Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Congratulations to Nancy and Mike for completing a 200K, or further, each month over the past 12 months, qualifying them for RUSA's R-12 award. I am now halfway to the R-12.
At the control in Mount Vernon
We left the Kearney Street trailhead at 8:00AM when the temperature was predicted to be just above freezing. We started out on packed gravel until about half way to Willard where we hit the new pavement that has lately raised some controversy with the running community. The pavement continues through Willard where it changes back to packed gravel. We saw a bald eagle in a field near the trail between Willard and Walnut Grove. It flew off when we came close.
After the Willard Trailhead, the quality of the trail surface is not as good. There are a number of locations where the trail has washed out in the past, so the surface is not packed. There was only one little place where we actually had to dismount because of a washout, which was pretty good considering I was only running 28mm tires. The trail did not match up well with some of the bridge surfaces, and we had to dismount rather than risk a pinch flat. We rode and carried the bikes across Missouri Highway 13 rather than take the streets into town. On the north side of Highway 13, the trail turns into a single track for about 1/2 mile. We arrived at the trailhead about 11:00AM. Total climb was 1,030 feet.
We had a late breakfast at Norma's Restaurant on East Maupin. The pancakes were so big they almost hung over the edge of the plates.
We rode the trail back south to U Highway where we took to the road. We stopped at Bolton's General Store on BB Highway, and got back on the trail in Willard. Total feet of climb for the return was 1,630 feet. Most of the additional climbing was on the hill coming into Morrisville and the climb out of the Little Sac River valley.
The ride was a much better way than shopping to spend Black Friday. We hope to make it an annual tradition.
Heading out from the Kearney Street trailhead
Walnut Grove trailhead
Doug on the Little Sac River bridge
Passing under the trail on the ride back
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunrise in Galena
Nancy & Mike outbound
Getting ready to leave Mt. Vernon
The wind shifted to the southwest
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Nancy & Mike Myers
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Kum & Go in Fair Grove
Monday, September 7, 2009
John at the 6:00AM start
Control in Buffalo
We saw mules
Lunch stop in Humansville
We saw Texas longhorns, but they stampeded
away when they saw the camera
Log one-room schoolhouse just north of
Fair Grove in Dallas County
Log cabin next to the school house
W.C. Potter House (circa 1888) north of
Fair Grove on FR 221
Monday, August 31, 2009
We were up by 5AM and headed into town to the start at the Short Stop c-store. Kent arrived shortly after we got there, and we were soon off into the dark.
The route took us through the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve just north of Cottonwood Falls. There was a large stone house and barn that now serve as the visitor center. On the way back, we saw quite a few visitors.
With a slight tailwind, we made good time and arrived at the control in El Dorado at about 10:30AM. The only delay along the way was when Spencer had a blow out in Cassoday and had to replace his tube and tire. Most of the group bought lunch at a Dillon's grocery store in El Dorado, while I went across the street to Taco Bell and John started back straight from the control because he did not want to tighten up during lunch.
The ride back took a little longer. The headwind picked up to 12 miles per hour with gusts to 20. We rode in a pace line, but I started to slow down, which I typically do after lunch. My rear tire also began to go flat just south of Cassoday (a popular place for tire problems). I pumped it up a bit and eased into town. The tire was in pretty bad shape. The thread was thin, and there was a groove down to the casing along one side as if something had rubbed against it. Fortunately, Brian had a spare tire to replace it, and we were back on our way. I was riding better with a fully-inflated tire, but I began to feel extremely sleepy after we left Cottonwood Falls. This is a re-occurring problem that I have not been able to solve. We got a little strung out towards the end, and I rode into the Council Grove control with Brian and Arlys about 5:30PM. We had a good dinner with the group at the Hays House restaurant before driving back to Springfield.
Overall it was a great ride. We got to see some different scenery and ride with a great group of randonneurs who worked together to make the ride successful.
Getting ready to ride
Heading out of town in the dark
One of 3 Rivendells on the ride
Stone one-room school house
Stone barn at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls
Me, John and Arlys taken by Spencer
Lunch outside the Dillon's in El Dorado
Pace line against the wind on the return
Sunday, August 16, 2009
We were not really pushing the pace, and we made it to the first control in Miller (37.5 miles, 1,910 feet of total climb) just before 8AM. With the wind at our back most of the way, we reached Golden City (64.4 miles, 2,820 feet of total climb) just before 10AM, and Cooky's was still serving breakfast. Cooky's is a popular stop for riders on the Trans-American bike route, but the 10 or so riders eating breakfast this time were all from Mt. Vernon, about 35 miles southeast of Golden City.
