Sick Day

I’m still sick today.  I stayed home from work and skipped volleyball.  Diane had to work so I spent most of the day in the company of the dogs and my Kindle.  I didn’t leave the house.

Since getting sick, I haven’t been drinking beer (other than the partial one in Michigan City that I couldn’t finish).  This has made me re-think my dietary choices.  I need to lose weight.  I need to get fitter.  I intend to race Gravel Grovel in November.

If I could drop under 200 lbs sometime next year, and ride six centuries… that would make up for a lot.

Apple Cider Century – DNS

What’s worse than a DNF (Did not finish)?  A DNS (Did not start).

Today was the Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks Michigan.  Diane and I drove up on Friday afternoon, with my rSogn, and the tandem strapped to the back of the car.  I had removed the wheels from the bikes to have less of a weight load on the trunk-mounted rack.


It looks bad, but we had no problems with this setup, even at freeway speeds.

As I posted before, I wasn’t feeling well, but I assumed it would pass.  My sore throat continued to get worse.

We arrived at our hotel late Friday night in Michigan City, Indiana.  We carried the two wheel-less bikes upstairs to our second-floor room, and I promptly felt quite ill from that little bit of exertion.

The night became a bit of a blur after that.  I was too sick to eat or drink.  I felt feverish and really couldn’t swallow.  I slept poorly – hoping that I’d recover before Sunday morning.

Saturday morning was still quite bad.  I got up just so I could force some breakfast and coffee down.  I couldn’t talk without extreme pain.  I went to an urgent care clinic – replete with an annoying couple from Italy via Chicago who were arguing about paying the $75 fee instead of the $50 fee.

After a quick strep test (negative), I was sent on my way with the advice to take acetaminophen and gargle with saltwater.

We stopped to buy acetaminophen, salt, and soup (the only thing I could really eat), and went back to the hotel.  Diane went out on her own while I tried to nap some more.

Part of the point of this trip was to meet some people I’ve been talking to online on Google Plus.  So this was supposed to be a HIRL (Hangout In Real Life) – along with a 100-mile bike ride.

Jin, one of those people sent me a message, wondering where I was.  She was in Three Oaks at Journeyman Distillery.  Once Diane got back, we headed to Three Oaks.  Jin had left the distillery, and I don’t know where she went off to.

Diane had never seen Lake Michigan (or any of the Great Lakes for that matter), so we drove to New Buffalo and spent some time on the beach.  I really couldn’t talk, and the water was a bit cold, so I just laid in the sand next to Diane for a while.  It was pleasant.

Getting the feet wet

They may not be visible in these pictures, but there were quite a few others at the beach.

Lake Michigan on a calm day

When we left New Buffalo and headed back to Michigan City, I took an alternate route.  I’m glad I did, as we ran across Shoreline Brewery.  I drank less than a beer (Diane finished it) and I only ate french onion soup, but it was all quite good.

Saturday night’s sleep was only marginally better than Friday’s.  It had rained overnight, but appears weather cleared for the Century.  After fortifying ourselves with coffee and waffles, we packed the car, and headed home.

Much of the drive home was uncomfortable.  I couldn’t swallow or talk.  When we got near Indianapolis, I was feeling well enough to eat something soft, so I had an omelette at Waffle House.  More coffee kept me moving.

We arrived home and unpacked the car.  I immediately laid down and tried to nap.

Throughout all of this, Diane has taken care of me and been understanding of how I feel.  She didn’t tease me, or get angry that I wasted the time and money on this trip, only to bail on the ride.

I’m most upset that I didn’t get to meet those from Google Plus.  Some changes I’m making in my life mean I’m leaving that social networking site.  I’ll stick with this blog and email as my online presence.  I don’t want to spend extra energy on more.

Century on Sunday?

I’ve been signed up to ride the Apple Cider Century in southwest Michigan for months.  I booked a hotel room last week.

I’m not too worried about the fact I’m out of shape.  I’ve done 70 miles recently, I don’t think 100 will be too much of a stretch.

Diane and I are planning on bring my bike (for the century) and the tandem (for toodling around on Saturday).

The last two days have been hell.  I’ve had a low-grade illness of some sort.  My neck flared up again.  I’ve been stressed and depressed.

I’ve not cancelled yet.  I may, or I may not.  We’ll see.

Tandem Training?

I’ve heard horror stories about couples attempting to ride a tandem.  Some people call tandem bikes divorce machines.  I’ve read articles about proper verbal cues to use when riding tandem.  None of that mattered yesterday.

Diane and I decided to do a tandem training ride.  We’d take the hilly Eastern Parkway to Cherokee Park, then back and finish up with a beer.

We actually used little verbal communication for bike handling.  Other than “back” to let Diane know when to rotate the pedals backward (when stopped), we mostly communicated by pedal speed and pressure.  It’s coming pretty naturally.

We both struggled up the hills more than I thought we would.  Diane gets a little scared above 30 mph.  Standing and pedaling together isn’t going to work for us yet.  So, we sit and spin up the hills, and coast downhill, using the brakes when appropriate.  A scared stoker will refuse to be stoker next time.

I did cut our path through the park a bit short.  Too much distance at once would be bad.  We had to run home for an errand before our beer, but then we continued back to Four Pegs to finish the night.  We limited our beer consumption.  I’m not sure a drunk tandem team would be a good idea.

I didn’t take any pictures, but I did track the ride with the GPS.

Download file: 2013-09-24.gpx

Coffee and Tandem

I met up with Tim for a coffee ride this morning.  Neither one of us was feeling strong, but we meandered around town, me on my rSogn, Tim on his Quickbeam, and stopped at coffee shops along the way.

At one point, he mentioned a tandem bike for sale on Facebook for a reasonable price.  I’m not on Facebook, so asked him to send me contact information.

Later, I met Diane after she got off work (she had ridden her bike) and we rode home together, discussing a tandem.  After contacting the seller, we drove to his house, to check the bike out.

Oddly enough, I knew the seller.  He used to work at the bike shop that I bought my recumbent from back in 2008.  He remembered me.  He’s no longer working in the bike shop industry (and kind of misses it), but he’s doing well.  He was glad to see the bike go to someone who would actually ride it.

It’s an older Trek T900.  It could use a little TLC.  We paid cash and hauled it away.

I’ve adjusted the brakes, installed a rear rack, adjusted the saddles, aired up the tires, switched out pedals, popped some lights on, and we headed out for a ride.

It is so much faster than me hauling Diane on the Big Dummy.  I’m already in love with this bike.  We put about nine miles in, stopping for beer along the way.

It still needs a seatpost clamp, and some minor stuff.  I’d like to put fenders on it at some point.  Until then, it’ll do as-is.

There’s an old axiom that a tandem will make or break a relationship.  Our first ride was good.  I hope that’s a positive sign for the future.

Trek T900


After my last post, early on a Sunday morning, Tim contacted me – interested in checking out the Parklands.  This is a new metro-area park on the extreme east end of the city.  There’s the paved Louisville Loop portion and a few off-road trails.

I grabbed my Fargo – for good off-road ability, and rode over to Tim’s house.

Connectivity to the Parklands for central Louisville is sketchy by bike.  We loaded bikes onto his car and headed out.

It was a nice day.  There were a lot of people out enjoying the park.  We went to the unfinished portions of the Loop, and rode through waist-high grass.  We eventually turned around and went the other way.  We checked out what few mountain bike trails we could find.  Only one was quite good (and challenging).

I didn’t take any pictures worth sharing.  Tim took quite a few.

It’s not a park I’ll visit very often, but I can see the appeal for the riders who don’t want to deal with traffic – especially if they live in the east end.

After a good morning of riding, we finished up with a beer.  It wasn’t a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Download file: 2013-09-15.gpx

Cool Weather and Laziness

Friday was the beginning of Louisville Craft Beer Week.  Many of my favorite places were having interesting events going on.  I also had a planned 50+ mile ride for Saturday morning.  I needed to control my alcohol consumption so I could get up in the morning.

By the time I left work on Friday my mood wasn’t the greatest.  I rode home and ate dinner with Diane.  I didn’t intend to take out my frustration on her, but I think I did a bit.

We left on bikes and rolled out to the BBC Taproom.  There was one beer (a barleywine) that I really wanted to try.  I had the one beer, Diane had a different one.  We ran into Timothy, but he had driven.  Boo!

Bike parking at BBC is non-existent.  That didn’t stop about six people from locking up to random things nearby.  Maybe they should put in a bike rack.

We decided to go back to our neighborhood and visit Four Pegs.  Four Pegs has become my usual haunt.  It’s walking distance from home, has good beer, and the people are friendly.

This time, Four Pegs was insanely packed.  It was standing room only.  We each ordered a beer and went out on the patio and stood around.  There was no available seating there either.

We called it a night early, with little beer, and went home.  Diane had to be to work at 6:00, and I had planned to ride with Tim in the morning.

I find alarm clocks to be horribly rude and annoying.  Saturday morning was no different.  I felt sleep-deprived.  I had gotten up early with Diane on Friday and rode with her to work.  Although I was in bed for 8 hours, I didn’t sleep well.  I sent Tim a text that I wouldn’t be making the ride.  Diane decided to drive to work since I wasn’t riding with her.  I went back to sleep.

