Archive for September, 2009

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Ft Ancient to Xenia Station and Back

September 19, 2009

Today we made some adjustments on the Surly Long Haul Truckers (LHT).  I put Penny’s seat from her road bike on the LHT to see if it would suit her better, then also tried to put an adjustable handlebar stem on my bike.  Unfortunately, the stem was designed for the oversized handlebar used on my Cannondale, not the thinner bar on the Surly, so I just lowered the existing stem a couple of spacers.

We parked over at Ft Ancient parking area near the Little Miami Trail next to the the Canoe Livery and headed up toward Xenia.  We loaded up the panniers for plenty of extra “practice” weight and used the first couple of miles for adjusting seat angles, heights and forward/back positions.  After that we settled into a nice rhythm up to Xenia.  After a sitting a short spell at the Xenia Station, where I also raised my handle bars back up, we headed back south.

It didn’t seem like much of an incline on the way up, but after averaging about 10mph on the to Xenia, it was kinda surprising to easily reach 16-17mph on the way back south toward Spring Valley.  The mostly “downhill” ride back to Ft Ancient made the trip much faster.  Also, I think we were spunkier knowing we were on the return leg of the trip.  After a brief stop in Corwin for an ice cream, we sailed the remaining miles back, and even took turns out-sprinting each other, reaching the vehicle as the sun was setting.  A Fun 50 mile ride!!

Once home, we loaded back up on carbs with some Skyline Chili to top off the evening.

I think we have a few more tweaks on the LHT’s.  I’d like to try a shorter stem, and Penny wants to try a Brooks Saddle at some point.  Even so, I’m about ready to try a 100 mile ride on the LHT if the timing works out yet this year.

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Screaming Descent, Taxing Climb and a Steady Ascent Back

September 15, 2009

Tried again to catch the bike shop open in Yellow Springs.  It was actually closed, but the manager was standing outside chatting and had me come in to discuss stems for the handlebar.  They have a nice selection for comparison, so I got one that was close to my adjustable stem angle and took it out for a spin.

I didn’t really feel like riding the trail again, so I took Grinnell Road down past the back entrance to John Bryan State Park.  This is a screaming descent I max’d out at 34mph.  I could have pushed harder, but near the beginning of the descent, I startled a large deer on my side of the road.  Fortunately as it looked at me, it darted back into the woods rather than across the road into me.  At 30mph, it wouldn’t have been pretty!!  That took some of the steam out of my descent, especially as I stayed up high on the handlebars rather than in the drops for aerodynamics.   I reached the bottom and looked ahead at the twisting ascent, realizing that my legs were going to be PISSED when I reached the top.  I pushed as hard as I could, but my legs were toasting pretty quickly.  Eventually, only half way to the top, I was in my lowest gear ratio of 30:27 and spinning my way to the top.  My lungs were screaming and my legs were yelling, and all I could think was… Bob… you’re still a WUSS!!! What I would have given to be at least 50# lighter… LOL!  Hauling my 230# frame to the top was no treat!   Really… I was just glad to reach the top of the hill and the stop sign to turn onto Clifton Road.  Not knowing the topography ahead of me, I chose to stop here and eat a Cliff Bar, chug some water, and let my heart rate settle back down.

The caution was for naught.  Clifton Road, back toward the Little Miami Trail, is a pleasant series of rollers, so my cruising speed was pretty good.  I can’t believe how glass-smooth the road surface was!

Once I got to the trail and headed back to Yellow Springs, the pace slowed considerably.  I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t seem that the trail is conducive to maintaining a decent average pace.  It doesn’t help that the return was a steady 200ft climb for that last 4 miles… not taxing… but I wasn’t flying either as I used it as a chance to cool down and relax my legs.

This is one of those routes that I need to endeavor to do more often.  Steeper hills are still my enigma, and I just need to keep churning through them until my legs and lungs grow sufficiently strong and can say “Bring on the Rockies!!!”

Even though the new bike stem is a slightly different angle and a bit shorter, it worked out pretty well.  My arms noticed the difference, but they’ll quickly adjust.

12 miles, 40 minutes.

Tomorrow is definitely a rest day for my legs!!!

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Yellow Springs to Xenia on the Little Miami Trail

September 14, 2009

Hoped to catch the bike shop open in Yellow Springs tonight to talk about a new handlebar stem.  They were closed, so I rode from Yellow Springs to Xenia and back on the Little Miami Trail.  It’s a fairly steady descent down to Xenia with a nice high MPH average outbound, but the return is steady gradual ascent back to Yellow Springs.  I tried to keep the spin rate high.  Been cycling a few days in a row now, mostly hill workouts, so I didn’t want to push it.

Very scenic area of the trail and pleasant to ride!

20 miles; 1:40

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Small Tweaks and Equipment Testing on the Surly LHT’s

September 13, 2009

Today, my back was still tight…. but I didn’t want an intense bike ride.  Instead, we focused on relatively easy spinning and testing some tweaks to the touring bikes.  We both wanted some changes to our handle bars, so we headed out on the road.  I raised Penny’s handlebar and rotated mine.

We both hit the road without any padding, using the Columbia Road, Turtlecreek Rd-Mason Morrow Rd loop.  I tried to wear casual shorts over compression shorts, but my I should have grabbed my longer compression shorts.  The casual shorts kept rubbing and grabbing my leg hair… ouch!!  It wasn’t too terrible though.  On our way back to the vehicle I rotated Penny’s handlebar and then later bumped her seat forward.

I left my casual shorts at the vehicle before we headed out again on the bike path just to get some miles for Penny’s saddle change.  Using the Little Miami Trail, we headed up towards Morrow.  It’s quite different dealing with pedestrians and bike traffic after doing quite a bit of riding on the road recently.  Not better or worse, per se… just different.

My unpadded bum was starting to complain a bit, even though my seat is pretty comfortable, so we turned around at Stubbs Mill Rd.  I can’t complain… 16 miles is pretty good with no padding… more than I’d attempted previously!

I think I have a few more handlebar tweaks to make, but I’m getting close.  Should be ready for a Metric Century (100K/62M) or standard Century (100M) before long if I can fit it in.

16 miles, 1hr 10min

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Short Intense Bike Ride

September 11, 2009

Haven’t been feeling myself for the past few days…. heavy bruising and back twinges.  Loading and Unloading training equipment for work today didn’t help.  But I just didn’t feel like sitting around all evening, so we went for a short 6 mile road ride…. some nice rollers with a couple of good moderate hills.  Despite the hills, we kept the average pace at over 17 mph, and just coasted down the hills, so the average speed wasn’t padded much (max speed 24mph).

When I hit the hills, I didn’t change gears, but instead forced myself out of the saddle to power over the top.  This help toast my quads pretty fast, but in a good way.

Lately, we’ve OD’d with LSD on our LHT’s… or we’ve been doing entirely too much “long slow distance” mileage on our touring bikes on the relatively flat rail trails.  I’ll never get my legs any stronger like that, so this short intense rolling hill workout was just the ticket we needed for a change of pace!!  Also… I think I finally have my Black B17 saddle dialed in nicely.  I rode without any padded bike shorts… just compression shorts and gym shorts….. NICE!!

Here’s to “Rockin’ the Rollers!”

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Little Miami Scenic Trail Closure: MM15-16

September 11, 2009

This is a notice that the riverbank restoration project just south of Corwin on the Little Miami Scenic Trail will begin this coming Monday morning September 14, 2009. Trail closures may be expected between September 14 and October 14, 2009. Barricades will be placed in the area of MM 15 and 16, just south of the Corwin Village limits. Trail users are advised to use the Corwin Staging area for points north on the trail and the Caesar Creek Access staging area for points south.

Our thanks go to Marsha Rolph with the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District for coordinating work and securing the EPA Grant funding for this project. As many of you are aware, we were in danger, in the very near future, of losing that portion of trail due to riverbank erosion. It is expected that this project will restore a sustainable bank slope and preserve the original railroad/trail base.

We regret the inconvenience of a trail closure. However, it became apparent during our last site visit that due to the extent of the erosion and the size of the heavy equipment required to conduct the repairs, that a safe route around the project would not be possible. We ask our loyal park users to bear with us as we make these continued improvements to ensure the integrity of the trail.

If you have any further questions please give me a call.

Thank you,

Alan Ferguson
Park Manager
Ohio State Parks
Cowan Lake Region
513-897-3055

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Slow and Easy Bike Ride to test the Healing… that was the plan!

September 8, 2009

Saturday we planned on doing some local riding… 20 miles or so… initially thinking we would make multiple loops close to the vehicle in case my body decided it had “had enough”…. well… that was the plan anyway…. (how come plans fairly survive “first contact” with reality?)

We took off from Kingview Industrial park on our Surly Long Haul Truckers (LHT) touring bikes.  I’d recently installed the B17 Aged Leather seat, so this was the first long ride on it.  As we reached Morrow, the designated turn-around to head back toward the vehicle, I was feeling pretty good, as was Penny, so we continued northward…. and the miles continued to add up.  I kept asking Penny if she was doing okay and wanted to turn around.  The response I got was something to the effect of “she wasn’t about to give out before the lame, and she’d fall off her bike before giving in”.  Daaaaaannnnng… talk about laying down the gauntlet!!!

Once we got up toward Oregonia, I was pretty much committed to reaching Corwin.  Since we’d planned a short ride, we didn’t have the food supplies for something longer, so a food stop at the Corwin Peddler was needed.  As we sat there eating, we started doing some calculations on our time.  The sun would be setting in a couple of hours, so we couldn’t head any further north since that would put us home in the dark (didn’t plan on riding this long, thus no lights).

Well… impending night fall gave us both a graceful way out of our stubbornness. LOL  However, we did pick up the average pace several miles per hour (we were averaging just barely over 10mph on the way up…. being prudent with my recent injuries… but were around 15mph coming back).  After we passed the south side of Morrow, there is a stretch that makes for a nice fast run, so I picked up the speed considerably, pushing up towards 20mph.  Instead of falling into the draft, Penny came screaming up next to me and I thought “Hell with that!!!” and laid down the lumber!!!  Once we got down to the stop sign, I asked her what her max speed was… somewhere around a respectable 24mph… mine was almost 29mph… I think at one point I looked back and I wasn’t even sure she was still on the same bike path she was so far behind.  So much for taking advantage of the lame and crippled!!! bwahahahaha

Well… that pretty much burned up any reserves that I had left, and my body threw up plenty of complaints, reminding me it was still “under construction”… so Penny pushed hard on the way back … around 17-18mph… and I just laid into her draft.

I was definitely tapped out by the time we got back to the vehicle….. felt good, but I was really tired!!  We ended up with something over 40 miles of riding.  Now I know that Penny will take advantage of any sign of weakness I might have, so have to be on my guard!!