Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm in

I definitely need some life changes. I'm struggling with different baggage, and my health is the one I have the most control over. I started writing an entry the other day about the frustrations with so many variations of diets floating around these days. And I'm not talking about "Atkins" or "South Beach". I'm dealing with what to eat on a day-to-day basis. Vegetarian? High protein? Low Carb? Organic? Moderation in all things? I do know that ice cream, Cheezitz and excessive peanut butter (lots of calories) can't be part of it. How extreme can I go in cleansing my own body of all the crap in the modern world, while living within the family structure? I don't know, but I have to try. I'm 38 and I don't like heart problems, excessive weight and magic sleep machines, poor balance from lack of fitness, on and on. I don't have the expectations of becoming young again, or of maintaining some type of unreasonable, American notion of perfection. I just want to be healthy and in control of my physical being instead of the cravings controlling me. If you have any insights, opinions, suggestions or cautions, please share.

The Fat Guy

Here's a link to a local TV report about a gentleman from S. Indiana, David Crowell, a.k.a. The Fat Guy. We're now getting a little more variety in our local cycling coverage. Once, it was "bad cyclist", "law-breaker cyclist" and such. Now, at least they're not pandering so much and are willing to give us some positive perspectives. And it's another example of someone using the bike to get their physical life back in order. Maybe all this inspiration- LFoaB, BYam, ChubbySuperBiker,- will knock me out of my doldrums.

NYC #3

Thursday a week we went to see the Mets play the Phillies at Shea Stadium, the other NYC stadium that is coming down at the end of the season. It was so interesting to see the contrast between Yankee St. and Shea. Bronx vs. Queens. Uptown vs. 'Burbs. upscale vs. "goombah". One of these pics is just across the street from the stadium, that of a huge line of junk yards hawking used car parts. Granted, Y.S. isn't in a nice part of town, but it is in a neighborhood, and not an industrial war zone. Flushing Meadows, home of the U.S. Open is on the other side of the street and subway from Shea. It's really no nicer there. It was a "meadow", to imply a big, flat spot for big buildings. Our seats were excellent for both days and it was a good game, with the home Metz winning (3-1).


Carlos Delgado at the plate.

The excellent 3rd baseman David Wright.

Monster Ryan Howard. I was very enthusiastic to see him play. He struck out 4 times, as did wonderboy 2nd baseman Chase Utley. The 3rd Philly stud, Jimmie Rollins, didn't play.


Another shot of home plate and Shea in general.

Junk Yard alley, with the requisite 'black cars' in wait. A ridiculous image, IMHO.

@#$@# da Police

As is "love", right? Found this mention on Chubby Super Biker's site. Apparently, Lincoln's finest is a straight talker about cyclists' rights and share the road. Here in the 'Ville we've had recent complaints of da police harassing cyclists to get on the sidewalk or whatev. Make this world a better place, if you can.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

#4

Yep, another Afib this afternoon. I'm just waiting it out to see if it's gone. It feels that way right now. Factors? I had coffee this morning (several hours before episode). I haven't slept the last 2 nights on my Cpap machine. I lost part of the power cord in NYC, but the new one arrived today. I had a very poor night's sleep last night, so, man, did 2 nights sleep w/out the machine- thereby presupposing lots of apnea- cause such a thing? Can't I just pull a LFoaB and drop 80lbs? Would that help? I know the extra weight is a direct causative agent of the sleep apnea. If I return to sleeping normally, perhaps the Afib will go away. I've struggled with weight issues since I was cognizant of being heavy when I was 8 or 9. I just eat and eat. Strangly, well, not strangly, when I ride more it makes me ravenous. That isn't the least bit strange, but it is quite the Catch-22. Exercise more/Don't lose weight b/c you're so f@#$#g hungry from riding 50m.

I'm bummed and frustrated, although it seems my episode has gone away. Many people live with many episodes, so no reason to be glum, but I am so much less in control of my own health and well-being than I should be. I AM in control, but that creepy little imp on my shoulder certainly seems to have the upper hand in this one. And skinny people who have always been skinny have no clue. Actually, maybe the skinny people with their own addictions have a clue. Right? The smokers, gamblers, drunks, shoppers. Just put the ice cream down. ARGGHHH!!

Commute

It felt damn good to have the 1st commute of the new school year. School doesn't officially start for me until next Friday, but like many of us, I have to get in the building well early. Plus, our 17+-yr principal is retiring, so there was a breakfast wingding for her this morning. The rest of the day I spent moving crap. It's not that elegant. I tend to actually do better with a schedule; I'm more productive in the off hours, so it will be good for me.

As for my ride, the morning was completely uneventful except that I had good legs. Right out of the gate I was able to push one sprocket smaller, who knows why. It was really nice, actually. The afternoon was pretty uneventful too except that I had the same front mudguard problem as I've experienced before. B/C of my smallish frame, I experience toe overlap, in this case bashing a shoe against the framework of the fender. It's the SKS/ESGE model that has a breakaway design, which is good. The bad is that it's a bit loosy goosy when you smack it. So, I dismounted and jimmy-ed it up, but it was rubbing just a tad on the left. I smacked it again to get home, but I'm going to loosen all the mounts and get it squared up for the fall commuting season.

Ride on!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hot Errands

Wow, the true summer temps have arrived in the 'Ville. Today was about 93F with plenty of oppressive humidity. Yuck! I was looking for shade towards the end of my errands ride today. I headed first towards Buechel to visit Harbor Freight Tools to take a look at a cheap work cart for school. I was trying to get a prices to get a school check cut instead of having to pay out-of-pocket, but the bookkeeper left. I guess many, many folks have lots of acquisition headaches, but I just don't do well with $$ bookkeeping, or at least with the multitudinous paperwork school bureaucracies have to deal with.

