Friday, June 10, 2011
All righty! The bike's all set to go...itching to cut loose from work @ noon and then I'm OFF to Watkins Glen for the Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour!
The bummer is I haven't had time to ride since those 52 miles on Sun. and am feeling shaky for nailing a century ride on Sat. I may wuss down to the 79 mile ride...oh, and they're calling for rain! So who knows...? Crossing my fingers! Stay tuned! The century ride will include the full perimeter of Seneca Lake PLUS a loop which crosses eastward and travels from Geneva to Seneca Falls and down along a northern stretch of Cayuga Lake before returning to Seneca Lake.
Now the trick is going to be balancing sufficient challenge to gratify myself vs. not going so overboard that I lose the FUN & JOY of cycling...! WANTING that century badly, but...not wanting to jeopardize having a great time.
I'll be chewing on this with some other cyclists today, see what the weather holds and see what I end up doing...will be offline till Sunday night...catch up then!
Here is a wonderful link shared by one of our club members which shows all the various routes which will be offered all three days (Fri., Sat., Sun.):
Unfortunately recent flooding in the Keuka Lake area will rule out the Keuka Lake loop for a ride on Sunday, but they have an alternate ride planned between Keuka and Seneca Lakes.
Can't wait to see all the WATER...lakes, gorges, etc. and the rolling hills of vineyards and wineries and catching up with bike club members...good times ahead this weekend!
Here are a few links with pictures of various parts of the Finger Lakes:
And here's a wonderful selection of shots of the beautiful gorges of the area...one of which (Watkins Glen) will be right in the back yard of our campgrounds and ready for hiking!
Although I'll be staying with others in a "campground"...I'm taking the "cushy" option of staying in one of the cabins. Brought my guitar along to dust it off and see if I still remember how to play...lol!
Praying for sunny, dry weather...make it a SPARKED weekend everyone!
Monday, June 06, 2011
I set out yesterday on my bike to enjoy some of the Big Splash Music Festival:
It was a picture-perfect day for cycling (sunny, upper 70's) and I knew I wanted to get more cycling than just heading out to the festival, which would be around 20 miles.
After listening for about an hour to some nice bluegrass/country/rock crossover and another local group of country-folk women singing (The Burns Sisters) I got restless to hit the road again and decided I would head "south of the border" across the NY / PA state line toward Hallstead/Great Bend, PA.
I thought it would be nice to have some company so on a whim I called my biking buddy (who joined forces with me last Sept. for our 175 mile NJ ride!) to see if she might be free. However she was with company...but she really wanted to get out on her bike! A few minutes after hanging up she rang through again: shook loose her company and was getting ready to hit the road too! YES! :-)
Knowing that this upcoming weekend was the Great Finger Lakes Bike Tour (not too late to join in the fun...! www.southerntierbicycleclub.org/fing
erlakestour.html ) I wanted to rack up some more miles and feel better prepared for cycling 'round Watkins Glen, Seneca & Keuka Lakes.
We enjoyed some bike talk along the way, kicking around ideas for future rides, bike gear we wanted but couldn't afford...lol and the upcoming GFLBT and Heritage Tour the weekend after. I was debating whether or not to consider tackling the century ride around Seneca Lake on Sat. June 11th as it was so early in the cycling season, the route is much hillier than what we had last Sept. in NJ and I wasn't sure if I was ready. She did a good job of nudging me: "You KNOW you can do it. Maybe not as well as you might at the end of the season, but just think how well getting a century under your belt NOW will help you later!"
Sometimes I just gotta get out of my own way...lol!
Dealt with a pretty strong headwind on our way northbound after a stretching water break in Great Bend, good to build our skills, right? :-) Practiced a few standing climbs here and there. It was good to find our mutual cycling pace quickly became very complimentary just as it had been last year.
She went back to the Big Splash festival as we returned to Binghamton and I headed home as it was heading for 7 and I didn't want it getting too dark.
Less than 5 miles from home. Isn't that what they say about auto accidents...most of 'em happen right near one's home?
The lane striping for cyclists on upper Front St. northbound where it T's off with Route 12A is very frustrating as the cycling lane is of course on the far right-hand side. But then there's the right turn lane for cars. What's a cyclist to do when one wants to go straight and not turn? Well, they simply stop the far right cycling lane striping back before the intersection and voila! Paint a bike lane at the traffic light IN BETWEEN the straight and right-turn lanes.
