Archive for July, 2008

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Betty Station to Xenia Station on the Little Miami Scenic Trail

July 30, 2008

Well… none of this paved path is along the Little Miami River as far as I know, but it is the Northern extension of the Little Miami trail.

Tonight I was pretty committed to riding the 15 or so miles down to the Xenia Station and back, so I got going as soon as I could after class. Downing an energy packet at the beginning of the ride, I was determined to ride off some of the Chinese Buffet that we had for lunch. Now I know why I don’t do chinese buffet’s very often. Ugh…

I stopped in Yellow Springs again at the Main Squeeze and got me a Strawberry, Banana, Apple Juice, Protein Whey smoothie… that thing was extremely good!!

Most of the route is considerably down hill from Yellow Springs to Oldtown, just before Xenia, then it grades up a bit into Xenia to the Station (nice staging area and the hub for several bike paths in this part of the state). After an energy bar at the half way point, I headed on back north to Betty Station.

When I got back into Yellow Springs, there were 3 guys on the coolest looking recumbent bikes that I’ve seen to date. As I commented on their bikes, I quickly realized that I hadn’t unclipped both pedals when I stopped, incurring my first “clipless pedal” incident. Of course it had to be in front of several people. I guess that’s the way of things. {shrug} I kinda relaxed on the fall, subconsciously realizing there was nothing I was going to be able to do, and landed with a thud on my hip and the entire length of my forearm….. no substantial scraping, just kinda a blunt impact…. and nothing a hot shower and Aleve isn’t dealing with nicely!!

It was a good ride, over 50K (31miles), and I am pretty well spent and ready for bed. To date, that’s my longest evening ride. I did get several pictures, but as luck would have it, I didn’t bring the USB download cable for the camera…. bummer dude!

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

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Riding to Yellow Springs for my Main Squeeze

July 29, 2008

It has been our goal since we started biking the beginning of June to ride from the trail near our home up to Yellow Springs. Tonight, I finally got to Yellow Springs, however, I cheated… a bit anyway! LOL

I’m doing a week of training in Springfield this week, so instead of driving back and forth every day, I decided to spend a night or two and ride the bike path at this end in the evening.

I had a bit of a set back and late start to begin with because I had a flat tire… just from sitting on the back of the vehicle in the sun, no less! Grrr!! After getting that squared around, drove from the hotel to the staging area in Betty, just a couple of miles away from the hotel, but away from the in town traffic.

The goal tonight had been to make it to Yellow Springs before 7pm so that I could stop in at this awesome smoothie establishment called Main Squeeze. They have more smoothies on their menu than most restaurants have menu items. They also seem to be a great resource for microbrewing and wine-making. I “squeezed” in to Yellow Springs about a quarter to 7pm and enjoyed a nice smoothie before checking out some of the trail a bit south of town.

I was surprised how consistently downhill the trail is from Springfield to Yellow Springs, but it’s decidedly so from Yellow Springs toward Xenia. Not wanting to pedal uphill tonight from Xenia all the way back to Springfield, I turned around early and headed back. Passing the vehicle at Betty staging area, I went up to Interstate 70 before I turned around and headed back to load up.

While a bit humid tonight, the shade on the trail made from some nice riding, and I got a nice 20 mile trek. Tomorrow, if I can get an early enough start, I’d like to bike from the Betty staging area all the way down to the Xenia Station (our northern most point we’ve reached on the trail when riding from down south near our house). I think that would give me a 30 mile ride. We’ll see what tomorrow brings and if I can accomplish it or not.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

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First Road Work with the New Bike

July 27, 2008

Not satisfied with a great weekend of diving, I decided I wanted to get a bike ride in Sunday evening. Penny was all settled in for the evening and ready to rest after handling most of our dive gear when we got home.

Instead of loading up the bike for the bike trails, I decided to just jump on the bike from home and head out on some of the recommended riding roads (as per the regional Ohio Kentucky Indiana council).

Once out on the road, I was surprised how hilly the route was. Some of them were a bit intimidating, but it was a great test of the new road bike and the clipless pedals. It was great to discover just how quickly the long hills could be overcome by dropping to the lower handles and focusing on the upstroke of the pedals. In fact, I was going up one particular hill where I was already close to my aerobic limit when a couple of cars graciously waited to turn in front of me. As a way of thanking them, I stood up on the pedals and started cranking to get past their turn point faster. Keeping that cadence it was great to see how fast I got to the top of the hill with the extra motivation.

There is one particular twisting hill on the route that is pretty steep going down. I didn’t pedal down it particularly aggressively, but still hit over 30 mph, my personal best do date.

I’d qualify this as a moderate hill route for where I am currently, but if I could make this a regular part of my routine, I could see this as an “easy” hill route. Even so, there were a couple of times in the last few couple of miles that I almost felt like throwing up. It was weird because I normally don’t push myself that hard. Now that I’ve been home for an hour, I’m feeling pretty damn good and glad that I went out!

I’m looking forward to more road work as a change of pace to the paved trails we do most of the time.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

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Quarry Diving at Gilboa

July 27, 2008

This weekend we wanted/needed to get some gear checked out and trying to practice some skills.  We’ve been out of the water for a few months as we’ve focused on other outdoor activities, but it felt good to breath compressed gas again!

Since biking works a much different muscle set than diving, we made sure we covered quite a bit of ground around the quarry, starting from the deep dock and ranging over past the plane.  We worked on a lot of valve drills, out-of-airs, and handling deco bottles.  All was good and it hardly felt like we’d been out of the water at all.

We dove Saturday and Sunday, so it was good to spend plenty of time in the water.

http://www.uwwonder.com/pics/080727gilboa/index.html

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Biking to Loveland

July 24, 2008

We took our new bikes to Loveland for the first time and enjoyed a freshly juiced Hawaiian freeze drink. These new bikes give us the opportunity to either range much further in the short amount of time we have to ride in the evening, or we can do the same loop and do it faster.

It was a bit tough to take pics of Penny.

Our bikes rested as we drank our freshly juiced ice drinks.

We stopped in Foster’s for a pitstop.

We biked over 100 miles this past week in the evenings and crossed the 500 mile mark since we got back on the bikes this summer.

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Ice Cream Run to Morrow on the New Bikes

July 23, 2008

I got over 20 miles on my new bike yesterday, and Penny got about 9, so tonight we still wanted to take it easy.  We are both feeling the differences from our mountain bikes.  The aches are in the feet, legs, hands, and seat.  Penny’s also seeing a bit of neck tension from the lower position, but that’s partly from the past couple of days at work too.

Figuring that we would be averaging a higher speed and covering distance faster, we thought we could make it a short evening by going to a familiar place… Ice Cream at Miranda’s in Morrow!!!! woo hoo!!

Most of the riding was nice and easy.  I was not wearing padded shorts or a padded seat for the first time.  While a bit uncomfortable, it wasn’t unbearable.  The seat on this bike doesn’t make me go numb or impotent… LOL.

I went to the local bike shop today so they could make some tweaks on Penny’s bike and also swap out to a girl’s style seat that she wanted.  She ended up loving the new seat.  It has a larger style cut-out than a man’s seat, so she had no squishing or smashing of her “girl’s bits”.  I think happy camper is the right word.

It’s amazing how much power, and even foot relief that can be achieved by focusing some on the up stroke of the pedals since the shoes are attached to the pedals.  When my feet start to ache a bit from getting use to the new shoes, just pulling up on the back stroke is just what the doctor ordered.

Most of my clipping and unclipping went pretty smoothly tonight.  There was one stop were I forgot to unclip a foot and started tilting over.  I looked over at the grass at the side of the trail and resigned myself to the impact, but at the same time kinda reactively twisted my foot free…. disaster narrowly averted!!  The other times I started leaning the wrong way, a quick twist of the front wheel sent me to the other side where I was ready to put a foot on the ground. (It’s easier to leave one pedal clipped in at the stop signs to reduce the task-loading at startup).

Penny saw a deer down at the river’s edge, but I missed it.  Howver, we saw a wild turkey walk across the trail.  It was the first time Penny had seen one.  The last time I’d seen one was when dad had brought one home as a kid during hunting season.

We played around a bit with the draft tonight.  Penny wanted to get a feel for the bike’s speed capability without cranking too hard or for too long, so she pushed a bit up to 20 mph, and it was piece of cake to draft along tightly behind her.   I reciprocated and gave her the same opportunity to draft behind me.  It works out nicely, especially above 15 mph.  We had to be pedaling pretty hard on the mountain bikes to get around 15 mph and feel any benefit from drafting.

Here’s our stop at Miranda’s Ice Cream.

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New Road Bikes

July 22, 2008

After doing some test rides before I had to leave town last week, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted in a road bike.

After laying a deposit down on it last night, I picked up a new 2007 Cannondale Synapse 2 road bike (Made in the USA baby!!)  After we got it setup with clipless pedals, trip/cadence computer, rear rack for panniers, and got me some biking shoes, I took it out for a 13 mile ride on the Little Miami Trail from the Powder Plant in Kings Mills down to Loveland and back.

I couldn’t believe how responsive and nimble this bike is compared to the Schwinn “bike in a box” MTB’s we were using.  We’d done this section of trail the past two nights, so riding on it today was a good comparison…. definitely night and day… WOW!!!! 🙂

For the divers that are reading, it set me back about the same as retail on a Salvo 35W HID… which isn’t bad considering I get to ride it almost every day…. so it’s a great investment!

Click on the photo above go to the album for larger pic and bike details.

Penny picked out a Cannondale bike too, but went for the 2007 Synapse 1 Compact.

We have them sitting next to our other expensive addiction.