Monday, December 31, 2012

Lago Linda

Lago Linda evening camp after the mech prob. Prolly best day/evening of the year, for me.

A tidy finish

It's been a hellish holiday break, with the family suffering from a flu-like virus, a coughing bug and a stomach virus. Hell.

The only respite, really, was a very nice evening at Mom's for Christmas Eve. She made a nice meal (which upset my beat-up stomach after the flu-like thing) and the evening was tranquil, generous and relaxing. Outside of that it feels like the entire break has been jumping from one virus-stoked fire to another. I've been out with friends and former students and family, but those occasions were merely a stone in the creek used to cross from one conflagration to another.

This morning, FINALLY, I felt alive, for the first time in two weeks. I donned some modern layers and assorted finery for the 30F and hit the road single-speeding style on the QB for a West End Loop, figuring that the flatness would be to my advantage after such a forced rest. I felt really good for the first hour and made very good SS time along Algonquin Pkwy. I'm still trying to ascertain the cognitive dissonance of a lively tempo (@ around 15mph on a small gear) into a headwind. Once I made the turn east it felt more like a headwind than I had previously, although the flags would say otherwise.  Louisville is known for having permanent headwinds in every direction flailing off the river and surrounding hills.

I slowed every so slightly but still felt good when I stopped at Quill's and rewarded myself with un cafe con leche. It hit a needed spot and I then made a brief stop at Kroger's to pick up a scrip. Transpo cycling!

I finish 2012 with 3823 miles, the last 23 being as satisfying as mostly any ridden during the calendar year. Perhaps we can sweep out the grumbly '12 and open the front door to a fresh '13. Please.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in review

Here is a link to last year's review. Interesting to read such things.

For 2012:

1. Shockingly, I managed 3800 miles on the year. Before a final tally I was sure it would be in the lower 3's. Lest I be mistaken, that's my second highest yearly total, but, boy, it didn't feel like it.

2. The bike with the greatest number of miles and the greatest number of trips was one I didn't even ride until May, the Surly Troll. I sold the LHT frame to Derrick, who seems to love it. I built the Troll up as a commuter/tourer, but one not so damn fat and slow as the LHT.  I used it substantially over the summer and then un-built it for the to sell the frame, dissatisfied with the handling while loaded, therefore not riding a couple more months. Now it's back together. What a dramatic history for 7 months of usage! And how did it become the mileage winner with only 5 months of riding?

3. 2012 saw lots of bike turnover. As stated, I sold the LHT (frame) and bought the Troll. I If it's only a matter of city riding, it's a win. I love the quickness of the Troll. If it's loaded touring, I'm as sure. I also sold the Bleriot frame and bought a complete Rawland Sogn. I wanted to maintain a 650b mount, but the geometry (disproportionately short top tube) and weight put me onto the Rawland. I experienced a bit of shock and sadness when I opened the box to find not a blue low-trail rSogn, but the original beefier red Sogn. Jury is out. The ride characteristics of the Sogn are close enough to those of the Bleriot that I think it would've/could've been easier just to buy a longer stem. I do think the Sogn has a bit more spirited feel to it, and it's got room for 2.1" tires if needed.  I also sold the languishing 9.2.5.

So we're finally to fav rides this year. My compatriots have listened to me whine over and over that 2012 was as devoid of adventure rides as any year I can recently remember, especially if you take the two tours out.

4. January- Paris/Maysville "Zoo Story", a  a 57-miler which included all kinds of wildlife, farm life, covered bridges, bridges, and general KY scenery. I remember being tired the second half of this ride, but almost a year later I remember this as a satisfying day of KY cycling.

5. February- Holsclaw S24O, a winter S24O. Too much booze for the comfort of the situation. Too little sleeping bag; I was saved by Patrick's liner in the below-freezing temps. We should have eaten Dave's eggs and *not* done that nasty Shoney's breakfast.

6. March- "Three Tools and a Touche" 37 challenging miles in IN with a bit of gravel throw in. A really flat ride for me, as since the 2011 Gravel Grovel I had been having problems with fitness and a lack of form. Bleh!, although, dammit, it's good to get out there.

7. April- Doolittle Hundy, with Timothy as ride host. At 65m, this was one of my longest rides of '12. I felt great on the IF until having to walk up Doolittle Hill. Somewhere after that I began to suffer. I'm glad I did it, and glad Timothy designed a fun route, whatev little fitness I had.

8. May- Metric Hundy, of sorts. I combined two different rides, one OldhamCo ride with Patrick where he put the beatdown on me, and then with the crew doing a West End swing at a more mellow pace.

9. June- S.Indiana Tour, Days 1, 2 and 3. There were aspects- namely the painful flats of the second day and hills I had to walk during the 3rd- of this first multi-day tour which didn't exactly agree with me, but hindsight says that this and the August tour were certainly highlights of the year. This was fun, in the way only bike suffering can bring.

10. July- nothing of note. Bummer.

11. August- August DanielBooneN.F. tour, with Day 2, 3 and Postscript. (I didn't seem to do a Day 1) Amid all my bitching about 2012 and the lack of "pop" with respects to my cycling, Day 2 with Fixer Rd. and the Perseid shower at Lago Linda was as special as any day of cycling or adventure I've experienced. I was a whiny bitch those last 5 miles (Patrick knows), but to be up on top of those mountains with beautiful clear skies as meteors darted by, that was special, as was the 20-mile loop the next morning into Irvine for breakfast.

12. September- Finally! September offered several ride highlights, including a S15O, a 50-miler with Dave and Asher, and best of all, our New Castle MT Ramble, perhaps the best one day of cycling in 2012.

13. October- plenty of trips including some good days on the trails, but nothing on note.

14. November- Another S24O, this one pretty cold, again in JeffForest. Patrick knows how to make a good fire.

15. December- The first half of the month was excellent, with a good 50-miler with Timothy and some steady riding. I was sitting on 240 miles and thinking about a big mileage month. Then the holiday plague set in. A virus to start the Xmas break. A recent stomach virus at the beginning of week 2. I've been on my bike 16 miles in 2 weeks. My weight's down, though.

Ride of the Year- New Castle MT Ramble. That was a beautiful day on the bike.
Experience of the Year- Def Day 2 of the DBNF tour. It couldn't get better than the Perseids and the Milky Way.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas JRA

After days of plague, a lull in the Christmas action and a slight bit of pep in the step led to me an *easy* Xmas bike stroll with Dave very much in the 'hood. I had notions of stretching things out a bit more, but it was evident pretty quickly that my lungs and cough would only allow a stroll, not a jog. The roads were busier than expected, especially given that virtually no stores were open. I bade Dave adios (really, more so he dropped me off) and I arrived with clean one hour (and 10 total miles!). The road to recovery felt good.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Plague!

After an encouraging start to December and to future "mileage whore" status, last Wednesday night precipitated a cascade of Holiday Plague under which I am still mired.  Wednesday was my/our 20th anniversary  and we had choir practice (it *is* the Holidays!), so we took in an After-Choir with some of our own and by that time the throat drainage and coughing had commenced. Niggling. Nothing more.

I woke up at 3.00 coughing. Annoying. But once I tried to cover up and get back to sleep on the couch I knew 'meh' was becoming 'bad', unable to warm up due to incipient chills. I made the brave effort to work Thursday- last day of finals- but left midday with the kind offer from a co-worker to cover my last final. By that afternoon I was in fever dream, very hot and basically in a viral stupor. I stayed that way through Friday afternoon, changing locations occasionally but fundamentally returning to yet more bed. My hips are still sore. Somewhere in there I began to feel less like Death and more like basic Crap. 'L' el Segundo had missed Thursday from school as well, but my Saturday morning he was on his computer doing his gaming thing with friends. 

Sunday I skipped church for which I needed to sing, but no singing would there be. I had "improved" to this drained level of tingly skin, low energy, low appetite and general malaise. Yesterday, Christmas Eve, I managed to go out and make a few purchases, but at the Christmas Eve service I still couldn't sing much, and now the alimentary system is complaining. Mom made a wonderful meal with I enjoyed only a short while before it left me in a flurry.

Christmas morning. Last night at Mom's did well to raise my spirits- which have been and continue to shade grey- and now we have the special day. Peace to those who visit here, to yours and to others.

(wife just passed on this Christmas morning. She's hacking away and now has a sore throat. Can't blame me for that one)

Sunday, December 16, 2012


My dad took us the hip restaurant Proof (not sure if "on Main" is still part of the name) last night for a holiday meal. The meal and experience was outstanding, one of the best meals I've had. Who knew you could take grandma's roast and turn it into something some amazing? If you're in the 'Ville, please take a look. 

 As to the meal's influence on riding, today I woke up a bit groggy and eventually dragged myself out for some very slow JRA. I impressively averaged a robust 11.7mph and never pushed it at all. Slow, easy, and goofy. Perfect for a lazy Sunday. Tonight we sing in our Xmas concert; I guess Pondero's ramble was to go off today. I hope both events go well.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Things are progressing...

The belts are getting a bit more space in them, the pants ever so slightly less tight. I find myself looking forward to using the next size down Marmot Windshirt once that can comfortably take place. Any of you who know (all of you?) the ebb-and-flow of weight loss understand that the process is more important than the result, or at least I think so. In conjunction with some long-term weight goals come some long-term cycling goals for 2013. '12 has been a reasonable year, but aside the tours nothing jumped out and grabbed me. So far for 2013 are some options:

  • A gravel ride coming up in early January, the first of numerous opportunities I hope.
  • A visit to S-Tree and the surrounding Daniel Boone National Forest, an area Patrick and I visited in August but did not conquer. The idea is to drive/ride/carcamp/ride and return home. Two days of riding significant backwoods gravel, logging roads and maybe a bit of single/double track. Remote riding.
  • Centuries- I can't commit to a century a month because the Spring tennis season is so wack. The best I can do is hope to do half that, 6 hundys in the course of the year. That would be swell. There is a chance of the first one of the year on January 1 hosted by Dave, but I don't know my schedule yet. 
  • 200k- I would like to do my first "official" brevet, but will have to travel to do so. The KY brevet calendar is Spring heavy, again during tennis, so it would take a trip to TN or IL.
  • A mini-tour, preferably the Central KY Donut Trail tour. I don't remember if I expounded on the idea on this platform. Fundamentally it would be a 3 day/2 night tour out of Lexington, averaging about 55 miles per day, visiting some donut joints written up in the NYTimes travel section. I'm completely prepared to do this solo as a test for myself. All my bike camping has been with groups.
I want to have fun on the bike, ride many miles, do some interesting trips, and do it all about 50lbs lighter. I'm 7lbs down from Thanksgiving, my starting point. I'd be really happy down 10 by Christmas. And then from there, slow and steady.

Hope you have some fun, ambitious goals for 2013. Venga!


Thursday, December 06, 2012


Slowly I'm willing myself out and into the field of play. Ambition is creeping in. Brevets? Gravel grinders? Tour?

I find myself enjoying putting in an effort, not an all-out assault, but to feel the breath heave and the burn creep.

Today I was dressed to commute and life got in the way. I took the teenager to school so I could, in turn, provide him a ride home after an event. In a previous stage, I would have come in and crashed on the coach for a while before life commenced there of. Presently motivated, I tarried not and threw on togs for a darkening, drizzly ride. My how I love my dyno! The dark crept in, draping me. Big red flashie warding off imminent impact, front white haze. A surge there. A coast here. Vainqueur.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


The first week of #NotasFat2013 has started well, with reasonable intake and a healthy dose of daily exercise and movement. On days when I can't ride I took hour-long walks at a good clip to keep the limbs moving. AT some point in the near future I'll drag myself to the gym and get some long-forgotten muscles reacquainted with actual work. Today's ride was a great early step in this entire process of developing fitness, losing unnecessary pounds and eating less (and as that process develops, eating better. (More on that later)

 I've spent many hours in recent years riding bikes, I've decided to make some changes for 2013. The modus operandi these past years has been lots of jra, nature rides, coffee rides, picture rides, but rarely fitness or tempo rides. )I just looked and I've done more 1hr tempo rides than I remember, but very few beyond that hour mark.) It's just easier to roll around at 12mph and not be "put into difficulty". In '13 I would like to ramp up the intensity and effort and actually develop some speed. As I see it, I will be gaining pace while losing weight. Sounds great to me!

Today I hatched a plot to put in 50 miles in the morning, inviting whoever was interested to come along, but to come along agreeing to my own selfish aims. I didn't want to jra. I didn't want to nature ride. I wanted to do a steady distance tempo, one that challenged me. I included two brutish climbs into the mix to keep things interesting. As it were, the weather cooperated and four of us joined on, the usual suspects of course. PJ had to pre-bail due to illness in the family. Amazingly, we left at 8.00 as planned and quickly found that our first couple hours would be directly into a brisk headwind, which we didn't really realize until after a very brisk first 5-mile opening out Eastern Parkway. Once onto Floyd Dave began having some trouble keeping pace on his Fargo. He had roadie-ized it to help generate some tempo but fell off in the headwinds. We saw him as we turned onto 3rd Street, expecting him to meet up as we stopped at Iroquois Park, but that wasn't to be. He had thrown it in for the day; sometimes it's like that. Asher parted ways for church leaving just Timothy and me to fight the headwinds out to Jefferson Hill, where he easily moved in front of me. His summer of brevet training has given him some lasting strength, and I observed that his general spin and souplesse was better too. We dived down onto Knob Creek Rd. and set a good pace- again in the headwind- before meeting Barrallton Hill with its 20%, or was it 40%? It didn't go well. Once at the top we bombed down the backside and made the few miles of tempo into our store stop, where we hid from the wind and ingested chocolate.

 As we left the first raindrops fell and within a few miles we found a steady wet coming down. With temps in the low 60s, fenders, and wool I don't think either of us was uncomfortable, and the tailwind certain improved things even more. The return was mostly a mix of off-and-on rain and tailwinds. I ran out of gas a bit in Iroquois but was able to roll down Southern Parkway with the, again, tailwind. On Eastern I rolled past a stopping Timothy and through the light at Goss giving me a running start for the last climb of the day, the same time at which the heavens opened. Timothy worked his way up to me at the Norris Rd. turn, after which we rolled into Breadworks for a post-ride cup and cookie. It felt great to be a bit tired from good miles, good tempo, good camaraderie, and a general job well done. The 60s in December didn't hurt, nor did the Blueridge, which ran perfectly all day.

 Good stuff.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Commutes y libras

A quick note that the TexLuavullCycling House has been properly ambitious and diligent this week after a seemingly long grey period. Work is no different. The difficulty that is parent and family life is no different. Economic well-being is no different. (no $550 powerball for us)

What is different is a willingness to not eat like a pig and an equal willingness to *move*. After a long westward commute on Monday, I did the same yesterday. And sandwiched in between was a 1-hour brisk walk Tuesday during soccer practice. There has been activity on google+ with both #NotasFat2013 and #FatBastard circles, folks using social media to motivate and focus on being healthier and hopefully thinner; I have a feeling most of these folks need to drop some pounds. These aren't anorexic/bulimic yoga instructors how are already bottoming out the BMI charts. It's like on-line WeightWatchers. Weird.

But hopefully ambitious, beneficial and supportive over the long run. It takes a village?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Hmmm, seems that today's entry is a bit of a "thought dump", given that I've not really achieved much of late. So:

  • Trying to refocus on some weight loss. Yesterday I hit the same weight I was January 4, 12. I guess it could be worse; I could be heavier. But not good enough.
  • With that, I want to redouble my workout efforts, both mileage and gym. With our schedule getting into the gym is not easy, but again, some things in life aren't easy
  • I've been a Negative Nancy of late. I need to be inspired in some way and things are dull.
  • I switched from the Dirt Drops to the Noodle on the Sogn. I'll be riding that mount tonight, so I'll be able to give my thoughts.
  • I took the westward commute yesterday afternoon, I believe, for the first time this present school year. I rode the Troll hard. It's not the easiest bike to tempo with, but it is comfy. I had some deadness in my right elbow, part of my on-going tendinitis there. I was passed by a roadie on the Beargrass Trail but chose to not Cat6 chase him. I ran across an old man on a hybrid in Seneca Gardens. I did decide to Cat6 dominate him, as a point of pride of course.
  • Pondero doesn't blog terribly often, but when he does it hits the spot. My thanks to him.
  • The RCCS boys did Gravel Grovel this past Saturday. I was at the in-laws house and chose to not brave the 29F for a morning ride. Emblematic. Symptomatic.
  • Fortunately I've got no projects cooking. Perhaps 2013 will be the year of "Ride the One you're with".
  • "All I wanna do, is take a tour." No, really.


Sunday, November 18, 2012


Warning: I'm still wallowing in an anti-miles state of being.

After working from 7-11 volunteering at the dauphin's soccer club tourney, I skipped his afternoon game- the horror!-, took a nap, and then hit the road for a chilly hour and change. I'm still miffed that I can't find my Garmin Edge500; it's small and has fallen behind something and will play hide and seek with me for a few more days. I looked for a while before knocking myself in the head to get moving and not dither, so I dressed and got going. My Precious had a flat, so I change the tube quickly and took her out for a quick roll. As is usually the case, the engine woke up a bit on the superbike. Yes, it is often *the bike* when on that very fresh set of wheels. Why don't I ride it more?!?!

 With no computer or HRM I just rode how I felt, warming up a bit with some flat spinning and then goosed it a bit more in the parks. I'm battling a chest cold, so after 35min I dialed it back a bit on the return loop, but still kept a spunky tempo. I'm not sure I can actually do a 12mph "scenary" ride on My Precious. As the sun lowered I took on a bit of chill with temps at around 60F- for me, tights weather- but kept a bit of pace to keep warm.  My Precious kept me motivated and I spun home with a final avg of 16.4, which is not too far off a "hard" ride when I actually try to ride fast. Food for thought, there.

Why am I frowning?

I am frowning, in fact, because Pondero is putting on a gravel ride and I can't go. He's smiling because he gets to put one on and have some of his bike friends roll 50 miles of Texas gravel bliss. It happens to fall on the closing weekend of the school semester and on the same weekend as our church choir concert, so no Pondero-ing will I make.

I'm also frowning because the rides have been fewer in 2012 and fewer of those rides have been those soul-cleansing, out-in-the-country get lost rides.I'm feeling a it penned in bike-wise to be honest, and that makes me frown a bit.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

USGP 'cross

I decided over the weekend that I want to become a ride whore. I don't actually have the time to be a mileage whore, which is the preferred means of expressing a cycling obsession. Instead, I'm going to try and ride as many days as I can, whether it be a century or a 2m coffee run. Just Ride! After getting back from a soccer tourney in Evansville I hopped on the Sogn and went down to the USGP Derby City Cup, where I met up with Timothy and later Patrick. We roamed around and took in as many of the hot spots that we could. I took a lot of pictures, most of which suck, but that's alright. It was fun and a teeny bit motivating, seeing all those fit bodies out there. Below are a few images. Enjoy!

Katie Compton using some mojo to keep up straight on the nasty tight downslope turn.

Suffer Face amid the trees of Eva Bandman Cyclocross Park

Canadian Emily Batty is a very talented rider.

Old man Tim Johnson leads through first sand run on first lap. I think he finished 4th.

Rawland Sogn along the Butchertown Greenway

Thursday, November 08, 2012

My wife's bike philosophy

I think the wife is irritated with my bike doings in 2012. I went through a very long period of acquisition, but '12 has been a bit more of a "thin" the herd year. I sold the Redline SS and the Bleriot. I passed the Crosscheck down to the 13 yr-old. I tried my darndest to sell the Troll frame but to no avail; basically I did nothing more than spend $ to break it down and set it back up. Stupid, although I'm pleased with the front-load ride test of this past weekend. I bought the Rawland to replace the 650b Bleriot, so really the garage proper is only a net -1.

The intransigent low-trailer Jan Heine recently wrote an article that I find intriguing. I think the title says it all- "Ride the bike you have." Yes, he's in the bike selling biz, or at least the parts selling biz, but it's as good a take as any on the silliness of constantly churning through bikes when miles and happiness can be attained with what is already sitting on your doorstep.

I should take heed.

But first I need to adjust the bars on the Sogn a bit, maybe with some new tape.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Troll the 2nd

Well, if I learned anything from the S24O, it's that the Troll is a perfectly stable ride for touring if, IF, I ride with a balanced load. I know. I KNOW. This is logical and doesn't seem debatable, but it's easy to get roped into a "low-trail, high-trail, rear-loader" caterwaul of a tour load argument. My experiences with the Troll at some measure of load were based on:

  • commutes and errands- only rear load- Troll performed admirably
  • June tour- pretty much rear load- Troll performed adequately
  • August tour- primarily rear with a front bag lashed to the bars a la bikepacking-Troll performed scarily
I considered the third to be the most important, one based on lots of hilly miles and the mixed terrain I cherish. The bike had developed a nasty shimmy which scared me from riding it. I was finished.

Well. I tried to sell the frame and had some suitable suitors, but none bit the bullet so I decided to rebuild and get some use out of it. This time, to test the "balanced load" theory I borrowed Patrick's OMM low-rider rack to share the lbs. wealth across front and back. Results?

Nothing short of shocking. Shimmy? Gone. Wiggles? Gone. Fear? Gone. This bike likes a balanced, low load and rides predictably with one. I feel sort of stupid for not having gone through some further testing before taking the damn bike apart, but live and learn. I will have to beg and plead for a Xmas gift of one of the low-riders. It mounts easily and seems solid with the triangulating brace. I'm a fan.

I wish the frame were one size bigger, but that may have negative impact as well. I'll take it as it. 

Front and balanced-loaded this time.


After doing no bike camping in my entire life, I've now accomplished my 3rd S24O in addition to 2 different tent-bound mini-tours in 2012. I've been complaining of late that 2012 has not offered the best of cycling- fewer miles, fewer distance rides, less gravel, less fitness- but on the camping end I personally have run the gamut from intense heat to cold rain, freezing temps and decidedly non-zombie raccoons.

I'd like to break down last night's endeavour in three stages, as now I've come to realize is the fundamental structure of a S24O.

Stage I- La Abertura- We were to meet at the Loop at 4.30 for a slightly earlier depart. I had some errands to attend to so I showed up early, with Dave shortly thereafter. We waited around for Patrick and proceeded to watch our phones at the big clump of red, yellow and green on the radar. Auspicious.

Pat called/texted and was running late, but this fact change the tenor of Stage I, and perhaps the weekend. While waiting the heavens opened and "rained down with furious anger". Had we left on time the evening would have been a wet and cold one (45F or so). Instead, we waited a bit more and things cleared up. Stage I also included our only mishap, a roofing nail solidly through Patrick's Dureme Impressively the tire held air and we only noticed based on the "tic tic tic" rhythm of the nail hitting the pavement. Once fixed we made steady progress towards our usual destination, Jefferson County Forest. A separate discussion is Louisville's lack of reasonable S24O destinations. For another time.

Stage 1 is the preparation and leg 1. This seems obvious, but this stage is pretty key, what with clothing, food and bike choices. Effect stage 1-ing frames the remainder of the trip. For me, Stage 1 was pretty successful this time out.

Fuzzy pic with the evident downpour
Stage II- Campsite-  So far in my S24O experiences, I think I place too much emphasis on Stage 2 at the expense of 1 and 3. Yes, we arrived, set up, made a fire (Pat actually), wrestled with the demon stove and then ate some crappy food (and a beverage or two). The fire is the best of it all, the sloppiness post-beverage the poorest, I think. It is interesting to refine tent and set-up technique, much less cooking and the like. I decided this morning that I'm finished with pre-packaged sodium bombs. Reasonable food needs to be more of a focus during Stage 2.

Stage 2 also includes "the night's sleep", which for me is total crap shoot. My pad has a small hole, so as was the last time, I awoke at 6.00am with a very flat pad, a need to pee, gas, and train whistles. From there on it was fitful roiling, a podcast, and basic waiting until it was light enough to get up. Just as I've decided that I need to revisit the food thing, I also have to either make sleeping modifications or ride 70 miles to each camp, b/c I sleep like crap in tents.

Stage III Morning Return- Stage 3 is the one that leaves wanting on my part. I think of S1 as the way to get to the event, S2, thereby not appreciating S1. And then S3 is nothing more than returning from S2, thereby negating some sensorial pleasures from S3. Therefore, I pledge to better manage and focus on S3. This morning we woke up quite cold (34F or so?). I was up first so I get some coffee water ready and then started breaking down. The other two rallied shortly thereafter and we broke camp at a leisurely pace.

The descent off Holsclaw was chilly as expected. Making our way through the Iroquois corridor we noticed how aggro drivers were this morning. Really? At 8.30 on a Sunday?

We made our way to Twig-n-Leaf for closing pancakes and coffee. Cold, sweaty, tired, but satisfied.

Damn! I don't do many of the blog posts anymore, so this one is a stilted mess.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I've had no real action on the Troll- yes, a few interested buyers but none who pulled the trigger- so I'm taking the Troll off the market and am rebuilding it, to do what I'm not sure. I don't know whether I want to build it back as a commuted commuter, front rack it and try touring on it again, or keep it as a simple un-sprung mtbike (Fall/Winter is a good time for trails).

If anyone reads the blog and is suddenly inspired, I'll still sell you frame/fork, with headset this time to avoid labor charge on its removal. Or perhaps I'll ride it around enough to take a re-liking to it. It *is* a fun ride, just not quite the ride I need.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Yesterday was  very efficient day going car-mostly-free. Allow me to explain:

  • To and from work for a total of 14.5 miles. The temps are absurdly warm, so in the morning I only needed a light jacket and in the afternoon it as downright warm.
  • The dauphin had his first day of club soccer practice- let's hope it's a more productive experience than his non-season with his high school team- so I needed to drive him the 8m or so to the site. Also, the car has been emitting this buzzing sound the past 2-3 weeks, so I needed to get it into the shop while under warranty. Fortunately the soccer fields and dealer (under warranty, remember?) are quite close, so I dropped off, dropped the car off, and then had some time to do a lazy, meandering return leg through Seneca and home. 
  • Bonus: I picked up a 4-pack of Dogfish Head 90min IPA on the way home. Expensive as hell, but I think that's the single best bottled beer I can think of.
  • The wife and #2 had to pick #1 up from practice in the car, so on the way home they stopped at the pizza parlor near the house. I jumped back on the bike for round 3 of my car-mostly-free day.
29 miles/5 legs/1 bike- Sogn with dyno made the morning and evening legs all the easier. I am always on record as loving dyno lights.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I dragged Dave out of his slumber on onto his Fargo for a mountain bike ride this morning. I wish I could do a play-by-play and capably paint the experience in images and words, but I can't. We had a great time carving the Waverly trails, which were designed like many in the Midwest to celebrate the concept of "flow". They're never too terribly hard, technical or assaultive, so the truly cool kids tend to grumble a bit at their sedate nature. But this "flow" also allows we mortals to grip it and rip it through the many banks, swoops, turns, bridges, berms and generally fun runs.

Waverly has three basic trails, Fresh Air which takes in the front portion of the park and includes a fun downhill as well as the toughest climb, Clinic Loop which is a varied trail with downhills, some roots and effectively links front and back, and Twisty Bends at the back, which as its name suggests is twisty with more technical features.
We took in part of Fresh Air, leaving out the more technical creek crossings and climb, bombed down the Clinic downhill, did TwistyBends, back up through Clinic and to the parking lot for a breather- I did another FreshAir segment- and then we bombed another ClinicLoop descent to finish out our day. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and think Dave did too. It was worth the extra drive (20min) and worth the change in scenary from the usual Cherokee/Seneca rooty, twisty routes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Louisville's first cycLOUvia went off Sunday afternoon. Like the original in Bogota and with subsequent versions, a 3-mile section of local thoroughfare Bardstown Rd.was closed for Sunday afternoon to motorized traffic. The younger son and I carved a bit of time to take a gander, mostly after waiting out some potential rain that never quite happened.

 The event itself was fun and unique, with two immediate observations. First, it was some of the most dangerous cycling I've done. I liken it to riding a bike on pinballs or while being shot at by Nerf guns. I don't know if the pics best depict the number of children, walkers, skateboarders or whatnot, all running willy-nilly to and fro in all directions. I felt for sure that I would either hit or be hit at any moment. Given his cycling experience, the Younger did a great job on the Crosscheck negotiating things. Secondly, it was fun for its unique quality. I wouldn't want that to define my cycling experience, but every now and then I think it's worth spicing things up and bringing attention to non-cars for a change.

 Here is a local newsprint article and a TV package. L and I came by a videoreporter filming the street but we didn't get in the footage.

Cellphone image pretty crappy. Grey skies didn't help. North from "beer zone" in front of Cumberland Brews.

North from EasternPkwy. 

Some of L's images below:

Unicycle man

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday Training

A few of the boys and I went for a training ride yesterday morning. Nothing much more to it other than waiting for the skies to open on such a blustery day, but they never did. I would imagine our day felt like one of those standard 30mph "breezes" they feel in the Midwest, with lots of swirling headwind, but, boy, when you get going downwind like we did on Southern Parkway, it surely is fun at 22mph. Made me feel like a racer.

 Dave and Asher were game for a 47m loop which eventually became a 33m one due to a variety of factors, but that's alright. I make note here-10/14/12- I finally had a strong ride for the first time in forever. Well, I've had some other recent rides where I could stomp a bit. Yesterday I felt like I could attack the climbs a bit more. The fitness is slowly creeping back after a pretty anonymous Nov'11-Aug'12 run when I *never* felt strong and sometimes rather peaked. We'll see where it goes, but better than whining.


Friday, October 12, 2012


Life has been rather busy this week with soccer and meetings, so I spent no time on 2 wheels T or W unfortunately. Yesterday afternoon we had a brief window post-work and pre-meal, so while the wife ran an errand, I jumped on the mtbike and sprinted through a Cherokee loop, pushing myself at times and almost ending up in a 4-ft creek. Strava, as many of our cycling brethren now know, is what is it. I'm too "grounded" to the earth (i.e. fat) to set any speed records, what with all the anorexic whippet boys and girls, but I find that the site does a nice job of motivating myself against myself, especially on the Seneca/Cherokee mtbike trails. Last night I rode pretty hard and my results reflected that effort- 4 new PRs for me. Interesting, though, that some previous trail rides this past Spring or in '11, rides without the impetus of "ride hard for Strava!".  were within seconds of these groveled PRs.

I guess blithe fitness will do that for you. A good 50 minutes it was amid the flurry of family.


Monday, October 08, 2012

Riding doesn't seem to be revving up tonight, so I need to keep my mileage here to transfer later.


  • Douglass Loop- 2m- For coffee. Actually I drove the first time but rode up the 2nd. It was that kind of morning.
  • Douglass Loop-3m- In the afternoon to meet M.Robinson to sell him the used Kinesis fork and headset. I threw in a 1" stem for good measure.
  • morning commute- 6m- Straightforward
  • afternoon commute- 7m- almost as straighforward. I was heading for a bit of mileage in the parks or on Beargrass Trail but I was tired and turned for home.
  • MVSC ride- 12.7m-'L' has practice on Mondays at 6, so as I've done a few other times, I rode for about 50min. Other nights I took the IF out for a 1hr time-trial. Tonight I used the BR and its dynolight to ride a steady, good tempo, ending with a 15.8avg, which is good for me. The Garmin wouldn't lock on at the start of the ride, so I estimate it at around 13m.

Saturday, October 06, 2012


Just another sunny breezy day in the Louisville basin. After a decent warm-up I raised the tempo a bit on the IF and found that every which way I turned I faced a headwind, not a Midwestern 40mph gale, mind you, but enough to keep me from really amping up the speed. I had kicked around a 50 on Friday, but finally came down to a 7-mile ride with 'L', with him on the Crosscheck. Yes, he fits on the CC. That was fun and I'd love to do it every day but it wasn't very fitness-based. This morning I had more designs for 50 but it ended up being half that, a breezy tempo road ride on the fancy bike under blue skies, enough exercise to slow me down and let me watch a little Real Madrid sans hyperactivity.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Castle MT Ramble

Dave and I, with Timothy along, did a route that took in similar environs late last October. The boys are all winding up for another stab at Gravel Grovel this year- I'm out for family biz that weekend- but I thought I would try to support their efforts with a bit of gravelling today. A tropezones we began the morning with some lateness, lack of coffee, and an unfortunate decision to eat Krispy Kreme's for some reason. Oh, that's right. They had coffee before 7.00am.

We finallly pulled into New Castle a bit before 8.00. Standing in the town square directly to the west we found the remnants of the Harvest Moon. And 180 degrees to the east the morning sun welcomed us to great possibilities for a fine day in the saddle. If the lateness and donuts foretold of a black hand o'er us, the two great orbs did the converse.

If the ride was comprised of thirds, then the first included a morning warmup along the lumpy 573 along its serrated profile. What made it palatable was the morning fog, sunrise and pleasant landscapes opening up with the sun. The route turned left for a reasonable run along 22, mostly devoid of traffic this time of the morning. The highlight might have been the herd of very noisy hungry cows just across the road of the machinery below.

Still in our opening act, we took a left on Joe Branch Rd. ready for our gravel descent down to Lockport and the KY River. I think the pictures below tell the story. Those that love two wheels, crisp, clean air, and a bit of texture would have enjoyed themselves immensely.

A most interesting kickstand

Crossroads at Joe Branch and Six-Mile Creek Rd. We would meet this intersection later in the day.

Asher pulls ahead.

Dave bridging steadily

After the opening act of our descent, we meet our second with very few pics but lots and lots of grunting. Our turn onto 389 immediately brought us a 1m climb, with two more short-but-steeps thereafter before allowing us some ridge running along the 8m stretch. What can you say? A 4-mile run with two or miles of climbing is just plain tough. Dave fell back a bit while Asher and I marshaled forward before taking a breather after the half-mile grunter up to meet 421. A rest and bit after our turn onto Little Dixie set the stage for our third and final act, one with major gravel, new roads, sunshine, flow, and more clean air. Sound good?

Little Dixie was a new road for all of us. Going south to north, it provided us a 3-mile mellow downhill with lots of rideable gravel. Not just that, we came across a KStateU research center and then a blissful overlook of the valley below, a vantage which I'm pretty sure includes a vista of the KY River valley. Someone had cleared the land for a construction site. How about they sell it to me? Georgeous!

KSU Environmental Education Center on Little Dixie. Surprise.

Still in our gravel-bound third act, we made a turn onto Six-Mile Creek Rd., one Dave and I had done coming the other way the previous year. What began as smooth, "genteel" gravel later turned to a thick, rocky, muddy, pot-holed suffer fest, including a mud-puddle run that had my feet wet for the remainder of the day. It was all completely outstanding. Hard, but well-worth it. Dave on his Fargo barreled through, while Asher had very positive comments about how he handled things with his 'cross bike and 35s. I'm going to do a separate post for my day on the Rawland Sogn; it was outstanding.

We cleared the rocks of 6-Mile, and after a break, turned left and faced the 2.5-mile climb up Joe Branch and out of the river valley. Most of that climb was very doable at a reasonable tempo, graveled and somewhat rocky but often provided moderate pitches. Towards the top it hit double digits and finished us off with a nasty kick. We took a turn onto some paved rolling roads to link up to our last gravel of the day along this third act, the "not" road of Barton/Dennen/Flat Rock combo. Having surveyed this area last time, Dave and I had a little better idea of how to provide passage. First you survive the bomber gravel downhill along Dennen. If in one piece, you then choose to walk your bike down what really is a rocky ditch that once might have been a tractor trail. At the bottom of the hill you need to find a reasonable spot to cross the creek. If not lost, you then make your way up the creek and waterfall for .1m and find the remnants of Flat Rock "the road". Amazing stuff, really. Last year it was at freezing, so negotiating the water crossings proved a bit scary. This year, the sun was high and temps warm. We played a bit at the waterfall before find Flat Rock Rd proper. No one was ambitious at this point.

The topmost stretches of Flat Rock Rd. Really.

Native Americans or drunk/high teenagers. You decide.

The road portion of Flat Rock Rd. in the distance.

After the gravel-laden third act, the finale was the 1-mile and change roll back into town. Our ride closed with just short of 47 miles, with approx. 20 of them gravel in nature. As all agreed that this route provided some of the most interesting sections of gravel in our Louisville area, frankly all of the sections "must ride" at some point.

On a personal note, I haven't had a very successful 2012 on the bike. The 6 days of touring were fun, but outside of that my mileage has been moderate with far fewer adventure rides. And some of my efforts have been blocked by poor fitness, a lack of punch or spark. Today, though, I loved it all. Yes, the roller-coaster stretch along 389 weren't too much fun, but I weather those to fully drink up Little Dixie, 6-Mile and Joe Branch, much less a satisfied tiredness along Flat Rock. Finally, a good day on the bike, on a beautiful day in some absurdly nice country. Well done.

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: