazing. I finished relatively strong and was wishing for 15 more miles to ride. Here are some images of said ride:

The ride started near the Forest Retreat Tavern. This portion looks classically Bluegrass with the gentle fields and black fences.

Barterville intersection. It took me a second to find the 1244 sign at the corner of the building.

Ridge top view on Bald Hill Road. This was as good as riding gets on this ridge.

Country bike leaning on country gate. I stopped here to take off first layer of wool short-sleeve shirt. Later in the shadows I wish I had kept it on.

Blue Licks Lodge no.495- You can see the Grange symbol on the front.

Old Blue Licks bridge. It's closed to cards, but bikes and walkers can sneak by.

Lovely Licking River.

Beginning of Old 5 Lick Rd. Mostly the entire road was this dark and claustrophobic.

"Bridge" on Lowell Rd. These are pretty common. When it rains alot, the water just goes over the bridge.

Bleriot on Brandywine Rd. Although not a great pic, it brings memories and thought. Firstly, the Brandywine divides the Shire from Buckland. Secondly, my parents' home in PA was very near the Brandywine. These areas- PA and KY- @ the Brandywine couldn't be more different save the name.

Very close to the house, I saw this ass and his troop of goats and sheep. I think there were 3 asses in all.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Today we go up to the in-laws for Fri/Sat holiday visiting. Each time I go to Maysville I try to throw in an interesting ride. It's such great country to spin in, w/ hills, empty, rural backroads, the flora and fauna of central KY, and generally speaking, wind as well. My one concern is always the difficulty of the terrain. Instead of massive mountains, it has hill after hill after creek and hill. After riding with LithoBeast and the like, I understand that my climbing is nil to non-existent. Last year on Turkey weekend I did a nice 46-miler. I remember it well b/c it was quite cold and I had to stop and buy some extra gloves, in this case hunter orange dot gloves. No, NOW I remember. I came completely upprepared and had to visit Wally World. For that weekend ride I purchased a $12 rain jacket- which became my outer layer-, $10 wool gloves and THEN bought the $2 hunter orange gloves on the ride. It was fun, though.

The point of this long-winded tripe is that to do KY rides I have to rely on more than googlemap resources. Time and time again googlemaps are just slightly off from the what local roads provide. What is doubly difficult is that even the state KY maps can sometimes mismark local road names. With these difficulties, to do rides in rural areas far from civilization, I incorporate a variety of map resources. I usually begin with a broad idea via googlemaps. If it's a particularly rural route, perhaps outside of the JeffCo/Louisville Metro area, I turn to more local maps. Originally I would peruse, and then copy, maps from the KY County Maps series book. The difficulty with that is its bulkiness; it's nearly uncarryable on a ride. In the past I've made copies of the pages, but the relative difference is page sizes made for ugly, truncated maps. A further resource that I used/use is from the UofK, in this case from their map department. It's a listing of all counties with multiple maps from which to chose, including both older maps (1950s) and more recent ones in both GIF and TIFF formats. I spent some time this morning trying to do some printing from these. After some lack of success getting the necessary resolution, I returned to an oft-used source, in this case country maps from KY State Planning. These present maps in PDF format, which I found is best for printing specific "this view" formats of the maps, thereby focusing in on specific portions of counties I need while jettisoning extraneous space. A further conundrum is that previous county maps, as found in the book map series, were in black and white, which certainly makes for the best contrast. Some of the "updated" maps out of planning are in 3-color, which decreases the contrast and makes for an unattractive printing aesthetic. I have also noted that the newest color planning maps chose to leave out some road names here-n-there; that can be questionable as well.

I don't know what other folks use, but I'm a map guy instead of a route slip guy. Because rural road names vary so much, and road signs are often NOT posted out in the boonies, I can't rely on route slips. Today in the new Baggins Bar Bag I'll have maps of Nicholas Co., Robertson Co., and Mason Co., all of which will provide me the necessary info to not get hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere.

