Thursday, May 28

400

Ok, so four hundred miles in a month isn't really all that much in the whole scheme of things. But it has taken a concerted effort to attain that goal.

I got to looking at the past month and realized that my riding in May began on the 5th. Then I realized that if I decided to look at a month time frame and not "The Month of May" I still have a chance to get 500 miles in.

So my short term goal is to crank out at least 100 miles between June 1 and June 5. I'm pretty sure I can do it no problem unless something unforeseeable occurs.

TR - Genesee Mountain from Denver

My last few rides have been bust. The last was the ill fated Lee Gulch ride with Lily on Sunday afternoon. The rains came down and it took two full days for my bike shoes to dry out.

On Saturday I tried to ride to Bergen Peak's summit from Morrison. I made it to the trailhead for Bergen, but turned back because I wanted to be back to Golden by 9am. Overall it was a good ride and fun. I rode a short loop through Elk Meadow OS and then detoured onto the Bear Creek Trail in Lair O' the Bear OS on my way back down Bear Creek Canyon. But I felt slow on the entire ride. I crawled painfully slow up Bear Creek Canyon before turning back.

So I took a couple days off the bike, though we did do a five mile hike with the Reitmair's from church on Monday.

This morning I woke at 4:45 am and was stepping out the door and onto the bike at 5:20. My goal was Genesee Mountain's summit which was 25 miles away and 3,000' higher. My mind quivered at the thought, so I quelled the thought initially. The first leg of the ride was my normal commute from Denver to Golden so I just forgot about the remainder for an hour.

But then in Golden I headed into new territory. I passed the Taj and began the long, slow crawl up Mount Vernon Canyon toward Genesee's summit 10 miles further west. Almost immediately I was pounded by a headwind…and the thought that 2,000 of my 3,000' gain was still ahead of me…aimed directly at the beast of a wind barreling out of the canyon.

I told myself that I would reach the summit and that soon I'd be riding down Mount Vernon Canyon with a strong tailwind. It raised my spirits, but didn't strengthen my legs.

The pull of gravity had begun to work its way deep into my legs, permeating the soft tissues of my muscles before beginning to bang on my bones, causing an ache that I so desperately wanted to stop. But I continued…onward…upward.

The one good thing about Mount Vernon Canyon was that most of the way up I could almost see my objective and it didn't look so far away. It was easy to keep my eyes focused on the goal and not on the road below my bottom bracket.

I passed the first I-70 interchange (Highway 40 up Mount Vernon Canyon parallels I-70 for a few miles) and then my spirits began to rise.

Slowly, slowly, 5 mph….7 mph…5 mph…

And then I saw white poking above the ridge in front of me. I was almost to the head of Mount Vernon Canyon and the Genesee interchange where I would enter the park and wind around the wooded slopes to the summit. I crested the divide and took in the Divide. I was looking out across the Clear Creek drainage to the James Peak Wilderness area to the west. It was an amazing view and it was worth all the effort to the point. I could have turned and rode my little red rocket back down to Golden and could have called it a good ride.



But alas, I am not only a cyclist, but a peakbagger as well. To Genesee!

The road through the park was tame and relaxing compared to my long grind up the canyon. It was peaceful and serene and I cranked along at and above 10 mph for the majority of the final leg of the climb.

I passed the spot where we had the picnic on Memorial Day and then the road turned to dirt, but it was hard packed and I just continued to cruise upward like a bird floating on an updraft.

Just below the summit the trees opened up a bit and I got an amazing view of the James Peak area again, as well as a peak of the Mount Evans Massif to the southwest.

And then I was there. The top…the pinnacle…the summit.

8,284'

Everyone knows Denver is at 5,280'.

3,000' of gain…more than my ride up Guanella Pass and a much longer distance to boot but a similar time frame…it had seemed so much less intimidating than Guanella, but I guess it was actually a harder ride.

Mount Evans was 14 miles and 4,000' in elevation gain…so I was definitely approaching the magnitude of the Evans ride. And a good thing. I am planning a 100 mile there and back ride from Lakewood to Mount Evans summit in June. This morning was a perfect training ride for that.

I'm close to my goal of 400 miles for the month of May. I'm at 389. If I ride home today I'll bust 400 easy with a few miles to spare. I probably won't crack 500 this month, but I might be able to get close. I still have tomorrow and there is always the remote possibility of Sunday afternoon if we're all unpacked and put away after the move to our new apartment on Saturday. We'll see. But I'm happy about the 400 all the same. That'll be the most I've ever ridden in a month.

Tuesday, May 26

Raining in Denver

I was going to ride this morning. I was going to ride to the summit of Genesee and then back to work but the forecast said "soggy" so I opted to drive.

Then this morning when I got up it was a delicious sort of rain, like on the Deer Creek - Bear Creek ride I did a few weeks ago. More of a cool drizzle than rain, just enough to make you feel like a man-beast, but not so much as to make for a miserable ride.

I got dressed for work and drove Boone to school before work. It's his last day of kindergarten. Tomorrow is graduation.

But I would have loved to have ridden up to Genesee in the misty fog. I would have enjoyed it thoroughly. I love weather like this, even if it has scrambled my brain chemistry. I think since moving to Colorado I have become addicted to the sun. I notice cloudy days more now than in Kentucky.

8:50pm, Home

I never really elaborated on why I didn't ride this morning. I guess I had decided last night not to climb up Genesee. This morning I woke too late to be able to make the ride and after a weekend of trying to get my cycling mileage in and a five mile geocache hike with the kids I felt I needed a rest. I probably won't ride at all tomorrow though hopefully I can do Genesee Thursday and another Lookout Mountain/Apex ride on Friday.

This coming Saturday we're moving into our new apartment so I won't get to ride that day, and probably not on Sunday either. I'll be riding all week next week to work hopefully and I still have a date with Flagstaff summit from Chatauqua.

I really hope all this weekday riding is benefiting my TBP fitness.

Sunday, May 24

Thunder and Lightning

I took Lily out for a ride this afternoon.

Despite a weather forecast of scattered thundershowers (sort of forgot) we hit the trail about 2pm. We rode south on the SPlatte just past Hudson Gardens to Lee Gulch.

The sky had been angry looking for awhile and we had heard distant thunder on and off the entire ride. We cruised up the Lee Gulch Trail, headed for its eastern terminus and the C-470 Bikeway which I planned on taking back west to the Highline and then to a Rail Spur Trail or something like that, and then on back to the SPlatte.

We got almost all the way to the end of the Lee Gulch Trail before the rain started. I immediately turned back. The rain was coming down hard, cold and the thunder boomed and lightning flashed.

Oops!

I pedaled hard to get down Lee Gulch to a bridge or something where we could try to wait it out.

Unfortunately the only shelter along the trail was almost all the way back to the western terminus. So we finally got there, I was soaked completely and by then I had resolved to call Mandy and have her come get us, which she thankfully did. We met her at Hudson Gardens and drove home.

It was a good ride, but a lesson learned as well. Need better rain gear for me and for the occupants of our bike trailer.

