50-Mile Friday

Tim came over for a ride today to burn off some Thanksgiving calories.  I really didn’t eat much yesterday, but made up for it post-ride today.

I planned the route, but we missed a turn somewhere near Clark State Forest.  It didn’t take us long to get back on track, and it changed our overall mileage by less that 1/2 mile.

This is the route we actually took:

Download file: 2009-11-27.gpx

The first half of the route was just rolling hills from Charlestown to Borden.  We had a bit of a headwind, but knew that it would help on the return trip.

We climbed up Jackson Rd to head out of Borden.  This climb averages a 11% grade and briefly hits 16%.  It was at this point that the wind was no longer slowing us down.

We rode along the top a ridge for a while, which gave some beautiful views.  Eventually we realized we made a wrong turn, but continued along until we came to Pixley Knob Rd.  This led to an extremely fast descent coming out of the knobs.

We rode to Henryville for our store stop, then it was just more rolling hills to get back.

It was quite cold.  This was my first cold ride of the year.  I’ve had rides that started cold, but this one didn’t really warm up.  I was dressed for it, but I’d rather be warmer.

After getting home, I ran a few errands on the bike then over to Charlestown Pizza for a pizza and too much wonderful beer.  After riding, eating, and drinking, I took a nap.


Shifted Priorities

I started bicycling to lose weight.  It stands to reason that I ride to lose weight.  That used to be the case.

Now I ride because I enjoy it.  It’s a way to relieve stress, keep me fit(ter), and still allows me to play with gadgets.  My gadgets are now mechanical instead of electronic.

I’ve realized that my weight loss has become secondary to riding a bike.  I’m disappointed that I can only ride one day (tomorrow) out of my three-day work week next week due to other obligations.

I only managed one ride in the last week, a 50-miler with Tim.  I even pretended to be on a single-speed, by not shifting (for most of the ride anyway).  Tim was riding his QuickBeam, which is a beautiful single-speed bike, but I’m not currently looking to have a dedicated single-speed bike.

Why am I up at midnight now, when I have to get up at 5:30 to prepare for the ride in?  I’m planning and scheming in my head.  I’m trying to figure out how to come up with the money for my next bike.  It’s a sickness.  🙂

Why a new bike?  Why a Surly LHT?

  • I want to start touring.  I hope to ride to Michigan next year.
  • Touring bikes make great commuter bikes.
  • The Atlantis is too expensive.
  • I carry a lot of stuff on my commute.  I’ve been ridiculed for how much I carry.  A touring bike can carry more.
  • I’m not convinced I need a recumbent, and I rarely ride mine now.
  • My current upright bike, Nermal, is a low quality bike, with a lot of money put into it.  I have more upgrades I want to do, but should probably put them on a new bike.
  • Upgrades?
    • Better rack
    • Wider tires
    • Front rack
    • Dynohub lighting system

A quality bike like this is one I can have for the rest of my life.  It’ll cost some money, but nothing compared to my used truck.

Don’t get me wrong.  I still want to lose weight.  I’m still watching what I eat.  I still hop on the scale nearly every morning.  I just want to ride a bike even more than I want to lose weight.

Teaching Young’uns

My Daughter - Ten Years Ago
My Daughter – Ten Years Ago

My youngest daughter is nearly an adult.  I’m now balancing teaching her to drive and teaching her to ride her bike.  The “how” is the easy part.  The “which for when” is harder.  She doesn’t have the love of cycling that I do, but she does want to go places that aren’t convenient to walk, and she doesn’t yet have a car or a driver’s license.  She could really use the exercise, but anytime I bring that up, I’m “being mean”.

I’ve lost nearly 100 lbs with my lifestyle change.  She doesn’t yet need to lose that amount, but thinks she can’t lose any weight.

I try not to be too heavy-handed.  She will be 18 next month.  She doesn’t like to wear a helmet.  There are no helmet laws here, so I don’t make her.  I don’t forbid her from eating certain foods, I just try to encourage her to choose the healthy ones. (I don’t always make the smart choice myself.)

I really wish I had fallen in love with cycling earlier, and could have exposed her to it before now.  If she had grown up riding her bike for transportation instead of riding in a car for every 1/2 mile trip, I wouldn’t be struggling with her as much as I am now.

Back in the Saddle

I took the week off from riding to work to let my ankle heal.  It seems to be better now, which is good, as I’m planning on riding about 50 miles tomorrow with Tim.

I got Nermal back from the shop yesterday, with a new bottom bracket.  The front brakes weren’t working well, so I pulled them apart, cleaned, lubed, and adjusted everything.  They seem to be working better now.

My daughter wanted to spend the night at a friends house, but wanted a ride.  She wasn’t certain where the house was, but with a little prodding, she rode the 2.6 miles with me on her bike… after dark… on a Friday night.  It was fun, but I think she was terrified.  She has lights, but is uncomfortable in traffic.

I went against my own judgment and stopped for food and beer on the way home.  I really don’t need the calories, but good beer is worth it.


I’ve been eating too much.  Riding my bike 100+ miles a week isn’t enough to keep my weight under control with my current caloric intake.

I hadn’t been posting my weight for a while, I have now.  I’m also back to tracking my food.  I need to take control again.  Losing the last 35 lbs seems near-impossible.

I did go on an awesome Friday night “Brew Cruise” with Tim, Ben, Chaz, and Kristin.  It was a shortish ride, but I had ridden to work that day, then had to ride home.  I made it home just before 2:00 a.m.  Granted, we did have five stops along the route, and spent some time at each.

Saturday was spent at home doing housework.

On Sunday, I met up with Tim and Dale for a 45- mile ride in Oldham county.  I really enjoyed the ride, other than a painful issue with my ankle.  I think I caused that Saturday by smacking my ankle on the laundry hamper.  (Maybe I shouldn’t walk around the house without shoes?).  Dale hosted the ride, and provided a nice selection of beer for after the ride.

Did I Mention I’m Hard on Bikes?

I wasn’t planning on riding to work today, but with the copious amounts of calories consumed over the weekend, I rearranged my week a bit, and rode to work today.

Nermal’s bottom bracket has been a bit loose recently, and had been submerged in mud not long ago.  On the ride in this morning the cranks were especially loose, and I was having shifting issues.  I made it in to work, but immediately took my bike down to the shop.

Well, the bottom bracket is destroyed.  The shifting issue was just a derailleur adjustment.  Oh, and after 2500 miles, the chain is worn.

I really didn’t want to spend more money on this bike.  I plan to replace it with a Surly LHT, but I don’t have the money for that now.

I had to catch a ride home from a co-worker, and I really do need to drive the next two days, but I hope to ride on Thursday and Friday.

Busy Weekend

I truly had an busy, yet enjoyable weekend.  I rode my bike a fair amount, ate too much, and drank beer.  What’s not to like?

Mountain Biking

I got up early on Saturday to take my daughter to take her SAT test.  I dropped her off, then headed over to Tim’s house.  We rode two of his mountain bikes.  He rode his Redline Monocog, a single-speed 26″-wheeled bike with no suspension.  I started out on his Cannondale 29er hardtail.

The Cannondale felt like a truck: big, heavy, and would roll over anything.  We later switched bikes and the difference was huge.  The Monocog was simplicity itself.  No shifting to worry about, and it was easier to just tug around on the trail.

This was only my second time mountain biking, and I managed to stay upright, even if I did run into a small tree and tweak my wrist a little.  It was a lot of fun, but quite a bit more tiring than road riding.

I will remain primarily a road-rider, but a mountain bike is on my wish-list.

Inappropriate Clothing?

I had worn cycling tights and a jersey (I needed the rear pockets!) for the mountain bike ride.  I had planned to bring a change of clothes, but forgot.  I needed to run an errand at the Louisville International Airport… so I walked through the airport wearing the clothes I had ridden in, including the mud splatters.

After picking up my daughter from her SAT test, we needed to stop at Meijer for some shopping and I was still in my cycling garb.  I felt like a goof, and did get a few weird looks, but nobody said anything.

Sunday Ramble

Tim came by on Sunday for a 45-miler.  We stayed on paved roads, but dove down into the river valley twice, with two climbs to match.  There was also a nice descent into a creek bed on Tunnel Mill Road, followed by a short, steep climb.

The weather was absolutely incredible.  It made it into the low 70s, not bad at all for November.

The rural area north-east of Charlestown has a number of run down buildings.  There are  some pictures below.

Tim wrote about it here.

Yard Work

I had a lot of yard work to do, hopefully for the last time this year.  I got it done over the weekend, but split it among the two days, so that I still had time for other things on both days.


I only commuted by bike two days last week.  This week isn’t looking good either.  The first three days of this week I have after-work obligations that require me to have my truck.

I’m not sure what’s going on Thursday yet, but I do intend to ride on Friday, as the RCCS is having another “Beer Run“.  I’ll be riding to work, then riding the short-ish RCCS ride, then riding home way too late.  🙂


I’ve eaten way too much this weekend.  I’m currently stuffed from eating too many brownies.  I’ve had pizza twice.  I’ve been drinking beer.  I can’t keep eating like this!

The Pictures!

Car-Free Future?

My wife and I had a discussion the other day about being a one-car household.  The idea is to get rid of her car, and she would drive the truck.  I could ride my bike to work most days, or carpool with her when I need to.  If she’s out of town for work, I would have the truck if I need it.

The only problem with this is my laziness.  I drove to work on Monday and Tuesday.  I did ride yesterday and today, but when I shower in the morning, I’m trying to come up with reasons to not ride the full commute.

My new route has made the commute less stressful and my recent lack of weight loss are both good motivators, but I’m guess I’m a generally lazy person.  Only having one car available could give me another reason to ride my bike.

I still have a long-term goal of selling the house, and moving closer to work, then I could truly never drive again.  In the meantime I need to be less lazy.

November 1st RCCS Ride

The RCCS had a bit of hiatus. We made up for it yesterday.

We had wanted another mixed-terrain, gravel road, rambling trip through Hoosier National Forest.  I planned the route, printed cue sheets, and prepared my GPS.

Tim and I were joined by Jeff.  Jeff was new to our RCCS rides, but a skilled cyclist, and brought the proper bike for the gravel roads, but probably not the best bike for the route we ended up taking.  None of were prepared.

Either we missed a turn somewhere, or the map was wrong.  Either way, we weren’t exactly sure where we were at.  The GPS was not as useful as I thought it would be.  We did find some great gravel roads.  Traffic was extremely light, and the weather was wonderful.

Once we were back on course (we think we were anyway), we made a left turn that both our cue sheet and the GPS confirmed as the correct route.  The narrow gravel road was rougher than most, but didn’t give away what was lying ahead.

The road dead-ended into a marked trail.  Looking at the GPS, it appeared that we could continue following it to the next part of the route.

The path got rougher, muddier, and eventually were crossing small creeks.  We were mountain biking on bikes meant for pavement.

Remember my last post where I said I’m hard on my bike?  It’s going to take a while to get all the mud out.

We spent hours doing a seven-mile loop in the woods.  The trail just looped back around.  By the time we got back to our parked cars, we had put in a total of 40 miles.  It was a great ride and it kept with the RCCS spirit of an “adventurous” ride.