**As an aside, a few years ago either Nicholas Co. or Robertson Co. was listed as the poorest per capita country in all of KY. This whole region is in the upper bluegrass, and is not considered Eastern KY, which is the "classic" Appalachian stereotype of poverty. As a further note, the author Barbara Kingsolver is from Carlisle KY, where her father was a country doctor. She got the hell out when she could. It's poor, but it's beautiful country.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day

Date: Nov 27 Thurs
Weather: 35F, sunny
Mileage: 7
November mileage: 510
Year to date: 2983

I went out with the intention of doing 1-1.5 hrs before our meal at my mom's. Early on I felt a twinge or 2 from the old ticker. Had I missed a med? Is something up? I don't have an answer for that, but I turned around and returned home, 7m worth of riding in the bag. I can't say I'm particularly pleased, but it is what it is. Peace to you all and be thankful for what you have, not mournful for what you don't.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ye Olden Days

Date: Nov 25 Tues
Weather: 45F, breezy
Mileage: 26
November mileage: 483
Year to date: 2956

Date: Nov 26 Wed
Weather: 48F, sunny
Mileage: 20
November mileage: 503
Year to date: 2976

After a near death march of a commute yesterday- one which I will write off as "one of those days"- I used a day off today for a different kind of cycling experience. I had considered taking the LBS 20/30/60 this morning, but in the end was to ambivalent to pack up so early. This afternoon the fam went shopping for school clothes so I escaped as well, packing up the C'dale for some trail riding. I hadn't been to Waverly in years and years. It's a Metro Park on the southwest side of the county, one that is maintained and regularly used by the local dirt community. A trip there also brings back memories for me from many years past. If you study the map (post below) near junction marker 4 there is a wee little water/fire tower. That extension leads to Windsor Forest subdivision, my home from ages 11-16. If you travel further SW towards marker 6, the trails lead to the old location of a country club, in the truest sense a club in the boondocks, at least back in the day. That was but a relic even by the time I was visiting my grandparents' home in the mid-70s when we moved back to KY. Their house was but a mile or two away from that via old roads and paths. The Country Club remains- fire? foreclosure?- were something of a legend even then in the mid-70s. The club had developed bridle paths near the former clubhouse, ones that later were/are used by all types of off-road vehicles. You can only imagine the beer drinking and elicit weekend sex that took place deep in the woodsthere. On the map those can be seen as off-limits yellow trails. As such, I had explored those trails in my youth on a bmx bike before the advent of the mtbike culture.

In the early 90s, black and pink C'dale in tow, I again explored those trails as part of the first network of mtbike trails in the area, mostly on the upper 4-wheeler trails. One of my best mtbiking memories was one of particularly savage accident on the NW side of Waverly in what now would be the yards of subdivision dwellers. My friend/student Chad and I were ripping and roaring and I approached a downhill withe some speed, Chad behind me. I went down in the some wet leaves, but all was fine. Alas, Chad was too close behind and careened into my supine body, first leaving a tire tread across my back and then cascading downward, the end of his bar bashing my hand in a direct blow. "This is bad." We hustled back as best as possible to the car park and proceeding directly to the hospital, I holding an extremely swollen and red hand. The doc later informed me that he was "surprised" it wasn't broken. Later, on another expedition in Cherokee Park, Chad went headfirst into the side of the ditch. To the day I'm shocked he didn't break his neck.

So, that was Waverly. What is it like now?

The local trail boys have done significant work on the trails to make them both fun and viable. I crossed, probably, 6 of these bridges today. One thing I found difficult today was that the trails went very up and down. That is to say I often did not have enough speed to clear the steep climb our of the creekbeds. A slight contribution to this is the tires found on the C'dale. I don't remember- perhaps by choice- the brand, but they're terrible in all conditions. Because the C'dale is a very occassional option, I refuse to spend $$ on buying more.

While many of the trails are tight and windy singletrack, you can still connect with the remnants of the old bridle paths. These are heavily rooted and rocky. I find that the 29er wheels and excellent action of the Lefty fork really allow me to explore the limits of handling that I surely never had on either a bmx bike or the early C'dale.

