Friday, January 23, 2009

Weather rollercoaster...

Thursday. 60 degrees. In January.
Friday. 30 degrees and falling. Windy.

Welcome to Kansas.

I took advantage of the Kansas weather on Thursday and got out for a night ride with the Thursday night group. The weather was wonderful.... starting in the low 50's and dropping to low 40's by 8:30 or so. Minimal winds and a great group of folks... about 8-10 strong.

This is becoming one of my favorite rides and this night was the best of the best. Not because I had a great average MPH. Not because the sprints were fast, or the paceline was hauling, but because I really enjoyed the company and conversation. Coupled with a relaxed pace, and a georgous night, it was a different side of riding.

When I first starting getting into riding and started calling myself a "fast recreational" rider, what I meant was I liked to go fast and was wrapped up in speed, pacelines, average MPH, and all the high tech carbon fiber aero whata madodads. But I am now finding myself more interested in the "feel" of the ride. The people, the scenery, the purpose beyond speed and such. I love commuting and wish I could do more. I am becoming increasingly interested in bike touring and camping (Upcoming post on this), and am way more excited by fenders, lights and panniers, than carbon fiber and 3 spoked wheelsets. But I degress.

Anywho... a great Thursday ride.

Friday, I commuted. I had been watching the weather and knew it was supposed to start int he low 30's and drop during the day. It was also supposed to be windy. Now I don't get to commute as much as I would like, and I am somewhat embarrassed to even call my self a commuter given the minimal number of times I commute each year. So I was determined to do this commute... and I have been finding that the cold is really not that big an issue... so I was gonna commute come hell or high water.

Turned out the be cold and windy.... but I was overdressed going in and about right on the way home.I took a shortcut home that helps me avoid a large hill and cuts 2 miles off the return. While not normally one to shy away from a hill and more miles, with the cold and the nasty wind, I was willing to give up on the joys of the hill to avaid the cold. This shortcut is not officially open yet. with about 100 feet still left to be paved. I love having the 32c tires and had no issues "off roading it".
Many people at my office thought I was nuts for riding in the cold. I kinda like the crazy label.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Got out for a short ride on Sunday, enjoying the warmer Kansas weather. Of course, it was windy... it's always windy in Kansas.

I was trying out my new bag... an Axiom Rear trunk bag. I have this bag thing... I have been messing with different panniers for the commute and wanted something for shorter rides for misc. stuff. I an not a huge fan of handlebar bags. They make steering more difficult and they are a large block to push through the wind. So I thought I would try a small trunk bag. So far I like it. I am planning on doing an entry on my bag search.... the 4 pairs of panniers I have gone through, the 3 handlebar bags, etc. I'll do that some day when it is cold and wet out.
Kansas has been weird with the weather... but whats new. I try to get out when it is sunny, not gail force winds and the temps are above 30. So far, January has provided me with more miles in 2009 then any other year.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Night riding...

Thursday night was a wonderful night for a ride. Winds were low, temps right at 32 and holding or even rising (crazy Kansas weather).

I had to take my son to swimming practice but used the opportunity to take in a ride while he was swimming. I met up with the Bass Pro Thursday night riders a couple of miles into their ride and rode back through Olathe and to the gas station at Cedar Creek and K-10. We enjoyed a small belated New Years toast provided by Badgerland, and then took off for Prairie Star Parkway ehading East. PSPW is, essentially, 95th street West of Renner. It is a great section of road and is 4 lane, devided and well lit. Currrently their is not a lot of traffic. PSPW from Cedar Creek to K-7 is just being finished and is full of roundabouts (you know, those crazy traffic circles that are supposed to keep trafic moving and confuse Kansans who have not driven on the east coast or in Europe). There are 5 I think in less than a 1/2 mile on this stretch of PSPW.

This section is also a hoot to ride. Currently the street lights are not fully lit, and in the darkness, it is fun to blast along. There is still some construction as you near K-7 and the road narrows due to construction cones.

Once you cross K-7, the road is well lit and 4 lanes divided. The group was breaking up as many of the 10 or so riders rode to the ride and were taking their leave and sprinting for home. I continued on with 2 others to PSPW and Renner where I turned around and went all the way back to K-7 and took the road that wraps around by Smiley's Golf Course. This was a wonderful, dark, traffic free stretch of road. I loved this section of hte ride the most.

Then it was back onto Woodland and back to the school to pick up my son.

I was dressed perfectly for this ride and the new wool worked wonderfully. A tip from Badgerland on layers and I was able to enjoy the 26 miles at 32 degrees in comfort.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kansas weather....

What a day Sat. was. The weather called for low 50's, but that was not to be. Instead it shot up to the mid 60's. It made for a fantastic day for a bike ride.

I got out with my regular riding partner, Mark, and did a loop from DeSoto to Gardner lake and back. 27 miles or so. Started out dressed for low 50's but it was soon apparent that we were over dressed. Started peeling layers at the 2-3 mile mark. Here's Mark losing a layer.

The roads were a bit wet and I wished I had fenders, but I was riding the go fast bike today (Lemond Road Bike) not the commuter. It was amazing how fast the roads dried out. We were only out an hour and a half yet we started on wet pavement and it was dry by the time we got back.

I had an interesting sensation during this ride. Iwas wearing my black tights and at one point, on the ride back north, with the sun at my back, my butt was burnin'up. Yes, the thermal power of the sun was so intense that is was almost too much. Now, I am not complaining... a little bit of intense sun this time of year is very welcome. Makes me wish for spring.

Then there is today, Sunday. I am showing 14 degrees and a wicked wind. That's Kansas weather for ya.

Friday, January 2, 2009

First ride of 2009

I took advantage of the wonderful weather today and got out for the first ride of the new year. Totally uneventful other than feeling really good. After all the rush to get the last miles in and reach my goal, I am a both little depressed at the mileage log (sitting closer to zero than 2000) and very excited to keep the momentum up for potentially more miles in 2009 than 2008.

The last few months of 2008 I felt I got in a good groove for riding and adding miles. I was able to dial in my commuter bike, messing with 4 different sets of panniers, different lights, and a handlebar bag that has an "issue". So I am confident that I can more commuting in for 2009. I also found a good weekly ride on Thursday nights that I have permission to make a regular activity. So, I should be able, when work and kid stuff doesn't conflict, to get some more regular weekly riding, and then maintaining the weekend riding, I should be able to get more miles in 2009 than 2008. At least, that's the plan.