Archive for June 2008

A stand-off…who will win.

June 30, 2008

Since both Pam and I had the day off and our long weekend plans ruined, we decided to take a leisurely ride this morning before Pam headed over to the hospital for her mother.  Rather than doing our normal morning route, we decided that we would go north for 20ish miles.

In a field adjoining Randy Holt’s horse pasture, we saw a wild turkey in a stand-off with a fairly large black cat.  The cat was all hunkered down in full stalk the prey mode, and the turkey was standing it’s ground about 10 feet away giving that cat the turkey equivelent of the evil-eye.  Neither was moving, and neither did as long as we had them in sight.  As we passed, we wondered aloud who would win.

At about 8.75 miles, we had to cross the little low water bridge over the spring below Danforth Cemetary.  I was a little concerned that water might be over the road from Saturday’s flooding, and it was.  As we approached, we could tell that while it wouldn’t have been an issue to cross in a vehicle, our tandem was an entirely different matter.  Prudence won out, so we turned around and headed back the way we came.  We thought about looping further east on YY before turning back north, but I wasn’t sure how many extra miles that would add to our 20ish, since we would have to go all the way in to town and come up Eastgate to avoid the same creek crossing on the way back.  Instead, we headed straight back the way we came, but instead of coming all the way back in on Sunshine, we looped north again, then west on Cherry Street to Eastgate.  That gave us 22 really pleasant miles for the morning.

As we approached Randy’s place on the way back, the turkey was still out there, but the cat was nowhere to be seen.  I guess that answers the question!  The turkey won!

God bless…

TW

Miscellany (is that a word?)

June 27, 2008

As I started to ride home from work last night, I discovered that my rear tire was flat.  Can anyone answer for me why it’s always the hardest tire to change that goes flat?  In my case, it’s doubly aggravating because I have a rack on my carbon fiber bike.  To do  that, I had to use an adapter that connects through an extra long skewer, so to change the tire, I have to disconnect the rack.  I couldn’t find any cause in the tire, so I’m guessing I must have damaged the tube when I swapped the tires from the tandem.  I didn’t look very hard for the culprit, since I was in a hurry to get home, and had to stop at the pharmacy on the way.

After a quick supper, we met Sam and Barbara at Mentor.  They had been out since 4:00, having already completed a 20 mile ride and taken a break.  They were trying to get a higher mileage day in to see if they think they’re ready for 70ish miles on Saturday at the Queen City Century.  We did a really nice 18.6 mile cruise out to the little church on Highway U.  I really enjoyed the ride because for the first time in a long time, riding the tandem wasn’t hard.  I have to admit that I was getting pretty discouraged and frustrated over how hard that bike had been to ride with the Specialized tires on it.   Even little cruises like this that should have been easy and enjoyable were lactate acid producing struggles that toasted my legs quickly.  I’m not sure Pam was experiencing it nearly as much as the stoker, but it sure was killing me.

My legs felt pretty tired this morning, so rather than going 20 miles, then riding to work, I skipped the extracurricular riding and just came in to work.  My knee was hurting for the first couple of miles, then it settled down and let me spin easily on to the office.

Our plans for tomorrow call for us to ride the 70 mile route of Springbike‘s Queen City Century.  It leaves from City Utilitie’s parking lot and loops the city to the south before stopping for lunch in Elwood.  After that, we’re off to celebrate our 28th anniversary, and will be gone until Monday afternoon.

edit….Queen City Century didn’t happen….mother-in-law medical issues, but even without those, we had another stinking monsoon.  We wouldn’t have ridden.

I checked mileage for the year before I left the house this morning and found that I’ve ridden 2,059 miles so far.  I kind of have a goal of riding more miles this year than any in the past, but I’m not going to get too focused on it.  Numberwise, I think that would be a little more than 4,200.

God bless….

TW

Wow! Can you believe that?

June 26, 2008

During Bike to Work Week, we had a flat on the tandem.  The sidewall ended up blowing out for good while it was parked at the Meyer Center, so we just went across the street to A & B Cycle for new tires.  The conversation went something like this:

Me:  Do you have a kevlar lined 700×25 tire?

The bike guy:  Sure do….it’s the Specialized Armadillo.

Me:  I’ll take two.  Installed.

The bike guy:  Sure thing.  I’ll grab them.

This has been almost 6 weeks ago.  It occurred really before we had a chance to get too many miles on the tandem this year because of the weather and other junk.  Since then, we’ve been hitting it fairly hard, but not seeming like we can get our act together as far as speed goes.

Yesterday, on a whim, I searched for Specialized Armadillo in the bike forum.  The unabashed concensus was THAT THE TIRE HAS A HIGH ROLLING RESISTANCE AND IS SLOW!  No way!

Based on that, I decided last night that I would try an experiment and get them off the tandem for this mornings ride.  I didn’t want to go with 23′s front and back, so I took a 23 from the front of my single for our front tire and a used 25 that’s been hanging in the garage as a spare on the rear, and put both the ‘Dillos on the Giant to see what would happen.  When I got the tires off the wheel, I actually lifted  them for the first time.  They are heavy, and the sidewalls are like boards.  These things are probably made more for commuting than road riding….they feel indestructable.

Within just a few blocks, I had decided that the tandem felt a lot more nimble than it has in a while.  Not that the Burley can ever be considered nimble.  It’s kind of like driving an oversized RV or your dad’s Oldsmobile.  It’ll never be more than that, but today it felt good. We had an awesome ride, finishing with an average speed of 17.3 mph.  Can you believe it?  17.3.  We’ve struggled this year to finish our standard loop in the low 16′s, and I didn’t feel like we were putting out an enourmously hard effort.

The 2nd half of the experiment came when I changed bikes and headed to work.  Good grief!  I’ve now turned my nice carbon fiber road bike into a tank.  Those tires suck! 

I’ve already placed an order for a new Continental Gatorskin.  I only ordered one, because I think I want to set up both bikes with a 25 on the back and a 23 on the front.  When it comes in, I’ll probably move the older used 25 to my single and put the new one on the tandem.  Those Specialized tires will then hang in the garage as spares until they dry-rot away or I get sick of seeing them.

We’re tentatively planning to ride with Sam and Barbara again tonight, but circumstances are conspiring against us so I’m not sure.

God bless…

TW

Tuesday evening ride

June 25, 2008

We met Sam and Barbara at Mentor last evening for a nice casual paced ride.  It’s a good thing it was, because we couldn’t have done anything else!  After riding yesterday morning, then commuting to and from work, my legs didn’t have a lot left in them, and Pam’s work did it’s usual number to wipe her out, so a nice easy ride was all we could muster. 

Pam came home with a booming headache, so I was a little worried about even going, but after a quick supper and 10 minutes on the couch, she announced she was ready to go.  Getting to Mentor was a little exciting, with “lake Mentor” still up and over the road between Battlefield Road and Highway 60.  Since we were in the truck, I drove through it in spite of Pam’s concern.  I’m guessing it was 8-10 inches deep on the shallow side.  Interestingly, the water had gone down to leave an entire lane of the road clear as we returned. 

There were a ton of folks out for the Tuesday Evening Ride, so we looped back to the north of Highway 60, then over past 4-Corners and onto the flats above Turners, crossing the RR tracks near Rogersville, then back to Mentor via FR 184.  It was a gorgeous evening, with a little bit of a south wind, but a little on the  humid side. 

We saw several riders from the Tuesday evening ride in first few miles as we headed out, but after turning North, we had the roads to ourselves.  There was one incident with a pickup coming out of a driveway that caused a little concern as he obviously didn’t see us until the very last minute.  I yelled “Heads up!”, Pam caught her breath, and Barbara got a little panicky.  When he did see us, you could see the surprise on his face, mixed with an understanding on his part that he hadn’t seen us and it was his fault for overly focusing on the car coming from the other direction.  Luckily, that’s all it was….

One far-off wildlife sighting of two turkeys up in a fence row on the far side of a field.  You had to look close to recognize them.

We added another 22+ miles to our day, giving me a little over 59 for the day.  Pam had 42 with me on the tandem.  That was enough to make me really tired this morning.  I went and lifted, but my heart just wasn’t in it.    We’ll give the legs a rest for the rest of the day.

God bless…

TW

 

Tandem Tuesday….

June 24, 2008

Another beautiful morning for riding a bike with my sweetheart.  To top it off, we both slept well for a change last night, but that was offset by the fact that we took a decent walk w/ Libby’s dog after supper so we were both kind of tired and slow getting up and going this morning.

The sun was beginning to paint the sky orange as we left the driveway, giving us high hopes of a spectacular sunrise.  Unfortunately, it kind of fizzled and just got light. 

As we headed out Sunshine, I really noticed how quiet and smooth the bike was running.  The only thing we could hear was the quite sound of the chain running and the swoosh, swoosh of the tires on the road.  That annoying creak we had last week was taken care of by either lubing Pam’s suspension seat post or tightening the bolt on her post.  Either way, it was good to have it gone.

After a great 20 mile loop on the tandem (15.9 mph average), I traded bikes and came on in to work.  It seems like the more I commute, the more I enjoy it.  I think more than anything it’s the fact that as I ride, it’s an opportunity to clear my head.  There are a few cars, and you see a few people on the streets, but for the most part, the city is just awakening.  When you do see folks out walking, they’re usually really pleasant and seem like they’re enjoying their morning just as much as I do.

Wildlife sightings:  2 deer up on top of Turners, and another bigger one out on the flats toward the school.  Then, we saw three guinnea fowl standing next to a gate on Sunshine.  Not sure if they were wild ones or local escapees.  Pam thought they were turkeys at first!

We’re planning to ride after work tonight.  I’m hoping Sam and Barbara will be available to meet us out at Mentor.  If we do, I’ll add an update later.

God bless….

TW


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