Sunday, August 31, 2008

August Miles

2008: 3237 miles
August:540 miles
08-30, Molly:2
08-30, Jill:29

Strange as it may seem, Molly (who has the least $ invested, is the oldest, and the least technically advanced) is leading the yearly mileage race.
  • Ethel (e-bike) 372 miles 11.49%
  • Cecelia (ss mountain bike, rain and s***ty weather specialist) 433 miles 13.38%
  • Jill (geared hybrid/skinny wheel, most $ invested) 692 miles 21.38%
  • Bridget (geared mountain hardtail, next most $ invested) 864 miles 26.69%
  • Molly (1974 ss racing) 876 miles 27.06%  

Friday, August 29, 2008

Map of Day 2, Conquer Cancer

Map of Day 1, Conquer Cancer

Cecelia and the Weatherman Laugh Last

No rain since June, well we can fix that. It's one thing to get a spot on forecast for rain and be prepared, its another to get the all clear for the long weekend. All clear except for the brief monsoon that starts at 4:50 Friday afternoon. Somehow the forecast and the radar (5:10pm) tell 2 stories. I waited out the worst of the rain but the streets were soaked as Bridget and I made our way home. I'm sure I could hear Cecelia laughing somewhere. Bridget's new tires throw rivers of water at anything over 8mph and slowing down just means we're in the rain longer. Once I was was wet it was 'Singing in the rain' time and who really cares, been wet before and I'll be wet again.
Since it looks like summer might be coming to an end I'm going to talk real nice to Cecelia and fix up her brakes and front wheel, she'll be making more rides soon.
August miles:519 miles
08-29, Bridget:7 miles
08-28, Cecelia:12 miles

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cecelia, Where Are You?

She tried to hide, got found. She made the excuse that she had no bars or brakes, she got fixed. She bit me on the way out the door (pedal to the shin), she got put out in the rain. After realizing a few days ago that I hadn't riden in serious rain since Hamilton in June, I made the mistake of actually stating the fact while talking to Mom last night. Guess what it was doing when I woke at 5am. When I got up at 6 it had stopped, but as I took out the trash it came down again. I threw on the rain suit, took the quick route, brought lunch and extra clothes. Better a few miles than none.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I was reading Jill's 'Up In Alaska' blog earlier today and she's training hard again though she's not sure just why yet. She mentioned having that achy feeling in her legs and it hit me that I don't have that right now. It might sound like a good thing but I think it just means I'm not pushing hard enough to get any stronger/lighter. Maybe I just need something to train for?

August miles:500
08-27, Bridget:16 miles

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Beer Must Get Through

In my next life I want to be a clydesdale.
August miles:484
08-26, Bridget:22 miles
08-25, Molly:28 miles

Monday, August 25, 2008

Who Would Have Thought

Led Zep, 40 years ago they were the best rock band in the world. I loved them, my parents hated them for the boom boom boom of John Paul Jone's base line that somehow resonated through the floors of our home. They haven't been together for some 20 years save a few appearances and brief recycling projects but they still carry a lot of weight. I never would have guessed one of their tunes would be used in Cadillac commercials, but it happened. Yesterday another 'who woulda thunkit' with Jimmy Page playing at the closing of the Olympics to kickoff London's 2012 games. He was pick-syncing, but hey he was still there on top of the double decker bus that opened up like a flower in the sun. Old bands never die, they just go commercial, gotta make a living somehow I guess. Sal, Sherman, Molly and I got out for an hour yesterday, just a leisurely pedal around the waterfront, Vickers Park and through Chapples complex.

August miles:424 miles
08-24, Molly:8 miles

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

HoHum, Another Birthday

Well the 365 days of being the dreaded 50 are finally over. After all the negative thoughts that passed through the old noggin' last August, turning 51 was nothing. All in all it was a great year. I've managed to keep my weight at X-90, I'm loving biking more and more all the time, I completed the Ride and raised more $ than I thought possible and I feel pretty damn great most of the time. Work is still work and I have Northwood to manage but I'm done with Lakehead Minor (unless they come up with that million) and I am pretty sure my baseball commitment will be even less in the future. It's time for fixing up the house and more time for me, may sound selfish but I think I've done my share. I can handle Northwood pretty much in my sleep as I have already proven for 5 years or so.

I was planning a century ride to Grand Marais but I forgot to renew the plates and my licence so its off for this weekend, maybe next week. I had Jill all adjusted and ready to go, got some energy bars and gatorade and then I remembered it all. Maybe 51 isn't so great after all.

