Saturday, February 27, 2016

Zombie Raccoon Logo Apparel

I am so happy that my Zombie Raccoon cycling cap came in the mail today.  +Kent Fackenthall did a great job on designing this cap.  Now All I need are some Zombie Raccoon slacks to round out my outfit.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fast February Friday

On my bike commute home on Friday I rode really fast. I was trying to make it home on my 25 mile ride in under 90 minutes. I made it. I was feeling depressed at the slow commutes this month. It has been a cold stretch of weather, but I wanted to see if I could still ride fast like I do in the summer.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Is Handel's Messiah "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" on your spin class play list?

Tonight I was taking my short route home because my wife had some friends call and they wanted to go to dinner with us.  I was riding along listening to random songs from my offline playlist from Spotify and a selection from Handel's Messiah came on.  I played it twice as I rode home.

I am the son of a African Methodist minister and a music teacher.  I was raised to revere theological thought and music.  I can remember learning to sing Handel's Messiah for a Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles as a young child.  On Sundays as a child I would listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the radio and I loved to hear them sing.  I know this may surprise some of you who may be reading this that know me but I have a deep appreciation for classical music.

So today when I was riding home and For Unto Us A Child Is Born came on my blue tooth speaker I was so happy.  I was spinning along and treated the song just like any other song to set my pace and pedal stoke.  I really love the words of this music and the melody of the voices transformed a mundane bike commute home into an inspirational moment.

I stopped to take a picture of one of my favorite "Plantation Gates".  When I am riding down this portion of Old Pretoria Road it is usually dark in the morning or I am taking this route in the afternoon because there is a thunder storm and I am racing to beat the lightening to get home quickly.  Tonight it was not raining and no thunder, so I had time to stop and take a picture.
Resora Resort Main Gate on Old Pretoria Road

Resora Resort Main Gate on Old Pretoria Road
By the way I am listening to the full Handel's Messiah as I write this Blog post.  I am amazed that I remember so much of it even though I have not listened to it in a long time.  I am putting links to the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra's version in this post.  I randomly selected this version from a dozen versions on Spotify.

I rode this morning in a cooler version of riding gear.  Sometimes I like to dress for stress during the winter.  What I do is instead of dressing warm and riding slow when it is cold, I dress to the minimum and ride fast (for me at 63 years old).  My thoughts are that when I am warm and comfortable I ride slower because I can stand the cold longer.  When I dress with less then I ride faster to stay warm and I also want to get to work faster before I get really cold.  Below are my ride statistics just in case you were wondering.

All in all this year my wife and I are having more opportunities to go out to dinner with friends during the week.  I told my wife that all she has to do is tell me before I get on my bike that she has dinner plans and I will take the short route home.  I have the personality to only want to ride my bike for the mileage no matter what, but this year I am opting to mellow out quite a bit.  For me bike commuting has to be fun and efficient.  That means that I have to have the mentality of convenience and use the bike just like a car.  I want to be as mobile and flexible as if I had my car.  This allows me to ride my bike and make changes for the impromptu dinner plans in the evening.  Living in a small town like Albany allows me to enjoy bike commuting on country roads and the flexibility to get home fast when I need to.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sometimes you have to ZigZag Your Way Home

Tonight I took my zigzag route home.  I had to stop by a local business to pick up a check for payment on a freelance project.  I wanted to still ride for at least 20 miles before going home so I did a zigzag through Albany.  I rode really fast on the leg from the office to my house.  I was inspired because I was listening to Taj Mahal's "YOU AINT NO STREET WALKER MAMA HONEY BUT I DO LOVE THE WAY YOU STRUT YOUR STUFF" on m y Spotify "let's Boogie" playlist.  I really felt like riding as fast as I could from the office to my house.

My playlist.

I hated spin classes on a stationary bike in a gym, but my outdoor spin class is a blast.

Time To Use The Wind Trainer

My commute home last night on February 15, 2016 was really windy.  A storm front was moving in from the south which means that it was time to do some training.  The wind gusts were so strong at times that my bike almost came to a stop as I pedaled forward.  Did I really want to ride 25 miles in this wind, or should I take the short route home?



Wind Speed
12 mph (SE)

Max Wind Speed
25 mph

Max Gust Speed
33 mph

8 miles


Since my commute goes in all directions at some point in the route I can enjoy the benefits and the penalties of strong wind no matter which direction it is blowing.  My ideal day is for the wind to blow from the north west in the morning and from the south east in the evening.  Usually it is just the opposite as a weather font passes over the area I will have a head wind both ways to work and to home.

This morning on February 16, 2016 I had a tail wind down Leary Road because the wind was blowing directly from the west. I will most likely face this headwind on my way home.



Wind Speed
7 mph ()

Max Wind Speed
14 mph

Max Gust Speed
23 mph

9.6 miles

Rain , Thunderstorm
Yesterday I was over dressed for the balmy 45 degree ride, but today I was bare legged and just had my arm warmers and my light wind breaker.  I ride a little bit faster when it is not 23 degrees and I am not wearing three layers of cycling gear.

I am going to start tracking my year to date progress (last 365 days), just because I am a numbers guy.  I slacked off of riding my bike the last quarter of 2015.  My goal is to keep my year to date distance above 10,000 miles. Yes, I like riding my bike that much!
Count:471 Activities
Distance:9,878.80 mi
Time:655:22:25 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:96,056 ft
Avg Speed:15.1 mph
Calories:519,712 C

Friday, February 12, 2016

Winter Heat Wave

Yesterday morning it was 22 degrees and I rode to work really slow.

Today during my morning it was 52 degrees and I rode a tad faster.

The biggest problem I have had this winter is the drastic changes in the temperature. I do not have a rack on my bike so I have to carry my extra clothes stuffed in my pockets in the afternoon when it is 30 degrees warmer than when I ride in the morning.  today I will not have to pack the extra gear as I rode in with just my arm and leg warmers on.  It was really humid as a warm front is pushing in from the Gulf.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winter in the south, finally

Today as I rode another morning bike commute in the cold dark of winter I noticed that the grass on the side of the roads was finally dying out. Usually the weather does not get cold enough on consecutive days down here to kill off grass and weeds.  After several days with the temperatures dropping well below freezing the grass is finally turning brown.

Today at my house the outside temperature at 4:30 AM was 29 degrees.  I decided to suite up with an extra layer of leggings to keep my thighs from turning red after the 25 mile commute.  I also added an extra layer by wearing my Cabal sweater under my long sleeve PCP jacket.  I topped this off with my favorite winter jacket, the Shower Pass Elite.

The lowest temperature recorded on my Garmin was 22.7 degrees.  It always gets the coldest right before the sun comes up.  I am usually towards the end of my commute when the temperature drops to the lowest of the ride.  I stopped to take a photo of my Garmin this morning and I remembered my summer ride to Florida where I was trying to take a picture of my Garmin with 100 miles and 100 degrees temperature at the same time.  this morning I rode 25 miles in 25 degrees.  What an extreme between summer and winter riding.

I am riding a lot slower when it is really cold (for me).  It was not windy this morning, but I was steadfast in my resolve to ride to work and enjoy the time on the bike.  One thing that I want to make note of is that my brake fluid in my rear brake froze up today.  Matt Cole of Podium Multi Sport verified with me that my rear brake does not have a mechanical problem, but when ti gets cold the fluid inside of the brake housing will freeze up.  This happened to me last year two miles from my house and my rear wheel locked up.  I had to walk home carrying my bike, not a pleasant experience.  Matt suggested that I carry a small butane lighter to warm it up if it happens again.  This morning as I approached Leary road from Eight Mile Road I was applying my brakes and I noticed that my rear brake lever was stiff.  I did not force it as I did not want to have a locked wheel 10 miles from my house with the weather this cold.  I will have to remember to stop by a store and buy a lighter on my way home just to keep in my bag in case I do lock up my wheel when it is this cold.  Seems like when the temperature drops below 25 degrees my rear brake stops working.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Legs of Summer in February?

I got a little crazy with the warm weather on my evening ride home.  For some reason my legs felt like sprinting for some short distances.  One of the things that is hard for me to deal with with southern winters is the fact that thee is no consistency in the weather.  Sometimes I wish it would stay cold for a few days and not jump around.  Today it was 45 degrees on the morning commute and 70 degrees on the evening commute.
This is the first full day of commuting with my Note 5.  My Note 5 is about 1/8 inches narrower than the state owned phone that I turned last week.  The Note 5 fits perfectly in my top tube bag.  I can get the Note 5 in the front flap without pressing the power button.

One my way home I took a picture of a typical sunset on Leary Road.
Sunset on Leary Road at the halfway point of my 25 mile commute.