Monday, June 30, 2008

Bike Path Meeting

If you remember in an earlier POST ,there was discussion on the PORTLAND bike path that had hit a snag with two landowners. I still have to be careful what I post here, so this will be a pretty vanilla scenario of what's going on.

Things really haven't progressed much since the last meeting except that all offers have been refused by the one party by our hired negotiator. The other party has not picked up their phone once in several attempts to contact and didn't answer his door at repeated attempts to stop by their house.

I think that many are feeling frustrated and the discussion has now centered around asking the PORTLAND City Council to approve a Quick Take on the land. Unfamiliar with the term? Me too. I just looked it up and found the following:

Quick take: In many states, there is a specific procedure that allows the government to deposit with the court the amount it thinks the property is worth and then take possession of it very quickly. Sometimes there is no opportunity for a hearing before the government takes possession. For residences, there is usually a somewhat longer period before the person must leave, but businesses in some states can be evicted very quickly. Once the government takes possession of a property through quick take, it can (and often does) demolish the buildings in question.

While we are not looking to demolish any buildings or kick anybody out of their homes, we need to get rolling on this stretch of bike path. We have federal funds to be considered and the clock is ticking. For those of you in the PORTLAND area, be prepared for more details. When the time comes, we need to show our support at the PORTLAND city council meeting and send an email barrage of support to the council before the meeting.

That's probably more details that I should divulge at this point, but things are about to happen pretty fast anyway, and most of the council are ready for it to happen anyway. Maybe I'll live to see this through!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Day (Off) From Hell

Ah Friday. My day off to work on the honey-do list, go for a bike ride, enjoy the day. No problems here. I was confident that this was going to be a relaxing day to do a little work, do a little riding, and kick back. Then I got out of bed. Which was my first mistake.

First order of business
: Wake up at 6:30 and go 20-30 miles on the tandem with Laura. Out of bed and start preparations. While Laura was eating I got the tandem out of the garage. Flat rear. Darn. No cap on the tube. Mayyybe the kids (okay, Carson) was playing with it and let the air out. Pumped it back up and it seemed to hold. Went in got dressed to ride. Came back out and the tire was way down. Change of tube necessary. Changed. Now too late to go over twenty miles as Laura had to go to work, so we did a short run to the bridge of about 15 miles.

Second order of business: Get last two loads of laundry finished and on the clothes line. Check. This actually went fine. Until the quick moving rain moved through before they were dry. Oh well, I'll get them later. That did work (barely) as another storm was RAPIDLY moving in and I was racing against the clock to pull it all off the line.

Third order of business
: Clean out and arrange the garage. Part of the issue here is that we are having a garage sale tomorrow and the garage has been lost to loads and loads of stuff for the sale. So, I moved it all out in hopes of arranging the garage. Once all the stuff was moved out, the aforementioned rain came through. Hurry up and get all the stuff BACK in the garage. Then I had to go into work for a bit (coming up in next section). When I got home from work took all of it BACK out of the garage and started to arrange a little. Then I had to take a break to work on a computer (also coming up). When I came upstairs from fixing that some more dark clouds were rolling in and the wind was picking up. I yelled at the kids to start getting the stuff in the garage fast and I was going to get the clothes off the line. I BARELY won that battle. I could literally SEE the rain less than a block away as I got back in the house.

Fourth order of business: Going to work on my day off because of a slight emergency that needed to be handled. No biggy, but who really wants to go to work on their day off.

Fifth order of business: Fixing a computer that was dropped off to me. Nothing big, just putting in and setting up a third hard drive into a computer. Just time consuming is all.

Sixth order of business: Laura and her Mom went to a viewing for a friend that passed away. While they were gone a lady that Laura works with stopped by to pick up a few bags of girls clothes for her granddaughters. Problem now exists: They are mixed in with the rummage sale stuff due to the frantic storm dodging. I did my best to find the bags and I thought I did. Turns out that I sent along at least a couple bags I shouldn't have and now Laura is busy hunting them down now that she's home. I can't win.

Then, to top everything off, the poor lady backed out of our driveway and straight into our van, causing mild damage that will have to be repaired. It was pretty much expected by this time. I wouldn't have expected anything else!

That pretty much finished me off. I was spent. What I was so confident was going to be a good day ended up being a day from hell. What I really need is a beer. Crap. I'm out. I don't have the energy to go get any. I'm going to bed. Tomorrow pretty much HAS to be better.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

MPP (Miles per Pound)

Damn you Barry!

Carrying on our recent theme of cycling calculations about Calories per Mile (CPM), Barry brought up the idea of how many miles would it take to burn one pound. The geek glasses are on with the nerdy bow tie. Let's solve this, shall we?

Using the information from the last post: 1000(CPH)/18(Miles) = 55.56 (CPM)
Where CPH = Calories per Hour
Miles = Miles ridden in one Hour
CPM = Calories per Mile
We can then start to determine MPP -- Miles per Pound

Assuming that you burn 1000 calories per hour at 18 miles per hour and also assuming that it takes 3500 calories to equal one pound of weight (a common assumption) then the following formula will give you hours to burn 3500 calories:

3500 Calories / 1000 CPH = 3.5 hours

Still assuming 18 miles per hour the following can be derived:

3.5 hours * 18 mph = 63 MPP (miles per pound)

Again, this is based on a "guesstimate" and would better be served by heart rate information.

Next time you are riding your metric century, eating anything you want, and wondering why you aren't losing weight, refer back to my little calculation. More royalty checks better be in the mail. Maybe I should set up a PayPal account for donations....hmmm....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CPH/Miles = CPM

Oh the conversations cyclists will get into, both with each other and with "outsiders". CDV was telling me that somebody asked him in the coffee shop last Saturday how many Calories per Mile (CPM) that it took to ride a bike.

This of course got the analytical Algebraic side of my brain going (and if my kids read this, WILL use Algebra in your life whether you think you will or not!). Calories per Mile(CPM) huh? Let me think. Simple algebra. If you take Calories per Hour (CPH) and divide by Miles Driven (Miles) you should arrive with Calories per Mile (CPM). Easy enough.

CPH is the hard to determine factor. Some heart rate monitors will tell you based on your heart rate/weight how many calories you are burning per hour. I found a few charts online and I believe the following is "fairly" accurate so I'll use THIS for purpose of my calculations.

According to what my heart rate monitor (when I used to wear one) and what the chart says, somebody my size should burn a little over 1000 calories per hour when averaging 16-19 mph on a training ride, so we will keep it simple for calculation purposes and say 1000. So, burning 1000 calories for say 18 miles in one hour, we can now solve for Calories per Mile.

1000(CPH)/18(Miles) = 55.56 (CPM)

Figure yours out too so you to can amaze your friends should the question ever come up! Although it's an easy thing to figure out, somewhere out there I have a couple of happy math/algebra teachers. I expect this word problem to be in future text books. All royalty checks will be appreciated and expected.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tandem-Com - A Must Have!

While on Tour de Kota, specifically on Ride With thE kErnEl Day, I noticed a couple on a tandem with a communications system not unlike that what you would see on a motorcycle. As we rode past I asked them where they bought it and they said "". They were nice and warned not to buy the cheapest model.

Upon my return home I checked into it and decided to take the leap and purchase the Tandem-Com model. All I have to say is that if you ride a tandem, especially as the captain, you NEED this. I can't imagine going without it now that it has been thoroughly tested. Without further ado, my personal review.

Fit/Comfort: It fits well behind the ear and around the head. I might need to adjust it ever so slightly as by the time we finished our short 18 mile ride, it was digging into the bottom of my ear a bit.

Clarity: Awesome! There is a volume control, but basically you can carry on a conversation back and forth at a speaking volume level of sitting next to each other at the kitchen table. When we dropped down the Dakota street hill, at about 30 mph or so, it cut out intermittently, but not bad. Into a 15ish mph wind it did pretty decent also. Again, simply talking without shouting and not having to crane my neck around every time we need to communicate is a WONDERFUL thing.

Music Port: We didn't test it on this trip, but it actually has an 1/8" jack that you can connect any mp3 player into it and have music streaming through the headsets as well. For the most part I don't know that we will use this much as we actually enjoy talking to each other!

Buyer's Remorse: NONE! I can't imagine leaving home without this little beauty on the tandem ever again. This unit was on sale for $120 and the wireless version is $299. I couldn't see spending the extra money at this time and I'm quite happy with my purchase.

Nice people at Precision Tandems: The usual 10% cut of all sales will be sufficient.

OFFICIALLY Signed up for the MS Bike Tour

Yeah, I know, you are wondering about the title of the post. Afterall, it's not a shock that I am once again signed up for the MS Bike Tour. However, gentle readers of my blog:

(done in my best Arena announcer voice) Making her MS debut, and quite possibly her first ride of 75 miles, the beautiful redhead that I'm proud to call my wife.....Laaaaauraaaaaa Brrrrrrrraddddddy!

We are trying our best to dedicate Tuesday, Thursday, Friday morning, and one day on the weekend to getting on the tandem to ride. We haven't been very consistent, but she's pretty confident that even if the ride was tomorrow she'd survive 75 miles. She's not so sure about the return trip on Sunday yet though.

Warren/Cheryl, you will have tandem company on Team Road Kill this year!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday Ride

While fellow Lane Hogs were out having a great time together (good writeup HERE), I was on my way to another great time with family at Grandma and Grandpa Hertel's 60th Wedding Anniversary.

The ride is decidedly up hill with lot of rollers, but a very enjoyable route. I didn't wake up early enough to make Brunswick (12 miles short) and to be honest, I wasn't feeling the best anyway. It was a struggle to maintain 17mph today. Not stellar, but it was nice to be on the road. Garmin weather showed a high of 78.8 but the temperature sign in Randolph showed 82 when I went through. It was definitely getting warmer by the time I hit Plainview.

I had never biked the road between Randolph and Plainview, but it has nice wide shoulders and it's an enjoyable route. Most of the people who were in cages waved at me (a couple hysterically, like they thought they knew me type of a wave) so overall it was a good day with respect to cagers. On a funny note, one minivan that kind of hugged the white line for no apparent reason (plenty of space/clear vision to move over) I ended up passing a couple miles up the road because the PoPo had them pulled over. I passed them, waved with a big-o-grin on my face and they didn't pass me again for another three miles up the road.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Facilities Management Rocks!

See the power I have here at the University? One little email and presto! Good job Fac Man! The before picture and the after picture (below) are quite the contrast.

A Wonderful Problem

I emailed our facilities staff yesterday with a "wonderful" problem we are having. Too many people are riding their bikes to work (oh the horror!). They were locked up to anything they could find. We need another bike rack! What a wonderful problem!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Take Your Four Dollar Gas...

...and make a bicycle. BRILLIANT!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My First WarmShowers Hosting

For those of you who are cyclists, and even if you aren't, think about signing up to host a traveling biker(s) at I had received only one other call up to this point about hosting a bicyclist and his mileage was pushed off by a tailwind and put him through Vermillion early in the day so he rode on.

This guy was different. He emailed early in the week while I was on TdK and called me on Friday to let me know he was still planning on coming through on Sunday. I ended up being able to ride down to Elk Point on Sunday and escorting him back to Vermillion to stay at our house on Sunday night.

I loved having him stay with us and hearing about his travels so far. Not to mention we seem to have many similarities with our political/religious views so we had some good discussions. He was most gracious that we opened up our home to not only shower but to have a place to sleep indoors. He was prepared to sleep outside, but we offered a "bug-free" environment for him.

Check out his ride from his home in Florida to Portland when you get a chance HERE. I hope to have more like Brian come through. You never know when I might do something crazy like this and I hope others will open their homes to me. He used some homemade bucket panniers on his bike. Although it might look strange, it's actually quite practical. Especially when it comes to his sticker entourage.

Look Who's On Two Wheels!

I ended up getting to stay home with the two younger kids this weekend as my Sister-in-law went with Laura to the Black Hills to pick up our oldest and our nephew from Storm Mountain Church Camp. In a moment of semi boredom I asked Carson (age 4 and 11/12ths) if he wanted me to take off his training wheels. He excitedly said yes!

I expected that he'd try it, not be very stable and want me to put them back on. Well, after about 10 trips up and down the sidewalk it became evident that wouldn't be necessary. Below is a picture of Carson padded up for all crash positions. Yesterday he was even more confident and the pads stayed inside.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tour de Kota '08: Day 6 - Brookings to Sioux Falls

List of excuses:

* The weather sucked pretty much all week.
* Big storm rolled through Brookings last night
* It was 55 degrees at 7 am
* Winds were out of the SW at about 20 mph (we were heading South)
* I've ridden these roads many times on MS Rides and various other times
* I have nothing to prove to anybody
* The bikes looked all snuggly on the roof rack
* I hadn't had a morning latte all week
* I hurt feelings of some by telling them the rules of the road this week
* The other half of Team Man Tandem wasn't around all week
* Nor was Cactus-Eyed Joe
* I wanted to spend quality time at Falls Park with Laura
* I already made Patrick Lalley's Blog
* ..and the Argus Leader on Ride With thE kErnEl Day

End result: I bagged the final 68 miles that I heard from various riders ended up being around 77. Windy and cold until about 12:30 too.

There is some serious debate about next year's ride. Some hurt feelings amongst those who served on the committee this year as well. More to follow on that in a future post I'm sure.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tour de Kota '08: Day 5 - Huron to Brookings

Good weather FINALLY! Not much to say about the day other than I slept in, started late, and said "On Your Left" a bunch today as I averaged over 20mph for the day.

I said hello to a bunch of guys that included the guy I cornered in Highmore a couple days ago. He didn't say hi back. There's a part of me that hopes he gets over it and there's a part of me that doesn't care as long as the lesson is learned: Get your butt to the side when cars are coming.

Now I'm filled with Pizza Ranch goodness and heading back to the campsite. One more day and it will all be another great memory!

5 mile splits for the day:

Tour de Kota '08: Day 4 - Highmore to Huron

Picture poached from the Argus Leader. I'm second in line proudly wearing a wet CiTyBiLLy work shirt.

We had an official "Ride with thE kErnEl Day" today and we left way later than I would normally leave (8:15ish). In retrospect, I should have talked them into leaving LATER than that. I looked at the weather forecast and knew the wind was going to change from East to West around noon, and we were heading east. Before we even got going, it started to rain slightly and it was chilly and windy. But we headed out and as soon as we turned east on Highway 14, we realized how bad it was.

Light rain doesn't necessarily bother me. Winds 15 mph and under I can live with. Adding them both together can bring the heartiest of riders to tears. There would be no tears in thE kErnEl's peloton however. There were many smart aleck comments, a few jokes, movie one-liners, and even and occasional song or two. The priorities took over. Bar stops. The first of which took place in Miller.

We found a bar, which I didn't even look at the name, and Patrick Lalley tried the door and it was locked. He looked in the window and said "There's movement!" He pounded on the window and in his best voice of utter alcohol desperation said "PLEEEEEAAAASSSSSSEEEEEEEE!!!!!". Low and behold, the door came open and we were invited in. Patrick just made the jump to the good friends list. After conversation, a couple of mugs of Blue Moon and some bar popcorn left over from the night before we were on the road again.

As we stepped outside the bar, we noticed that the wind was finally starting to shift from the west a little more and the rain had pretty much run its course as well. The paceline formed once again as we hammered the next 14 miles to Wessington gleefully after dealing with the rain and the wind for the first 26 or so. Only problem for thE kErnEl crew in Wessington was that the bar was not open at all. We ended up having to circle back to the Cenex and grab a 24 ouncer from the cooler. The line was long so we started drinking it on the way and was promptly scolded by the cashier. It didn't really stop us from continuing however.

We rolled on to Huron with a few miles of crosswind, but for the most part nothing but tailwinds for a change. thE kErnEl tried to lead out thE mUsclE for the intermediate sprint points for the city limits sign into Huron (hard to explain to you non-cycling folks) but as thE mUsclE and I were probably topping 30 mph on our sprint we laughed as there was no city limits sign to be seen. With no sprint points to be won in Huron, I captured all the intermediate sprints for the day, although only one was truly a contested race by thE kErnEl himself, but my competitive nature couldn't let him win it, even on Ride With thE kErnEl day.

We found a bar in Huron (shocking!) that also served food. Laura joined us and we enjoyed a beer and good food. We parted ways after a great day on the road, regardless of the weather. Friends old and new further cemented their bonds. Many of the CiTy BiLLy's (Northern chapter) were on the ride so we paid homage to the other founders from Lincoln, eDLoNNie and eDBiLLy by making a phone call to eDLoNNie with a "wish you were here".

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tour de Kota '08: Day 3 - Chamberlain to Highmore

Although it was a chilly day by June standards, it was a beautiful day to ride after being completely brutalized by the wind yesterday. The only problem, for those of you who know the Chamberlain area, is there are a couple of monster hills to deal with early on in the ride. After getting to the top you have the joy of all joys though: cannonballing at breakneck speeds down the other side.

I got into an aero-tuck position and decided to see what I could top out at going down the hill. Then a weird thing happened: I was flying along, catching a guy rather quickly and the whole front of my bike started to shake violently. I seriously thought that either my headset was loose or the tire was not on right. I was trying to brake fast but carefully. I seriously had the feeling that I was about to go down and it wasn't going to be pretty however. Luckily I got it back under control, but needless to say that I feathered the brakes all the way down the next hill which is shorter but steeper. I came to find out at the campsite that others had the same issue on that hill, so apparently it was a speed/road/wind combination or something of that nature. All I know is that I haven't been that terrified in a long time with a "non-cager" incident.

Hitting Ft. Thompson seemed way too easy after the windy day from hell just encountered yesterday. Laura was going to meet me there but was just leaving Chamberlian so I told her just to go on to Highmore and I'd roll on. I downed the rest of my Sugar Free Amp (yes Amp, another plug to your greatness, now where is my sponsorship?!?!) and after a brief chat with a local kid on his Walmart-special bike that was in awe of my "rad ride" I was on my way.

Leaving Ft. Thompson is a hill. Not a bad hill mind you, but a hill that you seriously questioned when the top was going to happen. It seemed to go on endlessly. After that were some pretty decent rolls all the way to Highmore and it was a good, short, but hilly ride today.

My rant of the day is a little more pointed however. I left a little late for me (7:10ish). I noticed I've been doing that a lot more on this tour and I'm sure part of it is that it has been a little colder. Anyhow I was getting increasingly annoyed with people I could see ahead riding 3 or more wide on the road, but not collapsing at all when there was traffic behind. When I could I was yelling "CAR BACK" to try to get them to move over which only worked with one or two set of riders. Even when I went by with an "On your left" was I rarely granted more space to pass them, often going out into passing lane to get by them.

After clearing most of the slower riders things seemed to be getting better. As I was picking up the pace with about ten miles to go I notice that there were three guys up ahead, all riding a decent pace as it took most of that ten miles for me to catch them and I was clipping along pretty good. Understand that this road is pretty much constant rolling hills and the guy in the outside seemed oblivious or just didn't care when a car would come up behind him while climbing a hill. I was getting increasingly upset as car after car had to wait behind them, whereas if they would have collapsed, these cars could have still given them room and passed safely. This was probably a motivational factor for me catching them because I needed to share my displeasure. As I was catching them just a couple miles out of town I realized that I knew the guy and decided that I would wait until I got into camp to talk to him, hopefully in private if possible.

Unfortunately he was by the beer wagon with other people by the time I loaded my bike on the van, but I didn't back down, I went and had a little discussion as calmly as I could. I told him that I like him a lot, but I needed him to understand that as we continue to fight for cyclist rights on the roadways with organizations such as the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition, that the damage he was doing to our reputations on the road is not helping to gain a "share the road" attitude. He didn't say anything at all, but I hope it sunk in a little. I really do like the guy and he is a strong rider for being fairly new to riding and I wish him well. I do need him to use his head a little better and that was my point. There was a TdK rep from the Argus there as I was talking and I discussed the need to find a way to make a safety briefing mandatory like the do on BRAN (Bike Ride Across Nebraska) to discuss such things. We'll see, I know that advocacy-wise that the TdK hasn't heard the last from me on this subject. There is another subject to follow that has quite a few of us upset as well (TdK-wise), but I'll save that for a later time. It will be quite the rant as well.

In other news, tomorrow is "Ride with thE kErnEl Day" so we are not leaving until 8 am and hitting a bar in every town. If that doesn't have disaster spelled all over it nothing does

5-mile Garmin splits:

Tour de Kota '08: Day 2 - Mitchell to Chamberlain

Outside of day three on TdK #1, which by chance I went back home the day before to work that year, I am pretty sure a windier day has never been ridden into on TdK. My Garmin, which pulls weather from is way full of crap on this day. It says the winds averaged 19.1. Maybe for the first 25 miles that was true. After that it was easily a sustained 25 with gusts of 35. Ask anybody who rode it (and didn't sag in).

I rode solo today because I most of my regulars I ride with were not here and others I trust tend to get out too late (yeah, that's you FAB boys). So, I'm choosing to be a non-social rider for the most part. From Mitchell to Mt. Vernon I had vision of grandeur of still completing the century loop. By Plankinton, the century loop was off my brain completely. By the time I hit White Lake I was thinking that this was a perfectly fine place to call it a day. After hanging out with Laura for a bit I decided to soldier on to Kimball (14 miles) and looked for the first mile marker out of town. I believe it was mile marker 373 and so the countdown began...373...372...371...370...what?? Damn this is a long mile. FINALLY another was 2 miles since the last sign. When I hit a crossing highway I could see a water tower in the distance and the sign said "5 miles to Kimball". What it should have said is "this will be the longest, slightly uphill, five miles of your life. You should consider stopping now and forgo all this pain and suffering". I swear that water tower looked like it kept moving further away instead of getting closer. But finally it did and I made it to the world famous tractor museum in Kimball where Laura awaited me with the sport drink of champions: a quart of chocolate milk.

It is quite possible that a quart of chocolate milk has never disappeared so fast in the annals of history. Although many of your stomachs are probably turning right now, as usual it did the trick and I was ready to finish the ride. I hit a rest stop manned by staff from Cedar Shores from Chamberlain. Not only were they passing out 180 energy drink, they were giving free adult beverage coupons for when we got into Chamberlain. They were put to good use at Cedar Shores along with a couple beverages after that.

I barely remember the trek to Puckwana (home of "Puk U" Bar and Grill) and on to Chamberlian, but I was dang glad to see the campground upon arrival. I was even more amazed to hear there were a handful of people who did the century loop. I figured I have little left to prove with my cycling and there will be many more centuries in my life. Today would have just proved that I'm a stubborn old fart who has a death wish. Especially on a day when a good chunk of people didn't come close to completing 75 miles.

As you can see by my total Garmin time, I took long breaks. Laura will even go as far to say that I was looking for excuses to NOT get back on the bike at a couple of stops. If you can keep a secret, she's right (as usual).

Below is the 5 mile Garmin breakdown. You will notice SLOOOOW speeds in the middle of the ride. I was a fragged puppy.

The Whiskey Creek Experience

I'd be truly amazed if I ever have such a horrible customer service experience as I did Sunday night at Whiskey Creek in Mitchell, SD. Full story follows.

After Tour de Kota day one, which ended in Mitchell, I called a friend who I used to work with at USD who now lives in Mitchell with his new bride. I asked if we could shower over at their place and then go out to eat. The decision was made to go to Whiskey Creek which is fairly new to Mitchell but came with high recommendations.

When we arrived, it was busy, but not overwhelmingly so. Our waitress came over for our drink order. We ordered three different margarita's: Adam had one without salt on the rocks and Maria and I each were to be blended and we ordered four waters to go with it. After about 10-15 minutes Adam asked a passing waitress if our waitress could stop by as we hadn't seen her in awhile. Well, she came with our drinks, two of which were wrong and no water. Adam stated to her that he asked for no salt and she took his drink back and brought one back without salt. Mine wasn't blended, but I wasn't picky so I didn't say anything. We ended up asking for water five times before it finally arrived.

We are not sure what set her off as we were being polite. Was it the drink fiasco? Was it because we asked to see her because she hadn't been by? I have no idea, but she wouldn't say a word to us.

When she came to take our food orders finally, Adam ordered an appetizer along with his order and then we all started to order. When she came to me and asked what I would like for a side, I asked what the soup of the day was. She said "It's Chili but you probably won't like it". Okay, I'll have the fries. After she left we all looked at each other with the 'What the hell was that all about' look.

The meal arrived with no appetizers. When Adam asked about them she said "Oh I forgot to put the order in. Do you want me to do so now?" Adam said that he would just stick with the food without the appetizers. She did come back to refill water glasses after being asked and promply spilled a fair amount on the table and on Laura's plate.

Adam had enough by this point and went to find the manager to discuss her attitude. Long story short, the manager came by in a little bit to apologize (after he talked to her) and said that he was writing off the meal, but couldn't write off the drinks due to company policy. That was the one good thing that happened. I was impressed that he was willing to do that and will probably help me go back again when I'm in town.

The bill came and we decided that we would take it up front as we really didn't want to deal with our waitress anymore. When we did the girl up front said that our server would be our cashier. DOH! Adam asked if there was any way we could avoid that but there wasn't. She did take my credit card back to the waitress. While the ladies waited up front Adam and I sat at our table waiting for her. She came by sat the bill on the table and actually said the following verbatim: "Feel free to not leave me a tip either". Dumbfounded I looked at her and said "Okay" and I didn't leave her one. Quite the opposite: I put the biggest ZERO on the tip column and totaled it.

I'm sure you are either laughing like mad right now or think I'm making this up, but I guarantee you it's all true. Many of you out there know Adam so feel free to ask him about it. It was the craziest thing I've ever witnessed from a customer service perspective.

Adam, I'm sorry that we had such a 'wonderful' experience eating out, but thanks for making my present to you and Maria cheaper! We will do this again sometime soon, hopefully with better results!

Tour de Kota: Day 1 - Sioux Falls to Mitchell

After surviving my nephew's wedding and a trip to Monk's House of Ale Repute with Snakebite, Hellimat and his girlfriend on Saturday night, we drove out to the starting point of the ride. The sky was filled with lightening and we barely got the van situated for sleeping arrangements when the sky started to let loose. As we cozied up in the van we were thankful that we were in a "leak proof tent" that we didn't have to take down in the morning. It rained about three times on and off during the night and the morning was cool and humid, but it ended up being a nice day of riding.

The plan was to rally at the Irish Pub in Montrose with Snakebite and thE kErnEl in the morning. I left solo from Sioux Falls and hammered at a pretty good pace. When you leave a little later, this becomes a sporting event as all the slower riders who got out early become excellent bunnies for you to chase down.

My frustrations mounted when people were riding four abreast, up a steep hill, with cars behind them. I was literally screaming "CAR BACK!!" at the top of my lungs as they merrily went on their way, not moving over. I was so torqued off that as I rode by the one group I said "YOU guys are part of the reason that motorists hate bicyclists". It may have been rude and I'm sure that they took offense, but I had to tell them how I really felt about their lack of caring. Just because you are on a tour does not give you the right to be a complete ass and act like no "laws of the road" apply to you.

Life was much better once that traffic was cleared. I bypassed Hartford dreaming about a cold brew or two at the Irish Pub in Montrose, conveniently owned by my brother and sister in law (for the next month anyway). I caught up with Dave H. and Brent A. (fellow MS Bike Tour riders for Team Road Kill) and decided to hang with them for a bit. Snakebite called me when I was hitting the McCook County line and said he was in Hartford and I said I was nearly to Montrose and would wait there. A couple miles later, Laura called me and said that the Pub was still closed. Apparently the wedding was too much and they couldn't find anybody to open. Bummer. So we ate at the high school where they were raising funds for the pool and headed on our way. The breakfast burrito was way good gals! The hard boiled eggs were good too, but the Coke/boiled egg burp I produced down the road I could have done without.

As we were nearly in Salem, Snakebite called again (oops, forgot to call him back) and stated that the Pub was closed. Yup, knew that, moved on. Told him we were about to Salem and that we were going to roll on and I'd hook up in Mitchell with him. We pulled into Salem's park where they had tons of food. However, after just eating ten miles ago, I wasn't quite ready to eat so I waited for Dave and Brent and then we rolled on.

We stopped at a rest area at Spencer where I met up with an old friend from Jaycees. After short pleasantries we rolled on once again. Dave and Brent stopped near Farmer and I told them I was going to roll on and I turned the last 18 miles into a pretty decent hammerfest.

It was a great day of riding as there was very minimal wind which is so rare in South Dakota. I also got to meet up with a friend that I worked with at USD and his new wife and we went out to eat after Laura and I showered at their place. The eating part deserves, and will receive, its own separate post. Let's just say it was a less than impressive story in the history of good customer service.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Vacation Time!!!!

I'm off work in 22 minutes until June 16th. It will be nice to get out and meet friends old and new on Tour de Kota next week. One of my nephews is getting married this Saturday as well so we are just packing up and staying over in Sioux Falls for the departure of TdK.

I'll try my best to blog from the road. We will try to hide from Patrick Lalley a little better this year so he doesn't give away secrets to the world like Laura setting up a massage table for a select few friends. Geez, it's hard to get privacy in a city park. Who'da thunk?!?!?!

In the Nick of Time

I just posted about my new Tandem Bike Rack being installed a couple days ago. The following could either be considered a jinx or a great timing.

Last night Marissa had a softball game in Elk Point. We had a friend's Mom take her down to the game and we rode the tandem. The wind was blowing, not hard, but hard enough where it was all we could do to hold 15-16 mph for most of the trip.

We turned down the street that the ball field complex is at and of course the one she played at was on the OTHER side of the complex. We did a little gravel and off road riding to get to our destination.

After the game and getting rained on just a little, we hopped back on the tandem and was cruising out of Elk Point at 18-20 mph when I asked Laura "What's that noise"? At first I passed it off as a "tandem noise I yet to understand" or "just the noise of the road". Then I realized what it really was...the back tire was going flat.

This was not a well planned trip by Mr. and Mrs. Brady:
1. No spare tube
2. No Scabs
3. No pump
4. The usual person to pick me up in such a situation was riding with me.

We ended up calling Laura's Mom to go get the van and come rescue us. This of course happens ONE DAY after installing the tandem mount so we had some luck on that side. The downside was that it started to rain on us. By the time I was loading up the tandem, it was raining pretty darn good too!

We only ended up getting about 19 miles of the 30 mile trip in, and Laura didn't get to enjoy the wind-at-our-back portion of the trip, but she never got upset about the happenings. She already has the roll with the punches bicycling attitude. Thus proving once again that she's a good trooper and that she is going to be a great cyclist in time.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Why didn't I think of this?

After all the tag line to my emails duly states: It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Nice Rack!

..or racks as the case may be. I now have my ToPeak Rack to go with my ToPeak bag. This was the second attempt as the first one didn't work due to the disc brakes. I'm ready for some touring with the tandem now!

Next was the installation of the Rocky Mount Tandem Rack. I must say that once I got it in the right location that it's an excellent rack. It brags of being a "one man solution" for loading a tandem. Well, it is possible, but it's awkward. As you can see in the picture below, you can rotate the front pivot so you can tighten the front down before lifting the bike. However, tandems are HEAVY. I may not be the strongest dude out there, but lifting and rotating the tandem by yourself is awkward. Maybe with practice I can figure out a better way. It is a great rack and I have no regrets with the purchase.

I also love the telescoping nature of the rack. You can shorten it for a normal standard size bike when you are not carrying a tandem.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Weekend Recap - Sunday

I was lazy. I knew we were going to go to Brunswick, NE to see Laura's grandparents so I decided I would ride part of the way and get picked up. I knew the course to Laurel well, and all the hills I would encounter so I decided to leave a little later thinking that's all my body would have in it after a longer, slower, butt-hurting Saturday ride. So, I left home at 8:40 am and headed across the border.

Amazingly I felt much better than anticipated and sat back at what I felt to be a comfortable pace as I rolled up and down the hills on Hwy 15 in Nebraska. Right as I was eying the city limits sign of Laurel, Laura called me on the cell phone. They were just getting ready to leave Vermillion after getting gas. I told her that after a brief stop that I was going to drive on and she could pick me up between Laurel and Randolph.

Apparently I was doing better than expected as I hit Randolph and still no sign of the Ford Deathstar. I called Laura and she was only about eight miles behind me so I decided that I would start disassembly of the bike and gear and just wait for her. Lessoned learned though. I blew a chance to get in another 20 miles or so because I didn't think I was ready. Silly me. Oh well it was still a good ride and an absolutely PERFECT riding day!

Weekend Recap - Saturday

A rare South Dakota treat happened this weekend: It was nearly perfect riding weather!! In an attempt to get some riders in the area out Saturday I chose to stay close to home instead of heading to Sioux Falls and riding with Snakebite and the boyz.

Laura and I had some miscommunication so I was waiting for her to get back from hitting early rummage sales but was unaware that she had made arrangements for Marissa to watch Carson for the short time she would be gone. As it closed in on our 8:00 departure I called CDV and told him to go on and I'd do my best to catch up. After talking to Marissa and learning of the earlier plan to watch her brother I finally got out the door about 8:15 and the hunt was on.

It's been fun this year running without any computers on the bike other than the Garmin that I run in my jersey pocket. I just run a comfortable pace and don't think about what I'm running for speed. That being said, I averaged over 20 mph into a slight (soon to be brisk) NW wind between Vermillion and Centerville as I attempted to chase down the rabbits group up ahead. I did so, but not until we hit Centerville city limits.

The bonus of catching CDV, Cycling Cathy, Ed F., and Chad P., was that the plan was to stop at the Royal Bake Shop. This brought back memories of my childhood and after all these years I almost habitually ordered one of their apple fritters that I loved as a kid. After a short stop it was off to Viborg into the ever increasing wind.

A brief stop in Viborg and then it was off to Irene. As we pulled into Irene we ran into three rollers who had left Centerville and was doing a similar route to us, just in reverse. I had seen them earlier in the day on my sprint up Hwy 19 to catch the group. We chatted for awhile and then it was off to Volin and the Volin Cafe for lunch. We mowed through lunch and then headed back towards Vermillion. Cycling Cathy peeled off and heading back to the thriving metropolis of Wakonda and the rest of us soldiered on.

Ed and I soldiered on to Bunyan's for an icy mug (or three)of liquid refreshment before Ed finished up a century on his way home to Burbank. Retirement is treating Ed well!

It was a great day of riding spent with cycling friends from the area. Now we just need more friends to join us. I'm sure people are still riding, they are just being anti-social as of late. As you can see from the following chart, it's not like we set a blistering pace. Considering I was around a 21mph average for the first 25 miles, I only ended up averaging 16.4mph. That means we were probably going 15 or so as we chatted and had a great ride.