Archive for October 2011

Paranormal activity…

October 31, 2011

Paranormal activity or just bumps in the road?  Whatever the cause, that’s never happened before.  As I negotiated the two block stretch by Sam’s where the road has been ground off for repaving this morning, I upshifted so I could stand and pedal rather than trying to stay seated.  My butt was thankful, but I’m guessing that caused more rattling on the back end of the bike because when I came over the final bump to smoother pavement I lost the pannier.

I was pretty amazed it came off cleanly instead of catching the bungee and hook and causing me to just drag it.  I think I’m gonna blame it on the goblins.

Boo!

TW

Saturday Saunter

October 30, 2011

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OK, I admit it.  It’s officially fall.  Pam and I got up Saturday to run and it was 34 degrees.  We ran 6 miles, then spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon taking care of business.  By mid-afternoon, however, I knew I couldn’t stand it any longer.  Even though the picture above is the view out my sunroom windows, I couldn’t be content to not get out and enjoy the beautiful afternoon on my bike.

Pam took a nap and I grabbed the Madone for a 20 mile loop out past the high school.  Temperature wise, the afternoon was perfect, but it was a little windy.  The trip out was OK, but after I turned to head for home, I was bucking the wind and slowed down considerably.  I could tell my legs were pretty tired from the morning run.  I wish I had thought to grab a split time to see what the difference between the trip out and the trip back was, but I was honestly enjoying myself too much to think about it.

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As I crossed the river, I could tell that it’s still pretty low.  If you look closely, you can see gravel banks on both sides that aren’t usually there.  We’ve had a little rain lately, but it’s not been nearly enough to do us any good.

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The fall colors aren’t very spectacular around here once you get out of the residential areas where people have planted trees that are a little more colorful.  The oaks kind of turn orange, but aren’t nearly as pretty as the maples that people have planted in their yards.  You can see the difference in the two shots below.

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After climbing out of the river valley, I made my way out past the high school and turned into the wind.  It was right after taking the picture below that I realized I was going to slow down considerably on the way back unless I wanted to make the ride more work than fun.

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I tried something different on this ride.  I’ve been struggling lately with my Sidi mountain bike shoes.  When I first got them (6 years ago?), I thought they were the most comfortable things in the world.  Not so anymore.  They got really wet one time and I foolishly left them too close to the pellet stove to dry them out quickly.  They shrunk a little, and have never been as comfortable as before in spite of several attempts to stretch them back out.  Let that be a lesson.  If you get your nice leather shoes wet, let them dry out slowly!  Although, those shoes have probably got 15,000 miles on them so I probably shouldn’t feel too bad about it.

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I stumbled across my old Nike shoes the other day and decided I would give them a try to see how they compared.  Oh man, it wasn’t good.  It took a few miles, but then I remembered why I stopped wearing them in the first place.  There is a ridge inside the toe box that rubs my little toe, and by the time I got home, it was quite sore.  Those shoes went back into the box as soon as I got home.  I really ought to just throw them away….

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As I turned onto Sunshine for the final leg back to town, I discovered that it has been repaved!  Sweet!  They not only repaved the road, but the shoulders also.  You can see in the picture  that the stripes haven’t been painted back on yet so it’s just one big wide strip of smooth  black asphalt.

The shot above is looking up the hill over the James River Bridge.  From that point, it’s just about 4 miles to the house.

Here’s the GPS track for the day.

Hope your weekend was a great one!

God bless…

TW

I’m feeling like it’s winter

October 28, 2011

I’m not sure why, but for some reason, this entire week has felt to me like winter.  It’s not so much that the temperature has been cold, although I did have to pull out the big dog boots and black jacket for the ride to work today.

 

No, more than the temperature, winter is more of a feeling to me.  My cycling this week has been basic transportation.  No more.  No dawdling along.  No side trips.  No long rides.

Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve finished our last cycling goal for the year.  When you think about it, we spent much of the summer building mileage and endurance in preparation for the LiveStrong Challenge.  That’s now in the record books with nothing new on the horizen yet.

Perhaps it’s because it’s the time of the year where we normally put the tandem away for the winter.  There is no doubt that Pam is a fair weather cyclist, and I don’t blame her.  We laughingly banter about her threshold of comfort being 60 degrees, so our opportunities to get the big bike on the road really do become pretty limited for a while.

Maybe it’s because I have had to pull out some warmer clothing this week.  I can tell that my pile of “dirties” in the laundry room is growing in both height and girth.

For sure, it’s because the days are really getting shorter.  Morning commutes are ridden in darkness and we’ve had  gray, dreary skies part of the week.  By the time I get home, showered, and we get supper out of the way, it’s dark.  I know it won’t be long before my trips home will also be in the dark.

I think it’s also because we’ve changed up our workout schedule so we can start working in longer runs on Saturday mornings.  I’m thinking of running a half-marathon before spring, so now is the time to start focusing on that.

Yeah, winter is on it’s way and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.   Change and downtimes are good for you.  It’s a time to shift priorities and refocus on other things besides cycling for a while.  I’m sure when springtime rolls around again, the bikes will shift back to the forefront and begin to take priority over everything else again.  Just like they do every year….

God bless…

TW

New Gloves

October 27, 2011

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Have you ever heard the expression “Cold hands mean you have a warm heart”?  Well, that must apply to me.  My hands are always cold.  Whether I’m running or riding, I always struggle with my hands.

When it comes to cycling, I’ve got several options, depending on the temperature, but I don’t really have any gloves that I call my “running gloves”.  Most of the time I’ve been wearing an old pair of cycling gloves that are actually a little warm most of the time.

A couple of weeks ago, we were in the running store and I saw these.

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That’s the same glove pictured at the top.  It’s a Pearl Izumi Wind Shine Mitt.  What’s cool about it (pun intended) is the little wind cover mitten that tucks inside a flap across the top of the knuckles when it’s not needed. 

I’m hoping these will be versatile enough for running in all but the coldest weather, and they ought to be pretty useful for cycling as well.

I’ll give them a try when we run on Saturday!

God bless…

TW

 

Going downhill

October 26, 2011

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Boy, the weather today was one of those deals where it is hard to dress correctly.  We were forecasted to have warm temps this morning, then rain and falling temps throughout the day.

When I got up, radar was showing rain virtually on top of us, but when I looked outside, nothing.  The temp was 64 degrees.  What should I do?  Dress for the morning warmth and hope I didn’t get cold this afternoon?  Or should I dress for the predicted afternoon coolness and be uncomfortably warm on the way to work?

After deliberating, I decided to go for a middle ground, layering a lightweight long-sleeved base layer under my jersey, my Pearl Izumi vest, and long pants.  I had my rain gear in the pannier, so if it got too cold or wet later, I could throw that on and still be comfortable.  I made it to work without overheating too badly and without that rain ever materializing, stored the bike inside to prevent further rain (it always seems to work that way) and went about my day.

By lunchtime, it was 10 degrees cooler outside and had sprinkled several times but  it was looking like my decision was sound, as what I wore was perfect for that temperature.  By quitting time, it had dropped to 47 degrees with a steady mist, making the rain gear a necessity.  The ride home was very comfortable, albeit gray and dreary.  I was appreciating my fenders and the north wind that helped me find the way home!

I was pretty pleased with my clothing choices for the day.   Had I not planned for the afternoon ride, it might not have been very fun at all.  What the day reinforced to me was that we’re now at the time of year when I really need to pay attention to the weather forecasts!

God bless…

TW

 

 

 

 


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