Saturday, June 26, 2010

1 hour, 13 minutes, 26 seconds.

My goal was a PR for the Yutan TT course. I achieved that by roughly 2 minutes. I got 12th out of 12 for my age/category. I was six minutes behind #11. I'm in better shape than I was, but not in the shape I could be in.

I "programmed" my "cruise control" to keep my cadence between 95 and 105 rpm and my heart rate between 165 and 175 beats per minute. I found I can cover large amounts of ground within this range. I put tape over my MPH reading and set my heart rate monitor to show current and average heart rate.

The strategy during the hilly sections was to keep my cadence higher than normal (103+rpm) and heart rate low (<168), pushing small gears fast. The idea was to minimize downshifting so I wouldn't lose momentum getting in and out of my tuck. (A dedicated TT bike has shifters on the ends of the bar, right under your hands, a road bike with STI shifters has the shifters integrated into the brake levers, requiring one to shift their body to shift gears. I lack a dedicated TT bike.)

I tried employing the opposite strategy (slower than normal cadence while pushing harder gears) on the flat section where I wouldn't worry about getting out of the tuck, but the wind made that nearly impossible. It was like the course had a few extra hills to climb. I found my cadence "bogging" down a couple of times (one gust dropping my cadence to 73rpm while filling my legs with lactic acid), sapping my energy and killing my confidence. It wasn't so bad on the return trip.

I thought about hitting the gas when I saw the "Finish 100yards" sign. My legs decided otherwise.

Overall, I didn't feel as strong as I did in '08, but I didn't have mechanical troubles or forget my shoes.

Next year I get to race in the 35-44yo age group. It doesn't get any easier, the medal winners in most of the men's categories finish the course in under an hour.

I have my work cut out for me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Anxiety Attack

My start time is 9:32. My bib number is 196. I start eleventh out of 12 in the Cornhusker State Games Cat 5 Men's 18-34.

The overall roster looks bigger than the one for this year's Nebraska State Time Trial championship. The roster is bigger than last year's CSG! That's a win for competitive cycling in Nebraska.

I spent the evening prepping for this. I stopped at Joyride on the way home for some chain lube. I got home, ate dinner with the fam (PIZZA FRIDAY!) and then went in the back yard with my son who wanted to help wash my bike. He "washed" his little 16" bike with one of my brushes and some soapy water. My bike was dirty, it took 45 minutes to get it clean and quiet again.

I installed the rack on my car while my wife was scrubbing the boy and my daughter played Super Mario Brothers Wii. The three of them joined me out front to catch some fireflies and my only moment of relaxation. We let them go, put the kids to bed and I hopped in the shower. I needed it, it was sticky all day.

I threw my bike clothes in the washer, cleaned out my camelbak, packed a bag with tools, tubes, helmet and shoes and threw that in the car. I added my floor pump and a towel.

I ran to the store for some gatorade and a few other things. Mainly gatorade. I thought of chips, beer, and margarita mix, too. Strapping tape for the Millennium Falcon's rims (my not-racing bike's crank is labeled "Hyperdrive", and I installed compartments for smuggling, though I don't think I'm ever going to smuggle myself in them). Hey, while I'm here, I'll pick up some distilled water for mead making! Yep, better go get a real cart, this hand held basket ain't gonna do it.

I came home at about 11:15. So much for a good night's sleep. I took the clothes out of the washer and put them on the drying line in the basement.

I made a couple of PB&Js for the drive to Yutan, because they're tasty, they're portable, and they're loaded with carbs.

I'm currently eating, but I don't think it's because I'm hungry. I think I'm having a bit of an anxiety attack. Once I put the PB&Js away, I made myself a turkey and provalone sandwich, a side of chips and a bottle of Sam Adams.

Tomorrow's strategy is to fill the camelbak with ice and water, fill one water bottle with ice and another water bottle with water. I'll probably drink the gatorade with the sandwiches and then the water bottle during warm-ups.

After I've done some warming up and stretching, I'll drink the water that's melted off my ice in the other bottle and fill it with gatorade. Save it for the turn around.

Next is to drink the remaining gatorade for the "hole shot" at the beginning of the race. By this time it should be about 9:20. That gives me about 12 minutes to ramp the heart rate up to 65% of maximum just before the start by flying through Yutan in the big ring.