Because I was near old haunts I took a side trip into Windsor Forest for a brief trip down memory lane. While I most certainly will not encourage anyone else to experience the middle school years that have haunted me so, I can say that I didn't know how good I had it in W.F. Behind the homes were common areas, woods, trails, that you could access out your back yard. We spend countless hours on bmx bikes, playing fort, hide-n-seek, looking for junk in the creeks. Really if I had to choose to live in a subdivision now, it would be an excellent spot for the boys. that said, WF is a bit more run down than it was in the 80s.

This is it, Mountain Brook Dr. from 6th-11th grade. It hasn't changed much save the expiration of a nice red maple in the left of this pic. It does have a pool in back, but I preferred the football/baseball area.

Now the common areas are marked with these nice "trail signs. We spent an awful lot of time in the "woods".

Today, after the side trip to WF I continued on the bridle paths towards the old club location. This is one of the 2 lakes originally constructed for fishing. The greenish hue doesn't make for an appetizing picnic location. Nearby I also shot a pic of some cars that had been thrown down the hillside. Interestingly, just above them, where the foundations of the old club were found- at least in the 90s- stands a new house on the top of the hill. The whole topography of the area as changed. What once was mysterious woods is now yet more encroaching development. Disappointing.

It is at this point that I deleted half of my entry while moving this bike pic from below. I'm a little irritated and will now cut this entry short. I finished my ride by getting stuck in construction mud. Perhaps I'll load the remaining pics later.

The C'dale is a nice bike, good for clearning logs and rocks and such with its big footprint and shock. OTOH, it's a bit silly to have a 29er on a medium-sized frame. It doesn't make for a graceful singletracker. But again, I'm not a graceful singletracker.

I did turn over 500m for the month, a might tidy number I think. I also have the chance to add some more miles this weekend as well. If I were to stop eating, I think I would develop some nice fitness.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just Grinnin'

Date: Nov 23 Sun
Weather: 50F!!
Mileage: 34
November mileage: 457
Year to date: 2930

I had the good fortune to go out on a Sunday afternoon jaunt with Lithodale, now known as LithoBeast. He escaped the kids and I took care of Sunday a.m. churching to use our quite fortuitous 50F temps to get the miles in. I'm sure LithoBeast enjoys it b/c it's out of the confines of his lunchtime schedule, and I am certainly happy to mile on more miles in search of the 3,000 benchmark I'd like to reach. After a spirited SS ride yesterday, I needed to take a casual- read not difficult- route for today's jaunt. Given that LB doesn't have too much experience in the 'Ville on 2 wheels, I get very nice leeway choosing our paths. For today I thought to go on an easy, familiar ride along the Riverwalk, eventually completing the Big Riverwalk Loop. Because we were both enjoying ourselves so, we did Algoinquin, the Riverwalk, and then extended up River Rd. to Indian Hills and home via Seneca. The two overwhelming observations are first, that we both had stupid grins on our face the whole time. How couldn't we? The temps had been miserable the last two weeks, but today blessed us with 50F and blue, blue skies. Secondly was that I felt the effort, a good effort, in the legs. Both the BR and the CC are out of commission with spoke issues, so today's ride fell to the Bleriot. Mind you, LB has the RB-1, so I had actually run out of "tempo" bikes. I love the Bleriot, but a speed bike it ain't. It vindicated itself nicely today, but I'll have to have a "fast" bike ready to ride with LithoBeast, b/c I need all the tempo help I can get. Any complaints aside, it was an excellent day all round.

The bday unveiling, a new Baggins Bar Bag. This one will have permanent residence on the front of the Bleriot, to go with the Banana Bag in the bag. (dark pic sorta stinks)

Shawnee Park in a pleasant late November splendor.

LithoBeast adjusting helment. If he ever gets a bike that actually fits and some gear I might not be able to hang anymore. He's a great ride conversationalist, though.

Bleriot next to trashcan. Pretty lame camera work if you ask me.

LithoDale on up Indian Hills Rd. He was nice enough to wait for me admidst my waning legs.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

To a 'T'

Date: Nov 22
Weather: 25F
Mileage: 42
November mileage: 423
Year to date: 2896

I loaded the map b/c it's a nice 'T' ride, out east, out west, down south, up north and back out east. The regular Saturday morning LBC ride leaves from the riverfront and does this route. Many riders will do this in the morning and then do the afternoon ride that tends to have more mileage. I was going to ride the Crosscheck today, but forgot about my broken spoke. I jumped on the TrekSS with designs of doing my longest, albeit super-flat, SS ride. I took my camera but taking pics on club rides just isn't something done. Highlights:
  • frozen fountain in St. James Ct. That'll be worth a return for a pic.
  • 4 or 5 truck fire on Southern Pkwy. I didn't want to "rubberneck" but there was fire and there was black smoke damage. I truly hope everyone is alright from that.
  • climbing Iroquois Pk hill on SS. The first pitch is especially deceptively slow-going, but I did the entire thing.
  • milling around the UL football game crowd in the 3rd Street/Central Ave. area.
  • talking to Phil (?). He's a retired fella who- and this is what he told me- has done 5,200 miles since the start of May. To me, that is very, very impressive. I know. He doesn't work. He's retired, etc. etc. But I hopefully will do 3,000 and I know the Dougs and the ReflectorCollectors of the world do 6,000+. Those number of miles in 7 months strikes me as very impressive.
  • I finished today's ride with 35 excellent miles and 6 of very dubious quality. The first 35m were done with an average in excess of 15.5mph, and maybe above 16mph. That's brisk for me, but very comfy in the end. And, hey, that includes Iroquois Hill, so I'd call that spirited. The downfall at mile 35, very near school, was that I felt the left pedal/crankarm wobble that I did on Wednesday. I obviously have a coming serious mechanical malfunction at some point. I tried to screw it down by hand as best I could and limp home- stopping, walking, riding with only my right leg, hoping for the best. That last 6m took me an hour. ick! And I have to come up with a solution that doesn't cost $$. I don't want to put more $$ in this bike although I really love the ride.
Well, that was today. I'm making plans for some nice mileage rides next turkey weekend. I'll be off Wednesday, which may bring a LBC ride. Friday we're goin' to the country, so that may mean more yummy hilly country miles. And the temps supposedly will be tending up as well.

Hope everyone had the chance to get out, and those that can't, I hope you had a good, calming day as well. peace.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bicycling for Louisville

Date: Nov 21
Weather: 25F/33F
Mileage: 16
November mileage: 381
Year to date: 2854

Another unseasonably cold commute today, giving me all 5 days this week. That's a rarity in my commuting career for some reason. I have often been a 4 day/week guy with one rogue day of driving, but this week.

In the p.m. I did a little bit of 'Ville cycling advocacy, sort of. Bicycling for Louisville was hosting an open house in their offices downtown. Not being exactly sure what their mission was, I stopped by after work and before Friday evening family time. It was a low-key affair with slight attendance, but how knows how many were coming in the course of the afternoon. I had to leave at 4.30 and it was going until 7.00. As for BfL, their mission, as I learned seems to be more one of legal issues, state laws about lane width, traffic light engineering, vehicular laws pertaining to cards mowing down bikes with no responsibility, etc. Director Barry Zalph can also be found @ Barry's Blog. I also met Jackie Green at this function. He's the local advocacy guru via previously blog-mentioned Bike Depot. You can read some of his advocacy efforts on the tab on the BikeDepot site. I stated that his primary effort right now is leading the Safe Streets Louisville effort. I did inquire Barry about the various wings of the advocacy movement here in town. What I think is a little disconcerting is that there are even more advocacy groups and "stakeholders" in the 'Ville cycling movement: the LouisvilleBicycleClub, Metro Louisville Gov't's bicycling director, Bike Louisville, and perhaps more. I understand the difficulty of managing and negotiating the byzantine, serpentine route that is bureaucracy, but would the cycling movement be better served under one umbrella with its respective fields of expertise and interest? Is the local cycling commuting hindered b/c we have all these different "arms", but no "head"?