The next stop was a distant one, requiring me to cross town a bit. My original destination was downtown, but I skirted the expressway into St. Matthews. It helps that I've toodled around so much, b/c access outside of the Watterson is so limited. I eventually found my way to Browns Ln., crossing the Watterson and headed through neighborhoods to Frankfort Ave. I hadn't planned on my 2nd stop, but there it was, Quest Outdoors. For many years it was our only "outdoors" store, although now a few other options exist. Importantly, this is the only one that is safely bike-able, so I stopped in. Having bought the 1-man tent on sale, I wanted to look into sleeping bag options. My only sleeping bag at present is one of those big, thick Target type bags that are perfectly good for going to family camp, but I wouldn't want to lug the 10lbs of bag on a bike.

I looked a bit and chose a relatively warm 45F Mountain Hardware Lamina 45. I decided on such a light bag for 2 reasons. First, the carrying weight is only 1lb, 11oz. That interested me as a means of keeping my bike weight down. Secondly, I plan on doing a S240 in the near future, and will do more if I enjoy myself. That said, I don't see me heading off in the wilds of winter, so I don't need a tremendous bag like a MN resident might. It was good to see that this one got a couple nice reviews online. Yes, this was an impulse purchase, but I trusted the shop and I think I bought a bag that will fill my needs. My only dismay was seeing that Campmor had the same bag offered for a good bit less. Oh well. Keep Louisville weird and support local vendors, like my wife's place of employment, right? It did stuff quite nicely into my one pannier on the LHT, and I had room to fit my cable lock and "European carryall" on top.

My last stop took me to Slugger Field's tix window. Last night we decided to buy tix for the upcoming riverfront My Morning Jacket show. If you haven't taken some type to experience this great band, do so asap. Their our 'Ville success story, and that is predicated on their outofthisworld live shows. This outdoor show should be epic, regardless of conditions. I'm really looking forward to it.

From their I came home via the Beargrass Trail and Cherokee giving me 26 errand miles I'm looking forward to work starting again so I can have that impetus for guaranteed miles each day. I saw a couple bikers coming home that looked to be doing the commuter thing. I think it's growing. Let's hope so.

Monday, July 28, 2008

'Cats #4

ESPN has done a countdown of the most prestigious basketball programs of the last 25 yrs. It's good to the the 'Cats come in at #4. Too bad it's behind historical powers Duke, UNC and Kansas. And too bad so much of that luster is from the mid-90s Pitino teams. The 'Cats haven't been back to the Final Four since '98, and really haven't had an impact team since then, except for the Keith Bogans injury year of 2003 (They lost to Marquette and Dwayne Wade after Bogans twisted his ankle). Billy G, I don't think he's the guy. He seems a little to a lot crazy to me. But we'll see. The top-10:

1. Duke
2. UNC
3. Kansas
4. UK
5. Arizona
6. Connecticut
7. UCLA
8. UNLV
9. Syracuse
10. Georgetown

Sunday, July 27, 2008

NYC p2- Yankees Stadium

The purpose of our NYC trip was to have the opportunity to watch baseball games in 2 parks that will not exist next season: Yankees and Shea Stadium. Obviously, if you follow sports in the U.S. you know, or at least can argue, that Yankees Stadium is the greatest single sporting space in our country. It's not the prettiest, the most gracious or the funnest to visit, but it's the Yankees and their 26 World Series. It's Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Ford, Mantle, Jackson, Jeter, etc. I'm not the baseball fan I was in my youth, but it's Yankees Stadium, for crying out loud.

Not great shot down the street outside the stadium. I love the elevated subway, something we certainly don't have in the 'Ville.

New Yankees Stadium being built next door. It has a classical feel, which sort of reminds me of Mussolini.

Inside the dank, dark corridors. These spaces are so much more fun than the modern, sanitized "entertainment" spaces.


I was enchanted with this view from right field where you can see the subway through the gap. I just love that. And it's that shortish right field that has swallowed so many homers.


A-Rod and Jeter. I'm not a big fan of ARod, but Jeter, I respect. He seems like a decent guy, and certainly isn't in the news for boning, oops, visiting Madonna.



A-Rod again. My cousin convinced me that, although he seems like a jerk, he may also be one of the greatest players of all time, even now and certainly by the end of his career. He preened and strutted, but he's enormous for a 3rd baseman and moves like a champ. There was one play where he stretched a double into a triple and has a couple RBIs. He rose up from his slide and the look on his face said, "Yes, I am A-Rod!".


A-Rod and Justin Morneau from the Twins. He's hitting .318 with 76 RBIs. He was also the well-deserved 2006 MVP.


Towards home plate after the game.


Towards left field and Monument Park. My cousin really wanted to visit, but basically stadium personnel freaked out and wouldn't let anybody in and were NY rude about it. It was sort of surreal. My cousin is in the green hat and "college" shirt.


Subway platform after the game. I like the repetition of the old apartment buildings on the other side.


It was a fun day. We all took the #4 train to get there with the teeming masses. Other than missing Monument Park, the rest was great. Great seats. Great beer and Nathan's hot dogs. The Yanks won. Fun Stuff and something memorable for me and the boys.

le TdF


  • I wish Vande Velde had made the podium. He seems like a likable, open and humble guy.
  • Sastre deserved the win b/c he's the only one that really took it to the race with the stage win at Alpe d'Huez.
  • Cadel Evans would've been the more boring (racing) champion ever. I never saw the guy do any 1 thing that says, "I want to be champion." He claimed that Big Mig also followed in the mountains and relied on the time trials. Big Mig dominated the time trails and rode like a freight train, dragging all the sycophants in his wake. Evans rarely led the pace, and he wasn't that good in the TT either. And he attacks journalists. Seems like a prat.
  • More drugs. I only think cycling suffers more b/c it tests more. MLB, NFL, NBA, etc. don't want to know and don't want to test. It hurts their market share too much.
  • Podium placer and polka-dot boy Bernard Kohl makes me nervous. Has he achieved anything of note save a placing in the Dauphine a few years ago? Out'a nowhere, if you ask me, but what the hell do I know?
  • Watching this group of mediocre leaders makes me yearn for some ass-kicking from Lance or Lemond.
  • Yet another of Lance's riders was caught, this time Gusev. Another announcer made the observation, but it's worth repeating. Lance's former teammates have been caught in droves: Gusev, Heras, Landis, Hamilton, Andreau, and those are the ones of the top of the head. They're probably more. Yes, the Luxembourg guy, ...??? can't remember. Basso. Quite a legacy, but boy, Lance could kick people's ass on the bike. Can't say the same about Sastre/Evans/Kohl/Menchov.
  • It's still fun to watch, and the crowds, as always, were plentiful on the road. It will still keep going as spectacle, even if the sporting reputation decreases.