So how does one get there? While turning to my left to eye-ball oncoming traffic to see if anyone was coming up the right turn lane so I could cross into the bike lane I inadvertently zigged my bike into the curb.
Yikes! Seeing a fall in the making I saw a sign on the side of the road and grabbed one of the posts holding up the sign and sorta just slammed into THAT instead of the ground. Saved my knee from major road rash, but twisted my thumb and still scraped up my shoulder, etc. Bike was okay other than the handlebars getting knocked a bit off "true." Hobbled on home for those final 5 miles. Hello Bacitracin, my old buddy! Unlike Wily Coyote who bounces back good as new in the next frame, I'm going to need some mending this week.
Passing on cycling today. Going to the fitness center to work out the kinks. Hated to do this as I may get rained out the rest of the week and I want to keep cycling to be at my best for this upcoming weekend!
Guess I'm just going to have to revert to STOPPING at this intersection, getting OFF the bike and walking across and then getting on. At least until I get a mirror of some sort which can improve my visibility.
What us cyclists will put ourselves through...! But yep: every lump, bump & scrape: the joys of cycling is still worth it!
Have a SPARKED week everyone!
ps...keeping track of my totals: Today's 52 mile ride puts me right up to 398 miles so far for the season!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
After a weekend of woefully late spring cleaning (sans cycling...!) and a week full of RAIN last week it was WONDERFUL to get out on my bike for my commute today! A cool, foggy upper 60's ride this morning with plans of getting to my local bike shop after work to see if they could tweak the front derailler so that I could shift and get my "Granny" back!
I knew it would be a hot one...and it was! 90 degrees on the bank thermometer!
The trick to minimizing sweating when cycling?
I turn into a human water sprinkler then...lol!
The bike shop tweaked the front derailler...cable was slack. Managed to pick up a flat, unbeknownst to me, just before arriving at the shop...a tack of all things! Also I finally remembered to bring along a gift I received some time ago: A Schwinn 17 function Bike Computer:
I didn't trust myself to be able to install it properly so I had them take care of that at the shop. Grand total service bill: $10. Worth it to have things done properly. From the Amazon reviews it looks like I made a wise choice!
Now I can pay more attention to my speed while cycling! I've already found out that I go faster than I think I do on the open flats...often topping 20 mph. Plus, I've ALWAYS wanted to know how fast I go down this hill I have to travel each time I go to / from work. It's a manageable climb, but not exactly a breeze! And the SWOOP of joy down the other side is always a sweet pay-off!
So how fast is this downhill...? 38 mph...twice a day every time I commute! Been faster (near 50 mph), but to have this at my doorstep is kinda cool.
We'll see how this bike computer thingy goes...who knows maybe I'll get into the numbers enough to be lured into the world of GPS...? (Doubt it...lol!)
Took the long way home...UP the River Road hill AND the hill to my home...climb baby climb!
Did I mention SWEAT?!?! EVERYTHING I was wearing was drenched! DW thought I'd had an "accident" on the way home...lol!
No riding tomorrow, long day, but Thurs. / Fri. look good for commutes...no precip and chilling to a frosty 70 some degrees! :-)
Today's ride racked up 26 miles bringing my 2 month totals for April and May up to 313 miles. Not too shabby...considering all the rainy day washouts!
Make it a SPARKED week everyone!
Friday, May 27, 2011
Just learned that one of my favorite recording artists died today. Only loosely related to health and wellness, I know, but still have to take five to make mention of Gil Scott-Heron...what a contribution he has made throughout his troubled life!
I am generally not a hip-hop sorta guy but his signature song: "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" speaks to my anti-corporate, anti-establishment soul:
Here's a few lines:
"The revolution will not be right back after a message
about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.
The revolution will not be televised"
Cheers to you Gil and to the day when "The revolution will be live!" Your message transcends race and all that divides us!
Another of my favorites of his: When You Are Who You Are
Great upbeat jazzy tune and SUPER lyrics about being REAL:
"People never seem to want to be themselves
So they end up running in circles confused
Just like everyone else
Every morning when you wake up you put on a new disguise
Just how long did you think it would take me to realize
That the things you wore ain't real
You never tell me just how you feel
When you could be so very beautiful
When you are who you are"
Although Gil Scott-Heron may no longer be with us, I just wanted to do my part to keep his message alive and pay it forward.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Today made this whole week of rainy weather MORE than worthwhile!
