Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What I Wished For

Be careful what you wish for--because you might get it. Yesterday I drove to TMC for some formalities with the new job. So I drove the route what will be my commute.

I must say that it will be a long commute and pretty daunting. It was 80 degrees and seemed much hotter and I saw cyclists out on the road--they looked like they were working hard--yeah, this one guy going up that long climb, North on Swan, to Skyline--he was suffering. Now I know why the riders in the peleton are called prisoners. You don't own the road, the road owns you.

I'll make my peace and stop complaining--I mean, I did want a good commute--and I got it.

At TMC I had a physical. They say I'm in good shape, and were pretty impressed with my blood pressure, which seemed stronger than they noramally see. But the nurses there gave me all kinds of shots and I had to have a blood draw--and I was saying, "Hey this is for nurses and doctors and stuff--I'm just the library guy!" "No--doesn't matter," they said. "Give me your arm--" O! how I hate shots.

So my last day at AHSL is Thursday. Friday evening we're all going to get together and meet at Gentle Ben's and everyone will have a few beers and hang out. Gentle Reader, if you are in Tucson pls come by and wish me the best. My plan is to try to kiss as many of the girls as possible, so I've invited all the ones I like. With luck, they won't bring their boyfriends!

Allure Libre!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New Job! New Job!

Well you know I got's me a new job. Yep. More money, 8-2-4:30 mon - fri . A bad-ass commute that will either get me killed--or turn me into a mutant.

There's the Danger Commute, and then there's the little girl commute. I like to see the bunnies and I do appreciate the song birds. I like to hear the rooster crow in the mornings. I like to see the horses on River Ave. I like to see the pretty girls out jogging...

Riding on River, and then riding on Ina/Skyline--this is a man's ride; gritty! fast! speed! idiots behind the wheels of automobiles! Soccer Moms on cell phones! Holy sh_t but it is awesome. I feel like the Big Bad Wolf amongst the sheep.

But the speedy weedies could most likely care less. They're probably thinking to themselves, "Why can't you just drive a car like everybody else?"

I start the new job March 13th--I'll take about 10 days off to ride my bike and train for the 400 km brevet.

Friday March 3rd, after work, we're all meeting at Gentle Ben's. You're invited!


Monday, February 20, 2006

Cochise Revisited

Back in October, my bike in the hotel room after Cochise...

I read the official results of the Cochise Classic right before the weekend, and it included all the statistics on the event. Concerning the 252 mile ride, 30 riders had signed up and only 19 finished.

This isn't very scientific, but if you look at the times, you will see that at number 16, I was leading the second half of the riders. The storm and the wind, as you know Gentle Readers, pounded away at me and my fellow cyclists--we were slowed down almost to a crawl in that wind and rain, and hail.

The last three riders that came in were a good 2.5 to 3 hours behind my finising time--that means that 11 racers between me and the last three didn't finish. DNF.

Its clear I was pretty lucky, mes amis.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A River Runs Thru It

I haven't offically told the office, just a few close friends, but I have accepted a new position at TMC. A pretty good gig--and of course one of the great things about it is that I will be able to bike into the office. My new library is housed where the indoor pool used to be, so there's a locker room just right there. And right outside are bike lockers. One of the HR girls that helped me out during the interviewing process got one reserved for me.

At UMC they had some and I went to ask about it at UMC security a few years ago. So I walked in and the head or supervisor was a woman who looked like a weight lifter. "No, you can't have one, they are for UMC employees only," would have sufficed. Instead she gave me a lecture about how they cost $40,000.

Anyway, I had taken Bev's car to the dealership, and then would bike home--it was such a nice day. So I set out to ride to TMC to get a feel for what would be my new bike commute. Boy was I in for a surprise!

First of all, the river bike path runs out quickly after Campbell Ave. I had always tought it went thru. So I rode up Campbell North from River Ave to Ina. Ina Road eventually turns into Skyline Drive, which I'm happy to report has been re-paved and there's bike line all the way to Swan. At Swan, there's about a 4 mile downhill into the office.

The thing I notied on Skyline/Ina is that people drive very fast. The pavement is all new and so is the bike lane--but again, it wasn't even rush hour and the road was busy and people were driving like bats out of Hell. I was able to ride quite fast myself--so I'll give it a try.

I stopped in a local bike shop and looked at a map and got their take on the commute. They offered up traveling down Glenn to TMC. So this might be an alternative to the danger roads mentioned above--or for when I running late and just want to get to work no-frills. There is no way I'm going to try and drive every day. I don't need that kind of stress.

Wish me luck everyone!


Sunday, February 12, 2006

300 Tales

I will tell you the sad story of my week. But I forced the happy ending I wanted as I could not sit at home while the wind howled through the desert landscape. My fellow Randonneurs where out there and I decided that I would get on the bike, ride from home, and meet Steve on the course to show my support.

Wednesday night my dog Callie woke me up about 2am because she needed to go outside. That was the start of things. Callie was sick all day on my birthday, and most of Friday. I would not be able to leave her alone in the house because she would have to go outside every half hour to suffer the runs.

After $200 at the vet and pills and injections, Callie was slowly getting back to her normal self. I had to forego the brevet, Gentle Readers, to take care of the dog. Bev had Nat'l Guard all weekend, and my neighbors who help me out in times like this, were out of town and I was taking care of their place.

Late Saturday afternoon when Callie finally took her first solid shit in three days--I could wait no more and jumped on the bike and took off. I kind of knew where I might meet Steve on the course--and I had called Susan our RBA for intellegence reports. My ride had been ready since Thursday so I got in the saddle and took off--my plan to draft Steve up the I-10 frontage road.

Mes Amis the wind was brutal and must have known my intentions. The wind was strong and relentless. I just tried to keep a steady pace and try to have fresh legs to draft Steve. I would ride out about 15 miles to meet him, then help him ride at least to the Picacho Peak Dairy Queen--further if I could get a ride back. My plan was to also ride with Steve in the darkness for the last long-haul to Casa Grande, bum a ride part way home if I had to.

My new Lumotec Lamp...

As I neared the Marana exit off I-10, I saw three lone riders on the course before I saw Steve. He and a group of other riders just pulled out of the mini-mart controle. I turned around and then sped up to meet them. I'm guessing Steve saw me and the pace line slowed for me to catch them.

What can I say? I rode and took my turn with the pace line. I was feeling strong and had to slow a few times because I think I was going a little too fast. The guys had already over 100 miles on their legs. In the pace line, John Heller and Eric Ewing caught up to where I was sitting and they couldn't believe it was me. I quickly negotiated a lift back to Tucson should I ride all the way to Casa Grande. I also had to promise that after the ride I would go out to the resturant for beer and grub.

The hub on my LeMond

So I rode with Steve and three other fellows up the frontage Rd. In my zeal to hit the road, I didn't quite bring enough warm clothes so as we neared the final controle at La Palma, I had to hang back out of the wind to stay warm--and wouldn't you know it--I flatted about a mile from the I-10 overpass. Everybody was cheerful and waited while I struggled with the tire.

I believe I rode about 75 or 80 miles. I just had to get out and ride. If I would have done the 300 I would have had to come home to a mess with the dog and Bev in my face, and I would be having to push a rug shampooer after riding 190 miles. So everything worked out just fine.

At the resturant, John and Eric paid for my dinner and beer. They had a change of clothes and there I was in my riding tights. I got some looks from the folks in the place but I didn't seem to care after a while. It was a good thing I did the ride because shortly after we had dinner the guys were falling asleep and were unable to drive or even stand. I ended up driving up back to Tucson while everyone else slept.

The best thing about this little trek is that my Schmitd Dynamo worked flawlessly. It was given to me by Gerry Goode, and although he complained about drag, I could feel none. The Lumotec light given to me by Steve worked well and I have one less thing to worry about. The light just looks like a motorcycle light and I can see the road and ride faster.

Yes the 300 seems to be my curse. The last one it rained and this one left me unable to even start. I'll have to do a make-up 300 someplace. But the 400 is around the corner, and then the 600--which I will be ready for come Hell or Highwater!

Allure Libre!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ride Report and Rant (sans expletives)

I've ridden in the last few days and it has been okay--kind of cold on Wednsday, but there was an awesome sunrise. I met this guy named Alex on Mountain Ave and rode with him for awhile. His ride is 17 miles and he rides it 3 days a week. I was cold but he seemed nice and warm because he had on more layers. This morning I had on more layers and my ride was much more pleasant.

Well, there's an unknow cyclist up in UMC. He got hit Tuesday at Mountain and Roger. I know this intersection well. Last night on the way home I went through that intersection and I could see where the police had painted marks and arrows on the pavement.

Apparently at this 4 Way Stop, a lady ran the stop sign and just turned left and ran over the guy. He's still unconscience and had no ID, so they don't know who he is. They suspect that he's an out-of-town visitor, maybe a guy out here training in Tucson because of the nice weather.

There's also this student named Tina that I see around and say hi too. She's a triathlet and soon to be medical student. A few days ago the same thing happened to her--a guy turned left, and instead of running her over, she slammed into his truck. Her collar bone shattered. At least the guy stopped and helped her out and got her to the Hospital.

So I am being extra careful these days, mes amis, and I'm wearing the Road ID Steve got me as a Christmas present. If I do get run over, the ID had phone numbers and tells emergency guys that I don't have allergic reactions to stuff etc etc.

I helped this girl out at the reference desk with some of her research this morning--statistics from CDC or someplace like that. Anyway, looking at the number of how people get killed, we are much more likely to get killed in a car wreck--like 30,000 more times--than to get killed riding a bike.

But Tucson is kind of messed up--like this guy said in the paper in the editorial: lived in Tucson for four decades and seen that Tucson has never had a plan for growth, its run by developers and car dealerships--and do you think they give a Rat's Ass about streets and hwys and us getting to our jobs? Gentle Readers, as long as they can get our asses in one of their custom homes that's about all they care about.

Its not easy to get around parts of the city, and Mountain Ave, which is the premire bike commute street in Tucson with its eleoquently designed bike friendly 30 mph (for cars) Avenue of Love--O no! Its the speed zone for the slackers who work at UMC and go to UofA that are running late, trying to beat the traffic, and trying to get there. Everybody speeds, nobody stops at the lights or 4 way stops. I usually have to physically put my arm out and yell "Stop!" And they act surprised to see me. If they even see me at all.

On a happy note--the last few days I drove, it sucked so bad. When I drove to the park, then biked--where I missed all the backed up traffic--I actually got home 10 minutes earlier. It was still light outside and I had time to take Callie to the park to play ball.