Riverwalk

After expressing all my self pity and whining over the last few posts, I got out for a ride today after watching the end of the Tour. On that topic I'll wax profound later, but my ride seemed to have 2 halves. The first was quite enjoyable. Needing no mechanicals I took the LHT and hauled its and my own bulk through Seneca and towards Indian Hills and the river. I had the good fortune to run across Tom H. I passed him on St. Matthews Ave., but he followed closely as we were both poking along. We struck up a nice conversation through Indian Hills and along River Rd. He works from home but does some time doing the errand/commuting thing. Today he rode a flat-barred Trek hybrid with double panniers, so I knew he "drank the kool-aid". He seems to ride in variety of contexts and with a variety of groups, which is great. He was very good company and one I hope to come across again. Once on R.R. our speed increased until we were chugging along at a 17-18mph clip, which is a workout on the LHT. I hadn't really been on the bike for 2 weeks, so it felt good to breath hard again. He peeled off downtown and I got on the Riverwalk. There were so many cyclists out today, I'm sure all inspired by Carlos Sastre's dominant TdF ride. What I enjoyed seeing was the variety- roadies, greenies, families and the like.

My ride changed slightly at the portion of the Riverwalk exiting the Locks. I heard a ding behind and and turned to see a couple cyclists. It was an inopportune place to pass, but I went down a wheelchair ramp and they just jumped the curb and sort of flopped on pass. It was hary-scary and indicative of a 2 guys were made me feel more like a cyclists vs. a motorist instead of an interchange more de placer. One of the rides went in a different direction but the other I would follow for the of the RW. I had seen him under a tree resting at a previous park. He must've worked hard to catch me, b/c our paces were pretty similar. He seemed like a very fit dude who hadn't spent much time developing cycling skills. He went fast and slow. He sat and stood and sat up. He weaved all over the place. Frankly, he seemed like an ass with his matching outfit on his hybrid. I guess I'm a snob, but regular cyclists know you develop skills over time. Tom H and I had to communicate earlier in the ride to know each other's intentions. This guy was just full bore.

No matter, I rounded Chicasaw and Shawnee and headed home. I felt myself flagging towards downtown. I stopped in front of the Romano Mazzoli Federal Building to find a bench with some shade and abruptly startled a bum on another bench. We didn't exchange emails. From there it was just slow, sleady and slogging the rest of the way home. I felt more tired today doing 32 than I did 2 weeks ago after 62. Strange.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

SUB

Fun article/video from Salon.com from one of their writers who bought, and used, a new Xtracycle. I've been thinking about one, or a Big Dummy, but I don't think I have the funds right now. I could probably find them, but the Xtracycle presents a different problem in that I don't know which bike to hook it to. the only real option is the Monocog, but I don't know if that is feasible with a singlespeed or with the gearing combo it has right now. That bike would be the best option, but, Wow, the local short hills would really suck.

EW top-50

This is Entertainment Weekly's top-50 movies of the last 25 years (there are 100, but I'm too lazy for that) I stole the list from someone else's blog b/c I'm a boring, mindless fuck with not one single original thought in my pea-sized brain. Movies in bold are ones I've seen, with the accompanying stars for my own meaningless 2cents. The ones with question marks are ones I think I might have seen or seen part of. This list would come from EW. It's full of "entertainment", lest I be mistaken.

1. Pulp Fiction (1994) ****
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) ****
3. Titanic (1997) *
4. Blue Velvet (1986) **
5. Toy Story (1995) ***
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998) ****

7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) ?
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) ***
9. Die Hard (1988) **
10. Moulin Rouge (2001) ?
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) ****
12. The Matrix (1999) ****
13. GoodFellas (1990) ****
14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990) ***
16. Boogie Nights (1997) ?
17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989) ****
19. Casino Royale (2006)
20. The Lion King (1994) **
21. Schindler’s List (1993)***
22. Rushmore (1998)
23. Memento (2001) ***
24. A Room With a View (1986) ***
25. Shrek (2001) **
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986) ***
28. Wings of Desire (1988) ***
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) ****
30. When Harry Met Sally (1989) **
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005) **
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985) ***
34. Fargo (1996) ***
35. The Incredibles (2004) ?
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990) **
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) ****
39. The Sixth Sense (1999) ***
40. Speed (1994) ****
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995) ***
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992) ****
45. Rain Man (1988) **
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) ***
50. The Piano (1993) *


I guess I agree that some of these are very good films. I put Goodfellas at the top, with the LOTR trilogy right after that. Titanic sucks enormous balls. I thought The Player was quite good and deserved a higher spot. I'm sort of surprised I haven't seen more, but I don't watch that many movies anymore; it's a function of children. To watch "mature" fare, we have to wait until after the boys are down, but by that time I'm sleepy. To enjoy a good movie I have to start by no later than 9, and that's on the weekend. On a work night I have to start by 7. And with $7-9 ticket prices, we don't go to many. We spend more disposable $$ on CDs, of which we have many. As you can see, I'm not one to be bludgeoned with the delight that is the animated family movie. I never caught the Disney or Shrek bug, although Toy Story is pretty good. Finding Nemo isn't on this list, but for animated movies it's pretty good. I don't know. I should go find something constructive to do.

NY p.1

The boys and I are back from our NY adventure, a little tired, a little overwhelmed, but firmly grounded in the reality of 3 things, that I haven't been on a bike in a good while, that I haven't taken a "real" ride in 2 weeks, and that work/school starts very soon.

