Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm still here....

Not much riding recently. Out this last weekend camping at Camp Naish in Bonner Springs. I attended an adult Boy Scout Leader training. Killed the weekend rides. But it was a good training session, and, of course, every scout deserves a trained leader.

I did get out for a great ride last Thursday evening with the usual Thursday night group. All the lights were so cool.... I had not taken the camera. Bummer. I will take it this Thursday and see if I can get some shots of all the blinky taillights.

I commuted again on Friday, but managed to walk out without the camera. Really nice day as well.

I really love the fall season with the cool mornings, the orange eastern sky and the fall colors. It looks like the weather is going to hold for this weekends Octoginta in Lawrence. It has been a few years since I have done the Octoginta and I am looking forward to it. When I was in college, way back in 1980, I did the Octoginta as my very first organized pay ride. I figured since I rode my bike all over campus and such, 80 miles would be no big deal... The octoginta has, historically, been prone to windy years. Some years are nice with mild winds, and some have those brutal stretches of head wind. In 1980, it was one of those brutal windy days. Add that to my woeful lack of distance preparation, and overall unfamiliarity with how to ride that distance, how to draft, ow to eat.... well, I bonked hard and even developed shin splints. I had trouble walking the next day and was miserable. I distinctly remember riding the last 5 or so miles, into a driving headwind and realizing I had no lower gears.... I was just grinding, on the small ring, big in back, but it was still felt like I was climbing a long hill... yet I was on the flats. Miserable.

May this coming Sunday be a continual tailwind...

(and how is it that winds in Kansas are always a head wind? I have done rides, where I planned to go into the wind on the way out and to come back with the wind, only to have it switch bloody directions.... I don't get it.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Commuted today... great morning

Got to use the lights for my commute this morning. Really a very nice morning, cool, calm, nice sky. First time I have been able to commute with significant light use.
This is looking east... the lights are intergalactical cyclists.... or street lights from, yet another, half built, Shawnee subdivision slowly eating away all the farm fields and scenery.

I should point out that I am an occasional commuter. Due to work, travel and having 3 kids and a working wife, I am not able to commute very often. 1-2 times a week is all I can plan and usually it is once a week at best. While this is pitiful compared to those "real" commuters blogging out there, it is the best I can do. I intend to commute more by commuting when I can, year round. I am a year round cyclist now, and plan to work the commutes in also.

I really like the ride to work (about 7.5 miles). I am not as wild about the ride home (11 miles). I think it is due to being tired at the end of the day and the increased traffic. I just don't find myself as jazzed up for the ride home as I do for the ride to work. Maybe if I can get out and commute more regularly it would help.Ok, so how is it that the ride to and from work are different distances? Well, coming to work I have to navigate the very western end of Shawnee Mission Parkway heading east over K7. Not too bad in the morning at 6:30 or 7. However, heading West on Shawnee Mission Parkway at 5 pm over K7, while only a 1/2 mile or so, into the sun, doesn't thrill me. So rather than risk that stretch of hell, I go North about 2 miles and cross K7 at Johnson Drive (55th). This allows me a more sane stretch of road, less time in heavy traffic and 4-5 extra miles. This makes the total commute about 18.5. I can use the miles.

Here is the bike, loaded. Clothes in one rear bag. Laptop and stuff in the other. Front bag has a cable, battery for the lights, jacket, camera.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Love the fall....

Weather was perfect tonight for an evening ride. I love this time of year. Cool mornings and nights and warmer days. Probably my favorite time of year.

One down side, it is getting dark so much sooner that by 7 pm, if not sooner, lights are needed. I got to try out my new Planet Bike Superflash... really a very bright and cool light. I spent some etime on the Planet Bike web site and decided I really like the company... products, philosophy etc. (I am not affiliated with Planet Bike at all, other than owning a few of their products).

Anyway, I am riding Thursday nights with a group that rides year round. SO I will have a chance to get out and do some night/dark riding. I am looking forward to using my lights and determining what works best. I currently run 3 tail lights, reflectors and one set of dual headlights. I guess I am more concerned with someone not seeing me from behind than the front.

I am commuting tomorrow morning and going to attempt to get some photos.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rain, rain, go away....

No riding this weekend... lots of rain. Maybe this week....

Monday, September 8, 2008


This past weekend was the MS150. This is the ride that got me into cycling. 8 years ago I decided to get back into shape and decided that bicycling was the way. I had cycled heavily as a kid and all through college (a bike was my only transportation for several years and my main transportation to classes for all my years at KU). I had just started playing on an over 30 indoor soccer team and after several games, I would hurt (mainly my legs, but the rest of me and my ego all had pains) for several days. So I decided that I would get out the bike and ride.

My first year started on my mountain bike and I set a goal of 600 miles. If I hit it I would buy myself a road bike. 640 miles later, I had a red Lemond Buenos Aires. I still ride it today. My next years goal was to do the MS150. My father in law has MS and I wanted to ride for him, but also for me. I have ridden 7 years now (well, 6, I was sick last year, but still turned in $1800). So, enough with history, on to this year....

Here is the start....

I ride with Team Lockton. We started the morning a little late and it was cool.... temps in the mid 50's. No wind... truly a great beginning.

I like to get out in front of the crowd. So we tend to blow by the first rest stop and only hit every other one after that. I am a "fast recreational rider"... meaning I can go at a good clip but I'm no hammerhead. We were targeting the 100 mile loop today and decided to go together in a smaller group of 4 of us.

We of course picked up others along the way. The day continued cool and windless and was wonderful. Here is a typical reststop... more or less... this was lunch.
I rigged up a camera case on the bike similar to the setup Noah uses to document his blog (KC Bike Commuting). Noah, though he doesn't know it and we have never met, has been my inspiration to start this blog and to attempt to add photos to the narrative.

Here is the only way I was able to finish the 100 miles fast (18.7 mph) and in good spirits. A paceline is a wonderful thing... as are strong riders.
Party in Sedalia Saturday night. We tented next to the band. Earplugs.... I never travel without them.Sunday morning.... it looked like about half the riders chose the one day route of 80 or 100 miles and did not want to tackle the 80 mile day two ride back to KC.
Day two saw a smaller paceline and cooler temps. Looked like it was gonna bust open and pour for a good portion of the morning, but finally with about 60 miles under our belt the sun peaked out for a few minutes and was gone.

Here is the luggage pile back in Raymore/Peculiar....

182 miles. 18 average. Survived and actually felt good.

Lessons learned:
Good riding buddies are gold.
Weather makes a huge difference.
Ride. Ride. Ride.

and take more pictures... they help jog the memories as we march to senility.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sept. 1st - Getting ready for the MS150

Busy weekend. Last opportunity to get some miles in prior to the MS150 on the 6th and 7th.

Saturday - Did a 50 mile loop from Shawnee to Bonner Springs to DeSoto down to Olathe. Stopped in DeSoto to watch the "DeSoto Days Parade". Small towns are a hoot. Lots of politicians running for various offices.

Sunday - Got 60 in with Gardner, Olathe, Overland park and Lenexa all seeing some miles. Rode with a couple of friends and let one of them pick the route in southern OP since that is not my area (I am a Western Joco, Gardner, Shawnee, Lenexa, DeSoto, Bonner, Tongie, Eudora guy). We had to do a mile on Black Bob North through the 143rd street intersection. I really don't like driving in that kind of traffic. It was a rush, hammering to keep up and dodging the cars making right turns, but really not how I like to ride. Scary, exhilerating all at the same time.

Monday - I decided to not ride Monday.... this is a "tapering" week for the MS150 on Sat/Sun. I have read that you should taper 5 days to a week before a big ride. The MS150 is my bike ride. I don't have the opportunity to get out and ride that many longer pay rides or centuries each year. My mileage goal is a modest 2000 a year adn i sometimes have trouble hitting that. So year to date I am about 1200 miles, and that makes the 160-180 miles of the MS150 my "bike ride". This year I am not feeling the strength I have in prior years.... likely the result of a low mile year last year, a slow start this spring and more 30-50 mile training rides than anything in the 70-90 range.

So, no riding this week. Got the bike all tuned and ready to go, figured out a way to carry the camera so I can easily get at it and will try my luck at adding pictures to my post ride post.