I finished the survey for the city commuter project, just have to punch it all in and then submit it. I took some pictures and measured a few of the lanes so hopefully it will be useful info. I probably will never see much change but it has to start somewhere, can't complain if you aren't willing to lend a hand. The gem in the picture is on Balmoral where the lane is less than 4 strides wide and the pavement is full of holes and patches, not a great place to ride and near impossible if there's heavy traffic.

August miles:416 miles
08-23, Molly:19 miles
08-22, Molly:16 miles
08-21, Molly:17 miles
08-20, Molly:18 miles

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And the Fun Begins

My cell is averaging 3 hockey calls a day and I'm seeing about the same number of emails. So far 14 have signed up online, 1 shy of a team. It would be great to see about 75% online as most of the work can be taken care of in minutes once they fill in the application.

I spent an hour tonight working on the commuter route survey the city is gathering. About 20 people volunteered to take routes and analyze them for presentation to council at some point. The form asks for hazardous spots, intersection profiles and general comments and suggestions. My first lane was from Arthur/Syndicate over to Simpson and then north to the Harbour. This one isn't bad as most of Simpson is nice and wide. Next up was Vickers to Cameron and then north on Balmoral through to the Harbour again. I don't care for this one as Balmoral is narrow, busy and the pavement is very rough which is a bad combination. I have one to go, that being May/Memorial to the Harbour. My suggestion is to use Vickers as the north-south corridor but it would require a way over the river (the railroad bridge works fine for Bridget) and either lights or a 4way stop at Northern. Not likely either will happen too soon, though I was told the city had been talking to the railroad as the tracks are only on one half now.

August miles:346 miles
08-19, Molly:26 miles
08-18, Molly:7 miles

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Best Thing You Can Add to Any Bike

It's so simple, it's free and you can add it to any bike in probably 5 minutes. Air pressure. Pump up the tires to whatever they are rated and feel the difference immediately. Nothing short of a $1200 set of carbon wheels can be felt in the pedals so dramatically.
I got Molly's tires up to 70 psi last night and took her out for what I said earlier would be maybe 10 miles. She will probably never feel as good as she did tonight. She just didn't want to come home and neither did I and we rode till it was nearly dark.

2008 miles:3010
August miles:313
08-16, Bridget:11 miles
08-16, Molly:15 miles

Mission Accomplished

I'm not sure how good or bad our team overall time at Conquer the Dog but we kicked the other family team's butt and I'm happy with mine, 38.53 or an average of 17.46 mph over the 18km. I wanted to halve last year's time (1:30:47) and I did that and shaved 7 minutes more. No major mechanical failures this time around though my seat did slip (my fault)and I stood or sat very low for a bit before stopping to fix it. I felt great going out and fought a head wind all the way in but was still going pretty well to the end. The tires worked great and Bridget was in fine form. I checked on last year's times and I beat a guy I know by 6 minutes who is at least 1o years younger and who was wearing a Camelback hydration pack and energy gel on his frame so I know he was serious. His 45 minute time was the one I was aiming for.
They had digital timing and instant results this year which was great. Thunder Bay Timing received a Trillium grant to help purchase the hardware. Ankle bands with chips and mats to go over to start or stop the times, same system the Boston Marathon uses. The kids (from 5-15) races were very cute as they took off, some on bikes with training wheels, some running in the kids shoe of the new milenium, Crocs. They held a quick beef on a bun and awards at the Kam Hall afterwards and everyone had a great time, and did I mention we kicked the other Kresack team's butt.
One year ago after returning my broken bike to CTC I met Farzum at Petrie's and made the decision to get seriously (that's $$) into biking. It's been an interesting year to say the least. The pic is what the kids did to the CTC bike for my birthday while I was having lunch. Click on the pic to see the pink basket, streamers and 'piggy' squeakers. Please don't try that with Bridget, she bites. I'm off for short ride, 2 miles to hit 300 for August and 5 miles to make 3000 for 2008. So I'll do 10 just to make it official.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bridget's Ready...But Am I?

Today was a bit of a weird one. Twice while riding I had major bugs fly into the vents on my helmet and then while they look for a good place to sink their teeth into I brake hard and pull over to take off the helmet to avoid getting stung/bit. Maybe December isn't such a bad time to ride.
Minutes after taking the bike pic I did this. That's my legs upside down, kinda like they ended up while getting ground into the gravel.