I'm in a funk, as I'm apt to be in on occasion. A good bike ride and a regular routine would/will probably help. We have to hire a new principal soon and I have the "good" fortune of being on the committee to do it. It's quite stressful, with everybody calling/emailing their vaunted opinions. Hey, I'm just a Spanish teacher. Thusly, I expect a school opening fraught with stress, intrigue and confusion, but my regular life already has that, so...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The KHS

No, it's not a new bike; it was part of my cycling adventure today. After swapping UltraGatorskins and Pasela TGs via the Crosscheck and Blueridge, 'L' got an invite to play at a friend's house in the neighborhood. I suggested a ride and both boys gladly jumped at the chance. On the way back' Z' and I played ping-pong at church. In between, I test rode a new 26"/15" frame KHS mt. bike with slicks and a front fork. It happened to be 'Z's' bike, much to his dismay. I had just put the Gatorskins on the CC and rode that. At Bardstown and Blvd Napolean- 1.3m from the house- I got a massive and noisy rear flat tire. 'L' and 'Z' were on the sidewalk of the busy B'town. I heard what I thought was the Satanic fan belt of someone behind me. I waited for it to pass, but instead felt that non-lovin' feeling. It was the quandry b/c the boys were with me and we were supposed to be going to his friend's house. Plan B ensued. We rode back up to church. I left Z there with the Crosscheck to wait for his mother, who was supposed to come and let us in the play pingpong. I then rode with L to his friend's house, me styling on the small frame mtbike. It didn't ride too badly, but boy that seat was terrible. The tires were quality city tires and I thought the front suspension fork did a nice job smoothing those city bumps. I noticed the cockpit was a bit cramped, and my largeness perhaps created a bit too much rebound in the fork, but I delivered L and returned to church almost exactly at the time when the good wife was arriving. We played pingpong for 45 and then returned home via the Lakeside route, me riding at first and then walking.

En route I ran into 'Tomassini'. He works at the Bike Depot. I ran into him on a ride with 'Alberto' on June 5. He was riding his tricked-out Rivendell custom home from work. That's quite the commuter bike, don't you think? I admired his various shellacked parts, b/c I just shellacked the Bleriot tape today for the first time. We might plan a RivRide sometime for this fall, he on his shiny RBW and me on my shiny Bleriot. Should be a dandy day, don't you think? He had a Baggins bag on his, and I rather liked the color combo, much as I like the general usefulness of the Carradice.

da 'Ville

Local scene was mentioned in a MSNBC report (see sidebar "infrastructure) with some othe heavy hitters for developing bike infrastructure in these gas-heavy times. Go 'Ville!

Tagged

I just found that I've been tagged by 'Sconny. He seemed to have tagged in and around when we lost our old computer to pre-teen tampering, so...

First, the background.

1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names.

4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

5. Create an arbitrary rule to keep with the whole fives theme.


What were you doing 5 years ago?

Let's see...The boys were 7.5 and 4. That was 2003. I have no clue. I assume I had gotten back from a trip abroad and I really, really don't know. My life hasn't changed immeasurably from then, other than that the boys are older and present new delights and challenges. Same job. Same house. Same friends. I guess I added some bikes in there, but I was riding to work. I played a little more softball. My tennis team was good but not great. Not much different, but I take that as a positive.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

  1. Ride
  2. Switch tires on CC and Blueridge
  3. water tomatoes
  4. doing some cycling-related laundry
  5. play tennis with the boys

What are five snacks you enjoy?

**(I noticed 'Sconny had much healthier options here.)

  1. Cheez-itz

  2. PB and crackers

  3. banana

  4. More cheez-itz

  5. liquid bread, preferably Guiness

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?


  1. hire a chef and personal trainer and lose weight.

  2. buy a beach home on the Spanish coast.

  3. buy a mountain home in VA/NC.

  4. donate lots and lots of it to organizations that support sustainable living and the environment.

  5. buy a huge chunk of land in KY and put a conservancy on it to create a great public place where no suburbs will ever be built.

What are five of your bad habits?


  1. eat too much

  2. waste excessive time on the computer reading blogs and crap. If I took the same time and and actually did those things I would have an amazing life.

  3. mean to people, although i don't think that's a habit; it just happens when i'm sleepy and grumpy

  4. procrastinate and waste time

  5. imagine bike trips and accomplishments without actually doing them. I'm the best "virtual" cyclist in the world.

What are five places where you have lived?

Interestingly, this is complicated b/c I've lived in lots of places, but not many since becoming an adult, so I'm starting with most recent and going backwards.

  1. house in Highlands in Louisville, KY

  2. apartment on Southern Pkwy in Louisville

  3. dorm in Lexington, KY

  4. house in suburban/rural West Chester, PA

  5. house in very suburban Chesterfield (St. Louis), MO

What are five jobs you’ve had?

  1. High school teacher
  2. busboy and server at same restaurant
  3. maintenance/grounds at summer outdoor theater
  4. law firm runner
  5. did phone reports in insurance call center (boy, that one was fun)
that's it. I'll have to find some people to tag. I'm sure they'll be happy about it.

Pete

Doug

Boinus

Midnight Rider

Apertome

H.W.and Be Like 'Sconny

Since Sunday's long ride I haven't done too much on the bike, only some really short trips herenthere, with a longer herenthere on Tuesday. The fam spent the day at our annual trip to Holiday World yesterday, where much fun was had by all. We followed our usual plan, morning on rides, afternoon in the water park and finishing up in the evening with rides and pizza for supper. I had to drag 'Z' onto the Voyage; he's a slow starter. Once we rode he loved it and rode it again. I got slightly sick going on the slowest ride of all time, the Eagles. It took me a couple hours to settle the stomach down. I just do not spin for any reason whatsoever. The water park was busier than the regular one, but with temps in the 90s, that's no surprise. We rode a few of the big slides and then goofed around in the lazy river and wave pool. While they were in the wave pool, I feel asleep in the shade where I had some of the best sleep of the week. After playing in the new water playground we left for more roller coasters, including another trip on the Voyage. The 3rd trip for me was much better b/c I relaxed, kept the hands up and let the ride take me instead of keeping in control. I found that I flopped around much more comfortably instead of being tense and banging everything. The good wife and 'L' also got one more trip, in the dark and with the lights on, on the Raven. It such a great "little" park, clean, pleasant and friendly and not terribly expensive. I even had thoughts at some point to camp out afterwards and ride home today (at around 85m), but I'm not quite ready for that yet. Tomorrow we go to Maysville for a visit. I won't be able to rdie there (visiting, right?), but I might do an alternative Lou-Frankfort and get picked up again. My break will be getting very busy very soon, so I don't know how many long rides are in the future, but the regular commuting miles will certainly have an uptick.


