Wednesday, July 30, 2008

teamFIRE Wednesday Ride

Another Wednesday ride, big group of riders (20+), not much wind, reasonable pace. A good time was had by all, esp. by Gravy, Kevin, and me as we peeled off the back, headed to Sprague, and got to the bar a good 30 minutes before everyone else (the rest of the riders went to Cortland, we had other priorities).

We were joined later by Jen, Nicol, and potential new member Katie? (horrible memory for names, sorry) after the ride at the Fox restaurant for chalices of beer, followed Gravy, Kevin and I heading for margaritas at Las Margaritas. I went home before the other two as I (unlike Gravy and Kevin) am not living the bachelor life this week.


Two other items - several people were asking about my bib shorts - I got them from Hammer Nutrition. They are made by Voler, and use the top of the line chamois that they have in their $120 bibs. Hammer nutrition sells them for $49. You can find them here.

And finally - several of us are heading to Hallam this Saturday - leaving Wilderness Perk at 8:30 am. We may stop in Cortland for a little breakfast at the bar and grill there. Let me know by responding if you want to go and we'll look for you at Wilderness Perk.

Who's coming with me?

Who will be my Renee Zellwiger on tonight's ride?


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Surly Cross Check?

For you hipsters - this a Surly Cross Check:


This is also a surly cross-check (line shamelessly stolen from Bike Snob NYC):

The 'ol bike switcheroo

So just for kicks, the infamous da terminator and I swapped bikes for the week. She's cruising around on my Surly Crosscheck while I'm commuting on her Bianchi San Jose singlespeed.

The two bikes are similar, yet completely different. Same frame size (steel) and ride comfort (fatter tires). But different in that I have full fenders and gears on the C-Check while the spartan-looking San Jose has nothing but brakes/cables hanging on it. The first couple times I've ridden it, I want to reach for the bar-end shifter.

And wouldn't ya know it -- the forecast calls for rain today -- enjoy those fenders Terminator!

All in all, kinda fun to cruise around on something "new" for a little while. Who knows, maybe this singlespeed thing will grow on me -- I've got two bikes that would be good singlespeed candidates.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ride to Adams

Saturday morning Adrian, Kevin W. and I headed out into the fog and the humidity for an early ride out to Adams. We took 77 out to Roca road, then took the rollers out to hiway 43, then south to Adams for some breakfast. There was almost no wind, and although humid the temp was quite nice.

The only unusual part of the ride occurred about mile 28, a little ways away from Adams. As we headed down a hill, I finished a pull, drifted to the back of the line, took a drink, and stood up to stretch and to re-arrange my chamois. Suddenly I was on the ground, looking at the sky. Looking back on the crash tonight, I think that maybe I forgot to move my left had to the center of the bar, leaving it on the hood, and when I took my right hand off to adjust my shorts I lost balance. The road was also a little oily and slick, which probably didn't help. Either that, or my bike was so astonished to still be with the group, that it just threw itself at the pavement in an effort to help establish the gap that normally exists for me on a Saturday ride :)

Whatever the reason, boy am I stiff tonight. I have some nice road rash on my hip, and it feels like I pulled a muscle in my groin, but hopefully I will feel better later in the week for some of the group rides.

After eating a nice breakfast with a bunch of farmers at the Trails End Cafe in Adams, we rode to Cortland where we refilled our bottles and met up with Dave R., who joined us for the last 20 miles home. When we pulled into the Wilderness Perk parking lot towards the finish of the ride, we were met with this:

Too bad they weren't handing out samples.

All in all, it was about 67 miles, at an average pace of 17.8 mph. Thanks to Kevin and Adrian for showing up early, and (especially Adrian, 'cause I know he wouldn't have minded going a lot faster) for keeping a reasonable pace that kept us together for pretty much the whole ride.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Saturday Ride?