Weds. I joined with 21 others on our Ride of Silence, and what a SOAKER it was...! Thankfully only 8 miles. Other than that? NO cycling until TODAY! Rain was still sort of in the forecast, but nary a drop came our way as we traveled 'round Skaneateles Lake. (btw, Skaneateles is pronounced something like Skinny Atlas...brings to mind a waif-like scarecrow holding the globe on its back...lol!) Some folks were kidding about having to hurry up and get our ride in quickly before the Rapture arrived! www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f
=/c/a/2011/05/18/MN1N1JFUB4.DTL Rapture Ride, someone else quipped: Hey, if I'm gonna go, I couldn't pick a better time for it to happen: while I'm out on the open road on two wheels!
Here's a couple of pics as we're preparing for our launch:
It was a foggy, cloudy and grey start to the ride and looked like it might yet rain after all. I quickly joined with a fellow in the lead with his recumbent bike...we were pretty similarly paced. Felt good to cut loose and RIDE!
These are pics from our noontime stop downtown Skaneateles:
A few took off early to start heading down the west side of the lake. One fellow said "I'm feeling SLOW today. Even though I'm getting a head start I KNOW Don will come whizzing by me soon enough! Lol! I really am not TOO competitive when cycling, although I'll admit to some streaks of this. Mostly, I'll tell ya, after a childhood of being picked last when forming sports teams during Phys Ed or being splattered against the wall during Dodge ball it feels SO FINE to have something athletic in which I actually EXCEL! I just love to PUSH myself when out on my bike! Today, however, there was a down side to being so fast, I later learned.
Here are some of the snazzy and / or unique homes around the lake. There were so many, I just couldn't stop for ALL of them!
Near downtown Skaneateles:
Overlooking the lake:
Although this pic doesn't do it justice, I deliberately took a shot that was less than ideal as there were folks outside sitting in chairs, enjoying the afternoon...wanted to respect their privacy:
This was an old railroad car converted into a home! How cool is that?
On our way down the west side of the lake the clouds blew away and opened up some blue skies with the puffiest of clouds behind!
You know, being out on wide open roads under skies like these...?
Life rarely gets better than this!
I had the pleasure of meeting a young college-aged fellow wearing a Greenpeace bike jersey while riding down the west side of the lake. He wasn't a member of our club, but was kind enough to notice when I inadvertently hit a pot-hole one of my water bottles popped out onto the road. He scooped it up, caught up with me while I was snapping some pics and gave it to me along with a compliment: "I've been following along with your group around the lake and gotta say, you are one strong rider! The rest of the group is way back there!" I thanked him for the compliment and shared with him how far I've come in being Alive in the World. He said he was looking forward to having a beer at the bar in New Hope, a little further down the road. I said "Have one for me!" And he took off! Except, we ended up hop-scotching each other right along on back to Scott, which is where we began.
Although some members mentioned that the west side of the lake had some more serious climbs than the east side, little did I know what EIGERS we were going to face! OOF! And what was worse? My bike got cranky and decided it wouldn't shift on the left side down into first.
O Granny Where Art Thou?!?!
Did I ever need those granny gears BIGTIME! I managed to climb most of these hills in the bottom of second gear, but the last one? It was walkin' time...! Ol' Greenpeace sailed by me and I shared my tale of woe. Finally near the top I thought I might try to finish the rest in the bottom of second. Wouldn't you know: It shifted into first! Grr!
Here's Greenpeace riding off ahead of me:
After the ride was finished and the others with whom I car-pooled (only a couple bucks to help with gas...!) had arrived I found out that one of the things that held them up was changing a flat tire but THE OTHER thing that held them up? The ride leader remembered hearing from another club member that there was a really cool waterfall off the beaten path of the bike ride. So the three of them managed to find it. Had I stayed back with them instead of buzzing on ahead I would have been able to enjoy seeing this waterfall also! Grrr! Ah well, I'll remember that this fall when we most likely make this trek again to enjoy the fall colors!
I later found out that we climbed over 2300 feet during today's ride! All within 40 miles! That brings my new total miles for the season up to 287 miles.
Got home and spent over two hours FINALLY catching up with my lawn-mowing...combined with my ride this REALLY knocked my socks off...! Mowing was so tedious as the grass was so tall I had to go over and over it before the grass got cut decently.
Ready for a KING-SIZED NIGHT'S SLEEP!
PS: Guess they called off the Rapture:
youtu.be/aZQ5zC9mG5Q Have to save it for some other cycling outing...lol!
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