I woke a few hours later, downed some coffee and read a short book on my Kindle.  I didn’t want to be a useless lump all day, so I decided to get something done before Diane got off work.

I did the yardwork.  I did a thorough job, with dog mess cleanup, trimming, mowing, cleanup, and even cutting the vines that grow through the privacy fence from the neighbor’s yard.   Diane arrived home just as I was putting stuff away.

I’ve had several tasks nagging me for a while.  Diane and I walked to the hardware store.  I bought a new screen for the back door, a new light fixture for the basement, a new outdoor electrical outlet to replace the broken one by the grill, and the weird little roller-like tool for pushing the spline in place when installing screen.  Spline is a new (in this context) word I learned during the process.

After getting back home with the haul, Diane ran to buy some beer for us (on the bike!) while I got busy with the electrical outlet.  The outlet is dead.  Apparently there’s some wiring damage – probably underground where I can’t get to it.

Diane came back, and helped me with the screen and basement light.  All went well there.

After cooking and eating dinner, we took a quick trip to Four Pegs again.  They weren’t nearly as busy.  We didn’t drink much, as we both had early mornings coming up again.

We were up at 5:00 again.  Diane jumped up and started getting ready for work.  I hid under the blankets trying to stay warm.  I don’t have a ride planned, but I hope to get out.  I didn’t feel like getting out early with Diane, so she drove again.  Oh well.  We are both being lazy.

It’s now 6:30.  I’m dressed in warm clothes and sipping coffee at the computer.  It’s still quite cool outside, but it’s supposed to get up to near 80.  It’ll be another perfect day to be on the bike.  The real question, is will I bother?

Morning Miles?

I got up at 5:15 this morning to ride with Diane to work.  The cooler weather means she’s willing to ride her bike to work.

We had a pleasant ride there (2.5 miles).  I had intended to head off to Indiana for a couple of hours before turning back to get to work.  The thought of coffee and rest lured me back home instead, where I sit at the computer drinking another cup.  I have just over five miles on the odometer so far.

I’ll leave here in about 30 minutes to go to work.  So much for putting in extra miles today.

Sunday Metric

On Sunday, September 8th, Tim and I headed out to get some “dumb miles” in.  This wasn’t to be a terribly fast ride, but it wasn’t to be an urban ramble either.

We met for coffee at Breadworks.  We then headed through Cherokee Park for a warm-up before heading across the bridge and into Indiana.  I didn’t take many pictures, but we did spot this heron on Beargrass Creek.

Heron looking for food

We rolled through Jeffersonville and up Utica Pike.  Sunday morning traffic was light along the river and it was a pleasant ride.  Tim and I picked up the pace on the mostly flat section and probably did our legs a disservice.

Waterline Road is a long, but not steep, climb away from the river.  We crossed Highway 62 and the terrain got a bit lumpier.

Eventually we were on part of my old 11-mile loop I used to ride when I lived in Charlestown.  It’s strange.  I cut my cycling teeth on the rolling hills out there, yet now, they punish me.  I’ve lost fitness.

After arriving in Charlestown, we stop in a convenience store for sugar, salt, and water.  Junk food and bottled water (and a chocolate milk) were the perfect mix.

rSogn and Blueridge

We left Charlestown, taking the more direct route on Highway 62 back to Waterline Road and (mostly) back the way we came.  We rolled through town before heading our separate ways to go home.

I was home my 1:00pm with 62 miles – 100 kilometers – a metric century.  We could have pulled it off by noon had we not spent an hour at Breadworks beforehand.

I have an Imperial century (100 miles) coming up later this month in Michigan.  This is preparation.

Later, I rode the Big Dummy, hauling Diane on the back, to Actors Theatre to catch a play.  My legs were quite sore by the time I got up for work on Monday.

My GPS track from the ride is here:

Download file: 2013-09-08.gpx

Bike Hike?

On Sunday of last weekend (August 25th), Tim and I decided to check out a green squiggle on the map that denoted an unknown-to-us bike path in Southern Indiana.

It happened to be the same day that Ironman Louisville was taking place.  We took in some of the sights of the bike portion of the race in our meandering path.  Crossing the river on the Second Street Bridge, we could see the lines of swimmers and support watercraft down the river.


We took our usual route through Clarksville and into New Albany.  We began the climb up Corydon Pike, but turned off on Highwater Rd.  From there, there’s a cut-through up a steep rocky hill.  This was more of a hike than bike riding.  I ripped my jersey on thorns.  It was slow going.

After making it to the top, we realized we weren’t alone.

It’s a Jeep thing…

A man was driving a Jeep – slowly and carefully – down the next hill.  His girlfriend waited at the top – probably worried he was going to roll the vehicle.  Once he reached the bottom, he walked up to help her down.  She was wearing flip flops, not ideal footwear for the terrain.

They were pleasant, and even offered us a ride.  We declined.  Had we known how difficult this would be, we may have accepted the offer.

Hilly and rugged, but not untouched by people

The hiking portion was only about a mile, but it was brutal.  Very little of it was rideable, which meant even the downhill portions were difficult.  I fell once – while dismounting my bike and managed to roll down a small hill.  Luckily the ground nearby was soft and sandy.

Climbing into the blue

There were some nice vistas.

Distant cityscape

Much of the trail was exposed to the hot sun.  There were some pleasant areas with shade.

Shady wonderland

We eventually came to an actual road again – Old Corydon Rd.  We meandered to a fast food restaurant for salty fries and sugary drinks.  Once replenished, we moved along the pleasant Quarry Rd before diving downward on Old Vincennes Rd and back into New Albany, then Louisville.

In retrospect – we’re two fat guys in our 40s riding road-ish bikes on terrain that was almost too hard for us to hike.  We rode 20 miles to get there, and 20 to get back.  I think we’re bordering on clinically insane.  I don’t have a problem with this.

Download file: 2013-08-25.gpx

Diane’s N+1

When I met Diane, she thought the idea of having more than one bike was just silly, yet I had five.

She didn’t have a bike.  She borrowed my daughter’s for a while, but eventually we scored a free one.  A free bike is a good bike, but this thing was heavy.  She also didn’t like the color.

During a visit to On Your Left Cycles she spotted a blue-ish bike she liked.  It wasn’t quite her size, but they could order one.  She wasn’t ready to commit, so we went home and read up on other options for the price range.

When said and done, she really liked the one at OYLC.  I called and and order was placed.  She’s had her new bike less than a week, but she likes it much better.  It’s lighter, fits better, and has better shifters.  She loves the color.  It’s a Norco VFR4.

Diane and her new bike

She’s not a high-mileage rider, but she rides often enough to put in impressive monthly numbers.  She rode 146 miles in June, 87 in July (we were in San Francisco, cutting into ride time), and 168 in August.

Back From San Francisco

Yes, Diane and I went to San Francisco in mid-July.  Yes, I’ve haven’t posted a thing here since.

I had a four-day conference to attend in San Francisco.  I went out two days early to see the city.

We didn’t ride bikes or rent a car.  This was a public transport and walking kind of trip.  BART was helpful for the longer distances.  The city buses and trolleys (muni) got us around for the shorter distances.

BART was nearly empty coming from the airport

We never had a chance to ride the iconic cable cars, but that seems to be more of a tourist thing anyway.  I was really fond of the ferry from Sausalito to San Francisco – It had a bar on board.

San Francisco is a great city to live without a car.  Too bad it’s expensive and crowded.  Many people (most?) use public transportation.  Bikes are everywhere.  Most bicyclists seem to follow the laws.  Even the pedestrians are predictable and law-abiding.  It’s a much different environment than Louisville.

There seems to be a bunch of unwritten rules about riding in San Francisco.  I’m a bit glad that I didn’t have a bike with me – as I would have not known the rules initially.

Bikes and transit

We had Friday plans to meet up with Jenny and Shawn for dinner and drinks in Oakland.  Jenny and Shawn were the couple that visited back in February for the Silly Bike Race Cyclocross Worlds Championships

We took the BART through the Trans-bay Tube over to Oakland and walked a few blocks to Chop Bar.  After good drinks, food, and conversations, we walked around the Jack London District and stopped by a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop.

Diane and I on the Bay

We spent one day walking around Chinatown, checking out the area around the Ferry Building, taking a bus over to Presidio and walking the trails.  We walked a lot.  We took another bus across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito where we had dinner and made friends with a large bird.

Interesting cityscape

During our time there, we visited two breweries, one near our hotel in the Financial District, the other in Haight-Ashbury.  We ate at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Squat and Gobble.

Golden Gate

Sausalito was interesting.  We had dinner and did a wine tasting.  I can’t imagine living there.  The tourist traffic was incredibly thick.

Sorry, I don’t have an eyepatch

There are so many things I didn’t have time to see.  I wanted to visit Alcatraz.  I wanted to stick a toe in the cold water.  I wanted to visit more of the nearby cities.  I wanted to ride a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.

View from the ferry

I was fairly busy with the conference.  Diane went out and did some shopping and sightseeing on her own while I was busy.

Funeral band in Chinatown

I want to visit again, with more time and money.  It was hard to leave.  Part of me wants to move there.  The cost of housing is sky-high, so even doubling my salary would mean a lower standard of living.  I did browse some real-estate ads, but to live in the city itself would relegate me to a third-floor apartment somewhere.  I like having my little yard and little house here in Louisville.