Just another bonehead move coming off the bike path and trying to reverse direction while clipped in. Front wheel decided to stray and down I went. Got my elbow a bit too but couldn't find it till later. No major damage except to the confidence. When I got home I broke a seatpost clamp and then decided it was time to get away from the girls before I really made a mess of something.
Oh and the Key came out today so the phone will seriously start ringing for hockey now, yeah.
August miles:287 miles
08-15, Bridget:27 miles

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Rubber for Bridget

Since Conquer the Dog is about 50/50 pavement and gravel and since the back tire was about done anyway, Bridget got some new shoes for Saturday. Kenda K-Rads can hold another 20 pounds (80 max) and the tread is not as deep as the Koyotes that came oem so she'll roll a bit quicker. Of course somebody has to get things in motion so we'll see how it goes. Gotta cut last year's fiasco time (1:30:47) in half or I just won't be happy.While I was looking for tires Farzam and the gang were working on a mountain bike with a small 2 stroke motor, I still can't figure these guys out, buy a damn dirt bike already. Farz made me try a Marin with an electric assist motor. Just press the throttle and anywhere from 50-200% assistance is there. It accelerated pretty nicely, Sal are you listening? This could be the answer. It would be a great equalizer for someone who has no time to ride and the other that spends too much time riding.

August miles:260 miles
08-14, Jill:15 miles
08-14, Bridget:8 miles
08-13, Jill:8 miles
08-13, Molly:8 miles
08-12, Jill:16 miles

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Quick Ride to Camp

Sunday Sal and I decided to head to Mom and Dad's for the day. I cleaned up Bridget, grabbed the pedals and saddle from Jill and headed out at 9:56. I made great time averaging 13mph over the 33 miles. Bridget gave me some trouble on the first big hill as granny was nowhere to be found. I adjusted the cable tension as I rode and by the time I got to 'the' hill I was able to climb in with no trouble. Just seeing that hill from the other side of Sturgeon Bay gets me going. I finished the ride in 2 hours and 26 minutes (12:22) which is about half the time that I made last August. Better bike, better legs and less weight to haul up the hills.
We enjoyed a very relaxing afternoon and evening. Supper and dessert were great as usual and we got to watch Sergio el'choko fold in the final holes of another major.
All of a sudden fall seems to be in the air, where did the summer go? Another 100 miles and I'll have 3000 for 2008, I was hoping for 5000 but maybe the fall will be dry if not warm.
August miles:205
08-11, Molly:16 miles
08-10, Bridget:33 miles

Saturday, August 9, 2008

No More Whining

Everybody got out of the basement today, except Cecelia but she's in pieces. Bridget to work, Molly on errands and Jill delivering thankyous. They all felt great, now who wants to go to camp tomorrow?
August miles:156 miles
08-09, Bridget:11 miles
08-09, Molly:5 miles
08-09, Jill:15 miles

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My My, The Girls Are Fighting Over Me

Since I had an extra set of bars loose in the basement I decided to change the stem (31mm to 25.4mm) on Bridget and put on the Marys. Farzam found me one for $20 so the change cost very little but made a huge difference in the feel. It took a bit of fiddling and testing to get the right setup but my hands are very comfy now. I spent a bit of time watching YouTube videos to learn the tricks of tuning my derailleurs and I think I have Bridget set for Conquer the Dog next weekend. As long as the high gears are working she'll be fine, I don't plan to spend much time grinding along with granny.
At Conquer the Dog last year we were looking at a bike and the name Judy was on the front shock/fork of one of the bikes and I think Sal asked why. I ignorantly said "its probably the owner's name" and Tom Petrie let us know that it was the name of the fork. Bike components often have model names such as 'Judy' or 'Mary'. I got him back recently when he asked why Molly had the name Mary on the handlebars. "It's the name of the bar" I quickly told him, adding we were even. So the Mary bars are now on Bridget, just to keep the players all straight.
Now that Bridget feels so good I can't decide who gets to ride every day now. They are all crying for attention when I go down to pick out the 'velo du jour'. Catchy phrase, I might just do something with that.
I just found another useful Google tool, translations. Pick your language and the one you want to convert to, type in the words to be translated and voila.

August Miles:125 miles
08-08, Bridget:16 miles
08-07, Bridget:16 miles
08-06, Molly:16 miles
08-05, Molly:32 miles

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pix From the Wildest Double Play

Back in July AJ was on a team of local 'Selects' who got to play against the national junior teams of both Canada and Chinese-Taipei. The game against Canada was tied in the bottom of 7 with 1 out and loaded bases. One of the Canadians hit a line drive to center which was caught and thrown home quickly by Daryl Fuchihara to catcher Mike Labelle freezing the runner at third. the runner at second was caught in no man's land and Mike gunned the ball back to AJ at second. The runner dove under AJ who was knocked off his feet but held on for the third out putting the game into an extra inning where Canada finally pulled out the win.

