Monday, June 27, 2005

New Wheel

My new wheel is on the LeMond, and it is sweet, mes amis...

Phil at Pima bikes got me one that matches my front wheel in shape and color. This new wheel, made in Australia, has 36 spokes--so its tough, and will probably last forever. Phil told me that there was no need to buy a set, seeing as my front wheel was still in good shape.

I've yet to put the wheel to the test.

Bon courage!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Leg photo

This is a picture of what happens a few days after a killer leg cramp. The big muscles tore and that bruise is the blood that flowed down to my knee joint.

After Steve and I did our bike journey, we both suffered severe cramping--Steve first, then me. I cried like a baby during my cramps--broke into a cold sweat--and almost passed out. Steve later told me he almost puked during his bout. But we made it up to Prescott, Baby! I later found out that the course and the climb up to Yarnell and then to Prescott are well known to RAAM riders and ultra cyclists. The Race Across America, as it is known, is going on as I write.

My thigh is still swollen and tender but I'm okay. It only hurts when I'm sitting in the office and doing everything I normally take for granted. It donsn't hurt when I bike, so I guess all is well. Less work. More riding I say!


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

1977 Raleigh Super Grand Prix

I rode in on my Raleigh this morning and I'm happy to report it ran like a brand new machine. Early this year, Phil and Judy at Pima Bike Shop rebuilt it, and I've used it as my "Monsoon Bike." I bought some ligh-weight German-made fenders for it, which Phil customized for me, and they look quite handsome on the bike. Phil says this particular ride rivials any of the newer glam road bikes in terms of frame, components, and performance.

Back in February, I rode the Raleigh on a 300 K Brevet, because heavy rain was forcasted and my LeMond had some sort of problem. That 300 was rugged and punishing, mes amis! Raining cats and dogs--flat tires--and many mechanical set-backs for Steve, Mike, Rich Combs, Susan France and myself--190 soggy gritty miles of misery.

My Raleigh turned out to be perfect for the brevet, being built as a touring bike--actually even rivaling my LeMond for comfort and performance. The fenders kept me dry--if you can believe it--which kept me warm in some cold wet conditions.

But almost 200 miles of no-stop randonneuring took its toll... Both tires were shot, the wheels were way out of true, and the dirt and sand from the wet road ruined the chain and the brake pads. The bike wouldn't even shift after at the end of the ride.

I'm sad to say that it sat in the garage un-used until today--I didn't have the money to get it fixed for awhile. Phil and Judy had to re-build it once more, and it needed new tires. It was expensive to get things right again.

This bike has a cool story. My father bought it for me back in 1977 when I was still in high school. I wanted a bike instead of a car. I rode it all over Tulsa for hours on end. I dragged it everywhere with me where ever I lived. Sometimes it sat in storage for a few years, then I would get it out and ride if weather permitted, and take it on the road.

Once a Tulsa Cop tried to take it away from me--I was out riding and was in Boulder Park in downtown. I think I was about 17 or 18--just a skinny punk kid. I put my feet in a fountain there at the park to cool off, and out of nowhere this cop comes up and grabs me gives me a bunch of shit. He pushed me down on the ground and threw a ticket at me--for "wading." I gave him a made-up name, and of course he didn't believe me and wanted to take my bike. I don't know how I got out of that, but I tossed the ticket.

There was also this time when I had the bike on a plane (I don't know why, or where I had been or where I was going)and it was in a big plastic bag. I went to pick it up at a loading dock or what ever, and this guy saw me with the claim ticket--and on purpose he threw it off the truck like it was garbage. Just then the guy's supervisor came around the corner, and I said, "That guy just threw my bike off the truck!" The guy was so busted, and the supervisor fired him right there--told him that was the last straw and to get the fuck out. I thought they were going to have a fight--they were yelling at each other, and more employees rushed over to hold them each back. I grabbed the bike and ran.

A few years ago this bike got stolen from the AHSC bike racks. I had class on Main Campus and went out to make the quick trip, only to find the bike missing. It was early in the morning and I called UAPD. Low and Behold if they didn't call me and let me know they had the bike and had arrested the thief. A UAPD detective picked me up at the library and we drove down to 4th Ave and I claimed it as mine. When asked to prove it was in fact my Raleigh Super Grand Prix, I told the officer to look at the faded gold emblem on the frame. "It should say, 'Vendables Bicycles, Tulsa, Okla.' Officer." That was good enough.

Unfortunately for the thief, the police where getting ready for the 4th Ave celebration of the Wildcat Basketball Team winning the Nat'l Championships. There were cops all over the place, and they spotted this guy riding another bike he had just stolen, and pulling my bike beside him. The cops asked him who the big blue bike belonged to (It's a 63cm frame) and the little bastard said "My girlfriend." and the cops said something like, "Your girlfriend must be 6-2 or somethin' fella." I came really close to losing this bike and I was glad the cops just decided to hand it back over instead of keeping it for evidence.

Frankie at Sabino bikes was building my LeMond, but had to stop suddenly cause his wife was having their baby. A few days later I came in to pick it up and I had the Raleigh with me--so Frankie put on a set of clips on the Raleigh for me for free because I waited an extra few days to pick up the LeMond.

Well, this got kind of long--hope I make it home tonight.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Sasabe on Ice, and the Eye in the Sky

This Sunday I rode with Glasgow and Dave Peashock to Sasabe. I forgot my Camelbak--a big mistake with the heat the way it is. But Peashock lent me a water bottle which I carried in my jersey. I wrapped that bottle up in my hat and it stayed cool.

I missed that iced-down Camelbak. Nothing like taking a swig of that water... but it was nice NOT to drag that thing with me on this trip. Going to Sasabe was fine--nothing to report--waved to Border Patrol as they played cat and mouse with illegals.

There's this little spy helicopter they got and every so often it pops up out of nowhere and zooms low over us. I always get this feeling I'm being tracked by some sort of electronic fuzz-eye, and then zip--there's the chopper.

I also believe that I/we get tracked via satellite. I can feel the "fuzz" if you know what I mean. Sasabe is right there on the border with Mexico--so if the border guys got nothing better to do, I think they track us with their equipment to make sure it works.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Scottsdale to Prescott

5 am start from Steve's house in Scottsdale, and a promised stop for breakfast at about 30 miles. Then on to Wickenburg for lunch--then the climb to Prescott, mes amis!

Steve and I North of Phoenix and west of Cave Creek.

I found some plasitc hula flowers in a Scottsdale neighborhood. A sign of good luck for our journey.

"This is the only place between here and there--so LET'S EAT, DUDE."

Point of No Return... Here we go! On to Wickenburg!

Wickenburg and Congress are in the distance. Way in the distance... That's a stock yard in the foreground. How do I know? Ever driven past one in your car?

Yarnell has a 9 mile climb. At this picture, we're right at 100 miles into our journey. Steve's GPS worked well on it's maiden voyage--cool!

Near the end of the climb.

The top--where the desert breeze meets the mountain air. Yeeesss!

Getting ice in Yarnell, Arizona.

The High Desert.

We still have a good deal of climbing to go--and then a 15 mile climb up to Prescott. The ride to Wilhoit were some of the toughtest miles I've ever ridden. Very hot, and lots of gradual never-ending climbing--to get to part where you start the REAL climbing!

The climb to Prescott begins. The intense heat we struggled with is behind us, now the elevation!

Here we go! Steve climbing up Hwy 89.

Tough climb. Gentle beauty. Well worth the effort.

After all the climbing--the Downhill!

We made it.

The best thing about this ride is that Kim met us to drive us back to Scottsdale. Steve and I didn't have time to stay over in Prescott and then ride back to Scottsdale this trip, but maybe next time.

With Kim encouraging us, and letting us leave all the heavy extra water bottles and stuff with the van--we were lighter for the last 3 or 4 really difficult miles to the top.

