Archive for October, 2007

Happy Halloween

Went on the ride last night.  College Green @ 5:30 but more like 5:45 these days.  It was good to get out as the weekday group rides are winding down for the year plus it was 70 degrees when we left.  We headed south and swung west to ride a nice 4-wheeler trail near Hills and then came back north to home.  The trail was, predictably, the high point of the ride with crashes and wheel threatening sticks and muck and running for some and startled deer crashing around in the brush and one really big and steep heart-rate spiking climb.  Fun!  I have been missing the gravel season hijinks.

Back in Iowa City my light illuminated a shiny object and I did the 180 to investigate and behold, Road Prize!

A nice screwdriver with the translucent yellow handle like the ones dad has!  Shortly after I found the heavy and jagged chunk of metal when we were stopped at a light and I picked it up before it could give someone’s nice rugged SUV a flat tire.  Tis a wicked chunk of metal indeed but ergonomic, too and it wrapped around my handlebar nicely and I carried it home with ease.

 

At home I found that the sweet potatoes were already aboil and after a quick shower I got to enjoy dinner in fine company.

 

Five days of riding in a row and I feel fine!   Afternoon cappuccino yesterday and  a good morning macchiato today!  Cuban style!  Its a wonderful life worthy of multiple exclamation points!  Tonight I will take a day of rest and hang out at home to be sure and reward our expected meager troupe of trick or treaters.  We are handing out apples just like a couple of hippies or something.  Stop by if you are out and becostumed!

 

Boo! 

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Feeling Optimistic

Last week I still was not feeling my usual good health and while I did get out for one ride early in the week it was not until Friday that I got back in the swing of me.

Friday night I rode the singlespeed Fuji up to Iguanas with the Eppens and drank half a pitcher of blended margarita before riding back.  On the way in we stopped to meet Gus, a wriggly puppy who lives in North Liberty.  I gots the puppy fever.

Saturday morning was quiet, my old friend Tanya was in town from Minnesota and she stopped by to see the house and meet Cody and it was great to catch up with her.

Around noon John and I went out to Sugarbottom then so we could ride mountain bikes.  It was a great day and it was good to be back out on the Bridgestone.  We hit some of the snowmobile trails north of the park and they were in awesome shape with lots of muck but not too much and none of the rickety bridges collapsed under us.  Stopped for coffee on the way in and I am happy to report that even at 35 the Americano is a smooth customer.

Saturday night Cody and I walked around for awhile and then made some awesome  curry chickpea soup.

Sunday we were up early and out the door to ride to Squire Point for a hike.  It was a beautiful morning and we rode through frosty grass and saw wild Turkey’s running around and some deer, too.  The colors are finally popping around here and it was

beautiful at the lake.  We rode back in and tried out our new HUGE french press, 4 cups of black blood of the earth in one shot, OoO-la-la! Cody proceeded to her usual coffee-maniac artistry while I finally cut up some of our decorative plywood that has been outside for 7 months so I can finish our porch off.  I was off to the Bike Library then for Rent-A-Bench excitement and the place was hopping!  Much advocacy talk and we sold some stuff and helped a drunk guy bend his (steel) crank back to “normal” and fixed up his non-drive crankarm, too. He rode out the door and proceeded to almost hit a parked car.

Watched Hedwig and The Angry Inch last night and put the weekend to bed in clean sheets.  It has been a rough October but I am excited to get back to my exemplary life.

See you around!

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Great Divide! Race.

Having just turned 35 I find myself feeling responsible. Yesterday morning, barely 24 hours since saving Missy Leona from freedom, I put a storage bin in the basement that is filled with rice and beans and cat food and candles and such in case the world ends. We’ll be ready! Then I cleaned our ceiling fan which was pretty dirty after a hard summer of twirling. I harvested all our Basil and made pesto which is in the freezer. This morning I cleaned out the gutters and got up on the roof to clean our skylight of its grimy layer for more enjoyable restibule moon-gazing.

