Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cold Weather Weaponry

Below zero temps? Pish-Posh. Gear up and ride!

To My Fellow Bicycle Commuters

I don't care who you are or what distance you commute, if you are from my neck of the woods and made it in today, welcome to the world of the dedicated bicycle commuter.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A New Approach to Indoor Training

Many of us hearty die hard idiots who live in the ever changing climate that is the Upper Midwest tend to ride all year, no matter what. We are a macho breed and we tend to put off training indoors if we can help it. However, I tend to want that little extra riding that even my adventurous nature can handle outside. That, and teaching indoor cycling classes for the University of South Dakota always have me looking for new ideas. Enter the Global Ride Video Series.

I have many of the Spinerval DVD's and a few of the Carmichael Training Systems DVD's. While each of these are focused, outstanding workouts, the one thing I get sick of is watching sweaty people on bikes over and over. I'm one of those sweaty people working out, I don't need to be reminded by looking at it over and over again. Again, enter the Global Ride Video Series.

My review of this product is two-fold: for my indoor cycling class and for my own personal indoor training. My final rating at the end will be two separate ratings because of this.

The series I received was for Hawaii. Three DVD's each set up for different workouts, and each with amazing backgrounds of riding various roads in Hawaii, usually from a first person cyclist view which I found very attractive. Once in awhile they would flash back to the cyclist as they were riding, but the focus was on the scenery and the workout, not a suffering cyclist.

Another thing I found interesting was the various audio options. You can either just watch the video, watch it with light background music, or your choice of three different instructors, including an actual class scenario. Having audio options to match the mood you are in is a great thing. Some days I like shutting my brain off and just allow one of the instructors instruct me and some days I want to "rock out" so I turn off all audio and just use my own music.

One of the most ingenious thing I found with these DVD's are the non-cycling training at the end. Each DVD had a different workout specifically geared for cycling. The 30 minute sessions include Strength, Yoga, and Pilates. I'm always looking for cross training that still focuses on cycling and this fits the bill nicely.

This is a brief review, but as you know, I don't like long posts as I feel most people don't take the time to read it all anyway, so I cater to the people with short attention spans like me! My review from the standpoint of a cycling class instructor is 9.6 out of 10. There are a few things I'd like to see like maybe a countdown of how much time is left overall and between potential segments of training (hills, flats, etc). I know that Global Ride is continually looking at feedback and are implementing them in future "rides".

For personal training, I'd give it 8.9 of 10. I'd lean more heavily on the timing feature here. Often I have a limited time to ride, so it'd be nice to grab sections you wanted to focus on, which you will after watching these enough times. These workout DVD's, like any workout DVD's, are only as good as the effort you put into it. If you don't think it's too hard, do what you have to for your needs. Same on the other end of the spectrum: If it's too easy, gear up a bit and make it hurt.

Overall these DVD's definitely make my Christmas list. Just having to not stare at sweaty people in a studio makes my rating on these DVD's jump exponentially. I look forward to more versions, especially riding in other countries. I think Global Ride has found a wonderful niche in the Cycling DVD arena. I'm very impressed at their willingness to take ideas from ordinary people to better their upcoming versions. I have nothing but high praise for these DVD's. They are trying to make indoor training bearable, and doing a great job. Ride on Global Ride!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Maid

The maid asked for a pay increase. The lady of the house was very upset about this and decided to talk to her about the raise.

She asked: 'Now Maria, why do you want a pay increase?
Maria: 'Well, ma’am, there are three reasons why I want an increase.
The first is that I iron better than you.'
Wife: 'Who said you iron better than me?'
Maria: 'Your husband said so.'
Wife: 'Oh.'

Maria: 'The second reason is that I am a better cook than you.'
Wife: 'Nonsense, who said you were a better cook than me?'
Maria: 'Your husband did.'
Wife: 'Oh.'

Maria: 'My third reason is that I am a better lover than you.'
Wife: (really furious now): 'Did my husband say that as well?'
Maria: 'No ma’am...the gardener did.'

Wife: 'So how much do you want?'

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blogging Again

My self imposed blogging sabbatical is over. I'm not sure if I was just sick of blogging, fighting biking depression due to my back issues, or the fact that I'm more addicted to "micro" blogging with Twitter and Facebook. At any rate, I plan on blogging more regular once again.

Upcoming blog posts will include:

* Schnoctobeerfest recap
* What happened to the recumbent?
* A "new" commuting ride
* Ultimate Ride DVD review
* A road trip to see "Ride across the Sky"
* Bicycle Advocacy happenings

That's right, I'm back for your entertainment. Stick around, you might even learn a thing or two.

Is there anything else I'm missing? Anything you think I should blog about?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Choose Your Destructor

Oh heck no! I'll take my chances in the middle of the road.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Terra Trike Experience

Last night I had a little fun be-bopping around town with a Terra Trike 3.4, which is similar to what is now the Terra Trike Touring model. Going around town was fun and quick, but I decided a much bigger test was needed before a purchasing decision could be made. Today’s 30 miler to Elk Point with CDV gave me that opportunity.

