Archive for June 2009

Greased Lightning!

June 30, 2009
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Lightning at Branson....

At least it was lightning! 

As we left the house this morning on the tandem, we noticed some dark looking clouds to the SW and commented that we were a little surprised by them.  We missed the full weather forecast last night, but the last one we saw indicated clear weather until mid-week. 

As we topped out above Turners, we saw the first lightning from those clouds, and I made a mental decision that surely we could ride another 15 miles before the storm got to us.  Nevertheless, both of us kept an eye on the skies as we approached our turnaroud point at Logan Rogersville High School. 

That reminds me….turning the tandem around in the road is a delicate procedure that requires a combination of skill, balance, trust and teamwork.  We need just about every inch of the roadway to accomplish it, and we always make a game of not “crossing the line” onto Highway 125 as we make the turn.  This morning, I “crossed the line” and Pam gave me some grief for it!

After we turned, we had a better view of the storm, and could tell that the lightning was putting on a pretty impressive show, but both of us felt we would make it home OK.  As we were entering the neighborhood, I decided that perhaps it would be wise of me to go ahead and put the top up and the sides on the Jeep and drive to work since we were hearing an almost constant rumble of thunder.  I guess that distracted me because Pam had to complain that I was forgetting to let her “post up” on some of the more pronounced bumps.  As tandem captain, it’s my job to ensure she has a comfortable ride, and today I must have been slacking!

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View from our back yard

We hit the driveway and I just about fell over when I checked our average speed for the morning.  It was 17.6 mph, which is 6/10′s over our previous high for the year, and we weren’t particularly trying to push hard.  I guess the couple of days rest we had over the weekend benefited us both!

Wouldn’t you know it, though.  I got to work completely dry.  I never did see any actual rain!  Oh well……

Oh yeah…It’s the end of June.  That means the year is half over.  My total mileage to this point is 2,533.  I’m not sure how that stacks up against previous years at this time.

God bless…

TW

Monday Bliss

June 30, 2009

With the day off from work to attend a funeral and other appointments, my plans included an early morning bike ride.  As I thought about my day and what needed to be accomplished, I decided that 30 miles would be the most appropriate distance.  Since I hadn’t ridden at all over the weekend, I also decided that I would attempt to ride at a brisk pace and see if I could complete the ride with at least a 17 mph average speed and be home by 7:30 AM.

The temperature was absolutely brisk when I departed the house at 5:45 and headed down the hill along the river.  Within a mile, I stopped to look at the two deer standing  just a few yards from the road.  For as close as they were, I was amazed that they allowed me to watch them as long as they did, but as soon as I decided to slowly start reaching for my camera, the older (probably the mother) got nervous and started edging away, then a car came around the corner and that was the end of the deer.  No picture, but it made a great start to the ride!

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Fog in the river bottom

As I started climbing out of the James River Valley on the other side of the bridge, I noticed how strong and capable my legs felt after a couple of days rest.  It seemed like almost no effort at all was required to get up that hill!

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Elm Grove UMC

My route took me out south through Mentor, then east up County Line Road, and south to Elm Grove Church before heading up to Highway VV and going back north to Rogersville.  Instead of going into town, I looped off to go past the Farmer’s Daughter Cafe and swung around to go down the backside of Turners before hitting Sunshine and heading for home. 

As I climbed the final hill home, my legs still felt amazing, and I decided that I could have ridden a lot further if I had the time.  As it was, I checked my watch about 3 blocks from home and it was exactly 7:30 AM.  When I hit the garage, I found that my average speed was 17.5 mph.  Right on goal for both measures!

Here’s the GPS track.

God bless…

TW

29′er

June 28, 2009

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Twenty-nine years ago, two silly kids who didn’t know any better walked down the aisle and got married.  I’m glad we did!  I love you Pam!

Tragedy – and the debate it generates.

June 26, 2009
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Photo Credit - Tulsa World Newspaper

I hope I never see a scene like that pictured above.  When I was on the Oklahoma Freewheel trip, tragedy occurred in Tulsa when a drunk driver hit three cyclists.  Two were killed instantly, and the third injured badly.

Unfortunately, it appears that the community is now becoming embroiled in a bikes vs. cars argument.  You can see comments here and here and here is a bloggers view.  This bothers me.  You see an occasional comment relating to the original problem (drunken driving), but most of the attention to the root cause is being deflected by a debate that goes nowhere.

Yeah, I agree that a lot of education is still necessary on the part of both drivers and cyclists in order to provide a safe environment where the two share the road amicably.   Until that day occurs, I’m afraid that tragedies like this will continue to generate the kind of community fracture I see in the Tulsa press instead of the community rallying to support the injured and address the root cause.

On a happier note, my commute in this morning was pleasant and safe.  At lunch, I needed to run some errands, so I ended up riding an additional 5 miles around downtown Springfield at lunch hour and felt completely at ease and comfortable doing so. 

I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary this week, but will end up with somewhere around 180 miles under my butt in spite of the heat we’ve been experiencing.  That’s my kind of work week!  How was yours?

God bless….

TW

Doing it the hard way….Or, The Great Debate

June 25, 2009

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As Pam and I pedaled out Sunshine Street toward Turners Station this morning, I decided almost on a whim to get out of the rut we were stuck in and ride the route backwards.  I know…that involves a complete change to a comfortable routine, and as we talked about it later we decided this was only the second time we’ve ever ridden it in that direction on the tandem. 

The question we started debating was whether it was a harder ride to do “frontwards” as we normally ride it or backwards as we were doing today.  Granted, it will cover the same roads, turn around at the same point, and end where it started, but it seems like there are some longer sustained climbs when you do it backwards.  For example, the climb up the back side of Turners toward Four-Corners is about 1.25 miles long, followed by another pretty long climb while the front side of the Turners hill is steeper for a shorter distance. 

I personally think it is harder going backwards, and Pam was undecided.  She remembered the first time we did it as being harder but thought today was easier.  We finally decided that it was objective, and the best measure would be to check our average speed when we got home.  The verdict….16.7 mph.  That’s exactly what we’ve been riding this route at for the past four mornings we rode.  I guess it really is a wash!

As I pulled up to the stop light at Chestnut and Fremont on the way to work I could hear the Central Kilties Drum and Bugle Corp practicing.  For some reason, I’ve always enjoyed the sounds of a drum and bugle corp, and the Kilties are the oldest in Springfield.  My aunt was one years ago, and more recently, my neice was a Kiltie!  I’m always impressed that these high school kids are so faithful to get to 6:00 am practices all summer.

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The Kilties

In all, it was a good morning for a ride.  You know what, though.  That’s always my opinion!

On the way home tonight, I spent way too much time sitting at the light at Bennett and Glenstone.  While I was waiting, I amused myself by watching the sunglass guy desperately trying to make a sale! 

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Working hard for a sale!

God bless…

TW


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