Saturday, May 23

Wa-ay Behind!

So this morning I was a bit ambitious. My intended goal for the morning was to drive over to Morrison, get on the bike at sunrise and crawl up Bear Creek Canyon, through Evergreen and then on to the summit of Bergen Peak.

I got started late and didn't start riding until 5:40am and when I got to the TH for Bergen Peak it was 7:00 and I was sure I couldn't make it to the summit and then back to Morrison by 9:00.

So I turned back and headed down Bear Creek Canyon. At the upper terminus of the Bear Creek Trail (Lair O' the Bear Open Space Park) I jumped on it and cruised to the middle TH and then got back on the pavement to Morrison.

It was a good ride, but I am bummed I didn't make the climb to Bergen's summit. It was my own fault for lagging out of the gate though.

I desperately need to be riding more though. The TBP is going to take me 10 hours or so and right now I'm lucky to get in 3 hour training rides. I've got to do some longer rides.

8:50pm

So I get the feeling that the masses misinterpret this sign far too often:



One day a few months ago I was headed home on Logan. There is no room for a motorist to pass a cyclist between Speer and Alameda (and maybe farther south as well) and people drive far too fast on the road anyway. So when I do choose to ride on Logan from Cherry Creek I take the lane. Its the only option.

Of course motorists expect you to get over when there is a gap in the parked cars, but this is even more dangerous than continuing in the lane. Once you go into the gap/parking lane, there is no guarantee that drivers will let you back over. Consistency is the best policy for sure. And to be extra safe you should stay a few feet left of the parked cars in case someone opens a door unexpectedly.

So this one day I'm flying down Logan at a good clip and pass through the intersection at 1st and a woman in a Jeep guns past me in the middle of the intersection, barely giving me enough room (not passing when its safe) and yells:

"SHARE THE ROAD!"

She totally missed the point I guess.

Thursday, May 21

Bicycles Vs. Motor Vehicles

It really shouldn't be a face-off. Both bikes and cars should be able to co-exist.

The League of American Wheelmen helped launch the Good Roads Movement around the turn of the century, making possible nice smooth roads for the earliest automobiles to cruise upon.

According to John Forester the first bikeway policies were created by motorists, not cyclists:

"When consistent high-speed motoring became possible, with the first freeways and the like, and when cyclists had no political power (1940s), the motoring establishment enacted traffic laws that prohibited cyclists from using more than the right-hand margin of roads, from using roads when a path was available, and from using the new high-speed roads. The motoring establishment used the argument that these restrictions were necessary for the safety of cyclists. In actual fact, they were arguing that motorists should not have to slow down for the safety of cyclists, but there were no spokesmen for cyclists empowered to point out that truth."

Robert Moses and others shaped an America that shunned public transit and human powered transport for the glamor and convenience of the car with very little consideration of the consequences. Rail travel declined because the auto industry willed it to be so.

Moses had a utopian vision of parkways and his development of the landscape around New York City was an influence on the rest of America. We wholly focused on being behind the wheel, building our cities to cater to our growing obsession.

The car has been a central theme in the "American Dream" since the '50s and continues to be so even today, in our world where everyone can scoff at the US's over-dependence on foreign oil. Every 16 year old kid's greatest desire is to get a license and gain a perception of freedom from the oppression of the mature. And we mature even go so far as to encourage that attitude, salute a young person's escalation to motorist as a "rite of passage."

And now in the 21st Century America is beginning to see a glimmer of the folly. Our wholesale dependence on petroleum powered transport has become part of the focus of our woes. We blame wars on that dependence. We see it as a slavery to all that is bad in the global economy, but still we drive, drive, drive. We push our children behind the wheel while bemoaning the dangers they will encounter on the road. It's amazing...

We live in Wash Park. The neighborhood is perfectly suited for bicycle travel. There is no reason that the speed limit should be greater than 20 mph in most places and you can get from one end of a block to the other on a bike in the same amount of time that you can in a car moving at reasonable speed.

But the reality is that people fly down narrow streets at upwards of 30-40 mph, honking angrily at cyclists and yell "SHARE THE ROAD!" when they are forced to wait for a safe situation to pass. As if "Share the Road" was a rally cry for impatient motorists...

Our society has trained us to have no patience and believe that slower moving modes of transportation are unsafe. You only walk for utility if you are too poor to afford a car or a second car. You only ride a bike for fun, and far from the roads unless you're "crazy."

In Kentucky it was even worse. Grown people just don't do that sort of thing unless they have lost their license and still have a job.

Americans don't consider how far away their jobs are from where they live sleep. I knew of people in Kentucky that drove hours for mediocre jobs. It was fairly common to have an hour (one way) commute for jobs that barely paid the bills. No one would ever consider the good sense of moving closer to work or finding a less paying job (and GASP! living within their means) closer to home.

Now in Colorado I see people who live in the mountains (part of the American Dream) and commute long distances to work in Denver and the surrounding suburbs. Then they wail about their hardships when the distance and climate interfere with their lifestyle.

Live way out in the suburbs and work miles away in the city...a necessary part of the American Dream...

How absurd!

Wednesday, May 20

Locality

So one thing occurred to me while Lily and I were out on our ride today:

Back in November we did a family ride on the "Community" Ditch Trail near Boulder. I blogged about how when Boone's bike got a flat when we were a long way from the car, that we traveled a long way with many cyclists passing us, none asking if we needed help (except for one group as we were getting back to the car), very few even slowing down.

It was frustrating and disheartening. It was something we were unused to.

Today (and most days since) was different. Lily and I stopped for a snack and a guy in a Team Evergreen jersey slowed down and asked if we were ok and needed help. Last family ride we did along the South Platte involved searching for a geocache. While we were stopped someone asked if we needed help. I've also noticed people helping other cyclists.

When we were out on that last ride as a family we had a flat in a neighborhood and a lady (not a cyclist) stopped to see if we needed help.

So is it a Boulder thing? Are cyclists around Boulder on such a tight training schedule that they can't help a fellow cyclist in trouble? Or was it because we weren't really a part of their "community" what with biking with our kids and all?

I ride for fun, utility, fitness and for transportation. I ride on the road, trails and paths. I ride alone and with my family. I ride when the weather is bad, all seasons, up grades, down rough descents, in traffic and anywhere else my two feet and two tires will take me.

I was slightly annoyed at the Jersey Guy that once scoffed at us as we rode the South Platte as if we were tourons. And so what if we were?

Anyway, I just got to thinking about the one time up near Boulder and how that experience was different from most I've had out biking around other people.

TR - Exploring Sand Creek Greenway on a Hooky Day

Mandy went with Boone's class to the zoo today, so I took the day off so she wouldn't have to manage chaperoning and Lily.

So Lily and I went for a bike ride to explore the Sand Creek Greenway. We dropped Boone off at school and then Lil and I headed through downtown across to the South Platte Trail. We cruised along at a good clip all the way to the junction with and western terminus of the Sand Creek Trail.

