Archive for March 2009

Blown Away Monday

March 31, 2009

In a word….WINDY! 

I didn’t notice the wind too much yesterday morning running, but on the way to work I could tell that it was behind me and pushing me along.  It actually made the morning bike commute kind of fun.

The trip home, however, was just downright rotten!  Not only was the sky cloudy and gray, but the wind was absolutely like riding into a wall.  While waiting for the light at JQH Parkway and Chestnut, the wind was gusting so badly that I nearly lost my balance.  I was standing on one leg anyway, with the other clipped in and that big gust caught enough of my trunk bag that it nearly took me over.  Wow!

I also noticed that except for cars, there was hardly anyone on the street yesterday afternoon.  There were a couple of kids on BMX bikes playing around Jordan Valley Park, but other than that it was pretty barren, even around MSU.  I like to go home via MSU (Cherry to Fremont to Bennett, then cut over to Catalpa) because it just feels more alive and vibrant than the more direct route that I take to work.  This day, however, the wind must have been too much for those who absolutely didn’t need to be out because nobody was.

By the time I got home, I was beat up, tired, and cranky.  Cycling doesn’t usually do that to me, so I’m just going to write yesterday off as one of “those days” and move on.

God bless….

TW

Rolling the dice….

March 27, 2009

One of the hardest decisions I wrestle with in regards to riding my bike to work is what to do when rain is forecast for later in the day.  Should I be conservative and drive or should I take the chance that I can manage to get both to and from work without getting wet?

I’ll be honest and say I’ve gone both ways.  I’ve given up and driven in only to realize that the forecasted rain was only a line that moved through in the middle of the day leaving both commutes perfectly fine.  On the other hand, I’ve taken the chance and ridden in only to have the evening commute turn into a monsoon. 

Today is one of those hard to decide days.  Upon hearing the weather forecast last night I packed my bags to run at the fitness center and drive to work.  When I got up this morning, however, it was dry and warm so I decided to run at home and leave myself the option of riding or driving.   My run was really good, so I threw caution to the wind, changed into riding clothes and hopped on the bike!

As I write this at noon, however, the temperatures are already starting to drop, the north wind is kicking up, and the radar shows a big blob of rain heading our way.

dice

I rolled the dice…….and won!  It was sure gray and ugly on the way home but I made it without getting wet!

God Bless…

TW

I like spring break!

March 25, 2009

When my kids were young enough to matter, I always hated spring break.  At that point, we were too poor to take many real vacations, but the expectation was always there that I should take a week of vacation to coincide with their time out of school.  The problem with that was the weather.  After all, it’s March in Missouri.  We’re just as likely to have really cruddy weather this time of year as we are to have reasonably nice weather.  Back then, I didn’t get much time off, so to take vacation and then have it too cruddy outside to play just killed me!

Not so these days!  The ride to work on Monday and today were gloriously devoid of traffic, people, and school buses.  It’s as if I own the road, and that makes for some pretty nice riding if you discount the Monday evening detour fiasco

I was talking with Libby’s boyfriend Jeremy last night and he said he was going to try riding his bike to work this morning.  Pretty cool.  I’ve never said anything t0 him about it, so it thrills me that he’s decided on his own to give it a try.  It should be a pretty easy commute for him.  He lives out near Highway CC and NN this side of Ozark and works at About Faces just a few feet from the Galloway trail.  I think he’ll have about 5 miles of county roads and then a couple of miles of MUP.   Hope he has fun and does it more than once!

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Redbud at work

On the way home I noticed that the redbuds have bloomed.  I’m not sure if it’s just since Monday or if I just hadn’t noticed them yet this year.  I will say this…Springfield is a pretty place in the spring.  There are lots of ornamental trees and bushes out there!

At the big apartment complex on Bennett Street I noticed the three-wheeler parked out front again.  I bought my commuter from a kid in that apartment complex and he was trying to tell me about the man/kid that rides it.  He is either physically or mentally challenged (I couldn’t understand the real story behind the bike) and apparently uses it for quite a bit of utility riding.  I had seen it parked out there all winter, and noticed it missing the last couple of weeks. 

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Somebody's three wheeler

As I arrived at home tonight, the clouds are looking kind of ominous.  We’re supposed to get more rain tonight and tomorrow.

