Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grand Prize!

A few weeks ago at the annual Bike Club Party, where plenty of beer flowed and we ate well, Gentle Readers of This Blog--I again won the Grand Prize Drawing at the end of the evening!

I won this fully-loaded Garmin Edge 800
So this was way cool!  These things are expensive, yeah?  One price tag X'ed out says $649.98 and the other one $374.98--either way there was a lot of excitement and hoo-rahs for me from the blokes I ride with for such a big score!

But the best part of the evening, as I said in my acceptance speech to my fellow cyclists, is that I got my wife (aka Little Egypt) to come to the party--and she met all the super men and women I ride with and am friends with--and with a few of the girls she really hit it off--and now--much to my delight, mes amis--she wants to get a bike and ride with us!

So that is the best part that she came to the party, was made to fill welcome, found some people that were kind of like her at first: not sure about being on the hwys and roads with cars--and now she wants to be in on the fun of the bike club.

It also helped that she met my friends and their husbands and wives--and other intriguing individuals, free spirits, artists, and fun people--and came to the conclusion that as cyclists, we're not all that crazy.  In fact we're very normal.

Whew...  Now I have to find a bike for her.  I had a lead on one back in Tucson--but another friend got the bike for his young son.

December and January are gone already.  Already a month in Celebrity Spin.  I won't be able to put the Garmin on the Mighty Trek until Spring--when its warm outside (snowing while I write this and bitterly cold) and Celebrity Spin is over in Mid-March.

Cheers!  Bruce

Friday, January 25, 2013

Warm KS day

The day of these photos for you, Gentle Reader of This Blog, KS was having record temps--almost 70 degrees were forecast!  With the Mighty Trek at the barn for Celebrity Spin Class, I went out on the 1977 Raleigh Super Grand Prix.  Who would have thought I'd get to ride in Mid-January out into the Wild Lands of Kansas?  

Well, for one thing it had to actually warm up to 70, and in fact it probably only reached 65 degrees for a few minutes--then quickly as the sun started to set--the chill was back!  I did make it out for the 60 plus--but I fumbled about for about 30 minutes trying to find my helmet!  I had stowed it for the winter in the closet--stuff got put over the top of it and out of my sight--but I got out there and quickly sped out of town!

On the bike and with the wind, I did have to dress a bit warm.  With the warm, the cold was on the way, and as the afternoon sun headed down, the cold-front was on the wind.  Oh yeah and this was a Saturday as well--I scanned my email hoping that some of the gang I ride with might venture out--but there was not a peep.  I was the lone rider out on the still bewildered hwy--the pavement seemed bundled and tight, and the land had just one eye open--slightly awake with all this sunshine.

Riding through the Big Farm.

German Church built in 1918.

I'm on my way to Lone Star Lake, Gentle Readers of This Blog, and hope to join up with some fellow riders.  None to be seen this afternoon.  I'm a morning rider as well, and in this afternoon Winter Sun, the landmarks on my familiar route surprise me with some cool cold mystery.

A fortress of brilliant green is now a frail row of thin trees.

I don't know, but the Big Cotton Wood on the Big Farm seems to be soaking in all this warm sun and enjoying every ray.  Good to see you Old Man!  Happy New Year to You!

I didn't go all the way out to the lake as the sun was setting and the wind quickly chilling me.  Also, it was hard work, and my heart rate I am sure was high--high like when we're really pushing to get up into Zone 3 and Zone 4 in our workouts in Spin Class.  I thought I'd ride the tailwind back into Lawrence and call it a  day.  I figured I get home right before Little Egypt--I had gotten out of driving to Kansas City with her to go shopping.  How could I go shopping on such a warm day?

The tailwind I had was excellent.  I sailed home and had a bit of the late afternoon Sun warming my back and shoulders.  And I was glad to be getting back as it seemed every pedal stroke the air grew colder.  So now I'm at the edge of the city and cutting through Haskell.  In the mornings, Lawrence is empty and you just head straight through the main streets and then suddenly find yourself on the prairie and head-on into the wind.  In the afternoon, every hay-seed and bumpkin is out driving, running errands, and on this warm day, sight-seeing with the windows rolled down.  An arm dangled out and cigarette in hand.

Hiawatha Hall built 1889 or thereabouts.

 I see some students in the stadium playing Frezbie Golf or Football or whatever.  Every one's in shorts and t-shirts.  They'll go to dinner at Curtis Hall here real soon.

So there you have it!  I'm really glad I got out and rode, and got something in the blog for you, Gentle Reader--I hope all is well and that you have a good safe ride when ever you go!

Cheers!  Bruce

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Atchisron, Topeka, and the Santa Fe

It was going to be a record 65 degrees on this Friday in January--almost 70 so they said!  I got out and road Big Sexy around because for one, I have regular pedals on it, and two, fenders will keep me clean and dry as the last of snow is quickly melting.

This is the impressive Watson Bank Building on Massachusetts Ave or "Mass" as we like to call it--and now the Douglas County Museum.  A great building from the 1880s and Mr. Watson paid for and has other distinctive buildings named after him up on the KU Campus.

That's the County Courthouse of infamy--where I feel down the flight of stairs that led to the lower-level tag renewal desk.  The Watson Building is right across the street.  I'm riding through the city park this time, to go downtown.  Usually I don't go this way but thought I would as it was so warm out.

Friday night is party time in Lawrence, so all the bars and pubs and taverns are getting stocked-up.  Free State Brewery is actually just around the corner, so I'm not sure why this truck is here... The brewery is more like a restaurant now so they probably make the beer in the old warehouse district.

Free State Beer is best to drink anywhere but at the Free State Brewery, Gentle Readers of This Blog.  Free State is always packed, and packed with the local heavy drinker blue collar types--its fuckin' loud, rowdy, and smells like a urinal--the food sucks.  The front door has a small sitting/waiting area, and that is where the Old Dragons perch themselves--male and female--to drool and holler in a cloud of filth tainted with the sweet smell o' hops and barley.  And when you enter (try to enter) to find a seat--you have to venture through, and sometimes wait in the Free State Mist--God is makes me want to puke just writing about it!

So anyway, like, just be happy at the pub you're at and have a Free State and enjoy!

I have Big Sexy locked to the rail at the Post Office as I run a quick errand.

That's the Eldridge Hotel, which was burned down in 1862 by Quantrill's Raiders.  The story goes that William Quantrill, a dapper chap, had himself a fine breakfast there while the Raiders, the Missouri Bushwhackers, sacked and burned Lawrence, and murdered over 100 men and boys.

I always wanted to check out the old steam engine.  It seems every city or town has one of these mementos in a park someplace.   Even Tulsa has one but I've never stopped to see it--so why not look this old man over?

This has got to be the very worst sign ever put up, mes amis.  Its like the historian or the curator or librarian gave what was to be put on the sign to the illiterate sign maker, and well, you can see the horrible result--pretty embarrassing if you ask me.

If Old 1073 logged almost 900,000 miles between 1908 and 1952, well that is worth taking note of--and I am glad they saved her and hope she enjoys her retirement!

I like getting out on Big Sexy--I know that the bike had logged more miles in that barn I found it in than miles on the road.  Phil back at Pima Street Bikes in Tucson restored Big Sexy and its still a fine riding and comfortable machine.

Always have to make time to see my friends at the local bike shop.  Here's the side door best to use when bringing your bike into the shop.

I would not keep this bike so close to the back door!  I'm sure this bike will cost you $5000 to $8000 dollars!   I bought the Raleigh Marathon for $20 and spent $100 to have it gone over with all new cables and what ever Phil did to make it like-new.  I guess somebody will buy this bike, but they couldn't ride it until Spring.

Eddie Merckx rides into history...

Next door to the bike shop is yet another cafe and bar.  The bar is upstairs--kind of a fun place actually.

Next door to that bar is another bar.  A lot of students or longtime residents here ride old bikes to the bars rather than drive.  There's no parking to be found anywhere, and the cops are hunting for drunk drivers--so best to just slip under the radar on yer bye-k.  The bike on the left is locked to the rail at the entrance of the tavern--the front wheel is smashed.  It will probably be cut off and thrown into a junk heap.  The bike on the right is a pristine LeMond from the 80's.  Its just sitting there not locked up or anything--it will get stolen unless the owner, probably in the guitar store there, has an eye on it, Gentler Reader.

Well, going back home via the old brick streets to my house.  There are still a few of the old places that have these hitching posts.  I'm pretty sure that's what these are--if I'm wrong let me know.

Cheers!  Bruce

Celebrity Spin Class, 2013

I'm back in Celebrity Spin Class, mes amis!  The class is three times a week for 10 weeks.  My hope is that it will help get my left leg in shape--I'm sure it will.

The cold this winter makes my leg very stiff.  It sucks really.  I can still see that my left thigh is much smaller than the right--its like there's no muscle--no big power muscle on the bone!  The spin will help thank goodness, but really going to have to get back into the gym and work.

The best thing that came out of spin class last year is that I met some great people--many of my old pals are back, and I've also made some new friends too!  Spin class is a workout for sure, and it keeps me motivated.

Bitter cold here means that I'm not going to try to ride my bike to class--even though its only about two or so miles and the barn is just off the bike path--I can't do 10 or 20 degrees yet!

Cheers!  Bruce

Pedal to the Medals

I bought the 200 KM medal for riding the brevet last March, 2012.  It was, all in all, a very good ride for me.  I had done the Celebrity Spin class and come out of that very strong.  My 300 was a disappointment--that came from a combination of bad weather, and a poor cue sheet on the part of the organizers--but that is a whole other matter.  

Often I wonder if poorly written cue sheets factor into brevets much?  I mean, the guys have ridden that same brevet over and over, so I think its possible for them to just assume riders know what they're talking about on the cue sheet.  

In my situation, some locals that had a shop right at the corner where streets were supposed to be, had no idea what the cue sheet was talking about.  Roads not marked and cue sheets listing turns on streets or highways that don't appear anywhere near the mileage listed was stressful.  Especially in rain and remote areas.  Oh well, I digress Gentle Readers of This Blog.

But I believe I will try the rides again this year and not give up!  

I also bought the new Orange Reflective Vest from the RUSA web site.  I really wanted a yellow one--all the riders out here in KS had 'em, but they were all out.  Jennifer Wise actually answered my email query about the vest you see pictured above.  She said that the yellow ones were just a PBP thing--but the Orange ones were from the same company in France--and that these were "new and improved" as they are water and wind resistant.

I am very happy with the one I bought, mes amis--however, I did buy the the XXXL to be sure it would cover all my clothing on a brevet, like a heavier warm jacket, etc...  The XXXL are very small--I'd say for sure that they run small.  This 3XL is really more like an XL, so buy the biggest one or else you may find them way to small for you.

Yellow ones I saw riders wearing on the 200 and 300 last year I could see for many miles ahead of me on the roads.  I'm sure that the orange will be fine too.  The reflective strips are awesome and the vest I believe is well made.  This vest also stows very small so it won't take up any weight or hardly any space with your gear.

Cheers!  Bruce