Bike Miles

I still have two months left in the year, but I’ve had four months with more than 500 miles each.  That’s better than I’ve done in previous years.

My overall mileage year-to-date is a bit lower than last year, but that’s due to my horrible June because of my neck.

I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve driven the truck to a ride for the last time.  It’s true.  It’ll be sold by Saturday.  I will be officially car-free.

I was car-free briefly in April 2009, but then I bought the truck.  I lived in Charlestown and the time, and the time and energy spent commuting that distance was more than I could handle.

Now, I live in town, and this car-free episode isn’t being forced on me.  The Kia needed a new engine, spurring that car-free stint.

Gravel Grovel Training – Henry & Owen Counties


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My LHT ready for gravel
My LHT ready for gravel
The Plan

Tim cooked up an awesome route to train for the upcoming Gravel Grovel without having to drive too far.  We discussed with Timothy and Patrick.  Both were interested, but Patrick couldn’t dedicate that much time.  It’s a good thing he didn’t try to “squeeze it in”, we were out for many hours.

The Morning

I got up early and cooked eggs.  I wanted a substantial breakfast before a ride like this.  I should have had more carbs.  This became important later.  I had also planned to grab some snack food at the local gas station to carry with me, but the station was closed.

I drove Tim and I out to pick up Timothy, or so we thought.  We met Timothy as Heine Brothers Coffee where we each had a cup and a scone.  I grabbed another scone for during the ride.  We thought Timothy needed a ride, but instead he followed us.  This is the last drive in my truck.  I’ll have more about that in another post.

Okay, so the Timothy transportation snafu was just a communication error.  That’s what happens when all of our planning is done via email.

Timothy pumping up the tires on "Beast"
Timothy pumping up the tires on “Beast”
The ride started in New Castle KY in Henry County, northeast of Louisville.  It’s just far enough away to be quite rural.

Tim is getting ready to ride
Tim is getting ready to ride
The Ride

We were on the road before 9:00am.  It was cold, probably just a bit above freezing.  We headed north east.  Tim let me know that his GPS was not working as expected, so he told me to navigate.  I had loaded the route on my GPS as a track the night before.

I wasn’t feeling strong.  I was cold.  I fell behind.  Tim and Timothy were riding ahead of me, far enough that they couldn’t hear me yell at them when they missed a turn.  We were less than a mile into the ride.  Not a great start.  I have chase  and eventually got their attention.  We all turned around and went back to our turn on Flat Rock Rd, our first gravel of the day.

Tim enjoying Flat Rock Rd
Tim enjoying Flat Rock Rd
Did I mention it was cold?  Tim said these were “foam plants” that froze after oozing their foam.  I’ve never heard of them, but they were everywhere.

Frozen foam?
Frozen foam?
Blocked?

Flat Rock Rd was a pleasant downhill run into a creek valley, but at 5.5 miles into the ride we came a a creek crossing with two problems.  1) The creek was deep enough that riding through or walking was not possible without getting wet.  2)  We couldn’t see where it crossed to.  We figured that once across somehow, that we’d pick up the road somewhere.

Morning sun over creek
Morning sun over creek
We walked up and down the bank looking for a good location for crossing.  It didn’t exist.  Tim and Timothy began throwing stones in a shallow but fast-moving section to try to build a bridge.  It would have taken a lot of stones and time to make it where we could simply walk across and stay dry.

Timothy looking for a creek crossing
Timothy looking for a creek crossing
It quickly became apparent we’d just need to walk through the water.  With the cold temperatures, it was best to do this barefoot.  Timothy went first.

Cold feet
Cold feet
Timothy left his bike behind, know we could pass it to him.  I wanted mine with me to hold on to if I started to slip.  I didn’t slip, but I did submerge by bike deeper than planned.  It’ll need a new bottom bracket and the hubs re-packed soon.

Yes, the water was cold, and my right pant leg slipped down
Yes, the water was cold, and my right pant leg slipped down
I was too busy helping move bikes and cursing at cold feet to get a picture of Tim crossing, but he did the same as us.  Once across, we all sat warming and drying our feet as much as possible before putting shoes and socks back on.  Timothy had brought a towel and was drying his feet with it.  Luxiourious!

Okay, Now Where?

Once we again had our footwear on, we started looking around for the “road”.  This “road” is marked as such by the county maps that Tim uses for these excursions, and normal web-based maps aren’t accurate enough.

Where's that confounded road?
Where’s that confounded road?
We eventually found signs of an old road bed that had been long-abandoned.  It also “shared space” with a tributary of the creek we crossed earlier.  Undeterred we followed along, following the happy purple line on my GPS.

