Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A new Era in the Brady Household

The kids finally pushed too far. There is a fine line between being lazy during the summer and just plain trying not to do anything. About an hour ago, after a brief hold time with Midcontinent...we are a cable free household until many things change with a certain 9 and 11 year old. Oh yeah, and the PS2/Nintendo 64 are on the shelf too. Summer is about to get a little more creative....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New Toy/First Ride

Coming back from Watertown we stopped in Spoke-N-Sport just to "try out" a tandem to see if my wife would like it. Well...she did. I told them to put a different seat on for my wife as well as better pedals and we would take it for a spin after a trip to Famous Dave's. Over lunch, it didn't take much to convince her that this was probably the future of our touring together. She's always been "the driver" on my biking excursions, but I'm hoping that this will change all that.

The Bike

The First Excursion (of any measurable distance)

I'm very proud of Laura as she is giving this a serious go. We still have a (almost) four year old at home, so we will not be able to ride a lot, but she seemed excited to be able to ride WITH me. They say a Tandem is either very good or very bad for relationships. So far, so good!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tour de Kota - Tuesday - Lennox to Dell Rapids

Craig and I both woke up about 40 minutes before our alarms were set to go off do to maximum bladder capacity levels being reached. After rectifying the situation we tried to lay back down but quickly realized that it was pointless to even attempt to go back to sleep so we broke down the tent and was packed up and ready to go…..at about 4:35am. At 4:40am we were both in line for to be the first customers of the nice lady making lattes (even though she wasn’t planning on being open until 5:00). We sucked those down and Craig, Jim, Cathy, Ashley and I hit the road at 5:30am sharp (or 5:24:51 according to my Garmin 301). It was 100 miles to Dell Rapids, I had 5 packs of Gu, it was dark, and I was wearing sunglasses….hit it (sorry, had to get my Blues Brothers reference in)!

We rolled into Tea and did a rather weird loop through town that seemed kind of pointless, but whatever. We hit the Kum & Go for a quick breakfast stop and off the road we went. Back on Hwy 17 going towards Wall Lake, the usual close-to-Sioux-Falls-drivers were annoyed with us and a few seemed to take aim at shortening our life span. One truck, with plenty of room to get over, chose not too and was incredibly close to us when he went by. In unison, but with opposite hands, Craig and I waved to him with only one finger so he could plainly see our dislike of his lack of willingness to share the road with another vehicle (yes, according to South Dakota law we ARE vehicles—except of course for DUI laws!).

From there Wall Lake we went to Humboldt for a short pit stop and then Buffalo Trading Post, then west where the real fun (read “wind”) began. A cross wind at first, but then we turned towards Montrose…Head wind central. After torturing Craig and Jim at 20+ in the cross winds, they were none to pleased at the current situation so I did my best to pull them into Montrose by breaking the wind for them. We made it to Montrose and went to the world famous Irish Pub for a Pub Burger….which is a personal favorite and actually has no hamburger! My brother and sister-in-law own the place which is another good reason to shamelessly plug it in my blog.

After filling our stomachs very full we headed east out of Montrose to face a pretty good ascent along with a pretty good wind as well. The wind was definitely picking up and was out of the SE at a pretty steady 15-20 at this point. We battled the wind to Hartford, then had mainly tail/cross winds through Lyons and into Baltic, at which point we had already put in 100 miles for the day. A short climb to the stop sign and then it was tail winds into Dell Rapids for the day.

After getting our tent set up and getting showered, Craig called to tell me that he found a great “municipal” downtown. I wandered down and met up with him and he was right, it was a great municipal. Padded rocking chairs, in the shade, on the sidewalk, with ice cold cerveza, and the willingness to keep an open tab; cyclist heaven! As we had a couple, three, four beers in us, and more cyclists were coming in, we started to encourage them to come and join us for a beer or six by hollering such wonderful slogans as: best beer in town, cold beer!, coldest beer in town. All this for a place that had JUST opened up that afternoon (Grand Opry House for those heading to Dell Rapids anytime soon) and Craig can boast being their first paying customer. After our personal marketing attempts and a few bottles of liquid courage, I told our waitress that she should buy us a round for our first rate marketing campaign and she agreed to do so. A bit of excitement happened as a HUGE flag fell down in between the four of us sitting at the table miraculously missing all of us. The only casualty was one empty beer bottle which died a most ungracious death on the sidewalk. Craig and I figured that we had to have at least seven beers a piece, including one purchased by Cathy Logue, and when we asked to pay our tab our waitress said “$8.75”. We love ye Grand Opry House!

To put a damper on our giddy little excursion however, we received a call that two of our riders, Melissa H. and Angie W. were about to be picked up by the ambulance due to a nasty crash on the railroad tracks outside of Lyons. Both will survive, but Melissa has a broken collarbone and Angie had chipped a tooth and had a nasty case of road rash.

After a few phone calls to make sure that our wounded Lane Hogs were okay, we went out to eat and then finally met up with Melissa and Angie back at the camp to see how they were doing. Melissa’s fiancĂ© Nick came to get her as her ride was over. Her bike was locked up in the trailer and the keys were back in Sioux Falls so we agreed to get her bike back to Vermillion for her. After saying our goodbyes to Melissa and helping Angie determine that riding the next day was a bad idea, we all crash for the night after a long day filled with the best of times and the worst of times. A short 50 mile day to Madison tomorrow will be just what we need.

Day 3 Stats (via my Garmin)
Miles: 106.09
Ave pace: 17.2 mph
Temp Ave: 75.4
Temp High: 82.4
Wind Ave: SSE 12.8
Wind High: SSE 18.4
Start Time: Jun 12, 2007 5:24:51 AM
Finish Time: Jun 12, 2007 1:09:34 PM
Moving Time: 6:09:51
Elevation Gain 3,781
Elevation Loss 3,629
Net Elevation Change 151

Non Garmin Stats:
Lane Hogs Down Today - 2
Broken Collar Bones - 1
Chipped Teeth - 1
People missed by giant falling flag - 4
New Beer Discovered - Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy

Tour de Kota – Monday – Vermillion to Lennox

Five of us rolled out early: Craig, Jim, Cathy, Ashley and myself, determined to get ahead of the heat for this 75 miles day. As would be the norm for the week, a 40 mile trip by car turned into a 75 mile excursion via bicycle.

The trip to Meckling was nice and easy and we all waved at Greg Merrigan who was manning a water stop on behalf of Clay Rural Water. He told us that his neighbor (Cindy L.) was recouping after her big crash the day before but was pretty gimpy.
About 2-3 miles from Meckling, Jim punctured a tire. We think, in retrospect, that the nasty train tracks at Meckling might have been where it happened and it just took that long for all the air to escape the tires. With the help of Willie, who just so happened to have a frame pump, the tire was changed and the pursuit of Cathy and Ashley was on. We skipped going into Volin for a second straight day and we climbed the “Volin hill” towards Wakonda. Right as we turned north towards Wakonda we caught Ashley and Cathy and the Wakonda High Alumni (Cathy, Ashley, and I) all rode in together.

The town (with help from Cathy) put up lots of cute little signs with various sayings between Volin and Wakonda. There were even signs for Wakonda Alumni on the ride which of course was pretty cool for those of us from Wakonda originally.
Wakonda had many cool events planned, but we were pretty early so we spent a little time eating and refilled our water bottles and saddled up. I was so early that I missed seeing my Mom (which she let me know about later!) who was helping with the Sr. Citizens stuff. Cathy stayed behind as she felt obligated to make sure everything was going well in the hometown and I think she was sick of riding at OUR pace and wanted to ride her own.

With the wind at our backs the hills on the way to Irene didn’t seem nearly as bad as usual. On one of the “shotgun” hills (down one side fast and back up the other right away), I was still well over 30mph at the top of the second hill. I waited at the stop sign in Irene for Craig, Jim, and Ashley as I got a little TOO excited with my hill work and was ahead a ways. They stopped and got a freeze pop from the high school girls and then Craig SOMEHOW ran into Ashley who was parked at the stop sign. No blood no foul, but it was a bizarre incident that could have been bad.

North out of Irene the wind was pushing us well. It was when we turn East towards Viborg that the crosswind was a bit brutal. We formed the best echelon we could to break the wind and made it into Viborg in good time. After some time at the high school for further “re-fueling” we were off again. The trip north to Hurley was a blur thanks to the tailwind. We were between 20-25mph without much effort at all. We nixed taking a route detour into Hurley (been there, done that) so we just continued north towards our turn that would take us to Lennox. That last Easterly stretch started to take it’s toll so we dropped the pace a little to keep everybody in the line and protect them from the wind as much as possible. A short little stint north and we arrived in Lennox with thoughts of Pizza Ranch on our mind.

We got our bags, set up the tent, showered, and headed off to our destination: All you can eat at the Pizza Ranch! Okay, I admit, I put the thought of Pizza Ranch on everybody’s mind somewhere between Meckling and Volin so everybody had PLENTY of time to think about it.

After making sure that the Pizza Ranch wasn’t going to make any money on us, we wandered back to camp and enjoyed the company of fellow riders (after I had a short siesta!) as well as a wonderful mocha made right in the park. They informed us that they would be setting up at 4:30am for breakfast and we informed them that we would be first in line. Many of us went to the bar and ate and then back to the campgrounds once again. Jim and I went to the amateur baseball game between Lennox and Irene for awhile, where we met up with James (aka “Spiderman”). After a few innings Jim and I went back to get ready for bed. Shortly after I hit the sleeping bag I heard a baseball bounce close and then *THUMP* it hit the tent right behind ours.

I finally put on my headset as the band was slightly horrible in the singing department (sorry if any of you read this, but you REALLY need a singer!) and finally crashed out for the night. Tomorrow is going to be 100 miles so we are starting EARLY!

Day 2 Stats (per my Garmin)
**Note** I had a brain cramp and missed a little over 3 miles leaving Wakonda by not turning my Garmin back on.
Miles: 70.62
Ave pace: 16.5 mph
Temp Ave: 73.8
Temp High: 80.6
Wind Ave: S 10.9
Wind High: S 18.4
Start Time: Jun 11, 2007 5:59:25 AM
Finish Time: Jun 11, 2007 10:45:17 AM
Moving Time: 4:16:13
Elevation Gain 1,458
Elevation Loss 1,356
Net Elevation Change 101

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tour de Kota - Sunday - Vermillion to...um...Vermillion

In one of the least popular moves of the Tour de Kota by most riders is the Sunday "loop" ride, where we start and end in the same place. Many of the riders I talked to would like to go point to point without the loop on the first day, so we will see if that actually happens next year or not.

Anyhow...back to the duly appointed blogging about Day 1 of the Tour de Kota. After registering on Saturday and looking at the weather for Sunday, which was calling for HOT and HUMID with a southeast wind, a few of us decided to do the 30 mile loop first and then do the 70 mile loop second.

Quite a few of us hooked up for the 30 mile loop at 6:00 am and enjoyed a "moderate" pace with one stop at Dalesburg Lutheran church (Hub City) about 1/2 way through. While it was a short stop on a short loop, we later would learn it was the ONLY stop on the 30 mile loop which nearly killed some of the cyclists who did the 70 mile loop first and the 30 mile loop last, when the heat was nasty. Having only one stop in that intense heat was poor planning and many people suffered dearly.

A short stop back at the armory in Vermillion, and a second breakfast courtesy of Jones Food's stand, and we "saddled up" for our 70 mile loop. As we were leaving town, I mentioned to Craig about the fluffy little....THUNDERHEAD that was small at the time and looked harmless. As we cruised along the bluff road with the wind basically at our back, we had a nice paceline going. We kept our eye on the thunderhead and we couldn't believe how fast it was building. Luckily it was already north of our position and seemed content to be moving further north.

We took a short stop in Volin at the cafe where we scarfed down a few goodies (let's face it, not many people LOSE weight on a bike tour) and then we looped back out of town to see the mini-flags on the side of the Volin hill. It was quite the site as there was supposedly one for each of the fallen veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. As a veteran of the Gulf War, it was truly emotional and hard to fathom. For the sake of me NOT going off on a political rant, we will leave it at that.

Onwards toward Mission Hill. Although there were a few small hills to this point (three on the 30 mile loop in particular), I was already banking on taking the tour polka dot jersey from our group for best climber. Then the youngin', Jim, decided to try to stay on my wheel and sling shot around me going up the hill before turning to Mission Hill. I let him go by me and get a couple of lengths on me, and then I quickly crushed his dreams as I sprinted past him giving him the "Lance glance". I was already feeling old due to the fact he is only 15, but having to explain the "Lance glance" to him, something that happened only a few short years ago, REALLY made me feel old. I enjoyed my "hill victories" throughout this week, simply because I'm pretty sure that within a year or two I'll be lucky to stay in Jim's draft. For now, the old guy will take his victory lap!

After turning south toward Mission Hill I looked for a favorite stop over the past three years: a family who comes out to the end of their drive way and hands out water. This year they barely were home from church so I was glad we didn't miss them. I've been watching their kids grow up for five minutes a year for the past three years now! I don't know what I'll do if they ever change the route on us. Oh wait, they probably won't (oooooooh...I can hear the cat calls for that low blow).

It was moderately uneventful for the rest of the way into Yankton and we hit the Chamber of Commerce area only to find out that they were out of food (but getting more!). Joe and I decided it was a good opportunity to go downtown to the coffee shop. After getting lost temporarily on the Brokaw trail, we meandered close to downtown and hopped off the trail and went to the coffee shop. CLOSED! Foiled again! So, we went to Burger King and had an iced Mocca Joe which actually turned out to be a much better drink than I gave it credit for!

After a short break, Joe and I went back to the Chamber only to find that we had been ditched! Away we went after the breakaway clipping along at a fairly good pace. We were probably about 3 miles on the East side of the Mission Hill turn when Joe got a pained look on his face, reached all around his back and announced that he didn't have his wallet/camera pack. He said he had to go back to Burger King and being the good soldier I am, I left him to die by himself and motored onward. His plan was to SAG back in after going back to Yankton (he didn't though and ended up riding 130+ miles...what a trooper!). He did retrieve his goods at BK though so all is right in the world.

After we parted paths I decided to step it up a notch and hammer harder to get to Gayville. It wasn't long and I caught Melissa and Cathy and they told me that we had a "Lane Hog Down". It seems that in the pack wheels got tangled and Cindy L. took a nasty spill and split her knee open bad. So bad, that Cathy called the ambulance, but shortly thereafter a good samaritan came along in a van and offered to take her into the hospital. Cancel one ambulance. After hearing that news I left Cathy and Melissa who were going to "take it real easy" after the fall of their comrade.

I caught up to Craig, Ashley, Jim, and Holly in Gayville and they were nearly ready to leave but the heat beat me during my pursuit so I needed the rest. I casually mentioned about possibly NOT going down Timber Road but staying on Hwy 50 as I knew I'd already be over 100 miles due to "bonus miles" around Yankton. I went to the old fashioned ice cream truck for a snocone and low and behold, there were my friends Randy and Sue Fields running it. After some small talk and snarfing down my blue raspberry snocone I was off in pursuit again.

After getting back onto Hwy 50 in the wind and the heat, I put the hammer down again in hopes of catching the group. I was seriously about to turn on Timber Road when I looked up ahead at a blip of riders on the horizon: CHEATERS! I must chase them down. As I rode by a confused woman sitting at the corner wondering which way to go, I shouted "Short Cut" as I rode by. She nodded and headed down the correct path, unlike the criminals we are, heading down the WRONG path. I caught them with relative ease and I realized that the wind and heat was taking it's toll on them. I tried to pull them and Craig warned that everybody was getting tired and that 14 would be max speed. I agreed and looked down at my cycling computer at pulled at 14 for about 1/4 of a mile. I looked back at a trail of....nothing. I waited for them to catch up a little and realized that the final eight miles of this journey was going to take awhile. Like the good trooper in battle, I again left my comrades to die peacefully as I took off hard for Vermillion by myself. I really would have stayed back with my troops, but I had a few things to do for the Chamber in Vermillion since I served on the TdK committee for them.

I pulled into the Pump and Pack on the corner of town and bought two Gatorades: one which disappeared almost before I got out the door and the other one shortly after I hit the park. It appears that my body was a little upset with my lack of drinking during the ride.

The Vermillion United Methodist Church had a decent showing for our pasta feed that night. Might I say, Dale B. you did an awesome job with the various sauces! We didn't feed as many as we thought we might, but the tour numbers were not great either.

Poison Stream (band) played for the faithful in the park and overall Vermillion did a great job of hosting Saturday/Sunday/Monday morning.

One last night to sleep in my own bed before tenting becomes the norm. Next report: Tour de Kota - Day 2 - Vermillion to Lennox

Day 1 Stats (via my Garmin)
Miles: 103.48
Ave pace: 16.6 mph
Temp Ave: 76.8
Temp High: 91.4
Wind Ave: ESE 9.6
Wind High: ESE 17.2
Start Time: Jun 10, 2007 6:01:11 AM
Finish Time: Jun 10, 2007 1:36:41 PM
Elevation Gain 1,611
Elevation Loss 1,611
Net Elevation Change -0

Non Garmin Stats:
Lane Hogs Down - 1
Stitches - 10 in the knee of Cindy
Days missed from work because of injury - 3
Lane Hogs Bonks - 1 - I didn't go into details because I wasn't there to see it. I heard it was one heck of a bonk though!

They're following us.....

I'm pretty sure that Scott Adams and the Dilbert Crowd have been following us again. This could have been a number of us on Tour de Kota, but I'm mainly thinking of somebody whose initials start with C-R-A-I-G (oops...those aren't initials!). I wasn't far behind in my "production" either unfortunately.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy (?) Anniversary

I know I have a LOT of catching up to do (two weeks of riding plus the awesome details of Tour de Kota) and I'll try to get a start on that tonight.

So why the Happy Anniversary title to this post? Well, yesterday I officially have been working for the University of South Dakota for 10 years. I've seen the IT department almost triple in size in that time and I am definitely one of the "old timers" now as I've seen many come and go as well. Overall it's been a great job and 10 years is kind of a cool milestone so I thought I'd share this little tidbit with you.

Yeah, this falls under the "it's my blog and I'll tell you what I want to" category so deal with it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Weekly Cycling Log - May 28 - June 3

Not a bad week for taking another zero in there. June is starting out as a promising month with Tour de Kota coming up.

28-May69.44Sioux City w/THF Riders
29-May13.24Commuting(2.40) + Mtn. Bike around Town(10.84)
30-May16.78Mulberry Point(14.30) + Commuting(2.48)
1-Jun15.47Spin Class(10) + Commuting(5.47)
2-Jun70.17Volin/Yankton/Gayville(68.33) + Commuting(1.84)
3-Jun34.61Commuting(3.93) + Meckling Loop(30.68)

 Weekly Totals:YTD Totals
Total Miles:219.713787.59
Projected Miles-20078977.08

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Monthly Mileage Update

A bit of a disappointing month as I had to take off three days late in the month, but still over 700 so I can't complain too much. June should definitely be a much better training month with Tour de Kota on tap.

MonthTotal MilesAve/DayTraining MilesCommuting Miles