Monthly Archives: January 2011

New Years Day

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Last night we went down to Lawrence to have dinner at The Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence. I’ve been spending the New Year’s Eve up snowshoeing in Northern Wisconsin the last 10 years or so. I definitely missed that, but this was a nice change. I did go for a New Year’s walk at 1 am. That isn’t close to the same physical effort as snowshoeing in a meter of powder, but it is the same mental reset.

I’m going to get dressed now and go for a road ride. It is windy and cold. But, to start the new year off on the right foot, I need to clip in outside today. So, for those of you who are planning to get on the trainer for a couple hours, just say no, and go for a bike ride. It doesn’t matter if it is just for 30 minutes. It is what you must do to be correctly oriented for the rest of the year. That’s all the advice I have for now. Enjoy your ride.

Catherine, Keith & Bill in the Eldridge lobby before dinner.

I went down to the river to check out the sandbar situation this morning and all my sandbars are islands now. It doesn’t matter, because they are frozen hard and won’t duplicate the loose sand I need to ride in.

Austin Texas Bound

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The temperatures in Austin look great. At least for a bit. Ann and Stanley are always welcoming. And I know the riding. Seems like the right place to go and train for awhile. I don’t have a ticket to Europe yet. I hate planning too far ahead. The race is 3 weeks away. I don’t think my form is that far off. But, I’m not sure. Thursday, when it was 70, and I wasn’t hauling around all the extra stuff you have to wear at 25 degrees, I felt pretty alright. But riding in thermal tights, winter boots, etc., I feel slow and lethargic.

We’ll see today. It is supposed to get up to the lower 40’s today. There is a group ride from my house at noon. I doubt I can get these guys to go out for more than a couple hours, but that’s okay.

My junior/high school girlfriend, Sara, is in town for the holidays. She lives in Genoa, Italy, but her mom lives in Topeka. She has a 6 year old daughter, Iolanda, and we’re taking Iolanda out to the country and go dog walking after the ride. She wants a puppy something seriously, but living in an apartment in an European city is hard for that. It should be fun.

After that, I’m going to try to round up everything I think I might need for the next month and pack up. I should be driving early tomorrow morning, but it never goes as planned.

I got this cup at McDonalds. “Magic little beans?” I heard that Starbucks bottom line is being hurt from McDonalds because of coffee. McDonalds’ coffee is not Starbucks coffee.

Late Start

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I’ve been packing all morning to head down to Austin. I drank a bit too much red wine, while catching up with Sara, last night, so I’m a little foggy this morning. I’m sure I’ll figure out something to say as the day gets clearer and the drive gets longer.

Bromont isn't looking to happy as a play companion.

Day 1 Austin Texas

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Yesterday’s drive wasn’t too awful. It took about 9 1/2 hours to do the 700 miles. There were hardly any traffic slowdowns in DFW which was a pleasant surprise. I like the scenery on that drive. Oklahoma is a pretty nice state really. I bet most people haven’t put much thought into that, but it is true. Tulsa and Oklahoma City are both booming still. Lots of construction going on in the downtowns. Pretty progressive.

On Erik Tonkin’s suggestion, I’m reading the book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas”, by Thomas Frank. I’m not far into it yet, but it is hard to believe that the Midwest was a hotbed of liberal thinking not that long ago. It seems like the surrounding states are more progressive in their forward thinking than Kansas is right now.

My Vet, Bryan Stancliffe, got me sort of hooked on the websites, Steep and Cheap and Chainlove, Bonktown, etc. All this did was cost me money. Thanks.

But, I signed up for this new website, Groupon. I got interested in Groupon when I heard on NPR that Google had made a big offer to buy them and they turned it down. Groupon sends you emails that give you huge discounts on local stores. A couple days ago I bought $10 worth of JuiceStop drinks for $5. Today there is a 50% off coupon for a great restaurant in Lawrence we eat at sometimes. Here is the link to Groupon. If you sign up and buy something through this link, I get $10, so I really think you should do it. If you want.

Okay. Enough of this silly indoor stuff. It isn’t super nice out yet, but it is nearly 60 degrees out already. I’m going to ride South to meet up with my friend, George McDiarmid, ride with him and then head back. It should be around 70 miles I’d guess. I’m just going to ride for a couple days, just to see how I’m going before I start training. It seems like a good idea, but in reality, it’s just being lazy.

Pretty good book so far, but it takes a lot of concentration.

I like this small mountain range just North of the Texas line on I 35.

Pretty great Texas sunset last night.

Ann's new bicycle pulley, storage, decluttering system, thing.

Best Vets in the world. Dr. Tom, Dana, Dr.Bryan with Schnickle and Fritz.

Riding in the Rain

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Yesterday I rode 50 miles. And 2 hours of that was in the rain. I hadn’t trained in the rain for a long time. It kind of made me feel tough. I was enjoying it for the first hour or so, but it got pretty old after that. I was riding West of town, where it is pretty hilly. The problem was that I wasn’t getting warm enough on the climbs to offset how cold I was getting on the descents. When I got back to Austin, I pretty much couldn’t feel my hands. I think I must have nerve damage from all the times I’ve frozen my hands recently. My right hand was going numb just training in San Diego in the warm weather. It took 1/2 an hour in the bathtub to feel normal. That’s not good.

I’m getting a bunch of new parts for my bikes. Today sometime, I’m getting some TRP CX 9 Cross Brakes. They are mini V-brakes that work with road levers. They are supposed to get rid of any chatter you have in your fork. I was descending some pretty crazy stuff today coming back into Austin and I can categorically state that cantilever brakes suck in the rain. They suck in general, for stopping. I have Swiss Stop yellow pads on and they would barely slow me down enough to corner on a descent. It was nearly scary. Hopefully these brakes will have more power along with eradicating the fork chatter.

Today I’m meeting up with a friend to ride 5 hours at noon. I got a text saying, “I need to get in 5 hours.” I can hardly wait to ask him why he needs 5 hours. I want to ride 5 hours, but I’m not sure I need to. If he has the form to ride 5 hours at pace, I’m going to be hurt. I’m hurt just walking up and down the stairs right not. Tomorrow is gonna be worse.

Does anyone out there know why scars turn purple when they get cold and wet?

I saw this license plate down the street while dog walking Bromont and Stanley. Lance can't be too thrilled with the position here.

Stanley is being the ultimate host, allowing Bromont to have his dog bed and toy while he just lays on the floor.


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That was the final tally of miles I rode yesterday. I meet up with Robbie Robinette for our annual pilgrimage out west to the Texas Hill Country. For some reason, every time I’ve ridden with Robbie, it has been long and this was the case yesterday. It usually isn’t for another month, but I’m looking for miles and Robbie is on a quest for a 27 hour week for some reason, so it worked out for both of us. It was nearly 70 degrees, but the wind was not still.

Robbie has a super nice bike. A Madonne with Shimano Di2 parts and carbon Bontrager wheels. I’m riding my ti Eriksen cross bike with a 44T front ring. Not that it wasn’t enough for today.

Robbie is a pretty smart guy. He trades stock, sort of. Not the way we’d be trading stock. He buys and sells a lot of it. Millions of shares a day. Probably much more. But, he didn’t mind taking the whole afternoon off and letting his stock program do its’ thing without him. I’m glad. I got to ride some new roads I wouldn’t of found without him and had some nice conversation to boot.

We kept a pretty casual pace. I think it was around 18mph when I got home. I took a little detour through the neighborhoods to get to triple digits. Austin has some pretty awesome neighborhood riding, so it wasn’t such a effort. It was pretty much dark and I was kind of cold by the time I got back to Ann’s house though.

I have a little bit of a sore throat today. I’m not sure what that is all about. I took a decongestant this morning and am drinking tons of water, just in case. I might not ride as much today. I’m not sure I have two more long mile days in me at this point. It is supposed to be pretty warm through Friday, so maybe I’ll just do a couple hours today and then long again tomorrow. Kind of makes sense right now.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people are out and about exercising in Austin.

Sometimes these Texas roads are hardly roads.

Robbie being all color coordinated and all. He knows all the great rides around the city of Austin.

We came upon this truck flipped over out in the middle of nowhere. The kid that was driving it was fine. We rode another 1/2 hour before a firetruck came from who knows where.

There are tons of great things about Austin. This is the number one downer.

I got some new TRP brakes yesterday, but haven't put them on yet. I'll let you know how they work out.