As usual, I'm the thief who rides trends instead of creating them. In case case, I found a clever little gizmo (widget, as it were) on 'Sconnyboy's blog. It is from Trek, and Trek did seem to screw over my fav LBS, but 'Sconnyboy is wise in pointing out that every little bit does help. "Be the Change" or at least "Model the Change".

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ordenadores

The family, and specifically myself, went from one seriously wack computer on Monday to 2 computers as of today, both of which are honking fast. Monday afternoon we purchased a new HP at Office Depot. I know. It's lame, gauche, cliche and suburban, but as much as I can turn the thing on and fiddle, I don't know shit about computers, and the family, let's say, less. Henceforth we had to go mainstream. I also giggle(d) at students who preached and preached the merits of Ubuntu. I just say to them, "right, right. we'll all drink the kool-aid soon enough". As much of a contrarian as I am about transportation, you would think I would be the same about computers and drink the Apple drink too, but no. Work stuff is too enmeshed with PCs to take that plunge. I just check and iMacs start at $1199. We bought a 500gig/3meg HP for mid $300s. Granted, we already had the monitor, but that's some difference.

HP further came into my world today at a work PD (Professional Development), what in the old days was "in-service". Through some kind of grant, the school system is providing every teacher in our county his/her own tablet computer, an HP Tablet. It has a swiveling display, tablet-writable surface with writing recognition, lots of ed-friendly capabilities, and plus it's fast to boot. And with it they provided us- those who did not have one- an Epson projector. It's a pretty spectacular setup. I have already used projectors quite a bit in my classes, but I will use it all the time, at least for short spells. I've noticed in education that these bells and whistles can't replace a good teacher/student rapport, but I can certainly open eyes to other parts of the world, and of course use the many web resources out there.

The only difficulty now is getting the personal data from the old, dead computer. The hard drive is viable, provided it's clean, but the monitor/video card is all fubar'ed, so it will be dicey getting it lifted. With the PD today and a late bday party after (for 'L'), I didn't get a chance to ride until the boys and I met wife/mother at Buckheads for a quick bite to eat. That's another 2m commuting, and the boys were very enthusiastic. That's good. I'm planning for long rides for this weekend, but no 250m extravaganzas seem to on the horizon. And NY is around the corner for next week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New trails

My 21m errands ride was bisected with a little minor exploration in St. Matthews. While trying to find a back way into the mall- you know how those malls are never bike friendly- I happened upon St. Matthews Park. I knew the ball fields were there; it's Little League is well-known locally. Behind it, though is a a little patch of wilderness with a paved loop and several dirt paths intersected somewhat randomly. I took one of these trails only to bash my open toes (Teva's) on a log. No damage, but I seemed to have partially removed my big toe toenail. Oh well. I followed one path and ended up throug the fence and right next to the Watterson Xpressway, albeit hidden in the trees on the downslope. I was hoping the little path would go somewhere, but it eventually ended in a thicket where I'm sure the local youths light up or drink up well-hidden from their parents. I retreated and explored a bit more before going home. I also took in a bit of a trail in Seneca as well. Just keeping things from being too terribly mundane.

I'm sure I'll get poison ivy again.

Casey mixed loop

I'm blogging about this ride a solid week later b/c of the computer glitch, err, total malfunction. Last Monday 'Z' had camp in Casey Co., the joint we usually visit during 'family camp' on Labor Day. Because it's such a ripe area of serious rural riding, I made arrangements for me to take 'Z' to camp and then to take an epic ride out in the middle of nowhere, "texture" included. Some out there think blogging is narcissistic and a waste of time, but I've been inspired by others out there to do something different, whether it be "mixed rides" or a S24O. I haven't done the 2nd yet, but I'm looking for ways to do the first. Casey Co., because it's so rural, still has some unpaved roads, and bychance they're centered around long climbs to the tops of the knobs in the area. Really, I had spent alot of time trying to find the right combo of road and route. given my fitness, time and ability to not get myself in trouble. I decided on one that was 49 miles, but one that had flexibility to change the route around a bit.




I started at Middelsburg Elementary school and headed north to Patsy Riffe Ridge Rd. This became part of the most momentous first 5 miles I've ridden in a while. 2 miles away from my departure I faced a super steep climb. I was on the LHT, so I had lots of low gears to explore, but the road was quite narrow and right in the first steep switchback I heard a car behind me, a red mini-SUV that I would encounter multiple times again. I moved aside the best I could so they could pull through and I completely lost momentum and ended up stopped on the side, on the steepest section possible. I tried to get going but couldn't, so in the first 2 miles I was already walking up a hill. Bummer! The route I chose had several more climbs, so I hoped it didn't forecast my efforts for the rest of the day. I remounted part of the ways up the hill when I could and then heard distant thunder rumblings, but the skies were neutrally gray, so I didn't think anything more of it, "hey, summer humidity, right?". A mile further I felt the first big raindrops, so I stopped and made sure I was watertight. I had my camera, wallet and old-school GPS, none of which I wanted soaked. I proceeded another mile, mile 4, when the heavens opened, and I mean opened wide with great fury. I stopped next to a cemetary, a very isolated cemetary, and put on my rain cape and hat. The red SUV passed me again at this point. I shoved off into the rain and got soaked, feetfullofwater soaked. The rain was further enhanced by the opportunity of descending off Patsy Riffe Rd., which was a super-steep descent down twists, turns and lots of gravel on the road. Frankly, it scared me to death. At the bottom I saw the red SUV waiting, perhaps knowing I was falling off the 'knob', giving me some space. By the time I reached my next turn at the end of 5 miles, I had stopped either 3 or 4 times and had walked partially up a hill. I hoped it would improve.

The next portion of my route took me towards the more isolated areas, and I saw the red SUV again, and again in what I presumed to be their driveway. They waved and I waved back, bringing our brief but humorous relationship to and end. The bucolic scenary on this ridge couldn't have been better. At the end of this road I found this most excellent sign informing me of things to come. Needlesstosay, I descended.


This put me going north on Upper Brush Creek Rd. As is the case, I'm sure, in many rural areas, road signs are often absent, and sometimes road names on local signage and those on googlemaps or yahoomaps disagree, as was the case @ Beech Bottom, where the signs were virtually non-existent. For that reason I prefer to use a map instead of just a cue sheet, especially in the KY boonies. This portion of the route was one of my favorites. It followed up the creek into the hills, so on my left I had occassional views of an attractive creek, but to my right I had the cliffside of the local knobs. Occasionally I encountered a bridge, this one is state of semi-repair.


These "cliffsides" were covered with wild hydrangea, something I've never seen before. As a gardener with 4-5 hydrangeas in various parts of the yard, I really enoyed seeing them in their natural setting.


Occasionally, the terrain opened up to a diversifed blend (oxymoronic?) of wildflowers and grasses needing to be cut. I have no pic of this b/c of some rain, but there were great fields of white Queen Anne's Lace, purple wild phlox, yellow Black Eyed Susan, and brown and green grasses of all heights. My favorite gardening scene is of this native blend of flora, and I wish I had tried to get one pic, but it wouldn't have done it justice. Sometimes I encountered fauna instead of flora.


At the north end of Upper Brush Creek my route became more interesting. I alluded to some map mysteries a few weeks back about a magical road- either Slate Hill Church by some or B. Russell on others. This was to be my cut-through, but also my first batch of "mixed terrain", the reason for which I brought the LHT. I had no real clue if we were talking quaint, refined gravel or rock fit for a 4x4. I turned left on Slate Hill Church Rd. to find that the road was going to be very rocky and difficult. And right off the road it went straight uphill, one fit for the burro and not for me. But I was ready for some "adventure". A few yards up the hill I found a sinister sign.

Beginning of Slate Hill Church Rd. Seems benign enough.

Up the hill into the darkness. With the stones and pitch, I couldn't have ridden this.


Once I saw this, I REALLY couldn't have ridden this. I turned around.


That made the decision quite simple, to bypass my cut-through and going a little further north to link up to Long Hollow Rd. My mystery was solved when I found the back portion of Slate Hill on LH Rd. I was pleased to solve the map mystery. These "Shooting Preserve" signs continued up Long Hollow as well. I guess they like shooting guns.



It would've worked as a cut-through. It would've been adventurous, clambering over the rocks and fighting my way down deserted, dark and scary "roads". But it also would've been stupid and I certainly didn't have the guts for it. Long Hollow was as it sounds, a hollow between knobs.

I love pics of ruins for some reason. I'm fascinated by the history and by the notion of a seemingly functional dweeling that just goes to waste.

My maps told me that at some point the road was going up and going gravel, so I just made steady progress until that happened. And it did. The road conditions here weren't too terribly bad. The climb was quite steep, but the gravel of fine quality and very ridable. I did walk one little portion, but otherwise made it all the way up into a very desolate, or at least isolated area. There weren't any houses nor real sign of human life save the road and a bit of clearing. I think this area is often used for timber. And again, road signs were non-existent, so I used the map to find the appropriate turn onto Shuck's Creek.


Long Hollow Rd.

Mixed terrain begins


Climb with "texture", oh and really steep too.


After a quick downhill I casually descended down Shuck's Creek, the legs all the while tiring out. The combo of hills and rain had sapped my energy a bit more than I had planned. I stopped underneath an unfinished construction of some sort, ate a Clifbar, drank some water and plotted my return. I was a little too tired to loop south to Liberty, so I cut my losses and headed towards my starting point, taking Smith Road instead of returning via my previous route. This proved to be an excellent choice. Smith Road ended up having another steep, "textured" climband 3771 had some of the nicest ridge-top scenary of the ride. This route did have me on the busy 127 for a mile or so, but my return proved safe and without traffic difficulties. When I pulled in I was bushed and soggy, but it was a great day and an excellent adventure deep in the middle of nowhere. I assumed this area wasn't often visited, but at the end I noticed 'Dan Henrys' on the road past Middlesburg. I guess somebody else found Casey Co. to be fun to ride in as well.

Looking down the cut-through atop Shuck's Creek.

Where the texture ends at the top of the Smith Road climb.



I've always liked this old-fashioned bank in Middlesburg. It just seems to be from a passed era.

Monday, July 14, 2008

rides

Tues 7/8 3m w/ 'L'
Wed 7/9 26m in parks
Thur 7/10 15m w/ los Sprawls in the a.m.
Fri 7/11 20m mtbike ride in Cherokee
Sat 7/12 6.5m w/ 'L' and mom to Farmers' Market, through neighborhood and to Breadworks
Mon 7/14 5.5m w/ boys cruising the 'hood and behind the zoo
3m to Mom's and a beverage run

Virus

Our computer was infected by a certain, let's say, younger member of the family, rendering everything quite flummoxed. Furthermore, there was a monitor, video card/port etc etc. malfunction, so instead of paying for a the new hardware on a 5 yr-old computer, we bit the bullet and purchased a new one, only the tower mind you. I realized how unfortunately computer dependent I am. Regardless of the blog, that means so internet for anything, weather, Tour, futbol, gardening articles, news, etc. It's really tough, although maybe illustrative of how time can be better used.

