Archive for July 2009

Friday Fun!

July 31, 2009

I wish every day could be Friday!  In more  ways than one!

Since Pam has to be at work early on Fridays, I’ve been reserving that morning for a 20 mile single ride before grabbing my bag to head to work.  It’s a time when I can get out and work as hard as I want to (or am able to) or take it as easy as I want as long as I don’t make myself late for work.

As I left the driveway this morning I wished I had grabbed my arm warmers.  It was 58 degrees by my back patio thermometer, but my shoes were still damp from getting wet yesterday and I didn’t have any gloves on.  I was hoping for a nice sunrise, but the day dawned absolutely clear, which doesn’t usually lend itself to good color in the sky.  I did stop and grab a couple of pics, but they weren’t anything spectacular…..

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Looking down to the river

As I got down to the river, I started encountering patches of fog.  Nothing bad enough to make me feel unsafe, and it did help add a little interest to the sunrise.  Interestingly enough, the patchy fog continued the entire time I was east of the river, but pretty much disappeared when I crossed back to the west side.  I don’t know if it was all about timing, or if it was just foggier over there.  I do know that the first time I noticed the sun fully above the horizon was just after I crossed the bridge on my way home.

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Fog in the fields

I decided to ride part of the normal High School route backward today, so I climbed up the back side or Turners on the way out, then circled around on the way back in to go down what I consider the front side by the store.  Doing that may have added enough mileage that I ended up with closer to 30 miles this morning than 29, but since I didn’t reset my computer I don’t know for sure.

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Field near the high school

I’ll end the week with somewhere around 152 miles, which is considerably less than last week.  I could really tell the difference today…I felt strong and it was fun to push kind of hard most of the ride.   There are a lot of days that I really enjoy just going out and hammering.  I’m probably not as fast as I feel, but when you get off the bike at the end of the ride knowing you’ve given a good effort there is a great sense of satisfaction.

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At the end of the street as I was leaving the neighborhood.

Oh…On my way home last night, I was amused by this:

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Got Milk?

They were actually mixing up some kind of milk smoothy and giving away samples, but I initially didn’t want to take the time to get one.  As I was riding across Glenstone empty handed, I pretty much changed my mind and was kicking myself for not taking advantage of one of the few distractions I’ve had during my commutes this summer. 

God bless…

TW

TMI?

July 30, 2009

OK, I’ll fess up.  I’m beginning to rely too much on internet weather radar.  We’ve had so much goofy weather the past month that there’s not a 4 hour stretch that goes by where I’m not pulling up the radar map on either my computer or phone.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not….after all, I resisted buying a new phone for fear I would be constantly tied to the internet.  That is, until I saw first hand some of the practical uses for it!

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The radar...as I write this.

This  morning when I got up in preparation for our morning tandem ride, the first thing I did was look at the radar.  “Hmm…it looks like that little blob of a shower might be heading our way.  I guess I’ll brush my teeth and shave, then check it again”.  Sure enough, when I checked the second time and zoomed in to the street level, the leading edge of what looked like a light shower was just about three miles away and appeared to be heading for us.

My policy with the tandem is “If in doubt about getting wet, don’t ride.”  After all, my wife really is so sweet that she’ll melt if she gets wet!  Besides that, I never intentionally take her out when I don’t think it will be a positive experience.  Even though that little shower on radar looked like it would pass over and be gone in 15 minutes and even if we’ve been plenty wet before, I chose to forego the tandem ride and spend an extra hour cuddling.

When we got up the second time, I checked radar again.  This time, it looked like I would have a clear shot to work on my bike in spite of the fact that the forecast for today was a lot of rain.  I didn’t see anything that looked close at all, and the streets looked mostly dry in front of the house in spite of the little sprinkle we got earlier.  I hurriedly got ready and headed out the door into the gray gloom of the morning. 

As I turned onto Trafficway to head into the downtown, I began to feel sprinkles.  Within 30 seconds, it was a full-fledged downpour!  Where did that come from?  It rained hard on me the rest of the way to work.  So much for the value of radar at my fingertips!

As a side note, here’s just a reminder that bicycle brakes don’t work when they’re wet.  I had to bail on a right turn this morning because I was going too fast for my brakes to slow the bike enough to safely make the turn.  The scary part is that there was a car in the intersection waiting for me to pass.  I had signalled the right turn, then when I realized I couldn’t slow down enough, signaled that I was going on straight.  Luckily, he was watching me and understood what was happening.  My bad…..

Oh…and the Kilties were still practicing.  I was surprised.   I guess they just continued marching around the Central High School parking lot in the downpour.  They actually sounded pretty good this morning! 

God bless…

TW

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

July 29, 2009

My watch is nothing to brag about, but it meets my needs.  It’s actually a Sigma PC-15 Heart Rate Monitor that Pam won in a raffle several years ago.  I’ve long ago stopped using it as a HRM, but because it meets my basic needs as a watch I keep wearing it in spite of the fact that it’s a little big.  What I need in a watch are:

  • Something that can take a beating.
  • Something that I can sweat in.
  • Something that I can shower in.
  • A stopwatch/timer.
  • An illuminated face.
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My watch....

The battery died in it the other day, so I thought it would be a simple affair to get a replacement, but that process turned into an ordeal.  I’m sure I would have had to replace the battery at least once before, but for the life of me, I don’t remember having the trouble I did with this one.  The actual battery replacement was a snap…then my troubles started!

I expected to have to reset the time, but what I didn’t expect was that the stupid thing would come back in German!  I fiddled around with it for a while the other night trying to find the menu item for resetting the language, but that was a lesson in frustration!  I finally gave up in disgust and went to bed thinking I would go find the user manual on the internet and take care of it in the morning.

When I found the manual, however, I was no better off.  Talk about a complicated affair!  With text in both English and German, I had to wade through several pages to finally get to the part about how to change the language.  One basic problem here….the English section of the manual told you how to go change the language to German.  It was no help in trying to get the language changed from German to English! 

After trying for several minutes to decipher it and making no progress, I decided that I would try to “count clicks”.  I figured that if I started from the front, I should be able to count clicks to finally drill down to the language setting.  Tried that twice…something’s still not clicking (pardon the pun), so I assume I was either mis-reading the manual or not doing a proper job of counting the clicks I was making on the watch.  I gave that up in frustration and put it aside for a while.

Then I had an epiphomy while I was at lunch yesterday.  I came back and did a language translation in iGoogle for the word “settings” in German.  It’s “einstellungen”.  I started at the front and clicked my way through the menu options until I found it.  Then, I translated “language”.  It’s German translation is “sprache”.  I clicked through until I saw that.  When I opened that up, it just took a couple of clicks before I saw the word “English”, so I clicked that and was home free!

What an ordeal!

Cycling related:  Not much.  The morning commute was pretty normal except for the guy that passed me going south on Oak Grove while I was waiting to cross on Catalpa.  He was riding a road bike with a backpack and totally ignored me when I said “Hi” as he approached.  What a donkey! 

The trip home was another case of cloudy skies that looked like might dump on me at any time but I made it.  For as much rain as we’ve had lately, it’s amazing that I’ve not gotten any wetter than I have.

God bless…

TW

Tuesday

July 28, 2009

On the route Pam and I ride our tandem in the mornings, we go out Sunshine Street to Turners.  Just outside of town, the road crosses a railroad bridge, then about 100 feet further, the Pearson Creek bridge.  Both are in really sad shape as far as the pavement goes.  They’ve been patched, then repatched, and the patches are now in need of patching.  The only smooth line over either one of them is right down the middle on the two yellow lines if traffic will allow.  Otherwise, it’s hold on to your teeth!

This morning as we crossed the Pearson Creek bridge, there was traffic coming the opposite way, so I couldn’t ride down the middle of the highway.  In the cloudy, pre-dawn darkness, our light is pretty ineffective for actually allowing you to see and I managed to hit a crater going in excess of 25 mph.  Ouch!  Not only that, but I immediately hear a clank and rattle, so my immediate thought was “What did I break?”.  After Pam had a chance to get her wits about her, she yells out “I think we lost your tool!”  The tool she was talking about was the multi-tool I keep in our “cage rocket” for emergency repairs. 

Great!  I got the bike slowed down enough to turn around and headed back to the bridge wondering whether we could find it or not.  We’ve lost other things out there that time of the day and not been able to find them, but we got lucky this time.  I took the headlamp off the bike and used it for a flashlight, and as luck would have it, the second gleam of steel we found was my trusty multitool. 

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Our "cage rocket"

The “cage rocket” we use on the tandem is a slick little bottle type container that rides in one of the water bottle cages.  We keep our toolkit in it because a bag under my saddle gets in the way of Pam’s handlebars, and one under her saddle gets in the way of the rear rack on the back.  Most of the time it works OK, but once in a while it will pop open if we hit a hard enough bump.  This morning we hit hard enough that it not only popped open, but we managed to eject half of its contents as well!

On a sad note, I saw an article in the local paper this morning that a professor from Rolla had died in an accident while on RAGBRAI.  That’s too bad.  My heart and prayers go out to his family.

God bless….

TW

Hobbled…

July 27, 2009

As I was getting ready to ride to the fitness center this morning, I noticed that my right knee was hurting pretty badly.  As much as I’ve been riding lately, it didn’t really surprise me, since I’ve got a pretty consistent history of over-use problems that are generally related to the IT Band.  I fell on wet pavement a few years ago and bruised my hip so badly that it still has a bump, and I think that contributes to IT Band Syndrome on my right leg.  Compound that with the fact that cycling doesn’t promote any side-to-side movement, and it’s something I generally have to watch.  I’ve also been neglecting the stretches that kept me running through the winter so I guess I brought it on myself. 

itband_2_anat

I didn’t feel any issues at all riding to work, but when I got to the fitness center, it was bad.  Just moving around was painful, making it difficult to get through the workout I’ve been doing lately.  I decided I had better start stretching again, so after I finished my workout I laid down on the floor and gave the IT Band a couple of decent stretches before heading to work.

As I was walking into work, I realized that the worst of the pain was already gone!  And, it’s not returned so far.   Can you believe that?  One session of stretching was enough to lengthen that stupid thing enough to take the pressure off my knee.  I guess I’ll need to keep it up!

Oh…then I discovered there was no hot water for the showers at work.  Talk about brisk! 

God bless…

TW


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