More interesting than any of that was last nights talk by Steve Thunder-McGuire about his Great Divide Race experience. His talk was given at a BIC meeting and Cody and I

 

The Thundah?

had joined the club early this year but neither us had participated in an event yet. There was some official mumbo-jumbo and I got to say Aye! once along with everyone else and then it came to Steve. I have only met Steve once, and briefly, at the pre-meeting for the Trans-Iowa this year but I know lots of stuff about him and see him out riding on occasion . He is a professor at the UofI and rides his bike all over and tells stories and he was Cody’s Art Ed faculty adviser for a time. He has done Iditabike and some 24 hour trike marathon and he has saved a couple of people from drowning and is known as Superman to some of his admirers in town.

NO! THE THUNDER!!!!

photo by Aaron Teasdale, adventure cycling

When I say that Steve tells stories, I mean he tells them professionally, as part of his art. I have never seen one of his polished deliveries and I still haven’t. The computer portion of his presentation was lost at sea and he had to wing it with just a few pictures and slides. He mostly let questions run the show and most folks wanted to know how much his bike weighed and what he ate. He only made it 400 miles which is a bummer. It was still good to see what he had to say about it, he’s been there after all.

I have been aware of the Great Divide Race for a few years now but only started to catch the serious itch to do it this year. Kent Peterson holds the SS record from his 2005 ride and he wrote all about it and you can read the whole kaboodle online. Kent is a badass. I think I would like to tackle it single speed as he did, but I am not sure. I’m not sure of anything yet, but this would be the ultimate joining of my love of long distance backpacking and long distance bicycle riding. There is a bootload of information on the web about this event if you are interested so read up if you care, I am! And wish the Thunder well as he makes a second attempt this coming summer.

photo by Aaron Teasdale, Adventure Cycling

(Sorry I did not give credit yesterday Aaron, I thought rolling over the image would allow a link to the rest at the Adventure Cycling site but I did not check it. Please don’t sue me, I love your work and hope to be in it one day!)

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The Year Of Living Steve L E

Yup, I’m 35 now. Last year was the year of the cappucino, this year will be the year of the macchiato!

Cuban Style, before and after

34 was good, I believe 35 can be better. New challenges like Ouachita and the Leadville 100 plus a saddle-enhanced Chequamegon will satisfy my desire to kick-butt and get free t-shirts.

A new bike from my good friend Ira will make every mile pedaled even more special than before. A 29er will hopefully be procured as well so I can see what all the fuss is about. I would like to write more, but I have to go. Sorry.

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“Missy” Leona

This morning I was up late as opposed to early. In the brief span of time before Cody had to leave for school I managed to dress myself and do some dishes. I even fed the cats! Soon enough it was time for Cody to go and I quick grabbed my coat and left with her so I could spend a bit more time with her. My plan was working perfectly until we got cut off by a dog on the loose! We were on a quiet street but were near a busy one so we quickly headed the doggie off at the fence post, which it was happily sniffing. She was a Husky with pretty blue Husky eyes and a curly and fluffy Husky tail.

She was wearing a collar but had no tags and there was a piece of something hanging from it which looked like either a shredded shopping bag or a very old and tired piece of rope. My 7 foot cable lock became a leash (yet another reason to not have a u-lock) and Cody had to get to school so we parted ways and I set about trying to save “Missy” as I was calling her.

First off we retraced her steps and went back up the alley that she had come running out of. A woman was in her backyard with a couple of dogs and I asked her if she recognized Missy but she did not. I was at a loss for what to do as our house is not very dog friendly and I had to be to work in an hour when I remembered that I had once walked 2,162 miles and I figured I could just walk Missy down to the animal shelter. So I did. She was a sweet dog and was very good company, she acted like we had known each other for ages. She sniffed some stuff and got excited about squirrels and took a drink out of the downtown fountain. Just a few blocks from the shelter we ran into 20¢ and he, like so many college seniors, was free so he walked along with us, too.

The shelter does not open until 10:30 and I thought the woman inside was going to attempt to ignore me like she was a bike shop employee or something but I rapped on the door and she came over to see what was up. I explained the situation and she let us in. The doggie had a chip and the woman thought that she had been into the shelter just this past weekend and sure enough the chip info proved it. She was not Missy but Leona and her owner was doing a damn crappy job of caring for her if she was loose twice in a week with no tags!

Our home is not very big and our cats are very happy with their lives but I sure am smitten with that doggie. I don’t know if it is possible to get her from her rightful owner but it is tempting to try, I love dogs! And I wish “Missy” Leona well.

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One Hit Wonder

I was riding my bike to work this morning, happy as could be. I had just enjoyed morning coffee and brownies with Cody and we had a caffeine fueled spider web of a conversation regarding the Laylah Ali lecture we had attended the night before and the

implications of her art on junior bicycle racing in america. Or something like that.

I left for work and two blocks from the sorority I got hit by a car. Now I ride my bike a lot and I consider myself to be a good rider who is very knowledgeable about how to safely ride in traffic. I have never been hit before. I was following all the rules and guidelines on a residential street with a 25 mph speed limit and was approaching a traffic island at an intersection where the lane narrowed. There was a car behind me so I “took the lane”

because there is not enough room to make a pass when next to a traffic island. The engine did not slow down and I thought maybe they were just going to turn left behind me (many cars disregard the proper way to use a traffic island and just short cut it) or maybe even pass me on the other side of the traffic island (which happens with some regularity at this particular island) but then I could still here the loud engine and it was right on top of me and bam! the passenger side mirror hit me on the inside of my arm and the break away mirror did just that and broke away. It scared the shit out of me it happened so fast and I did not crash and in my frantic state I did not even think I was hurt but still! The van stopped and I rolled up to it and it was a woman driving with her kids and she said how sorry she was and I yelled at her that she had just hit me with her car and she said again how sorry she was and I told her that was not good enough and she needed to never never ever pass a cyclist so close or next to a traffic island and she said she had stopped to see if I was okay and I told her that no I was not okay (and I was shaking for effect) that she had hit me with her car and that if she had just driven properly in the first place she would not have had to stop to see if I was okay. I was very direct and firm (and angry, yeah) with her and did not swear once. She asked me what I wanted her to do and I told her I wanted her to get out of there and to drive safely. She left.

I rode to work and was shaking very badly then, wondering what I should have done. Should I have called the police so she could get her failure to yield ticket? I think I handled myself well and am not sure a ticket would have made any difference but I will never know. This shook me up, no doubt about it. Its dangerous out there no matter how you choose to travel and something like this, which could happen anytime anyone goes for a ride, well it makes me pretty upset that cyclists rights are so small. Even if she had run me over and killed me she still would have been facing the same punishment, a failure to yield ticket. Thats crap. How do we ever expect motorists behavior to change if we don’t present them with consequences for their actions? Thats capitalism, right? I get so very angry about this, my old friends that have been killed while riding, all my friends that are out riding every day and how vulnerable they are. What can I do? Or you?

I will keep at it. Keep riding, volunteering at the Bike Library, working with the IBC and Bike to Work Week, setting a good example of a car free lifestyle.

Cody came down to work and gave me a hug, that was nice.

Kent Peterson had a nice and important post the other day. Check it out.

And travel safely, whatever your mode

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All(most) Better

The horse pills the nice man in the white jacket gave me are almost gone. I feel mostly better. This has been a sucky couple of weeks but what can you do? I have gotten lots of rest, finished Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and watched Back to the Future. And coughed when I felt like it. Cody has been wonderful and taken good care of me. I hope to start riding again soon (saturday?) and am really looking forward to it. No telling when I will have the gumption to roll another 100 on gravel, I still have to do six so it better be soon. Good thing I get a week off for Thanksgiving, plenty of time.

I applied for and got “Pro” status with SmartWool so now I can buy really cheap socks and stuff, thats a good thing. I went to a zine reading at The White Rabbit on Tuesday and that was worthwhile, I was impressed with the turnout and the readers were all great and most wore cool shoes and hats and stuff. My Bridgestone is back together, hope to ride it soon but the trails will be sloppy for a time, its been raining. Other than that I have not been up to much yet this October, I will age on Sunday – look out!

Listen to more LeTigre than you do and if you don’t listen to any?  Start!

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