I'm thinking about this route for tomorrow:

Either start at Wilderness Perk, take 77 to Roca road, take the rollers out to 43, then go south on 43, or start at the 27th and Hiway 2 bridge, take 2 out to Bennett, then go south on 43 (has the advantage or disadvantage of skipping the rollers, depending on how you look at it).

Take 43 south to Adams, then go west back to 77, and take 77 home.

Should be a total of 55-60 miles, conversational pace, we could either stop for breakfast in Adams (nice little breakfast place on the main street), or stop for lunch in Cortland at the little place where we stopped on July 4.

Wind is supposed to be out of the NE before 9 am, then switch to the SE later in the morning, and should be pretty light (10 mph or less) all morning.  We should have a tailwind or slight crosswind most of the ride.  I could either leave at 8 am, or a little earlier if we want to take advantage of the north wind for the first part of the ride, but preferably not before 7 am.

Anybody interested?

Jazz in the Haymarket

Nice article in today's LJS Ground Zero featuring our very own BobK (quoted and photo) regarding jazz/big band nights starting up at Brewsky's in the Haymarket. We're gonna have to bike down there this fall for a jazz night or two. Good stuff!

Have a great Friday and weekend everybody!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Heidelberg's

It was a fun ride Wednesday out to Bennett and then to Heidelberg's to watch the last mountain stage of the Tour de France. Nice 30 mile ride (although a little windy), followed by food, beer, and Jen taking everybody's pickle.

On another note, I'm looking to do a ride on Saturday - I'd like to do a longer distance than Cortland, but at a real easy, conversational pace like we did on July 4. I would probably need to be home before noon, though. Any takers?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Amber chalices?

Anyone riding tonight?

I'm torn. Watch the Alps stages from yesterday and today or ride in the wind...

What are you jazzy peeps doing?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dropped again

On Saturday I went on the Wilderness Perk ride, some of the usual suspects were there, including Dan T., Dave R., Doug, Barry, Todd, Mike, and a couple of others. One lady showed up with a Trek 7100 hybrid, a big rack and trunk bag, and a lock that looked like it weighed about 8 pounds. She was expecting a no-drop social ride, and looked a little out of place. I wonder if one of the bike stores is advertising this ride - I don't think GPBC has it on their ride list.

We decided to go to Cortland, and I led the group out 14th street, feeling pretty good keeping the pace about 18-19 mph with just a very slight headwind. On 77 we eventually were reduced to a group of five - me, Dave, Doug, Barry, and Todd. The rest either didn't keep pace or had other plans for their route. I was able to stay with the group out to Cortland although the pace picked up to a pretty steady 20-21 mph. I did fall off the back once out by Princeton after taking too long of a pull (I'll never learn), but they slowed a little to wait for me - nice guys.

We rested at Cortland like usual, and then headed out to Hallam. This is where I got into trouble. Right about when I dropped back to take the picture above, we were going at a pretty steady 23 mph pace, which continued to hold steady all the way back to 77 (hills be damned).

At least, the other four held it steady. As soon as we turned east to head back to 77, I blew up. I just couldn't hold that pace for that long. Dave was nice and waited for me at the corner, and we rode back to town together (complete with two flats for Dave in the space of about 5 minutes). He had already ridden about 80 miles that day, and didn't want to paceline his way back to town (I think he kept going after I split to go home so he could get in a century).

It would be nice if I could get strong enough to stay with these guys comfortably for an entire ride, but I just don't know if that is in the cards for me. To get significantly better, I would have to:

1) Put in more miles (definitely possible)
2) Do more structured training, i.e. intervals w/a heart rate moniter (unlikely)
3) Lose weight (definitely possible, but would mean quitting eating stuff like this)

(gratuitous Giordano's pic just for Gravy)

Or I could just quit worrying about it, ride for fun, try to never take a pull, and make everybody else feel faster by getting dropped on every ride :).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nice Article

There was a nice article on bikes and cycling in today's Journal-Star - with interviews and pics of the Sandahls and the Torells. Unfortunately, their pics didn't get published on the website, but if you haven't seen it you can read the article here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ricco and other musings on Le Tour


So I woke up this morning, turned on Versus, and found out that Ricardo Ricco, and indeed, all of Saunier Duval, were gone from the Tour de France.

