Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Cold morning climb on Old 59
I rode the Lawrence Bike Club's Octoginta 2013 - an 80 mile tour of beautiful Fall farm fields and back country roads of Kansas Territory.  Ahh...  Autumn in the saddle!  A bit chilly but I got it right and dressed just right, mes amis!  A constant wind that couldn't make up its mind - which translates to in yer face headwind - kept things on the cool side.

Sue and Natalia at the start on Mass Ave
You know if you've ever participated in El Tour De Tucson, you know that every bloke is just chompin' at the bit to blast off in a mist of testosterone, butterflies, and bravado.  The whole thing is an accident waiting to happen.  The reality is that you end up riding at a snail's pace until you see an opening to get the Hell outta the stampede.  The trouble is that every rider around you has seen their chance to bolt as well --- man its a bit scary.

But here, everybody just chilled out, and I must say to my amazement, rode in a orderly and carefree fashion until we all well out of town.  People were laughing and saying hi to friends.  It was the most sane thing I've ever witnessed.

All the glitter boys got up front - and that's okay.  They too took things nice and easy, and really the ride started out of town with the first big-ass hill and introduction of the wind.  Of course the Wind wins the day!

I tried to ride with my friends, but I actually found myself able to hang on to a fast front group at a nice easy pace.  On the first climb, and really early in this ride, I got dropped.  Mostly I rode by myself for about 10 miles.  I slowed down to talk with some of the Retro Guys, and then a bunch of us suddenly found ourselves together again - so we went into our club pace line and steamed along to the first controle/SAG.

A great breakfast there put on by Sunflower  -

Some people were just wanting to do the 45 mile, while others were trying to decide about the 80 mile course.  Me I made up my mind to ride the 80, and loaded up with as much of the free stuff as I could - lines for the bathroom get long, and food lines long too - so best if you have to wait your turn for a porta-john you don't have to wait for food - eat while in line.

Natalia thought it was funny that I stashed one of the large bread rolls in my jersey and she wanted a picture.

Mile 50
It was a windy and cold one, Gentle Readers of This Blog - but I feel I rode strong.  After riding 70 miles with Le Tigre in Tucson, I felt 80 would be no problem.  But you know, I worked hard to stay with my group of friends, but they were too fast and I had to back off and ride at my own pace.

I did ride with several people on and off, just to chat and have a friend - which is very much appreciated by everyone at all levels.  Very fast dudes would slow down, talk with me for a bit, then see a chance to roll on.  I did the same.  Really it was windy and there was a chill - and there were many hills!  Why just go out and kill yourself?

There was no traffic on many of these roads, and the colors of the trees were such that it was a vivid show of Fall and the season coming on.  And very serene silence took over for many miles as I could feel and almost hear my heart working to get me up and over the next hill.

Soon a friendly group of about 15 riders came up and I jumped in the pace line - this took me close to the end with only about 10 miles to go.  I was sure glad they showed up as we all talked and laughed and looked at and pointed to deer watching us go past, and wild turkeys nervously peering through patches of Winter Wheat.  They were much faster than me but they weren't in a hurry.

As we got closer to Lawrence, the group got into urban ride mode and they formed up into what seemed a platoon of men and machine and flew away.

I was not far behind, and when we got into Downtown, the group flung apart as people went their way home or to their cars - no medals or awards to give out to the Speedy Weedies - so the ride is done.

I wanted a big bowl of the famous stew promised to all at the end of the ride - like a picnic lunch and dinner in the park.  There were all my friends looking like I felt - tired and glad to be finished - warming themselves in the warm sun that finally came out.

Two bowls of soup later - a few jokes - and many stories about the ride, I rode home back to the Little House to take a two hour nap.  And all was good!

Cheers!  Bruce

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Farewell Ride - Owl Head Butte

Interstate 10 and Frontage Rd
Basically I was in Tucson for just over two months, Gentle Readers of This Blog - it started with our plan to evict our piece of shit renter from our house in Dog Mtn.  He was a chronic late-payer - and he pretty much figured that since we were not going to renew his lease, he just wouldn't pay rent.  He came up with some very elaborate lies - had cancer, grandma died, etc etc - and finally he pissed Little Egypt off such that she sent me down to evict him.  I did take him to court - which really surprised him as he felt he had done nothing wrong. "It's not like I'm five months behind on the rent or anything," he said.  He also stated he had never lied to us - when I mentioned the fact that he lied on his application, and that he in fact had seven felony arrest for fraud - that got the ball rolling.