Let's be clear. This is in NO way to critize gentlemen like Barry or Jackie. They live the life. I question what the bureaucracy looks like in a Minneapolis, a Portland or even a Chicago. Are their efforts more coordinated and henceforth, more successful? I see some really postive energy here in the 'Ville, and I credit folks like Barry and Jackie for making it happen. I'll certainly be on my bike commuting, trying to do my own thing on the bike. Maybe I should not just walk the walk, but as James Brown said, "Get Involved, Get Involved, aaeeiii!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Right Here, Right Now

(flurries in Bulgaria)

Date: Nov 20 Thurs
Weather: 30F/33F, flurries in the p.m.
Mileage: 17
November mileage: 365
Year to date: 2838

I can't put into words, nor pictures, what a great moment this afternoon's commute was. I'm sure to many roadies, mt.bikers or commuters that 33F with wind blowing from the north and snow flurries whipping about isn't ideal cycling weather. To the contrary, I was sitting at the intersection of Tyler Ln. and B'town Rd. near the house and couldn't have been happier on the bike. I'm beginning to think that the TrekSS- Old Bessie herself- is one of my top fav rides. I was waiting for the light with the windy cutting me in the face and our first snow shower (non-accumulating) pitching sideways down B'town Rd., and I was doing exactly what I would've chosen. I was warm enough. My bike was comfy. My SS was getting the job done. I had good legs this afternoon, ones that took me down and out Payne St. to the Beargrass Tr. and then through Cherokee. I was able to push the gear all the way up Millvale and just felt great. This morning may have been even better. A Zencast Podcast from Gil Fronsdal presented 2 important notions about our speech: we should consider the energy of our speech (negative, relaxed, positive, tense, etc.) and we should be mindful of the intention of our speech. Both of these may be considered before even analyzing the content. It's our fundamental intention. I actually got to work in time for a 10min sit before the workday started. It was all good.

Tonight is filled with the mundane nature of "real" life: report cards, supper, mean elementary teachers, the dreaded family calendar, future plans, teenage attitudes, etc. It's all good, though, b/c it's all there, in front of us, and in front of me. I hope everyone else has had a fulfilling day. Those on the mend or too cold to ride, I hope you consider the freedom you'll feel when you are able to spin those pedals in your own due time. How Sweet it will be!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On Your Left Cycles

Doesn't this look like fun? I came across this goofing at the OYLC site. I think the shop caters to the mtbike and fixie crowd, but they sure are nice when I'm there. I'm liking this vibe. Anything that can offer an alternative to the lycra crowd is good by me. NOT that there' anything wrong with the lycra crowd. Good for them. It's just not what I'm into right now. And this ride looks like an possibility.

Commute Cosa

Date: Nov 19 Wed
Weather: 25F/46F, breezy in the p.m.
Mileage: 13
November mileage: 348
Year to date: 2821

Short commute today, but best laid plans laid waste. I'm interested in getting back in the gym for a little lifting this winter. My avoidance of weight loss/gain has gotten me to a point where some of my pants are too tight and MORE importantly, it all seems to have a bad effect on bike wheels. To wit, I have have 4 bikes with spoke issues: Bleriot (detensioned but tightened), Crosscheck with rear broken spoke, Blueridge with rear broken spoke and 9.2.5. with front broken spoke. I can make excuses, but they're broken and I cand imagine my present girth being the best for them. The plan was to ride straight home, change and hit the gym for short workout before 'Z' got home from chess. Instead, when I got on the TrekSS in the hall (my hall is pretty long), I noticed a strange wiggle. Thinking something was wrong with my pedal, I tested it out to find that the left crankarm was loose. I think it's the same that I had previously "fixed" at Clarksville after some onorous squeeking eminated for seemingly months. Instead of charging home for the gym workout, I instead gingerly pedalled over to the updated On Your Left cycles. I've been in that shop a couple times and the staff couldn't be nicer. Just the other day I bought a tube and some lube. Today, one of the big, burly wrenches put some good torque to the crankarm and away I returned home, but not the gym.

On other bike issues, I received a little RBW bday package today, goods ordered on the 3rd that Keven forgot about. I'm not going to say any more until some pics ensue.

Returning to the commute. This a.m., with 25F, I went straight for the short, quick climb up Valley Vista to start the day. Normally i detour to get an extra- but flat- mile. Today the hill did the trick getting the blood flowing to stave off the cold a.m. air.