There were only light headwinds when we left Vermillion but it fast became evident that a little over 17 mph was about all I was going to be able to muster and 15.5-17 was probably more the norm on the way down. The comfort of the bike was very acceptable as the newly chip sealed road did not seem too bad to ride on. I still noticed a bit of vibrato in my voice from being bounced around, but it was bearable. Pulling into the BP station in Elk Point, I was ready to get up for a stretch. The legs felt a little rubbery, I’m sure from a different style of riding. The feeling went away fast and after a Gatorade we were on our way home.

I was able to hold around 18 with a tail wind push most of the way home. For fun, I pushed my back against the back of the seat and pedaled hard and mustered a little over 22 mph but that was about all I had in me. I could tell towards the end that my legs, and quads in particular, had partook in enough of this fun for one day. Coming up University hill back into Vermillion proved to be entertaining as well. I shifted incorrectly and went into the large front sprocket and almost instantly came to a stop. Hmm…now what? I released the breaks lightly and started rolling backwards. Grab breaks again and think about it. Hold onto one brake, let go of other and do a rolling backwards turn. SWEET! Roll back down the hill and start over making sure NOT to repeat the previous performance.

I have an email off to the fine people at Terra Trike about the 26 inch back wheel along with asking about a bigger high end chain ring. I have the need for speed. 16-17 mph isn’t cutting it for me.

Ten point rating system of the Terra Trike Experience:
Comfort: 8.5
Handling: 9
Speed: 6.5
Hills: to be determined
Headwinds: to be determined
Probability I’ll buy: 75%

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

South Dakota Bicycle Maps

Since our recent Warm Showers hosting, I've had something that keeps popping into my thoughts so I need to get it out here: We South Dakotans need to pool together to build an network of bike maps. I've tried to accomplish this to a degree by starting a second blog named "South Dakota By Bike" and begged some of you to pitch in and help me with some local routes. Your enthusiasm for my little project, for lack of a better term, sucks.

More than just loop rides, I'd really like to get are various "how to best get across state" maps. I was helping our Warm Showers guests try to figure out a way to cross the state and once I hit near Winner, I was at a loss. I actually ended up sending them down into Nebraska because I know those roads better from years of BRAN. As an advocate of bicycling in South Dakota that makes me a little sick to my stomach. I want to show off MY state, but I don't know the roads West River very well.

So, my plea is to get some help with the best routes to get all the way across the state East to West, and even some South to North routes. I know it's not possible in all cases, but I'd love to see the nice quiet back country roads as well. So, in no particular order, I'd like:

* East to West routes (maybe a bottom, middle, and top of the state)
* South to North routes (maybe five - six routes)
* A list of places to stay in various towns along the routes, including camping, hotels, and potential host families for a touring cyclist.
* A list of any historical facts along each of the routes that people could potentially visit as a break from biking.

My long term goal would be the creation of all these routes and facts in a foldable map similar to any other state map to be given out at to all interested bicyclists. I think I may have to approach the Department of Tourism and get the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition on board with this.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bike vs. Car - August 16-31

Nothing too exciting. Thanks to a friend with free tickets I ended up taking the family and some friends to the Sioux City Explorers baseball game. A trip to Ponca State Park mountain biking was also in the mix. Lastly, a ride and dine bike ride which was also a surprise wedding reception for Joe and Abby -- which we dubbed "A Lane Hogs Wedding reception" was a good reason to have to catch a ride back to Vermillion. Still a pretty good report. Here's hoping it stays good as the weather gets colder!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Warm Showers Hosting

Last night we had the pleasure of hosting another family via the Warm Showers website. What started out as a family journey was cut short when the father had to go back to work as a teacher, but the mother and 14 and 12 year old sons are carrying on. It is destined to be a journey that they will never forget. I can't help but be a bit jealous of them! Starting in Maine and heading to the West coast, they already have many stories to share. Some of their stories are on their blog as Angelika updates it. Check it out at "Our Daily Ped". We had a great time getting to know them in the short time they were here.

A funny side note to all of this was church today. Our pastor was discussing the "radical hospitality" of reaching out to others. He asked the question "When is the last time you had somebody at your supper table that you didn't know". Um...does last night count? Check that off my spiritual to do list!! I won't be having THAT hanging over me!

Here are a few pictures of our guests and their equipment:

A Co-Motion Tandem and a Surly Long Haul Trucker are taking this family across the country.

Like me, they chose the Burley line for their cargo trailer. They went with the Nomad.

A game of basketball is a break from cycling for the boys.

A quick picture of my kids and our guests before they headed out this morning.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lane Hogs, Inc.

