Sunday, August 31, 2008

"He's Gone....

....2000 miles..... is very far....."

Ahh, Pretenders. Yeah, I semi-whined about the odometer on my bike a while back being lower than some others, but I did hit the 2000 mile mark today on a short afternoon ride.

Pretty good, considering last year was my first 2000 mile year and I didn't hit that until Psimet's early October century ride.

And while I didn't join aham's mystical 700 club, I did ride over 500 miles in August. Not bad.

Speaking of aham, he's on a kick to sign up for Ride The Rockies 2009. I'm onboard so long as I can raise the funds and get the time off of work. It's been a while since I have been in Colorado and I miss it whenever I see pictures or maps of the state. Plus it will be a great training focus for the coming darkness of winter.

First up, though, is getting through Labor Day weekend. The neighbors have a bouncy house in the backyard, the cooler is stocked and the grill is fired up. Beautiful weather for it, too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Super Slo-Mo

Here are a few grainy videos I shot when riding around northern Georgia. For longer winded details on the trip to the south, click here.

First up: Wolf Pen Gap. This one goes on for a while because it was still early and I had the energy to put up with holding the camera for over two minutes. And despite the last line saying this is not yet half way up, it actually was pretty close to the top.

Next: Brasstown Bald. This is right after I clipped back in on the wall. Very short video. I needed everything I had.

Last: Neels Gap. This is getting to the top just before the hostel going south toward Turners Corners. Note this is a busier road. The downhill on the other side of this is amazing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pre-Ride Burgers

Reminder:  Don't hit the Wendy's drive thru before a ride.
Had a horrible Tuesday night ride with a 99 cent cheeseburger and chicken nuggets sitting like cooling lava in the stomach.  Legs like lead.  Falling off the back almost from the warm up.  Terrible feeling.
The faster guys slowed down early on and Dejan encouraged me to just sit in for the ride, but the legs wouldn't go.  I hung on for a very short time and then watched as the lead three floated out of site down River Road.   
Rode rest of shortened route with Nick, listening to his tales of riding in France a few years back.  Legs never came around, stomach never stopped feeling like heaving.  
What a change from a week earlier when I kept pace with a fast ride down in Bartlett, TN.  That ride I was in much bigger gears, my legs responded to accelerations and took strong pulls.  I attribute that to the power of eating Huey burger for lunch that day.
Next week I'm going back to my pre-ride Boca Burger.  Yeah, Bocas are fake meat, but for some reason I usually feel pretty good on rides after having one for dinner.  And because we don't have Huey's in Chicagoland. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's Tuesday... This Must Be Memphis

Been gone since last Thursday.  Atlanta, Birmingham, and now Memphis.  Tomorrow it'll be St. Louis.  And then points south and west before getting the family truckster back up to Chicagoland.

I have ridden a few times.  Tonight was a 36 mile 22 mph average group ride out of Bartlett, TN, with only a Huey burger as fuel.  Yesterday it was a short morning leg stretch in Birmingham.  Birmingham has hills.  Steep hills.  Who knew?  Last weekend it was a group ride in Dunwoody, GA.  And the day before that was.... epic.  That will have to wait, though, until I can get pictures loaded.  The story will be better with pictures, for sure. 

Until then.... 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Damned Perfect Weather!

What the heck is up with August?

Again, this weekend was freakin' perfect outside for riding. Absolutely beautiful! I'm going to wilt like the proverbial hothouse flower in Georgia later this week.

I got in a very early 45 mile ride on Saturday. Early enough that I was back home a just past 8 am and ready to take on the rest of the day. The temps were in the low 60s and there was almost no wind to speak of. Great for zipping along. Sunday I waited until the afternoon sun was up for a 55 miler. But the temps were barely 80 and it was so comfortable. At least there was a bit of an odd north/northwest wind to give a bit of resistance so I wasn't coasting a whole lot. Good stuff.

The best part was riding 5 miles on Sunday with the family around the neighborhood. That was fun. The second best part was eating terrible food at Chili's on Saturday for lunch and chasing it that evening with a bowl of Fritos covered with chili and melted cheese. The riding sure helps, as I didn't add an ounce on the scale and I'm at my lowest weight of the year. High metabolism FTW! I can only imagine what would happen if I started eating healthy....

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Bad Tendency To Fizzle

Sometimes I wonder why certain songs never catch on. Highly addictive and sing-along ready songs that were released as singles and did receive a bit of airplay, at that. But then they just fizzle and are never heard again.

Here’s one from Semisonic, of 1998’s “Closing Time” fame, from a follow up album in 2001. It’s nothing revolutionary, but, as jangly pop songs go, is a tasty summertime three chord gem. I heard it a few times on WXRT here in Chicago, and this song would seem to fit right into their ongoing rotation, but as happens never seems to get played outside maybe a Saturday morning flashback show for 2001.

It’s almost like U.S. radio wants to ignore stuff like this so they can keep bands like Semisonic in perpetual one hit wonder status.

In any case, this is a clever little romantic pop song with a Rube Goldbergish themed video and it deserves better than the dust bin into which it was summarily thrown by U.S. radio.

Semisonic – “Chemistry”

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

When Life Gives You Lemonade.

It was a perfect day to ride. Almost.

It’s funny how a half-assed training agenda can get so screwed up by one of the most beautiful weather days of any August.

A few days ago I made (yet another) day trip up to Cross Plains, Wisconsin, to ride the hills. This trip was ostensibly part of my preparation to ride down in Georgia a few weeks from now. Well, I got only part of what I wanted, the hills. The other parts I was looking for, hot and humid, were not in abundance. The temps were in the low 80s and the humidity was quite low, which makes for an awesome combination to ride all day long, but it wasn’t what I was looking for!

Give me lemonade and I can make lemons.

Anyway, I rambled around for 71.5 miles up and down and up and down. It was a lot of fun and I think I will be ready to tackle Neels, Wolfpen, and Woody Gaps a few weeks from now. Just need to make sure I have enough water. And plenty of ice cold lemonade.

Can’t wait.

Friday, August 01, 2008

She Blinded Me With Elegance

Not much to say, but for some reason I googled this song by Thomas Dolby a few weeks back as it's been on a little list of songs I've been looking to track down that is tacked up on my cube wall at work. I didn't even realize it had a video. It's from about 15 years ago and probably was not much heard, as most folks only know Dolby from his "She Blinded Me With Science" hit back in 1982 or so.

I think the only time I ever heard the following was when I played it on my college radio show and it stuck with me all these years. It's not quirky like his one hit wonder song, but it is somehow elegant in a great way. The video is beautifully done to match the song, as well. It made my day to find this.

"I Love You, Goodbye" by Thomas Dolby