Starting the New Year – 2010

February 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Posted in Equipment, Street/Road Conditions, Weekend Rides | 1 Comment

This year, I intend to update the blog and to do some regular riding. The previous blog entry said I was starting up again in July 2009 but it really didn’t happen. I don’t think I had 15 rides all year. It was my worst year for riding since 97-98 when I spent the year in Washington. What makes it worse is that I bought a new bike that I didn’t have much time to ride.

While I haven’t been out much this winter, I have been riding indoors fairly consistently. Outdoor riding is fun; indoor riding is training. I always think that 30 minutes indoors is equivalent to 45 minutes outdoors.

So far this year, I’ve been out three times, including today. All rides have been on my mountain bike. The first one was a local ride on ice and snow and it was a short ride just for the experience. It was okay.

The second ride (in January) was longer but only for time not distance. It was a mix of road, off-road, and gravel road riding. I hoped to go out of the east end Park Ridge through the woods to Kerr Creek but I didn’t find the right path and rode a fairly long way downhill before the path ended. I had to walk much of the way back uphill because it was so muddy and I couldn’t get traction. Then, I rode over to Range Rd to explore. The gravel part of Range Rd was fine but the second part of the road behind the closed gate was steep and too soft for riding. Overall, a fun ride but not a good ride.

Today, I decided to do some local roads that I often do – out Old 446, Swartz Ridge, Moore’s Creek, Harrell, Schact, Clear Creek. When I got to the Clear Creek Rail Trail, my rear shifter broke. The chain hopped to the biggest ring on the back. I pushed it to the biggest ring on the front to pedal home. It was slow and stressful for the drive train. When I was last in the Bicycle Garage, they warned me that it was ready to break, so I wasn’t surprised.

I noticed that the roads seem to be more potholed this year than other years. If budget cuts reduce road maintenance, it could be a tough year for riding the local roads.

Starting up again

July 1, 2009 at 2:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s been a very busy spring and few bike rides. Maybe 5-7 rides but a couple 60 milers among them.

I’m ready to start working this blog again, so more in the next couple weeks. I hope that I have a few rides to report on soon.

The Riding Season Begins

April 15, 2009 at 2:46 am | Posted in Long Rides, Off-road, Weekend Rides | Leave a comment

I haven’t written much this year because I haven’t ridden much this year. But, the season is beginning.

Since the last post, I rode my commuter bike once for 30+ mile ride; rode my mountain bike in Wapehani once; and last Saturday, I rode my road bike for 42+ miles.

The Saturday ride was a challenge for me. My daughter, her spouse and I rode. We kept a fairly steady pace for two standard courses – Airport and Old 446. The day was cool and I thought I would be overdressed as the day warmed but it didn’t happen. A bright sunny day and not cold or warm.

Bloomington is a great place to ride in April and May, especially in the mornings. I hope to ride more steadily now.

Firsts of the Year

February 18, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Commuting, Street/Road Conditions, weather conditions, Weekend Rides | Leave a comment

Sunday February 8 was my first ride of the year. The previous day, I planned a 5 mile run (first run in a long time). Because of the snow, ice, mud, and water, I ran 4 and walked 1 mile. The roads were still not clear after earlier snows. I got wet feet. Because the melting was so slow, I planned to spin indoors on that day.

But, the temperature was 40, the sun was shining, and I felt a need to get out for a ride. I anticipated some ice problems and was able to manage them. While the air temperatures in Bloomington were warm, the ground was still very cold. Many intersections and places where the snow melt was creating a sheet flow across the road, the cold ground created ice. In addition, many roads were covered with gravel.

The ride was relatively slow (27.25 miles; 2.1 hours) but slow was anticipated. Since the day was so nice, going slow extended the ride. My winter rides tend to be a series of loops that never take me too far from home. I went to the south end of Old 446, back on 46, down Swartz Ridge, up Ramp Creek, to the Water Works, back on Fairfax to Clear Creek. I attempted to ride the unpaved Bloomington Rail Trail but the ice and mud made it too challenging to do for a long distance. I turned around and came home on Old Walnut, through Cardinal Glen, and Sare Rd.

