Archive for June 2010

I would like to introduce Bob.

June 29, 2010

001 The gentleman pictured above is someone I’ve literally known all my life.  Bob lives next door to the house where my grandma and grandpa lived.  He was a good neighbor and friend to them for many years before they passed away.  Some of my earliest memories involve hanging out with Grandpa and Bob in Bob’s workshop/garage or sneaking around back to pet his beagles.  He and Grandpa were hunting and fishing buddies, and generally got into a lot of trouble together.

As I was riding to work this morning, I saw Bob walking down the street in front of his house with a guy dressed in scrubs.  I hadn’t seen him in years, and really wondered if he was still living.  Even though I didn’t expect him to remember me, I stopped to say “hello”.

After introducing myself and explaining who I was, Bob seemed to remember me, and was  quite pleased to see me.  I spent a  few minutes chatting with him and found that he was out walking with his physical therapist because he had recently had neck surgery.  I think he had a good time recalling some of the shenanigans he and Grandpa pulled in their day. 

I certainly got a blessing out of my decision to stop and talk to him and I hope he did as well.  Those kind of opportunities just don’t exist when you’re driving to work!  I even got invited back to share a cup of tea!  Imagine that!

God bless….

TW

Quite an accomplishment

June 28, 2010

One of the aspects of my job that makes it pretty conducive to commuting by bike is the fact that most of my user/clients are located in CU’s main headquarters building where I work.  It’s very rare that I have to go off-site for anything, and when I do, I always make sure I’ve made arrangements ahead of time to get there or I drive to work that day.

Well, today I had a meeting off-site.

004 

If you could read the little brown sign in the lower right hand corner, you would know that this is the entrance to City Utilities’ Water Treatment plant and Developer TecHOUSE.  I had  a meeting in the TecHOUSE this morning with several other folks, two of which were my IT co-workers, so I didn’t think it much of a problem hitching a ride out there.

After riding to work on my bike this morning, I found that both were willing to give me a ride out to the meeting, but that both had errands to run at lunch immediately after we expected the meeting to end.  Hmmm.  Now I’ve got a dilemma.  There were other folks going from the main office, but since they were outside my department, I kind of hated to ask them for a ride back to the office!

After mulling it over, I quickly hit upon the logical solution.  You see, the TecHOUSE is just about 8 miles from work.  And only one mile from home.  Yes, I ride right past it twice a day.  I figured that worst case, I could walk home, grab the Jeep and drive back to work and pick up my bike.

003So, off to the meeting we went.  It lasted until lunch, as expected, then one of my co-workers was kind enough to drop me off at the house where I grabbed a quick lunch and drove back to work.  I might add that it was a beautiful day, and I had the top down!

This evening, as I was loading my bike on the rack to bring it home, someone said something about taking my bike home, and I replied, “Yes, I somehow managed to bring both my bike and car to work today”.

His response…”Now, that’s some accomplishment!”

God bless…

TW

Not much time, but a ride worth taking!

June 28, 2010

Saturday was one of those days where the business of life can almost overtake you and it’s tempting to take the easy way out and say “You know what?  I’ve got so much to do that maybe I had better just skip the bike ride today.”  We had so much going on that my head is still kind of spinning.  Runs to run (gotta stay on the marathon training plan), bike rides, yards to mow, flowers to buy, groceries to buy, lessons to study, houses to clean, laundry to wash, fold and put away, fountains to clean, well…I guess you get the picture.  Oh, and to top it off, Pam was not feeling the best in the world.  She had some urinary tract issues last week and the meds for that were causing her some stomach issues.

But…we had planned a ride for South Haven Cycling.  We decided after running 10K and breakfast that perhaps Pam should skip the bike ride, so that left Greg and I to ride a leisurely loop out past Logan-Rogersville High School.  We headed out Sunshine, climbed the back side of Turners, looped out past the burned-out mansion to the High School, then returned home via Kinser Bridge for 20 great miles.  The morning was pretty hot, so it really just felt good to pedal at “chatting speed” as Greg and I got to know each other a little better. 

Turns out that Greg is a pretty seasoned rider.  I enjoyed the little outing we had, and I could tell later that it definitely recharged my batteries and helped me focus on accomplishing all I needed to the rest of the day.  I appreciated Greg coming up to ride with me.

God bless…

TW

Hills

June 25, 2010

Over the course of the last several months, I’ve discovered that when I’m out on my road bike, I actually enjoy and relish riding up hills.  This really hit home last week on Oklahoma Freewheel, when I had a blast on the hilliest day of the trip.  We climbed nearly 4,500 feet that day, and I found myself disappointed when we came down off that last ridge onto fairly flat terrain for the final push into town.

When you think about it, as a cyclist, I’m just about the perfect candidate to be a good climber.  I’m small, at 5’7″ and 158 lbs.  In addition, I’m pretty strong (not bragging here, just stating facts) and I have a reasonably light bike.  Over time, I’ve figured out how to efficiently spin up inclines at a fast cadence as opposed to trying to power up in a bigger gear.  I think that skill has come from riding the tandem, where you’re courting death if you try to power over hills.  I always say that tandem riding is about skill and finesse rather than brute strength, and I think the same applies to riding hills on a single bike.   I rarely get out of the saddle, opting instead to stay seated and use the bike’s gearing to my advantage.

I’d already lifted weights two mornings this week and ran two others, so today was a great day to take the “long way” to work.  That entails taking the road bike for a 20 mile spin out to Logan Rogersville High School and back, then swapping to my Surly for the commute to work.  This particular ride crosses the James River, so there are some pretty significant hills to negotiate in both directions.  When we do this ride on the tandem, we usually climb what I call the “front side” of Turners, which entails going past the Turners Station Store, climbing the very short and steep section to get out of the creek valley, followed by a longer climb up to the flats.  Today, however, I climbed the “back side” of Turners, which has more climbing than the “front side”.  The “back side” involves a long, sustained climb of about a mile, followed by a drop into a deep valley and another long climb to get up on the flats. 

Turners Station Store

I tell you, it felt great!  This morning was a bit cooler than it has been for a while, and I was in a good frame of mind.  While not trying to kill myself, I did feel like working hard.  Spinning and climbing!   That’s what I did, humming to myself the entire time! 

I also got a kick out of the number of walkers I saw out there this morning.  It seemed like I saw someone new on just about every road I was on today.  I guess they’re all out there trying to beat the heat.

Have a great weekend, and God bless….

TW

Fed up?

June 24, 2010

014 What  a weird ride home!  Springfield is generally a great place to ride.  Motorists are generally polite, alert, and easy to get along with.  I usually go weeks at a time without any incidents, but not today.

First one:

I was tooling down Fremont as I usually do.  I’m riding at a good clip in the right tire track of a nice, two-lane street when I noticed a car following that didn’t want to go around me for some reason.  There were a few parked cars in the other lane ahead of us, but he/she had plenty of room if they really wanted to get around me.  After a while, the car finally starts around me, giving a reasonably wide berth, so I actually moved to the right just a little.  As I did, I happened to glance over and couldn’t believe what I saw!

Now picture this.  I’m just to the right of the right tire track.  The car is passing me on the left.  In addition, an idiot is passing that first car!  There are three of us lined up across Fremont going in the same direction!  And to top it off, there is a car coming!  I hit my brakes hard just to get out of the picture, and when I did, the idiot doing the passing also decided they were in a bad place and braked to slide in behind the first car.  Luckily I was far enough back by that point that I could just watch it!  I just shook my head in annoyance.

Second one:

About 6 blocks later, I had turned east on Bennett and was heading for home at a pretty good clip.  That stretch of street is usually pretty busy, so I didn’t think much of it when a blue Prius like Pam’s passed me.  Shortly after it passed, it started slowing down, getting my attention.  Foolishly, I was distracted by the fact that it was an exact match to our car and looked at it’s license plate to be sure it wasn’t my dear sweet wife passing me and slowing down for something.   About that time, it took a right turn in front of me into the apartment complex across from Kraft.  No turn signal.  No indication the driver even knew I was there.  Geez!

Soon after that, I saw the sign pictured above.  It’s a political sign from our local auctioneer turned politician.  I thought it was fitting for the afternoon I was having.

Third one:

As I approached the light at Sunshine on Eastgate, all of a sudden a car heading in the opposite direction laid on it’s horn with a long blast.  It was already behind me at that point, and I could see a car slowing down as it got into the left turn lane, but didn’t really see what happened.

As I stopped for the light my phone rang with a number I didn’t recognize.  Since the light is really long, I went ahead and answered it.

“Tracy, this is Ken S.   What are you doing?”

“I’m riding my bike, dude.   What are you doing, I’ve not seen or heard from you in ages”.

“That was me, honking.  We’ve been to see Sam’s mom and saw you!”

Holy cow, the loud, long honk was directed at me, albeit a friendly one for a change!  Ken is the brother-in-law of my good friend Sam.  We rode BAK together three years ago, and a week after that, he was out riding his bike and had a heart attack that nearly killed him.  He’s not been able to ride since, which is a real shame.  He’s a great guy that loved to ride his bike. 

This is a picture of Ken and I on the Kansas/Colorado border in 2007.  I’m the little guy next to the big one!

IMG_3315

As I said, what a weird commute home tonight….

God bless…

TW


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