Monday, December 31, 2007

Bringing in 2008 Right...With a Ride!

This is where I'm going:





This is what I'm potentially up against:





This is why I can't wuss out: An email from Mr. Bite himself:



Yo,

Thee 103rd annual Spoke-n-Sport New Year's Day ride will take place tomorrow (New Year's Day to those calendaricly challenged) starting at 1 PM. The ride won't be that long and afterwards there's chili and stuff across the street in the church school gym. Good times.

Yes, it will be a bit cold. But, you haven't anything better to do and the cold will serve as a character builder. Only severe wimps will not attend. Since I know that's not you I'll see you there.

Spoke-n-Sport is just east of the corner of 37th St and Minnesota Ave. Just go where all the bikes are. Last year I think there was more than 100 riders in weather that was a lot crappier than it will be this year.

Word.


So much for thoughts of going up, hanging out, eating, and potentially NOT riding. I've been called out. I'll be there. Probably bitching. But I'll be there. Riding.

2007 South Dakota MS Bike Tour

This is a little overdue, but I wanted to wait until all the money was turned in for both the rides that Team Road Kill participated in (Sioux Falls and WRATH - Black Hills).

It was a great year as we had over 40 riders on our team and we had a great time preparing, fund raising, and riding in this awesome event. This year Team Road Kill raised $19,724 for the chapter, narrowly missing the $20,000 mark. Considering that two years ago we raised a little over $8,000 and last year we raised over $14,000, we are steadily increasing our funds raised and awareness of this dreadful disease.



Through blogging, friendships are often made although there is a chance that we will never meet these "friends". Michelle is one of these friends and she also happens to have Multiple Sclerosis. Although she is not in our chapter for the MS Society, I asked her if I could add her name to the people I was riding for and she quickly agreed. The list of people who end up on my bandanna keeps increasing from year to year. I gladly continue to ride for them, but I do so with a heavy heart with the fact they have to live with this disease.

I'm looking forward to a day that there will be a cure for this disease. I'm also sure we will find another cause to ride for when that happens! So many cyclists are like me and love to ride for a cause. We don't always like to do fund raising, but give us an entry fee to ride in a worth while cause and we are there with bells Lycra on.

Thanks to all of you who supported one (or more) of Team Road Kill this year and in year's past. I can't tell you what a wonderful feeling it is to help in a cause such as this and I want you to know that you all make a difference!

A "Bob Ross" Kind of Day

Last Thursday was one of those cold but beautiful days, a day I affectionately call a "Bob Ross" day. The kind of day where the sun doesn't shine, it's cold and foggy, and the trees all have a snowy/ice buildup on them. All over town seemingly had no color, just shades of gray. I snapped three pictures over the noon hour when I came home to eat with Laura. It truly looked more like a painting than anything real, and the pictures don't really do it justice.



Friday, December 28, 2007

Discussions With Nebraska Dept of Roads

On my rainy day list of things to do was to email the Nebraska Dept of Roads and ask them how they determine which roads receive shoulders and which do not. So, early this week I did just that. I was impressed with not only receiving a response, but the number of people that got involved in the email process. On top of that, one of the regional engineers actually asked me MY opinion on the rumble strips on Hwy 20 and Hwy 81. More on that later.

The initial complaint with my inquiry was the fact that Hwy 12 has heavy semi truck, boat-pulling, and farm equipment traffic and has NO shoulder on it. The white line on the side of the road is literally the shoulder. Needless to say it can be very unnerving to be riding on the road and have traffic coming at you in both directions when there is no shoulder. While I didn't receive the answer I was hoping for, at least I started a dialog and got an honest answer.

In one of the last emails in our correspondence, I asked the engineer if she minded that I blogged about my experienced and was given permission. I'll leave the name out, but here is the email with great detailed explanation:

Kevin:

I can answer directly your question about which roads get shoulders in
Nebraska. We've recently retooled our standards to match more closely
national standards and our funding situation.

A standard lane width is 12', so most of our traveled way is 24' wide on
two-lane highways. When average daily traffic (ADT) projections for 20
years into the future show 2,000 vehicles/day the road qualifies for a 28'
top. This is essentially a 2' paved shoulder. We agree this makes a big
difference for agricultural traffic and wide loads. It is also more
comfortable for other drivers and does provide some benefit for bicyclists.

Even wider shoulders are considered when future ADT reaches 4,000
vehicles/day. When this threshold is reached, the new standard calls for
6' of paved shoulder if funds are available.

The section of Highway 12 between Obert and Ponca shows only a little over
1600 vehicles/day for 2026 on the busiest segment. We will not be
considering adding width to this part of Highway 12.

I do not want to give you false hope, but there is another possibility.
Sometimes when we resurface a road, we do add the additional 2' on each
side if the resurfacing method accommodates it at little extra expense. We
anticipate that the pavement will need resurfacing in about 8-10 years.
Perhaps there will be an opportunity for better accommodation of bicycles
by then.

In any case, we have taken note of your concern and will keep it on file
for project planning. Thank you for taking the time to let us know your
needs.

On another related subject, I would like to hear your opinion from a
cyclist's viewpoint on shoulder rumble strips. Perhaps you've seen them on
US-81 south of Highway 20 or on other highways?


My response back:

Thanks for your very detailed explanation on the shoulder situation. While disappointing for planning rides into Nebraska with our club and will probably limit any organized rides for us to the more experienced rider, it's still nice to know the situation. As you probably figured, I'm a strong voice for cycling advocacy. I'm not a hard to deal with person though, looking more for explanations like you gave versus being a thorn in anyone's side.

Rumble Strips: I avoid Hwy 81 like the plague. Far too much Semi traffic for my liking. I have ridden on Hwy 20 on the Bike Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) and a couple of solo trips. As stated, I wear a mirror off my glasses so I tend to ride on the road hugging the white line where rumble strips are present. If there are cars coming both ways or the car behind me appears to not be moving over, I will go over the rumble strips although I prefer not to on a road bike. I understand the purpose of rumble strips on major highways so I don't have a beef with them. As a cyclist, I don't like the rumbles before stop signs that don't split into two sections so I can split them however.

All that being said, Hwy 50 between Vermillion and Yankton or Vermillion and Interstate 29 does not have rumble strips on the wide shoulder which is obviously nicer for us to stay considerably off the roadway and out of any (reasonable) harms way. It's been a long time since I've been on Hwy 50 West of Yankton so I can't remember if there are rumbles that way or not. Hwy 19 North out of Vermillion to Centerville (21 miles) has recently been redone with a wide shoulder and no rumbles as well.

I guess that I hadn't given much thought to the rumbles on Hwy 20 as I know they are there. Would it be better for me without them? Of course. I'm sure there are traffic studies that suggest they are a good thing for safety of motorists however. I know they are not a cyclists friend, but I have never heard considerable griping about them either.

Thanks again for all your time. If you need anything further from my side of the conversation, feel free to contact me anytime.


Wouldn't you know it, there was a response back once again!

Thank you for letting me know your opinion about these safety features.
Yes, they are proven to reduce crashes and fatalities on our roads so we
are expanding our use of them throughout the state. Interesting to hear
your perspective.

In Nebraska we install the rumbles in a continuous strip just off of the
driving lane (outside of the white line) leaving approximately 5.5' of
clear surface for bicycles away from traffic. This is on our 8' surfaced
shoulders. The new standard of 6' surfacing would provide 3.5' of clear
space. The continuous strip is broken at intersections, residential and
commercial driveways and it is not installed through towns. As a cyclist
myself, I consider it a benefit to have rumble bars between vehicles and
me. I would like to hear what you think of the Nebraska placement strategy
if you happen upon them in your travels. We will be installing them on
US-20 west of Osmond in the near future.

Good point on the intersection rumble bars. I suppose motorcyclists may
have the same complaint. I will relay the concern to our Traffic
Engineering Division so they are aware. Maybe we can eliminate or reduce
the number of locations where full-width strips are used.


Not only that, the engineer is a cyclist! I responded with the opportunity to join us whenever in the area which was graciously accepted. Even more amazing to me in all this was that not only was my questions answered, but I was asked for MY opinion on an issue. I do love living in the Midwest. People who listen: BRILLIANT!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

200

While my .95 mile one way commute to the front door of my office by itself isn't THAT impressive, 200 straight days is yet another milestone to celebrate. Figuring that I usually go to the dome to workout over the noon hour and usually end up riding to and from various tech calls across campus, I'm usually over five miles per day of commuting/errand miles.

The last day I missed can be read about HERE. Even though I didn't drive to work myself that day, I didn't ride my bike. In good faith, I had to reset the streak due to the fact I didn't ride. I'm thinking that it might take more than that to make the streak die this time. Besides, my first attempt at this only lasted 48 days.

Bring on January, February, and March. C'mon Mother Nature, give me your best shot!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Finishing the Job

I'm going to start a new label for posts entitled "Pet Peeves". There are so many peeves, and they often happen to me and cause great mental anguish. My therapist (the various voices in my head) tells me that writing about them will help me cope. Hence, I feel the need to share them with you here.

Pet Peeve posting number one comes from my recent trip to the bathroom at a multipurpose facility.

IF you must use the gi-hugic industrial round rolls of toilet paper, make the toilet paper strong enough so you can actually pull the roll so that you get more than one square before it breaks and you have to repeat the process over and over. A few individual squares does not help me complete "the process" easily if you get my drift.

I guarantee you there will be more rants/pet peeves to come, many cycling related. I had to start somewhere!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'm Going Pro

My wife loves to support me in all my endeavors. So much so that she bought me a coffee mug to support me as I go pro:

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Busy Week

As is usually the case this time of year, life has been busy and packed with things going on.

Sunday: Our awesome Cantata at church. Children's program after church. Laura and I rented a carpet cleaner late Saturday afternoon and shampooed carpets and cleared out the office in the basement and it's now the bedroom to Austin. The Brady family needs to purge some of it's belongings as we now have stuff stacked to quite unsafe levels!

Monday: Got to have lunch with a good friend that I haven't had the opportunity to see in quite some time due to the fact I don't get to Sioux Falls all that often, even though I live less than an hour away. Austin also had his first band concert that night. He rocked the tenor sax!

Tuesday: Carson had his Pre-School program. He stood quite stoic looking dapper as all get out. However, nerves got the best of him and he didn't sing a word of any song...until he got back in the van. Then we couldn't shut him up. Not that we would have as it was quite cute.

Wednesday: Met Mr. Bite for lunch since I was working in Sioux Falls. It's becoming a Wednesday tradition to conspire to make bicycles take over the world.

Thursday: Ma Brady came down to the chiropractor and Laura and I took her out to lunch.

Friday: I met with good friends (and Austin's Godparents) Doug and Sina for lunch in Sioux Falls since I was up there working anyway. Dulci & Russ, Nicholas & Nathan (sister-in-law, husband and nephews) made it back from Colorado for Christmas along with Grandma Laura.

Saturday: The "Brady" Christmas in Montrose at the World Famous Irish Pub. Some 30 people were there, so it was a great place to host that many people. It was a great time and always nice to get together with the whole family. There was much talk about cycling and bowling. We all have our geek-dom...my brother has a vice in bowling. He owns more bowling balls than I do bikes.

Sunday: Church along with Russ and Dulci renewing their vows. They have been married 15 years and decided one trip up the aisle wasn't enough.

Not that we are not normally busy, nor is this a complete list of what's been going on. On the contrary, it's just the highlights. I was just compiling in my own head why I feel like I've done nothing but chase my tail as of late. I may have to take off time after Christmas just to catch up on sleep!

I am looking forward to a relaxing (?) Christmas with family, but I'm also already looking forward to the calm once school starts up again!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Brady 2007 Christmas Rhyme

The Brady Family Christmas rhyme of two-thousand-and-seven is here
sent live and direct from our house and it’s filled with great cheer!
So much to catch up on from the year that has past
we’ve had us a good one, in fact it was a blast!
I fail to keep in touch with many of you, at it I bomb,
but all the important stuff is at bikingbrady dot blogspot dot com.
Do not blame me for your lack of knowledge of the clan,
that’s where the blog comes in; at least that’s the plan.
For those who refuse to keep reading our life on the web (that we weave)
the abbreviated version of our life in this letter you shall receive.
Let’s start with Carson, now four-and-one-half
is quick with a smile and quite a cute laugh.
He is in “his school” now; Pre-school to all else who know
in school and in life, the boy continues to grow.
Austin is in sixth grade and started playing the tenor sax
He’s doing well for a beginner and that’s just the facts!
Recently we rearranged the house and he no longer shares a room with his brother,
“You now can’t blame your messy room on Carson” quickly warns his mother.
Marissa is in 4th grade and has likes too many to mention here
suffice it to say she always moving in a high gear.
She is a good sister to the boys, such a great friend to so many and it is easily seen,
and gets frustrated with people who are rude, nasty and mean.
I’m proud of our kids and I say that with pride,
but still there are days that I just want to hide.
He’s yelling at her, she’s tattling on him
there are days their survival seem pretty slim.
When things are their bleakest and blood pressures are hiking,
the Brady’s do what they do best, they take to biking!
We all do our biking, to work and to school;
we like to laugh at the car driving fool.
We bike so much, as much as we’re able,
that this year we added more bikes to our stable!
A Cannondale tandem and a used cruiser tandem too,
Dad and Marissa have new rides also to name just a few.
Our single car garage has probably seen its last car;
bikes are simply the important thing we own by far!
There have been so many rides and memories this Chinese year of the Pig,
if you want to know more, read the blog, do you dig?
I’m still at USD in IT, probably will be for life,
Laura is working hard, the massage-giving wife.
Enough writing for now, before I make even less sense
of the 2007 life of the Brady’s, the version condensed.
To friends old and new, we wish you the best,
to those who have kids, we wish you some rest!
I leave you with one thought, a challenge I hope you will like,
in 2008 get off your tookus, drive less, and ride much more bike!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tagged

For the most part, I'm not into the whole "being tagged" thing on the internet. However, an old friend Geek Girl the Iron has tagged me twice and I need something to calm my mind for five minutes so here goes nothing.

Rules: Tell five things about yourself that others may not know. Since most of my "blogging friends" don't know me that well, here is a list of things you may or may not know about me.

1. Biking is a "new found" love over the past 10 years. I was actually more of a distance runner than anything. I ran many road races and two marathons with the last marathon being in October of 1990 (Twin Cities). I posted a 3:04 in Lincoln, NE and was on my way to around a 2:50 in Twin Cities when I got tripped up with my running mate and fell at the 21 mile mark. Still managed a 3:20, but was beat up, sore, and bummed out. Due to a back injury, distance running had to leave my life. However, obviously I've found something else to occupy my obsessive/compulsive nature.

2. I served in Desert Storm (aka Papa Bush's war). I served with the 730th Medical Company (Detachment 1) South Dakota National Guard out of Vermillion. Always thought I'd stay in to get retirement, but decided that playing babysitter to the world might not be all that fun so I got out.

3. I am a band geek. To this day I still play my saxophone and enjoy it immensely. My Dad played in an old timers band (waltz, polka, fox trots, etc) and I still pick up and play those songs from memory. I tend to play more by ear than by sheet music. I also (attempt) to play bass guitar for a praise and worship band at church.

4. I am a Lay Speaker for the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. That's right folks, Bikingbrady gives an occasional sermon. I definitely have much more appreciation for pastors giving their sermon now as I KNOW how much time it takes to prepare for a sermon. Anybody who knew me as a wild kid would find it hard to believe that I go to church, let alone fill the pulpit.

5. I hate large crowds. I can handle small gatherings or smaller groups within a large gathering, but I can't stand to be in a large crowd. Maybe it's all part of growing up in rural South Dakota, but when a crowd gets too big, I tend to want to leave.

I believe the rules are that I now get to "tag" five of you. You don't have to, and I'm sure some of you won't, but it might be interesting to see what some of you will say. SO...I'll tag Snakebite, Cycle SD, Ridden Words, My Chain Driven Life Through Alaska , Barry, and MnBicycleCommuter

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday "Shake off the Winter Blues" Ride

I'd like to thank Craig D. for suggesting we get off our moping butts and actually get out and ride today. It was nice to get out even though it was only about 15 miles. It was enough to make my toes cold and appreciate some coffee and a bagel at the end of the ride.

It's cold by most standards, chilly from a South Dakota standpoint. Even at 1:00 as I write this, it's only 17 degrees. I actually don't mind bundling up and riding in the cold, but I have to figure out the layering a bit.

My biggest issue with cold riding is my feet. I simply can't keep my feet warm. I have two pairs of socks on, my mountain bike shoes with SPD cleats and my Performance bike booties over the top. For all of you who ride more in the winter than I do, what do you do for socks/shoes/booties in winter time? I have to figure this out as I want to ride more, but an hour is about all my feet and toes are willing to put up with at this point. I may have to invest a little more in my feet to make it more bearable, but I want it to be worth my money as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rush Hour Cycling in Copenhagen

I've been following the blog over at Cycleliciousness for some time now and thought this video speaks volumes about the cycling culture in Copenhagen. If only it was like that here!

The Best and Worst of Days

As mentioned over on Mr. Bite's blog I emailed him to see if he could go for a very late lunch. It's always good to talk to another obsessive cyclist to know that cycling all year round is very normal and efficient. Discussions ranged from winter wear, the coolness of the Surley Pugsley and how great it really is on snow, to the upcoming Gut Check '08.

What I failed to mention was that I was already suffering the mother of all headaches when we went to lunch. After lunch it only got worse. I started getting the "I'm-about-to-hurl-sweats". I struggled through until 4:00 and was heading back to Vermillion in much pain. I made it to the Worthing exit at which time I pulled off the ramp and went to the on ramp on the other side where I opened the door and spread multi-colored joy all over the pavement.

All better...away we go. Well, all better until about the Beresford exit. Nope, can't pull off here, it's too busy. Made it five more miles to the Wakonda/Alcester exit and repeated the door opening procedure to a much lesser extent.

All better...again. Well, to the Vermillion exit now. Called Laura and told her to meet me at fleet with the van as I didn't feel good enough to ride home. After loading the van and leaving fleet we had to stop so I could "call a couple more dinosaurs" by the recycling center. I wasn't quite finished yet as we had to stop a half block later.

I went home, slept for a couple hours and couldn't even hold down a couple pieces of toast or Sprite later on. Finally I gave up and went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling better and starving so I had my midnight snack.

Mr. Bite, if this was your plan to eliminate me via some kind of heinous plot, it damn near worked. However, I still made it to work today and I feel pretty good so you better up your poison dosages next time.

I hadn't thrown up in nearly five years and I can't say that I missed it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DARE Parenting 101

Last night while Laura had clients at the massage clinic, my youngest was happily playing by himself with a plethora of toys leaving me to watch a little tube with the 9 & 11 year olds. While scanning the channels, I came across "Intervention" on the A&E network.

I like the show, but I thought it might be a bit much for the kids. However, this show was about a kid just out of high school who had seemingly been through the whole range of emotions growing up: Dad was an alcoholic and not in the picture, rowdy uncontrollable kid, high school jock, and now meth addict. I decided to go ahead and watch it with the kids and discuss it during commercial break. It was impressive to see them get what was going on. They could actually see what the kid was not just doing to himself, but the effect it had on the family as well.

As a "prude" who hasn't even smoked a cigarette in my life, let alone anything illegal, I worry about my kids making the right choices growing up. Programs like DARE are a wonderful thing and a necessity to hopefully show kids the dangers out there. However, there was something about the Intervention show that really seemed to hit home with them. Seeing how a young life was being ruined along with their family made an impact on them that I hope they take with them for a long time.

Not all Cable TV is evil I guess....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Snow Bike

Quick question for all: Which bike should I ride during icy conditions? The X-Bite 2000 or Old Yeller? Why am I asking? Allow me to explain.

First off, understand that I do not have my studded tires on either bike as of yet, hence the debate.

I love the X-Bite 2000. It's light, responsive, and I love the hard tail nature of it for carrying the grocery getter or the kid cart. It's first experience with ice however was a bit shaky. I'm wondering if this is partially because of how light it is.

Old Yeller...well, it's old, and it's yeller (yellow). It's a known commodity on ice. It's heavy (Norba Downhill frame) and seems to hold the road well even without studded tires. Does its heavier frame help it in these conditions or not?

Which bike should I put the studs on for icy riding? Best (non-smart aleck) response may be compensated with liquid refreshment if I choose to be nice.

Monday, December 03, 2007

New Toy: The iRobot Roomba

I own a robot. How cool is that. In the midst of not feeling very well this weekend, my Roomba arrived.


I admit, the only reason I bought it was that it was a refurbished model and it was pretty inexpensive.

How do I feel about it? You are probably still going to have to vacuum with a real vacuum once a week or so, but this little guy does a pretty awesome job. I had the perfect excuse: I wasn't feeling well and the floor needed to be vacuumed. After it charged overnight on Saturday, I cut it loose while chilling in front of the tube on Sunday. It zigged, it zagged, went in and cleaned the kitchen, the hallway, the bathroom and finished up the living room before going back to it's dock to recharge. I was amazed at what a good job it did, especially with the pet hair.

It's been used four times in various rooms and I'm not disappointed at all. How cool is it to shove something in a room, shut the door and walk away. Come back a while later to a clean room? Overall rating: 4.7 stars out of 5.

Next potential purchase due to this impression: The iRobot Scooba.

Something to wash the kitchen floor after a day of three kids messing it up? Oh yeah, I'm there.

The Weekend That Was

The weekend that was supposed to be relaxing. Laura was out of town, helping move her Grandma (also named Laura) back to Spearfish. It was just "me and the three" for a fun-filled weekend. For the most part, it started out that way. After a moderately lazy Saturday morning, I gave them a choice of cleaning for an hour or going to the USD Women's Basketball game. Tough choice there!

USD thumped 22nd ranked Nebraska-Kearney 84-51. Weekend is going great so far. A quick trip to the store with the kids to pick up some necessities was going good. Then it happened, I started to not feel too great. By the time it was time to leave the store, I cheated and grabbed some chicken from the deli. We got home, I threw the chicken on the table, laid down on the couch and let the kids to fend for themselves.

I tried to enjoy the Oklahoma victory over Missouri in the Big XII Championship (okay, I DID enjoy that), but I was miserable. I chose not to eat at all after a visit to the bathroom that I will not get into (this IS a family show).

Sunday we didn't go to church and I'm glad we didn't . I. FELT. HORRIBLE. By the time Laura made it back from Spearfish, I was starting to perk up a bit. Wishful thinking. Within a short time, I was back to square one. I would feel good for the first couple hours being awake and then miserable until I rested again.

Waking up this morning, fully expecting to be ready for work, it wasn't to be. Then to top it off, my oldest boy Austin has it now. I didn't think it was possible to mope around more than I when sick, but he's a pro.

To tell you that I'm feeling great would be far from the truth. My stomach just will not settle down. I rested most of the day (when I finally stopped checking work email). I plan on chilling out watching the Patriots/Ravens tonight if I can survive the whole game.

At any rate, that's the excitement at the Brady house. Here is hoping that YOU all are healthy and feeling well. I'm anxious to be over this funk and over my body aches and back on to some cold weather riding.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bicycling Magazine in Digital Format - Part 2

This is a follow-up to the previous post/rant about Bicycling Magazine not wanting to respond to me about plans about a full digital edition. Today, I received the following from their online editor:

Hi Kevin.

I think we have been in touch before but Im not sure so I'll start from scratch. Thinking and Going Green is very important to us here at Rodale and especially at Bicycling, a mode of transportation and recreation that is green in every sense of the word.

Currently, our magazine is not delivered electronically and I am still unsure when that is in the works. With the push of media towards the digital realm, something tells me sooner than later. However, we do republish almost all of our magazine content on our website Bicycling.com. Maybe reading our content on the web would be a suitable alternative in the mean time.

Please keep in touch and thank you again for the suggestions and feedback.

David


While I'm still not sure how soon it will potentially happen, it was nice to receive an email from not-just-somebody at Rodale, but the online editor. I was pretty impressed that he took the time to email me back. When I responded and thanked him for his time, he emailed yet again saying that he appreciates all feedback, especially well articulated email. Thus proving he probably never reads my blog!

The Dreaded Post

I don't usually apologize for not blogging, but in this case I will. I haven't blogged lately because I've been pouting and feeling sorry myself. Sometimes when you put pressure on yourself and you fall short, it hits you especially hard.

Most of you know that I was shooting for 10,000 miles this year. Cutting to the chase, it isn't going to happen. As a matter of fact, I'm shutting down rather drastically for a bit. I've been struggling for a while now with my back/neck issues and I just kept fighting (stubbornly) through chasing THE goal. Sometimes fighting through can be a good thing, but when it gets to the point where you get blurred vision, lose equilibrium, and can't sleep, it just might be a sign that you need to step back, heal, and go after it again. As a matter of fact, as I write this I'm hooked up to a TENS unit (electrical stimulation) trying to relieve some pain so I can function at work. I'm sitting at my desk, too pained to want to leave for lunch. I really screwed up by not listening to my body closer. Now I have to heal.

No more pity stories. After all, 9,000+ miles is still a pretty darn good consolation prize. On to the future. Next year resolutions will be:

* no logging miles (oh, I'm sure I'll have a *general* idea of my mileage)
* more time on the tandem with my wife and kids in an attempt to both spend more time with them and stimulate their interest in riding
* more time with wife and kids in general
* less worry about riding EVERY night and more focus on longer rides when I do ride
* more century-plus rides
* Gut Check 2008 (?) *Question Mark removed by gentle suggestion of Mr. Bite
* more bicycle advocacy
* more focus on our local bike club growth and structure
* using cycling for charitable purposes (MS Society, Big Friend/Little Friends, Ulcerative Colitis, etc)

See, I'm done pouting and now I'm looking forward to next year. There is therapy in blogging!

Ride on!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all friends, family, and fellow bloggers who have stumbled here. There are actually a few flurries of snow happening right now and I'm feeling the un-motivation that accompanies the mother of all eating holidays.

It's been a year to be thankful for in so many ways. The whole family has been healthy this year, a considerable amount of cycling has happened, and many friends (old and new) have been a part of our lives this year. I attribute some of that to getting in the car less and planning time with those who are a part of our lives.

As far as the kids, they are thankful that they finally got their cable tv back that left in June due to "couch potato-ness". They finally proved they can be responsible so Dad made them happy and allowed cable back in the house, with one small warning: It CAN go away again. They get the hint.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Friday, November 16, 2007

How People Get Here

As I'm on hold waiting for a Microsoft Support Person to come on line, I checked my blog stats and looked at what referral tracking has landed people to my site. I'm currently #2 on the list if you Google "Christmas Letter Rhyme". I'm #1 in Japan's Google should you decide to google "kota recycle tent" (why you would I have no idea). I even show up at the bottom of the page when somebody Googled "table of how much rain fell in the first 2 weeks of october 2007 in Sioux falls"

For some reason I'm linked from this site too: http://geiaxara.blogspot.com/. I'm not sure how I ended up on their blogroll! If anybody can translate the site, please enlighten me.

If you don't run stats on your site, you should. It's cheap entertainment figuring out how people get to your site. Why they keep coming back I have no idea, but getting them here the first time is always interesting.

How did YOU end up on my site for the first time?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bike vs. Car Report - Nov 1-15

As promised, this is the first installment of my Bike vs. Car bi-monthly report. It will hopefully serve as a motivational tool for others as well as myself. Current price of gas in Vermillion: $3.199. Just thought I'd throw that in as well.

DateBikeRodeDroveReason
11/1/07YesYesLaura picked me up for lunch
11/2/07Yes
11/3/07Yes
11/4/07Yes
11/5/07YesYesStayed home with Carson (sick), took Austin's sax to school, lunch to Laura at work
11/6/07Yes
11/7/07Yes
11/8/07Yes
11/9/07Yes
11/10/07Yes
11/11/07Yes
11/12/07Yes
11/13/07Yes
11/14/07Yes
11/15/07Yes


Biking Miles November 1-15
Commuting/Errands92.82
Training/Recreation226.20
Driving Miles~7

Bicycling Magazine in Digital Format

*WARNING - The following message is a personal advocacy rant - Reading this rant may infuriate you, make you impale yourself with sharp objects, or just make you think I'm crazy. Well, crazier than normal...

I have attempted to contact Rodale Press, the publishing company of Bicycling Magazine, Runners World, Men's Health, etc., on five different occasions both by phone and by email to get a straight answer as to a time line as to when they might go digital with their magazines. After all, I figured that a company that is into health and the great outdoors would be quick to adopt a way to reduce waste by not having to print all those magazines.

Sure, you can recycle a magazine, but what percentage of all their magazines actually make it to a recycling center? I would hope a great percentage, but the reality probably isn't as rosy as I'd like it to be.

So many of my tech (IT) magazines are in digital format and I absolutely love it. Not to mention that you can save them and refer back to them without having to have a special room in your house devoted to them!

My initial phone call to Bicycling Magazine was less than impressive. When I asked if they were going to put their magazine in Digital Format, I received a bland "no" answer. When I asked if they were planning on it in the future, I receive a bland "not to my knowledge". I pried a little further: "So, you're telling me that a magazine that promotes cycling and a natural way of life, isn't planning on a digital format to your magazine to try to reduce recycling and use of natural resources"? It was a bit longer pause, possibly due to the fact that he was contemplating if I was psychotic or not, I received a bit firmer; "Sir, as far as I know there are no intentions in the future to release Bicycling Magazine in a digital format". I thanked him for his answers but also told him that I was disappointed, so I tried the second angle: Email!

At this point, I've sent four emails that have gone unanswered in the last month or so. I'm VERY disappointed in the lack of answers. Since I can't seem to get an answer from them, I'm going to my personal sounding board in hopes of garnering support. I figured if I have enough people who like Digital Magazines and Bicycling Magazine to help make a push for this, maybe there will be enough strength in numbers to change their mind.

For those of you who think I'm crazy, well, I'm used to that too. You have to be a little crazy to stand up for what you believe in sometimes. Oh yeah, for those who are seriously interested in rattling some cages:

Bicycling Magazine Customer Service: BKEcustserv@rodale.com 800-666-2806
Bicycling Magazine Editor: bicycling@rodale.com
All Customer Service for Rodale: http://www.rodale.com/1,6597,8-116,00.html
All Editor Contacts: http://www.rodale.com/1,6597,8-115,00.html

Monday, November 12, 2007

What I Do When I'm NOT Biking

As stated, due to football playoffs, a bad back, and general laziness, I didn't bike much this week. Maybe it's a bit of burn out.

I did get a chance to spend a little extra time with the kids on Sunday as Laura was called into work. It was a beautiful biking day that I gladly gave up to have a little fun. Alright, there was a little work involved to, but nothing that couldn't be turned into fun. Such as:

1. Turn raking the yard into a time of jumping in the leaf pile.


2. When Mittens the Cat shows an interest in the leaf pile, show your son a great game called "bury the cat"


3. Taking pride in a job well done (yes, the cat IS in the picture).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day


It's Veterans Day and once again I didn't receive a single present from any of you. I'm a little more than disappointed here!

On a serious note, happy Veteran's Day to ALL Veteran's. As I've told many of you in person: Regardless of how you feel about the war, and many of you know my position, it's not the soldier who is to blame for what is going on. ALWAYS support your troops as they are following orders and doing as they are told. They are doing the best they can under the circumstances and deserve all the prayers and support we can give them.

God Speed and come home safe (and SOON!).

Last but not least, a shout out to all my fellow soldiers from the 730th Medical Company (Clr) Det. 1 who I served with in Desert Storm. We served in the name of the SD National Guard with pride and did one heck of a job. Here is hoping that those of my comrades who went back this time don't have to see another tour....ever..

I'm Football-ed Out

I admittedly haven't ridden much since Wednesday. I've been having a heck of a time with a sore back and I've been working all the football games that have been going on inside the Dakota Dome.

The South Dakota High School Football Playoffs were this weekend (Thurs-Saturday) and that meant working the Daktronics Pro-Ad board as well as certain sequences for the Pro Star board as well. High School is a little tougher than college as each play we try to put up the ball carrier and the tackler. It gets really busy. As if six high school games were not enough, I got called into the USD/UND college game as they were short camera operators. So, I was there to run the boards for that as well. Seven games is enough to burn anybody out on football.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sunrise, eh?

I was cruising my usual blogs and ran across Snakebite's blog that had a quiz on it. I must have been bored, because I actually did it. I definitely am not a "sunrise" today as my kids actually let me sleep in (with the help of Mom I'm sure) for the first time in quite some time. The muscle relaxer I took before going to be might also have aided my sleep time.

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.
Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.
All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Evan Almighty

If it isn't a blatant kid film, I'm way behind on movie watching. I finally caught Evan Almighty on DVD and it was only mildly entertaining, even for somebody who usually just shuts their brain off and enjoys what a movie has to offer. That being said, I'd only give the movie 3.5/4 stars out of 10. Worth a watch, nice feel good message about it, so not a total waste of time.

The beauty that makes me appreciate it more was in the extras on the DVD. They talk about the "Almighty Green Set". They set it up so as much wood as possible from the set would be donated to Habitat for Humanity at the end of the movie along with windows/etc. The director from the movie also offered to buy bicycles for the cast and crew for those who were willing to ride between the sets instead of drive, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the film. He figured that a few people would end up taking him up on his offer, but 400 ended up doing so....and he bought 400 bikes. I thought that was pretty darn cool! They also figured out their total carbon footprint from travel and everything for the film, and planted enough trees to make up for it, making this a "zero carbon footprint" movie.

While this doesn't really make up for a so-so movie, it makes the message within the movie (be better stewards of the earth) a stronger one. I'm impressed with the thought process of what went on behind the scenes of the movie. Wonder if we will see any other movies willing to do such attempts to make "green movies". Many in the movie industry talk the talk, now to see if they will truly walk the walk.

Blog Readability

Apparently you have to be at least college edu-muh-cated to read my blog. Is this why my readership is so low?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Monthly Mileage Update

Can't we just say I hit my original goal of 7,500 and call it good? It is getting harder and harder to put in the miles outside and the thought of a little over 1,500 miles in the next two month, presumably at least HALF on the trainer is making me a little queasy in the stomach.

At any rate, I'm still on pace to break 10,000. That elusive goal that I've always wanted to accomplish, even if it kills me. Trust me, it's trying to.



At the end of October I currently have 8420.97 miles in for the year. That puts me at an average of 27.70 miles per day and on a pace to ride 10,110.70 miles. IF I get to 10,000, expect to see the number stop there. I don't know if I have the heart to keep trying to ride 27.70 miles per day if I hit 10,000. Another update at the end of November.

This month's new stat is going to be "Days that I have been in a vehicle/driven a vehicle".

Monday, October 29, 2007

PSA - Halloween Safety Tips

As we all prepare for the upcoming Halloween season, please take a few minutes to read some simple rules to help keep everyone safe...

1. - NEVER assume the telephone calls are coming from another house.
2. - When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead.
3. - NEVER read a book of demon summoning aloud, even as a joke.
4. - NEVER go into the basement to check the power when the lights go out!
5. - If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, KILL THEM immediately! It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. However, it will probably take several rounds So be prepared. This also applies to kids who speak with somebody else's voice.
6. - When you have the benefit of numbers, NEVER split up and go it alone.
7. - NEVER have sex. Especially if you've noticed a few of your Friends are missing!
8. - As a general rule, DO NOT solve puzzles that open a portal to Hell.
9. - NEVER stand in, on, or above a grave, tomb, or crypt. This would apply to any other house of the dead as well.
10. - If you're searching for something which caused a loud noise and find out that it's just the cat, don't stand there sighing with relief, GET THE HELL OUT!
11. - If appliances start operating by them selves, don't check for short circuits; GET THE HELL OUT!
12. - NEVER take anything from the dead.
13. - If you find a town which looks deserted, there's probably a good reason for it. DO NOT stop and look around; GET THE HELL OUT!
14. - NEVER fool with recombinant DNA technology even if you're absolutely sure you know what you're doing.
15. - NEVER STOP when you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are of the female persuasion. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is merely ambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you.
16. - If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behaviors such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, KILL THEM immediately.
17. - Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (you're in trouble if you recognize this one), the Bermuda Triangle, or ANY small town in Maine.
18. - If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, DO NOT go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. If you think that it is strange because you thought you had a full tank, shoot yourself now. You are going to die anyway, and will most likely be eaten.
19. - BEWARE of strangers bearing strange tools. For example: chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any devices made from deceased companions.
20. - If you find that your house is built upon a cemetery, GET THE HELL OUT! This also applies to houses that had previous inhabitants who went mad, committed suicide, died or were killed in some horrible fashion, or had inhabitants who performed satanic practices in your house

Friday, October 26, 2007

How Not to Look Cool as a Hunter

The setup: Last Saturday, as we rode our bikes all over the country, we took our lives into our hands as it was the beginning of South Dakota's pheasant season. The rest of the post is self explanatory with that piece of information.

Picture the following:



By itself a minivan is a fine vehicle. Even I own one. Now picture this inside the minivan:



If anybody pictured this and didn't laugh, there is something wrong with you. Of course, seeing it first hand about made me have an accident I was laughing so hard, even as a non-hunter. If I was this guys friend, he would never live it down. That's the kind of nice guy I am.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Weekend Ride and "The Pencil Box"

Last Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL fall day. Holly S., Barbara Y., and Kwen S. rode towards Volin where we hooked up with Cathy L. making her way down from Wakonda to join us. We rolled into the Volin Cafe for a snack and while we were there, Mr. Krause, my high school Shop (Industrial Arts) teacher came in. I hadn't seen him for quite some time.

It brought back a high school memory that is easy to laugh at now, but was a bit traumatic at the time. You see, Mr. Krause was a nice enough guy, but was tragically born without a sense of humor. Well, maybe that isn't true, but what was there was a pretty dry sense of humor. Then there was me; the kid who was NOT going to do well in Shop class. To this day, crafty building type activities are not my thing. Let us move on to the meat of this story.

We HAD to build a "drawer project". In order for me to survive, it was going to be as SIMPLE as humanly possible. I found some left over cedar in the wood bin and I set about making my pencil box, after drafting it in the classroom of course. For the drawer, I used some extra press board. When I was done gluing, I knew by looking at it that the drawer wasn't *exactly* square. To my defense, it DID go in and out of the hole for the drawer.

When Mr. Krause inspected my project he looked it over, moved it in and out, and then...he pulled out the drawer. He looked at it from every angle, then he looked at me, then he looked at the drawer, then WHAM! He smacked my drawer against the workbench breaking it into many pieces and said "DO IT AGAIN".

Oh the horror and the shame for a young kid. I DID refinish my drawer and received at least a less menacing glance the second time around. You know what's funny? I still have it! I'm missing the two pieces of wire that served as a letter holder, but it's still in use! It has a few nicks and marks, but hey, it was built around 1981 so it looks good for being at least 25 years old, don't you think?



By the way, the rest of the ride was very nice. Cathy rode with us to Frog Creek Road and the dreaded Rice Hill. I decided to escort her back to Wakonda and then back to Vermillion as I wanted more miles. I hope we get one more little heat wave in the upcoming weekends!

Friday, October 19, 2007

8,000 and on Pace

I rolled over 8,000 miles yesterday. I'm still being stubborn and riding outside with a mix of noon hour training in the dome. It's hard to ride over 15-20 miles within the city limits of Vermillion without going a little crazy. I've covered every in town road in Vermillion many times in the past week.

Brighter note: Tomorrow is supposed to be 74 and sunny. Winds SSW @ 12. I might try to get a century in, or at least 70. I need to increase my mileage cushion for those days that I look at the trainer and want to throw up. My "on pace for" mileage is only around 10,060. There are some (almost all) days that it's tough to want to think about almost 28 miles on a trainer in December so it's time to kick it in.

Next question: Why am I so obsessed by 10K?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Poetic Justice

If only this would happen to all bike thieves.

From keloland.com

10/17/2007
Bike Theft Leads To Other Arrests

A bike theft in Sioux Falls took a strange turn of events for police officers last night.

The victim called police, and met them at the Hy-Vee on East 10th Street where the suspect was inside. Police began questioning the suspect's roommate in the squad car, when the suspect walked out of the store. Officers say he took off running with beer cans he had just shoplifted spilling out of his coat pockets.

As soon as officers caught him, they heard a strange noise from the squad car. There, they say that roommate had just destroyed the officer's cell phone.

The suspected bike thief, 18-year-old Kyle Klemm was arrested for charges of theft, fleeing, resisting arrest, and underage consumption. His roommate, 19-year-old Daniel Heddens, was arrested for intentional damage to property, underage consumption, and outstanding warrants.

And after all that trouble, police say the bike theft victim did not want to press charges on the men for stealing his bike.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The First Home Football Game I WATCHED

I became employed with the University of South Dakota in June of 1997. Either by default or by being an IT geek, or because they couldn't get anybody else to do it, I volunteered my time helping to run the Daktonics video board for home football games, basketball games, and track meets.

When we received our new board three years ago we actually started to get PAID (I say that lightly as we don't get paid much) for running the board. I've been slowly looking for somebody to take some of the load off my shoulders as I wanted to be able to attend a game here and there with my family and not have to work.

Last Saturday, Dakota Days, my dream came true. After 10 plus years of working games, I finally got to sit in Section E, row 21, smack dab on the 50 yard line and watch a game. It was a great experience to be on the "fan" side once again. It was a lackluster performance by the Coyotes, but a win nonetheless (24-10) in front of a crowd of over 10,000 people. The highlight was Brooks Little setting the all time receptions mark in the first half on a long touchdown pass.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Slow Down or Else!

I'm SO gonna get me one of these for people who seem to want to drive twice the posted speed limit by my house.

Putting in the Miles...

This quest for 10,000 miles is starting to be painful. The days are shorter, I hate riding inside, and I'm stubborn enough to ride outside for the most part. Today I took two different rides to amass a little over 27 miles. I got rained on the first time so I stopped at about 10 miles. Then I got another 15 in, came home and got the grocery getter and headed to the store with Laura's grocery list.

By the time I was done getting groceries, it was raining pretty hard out. I called Laura to have her check radar to see if there was going to be a break anytime soon and she said that it didn't look like it. It's a little less than two miles from Hy-Vee to home so I loaded up GG in the rain and away we went. By the time I got home I was pretty soaked.

Hats off to the Pearl Izumi Barrier Jacket though. Underneath my jacket, I was dry except from sweating slightly. It appears that the jacket might get a workout too. Below is what I'm currently seeing with my weather.com addin for Firefox (you may have to click on it to appreciate it):



By the way, I'm still holding pace for 10,000 for the year, but my margin of error is getting smaller. Harder to take a day off and I can't have too many days that are of meager miles. I have an 87.7 mile cushion right now and I need to maintain a 27.40 miles per day average for 10K (currently 27.67). I can foresee many boring, sweaty trainer miles ahead in the closing couple of months.

In other news, I haven't sent an updated "GG" update, mainly because it's pretty much the same stuff I have been hauling. I'll post pictures of different stuff I haul from time to time. I'm thinking of new things to post for next year, like number of days I've ridden my bike and number of days I've driven a car (trust me, the bike wins EASILY). I like to showcase the fact I don't (and don't need to) drive much so I'll figure out ways of keeping y'all up to date.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

LOST! - The Men, not the TV Show

It was a GREAT weekend of mountain biking, no matter how you look at it. Even after all was said and done, "the lost" Craig and I agreed that it was better that taking the highway back. I mean really, who mountain bikes on the highway when there are perfectly good gravel/mud roads to go on?

Let's back up and start from the beginning shall we? Craig D., Craig T., Joe P., and I all met and drove over to Maskell, NE where we met up with Kary G. from the Yankton club. A few of us had ridden the back roads to some extent around there, but not towards the river and we had been told that was a great ride.

Off we went south out of Maskell and a little over a mile later was our first "minimum maintenance road" of the day. It's a clay/dirt mixture that gets some pretty gaping cracks in it when it rains, like it has lately. For the most part everybody traversed the road well and had a good time. We hooked back up to the gravel that we normally would go back to Obert on, but went south towards the river instead of back to Obert. As we were biking along and following the river, I had noticed about how far we had gone and mentioned that I bet we could end up in Wynot, NE. Another minimum maintenance road later that basically popped out right on somebody's farm and I could see Wynot actually slightly southeast of us. We rode on into town and enjoyed a barley pop and a bag of chips before mounting up on the way home.

Kary G., Craig D., and Joe P. WUSSED OUT and took Hwy 12 back to Maskell to their vehicles while Craig T. and I decided to try to backtrack the way we had just come. Really, who takes paved roads on a mountain bike where there are perfectly good gravel/dirt roads to be traversed? One catch, it was starting to rain. Not hard and it was actually not bad to ride in at all. Even the first dirt/clay road wasn't too bad to maneuver through although it is a pretty good climb and descent. We made our way back along the river and as we were turning back towards Maskell there was more and more lightening and the rain started coming down heavier.

I was looking for the "Y" in the road that we needed to turn on and I'm not sure if it was the rain or just the fact I thought it looked familiar, but we turned about 2 miles short of where we should have. The road started out fine, but then it started looking more and more like a long field approach. I told Craig that I thought we made a wrong turn, but he was actually quite reassuring that we were going right. That lasted about another mile when the semi-gravel turned into pure dirt, which now had turned to pure mud. It was only about 10 pedal strokes before the breaks were caked with mud and the wheels were locking up. We had to ride on the edge of the grass to keep the wheels clean. In about a 1/2 mile we went south between two corn fields hoping to find a road that led back over the bluff. No such luck. We started going back east again and I noticed that I was having trouble steering. I thought it was due to the mud. No such luck. TWO flat tires. It was about this same time that I noticed something that made me hopeful: I could see the bridge going back to South Dakota. It was probably 1.5-2 miles away. PROBLEM: There was a couple more fields between us and that bridge and no more roads, just muddy fields. It wasn't going to happen. We were going to have to back track.

Strangely enough, as we were back tracking out of our situation, we ran into a pickup. A young guy and two girls were waiting for the guys buddy who was "checking a tree stand". They didn't offer to help but did tell us the best way out. I didn't want to back track as far as they were explaining so Craig and I hugged the fence line of a cornfield for probably a half mile and we got back on the initial gravel road that had taken us astray. As we were making our way out the pickup went by and offered us a ride into town, which was lucky for us as it was already about 6:00 and we were a couple hours from being finished. It was getting cold, we were tired, and getting hungry.

As we pulled into Maskell, I noticed that Craig D. was behind us in a pickup. It seems that he was sent on behalf of our wives to try to hunt us down as Craig T's wife was very worried. So much so that she had called the Vermillion police who in turned called the Dixon Co. (NE) Sheriff to look for us. This isn't the first time Craig T has been lost you see. The first time included a search and rescue mission team in the Black Hills. SO...I suppose it's acceptable for Craig's wife to be a little worried. Mine, of course, just laughed at me.

We drove back into town, grabbed my camera and headed to the car wash to clean off the bikes. Even after a good power washing, I had to clean out the inside of the tires thoroughly before replacing tubes. It was an absolute mess.

It may have been an absolutely crappy situation, but Craig and I made the best of it. After all, what is biking without biking stories to tell? Do those who rode the highway home have these stories? I THINK NOT!

Here are a couple of pictures before the washing of the bikes with the high pressure hose.





This is the best reproduction of the trip I can make from memory. Of ALL the trips to forget my Garmin on, I really wish I had it for this one! Somewhere straight south of Obert between the river to the east is where we were. I really can't reproduce it on here, but I bet I can take you there on bike. Just tell me when you want to go. I'll make sure it's raining and cold.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge

For those who haven't seen this, check out the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge. I think this is a great challenge for many people. Statistics show that 40% of all travel is within a two mile radius of your home. For me, that is pretty much all of Vermillion. Which means I SHOULD be biking everywhere (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!).

New Bike in the Fleet

For those of you who read Snakebite's blog, you will notice a certain posting whereby we did a little horse trading action. My Giant ATX 990 Norba Downhill bike (aka "Ol Yeller") is making increasingly frequent trips to the LBS. While Rich is always willing to work on it, it's getting to the point where some of the dual suspension pieces are about done for and hard to get parts for. That and the price of getting parts needed is not as appealing as upgrading.

Enter Snakebite and his Specialized Stumpjumper. Exactly what I'm looking for: Hardtail, ideal for towing my Grocery Getter or the Kid Cart or the Trail-a-Bike. Price is right. Issue: 3 kids, Christmas coming up soon, kids need clothes and occasionally I have to feed them, hence all extra money is needed. But I also need transportation.

Then it came to me...I needed transportation (bike) and Snakebite needed transportation (car) for a trip to Minneapolis coming up. My car has been in Sioux Falls since...hmmm....well...I think June. It needs new rotors and brake pads and my oldest brother (aka wonder mechanic) was willing to work on it for me. I told him not to worry because I really didn't need it any time soon, hence the reason it's still there in October.

A quick call to Mr. Bite to see if he was willing to knock a few dollars off the bike in return for a weekend "rental" was met with great interest. I then called my brother to make sure he could have it done in time and he said that wouldn't be an issue. A call back to Mr. Bite to confirm the deal and we are golden. I have my bike, he has a car for his trip. All balance in the galaxy is restored.



On a side note, if anybody is travelling between Sioux Falls and Vermillion and would like the company of a bike with them, I'm nervously anxious to receive my new toy. We are mountain biking this weekend and I'm a little depressed about having to take sqeaky Ol Yeller out with me.

Next on the agenda, I am taking suggestions on naming the new bike. The "Cars-r-Coffins" attitude sticker stays which is a bonus. I am toying with the idea of calling it the "Bite Mobile" in honor of it's original owner. All suggestions will be taken into consideration. Except maybe for The Kernel's. I already am cringing about his potential suggestion.

CAR! and FORE! are NOT the Same Word

It's late in the season and many different athletes are trying to take advantage of the nice October weather as quickly after work as possible as there is limited daylight to work with. Last night two of these groups had a scary run in.

Craig D., Cathy L., Kwen S., and I took off towards Elk Point on the bottom road and was clipping along into the wind when I heard a shout that sounded like "CAR" to me at first. When I went to check my mirror, I tilted my head a little and out of the corner of my eye I seen something flying at us. It seems that it was NOT "CAR" that I heard, but "FORE!". A golf ball hit on the pavement not five feet in front of us and you could actually hear the spin of the ball as it whirred over our heads.

I blame "Fatty" from the fatcyclist blog for this bit of near death fate. He has been gathering various "close call" stories from cyclists, mainly about animals. Is it a coincidence that this happened one day after his post about Surreal Moments? I think not!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monthly Mileage Update

September was a "down month" mileage wise. I DID barely squeak by with 700 miles, and even rode in some nasty rain on a mountain bike on Sunday to finish it off in style. I need to pick it up to stay on pace for 10K for the year.

There were two of my 2007 Goals picked off this month however. I hit 7,500 miles on the 29th in the middle of a "Honey-do-grocery-getter" Saturday. While I'm still shooting for 10,000, it was nice to get over the "goal hump". The other goal was one that I have been nervous about all year as I only had one shot at completing it: Run Sub 36 on the Intramural 14 mile bike race. My stretch goal was to win it at age 40, but once I realized Alex Baldwin was still going to be around, I abandoned that idea and did the next best thing, had him join our team. We worked really well together for the whole race and the wind was only around 10mph and I not only broke 36, but also 35 (34:26).

The Team: Joe P., Craig D., Kevin B., Alex B.

Mileage as of 9/30/07 - 7545.50

The Grocery-Getter Report Sept 24-30

Another fun week with GG. There may be weeks with no "picture of the week" from GG, but THIS week you are lucky enough to get THREE!

The Report:

Sept 24 - Sept 30:

* 2 laptops
* 3 apples for snacks
* 3 surplus computers
* 1 replacement tablet motherboard
* 1 tenor saxophone to and from schol
* 1 Bottle Captain Morgan (how did THAT get in there?)
* Workout clothes to and from the Dome
* 2 port replicators and a motherboard to ship back to Gateway
* 2 gallons of milk
* 1 USD Intramural Champions t-shirt delivery to Craig D.
* 1 bag of Fair Trade Coffee and 1 headlamp to Joe P.
* 2 surplus monitors
* 5 surplus keyboards
* 1 standing fan (from Freecycle! - for the dreaded indoor riding season)
* 2 Gallons of milk
* Cardboard to the Recycling Center
* $50 trip to Walmart, including a big bag of potting soil

The Saxophone:


The "Freecycle" Fan:


Cardboard to the Recycling Center:

Glue Number Two

When Carson was a little over one year old, Marissa accidentally dropped him on the corner of a dresser and split his forehead open requiring a trip to the emergency room. They glued his forehead shut and it worked very well (at the cost of nearly $1000).

Friday, on a trip to Taco John's, Carson was swinging with one arm on the table and one on the back of the table and somehow lost grip and banged his chin on the table. This resulted in "glue number two". Luckily this only required a clinic visit instead of an ER visit.

For the record, I have more stitches/glues/staples than Carson (they never offered glue or staples to me ever), but I didn't have my first set of stitches until I was five. So, he is well on his way to break my record.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Love/Hate Wind Relationship

Sunday was unusually warm for this time of year, and also unusually windy. The winds were close to 30 for most of the afternoon and never died down much. I finally decided late afternoon to go for a short ride anyway.

Now, understand that we South Dakotans on this side of the state are VERY used to wind. It's a fact of life: If you are going to ride with any frequency, you WILL deal with wind. Usually between 7-15mph on a pretty regular basis. Once it hit's 20mph, it's a pain though.

I mashed the pedals out to Hwy 12 in Nebraska, often cussing my decision to go on this ride in the first place. Then, I turned around. Once I could feel my legs again, how quickly I forgot the pain of climbing into the wind. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee down the hill. There is a short steep drop right before you go across the bridge that says I hit 44.9 on my Garmin (although my bike computer read 46.2...go figure). Below is the graph that shows speed vs. elevation. Kind of a telling story of the wind.



Check out the average wind speeds. It was just plain nasty!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Another Saxophone in the Family

Many of you probably didn't know I play Saxophone (unless you remember me from WAY back or come to my church) but I do still play my Alto Sax from time to time. Austin, now in sixth grade, decided to take a shot at playing Tenor Sax. At first I was trying to convince him to try Alto first so he could just use mine, but I gave up quickly as I actually enjoy playing Tenor also (which I have a couple times already since he brought it home). I'm proud that he decided to play without me pushing him to do so. Here is a photo of his first practice in the house.

The Grocery-Getter Report Sept 17-23

This was a fun week for me and the Grocery Getter. It was maybe a little busier than normal, but not much. It was actually fun to keep track of what all was transported by "GG" as I've never done that before. Without further ado, here is the list:

* Backpack containing workout clothes and my USB Flash Drive
* 4 New Gateway m295 Tablet Computers
* 1 Replacement Hard Drive for a m280 Tablet Computer
* 1 Port Replicator for m285 Tablet Computer
* Returned 3 movies back to the video store
* One New Music Stand for Austin
* Two Boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats from the store
* One "Poof" Ball for use with body soap in the shower
* One helmet for Austin whose helmet is falling apart
* 2 Bananas for lunch
* 2 17" CRT monitors (separate trips--poor GG would have a heart attack otherwise)
* keyboard/mouse/Ethernet cables
* 2 New Hard Drives
* 2 Replacement Port Replicators for Tablet Computers
* Load of recycling to the recycling trailer.
* Trip to the Grocery Story ($55.48 worth of groceries)

Grocery-Getter picture of the week: Recycling trip



Even though it's not GG related, we also hung six loads of laundry on the clothes line this week. I thought that deserved mention!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Intramural Team Champions!


One of the fringe benefits of working at the University is the opportunity to participate in the Intramural Bike Race each year. A race I had won for five years in a row until last year an upstart, Alex Baldwin, beat me by seven seconds. So, when you lose to somebody who is in even better shape this year, has completed an Ironman Triathlon, and you know you have no chance to beat, what do you do? That's right, you make him a teammate and recapture the team title at least!

Once we confirmed Alex would be part of our team we started scheming about tactics for the race. Joe Parlett and Craig DeVelder were to round out our team with the top three times counting for the overall team title. The scheme was on. Alex and I were going to break out early and see who was willing to follow. Joe and Craig were going to "suck wheel" of the second place team and pull as little as possible, and when they did pull, they were to even possibly slow the pace down allowing Alex and I break away even further.

The plan worked even better than expected. I sat behind two riders from the other team for about a 1/4 mile and Alex went flying by on the outside. I was somewhat boxed in, but I broke between the two riders and absolutely hammered on the cranks pushing 30mph for about a 1/3 of a mile blowing by Alex and catching him a little off guard. Alex pulled up beside me and told me we had a gap and asked what should we do? I answered with two words "Let's go!" From there on, it was Alex and I pushing a pretty hard pace continuing to open up on the pack of five behind us (which included Joe). I'm sure at any point Alex could have dusted me, but we worked great together taking quick hard pulls out front for each other.

In this 14 mile race, about 6 of it was on a new, slow and thick seal coat. It is a horrible surface and does slow you down considerably (for any of you who rode the 30 mile loop on the Margarita Ride, you know what I'm talking about!). We were still able to hold a great pace to the turnaround point. Once we turned around we were cranking into about a 10mph wind, but we were still hammering away, taking turns pulling. When we went by the group behind us, Alex said it was :38 seconds since we turned around. I was a little concerned since they had more drafting help than we did, but it was time to lay it all on the line as we pushed forward.

As we climbed the last major incline, which was also the end of the nasty section of road, I was starting to feel the pace. Alex cleared me by 4-5 seconds by the top of the hill. He looked back, waited, and we took off hard once I caught up. I knew that I was quickly running out of steam though. The pace we were on was very hard and I wasn't sure about my ability to hold it. I pulled one more time to give Alex a breather and then he took back over. It was all I could do to hug his wheel. Alex actually asked for shelter and I tried to get back up front, but he was faster in front than I was trying to catch him. He asked me what I wanted to do. I told him to get me to the top of the last incline (which would leave a little over a mile to go) and then take off. He led out and I hugged his wheel as tight as I could until the top and then I shouted "Go Alex Go"....and he did. Alex destroyed the last mile beating me by a full :17 seconds.

Now the waiting game to see how everybody else would come in. As they rounded the last curve, the five were now three and I didn't see Joe in the pack and I was worried. Then, out of nowhere, a biker swerved to the left and started hammering. It was Joe! One of the other team darted in front of him to block, which actually allowed Joe to draft to the finish. At that point Joe didn't really care as the difference between 3rd and 4th meant nothing because we had the team title wrapped up at that point. It was definitely one of the most competitive races that we have ran and it was a good feeling for the "old guys" (and Alex...our resident youngin') to pull off.

The Stats for the top three teammates on the 14 mile course:
Alex Baldwin 34:09 24.597mph average - 1st Place
Kevin Brady 34:26 24.395mph average - 2nd Place
Joe Parlett 37:15 22.550mph average - 4th Place (1 second off third)

Average Team Times:
Us: 35:17
Them: 37:40
Them #2: 40:14

Mile by mile stats from my Garmin Forerunner 301:

MileMile SplitAve. SpeedMax Speed
101:5628.130.7
202:0027.729.7
302:2526.428.2
402:1126.829.4
502:2725.427.4
602:1225.927.4
702:2625.829.1
802:4121.123.1
902:4522.023.1
1002:3823.825.5
1102:3721.924.3
1202:4223.024.1
1302:2923.224.7
1402:4123.124.1


It should also be mentioned that there are no real "bad guys" in this race. For the most part we all ride together at different rides throughout the year, with most of us all on the same MS150 team. It was a friendly competition...at least I think so. We lost to them last year and there were no hard feelings. It may have made us work harder for it this year, but that's about it.

Some of our Lanehogs/Team Road Kill Women rode the race and handily took the team title with Kirsten G. finishing 8th overall (out of 16 in the race). Congrats to Cathy L., Kirsten G., Barbara Y., and Erin S. on the victory on the Women's race!

On a personal note, this is probably the only time in my life I'll get to race with Alex as a teammate, but I'll be surprised if we don't see his name atop the leader board at many Ironman's to come. I know that I'll be watching for him and saying, "I lost to him twice proudly in an Intramural Bike Race". The cool thing is, he's not just a great racer, but a great guy too. I'll miss seeing you around Alex, but I'll be following your career in racing!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy 15,000+ TCR0


Sunday,as I was approaching Elk Point (the first time), the computer on my Giant TCR0 read 15,000 miles at or near where the arrow is pointing in the picture above. That is actually probably low as my computer has been cutting out a little more lately. Luckily I always have the Garmin as my backup trip mileage. Either the battery is going dead, which I'm surprised hasn't happened yet, or my computer figures that it's already screwed up because it's reading 15,000 miles.

I love my Cateye Astrale, but it may be time to move on when it dies. I no longer pay attention to cadence as I pretty much know the general ballpark that I'm pedaling, and with my Garmin, it really only serves as a backup device anyway. BUT, when you are obsessed with logging mileage, a backup is never a bad idea I guess.

While the Astrale may get retired, there is no thought of retiring the Giant TCR0 yet. It has served me quite well and hopefully will for awhile yet. 15,000 bike miles...I wonder how many that is in "cager" miles? Is it like dog years to people years? Has my bike rolled the equivalent of 105,000 car miles? more?