Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Toodling on the 4th

4th of July Ride:

When - 8:00 am

Meeting place - Zestos (Wilderness Perk) - 14th and Pine Lake

Destination - Cortland Bar and Grill for toast and beer (if they're open)

Pace - Tooooodlin'

Gravy, Jendeluxe, Adrian? and I are in.  Anybody else?

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Bike and Rides

I will be getting my new Cross Check on Saturday afternoon - anybody want to go with me on it's maiden voyage? We could go out the Jamaica trail, or ride out to Eagle for nachos.

Sunday-Thursday next week I will be teaching at UN-L from 8 am to 8 pm, so no group rides for me. I am interested in doing a July 4 morning ride, however. Last year Kew, Nicol, Jendeluxe, and I rode out to Cortland for breakfast and had a blast. I would be happy to duplicate that ride for those who don't want to go to Seward. Let me know if interested.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TdN - Days 4 and 5

On day 4 we rode from Ponca to West Point - the longest ride of the tour at about 76 miles. Fortunately, there was little wind and there were a good number of places to stop on the way - we took a short break in Allen, stopped in Wakefield at a gas station while Bruce and Alisa visited with a former colleague of Alisa's, rode past the Wayne chicken, and grabbed a beer in Wisner.

Allen rest stop.

Cyclists riding down the hill into Allen.

After almost reeling in the pink train on the way into Beemer (a race in which only one side knew they were racing), we stopped for lunch at the Hay Barn. This lady had to prepare everybody's food in full view of the bar. I think we made her very nervous.

There was not much to do in West Point but set up camp and go to the banquet. Here are pics from the banquet.

Several of us began calling this the "Dead Presidents Tour". There was one guy with a ponytail who looked just like George Washington, and the guy in the red shirt with his legs crossed below looked just like Ben Franklin.

Yes, I know Ben Franklin was not a president, and you can't tell he looks like Ben Franklin because there is a cup in front of his face. Just go with it and trust me, give him a kite and a thunderstorm, and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

We woke up on the morning of day 5 to the sound of rain and David R. singing "The hills are alive, with the sound of whining". Because I only brought my cell phone along for pics, and it spent most of the day in a baggie in my jersey pocket, so the only pic I have from the last day is from the rest stop about 20 miles in during a break in the rain.

Thus ends the 2009 TdN posts.

TdN - Day 3 in Ponca

We ended up in Ponca at the end of day 3. There was a nice ice cream shop in the back of a pharmacy, and a bar around the corner. They put on a nice dinner for us in the park, complete with a band which looked pretty young.

Bar in Ponca.

They had some nice cars parked in a lot outside the bar.

Dinner in the park. Like every other catered meal this week,
it was hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and beans.

The drummer looked like he was about 10 years old.

After dinner, they offered hayrack rides up to Ponca state park.
This is a beautiful park with big hills and a nice view of the river.

Karen and Bob on the way to the park.

My cousin Brian and his son Matt on their first tour.

Doug W. at the overlook.

Park ranger giving a talk on the history surrounding the river.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

TdN Days 2 and 3

I didn't take that many pictures on the road on days 2 and 3, so I'll combine those and then put more pics from Ponca in the next post. Day 2 was Tilden to Bloomfield, day 3 was from Bloomfield to Ponca.

We started the day on a flat road, heading north. After about
30 miles, Bill, David, Alisa, and Bruce headed further north
to get in a century for Bill's birthday.

Daniel hammering up a hill. I have a fun story about riding
with Daniel and his father I'll share in person. If I put everything
in the blog, then I won't have anything left to tell folks
on the next ride :)

Some of the rest stops were quite interesting. In Hartington
there was supposed to be a brunch in a park - but when
we got there they weren't even close to being ready.
Sometimes the towns don't really believe Susan when she
tells them how early we will arrive.Since the brunch wasn't ready,
this lady and kids garnered a huge crowd for homemade
cookies and lemonade.

At some point early on day 3, Bruce, Alisa and I passed a large tent in
a field to our left. I thought it was for an afternoon wedding, but
Bruce saw a wine tasting sign, so we turned around and sampled
some Nebraska wine at 9:30 in the morning.

At another stop in St. James, some farm ladies have grouped together
to form a community market place in an old building to help keep
the community alive. We got there too early to be ready for lunch,
but it was fun to look around.

The pie stop in Maskell on day 3 was also a highlight.

At the end of day 3, Bruce, Alisa and I stopped in Newcastle for
a great lunch. It was clean and good :) From here into Ponca,
we rode through a steady drizzle - about 12 miles of
being completely soaked.

TdN Day 1

Rich starts us off with instructions.

On the road Platte Center to Tilden.  Only bad part of 
the  ride - I put a 1 inch slash in a brand new rear
tire when I ran over a piece of metal on the shoulder
of the highway.  Had to boot it with a $20 bill (all I had on me)
in order to finish the ride.

We camped in Tilden on a field by the pool. The
pool temperature was about 78 degrees - shocking when
you first jump in, but great once you got acclimated.

The Broom Babes performing in Tilden - kind of like
a small town version of Stomp.

We were hit by three severe thunderstorms in Tilden.
The first one came at around 9:30 p.m. with quarter to
golf ball sized hail and heavy rain. Fortunately, the
sheriff evacuated us from the campgrounds.
The second storm came around 10:30 and featured
a tornado warning but no touchdown. This third came at
4:30 a.m. with 60 mph winds while we were in our tents. It was
quite the wake up call.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tour de Nebraska 2009

Ride reports:

Day 1 - Platte City to Tilden - 66 miles, mostly flat with a slight tailwind, 19.1 mph average speed. Extremely easy day. Rode most of the day with Bill G., John M., and Daniel R. (who is David R.'s son), but occasionally joined up with others as well.

Day 2 - Tilden to Bloomfield - 65 miles, flat until the last twelve miles. Started with a tailwind, then a slight crosswind. The last 12 miles were rollers on steroids - think the same slope (or a little steeper) as the hill outside of Denton, but twice as high. 18.2 mph avg. Easy day except for the hills at the end of the ride. Bill G., Bruce and Alisa, and David R. added 35 more miles on this day to do a century on Bill's birthday. I decided to stick to the planned route, so I let them go after about 30 miles and rode the rest of the way with John and Daniel, among others.

Day 3 - Bloomfield to Ponca - 67 miles, rolling hills the whole way - not quite as big as day 2, but lots of hills. Nice weather until after we stopped for lunch - steady rain for the last 12 miles. Average speed 17.6 mph. Rode with David R., Bruce and Alisa, Daniel R., and Bill G. most of the day.

Day 4 - Ponca to West Point - 76 miles, big rolling hills for about 60 miles, then a nice flat stretch to finish. Very light headwind all day. 16.9 mph avg. Only bad stretch was an 8 mile section of really rough shoulder towards the end of the ride. Otherwise, it was an easier day than expected. Rode with Alisa, Bruce, Daniel, and Bill all day.

Day 5 - West Point to Platte Center - 62 miles, rolling hills and a steady mist for the first 40 miles, then a long gradual incline with a few risers into a moderate headwind for the last 22 miles. Average speed was 16.2 mph. That last stretch was the toughest of the week because of deep expansion cracks about every 30 yards or so - 20+ miles of constant bumps at the end of a five day ride is not good for the butt. Rode for a while with the same folks, but Alisa and Bill were struggling with the hills early, so we all kind of broke up and rode our own pace. We regrouped in Madison and did the last 22 miles in a paceline with Dave, Daniel, Alisa, and Bruce, until I fell off at about mile 60 so I could stand up over every expansion crack without slowing down the line.

Pics to come soon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Duathlon - final results

Best Team Kit - Gravy and Kew in the Hawaiian getup

Best Team Name - Kim and Bobbie (Bonfire in my Pants)

Best Performance by a Ringer - tie between Kevin M. and Peter B.

Toughest Performance - Da Term for running when she expected to be biking

Most Generous Performance - Gravy, for not pulling away from me while my wife was watching

First team to the bar - Gravy and Kew

Anybody else have any other awards to give?

Tomorrow I head out to the Tour de Nebraska.  I'll try to send some pics to my Facebook account while I'm gone, otherwise expect to see lots of pics when I get back.  Have a good week, everybody.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Good Time Was Had By All

Since many of my cycling friends were entered (even Gravy), and not wanting to be left out, I recruited my friend Peter B. to team up with me in the TNT duathlon Sunday morning at Pioneers Park. On Saturday I rode out to the park to do a lap - the elk were happy with the cool weather.

On Sunday the morning began kind of rainy, and although the course was wet, traction on the road was pretty good. I haven't been in a race of any kind since I ran track in high school (30 years ago), and I had never raced on a bike, so I was pretty nervous about dealing with the turns at speed. Fortunately, I don't go that fast - so it wasn't really a problem.

Everybody did great and had fun - no pics from the race, but I did take some at the post-race celebration. This table pretty well dominated the team divisions. For those of you who read the previous post by Kew and followed the extensive handicapping and smack talk, here are the results of the teams listed in his post (teams are listed in order of overall finish as well):

Kim C/Bobbie - 1st place, womens division
Loupy G./Da Term - 2nd place, coed division
Bob K./Peter B. - 1st place, mens division
Gravy/Kew - 2nd place, mens division

Katie got sick and couldn't run with Janna, so Kevin rode the bike and Janna ran.

