Sunday, March 18, 2012

Commisky Mixed-Terrain aka Three Tools and a T'ouche

As the Spanish would say, a tropezones- by fits and starts. Today's route was very nice and the weather was optimal. I haven't taken in a good VitaminG ride in months and this has been on the plate for a while, but at the end I am dissatisfied and I find that unfortunate. This is the busy tennis time of the year and I usually like the escape of our gravel adventures, but today never got into sync with me.

Getting out of town was challenging. I stayed to parent coach the final indoor soccer game and the other team was a no-show. Our ride had a much later starting time than usual b/c of my responsibilities and the forfeit seemed unnecessary. The next step was finding all my crap, which wasn't too challenging, but I haven't done too much gravelling lately, so a few things were out of the way. More minor irritation. Then I needed to re-do my bike bags for the Crosscheck b/c of the rack. More irritation. Then the old rack I put on to carry 3 bikes didn't go on easily. Irritation.  We finally left town 45min late and my bike scuffed my car. Irritation.

Then we rode.

If I may say so myself, I'm usually pretty attuned to the spaces around me when I ride. I remember roads, flora-n-fauna, landmarks, the texture of things. I consider myself to be pretty spatial sound. I have no clue what the course was like through mile 5. Strange. I think there might have been some chunky gravel we fought through; I thought I lost my camera in this stretch. Around mile 6- maybe- we did a nice gravel wooded climb which I enjoyed quite a lot. At the top Patrick tweaked my rear wheel a bit, as one of the spokes was squeaking loudly.This connected with some gravel we rode in the fall. This time we did a nice, gentle gravel climb out of the creek valley onto some pavement. At this point the route escapes me for a while. Eventually we looped back to the same gravel creek road where we turned east, again along a gravel road where we encountered a large hunting party in the fall. After this stretch I totally blank for about 5 miles until our misturn around mile 22 onto N Little Rest Farm. My cue-sheet from Timothy had the turn marked correctly, but Dave was insistent his gps had us in the other direction. Long/short of it was that Dave was right.

Our turn onto Little Rest proved eventful. We ended up behind a combine traveling down the road, one who gave us no quarter. Timothy on his monster 'cross dived into a farm field and passed the rig. Dumbly I dashed to the left and missed a very large piece of steel by 1' or so and used my momentum for a short breakaway, where I laid on the gas for about 3m. It was my one show of bravado all day. At the far end we realized we were off course and the 5 of us, all on various phones, set about finding an appropriate return. We eventually turned south for a long stretch into a headwind- another stretch I couldn't tell you one thing about really. I do remember mixing it up on some rollers with Asher; he had the freshest legs of the day.

Set below was taken after I realized my camera wasn't lost but had rather fallen down the evidently capacious MtFeedBag

At Rd250 we mutually decided to head back to the barn. Three of us had suffered mechanicals and the amount of stopping had made for a long day out of short mileage. 250 back was a bit of a grind- pretty flat, with the contour below showing a rather downhill run. The other 4 ran out in front of me for a while as I just felt empty. Eventually I made my way back up towards them a bit and we turn onto IN3 and then through the bustling metropolis of Paris Crossing before heading north towards Commisky.

Patrick, Timothy, Asher, Dave, in that order furthest to nearest

At the finish I yet again felt "blah" after a big effort. Since the Grovel I had long gravel ride cut short in December, a pedestrian 40 in Louisville, a pretty successful near-60 in January and after that, it's mostly been shorter fitness rides, but without building too much fitness. I'm just not very strong on the bike. Both Patrick and Asher noticed that I wasn't my usual impatient pace-pushing self. Maybe I just need miles, but those won't really come until summer.

But tomorrow will arise anew and we'll hit it again, however we can.

Pics to come, although not many.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

el tenis

Perfect day for a ride. Low wind. Sun. Warmth.

I spent it watching tennis.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gravel acomin'

Sunday will bring seriously warm temps and some rough stuff. Finally!! I haven't done any real texture since the Grovel, unless you count our shortened Haul trip in December, which didn't feel too very robust. The group number is still in flux, but we'll have a good group- the usual one- with Apertome joining from Bloomington. Good times will be had!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mas entrenamiento

Nuttin' fancy. Amid the crazy-ass traffic this evening I got 19m in during Z's soccer. I added an extra climb just for fun and only popped at the end. Teknoligy says that I had pretty good legs until the long drag out of Mockingbird Valley when I went uphill *and* into the wind. The same wind propelled me nicely along Rudy and Westport. The one interesting moment happened around the St.Matthews corridor. I was coming up on the Westport turn when I was buzzed on my left by a middle-aged dude on a nice Bachetta 'bent with what had to be 23c's. I'm good with his 'bent and his narrow-ass tires, but how about a "on your left" or something useful. Instead it was a kind of drive-by. I didn't say anything b/c I was enjoying myself, but next time... It hit a new record today, 82F. Amazing really. I saw probably 20 cyclists out including what I assume was the remnants of a club ride, but lots of singletons in the Indian Hills area, hitting the hills just like me. In the JimRome parlance, "War IF!". Another great ride on the fancy bike. It's the perfect bike for the 1-2hr training ride. It's good at other things too, but great for those moments.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Mas miles

Z had soccer practice this evening, and my match got rained out, so I was able to 1)take him and 2)ride during it. L's practice, which was on Mondays, is now over, so no simple, obvious 1hr efforts like mine and Dave's in the Fall. I leave from a different location farther east. I ended up plying some of the same roads, but coming from the east (duh, redundant) and not venturing downtown. It was quite windy from the SW, so the out was a bit challenging and the turn was too. Well, actually it was all pretty windy. At the tail end I explored some roads around the neighborhood and found a reasonable route, one I can exploit in future rides. It will be pretty easy to do a standard 20m training route, at least for when I don't have matches.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


After much bitching, sitting and taxiing this weekend, the fam went for pizza and I went for 1.5hr of riding on the fancy bike. The HR numbers suggest that I rode pretty hard, which I did, although my avg speed was meh. It's quite warm (70Fish) with a blustery wind coming from the south, so my impressive legs deserted me on the return when I turned back into the wind.

The IF was very sweet today. I felt super-comfy and sprightly throug the course of the ride and am glad I chose to do a road ride on the shiny thing instead of a mtbike ride as I was originally considering. The week is supposed to maintain such warm temps, but I have matches M, T and Th, so riding will be slim to none. Oh well, I got out there today, and I hope you did too!

Nada mucho

I did commute on Friday, a pedestrian, nice 16 miles on the LHT. I'm plotting whether I want to try and do so tomorrow with a tennis match. I'm thinking I might be able to if the girls bring water instead of me.

Yesterday was an even nicer day, but the only thing I got accomplished physically was a 30min walk up for coffee. The day ended up being one of taxiing, waiting, taxiing, waiting, sitting, watching, taxiing, waiting... It was my own fault that I didn't seek out one of those windows for myself. Today starts somewhat the same, but perhaps I'll learn from my sloth and get something done this afternoon.

Cats won! Perfect SEC and tourney. Now the real show begins. I know you care. I know you do!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Urban Hike

View I-71 Hike in a larger map

(Funny, I just looked at my post and I linked the map to a grandiose "Hike the Watterson" idea instead of my 2.3m short hike)

* * * We received almost 4" of snow last night, but it was so warm it melted right off the streets, so an early 4.40am rise meant nothing more than a long day. On Mondays I usually ride during L's soccer practice, but this time I threw on some boots and took a walk, which pleasantly turned into an urban hike of sorts. I took the trail behind Thurman Hutchins Park (on the map as Twin Park). I was fun to see the deer track left in the mud and plow throw the melted, wet snow. At the eastern end I turned left and decided to investigate whether I could return via the powerline cut. At first while following some local deer tracks my efforts failed me, but as I turned up towards Louisville CC I saw a road venturing to the right in my desired direction and I took it, right past the downed gate. I felt a little better due to the 2nd set of boot prints which fell earlier in the day. From there it was a straightforward trespassing ramble down the road, made much more interesting by the contour of the cliff wall to the right. I imagined scuttling along the top of the cliff peering into the great estates that line the top of the cliff, or even climbing to and fro into the many cavities of the cliff face. It wetted my whistle enough for a return- an illegal one I presume- to inspect the various crags and crannies. Back towards the western end not terrible far from my starting point I saw 5 deer leap away from the open field back into the safety of the woods. They were just 100yds from the interstate, and I'm sure oblivious to the damage they might inflict. It was a nice 45min stroll, and one I would do again in a heartbeat, seemingly immersed in the wild all the while a skip and a jump from an interstate. It reminded me in a wee way of Alastair Humphrey's circumnavigation of the M25 around London, a microadventure. A Watterson Expressway loop would be comparably foolish, but perhaps enlightening to boot.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Excuse me!!

The morning presented numerous parent taxi opportunities, so when the schedule opened for a bit of 2 wheels in the afternoon I jumped at it. The plan ensued to ride to L's soccer game and then home, giving me a neo-commute/road ride. I chose the QB so I could wear more "normal" clothes- if dressing like a RBW fop is normal- and the QB has been a bit neglected. Given yesterday's storms, it was still windy and I marshaled through to the indoor soccer center. Nothing to report save a big peloton of young roadies with their dads or "team directors" training in Cherokee/Seneca. I'm sure I could've taken them if on the fancy bike, but alas. Limited by one gear.

 L's team won the game and afterward I chatted with a dad I know  and then helmeted up for the return where I experienced a bit of a shock. Exiting the facility I was turning right as a black SUV was turning in. I assume not seeing me because she was on her phone while eating french fries, she cut the corner and I found myself rather close to a large moving vehicle, quite unexpectedly. I cornered hard and laid the QB down to a tight angle to avoid the big black thing, and mid-turn, heard the "ping" of a spoke having suffered a black fate. A near wreck and a mechanical in the same 3sec. Pretty cool! Pay attention Dumbass!

 I was fine and rode the rest of the way home with a very wobbly wheel, so much that it was rubbing the VO mudguards. I don't like them, the VO mudguards. They're move around and rub things and I don't like them. While faced with wobbles and shitty fenders, I also encountered nice late afternoon skies. That's worth something.
And a bit more...

Pollution Bubble

One of the odder days I've experienced recently if not for a long time. Schools were out for a Inservice/PD, and in my wisdom I had the necessary hours this year to not have to attend something painful on an off-day. It's been supercrazy lately with school, the start of the tennis season and typical home stuff, so I went in for 2 hours in the morning anyway to catch up, and catch up I did. The forecasts had been for a round of morning storms to come through, to be followed by bad stuff in the afternoon. The morning rains centered around my time at work- didn't want to ride in it- but then tapered off by the time I finished. Once home at 11.00 I had a nice window and took advantage to get some miles. Very strangely, when I got home it was in the-50s, so I wore tights and a jacket. By the time I got the bike out and ready the temps had raised 10F, which to me was ominous; the forecasts said that the severity of the weather would correspond with how big a rise in temps we experienced. And the sun was peeking out. Ack!

 As you can see from the route, it was a pretty standard local ride. I made good time in my first hour, certainly helped by the prevailing winds and by a willingness to ride tempo. At around mile 20 coming out of Mockingbird Valley I sort of hit the wall. Bonk! From there I made my way over the Cherokee, and the mixture of bonk and wind was for a slower and slower return. But that was alright. It was a great to get out on an off day!


 Then things got interesting. By the time I got home around 2.00, the weather people had already come on looking at storms coming into the area, ones that had already dropped tennis ball-sized hail in Evansville! The radar actually showed T-storms just north of town, so I got home exactly when I needed to. Instead of showering, I changed and basically settled in to watch 2 hours of storm coverage. Many of the towns destroyed or affected are just north of Louisville: Otisco, Maryville, and Henryville. FatGuy used to live in that area in Charlestown and we have ridden numerous rides in and around that section of southern IN. As is very, very often the case, the river and our "pollution island/bubble" (my theory) pushed storms north, in turn beating Indiana down. I added one pic below, but obviously you can google for yourself. Pekin, Borden and Milton KY were other town affected. There were still more in central KY. I would encourage you to google videos of the event too. With our modern conveniences at hand, there are some crazy videos of these tornadoes. And at the end of the line another potential tornado and heavy hail went just south of us, through an area- Pioneer Village- that experienced a twister in '96. Pollution Island to the rescue.

 Peace to all the families who are grieving loss and are cleaning up their lives after experiencing Mother Nature's fury. Humbling it is. We go around once, and you just never know.

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: