Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nuttin' Fancy

This week is a strange one, with half the crew at camp, therefore having dad and non-emotive 14 yr-old at home. On top of that, so far this week he's had cross-country and soccer Monday, soccer Tuesday, and CC and soccer again today (he hates CC, I think, but he's doing it anyway. Parents know best, right?). I've been in full "mom taxi" mode, so riding hasn't been all that easy. Monday during his CC I actually jogged (and walked) for the first time in forever. I don't enjoy it, but when I jog- which is every few years for a spell- I tend to get some pretty quick fitness results, the all-body kind I don't alway get from cycling. Yesterday was truly a lazy wasteland until soccer, from whence I sprinted home and did a quick hour's worth of yardwork before a storm hit. Today, aside errands, I finally rode during soccer again. It wasn't anything special, just 18m during his tryouts. I rode the FrankenTrekSS, partly inspired by I/Grant grousing about not whining and power building while singlespeeding from an '06 "Reader". And, boy, it's sticky! And, boy, I've been sweaty this summer! Once the BB/pedal interface sounded like it would creak into pieces I even dove into OYLC for a quick BB greasing, which did the trick nicely.

18m done. I'll take it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

1 hour

The big one is now officially a high schooler, having participated in his first high school cross country practice this morning. He's going out for soccer too and will see what he likes best, but rest assured he'll be a fit bugger at the end of all this. As for me, I took the FrankenTrekSS out for a 1-hour jaunt during his practice. I have a feeling I'm going to be in for several 1-hour efforts next week, as I'll be single parenting while providing taxi service to both CC and futbol. My July total of 404m at the moment is already considerably more than any other month this year. I'm hoping I can hit 500 before we head to Florida in a week.

Gonna be an interesting Fall. Things change. Time marches on, and hopefully, time will be marching on while I'm on the bike.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Hot! My riding has been hit-and-miss these week, not bad but there was potential for more. Instead of riding mileage yesterday I spent a considerable amount of time at OYLC watching Derek try to weave a spell on the Crosscheck. I'm getting ahead of myself. A few days ago I took the Ute over to LithoDale's to borrow his Dremel to do a bit of surgery on the latest rendition of the CC. The FireCross 45s fit in between the chainstays, but there isn't much room at all, whether it be for mud or run on those massive outofthesaddle bursts that I'm accustomed to. I spent about 2hr total on the rear tire using the Dremel to shave off some of the side knob action. The first side took 75% of the time, during which I futzed with different attachments and made a huge cloud of tire rubber dust. Eww! By the 2nd side I figured out a method and that took me much less time. Problem more solved. More chainstay room with monstercross tires.

The next CC issue was one of gears, and there lack of. It's adequately geared for 'crossing, but for trail riding I find myself *not* strong enough and needing smaller gears, as I'm apt to have on a standard mtbike like the 'Dale. I first thought of a smaller inner ring, the logic being that moving from a 36 to a 32 would get the job done. Then I noticed that the no-name crankset is drilled for a third ring. A small ring!! So to OYLC I went for a simple procedure, but as some of you, a simple solution sometimes isn't so simple. Two long-term issues came to the fore. First, the Q factor was too narrow to allow the front mech to move sufficiently to engage the inner ring. So, change to a wider bottombracket and, Presto!! But, Alas!! The old crankset has none of the fancy little ramp doo-dads that help lift and move modern chains, so Derek couldn't quite get things going. He tried combos of 3 different bottom brackets and 3 different front mechs, all to no avail. Humph! I appreciate Derek taking such time, knowing that his time is valuable. The end result is that the CC still has the same gearing, and until I'm ready to spend some $$ to replace some old parts (now 8 years or so-I think it was the first or 2nd year for the CC), I'll just have to be stronger.

p.s. I'm getting a little more comfy and enjoyed my miles on the Crosscheck with the 'stache bar set-up. I did about 2 hours worth Wednesday mixing trails and road through the park, which got me thinking of the gearing issue that took so much time Thursday.

Today I hit the parks for about 2 hours of really hot mtbiking. Did I say HOT!?!? I would do a sequence and clear everything, hills included, but at the end I would have to seriously soft-pedal or stop mid-trail to catch a breather and some water. It was brutal. But I did it. Did you?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


(courtesy of the PirateCyclingLeague)

Buddha says to jettison desire, for it leads to suffering, but I want to do this, and whether I do it or not, I'll suffer. Which is better, to suffer while doing or to suffer from not doing?

Monday, July 12, 2010


As a Spanish teacher, one who has visited Spain 7 or 8 times, one who was in Madrid the day they lost to the Swiss in June, and as one who became an enthusiastic futbol fan while in Spain 3 years ago, this image is really, really fantastic. There are a variety of dopes in this pic, but San Iker, the one holding the trophy as captain, is a class act.

**bike related, I had a great day of cycling, however limited. I took an 11-mile bike jog before supper on the Quickbeam. After my 70 yesterday I just wanted to stretch the legs a bit. Later, Lithodale loaned me a dremel tool for a bike project, so I rode over on the Ute, and he gave me a beer to boot! 17 total miles on the day, and all very pleasant.


Dave joined me for a 70-miler Sunday morning, early, very early. I had to get home for various family things in the afternoon (I didn't tell him but I had to watch Spain win the World Cup, and I did watch it with the family), so we agreed to set sail at 6.30. I was in the garage finalizing things when Dave's Dinotte rolled up. Great, right on time. After a bit of discussion, he informed me that he had ridden over, having left the house at 4.30. Yes!! Dave's going for it!! Our course was a mixture of SW Jeff roads and included 2.5 challenging climbs- Iroquois Hill which is actually quite easy, Weavers Run and Martin's Hill- as well as a couple store stops as needed. We saw a few roadies rolling in Iroquois Park, ones we later saw in a grupetto on Bearcamp. Dave seemed strong so we rode a peppy pace for the first 30 or so, until a stop when Dave needed to refuel. I hung strong until the return leg on Mt.Elmira, when suddenly I ran out of gas. It seems that the heat of this summer (above 90F for the last half of the ride) is getting to me. We stopped in Fairdale for more refueling and a serenade of rap lyrics from a fine-looking car full of young men, and then headed back towards Iroquois and home. Once back, Dave turned around and went home, giving him 116m on the day. Way to go! And the 70 turned into 74m with a few extra legs, giving me my longest ride of the year too.

Bleriot with less sag. You may not be able to see, but I tied the 2 closer D-rings of the Big Loafer to the saddlebag loops, giving the bag less sag. Saddle tilt is a bit better too. And so much for metal water bottles. The insulated ones are SO much better in this heat!

Dave inside Iroquois hilltop pavilion.

Iroquois Park prairie, with Mexican hat (Ratibida). Love it!

Iroquois Hilltop in early morning sun with Queen Anne's lace (Daucus Carota) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). Love it!

Knobcreek Rd., on a wrong turn from Barrallton Hill Rd. Dave's photo-ing tobacco+LHT at this point.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up from Chris Skogen on Vimeo.

"That’s the real challenge. That’s the real goal in all of this, to find something inside of yourself that says, "I can do this. I will do this. I’m going to do this"."

"There’s no greater sense of accomplishment than defeating your own worst enemy, that person in the back of your head that says, “You can’t do this. You are not good enough to do this”."

"There's nothing like it; it's incredible."

I find myself very drawn to this video,a video from the Almanzo 100, a gravel "race" century in Minnesota, and to the spirit of the race director, Chris Skogen. As someone who has not always found that inner strength, these words by some random race organizer speak to me, and speak to the difficulties that a person can overcome. The difficulty is inside, not outside. Will the angel or the demon win? Buddhism speaks quite often about senseless, destructive inner narrative, that distracts us from living. In some people (like you-know-who), this narrative becomes a very negative and cynical inner self-berating. In the realm of cycling, this negativity leads to cover up shortcomings of not achieving goals like a long ride or not being strong enough with more and more eating; it becomes a most vicious cycle. If one takes Mr. Skogen's words into focus, then success comes not from finishing the distance or winning the race, but from the sense of accomplishment from, in effect, defeating that negative side of your psyche, defeating that worst enemy. And I am definitely that worst enemy.

Friday, July 09, 2010

'Ville updates

I'm adding a couple links in the sidebar for 'Ville residents. One is VeloLouisville, a collaboration between Lithodale (blog link dead at moment) and his friend Ben. This is a nicely designed site which posts on a variety of bike-related events found in the 'Ville, with a bit more racing influence than your crunchy commuter type blog. Another is the 2ndSunday program, which encourages physical activity...on the 2nd Sunday of each month. It seems to be based in Lexington, but has events all over the great state of KY. The next 'Ville event is coming up this Sunday, July 11th, at the Waterfront, with a 15m historical bike tour. I remember taking 'Z' the elder on one of these in the bike trailer those many years ago (prolly 8 yrs or so).

If you can't ride, you might as well write about riding.

Interior of 'La Sagrada Familia' in Barcelona. Simply breathtaking. Even better than the facade.


A known content thief, I found this link at EcoVelo, who found this link at, Bob Mionske's Road rights- "Adding infrastructure Creates More Riders". One of the premises of the article is that the population, via a study done in Portland, can broken down into several categories:
  • 33% never, ever gonna get on a bike.
  • 60% skittish, unlikely cyclists due to issues of safety.
  • 7% enthusiastic users of Portland infrastructure.
  • .5% "strong and fearless" folks who would ride on the streets whatever the situation
I'm always wary of statistics; they can be massaged and twisted as seen fit, so I don't take them as proof. Yet, these suggest that there is an enormous population, a market share (my words), of potential cyclists out there to be captured if done so correctly. I know of many riders who very passionately stomp their feet that a bicycle is like a car and that a bicycle has the same right to the lane and that bike facilities are not needed! And, yes, I most ways agree, although one has to consider the reality that it is not an equal relationship. 3000lbs vs. 200lbs is not created equally. Still, I'm certainly in that 7.5% of riders and have been commuting in some capacity since 1992 when I rode the 3m from my apartment to school for my post-bac teaching work. I ride without infrastructure and commuted even before I knew there was a term like cycling infrastructure. For cycling to grow, though, developers and city fathers must find a way to hook that 60%, and that way according to this article and study is more infrastructure. Do studies exist from Portland and Minneapolis models that suggest an increase in cycling with the investment in cycling infrastructure? I would assume, yes.

I'm going to re-read the Mionske article, but I'm also going to re-read counter-arguments, like those of John Forester and his "Effective Cycling". Forester's work has been equally influential and it would be fun and enlightening to experience and productive, rigorous and informative debate between the two, not necessarily from a dogmatic standpoint, as it wont to happen. I know a local cycling instructor who is a passionate Forester follower. Another fellow local bike commuter (with whom I sort of commuted yesterday) may not ascribed literally to the Forester model, but he has stated to me that he doesn't see the need for infrastructure.

In considering my European experience, and that was in the south of Europe where urban cycling is not nearly as pervasive as is in the north, I see both viewpoints in action. I saw lots of cyclists in places with infrastructure, i.e. Barcelona, and lots of cyclists with no infrastructure whatsoever, i.e. Rome. The answer may not be the cyclist, but rather the automobile driver. Where there is an inducement to not drive, people walk and ride. Where it is easy to drive, as in the entire U.S. with its cheap supply of low-tax fuel, people drive.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


After doing some quality mileage with Dave recently, I got up early today (before the Spain match) and hit the road about 7.00 on the Bleriot. The route combines some SW Jeff Co. roaming,including the climb of Holsclaw which runs well over a mile of acclivity, although the steep meat of it runs closer to a half mile, and some more riding on the Levee trail, I can access these areas from the house without too much fuss, so I took the Levee trail again despite its flatness. My only really issue, again, was saddle discomfort. For some reason, I've had some lately, even on vaunted Brooks saddles. Today, as the other day, I liberally applied some Vaseline, but it was more just strange contact points. The other concern was that I found, at the southern portion of the loop, that the store at Knob Creek Rd. and 44 had closed. This is highly unfortunate; it's a perfect halfway refill point. Alas, no more. I visited the story at Orell and Blevins Gap, but that store always seems full of crackheads. BUT it did have cold Powerade (no Gatorade, my preferred). I was out just short of 5hrs (ride time) for 65 miles. After today, I'm not as confident that I could make the full leg to Lexington next weekend, as I've been considering. It's really quite hot. I went through 5 full bottles today and think I would have problems keeping hydrated on the somewhat isolated Lou/Lex route I've been looking at.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Nature Preserve Ramble

I coerced Dave into a Monday July 4th holiday Ramble. It was hot-n-sticky, one of those days when the water bottles turn hot after 15min. I had been in the mood for some trail riding, and the ramble did a great job providing that, at least in Cherokee, Caperton and Loop Island. Suffice to say, we wandered the city (slowly), took a few pics, ate ice cream at the Widow's Walk, and consumed much Gatorade. It might be my favorite kind of riding. If you're from the 'Ville, I suggest you to do something similar.

Nettleroth Bird Sanctuary

Nettleroth Bird Sanctuary in Cherokee Park. It just got a new fence, as you can see.

Nettleroth Bird Sanctuary

LHT against bird box just outside Nettleroth


Raleigh Sojourn, not looking dissimilar from Dave's LHT

Scoggan Jones N.P.

Scoggan Jones N.P. in Indians Hills. Dave's attention is drawn to a chap on adjacent Indians Hills Rd. riding a red 20" 'bent of some type.

Scoggan Jones N.P.

Caperton Swamp

Path in Caperton Swamp, which is accessible from Indian Hills Rd.

Caperton Swamp

Swampy lake at Caperton Swamp. Guess that's why it's not called Caperton Pond.

Ohio River Greenway
Ohio River Greenway. This is a long-term project to link New Albany, Clarksville and Jeffersonville with linear parks along the river. The link has good information on the project.

Ohio River

The Ohio River just south of the Falls.

Loop Island N.P.

This is/can be a real jewel in the local area as far as nature is concerned, but I qualify that. The last time here it was covered with sticks from an ice storm. This time, the trails were quite passable and Dave and I took several. The issue, though, was trash and the impact of the local Hoosier population. I've rarely seen more PolarPop tops. Bleh!

Loop Island N.P.

Old trestle that is a key feature to eventual path connecting New Albany and Clarksville.

Loop Island N.P.

Snowy Egrets

Loop Island N.P.

I'm gonna call this guy Leroy. Upon leaving, Dave helped him pump up his front tire. You can see signage in the background pertain to the L.I.W.

Falls of the Ohio floodwall "road"

Along the new Levee Trail multi-use path. Sort of. The path is atop the Levee; we took that going west. On the return we checked out this gravel and path road that followed the trees/woods to the right. It led straight to the parking lot of the Falls of the Ohio.

Beargrass Creek Nature Preserve

Beargrass Creek N.P. and Louisville Nature Center,
adjacent to Joe Creason Pk. close to the house. I've explored this area some, but no bikes allowed.

Monday, July 05, 2010


Rapha Cycling Club? You can find info at the link, or have BikeSnobNYC's take on this rather expensive phenomenon.


Yesterday (Sun.), FatGuy worked out a reciprocal route from Saturday's ride, a 35-miler in the morning so as to keep my family schedule more open. I was pretty pumped to get good mileage on consecutive days, and the roads around Dave's house are fun and lumpy, quite different from the flat-fest we took in Saturday. Long story short, we were have a good time, working hard, competing on some hills, and sweating profusely even into the 8th mile. Then? PING!! I know you biker types out there know what that is. Both he and I took turns working spokes to try to finish the ride, but it didn't sound good at all, so we turned and headed home, a 35er turning into a 14er. Bummer.

I sat around despondent and cranky the rest of the day until we went down to the Waterfront for the free 4th-of-July concert and fireworks. We caught the end of the Bettye Lavette show, then a show from a reunited Arrested Development, and finally the headliner, Michael Franti and Spearhead. The positive, hippy love vibe was perfect for a July4th concert. The Franti showed ended with a gaggle of kids onstage helping with, "Say I love you", all while the fireworks started behind the stage over the river. Nice moment, for sure. On a bike note, I got a text from Dave that he was over in the 'Ville, on the bike, and ended up joining us down at the river for the concert. He had felt restless from the truncated ride, so he got off his ass and prolly got another 40+ miles in!

Franti sang part of a song on top of a box not 5ft from our chairs. It was fun, I'll have to say!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Solutions for a Saggy Bag

After the futbol game yesterday (Friday) I got out for a quick 45min ride, just before we went out to Downs after Dark on some free tickets. I took the Blueridge and intentionally rode as hard as within reason for about 22min before I popped. From there I returned home via a similar route, albeit with one extra climb. The computer gave me an avg of 14.5, which isn't too bad given my times in the mid-12s these days.