There's the "road"
There’s the “road”
After leaving the creek bed we still had to walk our bikes due to the poor condition of the old road bed.  Eventually after a small climb, we were dumped back on Denner Ln where it “dead-ends” into somebody’s driveway.  … and away we go….

Funny, he doesn't look happy
Funny, he doesn’t look happy
My Issues

Before long we were on paved roads again.  I was trying to keep up, but I had no energy and kept falling behind.  I was really beginning to hate the ride.  I was questioning my ability to ride it, and the Gravel Grovel.  I was in a foul mood, and I really wanted to just take the most direct route back to my truck.

This turned into self-loathing because I know that part of the problem is my recent weight gain.  Part of it is that I don’t do long rides as often as I used to.  Most of my mileage is around town these days.

The third cause was the real one.  I hadn’t eaten enough.  On was on the verge of “bonking”.  I stopped to eat my extra scone and drank some water.  I still needed more.

We turned on Joe’s Branch Rd, a rather pleasant downhill gravel stretch.  My speed was limited due to sketchy roads conditions but it was fun.  Tim struggled more here with his narrower tires.  There were several mostly dry creek crossings, but they paved those short stretches.

Tim and the paved, dry, creek crossing
Tim and the paved, dry, creek crossing
We turned on Sixmile Creek Rd, which was probably the best road I’ve ever ridden.  It runs along a creek valley floor, so it’s not too hilly.  It was rugged, but varied enough that it wasn’t just a long slog over rough gravel.  It’s unfortunate that I was still feeling horrible and wanted to quite the ride.

Lockport

Sixmile Creek Rd goes into Lockport, a tiny little town on the Kentucky River.

It's peaceful in Lockport
It’s peaceful in Lockport
Lockport had nowhere open to buy food on a Sunday morning, but they did have dueling churches across the street from one another.  One was Baptist, the other Methodist.

Dueling churches
Dueling churches
Toward Gratz

The next town would be Gratz.  I had hopes for food here, as I had done a little research ahead of time.

Heading out of Lockport on 389
Heading out of Lockport on 389
389 had some nice views of the Kentucky River.

Tim putting his camera away
Tim putting his camera away
The stopping for pictures helped me feel better, but I was still dragging.

Kentucky River
Kentucky River
Gratz

As we approached Gratz, we realized that Hwy 22 has been re-routed to a new bridge over the Kentucky River into town.  The store stop I researched (but never called) doesn’t seem to exist anymore.  There was a restaurant, but they’re closed on Sundays and Wednesdays.  No food in Gratz.

Monterey

Monterey is the farthest point of the ride.  Surely there is food there!

The trip to Monterey was on Hwy 355 for much of the way.  I fell behind (again) and came to a turn we supposed to make at Severn Creek Rd, a nice gravel road.  I was pretty sure that Tim and Timothy had not gone that way, but I wasn’t positive.  I stopped and waited a few.  I tried calling Tim.  I sent him a text message.  Nothing.

I continued on Hwy 355, ignoring the turn.  That was the right choice, they were both heading back toward me on 355, wondering where I had went.

I mentioned the turn, and it turns out that they had discovered last night that that road does not go through, and modified the route to stay on 355.  Unfortunately, that was after I loaded the route into my GPS.

We continued to Monterey, and there was nothing in town.  We stopped and asked a guy who was outside, and he gave a directions to “the store”.    It was south-east of town on Hwy 127.  Nice wide shoulders made this busy road easy to ride on.  There was indeed a gas station/convenience store that sold burgers, hot dogs, and pizza, along with the usual fair.

We took our time.  I had Gatorade, a burger, chips, and bought several oatmeal creme pies for later.

We went back into Monterey, and started looking for Old Landing Rd, that promised to be gravel.

Old Landing Rd

We found some two-track off of High St that looked like it was going the right direction.  It was rutted dirt, mud, and sometimes grass.  We kept following it even as we could see on the GPS that we were deviating from our desired direction.  Eventually our “path” came to a dead-end at the Kentucky River.

We turned around, I was at the tail-end of the group.  I saw the soupy mud up ahead, and I decided to charge through it rather than risk bogging down.  Instead I fell.  I banged my shoulder and tweaked my neck, but luckily mud is soft.  I did get rather dirty.

While making our way back, Tim noticed and old roadbed and the remnants of an old bridge over another creek.  Was this our road?

Rock wall next to roadbed
Rock wall next to roadbed
It was neat to see, but there wasn’t anything rideable on the other side of the creek.

More rock wall
More rock wall
We didn’t want to hike through this.

Woods and brush on the other side of the creek
Woods and brush on the other side of the creek
We sat around a bit getting our bearings.

Tim thinking on which way to go
Tim thinking on which way to go
Heading back to the bikes.

Tim walking back to his bike

Looking back where I fell.

This is the muddy area where I fell
This is the muddy area where I fell
We went back into town and tried another street… and found an easy turn on Old Landing Rd.  The old roadbed that we had been looking at used to be part of it, but it’s been re-routed a bit.

Our dead-end jaunt while looking for the road was actually very close to it.  We didn’t see it because it was up higher than we were.

Old Landing Rd was a gravel road that runs along farmland and the Kentucky River.  It was a really nice ride.

Luggage

Along this point I started feeling much better.  The food was doing it’s magic.  The temperature was warming substantially too and I needed to lose a couple of layers.

Old Landing Rd
Old Landing Rd
I’m used to riding a bike with a rear rack and usually have at least a trunk bag, and sometimes a pannier or two.  I didn’t really have a place to put clothes that I removed since I was only carrying the handlebar bag.

Timothy found a bungie cord along the side of the road.  I put my jacket and sweater on top the handlebar bag and used the bungie to hold everything in place.  It worked well enough.

Mechanical Issues

Now that my food issue was solved, Timothy started having bike issues.  His bike wasn’t shifting properly, and he had to replace a bent link in the chain.  He had a low rear tire, gave it a quick pump, and as we rolled into Lockport on the return trip, he stopped to replace the tube.

This worked well, as the store that had been closed was now open.  I went in for more Gatorade and oatmeal creme pies (yeah, I know, bad food).

It was an interesting store.  There were at least three friendly dogs in the store.  They seemed well behaved.

Return

After leaving Lockport, we got to ride the wonderful stretch of Sixmile Creek Rd again.  Very nice.  We also took another section of it south that was also quite nice to get down to Hwy 573 then directly back to New Castle.  No more hiking through the woods for the day.

Timothy on the home stretch
Timothy on the home stretch
I still wasn’t going fast, I’m not a fast rider.  I was feeling better and not bitching much at this point.  Timothy, who’s a stronger ride, was falling back.  Although he’s used to longer (mileage) rides, he’s not used to being in the saddle for 8+ hours for a sixty mile ride.  I would assume the cold-water crossing is new to him too.

Tim was in the lead, until almost at the ride finish, when Timothy poured on the speed.  I didn’t try to catch up.  Tim managed to pull ahead again, leaving Timothy behind.  Timothy and I arrived in New Castle together with Tim waiting for us.

What I Learned

This is training for a race.  Today’s time would have been a disqualification.  Then again, the race is not likely going to require me to take off my shoes or hike through woods without as much as a trail.

According to our bike computers and GPSs, we spent almost three hours STOPPED.  Keeping moving is important.

I need another bag on the bike.  I’ll probably just throw the rear rack back on and use the truck bag.  I don’t want to spend the money for a large saddlebag.

I’m not convinced I’ll do anything like this next year.  I like stopping for pictures, food, or just to take a break.  I don’t know that the GO GO GO type riding is really my style.  I’ll do it for this training, and the race itself, but after that, I’ll have to put some real thought into it.

The Route

Training

As I’ve mentioned before, I am racing Gravel Grovel this year.  I had to cajole some of the others to actually registering, but they have.  I’m pretty sure that Tim, Patrick, and Timothy are registered.  I’m not sure about Michael.

I have stripped my LHT down.  I removed the fenders, racks, lights and most other accessories.  I put my Acorn handlebar bag on to hold the essentials and installed the wider tires (700×47 Marathons) that Patrick loaned me.  It’s still not a light bike, but it’s a bit better equipped for racing on gravel.

I met up with Tim this morning for a 25-mile training ride in town.  No gravel was involved, but just trying to get our fitness levels up.  I was slow and felt thrashed.  I haven’t adjusted to the colder weather yet.

We’re heading out a again tomorrow for a real gravel ride of about 57 miles.  Wish me luck.

I’m Not a Bike Mechanic

I stopped at OYLC on the way home from work to pick up some parts I ordered.  I was riding the Big Dummy, so I had plenty of room to carry my cargo: a new stem for that bike, and a set of SKS P65 fenders (mudguards for my UK friends).

The Big Dummy is the only bike I own without fenders, so it was time to fix that.  We’ve had rain recently.  I rode in light rain today for the commute.  The rain wasn’t bad, but the wet roads made for a sloppy mess on the bike and on my lower legs and feet.

I was also stretched out a bit too much, so the shorter stem will hopefully fix that.

After getting home, I pulled up a chair to the Big Dummy and got busy.  removing the old stem and replacing it with the new one was easy.  A torque wrench is recommended, but I don’t own one yet, and I can get it good enough by feel.  I did notice that the steer tube was cut poorly.  I may have to do something about that someday.

Headless Dummy
Headless Dummy

After getting the rest of the required tools, including the required bike-themed beer I attempted to install the Surly front rack that used to be on my LHT.  I couldn’t figure out how to mount it without interfering with the brake caliper, so I decided to hold off on the rack.

Boulder Beer - Singletrack Copper Ale
Boulder Beer - Singletrack Copper Ale

I did find that the KickBack kickstand would keep the front forks off the floor with the front wheel removed, if I used the front wheel as extra weight in the rear.

KickBack
KickBack

I installed the front fender (mudguard), but I think I cut the stays a little short.  It has a rather lousy fender line.

Front Fender
Front Fender

I had planned on putting the rear fender on tonight also.  I also planned to strip my LHT for gravel training.  However, I’m tired and grumpy and not happy with how this came out.  I’ll save the rest for tomorrow.

I can’t say I enjoy working on bikes.  I do enjoy the end result, even if it takes me several attempts.  I’ll probably buy a replacement hardware set for the fenders and re-do the stays on the front.

What’s next for the Dummy?  I need a new saddle.  I want a sprung Brooks saddle.  This bike is supposed to have a rather upright riding position.  I haven’t ridden it since installing the new stem, but I assume I’ll be nice and upright.

The LHT?  I’m removing the fenders and rear rack.  I’m installing some wider tires that probably won’t fit with the fenders.  I’ll also move the small saddle bag and handlebar bag over from the single-speed for tools and snacks.  This is in preparation for the Gravel Grovel, which I still intend to ride.

Why Car-Free?

I’m not yet technically car-free, as I haven’t really even tried to sell my truck.  I also haven’t driven in several weeks.

People go car-free for a variety of reasons: environmental, financial, health issues, loss of license, never got a license, etc.

I don’t have a clearly defined reason.  I guess it started when I first started riding a bike in 2008.  At first I was scared of traffic.  I adjusted, but I also felt like I could kill someone anytime I got behind the wheel.  Even that feeling faded with time.  I’m confident in mixed traffic whether I’m riding a bike or driving a car.  The seed had been planted at that point, that living without a car could be done.

When I still lived 16 miles from work I wanted to ride my bike to work every day, but time constraints and exhaustion from a 33 to 40 miles round-trip, depending on route, every day was a bit much.  It was then I started thinking about moving into town.

I moved into town in September of 2010.  Since then, I have lived the car-free lifestyle, but had a car here at all times, two when Kristy was still here.

I enjoy the car-free lifestyle, but I always had a car quickly available.  I rarely had to put gas in the truck because I was rarely driving it, but I did drive it occasionally.

I can afford the keep the truck.  Hell, I could afford to start driving to work everyday and pay to park, but why would I?

I’m choosing to live car-free as a simple lifestyle choice.  Active transportation beats passive transportation.  My commute makes me feel better rather than worse.  I want to simplify my life and this is one step in that direction.  Even the weight loss has taken a back seat to the lifestyle choice.  That may be why I’m not losing weight right now.

What am I giving up?  Very little.  If I need a car to, say, drive to Michigan for example, I’ll rent one.  It’ll require a little more planning, but not much.  If I want to go to a group ride that is some distance away, I’ll have to either get a ride from someone else, or ride to the ride.  I’ve done both of those things in the last year.

I guess the biggest issue I’m going to face is the social aspects.  Those who don’t know me may think I got a DUI.  Dating will be problematic unless I find an understanding woman (which makes other things easier anyway).  I don’t want to be “that guy” who asks for a ride on every trip, so either I pay gas, or rent a car, and others chip in.

I’ve already learned how to handle traffic, weather, trip-planning, and a bit of bike maintenance.  Now I just need to sell the truck.

Stupidification

I spent the weekend spending too much money on food, beer, and bike parts.  Now I’m going to be poor for a week and a half.  So much for being financially responsible.

I also almost hot hit by a car on Sunday night.  It was dark, but I was well lit and wearing a reflective vest.  The car coming up fast behind me left some tire on the road to keep from hitting me.  It was certainly a bit of an adrenaline boost.  The guy/gal driving was speeding and overtaking a car on the right when it happened.  This was on Eastern Parkway.  I had no time to react.  I brushed it off at the time, but it’s been bothering me all day today.

I don’t need money to have fun.  I met up with Tim for some more ‘cross after work today.  I hadn’t bothered to bring cycling clothes to work with me, so I was riding a touring bike (with fenders!) on a ‘cross course while wearing business casual (I lean more to the casual side).

Normally, nobody would notice, but there was a sizable group of cyclists practicing.  This group was nearly 50% women.  Young, attractive, fit women.  Yikes.  I had to get out of there.

Cargo Bike Coffee Ride

Tim and I met for coffee and snacks this morning.  We had a pretty sedate ride though the parks, including a mountain bike trail, Beargrass Creek Trail, Butchertown Greenway, and part of the ‘cross course at Bandman Park.

Nothing unusual about that, except we were both riding cargo bikes.  I was on my Big Dummy, and Tim on his Kona Ute.  Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a camera, but Tim grabbed a picture of me with his phone.

Cargo 'Cross
Cargo 'Cross

No Camping

Tim & Michael both came down sick, ending the plans for the Red River Gorge camping trip.  Although I am disappointed by this, I’m also slightly relieved.  I’ve been quite stressed and busy recently.  Final preparations for the trip would have been further stress.

Sometime in the next few months I’m going to create a camping pack that will contain everything I need for an impromptu camping trip.  Next time an opportunity pops up, whether a car-camping trip like this one, or a last-minute S24O, I’ll be prepared.

Good Monday

I normally loathe Mondays.  Today turned out good.  Tim and I have standing plans on Mondays to meet in the afternoon for cyclocross training.  My LHT is the only ‘cross-worthy bike, so I rode it to work this morning.

I had a light breakfast of a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk.  That’s mostly because I overslept and didn’t have time to cook bacon and eggs.

Work

I had a productive day at work.  Although my official duties are database related, I get pulled into various IT projects.  Today, I finished up a small Windows application to make deployment easier for one of our line-of-business applications.  Just a little thing, but it was nice to write software again, even on a small scale.

New Bike

I heard from Ian today.  We agreed upon a price and payment plan.  The Big Dummy is mine.  I’m getting the KickBack kickstand and wide loaders in the deal.  Now I truly have a pedal-powered pickup truck!

Cyclocross

After work I rode out to the park to meet with Tim.  We did a couple of easy laps around the course, then he started a faster lap.  I fell back, stopped and took a breather.  I really wasn’t feeling strong.  We then did a lap with me in the lead – running at my pace. It wasn’t much faster than an easy lap.

I’ve made up my mind that cyclocross is not for me.  I’ll continue to do these practices for fitness and fun, but I don’t want to race.

Tim gave me a ride part of the way back home.  I rode home from the Highlands.  I still rode 12.5 miles of commuting/errands and 12 miles of ‘cross practice.

Dinner

I go out to eat entirely too much.  I still haven’t been grocery shopping, but I had enough stuff to cook spaghetti, so that’s what I did.  I have no beer, but I need to avoid it for a while.  I had a filling meal, and have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Late Errand

My daughter works at a local drug store.  She called me to ask me to bring her something.  I hopped on the single-speed, went to the ATM, then the drug store, dropped off something for her, and bought some stuff for me.  The round-trip was only 2.5 miles.

What did I learn on my errand?  I learned my Acorn handlebar bag will fit two large bottles of supplements (glucosamine) and a 14oz tub of Haagen-Dazs ice cream.  So, dessert too!

More Saturday

I got an email from Michael, who I rode with on Saturday.  He passed along a couple of pictures of me.

The first is just me riding through the woods on my single-speed road bike.  Not the ideal bike for the terrain.

Action shot
Action shot

The second picture is hilarious.  We were at the nearly impassable stretch of the Riverwalk behind the golf course.  I had no idea he was taking pictures, but I needed to lift my bike to get through.

Upward and onward?
Upward and onward?

Exercise & Stretching

I’m doing my dumbbell exercises.  Even the 5lb stuff hurts after enough repetitions.  I have no upper body strength.

I’ve also noticed over the last few months that I hurt more.  My legs were so tight last night that any movement was painful.  I realized that somewhere over the last six or so months I quit stretching.

So, I spent about 30 minutes stretching my legs, back, and torso yesterday.  I’ll do it again tonight.  Hopefully I’ll notice a difference soon.

The Truck

The gasoline-powered cargo hauler (as opposed to the pedal-powered cargo hauler) is going up for sale this week.  I’m done using it now, I just need to find a buyer.  Then I’ll be officially car-free.

This Weekend

Tim, Michael, and I are heading to Red River Gorge (in Tim’s SUV) for two days of riding, and one night of camping.  It’ll be cool during the day, and cold at night.  I’ll be wearing as much wool as possible at night.  I hope there aren’t any burn-bans in effect this weekend.  We’ll really need a fire.

Either way, it’ll be a blast.  Much like the Big South Fork trip was last year.

Sunday Musings

I had a good ride with Tim this morning.  We met at Sunergos for coffee.  He had planned a road ride heading out of town, but he had a mechanical issue with the bike early in the ride.  We rode back to his house to get another bike.  This shortened his available time, so we stuck to another day of just riding around (JRA).

We really had no goal.  I wasn’t feeling strong (hell, my legs still hurt) so we didn’t ride fast.  I brought my camera along for the ride, but never even got it out.

After he went home, I sat at Cumberland having food and beer.  I ended the day at about 43 miles.

Once home, I did yard work and housework.  I really need to go grocery shopping again, but I hate grocery shopping and I’m constantly putting it off to the last minute.  I’ll do it another day.

I realized today how lazy I’ve become recently.  I’m having trouble doing the things that need to be done.  My house is a mess.  I’m letting things fall behind.  I’m not even eating properly, and I’m gaining weight again.

I’m not drinking enough water.  I did drink out of my water bottle during the ride, but then I was drinking beer before heading home.  We’ve all made jokes about hydrating with beer, but beer is lousy for hydration.  I spent a good part of the day after getting home being dehydrated and feeling sick.  I drank a huge glass of water which helped.  I’m now drinking a huge mug of herbal tea.

Yep, I’m in a mental funk.  Even when I’m not, I’m lazy and eat poorly.  I’m not sure how I got this way over the last few years.  I’ve made drastic lifestyle changes before.  I think it’s time to do it again.

Saturday Adventure


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Fountain at Waterfront Park
Fountain at Waterfront Park
I met Michael (last year?) at a car-free happy hour.  I think I’ve only ridden with him a couple of times before today.

He suggested in an email that we meet for a Riverwalk/Louisville Loop this morning.  He lives in my part of town, so he suggested meeting at Sunergos at 9:00am.

I left home a little early to run by the ATM, then arrived at Sunergos to get a cup of coffee (and a bacon donut from Nords).  I was riding the single-speed and not carrying panniers.

Michael arrived as I was drinking my coffee.  He was riding a nice looking Jamis Aurora.  After finishing we headed north to downtown and on to the Riverwalk.

Once we neared Shawnee Golf course, but were still on the open portion of the Riverwalk, we detoured off of the path and followed a overgrown trail into the woods.  The woods we were in is listed as Portland Wharf Park.

This route quickly became mountain-bike-like with fallen trees, leaves, mud, and rough spots.  Riding road bikes made this interesting, but the view was quite nice.

Morning Light
Morning Light
The trail eventually led us back to the Riverwalk, but it was still almost like a mountain bike trail due to mud, leaves, and branches.

Michael and his Jamis Aurora
Michael and his Jamis Aurora
Hmmm…. we both had handlebar bags.

The Single-Speed and I
The Single-Speed and I
Yes, the commuter rig is playing in the trees.

Peeking around the tree
Peeking around the tree
We eventually came to a large barrier crossing the Riverwalk along with a sign marking it as closed.  I know Tim has gone through there recently, and Michael was game, so we crossed the barrier and continued.

There was enough mud to clog up between tire and fender.  Several times I had to stop and use a stick to clear the mud.  Michael had less of an issue as he didn’t have a front fender.

Fallen civilization?
Fallen civilization?
The worst part was right along the fence of the golf course.  We actually started walking our bikes on the golf course side of the fence, but turned around and went back to the trail after seeing people on the course.

We eventually made it through the worst of it, and out the other side, back to an open section of Riverwalk, where I cleaned the mud out again.

Dangerous!
Dangerous!
We wound our way through Shawnee Park and unto Southwestern Parkway.  This eventually becomes Algonquin Parkway and gives access to the Louisville Loop path.

I do find it odd that the best separated cycling facilities in town are in the west end.  Too bad they’re all designed for recreation rather than transportation.

Louisville Loop path
Louisville Loop path
This short stretch of path then dumps you out on Campground Road, which has a bike lane debris-filled gutter.  We took Campground Road to Lee’s Lane and continued into the Lee’s Lane Superfund Site.

We deviated from our course and rode through the now cleaned up site.  It is open to the public and has a trail into the woods.  We rode until we were near the river and the going got a bit tough.  We were able to see the casino in Indiana peeking through the trees.

From a trail near Lee's Lane
From a trail near Lee’s Lane
This was a dead-end for us.  We took a moment to rest and take pictures.

Late morning sunlight
Late morning sunlight
Michael was unsuccessfully trying to find a good spot to get a picture of the casino.

Resting bikes & Michael
Resting bikes & Michael
After backtracking and going down a different bike path (there are more bike paths out here than what show on the map!), we took another one down toward the river.  I wish I would have gotten a picture.  It was a short ride on a smooth paved path to a paved lookout area over the river.  We were only about 500 feet from our earlier turn-around, but the elevation was higher.