Back In Time

Sal and I spent the better part of Sunday at the Wicklund's camp. I can't remember the last time we were out there but it has to be approaching something like 15 years. Everything seemed to have gotten smaller than I remember. Kevin's twin sisters and their families were out in full force, more natural blondes in one space than the marketing gurus at Loreal would have you believe possible. The 5 kids are all 5 and under so it was entertaining just watching them all day.
Jill came along and we went for an hour long ride up and down the hills around the lake, no flat sections there, either going up or down. When I got back jumping in the cool water felt so good. Just before supper Kev and I hit the sauna and jumping in the second and third times felt just as good. It's so great to not be ashamed to take off my shirt in company and be able to enjoy simple things like running off the end of a dock into a lake.
Sal made a pineapple-carrot cake for Susan as today is her birthday, the kids went wild for the cream cheese icing, especially Ryan (seen licking the top of the container). It was a very relaxing day, just sitting watching the kids and listening to some old tunes on Sirius (until the battery on the truck went dead (nobody had booster cables...hello Onstar).

August miles:45
08-03, Jill:10 miles

Ryan enjoys icing

Miss Gretzky (Greta)
Uncle Kevin and Chloe
Sal and Susan

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Get Off The Path

I have wanted to give the trails at Shuniah Mines up in behind Centennial/Trowbridge a try for some time and finally got there this afternoon. Sal dropped me in the parking lot on her way to work and I rode in confidently, under the expressway and started up Hydro Hill. About half way up the steep rocky path I started slowing down as Bridget's back wheel was spinning in the loose rock. I pushed her a bit and then resumed the climb only to have the same thing happen shortly after. I had picked the Blue Trail but had no idea how difficult it was or even where it went for that matter, about 2 miles in I knew I was in over my head. I turned back and went for the Red Trail which was tough but rideable.
Real mountain biking is much harder than I thought. I've read lots about the techniques of riding trails but not really done much. The trails at Shuniah Mines feature smooth narrow singletrack, steep climbs and descents, boulders and roots galore, and mud, lots of mud. Once I got the hang of things I wanted more but without a map I was a bit worried as Nathan Petrie had warned me it was easy to get lost. I never felt I was getting lost but nearly got tossed a few times.
I was riding along and heard some trees cracking in the distance, thought nothing of it, and continued on to a fork in the trail. As I decided which path to take I heard more cracking right over head and quickly spun back away from the fork in the direction I had come. Crash! a large section of a dead birch landed on the fork where I had been pondering just seconds before. When my heart resumed normal functions and I started breathing I grabbed a few pictures. The top arrow indicates the tree that broke, the middle a section about 8 inches in diameter and probably 10-12 feet long and the bottom arrow some of the branches that broke off. The steep climbs had told me I was in over my head and now the trees were telling me to get off the path so I headed back but not before taking one last small trail. I came so close to going over the bars. I ended up on my feet with the bars at my knees and caught the top tube as Bridget swung around behind me. I had gotten too far forward and the front tire hit a root and stopped dead. The rear wheel came up as I kept going forward, any faster and I would have been flying. I guess I'm a roadie after all. But I did enjoy the challenge. You have to be watching both 6 feet in front of the front wheel for the close obstacles and 30 feet ahead for the path of least resistance. Bridget came home muddy and limping a bit from my messing with her gears.

August Miles:35 miles
08-01, Molly:8 miles
08-02, Bridget:17 miles
08-02, Molly:10 miles

Friday, August 1, 2008

July Mileage and 'Bears' in the Bushes

I can't believe I put 228 miles on Molly in one month. I just finished a new tape job on a set of drop bars and by using more traditional 'road' brake levers she actually has great brakes now. The fact that Cecelia got only 15 miles means July was a good month weather-wise.

I tried out the new bike path in Northwood last night, it passes under the expressway and ends up in Parkdale. It isn't paved yet so I had to be very cautious with Molly. As I was returning I slowly went down a small hill where kids were playing by the river next to the path. I heard a rustling in the bush next to me and looked right at a huge black head. 'BEAR' I thought at first, 'Black Lab' I discovered seconds later. In that instant when I thought the worst I was trying to decide whether to let Molly go and get out of Dodge or hold at the bottom of the hill for the kids sake. Thankfully I didn't have to answer that one.

2008 miles:2697
July miles:512
Molly:228 miles
Bridget:170 miles
Jill:99 miles
Cecelia:15 miles