I've actually taken several nice rides since last Saturday's 60 miler to Frankfort, and will have update over the next several days.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Breakfast @ The Championships

I'm bummed. After getting back in from Lex last night at 1.30, I made the plan to get up, get coffee and a danish and sit down at watch Federer win his 6th straight Wimbledon. Instead, the bull Rafa Nadal has taken the first 2 sets and looks to be too powerful, too rock solid for Roger to achieve that. I like Rafa a lot. He's respectful, humble. He plays a great game and he's a real pleasure to watch. That said, I've never seen a more graceful, beautiful tennis player than Federer and I want to see him break Sampras' mark of 14 grand slams. If Roger loses today, I can see him not achieving that. There are SO many examples of tennis "lights" where, when they burn out, they burn out quickly: Borg, McEnroe, Edberg, Courier, Sampras less so b/c he seemed to always win Wimbledon. Rafa is a true beast and perhaps Roger won't be able to eclipse him anymore. Perhaps he will, nonetheless, it bums me out a bit.

Oh, and the Tour started yesterday. 'Balaverde' won. Yippee! Right?

Lou/Frankfort

Date: July 5 Sat
Mileage: 60 (Bleriot)
July mileage: 152
Year to date: 1136

The plan all worked out very well. We have friends in Lexington we haven't seen in a long time, too long, so we were to visit them Saturday. We weren't going until the afternoon and there were no Sat a.m. plans either, like soccer or tball, so a ride ensued. I copied a portion of my Lou/Lex ride I did many years ago, and added a rural twist to give me a 60-miler from Louisville to Frankfort. I left earlier in the morning and the fam picked me up in Frankfort on the way, just off the interstate at Starbucks. It all worked out really well and I give the ride a solid 'A'.


Bleriot, with rain jacket affixed to Nelson Longflap and Kleen Kanteen extra bottle in side pocket. I stopped here at this church to put on the rain jacket only 6m from home.


Foggy, misty, rainy. You can barely see the "bike lane" sign in this, and a crappy bike lane it is. I rode to the right, where the pavement was cleaner.

Leaving in the a.m. I was confronted with coolish temps- 63F- and lots of fog. Fog quickly begat drizzle, which quickly begat rain. I stopped 6m in to put on my rain jacket, one of those horrendous polypro clear jackets, you know, the shower curtains. I also pulled out the RBW cap for rain purposes too. The first 10 miles was mostly getting through Louisville, but once you hit Rehl Rd. just outside J'town, the ride became a purely rural ride of the best kind. This route also follows the old "farm" ride.

At corner of 148 and Clark Station Rd. I'm sure other places have epic vistas, but central KY is awfully pretty to bike in.


My parents owned a ranchette in Shelby Co. outside the 'Ville. I rode this house-to-farm route several times when they had it. It's 26m or so, and back in the day I made the trip in well under 2hr. Now,.... They divorced and it was sold, but what a piece of heaven: 36 acres, nice house, fields, tractor rides, hiking, biking, mom's garden, solitude, parties, holidays. This place had it all.

Entrance with no improvements, except additional "No Trespassing" signs. I always had problems with this thick gravel, but I was riding 25c tires back then.


At around mile 26 I passed by the gate of the farm. The terrain along this route is pretty indicative of much of my area of the Bluegrass. It's just constant little dips and rollers and creek downhills and uphills. To conserve energy and maintain form I made sure to spin up the hills. It was strange, the setup. Because the fam was scheduled to pick me up at a certain time, I had to manage my time, pace and form differently than normal. I've often bitched, moaned and complained on this blog that I'm a 1-2hr cyclist, much to my dismay. I rarely pop off longer rural rides even though I would like to more. So, I didn't know what kind of form or pace I would have. I didn't like being "under the gun" until I arrived at my store stop. I knew at that point that I was making good time and not taxed. If I need to speed up, I could've, but I didn't.


Creek near 'farm', accessible from the rear corner of the property



The twisty roads around my drink stop in Waddy also displayed some really strange rural art. I saw 7 or 8 of these weird pieces. I really don't have any clue what they are, but it was sort of fun to see them.

Miles 40ish-55ish were my favorite for the new terrain and generally qualities of the ride. The skies cleared up. The roads were very empty, curvy, twisty, shaded, not too steep. I just rolled along. At first I was surprised to see such a (gaudy) manse on S. Benson Rd. in the middle of nowhere, but I then encountered other estates and deduced that, hey, it's near the capital and that lobbyist and road contractor $$ has to go somewhere.


Once I neared Frankfort Evergreen Rd. was a bit busy. I turned on to Lawrenceburg Rd., which is the old road that 127 now replaces. I expected this to be pretty busy, being near civilization and the interstate, but this 2-3 mile stretch was again devoid of traffic and very scenic. The last 2m was along a very busy 127 into fast food alley. I stayed on the shoulder and hoped for no flats. I also had to negotiate the every present death trap of the interstate interchange. These are diabolical, but I didn't hit too much traffic and pulled though. Per plans, I found the Starbucks and obliged myself one of their free tables outside. I listed to the iPod and read a little of of the Best of World Cafe, a compendium of interviews from that excellent NPR music show. And to finish the day, we had a great visit with out good friends.

Friday, July 04, 2008

My own Freedom

Date: July 4 Fri
Mileage: 34 (Trek400)
July mileage: 92
Year to date: 1076

What a great morning for a comfortable bike ride. With the holiday, the streets and roads were quite empty and this gave me the opportunity to do a loop I rarely try now. The LBC Tuesday night ride for many years left Cherokee, rode out Rudy Ln., then out River Rd. to Prospect and back. Now, not only does the club forgo this ride, but the ever-helpful KyBikeRides doesn't eve have a cue sheet for it. Prospect is one of those suburb/exurb areas that has become unbikable. River Rd., a KY Scenic Byway , is merely a long, straight, flat commuter road between the McMansions of Prospect and downtown. Instead of taking KY42 to the Watterson or 71, they just fill a "scenic byway" with lots of pissy SUVs, with an occasional redneck thrown in for good measure.

