Archive for May 2008

Riding w/ Al

May 31, 2008

Somebody from my past showed up today for a bike ride.  Al worked for me as a contract programmer about 3 years ago, and just started riding toward the end of his stint.  He’s between contracts now, and since he has a cabin on Lake Pomme de Terre about an hour or so north of here, he called this week to see if I was interested in a bike ride.  Since I have a hard time turning one down, we planned a ride for this morning.

The day dawned overcast and cloudy, with a chance of rain predicted for later in the day, so we figured we were OK to go this morning.  It was warm and humid when we left, but we suspected we might get wet before everything was said and done.

I took him north past Danforth Cemetary, then we looped out to Fellows Lake.  After a quick pit stop there, we headed north toward Fair Grove.  I planned to stop at the convenience store and grab something to eat and drink since this would be a little over 50 miles round trip,  While we were standing on the sidewalk eating candy and fruit bars, it began to sprinkle a little bit.  We headed toward home in a light rain, and were hoping that it would let up quickly…but it was not to be.

We climbed the three ugly sisters in a pretty steady rain, which lasted the rest of the way home.  At one point, I fell into the “put your head down and pedal” routine, and felt like we actually made pretty good time for a while.

Al had not been on the bike in 10 days, and even though he has already ridden three centuries this year, all of his riding has been in the flatlands of California, so the hills began to take their toll on him at the three ugly sisters.  After that, he struggled to keep the pace he had been setting earlier.

If you could take the rain out of the equation, it was a pretty nice ride.  Decent pace, and it’s nice to ride with somebody.  I wanted Pam to come with us, but in hindsight, she made the best decision by staying home.  Riding in the rain would not have been very fun for her.

Here’s the GPS track.  We rode just about 52.5 miles.

God bless…


Friday Ride….

May 30, 2008

Friday is “break the routine” day.  By that I mean that instead of riding the tandem, I ride the single (Pam has to be at work by 7:00).  Instead of doing the out and back route to the High School, I loop past it and come back home over Kinser Bridge on Battlefield Road.  It’s a nice break, but seems to be a little hillier.  It’s maybe 3/4 of a mile further than the High School out and back.  I intended to ride up the back side of Turners this morning, but kind of got in the groove and forgot to turn.  I realized it at the railroad tracks, so just climbed the hill normally.

Today was one of those days when things were clicking pretty well.  The new chain and clean drive train on that bike made for one smooth ride that fueled my desire to work hard.  As normal, of late, the wind was kicking up from the south again, so most of the trip out was a bit of a grind, but once I turned back to the west, it helped me a little.  I was pretty motivated to push kind of hard this morning, so ended up back at the house with a 17.7 mph average…one of the better ones for me this year.

At home, I changed glasses from my amber lenses to regular sun glasses, grabbed my clothes and food and headed to work.  By the time I arrived, my hunger was getting serious, a sign that I had truly been working hard this morning.

It’ll be a little over 38 miles for the day be the time I get home this evening.

Edit…I went out at lunch, and I’m gonna suffer on the way home.  The wind is whipping in hard from the south.

God Bless…



Back on the Tandem

May 29, 2008

After an entire week of not riding with Pam, it was great to ride with her again this morning.  Even though our morning rides aren’t pleasure rides, just being with the one you love makes it worth while.

The trip out to Rogersville was a little discouraging this morning because of a south wind.  There is an elevation gain all the way out there, so I guess I can say that the first half of today’s ride was uphill and against the wind.  Coming home was an entirely different story, however, and was pretty fun riding.   Combine that with a pleasantly warm morning and the sweet smell of honeysuckle at several points along the way and it ended up being a pretty nice morning ride.

I mentioned the other day that I don’t think we’re as strong this year….and guess what?  It’s not us, but me.  When I look at my average speeds on the Giant this year as opposed to last, I’m quite a bit slower.  I knew I had to take it significantly easier in the fitness center this past winter because of my knee, but didn’t realize it would impact my riding as much as it has.  Boy…it’s tough to get old.

Today was the first ride on both bikes since replacing the brake pads.  The disk on the back of the tandem needs to break in, so it’s not as effective as the old one yet, but the front pads stop us way better than the old ones.  The single feels like it could stop on a dime now if I needed to.  It’s pads were really pretty bad.

I also got the new chain on the Giant last night and cleaned the drive train.  I was concerned that the new chain and the old cassette would cause me shifting problems, but I think it’s going to be OK.  I can tell that it might not be quite as smooth as it was, but at this point, it’s acceptable to me.

Pam’s been suffering with saddle problems all year, so I have a different one that should arrive today.  I’ll get it on before we ride again and see if that helps solve some of the numbness she’s experiencing.  I hope it does….I want riding to be pleasant for her.

I’m going to end up with 37+ miles for the day after this morning’s ride and the commute. 

Wildlife sighting:  1 deer  in the pasture at the top of Turners…and one huge ugly alligator turtle in the middle of the road.

God bless…



Counting the Cost….

May 28, 2008

Geez!  I’ve been rained out of riding Monday and Tuesday this week.  When is this cruddy weather going to end?

On the positive note, I recieved my order of new chain for the single and brakes for both bikes yesterday.  After supper, I got the new brake pads on both bikes.  I just wish the tandem was as easy to install as the road brakes on the single.  I spent more time messing with the adjustment on the tandem’s v-brake as I did doing the rest of them.  Maybe this evening or tomorrow night I can get the new chain on the Giant and get the rest of the drive train cleaned up.  I’m kind of uncertain at this point whether I’m going to need to buy a new rear cassette or not.  Shifting is still pretty dang good on that bike with the worn chain and I’m hoping that it doesn’t go to pieces when I put the new chain on it.

Here’s the rundown on what I’ve spent on cycling supplies lately.  This is just replacement and maintenance..

  • $130 Rack for single so I could commute
  • $120 New tires for the tandem
  • $50  New gloves and chamois butter
  • $70  brakes and chain
  • $40  Replacement floor pump 
  • $72  New Saddle for Pam

I’m actually trying to hold off on using the new floor pump.  Mine shot craps over the weekend, I bought a new one, then requested replacement parts from Topeak.  They’re in the mail.  If they get here soon and seem to solve the problem, I may take the new pump back (assuming I can keep it looking unused).  But then again, it might be good to have a spare on hand since I seem to be burning through one about once a year.

I lifted today, so tomorrow will be the next chance to ride, and the weather is finally supposed to clear for a couple of days (until the weekend). 

God bless…



Sunday ride w/ Substitute Stoker

May 25, 2008

Libby and I decided to go with the Pedal Group for their Sunday afternoon ride.  This was only her 4th ride on the tandem, and I can’t believe how well she did.

We were running late, so we pulled into the parking lot at Praise Assembly just as the group was pulling out.  We hurried as best we could to get the bike unloaded and ourselves mounted up, but they were completely out of sight by the time we got moving.  I was hopeful that we might be able to catch them, and knowing they usually did a loop around the golf course, I chose to cut the loop to try to catch them.  It worked!  We hit the turn just as the tail end of their group arrived, so we rode with them from that point.

This route went out to Strafford, where they made a pit stop at the truck stop, then looped south of the highway until they needed to cross over.  At one point, there was a pretty significant hill to climb, so I prepared Libby for her first standing climb.  She did great, and we even managed to pass a couple of other riders on the way up!  That’s a pretty good accomplishment for a tandem team.

The afternoon was pretty hot….our home thermometer registered 89 degrees when we got back.  There was one lady (a pretty new rider) who got overheated and had to turn around before the rest stop.

It was a pretty nice way to spend some time with Libby.  We did 26.12 miles, which is the furthest Libby has ever done.  Average speed was 16.0 mph, which is an indication of how well Libby did as stoker.

Here’s the GPS Track.

God bless…



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