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.

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: