Monday, August 28, 2006

1-800-Call Kim

Who ya gonna call?

Our adventure actually begins early in the morning. Even earlier if you must know, Gentle Readers--It was a long week for Yours Truly. He arrives at Steve's Friday night, just in time for a cold beer, a shower--then hits the hay.

Bruce and Steve leave at 5:30 a.m. and hey--its light outside! For once they are not riding in darkness--the light is good for photos. Here they are just rolling onto Mill Ave--and look! Its the Old Mill. Steve says its an eye sore but Bruce sees it as tres chic iconic.

Mill Ave. place to hang out and have a few beers...

Arrival at breakfast. Time for our Randonneurs to eat, have coffee, and wake up. Bruce has been here before and convinces Steve that it will be well worth it. The food is good, and the waitresses vivacious. Like any good waitress, ours pretends to be interested and impressed with our cycing exploits.

After breakfast, Steve leads the party over Hwy 60--this is the point of No Return, mes amis!

Horse's Ass on the Rez.

Big screen TV of water flowing like a river or stream--out in the middle of no where on the Rez.

Randonneur Self-Portrait while riding in a headwind on the Rez. Headwind --makes for a long ride as energy is steadily drained out of you. At least the Brave Randonneur pictured above got smart and wore sunscreen.

Stoic beauty of the mountains on the reservation.

Indian kids on the Rez. They want to know where Steve and Bruce came from and where they're going. A trade is negotiated; a pose for a photograph in exchange for Bruce's lunch money.

Baseline area of South Phoenix. This is the back way the Randonneurs take for a few miles through the ghetto...

The other "A" Mountain, near the ASU Campus.

Papago Park, on the way back to Scottsdale.

Oh yes, its at this point in the adventure that things start to go to Hell--by now, Gentle Readers of this blog, it is well over 103 degrees. Our heros experience mechanical and mental odds and ends. Kim, wife of Randonneur Steve, calls, and she's nearby--with the Mystery Van!

The Mystery Van arrives! So it will 90 miles today instead of 115.

Mystery Van loaded with bikes, and tired Randonneurs.

Top Dog!


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Raleigh "Marathon" Bike

Back in early August I rolled into the Glenn Ave. Junk Man's Barn--and just as predicted--I found a diamond in the rough. Among several hundred other bikes and other junk, this bike was in a pile of of old Huffys, Sears girls bikes, and knock-off mtn bikes.

This Raleigh "Marathon" probably dates from between 1984 to 1986. From What I can tell its either been taken very good care of, or hardly ridden. Saddly, its looks like its been sitting in that old dude's barn for well over 10 years. The striking thing about this bike is that the frame is quite large. My guess would be at least 67 centemeters--only very tall, big fellows much like myself can ride a large frame like this--and being all steel--these large frame bikes are soft riding and have a certain feel on the road that I can't describe; sturdy, secure, powerful might be a few words that come to mind.

This emblem is the Raleigh Heron and although it reads, "Cycle Company of America" it is not made in the United States. From some blogs and discussion lists on the web, its most certainly not made in England either--but Japan, or possibly even Taiwan. From what I read, Japanese-made frames, like my 1977 Raleigh Super Grand Prix, are supposedly of superior quality. If this bike (the frame) I aquired for a mere $50.00 is Japanese made, then I am in luck--Taiwanese are said to be hit or miss. On a bike discussion list, someone said they bought a bike like this in 1984 for $350.00, which he said was quite a bit of money at the time.

The large ring here looks a little worn but the frame has almost no scratches--and no cracks, so its not been crashed or smashed by the other bikes while stored in the barn. Anyway, I have a good feeling about this bike and since its not made in England (I've now found from my research on the web that Nottingham-made Raleigh frames are very desireable) I'm not opposed to converting it into a single speed/fixed gear bike. This means stripping it down to frame and wheels. I believe when done it will be a work of art.

All this will go, however when Phil looked this bike over briefly at Pima Street Bikes (I dragged it into the shop right before they were closing on a Friday late afternoon) He noticed the wheels were made by a Belguim company. Since he builds wheels, they may be the only thing of value on this bike as far as he's concerned.

"Sport Touring Geometry, 12 Speed 39-100" Not sure exactly what they're boasting about here exactly--so if you know, get word to me.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Sunday Ride Report, or 51 MPH

5:45 a.m. start from John's house--I arrive late so its a 6 a.m. start--

Larry and Joan on the tandum.

We have a friendly dash up the front side of Gates Pass--Eric smokes us!

And he rubs it in! Eric and Yours here at the top of Gates Pass.

Eric reaches top speed of 51 MPH down Gates Pass, and shows us his bike computer--which he has removed from the bike--as proof. That's a little too fast for me. I reached top speed of 42 MPH but I was being pretty careful not to break my neck on this fast descent. But it was impressive I must say!

After McCain Loop, there's a bit of a competition to see who can get to the Chevron first for our water stop. For the next several miles, John, Eric, and I are battling it out--to see who will buy Lil Debbie Cupcakes. The winner buys. Eric is having a good day and beats us--but John and I are hot on his heels.

Half cyclist/half wolf? I got a glimps of Lobos on McCain Loop, mes amis, and got a quick snap-shot. We suddenly had to stop because rocks and sand had washed onto the road. The Wolf was stealthfuly streaming by us.

The last 10 miles the tandum drafted us through a strong head wind. There was one last hill on Twin Peaks Rd, and I know John, Eric, and Yours were all waiting to see who would pounce first to be on top of the hill. As we near, nobody seems to want to make a move--then Eric goes and I go right after him. Its me and Eric going up the hill, and I'm letting Eric pull me up. Then all of the sudden Eric runs out of steam--I'm a bit close to his wheel; great another crash with Eric I say to myself--but I slip past and then hammer to the top!

I must confess to you, Gentle Reader, that the first time I rode up this hill was my first El Tour. I was having leg cramps and I just barely got up this hill--an old lady passed me on a mountain bike, as well as a couple of little kids. It was humiliating and painful. Of course now its just a bad-ass hill that you just take on. But big guys like me suffer on hills so its nice when I can have a little satisfaction and beat Eric, "The Wing" on this particular day.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blog the Good Blog

Gentle Readers,

Rain is no excuse not to be on the bike. I've been busy but I still find time to ride in and try to swim laps on my lunch hour. Steve and I will try to get some rides going--so you can read about our pain and suffering, and see the pictures too!

In the meantime, I wanted you all to know that I'm trying to stay fit and trying to decide about riding Cochise again--because now its two months away! I have to really put in the miles to prepare, and lay off the donuts and ice cream... (Just playing--I don't eat that shit anymore)Please send words of encourgement because I'm waiting for fellow Randonneur Paul Layton to maybe bail me out and ask me to be his crew chief on the 252--Or Steve, the star of the blog, to be my crew chief--he can ride in the comfort of 22X while I suffer through/enjoi the bliss of 252 miles... He can yell out the window and say things like, "Faster, you sonofabitch! Faster!"

Enjoi the photos of a typical lunch to the pool for lap swim!

My campus bike is parked in back of the Pain Clinic. A short walk from the back door of the Library. Its like an old patio so the bike is out of the sun and rain and I don't mind leaving it outside. On Friday, I put the campus bike in the bike locker for the weekend... My bike locker takes too long to walk to and back after a swim, so this parking spot saves me about 12 minutes.

I cut through the TMC Campus, which is full of desert flora planted from the 1920s and 1930s--when TMC was a TB sanitorium.

This is the intersection of Glenn and Craycroft. Fort Lowell Park is on the right. The old Fort dates back to the 1850s. The old Army Hospital, and some of the old barracks can still be seen in the park, however, they are ruins and unoccupied.

Entrance to the park...

Summer lap swim is $1.00 and I try to swim for 25 minutes--Wow its like so crowded, mes amis! I feel like I have my own private lane, and its the same people swimming each day.

After my swim, its a quick ride back to the office--I've discovered that the water tower was built in 1924, not 1927 as I had previously thought. I wish I could have gotten one of the bike lockers there on the lower right hand corner of this picture. I've never seen them used. People probably got them, never used them--and then haven't worked at TMC for years...

My office used to be the old indoor pool. The locker room still remains and is never used except by me, and Dr. Wool, another cyclist. Its like having my own private locker room. Oh yeah, and fee towel service, as the Cardio Rehab is next door and they let me get a couple of towels.

So I'm able to change, ride to lap swim, swim 25 to 30 minutes, and ride back all within about an hour. The lap pool is open year-round. Pretty cool...


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Monsoon Days

Monsoon Days in Tucson. I commute into the office and just keep up on what it might do from day to day with rain storms. So far I've not been rained on, but last weekend my ride with John and Eric got rained out--at 5:30 a.m. as we were about to take off, it poured rain with lots of lightening.

Back seat folded down, the bike is packed in the trunk the night before. All I have to do is get out of bed, get on the bike clothes, feed the dog, and roll out.

The YMCA at 6 a.m. Parking is full--this is the busiest Y I've ever seen. It seems to be crowded from when it opens until when it closes. I have to be careful not to get run over by people hurrying to yoga or early morning lap swim.

I ride past the Pima Community College campus.

Another view of PCC--a quick and safer shortcut up to Ina Rd.

Arrival at TMC bike lockers. This particular morning I felt pretty good. From PCC and East on Ina Rd, I pretty much have to climb all the way up to Campbell Ave--about 9 miles. It is a workout, mes amis.

Going home, later that afternoon, I have a flat. During the rains, all kinds of debris washes into the street. This flat was caused by a thorn. I was just at Glenn and Campbell, and pulled into the bike shop near there. I changed out the tube and the wrench aired up my tire for me. Which was nice because I didn't have to use the hand pump to air up the tire--the hand pump works okay, but its hard to use sometimes--so that was lucky.

With all the rain, the Riallto River actually looks like a river. However with all the rain the last few days, the river rose over its banks, and flooded the bike path. After a few days the water subsided, and I could get through--but it was muddy and sandy.

Rain in the mountains and then the rivers and washes flood. It could be clear on the way to work, but going home, the water from Mt. Lemon, pictured here from about River and La Cholla Roads, swells everything a few hours later.

From where I took the photo, I ride North on La Cholla and make a steady climb for a few miles back up to Ina--then to PCC and the YMCA.