So, we got back on the Louisville Loop heading south.  This was a nice stretch with guard rails!?

Guard rails seem like overkill
Guard rails seem like overkill
There was also a nicely built bridge over Mill Creek.

Bridge over Mill Creek
Bridge over Mill Creek
For such a small creek, it sat in a large valley.

Mill Creek
Mill Creek
The path took us parallel to Cane Run Road, and past the Cane Run power plant… coal of course.

Turning coal into electricity and pollution
Turning coal into electricity and pollution
There was a huge amount of coal ash nearby.  What isn’t in the picture is the houses across the street.  The coal ash has been in the news recently due to concerns by nearby residents.

Coal ash hill in front of coal ash mountain
Coal ash hill in front of coal ash mountain
We continued and followed the Louisville Loop to the end.  It has an end because it’s not finished.  It ends at the Farnsley-Moremen Landing.  We rested there before turning around and heading back (mostly) the way we came.

View of the Ohio River from Farnsley-Moremen Landing
View of the Ohio River from Farnsley-Moremen Landing
We stopped at Nana’s Country Restaurant on Cane Run Road.  I had pancakes, sausage, and coffee.  Stopping was Michael’s idea, but I’m glad he suggested it.

The place is a very “country” restaurant as you would expect.  I didn’t expect fake palm trees outside though.

Colorful but tacky
Colorful but tacky
We continued backwards along our earlier route, except the “diversions” until we got to Broadway, just south of Shawnee Park.  We headed east toward downtown.  We followed Broadway all the way to First Street.  I wouldn’t normally ride on Broadway much, but it wasn’t bad on a early-afternoon Saturday.

We arrived back in Germantown, and went our separate ways.  I had 52.5 miles.

The idea for this ride was Michael’s.  I wish I could take credit.  It was a great ride.  It had enough bizarre terrain to be challenging.  We seldom had to ride in traffic, and when we did it was pleasant.  We weren’t in a hurry, but still rode over 50 miles.  We took little side-trips down unknown paths.  It was the kind of ride that RCCS was formed for, but yet it wasn’t an RCCS ride.  It was just two guys riding around.

‘Cross Is Hard

Damn.  Tim invited me out for ‘cross training tonight.  We’re considering a ‘cross race on 10/30.

  1. We’ll get lapped – and a I guess that’s a DNF
  2. I suck at cross

I’ll do it anyway if he does (or Patrick for that matter), but I’m a lemming.  I’m not a leader.

We did two easy laps and two “hot” laps.  I just followed Tim on the easy laps.  No problem.  I fell far behind on the “hot” laps.  We did the last one in reverse, and I mistakenly missed a turn and went down stairs.  I kept the bike upright but my feet came off the pedals, and my hands barely held unto the bars.  I was bouncing on the saddle.  Ouch.

In an actual race the course would be better marked, but I still suck.  I also don’t have a ‘cross bike.  That’s right, I used my LHT, a touring bike, for ‘cross training.

In addition to being a bit heavy, the LHT is outfitted with Schwalbe Marathon tire… not idea, but fine for training.  If I race, I’ll switch them out.  It also has a rack and fenders, which would be removed for the race.

What I can’t change is the geometry.  The low bottom-bracket meant I had to be very careful on some of the turns to avoid pedal strike.

Tim has his view of it here.

His take is that I would be better off on my single-speed on that course.  I think he’s right.  I could strip the fenders, lights, and rack from it and put on some better tires and be good to go.  The pink bar-tape is just an extra point.  :)

Lazy Sunday


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I had vague plans for a good long ride today.  After entirely too much beer last night, I slept in and didn’t wake up until Tim called me asking about a slower-paced around-town coffee ride.

I rode the Big Dummy and met Tim at Highland Coffee.  We enjoyed snacks and coffee before heading downtown then out River Rd.

We turned off and unto the Butchertown Greenway.  This was a peaceful stretch until on a blind curve the path was covered with walnuts.  There was also a cyclist standing astride his bike talking on the phone.  We made it through with no issue and continued on.

After a few more city streets we were on the Beargrass Creek Trail.  I really like this trail, and the Big Dummy makes quite the racket rolling over the bridges there.

After getting through the Lexington Rd/Grinstead Dr intersection we went through Cherokee Park, then into some neighborhood streets.

Eventually Tim went home, and I still needed more coffee and a proper breakfast.  I went to Twig and Leaf for an omelette and coffee.  The Big Dummy got quite a bit of attention from a group of cyclists who were finishing up their breakfast.  I then headed for home.

The Big Dummy is not a fast bike, but I was lightly loaded for today’s trip.  I rode 18.9 miles in an urban area with some small hills.  There were many stops.  My average rolling speed was 11.8mph.  I’m sure with a light load and flat straight roads and no stops, my speed wouldn’t be much less than on the LHT.  I did exceed 32mph on a downhill on Eastern Parkway.

I’m feeling quite lazy today.  I need to do yard work, housework, and go grocery shopping.  I’m not sure how much of that will get done today.

Big Dummy

Hauling Pet Supplies
Hauling Pet Supplies
Since I will be living car-free very soon, I’ve been wanting a cargo bike, a Big Dummy in particular.  I have other bikes I want first, but the opportunity to try and possibly buy a used Big Dummy for a good price came up.

Ian contacted me about his BD.  I went to his house on Friday and picked up the bike.  The idea is a week-long test-ride while he’s on vacation.

After getting the bike back home, I adjusted the saddle and went for a ride.  I went out to Za’s for pizza and parked the bike “motorcycle-style” in the road.

Today, I went out to Feeder’s Supply for dog food and cat litter.  I put 55lbs of pet supplies in the rear bags of the BD and stopped at three different bars on the way home for food and beer.

There is a tiny bit of flex in the frame with that amount of weight.  I’ve already decided I want the bike.  I now just need to come up with the money.

Parked outside of Za's
Parked outside of Za's
Almost home - Zeppelin Cafe
Almost home - Zeppelin Cafe

Medical Miles

Monday was a bad day.  I had to be to work early, and I knew I’d work late.  I woke up late and drove to work… for the first time in months.  I’m glad I did, as I was at work until 8:30pm.  It did feel strange to not ride a bike on a workday.

I had an appointment with my family doctor on Tuesday morning.  It was a follow-up due to my hospital stay recently.  My family doctor is in New Albany.  Yes, I rode the bike.  There was really nothing to find as far as my intestinal problems that sent me to the hospital.  Things happen.  On the other hand, the CT scan I was given in the ER showed “something” on my liver.  The CT scan didn’t get a good enough picture of it to make a determination what “it” is.  My doctor ordered an MRI for a better image.

Anyway, I rode to work from the doctor’s office, then home later.  I had 29 miles on Tuesday, more than making up for my Monday driving.

Today, Wednesday, was my MRI appointment at Floyd Memorial, again in New Albany.  I rode my bike again.  I discovered that Floyd Memorial has a good-sized bike rack at the front entrance.  It’s your typical “wheel bender” type, but I just locked up next to it.  My bike was the only one there.

I wasn’t allowed anything to eat or drink today before the MRI.  Riding there with no food or coffee was not my idea of a good time.  Luckily the MRI was over quickly, and I grabbed a coffee and a snack from the hospital coffee shop before heading out.  The dreaded caffeine headache hadn’t had a chance to take hold yet.

After riding to work and home, I had 26.2 miles for the day.  The hospital is a bit closer than my doctor’s office.

I’m slightly worried about “it” on/in my liver.  It could be nothing.  It probably is nothing, but my liver is necessary for processing copious quantities of beer.  Please let my liver be okay.

Productive = Happy?

I’ve had a very productive day.  12 hours worth of productive.

We had a server failure on Saturday.  I needed to get in early-ish today (Monday).  I woke up late and grumpy, so I drove to work.

Today was a whirlwind of activity.  I was there for over 12 hours.  I felt slightly stressed at times, but never overwhelmed (despite the problems we ran into).  I guess I’m a good problem solver but bad at time-management.  Time-management isn’t much of an issue during an emergency.

The problems are solved.  I stayed late to fix things.  I got home happy but hungry.

Despite “reminding myself” recently about weight loss and such, I went out for a burger and beer.  It was worthwhile.

Tomorrow, I’m back on the bike.  It’ll be a long day with a morning doctor appointment providing extra mileage.

I need to incorporate this productiveness into everyday.  Not only do I do better at work, I feel better about it later.

I’ve Got To Keep Reminding Myself

Monthly Average Weight
Monthly Average Weight

When I was having the most weight loss I was constantly reminding myself about my progress.  That was the point of this blog.

Since then, It’s turned into either talking about bike rides or complaining about depression.  Both of those affect my weight loss and will still be mentioned here, but I need to get back to basics and post my weight daily.  I just recently started weighing regularly again.

So there is now a Daily Weigh-In link under the pages section.  I’ll keep it as updated as possible.  It also has a link to a chart of my monthly progress that I’ll keep updated on a monthly basis.  I’m putting the chart here also, that is updated through September.

I’ve had some weight loss for the last two weeks.  I need to keep that going.