Monday, September 29, 2008

Autumn is Coming

Saturday morning was beautiful with temps in the mid 50's and no windw to speak of. I decided to get in a 20 mile ride (the route that I was trying to get doen the week before Earthride when the weather ((and Gary)) wouldn't cooperate with me). This time we got it done however.

I've resigned myself to now trying to make sure that I ride through Lakeside park when I do these early morning jaunts around town. There is something about riding through there, especially this time of year with the leaves begining to turn, that is very calming and peaceful. Here's a shot from the harbor of the lighthouse that I got from another website. This would have been my view on Saturday morning had I rode through about an hour later (and if Gary was able to float as this was taken from a boat).

So I decided that Sunday morning, I would actually bring my camera along and shoot some pics in Lakeside Park. Well, once I got out into any kind of open area, I realized how much cooler it was out than Saturday morning. The wind was coming out of the north at probably 10 mph. Add that to the temps already in the low 50's and I and I was feeling it. By the time I got to Lakeside, I could really tell how that wind was blowing , and I tried to take a picture, in the dark, from the lighthouse looking at the opposite side of the harbor, where the waves were crashing against the rocks. I'm not a great photographer, and my camera isn't the best, but I think this give you a little bit of an idea.
So after seeing the waves, and feeling the wind, I think mother nature is hinting that fall has set in, and not far behind that, winter. I guess I better get some new long-johns if I plan to keep riding year round.
I appologize if anyone that reads this is inclined to cheer for the New York Mets, but here in Wisconsin, we can't help but be happy that they tanked in September again so the Brewers could get into the plyoffs fro the first time in 26 years. Go Brew Crew!!!!!
Pedal through it

Monday, September 22, 2008

Earth Ride '08

Well, Maywood Earth Ride ,08 has come and gone. What a great day! What a great ride! So now you'll have to sit through pictures and stories. Get the popcorn going.

Met up with Jonny K around 8:00. Rode down to the starting line where they had bike a station set up for bike repairs (luckily neither one of us needed any). We were greeted by a giant racoon (at least I thinik it was a racoon), evidently the Maywood mascot. Here's a shot of Jonny K and I with our new fuzzy friend.

We proceeded into the main building at Maywood, which by the way is a beautiful structure, to have a little continental breakfast. They put on a real nice spread with fresh fruit, bakery, energy bars, (and gels - yuk!). We both had our first experience with energy gels. Taste like dung - but boy did that give me a kick in rear at the beginning of the ride.

After we had our breakfast, we were walking back to the bikes when I saw a familiar face. I had to do a double take as he looked a little different but the face was unmistakeable. A friend of mine from years past and his wife were doing the race with two other people and being billed as "Team Lasky".

I was nice to see Tiny and Jenny again. Now that I know they're into this sorta thing, maybe we'll see more of each other at other rides. Ah, yes - bicycling - bringing people together. By the way, the way congrats to both Tiny & Jenny as they have both visibly lost weight and look great. Tiny shared with me he's dropped 138 lbs. Keep it up guys! Hopefully I'll join you in the weight loss column now that I'm "back in business".

Well, now it's time to start the ride. Mass start, being led out by our "fuzzy friend". I give that dude alot of credit for wearing that coon outfit all day in 75-80 degree temps. Being it was my first official "ride", I wasn't sure what to expect. Started a little slow for my taste (especially after that power gel). Once we got out of Maywood and we broke away from the "peloton" so to speak, it was a great ride.

Jonny K says O-tay

At the starting line.

I had a God awful, incesant, clicking about 7-8 miles into the ride. Neither myself, nor Jonny K could figure out what it was. We stopped at Whitetail Bowhunters Sportsman's Club for a rest stop. I messed with the gear rings a bit, and we never really heard the clicking again after that. I think Gary needs a tune up.

Whitetail Bowhunters Rest Stop

From here on out it was smooth sailing. Some nice down hill runs that we were able to top out at 24 mph. Tiny caught up to us again right at the end as we crossed into the Maywood drive way to the Sheboygan North High School Cheerleaders cheering every rider to the finish.

A very nice lunch was put out for all the riders. We had a sub and a bowl of soup. They did have courtesy massages, but I took Jonny's advice and thought better of it.

My thanks to all of the people and companies that made it possible for me to ride via the pledges they donated. I also have to give kudos to Maywood for puting ona great ride. And thanks to all the volunteers that gave of their time handing out snacks or manning th SAG vehicles. Everyone was exceptional. That's all for now.

Pedal through it.


Monday, September 15, 2008

This Sucks!

Alright, with Earth Ride '08 less than 1 week away now, I figured I'd get two nice 20 mile rides in this weekend to finish my training for the 25 miler on Saturday. Oh no, it can never be that easy can it?

Saturday 09/13/08

Alarm goes off at 3:45 A.M. I proceed to the little boys room to empty the tank. I look out the window and see dry ground. I begin to gear up. Go down stairs. Look out the window and see wet ground. Turn on the weather channel. No local forcasts as they are covering hurricane Ike pounding the tar out of Houston. Check local channels. Too early for them to have any weather or news on and they are all broadcasting paid advertising. 4:30 A.M. Finally see local radar. It's going to be raining (and hard) for a while. Wife needs to get up for work in 1.5 hours and I need to be back to be with Trail Pup (our 8 month old daughter). I resign this morning to going to the grocery store at 5:00 A.M. - by the way it stopped raining at like 7:00 P.M. Total mileage - 0

Sunday 09/14/08

Alarm goes off at 3:45 A.M. I proceed to the little boys room to empty the tank. I look out the window and see dry ground. I begin to gear up. Go down staris. Look out the window and see dry ground. Sweet. I'm on the road at 3:54 A.M. Plenty of time to get in 20 miles or so and still be back to do my monthly ushering duties at church. 4:18 A.M. I shift to the "big schprocket" and the chain comes off. No problem. Put chain back on. Keep moving. 4:25 A.M. Prairie Trail southern trail head. I shift again. Chain comes off. Wraps around the bottom bracket shell. Don't ask me how this one happened. All I know is it's dark and the only tools I have are my bare hands. Flip Gary upside down on the trail. Remove the back wheel (thank God for quick realease). Long story short - 20 minutes later, Gary's back together and I'm rolling again. No chance now of getting the 20 miles in. I'd have to make some quick route adjustments. I ended cutting out riding into Taychedah and clipping the "Piggly Wiggly Loop" out of the ride. I did ride through Lakeside Park for the first time on a bike. I wish I'd had my camera along cuz there were some nice early morning shots. Total mileage - 16. Trail Dog ticker up to 126 (should have been 150).

So next week is the Earth Ride. I should be ok with 1-25 mile ride. Looks to be a gorgeous day from what they're saying right now any way. Post Earth Ride. I did start to pick up some cold weather gear. I don't think cold temps are going to hang Gary up for the winter, but the first heavy snows may (at least for road riding - I'll have to drive to the trail heads, unless I get one of those Surley "Pugsley"s that our Alaskan friends are riding). Doing an MTB racing clinic on 10/11/08 and hopefully getting some Singletrack in with Scotty on 10/19/08. That will be my next challenge. Till then.

Just pedal through it


Thursday, September 11, 2008


Sometimes, the battles that are fought within are the hardest ones to win. As I sit and look through some pictures of one of the latest houses that I designed (those of you that know me know I make my living as an architectural designer), that conflicting feeling is starting to rear it's ugly head again.

On one hand, I feed my family by designing new homes and light commercial structures (not the most lucrative career, but only I'm looking to take what I need from this world). I like designing. I think I'm pretty good at it (been doing it for 14 years). Aside from retail and factory work, it's the only work I know. It's fun getting to talk to people from around the country and sometimes getting to go see the houses.

On the other hand, I feed my spirit and soul while enjoying the beauty of nature by biking, scuba diving, hiking, running, or just sitting and watching. I have a deep seeded belief that this state, this country, this WORLD, is being developed way to quickly. I can't help but think that maybe some of the older homes in populated areas can be refurbished and remodeled and keep some of the outlying areas for farmland, parks, or recreational trails. I want my daughter to be able to enjoy biking as much as her mother and I do. Maybe I'm getting too worked up over nothing, but when in the 10 years that I've lived in the city I live in, I've seen the city limits stretch out 5 miles in some directions, it makes me think. Is that just progress? Then I look and see some great old houses that have been standing for 100 years standing vaccant, while 20 new houses are being built in an area where just last year I saw wildlife. It's almost heartbreaking in some aspects. Maybe I'm just too "old school". Ok, I'm done venting for today. But the battle rages on.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Earth Ride '08 Training #2

Great riding weekend! I craked the 100 mile mark for the season at around 4:45 A.M. yesterday morning(Trail Dog tracker up to 110). I know it's not much, but it's alot for me. Got (2) 15 mile rides in on Saturday and Sunday mornings. It was definately my gear working that screwed me up last weekend. I talked with Jonny K about it durring the week and decided that I probably was not in the gear that I should have been, thus causing me to work way too hard, and burn out way too soon. What a difference a gear makes! Upped my average speed and my max speed. One weekend left of training, and then comes the ride. Jonny K and I leave at 9:00 A.M. to complete the 25 mile course (I'll get some photos for posting).

Also, I wore my helmet for the first time this weekend on both rides. It's a requirement for the Earth Ride so I figured I'd better get used to it. It's not as bad as I thought (other than it makes me look like I've got a forehead the size of a drive-in movie screen).

After almost 10 years of seeing limited action, the batteries in my cat-eye finally need to be changed. I don't think the next set of batteries is going to last nearly as long. I'm really liking the looks of the new Cannondale "Caffine", but I don't want to betray Gary just yet. He's been pretty good to me (unless someone out there has a compelling argument - I'm willing to listen).

Peace , Love, and Crabs


Friday, September 5, 2008

Ergon Grips?

Has anyone used or currently use any of the Ergon Grip products? I've seen them advertised in Magazines and on Fatty's blog. I understand the concept behind them, but was wondering if anyone had any "real world" experience that they could "share with the rest of the class". I tend to get numbness in my fingers after longer rides. Now I realize that is mostly due to the fact that I'm 6'-4" and weigh 280 lbs, and that my hands are supporting my entire upper body (which is the majority of my 280 lbs). It just stands to reason that a grip with a larger surface area would distribute my weight a little differently. Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts or comments, post away.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Training for Earth Ride '08

4:30 A.M. is a great time to ride a bike. My wife thinks I'm nuts for getting up that early, but what she doesn't understand yet is that at 4:30 A.M.; I own the road. Car traffic is extremely minimal, and human contact is nill (which sometimes is a good thing). I think my Pastor explains it best, "there are two kinds of people, those who get their batteries charged when they talk to other people, and those who get their batteries drained when they talk to other people." I'm definately the latter, so a nice 10 mile ride in the small hours is a great "re-charge". I upped the ante to 10 miles on all three days of the long weekend (which by the way takes the Trail Dog Tracker to 81). I was extremely disapointed on Sunday when I saw that my ride time increased by one minute. I shrugged it off because my max speed increased by 3 MPH, so I figured I just burned myself out too soon. I was then supremely disappointed on yesterday morning when I saw that my ride time increased by FIVE MINUTES from Saturday. Not sure the reason for this, but as a more "green" rider, I think it may have something to do with getting to know what gear to be in when just by the feel of the gear (cuz that early in the morning, I sure can't SEE what gear I'm in). Oh well, live and learn. Next weekend I think I'll up the ante again and try to get two 15 mile rides in (before my wife or daughter wake up). On a fun note, my 8 month old daughter and I were on the Jumbo-tron at Miller Park in Milwaukee, as the Brewers handed the game to the Mets (way to go Gagne). If any one has any training tips, thoughts, or words of profound wisdom on my methodology of training, please feel free to comment. Later.