And on a different note, I took Midway Bikelog's suggestion to listen to Radio Lab out of NYC public radio. This weekend's episode is about Choice. One of the segments discussed the connection between emotions and choice. Can you divorce emotions from choice? Can you be Spock? It spoke, to me, to the heart of the Buddhist notion of equinimity. That balance struck in Buddhism is choiceless awareness, neither craving nor despising. It's a reality based on balance, minfulness and dissolution of desire, all for the purpose of ridding yourself of suffering from th desire. This episode posited that without emotion, there is not choice to speak of. A man who had a tumor and had lost his ability to emotional connect had also lost his ability to choose. There was no reason to choose b/c there was no emotional response, "Yes, Quickbeam!" "No, GMC Tahoe!" This scientific assumption/hypothesis would say that the choicelessly-aware Buddhists were full of shit. And it could be. So much of Buddhist philosophy is predicated on giving us Choice, because you give us the Suffering when you give up the clinging, the Choices. A conundrum for sure, but an interesting program. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mas commute fotos

Date: Nov 18 Tues
Weather: 30F/37F, sunny
Mileage: 18
November mileage: 335
Year to date: 2808

This morning looking east. The light is great at 6.50 a.m. The dawn brings such promise.

Same view ESE. If you look carefully, or expand, you can see the blue and red of the 'Ville's finest.

The LHT sitting next to one of our 35 entrances. Yes, 35. The black smudge top left is a portion of my glove. Ask the good wife. I have a problem with fingers in pics. But, boy, ain't that a sweet ride?

New development downtown along Jefferson St. I think it's mixed housing, with this looking down the "green" in between 2 rows of buildings, a la St. James' Court.

I rode downtown and back towards the parks via this greenway, but I don't remember the name and couldn't find it, or at least I didn't look too hard.

Side trail off Greenway up to old dump and future- supposed- home of the 'Ville 'Cross course park.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Side Trail

Date: Nov 17 Mon
Weather: 40F, windy/38F, windy and flurries
Mileage: 15
November mileage: 317
Year to date: 2790

Other than being relatively cold and blustery both a.m. and p.m., today's commute was nondescript save a little side trail i took in Cherokee on the way home. It was windy and I wasn't as well dressed as I could've been, so I took one of the trails to warm up on the climb. As ever, the LHT does a nice job on non-"radical" trails in the area. A few pics to enjoy. Notice the nice and obnoxious look of the reflective triangle on the back.

First flurries of the season on November, 17th

LHT in action. Gotta love the triangle.

Cherokee Park trial

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sports Weekend

Here's another one of my weekly sports updates. This week has been particularly harsh for moi. Particulary. In no particular order:
  • Real goes down @ Valladolid 1-0. With Ruud out for the season, Robben hurt and a defense that is certainly mediocre for a team at this level, it's bad, bad, bad.
  • First, on Friday night the 'Cats lose at home to VMI 111-103. Really, it's so shocking I have a hard time having any comment. How can you give up 111 points at home? This is the 3rd ridiculous loss of the BillyG years, last year w/ Gardner-Webb and San Diego and now VMI.
  • Then to top it off, the football 'Cats lose a tough one to Vandy @ Vandy. While the are still in bowl contention, it leaves things all a little sour. The D, which has been so efficient earlier in the season, has fallen apart. The last game will be at Tennessee. It's very win-able, but we'll see.
On a different note, we finished off my bday night (after the supper debacle) going to a show at Headliners. First on the bill was local band The Fervor, Brother Reade, and the headliner Mates of State. Let's begin by stating that my role in this show was to be a pleasant and supportive concert date for the good wife. Mates of State, when on the radio/CD, make we want to kill babies. That said, with designs on living a more peaceful 2nd half of life, I didn't let it bother me one bit. We went. The Fervor was actually pretty good. keyboard pop with some good vocals. Brother Reade was hilarious. It started with 2 drum kit songs. "What the hell is this?". After that, his/their show became a DJ/rap concert, white non-rhythmic rap at that. I cracked up. My wife attended a rap show. :-) Smiles abounded even though the music wasn't very good. For me, it wasn't that bad, actually, but I won't become a groupie. Mates of State- a married couple "mates"- then put on another keyboard-oriented pop show. It was all good. For the first time ever at a rock show, I fell asleep. During the headliner I chilled against the wall. I think I dozed off while standing. Later I sat on the floor and fell asleep again, the nap lasting 1 song. Would I go on my own? No, but it was all good and the good wife had a nice time; that was the goal.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bday Thanks