Here are some pics from our celebration at the FOX restaurant:

Kew and Gravy

Loup Garou and Da Term

Kew, Gravy, Loupy G.

Anna, Da Term, and Kim C.

Peter and his wife Debbie

Bob K. and Peter

I have no idea what they're doing.

We also celebrated Kew's recent b-day.

Thanks to those who talked me into trying a race, and thanks as well to those who came out and cheered. I loved cresting that hill to the sound of all of you yelling.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Place your Bets!

The big race day is just around the corner. Time to place your bets. Who's your pick to win the duathlon... The challengers:

KimC-Bobbie -- An experienced duo in their respective events but first-time teammates. Bobbie has the added pressure of not losing to her better half.

Da Term-Katie -- An experienced team also, Katie coming off a whopping 30-mile run. Da Term will do whatever it takes to win, including a frame pump to the spokes.

BobK-PeterB -- Latecomers to the field and one of two dark horses. BobK has been training all winter and spring. PeterB may be a ringer in the running portion.

Gravy-Kew -- Another darkhorse that formed over a 6-pack. Kew has implemented a crash-course, 2-week killer training regimen. Just how fast Gravy is on a bike, nobody knows.

Good luck to all -- should be fun!

Monday, June 8, 2009


This weekend I had hoped to get a long ride in - I had planned to do 60 miles by going through Bennett, Firth and then Hallam before coming home. The wind was supposed to be out of the ESE, so I thought that I'd get some help with the wind.  

Jace came out to ride with me and to help taking turns into the wind, but he had a lot on his plate for the day, so he ended up going to Bennett and then turning around.  Adrian was going to ride as well, but ended up having something a little more important to do :).

As soon as I turned towards Bennett, the wind picked up and shifted to come straight out of the south - so now instead of half of the ride being with the wind, only a quarter of the ride would be with the wind.  By the time I got to Roca road, I was so tired of fighting it that I decided to turn and ride the Roca rollers instead of continuing on to Firth.  Battling the bike through a 25 mph crosswind up and down those hills was quite a workout.  The payoff came when I finally hit 77 and was able to ride about 28-30 mph all the way home (hit 43 mph just before Saltillo road).  I ran into Megan M. on 14th  on the way home - she was just heading in after doing an easy ride in preparationf for her race in Norfolk.  I hope everybody had a good time there and survived the weather.

On Sunday, I rode with my wife down to the zoo - she is getting more enthusiastic about trying to ride more this summer.  Today I'm playing in a golf tournament with my dad, so no riding, but I'll try to hit the teamFIRE ride on Wednesday and at least one good long ride before the race I'm doing on Sunday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Learning curves

As I've worked on learning to play the trumpet, I have found that rather than learning on a continuous curve, where improvement is gradual and steady, I tend to have a series of plateaus and breakthroughs.  Sometimes on the bike, it seems the same way.  When I first started doing group rides a couple of years ago, my goals were to not do anything stupid and to see how long I could stay with the group.  Not very long, I discovered.

Last year, I found I was more comfortable riding in a group, and could stay with the group for about half of the ride, or until they got frisky and started racing.  My endurance was definitely better, but I still got dropped regularly.

Last night when riding out west of Pioneers Park, for the first time I felt like I could attack the hills with the others and even participate in the sprint into Emerald.  What a blast!  Of course, Adrian still rode away from me as we came back to Pioneers Park, but I'm working hard to forget that part.  As far as I'm concerned, the real ride was over once we turned back from Emerald.

In other matters, according to the forecast, Saturday is supposed to have a 10-15 mph wind out of the SE.  I was thinking of taking highway 2 to Bennett, then ride the rollers back to 77, then go south to Cortland on 77 (maybe a rest stop at the bar and grill there), with the Hallam loup a possibility if conditions and legs are good. The route is about 60 miles.  Anyone interested?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jazz in June

Come hear me play tonight with the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra - featuring MAXJAZZ recording artist Christine Hitt. Hope the weather clears (if it doesn't, we'll play in the Sheldon auditorium, so get there early to get a seat).

Monday, June 1, 2009

"Extra Gravy, Please"

It's on like Donkey Kong!

My esteemed teammate and I will be huffing and puffing around the course at the TNT duathlon on June 14. I will be doing the running portion and the Gravy-man will be rocking his Panasonic 80s Miami-Vice Monster Roadster in the biking portion.

Under the team name "Extra Gravy, Please" we plan on systematically dowsing any and all "bon-fires" -- should be entertaining if not downright comical (my running portion -- Gravy will rock.)