Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shelby-Spencer Century

Much like the ride, I'm going to keep this one (sorta) sparse. Dave and I made plans and rode a century yesterday. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, deciding Wednesday that it needed to happen.

We met at Heine's at 7.00 and used the Westport corridor to link to Anchorage and Lagrange Rd. From there it was country riding for a significant portion of the day. We passed some nice sites in Oldham such as Floydsburg Chapel, but I didn't bring a camera and I'm sort of glad I didn't. Personally I just rode the IF and worked on the sensations of riding tempo and turning the cranks. From there we used Todd's Point Rd as a very nice run through Shelby Co. Todd's Point is of particular interest to me because my grandmother lived for a time there. We then turned onto Aiken Rd. for more rolling KY bliss. The weather at his point was a bit cloudy, but by the time we reached Shelbyville at the 40m mark thinks were opening up.

We had a snack in Shelbyville and then exited via Zaring Mill Rd., yet more rolling KY bliss and with even more sunshine. We realized at some point that we were riding a nice tailwind here. Of course we would pay later, but we put in some 15-17mph avg clips in this middle ride portion. It felt great. After another very short break in Southville we moved south and ended up on on the tri-titled Martin-Nertherly/Martin/Little Elk, a highlight of the day, with a ridge road along very sketchy surfaces. Dave had to stop for some brake work and we saw one of the best asses of the day. An ass. A donkey, one looking for food.

We faced a stiff short climb on Little Mt Church Rd. and then had a gps battle. Dave's track had us taking a left on Timberline, a gravel road. Mine had us going straight and turning left later. Under any other circumstances I'm diving onto gravel but I was on the new IF and I had to think for just a brief moment before a "WTF!" insight. Timberline ended up being some of the smoothest gravel that we've ridden. Another highlight.

We rolled into Taylorsville at the 70mile mark and had a burger and blizzard before the reality hit. We knew we would be riding into a headwind for the remainder of the trip, and, in fact, we did. The climb up Elk Creek Rd was tough but fair, but the ensuing rollers on 1633 and 1392 were taking their toll, certainly on me. I felt great through 75m, but just like my previous century the 75-85 space was really, really tough. Old Heady Rd was a nice riding road up high on the ride and Routt took us to a brief portion of 155 where we used the shoulder.

The last 12m or so was first hilly riding into J'town where I seemed to regain some strength. Once up into J'town, though, the wheels fell off. I was done, baked, bonked, gassed. Dave seem to feel pretty good at this point and I rode his tempo down Taylorsville Rd. into the Highlands. We turned towards the house and the last couple miles were real misery. But good misery. My 2nd personal century under really nice weather with good company on a great bike. I did learn that after 70 miles, though, the engine is what counts. I felt no stronger on the IF than I did on the Bleriot last September. I guarantee it's faster, especially on the climbs, but those last 30 miles are about will and strength, and the bike isn't going to help with that.

A great day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ah Hah! Mileage

Nothing shocking. Dave and I met at 7.00ish, headed northwest on B'town, north-east on Mellwood, east on Brownsboro, meandered through Indian Hills and then swung back via the parks. We had grey, threatening skies until about mile 18 when the heavens opened. We dashed to Quills for a Sunday morning cup, a scone, and one of the most relaxing 20min I've experienced in a couple months.

The 3m+ home was a bit colder, but the ride was just as good. I can't say I felt great on the bike- the legs and tush felt the two-week lay-off- but it was a great way to spend 2 hours on Easter morning. A very successful 22 miles on two wheels.

The fam then went to church and mom's after that for ham of course. I had a nice time talking about whatever with my 83 yr-old papaw and I'd call it a day well spent.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Haven't been on two wheels since last Sunday. No, not this past Sunday but Sunday a week. Gaining weight. Sigh.

Here's a link to something I received from a friend. Video of Vitamin G.  Maybe this'll help.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

6.00 a.m.

I find it easier to make good nutrition decisions at 6.00 a.m. than at 6.00 p.m.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hayden MT South

And now for the rest of our story...

As you may (not) remember, Dave and I had just escaped not the meth House, but the meth TrailerPark. We rolled past an uneventful Brush Creek FWA and turned south towards Muscutatuck. Now, however weird the MethPark was, Muscutatuck was that much stranger for me. Sources described that it was the former farm for Indiana handicapped youth. They closed it down and at some point the Indiana Nat'l Guard took over. Now is an Urban Training Center, which means that there are a lot of shot out cars and weird buildings where you can get your mercenary on. We even had to pass through a guard station on a marked standards state road. They waved us through very nicely. I was much more spooked, with images of white-supremacy-meets-'Red Dawn', but Dave is better adjusted than I, so we moved on, . Dave took a couple pics, but I declined for fear of pending attack.

What was nice is that the road leaving- N.Cr.300E- was pleasant gravel followed part of the Muscutatuck River. It made for a nice bike stroll.

Exiting Muscutatuck Urban Training Center

After our gravel foray we bit the wind again into N.Vernon for out store stop. We considered eating a full lunch, but as Dave knows, I just don't sit down for lunch very well on rides. We stopped by a gas station to fill up the reservoirs and left town to the SW, into more wind.

Colorful N.Vernon

N.Vernon to the west. If you enlarge you can take in a large group of bikers. Funnily enough, they were in front of a biker bar.

Our pictures disappeared for a while at this juncture. The land south of the river was quite lumpy- not really hilly, mind you- so we rode the lumps..and the headwind.

We finally turned north at the Muscutatuck yet again to find a swollen, muddy mess. We were expectantly excited to turn out of the wind and found some flat terrain to recover a bit. A passing sign said, "Road closed", but there didn't seem to be any problems. Shortly afterward, though.

The gravel road going straight-W.CR.500S- was mired in high waters. It was even a bit challenging pedaling up to take a pic. Glad our route didn't take us that way.

We took our road, S.CR.700W, and shortly saw a car or two with rooster tails coming off either side; the road was rather under water. I've personally never ridden in such a situation, but we knew as long as it didn't sink the hubs or BB, we would be fine, so after allowing some cars to go by so as to not be deluged, we ventured through the "flood", a solid .25m of it.

I found it to be a fun adventure. We took another turn, into the wind and up a hill, and then finally another right turn north again, find lonely, empty gravel roads and a tailwind. Heaven.

hard to see, but uphill into the wind again
Our last leg was a mixed of short road and medium gravel sections. I also included the road below, one we encountered on the Muscutatuck NWF ride Michael led in February. We were both quite interested back in February and Dave and I got the opportunity to tour this section, and what a great section it was. Inspired again by the same day Paris-Roubaix, about a 3rd of the way in I put the hammer down on Dave and took off on a surprise "break-away". As Dave said, I was feeling a bit saucy. It was a good 1.5 section. Towards the end I felt/heard something and stopped to find that the front fender had loosed and dropped on top of the tire. Dave shortly caught up and I commenced adjusting it. It took long enough that a family in a red jeep saw us coming and going and inquired if we needed help. The mom seems very perplexed that we would like gravel. We finished with a bit of downhill racing fun and then back to Hayden for a relaxing, spirited, and windy 60-miler, my longest ride since the BigSouthFork trip from October, '10.

S.CR.800W from February. I should have stopped for the same pic, but I was ready to hit the gravel with and take advantage of the tailwind.

As ever, sometimes you have to have a good dose of Vitamin G.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hayden MT North

The stars aligned and it was mixed-terrain time for Dave and me. The route visited some of the same territory as we visited with Michael back in February . Instead of covering the same, I directed us to the northwest to pass by two possible sites, Semlier Forest and Brush Creek Wildlife Area; maybe they would prove as interesting as Muscutatuck NWR and Crosley State WR did in February.

We left the sleepy railroad town and encountered mostly paved country rollers as we headed towards the north of N.Vernon. As we passed IN-3 onto E350N the land flattened out and we found Semlier Forest. To be honest, it wasn't too impressive, so we didn't stay long

Semlier Forest. The Board briefly discussed a 1-mile self-guided hike, and no open road was available. We moved on.

Some weirdo playing beekaboo.
After the forest we started working our way more northerly on random country roads in across large, flat swaths of farm roads and fields. I was surprised to see this substantial church steeple in the distance so took several pictures of it, if only because it practically didn't belong in comparison to the other (non)structures. The church isn't in a town either. It's just a collection of houses at a crossroads. To me, it's odd that no town is listed.

St. Mary's Catholic Church, nw of N.Vernon, IN. Est.1841

Farm fields greening up.
Below is the cockpit for the day of the Blueridge. I used the 'lil loafer instead of the Rando Bag- I didn't feel I needed the room- and the Feedbag. I was very pleased with the system as I used it. The feedbag had my camera and extra batteries and I laid the gps atop that. The gps is also strung to the two loops of the loafer so that I could move the gps from feedbag to loafer and it was affixed so it would fall out; it was a poor man's bike mount and it worked to a 'T' for this trip at least. The Garmin 60cx also did the trick finally. I used 'route' and it gave me/us beep-by-beep directions and didn't make any mistakes. I also used the waypoints to make other gravel we passed for future reference and course building. It's a great area to ride in.

Our pace at this point was very lively, inspired by a NE tailwind. Once I realized where the tailwind was coming from, I then realized that it would be our bane, our "challenge" for much of the 2nd half of the trip. It was fun, though, to up the ante a bit instead of moseying along as we are wont to do. We found our first gravel at N300E and the pace increased even more due to the straight tailwind. I was a bit bummed after this stretch because for whatever reason there was a nice chicane around a tree and I'm not sure why the road diverged left at this point. Anyway, I didn't take a pic of the chicane but should have. You can take a look at the link. I upped the pace some more in honor of Paris-Roubaix running the same day on the cobbles of northern France. If you look at the pic below, I think it's very reminiscent of images of that race, the old farm road running across a flat expanse of muddy farm fields, but with a bit of spring greenery following the path. Very similar, well, except that they have massive granite cobbled and we had relatively easy gravel.
First gravel, N300E, a really nice straight shot north

Slightly blurry shot, but I like how or what the camera focuses on here, even though I'm not sure what it is. It captures the speed I guess.
We turned east at E900N and encountered several cars on this random road. The gravel didn't last long and was a bit chunkier than some of the other. We had to pull to the side 3 times for other vehicles. This road would be our path into the sprawling town (er.., not) of Zenas.

Zoom in on this pic. The big cow in front of the old building is looking at us, wary from afar.

We came into Zenas, one of those towns I'm not sure why it exists or existed. Perhaps there was a ferry across the river before the bridge was built. The pic below looks to me to be the old store, long shuttered. I'm sure they go to WallyWorld in N.Vernon now. We stopped and had a snack.

The climb out of Zenas (below) began the next leg of the journey. We left the flatness of the north with its tailwind and gravel and traveled south along the edge of the Muscutatuck River. Oddly we were somewhat equidistant from the river as we had been, but the southern areas were lumpier, scragglier and more forested, a different terrain, AND a headwind, one that would keep us company for 30 miles.

E700N, a very rocky section of gravel, at least at the entrance.

More E700N- the composition improved and the terrain provided us some opportunities to improve our fitness.

Several different maps, including Garmin's MapSource, show this as being an extension of E700N. I beg to differ.

E700N moving south.

A ghost-shift and thrown chain needed attention

Old school? We couldn't read the little indicator stone on the facade.

Soon after encountering the little school we found our first gps issue which took place at the crossroads of more gravel. I don't know that I can easily explain it, but in effect the gps had us continuing down the road in the pic below. This was a "town" or a "neighborhood", but more so it was a collection of ramshackle trailers, a grown-in trailer park, which I have to believe houses some of the most substantial meth production in all of IN. It was gritty, very gritty. The gps track had us going directly into the white house at the end of the lane, or maybe its garage. There was no obvious road so we chose to turn back and allow the gps to re-route us. In hindsight and in studying the maps, I think I just misread the gps because the "road" would have had to cross the river again, which was out of sight below "trailer town". Spooky, but not really. We rolled south and found Brush Creek FWA on our left. It was unimpressive and we moved on, into the wind.

More "mixed terrain" at Brush Creek WA

As stated, the areas south of the river were more varied, in this case with some pine forest in addition to deciduous forest and farmland,...and 'trailer town".
End of part 1

Friday, April 08, 2011

Fitness Ride

After a day spent doing taxes, running annoying errands, a bit of yardwork, a bit of gps/route planning, a sumptuous lunch buffet, caulking a window, and...that's about it, I took a late afternoon ride in the parks.  I fought through all-afternoon indigestion to average a respectable 16.5 on the IF for 19 miles total. The Garmin map won't embed, but I bet no one cares in the least. I'm 7/7 on Spring Break rides, although Thursday I only got a 2m coffee ride in. That barely counts.

I dragged the boys to mom's house this afternoon on the bikes too. I finally got the teenager on one of my more appropriately sized bike, in this case the moustache bar'd CrossCheck. His primary comment was that the seat was really hard (an old Avocet Ti O2).  I'm going to force him to ride some with me this summer. His cross country body and fitness will have me lagging behind, but that's just fine.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Project BR

2010 was an intense year for bike projects. Absurd really. No, very absurd. I changed the cockpit of the Cannondale 29er to be more comfy for longer rides (i.e. gravel griding), and began the process for the IF Club Racer, a bike I need to give a full intro coming up. Today we show the mostly final result of a tweaking and retweaking of my 12 year-old Litespeed Blueridge. I bought this is 1999 as a combo cyclocross/long-distance bike and it has served both of those efforts somewhat, but never as intensely as promised. With 'cross I was always scared of trashing the thing like many 'cross folks do with their 2-yr 'cross bikes, and as a roadie I could never quite get it as dialed in as I wanted. Henceforth the Bleriot and now the IF, which is very dialed.

I've set up the BR now as the dark-and-foul training bike. It's Ti so there won't be rust problems. It's not the primary show bike so I'm not afraid to rough it up. I'm a bit more comfortable with the geometry, seat and cockpit, so it's pretty good on the road. And finally I've made some upgrades to let it serve its purpose, as the do-all junk bike.

  • Barely noticeable is the right downtube shifter. The right STI was on the fritz and I refused to spend for STI, which I've grown to not like that much. Give me my friction or at least a Campy lever (spoiled?). I bought the shifter for $5 and it's serving the purpose. The long-term is to put downtube Silver Shifters on, but not yet.
  • Nitto M-18 rack. We- OnYourleftCycles and I- ordered a Mark's Rack but their supplier sent the wrong one. It works and is pretty similar to the Mark's with less flexibility, but it works for this project. The shop found some surplus mounts to use on the fork. More on that later.
  • Acorn Boxy Rando Bag up front. Right now I still have interrupter levers on the top of the bar, so I can't connect the Rando Bag to either the rack loop or to a decaleur. It's lashed on with the four velcro loops and the side bar strings/supports. I am going to use a leather strap to lash it to the loop for a bit more stability, but it seems pretty solid. Long term maybe I remove the interrupters if it's a problem, but I don't envision using the bag to haul bricks or anything. I'm not Jan Heine.
  • And finally, an IQ CYO for the training bike. It's the 3rd one on there. PeterWhite verified that the first two had standlights that were non-functioning. Take a look at the pic. Drew found a bracket which looks good. We'll see how sturdy it is in the long run, but we're both confident. I might guide a sturdy ziptie through that extra hole and the rack to give it a bit more support.
  • As before, we have SKS fenders and 32c Paselas, along with a rear PB Turbo, to round out the training look. 
  • And I should mention as well, I'm running new hoops as well. That's important. Drew built me up a nice pair of wheels with: SON front hub, HED rear hub, both with Velocity 23s, the newer wide ones in a 3-cross pattern. The wheels are built to withstand, if you know what I'm saying. The IF is for flying. The BR now is for slogging, but slogging in a good way slogging.