The scenic and fast descent into Prescott rivaled my Mt. Lemmon climb with the team last week. Before I knew it, I was in Prescott and in the Town Square.

This was one Hell of a 139 mile ride. There were times when we were totally finished--dehydrated, out of water, fighting leg cramps, and the heat--but as true Randonneurs in spirit--we pressed on! Bon courage!

Steve and I both had episodes of Killer Leg Cramps awhile later. Steve first while getting into the van, and me later when we were almost to Scottsdale.

So today I feel like I've been run over by a truck--But we made it!


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Mt. Lemmon

Saturday morning I rode with Stef, McBain, and Mooney up to Summerhaven, atop Mt. Lemmon.

What can I say? 25 miles and 3 hours later I was up in the Ponderosa Pines! It had been many years since I've been up to Mt. Lemmon--and the places I had stopped at, well--there they were again, but this time I was on the bike. Incredible, just unbelievable that mere-mortals can climb this on a bike.

I did not bring my camera, Gentle Reader, so you could enjoy the scenes. Instead I borrowed the photo above from another Tucson cyclist's website. The fires of a few years ago are still evident, but there is beauty and a cool green feel to the place.

I wish I had better words to describe how I was feeling. Sweat poured off my body and I was soaking wet most of the time. But I kept my steady pace and pressed on--encouraged by Stef's energy and enthusiasm.

Going down the mountain was a blast. There was little traffic, and for most of my trek down--in fact all the way--no cars were behind me. I was cautious at first, but them found myself on the road going 35 to 40 miles an hour! The pavement is new and smooth and it was just the best!

Later that late afternoon as Bev and I drove to go get a bite, Mt. Lemmon presented itself in front of me--and I must say I felt as big as that mountain.

Peace to you all

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ride Report Two

This morning I dropped off Bev's car at the Dealership for service. The Dealership is not far from the River Path, so I hopped on and got going. Along the way I saw Linda Brewer--competitive runner of note--and, newly published author! She's in one of those Norton Anthologies. 9th Edition I believe she said. That's pretty cool--and it's a significant accomplishment in writing circles, in my humble opinion. So we chatted and had a few laughs as I rode beside her.

Linda driving the SAG car.

Linda and I crewed for Dave Glasgow as he trained for the ride up in Alaska--The Fireweed 500. It was a RAAM qualifing ride.

Dave training for last year's Fireweed 500.

John Heller rode with us on the John Farr course for a few hundred miles.

Dave looking strong after 24 hours--and now Dave is RAAM Qualified.

Ride Report One

Last night I rode my commute home with Jennifer De Laix, who works here at the University. A few weeks ago we realized that we had the same route, so last night we met outside the library and started on our way. Jennifer was riding a modifed mountain bike--sturdy and good for commuting--maybe a little heavy, but she rode strong.

It was great to have someone to talk to and someone who knows bikes, and the perils of our particular way home. She rides to Cotaro Road and Thornydale--about 13 miles for her trip.

For most of the ride we had a super strong head wind--the strongest head wind I can remember in awhile. When Jennifer pulled off for home, I still had about eight miles to go...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ride Report

Morning Ride in - one hour and eleven minutes.
Average Speed - 17.7 MPH
Head wind from the East.
27 MPH Down Thornydale (heading South) between Cotaro Road and Ina! Suppose I got a little tail wind after my spanking going up Tangerine with that head wind from the East. Anyway, I noticed I had built up some speed--glance at the computer and 27 MPH--maybe 28?

I decided to ride to Via Entrada from River, and then cut to the bike path. The Mountain Bridge is right there. The head wind slowed me. The bike path has trees and they block the wind. But there are many more runners and walkers, so best not to go fast on the path unless there's no one around.

Feeling quite fit I must say. I was hoping to run into Team Mooney either on their way up 1st, or maybe on their way back. But didn't see the Team...

Allure Libre!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bike Angel

Last night I almost got run over by stupid drivers--and they should have known better. At 5pm I'm going down Mountain Ave, and at the light at Grant, which is GREEN, a driver is waiting to turn left from Mountain onto Grant.

I'm going straight, and I look the shithead right in the eye--and even put out my hand and point at him--to say, "Do not pull out in front of me, Dude."

However, there is a Dummy No. 2 and he is on Grant waiting to turn left onto Mountain (which I didn't notice because I'm watching dummy No. 1) and he suddenly freakin turns left onto Mountain from Grant--right in front of me--and Dummy No. 1!!! Whoa!!! Where did he get this idea from?

So before Dummy No. 1 Turns left in front of me, Dummy No. 2--looking right at me, whips a fast left and I just miss crashing into his back bumper--THEN, Dummy No. 1 turns left in front of me and I just freakin miss hitting HIS back bummper! And why THEY didn't collide I'm not sure.

Anyway, it was freaky. It was freaky to be in that magic spot where, only for a second, you're out of Harm's Way. Had I sped up or slowed, or even hesitated--either car would have run over me or I would have slammed into them.

Must have been my Bike Angel looking after me...

Ah, well--the rest of my ride home was good. On the river path, smiles and waves from the joggers, walkers, and other people on the bikes.

Oh yeah, and there was a head wind but what can you do?

C'est ca, mes amis!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Ride in Photos

Beautiful Monday morning commute on the bike. I brought along the camera from work to take these pictures for you, Gentle Reader. Please click on them to make them larger if you wish.

I'm ready to roll out. I'm sorta awake at 6:15 a.m.

First Leg of the trip in--watch out for the Beamers!

I'm going up Tangerine for a few miles. I took this picture at the light on Tangerine and Thornydale. There's a nice bike lane on Tangerine, but lots of traffic. When the trucks are not running through--and there's some quiet--you can hear the thousands of birds singing and chirpping/fighting. I'll also see Road Runners here and there, and a hawk or owl sitting on a saguaro.

From the light at Tangerine and Thornydale (previous image) its pretty much a straight shot down into the Tucson Valley, and I'm in the aero bars until about this light, which is my half-way point. There's a good view (click on the image to enlarge). Downtown on the far left is about 10 miles away. Through the light and I ride pretty much in the basin--River Road to 1st Ave. South on 1st Ave to the River Park bike and running path.

I cross this bridge, which I just call the Mountain Bridge, and start the gradual climb up Mountain Ave.

The light at Grant and Mountain Ave. and a short climb to Mabel Ave. and then a left to the office.

Made it. Oh yeah, went to the locker room and forgot to take my socks and underwear, and my soap and shampoo... I had to use the industrial hand soap to get clean. Luckily I did have a set of clothes to wear on the job today. I haven't done that yet--ride in and forget to have clothes. Anyway, showered, and got dressed (sans under roos and socks) and got the spare pair I keep in my desk--and changed. Sorry for the details but this is a blog about commuting, and sometimes if I forget my underpants--well--hey, its a big deal!

Allure Libre!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Ride Report--Mouse

One hour and 9 minutes--and 55 seconds. Okay, An hour and 10 minutes. A pretty good time, considering I road with a guy and we had a friendly chat. He had an older Bianchi that was in very good shape, and he'd had it for many years. He told me now that he's semi-retired, and works out of his home, he's getting back into cycling.

Now that the summer sun is higher on the horizon earlier in the morning, I can see better, and I believe drivers can see me better too. So, I'm riding a longer stretch on River Road--from Thornydale down to 1st Ave. I can ride much faster and it rocks! I was going on the bike path at La Cholla, but there one must make a tricky left turn across fast traffic to get on the bike path.

On the bike path I see the lizards. They look bigger this year. I also see the bunny rabbits and ground squirrles. This morning I saw a mouse for the first time and he was quite handsome. Very shiney grey color. He's probably old hat at dogding bikes. He hopped just out of the way to get a seed or something on the path, then hopped right back as I passed by a few inches--and he didn't even flinch.

98 for the ride home...