Archive for December 2011

A look back at 2011

December 30, 2011

It’s that time of year again.  In just a few days, I’ll have to start training myself to write 2012 instead of 2011.  It used to be that I would do it wrong on the first several checks I wrote in January, but since I rarely write checks anymore I just write the wrong year at random times and places along the way.  I never know when I’ll do it wrong….

Anyway, like a lot of people, I’ve been reflecting back over the past year and thought I would share some of my cycling related hightlights for you.  If you’re bored already, simply hit the back arrow on your browser and you can end your misery now.

Still with me?  OK.  Here we go.  In no particular order, I give you the best cycling moments of 2011 here at SpringfieldCyclist.com.

Pedal Across Wisconsin - 

I had never been to Wisconsin before, and was impressed at how pretty the scenery was.  Not necessarily “knock your socks off” pretty like Colorado, but “sneak up and impress you” pretty.  For sure, the quiet country roads and rolling hills and valleys dotted with farm after farm made for a very pleasant week.  I met some great people and had a wonderful time riding with Don and Phyllis H. most of the week.  This is a top notch tour that I highly recommend.  One of their other tours could possibly be on the agenda for 2012. 

Saturday Rides with Mike -

Our good friend Mike L is a pleasure to ride with.  He’s agreeable and enthusiastic and willing to try just about anything.  We had lots of Saturday morning rides to just about every destination I know around here as we worked on increasing our mileage throughout the spring and summer.   As I think about it, we only had one day that was a bummer.  As the summer started, Mike was motivated to ride just for the fun of it, but as the summer progressed, he discovered the joy of riding to eat and was often steering our rides to coincide with a well planned food stop at some cafe or diner we had discovered.

Winning a Really Nice Bike -

It’s hard not to call winning a Trek Madone 5.2 in a raffle for a $100 donation a highlight of the year.  I was quite content with my Giant, but Dad was going through some cancer issues at the time so I was very happy to make the donation to LiveStrong.  I couldn’t believe I won the bike!  Then, I decided to take it a step further, sell my old bike, and donate the proceeds toward tornado relief in Joplin.  I’ve not actually ridden the Madone a whole lot, but I really like it!

Austin LiveStrong Challenge

The dream to go down to Austin for the 2011 version of the LiveStrong Challenge was actually born way back in 2010.  We pretty much met our fund raising goal by making our own donation, but by making a vacation out of the trip, we had a really good time.  After all, it’s not every day you can say that you’ve “ridden with Lance”!  We joined Team Fatty for the event, and while the contingent was pretty small for the Austin event, we enjoyed meeting and spending a little time with our new teammates.  In addition, riding in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin was a real treat.  I really enjoy riding in new places, and I’ve got to say the scenery was different and unique.  LiveStrong puts on a first class ride and was well worth the effort required to get to Austin.  

Commuting by Bike -

In spite of all the riding I do, the bulk of my annual miles comes nine miles at a time in the form of commuting to and from work.  I’ve got a dedicated commuter bike, and never want to go back to driving to work on a daily basis.  I feel good that I’m doing something beneficial for my health, for the environment, and for my pocketbook every time I ride.  Sure, there are some days that are cold, wet, and generally ugly, but those are far outweighed by days with bluebird skies and sun on my shoulders.  I’ve learned to ride defensively, and feel quite safe and comfortable on the streets of Springfield.

So, there you  are.  So long to 2011, and bring it on, 2012!

God bless…

TW

First Impressions MiNewt Pro 750

December 29, 2011

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Wow!  That’s gotta be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done.  I first thought about buying one of these (or a comparable light) at least 15 months ago but decided I couldn’t justify the cost.  That was just plain stupid on my part. 

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Mounted on the bike, it’s pretty unassuming, but when you turn it on, look out!

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When I turned it on this morning, I was actually worried because it was pointing right at the neighbor’s bedroom window across the street!  I don’t consider it cool to be spotlighting people’s bedrooms!

Granted, I’ve only ridden with the MiNewt for one day so the jury is still out regarding it’s long term value, but my first impression is that I should have bitten the bullet a long time ago and pried my tight old wallet open enough to get this sooner.

Again, Wow!  What a difference!

On a totally different note, if your wife ever says, “We need to hurry up and cook those turkey burgers in the fridge so we can eat them before they go bad.”, be very suspicious.   Just saying….

God bless…

TW

Forgiven

December 28, 2011

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“Shoot!  He’s not gonna see me!  That dumpster beside the driveway is blocking his view and he’s gonna back out in front of me!”

Sure enough, he did.  I had to come to a quick stop right in the middle of Fremont.  As usual, I lifted my hands to show my irritation, but then something unusual happened.  He slid open the back window of the pickup and said, “Aww, I’m sorry, man!  I just DID NOT see you!”

Mistake forgiven.  It’s amazing how quickly the recognition of a mistake and apology for it can take the edge off! 

And, believe it or not, this was the last ride I would be making without my newest piece of bling!  I knew the box above was waiting for me at home!  Whether it would have helped him see me or not is the million dollar question.

God bless…

TW

Grinding it out

December 27, 2011

Well, it was back to the ole’ grind today.  Figuratively and literally!

I would have thought that being off the bike for a few days should have meant that it felt really good to get back out there this morning, but that was not the case.  I guess a couple of days of laziness combined with the brisk wind in my face the whole way to work made this morning’s commute less than fun.  It was a pretty nasty grind all the way, accompanied by the wail of emergency vehicle sirens from the accident on Highway 65.  I could hear them most of the way to work.

I did have to smile, however, as I was getting ready for work in the locker room.  I discovered the zipper pull pictured above on the pocket of the new pair of cycling pants my sweetie blessed me with for Christmas.

Hope you got what you wanted….

God bless…

TW

Note:  The sirens I heard were because of several accidents on 65 caused by ICE!  I had wet roads, but temps seemed quite a bit above freezing.  Whatever the cause, I’m glad I didn’t find that stuff on my bike!  Here’s a news story about it.

Bike maintenance time

December 23, 2011

 

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See that wheel?  Before I started, you wouldn’t know there was a label there.  I guess it had been a while since I washed the Surly….the rear rim was just about as black as the frame.

With the day off, I could probably have ridden this afternoon if I had wanted to brave a temperature that never got above the mid-40’s, but I ride in enough cold weather that going for a ride when it’s cold just for fun isn’t as appealing to me as it used to be.  Especially after I trashed my legs on the spin bike this morning!

Instead, I gave my poor, abused bike a little tender loving care.

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Believe it or not, those are my front and back fenders after they’ve been washed!  At some point, I’ve gotten into something that did a number on them and to some extent the paint on the bike.  You can see how the seat stay has the same white discoloration.  I’ve got that happening on both the top tube and down tube as well.  Whatever it is, it’s discolored the finish rather than something that’s on top of the paint.

I ended up spending a couple hours down in the garage cleaning and tuning, but eventually I got cold and gave it up.  At least I had some bike related activity today!

Merry Christmas!

TW


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