Friday, July 28, 2006

Ride Report--the River

I drove to the car dealership to drop off 22x. Last week, I rolled down the window to let the hot air out of the car before the drive home. Well the window would not come back up--it was busted! So I drove real quick down to the dealership and they guys got it up, but the appointment to make the window operational was today.

So I dropped off the car and biked into the office. The commute was short, and it was such a beautiful morning, I took my time.

With all the rain, there is water running in the river.

I remember one time me and my friend Jim Wilson went down to the Missuori River in the dead of winter, back in my South Dakota days. The Missouri had been frozen, but now big chunks of ice, big as cars and houses, where crashing down the river at a quick pace. If you stood there and watched and listened, you would hear an eerie parade like people running and pushing, and a crushing-breaking sound. It was an event that happened maybe once a year and you had to be in right place at the right time to witness it.

It was the same this morning. The rain has made the river wild again...

Allure Libre

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ride Report

30 miles round-trip today.

Ride in: On the iPod--Beck--"Guero"
Only 96 for a hight today in Tucson, so this morning was nice and cool--77 degrees. Rain clouds hung on the mountains. I left from the YMCA and road Ina to Skyline to Sunrise.

So got in and talked with Dr. Steve (head doctor at TMC and cyclist) who was just finishing up in the locker room. He told me he's been using this stuff he gets at Trader Joe's. It looks like Slim Fast type stuff. I might try it. Slim Fast is crammed full of potassium and calcium--but there's a lot of junk in it too. Then there's Ensure. Some of the Randonneurs swear by Ensure--which I thought was just for very old sick people. But the TV adds have healthy greying baby boomers driving in a red Corvette, and drinking that shit. Also the ad implys they have hot monkey love because they drink Ensure--like its fortified with Viagra. Mainly its crammed full of patassium and calcium...

I was so hungry when I got into the office--my time for the 15 mile commute (mostly climbing) was 56 minutes. That's 4 to 5 minutes off my regular time. I was so hungry that by 10 am I ate all the lunch I packed, and had to go buy a lunch in the cafiteria at Noon. Some creepy TMC employee lady kept making snort sounds and stood too freakin close to me in the line.

Ride home--head wind. But I didn't have to stop and rest at the Circle K on La Cholla and Orange Grove like I usually have to do. That's because I drank as much water as I cold about an hour before I left for home--like my belly was swollen. And I ate a cliff bar so I didn' bonk.

The best thing about today is that it wasn't 90 degrees at 6:30 am for the ride in, and wasn't 106 degrees for the ride home. It was like 10 degrees cooler. I felt really happy and things seemed green and spring-like. My heart was light!

For the first time in a long time, there wasn't that feeling that the sun was steadily vaporizing my body and soul. Damn! Where is a pretty girl to kiss when you need one? That's how good it felt not to ride home in a blast furnace!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bike and Swim

Yesterday I rode into the office. Going home was pretty darn hot--but not so bad because I just did the short commute, which is 10 miles one way. Most of that is on the River Path and one can take it easy.

I was still a little sore from my crash Sunday morning... With dinner I had a glass of some really tasty red wine. Dang but it made me very sleepy! But I got it together and ironed shirts for the week, and brought the clothes in today.

For lunch I took the campus bike down to the park for some laps. A beauiful day and I'm getting the whole routine down; more time in the pool instead of fumbling for keys and change of clothes and towels, etc. Being able to park the campus bike in a bike rack next the Cardiac Rehab center saves me about 10 minutes round trip.

I feel fortunate that I can get out and exercise, and I have the support of my boss...


Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Wolf

Sunday morning I did a 40 mile ride with John Heller, Eric Ewing, and Larry and his wife Joan.
5:30 am start from John's house in Continental Ranch, over the front side of Gates Pass, McCain Loop, Sandario--and then up Twin Peaks Rd.

On McCain loop, I got a glimps of The Wolf--a Tucson icon. And from what Joan said, Gentle Readers--a lost soul bound to ride Tucson's roadways for Eternity.

Enjoi the photos, mes amis!

On Gates Pass Rd, early in the morning.

The climbing starts.

Larry, Joan, and John.

Another view going up to the top.

Its been awhile since I rode out here. The scenery is excellent.

On the way up in our pace line, somehow Eric and I got too close when we were changing positions--and our handlebars locked up. I went down. The tandum was behind me and they just missed rolling over me... I was okay. Just a little scraped up. Luckily we weren't going all that fast, and the bike was okay. Glad I didn't break my new camera!

I'm more sore today actually. Got a bit of road rash on my hip.

More scenery on the ascent up Gates Pass Road.

I snap a shot of John at the top.

Larry and Joan on their new tandum. We're on the McCain Loop.

Eric, a strong rider--all muscle--on McCain Loop.

Water stop on Sandario Rd.

Rednecks enjoying their filth, making a stop for beer and cigarettes.

Eric, John, and Larry.

Down Sandario Road, we have a tail wind, and the tandum really takes off. We ride tops at 28 and 31 MPH drafting behind the tandum! When the tandum gets some momentum on the flats, they can really move. It was awesome, mes amis!

The last hill-- up and over Twin Peaks Road. Looming in the heat of the morning, Picacho Peak.

Allure Libre!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Doing the Math

I rounded up my daily commute by car to my office--one way--to 25 miles. So that makes milage for the day 50 miles. For the week, five days of driving, the total is 250 miles.

1000 miles per month if I drive to work five days a week.

If I were to only ride round-trip 20 miles, five days a week, which would be my shortest easiest commute distance by bicycle, for one month--that would be 400 miles on the bike.

So by putting out very little effort (in terms of the difficulty and short distance of that 10 mile commute) I am significantly reducing the miles I drive by car.

Wow--600 miles compared to 1000 miles.

Not that I will ever be able to accomplish this, but say I rode my 30 mile round trip commute route every day for one month. That would be 600 miles on the bike--still 400 miles by car.

The Pros--Saving the Planet, getting buff, feeling fit and ready for brevets, and energy for all my girlfriends, mes amis!

The Cons--Up my chance of being run over by a car.

Today I did drive in, but I got it together and went and swam laps at the pool for my lunch hour.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Marana Scottsdale Marana

Marana to Scottsdale and Back Again,
A Randonneur's Tale.

The jersey says it all, mes amis--

Sleep deprivation
Dog attacks
Pouring sweat
Blazing heat
Brush with the Law!
Spills (I crashed! Find out what happened!)
Flat tires (just one--with 9 miles to go to the end, of course)
let's see, what else? Oh yeah,
Speeding Tickets! (Steve got busted!)

New camera so lots of photos. Click on them to see larger images!

3 a.m., Our Heroes apply sunblock.

Sunrise through the eyes of the new camera--and Heroes with little sleep and no coffee.

Heroes at dawn's early light.

Jeff Middleton meets us at IHOP in Casa Grande, and gives us intelligence about alternative routes for our trek. Jeff and I worked together at AHSL back in the Day, mes amis!

Casa Grande behind us, now the open road.

A sense of adventure--we'll take a short cut...

Sacaton, Arizona, here we come!

Gentle Readers, the young women at Sacaton's only store charged us $ .50 per water bottle for ice out of the soda machines. Steve paid for it and we needed the ice--they said they didn't have any water. I got the feeling they didn't like cyclists. Unfortunately we'll need to stop here again on the way back to chez moi--because its the only place with any services, even if it sucks.

Through the desert, the reservation, and here at this spot the world changes. I did enjoi going thru Sacaton because it seems we're here faster. This marks a turning point and the home stretch, albeit a long 40 miles through the Inferno of Phoenix.

South of South Mountain. If you've been perusing the blog, you know that this is a welcome site and a morale booster for me--we're about in Phoenix... Well, 20 miles south, and soon to be 20 miles north.