God bless….

TW

Monday Madness

March 23, 2009

After the hard ride late yesterday afternoon, my run this morning felt a little “heavy”.  I could tell that I was just content to plod along and get it over with.  It was 59 degrees and trying to spit a little rain so the humidity felt pretty high.

As I left for work, the few sprinkles turned into a light steady rain.  I’ll admit that I had this small voice inside urging me to turn around and drive in.  After all, even though the rain was supposed to be short lived, the ride home was going to be against a very strong wind (with gusts forecasted to be up to 47 mph).  It would have been so easy…I was only a couple of blocks away.  Then, that other voice chimed in.  I was wearing my rain pants already.  Even though I was wearing just my vest I brought my jacket, so if the rain got worse I would be pretty covered.  With the weather forecast for the week, if I chickened out today it might be tough to get many other rides in.  When it came down to it, I just kept pedaling and before I got over to Catalpa, the rain had stopped.  I would have really felt foolish if I had given in and gone home.

With the wind from the southeast again, the ride to work was actually a breeze (pun intended).  I couldn’t tell it if my cycling legs felt heavy.  I was just enjoying being pushed along, and was disappointed when I got to work because I had to stop!

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Flags at attention!

The trip home, however, was an entirely different matter.  I suspected I was in for a hard ride when I kept noticing leaves blowing past my third floor office window.  They were flying by parallel to the ground, and I had to look fast or I would miss them.  The forecast for wind was correct!  Nothing to do but adjust my expectations and warn Pam that I would be a few minutes late getting home.

After suffering up the hill past Hammons field into the wind, I thought the worst was probably by me for a while when I got to Fremont Street.  Little did I know!  As soon as I turned south on Fremont, I realized I was in the middle of a hornets nest of confused drivers.  Traffic was backed up three blocks in both directions.  Cars buzzing by me without giving me room.  Drivers looking confused and upset.  Bottlenecks every place there was a car parked on the street.  What the heck is going on?

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What a mess.....

It took me a couple of blocks before I realized I had stumbled into a detour.  Then I remembered hearing that National was supposed to be closed at Grand for some reason.  If only I had realized that sooner!

Oh well…Do things like that only happen to me?

God bless….

TW

Sunday Ride

March 22, 2009

After church today I had vowed to myself that I would get some yard work done before I even considered taking a bike ride.  Yesterday was a complete rainout and our yard was looking pretty trashy with leaves and vegetation from last fall that had never been cleaned up.  I decided that I would knock down a bunch of the stuff, then mow and bag the yard and leaves, then decide whether to take a bike ride or not.  The wind was the questionable factor….the temperatures were great…with the high today in the low to mid 70′s.

I finished the yard work by a little before 3:00, so I decided to go ahead and get a ride in.  This week is looking kind of “iffy” weather-wise, so I didn’t want to let an opportunity pass me by.  The wind was pretty strong from the southeast, so I decided I would ride out toward the Elm Grove Church.  Doing so would mean slogging into the wind the entire way out there, but would let the wind push me pretty much all the way back.

Getting across the river and out of the hills against the strong wind was a chore at best.  By the time I got to Mentor, I felt like I had earned those 5 miles.  It was hard work!  From there, I went ahead and crossed over to County Line Road and headed east…again bucking the wind.  I really expected a pretty hard ride when I left the house, and this one didn’t disappoint.  I met my goal of churning out some hard miles today.

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Elm Grove Church

After passing Elm Grove, I turned back to the north on Highway VV and having the wind at my back made a huge difference.  During the three miles between Highway U and Rogersville, I watched my computer and never saw it drop below 20 mph without too much effort.  It’s too bad I can’t do that all the time!

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Turning Point...from there the wind was at my back!

Zig-zagging back home over very familiar roads, I was a little disappointed that Pam hadn’t joined me, but I realized that the slog-fest out to Elm Grove wouldn’t have been a lot of fun on the tandem.  Maybe next week!

As I got over toward the top of Turners, I saw the turkey flock that we’ve seen out in that area several times.  I counted either 12 or 13 birds, which is about the same size it was last year.

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The Turkey Flock...do you count 12?

I made it home in exactly 2 hours after riding 31.5 miles at an average speed of 15.9 mph.  Here is a link to the GPS track.

God bless….

TW


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