Man.

Watching the mountain stages in the Pyrenees, Ricco was the one guy who looked like he could attack and go off the front in the mountains at any time. Now I know why he looked so good. Even as I was watching him attack earlier in the race, the niggling thought existed that reminded me that he looked dominant in the mountains in the same way that Rasmussen did last year. At least they got him out of there before he won more stages or took the yellow jersey in the Alps, as the potential was there for him to do.

The problem is, the race needs guys like him who can put the hurt on the guys who will dominate the time trials, like Cadel Evans. Who wants to watch somebody like Evans just kind of hang around the peloton in the mountains, protect a 1 second lead, and then destroy everybody in the TT? It is more exciting to see a good climber attack in the mountains, get a big time advantage, and then see if they can hold on during the TT.

How about Christian Vande Velde? Looks like maybe a podium finish for the American if he can hold on in the Alps. Very cool to see.

Is it a coincidence that so many former Postal and Discovery guys have tested positive? Hamilton, Landis, Heras, now Beltran, have all tested positive (none while working for Bruyneel, however). Hmmmmmm. Maybe Johann Bruyneel just used better doctors.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chicago Trip

Since Gravy was asking for pics of Giordano's, I decided to post some of my recent vacation pics.

My son Tommy was at jazz camp at KU starting on July 6, so we dropped him off and took my daughter to Chicago for the week. We stayed at my friend's condo - excellent views and location just north of Millennium Park.


We decided that on this visit, we would get a CityPass - allows you to go to the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, and either the Hancock Building or the Sears Tower. On the first day we took a bus down Michigan Ave., ate a late breakfast at a new south Loop hotspot called Yolk - just across from the museum campus area - and walked over to the Field Museum, and got our picture taken with it's most famous resident, Sue. Sue is the world's largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton.


Although there are a number of world-class exhibits, including some interesting displays on ancient Egypt and the Maya-Aztec civilizations, it's hard to beat dinosaur fossils for getting kids interested in a museum of natural science and history.

We also explored some new neighborhoods this trip. After the museum and some rest back at the condo, we took a train north to Old Town and walked around the shops a bit before eating dinner at an excellent upscale Mexican restaurant right next to the Second City comedy club. After dinner, we toured the Hancock building and took some pictures of the city at night.

On day 2, we went to the Adler Planetarium, saw some shows there, and looked at all of their displays. Kayla had never seen a star show in a planetarium before, so she really enjoyed that, as well as a great show on time and space in their 360 degree theater. After that, we took the train to Chinatown for a great lunch at Joy Yee's, and then did some window shopping in the neighborhood.


For the rest of the day, we went shopping up in the loop (Macy's, etc.) and also checked out a more exclusive area (way too expensive for our budgets, but fun to check out) on Armitage avenue. The shops are all located on this charming old street with fixed up brownstones.

We also happened to walk by reputedly one of the top 5 restaurants in the U.S., Charlie Trotter's. As they take reservations over a year in advance, and the prix fix is over $100 per person, we decided to do pizza instead.


On our last day in town, we went to the Shedd Aquarium for most of the morning. The displays were great, but the highlights had to be the Beluga whales and the dolphin show.


After lunch at an old world Jewish deli called Eleven City Diner, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. We had just been there the year before, so we just hit a couple of favorite exhibits and then went to the IMAX show that was included with our CityPass - it was a great show about the Colorado river and the Grand Canyon - perfect subject matter for an IMAX theater. We then finished up with some more shopping, dinner at the Italian Village in the Loop, and a late flight to Kansas City to go pick up Tommy the next day.

Tommy did well at the camp, landing positions in the top combo and big band, and was named MVP on trumpet for the camp.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

jazz-n-bikes-n-BLUES

Rode down to the Zoo bar festivities Saturday night once the little one was tucked away in bed. Had a great time solo, actually. I was impressed with the event all the way around. No waiting in lines -- $10 entry was a bargain for the entertainment, beer was cheap ($3) and the whole place had a nice party vibe. The weather couldn't have been better. It was one of those nights where I was proud to live in Lincoln -- it had the feel of a big city event, but had the small-town friendlyness thing going on as well.

I rocked out to E.C. Scott and the Self Righteous Brothers. E.C. Scott was my favorite of the two -- she belted out a number of great blues tunes as well as danceable doo-boppy melodies (whatever that means). She did a killer funky rendition of Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer, which was my favorite of the night. You really had to be there to explain the Self Righteous Brothers. I had not seen them before, so I was highly amused and entertained, to say the least.

The evening was capped off with a trail ride home through the dark.

Friday, July 11, 2008

All kinds of wrong

Loosely related to Kevin's last post, here is a fascinating story about a motorist-cyclist encounter gone wrong.

Downtown bike lanes -- what say you?

Bike lanes downtown -- are they working? Should there be more? Do you use them? Yay or nay. Discuss...

My two cents -- I can take 'em or leave 'em. I use them if they're along my route, but I won't go out of my way to use them. From what I've seen, for those that can't keep up with moving traffic they provide some safe harbour. I suppose having them there if nothing else reminds drivers to be more aware of cyclists on the road in general when downtown.

Seems to be a lot more bikers out this summer as compared to last summer -- gas prices and all that, I'm sure.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

teamFIRE wednesday ride

Total of nine riders last night. Let's see, who all was there... Dan, Dave, Rob, Justin with teamFIRE members Nicol, Greg, Gravy and Katie. We rode to Sprague and managed to stay dry. Nice evening for a ride -- pretty humid, not much wind, one flat (Greg), one sprint to the town sign (not by me), and one water bottle overboard (Dave).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Toodler to Racer and back again

I post this on behalf of toodlers everywhere (you know who you are).
I embarked on my short-lived racing career Sunday in a duathalon at Pioneer's Park. My wife is a runner and thought it would be cool to enter as a team.

It was great fun, in a sort of masochistic way. The race was a 2-mile run/12-mile bike/2-mile run. The bike portion was three laps around Pioneer's Park. I've not pushed myself like that on the bike before -- going hard for 30-40 minutes. The best parts were 1) teaming up with my wife and having our 4-year-old son be the "coach" -- hopefully, growing up seeing his parents be physically active will rub off on him. And 2) hanging out with all the friendly and supportive people who were there. There were several teamFIRE people out there -- both racing and just showing support.

It was a great time and I'm glad my wife took the initiative to enter us as a team. I'd like to do it again next year -- if my teammate will pick up the slack for me again, of course.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!


Today the non-racing wing of teamFIRE declared their independence and headed for Cortland instead of Seward. Nicol (wait a minute, she races all the time), Kevin (oops, RacerBoy is racing on Sunday), and Jen and me (both much more dedicated to our non-racing than the other two) rode out at a nice relaxed pace to Cortland and Hallam, with a stop for toast and coffee at the tavern in Cortland.

The owner of the tavern was a hoot - evidently cyclists don't stop there much, and she wants to get more to stop by. She was even talking about installing a bike rack in an air-conditioned room (I guess in case the bikes are hot and sweaty after riding out from Lincoln). We even got some souvenir pens out of the deal.

