Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Got it!

2000 miles in the books.

It was a challenge with the flat this morning. I was able to fix it before leaving work. I had an extra tube and tools (I carry a tube and tire tools, along with a mini tool on all my bikes) however, I only had a small mini pump. While is does work, it is a lot of work to fill a 32c tire. I have a full frame pump that I want to put on this bike, my commuter, but have not gotten around to it yet. Guess I will have to figure that out quick. I was lucky, a co-worker happened to have his floor pump in his car and that took care of it.

The culprit? A small bit of glasss or a pointy rock... I really couldn't tell. It looks like it had gotten stuck in the tire and worked it's way in. I couldn't feel it inside the tire, but confirmed that the hole in the tube matched the location in the tire. The lesson here... routinely check your tires for "stuff" heading in towards your tube.

So, I got out of the office a little later than I wanted.... sun was rapidly setting.
Took a longer route home to get the extra miles I needed to achieve my yearly goal. Rode back by Lake Lenexa... noticed the cool lights on the bridge, though I don't think the picture does them justice.

NW winds made the ride a bit gueling and the rapid dropping temp really cooled things down. I was running my new DiNotte light. Love this light. It is small and powerful and ran the whole time, to and from work. I ran my other light as well, a Nite Hawk dual haligen set up. It was out of juice by the end of the ride home... now it is only rated for an hour to an hour and a half, and I left the SLA battery outside all day, while the DiNotte was inside. (just found out that Nite Hawk is out of business... oh well, I've had these lights for a couple of years and they have plenty of use left.). I think the Nite Hawk would perform better if I had taken the battery inside. With the two systems, I have a good coverage for longer night rides using the DiNotte as the primary and adding the Nite Hawk during really dark stretches. Can't wait.

Sunset and the moon with the leafless tress made for an interesting shot.
One last note. I need to thank both Noah and C'Dude for their excellent KC based blogs. I have followed both for most of the year and they have really inspired me to continue this blog and to add photos. I have found that since starting this, it has motivated me to ride more, take more photos and try, many times poorly, to relate my cycling life in words. Thank you to both these guys for sharing their experiences.


Beautiful morning ride in to work... other than the flat with a mile to go. Was able to limp in but now I've got to change a tire before riding home. Stay tuned...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Getting closer...

Since the weather is cooperating, I decided to get out this afternoon for a quick little ride. About 12 miles, but it inces me closer to my goal.

22.74 miles to go.

I am planning on commuting tomorrow and take the long way home to wrap it up.

I remembered and took the camera today.... but there wasn't much to shoot.

A shadow shot...

Here is a shot of some potential "black ice". This is my nightmare.... hitting this stuff in the dark of the morning.
Tuesday promises to be a good day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

34 to go...

Got in 21 today. Looks like 2 good rides, maybe both commutes, and my goal could be realized.

Thought it might be a stretch with the snow last night, but the warming sun did a number on the roads and it was very rideable in the afternoon. A couple of spots were slushy and there were a few wet spots that looked like they could be icy in the morning.... but no issues today.

I was fortunate enough to get some wool garments for Christmas. Wool socks and a wool jersey. This was the maiden trial and I was very pleased. Now it was only 40 degrees, so that is not terribly cold, but I dressed light and found myself plenty warm. I will try them out later this week with the cold morning commutes I am planning Tuesday and Wednesday. I will report on my findings. So far, I am impressed with wool.

Forgot the camera, again.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Went for a slog today. I define slog, at least in the riding context, as a difficult and unpleasant ride. Today it was SW winds at 25 mph or so. But my need for some miles meant a slog was in order.

I took off down towards Gardner. It was a great temperature day, but the wind was brutal. The cross wind was not bad while heading east or west, but the south head wind sucked. I planned the ride so that I could slog through the headwind down to Gardner on the way out and ride the tailwind, north back into DeSoto. The wind was indeed brutal going down, but the tailwind home was a hoot.

I rode the commuter bike today. Full fenders really helped keep much of the grime off the bike. Everything was wet and gritty and the bike is in need of a cleaning.... I will get right on that after tomorrows ride, since they are calling for rain in the morning.... so it may be a wet ride tomorrow.

A couple of notes regarding the wind.

1) When I rode around Gardner lake, I went along the Northern edge. The lake is still frozen.... so the 25 mph wind from the south meant for a 10 degree drop in temp right at the north side of the lake... that'll wake you up.
2) The wind is mental. Totally. It is harder riding and slower, but very ridable as long as you aren't trying to keep that blistering average speed. I took today in much better mental form that usual. Likely do to the need of the miles and the promise of the tailwind ride for the last 10 or so miles.
3) One of my favorite bike riding experiences is the change in sound you get when you turn with the wind. That noise of the wind in your helmet when riding into a head wind or a cross wind can be very tiring.... but turn so that the wind is at your back, and the wind goes silent.... all you hear is your tires on the road.... I love that sound, or lack of. Probably my favorite riding experience.

37 miles today... 55 to go.

Oh, and I forgot the camera.... doh.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh so cold...

So, Saturday.... cold and windy. Temp was 23 and a cold NW wind was blowing. I had to ride.... why? Well, here is my challenge.

I am trying to ride my bike, outside (no indoor miles count) a total of 2000 miles a year. Now, this is not as epic as some riders out there, but it is a realistic stretch goal for me. See, I travel for work, 98% out of state, I have 3 kids and a wife who works outside the home. So with travel, running kids around and schedule issues, I can't ride as much as I would like. I try to commute one day a week, which is all I really can manage, and that only happens about half the time. I am trying to increase that over the next year. I ride most weekends and ride year round. So, this year I am currently, as of today at 1908 miles. 92 to go.

92 is not too bad.... unless the roads stay snow and ice covered or the temps stay in the single digits. But, I am bound and determined to get those 92 miles.... and just by placing those words here, I am really committed to it. The last few years I have missed the 2000 mile goal by as little as 200 miles..... which is hard to make up in a few days. But this year I am SOOOO close... that I really want it. So stay tuned.

So, back to Saturday. 23 degrees, brisk NW winds. I bundle up like this....

and head out the door. Layers are:

  • Thick Balaclava
  • Helmet
  • Helmet cover

  • Thermax Turtle Neck
  • Long sleeve Jersey
  • Thin down vest (that my mother made from a kit 30 years ago)
  • Wind shell

  • Regular tights
  • Rain pants

  • Winter socks
  • Regular cycling shoes
  • Neoprene booties

  • Glove liners
  • Thick ski gloves

Roads are generally clear although on some of the lesser used roads there are patches of ice and such....
so I have to be careful. I found no issues with ice that I could not ride around or navigate with caution.

I did miscalculate one thing.... the NW wind was a tailwind going out.... so... of course.... a headwind coming home. And it got more intense as the ride went on.... doh. Add to that the cold toes I was experiencing and it was a miserable return.

Got home fine. Was plenty warm except for the feet. Toes were cold. Really need something different in the sock dept. These were not wool.

I also found that the layers I had one, while working fine for an hour and a half ride, would not have worked for a whole lot longer.... mainly due to the fact that I was condensing inside my layers and would have soon started to get cold. I think I need to invest in wool.

So, weather looks like this:
(OK, so it's hard to read) Looks like Friday, Sat and Sunday will be nice enough to get some miles in. I may be able to get a small ride in Monday or Wed., but with all the holiday stuff and I am working 3 days this week, I may have to rely on Friday, Sat and Sunday. I still think the 2000 is possible.... may the weather hold.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Boring little practice route....

Or not.

After yesterdays so-so ride, I was not wild about getting out today. I spent the morning doing more yard work so I really did not want to go out. I really find that I am better in the morning.... if I wait till the afternoon, I find I lose my motivation. But I know I needed the miles and the weather forcast looks cold and wet for the the coming week or so.

Anyway, I was planning a short hour ride on a 14-18 mile, boring route I use when I have limiter time. I took the commuter bike instead of my go fast bike, since I have been having flatting issue on the go fast. My route takes me east of K-7 on Prairie Star Parkway (95th Street) and passes over a new section of streamway trail. I have always wondered where the trail went and decided to take them today. The trail south went into the neighborhood and I continued around a loop that was part of my planned route that took me up by Smiley's golf course and back to Prairie Star Parkway.

When I got back to Prairie Star Parkway I went back to the trails, and headed North. What a nice stretch of trail. I am not a trail fan, not for serious riding, but this is close enough to my house that i could bring the kids. And, as I found out, it heads North to Lake Lenexa at Black Hoof Park. I had been to the area before, but never actually been to the dam or around the park. I took advantage of this ride, and rode all the way around the lake.

I wish I had the camera with me. I had left if at home since I was planning a boring route... dang it.

The dam is really something else. It is very artistic and I would love to see it when the water is flowing.... I can't even begin to describe it.

I continued around the lake on the "soft surface" trail on the south side of the lake... I am very glad I have the commuter... 32c tires make a huge difference, althought this trail is not MTB material by any means.

I really enjoyed exploring the lake area and in spit of my soreness from the weekend, oh, and the cold I seem to have.

We shall see what the folloing week brings for weather... I am traveling to Los Angeles mid week... maybe I can bring some sun back with me.

Not my best day...

Got out Saturday... I spent most of the day working around the yard. Thought I would wait for the day to warm up. I was somewhat sore from some furniture moving Friday night and all the yard work on Sat.

I took off and had a flat with within 2 miles of home. I thought about turning around and calling it quits. But I needed the miles and I am pretty good at fixing flats, so I decided to fix it and continue. Now, I rarely flat. I mean very rarely, but have flatted twice on the same tire in the last 100 miles. So maybe its time for me to look at new rim strips or other things.... but, I think it's the tires. These are continentals, some cheap on sale tires I bought early this year. They seem to pick up stuff... like small fragments of rocks that stay embedded and work their way into the tire and eventually puncture the tube. My last flat was a rock and this one seemed to be a rock as well..l small pointy rocks. I think new rim strips and new tires are in order.
SO.... I continued on. I felt so so and with the soreness from the furniture moving, I really felt weak. Add to that the head winds and I did not feel at my best.

I completed the 27 miles with no other issues and, while I did not feel my best, I was glad for the miles.