Monday, January 30, 2012

Wow

Today has been quite the bonus on the bicycle. The forecast was for 53F in the afternoon, and with a schedule change of tennis conditioning I took advantage to ride in on the Ute. The morning was cool but the afternoon did one better, topping out at 60F with really sunny skies. I even skipped out a couple minutes early to beat the buses and rode "tempo" home, knowing that I would be returning to school for a meeting and to pick up the Dauphin. Once home from that errand, the Monday typical is to take L to soccer, where I planned to ride again. L came down sick and slept the afternoon away, so instead of portaging I jumped on the IF for a local jam. Even though the temps began to fall with the sun, I still had super-pleasant conditions to ride in, and ride I did. It was the first tempo ride I can remember in a while, finishing at 16.1mph. Admittedly no big hills impeded me from big-gearing, but it felt REALLY good. I sure hope everybody go out and did the same in your own way. I feel quite fortunate having stolen 31 miles on a beautiful day.


 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Zoo Story

I began to plot a long-running existential analysis of my ride Sunday, one involving The Zoo Story by Edward Albee while ruminating on the duality of existence. You know, Life and Death. Yin/Yang. Black/White. etc.  Instead I think I'll just show these pics of a challenging day in the saddle in central Kentucky. It was a good ride, and my longest since November's GravelGrovel. Thanks should go to the good wife for allowing me to mesh a family trip to her mother's with this all-afternoon endeavor.

In our first display, we have a gaggle, no, a coven, no, a bunch of wild turkeys 

 New pavement along Peacock Rd. Hey! Another animal!

Bridge of questionable repute.

 Seemingly more reliable bridge, built more recently than googlestreetview suggests.

A favorite home lying along Stoner Creek. 

Animal #3, this time a most friendly farm dog. He snuck up on me when I was climbing out of the creek valley and I heard his nails. There's an outside chance he couldn't bark, because he mouth yapped a bit but sans sound. Very friendly! 

Another view through the hedge row. A little piece of England in the middle of the Bluegrass. 

 My buddy's dog compatriot over a wooden railroad bridge. He seemed more cautious. His friend, though, my buddy, followed me for at least another mile or more. Hope he made it home.

 Victorian with roof detail.

The next image I've moved to the bottom of this post because it is/was a bit gruesome, but allow me to explain why I'm posting it. If you read this regularly, you know that I'm fond of blue herons and the like. I would take pictures of bears, but we don't have them readily available. I appreciate their majesty and their place on our greater system. I have a favorite, 'ol Blue, which I try to see as I ride Beargrass Trail. Along Larue Rd. on the ride I saw a Heron flying across my path when, suddenly, he feel to the ground. Most likely he hit a power line and got tangled up, or even shocked. He felt right next to a fence and got tangled up a bit in it, so I tried to free his wing. He also landed with his beak in the ground like a tent stake, but managed to extricate himself. I have an overwhelming sense that he was about to die and there was nothing I could do. Yin/Yang. Light/Dark. The boundless friendliness of Farm Dog in contrast with this misfortune of nature of the Heron. It is what it is.


This was one of the nicer buildings in Ruddel's Mill. Sort of joking, sort of not.

The next batch is of the Colville Covered Bridge, one of 2 I passed in the ride. It wasn't my intention to make it a "covered bridge" day, but why not. And Colville was along a nice path of Bluegrass riding.




I felt good at this point around mile 20, but I also realized that it was a tough day with lots of rollers and occasional wind coming from the SE, hitting me as a 3/4 headwind. Although grey and a bit misty, I focused more on getting the job down and riding on. I was about to cross into territory I had ridden before, but it all still felt quite new. Tough, but new.

Headquarters, of what I'm not sure.

Rolling into Barterville. It looks as beat up as the last time through here.

Animal story sans pic: I was rolling along Buffalo Trace Rd. when I first heard and then saw a young man on a 4-wheeler. More impressively he was piloting while holding at least 3 or 4 leads with horses on them, with another loose horse following. I @##%^ stopped right there. I knew horses to be skittish, and these seemed particularly weathered. As he drove by he said a couple had gotten out and then the rest did and he was trying to get them home somehow. The dirty face and dark circles suggested that he wasn't having fun. I haven't run across a loose horse roaming up the road before.

Looking west from the ridgetop.

Old 68, running down into the river valley. It's closed at the bottom, so only a handful of cars use it.

The old bridge, first blocked by a guardrail and now by the local flora.

The modern Blueridge set-up along the old bridge, with the Licking River and the new bridge in view.

I was tired by this point and making slow time, so at the river I changed tack. Instead of heading east for a bit more mileage and new roads and I turned northish along roads I had traveled before, using the GPS one time to check my route. The rollers kept coming and I even walked a bit along the 18% pitches of Alhambra Rd., scene of a loosened spoke on the Bleriot a while ago. I *always* have issues around this area.

Below we have Johnson Creek Covered Bridge. I have another picture of it somewhere in rough shape. It's a good bit nicer now.

More animals, fighting cocks, which are very common in this area. I couldn't get a pic of the shitty dogs which chased me away from this house.

About as close as the sun got to coming out. Try as it might, it never broke through, leaving the day a chilly upper-40s instead of the forecasted 55F.

Farm road. Fence. Barn. Mud.

The last animals, in this case Holsteins owned by my father-in-law. My route change had me going past his house and into town to my mother-in-law's new residence. These milk cows were pretty chill at first, and then hauled ass down the hill. 


I finished the day mostly in the dark, and as luck would have it, it began to rain on me within 2 miles of the destination. Finishing tired, cold and wet seems sort of sad, but this morning I can say that it was well worth it.



My Blue Heron friend, clinging to the fence with his talons. Poor guy. He deserved better.

Friday, January 20, 2012

post...with a picture of Ned

It's pretty sad that the impetus to do an actual post with pictures- which I think makes posts interesting as opposed to a wash of letters- is due to waking up at 3.30am. It feels like I've done little to nothing with the blog of late, although I do have 8 posts in 20 days. But do they say anything other than, "I'm not riding much", "I'm jogging a bit" or "why am I so fat?" blah blah? Ultimately, my recent exercise efforts have been geared in a different direction than they were in '11, my highest mileage year. While not on par with some of my cohorts, I became mileage greedy last year (I won't put myself up to "mileage whore" status until my miles top 5k). Last year this time I had three 30m rides, two 20m rides and several training 18s. This year, as of 1/19 my longest ride has been 18.6. That said, of the 19 days in January so far (not counting this early morning), I've exercised 17 of them. As recently discussed, I've thrown in walking and jogging along with some 1hr fitness riding and the results are positive. I'm down 5lbs from the start of the year. As any of you cyclists know, big miles means a big appetite, which is how in 2011 I could have a banner 4.5k mileage year but still end up 15lbs+ heavier by the end of the year. So, if weight loss means fewer miles and a better calorie-burn balance, then I'm all for it.


 This past Sunday was the Masters World Cyclocross Championships here in Louisville, a dress rehearsal for the real 'Cross Worlds here next year. Having attended several previous races including the USGP series here I was a bit underwhelmed, no, a lot underwhelmed. The crowds were non-existent and the "show" even more so. No music. Minimal to no food. No Belgian beer and frites. The weather turned out pretty miserable in that the middle of the week offered lots of rain, muddying up the course, thereby making all 'cross racers elated, right? Then a snow/freeze thing moved in Friday and the mud turned into impossible mud ruts. These pics are from a Sunday stroll when I went out, got some coffee-to-go from Breadworks in my nifty Kleen Kanteen double-walled thermos (Get One!) and met Barturtle down at the venue to take things in. We stayed a couple hours goofing around and I eventually ran into Nathan, who used to work at Clarksville Schwinn and now is a big-wig for Zipp. Ironically, I had ridden the Crosscheck down there and it was Nate who sold it to me, he thinks in the first edition year of the run. The highlight was seeing Deadly Nedly, American hero Ned Overend participate in what I believe is his first world 'cross championship, coming 22 years after winning the first mountain bike championship in Durango in 1990. I didn't know until recently that Ned owns Boure cyclingware clothing, something Patrick rides in.

Run up. Very chunky at this point.

Fly-over

An "experienced" woman who could prolly kick my ass. The classes were mixed so I don't know who this actually is.

I believe this is the same woman, and if you notice she's already in stars-n-stripes- a Nat'l Champeen- and she is en route to her rainbow jersey. Gggrrrrr!

Ned Overend, Deadly Nedly, in the "flesh", which is to say his lack of flesh is one marker of why he's been a cycling champeen at so many levels for so long. Along with Greg Lemond, this guy IS American cycling. Yes, the One-Nut guy has a bigger name, but asked a long-time fan. This guy set the stage. Can't forget to throw a 'Tomes reference in there either.

After seeing Deadly Nedly take a fall and work hard to catch up, we left- cold hands mostly- and made a stop at the newish Against the Grain brewpub downtown at Slugger Field. After being often underwhelmed at some of our other locals I really enjoyed the IPA and black APA I tried there. And the beer cheese was REALLY good.

Last night I had a brief window and hustled out for some "tempo" miles during L's sax lesson. I say "tempo" instead of tempo b/c my "tempo" seems to be legato. Like my recent effort out of Sawyer, I can ride hard but the speed just isn't there. It's a bit deflating, but that's life. Perhaps I need to work my base back up, because I want to get Stomping Legs again and I haven't really had those since this past Fall.




Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lucky 13

13th day in a row with at least 30min of activity. Need some 2-wheeled action this weekend for sure.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Active

I miss mileage. I miss being a bit of a mileage "whore" like in October and especially November. I want to do centuries and all-day gravel rides and such, but right now I'm just trying to get back into that Marmot jacket from last winter when there were 15 or so lbs less of me. I publicly thank the teenager for pushing me out the door. I almost sat upstairs with a snack or a cold, refreshing one, but he reminded me that it was January and nice outside- sunny, clear and 50F. I went out the door and did 32 minutes of mostly jogging with a bit of walking just to lower the HR. I can't deny. Walk/Jogging is easier to fit in under a time crunch: choose less elaborate clothing, choose less elaborate shoes, walk out door. That's it. Today was my 11th day in a row of some kind of activity, all save one of at least 30min or more. Of those there have been 4 days of jog/walk, 3 days of the bike and 3 days of straight walking. That's a nice balance. It's a good start to reacquaint myself with that jacket.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Mas "jogging"

Mom helped get me out the door this morning with the result being an hour and change of jog/walking. Coming on the back side of the course I had taken an "find a tree" break and a middle-aged guy (I think I'm one of those too) passed along our same path and I thought to myself, "Damn, he's slow." Mom and I walked a bit and then starting jogging again with an idea of casually catching him. Never happened. Damn, I'm slow!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

trails

A well-spent sunny morning during Z's track practice. Yesterday I finally changed the tires on the 29er, going back to the Navegal/SplitSix combo I used in Brown Co. and away from the Vulpines that have been on the mtbike since the Gravel Grovel. In a word...spoiled. Brown Co spoiled me. I haven't really done any trail riding since then, and comparing that experience with today I just couldn't be quite satisfied. Where in BrownCo I rode long flowing lines with a reasonably good surface, today in Cherokee/Seneca I fought with many more turns, roots and rocks. Last time I criticized the C/S system on the blog a local rider took offense and left a pithy comment or two, but I'm not criticizing them, per se. I'm comparing a riding style or preference. I prefer long flowing lines over a turny, rooty, tight one. Perhaps I don't have the skill set necessary for making lots of rocky, rooty turns. I had fun and felt satisfied with a good physical effort at the end, but I also have a hankering for some of that. I might need a Waverly visit sometime soon to help assuage my earnings. Good day, though.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Jogging, to put it mildly

I'm trying to get my half hour of something in. I love cycling the most and wish I did it more. About 1.5m into my "jog" I was passed by a guy on a road bike with a messenger bag and a blinkie and wished that I were him.

But,

Walking/Jogging is easier to do when pressed for time. You put on more normal clothes. You walk out the door. You go. Today I "jogged" a little more than walked and feel sated physically. And I'm sure that any of my dear readers who primarily ride but sometimes jog know what I'm talking about. Spring is stupid with tennis commitments much less the boys' activities. There isn't much time. Last year I did great getting in mileage during tennis season. This year I'll do my time on two wheels, but these 30 and 40min chunks of activity are a hell of a lot better than nothing.

Nice pink and blue sunset tonight too.

The Weight

I looked. I'm 15lbs heavier than I was last January 4. And I can feel every one of them.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011

As such, in no particular order:

1. IF Club Racer- The capitalist system provided me the good fortune to get a "dream" bike, a custom Independent Fabrication Ti Club Racer, finally delivered in late February after winter-long planning.It's been an excellent ride so far, falling just slightly into second place on the year due to my unwillingness to ride it in the muck. I never did do a "reveal" post. The Blueridge got a new steel fork and it transformed that bike, becoming my oft-used beater in balance with my 'Precious', the IF.



2.  4459 miles for the year, my highest total ever. A good year on the bike until around Thanksgiving; I didn't feel particularly good after that for the remainder of 2011. The Blueridge won the mileage award with 932m, the Ute the # of trips with 58. My mileage was nicely spaced within my many steeds, although the RB-1 and the SSFrankenTrek got little love this past year. 

3. I did my first bike race in years and years in the Gravel Grovel in late November. I didn't finish last, didn't miss the time cutoff and didn't hurt myself, so it's all good. I had a tough ride b/c I didn't feel very good, but the C'dale 29er did it's job and it was enjoyable working towards a goal, as we did all throughout the Fall with our gravel and distance training rides.


4. My strongest ride of the year was a gravel adventure out of Orleans in late August. We were 5 and took in almost 70 miles of Indiana pavement, corn fields and gravel. I have probably never felt stronger on a long ride than on this one. It felt great, and the company of 5 was an excellent one to enjoy a long day in the saddle.


5. The 'No Road' ride in Fall was another particularly nice time. Three of us did a 'training' ride in Henry and Owen Counties in preparation for the GG. We met the cold, the disappearing road, and some really nice river riding along the Kentucky in both Henry and Owen Counties. I felt good on this day too, and the Crosscheck was an excellent choice, as were my companions.



6.  I completed 3 centuries this year, a personal record as well. Of the three, the third was by far the easiest. The first took place in April when I seriously needed a pressure valve day after a busy batch of life. I coerced Dave into going with me for 100+ miles through western Shelby and Spencer (and Jefferson). It was also the first long ride on the IF and was very positive until about mile 90 when I totally ran out of gas. The second was my now-traditional Family Camp Hundy, this year done during temps approaching 100F. It was hot and I suffered, Mightily. I thank my cycling friends for getting me through that one with some well-placed text messages at mile 70 in Danville. The third took place on my birthday, the Bday Hundy. Instead of heat we had an entire day of 55F and rain, sometimes heavy. It was a great day on the bike and again, I'll thank Dave for being complicit in my idiocy. That was another strong day.

7. Holland Frozen Hell was quite an adventure in January. We organized it as an RCCS ride and got a nice joiner group from the Southern Indiana Wheelman MtBike crew. Conditions were interesting with 15F temps and 5" of snow on the ground. Everyone was on mtbikes save Dave, who labored with his LHT+studs. Total mileage ended up maybe around 40, but this was a memorable one and it was great to meet and ride with some new riders who also ride in stupid conditions.


8. I'm not ranking, but the Muscutatuck/Crosley mixed-terrain ride than Apertome organized for February was tough to top. I think the mileage was just short of 50, but we encountered all manners of surfaces including some dirt in CrosleyWMA. We were also joined by Kirk and Cathy, who are very active in the LouisvilleBicycleClub and were game campanions (with Dave and Apertome, of course). The sun shone on us spectacularly that day.

9. SummerCyclingSeason- After a busy Spring of tennis and kiddie soccer I was chomping at the bit to RIDE, and that I did in June and July until vacation. I set a personal monthly mileage record of 627 in June, and that was with no ride over 60m. It was a great month and a half.

10. Although non-cycling content, I have to put our West Coast trip in the top 10. In July we toured from Seattle to SanFran, seeing the urban beauty of Seattle, the hipster chic of Portland, the Blue of Crater Lake, the majesty of the redwoods and the subtle textures of the CA coast before finishing for a brief, nice trip in SanFran. Boy, that was one hell of a way to spend 2 weeks!!! (And golly gee, I love that pic below. Our Dauphin).


11. I almost forgot, but I have to mention my foray to Brown Co SP for mountain biking with Apertome and Dave G this Fall. Did I have any funner day on 2 wheels this year than this 25m of ripping and flowing? Probably not.



You know, others deserved to be included for all kinds of reasons. Michael and I had an excellent ride out of Mucutack for more IN rambling later in the year, and my aborted 40m/97F gravel ride was a memorable one. I had fun this Fall doing Monday evening 'cross practice-sometimes with Dave- for a late season race, but paying $45 for DFL is unnecessary. This year was also one of unmet goals. I was going to do the 200K brevet, but failed to. Dave, Apertome and I were fully planned to do a RedRiverGorge camping weekend but two of us got sick. The 'cross race unfulfilled. December. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things there. All in all, an excellent year on two wheels.

That was December

As whined about, December was a rough month. Yesterday, PJ, Asher and I met at Heine's Chenoweth for a spirit 30-miler to finish the year out. Everyone was timely and we set down a frisky pace, one I hoped I would be able to maintain for the 30m/2hrs. Descending Lime Kiln Ln. I heard a "thunk" and knew right away that a spoke had failed me. I was disappointed to break a spoke on the fancy wheels after only 850 miles, but those are the breaks. I went by the shop on the way home and got it fixed. I sent PJ and Asher on to finish their mileage and I headed back to Heine's via River Rd. and Indian Hills. I was sort of surprised until now to see that I averaged 16.5mph even after backing off due to the spoke incident and easing up Indian Hills. Makes me remiss that I didn't get a chance to put the hammer down for longer with the guys. Sea lo que sea.
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