Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Day of 2010

These are the last of my Favorite Photos of 2010





2010 has been a very good year for me, and I want to thank all of you for the wonderful comments.

The Miles For 2010
Hardest Ride of 2010. (there is a tie)
April 3rd, 2010
First Hundred Of The Season

Wind was screaming out of the west today consistently blowing between 15-25 mph. Apparently that wasn't enough, gusts of 30-35 mph were also necessary.

5 showed 3 finished. Charles needed to get home a little early. He had some lame excuse. Something about needing to catch a flight for Florida that departs at 4:30 today. He's going on a cruise.

Out of the 100 miles ridden 60 were either directly into the wind or we were echelon-ing.

It was just 3 of us at 30 miles. I came out of this scenario pretty good as I was the shortest out of the 3. I'm 6 feet tall, and these boys are strong.

It was really just about watching the wheel in front of you, and taking your turn up front. The wind turned rollers into mountains. We are good cyclists, but I'd look down at my computer and see 14 mph and even 10 mph. I started to wonder if the ride would ever end.

At 50 miles we stopped to refuel. Pretty much just cross wind left. We took up 3/4 of our side of the road in our echelon formation and were now able to manage 20-21 mph. The noise in our ears was mind numbing.

Finally we came up on County Road 122, our turn east. We'd done our time, the shackles were off. 28 mph was now conversation pace, when just before 14 mph had kept us silent. We were flyin', free...felt soooo good. We could hear again, hear that beautiful sound of the tires humming on the asphalt. I sneaked a look at our average speed. It was 18.9. I felt pretty good about that, and allowed myself the thought that 20 mph was doable by the end of this effort.

BK had a light jacket on. Into the wind the front of it was plastered against him and from his shoulders back, it was flappin' like crazy, making that irritating sound. Now going 25 mph it fell silent and virtually motionless.

Started feeling those last 20 miles, even though they were wind aided. The small inclines were inflicting quad pain, and there was definitely heavy breathing going on, but we dug deep and persevered. Nobody was giving up.

We were all smiles at the end, congratulating each other, and acknowledging the hard effort. The wind didn't beat us, we didn't give in. This will be a memorable ride for me. 102/20.2

About a month later Amy and I decided to try and beat the wind.
May 1, 2010


Very difficult conditions. Wind gusts over 35 mph. A mental and physical beating. The wind was constantly surprising us with an onslaught of varied directions and speeds. It would play with us, hiding behind a stand of trees, or a hill, then at a clearing jump out and try to knock us over. Even when we had it at our backs we had to be on guard. There were times when it was a steep lean into that cross wind.

We stopped once to make sure continuing on was the right and safe thing to do. At Jordan there really wasn't a decision to be made. Belle Plaine was not going to be visited today. These conditions are especially hard for smaller cyclists. Amy's 5'4 120 pound body was enduring major abuse from the wind. It was close once, but she didn't quit. Not only that, but she rode smart, reducing all the risks that were being thrown at us. I was lucky to be riding with her, a really smart, tough cyclist.

We just put our heads down and cranked out a consistent cadence, that could not be stopped by the wind. Trying to maintain a straight line was no easy task. Arms and hands are still sore from the effort to keep the bike under control.

It was a ride of opposite extremes, 13 mph on the flats and 38mph on the flats. Didn't have a large enough gear, spun out in my 53/11. Barely a word spoken in the first 40 miles. Favorite pizzas described at 70 miles. Grunts, groans, yelps and smiles. One to be remembered. Epic. 79/19.2

My Favorite ride of the year was, hands down, was another ride with Amy.
July 10, 2010

Very Pleased

Just to warn you, this may sound a little like bragging, but today's ride meant a lot to me.

The conditions were perfect for a ride to Belle Plaine, with SW winds picking up as the day wore on.

Here are some dull and boring stats from the ride.

Four of us started out together, with two planning on peeling off at various points in the ride.

It was really a pretty uneventful ride, with the exception of the outcome. At Jordan (40 miles) we were averaging 19.6 mph. After heading due south, from Jordan, into the wind, and climbing out of the Minnesota River valley we were averaging 19.7. The descent into Belle Plaine added .2 mph to our speed. Belle Plaine was the 51 mile mark and where the wind started to push us home, but the most difficult climbs were ahead of us. It was just Amy and me now. After climbing out of the river valley, this time from Belle Plaine, we enjoyed some relatively flat asphalt and regularly saw 25, 26 and 27 mph on the computer, but the old hairy legs had 65 miles on them and that delightful dull ache in my quads wasn't going away. It began in the quad and then slowly and insidiously wrapped around back into the hams. So very pleasant.

The East Union climb was short, but it hurt. I've come to believe that muscles breathe, and when they don't get the oxygen they want, they rebel. Just like a plastic bag with all the air sucked out of it, my muscles were contracting. I'd take extra large gasps of air expanding my lungs to their max, hoping that some of it would some how re-inflate my quads.

Now it was Carver. It's one hill hits you three times. Each one suffocating the life out of your legs. All this air around you and you can't get enough.

About a five mile reprieve and then some rollers into Victoria. God they hurt! This is about the time I went numb, which, I think, was a good thing. The climbs were pretty much behind us now, except for Christmas Lake and Purgatory Creek, but the worst of it? Over.

All this time, whose right behind me? 120 pound Amy. I'd get some distance on her on the climbs, but she'd latch back on never quiting. Tougher than tough, and like I've said before, pound for pound she kicks my ass.

Amy rode 112 miles. I got a century in. We averaged 20.6 mph. A personal best for Amy, and my best effort without any upfront help.

Like I said before, this means a lot to me, coming off a rough 2009. This is my fourth Hammer Hundred of this season. Amy hopes it's "out of my system now". Don't count on it.

Favorite Post of 2010
Is Everything Ok from November 5th.
Also Honorable Mentions go out to Old on September 3rd, and Steady Wheel on October 26th.
Favorite Movies of 2010
Pirate Radio
The Road
Favorite Book of 2010
Even Silence Has An End by Ingrid Betancourt
Thanks again to everyone for making this a very enjoyable year. Of course, as should be quite obvious from my posts, riding with Amy is (almost) always a true joy, and Amy being a part of my riding is an important and wonderful part of my life. I am lucky to have such a good friend.
My grand kids still bring me my biggest thrills when they come running up to me with big hugs.
But still, and always, I receive no greater joy than from my children Ethan, Britney and Gabrielle.
Life is so good! I am a very lucky man.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Not Going Out Today

I'll head over to the gym shortly, and get an hour and a half in on the elliptical.
Here are some more of my favorite 2010 photos.

A Couple Of Moon Shots


Animals, Birds and Water Fowl

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Closin' In

Maybe got in my last ride of the year today. The weather is suppose to get interesting tomorrow. Rain, yes, rain all day. I'm not going to want to ride in that, not with temps in the 30's. It's already drizzling. Yes, it is December in Minnesota. Got out on The Evil One again today. Trails were loose and sloppy from the warm temps. Little more lateral movement than I care for, but...21/13.3

Some More 2010 Favorites




Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sunny And Warm

Warmest December day this year. Kind of balmy up here in the great white north. It hit 34 degrees. Dressed down a little and went warmer-less. I tried the LRT again today. Every time I ride it I think about the blind man I met out on it a year or two ago. I was riding along at the same place I saw him before and there he was, today, carefully walking along the side with his white cane in his hand. I stopped and re-introduced myself, simply saying, "hi, my name is Tom, we met on this trail a year or two ago". He seemed a little less sure of who I was, but was polite, and seemed to kind of come around and maybe remember the circumstances that brought us together. I spoke with him for no more than a minute, and as I started my ride again, wished him a nice walk.
It's surprising how such a brief experience with him a year or two back can create, for me, such a significant connection. I'm grateful for these types of interaction with others. It enhances my life.
The trail to Excelsior was in very good shape...a really nice ride. The cx bike (Evil One) handled it great. 26/13.0
My favorite shots of storm clouds from 2010.