The Sand Creek Regional Greenway traverses through a heavy industrial area. The creek is very beautiful at times and we saw a lot of wildlife (prairie dogs and their puppies!), but the surrounding landscape looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie.

Lily was a good rider and we got out a couple of times to stretch our legs and we found one little neighborhood pocket park where Lily got to swing for a while.

We rode the Sand Creek all the way to its eastern terminus at Colfax, then rode a little ways down to the Highline Canal Trail which we followed til it intersected 6th Avenue but not before changing a goathead flat on the trailer.

We turned our richshaw train west and rolled along 6th Avenue, crossing intersections like pedestrians. I wouldn't have chosen the route I did if I hadn't been pulling Lily in the trailer, but it made the most sense considering.

At one intersection a woman approached the crosswalk (her light was red) with her head down in texting mode and she came to a rest half blocking the painted crosswalk area. I was watching as we started across and had slowed, but had to maneuver around the front of her car to continue. So as a friendly reminder to keep her attention on the road I smacked her hood pretty hard as we passed. Unfortunately I didn't get to see the look on her face. I hope it startled the phone out of her hand.

A few blocks later however I heard and then saw something that turned my stomach. We were traveling west on the north side of 6th, just before Geneva and I heard a commotion on the south side of the road. I looked over just in time to see a kid's body tumbling through the air, his BMX bike slammed to the ground in front of a white (or light colored) Cavalier or something similar. I did see the kid hit the ground, but not the car hit him.

What it looked like happened was two Hispanic kids, about 14 or 15 were crossing the side street along the sidewalk. The first kid made it all the way across, but the car caught the second kid. The driver had stopped at the point of impact which was well back from the edge of 6th, but still in line with the sidewalk. He had been making a right to head east on 6th, the two boys were traveling west on the sidewalk. They all should have been able to see each other fairly clearly.

The driver got out of the car and asked the kid if he was ok. The kid slowly dragged himself to his feet, left leg straight out behind him, seeming to ignore the driver. He managed to stand as the first kid came back to help him. He picked up the dropped slushie and both of them ambled to the corner as the driver looked on helplessly. It was apparent that the kid was in pain, but he was walking.

I had stopped and was prepared to call 911 if the kid was hurt. Since he was on his feet I held off, waiting to see what the driver would do. I was across six lanes of traffic so I couldn't do much to help immediately, though I was ready to cross and help if need be.

I had noticed an Aurora police cruiser at the intersection Lily and I had just crossed. The police officer had been facing south at a red light. She should have had a fairly clear view of the incident. I looked back just in time to see the cruiser continue south through the intersection and out of sight.

I looked back just in time to see the driver get back in the car and pull out, a tree blocking my view of his diminishing license plate. The kids continued slowly west down the sidewalk, I called out to them but they didn't seem to hear me.

An unreported injury accident. I know I should have called 911 anyway. I know I probably should have crossed over and made sure that the kid was ok. He really needed to let his parents know about it in case he had serious internal injuries or broken bones.

We continued west, I was a bit shaken and eventually we returned home unscathed ourselves.

It was a good ride except for the accident.

Monday, May 18

Vehicular Cycling Best Practices, Techniques and Skills

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicular_cycling

Content removed to prevent copyright infringement. Also, after long consideration I don't fully support all the ideas John Forester promotes.

[Edited 1/12/11]

Bicycle Bill

This is my favorite part of the new Colorado Bicycle Bill:

IF THE RIGHT-HAND LANE THEN AVAILABLE FOR TRAFFIC IS WIDE ENOUGH TO BE SAFELY SHARED WITH OVERTAKING VEHICLES, A BICYCLIST SHALL RIDE FAR ENOUGH TO THE RIGHT AS JUDGED SAFE BY THE BICYCLIST [emphasis added]
TO FACILITATE THE MOVEMENT OF SUCH OVERTAKING VEHICLES UNLESS OTHER CONDITIONS MAKE IT UNSAFE TO DO SO.

"As judged safe by the bicyclist"

The motor vehicle drivers don't get to decide what is safe for cyclists, that is left up to the cyclists' judgment as it should be.

This is a pretty nice inclusion as well:

(III) UPON APPROACHING AN INTERSECTION WHERE RIGHT TURNS ARE PERMITTED AND THERE IS A DEDICATED RIGHT-TURN LANE, A BICYCLIST MAY RIDE ON THE LEFT-HAND PORTION OF THE DEDICATED RIGHT-TURN LANE EVEN IF THE BICYCLIST DOES NOT INTEND TO TURN RIGHT.

(b) A BICYCLIST SHALL NOT BE EXPECTED OR REQUIRED TO:

(I) RIDE OVER OR THROUGH HAZARDS AT THE EDGE OF A ROADWAY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO FIXED OR MOVING OBJECTS, PARKED OR MOVING VEHICLES, BICYCLES, PEDESTRIANS, ANIMALS, SURFACE HAZARDS, OR NARROW LANES; OR

(II) RIDE WITHOUT A REASONABLE SAFETY MARGIN ON THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE ROADWAY.

And of course this is really nice:

SECTION 7. 18-9-116, Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended to
read:

18-9-116. Throwing missiles at vehicles - harassment of bicyclists.

(1) Any person who knowingly projects any missile at or against any vehicle or equipment designed for the transportation of persons or property, OTHER THAN A BICYCLE, commits a class 1 petty offense.

(2) ANY PERSON WHO KNOWINGLY PROJECTS ANY MISSILE AT OR AGAINST A BICYCLIST COMMITS A CLASS 2 MISDEMEANOR. [emphasis added]

'Bent

Ok, I want one! (WARNING: turn down or mute the sound!)

Sunday, May 17

Cycling News

You can now register for the 2009 Colorado Bike to Work Day.



Diane Stolz 2008













Governor Ritter has signed the Bicycle Safety Bill!

I think this bill is really important and it goes a long way to protect cyclists on the road.

Saturday, May 16

TR - Guanella Pass from Georgetown

22 miles round trip
3,200' in elevation gain (8,400 to 11,600)
3 hours up, 50 minutes down

I rode my Cannondale because the road was supposed to be rough. It was. I rolled into Georgetown at 1pm and headed through the quaint downtown section and immediately began climbing switchbacks on the edge of town.

The first half of the ride was marred by the hydrology and hydroelectric infrastructure along Guanella Pass Rd., but once past Clear Lake Campground all traces of humanity save the road itself disappeared for a few miles.

Just below the last section of the climb is Guanella Pass Campground. I stopped to fill my water bottles at a pump, but it didn't work, so I pushed on, mind over matter for a little while longer.

Just below the summit area of the pass I met four hikers and as their dog was trying to get tangled up in my front spokes the guy pumped a fist in the air and cried "You're a beast!" with a big silly grin on his face.

It made me grin as I slogged through the silty road sludge just below the top of the pass.

There were great views of Mount Bierstadt and the Sawtooth Ridge, Squaretop Mountain and Otter Mountain.



After taking in the view for a few minutes I turned the bike back to the north and crawled over to the edge slowly...slowly...and then SCREAMED back down South Clear Creek valley to Georgetown.

Great ride! Once I shower the salty crust off of my body the day will be complete.

Friday, May 15

Many Helmets

I've got strong legs. Always have had strong legs…when I was a kid I thought I was fat cause when I'd sit in a chair my thighs would spread out and it looked like fat to me. But even then I rode my bike (a steel banana seat bike) all over creation. Then as I got older I ran cross country and track, backpacked and hiked with Boy Scouts, walked around the desolate farmland of rural south western Ohio and the rest of the time rode my bike back and forth past Jenny Mosbacker's house.

After high school I moved to Nashville to go to college and rode my bike all over for the first semester because I didn't have a car down there. Then later I lived in Dayton and rode to reduce the chance that my clunker car would break down on me in the city.

In my 20s I hiked as an end, then later to get to climbing walls and boulder fields. I rode my bike to trailheads and to get around when my car finally died.

Legs, legs, legs…I used them a lot.

I avoided steep sport climbs because my toothpick arms were not conditioned to haul my steel beam legs and donut belly up more than a few feet, hence the bouldering, which consequently trashed my elbows from all the dragging of the beams and donuts, even just those few feet at a time.

I was much better at climbing slabs where my titan legs could push the flabby parts of me upward.

Then I didn't do much of anything for awhile. We quit guiding, I didn't ride and Mandy and I were finishing up school, trying to work and raise a kid or two.

Once in Colorado I started trying to ease back into my previous lifestyle. At least I tried to incorporate as much of my old lifestyle in my normal day to day activities as possible. And then some…

So here I am. I am at the cusp of abandoning the second car and going totally over to human powered transportation as my personal primary mode.

This morning I rode in to Golden, crawled back up Lookout Mountain for the second time this week, this time all the way to the top, then screamed down Apex Gulch. It was so much fun. That descent was the most fun I've had on a bike in a long time. I alternated between gritted teeth as I rocketed over obstacles and a big goofy grin as I glided around sharp turns and launched over water bars.

Dave Lutes would have been proud.

It felt good to ride a trail. I don't consider myself a mountain biker at all. I've used my "mountain" bike to ride fire roads to remote climbing areas, to pull my kids in the trailer on paved bike paths and little else.

Now that I've got it in decent working order and have realized that I live in a great area for mountain biking its hard for me not to take the opportunities to dive down gulches.

I'm a little tired after my ride this morning, but overall I feel pretty darn good.

Thursday, May 14

Bikes I Have Seen Lately

The other day as I was approaching Golden headed toward the Renewable Energy Lab on Denver West I saw a guy on what looked like a homemade recumbent. He flew past me too.

Last night we saw a couple on a tandem bike pulling a bike trailer. I've also seen people (and have tried it myself, it works) hauling a pull-behind kids' bike with a trailer attached behind that. It's kinda like a train.

This morning I saw a guy that looked like the love child of a fixiot and a jersey guy. He was wearing spandex, bike shoes, a helmet and riding what looked like a fixie. It might have been a three speed, but it definitely didn't have a rear cassette.

I get a few odd looks myself now, riding my fixed frame ancient mountain bike with its huge knobby tires. That's ok, I don't mind.

I plan on slowly converting it to more of a touring bike. I think the frame and the components are perfect for touring. It's geared lower than my slick road bike and is much better suited for climbing. It just needs hybrid tires and a little tweaking of the handlebars/grips.

Wednesday, May 13

Rough Commuting

5:30am I was up and sitting bleary-eyed on the couch trying to catch the news. I gave up on that after a few minutes and shoveled a bowl of cherrios down before stepping into my bike shoes. Instantly I was ready to be moving west.

It was a little cool as I dropped onto the Cherry Creek Trail but I warmed up quickly.

I rode all the way in to Golden and then instead of turning off to head for work I continued down, down, down South Golden Road to 19th where I turned hard left and geared down for my slow crawl up Lookout Mountain.

I climbed, climbed, climbed, climbed up, up, up and above the trees, the houses and everything Golden until I was looking down on the town like a bird as I snaked in and out of steep narrow gullies on the east slope of Mount Zion.

The decision for the day was this: loop back via hwy 40, via Apex Gulch or Chimney Gulch from Windy Saddle? I finally decided as I approached Windy Saddle to drop down Chimney Gulch Trail due to time constraints. I still had to be at work today after all…

I banged and jounced down Chimney Gulch to its intersection with Lookout Mountain Road, and instead of continuing on down to hwy 93 I cut right and blazed down along 19th to the bike path along 93 and then on to work.

Once I was back on the pavement after partially descending Chimney Gulch I kept hearing a rattle from the rear of my bike. I was fairly certain it was something to due with my carrier rack or trunk bag so I ignored it.

When I got to work and got off the bike I looked back and saw that my rear quick release on my wheel was open and the skewer was loose. Gulp!

I can't imagine how bad it would have been if I had bounced right off my rear wheel while descending Chimney Gulch. It wouldn't have been good at all.

But the ride was a good one. I cranked some miles and got some saddle time which should help me as I get ready for the TBP.


My repaired Cannondale, my new favorite bike

Tuesday, May 12

Bike to Work Week

This week is the League of American Cyclists' Bike to Work Week.

Since I got my Cannondale all lined out (minus some much needed brake adjustments) I decided I'd ride it this morning. I forgot how much I love that bike. The shifting is smooth, I don't have to look down to see where I'm at in the gears, I can just feel it.

My Giant is a pain to get into the highest gear and it is geared much higher overall. Of course it is...its a road bike. But I think the Cannondale is much better suited to my strengths and as I rode in I sort of decided that any long ride I do (like a cross country ride) I think I am going to use the Cannondale for sure.

It needs touring tires (the knobby MTB tires were loud on the pavement this morning) and a few other minor modifications, but otherwise I think it'd make an ideal touring bike.

Its a great mountain bike too. It has no suspension, but suspension is overrated a lot of times I think anyway. I'm not that serious a MTBer, I just like cruising trails.

Anyway, the Cannondale is once again my new favorite bike.

8:55am
TRIPLE DREAMS

So with this new development (Cannondale being ridable again) a few more training possibilities have opened up. There is the initial scheme I had of riding from Empire to Berthoud Pass to the summit of Colorado Mines Peak. Also now I want to ride Guanella Pass from Georgetown and we can do a family ride on the Sand Creek Greenway in the prairie. I'm sure many other past schemes will come to mind again soon, but those are the three most prominent in my mind. Depending on the weather and snow cover I want to try to ride Berthoud or Guanella very soon.

My Mount Evans Century is going to be coming up soon and I want to be ready for that. I had intended that ride to be a gauge of whether or not I'd be ready for the Triple...right now I'm not feeling ready for the Mt Evans ride I have planned.

We'll see...

4:50pm
TRIPLE SCHEMES

I need to incorporate more mileage into my diet. So I am going to start trying to leave early, ride up Lookout Mountain and come down Chimney Gulch or through Apex and once we move over to Lakewood I think I'll try to ride over Green Mountain or Dinosaur Ridge to work. I can also incorporate rides up Bear Creek Canyon in the morning and maybe even a loop over to Lookout Mountain.

I was looking at the calendar and I am way behind schedule on my miles. I need to up them without injuring myself. I am hoping longer rides to work will do the trick. I need to climb too! Climb! Climb! Climb!

Monday, May 11

National Bike to Work Week

This week is the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike to Work Week. Friday is National Bike to Work Day.

I didn't ride today because I needed to bring clothes for the week, but I plan on riding the rest of the week for sure.

The DRCOG's (Denver Regional Council of Governments) Bike to Work Day is June 24. I rode that day last year and I definitely plan on riding this year.

Living in Kentucky I was never aware of these days or events, and regardless of if i had been it wouldn't have been a possibility for me, considering my average commute to work over the last 10 years I lived there by car was 45 minutes.

I love being able to participate in things like this and I am going to make a strong effort this summer to forego the car altogether. We'll see...

Saturday, May 9

Family Ride and Much Needed Maintenance

We took the kids and did an 18.75 mile bike ride today. We rode over to the South Platte, then south to Ruby Hill. We looked for a geocache along the way, but couldn't find it. We rode up through Ruby Hill and found a cool playground with awesome views.

We hung out awhile, tagged the summit of Ruby Hill and then dropped down to the Sanderson Gulch Trail. We rode it to it's western terminus and then took a side street (one block east of Sheridan) south to the Bear Creek Trail. We rode it back to the South Platte, stopping at a neat pocket park along the way.

Once we got back home I went to work trying to fix the rear derailleur on my mountain bike. I took it on our ride but it's been messed up since it came out on the truck from Kentucky. I've tried to fix it a few times, but no dice.

My plan this afternoon was to try putting a spare derailleur I took off of the first $10 bike we bought Boone. That didn't work, so Mandy said I should go to REI and get a derailleur. So I took the kids, we went and got a new rear derailleur and a new chain.

I came back and followed the directions and put the derailleur and new chain on. After doing it I understood how all the parts of the derailleur work and I am confident that now I can successfully adjust any of our rear derailleurs. That made me super happy. One of my cycling goals is to get to a point where I can do all of my own maintenance on our bikes.

So now I have my "mountain" bike setup for commuting. I may still ride my road bike to work, but if I need to take anything with me I have the carrier on the MTB and can put the panniers on it now.

Now I can do the ride from Empire to Berthoud Pass and then on to the summit of Colorado Mines Peak that I mentioned. I think for my May NORD I may try that...

I also made a few key chains out of the old bike chain. Nothing terribly significant, but pretty fun.

Friday, May 8

Commuting Blues

Ok, so I'm not really blue aboot it. Its actually good news. This week was the first week I rode four consecutive days to work. I took all my clothes on Monday and have been diligent all week, not letting any excuse sway me from my resolve.

As of this morning I have ridden 80 miles this week and so far for the month. I'm on my way to 400 (500 if possible!) miles in May for sure! I rode each morning and then I rode home on Tuesday night as well. Still up in the air aboot tonight. Mandy may come pick me up or I may ride home.

The plan tomorrow is to do a family ride from Denver to Golden via the Clear Creek Trail so that should either knock me over my target of 125 miles a week or put me darn close. The downer is that the weather isn't supposed to be so great tomorrow. But we have the tools and we have the talent to make it happen.

My morning commute involves 800 feet in elevation gain, so I am getting a bit of climbing in, but nothing too steep. I truly need to start jumping on the hills. Lookout, Flagstaff, Berthoud Pass (maybe summit Colorado Mines Peak via MTB from Empire?), Bear Creek, Deer Creek...climbing is key. And I'm staying away from the TBP route. My only concession there is that in June I plan on riding Mount Evans from the plains and I'll probably return via Squaw Pass, but I'll be going in the reverse direction of the ride in July.

Things are coming together...I just need to start cranking the lo-oong miles.

4pm
DUCHAMP DRAWING



To have the apprentice in the Sun, Duchamp, 1914
Or how to make the viewer uncomfortable wit this total incoherence between the pictorial and the verbal image. The absence of the usual complementarity between image and written word leaves us perplex. The title, or signifier of meaning, and the object, the signified meaning, do not produce a sign, a way to understand.

Duchamp later explained that "To have the apprentice in the Sun" is the caption of a drawing that represents an ethical cyclist climbing a hill which is reduced to a line". He also said that art shouldn't just be visual. It should also increase or desire to think and understand. It carries us to the land of metaphors.


- from http://claudia.weblog.com.pt/arquivo/art/

The concept of "delay" is underscored by a drawing Duchamp made in 1914 [Figure 17] called Avoir l'apprenti dans le soleil (To Have the Apprentice in the Sun). Here the cyclist as high-wire performer, hunched over on his racing bike, rides a thread-like diagonal line between musical staffs--a line that begins in a loop and abruptly comes to an end near the upper right margin so that linear progression is again suspended. To "have" this particular "apprentice" in the sun, as the title suggests, is thus not to "have" him at all.

--from http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/perloff/dada.html

Thursday, May 7

Cycling Thoughts for Today

On my ride in this morning (as on most mornings) I let my mind wander and it wandered so far and wide. Of course mere seconds after I dropped my sweaty gloves and helmet on my desk the thoughts, ideas and epiphanies rushed out of my head like lemmings to the sea.

But one thought remained. It was the most profound, the most intriguing and the most likely to stick with my psyche for the longest time. Some background on the train of thought that got me to the ultimate point of this piece…

Last night I was talking with Jim Foster, one of the Elders at the Golden church of Christ and he asked if the bike on the car in the parking lot was mine. I answered that it was. I mentioned that I had ridden to work that morning and that Mandy had picked me up from work. There was a pause and I continued, telling him about the Triple Bypass and how I had never attempted something like that before but that I was trying to get prepared for the ride.

He then told me about a spinning class he has taken and we got to talking about that. Eventually I mentioned to him that my long term ultimate goal is to ride cross country. He didn’t give me the usual “you’re crazy” response so I elaborated a bit. I also gave him a little history on how I came to have that as a goal in life, about talking to Jason Haas about his cross country ride and then the retired teacher a few months later that I talked to who had also crossed the continent on a bike.

I told him a brief bit about Joe Bowen and how he had raised money for charity on his later bike rides and on his stilt walks.

So my thoughts rambled about these ideas the past 12 hours. On my bike this morning I began to fantasize about riding cross country. The actual act of pedaling the bicycle wouldn’t be much different than my morning commute to Golden. So it was easy to slip into that fantastical world, where I would be pulling a BOB trailer as I traversed 4,000 or so miles of American roads.

My long standing plan is to ride from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. Two reason led me to those termini. First the direction: Jason rode west to east with the prevailing winds at his back. He did it in about 40 days. The teacher did it in 80 or so days east to west. His reasoning was that he wanted to have the best part of the ride (the West) toward the end of the ride. That made perfect sense to me, though the thought of fighting continental winds is slightly daunting. Second: Sam Bush has a song Eight More Miles to Louisville in which he sings “from Portland east to Portland west and all across the land” or something like that. It stuck. The other part to that reasoning is that when Mandy and I visited Portland, Maine I fell in love. I want to go back there so bad. I’d have loved to have found a job there and I looked hard.

In my musings about how the trip would go, the route, the timeframe and all I thought of Joe Bowen and his 14,000 mile bike ride and where it took him. And then I thought about the places he visited, the purposes he had for seeking out certain locations and historical sites. And I tried to plug myself into a similar socket. And that’s when the epiphany hit me…all at once, fully conceived and at full maturity…

I’d ride for a cause.

HA! Me? A cause? I’m not a “cause person.” Its not that I don’t care about causes, but I don’t care about most causes.

The cause: adult ADHD/SPD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder) awareness. Adult, not child, not parents of children with ADHD/SPD. I’m so tired of reading of the woes of parents of children with ADHD or SPD. It’s not truly the parents’ issue. It’s the poor child that has to live with it, to endure living in a world built for people with different brain and thought processes.

And woe to the poor adult who discovers in their 30s or 40s that they have lived with ADHD or SPD their whole lives with no inkling. So they make the discovery, or someone else points it out to them and then they go researching to find out how their brains are wired compared to how they had always believed their brains to be wired and all they find is literature and websites dedicated to either helping children cope with ADHD/SPD in school or writing aimed at helping parents cope with their child without having to face embarrassment in polite society.

It makes a person want to scream, to punch something, to be voluntarily distracted by things that take their mind of the reality that no one out there really sees their plight. Or at least that it seems that way.

People my age are in a unique situation. These days we have a much better understanding of what ADHD/SPD is. We have a language to discuss it. But 20-30 years ago in the ‘80s it was entirely possible that you could pass through the public education system without being labeled as an “ADD child” or a “Ritalin kid.” Instead you got labeled “lazy”, “not living up to potential”, “unmotivated”, “disappointing” and so many other nasty names. And in your heart of hearts you didn’t believe the labels, but after enough report cards with those scathing accusations, after years of being kept in from recess for not doing your homework, teacher after teacher flip flopping between praise for your keen perception and disappointment at your “refusal” to complete assignment you began to believe the lies and misconceptions.

Looking back I have no one to blame. No one in my life understood what I was going through and I am sure on the outside that it appeared as if I was making haste to live up to all of the low expectations people were beginning to have of me.

Thankfully kids today have some recourse as long as they have understanding educators and parents and when they have been properly diagnosed. There are mountains of literature to climb over and through pertaining to navigating the educational system with any number of “non-average” conditions.

And the ADHD/SPD children of today are going to grow up into adults with no support whatsoever. Oh, they’ll have the strategies they’ve developed over the years (good or bad) and hopefully their parents will still be supportive and understanding as well as their spouses and children. But where are the new strategies? The strategies which address adult living: marriage, raising children (most likely with ADHD or SPD themselves), successfully holding down a job and providing for themselves, paying bills, fitting in socially…where are those strategies?

Do you think most employers are aware that a good portion of their employees could be diagnosed with ADHD or SPD? Do you think they would make provisions for those employees at the expense of doing business? Do you think a person should have to divulge that they have ADHD/SPD to an employer? Should they be discriminated against? Would they be discriminated against?

Is ADHD/SPD a handicap?

I know what I believe about it. What are your thoughts?

My cause?

Promoting Awareness for Adults with ADHD/SPD and other sensory issues.

How this can fit in with a bike ride? It would need to be high profile. It would need to involve well known people that have or are affected directly by ADHD/SPD and there would need to be some sort of huge public outreach. I also came to the conclusion that with a cause that the Portland to Portland route might not be the most appropriate. It would make more sense to do DC to LA by way of my hometown or something.

Guess I’ll save the Portland to Portland (with new epiphany – NORTH of the Great Lakes!!!) for my personal ride…or maybe as a preliminary ride before the one for The Cause.

I need to do lots of research. I need to try to make contacts. I need support and a huge network of like minded people.

Tuesday, May 5

Why I Like Denver...



I love that there is cycling infrastructure in place.

4pm

And the organized bike rides...

Obviously the Triple Bypass

The Bob Cook Memorial/Mount Evans Hill Climb

The Tour de Prairie

The Copper Triangle

The Stonewall Century

Ride the Rockies

Tour de Wyoming

Mount Rushmore Century

And of course there is the Pedals and Blooms Festival in good ole Powell County. I might just try to make it next year for the race...if we had stayed in KY I would have had to gotten involved in planning the event. I think there is so much more they could do.

But there are all of these cool events. I think I might try to do one a year, two at the most (I'm thinking Pedals and Blooms and Copper Triangle next year).

Monday, May 4

Rethinking the Wheel

This is an interesting article.

Content removed so I don't get sued for copyright infringement. Read the article at the above link.

This article prompted me to go back to using regular pedals eventually.

[edited 1/12/11]

Fixie News

The following email comes in from a concerned reader in Denver:

So interesting bike stories from Capitol Hill. I am headed up Logan to 6th and and get stuck about 3 cars back from the light. Fixiot whips past us all on the left (between turn lane and right through lane) and heads to the front of the pack. Apparently he doesn't know how to do the balance thing so instead he "paces" back and forth in front of all three lanes of traffic on his bike. Then a guy coming down Logan the wrong direction on the sidewalk and rides across the crosswalk like a pedestrian. THEN I am doing my around Dora Moore and this guy comes off of 8th and heads up Corona the wrong way scowling at me because I can't get over to let him by.

I wonder if we didn't get the memo that cyclist are allowed to do whatever they want.

Saturday, May 2

Epic Bike Ride #1

I really didn't learn to (or get much experience) change bike tires until I moved to Colorado. Before moving to the land of goatheads my tubes went flat only after becoming dry-rotted when many years had passed.

I never carried extra tubes with me, even on the longest rides, nor did I carry a pump or patch kit. To me they were just extra weight. Riding in Kentucky I figured if I had a flat miles from nowhere that I'd call someone to come pick me up.

I had one experience that should have been the lesson that changed that attitude, but it really didn't.

I have a red Cannondale mountain bike that I bought used from Dave Rogers close to fifteen years ago now. I rode it as a commuter bike in Dayton and then to beat around Powell County for a few years. But one day after Mandy and I were married I decided that I should at least make an effort to ride it on a singletrack trail since it is a mountain bike.

I lived near a fantastic area with a lot of biking potential, but nothing developed for MTB. But not too far from home, right at an hour away, was Cave Run, which reportedly had some great trails.

I had obtained a trail map of the area a few years before which showed the grades and mileages for the trails at Cave Run so I was somewhat prepared to head over and pick an easy or moderate trail.

I chose the Buckskin Trail which starts near Zilpo and I packed up my bike, a day pack (sans any sort of repair or maintenance gear except a hand pump for once) and I headed out toward Cave Run.

I found the trailhead easy and within a few minutes I was pedaling west along the Buckskin Trail.

The trail was nice, good riding, but I had to walk at a few of the drainage crossings. The scenery was amazing as the trail contoured a few dozen feet above the level of the lake in and out of little hollers. There was very little elevation gain or loss and the trail was in fine condition.



My goal was to ride 3 or 4 miles out and pick up another trail that would take me back up to the paved road I had driven in on which I could then follow back to the trailhead. I was shooting for a ten mile loop, which at the time seemed like a great and terrible distance.

A mile or so into the ride I had to drag the bike over a fallen log and when I picked up the bike by the handle bars the rear wheel swung into the log and smacked the log hard. I didn't think anything about it, but a while later I realized my rear tire was getting soft. I rode for a bit but eventually had to admit defeat. My tire was going flat.

I stopped, telling myself it was good to rest anyway and I pumped the tire back up to firmness. I was still in denial.

I got back on the bike and continued on my loop, oblivious to my folly. I had driven an hour to ride and by golly! I was going to ride.

Every half mile or so I had to stop and pump the tire up, but I was able to keep trucking and finally I reached the trail junction at 3 or 3.5 miles (I forget now).

I was trying to sort out which trail to take after having pumped up the tire for the umpteenth time when I looked down to see that the tire had gone flat again almost immediately.

Uh-oh!

I tried pumping it up again, but it wouldn't hold any air at all. I popped the bead on the tire and inspected the tube. It had a long split in it which had apparently started out small, but with repeated inflation and the jostling of the trail it had increased in length until it was a gaping hole, bigger than the head of my pump.

I let out an exasperated sigh. I'm still not sure if I was annoyed with the bike, or with myself. I had continued on, ignoring the distinct reality that I had a flat. And I had ridden myself deeper and deeper into folly.

I wasn't yet halfway through my loop, but I contemplated hiking the bike up to the road, stashing it and hiking back to the car then retrieving the bike on my way out. But I really didn't know how far I had to go and I was pretty sure it was considerably closer to just back track, though instead of a mile or two of hiking with the bike I was looking at almost four.

I knew my reverse route was relatively flat and my route onward would involve a climb out of the valley back to the ridge top and the road.

I finally decided to return the way I had come...3-4 long miles back dragging and carrying my mountain bike.

You are probably thinking: "Whatta maroon!"

Well, being from Kentucky and riding all over creation without having to change a tube or tire in so many years...it was something I had never had to prepare for. I had never ridden very far from home, always within five miles, so the prospect of having a flat wasn't something to think very long about.

Buckskin planted a seed in my mind that should have grown into a better prepared cyclist. But even after I bought my Giant and started road riding ever more seriously, riding around Lexington on my lunch breaks at work, riding all over the backroads of Powell, Menifee, Bath, Montgomery and Clark Counties pushing the mileage as far as I could...I still didn't take the threat of having a flat far from my car or home too seriously. I did carry a pump and extra tubes, mostly because my father-in-law suggested it, but not because I really believed I would have a flat.

And until I left Kentucky I never had another one.

But once in Colorado my mindset changed. Goatheads! I pulled seven out of one tire one day. When the tube blew it sounded like multiple bottle rockets going off. Both tires went flat that day. I depleted my patch kit and used a new tube.

I have finally found an acceptable solution: Michelin Krylion Carbon tires.

And now I don't leave home without the means to patch or replace both tubes all on my own. The first few months I rode here I went through so many tubes it was ridiculous. I was sick of changing tubes, but I started to get pretty good at it and was pretty quick too.

Since I bought the Krylions I have gotten out of practice. Not that I'm wishing for more opportunities for practice...

Friday, May 1

Historic Bike Ride #1

Saturday, September 29, 2007 (from my journal)
2:10pm, Home
GREASIN’ THE PIG

I don’t know how most people feel after following me around for an afternoon. I know in the past I have seen people fall dead asleep before their feet could cross the threshold into the house, people get agitated beyond belief due to the fatigue and pain of exertion. I have endured tirades of complaint, have aborted Saturday afternoon adventures mid journey to keep familial relations positive.

Now I know how everyone else feels. I am pissed off at me. My body was not ready for the epic ride my brain had cooked up for the day.

I left Stanton later than I intended. Mandy left with the kids to meet her mom around 9:30. Laurie was taking Boone school shopping and I was left with a four hour block to fill.

Bike: in car.
Plan: Ride bike.
Location: Somewhere out of town.

I wrote out an itinerary of where I planned to go. Then I added an alternate route, then a second alternate route with a note saying that it was the most likely route I would take (I did).

I kept hitting snags trying to get out the door. I finally had everything together but hadn’t eaten. I threw some stuff together quick to eat in the car. I loaded the car and hit the road north toward Jeffersonville. And once behind the wheel I was pretty set on my route. I didn’t waver from my intended goal once I was moving toward it.

I parked at the illustrious Doughdaddy’s (used to be R&D) and set about getting on my bike. Changed shoes, made a quick repack so I wouldn’t be carrying gun fanny pack and camera bag. I stowed the .38 in my saddle bag and everything else in the camera bag and I was ready to go.

As I cranked out onto 460 there was a distinct chill in the air. I was almost wishing for a windbreaker, but I knew it would only get warmer and I also knew most of my ride was going to be in the sun.

I headed north on 213 out of Jeffersonville. I love this stretch of road. It follows the crest of a blunt and rounded ridge above Spencer Creek. Once I intersected with 713 I turned west toward Lower Spencer.

I paused before dropping down to Lower Spencer to take my first photo of the ride, looking down into Spencer Creek Valley and across to Harper’s Ridge. Everything was a much more dry brown than it had been when I drove through the area over a month prior. The corn in the bottoms looked like it was ready to be made into fodder shocks.

I coasted down a fun hill to Lower Spencer and took the nearly hidden right onto Harper’s Ridge Road. At first the road name is misleading. It winds along the base of a grassy ridge, along the wooded bottoms of Spencer Creek. It was quiet and cool, but not cold.

I stopped just before beginning the climb to the top of Harper’s Ridge to take a photo of a couple of old buildings below an orchard. They looked industrial, not agricultural in nature.

As I was stowing the camera back in it’s bag an old and wrinkled, but seemingly spry man drove out of the orchard and stopped his truck. As he got out to close the gate to the orchard he waved and said hi and said it was a good day to be riding a bike. I agreed and started to head up the hill, but I was curious about the buildings.

I inquired about them and he said they were once a gas plant, but it had moved over to Clay City. Then AO Smith (a local factory) had rented the buildings for awhile, but it had been years and now they were vacant.

We wished each other a good afternoon and I turned back to the climb ahead. I was dreading it, but it turned out not to be so bad.

At the top I was awarded an amazing view of the broad, nearly flat expanse that is the crest of Harper’s Ridge. I could see why it had been settled and farmed. It was absolutely beautiful up there.

About mid way out the ridge I glanced left, to the south and spotted the north side of the Pilot Knob massif. I had to stop and take a photo.

Later, after dropping down into Slate Creek Valley and climbing onto the next ridge to the north I would have almost the same view, but with Harper’s Ridge in the foreground.

There is a ridiculously steep descent into Howard’s Creek, which was the reason I was riding the loop clockwise as opposed to counterclockwise. Howard’s Creek led me to Slate Creek and immediately after crossing I passed through Howard’s Mill. As you start into the community you think you are entering a much bigger town, and at one point in time it probably was, but now it is just a collection of houses and a couple of churches.

I could feel the approach of the Knobs. As I left Howard’s Mill I passed into a thick hardwood forest. The nature of the land was changing. And also the angle. As I paralleled Slate Creek I began the first significant climb of the ride. It was long and steady at a moderate grade. The plus was that is was fairly secluded with now houses.

Once back on a ridge top I was afforded the aforementioned view of Pilot Knob and I passed through the community of Peeled Oak. I also knew I had to be getting close to route 965 which would be more familiar ground. After I had passed the Baptist church in Howard’s Mill it was all new to me.

When I saw the sign for the 965 junction I knew it was time for a well deserved rest. I laid the bike down in a grassy area at the intersection, took of my helmet and sat down to call Mandy and eat half a PowerBar.

She said it would be at least an hour later that they would be getting home than she had first anticipated so I decided I would make a quick side trip to Preston (which I had wanted to do initially but was going to forego if time were against me) and I was back on the bike and headed north a few minutes later.

It didn’t take long for me to reach Preston. I love that little community and if I ever get the chance want to buy some land along the old C&O railway there.

I stopped at an old country store which would have been right on the tracks back when the train still went through. It’s called Blevin’s Grocery.

I walked in and it was like going back in time. It reminded me of so many country stores around this part of the country when I was a kid. There were no convenience stores, no chain grocery stores, no Dollar Stores. In fact, Mamaw and Papaw Lacy owned a small country store at Standing Rock in Lee County when I was a baby.

I walked in and an older lady asked me if she could help me. I wanted a drink, as my water was nearly gone, but I had no cash.

“I don’t guess you take debit cards do you?” I asked.

She smiled and said no, but I really didn’t care. I told her that the store reminded me of being a kid and that my grandparents had owned an old store when I was a kid.

She started talking about the store and the town and the railroad. I found myself sitting at a table listening to her tell about being a small girl and living just on the other side of the tracks when there was still a passenger train going through.

I asked her if she knew about the proposal to construct a trail through the area and she said yes. We sat there, my bike helmet between us on the table as I asked her what she thought about it.

She answered almost as if I were pointing a TV news camera at her.

“Well, I think it would be ok if they could keep it cleaned up.”

I wasn’t trying to put her on the spot and she didn’t act as if she felt so. I think she was really being honest.

Then she mentioned that Court Day was coming up and it was always a big event and that I should come back for that. I said I would definitely have to try and that I’d bring my family.

I took a photo inside and walked outside to get a couple photos. The store is also the post office for Preston. I remember that the store in Rosslyn was also the post office.

While I was taking a photo of the store an older gentleman across the street asked if I wanted him to take a photo of me in front of the store. I politely declined saying I really just wanted a photo of the store, but I walked over and chatted with him and another man for a few minutes.

I knew I needed to start heading back and I had already decided not to head up to Blevin’s Valley road and take it back towards Means and 460, but to take 965 back through Hope. It would mean that I would not see another store until I got back to the car, but it would also be the easier route. As I pedaled south out Preston I felt the miles behind me. I only had another two drinks of water, and as I passed the Preston sign it occurred to me that they might have let me fill my water bottle up at the store if I had asked. But no matter, I would be able to make it back to Jeffersonville even if I started to get weak.

It was a little less grueling riding between Preston and Hope than I had anticipated while driving it in the car back in the summer, but after finishing the second half of the PowerBar I began at the junction of 1331 and 965 and finishing off my water I started to feel a little stronger.

I was much more into the Knobs landscape, passing though wooded areas and over small ridges.

Once again, as I finished up the loop along 460 I wished for an alternate route to close it. 460 is just crazy on a bike. There is far too much traffic and no one understands that they don’t have to swerve into oncoming traffic to get around me. There were many close calls today, none for me thankfully, and I’m sure I would have been blamed if one jackass had smashed into someone head on instead of slowing down and waiting until it was clear. But no one was hurt and for that I am thankful.

I cranked slowly into R&D’s parking lot. The last three miles or so I had started to hurt all over. My feet were tingling, my elbows and hands hurt and my rear end was done riding on a narrow seat. But I had to finish it, I had no choice.

I had ridden at least five miles beyond what I am comfortable riding. That is good, but my body says NO.

I stretched at the car before going in and getting a sports drink, Ale-8 and a burger and fries, all of which I consumed in the car on the way home.

I stretched a little more before downloading the pictures but I have been sitting here typing this for a while now and I fear getting up off the couch.

I really want to take a nap. I will eventually eat this banana sitting next to me and my throat is longing for the water in the Nalgene. I guess I’ll call this a done deal and finish up by saying that that was one of the best bike rides I have ever done.


I had begun to feel that Preston should become the bicycling hub of Central/Eastern Kentucky. Once the Lex/Big Sandy Trail goes through (if it does) Preston will be a prime location for the cycling industry in that part of the state.

Bath County is economically depressed, but it has some significant cylcing history associated with it. A.D. Ruff is buried in Owingsville, a quaint little town in the midst of rolling hills and winding ribbons of backroad. Ruff was a founding member of the League of American Wheelmen. I miss my Bath/Menifee/Montgomery County explorations. I can foresee taking my bike back to Kentucky in the future for some low altitude rides.

Stuff White People Like

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/10/61-bicycles/

Notice the photo of the bike. What type of bike is it?


LATER:

Why do I heap such disdain upon fixiots? Well, I have a feeling there are very few true bike messengers out there. Very few...read: less than 0.0000000001% of the population to be exact.

And don't get me wrong, I loved Quicksilver and think the bike messenger culture is cool and I would love to be able to be a bike messenger.

But these yuppies in Wash Park and Capitol Hill are as far from that culture as I am from an East Asian culture. Their fixed gear bikes are a fashion statement, abandoning all common sense and utility to look cool. And I cannot abide fashion statements. A fashion statement is a way of saying, "Hey! Notice me and how unique I am! I look and act like everyone else on the planet."

I've heard the arguments for fixed gear bikes...simple, not much to adjust or maintain. I don't think maintaining or adjusting stuff is so complex that it would warrant riding a bike that cannot efficiently climb hills or brake and which more than likely is going to put your life in danger. And then if you make concessions and add a freewheel and/or brakes to a classic fixed gear bike then you aren't holding true to the fashion and you are nothing more than a poser.

Long live the derailleur!

Great Quote

"Put the spurs to 'er Chuck!"

--Jack Ridley (to Chuck Yeager in the X-1) in The Right Stuff


Honorable mention:

"No bucks, No Buck Rogers!"

-- Gus Grissom, The Right Stuff