During the race, stay focused on the climbs, take care of hydration during the descents. I should have eaten enough that morning to take care of fuel.

Like I discovered last weekend, all I need to do for speed is to maintain a heart rate and a rhythm.

But before that, I need some shuteye.

15.6 commuting miles today.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hurt or Injured?

My left knee hurts. I'm icing it right now.

I blame having two different bikes with completely different setups and the same shoes. Both bikes have the same pedals, but the cranks are different, the not-road bike spreads the pedals further apart with a longer crank stroke than does the road bike.

I left after my wife and kids this morning. I normally leave before they do and as such never close the garage door. I got a mile and a half from home and didn't remember if I had closed the door. I was worried someone might leave with tools, electronics, bikes or my dog. (My dog is extremely happy to meet new people and would probably go home with whoever came in the door.) I high tailed it back home at full blast only to find I had closed it. I like to think I torqued my knee while sprinting down side roads like I was making a time-sensitive delivery.

I spent my ride home figuring out what I could do to alleviate the pressure from my knee, and slowly bumped up the effort. All is not lost: Sitting further back on my seat helps a great deal and I can push.

I might move it back a little. Not tonight though, I want to throw some homebrew bread in the oven.

17.21 miles today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Friday and Sunday

We have four seasons in Nebraska: Blizzard, Flood, Drought and Football. We're currently at the tail end of Flood. Kinda puts a damper on things, I didn't ride my bike today (Monday) because I had a sinking sensation in my gut that the ride was gonna be a messy one.


Friday wasn't a bad ride in to work, save for the dark clouds forming to the north. The weather poured out a little and then cleared up nicely.

I went outside after work and found my front tire had gone flat. I turned down three offers for rides home just because I wanted to use my patch kit. And then I found the hole.

I started worrying I wasn't going to make it home.

The hole was inside the tube, where it meets against the rim. My tube has 32 little pimples where the spoke nuts go. My Crosstrail Sport's rims have a somewhat deep section and there's quite a bit of room for the tube to grow into the holes where the spokes connect to the rim. My "rim strips" are nothing more than inner tube rubber, and there's a neat perforation in that particular rim strip that matches up perfectly with the hole in my tube. If I patch this one, which of those 31 other pimples will become the new hole?

I patched it up and made it home. I checked it out after dinner and found that the front tire was flat again. I need some strapping tape. Might as well put the "twentyniner wannabe" 700x45 tires back on it while I'm at it. Then it's gravel time.

14.08 miles.


I got up Sunday morning and made some pancakes for Father's day. I love pancakes so much I'll even make them on Father's day, even though I'm dad and could take the attitude that it's Father's day and I ain't doin shiat. Nah. I wanted pancakes. I wanted coffee. I wanted them now.

After consuming two pancakes with a liberal application of peanut butter and syrup while making funny faces at my kids, I took off for 30 fast miles to prep for next weekend's Cornhusker State Games.

The sun was shining when I was left, wind out of the southeast. I had a gentle breeze help me out for the first leg, then I turned south.

My goal on the in-town trails was to keep the heart rate at or below 75%. The wind was trying my patience.

I got to the highway and the game plan was some 6 minute intervals on the highway for my "out" portion, kick the heart rate up to 85% for six minutes (the last two minutes were going to be attempts at pushing 90%), let it drop down to 70% and then kick it back up again. I made it from Warlick to Roca Road (roughly 6 and a half miles with a very slight uphill gain) in 26 minutes with the wind in my face. I'll take it: half of it was at 9mph.

I turned around on the Roca Road overpass and saw the lightning. The dark ominous clouds. The possibility of cold rain, tornados, hail and other such nonsense I don't want to deal with made me say fuck it: start breathing and just go.

Breathing. I remembered how to breathe deeply on the bike. I didn't realize it until about 3 minutes into it, the large volumes of air coming out of my mouth was HOT.

Hot air coming from my mouth is not all that unusual, except the hot air coming out of my mouth Sunday morning was not accompanied by words. Heck, that volume of air coming from my mouth and nose was something I thought would never come back after more than a decade of applying nicotine and tar to the insides of my lungs.

All it took was the thought that perhaps I should have worn some ruby slippers with some black and white striped socks to make me breathe deeply again.
Fear of ending up like this is a great motivator to hurry the fuck up.

I had glanced down at my HRM and cyclecomputer and realized I had a rhythm between my legs and lungs that put a giant smile on my face.

It was like I had Locomotive Breath.

The Train Kept a Rollin all ride long.

I wasn't yet going off the rails of this Crazy Train.

I was on the Night Train, I guess I guess I guess I never learned...

I think you get the idea.

I got to the edge of town and the cold reality set in: it's not the steady application of power and gradual decline of precious glycogen that does you in during competition: it's the spikes of power and the subsequent sudden dips in blood glycogen levels that absolutely decimates you.

Bike trails are not conducive to putting down steady power at the levels I need to put them down at for time trial prep, that much is certain. I waste incredible amounts of energy trying to get in the zone only to have to hit the brakes. 

The clouds seemed to part a bit when I got back to town, but the lightning was starting to pick up. I got to Rock Island and Calvert Street and about crapped my pants at how close that lightning strike must have been: there was a flash off to my right and the crack of thunder came about half a second later. It left my ears ringing.

And then came the rain. Big old fat rain. And it was cold.

I had taken shelter with three other folks under the zoo entrance bridge, just south of 27th and Capitol Parkway. There was a fourth, but he hooked up some lights and took off ahead of us. 

Two of the remaining were runners who ditched the Cornhusker State Games triathlon because of the early morning rain leaving the streets wet and another was a cyclist slowly working his way back to where he was since his bypass. 

We had a chit chat for about 15 minutes about why the riding in the Cornhusker State Games triathlon that morning would have meant the possibility of a hospital visit and cholesterol medication before the rain slowed enough for me to venture out in it again.

A puddle on the trail just past the zoo bridge was deep enough where my feet spent a good portion of the pedal stroke under water. I was soaked before, but not like that!

Force of habit sent me down the Antelope Creek underpass at 27th and Capitol parkway, only to find the bike path was covered in several inches of rushing water. I backed up and took the "pedestrian" route over the surface streets. 

I took the Antelope creek trail back to Y street and noticed there were folks huddled under bridges all along the bike path back home. Some with pets on leashes, others with bicycles, all meeting new friends.

30.3 awesome miles.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Mighty Wind

My commute takes me through the middle of Lincoln, North-South. My car rarely sees the other side of 30mph. It wouldn't matter anyways: I'm going to get hung up at a minimum of four stoplights and sit motionless for at least 7 minutes.

On my ride home, just after the N street bridge on the Antelope Creek Trail, I got caught in a gust of wind and held on for dear life. It was like riding in Harlan's GTO after he hits the blower while they chase down the energy pulse in "My Science Project".

(My Science Project is one of the most under-rated 1980s sci-fi movies. Add it to your Netflix queue.)

My Cateye Strada said I maxed out at 31.3mph. I really don't like going that fast around pedestrians, but that was one opportunity I could not miss, I felt like I had made it from N street to Vine Street in the blink of an eye.

The usual 14.08 miles.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cornhusker State Games

My 2010 racing season is going to conclude with the Cornhusker State Games time trial out of Yutan. I have to do it. It's the last year I can enter the mens Cat5 18-34 event. Next year they put me out to pasture with the other 35-44 year olds.

I've participated in the last three men's Cat5 events under the impression that I would improve every year.


Let's look at my past 3 attempts at this race.

2007: 1h15m

I had started a new job in June of '07, and a company wide email circulated: my employer would pay for entries in the Cornhusker State Games. I had a late 1980s Cannondale road bike I had picked up secondhand in high school and had done some racing with (and failed miserably at). It was a great deal of fun to ride and I took it out on the highways every so often just to feel that wind.

I could get from the south Wal-Mart to Palmyra and back in one hour and ten minutes the weekend before the games.

And then I'd light up a Winston Light.

I entered the games, the participant pack came inter-office.

I had a monster nic fit as I lined up at the starting line, figuring the withdrawls would push me through. I finished in 1h15m, a distant 10m after the winner of the Cat5 mens 18-34.

I quit smoking that October. I was backing my car out of the driveway one morning, looked in the pack I had stashed in the door pocket and saw that I had 3 left and that I would need to go to the store and stopped myself: "WHY?"

Those were my last three cigarettes. (Well, there were a couple of times when a cig just sounded good with beer and I would slip, taste the stale ash in my mouth and wonder what I was thinking, etc. Now I just drink flavorful beer, flavors which would be ruined by cigarettes.)

2008: 1h31m

In late May 2008 I bought an '07 Specialized Allez Elite Double from Scheels. Total impulse purchase. My daughter was starting Tee Ball. She's a Lefty. They don't sell Lefty ball gloves at the Target by my house, but they have them at Scheel's near work.

I looked to the left when I walked in and remarked that they had bikes. Half expecting to see a collection of Schwinn and Pacific Cycle bikes, I took a look anyways. They have road bikes? Specialized? Really? This one is on sale? It's how little? I took it for a test ride. Whoa, my old Cannondale feels like riding a jackhammer by comparison!

I left without the bike but with the ball glove.

I came back that Friday and bought the bike.

July 2008, I had logged a couple hundred miles on my new toy, had quit smoking and was ready to take home a medal. I felt sooooooooooo good on that bike.

I got my tires aired up, took the bike off the back of the car, took my cargo shorts and sweatshirt off and looked in the car. I was horrified: I forgot my shoes. I was wearing a pair of running shoes. SPD pedals are tiny little things. If my feet weren't going to slip off, they were going to be numb. This was going to end badly.

I had decided that looking at my cyclecomputer's current speed would be a deterrent, so I left it off. I went and got some warmups done in downtown Yutan before taking off. My feet were wobbly, but I managed to find a bit of stride, but still had no confidence in my pedal stroke.

During the race I had regained some of my confidence as I eased it into the big ring and started climbing gears when the course turned flat. I maintained a slow cadence to keep my unclipped feet on the pedals. I felt that wind in my ears and the air filling my lungs. My legs felt as bad ass as AC/DC guitar riffs and more powerful than a Hennessey Viper. I was catching up to someone. Oh yeah!

Oh no: My front tire went flat just after the turnaround. My numb feet did not like making contact with the ground. My shaking hands fumbled with the front tire. Then my feet came back online and my hands went calm. I got it put back together about 7 minutes later.

I got back on the bike and felt deflated. Someone took the AC/DC out of my legs and put on some Air Supply, the Viper replaced with a 1987 Yugo. I simply told myself I wasn't coming home with a DNF: so just ride, take in the scenery, grab an ear of corn as a souvenir: there's plenty laying on the side of the road.

Nah, I don't need the corn.

The most embarassing moment came when it was time for medals to be awarded. The race started with 4 cat5 racers, but one of the other registered Cat5 racers "catted up" at a prior event, so his time was placed with the Cat4 racers, leaving me as the default bronze medalist. It's embarassing because the race marshall announced my time before everyone: in a time of one hour and 31 minutes, Tim Weis!

That's slower than 16mph for those of you keeping score at home.

I wish I had left the computer on the bike. I want to know how fast I was going when I was in the zone. I haven't gone that fast in a super long time.

2009: 1h21m

I had managed to let my diet turn to crap and didn't ride the bike as much: I had put on 19lbs in 11 months. I managed to lose 8 of them before the games and was just as fast on my "test ride" to Palmyra and back as I was in 2007, only I didn't smoke.

I started commuting semi-regularly on the bike that June.

I had been battling a runny nose that had turned into a slight fever the week leading up to the games. That morning I woke up with a fever of 101 and a terrible cough. I almost threw in the towel. Nope, I gotta do this. I loaded up on ibuprofen and coffee and hit the ground running.

I remembered my shoes.

There were a lot of entrants in 2009. There were 8 Cat5 racers. One broke a chain a few strokes in. Another rider showed up on an early 90s mountain bike equipped with fat tires and a profile bar. I'm pretty sure he crapped his pants when he saw the cat1/2 racers and their disc wheels and aero helmets.

I made it 3/4 of the way through the course when the ibuprofen wore off. I couldn't push it any more. I was dizzy.

The next day I had pinkeye and a fever of 102.3. Shoulda thrown in the towel.

2010: ?h??m

This winter was absolutely brutal, I had to do something that did not involve a wiimote or a monopoly board.

I did some indoor trainer group sessions at Joyride Bicycles in January and February. Local elite racer Sydney Brown yelled at a bunch of us for 8 Saturdays to keep our heads and cadences up. I learned a lot about interval training and maintaining good form. 

And then the ice and snow melted. I didn't "train" so much as "get out of the house to ride" as soon as the grass turned green and the trees started leafing. The lack of training discipline became blatantly obvious when I raced the Capitol City Criterium. I was content to ride 18 mph the whole time. I did one big sprint around another "straggler" on the penultimate lap, just to make sure I didn't come home with the DFL (Dead F----n' Last) prize.

I feel pretty good on the bike overall, I've put on more miles this year than I have in any prior year, but they're "commuting" miles. An auto racing equivalent is "training for the Indy 500 by driving an 18 wheeler cross country." I have one more weekend with which to prep.

2010 CSG game plan: I'm installing new inner tubes and taping over the mph readout of my cyclecomputer the night before the race. I don't need a flat and I don't want any idea of how fast I'm going until the race is done: I don't want distractions once I get in the zone but I still want to know my max speed.

I'm probably not going to come home with a medal, but I would be ecstatic finishing with a personal best of 1h14m (or faster) on June 26.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lunch Rush

My ride to work this morning was uneventful, though I felt like Travis "Taxi Driver" Bickle when I got up this morning.

No more apple fritters. No more bad food. No more flat bike trails. From now on, you commute via side streets with hills twice a day to build up muscle and put in 50 minutes on the indoor trainer every night to burn off fat. No more excuses. Every muscle must be tight.

I didn't take any of that advice. (I also didn't shave my hair into a mohawk or kill anyone, so there's a positive side to this.) I took the trails: I didn't want to be kept waiting for traffic if it started raining on me.

There is something awesome about escaping the office over lunch to get a ride in. Even more awesome is when it just finished raining and the resident smokers are standing under a shelter recommending that you to keep dry. Bah. It won't matter, I'm going to need a towel when I'm done anyways.

I threw some feelers in my facebook and google talk statuses for some riding buddies, but nobody said "I'm in", so I went alone and turned it into an intervals workout.

Why intervals? Commuting on Lincoln's trails is great, but it's led me down the path (no pun intended) of mediocrity. A good fix for this is a workout on the highways.

I got four 3-minute intervals at 85% max hr in during the 39 minutes in the saddle this noon hour.

Interval training involves pushing harder than normal for short periods of time and then lightening up for an equal amount of time and repeating. The goal is to raise your body's efficiency at a given level of effort, so the same effort results in more work accomplished.

Going 11-14mph on the highway during recovery periods is the toughest part. The only reason to go that slow during my rest periods is manufactured by my desire to improve my overall speed and stamina: I don't see two walkers walking side by side chit chatting about vacations they recently took while a hipster on a 1970s steel bike converted to a fixed gear and no brakes is barrelling down from the other direction and I have no choice but to squeeze a brake lever to make sure we're all upright when we pass.

No, only need to go that slow so my heart rate can drop back down to 70% of maximum within 3 minutes, only to ramp it back up to 85%.

 When I was done with my workout, I thought about how I rode that same stretch a whole lot faster last week when I just had fun with it, when I completely avoided my heart rate and just went with the flow. I felt like Luke Skywalker: Ben Kenobi was telling me to turn off my target computer and ride with The Force.

Instead I chose to listen to Han Solo: "ancient weapons and hokey religions are no match for a tuned cardiovascular system at your side."

I felt great after my little jaunt. I was slightly disappointed. Maybe I didn't push hard enough. And then it hit me at 2:15: my legs were on fire.

Mission: Accomplished.

My ride home was painful. What normally takes 20-22 minutes took 35. My legs still hurt as I type this tonight.

I'm driving tomorrow.

24.3 miles today.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Three useless factoids about bicycling.

This kinda reads like a car-hate post. It's not. I like cars. Wife and I have two of them, in fact.

I would rather ride a bike. This is a glimpse into what I think about while riding.

Did you know:

The automobile didn't pave the roads, the bicycle did.

There weren't many cars around in 1880. That's the year the Good Roads Movement got it's start.

Folks had bicycles. They wanted to ride them. They weren't content with riding on the sidewalks in front of shops or on horseshit covered cobblestone streets or even muddy backwaters that stunk to high hell every time it rained. 

Kinda like this, but all over the place.

Something had to be done, and the League of American Wheelmen worked to make it happen.

Still don't believe me? How about the father of the modern American road, Horatio Earle. He's the first Transportation Director for the State of Michigan. In his 1929 Autobiography, he states:

"I often hear now-a-days, the automobile instigated good roads; that the automobile is the parent of good roads. Well, the truth is, the bicycle is the father of the good roads movement in this country."

Think about that the next time you want to yell at a cyclist for adding 13 precious seconds to your commute by riding in the street.

Bicycles beat the pants off a Hybrid when it comes to efficiency.

A 175lb cyclist burns about 500 calories when travelling 15 miles in one hour.

Considering that a gallon of gasoline contains roughly 31,000 calories, it's safe to say that a bicycle gets about 900 miles to the gallon.
Switching from a Toyota Highlander to a Toyota Prius would cut your fuel consumption in half. For comparison, leaving the Prius in the driveway and taking a bicycle would slash your overall calorie consumption by 92%. 
Considering that almost all cars sold in America are most efficient at 65mph, it stands to reason you save even more fuel by cycling to the neighborhood park instead of driving half a mile at an average of 15mph. (To be fair, the Prius is most efficient at 5mph and below, when it drains the battery pack instead of burning gasoline.)
Cyclists have always been hated by non-cyclists.

A google search of the NYT's archives from the 1890s reveals endless articls about the SCORCHER: A Cyclist who rides fast and rides hard. The name Scorcher itself conjures up a vision of a dragon-man who burns everything in sight, caring not for the world around him.

When I first heard "Scorcher", I thought of Trogdor.

All kidding aside, pedaling recklessly through populated areas did, and still will result in death. The NYT was all too eager to point this out. Repeatedly. Some of them even dropped dead. Whatever sold the papers, I guess.
The articles about the Scorcher read like articles about teenagers and dangerous roads and fast cars. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dodged the rain.

We had a flash flood watch last night. It was supposed to rain a good bit today.

Fortunately neither happened. This afternoon's cloudless skies and upper 70s temps were awesome. Almost too awesome: the paths were so packed I couldn't pass walkers at some points.

It's nice to see I'm not the only one using the trails.

14.1 dry, shared miles.

Monday, June 7, 2010

To the gal driving the black Pontiac...

I've blogged about this before. 

I guess it bears repeating.

Rock Island is probably the most traveled trail in Lincoln. The intersection at Essex Road (the first street intersection north of Old Cheney) is a source of much frustration for me. Today I let it get the best of me.

To the gal driving the black Pontiac who stopped to wait for me at the bike trail/street intersection at Rock Island and Essex Road at about 5:15pm today: Sorry I flipped you off.

A word of advice: just drive. We cyclists are expected, nay REQUIRED to stop there. When motorists stop to wave me through, I feel like the universe is all out of whack.

I know you waved me through. I know you think you were being nice.

Just drive.

I was already waiting for the SUV coming from the right. There isn't enough room for your car, the SUV and my bicycle.

Just drive.

My hands were off the bars. My left foot was on the ground. I was expecting you to just drive.

There was a car pulling up behind you when I decided to leave. In an effort to keep them from getting angry with me and bicyclists in general, I pedaled through the intersection in front of you.

Maybe I should have reached over and grabbed the stop sign post. That's worked to diffuse these situations in the past with a laugh from both parties.

Maybe I shouldn't have given you my best impression of a "gangsta glare" as I passed. Maybe I should have listened to what you actually said as I pedaled away instead of just flipping you off.

I heard what you said after the fact. I realized then that I goofed and probably made us cyclists all look even more like jerks.

But I was legally obligated to stop at the street intersection. It's for everyone's safety that the cyclist stops. We are the slower traffic intersecting with a higher speed intersection.

So just drive.

Let me let you in on a little secret: We know you're there. We can hear you. I guarantee you that we see you before you see us.

If we didn't, your cars would be wearing us as hood ornaments.

And that would suck for both of us.

So just drive.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I didn't drive, so I can't do that... or can I?

Today I biked to work.

I learned from twitter that today is National Donut Day. In celebration, Lamar's Donuts was giving away free donuts. Too bad I didn't drive. I haven't had a donut in a long time, and one just sounds fantastic today. I'll have to remember to drive next year.

Wait. Since when do I need a car to score a free donut?

After wolfing down my lunch I pedaled on trails and a maze of residential streets and came upon road construction at 48th and Pioneers, leading to an empty parking lot in front of Lamar's.

No line.


And the lady behind the counter told me the truck just dropped off a fresh load, so my free donut was 30 minutes or less out of the fryer.

Double score.

I should quit while I'm ahead. Or not.

I was planning on going to Kirk's Brew tomorrow for some mead-making supplies. (I need to make mead for Mead Day. My supply of fermented honey is getting low.)

I had planned on taking the car.

I rode the bike for a donut over my lunch break, why cant I ride the bike for homebrew on the way home from work? It was only 3 more miles. I have a backpack and a small soft-sided lunch cooler with a half-melted ice pack to keep my gourmet yeast fresh for the ride home. I wasn't taking home heavy cans of malt extract or sacks of grains. This trip was for yeast, yeast nutrient, gypsum and some spices. About 1/2 pound of material total.

Just because I don't have my car doesn't mean I'm grounded.

23.9 ungrounded miles.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's bright, I forgot my sunglasses. Hit it.

I rode to work today on the trails.

Over lunch I decided to take a ride. I've often thought about doing this, today I just manned up and did it. I saved a route on ridewithgps a long time ago and pulled it up at 11 or so this morning and thought:

It's 10.2 miles from work to Saltillo Road and back. I am about to eat a frozen Stromboli and drink some water. It's bright. I forgot my sunglasses. Hit it.

I rode it in 35 minutes and some change. Average speed of 17.8mph, max speed of 31.7mph. I also discovered that time trial bars are very unstable at 25mph. I need to get more experience on them.

I very much prefer to ride on highway shoulders in remote areas, because you never lose momentum from stop signs or dog walkers or joggers or rollerbladers. You just keep going. It is the greatest feeling in the world to just keep riding. Your worries just melt away.

I saw four others out on bikes in the same area at the same time. I feel like I just got let into a secret society of folks who know exactly how to escape the daily grind.

I saw several dozen cyclists on the trails after work today. Maybe a hundred. Such glorious weather. Such calm winds. Such a great day to ride. I love late spring in the Midwest.

I know I won't be singing the same tune in August.

Total of 24.42 miles today.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Absense makes the quads grow fonder and shrink in size

I haven't commuted on my bike since last Wednesday. It's been busy in my neck of the woods. I've driven my "kid taxi" for the last week.

My younger brother and his family came to visit for the weekend. I haven't seen him since his wedding in 2004. 

We went for a ride Saturday. I let him set the pace since he's not a cyclist. 14.8 miles, 1hr 33 minutes. I almost don't consider that a ride so much as a farmer-tan session. You'd think we rode through Death Valley after seeing his red face and sweat soaked shirt. When my sister in law saw us she asked me what I did to him. I replied "Nothing I wouldn't ordinarily do to myself."

I really wanted to point out the fitness levels he had attained in high school and how the mighty have fallen, but I decided to leave well enough alone.

He also told me how uncomfortable the seat was. Judging by the look on his face and the tone in his voice, the level of discomfort is somewhere between being placed in an Iron Maiden and being drawn and quartered. As a result he did much of the ride out of the seat. He called it "riding BMX style". I had a bit of a flashback to our childhood, imagining him on his old chrome Schwinn Predator BMX riding through the streets and parks of West Omaha...

Meh, I have no idea what he's talking about. I find the Body Geometry line of saddles from Specialized to be far more comfortable than the "this is what one's first night in prison must be like" Vetta saddle I had on my old all-aluminum Cannondale.

But what's on my mind ain't how comfortable the seat is on my current bikes compared to bikes past, it's the t-minus 24 days and counting before the Cornhusker State Games Time Trial scheduled for June 26. I'll have more posts on my prior (and kinda embarassing) experiences in this event later.

One step at a time. Tomorrow I get back in the saddle again with the commute.