Date: Nov 15 Sat
Weather: 40F,raining- Belgium style!
Mileage: 20
November mileage: 302
Year to date: 2775

Birthdays are so selfish in a way. Everybody celebrate me. Everybody give me something or do something. Me, me, me. Fact is, while getting rained and and blown away in the inclement weather today I realized that on this birthday, I have much to be thankful for while turning my 39th year:
  • a loving and understanding wife
  • 2 great boys, even when I want to kill them. :-)
  • the health to spin the bike for 20 miles in the driving rain. Others don't have that luxury. Our good friends Joseph, Ron and Janna didn't live to see this time in life, and that's too bad.
  • that my parents, with whatever relationships I have with them, are both still alive. it's great for the boys, too, to get to spend time with their abuelos. tonight's meal and ensuing wife/father fracas has tempered this but it shouldn't, i guess. so many others would like to have the family around that i have, foibles and pitfalls included (I guess...)
  • a heapful of bikes. We in our house have more than anybody needs. We're comfortable, entertained with things that matter (books, CDs, legos), and could stand to miss a meal or two.
  • employment. I don't always love my job, but I work with bright, dedicated people day in and out and that's more than many can say.
  • and finally, among others, the rain. Why a 40F day with a driving rain? Well, b/c everything around us provides us our existence and our foundation. without our surroundings we're for naught. if I love the perfect 80F day, then i also love the rainy 40F mess. it's the world in which we live, and we should care for it and relish it as much as possible.
Peace to all beings out there.


Date: Nov 12 Wed
Weather: 43F/58F, rainy
Mileage: 15
November mileage: 245
Year to date: 2718

Date: Nov 14 Fri
Weather: 55F, windy
Mileage: 37
November mileage: 282
Year to date: 2755

Wednesday- leisurely in the a.m. on southern route via Audabon Park and then to Sunergo's for new grounds and a mint tea. Afternoon was alright until i was just hit wall. completely knackered i was. crawled home in the dripping mid-50s, but you know what? great ride and great day. Thursday I just took off needing a break.

Friday, today, is a slight deviation from the norm. I took the day off from work for sake of the fact that tomorrow is my bday and I had some things I wanted to accomplish, one of them being not being at work. The morning centered around what kind of cycling experience I would have. Thoughts were a ride to Lexington (going Friday evening to see the Chanticleer show), riding in Bluegrass area Friday afternoon, taking in a local kybikerides route that's new to me, or what I did, which was do some roads in SW Jeff and Bullitt Co., an area I know but one I didn't have to worry about as much given the other business of the day.

The route I decided took me from Iroquois Pk and I hope to achieve 2 goals: to climb the locally infamous Brooks Hill and to take in a new road, Mt. Elmira Rd. Oddly enough, Brooks is not found on 100 Steep Ones, although every other climb in that area is. From the end of that I had several options for the return. I did decide to drive to Iroquois and leave from there b/c sometimes I just don't want urban traffic.