It was ride with many firsts:

  • My first road ride since the Hilly Hundred in mid-October
  • My first ride this year
  • My first ride since I qualified for Social Security Old Age benefits

My first commutes to work also happened during the week of February 9-13.  Prior to then, my last commute was on December 19. This was the longest period without any sort of ride since I came to Bloomington. Since December 19, there were 2 days that I could commute safely when I didn’t need to drive. The weather has been bad for riding. My commute has a stretch of about .75 miles that are somewhat tough in normal weather and absolutely dangerous when snow and ice are present. Many riders won’t ride on the road during the summer because it’s so dangerous.  

A short note: earlier this week, I saw a bicyclist riding on this dangerous section of road at 8:30 PM with no lights. I caught the flash of the pedal reflectors but he was otherwise dark. I might change my opinion that pedal reflectors have no value. I slowed in my car so others wouldn’t run into him along the most dangerous part of the road. He had more courage or stupidity than most bicyclists.

With four commutes last week and two so far this week, winter seems to be fading. It’s possible to ride year-round in Bloomington but sometimes, the weather and the poor roads make it difficult.

Back to Bicycling in Bloomington 2009

January 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Posted in Commuting, Indoor Riding, Long Rides, OWLS, Weekend Rides | Leave a comment

The start of a new year and a short summary of the past couple months.

Right after the Hilly Hundred in October, I started to train for a 10K race in Niles Michigan on Thanksgiving Day. This is the fourth year that I, my wife, my daughter, and one or two grandchildren have run the race (some do the 5K). My wife has consistently placed in the top three in her age group and this is the first year that I made the podium (sorta). I was third in the 60-64 age group.

My recreational bicycling during this period was limited to one trip to Wapehani. However, during December, I was able to ride indoors about 8-10 times. It’s not the same as outdoor riding but it’s probably more time-efficient.

I was able to commute consistently from September through December 22. There were few days that I did not commute during that time and mostly because of travel or the need to transport heavy materials between home and work.

In 2008, I had roughly the same mileage on my road bike and my commuting bike – about 1100 miles. My commuting miles were a little higher than previous years because I had many trips across campus for meetings. My road miles were fewer and I had fewer mountain bike rides. In 2009, I hope to do more road and mountain bike riding. I doubt that I would increase my commuting miles very much.

Despite the lower road bike mileage, I think that I was more comfortable doing the Hilly, including the Mt. Tabor climb, this year than any previous years. I am attributing it (without good evidence) to the OWLS rides. Having two good rides a week for part of the year probably helped. This year, I expect to participate in more OWLS rides. I missed yesterday’s ride because of another commitment. Fortunately, there are so many opportunities for biking in Bloomington that I should be able get in more rides.

As many do in the beginning of the year, I am setting some goals for the year – more riding, more running, more yoga, more strength training, and more tai chi; along with more reading, more gardening and more household maintenance. I also am planning to try to work fewer hours. It’s unlikely all or even any will happen.

Happy New Year.

End of Biking Season Summary

November 3, 2008 at 2:54 am | Posted in Long Rides, Off-road, OWLS, Weekend Rides | Leave a comment

It’s been six weeks since I posted. Too many distractions, a heavy work load, and not enough time. Let me briefly summarize the rides.

Sunday, September 14

Ike was coming through Indiana that day. It was predicted to arrive late morning with heavy winds and possibly very heavy rain. I generally don’t mind getting wet while riding but heavy rains means that drivers can’t see as well, so I am cautious.

When I left home at about 8, it was so sunny that I put on sunscreen. I chose a route that would allow me to head home if bad weather happened but stay out as long as possible. The route was a variation of my airport ride.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

A new part for me was staying on Vernal Pike instead of going up Oard Rd to 48. Vernal Pike went through some nice farm country. When I got to 48, I turned east and then turned on Garrison Chapel Rd. New hills; challenging hills. At this point, the sun was gone and the air was getting chillier. At Airport Rd, I decided to head towards home. I got home too early. I could have stayed out for a longer ride but the gray skies and wind made choose a shorter route.

The traffic was light; hardly a car on the entire route. Bloomington experiences the tail end of hurricanes about once every 3-4 years. I can’t remember any previous ride that was affected by a hurricane, so I guess this was a unique day.

Tuesday, September 16

The OWLS did a ride that was very similar to a standard ride for me – Smithville. However, when we got to Old 37, the group decided to head south for a few miles on Old 37. It was a beautiful late summer evening and we just wanted to be out a little longer. We got back with enough time for all to get home before dark.

As we started after the stop to discuss the change, I missed my first push on my open pedal and went down. I’d guess that I fall about once a year. This was an easy fall. Embarrassing but it didn’t hurt physically.

Sunday, September 21

The day before, I ran about 7-8 miles. I haven’t run that far this year, so it was a little challenging. Then, late afternoon, my anterior tibulus spasmed for the first time in awhile. So I decided that I needed an easy ride on Sunday.

I rode around Lake Monroe – about 35 miles. It’s interesting that I think the ride around the Lake is easy. It has only 2 big hills – up from the Lake’s causeway and “the alps.” I came back on Fairfax instead of Ramp Creek to avoid another big hill. Because I was concerned about my leg, I rode easy but I guess I usually do ride easy, because my average speed was only a little slower than my typical pace (13.9 mph vs 14 mph or so). I kept my HR below 145 except for the first hill on the alps. As I get closer to Hilly, I focus on riding hills comfortably.

The ride was fun. Traffic didn’t exist and the weather was great. (NOTE: my anterior tibulus has not hurt since September 20.)

Tuesday, September 24

The OWLS ride really didn’t happen for me. We went out towards the Water Works and then down Ramp Creek. I flatted at the bottom. I told the group to go on without me. I fixed the flat and turned around and went home. I’d guess it was about 12 miles.

I don’t think any bike ride is really disappointing but I was disappointed that the ride didn’t work out as planned.

Sunday September 28

My challenges to ride on the gravel roads east of Bloomington continue. I planned to ride this route (roughly):

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com 

 I actually rode this route:

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

I missed the turn for McGowan Rd. I totally missed it. I didn’t even look at a road to the right and wonder if it was the correct road. On Friendship Rd, I met a colleague who was birding at the Lake. She and her husband described how to find McGowan. I’ll try again during the winter.

The ride really was fairly nice. I enjoyed the new roads. I came back on Lampkins Ridge which is a long uphill but not too steep. I then went down to the Lake on Shields Ridge and up Stipp.

I finished the ride on the Bloomington Rail Trail and the new B-Line (also known as the Boondoggle Line). The current mayor says the Line is for economic development. Sure. The previous mayor’s flagship public works project was a wet toxic dump at the north entrance to Bloomington. (The website doesn’t mention that the detention ponds store toxic materials from the street run-off; a byproduct of Bloomington city governments Filthy Streets policy.) The current mayor is creating a path to nowhere with no function except to make city officials look better to themselves.

 Overall, about 42 miles on a mountain bike riding mostly on the roads isn’t ideal but it was a fine day to do what I did. Diversity in riding is fun; the weather was great; light traffic; and I enjoyed myself, despite not doing the ride I planned.

Sunday, October 5

 I didn’t have a chance to ride for a week. I hoped to get out some weekday mornings but I’ve had little time because of work commitments. I missed the Tuesday OWLS ride because I had to work late.

This ride was my Hilly Hundred training ride. I planned to do 50 miles and ride some hills. I went out 45 to Boltinghouse, up Lentz (a tough hill), over to the Forest (a long hill), two hills on Old 37 (relatively easy), down to Lake Griffey and up the other side (steep in parts), through town to the Clear Creek, Schacht, down Stipp and up Moore’s Creek (a long hill with a steep part at the bottom). The ride was about 52.5 miles. I rode at 14 mph and finished in about 3.75 hours.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

I focused on keeping my heart rate low on the hills. On Lentz, I rang my bell (HR=158 which is my technical max for my age), and reached 148 on the bottom part of the Forest climb but 130 at the top. On the other climbs, I kept my HR generally below 135 (my assumed zone 2 limit). If I want to ride the Hilly successfully, I have to do the hills at a comfortable pace. Generally, I don’t shift much on my rides but I practiced shifting, too.

 It was a sunny day. It started cold (about 46c and was about 66 c when I got home. I’d guess that fewer than 10 cars passed me from the start of the ride until I reached Bloomington. Riding in Bloomington offers some nice challenges (hills) but also some great conditions for just enjoying the ride.

 Sunday, October 12

The last Sunday road ride for the year. Next weekend is the Hilly and after that I train for Thanksgiving Day 10K. If I ride in the next six months, it’s likely to be either mountain biking or shorter rides on my commuting bike.

I enjoyed the ride tremendously. I went around Lake Monroe and then west to Harrodsburg, up Rockport Rd to Kirksville, and then took Victor Pike most of the way back to town. 49 miles, 14.2 mph, about 3.5 hours.

The weather was just right for me. I started a little cold but climbing out from the causeway got me warm and I stayed just a little bit chilled for most of the ride. I don’t mind being hot when I’m riding but a little chill is pleasant. I kept my HR low climbing most hills. It was below 130 most of the time and only a short part of “the alps” and a hill on Victor Pike got it into the low 140s. I think I am ready for the Hilly hills.

As usual, light traffic, and perhaps fewer cars than ever on the ride. There were many times when the only sounds were some birds and the wind blowing past my ears and through the helmet. I especially enjoyed the climb from Harrodsburg to Kirksville (it seems like 10 miles) because I was going slower, so less wind noise and there was no traffic. The quiet was wonderful.

I need to ride from Kirksville to Harrodsburg sometime this winter. The ride has some of the best vistas in southern Indiana and they are especially impressive when the leaves are off the trees. It’s possible to see 40 miles of hills to the south.

While I might grouse a bit about traffic management and street conditions in Bloomington, the rural parts of Monroe County are wonderful for bike riding.

Hilly Hundred (Oct 18, 19)

The Hilly was fun as usual. The two fifty-mile rides are challenging but not terrible. The most fun is riding with a large group of people who enjoy bicycling. I rode with my daughter, her husband, and another couple from South Bend. The weather was great despite being a little cold to start. The ice cream at the lunch stops and after the ride make it even more fun.

Sunday October 25

The day prior (Saturday October 24), I ran a 10K in the Morgan Monroe forest. On my drive home, I went up Shiloh Rd. It’s about 4 miles mostly uphill. I decided to ride it the next day.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

I rode on my commuting bike so that I wouldn’t be tempted to ride fast. The ride was about 33 miles and it took about 2.33 hours. Overall, a very pleasant ride despite being chased by a dog on Shilo. It may be the first dog that chased me this year. Traffic was very light but the roads I chose would normally have little traffic.

Sunday, November 2

Unlike the previous three years, this year I’m not training as hard for the 10K In Niles Michigan. I’m doing enough running to be certain I can finish fine but I don’t seem to have the desire to improve my time this year. Today, I decided to go mountain bike riding in Wapehani. I rode for about 1.5 hours. Great day for a ride; relatively cool and very sunny. As the leaves fall, the sun comes through more than in the summer.

I did reasonably well. No falls, always an accomplshment. I made it up one hill I usually struggle with. I didn’t make it up a second hill because I chose the wrong line for my skills. The trails were covered with leaves, so braking was a challenge. And, some obstacles weren’t apparent until I hit them. I guess it increases the challenge and thereby increases the fun.

A few trails are starting to disappear as the road development increases. I couldn’t find some that I normally ride. I rode a new trail that I struggled with the last time at Wapehani and did much better but I haven’t yet figured it out.

It won’t be so long until I post again unless I don’t get on the bike for awhile. But, the way I’m feeling now, I think I will be on again soon.

Hitting the Hills

September 12, 2008 at 2:59 am | Posted in Long Rides, OWLS, Weekend Rides | 3 Comments

Thursday, September 11

Five rides in 8 days from August 31 – September 7. That’s somewhat unusual for me but Labor Day allowed me an extra day to ride. In total, 6 rides in 10 days with the OWLS ride on Tuesday September 10. My most consistent riding all year.

