Archive for July, 2009

Bike Races And Other Natural Disasters

The other night a mighty wind did start to blow.  Our biggest Black Walnut tree could not take it and with a crack a snap and a pop it tumbled over.  Amazingly, it missed our recently expanded shed, and our house, and our neighbors power line.

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It is still hung up there.

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Not like we needed anything else to do this year, now we get to clean up our yard with a rake and a borrowed electric chainsaw.  (Insert audio file of revving chainsaw here)

I raced my bike today, in Williamsburg, IA.  I was calling it the Johnny Barnes Classic powered by Nordy’s Coffee.  We were going to ride a loop, but a bridge was out so the race became an out and back.  I rode to the race, we raced back the way I had come and then back to Williamsburg, again.  It was a beautiful morning.  Williamsburg is further away than I thought so I made it 5 minutes before go time, but I was already warmed up so that was a bonus.

It was a small race, a pie race if you will, and there were 14 contestants.  I played it cool on the way out, attacked once, covered some moves, enjoyed racing again.  After the turnaround it was kind of head-windy.  I tried to bust things up, as did some other folks, but it was nothing doing.  I had maybe a slight advantage as I had already ridden the finish even though I did not really pay attention to it.  My teammate Chad asked if I wanted a leadout, I demured, not sure of a proper plan as I was not sure of the lead in to the finish or, even, the finish location.

Riding near the back of the line, approaching a small riser, it occured to me that the mailbox I could just make out over the top of the hill looked an awful lot like the official’s (Mark’s) head.  So I drilled it.  Gave it everything I had, from a bad position and in a bad gear.  I did manage to catch the group off guard, as apparently no other racers were concerned with local postal regulations as they pertain to head shaped mailboxes, and as I crested the hill I could see that it was indeed Mark’s head and not a mailbox.  So the finish.  I got blown away quickly enough, durned fast twitch racer types, but I stuck it out for fifth.  I won a six pack of Millstream.  Nice to be racing again,  I think that was my first one since the great State cross debacle of aught-eight and it will likely be my last for a while.

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If You Don’t Like The Rain, Don’t Drink The Water

It rained all day here today.  Exept for like 8 minutes maybe.  I went to the group ride.  Not many people there.  I went back to the shop, it kept raining.  It still is now.

Riding may or may not be going well.  I almost finished the group ride last Thursday, and it was the dreaded Sugarbottom – Oxford loop at that.  I could still see the ride up ahead as they sprinted home on Melrose, so that is a big step forward for me.

Been watching le Tour.  So far none of my favorites have tested positive.  I guess that means we are all winners, this year.

Wayne has been ill.  Poor guy had to go to the vet not once but twice, and he had to take medicine, too.  He still seems a bit off.

Missing the big ride across the state this week, and I feel just fine.  I did go to a pre-party and got to drink crummy beer while bearing witness to karaoke at the American Legion.  The Legion constitution preamble states that it aims to foster and perpetuate a one hundred per cent Americanism.  Mission accomplished, I say!

I may race this Sunday, but if I do it will be more like just paying to go for a ride.  Weird how that gets appealing.

Reading Miles From Nowhere, I would love to take a long bike tour, but will settle for an overnight.

Soon.

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It’s All About Time

I took a rest week last week and then last night tried out the College Green ride.  A good sized group and we went West Liberty / West Branch with a big strong wind out of the south.  Guttering!  I rode with the words of Armstrong swirling in my ears and stayed near the front.  Made it to West Liberty without a single crossing of the yellow line, had an Official been there most everyone else would have been dq’d and the pressure would have been off me.  But, alas…

We rolled fast through town, a group got away.  “Not without me!” , Said the Rock as he went stomp stomp stomp on his pedals.  I almost threw up.  I was breathing so heavily I started to sound all wheezy.  We turned for West Branch and I thought I was done.  Cooked.  Shelled.  Dropped.  Game over.

But then, I thought about how long it would take me to ride in solo and that, my friends, is what motivated me to hang on.  Time.  So we went fast and faster and I took nary a pull, but when we crossed the interstate I was still there.

I got dropped right before the sprint, but mostly out of habit.  I was happy to finally finish an “A” ride.  It has been a long time, see you tomorrow.

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Still More Fringe Benefits

I am still here, thanks for still stopping by.  I have been learning a lot.  Did you know you can use a length of brake housing to unclog a drain?  I don’t know if it is approved by 7 out of 9 plumbers or anything, but it is flexible enough to make some bends through pipes as you push it, but stiff enough to knock whatever vile gurgly thing is down there loose.  I learned some other stuff, but I forgot what.

Riding continues.  I once again braved the rabid circus animal jamboree that meets at College Green Park, and once again received meself a most solid of thrashings.  Being dropped, however, and thus heading for home in the virtual ride lead, it was I that spied the glint of metal in the road and stopped to collect $1.00 (exactly) in scattered change.  I didn’t win the ride, I won a dollar!

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The screwdriver was a road find from earlier in the week, I went on a 4 hour ride (!) and found it along the way.  We enjoyed a nice ride and canoe trip last weekend, you can read about it and see some pictures over at the 30th Century Bicycle blog.  This week our good friend is back in town enjoying his summer break so he can be recharged for the coming school year and it has been great to spend some time.  This coming weekend my folks come to town, and that will be nice as they have not seen the shop yet.

Other than that I have been enjoying le Tour again, although I must give the new cyclingnews website a big thumbs down.  What were they thinking rolling it out right in the middle of summer?  The live race coverage is confusing and “jumpy” I will call it, and the photos are not nearly as easy to access as what they were before.  I am sad to say it, but for now I prefer velonews.  Maybe they could do like Coke and have cyclingnews and cyclingnews classic?

Until we e again!

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