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Thursday, March 20th 2008

2:02 PM

Time to move on

I'm moving to another blog hosting site.  Nothing against this one, but the new one seems to have some better functionality that makes it easier to manage.

You can find me here.....TracyWilkins.wordpress.com

Hope to see you there.

God Bless.


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Wednesday, March 19th 2008

7:15 AM

Noah. Where's the ark?

No riding around here the last two days, and probably not today.  Record floods have covered every route I could take with either flooded low water bridges or just water standing over the road. 

We'll see how it looks and feels this evening.  I may take a chance after work and see how far I can go before I run out of dry places.

Interestingly enough, toward the end of last week and so far this week I've avoided my 30 minute spinning session at the fitness center during lunch in anticipation of more opportunities to ride outside (which haven't materialized yet) and my body seems to be more tired than usual.  Not sure what gives there.

I had blood drawn at work this morning for the annual Health Risk Assessment.  My weight was the usual 162, and my blood pressure was a respectible 120/62.  They had to stick me twice, but I figured I brought that on myself by doing dehydrating myself with a hard cardio workout beforehand.  As usual, my own worst enemy!


I did go riding after work.  The temps were in the low 50's with a pretty good north wind, but after several days of wishing, I couldn't stand it any longer.  My plan was to stay on the high roads, and I managed to do that for a 21.75 mile out and back ride to Rogersville High School.  There were several spots that I could see major water over the road, so my options were pretty limited.  I finally ran our of unflooded road just east of the high school and decided to turn back.

For some reason, I seem pretty content to just ride easy this spring.  I did catch and easily drop another rider on the hills as I headed out Sunshine, but this ride was a pretty easy  cruise.  Some of that may be caused by the fact that I've not really ridden much this spring when it was really nice out.  It seems like I've always been out in the cold or reasonable temps with a strong wind.  Who knows?  Maybe I'm just getting old and sedate!

After two rides, I'm undecided about those new pedals.  It seems like they are actually adding additional pressure points that I don't remember in the old ones.  It makes sense that I would feel some difference, but I'm not sure it's in a positive sense.  I may just move them over to the tandem for Pam and let it go at that.

God bless...



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Saturday, March 15th 2008

7:09 PM

Saturday ride

Details of this ride posted belatedly.  I managed to crash Internet Explorer twice after nearly finishing the entry and gave up.  

For some reason, this time of the year is very hard on me....not necessarily in a physical sense, but mentally.  I'm simply driven to ride and things keep getting in the way.  Weather, work and family responsibilities, yard work, you name it...weekends fly by too quickly and with too few opportunities to put in the kind of mileage I desparately want to log on the bike. 

I hadn't ridden since Wednesday evening, and was feeling fairly content with that.  Thursday was pretty rainy and I had pulled that calf muscle Wednesday night, so it was easy to sit.  Friday was an absolutely beautiful day, but I didn't haul the bike to work because of my calf and the forecast (that they missed) of rain.  Saturday, on the other hand turned just downright cruddy, with rain in the morning and falling temperatures in the afternoon.  In the morning, we took care of some errands and chores, and after lunch I decided that I would help Pam clean the house and then go for a ride if it stayed dry. 

I left the house at about 4:00 for a ride that was nearly a reversal of my long Logan-Rogersville High School loop, but I came on home over Kinser Bridge instead ofon Sunshine.  Due to the cold, I wasn't in anything resembling a hurry, managing to complete the 21.86 miles in an average speed of 15.1 mph. 

As I passed the Clydesdale farm on the way out, I noticed there were 5 or 6 new colts this year, with a couple of them looking only a couple of weeks old.  They will be beautiful animals when they grow up...

This was the first ride with a new set up pedals on the bike.  I bought a pair of Shimano PD-A520's (pic below) to see if they might be a good option for the tandem.  Pam struggled with hot foot problems all year last year, and I'm hoping the little bit of platform will help that.  To be honest, I couldn't feel much difference (other than one sock being bunched around my toes) until I stood to climb, then it felt like I was on a little better platform than just the SPD's I'm used to. 

I'm not expecting to ride tomorrow, and next week is supposed to bring flooding again, so who knows when I'll ride again.  I'm hoping to get out in the evening at least a couple of times during the week.

Here's a link to my route today....

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com


God bless.


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Wednesday, March 12th 2008

7:40 PM

A day off work....

Pam and I had the good fortune to have a day scheduled off work that was absolutely beautiful.  Nothing but a lucky chance, but we enjoyed it.  I hoped to get a tandem ride in, but it didn't happen because as nice as it was, it was pretty windy and scared Pam off.

We took off this morning for Branson in search of a wall hanging for our sunroom.  We had been looking for one since we completed it last fall, and finally found it down in Kimberling City.  We stopped a couple of places looking for a water feature for the corner, but no one had any out yet other than the patio store in Kimberling, and we didn't like those.

After lunch at Landry's (about our favorite Branson restaurant) and a mauling at the outlet mall, we came home and cooked turkey burgers and vegetables on the egg for supper.  As soon as that was cleared up, I was out the door for a couple of firsts for the cycling season.  First evening ride, and the first ride all season in just shorts and jersey.  The wind was still pretty tough at times, but not unbearable (at least I thought).  My average speed at the half-way point of my Logan-Rogersville High School loop was 19.0 mph, and I made it home afte bucking the wind on the way back with an 18.2 mph average.

Problems showed up later in the evening though.  I guess I managed to pull a muscle in my left calf by trying to move too quickly, and it's had me hobbling around ever since.  Tomorrow morning is Pam's and my running day at the fitness center, and at this point I'm not sure I'll be able to do it.  I've already decided to leave the bike at home and rest at lunch...It's supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon anyway.

Sam Brown called me while we were aimlessly wandering the outlet mall today.  He and Barbara were taking a break from riding a rail to trail somewhere down south.  They were sitting in a McDonalds (couldn't find a Casey's General Store) and wanted to let us know they were having a great time.  Made me a jealous sucker! 

I did make a minor adjustment to the front derailleur this morning that was pretty effective in getting the trim to work better.  That stinking thing is so sensitive it seems like it just rattles itself out of adjustment every couple of weeks.  I also noticed this evening that the bottom bracket is creaking pretty badly.  I'm gonna have to take it out to clean and lube it again and see if that will put an end to that for a while.

I'm hoping for a decent enought day to get a good ride in on Saturday.  Tomorrow and Friday look like rain days.

God bless....


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Tuesday, March 11th 2008

11:21 AM

An interesting evening

Last night, I attended the monthly meeting of the Springbike bicycle club...something I hardly ever do.  Their program was pretty interesting...and well worth attending this time.

First on the agenda was a short talk by a local pro cyclist.  Brad Huff races for Jelly Belly, and is from Fair Grove, MO, a destination that Pam and I hit quite often when we head north.  He didn't speak long, but did give an update on what's going on in his world right now.  He's made the "long" olympic team, and is working toward making the cut for the real deal.

After that, Larry, O'Reilly spoke at length about his TransAmerica trip last summer.  Since that's a dream of mine some day, I found it really fascinating to hear an extended talk by someone who's actually done it.  I've met several others over the year who have, but haven't had a chance to hear of their adventures in depth like that.

At lunch today, the weather was a little better than yesterday.  I went out without my ears covered for a change!  Average speed was 17.7, so I was a little faster.  One of these days I'll hit 18.0 on that little loop when the weather cooperates and the energy demons and traffic are working in sync.

God bless...


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Monday, March 10th 2008

2:29 PM

Probably should be more diligent about resting....

After yesterday's nearly 37 miles, I got up this morning and did a pretty intense cardio workout at the gym, then at noon headed out for my 10 mile lunch ride.

As soon as I headed off into the cold north wind, I could tell that my legs were really tired and tight.  To be doing something different, I rode the loop backwards (and got an extra long push from the wind on way back).

Later in the afternoon, I was setting in on an interview and all of a sudden my right hamstring tried to cramp up on me.  I nearly fell out of my chair, and the other three looked at me like "Dude.  What's your problem?"

Average speed for the day was 17.3.

God bless....


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Sunday, March 9th 2008

2:07 PM

Sunday Adventure

We finally got a decent day temperature wise, so after church, I headed out for my first ride in several days.  I had found a GPS track on the internet that went down around Riverside but avoided the honking hill after crossing the river that I wanted to try and see if it was more tandem friendly than climbing "heartbreak hill".

Route began at Mentor, so I rode over there and picked it up.  The first 15 or so miles were over familiar roads, and are actually some of my favorite roads, winding down around Smallin cave, crossing the Finley river a couple of times and then coming back along Smyrna road crossing the little creek several times.  Just before the big climb, the GPS pointed me to the left and I immediately began to wonder what kind of adventure I had gotten myself into.  The road crossed the creek, but instead of a low water crossing, there was creek bed...and water.  Luckily, traffic had created two "humps" of gravel on either side of the roadway, so I could carry my bike across the 75 foot creekbed without getting wet.  With that hazard out of the way, I figured I was good to go, but that was short-lived.  I ran out of paved road....and the GPS was clearly pointing me to the right where the road was nothing more than gravel.  Luckily all the snow and ice had compacted it pretty nicely, so it wasn't really a problem riding on it...just a little mucky. 

After another mile or so, I came to yet another low water crossing...and this time it looked like there was about 6 inches of water flowing across it.  As I considered the situation, I noticed that the crossing was pretty moss covered...and correctly surmised that it would be slick.  Not wanting to ride across that, I just sat there considering my situation.  I really didn't want to turn back, but knew I couldn't ride across that.  I was secretly hoping someone would come along in a truck and let me ride the 15 feet across!  Just as I was about to give up and turn around, I had an inspiration!  I was wearing my neoprene booties, and if I waded across on the very edge of the bridge, I could stay in shallow enough water that perhaps my feed would stay dry.  Believe it or no, it worked.  I think I only had to step in the water twice with each foot, and if my feet got wet, I couldn't tell.  Problem solved!  Now back to the gravel. 

At this point, I really had no clue where I was or where I was heading.  I was really down in the sticks, with no real landmarks that I was familiar with.  Finally the GPS track headed me North on Finbrooke road.  I had only been on it once years ago taking Libby to Girl Scouts Camp, but at least I knew where it intersected County Line Road, and that's where it took me.  From there, I looped up toward Rogersville, crossed the highway, and came back home on the north side of Highway 60. 

As I hit FR 186, I ran into Pam Elsaeser.  She was stopped at the intersection stretching her back.  She's training for the Arizona Ironman, and said her goal was to be on the bike at least 5 hours this afternoon since that race is only 5 weeks away.  I saw another group of triathletes a little later...or at least there were three of them all riding tri-bikes.  I know there is a pretty good sized group in Springfield training for that race, so I expect they were all taking advantage of the nice weather.

In all, a great ride.  I didn't try to push it, but just enjoyed being out on a decent day.  I rode a total of 36.75 miles at an average speed of 14.9   (as usual, the Mapmyride site shorts me on mileage and average speed).  The GPS track is below.

God bless...



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Friday, February 29th 2008

11:39 AM

Much Better....

Temp at 57 degrees and a NW wind at 17 when I left at noon to ride my regular route.  The trip out was a little rough due to the north wind, but all other directions were either great or tolerable.  With the sun shinging brightly, my spirits lifted greatly.  We've not seen very many sunny days for a month now.

For some reason, there wasn't much traffic at all around Commercial Street, but once I got north of Kearney there was a ton, even out on the farm roads.

The cleaning I gave my front derailleur last night seemed to do the trick.  I was able to move between the large and middle chain rings just fine. 

My average speed for the day was 17.9, which beats the heck out of the 16.6 from yesterday.  I guess the wind would have been a little stronger yesterday, but I suspect the main difference was probably temperature related and the additional layer of jacket I was wearing yesterday versus the vest only today.  Well, maybe also the fact that I did a cardio workout (walk/run) with Pam yesterday morning could have made a difference.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow.  It's supposed to be even warmer, but windier.  We'll see what happens.

God bless...



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Thursday, February 28th 2008

11:21 AM


45 degrees, cloudy and windy at lunch time today.    The forecasted high was mid 50's, so I had my bike in anticipation of doing something besides the spinning bike.  I would have preferred more sun and less wind, but you take what you can get in February....

As I started to put on my helmet, I noticed a pretty good sizeed load of bird crap down one of the vents.  No clue how long it's been there, but at least it got caught on the side of the vent hole when it landed.  It could have been worse...at least it wasn't raining today.  Hopefully, I'll remember to clean it off before I do get caught in the rain and it washes down on my noggin.

The front derailleur wouldn't shift down off the big chain ring on the first click for some reason today.  I rode that bike on the super bowl ride, and it got a little crudded up, so I'm guessing I need to clean everything to resolve that.  I hope it's not getting some corrosion going from road salt.

Weather.com showed wind gusts to about 23 mph when I got back, but it really felt stronger than that at times.  Three separate times, the wind caught me just right in a corner and pushed me to or over the yellow line.  That could have been a little scary if there had been any traffic today, but luckily all three pushes happened out on the farm roads instead of in town.

With the coolness and the wind today, my speed wasn't very good, but I think I could also tell I hadn't been on a real bike in a while.  Seems like as hard as I work on cardio in the gym, there's not a direct correlation between that work and how well I ride.  It always takes a few rides under my belt to get back decent form.

Average speed for the 10 miles was 16.6 mph.

God bless...


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Saturday, February 23rd 2008

3:18 PM


Man, this weather stinks!  After another week of rain/sleet/ice, today was just a generally ugly day, with the temps hovering in the upper 30's and lots of grayness and dampness. 

I was thinking cycling related thoughts...and registered for the following rides.

Michigan Shoreline West - in August.  Pam and I will do this one on the tandem.

OKlahoma Freewheel - in June.  I'll do this one alone

The weather is supposed to be a little warmer and drier tomorrow, so I'm hoping to get a ride in.  (edit....didn't happen.  Cool and very damp all day on Sunday)  As usual, the weatherman is calling for upper 50's to 60 degrees on Monday when I'll be working.  This time of year drives me crazy!

We're off to a Sunday School gathering tonight.

God bless...






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