Perfect weather for a bike ride . . .

November 29, 2008

Reality

It's not just an illusion - I've undergone a lot of changes. The last two years have been hard on me, clearly -- and it's time for changes - big changes.

Summer 2003:









Spring 2006:









Summer 2008:









NO more games.
The winter weight challenge begins tomorrow AM.
Strong or not, I'm seeing shadows of my wedding pictures, and I'm not likin' it.
More to come...

November 28, 2008

Dark Side Ride III - Remembering the last summer nights

Recalled from the mental archives - this ride took place October 25th.

Or, early fall nights, perhaps.
As sure as Orion was rising on the eastern horizon at the end of the ride, somewhere close to midnight on 175th Street near Lone Elm, I knew that this was the last time that such a nice evening ride was going to be possible. Only a few hours later, the wind would shift, the clouds would come in, and the temperatures would drop. Looking into the crystal eastern sky that night, it was like saying hello to an old friend, in Orion, and saying a quiet farewell to summer, all at once.

Unfortunately, it wasn't quite the best of times for our tandem riders that night - struggling with their third flat of the evening on a troublesome rear wheel (still not sure what the prognosis ended up being on that). Terri and Dave are troopers, though -- forgive me if I botched the names! They continued to be in good spirits even after finally catching up to us at Lone Elm. We had made the best of the situation: good riders, good conversation, and a lot of good tips exchanges on tubes, theory on tire mounting, pump use, inflator choices, etc. It really was an interesting time for everyone there.

Earlier in the evening, I was pretty happy to see all the people show up. There was Badgerland, Noah, at least three Dave's, ugh -- forgive me, guys and gals: it's been over a month: it's surprising I remembered that I'd forgotten to post about this ride! I remember faces, that's for sure, and something about Nine-Toes.

** stepping out for a second, after re-reading Noah's post on this ride - it was a ride of double names... we could almost call this Dark Side Ride the "Evil Twin" edition: Randy (nine-toes), Randy (Nine-toes friend), Mike, Mike, Badgerland, Me, Noah, Dave, and finally Dave and Terri on the tandem. Say it with me now... oh, there's... Randy Randy, Mike Mike, Dave Dave, Terri, Noah, Badger.... la, la, la, la.... *** Back to the tale as I recalled it:

We met up at the new Price Chopper, 159th and MurLen. Coffee is a fine tradition on these night rides, and so I ran inside and got myself a big peppermint mocha for the occasion. Noah arrived in style with a full thermos of Roasterie Nitro coffee --- FAN-tastic stuff. There was a slight chill in the air - but not too bad: perfect coffee sipping weather however, and I was enjoying nearly every drop of brew. You know, I call myself a commuter - but really, if you are looking for quality advice and a REAL day-to-day commentary on commuting, Noah is your man on the street - check out his blog, here. That's the second time I've linked to his page, for a reason: always a good read, and very consistently posted. I'm a little scattered, and really most of my posting has taken a real randonneuring slant of late. I look at a lot of Noah's posts and I get a sense of nostalgia for those first couple of years when I started commuting -- a lot of that stuff is still buried on this page, way back in the archives, but it's always good to get more than one approach to commuting. There is no one-size solution, and I've even been asking him for advice on a few topics lately. Let me tell you, Olathe to Overland Park is one thing - but he's doing the Lenexa to KCMO grind -- that's a different commute, lemme tell ya. If you don't find what you're looking for here, pay his page a visit, fo sho. One of the reasons I mention this at all was because of the thought that pops into my head every time I see Noah at a ride -- there is NO-ONE I've met that USES their rear rack to the fullest like this guy. On a summertime Night Ride, I think last year, he showed up with a 2-liter full of ice water to supply us along the way. This time, a full thermos of coffee. Panniers, etc. - this guy knows how to live from the saddle. My panniers usually stay home for these rides - but why? Sometimes its just nice to have some stuff along! Why not?

Anyways, back at the Price Chopper parking lot one by one the riders show up - a quick discussion about the route, which would later prove nearly useless, and we're off. We head south on MurLen; for the first time in a long time it's actually open to traffic. The long downhill and semi-gravel pavement are gone now, replaced by a gentle curve in the road that sweeps around some topography and passes near a new school. Later, a new bridge replaces the old one-lane potholed bridge that I'd stuck my foot into way back in March on R-12, pt.2 - I kinda miss the quaint rural feel of it, but I won't miss the death-defying descents into the unknown that dip always provided. The semi-steep uphill is now graded out more gently, the bane of nearly every road around here in the last decade, it seems. Nothing interesting anymore, all graded flatter, smoother. Sometimes, in the dark corners of my mind, I even miss the drop-into-hell that was Mission Road at between 151st and 159th Streets. While that is still a grunter of a hill, it's not as bad as it used to be! Murlen falls to the transit's beam, and is made tame for humanity. Ugh. So be it - it's still a hill that will make you shift.

From there, we slide over to Ridgeview Road - the first re-route since I keep forgetting that not everyone on a bicycle appreciates gravel roads in the dark! Opps. So much for the easy rectangle shape of the route! Ridgeview is okay, though, another rural-esqe road that hasn't quite caught up to the rest of Johnson County quite yet. Next stop, 183rd Street, passing the Ensor Farm and approaching the railroad tracks, and the first train of the evening! A long freight rumbles by as we stop at Woodland to pick up two more riders. Nine-toes is there, making it across before the train arrives - and his buddy is on the other side of the train, HID headlight blazing between the passing railcars. Time for another re-route, dude! Woodland has been freshly bouldered-up with new gravel, and again: you can't ask the 23c crowd to smile along trying to navigate THAT junk in the dark. Not a good idea! This is the punishment the REST of the riders have to suffer through because of my hasty planning, having thrown this route together only two days before in a panic. It's always best to have a route in mind BEFORE announcing the ride! Ugh. Knowing they'd be caught, the tandem decides to take off back for Ridgeview while the rest of us wait out the last of the freight train and out last rider.

All as a big group again, we begin to head back towards Ridgeview to catch the tandem, light blazing, taillights flashing happily into the night air. It's a touch chilly, but not bad -- but the extended stop at Woodland makes me pull my windvest's zipper higher once we begin to roll again.

This is the best part of the ride -- pace comes up, groups form a bit, and conversations begin to flow. Introductions are made - introductions that, while some have trouble with names (like me), seem to stick. I don't know if it's the rampant passion I have for cycling that makes my brain especially conducive to recording nearly everything that goes on, but I can recall verbatim conversations, smells, the bikes I saw, what the pavement looked and felt like, from rides dating back nearly ten years now --- simply re-reading a blog post takes me back, and other times I don't even need the written words. I can transport myself back, and I remember nearly everyone I've spoken to along the miles. Sometimes I can't even remember what happened in the last staff meeting at work, but I know what kind of water bottle so-and-so was using on that one ride in June 2002. I don't know if it's like that for everyone, but there is something about cycling and my brain that just clicks. They say that a bad day on the bike is still better than a good day anywhere else - and I believe it. I hear introductions being made in front of me and behind me, and I wonder if those riding along have the same feelings that I do at those moments.

We arrive at 199th Street, and another Dave - we'll call him Trek 5900 Dave (ok, that's kinda long) Or was it a Madone 5.2? I can't keep up. Anyways, Dave and me chatted it up about RUSA, long-distance riding in general, etc., as he was unfamiliar with the oft-touted "article 10" of the RUSA rules - which are specifically about nighttime riding. We talked about brevets, permanents, and the R-12. We talked about lights, reflective gear, and he regaled me with tales of the "old days" in Iowa when the object of the game was NOT to be seen at all when riding of commuting. Man, I sort of remember a time like that up here - riding home at night without any lights at all! It's remarkable how the sport has evolved, but the consensus remained that rural Iowa will probably always be rural Iowa, unfortunately, with regards to bicycling. About this time, we were finally crossing US-169 near Spring Hill, onto the "other" 199th Street, towards Gardner, KS. It was at about this time that folks would begin to get frisky. The hills were coming.

I'm not sure if we had a little bit of a tailwind or a headwind, or any wind at all, really, but something began to get ahold of the group. Trek-Dave started to lift up the pace, and the two mountain bikers in the group, Nine-Toes and Friend (still can't remember) began to chase up. Badgerland joined in the fun for a couple miles, and eventually the pack began to spread. This was new territory for me - riding solo for so long, not having anyone to chase, I started to wonder if I could do it - catch Dave? Even only a few days ago, my doctor and I had begun talking about a rebuilding plan, how to get back to form, and why cycling had "stopped working". I needed to take things up a notch. I began to forget I was on a leisurely group ride, one that I'd organized. All I could focus on was Dave's fading taillight. I drafted for a few minutes, then pulled alongside one of the riders that was also chasing (on a mountain bike, I might add, in case you forgot! Fast guys!)

"something got ahold of him..." I said.

"Yup, he's getting harder to catch..."

Still, I was starting to feel that small voice, pushing me a little. Might as well give it a shot -- after all, 199th isn't getting any flatter! With that I began my advance, slowly, surely -- like the diesel I'd become. Certainly not a sling-shot move, but more of a slow crawl up through the RPMs and gears. Yeah, the Kogswell isn't lighting quick anyways - not really what it was designed for, but I have to remind myself constantly that it's NOT about the bike. This bike was underneath me when I pulled for three miles at 24 MPH at last year's MS-150. I can do this. Unfortunately, we're talking about Dave here... and as someone would say later, "if Dave doesn't want to be caught, he's not going to get caught." Understatement.
As if he was watching my every move from a mile up the road, I would sprint up hill - practically into puke-zone, and I'd look up and he'd be just as far away as before. Knowing I was heavier and on a heavier bike, I'd take full advantage of the descents with my falcon-like tuck position and drop like a bomb on the other side of each hill - look up.... and he seemed exactly as far away as before. Whatever I was doing, he was doing it better. MAN ALIVE. Eventually, it was surely a losing battle. My heart rate was up, and so I knew I was doing myself some good -- but over the last few months of doing NOTHING but slow commutes and 200+ kilometer rides, speed work was not faring well. Every other breath (read: sucking in of air) resulted in a frothy whitish hocker on the pavement. It was like cleaning out the air tanks or something. I was reaching to tap my reserves of deep cardio, only to find them essentially full of cobwebs - and it felt weird. No choice - let up before you pass out. But, this is still good work -- the more I poke into this territory, the better I'll be at staying there effectively. But, catching Dave -- not tonight.
I had managed to drop everyone else, but probably because they were actually trying to ENJOY the ride that was supposed to be enjoyable.

Eventually, Dave let up about a mile east of Gardner Road, and we waited -- rather HE waited and I continued to gasp for air -- while the rest of the group caught up from behind. It was neat seeing all the headlights, the mix of HID, LED and halogens, coming up the road towards us, under a canopy of brilliant stars. What a night!

After a regroup, it was time to roll onward towards the first and only control (er, break) on the route, at Edgerton. We managed to get past another couple of big hills, crossed over I-35, and descended into Bull Creek Park knocking on Edgerton's back door, finally crossing over another two sets of railroad tracks before arriving at US-56 highway - just in time for a fast freight stack train to pass behind us at top speed. Thankfully, the trains out this far are cruising fast enough, so we won't be separated from the group for long -- as another split forms along the way.

Finally at Edgerton, it's restroom time, Fig Newton time, and Nitro Coffee time courtesy Noah! Mmmmmmmm, tasty!!! It warms the spirit and speeds away the chills - nice! A touch more than halfway done with the ride, it's soon time to get moving again before the chills catch back up. The thermometer is dropping!

We head back out onto US-56, westbound, towards a road that I hadn't been on in a long time, Edgerton Road. Back in the days of starting a lot of rides at the New Century Air center, this road was a staple of many C'Dude routes over the years - but I must say this is the first time I'd ridden it in reverse after dark. Thankfully, no surprises: it looks like every other road after dark around here. Dark. Taking the place of blinding road glare is warm conversation, this time I'm up front chatting it up with Nine-Toes, a quality guy, racer from what I can gather - a lot faster that he's letting on to be on this ride, that's for sure, simply based on the people he knows and rides with. We find out we have a mutual friend that works at the bike store with me, which is cool -- small world of cycling! Along the way I'm checking out farm houses, oil derricks squeaking in the night air, and dogs in the distance - even a plane passing overhead and a lonely train horn way off in the distance, possibly the same one we had pass us earlier, based on the pitch. Soon, we're at the turn at 175th Street, to head back east to Gardner - but after a few folks look around to count riders we realize we're down a couple folks. Seems like the tandem and Trek-Dave are missing? Uh oh... flat? Mechanical? The rest of us decide to stop up at the municipal airport just up the road a piece, and wait.

The lonely sweep of the airport beacon, and the ghostly glow of our red taillights bouncing on the pavement, plus a slight breeze - that's all that accompanies our conversations as we wait, and wait ... nearly to the point where we start to wonder about riding the route backwards to find out what happened - and then there they are, headlights coming over the last hill. Whew... and came to find out it was a flat, unfortunately, on the tandem -- all good now, however, as we regroup and soldier onward. But, within two miles the tandem signals again that the rear tire has gone soft. Uh, oh.... never a good sign, but a sure sign that either something has pinched, or something that was in the tire before is still there. The difficult part comes after finding nothing in the tire, nothing in the wheel or on the rim strip, not even finding the hole itself to try and patch things; we all offer up spare tubes, and the tandem captain (also Dave?) produces a smartly-carried spare tire, a brand new one. That ought to put THAT issue to bed!
Before long, we're on the road again - and what a solid group, despite the coming chills and the cooling down of muscles, no one is concerned about the clock - we all just hang around until we can ALL ride together again, no worries.

But, it is getting late, and I decide to cut the more scenic old 56 highway section out of this ride, to save about six miles or so. We continue straight through Gardner, down main street, past the Tumbleweed Saloon (nice joint, full of bicycle lovers, apparently.) and onto what I still call the "new bridge" that goes up and over I-35. We pass one of those saloon-goers (alleged) that has been pulled over by the local authori-TIE, pass the Waffle Heezay (which sounds and smells pretty good for some reason!) and on towards 175th Street on the other side of the highway, with the good shoulder. It's still a great night, and traffic is actually mild. I'm enjoying things, and Badgerland, Nine-Toes and friend are advancing up the road, lifting the pace. I've already done my fair share of that action, so I pull out the Phone/MP3 player and put some tunes on the open-air speaker. (I'm still not a fan of cycling with headphones on... but the MP3 players that have a small speaker work nicely. I can hear some music, and if a car approached from the rear I can still hear it, along with anything else around me that might make noise.) The group widens out a little, and everyone seems to be taking their own pace on this last long stretch of open road back towards Olathe. Ahhh.... and there is Orion coming up. What a night - could be a touch warmer, but hey, it really doesn't matter at times like these. With "My Baby" by Big Shark Jackson playing on the shuffle, I'm pedaling along, glad I'd stayed up for this one.

Unfortunately, the tandem wasn't having as stellar of a night; a third flat! Seeing that they weren't coming up behind us, everyone started to stop at Lone Elm -- after all, this is the spot where Nine-Toes and friend said they were going to peel off for home anyways, and we'd even shaken hands already and said our goodbyes, but as they stopped, I felt compelled to also - everyone was looking back up the road, watching for the extremely bright HID lights that the tandem and Trek-Dave had running. We weren't seeing them again.... ugh. Finally, there they were ... whew! At least they were still moving, but upon arrival they announced that technically they were already working on the fourth flat -- a quick repair, and again by the time they reached us at Lone Elm it was going soft again. Nine-Toes offered his truck, and the tandem team accepted, turning us all loose for home - their ride was over. Still, they reiterated how good of a time they'd had, regardless - this was their longest night ride, and despite the flats it was a blast! It was hard to leave them on the roadside like that, but we knew they were in good hands with a ride home only minutes away.

Noah, myself, Badgerland and ... ugh, guy who's name I can't remember in the red and white jersey (Mike?) crud -- we continued east on 175th, arrived at US-169 again, and Noah and I were lucky enough to have been looking slightly upwards as a really bright green streak of a meteor blazed a trail across the sky from south to north. Amazing sight... lucky... Badger and Mike were making good time, but I was getting spent at this point -- tired physically and mentally, a long day and a long night, and a hard chase down attempt earlier, I was ready to be done, that's for sure! Noah and I made our way back to Murlen, north to the Price Chopper, and said our farewells to Badger and Mike, and then we made our separate ways homeward, Noah back to Olathe Medical Center (see his blog for details on that, from his report on this ride) and me back to mi casa. What a night! 1:00AM almost... I can't recall, but it was LATE.

I slept well that night, let me tell ya. Big changes came with the weather only a few hours later, and I woke the next morning to gale-force north winds, plummeting temps, and cloudy skies. What a change... but what luck we found. I couldn't have planned the weather portion better. The route? YEAH, I probably could have worked that out better, but it was still a good time.

Warmer weather, I'm hoping and looking towards 2009 for Dark Side Ride IV.
Always a treat, if you weren't a part of this one, you should consider coming out. It's a rare experience, indeed!

Thanks for checking in...

The first snow is coming to the forecast as I type this up -- it's late, and I can't sleep.... but this coming week may bring the first snow commute and then later, this coming weekend, is the 11th edition of the quest for the R-12 award... stay tuned!

November 27, 2008

December 6th - Permanent - 203 km

I'm looking to get #11 over with before winter arrives!
Any RUSA member that would like to join in, please email me ASAP so we can get you registered!

5:00 AM start time -
Olathe, KS to Weston, MO and back.


** ALSO, I am looking to build an email-blast list for these rides, to supplement these blog announcements - if you're interested in being on it, shoot me an email.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a good holiday, everyone!

November 24, 2008

R-12, pt.10 - Horseshoes and Hand-Grenades

The sun has finally come up, and I'm SO happy to see its light - but the expected warmth I was waiting for was not coming. I couldn't feel its rays on my raw and numb face. There I was, standing - not moving - on Jingo Road near 367th street. I have just climbed over a 12 foot high dirt and rock mound where a bridge used to be. At least I didn't have to back-track to the highway from here. My right foot is now completely soaked with ice water from a miss-step just a few feet ago. My water bottles are completely frozen solid. I haven't had a drink in 20 miles, and I can feel it. My legs are dead hunks of meat hanging from my hips. I have 12.5 miles to go to the first control. It's 7:10 AM. The control closes at 7:56 AM. So far, I haven't been able to average more than 9.6 MPH since starting. I'm exhausted. I don't think I'm going to make it. Maybe this just isn't the day.



Let's begin our morning with a stupid mistake. Figuring things wouldn't be all THAT bad, I elected to "pull a March", and sleep a little teensy bit longer. Moron. So, I make it to the 7-Eleven start line and get my first receipt at 3:21 AM. I would REALLY be wanting that twenty minutes back eventually. Never in my life have I run the time checks SO close on a brevet or permanent. It's a bizarre turning point for me, albeit a frustrating one. Sure, self inflicted with the late start to some extent - it doesn't change the fact that I was riding MUCH slower than I have in recent memory. Let's talk about nutrition. You all saw the reasons my last ride attempt didn't go so well - so I ordered some Carboplex, and hoped for the best. I should have paid for next-day shipping, because it didn't arrive on time for this weekend. So, armed with Fig Newtons, some Hammer Gel, and a prayer - I set out. How bad could it be, right?

The starting temperature wasn't all that bad... 30ºF, hey -- warmer than they'd forecast! Alright! So, I dressed for the occasion - not too heavy, not too light, knowing it would warm into the upper 40's later. I love those conditions, and I can ride in the 45-65 degree temperature range ALL day. Love it! The promise of a strong south tailwind later in the day was also inviting, and I actually set out with a smile in my heart. But that wind... I turned the corner from the 7-Eleven, and was greeted with a pre-dawn onslaught of gale. COLD gale. There was a wet quality to the air, too, that made it feel a lot colder than 30 degrees, that's for sure. Off into the dark I rode. When the sun comes up, things will improve.
Something I keep forgetting about late-season permanents, however; the sun won't be up for a WHILE.

They say it's darkest before the dawn - that's an understatement. Riding solo isn't a problem for me - by simple matter of elimination, I find myself riding these events solo more than with groups. It's almost to the point where I'm dangerous in a paceline! I just never get the chance the often anymore! So, here I am again, alone with my thoughts. Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's REALLY bad. I have talked MYSELF out of a fair share of big rides before. The conditions were pushing me mentally towards another one of those. Along with being darkest before dawn, it stands to reason that it would also be COLDEST just before dawn. Also true. While I made my way south and east, away from the cushion of heat provided by streetlights, houses, the shielding effects of trees against the wind, and the icy cold emptiness of Kansas in late fall, it was clear - I should have paid more attention to the clock, the forecast, and my clothing. It was no longer 30 degrees, and while I didn't have a thermometer, I was certain of this. Icy crust was forming around the nozzles of my water bottles, and I could feel my beard stiffening. Deep inside, without the good, solid carbs I've been trained on and used to, I could feel my furnace faltering. I was comfortable - thanks to wool - but, MAN, I could not get it going. I couldn't chew my fig newtons fast enough, it seemed - and inevitably, I started to get REALLY sick of them, and the chewing. Still, I knew I needed the fuel.

I descend 175th street and turn onto Antioch --- FINALLY, I never thought I'd be so happy to see this first big monster hill of the day. Finally I can get this motor kick started! I climbed it... tough as usual, but not bad... and afterwards I kept the heartrate up by spinning at a high RPM, all the way to 191st street... and it didn't seem to work... MAN, c'mon!!! I made sure all my zippers were up, my ears covered... work! Move! But, that warm feeling of finally being warmed up, kicked on, ready to get the ride started -- it never seemed to get all the way there, and then the stomach, rather intestines, began to talk. Oh, for cryin' out loud....
199th street came, and there was that non-control Shell station by the highway. Might as well. It's 4:31 AM.... 4:31?!.... It's taken me an hour and ten minutes to come 11 miles?!? Good lord. Ok, time to get this party started.

After the kind of bathroom break that involves the amount of force normally reserved for gold-medal sprints and pulling trees out of the ground, I cleared the pipes. Ugh.....well, NOW I'm exhausted. I felt more like talking a nap than getting back on the bike. This is going SO well so far. Donut, coffee. Sit... and so I did. I sat and I ate my donut and drank my hot coffee and stared out the window into the night like someone that already had 400K under his belt for the day. I felt DEAD. Only thing to do.... get back on the bike. Even as I walked outside, my legs started knocking with deep shivers. Maybe the donut will help get the coals lit.

On to the lonely red blinking light at 199th and Metcalf, and a turn south again - back into the wind - which had gotten stronger. Now with even less to block the wind, and the temperature confirmed on a sign-board at 26ºF, I was officially on the coldest brevet or permanent I'd ever been on. Water bottles were now freshly recharged with liquid water - so let's get to work already! Metcalf rolls on, and on, and on..... there's 223rd....... dark.... there's 247th.... dark.... no cars. Cold. Here comes 259th.... 267th..... 279th! K-68! Louisburg, KS.... and that C-store that's never open when I start at 3:00 AM is OPEN? Legs fried... no push on the hills... and still can't seem to get the fire lit.... man, how much of this is mental?! PUSH! Ain't there..... more food? Okay....

I stop in, and there's the early morning crew. I grab a few things, more coffee, and pay -- it's 5:44 AM. Gravy..... it's now taken me an hour to go 10 miles. This wind is RIDICULOUS. This feeling of exhaustion is ridiculous. Even sitting here typing this up, I can't believe the time stamps I'm seeing on my receipts. It's dumb-founding. I've gone from 2003's performance of arriving at a control TOO EARLY TO CHECK IN, to running the slowest I've ever run a permanent, regardless of conditions.
I slug the coffee, and amaze the cashier with why I'm out here, what possessed me, and talk of that R-12 medal... which re-energizes me, simply in the telling. I have now said out loud WHY I'm out here. Time to go. More fresh water in the bottles, but like an idiot I haven't been drinking very much... I try to make up for it a little, but I instantly feel weird - like my stomach is too full. The bank thermometer reads 19ºF as I roll off. I wished I had ONE more layer, maybe that neck gaiter. Ugh. Push on. Hope that body heat comes on...

Unfortunately, until now the route has been relatively flat. The hills begin promptly after the southern end of Louisburg, as I was about to find out. This is good, because I think now HEAT will come to my innards. But, even pedaling on the first big downhill, I'm barely able to squeeze out 22 MPH. It's a mental hit - this wind.... Yeah, I'm exhausted, but the wind is a killer and it's demoralizing. There is nothing to look at in the darkness to distract from the endless PUSH required just to keep moving. Even the uphills don't quite light the furnace because I'm slowly losing my ability to push hard enough to get a pace going on the way up. There is no-one to talk with. There aren't even any animals scurrying across the road in the night to break up the monotony. This is torture... Earning this award? You bet your backside. At least I haven't turned around for home yet.

Ten miles later, I'm finally watching the sun come up at 7:10... I ignore the road-closed signs on Jingo Road, and advance down to what will "surely be something I can get around on a bike". Instead, I come face to face with a giant pile of rock and dirt. I dismount, shoulder the bike, and climb. I'm not back-tracking... not today... there isn't time... I had started turning into a clock watcher for the last couple of miles, wondering if my decision to turn back for home might soon be made FOR me. I couldn't remember what time the control at La Cygne closed! I've never had to worry before! But all the signs were not pointing in my favor. It was getting late.... After stumbling and putting my foot into a puddle of standing water, and breaking thru the thin layer of ice on its surface and getting a nice cold, wet foot as a result, I stopped for a few moments. Me, a dirt pile, no cars, and some thick-haired cows nearby - time for a nature break and a permanent card check. It was 7:11AM... ooop, 7:12.... La Cygne closes at 7:56.... whoa.... I let go of a huge sigh. DAMN. remembering the route, I knew that Jingo Road was another 9 miles of straight south into the headwind --- which had died a little with the first light of sun. After that, a long downhill into La Cygne -- but then it flattens out for about 3 miles? I couldn't remember. 12 miles, easy.... I've been struggling all morning so far, and I was going to have to pull off a 16 MPH miracle??!?! This is dumb. I'm turning around. There's another weekend in November... all is not lost.

F-THAT.

"I AM *NOT* DOING THIS AGAIN NEXT WEEKEND."

I stowed the card, mounted up with a groan of stiffness. This was gonna suck, but I'm not giving this up without a fight. If I wasn't awake before, I was now. Don't take my medal. DO WORK.

Trying hard not to blow my charge in the first couple of miles, I began to ramp up the RPMs and the push. A shot of Hammer Gel (oh, yeah... I have a flask of Hammer Gel in my back pocket!!!) and a good mouthful of spit to wash it down since my water bottles have had long been frozen, I lowered myself into the drops and shifted again. Be conservative.... consistent.... you don't have to finish the whole ride HERE... just keep it above 16 MPH.... don't worry... just keep it up. The first hill came, and I attacked... AH-HA!!!! Feel that??? There's some heat!!! WHOOOOO! Push a little more... don't let that speed drop... Man, my legs started to feel really heavy. The lack of water for the last dozen miles was starting to catch up. "Please don't cramp." Speed... 18.1mph on the flat... good work... keep it going. I started to mutter to myself...

"You will get this..."

"You've had worse.... PUSH."

"C'mon, man --- make it HURT!"

Another hill, stand, GET IT... Right when I started to feel that let-up, that feeling of hopelessness and the feeling of an empty tank, I was rejuvenated by the sight of the water tower rising over the next hill -- the water tower that marks the turn to K-152 and the final three miles to La Cygne. "You're gonna get this, close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades -- you either get this control, or you go home. What's it gonna be?" I shifted again, and made another stab at the last rise up and over the ridge that drops down into the big valley within which La Cygne lies. And there is the old, water-house style water tower that is right behind the Casey's that I NEED to get to.... in.... ACK! Three miles seemed like an endless stretch of road... but I could SEE it! It was 7:32? Barring a flat, major mechanical, exploding liver... I think I've got this!!! And, I did! I dismounted, tore into my seat bag, got the card, ran inside and got my numbers and receipt at 7:43 AM. THIRTEEN minutes to spare. When you've got 14 hours and 28 minutes to finish 217 kilometers, thirteen minutes is N O T H I N G.

Want that extra twenty minutes of sleep NOW, dude? Stupid.
Even with an on-time start, that's still too close for comfort.
Last time I rode this route I got here at something like an hour earlier.

No time to dwell, literally....
With each control, the time windows get a little wider to account for fatigue - which, let me tell you, was a BIG factor. But, I had to refuel and warm up a little. I gave myself the amount of time left for the control to close before I'd need to get moving again. I was cooked from the push, but I pulled it off. I got a cup of my favorite cheesy potato breakfast bites from the hot case (I love Casey's!), some coffee, and some --- evil... --- Gatorade. Now, simple sugars can be a death sentence, but after reading a recent article about osmolality with regards to gastric emptying and how certain sports drinks are really bad, there were also tips on how to make such evil concoctions not-so-evil in a pinch. Simply, dilution. So, I drank some straight water - finally thawing my frozen bottles -- and then a little Gatorade. Then I mixed a little solution of Gatorade and filled about 2/3rds of the bottle with water only. So, a very thin, light mix of Gatorade for just a touch of electrolytes and taste -- and hopefully enough sodium to lower the freezing point of the water to the current 25ºF that the temp had now climbed to. It was a trick that would prove to work later on in the route.

Now, more work was ahead. I figured, alright -- I've earned the first control the hard way. There is no giving up now. Get the next control, and once you turn around you'll have a tailwind - and you'll have this one in the bag! But first, the hilliest, steepest 21 miles in the area. Why did I make this route so hard? Again, no time to groan about it... time to get moving. No one is taking my award today. I can rest later. Twenty-one miles, and I have until 10:08 AM to get there... it's 8:08 AM... I have exactly two hours... okay, THAT's not bad... but the wind is coming up again, and the HILLS? Will this morning's torture take it's revenge while I'm on the hills???

Just go, man... just go.

The next section would test me. It would test me strategically, and it would test my stamina. Man, I tell you - I won't lament my condition. Yes, I've gained weight since 2003. Most guys in their mid-thirties do. I've been doing this cycling gig for a while, and I simply need to take it to the next level and shake things up, rethink my nutrition, to get back on track. My body is too "used-to" it. But, despite my condition TODAY, I carried a confidence in my head the entire time in this middle section, knowing that I COULD do it. I would NOT fail. I knew what needed to be done, and I executed. I feel now, with continued focus on nutrition and cross training, that WHEN (not if) I get back to my 2003 form, I will be stronger and faster than ever. Things like Tejas shouldn't be a problem. Bold statements, I know -- but it's part of envisioning success in the future. The first step is THINKING it. Next step - do it. For now, this overweight thirty-something has to haul his dumb butt 21 miles to Pleasanton over four of the nastiest hills within 30 miles of here. Shut up, and pedal.

The wind was back, and gusty this time. Some sections I was lucky to belt out ten MPH, but others were sheltered more than the other sections. This is lucky, because I only had to average 10 MPH to make the cut on this section - but it was apparent I was going to need just about every minute of time. I had no choice but to gear down and slowly take out the hills to conserve enough to manage struggling into the headwinds on the flats and slight downhills. This is where the mental game was coming into play. Attacking the hills would have bought me very little if I ended up wasted for the flats. Consequently, attacking too hard on the flats would have made any effort on the hills impossible. I can ride against a clock, you betcha. I may not be able to out-sprint the racers, or out-climb the racers... ok, you get the point; but, I can ride against a clock. This section came down to clock management. Riding on a caloric deficit and dehydration - it became about making the distance before the clock ran out, and possibly seeing if I could gain back a few minutes in the process. Pleasanton came, and the result was waiting -- 9:51 AM, I got my receipt. Dang... 17 minutes to spare. I'll freaking take it --- because NOW, FINALLY, it's a different ride. When I head out again, the wind will finally be on my side. And JUST in time, because it was howling out of the southwest now. I ache for some REAL food, something HOT - but it's too early for this joint to have the pizza ready, and there isn't even so much as a McDonalds in this place (don't get me wrong -- thank GAWD there is still someplace without a McDonalds within 100 miles of Olathe.) But, MAN, I tell you what -- those hashbrowns up in Weston, MO., from last month's ride -- they sounded REALLY good. At least last month I had TIME TO EAT THEM.

Now things were looking up. The clock was beginning to bend to my side of the game now, and the wind was at my back. Knowing this, and knowing that I had until 12:20 PM to get back to La Cygne from here, which was 8 minutes longer than I was allowed to get down here, I relaxed a little. I ate what I could, choked down more fig newtons from my back pocket -- but the c-store fare, nothing sounded good. There were ton's of things I could have tried -- but are the potential consequences WORTH it? What if I get sick on the roadside, or have horrible stomach cramps from, say, a Hostess pie? Should I risk it? The more I thought about it, the more I talked myself out of it. There wasn't any health-food in this joint, that was certain. Nuts? Nah. PB CRACKERS! AH-ha! That little gem planted by Spencer a couple days ago lit up in my head, and so I bought a couple packages of peanut butter crackers. Mmmmmm, salty, crispy... peanut-buttery.... protein... sodium... carbs... This is good. This is really good. Time to move...



The wind changes EVERYTHING. People that ride the Last Chance 1200K don't talk about the road, or the route, or the distance... they talk about the wind. This, if nothing else today, is good training. With every headwind comes a tailwind. That's why I love a good out-n-back route. Whew. Wind changes everything. I snap a few pictures, I smile, I look around, I sit up and let the wind push me. But, you know, the funny thing about the wind -- you still have to pedal. My legs are cooked. All the pushing, the constant, food-deprived, dehydrated pushing of the first 67 miles - well, the damage is done. Can't recover on the bike. Gotta hope for the best and keep moving. Just keep swimming. But, this section feels easier now - even the monster hills. One by one I check them off, again conserving to make the most of my situation. Finally back at La Cygne, the clock reads 11:49 AM --- MUCH better! Now things are turning around. I have 30 minutes to spare now... time for more food!

Sadly Casey's doesn't have any pizza ready either, which is a real heartache. I was looking forward to that. Real food, a reward of sorts. Instead, I down some chocolate milk, more coffee and a donut. Gross. It tastes sweet and delectable, but it's not sitting right already. More bathroom adventures await. This is a longer stop than I'd anticipated, but I enjoy the fact that with the tailwind helping and the rest of the route flatter than the last section, I should be able to make it back to Olathe in plenty of time before the route closes at 5:28 PM. I hang out, warm up inside, drink my coffee, and rest a spell - which entails pretty much just staring out the window into the open space, defocused, like someone that had ridden a 400K already --- kinda like this morning. Mentally, I was nearly as gone as my legs were.

My average wouldn't be stellar, nor would my cruising speed - but my spirits were higher now. The temperature on the bank thermometer was now up to 45º, and I was peeling off layers to avoid overheating. Two different rides now. This was feeling pretty good. I finished the rest of my business, and bid farewell to the Casey's once more. I think to myself 'if I never have to ride here again, I'll be happy.' Well, in hindsight, probably not; I love this town. I love this Casey's. I lifted my aching leg over the saddle once again, and headed east.

This time, Jingo Road was a quick study. I attacked, stood up on the saddle more, and started to put time back into the bank for once. I watched as the miles clicked by, and occasionally checking my speed to find with a smile 18, 19.4 MPH - good numbers, MUCH better numbers - and without a lot of effort. The hills were easier, due in large part to the fact that I was finally getting hydrated again. I was drinking a LOT, and was finally able to find an excuse for a roadside pit stop - a good sign that I was drinking plenty.

With US-69 behind me, I found comfort in knowing that Louisburg wasn't too far away, and before long I was counting down 311th street, 295th street, and finally 279th street. Time to stop again at the BP station, and refill. I was making quicker work of my water bottles, and feeling hydrated felt GOOD. What a turn-around! Still, there was no denying the fatigue in my legs. I was smoked. Hardcore. I was able to push, but only if there was a slight downhill, seriously. Anything else, I was on damage control, limping along on stored reserves and threads of muscle fiber. I checked the clock - 2:00 PM. Not bad.

The last leg, I enjoyed a lot. Traffic immediately after Louisburg is always a "treat", but today I didn't mind too much. Eventually things thinned out, and I enjoyed a lot of open sections without a lot of cars, and good scenic vistas. The sun was out, at least, and the wind was a blessing. Even with a turn to the west at 199th Street, it was nice that the cross wind was WARM. It might have even been 50ºF, but barely. The sun was already starting to advance WAY to the west, so the long shadows on Antioch began to invite the cold chills back to my shoulders - but I smiled, knowing I was almost done. I had watched the sun move all the way across the sky today, all from a bicycle seat. Weird. Hadn't done that since, well, the last 400K I rode. I started counting down the turns remaining... three turns.... two turns..... 175th Street came... one turn left!

MurLen came, finally open to traffic, and a lot less arduous than before with some clever grading. I was alive with spirit, smiling big at a rare green light at 159th Street, which I pedaled through at "top" speed. Finally, I could smell it -- even as close as 191st and Antioch, it didn't seem real yet, that I was actually going to finish this one. But now, with a half-mile to go, I started to holler out loud. THIS was tough. This was a hard day... and while it wasn't my WORST performance ever, it was especially difficult. Probably the hardest-earned 137 miles in recent memory. I was absolutely cooked. I got in, had my card signed. DONE.

The wind helped. Even with the fatigue I was feeling, I had still managed to make it back from Louisburg to Olathe and hour and thirty-four minutes faster than I'd made that same leg that morning.

So, will I sleep-in again? NO.
Will I run one of these on nothing but c-store food? NO.
Even though this last batch of SE didn't fit the bill, I need SOMEthing concentrated. I just don't eat enough on my own.

Going back to my realization of personal strength in these situations, I REALLY shouldn't be able to do this based on my current physical condition. But I did. I am strong enough, despite my decreased power-to-weight ratio. With the right conditioning and nutrition, I will get back to where I was. This is self-affirmation, nothing more - ya'll know I don't like to blow my own horn. I'm a HUGE believer in the notion that if *I* can do this, YOU can, too. This is why I constantly try to grow this sport by making these permanent rides open invitation. There are a lot of people out there that don't think they can do these things, and I'm here to tell you that you can if you TRY. I look like a chubby, out of place, club-rider at BEST, fred'ed-out in my reflective "it's hunting season and I'm a cyclist - please don't shoot me" vest; and I can do this. I feel pretty good that I've managed to get ten of these out of twelve so far, and that's a confidence booster I don't mind touting. It's not about the environment, or trying to elevate the bicycle to some higher place - this goal is about personal accomplishment and self-worth. This is something I can point to and say - "hey, I'm GOOD at this", and that makes the rest of life worth living. No matter how bad this morning was, on this ride, I am glad I pulled it off.

TWO TO GO.

December.... whooo. Might have to make a phone call or two.



November 22, 2008

success! 137.7 miles....not my WORST performance, but I have NEVER cut a closing time at a control so close as this morning. More 2 come...

November 19, 2008

Weekend is coming - time for November's edition!

'bout time, too. I'm not sure if I'll be seeing the UPS man anytime soon, for my fresh tub 'o Carboplex - but that might have been a panic move on my part, anyways. I'll need to replace carbs while ON the bike, certainly, when the longer brevets come around - but for this fairly flat 200K, I can take it easy and run off the c-stores and such. After weighing advice after last weekend, it's pretty clear that I can do this distance without any powdered miracle, but the distance is pretty close to where I'd draw the line on doing so. Granted, it's not the BEST thing for muscles and recovery, but it IS do-able. It's not like I'll be out there for 200+ miles... so I'll let it slide a little if the powder don't show up Friday.

OH, and as-of this writing, as a matter of record, registration for this weekend's perm is CLOSED.

It'll be a nice weekend, looks like - chilly, but essentially perfect for this time of year. I'll take it. All the lawn chores have been tucked away as of LAST weekend, so no worries to take along with me. Just wake up, toss back some chocolate milk at the 7-Eleven, and head south.

More to come!
How about this November weather today? Kansas = weird.

November 17, 2008

Opening things back up.

This weekend - 217km - Border Patrol route:
Olathe-Pleasanton-Olathe

If you're interested and are a RUSA member, let me know if you'd like to ride.

Please reply by Wednesday 3:59 PM - after that, no more entries can be accepted!

Carboplex is on the way on the UPS truck, and my spirits are high again.
Today was an EXCELLENT day, not too windy - chilly, but acceptable. This weekend's weather looks pretty good, too. Supposed to get cold tonight, but only one degree colder than the coldest it's been this season so far. Course, one could argue that the difference of one degree isn't that much... one could counter with the notion that it depends where you are on the thermometer. After all, the difference between 33 and 32 degrees is pretty significant if you ask water. But, I digress.

Time to earn that Thanksgiving feast that's coming up! It's almost time to fire up the open-flame propane-fired five gallon deep fryer and play "three point fake" with the frozen turkey. Whooooo! Neighbors love me!

Do I really need to say "don't try this at home"?

November 16, 2008

A much better day...

Today was a MUCH better day for a bike ride, like a 200K maybe... but I didn't do it. Whatever issues I was having yesterday seem to have extended into the evening hours, and it's just not looking good -- which, whew, to me is a relief. I really didn't want to take advantage of the 24-hour pass that I got and end up riding the 217K of the Border Patrol in today's weather. I know that sounds weird, but that totally eliminates the asterisk that I would have placed next to this weekend's ride completion, had I done it Sunday instead of Saturday. I've been in that situation before, up in Liberty with snow and cold rain at the start of a really tough 300K. So tough were the conditions that Bob Burns gave us the option of riding it Sunday instead... but, you know, I'm glad I did it Saturday, in the nasty weather. I'm proud that I finished that ride, and it was a finish that I needed, mentally. Wouldn't change a thing. If my stomach HAD improved, and I HAD ridden today, I think I would have almost felt guilty about it. So, I'm scheduled for November 22nd, this next Saturday, to try the Border Patrol route again. By then I'm sure the stomach issues will be resolved, and I'll have a clearer head about just doing the ride, and eating whatever will get the job done. Even if it wasn't the SE's fault, and it was some stomach bug, I still can't get the memory of that foul, foul taste and smell out of my mind. I won't be back to SE for a while.

More to come - coming up this week, just a solid run of commutes. Let's do it.

November 15, 2008

No More Miracles

I'm done with miracle powders and energy drinks for a while.
For the second time in two years.... ok, possibly the THIRD time in two years, my old standbys have failed me. This time, I'm not sure what the blame is - too long on the LBS shelf, dropped in shipping resulting in a bad seal... who knows. But even when I realized earlier this week that I was out of my usual cocktail, and the one I had bought to replace it (Perpetuem) had not worked so well for me, and I headed to my LBS to get a small tub to get me through the weekend's 217km suck-fest - even then when I got home and cracked the lid open, there was an odd smell. "Ok, maybe it's just been a while, maybe that's normal" ... maybe I didn't remember what it was supposed to smell like or something -- but Sustained Energy is not supposed to smell or taste like ANY-thing.
I still mixed it up, and divided the rest into baggies for the back pockets, as usual.
This morning, at 2:10 AM, I choked down the pre-ride bottle, mixed with Hammer Gel Espresso flavor for a little caffeine kick. I've been a vegetarian for a while now, so I can't really tell you what it tasted like...but the closest I can tell you is rotten fish, blended. YEAH - SERIOUSLY. Something was not right in the sustained nutrition world when they made this. I have no idea.... Unfortunately, bike bottles are capped well, and I didn't realize there was a funky taste until half of it was inside me, because that first gulp,gulp,gulp swallow was to assist in downing the morning vitamins. I didn't pre-smell it or anything, but when I pulled the bottle back, and swallowed, there was an undescribable finish to the flavor, almost metallic. I gagged, and blew it into the sink - vitamins and all came up shortly later in the aftermath. Later, I would gag again on the garage floor. Opening the bottles, each of the three I'd pre-mixed - one for pre-ride, two for the bicycle - had the same smell... the smell of ... again, like dead fish, or something backed up in a sewer line. "holy....." a little more comes up. Not good. Then cue the post evacuation chills. It's 2:40 am.

Ok, now... let's go outside. I kept a very cool head about today's weather. I knew what I was up against, and I knew these last three R-12 200k's were not going to be a cake walk. That's not what the R-12 is about. NW winds howling through the screen door at 25 MPH, check. Light snow. Check. I'd get down to Pleasanton, KS in record time, and it would take maybe three times longer to get back. Whatever. Bring it.
But, when something is laid out in my head so well, the total plan is only as strong as the weakest link. There are a lot of things I can safely take for granted -- taking ANY-thing for granted in this sport is dangerous, BUT... I have an excellent mechanical track record. I care for my bikes very well, and they are always ready for the event. My clothing choices can almost be charted on a graph. The route, completely memorized. And, yes, my fuel has always been taken for granted. Even when it stopped working at Tejas, at the 600K, I was able to MID RIDE change things up. At that point, I'm committed, and the goal is to finish what I'd begun. Carboplex stepped in a few times, and other times it was the fare at Casey's or some other C-store. But here, at home, having blown three times already, feeling dehydrated because of it, stomach rumbling - NOTHING sounded good. I just plain felt sick. I wasn't that there wasn't any push, or I was tired of drinking it -- no, this time I was not holding it down. That was a first.

The understanding that my entire fueling strategy for this ride, a ride that was going to be conditionally tough, was out the window - that was a huge hit, mentally. Fig Newtons? Casey's? What should I do? I haven't eaten breakfast now, the clock it ticking, do I risk riding on crap like donuts and junk? Can I make good choices? What if I bonk into that headwind on the way back? My brain was suddenly a-flood with doubts surrounding trying to figure out what the heck to do about this, this thing that I'd been able to take for granted for so long. Mix, drink, repeat... not even having to think, just ride and drink what's in the bottles. You know, someone in a better mental place than me at this hour would have been out there riding, and writing about how difficult the conditions were... I wasn't able to FIND that someone this morning. I drafted an email to the perm coordinator, and went to sleep it off.

I've been graciously granted a pass and I'll repeat tomorrow AM - and tomorrow's conditions are FAR better, which concerns me. Should I take it as a gift? Should I mark an asterisk next to November's 200K success? It's hard, in these pages, to know how to feel about such things - holding oneself accountable when the option of keeping ANY-one in the loop lies solely on my shoulders. I don't have to write about ANY of this - but the gentlemen's agreement, the ethos of RUSA, and my personal character all drive me to be honest. I think that I earned my stripes back in March, with the sleet and snow and rain for six hours, and then the NW headwind on the way back. I was prepared to do it again, to a slightly lesser extent. Something, though, stepped in - today wasn't right. My stomach certainly didn't think so. Hours later after sleeping of the chills, as I washed the rancid SE mixture down the sink and caught that smell again, I knew it was real - not mental, not something manufactured, that kept me in the house today. Freaking gross. Live to ride another day. There is plenty of November left - and while the Border Patrol route is never easy, it will be slightly easier tomorrow. How I sleep with that is up to me.

It's not how hard or easy the ride was - it was that I did it at all that counts.

I'll keep that in mind - make myself some waffles in the morning, and realize that far stronger riders have survived longer, harder rides, on far less - without even ever having bought anything in powdered form. THINK DANNY. Re-hydration, and 24-hours of reflection, and I'll be back on the road tomorrow AM.

Stay tuned...

November 13, 2008

Character Building

Up next, a character-building 217km permanent on Saturday. It's shaping up to be one of those where I'll get to the turn-around in three hours, and then it will take ten to get back. Actually, I can't honeslty say that yet.... nor should I. Imaging is important; visualization. I'll write something up about it, I'm sure. Weather is always a variable, and I've indeed had worse. Time to rise above, and just ride.
Not even sure I'll bring along the bike computer - I may just clip the zip-ties and leave that mental barb behind. I know the route instinctively, no need to mark mileage or track my speed at this point in the year. The strategy - enjoy and conserve on the way down, enjoy the strong tailwind and the warmth it will bring, saving me from the colder pre-dawn air. On the way back, take it easy on the way back to La Cygne, enjoy a semi-tailwind on K-152, then fight on Jingo Road, US-69 and Metcalf. Fight like mad on any northbound, flat stretch of road (ok, most of the route is that way) Fuel smart. Hydrate.

After all, it will be dry.... not something I can say for the beginning of this week!

Here's a shot from earlier this week, courtesy Crowbar.

November 10, 2008

Cold rain in town

It's my "favorite" weather for commuting and riding in general.  After acclimating pretty quickly late last month, this seems almost to oeasy -- until it rains.  Thick, fat, everything-is-flipping-COLD, rain.  It wasn't so bad this morning, except for the east headwind in the morning, and I'm out of coffee at the house.  I tell ya, that makes all the difference:  a hot cup at easy reach, it speeds away the chills and brings a warm smile to my midsection as it trickles down into my gut - and then, seemingly, into my legs.  Lately, I haven't had that comfort.  Man, that stinks:  I gotta get to the store, stat.  
Tomorrow, it will be tougher as I'll be starting out into the cold rain, which will proably stick around until afternoon at least.  It's wool time!

Permanent this weekend, and I'm pleased to see the forecast shaping up a little.  After these first three days riding to work, this weekend will be cake.  Partly sunny skies!  Upper 40's!  Dry!  I'm trying to ignore the NW headwind that I'll likely be facing on the return ... my only goal for this November edition is to finish the 217 kilometers.  No rush, enjoy the float down to Pleasanton - push back.  

I'm ready... probably more ready than I was in June, oddly.  
The cross training is helping, and while the scale doesn't agree QUITE yet, I'm feeling the differences from pushing it more at the fitness center lately.  No more complacency!  I feel results!  

More to come... Let's see how this rainy winter preview ride tomorrow goes...

((Good thoughts Noah's way, by the way, officially))

November 7, 2008

SNOW!

Well...... not much, certainly, but as I made my way in to work this morning, there it was. The first of the 08-09 season.... snow. Cuz rain don't fall that way. Heeeyyeeeellll.

Anyways, there you have it.

Man, I've been EXCEPTIONALLY busy these last two weeks. I've added two more job functions to my resume at work (job#1), and things have been a little hairy. I'm tired.

So, I've decided I can make this a lot easier on myself: Daily commute updates, with the ancient Chinese secret:

Monday:
The last nice fall day
I saw the sun, and it warmed
Too bad it won't last.

Tuesday:
Perhaps one more day
loving the nice fall weather
clouds are coming in

Wednesday:
the rains came today
running late, made home on time
Fast, wet, and tired

Thursday:
Advil, and late rise
I glumly grab the car keys
Perhaps tomorrow

Friday......

November 6, 2008

Next Permanent - South Side Randonneurs!


registration closed

Ok, ya'll: the next permanent ride is....

Saturday, November 15th, 3:00 AM start.

Route: Free-State Border Patrol, 217km.

This one may be cold AND wet - fenders recommended, good lights required.
RUSA membership required - visit http://www.rusa.org/ for details, rules.

Please email BEFORE Tuesday 11/11 if you wish to participate, so I can get you a waiver and entry information. Late entries, per RUSA rules, can't be accepted.

For an idea on how this might go if the "wintry mix" forecast holds, read this
Misery loves company - I'd love to have ya along!

Album cover of the Week



Good listen, too.

November 4, 2008

November 2, 2008

Coming soon - ride report from the Dark Side... haven't forgotten, just been busy. Also, next permanent is set for Sat. Nov. 15th!