Full package with Rando Bag but with Baggins Bag removed

Drew's front bracket. I'm very likely to run a thick ziptie through that hole and the rack frame for a bit more top support, but we pulled on it and it's sturdy. Nice even wiring job too.

 Light on the right.


Following are some images of the RUSH show I took in two nights ago. Pertaining to bike content, I rode the SSFrankenTrek down to the show, only to feel the spongy sadness of a flattening front tire about 1m from the YUM Center on Main St. I got to the show, locked up conspicuously in front and found my seat #2 near the end of the row- easier to buy beer and hit the head if needed.

I'm actually not very good at remembering set lists and never have been. They opened with 'Spirit of Radio', an obvious choice and then used the first set to explore a wide range of their catalog including known tracks like 'Freewill' and 'Subdivisions', late-80s track 'Time Stand Still' with a mysterious Aimee Mann *not* in the house, and a couple new tracks which we decidedly heavier than their long-time foray into that synth sound. The crowd was enthusiastic and around me not too obnoxiously drunk yet.

The show opened with a funny video with Geddy, Alex and Neil playing characters talking about a musical invention and an earlier incantation of the band. Comparable characters showed up in the intermission video found below. That's Alex Lifeson in the fat suit.

The 2nd set began with the Main Course, a complete replay of the classic 'Moving Pictures'. My aunt Jan gave me that album for a gift of some sort. I had some other vinyl, but MP became THE goldstandard of my early rock education. I know every word, every drum fill, every sound effect, and I think it holds up well too. 'Tom Sawyer' is fine, but I was looking forward to 'Red Barchetta' and 'Camera Eye' more. The image below is of 'Red Barchetta'. Get it, with the road? It's not a good image, but it was a great concert cut. Even better was 'Camera Eye'. It's the 3rd image below and you can make out the photo of a subway entrance on the screen. The concert cut effectively interspersed city images of NY and London as in the track with a tight, rockin' performance. The highlight of the night for me, although XYZ was pretty good too. All their instrumental work was very, very solid. Take that hipsters!

Late in the 2nd set the brought out some of the oldies in the form of  '2112: Overture and The Temples of Syrinx' with the classic image found below. Cool! I would've liked to hear 'Fly by Night' just for kicks, but that's alright.

After a very mutated version of 'Working Man' the show ended after nearly 3 full hours of music and accompanying videos. I then had a flat tyre to deal with. I hadn't brought my tools because I was worried about theft downtown in front of the arena and that decision had come back to haunt me. During the intermission I used the phone to research bus lines and found a late bus on the #23 which would put me near the house. As best as I could tell, it would be the *only* available bus into the neighborhood. I rode the flat tire to Broadway and waited the 35 or so minutes and the bus was right on time. I took it down B'town and got off at Kroger for a snack before walking/riding home. An interesting experience top to bottom. And I *finally* saw my teenage fav RUSH.

Set 1:

Video Intro (Rash: The Real History of Rush Act 1)
The Spirit of Radio
Time Stand Still
Stick It Out
Workin' Them Angels
Leave That Thing Alone


Set 2:

Video Intro (Rash: The Real History of Rush Act 2)
Tom Sawyer
Red Barchetta
The Camera Eye
Witch Hunt
Vital Signs
Drum Solo (Love 4 Sale)
Closer to the Heart (with Alex acoustic intro)
2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx
Far Cry


La Villa Strangiato
Working Man
Video Outro (I Still Love You Man)

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: