Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Amazing Cycling City

Here is a short film about an amazing cycling city in the Netherlands called Groningen.  It has a wonderful bicycle infrastructure and cycling culture.  What I find most interesting is the fact that with all of these people riding around in and out of the city, there is almost no one wearing a helmet!

I hope we can make strides to get to this level of cycling infrastructure, getting away from cars and getting people healthier.  Not to mention getting away from the notion that we all need to wear helmets!

Get On Your Bike and Ride!

Monday, December 2, 2013

One Year Later

A year ago I found a weight loss challenge group on the FitBit site that was a challenge to lose 50 lbs.  The first several people to do so were to win prizes.  Since I was getting back on the fitness bandwagon I decided to join the group and the challenge.  I have to say its been quite a ride and I am thankful I made that decision.  I have gained several friends who have helped to push me and keep me at least engaged f not entirely motivated over the last year.

By far one of the biggest stars of the group is Lee DiGeorge.  He and i actually tied losing 50 lbs by the same week, but he has been far more successful than I as he has gone well beyond that 50 and made a complete lifestyle change.  I've been backsliding a bit, but that is changing here again with the one year anniversary.  I am rededicating myself to this journey.

Lee isn't the only star of the group though.  Melissa and Michelle and Cala and Christine and Christina and Maria and John and Tom and Mary and Glynna and Act Out and Rachel and Nancy and Kelly and Debra and Kelly and Barbara have all helped me on my journey.  All are inspirations by far.  Whether its their impressive numbers of steps in a week, their progress on the scale or their sheer determination and never give up attitude.  All are winners!

Little did I know, when I so flippantly joined the group a year ago, how much these individuals would touch and inspire me.  Thank you group!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Be Thankful

I was just reading a few blog entries on being thankful when I came across Chris' over at From the Pavement's Edge titled Scrooge You! In it he decries the ever encroaching commercialization and creep of Christmas Consumerism that is encroaching on and taking over one of the Simplest and purest holidays of the year - Thanksgiving.  I have to say I agree with him on this point.  The meaning of Christmas is getting lost in the consumerism that is being promoted through all of the big Box retailers trying to fatten their bottom lines by making us feel we need to buy buy buy to give to those we love. Its gotten so bad that they have started opening on Thanksgiving day and not waiting until the day after, essentially erasing this holiday for so many who have to work.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we have and be thankful for it.  A time for family and friends to gather and just revel in the company of others by sharing good food.  Its not a break from work for the majority just so they can get to the stores and spend more money faster.

It may be that I am getting older and wiser, or as my daughter and wife seem to think older and grumpier, but to me the idea of Thanksgiving is being lost, as is the meaning of Christmas.  No where does it say that there has to be mounds of presents for the children.  No where does it say we have to spend and spend and spend until it hurts to buy more crap that is quickly forgotten by the next holiday.  For me the most wonderful gifts are those that come from the heart.  For me spending time with family and friends and sharing common experiences far outweighs the 'stuff' that everyone seems to think they can't live without.

I am thankful for my family and my friends.  I am thankful we are all in mostly good health and that we have enough to eat and roofs over our heads.  I am thankful to my employer that they provide me with a job which gives me the means to keep these things in their proper way.

I am thankful that I have the ability and the opportunity to ride my bike and to do so at various events which in some small way help others whether its through the Tour De Cure, LVESTRONG, BIKE:MS or Viva Bike Vegas.  I hope to be able to do more of these types of charity rides in the future.

I am thankful for my grandchildren and how watching them grow and learn helps me to grow and learn as well by seeing the world through their eyes.

I am thankful for all the men and women who are serving and have served in our armed forces to keep us safe and protect our freedoms that we too often take for granted.  These are mere words which pale in the light of what many have given to protect us, but thank you.

So take time this Thanksgiving to reflect on all we have to be thankful for.

Eat some good food with family and friends.

Ride your bike.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ride Report BIKE:MS Vegas Challenge 2013

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in the BIKE:MS Vegas Challenge 2013.  I have to say up front that this was one of the best run, most organized and well supported rides I have been on.  It was relatively small, only about 230 riders, but the support and organization were outstanding.

This was actually a 2 day ride, but with family commitments and lack of recent riding, I only did the first day of the 2.

The weekend started with packet pick-up on Friday evening over at Pro Cyclery.  I was pleased they were the LBS supporting the ride as that's where I got my wheels and I am very happy with them.  I was in and out in less than 2 minutes having signed the waiver, picked up my packet and my event T-Shirt.

Saturday was a perfect day for the ride.  The temps started out around 50 in the morning and warmed up nicely into the 60's with bright sunshine and very little wind.

The courses for day one all started downtown at the Lou Ruvo Center, which is part of the Cleveland clinic, and then followed the strip south to Silverado ranch boulevard, by the Southpoint Casino.

Uncharacteristically, I wasn't at the start really early.  I slept in until 5:45 and then got the carrier and bike on the car, loaded up the rest of my gear and headed over to the start bay 7:00 or so.  The ride started at 7:30.

As I got out of the car and unloaded the bike I realized that I had left my bike pump sitting in the garage. I looked for someone to borrow a pump from, but all the cars near me in the lot were empty as everyone was heading over to the start area.  I rode over on my soft tires and the great folks at the Procyclery tent hooked me up by pumping up my tires for me.  The front wasn't bad, but the back was down to about 40 lbs.

After I got all aired up it was time for a trip to the port-a-potty.  My usual pre-ride ritual.

The safety crew was there with their vehicles.  Many were on motorcycles and trikes.

After taking care of business I was waiting near the starting area when someone called my name.  There was Stephanie and Georgette that Michele used to work with.  They were volunteering at the registration tent.  It was good to see them.

It was now just a few minutes until the start.  I was near the middle of the group waiting near the starting line.  The music was playing and the DJ counted us down to the 7:30 start.  I had expected them to let us all go at once, but that was not to be.  They let 30 or 40 riders go and then held us up for a couple of minutes so there wasn't a huge blockage on the roads. This was a good strategy as they on had the one intersection blocked right by the start.  The rest of the ride we were on the roads with traffic.

The next wave went and I wasn't in it, but I was now near the front.  Finally when they let the third wave go I got through the start and got rolling.  While I give them kudos for the organization and support on this ride, I have to say it made me appreciate the Viva Bike Vegas traffic blockage along the strip.  The first 2 miles of the ride had over a dozen lights and it seemed that we had to stop at every one of them.

Once we got to Las Vegas Boulevard and made the turn south it wasn't quite as bad, but again, there were very few lights all day that the timing worked out for me to ride through.  I swear I had to stop at over 50 lights over the 30 mile ride.

I did get my picture taken shortly after making the turn onto Las Vegas Boulevard:

We cruised down the strip past all of the mega resorts.  Traffic was fairly light, being Saturday morning, but it was far from non-existent and there were a few impatient drivers who made for some closer calls than were necessary.

Here I am cruising the strip near City Center.

BTW I have to give a huge shout out to SunRidge Photography for taking the pictures and then providing them to the participants free of charge.  The full albums are available on their Facebook page.

Once we got past the heart of the strip the riding got better.  The traffic thinned out as did the number of lights. One interesting note was that as we passed Mandalay Bay Resort I noticed they had an event lining up in their overflow parking across the street.  This was the ride 2 recovery ride and they had a bunch of police motorcycles and cars lined up waiting for the ride to start.

We got a bit farther down the strip and passed the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign,where several riders were stopping for a photo op.  I decided to just keep riding.

From here on to the turn at Silverado ranch was a nice little ride.  Once we made the turn, heading west on Silverado Ranch we were faced with the toughest hill of the 30 mile route - we had to ride up and over I-15. Now I've ridden over this bridge many time in a car and it wasn't bad, but on a bike, I was certainly glad I had my gears.  I dropped down to my middle ring and hit my lowest gear and just ground up the bridge to the top.

Just as I neared the top, the light changed so I had to stop which wasn't all that bad as I got a minute reprieve before restarting.  I got over the top and started heading down, but of course had to stop for the light so I couldn't take full advantage of the gravity assist.  I did enjoy what I could, though.

Now along the way I had been seesawing with a couple of the safety crew riders. One in particular I remembered from the Tour De Cure back in April.  We rode past each other many times over the course of the ride:

I just want to say thank you for being there and making sure we were all safe.

We rode down Silverado Ranch to Arville and made a right towards the midway point and the rest stop. The volunteers were all upbeat and helpful and the rest stopped was well stocked with beverages, fruit and various nutrition bars.  I still hadn't opened my powerade so I didn't grab any hydration, but I did grab a banana and ate it.

The photographer caught me while I was there:

(Boy do I need a hair cut!)

Then it was back on the bike to finish off the second half of the ride.  What was nice is that there was a slight elevation gain most of the way south on the boulevard so I knew that I was going to benefit from heading back down that elevation change.

The biggest chunk of it was along Alta Drive where at one point there was a decently steep downhill that I took full advantage of. It was interesting.  I would catch up to my friend on the motorcycle at each light.  He would pull away from me but have to stop at the next light where I would catch back up to him just before it turned green.  We repeated this for 4 or 5 lights down Alta.

The next hing I knew I was riding under I-15 and coming up on Central Parkway and making the turn into the finish area, back where we had started.  The DJ was announcing riders as they came in and I stopped and got my finishers medal.

There were lots of volunteers and quite the party atmosphere at the finish:

Unfortunately it was still a bit early for the post-ride lunch so I decided to load up and head home.  All in all the ride took 3:07, but my actual moving time was only 2:32.  The other 35 minutes was spent sitting and waiting for lights along the way and the 3 or 4 minutes I spent at the rest stop.

It was a very enjoyable ride.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

October Wrap Up

I have been remiss about posting here of late.  Here it is the 5th of November and I have yet to wrap up and summarize what I did in October.  Truth be told I have been avoiding it just a bit as I did not come close to accomplishing what I had intended for the month of October.

The truth is I only got in 8 rides during the month for a total of 84.45 miles.  Nowhere near my goal of 22+ rides and 300 miles.  I'm strangely Ok with that though.  Its not that I just didn't want to ride, its more that life got in the way.  Again, I'm OK with that.  I just need to work a little more on my organization and make sure that I continue to ride and not let the downward mileage trend continue.

I do plan on riding more this month than last, but I will not put a specific number to it at this time.  One thing to my advantage is the BIKE:MS Challenge which I am riding this coming weekend.  My goal is to ride the 30 mile course on both days.  I look forward to the camaraderie and sharing of a common experience. I also look forward to riding with Juan again of the Tour De Cure ride back in April.  He said he is riding the 30 mile route on Saturday as well.

Look for a write up next week.

Get On Your Bikes and RIDE!!!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bike: MS donations needed

As I've mentioned before I am going to be challenging myself in less than 2 weeks by riding in the Bike:MS Las Vegas Challenge.  I will ride 30 miles both Saturday and Sunday, November 9 & 10.  Unfortunately I have yet to reach my modest fundraising goal of $250 for the event.

If you can, please donate towards this fight against MS.  $5, $10 - it all adds up.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why I ride

Lately I’ve been thinking about why I like to ride my bike.  Its tough to put into words the reasons, but I will endeavor to do just that.

  1. I ride because I can.  This may seem like a simple statement but it embodies so much of the feeling of empowerment that riding gives me.  Here I am riding along under my own power yet going faster than I ever thought I could on my own.  Its exhilarating and refreshing.
  2.  I ride because it's fun.  It takes me back to when we were kids and riding around with no plan or purpose except to enjoy the fact that we are riding.  It’s a physical act that once mastered gives a sense of accomplishment and wonder and look what I can do feeling.
  3.  I ride because its healthy.  Too much of modern life involves sedentary tasks, at least for me.  My job involves sitting in front of a computer screen for a large part of my work day.  Many of my leisure activities involves sitting and watching, whether its TV, video games, or working on my computer at home.  Any activity which I enjoy that gets me moving is all good!
  4.  It can be a social activity.  Not only can I talk to others about the activity, but I can also participate in this activity with others for a shared common experience.
  5. See number 2 again!
  6.  I ride to help others.  Through organized rides and fundraising I help to raise funds for worthy causes. Whether its fighting Cancer, MS, or Diabetes doing something fun to help raise money to fight these things is worthwhile.
Riding is freedom and movement and using our bodies to get somewhere under our own power.  Its good for the environment and good for ourselves.  If we do it enough and aren't careful it might actually make us healthier as well.

Get On Your Bikes and RIDE!!!!!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bike: MS Update

My next event of the year is the BIKE: MS Las Vegas Challenge coming up in just over 3 weeks on November 9th & 10th.  My goal is to complete the 30 mile ride on each of the days.  This is definitely going to be a challenge in the mileage department.

Now, unlike the Tour De Cure last April, there won't be such steep hills to climb, but there will be climbing. Its more the steady, long grade variety instead of the steep sharp climbs that did me in when combined with the heat that day.

I am planning on putting in a good deal of riding leading up to the event.  I haven't been doing as much as I had planned, but I will be doing a lot.

What's also not up to level I had planned is my fundraising for the event.  I had hoped to have met the goal of $250 by now, but have not.  Please, if you have an extra $5, $10, $20 or more, donate it to help support the fight against this terrible disease HERE.

Thank you.

Get On Your Bikes And RIDE!!!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rules of Cycling

I've been following several other blogs for a few years now and one that's stuck with me is Fizzhog's.  One of his pages list's Fizz's Rules of Cycling.  These just ring so true to me that I am sharing them here:

Fizz's Rules of Cycling

1.  It never gets easier, you just go faster  (taken from Greg Lemond who took it from Andy Hampsten)
2.  For every climb, there is a descent… and vice-versa
3.  If you keep your tires pumped at proper pressure you eliminate chances of flatting by 60%
4.  If you are going to flat, it will be at the point farthest from where you started your ride
5.  Hydrating before you ride is as important as hydrating during
6.  Wave to all fellow cyclists, whether they wave back or not
7.  When riding an “Out & Back” route, if you have a headwind on your “Out” it will shift and you will invariably have a headwind on your “Back”
8.  Someone somewhere is suffering more
9.  Those days where you really don’t feel like riding are the days you must absolutely ride
10.  Your Garmin will never fail except on the rides where you need it the most
11.  Always refill your water bottles if you have the chance
12.  Always take more nutrition than you think you will need
13.  Shift more than you think you need to
14.  Someone is always slower than you and someone is always faster than you
15.  Never leave for a ride of more than 8 miles without money on you
16. You will always recover

Eat well.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It takes balance

Most everything in life takes balance.  Whether its riding a bike, work, family, walking - everything is more enjoyable and works out much better if its in balance.

Weight loss and getting healthy takes balance as well.  I'm guilty of trying to make a single change and hoping that it will balance things out, but I know it won't.

For the last few months I've quit focusing on what I've been eating and focused almost exclusively on riding my bike. While this is certainly enjoyable, and it has led to increased fitness on the bike, it has not led to any significant weight loss.  Eating just as many (if not more calories) than one burns in a day will at best maintain your current weight and at worst allow you to gain weight.

Fortunately for me I haven't gained any more weight over the last few months, but I certainly haven't lost either.  I know I have to work on the other side of the equation and reduce my caloric intake in order to see my weight reduced.  Its time to do just that again.

I'm starting to log my food into MyFitnessPal again.  I'm still using my FitBit to track my daily activity as well.  With the longer rides I've been doing in the mornings its easier for me to hit basic goals of 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.  now I just need to limit my calories to 2,200 or so and I should start to see a loss of 2 to 3 lbs per week.

Balance.  Life is so much better with it than without it.

Eat Better.

Get on your bikes and ride!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall is definitely here

it was only 59 degrees this morning as I headed out for my ride.  Now for most of the country that would be considered a nice warm morning.  For Las Vegas that is on the cool side and a sure indication that fall is definitely here.  Of course looking at the forecast for the week, this is the warmest low temp for the week.  If the weather prognosticators are to be believed, Thursday morning could be in the low 40's.

It took a bit of time to get in the groove this morning and I'm not sure if it was so much the cooler temps as the fact that I'd only ridden 20 miles so far in October.  Fortunately I increased that total significantly by getting in a nice 12.4 miles this morning.

As I've mentioned before I have registered for the Bike: MS Las Vegas Challenge event next month.  Please contribute to help fight this disease here.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

No issues

What a difference a day makes.  Also, how dependent can we be on technology?

As I detailed at the end of yesterday's post, I had some issues yesterday morning with gadgets that I usually depend on.  It got me to thinking about how dependent we can become on gadgets and on measuring ourselves.

The one gadget that stopped me from riding yesterday was my headlight.  Its not that I need it to see as I'm riding because admittedly it sheds very little usable light for that purpose.  No, the real use of my headlight is safety.  Namely to greatly increase my visibility to the bleary eyed motorists in the wee hours of the pre-dawn.  Could I have ridden yesterday without my headlight?  Sure I could have, but I feel that it would have decreased my safety to an unreasonable level.  Now if I didn't have to share the streets with 2 ton vehicles, then I would have ridden without my headlight, no problem.

The other piece of equipment that failed me yesterday was my Garmin.  I suspect the grand kids may have been playing with it and that is why the battery was dead.  Regardless, the question becomes, if there is no Garmin data, and thus no Strava record, did the ride occur?  I say yes, but it occurs differently.  Now I don't obsess over my pace and split times, ma speed, etc. while I am riding.  I normally just do what feels right at the moment with a thought to the distance I am riding, but I do depend on the Garmin record for "housekeeping" in terms of recording month to date and year to date progress, etc.

I sort of prided myself on having a complete record of my rides for the past 3+ years and now it is incomplete as I rode without my Garmin yesterday.  Have I ridden before without it?  Sure, but I wasn't under a self-imposed challenge to meet a mileage goal at the time. Did I worry about trying to record those non-Garmin recorded rides?  Usually, no, but sometimes yes.  What I'm getting at is that sometimes we can become too wrapped up in the details and the minutiae of a task and forget the important points - we are having fun and riding our bikes.

With that said - have fun and get on your bike and ride!!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September review and October Goals

The month of September was awesome.  While I didn't hit my mileage goal of 240 miles for the month having only ridden 160 miles, I'm OK with that. There were other, more important goals that were met.

My dad and I rode Viva Bike Vegas 2013 together which was awesome.  We also got in some other, quality rides after the big ride while they were visiting.  As he said, its too bad we don't live closer so that we can ride together more.

Besides a quick ride around Long Lake with my dad and my brother in 2011 when we were up at my brother's cabin, this was the first chance we had to ride together in over 30 years.  30+ years ago we had ridden in several Bike-A-Thons for the March of Dimes, the last a 100 miler.  Funny how we never "trained" for those rides, but just did them as a matter of course.  They were easy since we were riding everywhere back then.

So, while I didn't make my mileage goal for September, I've decided to set a new one for October,increasing the mileage for the month.  Leaving room for missed days and with hoping to get in longer rides leading up to the Bike MS back to back 30 milers, my goal is 300 miles for October.

Decided to start off strong and I was planning on putting in at least 12 miles this morning, but it seemed the fates had other plans for me and I decided to listen to them.  I woke up about 10 minutes before the alarm was set to go off and my stomach was having issues.  After attending to that I got dressed and headed downstairs.

I got ready, put air in the tires and turned on my Garmin.  I grabbed my helmet, turned on the lights and was waiting for my Garmin to Sync with the satellites.  I looked at it to check the progress and noticed it was off.  I thought maybe I hadn't turned it on so I tried again.  Nope it turned right off.  For some reason the battery was dead.  I always download and charge it every time I use it so this was a mystery to me.

I still had my Fitbit so I could time the ride, I just wouldn't have the file to upload to the various sites.  So I started the timer and set off.  The first couple of laps went well with nothing remarkable happening. On the third lap I noticed my front light getting dimmer and dimmer and within a half mile it was out.  Now with the crazy inattentive drivers and the early morning I knew it wasn't safe to ride without a light for visibility.  I headed in when I got back to the house, found the new package of batteries an changed them out.  I turned the light on and it was nice and bright.

The strangest thing happened then.  I turned my bike around and prepared to head out to put in some more miles and my light turned itself off.  No matter what I tried, it refused to turn back on.  SO I recognized the fact that someone or something didn't want me to ride this morning and put my bike away and came into the house, calling it a day.

So, to summarize, my October riding has started with a mere 3 miles today.

Hope you can get on your bikes and ride!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2013 Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello Part 2

If you missed part 1 it is here.

Ride Day

When we picked up our packets, we were given our assigned start times and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. Where last yer I was able to ride the strip while it was still dark since our wave started at 6:00 am, this year we weren't starting until 8:20. The sun was well up by then and that was a bit of a disappointment.

With an 8:20 start it wasn't necessary to get there too early since we would be sitting around and waiting. We agreed that we would start loading up the bikes, etc. at 6:30 with an eye to a 7:00 departure for the 15 minute ride to Town Square for the start. Well I was up early as was my dad and we got the new bike rack sorted out and installed, the bikes loaded and were ready to go by 6:35. We didn't see a need to hang around at home so we headed over to Town Square with a stop for some gum and powerade on the way.

We got to town Square about 7:00 for our 8:20 start time. We unloaded the bikes, checked tire pressure, put our race numbers on our bikes, helmets and my jersey. Then we put our timing chips on and were ready to go with well over an hour to kill.

We decided to ride around a bit to warm up and check out the area.  We saw many riders on many different bikes.  As some of the longer waves hadn't left yet, there were many riders in full kit on expensive bikes.  There were also many others on hybrids, single speeds, hybrids, beach cruisers and even a pennyfarthing!  The rider was decked out in old fashioned dress, complete with knee socks and handlebar moustache.

Stock pennyfarthing photo

Since we had so much time on our hands we decided to find a bench and relax until it was time to line up so we found a bench and relaxed for a bit.  While we were sitting there we talked with a woman who was also riding the 17 mile route.  She was doing this as her first group ride.  She said that she rides just about every day and it wasn't the distance that had her worried, but riding with other riders.  I assured her it would be fine as this group would be very relaxed and tended to give each other lots of room.  She was suitably impressed that my dad had driven all the way from Michigan to do the ride.

The bench we had found was strategically placed near the open restrooms. As we were talking there I realized I had left my cycling gloves on top of the car so took a quick ride back to get them.  Fortunately they were right where I left them.  By 7:45 we both decided on one last trip was needed to be ready for the ride.

At 8:00 or so we rolled into the starting coral and I was surprised at how few riders were actually there.  I thought that maybe they had already let a wave of 17 mile riders go.  As we were there we noticed the gentleman on the pennyfarthing lining up near us towards the back of the group.  Also there was a tandem and a husband and wife with the husband pulling a trailer with their daughter.

Music was playing, the MC was talking to the crowd and the excitement was building.  Finally it was time to count it down - 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO!!! everyone was starting out, some a little less sure than others, but it was a clean start as we headed out onto Las Vegas Blvd and made the left headed north towards the heart of the famous Las Vegas Strip.

We started off slowly but the main group quickly started moving away.  We knew we would be among the slowest riders on the day.  We actually were maintaining a faster average than my dad was normally used to.  Looking at the record from my garmin, we were running 15 to 18 mph down the strip.  We found ourselves with a group of cyclists including the tandem and the pennyfarthing we had been close to at the start.

They had warned us at the start that we would be detoured into the Southbound lanes near the Venetian as the police were investigating an earlier accident. Fortunately for the cyclists it appeared the crash involved 2 cars and no cyclists.  It certainly felt interesting riding along the strip while the police held up traffic for us.  As we passed each of the officers my dad and I thanked them.  We certainly wouldn't have had the experience without their work.

Farther down the strip we passed Gold and Silver Pawn of the TV show Pawn Stars fame.  Unbelievably there were probably 20 or 30 people already lined up to get into the store before 9:00 AM. Once past them, we were nearing Downtown Las Vegas.  This is where the old casinos are and it is experiencing a rebirth.

As we made the turn off Las Vegas Blvd, the officers near us were warning us to sty to the right as there was soon going to be traffic around us as we had left the closed road part of the ride.  Looking around we were astonished to see the pennyfarthing was still with us. Up until this point it was just a matter of turning the cranks for him, but now it was going to get interesting as we would be dealing with the stops and starts of traffic lights.  Pennyfarthings don't have brakes.

Having left Las Vegas Blvd, we realized the easy part of the ride was over and now we needed to do a bit more work.  We had enjoyed a relatively flat ride so far with a 1/2 - 1 % downgrade the length of the strip.  Now we had to deal with regaining the 200+ feet of elevation we had lost. Certainly not  lot of climbing, but it added a degree of difficulty to the ride.

Once back out of downtown we headed through much less picturesque parts of the city.  Along the way we crossed under the Sahara overpass and we decided to stop in the shade for a drink.  Pennyfarthing had kept going and we honestly never saw him again.  After a quick drink we got back at it. 

Further along we passed under the I-15 expressway and hit one of the steepest sections of the course as we climbed back up from the underpass.  I was super impressed with how well my dad did, pulling away from me on the uphill.  He had far less trouble on the climbs than I and I had more gear choices.  A bit farther along after  couple of more steep sections we hit Valley View and it was time for another drink.  We pulled over into a lot and had a nice drink.

We then took off to tackle the last 3 miles or so of the ride.  We rode down Valley View to Sunset road and made the left towards Town Square.  That's when the last obstacle came into view - the overpass back across the I-15.  It seemed a bit cruel to put the toughest climb of the day at the end of the ride. There was a slight downhill run up to the overpass and I took full advantage of it.  I made it up and over and was enjoying the wonderful downhill, but had to make a u-turn back to the service road under Sunset Road.   It wasn't fair that we had to slow down and stop for the light to make the turn.

Once under Sunset we were in the final stretch with a turn into the finishing chute.  There was the finish line.  We had done it!  We hit the dismount line and walked our bikes towards the volunteers. 


We were given our finisher medals and offered water bottles and Gatorade right at the finish.

Here are our official finishing times:

The official time was 1:45:11 but according to my Garmin it was over 12 minutes less than that.  The reason for this is the starting timing mat was well before the start and we crossed it heading up to wait for the start of the ride.

I have to say it was great fun and I totally enjoyed the ride with my dad.  At this point I'm not sure if he will do it again, but I just might.  Thank you Dad for doing this ride with me!

Monday, September 23, 2013

2013 Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello Part 1

This year I was fortunate enough to ride this event with my father.  Here is the tale in 2 parts.


Last year I rode the 2012 Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello and I had a lot of fun.  You can read the report here.  I decided then that I would ride this event again this year.  It was a great ride and I loved starting in the dark and seeing the strip all lit up as we rode down it.

My father had done numerous bike rides with us as we were growing up in Michigan in support of the March of Dimes.  We had ridden several 50 mile rides and even done a 100 mile ride from Detroit, MI to Flint Michigan and back.  The thing was the last of these was over 30 years ago.

Back in May as I was talking about the upcoming rides I had planned, I knew that my dad had started riding a bit again and I threw out the idea of him riding in this event this September.  At first there wasn't a lot of enthusiasm for the idea.  It must have stuck, though as there was more discussion and eventually my dad said he might be interested in doing it, but he wasn't sure if he could do the distance.

My wife and I decided that as a bit of incentive, we would gift him with a registration as a combination Father's day and birthday gift.  My thinking was that it might keep him motivated to ride knowing that we had gotten his registration for him.  It seemed to do the trick.

He started riding almost every day throughout the summer in Michigan.  Personally I think it was a good thing this summer in Michigan was a bit cooler than normal as it kept him out there riding.

As August rolled around both he and my mom decided to take me up on my August Challenge.  My dad rode every day and my mom walked on the treadmill every day in the month of August.  In fact in terms of total miles, my dad actually rode 2 miles farther than I did for the month.  His longest ride of the year was only 12.8  miles, though.  He was still was leery of the 17.3 mile distance.

Finally on September 12, he got in a 17 mile ride. and was satisfied that he could make it the distance.

The Journey

Now Mom and dad had to get from Michigan to Las Vegas in order to ride in the event.  They don't like to fly, so they loaded up the motorhome and started a leisurely 6 day trip across the country.  They left on on Friday, September 13.  Unfortunately this would prove to have been an unlucky choice as there were several challenges on the way.

The first challenge was a leaking air line.  Fortunately, my dad being a mechanic and always prepared was able to make the repair and keep on going.

The second challenge happened on Tuesday, September 17and was a blown tire near Winslow Arizona.  It was the left front tire and not only was it blown, but as it blew it tore apart some of the wiring.  They stopped for the night in Winslow after the courtesy patrol helped him change the tire, putting on the spare.

On Wednesday, after a stop at an auto part store, they made it to Williams Arizona where they had planned on staying for 2 days to possibly do a side trip to the Grand Canyon. Then they were planning on rolling into Las Vegas Thursday evening.  Well, that day after they got set-up in the campground my dad set to repairing the wiring and making sure the motorhome would make it the rest of the way here.  He got it taken care of in a couple of hours.

Unfortunately Wednesday evening my mother started having severe abdominal pains which continued to get worse.  So my dad called the emergency numbers at the campground.  No answer.  He went back to the unit and started packing things up and getting ready to move.  Then he called 911.  The closest emergency room was 30 miles away in Flagstaff so rather than wait for them to come to him, that's where he went.

11:00 Wednesday evening I heard from him that they were there and getting her checked in but had no idea what was wrong as yet.  Eventually after an examination and a cat scan it was determined that she had a kidney stone.  The plan at 2:00 am was to fill her with fluids and hope that it would pass.

There was concern since my mom is 74 years old, has asthma and is diabetic.

By 9:00 am, it hadn't passed. So the day attending brought in the urologist who was concerned that there might be infection behind the stone.  He determined that the best course was to put in a stent and use a laser to break up the stone so that it would pass.  He said he would get her in as soon as he could.  Surgery was just after lunch and everything went well.

With her medical history, they decided to play it cautious and kept her overnight to make sure there weren't any complications from the anesthetic nor the medications.

Friday morning they determined she could, in fact, leave.  With the need for release signatures, etc.  they didn't get out of the hospital until after 11:00 and headed towards Las Vegas.

Now there was a bit of a time deadline as packet pickup was only open until 7:00 pm and the ride was Saturday morning.  The original plan had been to arrive Thursday evening and then we would have had time on Friday for a tune up ride to check the bikes and then take our time heading over to packet pick-up.  Obviously that didn't happen.

Getting away when they did, and with the need to stop for gas and lunch, we figured they would be showing up between 4:00 and 5:00 with plenty of time to do what we needed to.  At 2:40 I got a text that they were near Kingman, AZ and still on schedule.

Unfortunately Tom Tom led them a bit astray and at 4:52 my mom called for directions to get beck on track.  For some reason instead of coming all the way across the 215, Tom Tom had sent them on the 15 north.  They got turned back around and I had them come the most direct route via Blue Diamond Road.

At 5:11 I got another call, this time from my dad that they were off the side of the road near Blue Diamond and Buffalo (less than 2 miles from the house) and that they had blown a transmission line.  The motorhome was out of traffic so we decided that Michele and I would pick them up, get to packet pick up, drop off my mom's prescription at CVS, and then have dinner before attending to the motorhome.

We got to packet pick up and as usual things went smoothly.  I was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and on of the volunteers suggested I wear it for the ride hte next day.  I told her I had last year and will again this year.( you can see it in my photo here).

We then dropped off the prescription to be filled and had a great dinner at Montana Meat Company where our daughter met us.  The girls then left to pick up the prescription while my dad and I went to the motorhome for what was hoped to be a 5 minute fix.  Unfortunately it took a bit longer as the line had to be replaced and then the engine cover had to be removed to put enough transmission fluid in to get moving.  It took about 45 minutes, but the repairs were successful and the motorhome finally made it to the house.

More on this tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reflections on my 51st birthday...

Its been over 3 years that I've been posting to this blog and honestly, I've not made much progress towards my title's goal of losing weight and getting healthy.  In the last 3 years I have done some thing I never would have imagined.

I've completed a very challenging triathlon, I've ridden more miles than I can count, I've completed several group rides including Last year's Viva Bike Vegas, a metric century for Fatty's 100 MON 2013 and The previous year's Corporate challenge bike race.

Over the last 3+ years I've lost and regained over 200 lbs.  I've restarted my efforts numerous times and am restarting again.  Today.

More importantly I've figured out a few thing about myself and made a few friends through this wonderful medium of technology.

I've ridden along with so many other riders who have accomplished significant, awe inspiring things.  I've also re-ignited my love of cycling fro when I was a kid.

As I reflect back on the these things, I also have to look forward and start to shape my future plans.

This Saturday I'm looking forward to an awesome ride with my dad in the Viva Bike Vegas.

Beyond that I'm doing the Bike MS Vegas Challenge in November, the Tour De Cure Las Vegas next April and I hope to complete Fatty's 100 MON next year as well with a true Century.

While those are personal goals, I have others as well. I want to encourage my grandchildren to ride more and take them on longer and longer rides.  I am going to look into adding a different form of riding to my repertoire - Mountain Biking.  As I become at least a little proficient in that, I'm going to look into the local MTB scene and possibly look at starting some type of MTB team in the local schools.

There is so much more I want to accomplish and I recognizer that I need to be healthy for many years to do it.  Riding is just not enough.  I need to tackle the food demon that has me constantly eating more than I should.  I need to keep away from those foods I know that are bad for me and focus on the good.  I need to also focus on portion control and impulse control.  I can and will conquer this.

Funny, but it seems easier to me to ride 100 miles than to constantly focus on what I'm eating.  I guess the reason is that when you are riding there is a set distance and a beginning and an end and the progress is very real and self evident.  In the eating arena and losing weight, there really is no end to the eating right and the progress is so much slower that it is easily doubted.

I am using this occasion to get back on track and into the groove  My goal is that on my 52nd birthday I will be at least 100 lbs lighter than I am right now.

As fizzhog so eloquently puts it.

Eat better.

Ride your bike.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Best laid plans...

As I posted last week, I had been planning on riding in the 3 Feet for Pete ride.  The date of this ride was 9/14/13 which also happens to be my daughter's birthday.  It is also the date when my nephew and niece needed to get to the airport early.  To make a long story short, I was babysitting the grandkids instead of riding on Saturday morning.

I didn't mind not riding.  Its always fun spending time with the grandkids. We had breakfast together and watched some TV and they played.  When my wife and daughter got home, we then got the kids ready and went out for a combined birthday lunch for my daughter and myself.

Now, I didn't ride Friday morning, thinking I was going to ride on Saturday.  On Sunday morning I was plan lazy and didn't get out to ride before the temperature shot up into the 90's so I didn't ride then either.

So the weekend was a bust in terms of getting miles in.  I did get out this morning and put in 10.4 miles so I'm getting back into the swing of things.  I'm planning on riding at least 10 miles per day the next 3 days and then a bit less on Friday as my parents will be here and my dad and I will do a last ride before the Viva Bike Vegas ride on Saturday. This will be a shake down to make sure the bikes are ready for Saturday morning.

So, this morning's ride takes me over the 100 mile mark for the month of September.  In fact I'm at 102/2 miles for the month.  Not bad, but I have to make up some miles to hit my goal of at least 240.

I hope the rain isn't too bad across the country and you are able to...


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

OK, maybe I am a fair weather cyclist...

When the alarm went off at 3:45 this morning I wasn't ready to get up, but knew it was time.  As I struggled awake I heard what sounded like water dripping.  I knew they had said there was a possibility of showers overnight, but they've said that before and it hasn't happened.  So I decided to check the radar map on my phone to see what was up.

I got on to and zoomed into the Las Vegas area and lo and behold, there was a swath of greens and yellows across the area.  It really was raining this morning.  With that confirmation, I reset the alarm, rolled over and went back to sleep for an hour and a half.

When i again awoke at 5:15 I heard a definite steady drumming of rain on the roof, it was pouring at that moment, thus confirming that it would have been a wet ride if I had ventured out.

Now, let me assure you that it wasn't the fact that I might get wet that kept me from riding.  To meet my challenge last month I rode in a pretty significant rain as detailed here.  What I learned on that rainy ride, is what convinced me that riding in the rain, in the dark wasn't the best of ideas.

You see, when it rains, ones tires and wheels get wet.  Then wheels get wet, applied brakes, which rely on friction to stop, don't work nearly as well.  in fact one website I saw a while ago estimated their effectiveness at about 40%.  (OK, granted they were making a case for disk brakes, but still that number stuck with me).  Combine the lessened stopping power with reduced visibility and the propensity of at least one car pulling out in front of me in the mornings and I felt like it might be a recipe for disaster.  In this case I think I really made the right call.

So, no miles this morning, but perhaps a ride this evening after dinner might be in order depending on the evening's schedule, but that might not happen as its open house night at my grandsons' school and it will likely be a late dinner.  Have to wait and see how the evening unfolds.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I am considering riding the 3 feet for Pete ride on Saturday morning.  Anyone else interested?

Get on Your Bikes and RIDE, but be safe out there!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Another morning, another early ride.

The alarm went off at its usual (of late) 3:45 and I was up and ready in what seemed like record time.  A quick perusal of the radar showed possible light showers in the area.  When I got downstairs I saw nary a drop, so I decided the ride was a go.

I aired up the tires, turned on my lights and headed out by 4:00.  I took it real easy my first lap as we had had a pretty good drenching rain the night before and I knew there was likely to be debris, rocks and sand on the roadway.  I was especially worried about the area on Quarterhorse where they are building the new sub.  Fortunately my fears weren't truly realized as there was a light coating of sand and not much else on the road.

Once I safely navigated the first lap and found the streets in not bad shape, I started the second lap only to have it start sprinkling on me.  I hoped that it wasn't really going to rain.  It stopped by the end of the second lap so I felt confident I would get my ride in.

2 laps later it started drizzling and I was seriously starting to think I might have to call it.  Its not that I mind the rain so much as I don't feel too safe with wet rims and possible inattentive morning drivers.  Most everyone must have been sleeping in this morning, though, since I saw 3 cars all morning.  Anyway, the drizzle lasted only 7 minutes or so and was done, having barely wet the roads.

The 3 women I've been seeing on their morning walk/jog/run for the past month or so, were out there again this morning.  On lap 8, there was a bit more sprinkles happening and I was seriously thinking of cutting the ride short, but decided I needed to get the full 12 miles in this morning, so I did.

This morning's ride takes me to 79.6 miles so far for the month of September.  Seeing as its the 10th, which is 1/3 of the way through the month, and I'm basically 1/3 of the way to my monthly mileage goal of 240 miles I'm feeling very good with my progress and my prospects of hitting my goal.

I found a ride this coming weekend that I think I am going to do.  Its called the 3 Feet for Pete ride and its a fun ride to raise awareness for cycling safety.  Its named after a local cyclist, Pete Makowski who lost his life June 19th on a training ride.  I'm thinking this would be a great cause as well as a way to meet some local cyclists.

Be safe out there and Get On Your Bikes and Ride!!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

A ride to Blue Diamond Nevada

Living in Southern Nevada, the riding season seems to be year round except for 2 things - the heat and the wind.  SO far this summer the heat hasn't been as unbearable as it has been in previous years, provided you can get out and ride early enough in the day.  The wind hasn't been a major factor this year either.

