Sunday, February 26, 2012

Look for the Architect

Rendezvous at the park for a afternoon ride. Saw this old piece of ornate work that's probably left over from years gone by. This is in the parking lot of the park by the Kansas River.

Forecast for Interzone was that it would be well into the 60's, Gentle Readers of This Blog. This got me pretty excited during the week, and I got all my little mundane chores done before the weekend so I could ride! At Celebrity Spin Class, everyone was pretty excited too--everyone was talking about getting out on the road and puttin' in some miles! But spirits seemed to sink as the wind came up with a vengeance.

Ended up that it was just me who committed to the afternoon ride with Steve. I'd never met Steve--he's not in Celebrity Spin. "Look for the Architect," everyone in spin said. "Okay--look for the Architect..." I replied. So while riding out to meet Steve, I though to myself, "What does an Architect look like?" No matter--there was Steve rolling up on his bike--and then quickly (Steve is fast, mes amis) we were on our way.

Retired for now.

Steve and I would do the quick "Monday Night Ride" which is the short 8 miles out and back jaunt that some of the Club does. I'd been out this way before but not on this route. Steve had emailed me the route, which was a image from Google Maps--so I was eager to get out there. 8 miles through the old West Lawrence neighborhood and by the River--where the large Victorian homes as still aging gracefully--and then on our way for a quick leg on the Farmer's Turnpike.

Old WPA Power Pole--preserved and still on the job!

The Old Power Pole is at the entrance to the power plant that serves Lawrence mes amis. Its a symbolic statement and I appreciate the thought behind it--how would you know what a power pole from the 1930's looked like? I'm glad I got a photo of it for you Gentler Readers as last time I passed by I was in hurry to get home.

Is Spring on the way?

Steve and I had a good ride and I'm glad I met him! He's fast and I could just barely keep up with him. I can tell I'm much more fit from the spin class--still the wind and hills are something I need to work on. I'll get dropped if I can't get my butt up on the climbs and stay with the pack!

Our ride was only about 16 miles on the after-work club course--but they were just right for a quick spin after a day at the office. Also, we can all get home before dark. I do need to ride at a quicker cadence and with the pack--better if the pack will be just a little faster. Will help me improve my riding, even if I'm pushing myself to the max on just a short ride.

Ride is not complete without a few blocks of shaking my bones!

Raleigh Super Grand Prix at The Little House.

I had a fun 20 mile ride with Steve, and it was just as good if not better than a longer 30 or 40 mile ride I've done out in the Wilds on my own. As the weather improves, I think more people will come out. I look forward to making new friends on the rides, and actually riding with the friends I've made in spin class--also, like Steve said--he can help me find some faster and safer routes around the city and in the Wilds.

Cheers! Bruce

Monday, February 13, 2012

Snow and Ride Into Work

Riding onto campus past the iconic Arch of 1926.

Not too cold--but I wore my rain pants as there was still a bit of rain falling and I wanted to stay dry.

The Dorm for the Haskell Athletes

Gazebo from about 1901, right across the library where I work.

Looking North up Barker--the light there is the intersection of Barker and 23rd St. which going East (to the right) turns into K-10 or the bee-line to Kansas City. Its a very busy intersection mes amis!

I'm riding in the ruts made by the cars...

15 MPH -- yeah right! Motorists fly through this round-about--most never even yield, they just think the bigger their car or truck, or the more expensive it is than yours--you gotta get out of their way. Do you think they'll yield to a cyclist? Don't bet on it--but actually most do because I put out the stern "halt" with my arm to let them know I am in the lane and I have the right away!

Through all that mess and a quick spin through Old East Lawrence (Interzone) back to The Little House.

Can you believe my Desert San Tucson Bike is now my hardy Urban Street Slayer? Ha!

Cheers! Bruce

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Morning Mortals

The Mighty Trek.

My routine, Gentle Readers of This Blog, is bike to work everyday then Tuesday and Thursday evening spin class with the Bike Club--then a 10:30 Sunday Morning spin class. I wish I had more exciting posts for you--but its Winter here in Kansas and pretty cold! Luckily the snow and rain have not been pounding us (that may change as some snow is on the way tonight) so I will ride to work as long as I can.

It would be nice to ride to Celebrity Spin Class but just too cold, mes amis. I leave the Mighty Trek in the rig shop all week like you see in the photos. Best thing about the Celebrity Spin is that I've gotten to know a few people and learned about the different sects of the club. Got myself on the email list for one such group and typically they like to ride Sunday mornings--fast but not too fast. They like to ride in a group and not drop stragglers.

My HR Zones from when Boss and I trained it the Tucson Foothills last year.

I've been in the Spin class since December 29th and I have to say that I'm riding a good part of the time in Zone 3 and just into Zone 4. I do feel like I'm getting stronger and now during the workouts I try hard to spin at a higher cadence for longer in those higher Zones. I've only been able to reach 158 as my highest HR and have been able to sustain 153 to 155 for two minutes--but I really have to mash in the big ring to get up there.

Class is over--its been a great hour of spinning!

They found a spot for me against that bench because I had come in with rollers and nobody wanted me to be falling over. I'm glad I moved up towards the front because like I mentioned I've gotten to know some of the Bike Club Members who are active and like to have fun and explore different roads.

In the Celebrity Spin Class there are the elite riders who look fast even sitting up on their trainers. Then there are the mere mortals like me--I sweat like a pig, mes amis-- and I'm working hard. I want to get faster and stronger--I want to be ready for the first 200 km Brevet March 24th. Then there are the people just there to socialize and hang out with their friends.

There's the good-looking Cougars who enjoy all the attention from the fellahs--even me, making eye contact with the cute blonde when I look over my shoulder. Come time on the road I wonder if I'm gonna be able to keep up with them. They all look fit and strong--but in class don't seem to work hard.

For me, I think I'm gonna have to tough out the first 200--it will no doubt be cold and wet with snow come late March. Even this morning some of the people were talking about an April ride that was miserable and frigid cold.

I hope you get to have good days and can ride, Gentle Reader of This Blog... Allure Libre!

Cheers! Bruce

Monday, February 06, 2012

Rides His Bike

Thought I better start riding with a helmet again.

Not much to report on, Gentle Readers of This Blog--I am commuting to work every day just under two miles. Since I've heard that the bridge I would ride under on the bike path to reach my new office is being replaced--I have to ride on a busier street. The street is really a regular residential street, but a lot of drivers use is as a quick short cut--and by quick I mean speeders.

I've started to wear my road helmet on my very short commute. Mainly because its white and more visible. Also I put two very bright red strobe lights on the back of my bike to caution the speeding motorists to just relax and slow up a second. My new coat is a wind and water-proof shell. I got it 30 percent off so although expensive, it is a coat I could wear on Brevets--I like the bright red again for visibility. I'm told all the "Bros" wear them, but always black. A "Bro" is a frat boy--usually a bit drunk and loud--but for the most part harmless. I've seen them after being at one of Rico's shows. They're just out having a good time.

Very bright red strobe lights. You can't tell but yeah they're bright and they flash big-time--you can see them for at least a half mile or more.

I can tell when an impatient driver is coming up behind me by the sound of their engine--they want to speed up to pass me, but since I'm riding about 16 MPH they usually have to back off a bit and wait. Some people don't give a fuck and just pass me at 45 MPH. Again, this is a residential street and the speed limit is 30. But some people don't care--I'm just in their way...

Almost always these guys have to wait for the very very long light right at Barker and 23rd St--23rd street quickly turns into East K-10 just about a mile after the Haskell Campus--its a direct route to Kansas City. Cars wanting to turn left to go to KC have to wait about 5 minutes--yeah its a long light for me to cross too and then I'm at work.

I also have installed a very bright white strobe light up front on my handle bars--you've probably seen them mes amis--just trying to make sure the drivers coming the other way know I'm there.

Lawrence is a small city/little town and people speed everywhere short distances. Even Rico does this when I ride with him. Downtown is a mile away and he's driving with his foot on the floor--I'm like, "where's the fire Boy?" My route is one of the few that the streets go through without a bunch of lights and stop signs. Unfortunately its the only way I have to ride to work now with the construction blocking the bike path.

Hiawatha Hall, one of the original Haskell buildings from the late 1880s. It was used as the Women's Gymnasium up until about 15 years ago.

The Sun is coming up over the Gazebo--used to be the parade grounds.

I make it home.

A few days ago it rained pretty good. I wore my wind and waterproof jacket, and then some inexpensive rain pants I had bought while visiting Tulsa for Christmas. The rain pants really did the trick, mes amis! I was amazed that I was quite snug and dry when I arrived at the library--mainly I was a bit wet from the sweat I had worked up riding in to work. So I would say $45.00 for a pair of rain pants--ones that are breathable--was a good investment. I could wear my read jacket and the pants on a Brevet should the weather be such as rain and wind.

I can also tell you that a few times I've almost been hit in the cross walk at that busy intersection I told you about. In every case, I'm waiting at the light, it turns green, and the car drivers are turning left. For some reason, every time, drivers don't seem to see me. I'm not sure why. I think because the light for them to get on busy K-10 is short, and by habit they get moving.

Today a lady suddenly realized she was about to hit me and she slowed down--she was a bit embarrassed and I could see that she was saying she was sorry. I gave her a friendly wave--its okay I said--no harm done. I might have to dismount and walk my bike--or maybe put on my bright green-ish neon vest (will fit over my red coat) to help people see me.

I don't know why they can't? Also, really would be best to ride my bike in the crosswalk because the light is short and that would mean less drivers getting through if I was walking. I may also just ride in the street and up to the light. This is hard because its up-hill and would be harder for me to gain momentum. Also people that were behind me that wanted to turn right would be inconvenienced.

One thing, as soon as that light turns yellow, man those bastards speed up and freakin' run that light! Man they just floor it. Everybody at that intersection is watching out because if you started to turn--you'd get hit by some fucker flying through that red light! My fear is that one day there will be such an event, and I'll be there trying to dodge pieces of shattered metal! And I'll be the poor bloke standing on the corner just minding his own beeswax waiting to cross the street!

With some luck, this will never happen on my watch, Gentle Reader!

Cheers! Bruce