The holiday gave me the freedom to do this ride this morning. Now that I think, 'Lance' and I spent a month or 2 doing this route (plus extension) back in '99, so in 10 years it's gone from a prime cycling route to a meta-highway. It rained quite a bit overnight and was still piddling this morning, so I dragged the Trek out for a soaking. The last time I tried the Trek heinous sounds came from the pedal/bb area, so before I left I took off and regreased the pedal axles. It didn't seem to help too much until about 3 miles in when I noticed the noise had gone, so I guess it worked. With the rain, I also had the good fortune to give my new RBW cycling cap a workout, underneath the helmet mind you.

RBW guy, not me. I'm fatter. But my cap is orange.


My route out was straightforward: Seneca/RudyLn./LimeKiln/Prospect. Now that I had a good hour of "cycling" in, I decided I would goof around a little on the return. I have a work friend who lives in Prospect; her husband is a dry-waller, so I assume the construction boom of the '90s/'00s helped them to buy a house with a big lot in "Valhalla", as I call the area when I speak to her. She's a good sport, but flaming Republicans tend to stick out in educational fields. Remember, we're public servants who enjoy the largesse of the welfare state. Enough of that. I rode by her house and then through a table-top flat subdivision that is named for the farm it engulfed. Gotta love it. After that, I passed through Hays-Kennedy park to get to Garvin Brown Nature Preserve. There aren't good web resources for this little preserve, but it's formerly a farm that's right on the river. I've had notions of doing a stealth camping trip there, but at the entrance gate off the city park there is an obvious sign "No Camping" and being a public servant I sort of follow laws sometimes. We'll see. Here is a series of someone else's pics in fall.

Although the morning weather was probably considered inclement by many, I found that the 70F rainy day provided a spectacular opportunity to see the river at the Preserve. It's right at the end of what I believe is called 6 Mile Island, which I just found out is a state nature preserve. It's at a point in the river when you begin to leave some of the industry behind, so you can get very natural views of a great river. From there I came home. A great day, and a great day of freedom to ride without being accosted. Is that such an unreasonable request?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Nats

Date: July 3 Thurs
Mileage: 5.5(9.2.5.)
July mileage: 58.5
Year to date: 1042.5

The boys and I took a little neighborhood ramble through Seneca Gds to Cherokee para see part of the Masters Nats. We saw a tandem race, one that was sort of confusing b/c there were man/man, woman/woman and man/woman. (I could make comments here, but it's a family blog). The groups were dispersed across the course, so I never knew who was in front, but we were perched on a hill I often ride in Cherokee, so it was nice to see real cyclists climb for a change. After a brief bit of viewing we took on a short section of a mtbike trail, all downhill. I'm pretty sure it was the first time they've been on a "real" trail. They had a good enough time that we'll have to go again. I was on the fixie with 30c tires, so that made for an interesting way down. I had a confrontation with a kid/young man/asshole on the way home. He cut the corner at a stop sign. I yelled. He yelled back. I yelled more and used some colorful language offering him the opportunity to "dialogue". I'm a pretty non-violent guy, but when assholes threaten my kids' safety, I'm ready to bar brawl with the best of them. I should have remained calm and gotten his plate; that would've been the best thing to do to set an example for the boys. Live and learn.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Ride/Commute

Date: July2 Wed
Mileage: 17.5 (CC)
8 (9.2.5.)
July mileage: 53
Year to date: 1037

Took a ride with los Sprawls again this morning, fortunately at a more reasonable pace. I found out today that R did some racing in his youth, as D has done more recently. D, in addition to doing the 30m club ride last night, did a 40m training ride with a group yesterday morning at 5.30, ending with a 20+mph pace. That's really damn fast. Today was nice and calm and worth getting up for.

Just now I took a ride over to the sleep doctor's office for a follow-up. My numbers look good using the CPAP machine. I'm getting more and better sleep, something which should positively affect the rest of my health. Something he told me today was that when a person gets poor sleep, their metabolism slows, which in turn affects people's weight and calorie consumption. That's about as bad a Catch-22 as I've heard.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

LBC Ass-kicking!

Date: July1 Tues
Mileage: 27 (RB-1)
July mileage: 27
Year to date: 1011 (that's what Excel says, so that's what I'm going with)

I was brutalized on the club ride tonight- the proverbial "Tuesday Night Worlds". Los Sprawls gave the invite. Instead of doing their morning ride they were doing the evening one. This is probably the single largest ride of the week for the club. In fact, it got so big a year or 2 ago that the racy set split off into their own gig; they actually took the "Worlds" mantle with them, but the usual club ride is still quite fast, at least for me. D and R usually take things a bit slower in the mornings, but tonight they wanted to mix it up, so we charged along an aggressive pace until I popped off. I told D that when I was ready to 'pop', I was going to do just that, and did. I got 19m in before I just had to pull of and shorten the trip home. And during those 19m, I constantly rode wheels too. It was fun, though, and good to do every now and then. Although my avg when I pulled was only 16.4, that's deceptive b/c the route is from St. Matthews, through the parks, and downtown, so it's one of constantly start and stops. It seemed like every time I look at my computer I was doing 18-23mph, but the start/stop disrupts the rhythm. It certainly felt fast.

The gear observation of the evening is that I might just be ready to part with the RB-1. I never ride it, and tonight reaffirmed why. It's a racing bike, and I don't race. It's position is quite flung over and forward, quite low. The seat sucks balls. The rear cluster is tiny and the chainrings don't help with a 53/40. After seeing days of 1.75" contis, 30c Grand Bois, or 32 Paselas, the 23c contis on the Bridgestone look a little silly with my big ass teetering on them. I'm sure I could doctor it up and make something useful, but why mess up it's true nature, that of a classic steel racing bike? I'm curious what it might bring in and on the iBob market. I'm not really doing it for the $$; I just have enough bikes and this one needs a rider that it deserves, not some butterball of commuterdom.
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