Sunday, July 31, 2011


Back from the great West Coast adventure. Ready to get some miles in, ready to start the school commute, and ready to do some bike projects. I'll have a few pics to come, both of our travels and of new rides in boring, ol' Louisville and maybe some borrowed ones of the great cycling to be found all along the Left Coast. Amazing area!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Glad IF is on this list as a "manufacturer", in house, on soil. Sorry to be a jingoist.

I/Grant's magic number

 Here's Grant's quote from Riv Reader #42. The "ideal number" discussion was floating around recently:
"seven is good. a beater, a bomber, a single-speed, a tour-ing bike,a lightish road bike, a do-all racked and bagged bike, a mixte, aloaner, and a work in progress. seven? Make it nine."

Might have to do some commentary on this sometime. What's your magic number? How close are you to it?

Pico de Abeja

Z had cross country at Cherokee/Hogans on Saturday so I figured I would ride the 2hrs he was running (since I had to provide transpo). I've had issues- read: Mental Block- with my road bike of late so more trails seemed fun. The map below shows that I started in a clockwise fashion, which is counter to the general design of the trails in Seneca. I wanted to do them clock and then counter-clockwise I could soak up the fun of the downhills in the 2nd half.

I did most of the first loop and as I reached the most SEern end I felt a sting on my ankle. I turned to do the return trail and my ankle was definitely fussing at me, so I decided to soft-pedal and us the road to return to the car. I was stung some years ago and had suffered a violent histamine reaction to the sting. I wasn't going to chance it.

Sitting here now 4 days later I still have an itchy leg. The body changes and this one for the worse. Where's my Epi-pen?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Coffee Ride

Went out for 19 humid miles on an easy coffee stroll via the parks (where Dave had to fix a busted chain), Indian Hills, Crescent Hill and Quills. Viewed the 9.30 club ride coming in from a coffee chair at Quills. Lots of cyclists out today. Low key as have been since last Saturday's 74m. Other doings coming up, so not much cycling content. And that's alright.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I can't deny; I've been undermotivated to "train" since Saturday's 75m Populaire. Today I awoke early and felt disjointed. After looking at the scale for the first time in a LONG I first took a look at my MyPlate diary from October and November. Interestingly, since the start of June I've ridden over 800 miles but have gained 5lbs. I strongly think it's a bit of Gary Taubes' theory that the body strives for stasis, so all the mega-mileage means mega-eating to recalibrate. Back in the Fall when I experienced a nice 20lbs weight loss I cycled little but walked very regularly. So, this morning I marched out for 1 hour of walking. And it felt good.

Today meant various (non-bike) errands and getting ready for 'L's bday swim party. We were taking drinks-n--dogs and I felt a strong need to use the Ute for said purpose.
This pic shows my accomplishment, the largest/heaviest load to date. On the right I loaded a full cooler with ice and 18 drinks, along with the hot dogs. On the left one can find 2 bags with various buns, chips and such. Admittedly it was a bit wobbly but I did it. Going home was a bit easier b/c the drinks were mostly gone, but I added recycling and the "pool bag" on the right, so I had the bags pretty full. It was only 1.5m, but I'm pretty dang pleased with myself. GGGRRRRRRR!!! CARGO BIKE!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mas Trails

After a lazy patch post-Populaire I got out today for some trails. I now understand Pondero's wisdom visa vi his attempts to ride very early in the summer heat. I've thought a couple times, "Why can't Pondero ride in the afternoon? It's just summer!". Well, I have experienced my comeuppance in the form of temperatures of around 97F, but truly it's the wettest heat ever invented my man. The heat index is more like 115, supposedly. Last night they reported that the humidty was so high because the moisture released by corn silking all over the Midwest had nowhere to escape due to weather patterns. Huh? Yes, it seems miserable, but I needed to ride after a few days off, so dang it, I did.

It was a good trails ride with nothing spectacular to report. I started in Seneca because I had missed that section last week, and while I had fresh legs I felt quite confident; I generated quite the flow and hit obstacles aggressively. I noticed some 60min later that my tenacity had petered out. I even re-rode a couple sections to challenge myself to develop some better skills. Once I segued to Cherokee I still hit things pretty hard but I felt the heat taking its toll and the sweat starting to escape the doorag and cascade into my eyes. I think I got a little air on the pump-downhill and finished with the descent off Hogans Ft hill. Once at the bottom, there would be no more climbing for me. I limped home via Spring and Douglass Loop and arrived safe and without broken parts (save a funky front mech which will need some love). A good day whatever the HEAT INDEX.

