Sunday, March 30, 2014

The two bridges south of Baconton are fixed.

I was on a Sunday drive and decided to see if the two bridges south of Baconton were fixed.  you can see by the photo that they are completed.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Go to a whole new level

Cycle Thunder II

I am recovering from a near death experience that happened on March 17, 2014.  I was hit from behind on my way to work and could have died, but I did not.  I could make up all sorts of excuses of why I should never get on a bike again, but that is not who I am.

Cycle Thunder
I was sitting in my living room this past week in front of the TV and my wife was napping beside me.  Out of nowhere I starting sobbing and tears flowed freely from my eyes.  Was I mourning the lost of a bicycle?  I went to work for two days this week and I carried my bike in the back of my truck.  I have not had the heart to take it out since getting it from the Dougerty Police Department.  I guess I am having a hard time of letting it go.
Before I had this accident I had already made up in my mind that this 1999 Serotta Rapid Tour was the last bicycle that I would ever buy.  I had already decided that I would only ride just so fast and that I would never be able to keep up with my cycling group for more than 30 miles at 20 MPH.  Why am I setting limits on myself?  As a Landmark Education graduate I have been trained on living my life without boundaries, and I am always aware that I am the only person that can limit my abilities.  So after this accident I am staring at the fact that for the past year I have been limiting my cycling abilities.

I was talking on the phone with my sister this week and I expressed these thoughts about how I was going to use this accident as a challenge to myself to be a more powerful cyclist.  Once I start announcing to the world my intentions I can feel my energy start to motivate me to get things moving to where I want them.  I never like watching recorded sporting events but last week I watched the 2013 Paris to Rubaix and I watched every crash.  I really got inspired as the cyclist got back up and asked for a new bike and even though they did not chance of winning they rode off to try and catch the leader.

So this is me going forward, new eating habits, just like I did in 2008 when I was preparing to run 62 miles (100k) on a difficult trail course in Bandera, Texas.  I will take off that last 10 pounds and keep it off. I am joining my wife Sylvia on a gluten free paleo lifestyle.  I am going to get another bike and I am not going to make excuses about not being able to keep up anymore.  

The image at the start of this post is the bike that I have been dreaming of for about two years.  I was not going to pick the same paint color as my old bike, but now I am inspired to use it again. To me life is a game, you can play it and complain or you can make up the game and play it and have fun.  My wife asked me recently after my accident if I had a name for my bike, I had told her that I did not.  I now realize that my bike's name was Cycle Thunder, and my next bile will be Cycle Thunder II.

I am grateful to have a social network that is supporting me with encouragement.  I am also grateful that I live in a town with a cycling club like The Pecan City Pedalers that challenges and inspires me.  You can not aspire to soar with eagles if you never see one or ride with one.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

1999 Serotta Rest in Peace

I got my bike from the Dougerty County Police on March 24, 2014, one week after I got hit. (pictures below) and talked to the first officer on the scene. Hearing from him what happen was really somber. I will pass this along and you may find this amusing. I always ride with a Niterider Solas on my helmet. When I was hit the Solas flipped off of my helmet and landed in the road and was bright enough to act as a warning flasher to let other cars slow down for the accident. The officer let it stay there until I was gone in the ambulance then he took my bike and other parts he could find to the in-pound yard. I would endorse this product as crash proof.
The officer went on to tell me that the motorist was defiantly not paying attention as he saw that I had on lots of flashers (three) plus my rain coat with a reflector stripe. Bottom line is that I have always said that if I got hit by a motorist it would not be because a motorist did not see me, it would be because they are not paying attention, they were drunk or they were sleep. These are sobering facts but it will not stop me from riding. I hope that these words encourage you to really be safe when cycling or when driving and tell other motorist to pay attention when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Friday, March 21, 2014

St. Patty's Day Smack Down

I think I am ready to write about one of the scariest days of my life.  Funny thing is that I do not remember the horrific details, but I will write what my friends tell me what happened when I was unconscious or just do not remember.

On Monday morning March 17, 2014 I put on my #Bicycle Commuter Cabal green jersey and  headed to work. It was drizzling slightly, but it was warm.  I had my yellow rain jacket on and three tail flashers on my bike, two red and one white. I left my house about 6:15 AM and started my 25 mile commute to work.  This commute takes me about one hour and thirty minutes.

I was taking an easy pace because I had just finished a big 145 mile ride to St. Mark's on Friday so I jut wanted to relax today. Everything went as usually until I was riding on the short stretch of Newton Road (HWY 91).  I do not remember turning on to HWY 91 so everything that I write from here on is from what my friends have told me.

I was struck from behind by a middle aged motorist on her way to the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base.  She hit me with such a force that my body smashed her windshield into her car.  When she applied her brakes the police report says I was then thrown about 100 feet sliding along a guard rail that eventually gouged into my back and broke my ilium.  There is some evidence that my helmet slide along the guardrail before I came to rest with punctures from the rail.  I do not remember any of this.  My next thoughts I remember are being on a board with my neck strapped down and being loaded into an ambulance. I showed a medic how to unlock my phone so he could call my boss and tell him that I would be late. I have three pins holding my fractured Ilium in place, Albany News, Weather, Sports

I am a very aware rider and I did everything by the book and I still got smacked.  If she had drove way I would have bled out on the spot, so I am grateful that she called 911.  I am recovering four days after this incident.  I appreciate all of the well wishes and flowers sent to my home.  I will write more about this later, but for now I am relieved that I am alive, but I am angry that motorist have such an advantage over cyclists on the road.  I have not seen my crushed Serotta yet, so I have lost a really close friend.  My BCC jersey was cut off of me, but I asked my wife to save it.  My BCC cyclist all over the world have really inspired me to ride these past few years.  I will be back on the road as soon as the doctor says it is OK for me to ride again.

More Photos

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Leaf Relief

Sylvia had some shopping yo do. So here I am eating organic dinner after my ride.

TGIF Ride from Albany, GA to somewhere south of Tallahassee, FL

Today I am going to do another ride south to the coast.  I will stop at Whataburger in Thomasville, GA before heading to Tallahassee, FL. I will add pictures along the way.

My planned course.

Here is my ride report. Winds were the training feature for the day. The closer I got to the Gulf of Mexico the stronger they got. Weather Channel had winds at 14 MPH, gusting to 17 MPH.  I was surprised to find that the largest hills on the ride were in south Tallahassee.

 I was not in a hurry as I wanted to ride for the distance and not for the time. I took a few pictures.
Flint River at the GA 37 over crossing east of Newton, GA

Pine Crest Country Club
2415 Old Georgia 3, Pelham, GA 31779
Me and my bike. I am happy during the first part of the ride

One of the many Lakes along the highway in North Thomas County.

This needs to be center

The real reason I ride for 146 miles, Whataburger (with bacon this time)

Metcalf, GA

Metcalf, GA

Metcalf, GA

The Georgia, Florida state line

Red clover is starting to bloom all along the Georgia and Florida highways

I will have to check thsi trail out on another visit.

Trail head for the last 16 miles to the coast

So happy to not be cranking

Organic dinner

All in all it was a good ride.  I always enjoy doing a long bike tour by my self. I like this route and I will do it again. I spotted a small cheap hotel near St. Mark's so one time soon I will ride down one day and ride back the next.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sunday Evening Ride for March 9, 2014

I may be starting a new tradition in my cycling routine.  I clean my bike Sunday afternoon to remove a week's worth of grime.  then I go for an evening night ride through the city of Albany, GA.

Last Sunday was the first really warm evening and I rode my bike without any winter sleeves or leggings.  When I rode past turtle Park it was still full of families and couples enjoying the nice early spring evening.  As I toured downtown i took some pictures of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

I was experimenting with my Samsung Note 3's ability via Android to take panorama images and remove moving objects from the final image.  Several cars past while I was taking some of these images.

I am riding around town in "fixed gear" mode.  This means I am not shifting and I am riding in my hardest gear. Starting from a stop light is real fun cause I have to stand up and crank for a long time to get rolling.  It is really flat in Albany Georgia so I have to create imaginary hills.  riding around in my hardest gear (52:11) is the only way that I know to build up strength on a bike to pedal real hills.

My Serotta needs a new coat of paint.

I cleaned my bike last Sunday.  I decided to take some pictures of the rust spots on the frame.  Even as I consider my options for getting a newer lighter bike I want to preserve the Serotta for bike commuting.
Under the chain stay rust

Under chain stay rust

Under bottom bracket rust
Under bottom bracket rust

Under the top tube rust

Under the top tube rust

I really love this bike and it pains me to see the rust encroaching on the frame.  Hopefully when I do get a new bike I can then take this bike apart and have it restored.  I may consider getting it powder coated.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Week 10, 2,000 miles before daylight savings time

 This week was a hard week for me to ride.  I am getting tired of the cold wet rides in darkness.  I say this with a twist of irony as I live where the winters are quite mild compared to my friends up north.  Of course I do not have any local acquaintances that ride all year every day no matter what the weather is,  This is the longest consecutive days that I have been on my bike in my life.

I wanted to have 2,000 miles behind me by Week 10 of 2014 and today I have 2,011 miles in the logs.  These miles are almost exclusively commuter miles on the same roads.  There are many benefits to riding the same route over and over.  There are plenty of downsides to this routine bike commute and I only think of them in the morning right before I start putting on my riding gear.  Since I want to encourage my positive brain and discourage negative vibes I will only list the beneficial reasons that I like bike commuting the same route day after day evening after evening.

Riding the same course every day allows me to play games to break the monotony of the routine pedaling on the same road every day.  So I have broken up my 25 mile commute into three segments  I use my Garmin 810 to document my average speed on these roughly 8 mile segments.  I recently configured a Garmin 810 screen to show only show current lap average speed, lap time and lap distance.  When I focus on how fast I am riding it is hard for me to keep an even pace over time.  When I monitor my average pace I seem to pace myself better.  On my segments I can set a goal of how fast I want to average the segment that I am riding and then pace myself for that segment.  This is easier than trying to set a pace for the whole 25 mile ride.  I am learning how to set short intermediary goals that will work within my over all goal to get where I want to be.

One of my long term goals for this year is to ride 200 miles in one day.  Riding everyday has gotten my body into a rhythm of physical exercise that allows me to be relaxed on my bike even when I am tired.  I have noticed that over the past year and a half that I have been bike commuting that my neck and shoulders have gotten stronger and they do not get tired on my rides.  Some days I really feel like riding fast and other days I do not feel like riding at all until I get on my bike and start riding.  On the days that my body is telling me to back off I listen and ride at a slower pace and enjoy the view.  When I am riding in this mode I imaging that I am at mile 140 on a 200 mile ride and think about just keeping my cranks turning no mater what my mood is.

I tested a nice Trek Domane 4.7 in July 2014.  for a while I wanted to really get a new lighter bike.  The more I ride my steel Serotta in all of the fowl weather this winter I have reclaimed the love of this bike again.  Every time I am cruising down Leary Road with ease relaxed in my areo bars I think about how the master bike fitter measured me for this bike.  I am glad I got this bike custom made with the areo bars because I can ride so much faster when I am on them than when I am in any other position on my bike.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Morning Fast Track

Yesterday I watched some YouTube videos on how to fine tune a derailleur.  I had not cleaned my bike in over a month.  It has been cold and I have just been putting White Lightning on the chain when it got to loud during my commute to work.  Well Sunday evening I decided that instead of watching my girlfriend Ellen host the Oscar awards, I would clean my drive train.

First I wanted to restore movement to my lower gears so I watched a few videos to remind myself of how to do it.  Down here in the flat lands I do not shift much and I wanted to use my small 12 tooth and 13 tooth rear cog on my commutes.  After about 10 minutes of adjusting I was satisfied with my work so I cleaned up the chain.

This morning I rode to work on my 25 mile commute in my smaller cogs and it felt great.  I have been riding in this "single" speed mode for some time as it gives me a chance to get my legs strong for hills and then I will shift gears.  Today was a fast ride and I was having so much fun.  I reflected on how last year when I was riding 19 MPH up MLK Blvd. I was really pushing myself to stay above 19 MPH.  This morning I was able to hold myself back to stay under 20 MPH as I wanted to ride the whole way to work on MLK at a fast pace.

It as taken me 40 years of adult bicycling to finally understand what Greg LeMond was talking about. "It never gets easier, you just ride faster".

 I started my morning ride slow as usual and I generally ride faster towards the end as I turn from HWY 91 onto Lily Pond which turns into MLK.  When I started bike commuting this route this was my least favorite part of the ride.  The traffic is nuts when school is in session and the road is bumpy compared to Leary.  I guess that is why I started playing this game of seeing how fast I could get past this part of my commute.  I play this game to see how fast I can get from HWY 91 to ASU.

Now if a cycling coach told me this was an incremental training circut I would complain about it, but since this is a game that I titled "Ride Like You Stole It" I have so much fun seeing how fast I can ride this route.  Today I shaved 5 minutes off my year to date commute time.  I made it to work in one hour and twenty five minutes.  My fastest time is one hour and twenty three minutes.  I have to get lucky with the two stop lights at Oakridge and Oglethorpe to get a really good time, but that is part of the game.