It's official. After all these years as a hodgepodge bike club, our bicycle club is OFFICIALLY known as Lane Hogs, Inc. a non-profit bicycle club! Major props to Caitlin Collier for doing all the legwork/paperwork to make this happen finally!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Texting While Driving Video PSA

This is causing quite the stir amongst people all over. Is it too graphic? Maybe. Does it get the point over to the "this won't happen to me because I'm a 'careful' texter crowd"? I hope so. I have seen quite a few drivers over the yellow line while texting when I'm out on the bike and it scares the crap out of me. Talking on the cell phone is scary enough. Texting is just stupid. Laws need to be put into place and the fines need to be heavy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Margarita Ride VIII - Register Today!!

No more excuses. Register today so we can get an accurate shirt count for Margarita Ride VIII on September 12th.

Details and registration at http://www.margaritaride.org.

Credit Cards now accepted through Google Checkout!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bike vs. Car Report: August 1-15

The only insides of a vehicle I had to endure for this period was for my favorite cause, the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Margarita Ride VIII - September 12, 2009

The simplified Margarita Ride information:

When: September 12, 2009
Why: Because you love to ride and we love to support the MS Society.
Online Registration: http://www.margaritaride.org
Registration Deadline: August 25th, 2009
Day of Registration Time/Packet Pickup: 0700-0800, September 12, 2009
Ride Time: 0800-????
Start Place: Eagles Club,114 W Main St, Vermillion, SD 57069 (across from Court House)
Afterwards: A full Mexican buffet and a tasty margarita!

More Margarita Ride Info to follow!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Change in Plans

Child 2 & 3 met me for lunch for a super nutritious meal of Chicken McNuggets. You just can't beat a .99 cent 6 piece on Tuesday. The following conversation incurred:

#2: Do you want to play disc golf tonight?
Me: Sure, but I'd like to get a ride in first.
#2: Where you going?
Me: I'm not sure, probably Elk Point and back
#2: How far is that?
Me: 30 mile round trip.
#2: I've gone that far before with you, can I go with you?
Me: Let's see how the rest of my work day goes.

Well, I got home and she wasn't back from the pool and when she came in she had forgot our discussion about going for a ride. Then a friend called and conversation number two occurred:

#2: Can I go to the pool with *friend*
Me: Sure, but did you want to go for a ride with me? You don't have to, and it won't hurt my feelings, but I will go with you if you want.
#2: (to friend on phone) I can't tonight, I'm going riding with my Dad!

She was pretty stoked. She got to wear Mom's shoes -- yes, my 11 year old has the same size feet as my wife -- and clip into the Crank Brother pedals for the first time and did amazingly well at it. She also got to put on the Tandem-Com, our communication system on the tandem. After a slight -- and only slight -- dropping of the stokers seat, we were off for a quick ride to Mulberry Point, a little over 16 mile round trip. It was incredibly hot and humid with little to no air moving, which became more evident when we stopped on top of Mulberry Point.

Sometimes a change in plans is just what you need. Sure, I could have went out solo and hammered 30 miles. I've been in a rut and probably needed a good hard ride. However I also want to encourage my children to ride and that is of utmost importance to me. I want them to know and love the freedom and lifestyle of cycling.

Tonight was time well spent. I now have a weekly date on the bike with my daughter, if not more.

No matter how fast we went, we just couldn't shake these two on our ride.

All smiles as Dad takes a shot over his shoulder.

Eating a few grapes during a quick break on top of Mulberry Point.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Bike vs. Car Report: July 16-31

A trip to Fremont, NE with the family to see Thomas the Tank Engine and a trip to Sioux Falls for the start of the MS 150. Boring report. Boring is good.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Margarita Ride T-Shirt Voting

Vote early, vote often for the t-shirt design you think should represent the 2009 Margarita Ride on September 12 (voting on the right side pane). Also, in the comments section, a few of us have been talking about the plethora of t-shirts we own and have talked about making cycling socks for the event in years to come. What do you think? Is the t-shirt just too classic or would you rather have cycling socks with a cool Margarita Ride logo?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

MS Bike Tour - Pedal the Plains

The MS Bike Tour is making its way from Sioux Falls to Vermillion again this year and I'm looking forward to seeing many familiar faces once again. If you are not doing anything, there is still time to sign up and ride with Team Road Kill by clicking HERE.

If you can't ride, would you consider a donation to the cause? Helping the MS Society has become such a passion of mine that any help you could give would be appreciated. Only have one (1) dollar that you can give? GREAT! Have one hundred (100) dollars to give? SWEET! Something in between? AWESOME! You can donate by clicking HERE.

Have more questions? Leave a comment or email me at bikingbrady AT gmail DOT com.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sometimes You Need A Release

As most of you know, I've really been babying the back as of late so I haven't really done many hard pushes on the bike and my conditioning is showing it. I needed the stress release tonight as a few computer issues that I've been working on are driving me crazy. I took off into a 10-15 mph wind on a solo ride and realized I was holding about 18.5 mph. I decided to keep pushing to see if I could kick the overall average above 20 mph.

Results: 20.5 mph average including in town riding. My back, well, it might not be ecstatic about my push, but it isn't completely disowning me either. I also had a couple thoughts about my computer issues along the way. Bike therapy complete. Cost = free. Paid in full.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Day With Thomas

We took two car loads (10 people in all) to a family fun day and went to Fremont, Nebraska to see Thomas the Tank Engine. Austin and Marissa didn't seem real excited in the beginning but by the end, they would be hard pressed to say they didn't have at least SOME fun.

We took "the Grandma's" along: Grandma's Laura, Bonnie, and Beverly along with Laura's sister LeeAnn and our niece Adriana and all the Brady Bunch. I think everybody who went had a great time. I even have pictures that prove that my "too old for this" 13 year old had fun. Without further ado, our day in a few pictures.

Carson standing in front of Thomas.

The model railroad of Thomas was also pretty awesome. Only thing missing from where I was sitting was Gomez Addams blowing it up. Sorry for those who miss that reference.

Carson resisted the urge to smile on the train.

So Dad offered a little tickle assistance.

Carson meeting Sir Topham Hat

Thomas on the move

Austin busted having fun too.

Carson had fun on the Thomas bouncy slide too. He was making others nervous while I just laughed.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Yes, I'm way behind on blogging, but I had to throw some kudos out to the boys from FAB for a great FABRAD 2009 on July 11. I loved the route, the weather, the food, and seeing almost every area cycling blogger.

We had a great paceline going until we hit the hills in Iowa and then things spread out a bit. After a stop in Inwood, IA --possibly my first EVER trip to Inwood-- to regroup we were off again. CDV and I took off ahead of the main group and it quickly became evident that he was not feeling good. As we would learn later, without going into details, it was NOT biking related and he would be moderately incapacitated the rest of his Saturday. He survived the 60 miles and I stayed with him even with his pleas that I leave him to die in peace.

I put the route out on the South Dakota By Bike blog. Now that there more Garmin users out there, I could use some help getting some of your favorite routes out there as well. If you have deeper detail on the roads we took for FABRAD, let me know that as well and I'll update that post so others have a great ride route.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bike vs. Car Report: July 1-15

Pretty tame report. Went to a couple area bike rides and had a couple family gatherings with my Niece being back from Colorado. Also got picked up when the BBT (Big Blue Tandem) flatted around Elk Point and I figured out that I had a Shrader valve tube for replacement. DOH!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Of All Things Gut Check

Although it hasn't been stated on here, many of you know that the Gut Check is out for 2009. At least solo. The back issue and very busy job of being Dad has made it evident that the thought of doing the Gut Check solo may never appear again. Maybe I'll get a wild hair to do it again, but at this point in my life I wouldn't count on it.

My reasoning? Well, I like to walk. Many of you don't see when I have my "bad back" days. It's not fun. Easy long rides don't bother me. When I ride really hard I struggle. Of course, some would argue that what I consider an easy ride, really isn't anyway.

Another reason is that I really don't have anything to prove. I completed the Gut Check. On the worst weather year that the ride has had, with an additional 20 mile detour, a torrential downpour from a storm that about wiped a town in the Black Hills off the map, and a relentless headwind that would break the will of many a person that year.

What it comes down to is the fact I'm not a professional. I'm not getting paid for this. I do want to push myself, but I want to enjoy my cycling years as pain free as possible. Something has to give. Somewhere, the voices start getting a little smarter and tell you what you need to hear, whether it's what you want to hear or not.

The last final thought on 2009 Gut Check: I'd entertain the thought of doing a leap frog team with 4-8 guys who want to hammer it and get done fast (Hey, I didn't say I wasn't still a little competitive!). I need to know fairly soon however if you are interested in a leap frog team otherwise I'm planning another camping trip with the family. For those who don't know, a leap frog team is a team that take turns on the bike and can go as long as they want to go and then trade off with another teammate. Please email me or leave a comment if you are interested.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Bed Arrives

The bed that I had the honor of helping Laura's Grandpa build came this weekend and is duly installed. Not without funny stories of it's own. We tried our best not to have to take it apart.

Attempt #1: We tried to take it through the front door and the railing was in the way. No matter how we tried, it wasn't going to fit.

Attempt #2: Through the garage. It too couldn't make the angle to get into the kitchen due to the wall configuration.

Attempt #3: Remove the front railing and go in the front door. SUCCESS!!! Well, not completely. We got it into the hallway heading to our bedroom and it became evident that it wasn't going to angle into our bedroom. Sigh...

Attempt #4: Last ditch effort. Took the screws out of the middle of the bed to separate it into two halves. Off came the screen and windows and we moved it right into the room with two people on each side.

If there was any neighbors bored on a Sunday late afternoon, I'm sure they got some cheap entertainment watching it all go down.

In the process of preparing for the bed we moved everything out of the room. Laura had done some checking under the carpet and the wood floor underneath looked in great condition. Long story short, up came the carpet and now we have a brand new bedroom. A purple paint job, wood floors and a new bed. After a night of "knob installation", pulling up all the carpet tacks and tack strips, and Laura cleaning the floors, it looks great! Without further ado, our "new" bedroom.

The headboard and drawer front wood is from a tree that was native to Brunswick, NE. Grandpa Hertel actually planed the boards down himself.

Seven drawers per side and a look at the wood floors that were discovered.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bike vs. Car Report: June 16-30

Half the year is over and I'm happy with my bike versus car number. I have a high end goal of riding and driving less than ten percent of the days for the year. I've come to the realization that when you have a family, sometimes you have to drive or ride to some things. I expect that to get worse as the kids get older as well. Still, the thought of only being in a car around twenty percent of the days of the year is pretty amazing in this day and age.

MRI Results on My Back

Man did I cause a stir by Twittering about the fact I was on my way to get an MRI last week. Nobody really knew and it was one of those "Hey I got you an appointment and it's like NOW" appointments. I have been struggling with radiating pain and general low back pain. It was getting pretty bad.

Now I'm used to dealing with back pain. Most people have no idea how I struggle, but I still continue to bike but not much else because of it. I can't take the pounding of running, basketball, and such sports anymore. As much as I want to, and no matter how much I love them, that part of my past is just that, my past.

I've already discussed my results with a couple of people who say that it helps them understand my pain. Stuff that without explanation would make no sense to me. The one that my wife caught was "moderate bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis" which she explained to me perfectly and I believe is what is causing most of my pain. You can read about it on WikiAnswers HERE. Another thought is possible early onset of arthritis in the area. Great news there.

I had a "tube" MRI a few years ago that came back with a diagnosis of a spondylolisthesis. You will notice that with this new "Open" MRI that I am not diagnosed with that anymore which is a good thing. Unfortunately, I'm still dealing with the pain, but hey, life goes on and you'd be lucky to ever hear me complain when I'm out riding unless it's really bad.

Anyhow, I'm releasing ALL my info here for you, the experts, to analyze and comment on. Now you can't tell me that you don't know EVERYTHING that's going on in my life.

MRI Lumbar Spine
Technique: Multispin echo study of the lumbar spine obtained with images acquired in the sagittal and axial planes.

Positioning: Sitting neurtral, flexion, extension and standing.

T12-L1: The intervertebral disc is normal in morphology and signal characteristics. No evidence of disc herniation or bulge.

L1-2, L2-3 and L3-4 demonstrate minimal degenerative changes anteriorly. The thecal sac is normal.

L4-5: There is desiccation of the intervertebral disc. There is a small centeral protrustion. There is minimal impingement on the thecal sac. No focal disc herniations. There is moderate impingement into the bilateral neural foramina. Mild retrolesthesis L4 on L5 noted with flexion.

L5-S1: The intervertebral disc is normal in morphology and signal characteristics. No evidence of disc herniation or bulge. There is bilateral spondylolysis of L5. There is no evidence of spondyloisthesis. No subluxation in the standing position. Moderate bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis.

The vertebral bodies are unremarkable. No evidence of fracture or dislocation. The vetrebral bodies and posterior elements are well aligned.

The cauda equine and conus medullaris are normal in morphology and signal characteristics. No intrathecal masses or fluid collections.

Mild degenerative disc disease as described. Spondylolysis of L5 without evidence of spondylolisthesis.

There you have it. Comment away with what you know/think you know.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 Tour de Kota Day 4 – Gregory to Chamberlain

Leaving Gregory you instantly start climbing with some decent rollers. Again I got a late start from camp, but at least I was out by 8:20 or so and I wasn’t the last one to leave camp. I caught many people on the rollers north of Gregory and some were walking a couple of the tougher rolls. If they knew what was upcoming, they probably would have sagged in right then and there. When we turned back towards Platte, the real climbing fun was about to begin. There were a couple of hills before the river that had me in my lowest gear (36 x 23) BEGGING for a couple more gears. Uphill at about 6.8 mph and about 40 rpm’s is not my idea of fun. They were definitely a couple of long challenging hills. The sad part is that it was hard to enjoy the decent on the other side due to the cross winds whipping through the valley.

I caught up with quite a few familiar faces at Snake Creek across the river and rode with Tammy W. all the way to Academy. At Academy I hooked back up with CDV, Triple G, and Duane B. It started to spit a little rain at us again and it was still a little chilly but we found refuge in the middle of a long stretch of lonely highway with a stop on a gravel road that included grilled burgers and watermelon. I fueled up and we were off to Puckwana. We had a brief stop at the side of the road where we were QUITE pleased that one of the ladies there had decided early in the day that it was cold so she grabbed the church coffee pot. A couple cups of coffee and we were off on the last stretch into Chamberlain for the night.

Laura had called me on the road somewhere after Academy telling me that she was sick of being cold and wet on this trip. That, and remembering how cold the wind could be at the campground in Chamberlain by the river, the thought of camping didn’t excite her. Taking the hint well I told her to check into rooms at Chamberlain. She found a Best Western that had reasonably priced rooms and would take our little dog and….wait for it…had a hot tub!! Sold. We picked up a room for CDV as well.
When we pulled in we got unpacked and headed for the hot tub to get our core body temperatures back to normal for the first time all week. After getting comfortable in our room, CDV and I discussed that we too were sick of the rain and cold. Looking at the weather it appeared that more of the same was on the way. There was talk that if the weather was bad in the morning of forgetting the rest of the tour and going home. Luckily the weather was better, albeit cool in the morning.

The funny story of the day was when I walked through the lobby and noticed that the breakfast room didn’t open until 6:30am. Knowing that many bikers would be getting up early and be gone by that time due to many people choosing the century (100 mile) route to Pierre, I called down to the front desk to ask the possibility of opening a little early due to the fact that most of us would be gone. The kid at the front desk seemed less than willing to make a command decision, or work at all for that matter, and said that it would be better if I talked to the lady who came in at 10:00. So I did.

I called down at 10:00 and explained our plight and she said that nobody would be in until 6:30. I thought all was lost. Then she said the most amazing thing to me: “…but I can just give you the key to the Breakfast Room if you’d be willing to set a few things out and watch over the place a little and drop the key off at the front desk.” That’s right, somebody delivered the key to the Breakfast Room to me. If I’m ever in a need for a room in Chamberlain in the future, guess where I’m going! Many bicyclists got a chance to eat before taking off and it was a super cool gesture on the staff’s part.

2009 Tour de Kota Day 3 – Wagner to Gregory

After the tent fiasco of Day 2, I was pretty drained. I woke up somewhat early, but heard light rain outside. I rolled over and went back to sleep with the family in our new (Wow I’m not wet!) tent. Then when I finally did arise, my motivation to move quickly and get on the road just wasn’t there.

I was beginning the thought process of getting on the road when Laura said she would like me to help take the tent down the first time to make sure she could do it on her own after that. That process is a long one when you have to get the kids up and motivated to help pack the van. By the time the van was packed and ready to roll, I was the last one out of camp…by a long ways. It was 9:20.

It wasn’t until the Ft. Randall Dam that I finally even caught of a glimpse of another bicyclist and I was hammering along pretty good to catch up too. A couple tough climbs started bringing a few people back to me so I didn’t feel deserted. Sometimes solo days are good days to have as I just did my own thing most of the day. I did catch up with the world famous Dr. Spiderman and his wife and rode with them a bit. It wasn’t an easy catch either. Once I had them in my sights, it was a good five mile catch at 20+ mph to run them down. They are good strong riders and it was fun to share a little road time with them. I probably would have rode into Gregory with them, but I stopped off at Burke for a piece of Strawberry Rhubarb pie, my personal favorite.

Gregory was another stop that the whole town seemed to show up to greet us. Food everywhere, a plethora of local entertainment, and people who seemed fascinated by the variety of bikes that they got to see. Triple G – Gregg Drube – provided the local kids entertainment as he let them set in his recumbent trike and he pushed them up and down the street.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

2009 Tour de Kota Day 2 - Yankton to Wagner

Better late than never. It's been a couple busy weeks so I'm trying to catch up on my blogging about Tour de Kota and other things. Thanks to my wife driving to Bike-A-Palooza in Sioux Falls today, I was able to catch up on a couple days of Tour de Kota blogging on the way. Here is day 2 of Tour de Kota, also known as the crazy tent day.

Waking up with water in far too many places in our tent was just the beginning of an eventful day/ride for us. No matter what I tried, I could not get my Garmin Edge 305 to turn on. I was devastated to think that my new Garmin had just bit the dust. I put it on the bike anyway and met up with Cycling Cathy, Ride Vermillion, and Jim Wynia at Hy-Vee for a large order of Biscuits and Gravy and some Starbucks coffee.
After breakfast we rolled out of town and it was very evident that it was going to be a pretty decent headwind on the ride. As we dropped down by Gavin’s Point Dam I noticed that The Owner was assisting another cyclist on the side of the road so I handed him my Garmin, explained the situation and rode off to catch my contingent. I caught them on the big climb back to Hwy 50 and suffered along with them during the climb.

On the road to Tabor for their world famous kolach’s , The Owner went by us on the road and pulled over ahead of us. He held up my Garmin and had it working again. Apparently it’s a common issue as it was the number one hit on Google. So, if you ever have issues with a Garmin not turning on, hold down reset, mode, and the power button to reset it. Tip of the day. You’re welcome.

After Tabor – and eating kolach’s and getting to see the Czech Day’s Queen -- we rolled into Tyndall where there not much was going on as far as welcoming the TdK into their town. There was even a report that the owner of the DQ refused to open before his appointed opening time even though there were many bicyclists outside and he was there anyway. Um…DUH!

We received the opposite reception in Avon where it seemed that half the town was in the park to welcome us in. Food vendors everywhere, reusable grocery sacks made special for the TdK, and people everywhere striking up conversations. The only issue was the temperature as we had worked up a decent sweat by now and the cold wind was definitely making our body temperature drop quickly.

Leaving Avon into the wind, we tried to keep a pace line together but young Master Wynia was out front and soon looking back our line was down to three. A couple more miles in, Bald-n-Surly said he was going to back off as well, leaving me to get dogged by the youngster. We took a quick break at the last rest stop before Wagner and fought our way into the wind through the last eight miles.

Now for the drama of the day. Laura called me as I told her to check various places in Yankton for a better tent since ours definitely seemed far less than rain proof. I received a call saying that nothing really met what we needed for and wanted for a family tent. I told Laura to just come to Wagner and I’d go to Cabela’s in Mitchell and get a new tent for us once she was there. And so I did.

The lady at Cabela’s was really good at explaining the tent features and after discussion found a Cabela’s tent that worked for exactly what we were looking for. So it was purchased. I noticed a set of poles in plastic on the outside of the tent box and while I found that strange, I didn’t put much thought into it. Back to Wagner – about a 150 mile round trip – to put up our new buy.

While putting it up, the excitement was mounting. The tent seemed so huge compared to our old one. Down to the last couple poles we realized that the poles seemed really long. CDV and I determined that they must be the top poles so we replaced the poles we already had in place and started to stand it up. Um…something is wrong here. There is no way these poles are going to fit in their appropriate notches. We tried to bend it to make it work, being the manly men that we are, but we realized that the poles were simply the wrong size. Almost on cue, as we looked puzzled at each other…. RIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiipppppppp went the seam that the pole went into.

I called Cabela’s and explained my quandary. It ended up being that some of the first boxes of this tent were minus a set of poles and that’s why they put them on the outside of the tent. After some discussion, I was offered the “opportunity” to meet them half way, which initially they wanted to be Parkston (about 25 miles from Mitchell) and I quickly offered a point considerably closer to halfway (Tripp).
I’m happy they righted the issue, but I have to admit, I was a little more irked when the lady (whom I DO appreciate) showed up with a single box with no poles on the outside. Now tell me, if you have a tent you know has everything in it, wouldn’t you sell THAT one first? I understand wanting to rotate inventory, but this little mix up cost me another 70 miles of driving and about three and a half hours of frustration. While their customer service to make it right was stellar, I’m not sure I got the best end of the stick on this problem.

Back in Wagner, the tent went up perfectly fine with the right poles, and I had time for a couple quick beers and conversation before crashing for the night.

The day from my Garmin, starting a good distance in due to my Garmin issues noted above. This chart missed out on the good early climbs leaving the river valley.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bike vs. Car Report: June 1-15

For those who actually follow this crazy little report, I apologize for being late. We had a "few" extra people in and out of our house this week and I'm behind in all aspects of blogging including my need to catch up on Tour de Kota blogging. I'll be trying hard to get caught up on that as well. Due to Tour de Kota, my numbers were far from stellar this period.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2009 Tour de Kota - Harrisburg to Yankton

On Sunday of the Tour de Kota, the tradition of rIdE_wIth_ thE_kErnEl Day was kept aloft on day one of the 2009 Tour de Kota as many folks met up at the Casey’s in Harrisburg at 8:00 am – thE kErnEl is not one to get on the road too early – for adventures in biking and camaraderie. As was going to be the norm for the week, it was chilly, overcast, with spots of rain. The beauty of the day was that the winds were out of the northwest and we, thankfully, were headed southeast.
After a “Premium” Grain Belt at Worthing, we rolled towards Beresford at a decent clip and then the fun began: A tandem came by and kicked up the speed to the 25-28mph range. Many fell in behind the tandem and we zoomed along clicking off the miles. Doug from Pierre was wheezing so loudly behind us that he had us worried that he was in cardiac arrest. He decided that the pace was a smidge fast so he dropped off a bit and caught up with us at the breakfast stop in Beresford as did many others.
After the breakfast stop the large contingent of riders broke into smaller groups and we enjoyed the wonderful tail winds as we pressed onward to Yankton. First up was a quick stop at Hub City, hosted by Pastor Kwen Sanderson (fellow Lane Hog) and congregation. From there we soldiered on to Volin where I got a piece of my favorite Strawberry Rhubarb pie at the Volin Café.
We made quick work of the remaining miles to Yankton and without even pressing very hard we averaged 20 mph for the day. However, once in Yankton and the tents were up, the rains started in. By morning we realized that our tent wasn’t going to cut it anymore due to its inability to keep us and everything dry and we would need another one if we were going to continue. That story an more in the Day 2 of Tour de Kota posting.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Tour de Kota - Day 0

The packing process has begun and Oh Great and Powerful Steve (aka the Ford Freestar) is in the process of being filled up. The dogs are getting their baths in preparation for the week. Buddy is going to Grandma Brady's and Deeohgee will be partaking in the Tour de Kota festivities with us. Marissa and Carson will be coming with so the number of bikes the Brady family will be bringing is 5 and a 1/2. They will not be riding the route, but the plan is to get a few "bonus" miles in during the tour.

This is probably the worst part of the week -- packing and getting ready. Let's get this show on the road!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

How to Plan a Group Bike Ride

Here is how you plan a group bike ride in Vermillion: Don't let your "hammerheads" plan it. Usually when BiTeBiLLy, Cactus-Eyed Joe, or myself plan a ride, we get the usual crowd -- those expecting to go fairly fast no matter if we post a slower pace or not.

Enter Cycling Cathy who puts out an email to our list about a "No Spandex Required" ride and a slower pace. The result:

Photo Credit: Dan Letsche

That's right, instead of 3-5 riders, there were 15 (plus or minus) last night who did the 30 mile Meckling Loop, including Mrs. Biking Brady who was doing her first group ride that didn't include me (can you tell I'm the proud husband?). Also included were some who have never partook in a Lane Hogs group ride before. Where was I? Being the good husband, I took Carson to T-Ball and allowed Laura her time on the bike.

Good things are coming to the Vermillion Bicycling scene....stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

T-Ball Never Ceases To Amaze Me

Last night was Carson's first game of T-Ball. Now understand I've seen it all during the years as I watched my older two play as well. I've seen kids try to run bases the wrong way, gloves on the wrong hand, playing in the field in foul territory, and many more oddities too many to mention.

That was until last night.

Imagine if you will a plethora of little four-five-six year old people already on the field with half of them chasing after every ball that is hit. Now picture base runners on the field at the same time. Got that mental picture? Good. Now see the ball come off the bat "screaming" towards the outfield followed by about six little people playing the field and...wait...what the...the kid from first base, helmet and all, has diverted the base path and is chasing the ball too! Not just chasing mind you, diving in the pile to get the ball. Now there's something I will never see again. Until the next inning when it happened all over again. Different kid, same great laughs.

Moral of the story: If you are bored with nothing to do during the week, go find a T-Ball game. You need the laugh. Trust me.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Bike vs. Car Report: May 15-30

This is more like it. One blemish where I got all my driving out of my system in one day on a trip to Lincoln to drop off my oldest for a trip to Denver for a month with his Aunt/Uncle and Cousins and driving back from Yankton on that same day. I'm not quite at all three of my target percentages, but I'm at two out of three. Still shooting for 90% days biking, < 10% driving and passenger.

Bunyan's To Bob's 2009

For some reason, this was about as nervous as I've ever been hosting a ride. Even though I have one of the best friends a man can ask for in BiTeBiLLy (newly ordained this weekend) asking me how he could help, in my mind I had it all taken care of. For the most part I did too. I forgot maps for the newbies and the directionally challenged returnees, maybe a cool B2B banner for the front yard, but other than that, it was under control. Shirts made it in plenty of time, Bunyan's and Bob's were notified of our arrival, even let the Dixon Co., NE sheriff knew that we would be riding on their no shoulder Highway 12 hoping that they could patrol a little closer -- props on the way down as I saw on Deputy in the three short miles that I spent on it before taking the gravel route. All that was left to do was ride.

About 0815 in came the onslaught of cyclists, most of the out of town people coming to my place. The MOST WONDERFUL Mrs. Biking Brady made a trip to the store for donuts, OJ, Milk for the early arrivals along with the fixings for the after ride gathering. I also forgot to warn all my neighbors except one about the influx of visitors on Saturday morning...oops. I'm sure that many awoke to the sounds of bikes being removed from bike racks, back of pickups, and trailers.

After getting everybody tires aired up, we stopped by Bunyan's for the quickest Bunyan's Bomber ever as we were already late...so late that some took off when we got there. Oh well, nothing was going to stop us from our bombers! After pounding one quick, on the road we went. I'll spare you the details of the ride other than to say the few of use that chose the gravel route were the real animals (substitute stupid, idiots, crazy dudes, etc) of the ride. The route was challenging as always.

Upon hitting Bob's we ate ourselves into a coma as always. Ginormous burgers, fries, cheese balls, were consumed and we made our way back. That, followed by a ride home with FULL stomachs, set us up for the celebration that followed. More food (thanks Laura and Bonnie!) and wonderful Hopluia beer (thanks eDLoNNie!) was consumed until around 10:00 pm. It was a great ride, great friends, and great camaraderie. As nervous I was going into the ride about everything going right, I was quite pleased with the result.

Below are some pictures that I scored from T-BiLLy of some of the festivities. I'm sure there may be more pictures popping up on other blogs, but at this point, I could only find a nice slide show on the Hooterville Mayor's site.

Bunyan Bombers - The pre-ride drink of champions!

thE_kErnEl ends his gravel stretch in style with the Surly Long Haul Trucker.

Your's Truly (aka k-BiLLy)

BiLLy's @ Bob's

The last fifteen miles is all downhill. Um...sure..

Ride is complete...Tap the Keg already!! The Beer Box protects the keg of Hopluia from Spilker's in Cortland, NE.

Arguably the best part about riding: The party afterward!