Archive for August 2009

Jazzed!

August 29, 2009

We left the house about 10:30 this morning for a ride to Ozark for lunch.  Our destination was the RiverWalk Jazz Cafe.   Its a little cafe/coffee house that I found on the AroundMe Iphone App, and after sampling their wraps and desserts, Pam declared that I did well!

The ride down was relatively easy as we had a slight breeze from the northwest pushing us practically all the way.  It was a little coolish feeling in the shade as we passed by the river near our house, but as soon as we crossed Kinser Bridge and started the climb out of the river bottom we broke into a sweat.

As we crossed the Finley River at the Riverside Inn, we found ourselves in a tight spot.  I didn’t see the truck coming around his corner, and he must not have seen us coming around ours.  We both popped up onto the bridge deck at the same time.  Luckily, he stopped and let us squeeze by.  I thanked him through his open window as we passed.  You can see from the picture below, it’s a narrow, one lane bridge that squeaks and groans even from the weight of us on the tandem.

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As we passed the park in Ozark, Mighty Mites football had started and it seemed like hundreds of people were there for games and practices.  Fortunately, nobody was going in or out both times we passed.  It didn’t take us much time to find the cafe, and we both liked what we saw.

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The food was good, and fairly reasonably priced.  With two wraps, sides, drinks. desserts and tips, we paid $35.

After lunch, we headed home by the long way.  Instead of going directly home, we did a loop almost all the way out to Rogersville and then back in.  By the time we got home, we had 41 miles on the bike, and were both feeling pretty tired.  The trip back was completely against the wind and included some long uphill grinds to get out of the Finley River Valley and across the James River Valley.

It was a great day in the Ozarks!  Here’s a link to the GPS track.

God bless…

TW

A different kind of hat

August 28, 2009

While I don’t often put on an advocacy hat when it comes to cycling, I ran across this the other day and found it to be kind of interesting.  I’ve never felt like I had trouble finding a place to park my bike, but in some cities I guess it’s a problem.  Maybe what is interesting to me is that there is such a demand for bike parking in Portland.  I’ve always known it was a biking hot spot, but you never see that kind of demand for bike parking here in little ole’ Springfield. 

I had a few extra minutes this morning, so I planned our “tandem date” for tomorrow if the weather will cooperate.  Suffice it to say that it will involve a bike ride and lunch with my sweetie.

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 The ride to work this morning was nice and peaceful.  I didn’t ride out toward Rogersville or go to the fitness center , but was out early enough that I was ahead of traffic. 

I think I’ll end the week with about 162 miles, which is much more to my liking than last week.  There won’t be very many of those high mileage weeks left this year, so I’m enjoying them while I can.

God bless…

TW

Three Days Running

August 27, 2009

We got out again this morning on the tandem for our 20 mile Rogersville High School loop.  This is the third morning in a row for riding the big bike, and it’s been a blast.  I’m not sure what makes riding that bike so fun for me, but I enjoy it much more than riding my single.  Maybe it’s the “team” thing…I’m not sure. 

At about mile 17 this morning, we crossed the 1,000 mile threshold for the year together on the tandem.  Compared to years past, we’ve not got as many tandem miles as we usually do.  I attribute that to a couple of things.  First, we had so many weekend and morning rides rained out this spring and early summer that it wasn’t even funny.  Second, with Libby’s wedding coming up in October, we’re not able to take the week-long tandem trip that we’ve been doing for the past several years.  Without that trip to prepare for, we’ve not been riding as far when we do ride on the weekend, so it adds up (or in this case, it doesn’t add up).  In the long run, yearly mileage doesn’t matter, as long as we’ve had fun, and I think Pam has enjoyed what we’ve done this year.

As we were coming down the back side of Turners this morning, Pam glanced to the right and noticed the eastern sky.  It was really nice looking, but we weren’t at a good spot to stop and take a picture, and by the time we were, the prettyness had faded.  The sun didn’t actually make an appearance this morning until I had dropped Pam off and was on my way to work.

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The sun's first real appearance this morning

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Looking the opposite direction

By the time I got to work, I could tell that it had been three tandem mornings in a row.  My legs were shot!  I found that I had lost any ambition to ride 19-20 mph, and was pretty content to spin along at about 16 mph and just enjoy the morning. 

Traffic is still heavier than it’s been all summer…I guess I’m just going to have to get used to it for now! 

The ride home was looking pretty dicey for a while.  We had a little rainstorm come in about 4:15, but by quitting time it had stopped.  That’s twice in two weeks that has happened. 

As I was waiting for the light at Cherry and National, Jim rode up beside me.  He’s a local reader that commutes on much of the same route I do, and occasionally we manage to meet up.  Ironically, we just saw him last night as we were driving down Battlefield right after I got home.  We rode together until we had to part ways.

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Say "Hi" to Jim, everybody.

 

God bless….

TW

August 26, 2009

Pam has a really nice (expensive) pair of SIDI mountain bike shoes.  They’re pictured below:

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Unfortunately, they hurt her feet to the point where she refuses to wear them (and I don’t blame her).  So, in preparation for the 62 degree morning we had, this is how she looked when she came out the door to ride this morning:

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Now, I know it’s a fashion “foopa” to wear socks with your sandals, but give her a break.  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to keep her toes warm! 

We’ve tried just about everything we can think of to stop the pain she feels in those SIDI’s.  We’ve moved the cleat position every which way, and tried different pedals, but they always cause pain along the outside top of her right foot from the ankle down to the about the end of her arch.  I’ve given up and conceded that it’s time to buy new shoes but she doesn’t want to until “after the wedding”. 

Boy, that wedding is taking a lot of the spending fun out of my summer!

On a different note, this is what our rear blinkie has looked like after the last two morning rides.

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It normally rides parallel to the rack, but has been slipping around and then down.  The attachment is a home-crafted piece that looks like it might be getting ready to break off, so I probably should go down and fabricate something else soon!

It was good to be on the tandem with Pam for the 2nd morning in a row.  Traffic was heavier today than yesterday morning, and we couldn’t figure that out since Rogersville has actually been in school for a while.

With the dark weather and lack of tandem time, our pace has dropped a bit over what it was, but we still got in a great ride today.

God bless…

TW

After 10 days….

August 25, 2009

After 10 days of sitting idle, the tandem finally got some use this morning!  And what a morning for a ride it was!  I’m telling you, the weather doesn’t get any better than this.  It was 61 degrees out when we left the garage accompanied by a brilliant night sky.  At 5:30 AM there isn’t a hint of light in the eastern sky yet, and without a cloud in sight the stars were smiling down on us as we pedaled out Sunshine toward the river.

As we powered out through the Emerald Park neighborhood, we came around a corner at just the right angle for our light to not illuminate a runner coming toward us on our right hand until the last moment and it startled us a little.  It was the runner/biker husband and wife we see out there all the time.  She’s a runner, and we suppose her husband is accompanying her for protection or something.  He rides behind her on a mountain bike, just slowly plodding along as she runs.  He’s definitely not getting much of a workout in.  He used to have lights on the bike, but hasn’t for a while.  If he had been using them today we would have had an easier time seeing them.

It was still pretty darn dark as we approached the high school for our turnaround.  As we did, we could tell there were some runners in the road in front of us.  There were four young men from the cross country team out for their early morning run.  Unfortunately, they were spread out in our lane and in spite of the fact that they were facing us, didn’t bother to move over and give us room to pass without having to thread the needle between them.  After we turned around and headed home, we had to pass them again but by this time they had moved into the other lane (actually the wrong lane for runners) and gave us room to pass on their left after we announced our intention.

We also encountered our first rude/idiot/dangerous driver in quite a while this morning.  As we descend the curvy hill on the back side of Turners, we can carry a speed of 25-30 mph for quite a while.   Invariably, it seems like we can ride all the way back out to the high school and then half-way back  without seeing a car only to have one come up behind us on these curves.  As fast as we’re going and because of the curves, my standard practice is to take the entire lane and keep it until I feel it’s safe for a car to pass.  Most of the time people give us lots of room and are fairly patient.  This morning, however, that strategy didn’t work.  I had us positioned dead center in the lane screaming downhill at 30 mph when the idiot in the Jeep pulled out to pass us on a blind curve.  I had no choice but to give way to the right and grab a handfull of brakes to give him room to get back in our lane before rounding the curve.  What a bonzo! 

As we crossed Pearson Creek and headed up the hill, we heard the familiar chirp of a wild turkey in the woods to our right.  That made me look up to see another in the road in front of us.  As we approached, it leisurely flew up into a branch hanging out over the road and watched us pass underneath.  We don’t usually see them in so close to the subdivisions, but this one didn’t seem to alarmed by us so I guess it must spend plenty of time around there.

After dropping Pam at the house and changing bikes for the trip to work, it didn’t take long to confirm that school has in fact started!  It’s been so nice this summer to not have any traffic in the morning, but today they were out with a vengence.  By this time, the sun was fully up and I was just happily spinning along basking in the glory of the day.  There is nothing quite so good as riding 28+ miles before work!

On the way home, as I approached OTC, I could tell something big was going on.  Flashing lights were everywhere and when I got close enough to see what it was, there was a hook and ladder fire truck, another fire truck, police cars, a fire chief’s car and an ambulance all gathered in a parking lot.

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Look at all the excitement...

When I got close enough to see what was going on, I nearly died laughing.  There was a fire…but it looked like overkill to me!

 

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I think the contents were a total loss!

God bless…

TW


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