Sunday August 30, I did a relatively hilly ride (6 hills). I went out to Mt. Gilead (1), over to Shuffle Creek, South Shore Dr, North Shore Dr. North Shore has one steep hill that always challenges me (2). I needed to switchback to get over it. Then to Anderson and into the Morgan Monroe forest (3). The forest hill is long but not nearly as steep as North Shore. Down Old 37 and up to Hindustan (4). From there I went down Old 37, up Firehouse (5), Bethel, down to Lake Griffey and up to Dunn (6). I rode a convoluted route home to get 50 miles. It took almost 3.5 hours and I averaged 14.3 which is my typical pace for hilly rides. Light traffic and nice weather. (I stopped mapping at the point I reached town.)

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Monday September 1, Labor Day. I went to Wapehani for some mountain bike riding. Overall, I didn’t do well. My handling skills seemed rusty and I was less willing to take chances. I found a new path that’s fairly challenging for me now but I could probably ride better if I did more mountain biking. On the plus side, I rode up two hills that usually give me problems. On one hill, a log pile has been replaced by big stones and I could manage the stones. I never was able to climb the log pile. I often make it up the second hill, but usually after a couple rides in Wap when I learn the best route for me to ride the hill. It’s rare that I successfully climb both hills in one ride unless I’ve been to Wap regularly.

Wapehani has lost some trails. There’s a gravel road from Tapp Rd that leads to a cell tower. The paths cross it a couple times and it’s a little bit challenging to follow them. I ended the ride doing some single track trails that are the most fun in the park. Overall, it wasn’t a bad day but I know I need to mountain bike more often. Riding in Wapehani is much different than the Brown County State Park trails that I ride. Wapehani is more technical and there are no long gaps between challenges.

Tuesday September 2, OWLS ride. This ride was supposed to be similar to a ride we did earlier this year – Leonard Springs. However, at the end of Leonard Springs Rd, the lead group turned right instead of left onto May Rd. We rode a series of steep short hills and then reached a monster hill. At the bottom, I was certain that I would have to walk. I was tired from the short hills and the hill scared me. I managed to climb it mostly because I was too afraid to try to click out of the pedals. I was certain that I would fall over if I missed the click out because I was going so slow. When I reached the top, my HR was 172, way into the red zone.

No one in the group had ever ridden the hill before and one rider who knows the county said it’s harder than Miller Rd which is considered the most difficult in the county. We decided there to turn around and get back on the route. However, we didn’t finish the ride we planned but took a little shorter way home without a long hill that we originally planned to ride.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Thursday September 4, I planned to ride Old 446 in the morning before work but I got caught up in some work at home and used up most of my riding time. I rode about 30 minutes on local streets.

Sunday, September 7. I rode a variation of a ride that I did last summer. Around the Lake, through Harrodsburg, up Rockport to Kirksville. This time, I turned on to Harmony Rd in Kirksville. I took Harmony to Ison to Leonard Springs, and then home on the airport ride route. The ride started in light rain and the rain was off and on until I reached Ison. The ride was about 52 miles. Average speed was 14.0. It’s a little slower than last week but I’m a wimp when it’s wet, so I go slower around turns, etc. Total time was about 3.67 hours.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

The traffic was even lighter than usual. I would guess that no more than 10 cars passed me until I crossed 37 on That Rd.  

Tuesday September 9, OWLS ride – the OWLS ride was a ride I do regularly, often in the winter or spring when I don’t have much time or it’s too cold to ride far. Water Works, Stipp, Swartz Ridge, Old 446. About 22 miles at a mixed pace. Sometimes we rode hard, sometimes easy. Any ride with 2 long hills is a good ride. I think I enjoyed this OWLS ride more than others. The first cool evening. We think that we have about 3-4 weeks before we won’t have enough daylight to ride.

Riding in Bloomington brings hills both on- and off-road. Most are fun, some are challenging. They make me think that a triple will be on my next bike.

Ridings and Ramblings

August 29, 2008 at 2:35 am | Posted in Commuting, Morning Rides, OWLS, weather conditions, Weekend Rides | 2 Comments

It’s been more than two weeks since my last post. Work and travel have taken a lot of time.

I rode with the OWLS on Tuesday August 12. It was a good hilly ride on a lot of roads that I hadn’t done previously. (If I did, I don’t remember them.)  The group was a little more aggressive than the typical OWSL ride. I was happy to find new, relatively smooth roads with little traffic. I mapped the ride so I wouldn’t forget it.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

The weather in Bloomington has been great for riding for the past few weeks. For about 10 days, it was cool in the mornings and pleasant in the afternoons. Then, it got hazy, hot, and humid for the first time this summer. Both are fine for riding. Hot and humid rides have their place, too.

The weekend before last, I was in South Bend. I took my commuting bike for my son-in-law to fix a few problems. I rode about 13 miles on Sunday morning. It wasn’t bad but the roads aren’t nearly as pleasant as Bloomington. Riding other places puts Bloomington into perspective.

He did some maintenance/repair on two bikes and he cleaned the drive trains. He does an amazing job cleaning them. The chains and cogs shine. I don’t know how he does it but I really appreciate it.  

Tuesday August 19, I did an OWLS ride that was similar to the first ride I did with them. It was a slower, more compatible group than the previous Tuesday. All riders were fairly close. I enjoyed the ride. I felt especially quick and found I could accelerate up hills. A clean drive train really improves riding.

The following Thursday morning, I rode Old 446 and did some sprints for most of it. Sprints are fun but they show riding weaknesses very quickly. Since I’ll never be a good rider, I sorta care but not enough to train seriously.

I’ve noticed more people riding bikes this summer than previously. I guess it’s partly because of the price of gas but maybe others recognize that biking is both a good method to travel and fun. However, commuting in Bloomington can be challenging because of the poor condition of the streets and the bizarre traffic patterns. I hope those new to biking persevere until they learn to manage both.

Sunday morning, I planned a ride on gravel roads east of Bloomington. The planned route was about 30 miles.  However, I changed my mind when I got to Friendship Rd, because I wanted to see something I promised myself that I would do earlier this year. And, I wanted to see how fast I rode on gravel roads (About 10-12 mph). I went to the end of Friendship Rd to the bird resting place. I saw many large birds, so it was a treat. (Ear to the Breeze describes the route but I did it the opposite direction. )

On the way out on Friendship Rd, I noticed my front wheel wobbling. I attributed it to the gravel but it continued when I was riding on 46. I stopped and found that the front tire was shredding. Hooray for cell phones. My wife picked me up in the truck. I was fortunate that I changed my mind because I could have been far into the gravel roads if I had gone on the route I originally planned.

 On Tuesday August 26, I did another Owls Ride. We did Mt. Gilead twice, Shuffle Creek, and South Shore. It was a challenging but fun ride.

The students have returned to Bloomington. Traffic is heavier although it affects me minimally on the bike. A bigger impact is the loss of parking places for my bike on the bike rack. The bike rack outside my office is shared with students who live in the building. Many bring bikes to school. Over the year, they will disappear. Many that don’t disappear will have rusty drive trains. Next summer, Parking Operations will remove the remaining abandoned bikes and auction them.  

Maybe this year, more students will use their bikes. It’s certainly the most efficient method to get around campus and town.

This morning, I planned to do a short ride. About 7:30, I thought that a fog might roll in. By 8, I was fairly certain that it would so I ran instead. By 8:45, I couldn’t see across the street. By 10, it was bright and sunny. This happens about 10 times a year in Bloomington. It’s caught me on the bike a couple times and it’s scary to be out in thick fog on rural roads on a bike.

Ridings and ramblings – there are quite a few things that can be done on a bicycle in Bloomington.

Training for the Hilly Begins

August 11, 2008 at 2:54 am | Posted in Long Rides, Weekend Rides | Leave a comment

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I’ve been off the road bike for almost two weeks while attending professional meetings and a short vacation.

Today, I began preparing for the Hilly Hundred. So far this year, I haven’t been able to ride as much as I would like because of work, travel, and household commitments. I have 360 miles on my road bike so far this year and maybe about 75 more road miles where I used the commuting bike. (I have a little more than 700 miles on my commuting bike and I’ve done a couple mt bike rides.)

Earlier this week, I heard that Shiloh Rd was recently paved. A couple years ago, I drove Shiloh and thought it would be fun to ride it. It’s mostly a long downhill with many 90o  turns. But, when I rode it, the road was too beat up to enjoy the ride. Today was much better. The paving isn’t complete and a lot of paving detritus was on the road but it was manageable. It should be much better in a couple weeks.

I rode about 54 miles. I left home about 8:00 and temps in the low 60s. I arrived home about 11:45 and temps in the low 70s. A very pleasant day for a ride. I rode out 45 to Mt Gilead, down Tunnel to Shiloh, to Anderson, through the Forest, over to Bottom Rd, up to Kinser and Rogers through town, Church, Schacht, Stipp, Moore’s, and home.

 View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Traffic was very light. No more than 10 cars passed me before I reached the bypass after about 38 miles. Three riders passed me on Bottom Rd.  They were doing time trials. One rider had a time trial helmet.

A surprising amount of the ride was in the shade and it caused problems because I wore dark sunglasses. For the past few months, I’ve been wearing amber lenses to help with shadows. I regretted not wearing them today. In fact, on Shiloh, I took my glasses off to help find the paving detritus. The wet spring and summer has allowed the trees to  produce a lot of leaves which has increased the shady spots more than previous years.

It was a good ride to start preparing for the Hilly. Enough distance and five hills. I was tired by the end but with a few more long rides, I should be ready.

Fun Week and Riding Was a Big Part of It

July 31, 2008 at 2:28 am | Posted in Commuting, Off-road, Other Actrivities, OWLS | 2 Comments

Wednesday July 30, 2008

I put my bike on the garage wall last Tuesday after the OWLS ride. I took it down the following Tuesday for the OWLS ride. But, it wasn’t a bad week, even though I wasn’t on the road bike. The weather is now generally good, it’s possible to ride every day. But, sometimes other things get in the way.

Tuesday night’s OWLS ride was a backwards version of my airport ride. The route was a little different but not enough to call it another ride. A new record number of OWLS – 21. I would guess that I have done the airport ride 100 times (5 times a year for 20 years). Some years, I’d guess that one-half of my rides were the airport ride, perhaps with some extra parts. It’s a relatively low traffic ride and I can always accurately judge the time required.

Backwards, I saw things I haven’t seen before, such as the size of the Rogers plant on Oard Rd. The ride seemed a little easier but I suspect it’s because riding with others makes some parts feel easier. As usual, the OWLS were a mixed group but we stopped regularly to regroup. The traffic was light and much lighter than the previous OWLS airport ride. While it was hot, it wasn’t oppressive. Overall, it was a fun ride.

Brown County Mountain Bike Trails

But the highlight of the past week was a mountain bike ride in Brown County State Park on Sunday morning. Sometimes, when I look forward to something for a long time and then it happens, it doesn’t seem as good as I expected. Sunday’s ride was better than I expected.

I rode the North Gate, counterclockwise around the North Tower Loop to the Aynes Loop. Clockwise around the Aynes Loop, then continued counterclockwise around North Tower. At one point (just above the “P” in “LOOP”) the trail splits with no markings. I took the trail to the right and found myself on a paved road. I rode it for a bit looking for another way to get on the trail, and then turned around. When I got back on the trail, I went clockwise around North Tower to North Gate and back to the truck. I estimate it was about 12 miles.

I rode much better than expected. I rode a little slower than usual when I was near obstacles so that I could choose a route through the obstacle that matched my skills. Most times it worked. For some obstacles, I decided that I didn’t know how to do them, so I stepped down. However, I think I stepped down fewer times than I did on previous rides. At the end, I felt very good about the ride and I’m looking forward to going out to Brown County again soon.

Other Activities

Despite not riding, I was fairly active for the week. I managed two strendurance sessions. I ran 8 miles on Saturday. And, I’ve commuted every day except one where I had to drive to Indianapolis. I kept up fairly well with tai ji and yoga.

This is a Biking in Bloomington blog and maybe Brown County isn’t Bloomington and running, tai ji, yoga, and strendurance certainly aren’t biking. But, those help to make biking in Bloomington more enjoyable for me.

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