Steve on the Maricopa Hwy. Steve will be the first to tell you that there is still a ways to go. We'll ride North to South Mtn, and then East through Gaudalupe--and then into Tempe.

Traffic and the urge to keep rolling means I don't have photos of the last leg. It was very hot, and we were needing to stop and re-supply with ice and water rather than look for photo-ops.
One incident of note is that the cops in Paradise Valley rolled up behind us in steath mode, then the officer got on his PA speaker and commanded us we had to ride single file. Steve ignored him, and I used very unappropriate body language to let Officer Dick Donut know I would not comply. I could have gotten in trouble, but Officer Donut must have had somebody's grandmother to bust because he did a U-Turn and took off. If you happen to be a police officer working in the afflent suburb of Paradise Valley, and you're reading this--you can go fuck off.

Well, that mishap was soon forgotten when we arrived in Scottsdale, Arizona--130 miles and one braying jack ass down the street later!

I was able to take a quick shower, and go hit the sack for a few hours while Kim made us one of her famous dinners. I recall the wine being red, chilled, and tastey! We went to DQ after and I had a dipped chocolate ice cream cone. I fell asleep by 8 p.m.

The Return trip to Marana
2:15 a.m.
Steve already has a pot of coffee going, and fries up some eggs. He puts them between two pieces of bread, like a sandwich. We put them in baggies and stow them on board. I cram one of last night's chicken breasts Kim made for dinner into my face, while gulping down a bottle of Ensure--Steve's new secret weapon.

Phoenix at 3 a.m. is still hot, Gentle Readers. For a few miles Steve and I slip silently through the last bit of Scottsdale, then zip among the sleeping formations of Papago Park, and soon to the Campus of ASU. We decided to skip I HOP in Tempe instead to go to Burger King in Chandler to save time.

Burger King in not open--but a mexican place is -- and we're there! Steve is inside and ordering, but I have noticed something messed up with my saddle. It has slipped down about half and inch and is not straight. My ass has been hurting for the 35 miles or so to breakfast stop--no wonder! The saddle is fixed thank God, and I am happy for the next 100 miles.

All I can say about this breakfast place, and eating breakfast with a bunch of mexicans, is that good food transcends nationalities... I could have done without the gyrating Latinas on the MTV like disco show--blaring on the TV...

Sacaton Revisited

We need water. We must stop in Sacaton. Our shortcut/experimental route was okay, but I have to say we were running out of water and energy because we were fighting a tough headwind now. All that hard riding against the wind drains you quickly, and you have to stay hydrated and keep eating to keep up your energy.

At close to 7 a.m. we got to the only store. It was closed, so we decided to wait a few minutes until it would open. I was looking around and thought for a second that I couldn't find the sign that said the hours. "Hey Steve, where do you see the sign that says the hours?" "Its right there on the left side--by the door." I couldn't see what he was taking about. I figured it was just my fatigue that was confusing me. "I don't see what you're talking about." "Right there. Right there on the--well, I thought it was right there--right..."

There was no sign. And we realized we were in trouble.

"Don't expect that place to open anytime soon." It was a firefighter getting gas for his Jeep. "Do you guys need anything?" He could tell we were pretty beat. "We need water." "The fire station is just down the road. I'll meet you guys there. You can get ice and water--and anything else you need." Our lucky day, mes amis.

This guy was Mike, and we got to the fire station and loaded up with ice and water. All the crew was there, and they said we could always stop for ice and water when we were in town.

Just by the fire house in Sacaton, was this place. After I took the picture of this building above and started off, my front tire sank thru the crust and into sand of the dirt-packed side road. It slammed me to the ground. My main concern was that I might have busted the bladder of my Camelbak--I didn't thank goodness!

After climbing out of Sacaton, and over I-10. We made some speed through Casa Grande and made another stop for water. We were now on one of the familiar brevet routes--on Jimmy Kerr Blvd headed to Eloy.

Eloy, Arizona.

Dream Rock

Last MSM trip we stopped at an old concrete slab, the foundation of an old house or business. Large trees keep the slab cool, and to lay down on the slab makes you're back feel great, and the shade is inviting.

I call this place Dream Rock because when I layed down in the shade to cool off from the concrete, I suddenly found myself tumbling into an eerie deep sleep--like an avalance of REM. Really it was some kind of scary trap and dangerous because it felt like I was melting and falling into a deep void. Steve had the same experience and we got out of there because I believe I would have slept there for hours--who knows what would have happened to us?

Still, the temptation to rest there again was strong. And we did rest there but we were more careful.

Too hot even for the dogs in Picacho. But we keep our eyes open.

Picacho probably has seen better days...

DQ at Picacho Peak is not far--its 107 and we ride against a headwind.

Picacho Peak. You get sight of the Peak heading South just as you're leaving the city limits of Casa Grande, about 30 miles away. We made a quick stop for water and ice (later we find out it was 110 degrees out on the road) and as we make our way down the Frontage Road, the Peak gradually shirnks behind us.

Normally we would keep going, but we plan to make a stop for water at the Marana Circle K. We'll have about 9 more miles to my house, in which the last 6 are a grueling climb. Oh yeah, when we pull into Circle K--I have a flat.

Again we opt for not changing out the tube. Instead we'll put air in the tire and ride until it goes flat again.

This is about the last mile of the six mile climb to my house. That's Mt. Lemon in the back ground. With 120 miles under your legs, and tempatures over 100 degrees, every mile takes all you've got. You really keep hoping you see that traffic signal on Tangerine and Dove Mtn Blvd. You can see it just at the crest of the road.

But, instead of arriving like Hobbits at the entrance of Mt. Doom--with the One Ring--we are at my place! We have done it--Marana to Scottsdale and Back Again.

After 263 miles, I cook up Spam and eggs as our post-ride lunch, mes amis...

Sorry Kim--but that is really all I had in the frig!

Allure Libre, Mes Amis!

"You're Just a Little Dog" or Prelude to M S M

Mes Amis, Gentle Readers, Skeptics, and Mental Health Professionals--Marana Scottsdale Marana was insane! Images and comments will follow in a few days! I have a new camera, and will upload the images of our ride as soon as I can. Until then, know that I am exhausted, 10 pounds lighter, and sunburned the redish-brown colour of which is the hue of the earth and mountains of the Desert Southwest.

The ride kind of went like this:

Steve says, "Hey, let's ride through Picacho instead of the long way around." He means that this time let's save some miles and take the chance that the Dogs of Picacho will not go after us. All of you must know by now that Susan Plonsky, our beloved RBA, got chased by these scruffy dogs everytime she did recon for the brevets--so she wrote a warning in the cue sheets for riders to be wary. Everyone heeded her advise...

But today we're gonna slip through these few blocks becasue we are doing M S M, Baby!

We enter their turf--it is strangly quiet. Suddenly there's a growl and a charging animal! Hey, wait a second--its a puny little runt/yippy dog!

I laughed out loud, and cried "You're just a little dog--" My god but that was the most pathetic attack I've ever seen, and I laughed some more.

Up ahead. 50 yards. Two big dogs--pissed off--wait for us.


Here's last year's M S M ride report for your perusal!

Allure Libre!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bike and Swim

I had a pretty good ride into the office this morning. I parked at the YMCA this time--wanted to park at the golf course, but that would be 18 miles instead of 15 and I was running behind schedule--

My new Brooks saddle was giving me a great deal of pain--you guess where--so I decided I would try Gerry Goode's instructions on how to break in a Brooks saddle in 100 miles. You soak the saddle in warm water for 15 t0 30 minutes before you ride--slap the saddle on then ride about 20 miles--you're supposed to do this five times. And keep it oiled with saddle oil...

The saddle was already much softer on my sit bones, and maybe because I'm a big guy, my weight speeded the process of form fitting.