We left Cooky's about 11AM. The south wind had picked up (23 mph with gusts to 28 mph), and it seemed a lot warmer. The wind hammered us on the south legs back to Miller (5,520 feet of total climb). The same clerk who had validated our permanent cards was still there. She told John that the Mt. Vernon group had come through earlier, but they did not have cards. We wondered if she had asked for their cards, and we invented stories we should have told her like: only card-carrying cyclists are real cyclists; or that we were on release for good behavior from the Green County jail, but the ankle bracelets did not transmit that far, so we needed to document where we had been.
The route is pretty much east-west after Miller, but we were both pretty tired from fighting the headwinds. Fortunately, we had good cloud cover from M Highway (98 miles) on into Springfield, so the temperature did not continue to climb. At about M Highway, I also began to get extremely sleepy. I finally stopped to take a caffeine pill, which began to kick in about the time we stopped at a church in Elwood (9 miles from the finish) to fill our water bottles. We made it back into Springfield shortly after 5PM (5,250 feet of total climb). John and I were both surprised there is that much climbing in comparison to the Munger Moss Route 66 200K we rode July 31, but there are some good hills on the east half of this route.
John's half-eaten blueberry pie
My Dutch apple pie
New Roundabout at the Springfield Regional Airport entrance
Saturday, August 1, 2009
For the most part, there was not much traffic along the route except on the return in Lebanon and on CC highway between Conway and Marshfield. I was concerned about the route through Lebanon because the road is being expanded to 4 lanes. There was no construction on Friday, but there are still a couple of 2-lane sections were we backed up traffic. There were quite a few trucks westbound on CC, which may have been an indication of traffic problems on I-44. As expected in the Ozarks, we were also chased by a couple of dogs.
On the ride out, we talked to a couple of old timers at Hannah's General Store, which is the control in Conway. They were back there for lunch when we stopped again, and they would not believe we had ridden to Richland and back so quickly until I showed them the receipt from the Oasis Truck Stop.
Tom Barnett loaned me his altimeter for the ride, and the total amount of climbing was 6,920 feet. The climb was about 3,190 feet outbound and 3,730 feet inbound. Most of the route is rolling hills, but there a few good hills westbound into Lebanon, Marshfield and Northview. I really enjoyed the route because of the scenery and the variation of small town and rural riding.
John in front of the route's namesake
Me coming off the Gasconade River bridge
(a triple truss)
Home-made pie and fried chicken are long gone
Wrink's is closed again
Upper reaches of the Niangua River
John climbing the Northview hill on OO Highway,
the last climb of the day
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Nixa St. John's Clinic Ride on June 6
Tom and I rode the 70-mile route out to Aurora and back. It was a pretty challenging ride. Fortunately, we had a tailwind for the big hills on the way back. The ride was free and the support was great!
Tom Leaving a Rest Stop
Edwardsville, IL, 600K on June 13
I went up to Edwardsville with Judy, and we stayed at a motel close enough to the start so I could ride over while she slept in. The ride went pretty well until after we left Belle Rive. I became extremely sleepy and began taking some caffeine pills to stay awake. I was riding with John Jost, Dennis Smith and Scott Thompson, but I could not keep up with them as we left Thompsonville. I caught up with them just as they were about to leave Creal Springs. They waited while I bought a bottle of chocolate milk. We rode six miles of big hills to the bike path that would take us to Vienna. It was almost dark as we started down the bike path, and it seemed like it took forever to ride the 15 miles of gravel trail sprinkled with twigs. I stopped a couple of times to get a drink because it was too difficult to try to drink while riding. I was exhausted when I pulled into the motel about 10:00PM, and went to bed after a shower and part of a salad from MacDonald's. Unfortunately, I had stopped taking electrolyte tablets on the trail, and I woke up with severe cramps. I took a couple tablets and went back to sleep. When the alarm went off at 2:00AM, I turned it off and laid there with the intent of getting up, but I went back to sleep. Judy woke me up again at 2:30AM, and I went down to the motel lobby, where John, Dennis and Scott were ready to go. I told them, I just didn't have it in me to go on, and I went back to bed. I think the problem was that I had not gotten enough sleep going into the ride. For a variety of reasons, I only got about 5-6 hours of sleep the three nights before the ride.
John Jost giving instructions at the 4:00AM start
Dennis Smith and John outside Breese
Dennis and me on the Loafers Bench near Bluford
Scott Thompson, Dennis and John at Wilkey's Cafe in Belle Rive
Edwardsville, IL, 600K on June 27
I went back up to Edwardsville to try the 600K again. I made sure I had plenty of rest, but no other riders showed up because of the predicted high temperatures, so I just rode a 106 miles with John Jost, the RBA, and headed home. I tried using Sustained Energy to keep me going and it was working pretty well until about the last 30 miles when I began to feel bloated. I ate a sandwich when we stopped in New Baden, so that may have contributed. I have tried Spiz and Perpetuem in the past, and I always became sick to my stomach after a few bottles. I am going to try a lower concentration of Sustained Energy, and if that does not work, go back to solid food and chocolate milk, which worked well for the 210 miles of the earlier 600K I rode.
I spent Friday night at The Innkeeper Motel in
Hamlin, IL, and even the motel had a garden.
MS Pancake Ride on July 25
Tom and I rode the 52-mile route. I rode 12 miles to the start in Battlefield. It looked like a rain cell was moving in, so Tom and I left about 15 minutes before the ride was suppose to start. It started raining, with some lightning, shortly after we left, and we were some of the first riders to arrive at the pancake breakfast in Republic (10 miles). One of the staff told us that they had held up the riders at the start because of the weather and told the riders they could drive to the breakfast if they preferred. We continued on as more people started showing up in cars and on bikes. It pretty much stopped raining after the third rest stop, and we saw very few riders along the route. It appears most riders either did not ride or they rode the 30-mile route. We made it back to Battlefield about 10:30AM. I got a free massage and chiropractic adjustment, before riding the 12 miles home. Unfortunately, it started raining again couple miles from the house.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The high-tech service is $18 a month for any of the 700,000 or so Japanese transit riders who bike to train stations daily. No need for locks or worries.
The robot garages are nearly full every day and neighborhood biking has spiked 20 percent since they were installed.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The Ride of Silence...
Tonight we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear
Tonight's ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share
To those not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I asked for a 3:30 AM wake-up call, which never came, but I also had my alarm set, which did go off. I got to the ride start in Edwardsville about 4:30 AM for the 5:00 AM start. There were about a dozen riders with about 10 riding the 400K. There were also 200K and 300K events starting at the same time. The 400K route is basically a figure eight (Map).
The weather was great at the start: about 67 degrees and a west wind at about 5 miles an hour. The favorable wind helped us get to the first control in Breese (51 miles, marker 21) about 8:20 AM. By that time, the wind had shifted to the WNW and picked up to about 20 mph with gusts to 25 mph. We had to ride through some water in a low area just southwest of Breese. I was riding with John Jost, the RBA, and his tire began to get a little soft about halfway to the next control in Okawville. We stopped a few times to pump it up, and he changed the tube in Okawville (78 miles, marker 33).
We next took a short break at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cemetery where we viewed the cyclist's grave stone. We stopped in Pinckneyville (marker 52) for lunch at Subway. Two other riders stopped and told us that they had been chased by a dog that was unfortunately hit by a car and killed.
We enjoyed the tailwind until a few miles east of the control in Ava (150 miles, marker 58) when we began heading west again. This part of the ride also had the steepest hills. We reached Sparta (177 miles, marker 63) around 7:30 PM. I forget the exact time, but we turned on our lights less than an hour later.
At sunset, the north wind dropped off to about 5 mph, and the temperature also began to fall. We passed a bank sign that displayed 45 degrees. We made one last stop in New Baden (216 miles) to get some hot chocolate and warm up a bit. We ended up staying about an hour. I was cold as soon as we started riding again. The temperature was about 49 degrees, but the dew point was about 39 degrees, so it seemed colder. Part of the problem was that I forgot my cycling cap, so the cold wind was blowing through the vents of my helmet. Fortunately, I did have a wool sweat band to cover my ears. If I had been thinking more clearly, I would have put a couple of paper towels in my helmet before we left the c-store.
We pulled into the final control in Edwardsville at 3:01 AM. After checking in, I loaded the bike in the back of the truck, climbed in the cab with a blanket and slept about four hours before driving home.
At the start
That was not here last weekend
The RBA always goes first
RBAs get flats too
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cemetery
The cyclist's grave stone