I really leaned on him to pay my the rent he owed so he could get out of going to court and all the shit that would follow.  I gave him a fair chance to pay up before the court date.  We had arranged to meet at 3 pm one afternoon to go over the details - I arrived and waited and waited - I sent him a text at 3:15 saying where are you?  He sent me a text "Just leaving"

That really pissed me off - when he arrived 25 minutes late, I told him to go fuck himself.  Being late for an important appointment - like having not to go to court and have a judgement against you - you would think you'd be on fucking time - well he wasn't.  He ran down the street chasing after me begging me to stop.  It was pathetic.  "I'll have the money!  I'll have the money!" I've heard that one before from the asshole.

So he was out and then I started the process of taking back my place.  He left a suitcase in my garage with many legal documents that also pertained to his ex-girlfriend.  To make a long story short, it painted a picture of two people in deep financial trouble - her with the IRS and him with the courts in several states.  He also had about five collection agencies after him for unpaid bills and debts.  When he got utility bills, he just threw them in the trash.  All the utilities were in collection, and many were in his ex-girlfriend's name - they owed several thousand dollars for electricity, cable, water, trash, etc.

I called one of Tucson's oldest and "most respected" collection agencies.  I took said piece of shit renter to court and got a sizable judgement against him - of course he did not show in court (having been in court many time before and knowing how they worked) the very nice and articulate manager of the collection agency told me flat out, from all the information I had "gathered" on my tenants, that no collection agency would take my case - you'd get no money from these guys and spend more trying to get them than you would ever collect.

In other words, they were such rotten apples that no one would bother -

I spent five weeks cleaning (which wasn't so bad - the fuck kept the house very tidy) and did some touch-up painting.  I fixed the irrigation system and then I had to do some tile work in the kitchen.  I made the house look great inside and out, ready to sell or rent again.

That left me another month to ride the bike around Tucson - which I did mes amis!  Many good rides by myself and with Le Tigre.  All in all, I rode about 350 miles.

Here are some photos of my last ride on my favorite course - the Owl Head Ranch Ride!

Le Tigre is a good sport and drives out to Dog Mtn early Sunday morning.  We fly down Tangerine Rd at high speed with almost no traffic to be seen.  The Sun starts to warm us up as we sail North with the tailwind on the Frontage Rd.  By the time we reach Park Link Rd, we've ridden 25 miles of our 70 mile ride!

We'll have an 18-mile, slightly up-hill ride to Hwy 79.  I love this part of the desert because it is pretty much un-touched by hungry land developers.  It is much like what the first white people saw, starting with Father Kino in 1592.

I have been riding Dr. B's LeMond - the bike fits me perfectly!  The Titanium frame is ever so comfortable too!  Yes we are just enjoying a great ride - and I'm thinking about all the great friends I have and have had here in Tucson.  It is hard to believe that two months has passed so quickly...

The Road

I have to say that with Le T setting a fast pace (with some wind and a climb) we are making rather good time, mes amis!

Already we are at the half way point, at Cattle Tank Rd.  That's what Park Link used to look like when I first rode out here many years ago.  The pavement made it an even more great bike ride.  One thing however, all the new road signs put up in 2010 - and I do mean all of them - are all shot up with bullet holes from shotguns and high-powered rifles.  I hope to never encounter somebody driving out here, probably drinking, and shooting stuff...

Believe it or not, but I am actually 10 pounds lighter.  Well, the battle to slim down continues, Gentle Readers of This Blog - I'm a fattie for sure.  But I have so much fun on the bike!  And I can keep up (mostly) with my fiends - but the weight thing partly runs in my family.  My doctors tell me that I am very fit for 50 year old guy.

This is Hwy 79 and Mt. Lemmon is up ahead.  I must tell you that this stretch of road for me was always very brutal.  Its about five miles of climbing (to the snow line) and then a five mile super fast descent to Hwy 77, which is Oracle Rd.  I will report that with Le Tigre (up ahead of me there in the photo) and with the LeMond, I had no trouble and was very happy I didn't suffer going up.

After the climb, everything else is down-hill back to Dog Mtn - very fast mes amis!  We were soon coasting through Catalina, then Oracle, and then on Tangerine Rd once again!  We rode the 70 miles and our average speed was 15mph - not bad for all the climbing and wind we had.

One thing about Tucson, I had limited access to the web and I kind of neglected the blog - but you guys have seen enough pictures of me enjoying the sunshine!  I will try to keep up and revive the blog - and want to improve the quality of my writing too.  This is just a quick ride report - I'm back in Kansas and doing well - its getting colder and possibly the days to ride may be few and far between!

Cheers!  Bruce