Archive for May 2009

St. John’s Nixa Bike Ride

May 30, 2009

We got up this morning and headed to Nixa bright and early with the tandem on the back of the Jeep to ride the 40 mile route of the St. John’s Nixa Bike Ride.  This free event offered routes of 12, 40 and 70 miles with stocked rest stops in Boaz, Clever, Republic and Battlefield.

We started the ride nearly at tailback.  The women’s restroom line delayed Pam and Barbara, so we were among the stragglers leaving 5-10 minutes after the main pack.  The problem with that is that they started the 12 mile family ride with us, and it was kind of a mess getting out of Nixa with all the novice riders.

We had ridden off and left Sam and Barbara within the first couple of miles, but Pam got a nice visit in with a teacher she worked with several years ago when she was still working as a teacher’s aide.  By the first rest stop at Boaz, we had overtaken a good part of the rear guard of slower riders, but most of them caught us again as  we waited for Sam and Barbara.  They struggled with the hills between Nixa and Boaz, so I passed Sam the only energy gel I had with me.  After another long port-a-potty wait, we headed east toward Clever, but soon dropped Sam and Barbara again on the hills.  We wouldn’t see them again.

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Boaz Rest Stop

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Sam and Barbara pulling into Boaz

At Clever, the route leveled out a little and primarily consisted of long rolling hills that weren’t too bad to climb, but at that point, we got on the roughest chip and seal roads of the day.  From Clever, we skipped the rest stop and headed North to Republic.  On the way, we spent a little time riding with Bill and Meryl.  This was the first time we had seen them out on the roads this year. 

 

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Joe and Sue

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Pam and Tracy at Republic

 

Stopping at the St. John’s Clinic in Republic for the third rest stop, we encountered Joe and Sue on their new tandem.  We ended up leaving with them, and just as we headed east to Battlefield we got into a pack of fast riders from the 70 mile route.  With fast riders and a tandem to draft on, we made really good time to the big hills at Wilson’s Creek.  That was a fun stretch!  We hardly pedaled and were cruising at over 25 MPH for quite a while.  As we headed into the James River valley at Battlefield, we ended up dropping Joe and Sue and rode alone the rest of the way back.  Heading into Nixa, we got off the route (translated as lost) and ended up putting a couple of extra miles on the bike before we wandered back the way we should have in the first place.

St. John’s furnished burgers and hot dogs at the finish, so we grabbed a chair and enjoyed lunch on them! 

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The End!

Overall, I thought we did great!  We still had plenty in reserve after nearly 45 miles, and we never did struggle in spite of a pretty hilly route.  The course had 2,294 feet of climbing, and we saw several walking up some of them.

Here’s a link to the GPS track for the morning.

Good times were had by all!

God bless…

TW

Hmmm….taper or not?

May 29, 2009

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Well, the countdown is beginning.  Next Friday evening about this time I’ll be heading to Tulsa to begin Oklahoma Freewheel 2009.     I’ve actually got most of my camping gear packed already, and the bike is in pretty good shape, albeit a little on the dirty side.

My preparation seems a little on the sketchy side, but I worry about that just about every year before heading off for a week-long bike ride in June.  I suspect I’ve actually got more mileage under my belt than for any other year at this time, but what is different is that I’ve not ridden anything over 45 miles at a time.  I guess it will have to do….if I get out there and suffer on one of the 70 mile days, I’ll certainly know better next time. 

I’ve really never been in the western part of Oklahoma before, so I’m kind of looking forward to this trip. 

The question on my mind at this point is this.   Last week I finished with 172 miles and felt pretty tired.  This week I’ll end up riding 124 miles.  Should I go pretty easy and reduce my mileage next week or just ride normally and rest on Friday by taking the day off and driving to work?

I’ve tried it both ways in years past and honestly couldn’t tell any difference in my performance over the week.

Oh…by the way.  The ride to work today was just a pretty normal commute, with the exception that it was foggy as all get-out in our neighborhood, but as soon as I crossed Sunshine, it had burned off and I was treated to a brilliant blue and sunny sky.

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The view from my driveway this morning.

On the way home, however, I got a little bit of a late start, which on a Friday night means that traffic was minimal.  I amused myself by riding down Pickwick Street, admiring the stately old houses.

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House on Pickwick

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Another old timer

 

God bless…

TW

Moving the right direction

May 28, 2009

Pam and I got the tandem out this morning for a 20 mile jaunt before I headed to work on my bike, and I’m pleased to report that we were just a little faster than the last time we rode this route.   In turn, the previous ride was a little faster than the one before it, and so on…..

We’ve not had a lot of luck with weather this year, and because of that a lot of our tandem riding time has been turned into couch time.  Compound that with the fact that Pam didn’t take any spinning classes over the winter and she feels like she’s just not got her cycling legs under her yet even though she was working out consistently. 

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Our Turn Around Point at Logan Rogersville High School

The route we ride is a very hilly out and back from our house to Logan Rogersville High School.  It crosses through the Pearson Creek Valley as well as the James River Valley and climbs the hill at Turners, so there are some significant hills to negotiate.  It’s not a ride for beginners!  A good average speed for me on my single bike is 18-19 mph, and for us on the tandem it’s 17-18 mph (we’ve never hit 18).  Today, we were at 16.6 for the 20 miles, so we’re getting there.  Maybe in a few more rides we’ll break the 17 mph barrier for the first time this year.  At any rate, it was a good hard ride for both of us!

There was a mist in the air as we left the house this morning that quickly rendered my glasses useless.  We usually wear sunglasses with amber lenses to keep the bugs out of our eyes in the pre-dawn darkness when we leave the house and I considered myself lucky to get home without having to dig something out of one or both eyes. 

That mist really didn’t stop until after I got to work.  Coupled with the humidity, by time I took my cycling clothes off to shower, I couldn’t really tell if they were wetter from the inside out or the outside in!  In spite of that, I got to work with 28 miles under my butt, so I considered it a great morning!

God bless….

TW

Huh?

May 28, 2009

Huh?  How in the world did WordPress generate their list of possibly related posts for this?  

The original post is here….   I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention breastfeeding.

 

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So with that said…..ALL YOU NEW COMMUTERS OUT THERE, GO GET A HELMET AND PUT IT ON YOUR HEAD!

God bless…

TW


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Explore posts in the same categories: Bike Commute, Bike Helmet, Bike Safety, bicycle

This entry was posted on May 28, 2009 at 8:46 am and is filed under Bike Commute, Bike Helmet

Why won’t people wear bicycle helmets?

May 28, 2009
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Giro Indicator

 

With the warmer weather we’ve had lately, I’ve noticed a definite uptick in the number of commuters the last two weeks (when it’s been dry).  A lot of them look like they’ve not done it much, but God bless them, at least they’re out there giving it a shot.  I know this is stereotyping on my part, but what gives them away is the combination of a slow speed, a mountain bike, a backpack, and unfortunately, often no helmet.

I don’t understand that.  I don’t really know any seasoned cyclist who would consider riding without a “lid”.  They’re such a simple step that provides basic head protection that there is really no excuse for not wearing one.  On a practical note, I’ve broken two of them with my head inside over the years.  In both cases, they saved me from a nasty bump on the head that could have been a serious injury.

All you need is an inexpensive helmet that is either ANSI or Snell Foundation approved.  You can buy them at Wally World for about 20 bucks, or you can shell out mega-dollars for a top-of-the-line racing helmet.  The thing is….whether you pay $20 or $200, they all provide the same amount of protection.  What you get for the extra money are lightness, coolness, easier adjustments, and aerodynamics.  My contention is that most cyclists really won’t benefit from spending a lot of money on a helmet, so unless you’ve just got money to burn and you’re into the “uber equipment” thing, you can get a reasonable helmet at a reasonabe price that will do the job just fine.

I’ve been using the Giro Indicator pictured above for four years now.  I’m on my second one, as the first developed a crack after two years.  It’s a decent all-round helmet that can be had for under $40 at my LBS or on-line.   In addition, Giro offers a no-questions asked replacement policy should you break one of their helmets.  Just take it in to any dealer and get a nice discount on a new one. 

So with that said…..ALL YOU NEW COMMUTERS OUT THERE, GO GET A HELMET AND PUT IT ON YOUR HEAD!

God bless…

TW


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