Good weather, a leg friendly pace, and interesting conversation - Nicol confessing her vulnerability, Jen describing some of the parties she's hosted, Kevin getting stiff (after sitting too long at the tavern), and me telling the black walnut ice cream story for the 1,327,546th time in the last week and a half - all made for a good ride. All that was missing were some biscuits and Gravy.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

wednesday ride

The TeamFIRE ride went off with about 17 riders -- a surprisingly large group considering the wind. It was decided a northerly route made sense into the wind, so we headed out to the Kawasaki plant. I lost the group rounding the airport as Nate (I think his name was) dropped his chain on his single-speed moutain bike. I stayed back to check on him -- the chain was irrepairable so he had to call for a ride or hike it. After assuring me he was fine, I rode solo into the wind for probably a mile before seeing the group coming back. The rain clouds were getting more ominous so they decided to turn around and head for home, fortunate for me as it allowed me to catch back up!

A few hearty souls (Jen, Gravy, Megan and myself) stopped for a nightcap at the Grape Vine neighborhood pub at 27th & Stockwell. The brew was cold and tasty.

Good and windy time had by all!

Sidenote -- Alternative July 4th Ride
Jen, myself, BobK and whoever else wants to join us for the alternative July 4 ride. We're meeting at 8 a.m. at Wilderness Perk for a 30-mile or so ride. This would be the group that cherishes sleep and rides a little slower. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Zoo Bar Ride

Tonight I passed on the teamFIRE ride, got on my old Trek hybrid, and took the Jamaica trail down past Haymarket Park, through the Haymarket and into downtown with a musician friend of mine. We hit Yia Yia's for beer and pizza, then headed over to the Zoo Bar to listen to a salsa band in which a few friends of ours play. Man, the Zoo Bar is way more pleasant now that there is a smoking ban. When I used to play gigs there before there was no smoking my wife would make me leave my clothes in the basement and take a shower before I could come to bed.


The ride down would have been fun if not for the brutal 30 mph headwind the whole way. I thought I was going to have a nice, leisurly ride and got a workout. I can't wait to hear how the Wed. night road ride went.

Here is some video that I shot with my cell phone of the band - completely worthless in a dark bar, but I figured I had to try it sometime.

video

Next week I am in Chicago for most of the week - eating too much good food and not getting any riding in. Although, I have a friend I played in a band with at Disney World while we were in college who teaches music in a suburb of Chicago. He is getting ready to go on Ragbrai and might have time to do a ride with me if I can rent a bike. Otherwise it is either the July 4 early ride with teamFIRE to Seward, or the July 5 GPBC ride to Wilber, and then a week off.

New discovery via bike

I have the Antelope Valley mess to thank for introducing me to a new pitstop on my commute. I've been riding past the Cup the past couple weeks as I've been rerouted around the construction at Randolph and Normal Blvd.

Finally stopped in to check it out on my way to work this morning. Awesome pastries! Packed up a cinnamon roll in my pannier, microwaved it upon arrival at work and walahh -- delicious!

I tend to miss places like this driving. It'll be a frequent bike stop.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cortland and Crete


Today I finally was able to get in a good solo ride out to Cortland in the morning before the heat and wind got too bad. Cortland is busy getting ready for the 4th.

It was kind of nice to take a solo ride at my own pace so that I can enjoy the scenery, rather than struggling to keep up on one of the local group rides. I took it real easy into the wind on the way into Cortland, heading into a south wind, then rode the wind home. Ended up with about 40 miles at an average of about 16.5 mph.


On Saturday, I went with the Wilderness Perk 8 am ride to Crete. Either there are more racers on this ride pushing the pace, or I was just feeling crappy and couldn't keep up, but I was OTB by the time we got to Bluestem lake. Gravy was nice enough to stay back with me, and we caught the group at the Kramer cutoff and headed into Crete as a group. After a short break, we headed back up the highway, but I got gapped again, which I compounded by throwing a chain. Gravy and Kim stayed back this time, and we headed through the Denton Alps to get back to Lincoln, while the rest of the group went straight back to 77 on Roca road. A short detour through the new Bridges development was interesting. After the ride we met up with Janna at Mi Guadalajara for some Mexican food on the way home. A good ride, even if I did feel weak and tired most of the way.