Saturday, was even more pleasant than usual for this time of year.  We've been in the midst of some monsoonal flows for the past 4 weeks or so.  This has introduced some humidity, which is unusual for us.  That humidity has also been known to spawn some clouds and even a bit of rain.  Saturday it was clouds which kept the heat of the day down.

Since the clouds were covering the blazing sun, my procrastination Saturday morning didn't have an adverse effect on my ride.  When I rolled out about 11:30, it was only in the low 80's with a 5 to 10 mph NNW wind.

I had decided to depart my house and head out Blue Diamond road to the west.  When I got to the intersection with Highway 159, I decided to follow that towards the town of Blue Diamond.

My objective for the day was to ride an hour away from home, then turn around and head back to home.  Now the interesting thing about this ride is that I am climbing the whole way on the outbound leg.  This has a great benefit in that once I reach the turnaround point, its all downhill back to my house.

I started off with an easy gear and decided to try something a bit different.  Normally I try to crank away at a fairly low cadence and fairly high gear.  This time I decided to start on my middle ring instead of my big ring, and try to keep my cadence up in easier gears just to see how well it went.  The verdict is it went fairly well.  I wasn't nearly as tired in my legs when I got to the turn around, but I was feeling it in the conditioning department as I'm not used to turning high cadence.

Of course the head wind, light as it was helped to keep me cool and slowed me a slight bit as well.

As I approached the one hour mark of the ride I noticed that I was a bit over 8 miles from the house.  Now I was doing some quick math in my head and realized that if I could get past 8.6 miles or so, then I would be covering the distance for the upcoming Viva Bike Vegas ride.  So I went just past the one hour mark to get the distance I wanted and turned around for the glorious downhill ride home.

I do truly appreciate the gravity assist I get on the declines, slight as they might be.  Understand that I'm riding a hybrid with a fairly upright riding position.  This is important because the wind resistance does tend to limit my speed.  I tried to tuck down a bit on some of the steeper downhill sections and managed to get over 28 mph.  It seemed that tucking in gained me 1 to 2 mph just rolling along.  My hour long trip to the turnaround was only 27 minutes or so to get back home.  I even did my second best time from Highway 159 to Fort Apache Rd. according to Strava.

It was a beautiful day to be on the bike and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hope you are able to get out there and ride you bike!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September Challenge update #1

OK, so we are now 5 days into the month of September and I've ridden 3 of those 5 days for a total of 31 miles.  Not bad, but I have a long ways to go to get to my monthly goal of 240 miles.  Looks like its time for a longer ride or two this weekend.

I am happy with my rides so far.  Both yesterday and today I got in a nice 12.5 mile ride.  Yesterday it took 53:29.  This morning I pushed it a bit more and did it in 52:06 with a 14.4 mph pace.  I feel really good about that.

One other notable item from this morning is that I've passed the 700 mile mark for 2013.  That is a pretty good total, but not nearly what I'm hoping for in 2013.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September challenge

This September I've challenged myself to ride at least 240 miles.  That would be my highest mileage month by 20 miles or so.  That will be quite an achievement.  Along the way I'm going to be riding the 17 mile Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello on September 21st with my father.

Now, I have to give him big props.  He also met my August challenge, riding every day during the month and beat my total miles by completing 222.6 miles for the month!  Outstanding job!  The important point here is that he turned 71 last week.  I can't say how proud I am of him for doing that.

He is worried about the distance for the coming Viva Bike Vegas ride, but I keep reminding him that he can do it and that its not a race.  We can stop and rest as much as we need to along the way.  I think he would like to take on my September challenge as well, but he will be driving out here to Vegas from Michigan and then driving back so for 8 to 10 days he won't be on a bike.

Now, I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that my mom took my August challenge and met it but in her own way.  She doesn't ride, but she committed to walking at least 20 minutes each day on the treadmill and she did it!  Way to go Ma! I won't mention her age, but she might be 2 or 3 years older than my dad. :)

She is also not taking on my September challenge due to the trip out here this month.  I do know she will be walking every chance she gets, though.

So, anyone else want to commit to a mileage total for September?

Regardless, please get on your bikes and ride!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August Challenge Wrap Up.

Its been a long month but I am happy to report I made the challenge of riding every day in August.  Surprisingly the last 2 days were among the hardest to get in as the weather wasn't very cooperative.

I am happy to report that I pedalled a total of 220.2 miles over the month.  That gives me an average ride length of 7.1 miles.  My longest ride was 12.5 miles on the 27th and the shortest was .48 miles on the 18th in the rain.

Looking ahead to the month of September I plan on challenging myself, but with an overall mileage goal and not with a daily riding goal.  My goal for the month is to better my August total by riding 240 miles.

Hope you are able to get ob your bikes and ride!!!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another Registration...

When I was looking for rides this year, this one particularly caught my eye.  Its called the BIKE MS Vegas Challenge and it is a 2 day event on November 9 & 10.  The goal of the ride is to raise funds in the fight against MS.  If you would like to donate, here is the link.  It is a very worthy cause.

I liked this ride when I saw it as it is multiple days and it is a distance I feel I can manage.  On Saturday there are several ride options - a 100 mile, 65 mile or 30 mile route.  I decided the 30 mile route is for me.  Here is a link to a map of the route.  What I like about this route is the chance to ride along the strip, even if its not at night like the Viva Bike Vegas ride.

On Sunday there are 2 routes, a 50 mile and a 30 mile route.  Again, with my current fitness level I figured back to back 30 mile rides would be great.  Here is a link to the Sunday 30 mile route map.  What I like about this route is that it heads out to my old stomping grounds along Boulder highway up into Henderson.

While MS has not touched me personally, I have known a couple of people that it has touched and this disease is one of the worst out there.  It is dastardly in that it affects the body and makes it impossible to accomplish even simple tasks, but leaves the mind sharp so that the afflicted know full well what it has done to them.

Please take a minute and donate what you can so that a cure can be found.  In case you missed it at the top, here is a link to my donation page.

Enjoy life, get on your bikes and RIDE!!!!

August Challenge Day 29 Ride 29

Well, the month is almost over and I'm happy to say that I've ridden 29 out of 29 days so far.  I was up and out at just after 4:00 am and had a pleasant and pretty unremarkable ride.  No wildlife.  No inconsiderate drivers.  I did see the honeydew wagon, but he must have done his job right as I didn't smell him.

One thing I want to mention is that I've registered for the Bike MS Las Vegas challenge ride in November.  I hope you will help to raise funds to fight MS, but I'll post more on that later.

Today's stats:

10.4 Miles
44:39 elapsed time

Month to date:

29/29 rides
216.7 Miles
17:09:22 Elapsed Time

Get on your bikes and RIDE!!!!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August Challenge Day 28 Ride 28 and a question of etiquette

It was another lovely morning for a ride.  I've been very lucky this month with my morning rides.  The temps were in the low 70's and there was a light southwest breeze.

I saw a rabbit again this morning.  He was sitting in the middle of the street as I turned onto Westchester.  He sat frozen for a minute trying to decide if I was real I think, then decided I was and went running under the bushes.

The three women walkers/joggers were out again this morning.  The were actually out on my first lap.  This is where the question of etiquette comes in.  They walk the same basic route as I ride, but in  counter clockwise direction while I am riding in a clockwise direction.  Obviously this means we pass each other frequently depending on timing.  This morning it was 8 times as on two of the laps they were on the walking path between the subdivisions while I was on the street.

Now the first time we usually say good morning to each other and once or  twice it might be a "good job" or "well done", but on many of the other occasions we end up smiling and nodding to each other.  The last time we pass we usually say "have a good day" and that's it.  My question is in regards to those times in between when we pass and really don't have much to say during that 2 to 3 second encounter.  What should I do?  Do I continue to nod and smile like and idiot?  Is there some point of etiquette that I'm missing that says what should happen on those other passes?

I would love feedback as to what others do in this situation.  I can't be alone in this.

Oh yeah, this morning takes me over 200 miles for the month!!!

As for stats:

10.4 Miles
45:12 Elapsed Time

Month to date:

28/28 rides
206.3 Miles
16:24:43 Elapsed time

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August Challenge Day 27 Ride 27

Cool but humid morning this morning.  69 degrees with 71% humidity.  The original forecast last night said there might be showers this morning, but they were nowhere to be seen for which I am happy.

From my analysis this month, I've decided that Monday night must be a big party night here since Tuesday morning has the most traffic heading home between 4:00 and 5:00 am.  There must have been 12 or 13 cars making a left into the subdivision this morning.

I was up just a bit early this morning so I decided to extend the ride to 12 laps.  Felt good.

This morning's stats:

12.5 Miles
54:47 Elapsed Time

Month to date:

27/27 rides
195.9 Miles
15:39:31 Elapsed time

I hope you are able to Get On Your Bikes And Ride!!!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

August Challenge Update - Rides 23, 24, 25, and 26

I have been remiss in my updates and for this I apologize.

Its been a rather busy few days and the good news is I have gotten in a ride everyday. I am still on track to ride all 31 days in August. The bad news is my oldest grandson went home to Michigan on Saturday. It was really tough this year as he has grown and matured so much. We were going to do a last ride on Saturday morning before he left, but it didn't happen as he slept a bit later and then had to get to the airport.

Friday's ride was a ramble to look at all the streets in the subdivision and the one next door. Sad to say after 3 years of living in the house there were streets in our small sub I hadn't been on. One interesting note, one of the bordering street has a single house on it, all alone. The other houses around it all face into the subdivision and are accessed off the internal roads. A nice, private oasis.

Saturday was a couple of laps around the block with Dillon, Nick and Ceanna, who only made it part way up the block and was too tired.

Sunday Dillon was the only taker and we re-rode most of the streets in the subdivision since he hadn't been down them.

This morning it was back to the usual 4:00 am ride of 10.4 miles. It was nice seeing the 2 women who were walking last week were back and they had a third woman with them. We exchanged greetings on one lap. 2 laps later the woman who seemed to be the leader was jogging while the others were walking.

So, month to date we have:

26/26 rides
183.4 miles
14:44:44 elapsed time

Hope you are able to Get On Your Bikes and RIDE!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Registration complete...

Well, now its official.  Both myself and my dad are registered for Viva Bike Vegas on September 21st.

I am so happy and proud of my dad who hasn't ridden more than a couple of miles in the last 30 years, until he thought he might try riding more this summer.  It will be so cool to ride the strip with him that day.  I'm glad its not a race and we can take our time and enjoy the sites.

Anyone else going to be here in September for the ride????

BTW here is the route:

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

August Challenge Day 22 Ride 22

This morning as I got on my bike I decided that I was getting just a bit bored doing the same loops morning after morning.  I had found and ridden a couple of other Strava segments in the neighborhood as I wrote about here, so I decided to see if I could do better on 2 of them.  I wanted to add a bit of variety to keep it interesting.

So I headed out and rode.  I refused to look at my Garmin the whole time I rode this morning.  I really didn't know how far I had gone, nor how fast, nor how long I'd been on the bike.  I wanted it to be a surprise.

I rode those different roads and threw in a couple of laps around my usual loop just to get in the miles.  One interesting note was that the 2 women were out walking again this morning.

When I decided I'd had enough for the morning, I stopped, turned off the Garmin and put my bike away.

I then headed inside to see exactly what I had done.  I was pleasantly surprised when I plugged the Garmin into my laptop and Training Center showed that I had ridden 9.66 miles in 41:59 this morning.  I really had thought I had only done about 7 miles.

I then uploaded the data to Strava and learned that I had set a PR (personal record) on both of the segments this morning.  I am very happy with that.

So for the month I am now at:

22/22 Rides
166.6 Miles
13:09:52 Elapsed Time

Oh, one more thing.  I officially registered my dad and I for the Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello 17 mile rides on September 21.  Anyone else want to join us???

As the very wise Freddie Mercury said:

Get On Your Bikes And RIDE!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August Challenge Day 21 Ride 21

Having been awake since 2:00 AM I wasn't feeling it when 4:00 rolled around and it was my normal time to get up and ride.  I thought about putting it off, but decided that since I was up I might as well go and get in at least a short ride.  When I went out, I had every intention of taking it easy and only doing a couple of miles.

That changed within the first few pedal strokes  I felt good on the bike and decided I should just go ahead and push it a bit.  So I did.

According to Strava I did my 3rd fastest loop at 4:01 for my first lap and the next was at 4:04.  Not bad at all.  My finishing time for the same 10 miles I rode yesterday was almost 5 minutes faster!

One interesting note was that where I saw several pedestrians yesterday - there was no one out there this morning.

This morning's stats:

10.4 Miles
43:44 Elapsed Time

Month to date:

21/21 Rides
157 Miles
12:27:53 Elapsed Time

Do something good for yourself - Get on your bike and ride!!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August Challenge Day 20 Ride 20

Warm, humid start to the day.  I checked my tires before the ride as usual and was concerned when I found my front tire at less than 40 psi.  It seemed the issue was with the valve and not with a puncture.  I tightened the inner valve and pumped up the tire and it seemed to be holding air, but I didn't have faith in its staying inflated so I stopped a few times during the ride to check it out.

Overall it was a good ride.  It was interesting in that there were very few cars, but there were several pedestrians this morning.  Two women were out walking laps.  I passed the 4 or 5 times.  A gentleman was walking his dog and on the last last there was another man out for his morning exercise.  That's more people out and about in one morning than I've seen the rest of the month combined.

This morning's stats:

10.4 miles
48:33 elapsed time

Month to Date:

20/20 rides
146.6 miles
11:44:09 elapsed time

Heading into the home stretch of the challenge.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

August Challenge Day 19 Ride 19

The rain persisted on and off until about 3:30 this morning.  I know because it was raining at 10:00, it was raining at 2:00 and it was still sprinkling at 3:20 when I looked at the radar loop on my phone.  I was thinking that I would wait until after work to get my ride in today as I lay back down to try and get some sleep.

I kept thinking about how yesterday's ride was so short and mainly a token effort.  I thought about how the weather forecast was for more thunderstorms this afternoon and in all likelihood I would end up making only a token effort today.

I decided that for good or bad, I was getting up and riding this morning.  I am glad I did.

The roads were still wet when I got out there a little later than usual, but I decided to just start out nice and easy and see what I could do with the time I had.  There was a lot of sand and grit on the roads, especially on Quarterhorse by the construction site.

I did my first lap and thought to myself, "this isn't too bad."  The temperature was 73, and although a bit humid, it was nice riding weather.

I know I was slower than usual as I was taking it easy, but I decided 4 laps in that I could make the scheduled 10 laps in what time I had.  And that's what I did and I am happy.

Today's stats:

10.4 miles
48:31 Elapsed time

Month to date:

19/19 rides
136.2 Miles
10:55:36 elapsed time

Get on your bikes and ride!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August Challenge Rides 17 & 18

Its been a busy weekend with my wife and the grandkids.  Saturday was a long day strting at 5:30 am with getting set for a garage sale and watching the grandkids.  Then it was time to get cleaned up to head to Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party for Jacob and belatedly Nicholas.  Once we were home from there it was prudent to relax a bit, waiting for the temps to cool off at least a bit  Finally at 7:30 it was time for a quick ride to get it done.

Sunday I was just as occupied for the day and then it started raining this afternoon with thunderstorms moving through the area.  Finally at 8:00 I decided it was going to need to be a lap around th eblock in the rain, so that's what it was to keep the challenge alive.

Month to date:

18/18 rides
125.8 miles
10:07:05 Elapsed time

Friday, August 16, 2013

August Challenge Day 16 ride 16

The plan last night was to get up this morning and go for a ride with the grand kids.  I was thinking we would get out pretty early to try and beat some of the heat.  Normally the kids are up by 7:00 or 7:30 so I was thinking if we rode by 8:00 or so it would be good.

Finally at 9:15 I said it was time for them to get up so we can go.  We got out there at 9:28 and it was already hot.  Jacob, Dillon, Nicholas and PT all went with me.  We did a nice ramble around the neighborhood and rode by the house about 1.9 miles into the ride  The kids wanted a break so PT and I went on a quick trip around the block while they came in and got a drink.

When e got back to the house.  Nick was inside and not going any farther.  Jacob, Dillon, PT and I took off for another "lap" but just at the corner, Jacob decided he was done and headed back to the house.

Dillon hung in there and completed a total of 4.1 miles today in the heat.  PT and I completed 4.6 miles.

I am proud of all of them for how far they went.  They are all riding better and better.

Today's Stats:

4.6 miles
33:29 elapsed time

Month to date:

16/16 rides
123.5 miles
9:54:21 elapsed time

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August Challenge Day 15 Ride 15

It was a little warmer this morning in the mid 70's and the humidity was up a bit as well to close to 30%.  I can hear everyone from other parts of the country say "you call that humidity?"  Just remember this IS the desert. My legs were feeling a bit tired and heavy as well.

I did see a rabbit twice this morning.  Not sure if they were 2 different rabbits or the same rabbit both times as the sightings were about 20 minutes and a quarter mile apart.  Traffic was also the lightest its been all week during my early morning, but there were a couple of drivers who slammed on their brakes at the last minute, obviously used to sailing through the stop signs.

I also saw a teenager on a mountain bike with a back pack.  Not sure where he was going to or from, but he was headed south on El Capitan Way at just the wrong speed where I had to slow way down to keep from impacting him as I made my turn onto Mackanos while he continued south.  He never knew I was there.


10.4 miles
46:02 elapsed time

Month to date:

118.9 miles
9:20:52 elapsed time

Keep those pedals turning!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August Challenge Day 14 Ride 14

Feeling pretty good about the August challenge at this point.  Its been 14 days and I've ridden every one of them.  A couple of items to note regarding this morning's ride and they both have to do with distance.  This morning's ride took me over 100 miles for the month, but more importantly it took me to 567 miles for the year which surpassed last year's total of 566 miles.

I'm riding more this year and I'm feeling good.  The bike is working well as well.

Today's stats:

10.4 miles
44:21 Elapsed time

Month to date

108.5 miles
8:34:50 elapsed time

How are you doing this month?

Keep those pedals turning!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August Challenge ride 13

Before I talk about this morning's ride I want to wish my eldest grandson Jacob a Happy Birthday!!!  Today he turns 11.

Only 3 things to mention about this morning's ride - some wind,a rabbit and some creaking.

This morning there was a southwest wind blowing 12 to 15 mph which meant I was cycling into the wind on the slower parts of my route.  It was definitely a bit more work.

On my 4th lap as I was heading north on Quarterhorse, a rabbit almost committed suicide by running across in front of me.  He timed it poorly, though and successfully made it across with a couple of feet to spare.  I guess he misjudged how fast I was in fact riding.

At about the 9 mile mark this morning, I started to notice a creaking coming from the left pedal and/or bottom bracket area.  It seemed to only do it when I was pushing the left pedal so I need to look at it this evening.  To avoid possibly damaging anything I took it really easy on the last mile this morning.

Today's stats:

10.4 miles
47:09 elapsed time

Month to date

98.1 miles
7:50:29 elapsed time

A side note, as of yesterday both my mom and dad were still in the challenge having walked and ridden everyday so far in August respectively. I believe my dad was even slightly ahead mileage-wise for the month.  I am so proud of them!!!!

Keep those pedals turning.

Monday, August 12, 2013

August Challenge Rdies 11 and 12

So far so good on the August Challenge.  12 days - 12 rides.  Not a bad streak but I'm not even halfway there yet.

These 2 rides happened almost exactly 9 hours apart.  Ride eleven was a fun little ramble around the neighborhood with the grand kids.  We had fun and I'm amazed at how quickly they are progressing.  Where a few weeks ago they would complain and want to take a break before we completed one lap, yesterday they were raring to go for multiple laps.  The 3 boys actually did 4 or 5 laps and were doing great!

Stats for ride 11:

3.0 miles
0:21:45 elapsed time

This morning it was back at it - up at 4:00 and out riding by 4:07.  There were a few remarkable things about this morning's ride.  The traffic was awfully busy for that time of the morning.  I must have been passed by 20+ cars. I know that's not a lot for most people, but that is one of the reasons that I like the early morning rides - virtually no traffic.  Among the cars were an NHP cruiser and about 10 minutes later an LVMPD cruiser.  What was remarkable was they both headed in the same direction - south on Pebble towards Durango.

I also saw a group of 4 riders headed north on Pebble towards fort Apache all decked out in their matching kits.  I couldn't read what they said but they were all while and green.

One other item to note was I saw a young boy - probably 11 or 12 riding a much too big bike with no lights.  He slowed and was waiting to turn onto El Capitan Way, but I slowed to wait for him to see if he was all right, but he disappeared.  Not sure if he changed his mind about turning or rode into the new sub on the corner, but I couldn't find him.  He just seemed out of place at that time of the morning.

Ride 12 stats:

10.4 miles
0:46:31 Elapsed time

Month to date:

87.7 miles
7:03:20 Elapsed time

Keep those pedals turning!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

August Challenge day 10

Today is the 10th day of August and I did my 10th ride for my August Challenge.  I'm glad I made this challenge as it has gotten me on my bike a couple of times when it would have been easy to just say I'll ride tomorrow there's no time today.

I decided it was a good day to head out towards the Gypsum mine by Blue Diamond.  Its just over a 12 mile round trip.  I felt pretty good on the ride and decided to spin along at an easier pace in my middle ring on the uphill away from home.  It seemed to work pretty well in terms of tiring out, but it did knock my pace down slightly.

There were a good number of cyclists out this morning taking advantage of the light winds and cooler morning temps.  It did warm up quickly, though and was 88 by the time I got home.

So the stats for this morning:

12.4 miles
1:05:14 Elapsed time

Month to date:

74.3 miles
5:55:04 elapsed time

How are you doing this month???

Keep those pedals turning!

Friday, August 9, 2013

August Challenge rides 8 & 9

So the weekend is starting off on a busy note starting yesterday.  I managed to squeeze in a quick ride in the morning before doing my errands for the day.  Today I just rode around with the grand kids - not far at all, but it was fun getting them out there.  Unfortunately it started getting dark so we couldn't go very far.

So, some stats:

Ride #8
3.3 Miles
15:15 Elapsed time

Ride #9
1.8 miles
13:01 Elapsed time

So far this month:

61.9 Miles
4:49:50 Elapsed Time

There have been challenges getting a couple of my rides in, but having this challenge has been enough to make sure I'm at least on the bike daily.

Keep those pedals turning!!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Challenge Day 7

Its 4:00 am on a work day in August so I'm getting up and heading out on a ride.  I normally have a routine I follow which involves a trip to the restroom, but I changed it up slightly this morning and that impacted my ride.

The temperature was a reasonable 80 degrees with a light Southwest breeze.  A good morning for a ride.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention yesterday, I passed the 500 mile mark for the year with yesterday's ride.  It took me until September 22 (the Viva Bike Vegas ride last year) to pass that mark.

I was feeling pretty good out there especially considering this is my seventh consecutive day of ride.  That is until about 4.5 miles into the ride I started to feel some rumblings in my intestinal tract.  Things weren't too bad and I convinced myself to carry on, which I managed to do until about 2 miles later when the rumblings became quite insistent and the call of nature was quite urgent.

I made it back to the house, having completed only 7.2 miles, but it was enough for this morning.


7.2 Miles
32:22 Elapsed time

Month to date:

56.8 miles
4:21:36 Elapsed time

Keep those pedals turning!