Pretty quickly in the ride I realized that two factors would influence my day in the saddle, the wind and my legs. One influence was strong, the other weak, and you can guess which one. The wind was a strong northeasterly (coming from the SE, right?), and my 'out' trip was in that direction. I knew that if I could just grind early one, my return would be zippy. I passed on Manslick and into Fairdale, stopping a few times for quick pics. Fairdale, to the day, is a strange little "town" mired right on the edge of the 'Ville. Not many years ago it was a close-but-distant rural community not quite part of Louisville; now it's a distant burb. I went south out of Fairdale on perfectly flat roads, but the wind combined with an understanding that I wasn't having my best day meant that I just put my head down and ground it out. Perhaps 4m from Fairdale I encountered the right turn onto 1526/Brooks Hill Rd. I've heard about it but never experienced it. Even with crappy legs I looked forward to experiencing the climb. My multitude of readers know that I have lots of bikes, and Friday's ride included the rarely-used Blueridge, my reasoning being that it's much lighter and ostensibly a better climbing bike. My thoughts Friday were that I like feel, handling, and comfort of the Bleriot and maybe the BR's time with me has come. None-the-less, I climb Brooks Hill slowly and steadily, trying to regulate my breathing and control my pace. About 2/3 way up the climb the heart pounding told me to stop for a moment, which I did. After that brief respite I sauntered back on the bike and made it to the top. I'm sorry that the 100Steepest doesn't have it listed, b/c I don't have another means of calculating the stats, not that it matters. All the climbs in SWJeff/Bullitt are half-mile to one mile climbs. They're steep (8-10%), but relatively short. having cleared that, I continued on 1526 until reaching my turn at Mt. Elmira. This was a nice ridge-top road of 3 miles, with lots of twists and ups-n-downs to make for an intersting ride. I felt like I was in the deep country when I saw the fighting-cock farm and the trailer with 4 beat-to-hell cars out front. At some point on Mt. Elmira I heard a ping which I first took as a misdirected freewheel shift (which the BR sometimes does). A little later I looked at the back wheel to find that the ping was, in fact, exactly what it was. I've had a devil of a time lately with spokes, first on the Redline925, then on the Bleriot and now the Br. The Redline's was broken, the Bleriot's merely detensioned (I fixed that). Now I had to ride home with a wobbly wheel seemingly rubbing on the rear brake pad. This all happened at a church camp at the corner of Mt. Elmira and 44. I didn't take pics b/c of being bothered by the wheel, but I'll return in the future. Mt. Elmira is a fun ride.

From there, wobbly wheel in tow, I turned back towards home via Martin's Hill Rd. (climbed a ways back for the first time). The MHRd. descent would've been a fun one, a perfectly fun one, but I had my left hand clamped on the front brake. I didn't know the effects of the damaged wheel on a fast descent, so I tried to keep things under control. When I reached Knob Creek Rd. (actually a further extension of 1526/Brooks Hill Rd.) I had a decision to make whether to head NE towards home or to extend out. With the wheel and the log-like legs I turned right and made the return leg. Just across the JeffCo line I encountered my 2nd climb of the day, named the backside of Mitchell Hill or the Knob Creek hill. Two other times in my cycling life I had tried to "clean" this climb, but to no avial. Friday, though, provided me with adequate enough legs to again make slow and steady pace up, finishing without stopping nor without losing a lung. From there it was mostly "downhill" back to the truck. I did have a hair-raising time descending the sinuous Mitchell Hill, but the bottom I retraced my route via Manslick to Iroquois Pk. I ended up with 37m on the nose with an average of 14.1mph. It was a tough bike ride, but a really nice bike experience. It also got me closer to an excellent mileage total for November and closer as well to my 3K goal for the 2008 year end. Below are a few pics:

Going over Jefferson Freeway, oops 265/Gene Snyder Freeway. I remember this being completed in the 1980s in the Valley Station area where we lived. Since then, it's been a magnet for fast food and subdivisions.

Litespeed Blueridge leaning against table in memorial park of Fairdale. In its present guise we find Planet Bike fenders and the Carradice Nelson Longflap. It's expensive and irreplaceable, but I just don't like its ride compared with that of the Bleriot.

Fairdale landmark, the DQ. My journey went right in this pic, on Mt. Holly Rd. and towards Brooks.

I couldn't help stopping for a pic of this. Understand that there aren't any train tracks near this.

Where I stopped on Brooks Hill. You can see the destination of the climb following the ridgeline above the road.

Scenary from Mt. Elmira Rd. The fall color here was near optimal.

More ridge views. "I can see for miles and miles..." I don't think I've seen such long-distance views anywhere else locally.

And the final ridge view down the power lines. This is where I stopped to found the broken spoke.

FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: