Archive for October 2008

Ahhhh….Basking in warmth!

October 31, 2008

After the cold mornings all week, we got a really nice break today.  It was 54 degrees when I went out for my morning 5k run, so when I dressed for the ride into work, I didn’t need all the “stuff”…just arm warmers and a vest. 

Last night after work, I stopped at Sunshine Bike on the way home and added to my investment in the new bike.  As of right now, the totals are:

  • Bike – $200
  • Cateye Enduro Computer - $34
  • Seat Bag – $22
  • CO2 Inflater – $25
  • Derailleur cable – $3
  • Chainring bolts – $12
  • Water bottle cage – forgotten

Pam and I had a quick errand to run after we got home, so we grabbed a sandwich on the way, and after we got back I headed for the garage to put the 2 big chainrings and the front derailleur back on, install the computer and lights, and move my rear rack over from the Giant to the Marin.  When everything was finished and I had taken a test ride up and down the hill, I decided to go ahead and install the street tires the guy gave me with the bike instead of the knobbys.

I was pretty impressed with my first commute this morning on the new bike.  The upright positioning is a radically different experience from the road bike, but with the 26 x 1.40 street tires, this bike still feels pretty quick and responsive to pedal strokes.  I suspect my average speed may be slightly lower (I didn’t look) that on the road bike, but this thing should make a perfectly acceptable commuter bike and give me something to putz around the Greenway Trails with Pam and Libby on.

The Marin

No lunchtime ride today.  We had a nice little thunderstorm during the late morning.  Not only did it rain on my new bike the first time I rode it, but I also left my helmet hanging upside down from the handlebars with my gloves inside.  I’m gonna have a wet head and hands on the way home tonight!

God bless…

TW

Wednesday Commute…and a new bike!

October 30, 2008

Wednesday morning started out another cold morning.  It was 31 degrees when I returned from my run and climbed on the bike to head to work.  For about the first twenty minutes of the ride, I was really suffering because my fingers were cold.  The gloves and liners I’ve got just don’t cut it at that temperature, but about the time I crossed Glenstone on Trafficway, I noticed my fingers were beginning to only feel cold instead of miserably cold!  Hopefully the lobster mitts I ordered will arrive soon and they will do the trick.  I can add enough layers over the rest of my body to be toasty warm, but unless I solve the finger problem, I’m not sure how much colder it can get before I end up hanging it up for a while.

With no major rides planned for the remainder of the winter, I more or less planned to stop riding at lunch, but at 11:50 I looked at weather.com, and it showed 60 degrees with negligable winds.  That was more than I could stand, so I suited up and rode my usual lunchtime circuit over to Glenstone and Norton Road.

By quitting time, the temperature was 67 degrees, making the commute home absolutely delightful.  As I was heading up Barnes, I noticed the flasher on Dave’s bike (the guy I met last week), so I cranked it up and tried to catch him.  No way!  Just as I felt like I was gaining on him going out on Catalpa, I got stopped at Oak Grove Street, and it took so long to get across that I never could catch sight of him again.

After supper I went and bought a used mountain bike.  I’ve been wanting something more suited to casual riding, and I managed to snag a great deal on a 2007 Marin Novato with less than 300 miles on it.  It has a small frame, which means that the seatpost looks pretty high, but the reach seems to fit me pretty well.  For some reason the kid that had it took the two big chainrings and the front derailleur off, so I’ve got to pick up a new derailleur cable and some chainring bolts before it’s rideable.  He threw in some brand new slick street tires, so I may end up using it as a commuter instead of continuing to beat my nice road bike to death.  I’m hoping to get all the pieces back on tonight and give it a spin.

On a serious note….Here is a very poignant account of a man who dearly loves the wife he is losing to cancer.  While I don’t wish that curse on anyone, I am moved by the openness with which he writes.  FatCyclist, I’m praying for you.

 

God bless….

TW

Monday’s Commute – and something cool to boot!

October 28, 2008

My Monday commute was nothing really special, except that it was the coldest morning of the young winter.  At 36 degrees when I left home, I brought out the thermal underwear and face mask, and made it just fine.  My fingers, however, were on the edge of cold, so I decided to go ahead and order a pair of lobster mitts.  Unfortunately, that decision was easier to make than to carry out….I could only find two options for cycling specific mitts, one by Pearl Izumi that nobody online has in stock (it seems to be discontinued) and one by Craft that was also not available in my size anywhere I could find on the net.  I guess the early birds got the lobsters!

I ended up checking out some ski equipment sites, and found a pair that I think will suffice, but until they get here it’s hard to say.  The thing about the ski mitts was that most were huge, bulky, and very clumsy looking.  If these don’t work out, I’ll send them back and only be out a few dollars for the shipping.

Now for something cool!  Check out this link:

http://www.renovobikes.com/

Wooden bikes! Who would have thought, and boy, those things are beautiful!  I’m having a hard time containing the drool!

God bless…

TW

Springfield Historical Tour

October 26, 2008

As I was pawing through the goodie bag I got from the Tour de Bass yesterday, I found a paper advertising a historical bike ride through Springfield.  It was this afternoon, and here’s the best part…it was free!  We convinced Libby and Jeremy to go with us, so after church, we loaded up and headed over to Bass Pro.

It looked like there were maybe 35 folks on hand, and as we headed out, we were warned that it would be a slow ride!  It was, even to the extent that Libby found the pace too slow! 

Libby and Jeremy

Libby and Jeremy

 

Our first stop was on South Street between First Baptist and the Square, where John Sellars from the Springfield Historical Museum shared some information about the civil war skirmishes in the area.  We didn’t know that the old Wheeler Furniture building was on the sight of the St. Paul Methodist Church, which had been damaged by artillery fire durn the Battle of Springfield in 1863. 

From there, we rode a couple of blocks to the Discover Center parking lot, where we learned that the ceiling on the Shrine Mosque is really made of canvas instead of plaster.  That was necessary to build the building without internal supports, and allowed it to be the largest meeting hall on Route 66.

We also found out that the Gilloiz Theatre was the only theatre on Route 66 when it was constructed.  In order to actually have it face the famous Route, the guy that built it actually had to rent the lot on which the lobby was built from the owner of a dry cleaners that was next door.  Until the theatre was purchased by the restoration group 15 or so years ago, the Gilloiz paid $500 in rent each month since it was built in 1926.

From there, we headed down to the Square, where John shared with us some of the colored history of the downtown square.  From the famous Dave Tutt – Wild Bill shootout, to the original landmark stores that once comprised the bustling business district, we learned that John is an expert on our city’s past.   We rode down and looked at the Old Calaboose, which was the Springfield jail at one time.  Now it’s completely surrounded by new construction!

 

On the Square

On the Square

Our next stop was up on Central Street, where we learned that it was exactly half way between the downtown square and Commercial Street.  When the City of Springfield merged with the City of North Springfield, there was a gentleman’s agreement that new services for the combined city would be built along that strip.  That’s how Central High School, the County Courthouse, and City Hall came to be located in what is now known as the “Government Plaza”.  We also learned that Drury’s Stone Chapel was the result of a $50k donation by a family back east who read of Drury College’s reaching out to Native Americans during it’s early years and wanted to do something to help.

The final stop of the day was up on Commercial Street, where we learned that the rivalry between North Springfield and the City of Springfield resulted in a huge building boom and some of the best infrastructure in the nation for a city of our size when they two cities merged in 1887.

 

Commercial Street

Commercial Street

After grabbing a drink at Big Momma’s on Commercial Street, we headed back, picking our own route rather than staying with the group (and making better time).

Me and my Sweetie

Me and my Sweetie

 

Libby & Jeremy

Libby & Jeremy

Pam at Big Momma's

Pam at Big Momma's

In all, it was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

God bless…

TW

Tour de Bass

October 26, 2008

Today I rode the Tour de Bass Springbike ride as part of Bass Pro Shops’ Outdoor Fitness Festival. 

The morning started out kind of rough, as I had a flat tire before I even got the bike loaded.  I was pumping up my tires, when the rear tire’s valve stem just kind of exploded.  After much snarling and being aggravated, I got down to business and had it a new tube in in just a couple of minutes.

The morning started kind of cold.  It was 38 degrees when I left the house, so I pretty much took all the warm stuff I own.  When I got there, I was amazed to see that some of the folks wandering around looked really underdressed to me.  I wonder how cold they really were because that wind on my face was darn cold.

Waiting for the starting gun.

They were advertising 350 entrants, but I think it was probably closer to 200 because of the weather.  Nonetheless, it was a pretty impressive pelaton as we would through the streets of Springfield on our way to the first rest stop at Mentor.  The speed was pretty fast, with only a few riders being dropped or caught by traffic.  We crossed the river at Kinser Bridge, just about a mile and half from home.  Dropping down into the river bottom was georgous, with the sun coming up over the ride and fog in the bottoms.  I would have liked to stop for a picture, but was in enough traffic that I didn’t feel safe doing so, so I just kept riding.

At the first rest stop, I saw that Brad Huff was riding with the St. John’s semi-pro cycling team.  Brad is a Fair Grove native who’s had some success in pro cycling.  He rides for Jelly Belly.  Those guys were the first ones there, and subsequently the first to leave, and I never saw them again. 

Mentor Rest Stop

It was so chilly that lots of folks seemed to want to hang around in the tent and drink the hot coffee provided.  I didn’t have any coffee, but they did have warm water that hit the spot.

Joe Johnson being silly. Joe and Sue were one of three tandems I saw.

From Mentor, we headed south toward Ozark, crossing Highway 65 at CC.  It was very interesting that after I left the first rest stop, I really didn’t feel like I was riding in a crowd the rest of the day.  There were about three of us yo-yoing back and forth as we made our way down through the northern edge of Ozark and then east to Nixa for the 2nd rest stop.  At that point, I was dripping pretty badly, so I took my vest off and carried it in my pocket. 

At the 2nd rest stop, I ran into Dave Nelson.  He works at CU out at our Southwest Power Station.  Then as I was leaving, Susie Turner rode in.  She and I work very closely together in IT at CU.

Dave Nelson - I think he only started riding this summer and he commutes to work.

Leaving the Nixa rest stop, we meandered kind of Northwest toward Republic, having another pretty good climb as we crossed the river bottom again south of Battlefield.  Dave and the guys he was riding with left ahead of me, but I caught them at the top of the climb and rode the rest of the way to Republic with them. 

Republic rest stop

Susie pulling into Republic

Leaving Republic alone, I enjoyed a really peaceful ride through Brookline north to Elwood.  This 10ish mile stretch was the last I would ride before I had to make a decision between taking the 70-mile cutoff and going for the century, so I was happy to just cruise along on the quite country roads.  I caught and passed a couple on a tandem, then three other riders as I crossed I-44, but those were the only others I saw.  I presumed I was getting kind of close to the front of the pack, and when I pulled into Elwood, I found that I was at least in the upper 20%.

Lunch was good as well as plentiful, and I lingered a few minutes trying to make up my mind which route to take.  I felt really good at that point, but lunch was only 52 miles in, so if I took the century, I would only be a little over half-way home.  After an extra cookie, I finally decided to go for it!

I noted my time, and at 52 miles, I had ridden 3:19, so I doubted I would be able to get done in under 6 hours, which has been one of my long standing goals.  Most of the centuries I’ve ridden have been either with Pam or Sam Brown, so I’ve never really had the chance to go for a sub 6 hour century.

It wasn’t long before I decided that sub-6 hours was probably a pipe dream today.  As I headed out of Elwood toward Willard, there were quite a few pretty decent hills, and I was riding a little cautiously, not wanting to burn myself out too soon.  The last time I rode over 50 miles was on our August trip to Michigan, so I knew that 100 would be a stretch. 

After lunch, I was basically riding by myself most of the time.  I later calculated that maybe 40 people had taken the century.  There were about 15 ahead of me, and another 25 behind me, so it was pretty solitary riding for most of the time. 

The Willard rest stop was sponsored by the Tower Club here in town, and had some most excellent pumpkin truffles!  I could have stuffed several in my face, but didn’t want to look like a pig, and I was really still kind of stuffed from lunch.  From Willard, the route took us over some more significant hills, as we had to cross through the Little Sac river valley.  The road was great, though, and the wind was at my back, so it was a pleasant ride.  On top of that, it was starting to warm up enough that was really staring to sweat!

At the Pleasant View rest stop, I changed my jacket out for my vest, and headed back out on the road.  At this point, I was beginning to feel like I was getting tired, and I knew that there were about 30 miles left to ride, so I just kind of put my head down and kept pedaling toward Strafford.

The route took an occasional southward turn, and those stretches were more into the wind than any others during the day, so my pace dropped a little bit as I told myself that there wasn’t anything I could do about it other than lower my expectations.  That helped, and it wasn’t too long before I pulled into the Strafford rest stop. 

As I left, I realized that I was really getting tired, and there was at least 15 more miles to ride, and much of it seemed to be against the wind.  The good thing is that I’m very familiar with those roads, and thought I had the route in my head as we continued on.  At about 91 miles, imagine my disgust when the route turned back to the east and headed directly into the hills!  I forgot about the last rest stop, which was out at Sunshine Valley Farm down in the James River Valley on Highway 125.  At that point, I realized that we would end up with over 100 miles, and that once I left that final rest stop, it would be nearly uphill nearly all the way back to town! 

I hit the 6 hour mark just as I pulled into that last rest stop at 95 miles, so I figured my century time would end up being about 6:15, but I forgot to check it at the 100 mile mark.

I met up with a guy named Bill as we were pulling into the rest stop, and he was grumbling about the hills even more than I was!  We left the rest stop together and I think the company helped me deal with my fatigue the rest of the way in, even though those hills were killers at that point.  As I came up the very last hill on Catalpa before things got flat in town, I got a pretty nasty cramp in my right leg, but it stretched out and I was able to finish the ride without any further difficulty.

I hit Bass Pro’s parking lot at 4:00, with 107 miles on the Garmin, and a total riding time of 6:43. 

Here’s the GPS track.

God bless…

TW

I did it!


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