Friday, May 30, 2008

Late Start

I'm trying to see if I can physically have my brain explode (Scanners anyone?) by seeing how many things I can be involved in at the same time. It's been unreal how hectic things have been, but I'm still finding some family time and time to ride occasionally.

Speaking of riding, you will notice the link in the upper right corner of my blog. It links you to a page for making a pledge to me for the MS Society and the MS Bike Tour for 2008. Please give generously for this worthy cause! HERE to donate. Thanks!

Bill Clinton to Speak at USD

Bill Clinton speaks at the U tonight, stumping for his wife. South Dakota Girls State has been at the U all week. Coincidence? I think NOT!

This was seen parked outside of Slagle Hall at the U. Part of the former President's caravan?!?!?!?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Streak Nearly Ended

The streak is at 309, but barely. I had to leave town at 6:30 this morning to get a fleet car to go to Sioux Falls. Waking up at 5:30 it was a pretty nasty thunderstorm, complete with my least favorite thing: sharp lightening. I checked radar and it looked like it would be close to moved out by 6:15 which would keep the streak going. The nasty part did leave by then and I rode with my "rain layer" on to get the car from fleet. The streak continues.

Along the same lines, I as I was watching the weather on TV to see how the storm was moving, I heard one of the dumbest statements a pretty well known weather person. The extreme Southeast section of South Dakota (you know, where I live) was in a high danger for storms tonight, which in retrospect proved pretty darned accurate. But as they were discussing the "high danger" it was discussed that it was very rare to see that forecast and that it could mean very bad things for us. Then the statement of the day came out: "In the few times I've seen this type of alert, it either happens or it doesn't". Huh? Yes, that was the actual statement. I'm sure they was searching for something much more prophetic, but that was apparently the best that could be done at 5:30 AM.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mowin' It Old School

I was talking to my Mom last week asking her if she still had the old Reel Mower around. She said it was still out in the shed and I could have it if I wanted it. Oh yeah, I wanted it.

What I am even more amazed is that it needs VERY LITTLE work done to it. I was all excited and mowed the front yard with it without doing a thing to it. It probably needs a little lubing up and the blades could be sharpened a little, but it works great!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Ride

CDV and I decided that a Memorial Day Ride was a necessity so we posted an email on our club listserv to see what we could muster for riders. As it neared our departure time of 9:00 from Hy-vee, it appeared that it would be CDV and myself. But wait, in the distance, two bikers appear. Crap. It's AJ and Pongo. Young, in shape, and ready to push into the gale force north winds in an attempt to do 50 miles before noon. The kind of guys that instantly raise the mph average by at least 2-3 mph.

Did I mention that I've been battling some nasty crud that is making breathing in general difficult? CDV had been battling a crud as well, possibly getting overheated the day before (which is hard to believe with today's massive 49 degree temperatures). He dropped off about five miles in and waved us on.

I hung on for dear life and still did my share of pulling, but we averaged around a whopping 14 mph for the first 25 miles and my lungs were on fire. The way home, with the wind, would prove to not be much better as the pace was 22-25 most of the way home. I cut them loose with a couple miles to go so I could wind down and let my lungs recover before getting off the bike. This proved very wise.

There was ride survival, which was good. Although a hot hot hot bath was in order to try to clear my head and lungs a bit. The rest of the day was spent hanging with the kids playing much less taxing activities. CDV was batchin' it so we invited him over and he arrived carrying Summer Shandy which hopefully is a sign that warmer temps are coming.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

"The Voice" Gains More Fame

The man, the myth, the legend, and good friend. Greg Merrigan who does a lions share of the announcing at USD also works many track meets throughout the area. This weekend we are working the South Dakota High School State Track Meet in Sioux Falls. A news dude from KELO TV came around and took some action shots and interviewed the voice. It's a cool clip as many probably have no idea how much goes on behind the scene at a track meet.

Greg clips out all the results from the newspaper, keeps a list of the major runners and what they have done throughout the year so that he can continue to give them plugs at the various meets. He will announce things like "Little Mary Jo ran a season best 59.8 at the Bear Butte Classic in April" and I don't think people give it a second thought, but many hours of preparation go into his announcing.

For the state meet, after the first day is finished, they put together "books" which are binders of information for the finals in each class. Then we go through and put notes next to each athlete we can back at the hotel. An entry might be, "won the 200m earlier in the meet, was the MVP of the Dan Lennon meet and has the best time in the state this year". It's cool for the fans, but I always feel they have no idea how much goes into the work he does.

As modest as he is in the following clip, he is very deserving of some recognition. Listen close and you might catch another name you know as well.

There is an ad ahead of the clip. Be patient...they have to pay the bills.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ride of Silence

I feel one of the classiest bicycle rides out there is the Ride of Silence. It's a great way to pay respect to those cyclists among us that have been injured or killed while cycling. It is also a great way to raise awareness that motorists need to share the road better with cyclists.

I had great intentions of starting a Ride of Silence in Vermillion this year, but my overflowing plate let is slide off the top. I feel guilty about that since we lost one of the most famed riders of this area this year already. My plan is to pay my respects to Randy Van Zee and all riders injured or killed this year all day long while on my bicycle.

Any of you in the Sioux Falls area I encourage to attend the Falls Area Bicyclists Ride of Silence.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Do I Sense a Groove Coming on?

Today was more like old times: About seven miles of commuting/errands, 31 miles on the road bike, and eight more on the tandem with Laura pulling Carson on the tag-a-long. Let's hope this is a belated start of getting back in a better cycling groove.

It was a great night to ride albeit a touch windy. Too bad Cactus-Eyed Joe had to miss it. He was the ride organizer but he bagged out at the last minute. I won't pick on him too much for his lame excuse. Ooops, did "lame" slip out?

Four rollers left at 5:45 for the 30 mile "Meckling Loop": Craig T, Cindy L., and a roller riding his first Lane Hog ride, Pongo (John R). You have to love a guy who comes with his own handle. No need to make one up, it fits him well. It was a great ride and there is no doubt the former runner is a darn good biker as well.

Upon coming home I was barely off the bike when I was greeted with "Hi Daddy, want to go on a ride"? I was planning on taking Laura out for a few miles anyway, so we hooked up the tag-a-long for Carson and did a slow eight mile urban ride.

Tomorrow night might have to be a tandem ride. Laura needs to start putting on some miles and toughening up the butt.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Which is Longer?

Which is longer: A Ford Windstar or a Tandem with a Trail-a-Bike and a Burley flatbed?

As you see even Carson was impressed with the Grocery Getter semi. The looks we received on the way to the grocery store were pretty priceless too. Thanks to Barry S. for the inspiration.

Bunyan's to Bob's (Socializing) Reflections

No words can say what a few pictures can. Thanks to Dan Letsche for the stash of pictures.

Good morning beautiful:

Bring on the pre-ride Bunyan's Bombers (shot of Root Beer Schnapps in a beer):

The gang getting closer to rolling out time. eDLoNNie, notice the fine CiTyBiLLy workshirt being sported by K-BiLLy. I rode with it all the way to Martinsburg.

Registration and Waiver Ceiling Tile. It is now mounted in the ceiling of Bunyan's.

This way to Martinsburg (by gravel anyway).

The Oasis in Martinsburg.

What makes Bob's famous you ask? - Hamburgers ($2.90) and Cheeseburgers ($3.00)!

Don't forget your order of cheeseballs ($8.00)!

Eating ourselves into a food coma.

A great time was had by all. Hope to see you next year!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bunyan's 2 Bob's (Riding) Reflections

Today was a gorgeous day. Of course it was. It was the day after hurricane Bob screamed through the plains of SE South Dakota/NE Nebraska hindering our first (hopefully annual) Bunyan's to Bob's Bike Ride.

I was one of three who braved the gravel route and the only mountain biker to try to make it back home into the brutal wind (albeit by road this time). One thing reared it's ugly head on this trip: Too much mountain biking usually takes it's toll on my back. The inability to stand much while climbing on gravel forced me to hammer up the hills using my legs and putting my weight down hard to keep good contact.

Now understand that I love the challenge and my tree trunk thighs can climb with the best of them. However there is an underlying issue that always comes up. My back almost always tightens up with lots of tough climbing. However, I felt great when I hit Martinsburg. Of course that was with the wind. That ever increasing wind. Probably 15-20 on the way down. That quickly became 25-40 on the way home.

The other mountain bikers cut out for the trip home so I decided to hang with the road bikes on the way home. That was fine. Until Ponca. Then even that sucked. We tried our best to stay in a pace line for the 11 miles to Newcastle at about 11-13 mph. I made it about six and then I tried to drop to the rear of the paceline as my quads and back both were screaming. I hung on for another mile or two but a couple of small climbs did me in. Who would have known that my 45 psi mountain bike tires were no match for 100-120 psi skinny road tires? Instead of trying to make myself more miserable by clinging onto the tail end of the line, I let myself drop off.

Of course, that proved equally as fatal. I actually shifted into my granny gears. On a mountain bike. On the road. There is a first time for everything. 4-6 mph. Brutal. About 2.5-3 miles away from Newcastle it quit being any kind of fun. My back now hurt so bad that turning the cranks just sucked. I unclipped and called Laura to meet me in Newcastle to pick me up. She had 15 miles of driving including driving across Vermillion. I had 2.5-3 miles of biking. I beat her by about five minutes. It just wasn't pretty.

It was a bad day of cycling. It's been a bad year of cycling. And you know what? I still love it and would do it again in a heartbeat. I had a great deal of fun which you will hear about in the second part of B2B Reflection. The awesome "social" part of the ride.

Here is the ride data from the gravel route. 2330 feet of climbing. Not bad for 26 miles. My computer also showed a max of 42.6 cannonballing down one of the hills and the garmin only showed 38.4. It was a white knuckle downhill. I probably should have hit the brakes more as there was some soft silty dirt/grave at the bottom and I fishtailed a little at about 35 mph. It was a good thing my HR monitor was not hooked up at that point. There would have been a spike.

Bob's (Martinsburg) to Newcastle. As you see, the road cyclists missed out on some serious fun.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Proud Cycling Husband

CDV posted a ride for tonight leaving at 5:30 at a slower pace to encourage more to ride. It was an absolutely gorgeous night! Hardly any wind and a little over 60 degrees. I told Laura she should ride on the tandem with me, knowing full well the route was a little over 30 miles. Not a big deal to most of us. However, Laura has only one other 30 mile ride under her belt, and that was last fall. It included 2-3 "butt breaks" along the way with a stop in the middle for ice cream at Edgar's Old Fashioned Soda Fountain in Elk Point (bribery to go 30 miles).

Tonight was different. The Meckling Loop. Cycling Cathy, CDV, Cindy L., Evie J., and Team Brady took to the road. We usually ride this without stopping at all, but told Laura that we would stop half way if she needed it. At the halfway point she said she was okay. Later she confided that she was afraid that if we stopped she wouldn't want to get back on. At about 20-22 miles I could see in my mirror that Laura was visibly starting to hurt. When I asked she said her hamstrings were screaming. Nonetheless, she hung in there and finished the ride and I couldn't be prouder. She's getting there fast, we just need more ride time.

She just finished stretching and is now going to soak in a hot bathtub. Here's hoping there is a little love left in the morning. Hopefully she knows that I wasn't out to kill her, but I do think it was good for her to see how far she can go and how far she can push.

Did I mention that I love the tandem and being able to ride with Laura?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This Couch Isn't Big Enough...

...for the both of us, but we make do. Carson prefers the big couches downstairs, but rarely misses a chance to hang with Dad and watch a little tube.


King Leonidas Biking Brady and a force of 300 men bicyclists fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Cagers in Vermillion in 2008 A.D. An epic battle of man versus cage for 300 straight days of commuting.

*Photoshop credits to Dan Letsche

Monday, May 12, 2008

Redneck Bicycling?

Laura had the van. I needed gas so the oldest could continue to mow. No problem, I'll just hook up the Grocery Getter and get some gas while the older two watched the youngest. Well, not so fast: Carson was adamant that he wanted to go. When I mean adamant, I mean adamant.

NO NO NO...Not "Adam Ant" (you have "Goody Two Shoes" stuck in your head right now...admit it), adamant. Demanding. Determined. I AM GOING WITH YOU.

Well let's see: Gas can might be tough to hold while pulling the trail-a-bike. Other options? Hmmmm....let's see if the grocery getter will hook up behind the trail-a-bike. I tried this behind the kid carrier once and it was not great because one trailer was out into traffic too far. This time however, it amazingly hooked up great!

Marissa rode along too as we picked up gas and a couple gallons of milk (because we could). Oh the looks we received. I wondered how many were amazed and how many thought I was the ultimate cycling redneck. I could care less. I'm biking. You're not. It was painful enough filling up my little container for the lawnmower at $3.59 a gallon (I wonder if Mom still has the old non-powered blade mower). I digress yet again.

Anyhow, here is the redneck bicycle train in all its glory.

Bunyan's To Bob's - THIS SATURDAY!

This epic ride is nearly upon us! I have one piece of bad news: The T-Shirts will not be ready by the ride. I had a heck of a time getting people to commit and very few seemed to want them. If you still want one, let me know Saturday and I'll still make an order.

I'll be emailing those who have committed or expressed interest in this ride for confirmation. If any of you are catching this for the first time and want to come along...SWEET! Just let me know!

Here is the "earn-your-lunch" gravel route:

The Hooterville Mayor was kind enough to post the road route for this weekends ride.

Disclaimer: and I repeat: I legally am not organizing this ride. Some friends may or may not show up to ride this event. Some may or may not drink alcoholic beverages. They will do so on their own fruition. I am not responsible for lost (or found) riders. I in no way am responsible for those who have not adequately trained and may be found on the side of the road gasping for air.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bike to Work Week

For those who don't usually bike to work, May 12-16 is bike to work week. May is national bike month. Just do it. Pretty soon you too will not think twice about getting on your bike versus getting in your gas sucking cages. Who knows, maybe you too will decide to lose a family car or two.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Long Bonk of a Commute

I make no mistakes for having a bad day of riding. We all have them from time to time. Yesterday was one of those for me. I left Vermillion for Sioux Falls to work at the (last ever) North Central Conference Track Meet. I got a bit of a late start leaving at 11:00am. The wind was ENE around 10 so it was a side/head wind. I was doing great for the first 30 or so, but all of a sudden my back tightened up, I was getting a head ache, and my legs felt thick. I already thought that my speed was way slow so I was glad when I got the call that my friend/co-worker at the meet was leaving town so I headed toward the interstate to meet him and give up my quest of making it to Sioux Falls so I would not be late to the meet.

After guzzling a quart of chocolate milk (my favorite recovery drink) and liter of Mountain Dew, a bottle and a half of water, and an Amp that my wife sent along for my headache, and a trip to the bathroom, it was evident that I was a bit dehydrated (without going into the details). Lessoned learned.

I don't think I've mentioned that I took all computers off my bike so I could "enjoy" my summer riding more. I do carry my Garmin 301 in my jersey pocket to download data afterwards however. It could be a good thing, or a bad thing. Even with the wind, I averaged 16mph which is better than I though, but I'm still not anywhere near the shape I was in this time last year. It will come with time...

Garmin ride details HERE.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Other Family Happenings

A couple of random photos.

Here is Marissa after her choral concert:

Carson and Mittens watching some 'toons:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

One Last Crazy Week

Riding has been minimal. This "spring" is still kicking my behind. It is decent this week, but my work schedule has been hectic with finals. I've been required to be at various final exams to make sure the technology is working properly and that online finals can be taken.

Monday I had to go to Sioux Falls to help the Nursing program. Of course, at the same time our Tsunami Wireless Bridge from one of our off campus programs went down causing mass chaos. So, what did I do? I went and had lunch with Snakebite. One has to have his priorities. That and there was truly nothing I could do about it while in Sioux Falls. Tuesday and Wednesday nights I had to cover exams which limited my riding time.

The highlight of riding right now is how excited Carson is over the Trail-a-bike. Sunday, his first day on the trial-a-bike, he went NINE miles. I kept asking him if he wanted to go home and he kept saying "no". Finally the following conversation took place:

C: Dad?
me: Yes?
C: My pee pee hurts.
me: Want to go home now?
C: Okay.

He has also ridden to Pre-school Tuesday and Wednesday. He loves to ride. Tonight after covering yet another final and missing a ride with some of my "posse", Carson wanted to go for a ride again. Seven miles later I told him we needed to get home because he was supposed to be taking a bath. He tried to talk me into "just a little farther", but I had to shut him down.

Last year's Gut Check didn't defeat me, but Carson might wear me out this summer. That's perfectly fine by me. That's why I decided against training hard for the Gut Check and other things. So once again, my plan is coming together. Now I need to get Laura out more.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Last Child on the Trail-a-Bike

I was excited to get the Trail-a-Bike out for the last of three children to adorn it, but at the same time I was sad because of the same fact. There will be many more "lasts" when it comes to Carson, but I will be there to enjoy them all God willing.

Taking off!

Back home, all smiles!

Turkey Creek Ride

I survived a very long day at Howard Wood Dakota Relays. I was going to run a short bike race this morning (there were runners and walkers as well) but I couldn't get motivated to race on a bike path and over some nasty railroad tracks on little sleep. I did stop by to support the cause as the USD Physician's Assistant program students were in charge of the event.

Cactus-Eyed-Joe ran the 5k race, then went on a 30 mile road ride and then agreed to meet me for a 30 mile biking excursion this afternoon after church. Crazy or not, he hung right in there, albeit a little tired from his already busy day. We like to do this ride on occasion as there are some very good climbs on this gravel road. It is also part of the upcoming Bunyan's to Bob's ride. For those of you looking to tag along on this ride, here is the profile of the first 15 miles:

And to be honest, we have never ridden the second section of gravel other than by car. It has some equally challenging climbs. It promises to make us earn our ten thousand calorie lunch at Bob's.

**Disclaimer - The claim to a ten thousand calorie lunch depends on if you order the cheeseballs or not.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Brass Cojones

As I sit inside the crows nest at the Howard Wood/Dakota Relays track meet with a space heater on, my mind drifts to Snakebite as he attempts to ride the first two legs (Sioux Falls to Mitchell and then on to Chamberlain) today. Normally a decent feat, but today, a feat that will test the mettle of any man. Right now, at 12:55pm it is 48 degrees and the wind is NW at 24mph. I can only imagine what it was like at 5:30 am, Snakebite's scheduled time of departure.

I also noticed that CycleSD is planning on meeting Snakebite at Mitchell and ride with him to Chamberlian. I'll give him the "aluminum" cojones award for this feat. Not ideal conditions. Tomorrow is supposed to be 72 and the wind is supposed to be out of the SW so it should be a side/helpful wind on the way back. Better conditions as long as they survive today. Good luck boys!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Two Rides and Rain

Wednesday night CDV and I braved winds 25 mph plus to head to Elk Point for 30 miles. I realized on this ride that I haven't put in many hard miles this year yet. I pulled the whole way into the wind, something that I often do, but Thursday my quads felt very tight. That's something I am NOT used to. I need to ride some more. Period.

Thursday Laura and I got out on the tandem for a quick 7 miles. The temp was dropping as the front with the storm was moving in so we kept it short. Significance of the ride? Laura clipped into the clipless pedals (Crank Brother Quattro Pro's) for the first time ever! It was hard and frustrating for her, but it will get better.

Today I am supposed to be at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays track meet but the called today's session off yesterday already as they knew the weather was not going to be good already yesterday. Soon I'll be heading up to Sioux Falls though as we are going to stay overnight as the running events start at 8 am and the last event is scheduled for 9:40 pm. They are compressing as much as they can into one day. We are not sure the Rapid City schools will even make it as they had the interstate from Wyoming to Wall closed due to a blizzard (yup...BLIZZARD) so they might bring a limited number of kids. They also lost some college competitors too as North Dakota State dropped out so many of the South Dakota State runners have to follow NDSU to a different meet due the meet NOT counting as a NCAA Division I meet after NDSU dropped. It's all a big confusing mess, but the meet had to be called. It's under 50 degrees and raining. It wouldn't have been a pleasant experience for the kids to run in.

Tomorrow is supposed to be 58 and sunny so that should make for a MUCH better day at the track meet. It's going to be a LONG day though. There will be bicycling on Sunday though! A mountain bike excursion is planned to Newcastle after church on Sunday. Testing the first part of the Bunyan's to Bob's route. A route we have ridden many times. A great mountain bike ride and it should be perfect weather.