Kind of as I was suspecting, one of my legs might be a bit shorter/longer because I could see the lop-sidedness of the contour of the saddle. My cleats might be off too. What ever the case, if I can soften up this saddle it will be a major advancement in my ultra riding.

I finally got myself to Ft Lowell pool, which is open year-round for lap swim--and just not even half mile away--and I swam laps for about 20 minutes. Once I get everything figured out, I can save time and get there and back in an hour. What held me up today is that one of the Physical Theraphy fellows had just got back from his run--he tried to hurry but I didn't mind waiting. We only have one shower in our little locker room. I just took a quick shower and changed back into work clothes.

So that was kind of cool to ride into work, swim 700 meters (I am pretty sure it is a 50 meter pool) and now have the rest of the day to concentrate on whatever.

Have a great day, mes amis!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Windy Ride Home

We closed down the office at 3, so I took my time knowing I'd have lots of time to relax, eat something, and take Callie out for her cardio workout at the park, mes amis.

So I conserved energy and found a nice speed to get home, and tried not to think of the wind as my enemy so much. It was 100 degrees, but a steady headwind kept me cool. I also ate a Cliff Bar before I left, and had one for the half-way point as a boost to get me home. I also had salt tablets and endurolites--and of course plenty of water. So when I got home I wasn't so beat up.

I did have to stop and get water at Thornydale and Cortaro Farms before my desert crossing back up to Dove Mtn.

I take an old Jeep road, Camino de Oeste, which translates from the Spanish as Easterly Way or Easterly Road (funny it runs North and South) through the desert for about four miles. Open desert on the East side is now very swank yuppie homes, called Sky Ranch. The lots start at $475,000--just for the lot and not even a house, mes amis! And the houses are all packed together "Buttcheek-to-buttcheek" and it is a dirty rotten shame. Beautiful desert bladed to put up ticky-tacky. And the shacks aren't even that big--and they're gross... I suppose one could step outside of their casa, on a hot desert morning, look to the Mountains, and see his or her neighbor flossing thier teeth next door thru the window. I'd pay $400,000 to see that, yep! I mean the houses are so close you'd be able to her the neighbor's offsprings' pet gerbils fart the walls are so thin! I suppose I'm digressing quite quickly...

Well, rather than take what's left of the jeep road (can't ride too fast because of sandy spots) I cut into the development to find a short-cut to Tangerine. Well it was not to be and I was soon lost in the maze of the homes. I found a way out thru the large open gates of the community--which don't seem to be activated yet--when they are, they will be some of the largest gates of a gated community I've every seen! It was just eerie because there are a few hundred homes in various stages of being built, and people don't live there yet...

Soon I was home. I had ridden 25 miles. Just under two hours-- What a great day!
Took a shower, ate, slept for 30 minutes, and then Callie got me up to go to the park.

Allure Libre!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July Freedom Commute to the Office

Yep, that's right! Freedom, Baby! C'est ce bon! It is so Good!

I took off from Dove Mnt this fine morning--about 80 degrees but that's okay... There was a headwind on my climb of 9 miles but I hung in there. Traffic was so sparse; it was mainly the cyclists out but they all seemed to be going the other way--down Skyline--instead of climbing like me.

I finally got to Skyline and Campbell and enjoyed the descent, then the one last climb to Swan. What a beautiful day to go 35 mph down hill to the office.

Bike computer says 24.3 miles in 1 hour and 33 minutes. Wind was strong, and of course I have to climb for about half of that--All in all I feel pretty good. In part to bringing enough water and a huge lunch--and a pretty loaded snack before I leave tonight--but I won't be carrying the backpack on the way home. That will free up the shoulders and keep me cooler.

I still have to get my ass home tonight, but you know mes amis, I feel I could do this commute not every day, but at least once a week. I feel tired of course, but my engine seems to be idling strong. I feel great. Let's see how tired I am when I get home.

Stef and Team Mooney were probably just starting the climb up to Mt. Lemon this morning. I should have taken the day off and done that. Not much happening here at work...

Allure Libre!