Today (Sat.) presented a much sterner and more satisfying test. FatGuy took up the invite for some holiday weekend mileage, he post-strep and I still in 2nd gear post-Europe/school. I mapped a flat route out, but one that would gave us 57 well-earned miles. It's was a pretty common route, heading out via New Cut to bridge to the beginning rural roads of Penile (yes...), Bearcamp and Pendleton. We stopped at Dixie for a store stop and heard an interesting tale of a toothless guy who described being hit on Dixie Hwy and staying in the hospital for 6 months. By the looks of him, it was a tough time.

After working through some neighborhood streets, we found our only adventure of the day.
The map below sorta shows Lower River Rd as the road-looking thing just east of the Ohio River heading north towards 841/Greenbelt Hwy in dark yellow. Around the nexus of the Greenbelt and LWR, you find the southern terminus of the Levee Trail at the Farnsley-Moorman House.

View Larger Map

Dave and I saw what looked like some construction debris and straw atop the levee, so we took a gander. What we found was reseeding and grading of the levee.

It looked like a path, so we took it. Not unlike what I've read of Paris-Roubaix and the like, the grassy, non-improved parts were much firmer and easy to ride; the graded, engineered portions- like the man-made cobbles- were sloppy and you needed speed to take them on.

This levee "trail" lasted for 2+m until we arrived at the real Levee Trail. This portion was uneventful save two factors, one the tailwind, which was blissful, the other an "old roadie important man". Dave and I had taken our helmets off because it was hot and the levee would provide little to no traffic. We felt confident, I a little cavalier after my time in Italy. A club-type came by us and stated, "yeah, why don't you put your helmet on? it's not too useful hanging off the side of your bike". Dave can correct me, but that was the gist of it. We brushed it off, but later brought the topic back up of why some jack-ass old man on a crabon bike needed to 'advise' us at to our helmet options. Water under the bridge, but the clubby types really stick in my craw sometimes. Take note- Dave is more reasonable and this post shouldn't malign his generous bikey nature. =)

From there we followed to Shawnee for water and then to Bank St. and through downtown. I was pretty tired after these 50ish miles and was looking for some sustenance when we saw an opportunity at CakeFlour, a bakery on Market St. Their cookies were 2 for 1, so I had one myself and gave Dave my other. (Good wife, understand that it would've been melty,mushy if I had tried to get home with it). Based on a recommendation from a nice young lady sista' at CakeFlour, we headed to Joe Davola's for sandwiches. I give my sandwich experience there 31/2 stars, with a half tuna and a half veggie 'meat loaf', for $5.50. It was an outstanding at th end of 50+m ride. Out total for the day was 57m, my longest ride of the year by a couple. Gotta be pleased with that.

(And if anybody can suggest a solution for a saggy Rivendell Big Loafer, be my guest. Nice bag but big sag. I had a cardboard reinforcement at one time, but I don't know what happened to it. Gonna have to disagree with I/Grant on this one. I don't want my bag to sag.)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Tale of 2 Hills

I've been undermotivated for massive riding. I blame only myself, but also the house seems to be busy in that not-busy way, meaning pool, aqua-camps, work schedule (not mine), broken phones, socializing. I don't know? I should just shut up and ride.

Tonight the fam met our amigos at the local pizzeria, so I jumped on the Ute for a few quickie miles. Instead of going straight up B'town, I angled through Seneca where I met hill #1. I had been passed right beforehand by a dude riding an older, early carbon road bike. Somehow, I caught him. That's bad, my friends, bad that I can catch you on a hill on the Ute. We chatted up the benefits of the Ute as an urban warrior steed. He seemed very interested and it was a really nice 2-3min of mutual bike time. After our meal, I jumped from the pizzeria to another pizzeria, only this time instead of pizza it was liquid libational carbos (beer, right?) with a friend/former student. We had a long talk about the state of the medical industry, as well as the benefits of rich friends buying drinks in college. On the way home I was passed at a light by a macho young dude on a mtbike. He made good progress up B'town and turned off, as I do, on Dundee. I decided to follow for kicks. While at one time he was far ahead, on the hill on Dundee I closed the gap a bit- hill #2- until he turned off on Lowell. I saw him again on Strathmoor but turned towards home. 2 fun hills, ridden energetically for no particular reason save pride and spunk. Tomorrow, post-Brazil/Nederlands, a bike ride will ensue, or at least a longer bike ride will ensue.

Bicycle Highways?

From this morning- Should we build Bicycle Highways?. Any thoughts?

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: