June 28, 2014

Multi-Ride Late Spring Wrap-up Mega-Post! (w/ June 200k report!)

It's too big!
That's what SHE said.  huuhuhuhuhhuhuhhhhuhuhuh.

I couldn't possibly keep putting off what has now become ... let's see ... at least seven rides now that at least deserve some sort of mention, and probably three that would warrant full-on posts, lavish and thick with metaphor and literary magic (right, let's not get carried away).  I had planned on waiting until my shoulder surgery to sit down and click away to publish a ton of new updates and ride reports, but, I'm told - in this instance, as well as in regard to many other 'plans' I have - that I'm fooling myself:  in fact i just tried to type one handed with my right hand, and simply the drop in words per minute has me frustrated and uninspired.  So, typing is added to the stuff that I'll likely get a break from.  So be it...

Spring is here!  Spring is here!  Life is Skittles and life is beer!  
But, there's one thing that makes life sweet for me... 
and only one thing that makes Spring complete for me...  

Riding.  Apologies to Tom Lehrer.

While I love nature, I have the unfortunate distinction of not really being able to able to nurture and control it the way - say - a professional landscaper or gardener.  Animals are one thing... plants and I sometimes have a misunderstanding.  Still, I have a few hearty flora here and there courtesy my home's old residents and the magic of deep bulbs and perennial growth patterns.  When this beauty blooms, I know the good weather is finally here to stay.  

- Family Training - 
Late May, 2014

My son is quickly growing,

June 27, 2014

A Moment for Mark, please

​It is with particular sadness I write to report the loss of one of our own, Mr. Mark Jilka, a long-time participant with our randonneuring group.  Mark had been riding southbound on the shoulder of K-177, approximately 3 miles south of Manhattan, KS., when a vehicle - also travelling south - presumably left the lane and struck him from behind.  The internet news links below contain details - I take no pleasure in posting this information, however, we felt compelled to inform the cycling public and our members as soon as possible.  Please take a few moments to remember Mark.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.  

June 14, 2014

An Afternoon of Awesome - a May 100k

   The battle-cry of those recently released from their daily penance inside the confines of the office.  Whatterya doin' after work?

Mowin' the grass?  Hittin' the batting cages?  Dinner with the family?  It's one of those questions I'd used to answer the same way each time; when I'd be asked several years back what my plans were:  "I'm goin' on a bike ride."  

It's not as if my life after work doesn't have meaning!  That's not what I'm on about... the home, the wife, the kids... tertiary activities like riding a bike can't possibly compare.  But, the rare treat of a post-work bike ride?  That's pretty cool if one can swing it once in a while.  To some extent, I suppose the act of riding home from work counts as "a ride," but, I'm referring to those bonus miles - the non-commute miles.  Stuff like the Tuesday Night "Taco Ride"... things like that.  Showing up with bags still stuffed with work clothes, after-work rides take on a sort-of touristy feel that I really enjoy - a feeling of true independence from

June 13, 2014

2,200 Mile Update - Grand Bois 'Cerf' 700x28c

Well, where to begin . . . If you read this post back in mid-March, you might remember that I wasn't prepared to make any gigantic claims or "OMG THIS PHONE IS AMAZING!" proclamations; but, my initial impressions had been very positive with regards to Compass Bicycle's 'Grand Bois' tires:  essentially, a great idea realized, and produced for them by the experts at Panaracer in Japan.  The idea?  Well, it's nothing new - that's for certain:  I can remember tire manufacturers claiming their triumph over this goal since the first time I opened Bicycling Magazine many years back:  a tire with the convenience of a clincher and the ride of a tubular!  Pah.  Many a non-believer was born as a result of such bold claims and subsequent let-downs.  Try as they may have, either technology or manufacturing or the need for features which would satisfy the bulk of customers (like flat-protection) would ruin the ride quality, or speed, or handling - or all three.  Back to square one.  It seemed all along that someone not-so-keen on marketing, bottom-line and gimmickry needed to come along and attack this goal; yet, therein lay some trepidation, too - which I'll cover toward the end.

 In essence, it would take many, many pages to adequately describe the physics of what I'm feeling, why it does (or doesn't) work, and what's really happening in that scant cubic inch of rubber, woven poly/cotton and air separating me and my bicycle from the pavement underneath.  I won't

June 3, 2014

Our Flint Hills Friend

A quick addendum to the Aliceville Twister ride, I wasn't fast enough - nor do I have the right camera - to catch a decent shot of one of these little guys, so I went out and grabbed an open-license stock photo from the web instead.  Upon entering the Flint Hills area, we started to see a LOT of these guys flitting about, hard at work searching out the day's catch.  Fun to watch, colorful, clever, smart, and sorta curious about us... from a safe distance, of course.  The Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher is normally found a bit further south of here, but, we are indeed right on the northern fringes of their normal territory - and the hunting was good the day we rode.  Along with the usual aviary fare of red-winged blackbirds, Meadowlarks, barn swallows, and buntings, I found this character to be the most entertaining of the day.

Again, not my photographic work here... This file is licensed under the Creative Commons

June 1, 2014

The Aliceville Twister - The May 200K!

Mile 105.

The only sound came from the roar of the constant prairie winds in my ears, punctuated occasionally by the rush of a passing car or truck.  Peering out from under the lip of my helmet, the road continued to stretch toward the unbroken horizon ahead of me.  Steven was still a tiny yellowish blip on the radar... barely.  For a few milliseconds I thought to myself, this must be what the Last Chance 1200km ride feels like.  I'm immediately aware of how much more tired I'd likely be, had it really been that event unfolding under my wheels.  Another swig of water, and the pedaling continued for what seemed like hours.  I felt like I'd never reach the highway crossing.  This IS only 200-some kilometers, right?  Had I made a horrible mathematics error?  I don't remember any of this.  Where's Josh?  Where am *I*??  


Don't take this literally... but, from a mental standpoint this particular route is a great one to get lost in.  Compared to one of