February 24, 2014

Five Years Gone

It's turned out to be a far more active and interesting winter than I'd planned on.  Instead of, like years past, wallowing in the seasonal duldrums - well, okay, maybe some of that has been happening, and that's natural - I've been stepping back, having productive discussions with myself and friends, and have kept commuting at arms-length, as opposed to constantly feeling guilty about not doing it.  Combined with a sharper mental outlook on things, I seem to have maintained focused and have held my head a little higher lately.  This is all good news -- and since most of you read this blog for the CYCLING, I won't go into tiresome details here.  I'll save that for when you .....

(drumroll, please)

Come out this spring for KCUC's brevet series!

No, really.... we even have a few 100km rides this year!  Two-hundred-too-much?  We hear ya... come out for our metric rides!  
KCBrevets.blogspot.com   Do it.

(shameless plug complete)

...and share a few miles with me, perhaps.  To date, however - despite it sounding a lot like history-repeating - I have managed to get to my lowest personal weight since January of 2012, I have turned the occasional cross-training into an actual

February 22, 2014

Feed-Reader Demons Vanquished

  Order has been restored... and, as a result, some of you will be enjoying (regretting) your Saturday morning coffee and feedreader session with a healthy dose of c'Dude posts dating back to early November, despite the posting dates appearing to have all occurred this AM.  So, it looks like I've been busy.  You're welcome.  

After finding the issues, it's also come to my attention that I've been pushing the boundaries of ye-olde Atom and XML feed limits, and adding header tags that I shouldn't have been... non-traditional punctuation, weirdly linking to videos, stuff like that.  That's all been debugged, and I've also optimized the feed itself with feedburner's help - so, now it ought to work with a much wider variety of readers.  Part of that process involved limiting the maximum number of feed posts to about 20, to avoid loading and syncing issues . . . so, if you're looking for any posts older than roughly the last 20, please visit the commuterDude.com page itself.  I appreciate it!

Finally - with great apologies - there are SIX of you out there whom had (through no fault of your own) subscribed to an auto-generated feedburner overflow URI (sorry if this is too jargony) -- so, you may have suddenly noticed your feed has either disappeared, or has stopped updating.  Circularly, since you were reading offline, you likely won't get THIS post... but, maybe you'll notice a lack of updates, and you'll find this post eventually.  My apologies... not sure how it happened, but having two URIs fighting against each other had been part of the issue, so I had to delete the smaller one.  If you re-subscribe, you should be in good shape.  

Okay - business aside, back to work on the Knob Noster ride report!  

Thanks for reading, as always -- now, go ride!

February 20, 2014

Feed reader issues?

It has come to my attention that Feedly, a popular feed reader for Android and Apple in the wake of the old Google Reader, hasn't updated any posts for this site since the Mighty Peculiar post back in November.  I'm looking onto a solution, as its likely a known issue.  Of course, if you're using Feedly, you won't see this anyways.  Aw, heck.

Stay tuned . . .

February 17, 2014

Knob Noster goes to eleven!

Wrapped up the ride today at about 7:22pm, just a smidge over 12 hours; but, that's not bad considering Terry and I took a side trip to Whiteman AFB east of Warrensburg, and worked against a headwind for most of the return trip.  I'll have to look back at my time from 2009, the last time I rode this route, but - the Biggest win for me today was personal vindication on Hammond Road's monster "wall" of a hill.

  I honestly expected that I had  grossly overrated this hill five years ago, the byproduct of having to walk it.  The real reason for walking it was likely buried in dehydration, malnutrition, body weight, lack of training, wrong technique...whatever.  Returning to the Knob Noster route, though, has reminded me that these hills in rural Missouri are still pretty serious... But not impossible.  Don't sell yourself short, as I had.  You should ride this route, because I'd forgotten how scenic and awesome it really is.  That said, bring your legs - the first and last 7 miles are a test, and really, a compact or a triple is a good idea if you want to salvage anything resembling cadence.  With my 39x27 maximum climbing gear, I had to grunt and zig-zag the grade a couple times to prevent wheel lift and traction issues... but I made it up without unclipping.  Yeesssss!!

The rest of the route is fine; it really is just one, single, solitary hill on Hammond Rd. that will awaken the senses and challenge the spirit... But do not let it stop you.  If you walk, you walk.  My biggest failing, perhaps, was not allowing myself to be okay with that fact.  I chose to make it a vendetta, and while I'm happy to have slain my own personal dragon today, I tend to carry chips on my shoulders which really shouldn't be there in the first place.  The whole vengeful drama is over.  It's weird, because I feel more relaxed about my riding suddenly.  Accomplishment does that.

Now... What next?

The usual ride report and photos to come!  Stay tuned!

February 16, 2014

The Dude Garage - simple projects for the OCD randonneur

Not sure this will become a regular feature, but it HAS crossed my mind -- so, occasionally, you might see this kind of thing pop up now and again... it's...

Projects for the OCD-afflicted randonneur, from the Dude's Garage!  (yea...)

So, let's start with the latest advancement in rando-science, the OCD-headlight hat / koozie for the safety-conscious / beercan anti-ejection sling:

Once upon a December dreary, I bought a koozie - not thinking clearly - from Casey's it came, with intentions, best:  to keep my bottles from freezing, but the plan failed the test...

TADA!  Yeah, I'm a flippin poet, and you didn't even know it.  Sir Alfred Lloyd Dude, esquire.

Most randonneurs, despite the wide array of terrific LED battery headlights now available, still insist on the ease of use and endless power provided by a generator headlight system.  Most lights, therein, tend to be mounted low - typically to the front fork, or to a front rack.  The result creates a nicely integrated package, ready for endless miles of night riding or commuting.  That's where the genius of the following idea stops for most riders, however - unless you find yourself in my particular situation.  If you have a pickup truck, this is useless.  If you have a minivan or SUV, and can transport your

February 10, 2014

History repeating

 In preparation for my mostly-mental assault against the Knob Noster permanent route next Monday, I took to re-reading my old post from 2009 (available in the archives link on this page), to see how things went, to see if I could spot any preoccupations, equipment differences, changes in approach - and I was surprised at myself.  Not only does history repeat, apparently, I have some serious issues with my memory.  

First, the timing -- at the time I had just finished my first R-12, and had been set on continuing it; at the end of that ride, however, I had sincere doubts about the future of my long distance riding, period.  The post doesn't really reflect this, but I remember how I'd felt.  Tired, grumpy, hacked off by flats and stumped by a local hill, and frazzled by the last few miles of traffic that I'd managed to time perfectly with that evening's rush hour.  I'd also been a month deep into a personal weight loss quest, and had been curious about how the lost of 10-12 lbs. would have me fare out there, that day.  

Today, five years later - same bike, largely the same equipment ( I have no notes in that post about tires, but I'm fairly certain I'd been running the same old Paselas ) and the exact same weight concerns.  While I'd like to think THIS time around might go differently, I'll not be a bit surprised if I find my finishing time and rolling

February 8, 2014

Going Through the Motions

I'm at a loss for words for this latest ride, and I'm not entirely sure why.  I've uploaded photos, and have let the days slip by, letting the memories arrange and steep inside the cauldron of roiling thoughts and bubbling movie quotes and song lyrics... yet, nothing.  Was the ride so dull?  Has randonneuring become so pedestrian?  Perhaps something else is happening... a quieting of the mind, real relaxation, or successfully zoning-out and just riding?  I've no idea.  None.  

Out of the ashtray... into the ashtray...

January has come and is gone, and the theme of wandering ride date remains in place from December.  Plans, yielding to broken plans.  Cards in hand.... now what?  Forecast watching.
Bitter cold, repeating.

In brilliant red, the Border Patrol route cards sit and wait to be used.  Socks and pajama-pants optional.

Perhaps this is the new approach to winter.  I don't