Saturday, April 24, 2010

24 April 2010

A while back, I wrote about how I was pleased with the Michelin Lithion tire. I found them early in my riding and they are about all I have used. I got good service from them with lots of miles and few flats. However, a trusted friend that owns a local bike shop persuaded me to try something different, so I shall. It is the Continental Gatorskin, a 170tpi tire, promising high mileage and a bulletproof puncture resistance. I cleaned my nasty Roubaix today, and rewrapped the bars with leather and mounted the Gatorskins. Tomorrow morning, I'll get out before church and see how they roll.
Today is a stake in the ground; it is one month from today that the 2010 Assault on Mt. Mitchell will begin in Spartanburg, SC and proceed to the top of Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, the highest point east on the Mississippi River. This is my year and I hope to finish the ride in 9 to 10 hours, so I have to keep working and training. Part of my training will be the Tour de Cure next Saturday, and the day-to-day riding and climbing I do. "It's all uphill from here."
Be blessed, be safe.

Friday, April 23, 2010

23 April 2010

I've spent the past week in Alabama getting some training for work, and even though I had to be away from home, I didn't want to go the whole week without riding. I am amazed at how fast one can begin to decondition. Having an idea of some of the rough roads where I'd be (think Roubaix, the ride not the bike) I decided to take my mountain bike which has some great dual-terrain tires on it. Had a great week and learned a lot, but the minute we got out of class, I was kitting up and getting ready to roll.
The first two days I did 15 and 14 miles, keeping it close to "home." Then, I met a guy from Seattle who'd done his homework before coming to the area. He rides mountain bikes and had talked to someone about some trails on the other side of Bane's Gap, a mountain pass. Now, me being in training for the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, my ears perked up when I heard "mountains." You could see a range of small mountains from where we were staying and they were not so far away; 2.5 miles to the saddle at the top.
So, on my third day after class, I pulled my bike out only to find the front tire flat. I patched it, rode around till I was convinced it would hold (I suck at patching!), and took off for the mountain! It was a steady incline to get within a half mile, but man, when the road turned up, it went crazy! The final tenth of a mile or so went up to 21%!
But I made it over. Matter of fact, I hit 45 mph going down the other side, which was a 20% grade! That's a real gas on a mountain bike, tires whining the whole way! Got to the stop sign, turned around, and started climbing back up to go home; about a mile and a half into it, my patch work slowly let go. Had to walk in the last 3.5 miles. Didn't mind one bit, it was great weather and the landscape was incredible, saw several wild turkey hens out on their evening feed.
Made the trek to pick up a couple of tubes the next day and get the bike ready to roll Friday morning. I'd be leaving Alabama and heading for home and family, but wanted to get in one last ride in the hills. Headed back up Bane's Gap, but when I got to the top, instead of going over, I turned left onto a gravel fire road that climbed up and ran along the ridge. Many of the climbs were in the upper teen's (gradewise)with one at 21%! That kind of incline is one thing on the road, but a totally different beast on dusty sand and gravel. Got to the top as far as I could go, it was gated off, and turned around. Descending the rocks made me a bit nervous, not much traction; but when I turned to the pavement I let it roll! I tucked in tight and hit 45.2 mph downhill! What a rush! My wife hates to hear about me riding like this, that could have been a huge OWWWEE! The speed limit on that road was 25, so getting a speeding ticket might have actually been fun.
Anyways, had a great time in Alabama, glad to be home, and looking forward to the ADA Tour de Cure next Saturday. Raising funds to treat and research diabetes so a cure can be found. E-mail me if you'd like to make a contribution to this wonderful cause; I can be reached at , drop me a note and I'll reply with some details. Thanks!
Be blessed, be safe!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

17 April 2010

Taylor Feda was a beautiful young lady of 17 who dealt with ulcerative colitis until one day nearly three years ago; she stepped into the shower and suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism. A flower picked before she could truly bloom. Only God knows why.
To memorialize their daughter, Jim (an avid cyclist)and Michelin started a fundraiser bike ride, now in its third year. The monies raised are used to give scholarships to two Dutch Fork High School seniors who will attend a South Carolina college or university, one for nursing and the other for literature. What a cool way to let a person's memory live on!
I am happy to say that nearly 90 people turned out for today's ride, and a beautiful day it was. Clear and warm with lots of sunshine! And pollen toward the end, but the day was too much for that to ruin.
Besides contributing to what I feel is a very worthy cause, I had a great day on the bike; finished a metric in 3:35 at 17.8 mph! I know that's not special to a lot of cyclists, but here's the deal: I did this event two years ago and suffered! At the end of a very long ride, I was coming through the parking lot, which was by then nearly empty, with a lady that was older than me behind me. She sprinted on me! She passed me in the parking lot, making me the last to come in! Now, I know my limitations, and I know I am not going to beat these hammers that are out here, so not being first is a NON-ISSUE. But I HATE HATE HATE being the last one in.
I'm not bitter.
But I can be hard on myself. So, I work on it and try to make improvements where I can, such as losing weight, technique, strategy, etc. That's why the ride was special to me. That, and my family was there waiting for me when I rolled in. It was a good day.
I wanted to wait around a little while and see some other folks roll in, but had to go. I had a 3p meeting for a medical mission trip I am participating in this summer. I'll tell you more about that next time.
Be blessed, be safe.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

15 April 2010

Happy Tax Day! NOT!
Tapering for a ride on Saturday, so right now I just want to spin to keep the legs loose. So, when I needed to put my car in the shop for service, rather than have the wife pick me up, I put my mountain bike in the back, pulled it out at the dealership, and rode home. Wasn't a long ride, just a good spin.
Besides, I like having motorists honk at me like they own the road. Some of that road belongs to me, see first three words of this post! I wonder if leaving late for work or spending the whole trip on a cell phone will be worth the cost to someone's conscience for murdering an innocent, minding his/her own business bicyclist. Hmm?
Anyway, most of us cyclists have to drive cars too, so when we are, let's bless those we see pounding the pedals by being courteous and giving them lots of room.
Be blessed, be safe.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

14 April 2010

Good ride today, did some strength training. Went to my brother's house and got on the bikes, he on his single-speed, me on my Roubaix. I shifted to the same ratio as his SS and left it there, and we went to a hilly stretch of road near my sister's. Not allowing myself to grab a lower gear, I stayed in the saddle and muscled up the hills, where we would turn around and roll down and do it again. And again. And again. Great workout, need to do more as we prepare for Mt. Mitchell next month.
Of course, we had to follow this ride up by getting Dad and going to the Camden House of Pizza for some baked spaghetti!
Be blessed, be safe.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

10 April 2010

I'm pretty happy that the weather continues to warm; left home this morning at 9am and rode for nearly 7 hours in awesome sunshine! Did 103 miles, all the way around Lake Murray, with a dogleg over to Batesburg-Leesville just to get my full century in. With Mt. Mitchell only six weeks from this coming Monday, I want to get all the riding in that I can. After the Marquis de Sade two weeks ago, I have become convinced that I can get to the Parkway in time and will finish the ride, so now I'd like to improve on that time; I don't know, maybe I can do it in less than 10 hours...
In all honesty, I'll just be happy to finish it, to roll through that timer at the top will be satisfaction enough. Still, I am going to work on my look when I cross the line, maybe the "pistol" like Contador
or the "glasses" like Cavendish.
Actually, I'll probably end up crying like Haussler.
(Not to take away from that young man, I was excited for him when he won the stage and look forward to seeing him this year).Whataya think?
Be blessed, be safe.

Monday, April 5, 2010

5 April 2010

So glad that Spring has sprung! Got out yesterday early and rode for two hours, heading out today to get in a four hour ride! Of course, I desperately need to be doing some yard work, but that'll come. The growing excitement I have about cycling sometimes has me wishing I lived in a condo so I wouldn't have to mow, etc. Yard work is good too, though, for getting one outdoors to enjoy Creation and all of its beauty; without having to put up with anxious folks trying to operate a cell phone and a motor vehicle at the same time.
The best part of my day today will be when I return home though; it is my daughter's 9th birthday. At 11:45am, she will enter her last single-digit year. She is a wonderful girl, sweet and fiercely independent. That's how God wired her and I wouldn't have her any other way. Happy Birthday Hannah!
Let's go for a ride!
Be blessed, be safe.