Monday, July 11, 2011

100K Populaire

Several of us-Dave, Asher and Apertome from Bloomington- joined up for the first LBC 100K Populaire this past Saturday. It was my first experience at a brevet style ride, which usual begins at 200K. Populaires are intentionally designed to introduce folks to the process. We had to have our brevet card stamped at 3 different controls and once we finished we turned it in to Steve R., so I guess my name will show up at some point. Thoughts:

  • It was the first club ride I've done in a long while. It's funny the dynamic, in that most riders in the club know each other well, so it a club.
  • We had to make a very early pit stop so we started behind the group in general and stayed there the entire day. 
  • Asher had a crankarm mechanical on River Rd., putting us further behind the 8-ball.
  • The opening and closing portions ran along River Rd. where there was also a triathlon taking place. With the extra activity and traffic, frankly, it was chaotic.
  • The middle portion was quite lumpy, with Goshen Hill, 1694 Hill, the Old Zaring rollers and later the Sleepy Hollow climb. I thought is was a very fair course for 66 miles, although the traffic was a bit much. That said, I also felt strength in numbers riding with more riders in general.
  • The first control was a "secret" one, with Steve R stamping cards at Goshen store. That was a nice spot b/c some folks needed water and a rest after the Goshen climb.
  • Before the 2nd control we were on a  4m stretch of a very busy 146. I was in front a bit and then Michael took over and did a monster pull along 146, later to learn in a headwind uphill. No kidding. I'm glad I was sucking wheels.
  • The 2nd control was out in Lagrange, the far point, at a cafe whose name escapes me. As stated, we arrived towards the back markers, but many of the riders were still eating lunch when we arrived. By the time we ate, most folks were long gone. I had a good tuna melt and 3 glasses of Dr.Pepper. Thirsty much?
  • We returned along a similar path, during which we yo-yo'ed quite a bit to keep everyone roughly together. We ended up in a clump of 5, which included Ann(e). She was a game ride partner.
  • The 3rd control, again well-placed after the long Sleepy Hollow climb, was at a gelato shop in Norton's Common. I enjoyed some of the *real* brevet stories there from a couple who did the 300K and 400K on their tandem. Sounded brutal. Fun? Maybe.
  • Leaving the 3rd control we started to stretch out a bit with Michael, Ann(e) and me towards the front and Dave and Asher back a bit. Honestly, it was probably my fault as I felt really good on the bike and felt like pushing the pace forward when I could. Sorry for the impatience, Dave.
  • Turning off of River Rd. Michael had a flat and during the change, both a tandem and Dave and Asher caught up. We arrived at the ride finish literally with minutes to spare before the official cut-off time.
  • Brevet Lesson: Keep Moving. When you're not a fast rider (like myself), time is of the essence. If I were to do a 200K brevet I would have to minimize store stops and keep plugging away. That kind of riding probably agrees with my generally impatient character. Impatience doesn't do well, though, with group rides.
  • 74 miles on the day with the commute to/from the ride start. It was my longest day since April, if I'm not mistaken. I felt great. At the end I felt like I could've tacked on another 25 for the century, but words are cheap.
It was a fun day, and a new experience. Our moving average ended up in the mid-14s. It was an honest effort during which we even rode some hard (18mph+) tempo on the flat portions. That is what was most surprising. Both Apertome and I felt like we didn't do a slow, easy tempo. We rode hard and felt it, but still finished just under the gun. Lesson? Shorten those stops (if you're on a brevet)!

fuzzy Old Zaring Rd.

group along Old Zaring

Store stop in Lagrange. This is a picture after lunch. When we arrived there were *many* more bikes.

The IF performed very well on the day, and got some nice compliments too.

Asher and I playing pic tag at the start of Sleepy Hollow.

Dave back in action. Good to see! His write-up is here.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Bike Doings

Although I didn't know it when I got up, yesterday became a day dominated by bike doings. To wit:

  • Rode to OYLC to drop off a wheel from the Redline 9.2.5. that needs some work. That bike is being sold once I get the wheel in order and the brakes recabled. I anticipate listing it FS after vacation.
  • Shot the breeze there a bit and then to home, giving me an easy 7m total "commute", along with not one but two coffees en route.
  • At around 11.00 I washed the Rans Rocket for a prospective buyer. I ran across this gentleman, 'E', while Dave and I were at Breadworks doing coffee recently. He came over to admire Dave's 'bent, saying that he was having back problems and looking for a solution. "Well!, I happen to have a 'bent for sale!", said I, although I hadn't done anything to prepare said sale. The RR is in good shape otherwise, with low drive-train mileage and pretty fresh brakes. Fact is, I never rode it much. Since using mycyclinglog starting in '09, I've ridden the Rans 7 times for 145m. Time to go.
  • Now I was in washing mode. so I washed the IF, Blueridge and QB.
  • At around 1.30 'E' came and test rode the RR and expressed an interest. Afterwards he and his daughter were going to pick up a kids bike. Nice bike day for the 'E' family.
  • Little did I know until later that when I looked in the mirror my face was covered with various bike grease splotches. I'm sure I was quite a site to the 'E' family.
  • Once washing the QB I realized how nasty the chain was, so I dug around and found the chain cleaner. I did a thorough job on the chains of the QB, IF, and Blueridge (particularly filthy, that one.)
  • I then remembered that the 29er chain was pretty bad too, so to that chain I went, and afterwards, a wash.
  • Deciding that I really like the Jones Loop Bar but that it didn't quite work for me on the 29er (needs higher bars and that' a pain on a Lefty shock), I removed and replaced with original straight/riser bar. I need to cut those down at some point.
  • For kicks, I replaced Nitto Rando bar on the LHT with the JLB, while not replacing any of the hardware. I'm intrigued what that ride would be like. I like the JLB, but would it be a good application for a commuter/gravel grinder? That might be the next project. JLB on LHT with new brake levers and shifters of some sort.
DONE with bike washing. Tired, hot and sweaty.
  • Around 6.00pm the good wife reminded me that I had made an appointment to drop off the car for an oil change. 
  • At 7.00 'E' called to see if I was home and shortly thereafter he came by and took the Rans off my hands. SOLD!  I spent a bit of time getting the seat and bar adjusted for him as he's taller than I. He seemed pleased. His daughter seemed as interested in the 'bent as 'E' was.  And that's one bike out of the stable. Forward progress on thinning the herd and generating some project money.
  • After that deal at 7.30 I drove out to the car dealer with bike in tow and then rode home. Well, not straight home b/c Dave texted me about any interest in a libation stop, so I rode the 10m from shop to Dundee for a libation or 2 and then home. I pushed the pace on the ride and felt good. And the cold libation felt good too. Dave and I rode the last mile home where he carved right, while I left for 11 miles for an evening commute. Good miles. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A little trail action

After a steady diet of road rides with some gravel thrown in, I took the 29er out today for what it was intended, a mtbike. I stayed in Cherokee and did the full loop, turned around and did the same trails on the return save the one rocky one that is my nemesis. I felt good and strong today but seemed like I was a little more challenged than usual throwing the 29er around on our twisty trails. It was a fun ride, a good workout, and the only minor damage was almost banging my hand into a tree, which I did not. A tired, sweaty success I would call it.

I'm not sure why the 60cx decided to draw my route/track today in three parts, but it did. This one ends about 3m from home, although I had already ridden all but one section. And the downhill from the dog run is amazing. KYMBA has added with set of mini-rollers or push-hills or whatev and it's a total blast. Excellent both up and down.

I can envision a different kind of bike working better on our trails, something like a full-suspended 26" cross-country bike. I have no interest in downhill so don't need an overbuilt neo-motor cycle. Maybe something like this would do the trick (cheaper than the other offerings)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Yellowwood Mixed-Terrain

Apertome hosted, and I mean Michael and Sarah HOSTED, a cycling get-together on Sunday as a regional meeting of the minds. Joiners included:  Jon and Brad, who were passing through Bloomington en route to delivering a truck and a motorbike to lucky family members in PA, Bill from Fort Wayne who purchased a very nice-looking early-80s Trek from Jon, Asher and me from the 'Ville, and finally Dave G, with whom I personally had a great ride back during a particularly frozen afternoon back during the winter. It looked to be a great group, but one I felt a little trepidation given that we had two altitude trainers (from CO), one brevet riders, one newbie racer/messenger, and Michael, who is always strong as an ox. Throw Dave G dive-bombing descents and I had lots of "Wait for me!!" thoughts floating.

After the boys finished an incredible breakfast Sarah had prepared, we left via what I like to call the "roller route", and series of miserable rollers that had me sucking wind within the first 3m of riding.

We had so many mechanicals that I don't even remember the purpose of this stop. Looks like Brad might be fixing something, but it seems like we had stopped so that Jon could adjust. Who knows?

After our roller warm-up, we passed through a classic English wood that apparently is owned and preserved by famous Bloomingtonian John (Cougar) Mellencamp. Singletrack was a great way to augment the mixed-terrain theme for the day.


Brad, very keen with his classic Bridgestone XO-3. We had some excellent Rivendell talk short after this descent.

Bill and Jon following.

Descent from trail E.Kerr Creek Rd.

This house at the bottom was very, very pleasant. Several of us admired the varying textures of the stone, the clapboard of the home and the artist cottage out back.

Our next portion rolled along E.Kerr Creek Rd., which was evidently the location of a variety of ranchettes on the outskirts of Bloomington. After our stiff pace at the start we slowed down and enjoyed the mixture of flow, sun, vistas and conversation.

Dave G admiring his roadie tires once we picked him up in Unionville.
Once we picked up Dave we had a nice run along IN-45, especially when it ran in through the northern-most reaches of Yellowwood Forest. At some point Dave pointed out that we would hit a descent and that we would have to scrub some speed. What that meant was that Dave, Jon and Brad would drop like stones right out of the sky while I feathered the brakes back and forth to keep from killing myself. We enjoyed a long, sumptuous downhill and found excellent gravel conditions in Yellowwood Forest.

Asher, with either a look of despair or elation.

Brad in the distance. Nice.

We stopped at Yellowwood Lake for a bit.

Brad and Dave G

Brad and Michael, who is looking tough in his "pondering the horizon" kinda look.

We exited YF and found a variety of paved rollers which passed the TC Steele Historical site and later included an interesting metal bridge. We took full advantage for a rest and Dave G attacked his wonky rear back tire, which had been battling a leak for much of the YF portion.

Michael, Bill and Jon

Bill's Specialized Tri-cross, which I believe is the machine he used on his recent brevets.

After YF we found a not-too-busy IN-46 and used it to link up with another portion of gravel, in this case the climb of Crooked Creek Rd. I remember descending this section with Michael last year and knew that we had our work cut out for us. Dave again attended to tire issues, and while the group looked on, I sneaked out for a 15sec headstart. I knew I needed all the time I could get. Of course, the CO crew caught up quickly, and a couple of the other guys were detained with DaveG struggling with tire pressure. We took a good break at the top of the challenging climb.

Bottom of the hill tire powwow.

Top of the hill rest break
Crooked Creek Rd. brought us down to Lake Monroe where we spent a few minutes. From there we moved on along paved roads and began to struggle in the heat and humidity.

At some point we hit more gravel (Kent Rd.?) but found it much chunkier and heavier than out previous swath. It reminded me of the stuff I hit on my own mixed-terrain Ferdinand ride. Not too much fun, but we persevered. Along this section we also hit our 2nd metal bridge, but deep into our ride we marshaled on.

We left our last gravel of the day with our climb up to E.Lampkins Ridge Rd. This was a really nice ribbon of shallow rollers, shade and little traffic save a loud, fat lady on a Harley. Virtually all of our route was low traffic save a portion of IN46. Our group strung out a bit here as folks began to feel the effects of the day. Entering Bloomington, Dave G bade us adieu and took a right while we went straight. We met our section of rollers again and suffered for those last couple miles, but upon arrival to the Johnson household our host asked, "Does anybody *not* want a beer?" Could there be a more fitting end to a great day on two wheels. I enjoyed it immensely, the opportunity to meet distant bloggers face-to-face, discuss all things bicycle and as ever soak in the bounty that is Indiana roadways. Also, for the day:

  • Tim- broke a chain on a steep portion of our last big climb. Jon came to the rescue.
  • Bill- broke or lost a fender bolt/nut. He did an excellent job jerryrigging it with a zip-tie.
  • Asher- fought all day long with an uphappy rear hub.
  • Brad- adjusted something at a stop, but he seemed to roll along on his vintage XO-3. Too bad he lost the closing sprint at the Johnson estate; he didn't realize that the finish was at the start of the driveway, not the end..  ;)
  • DaveG- fought like hell with his rear tire. He eventually used my extra 26" tube but gravel is a rough spot to have tire problems.
  • Jon- general wrench that fixed everything. I think he enjoyed the humidity more than most.
  • Michael- the amiable host suffered no mechanicals, as it should be.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

SCS Sunday in Bloomington

It's been a lazy few days here during the SCS. I have a grand total of 2 miles for July, but that will change when Apertome hosts a Mixed-Terrain Fete tomorrow. As I understand, it'll be 50 miles of mostly gravel and apparent heat on the menu.

I'm psyched, but after an afternoon of lying about has created an impetus to get my gear ready for a 6.00a.m. departure with Asher. Should be great, but I'll be missing my ride bro as well as the 'man with no visor'.

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: