I had a great time at Ride the Drive on Sunday. Not only was it especially good for the spirit to wheel down roadways that are usually filled with cars, it was also fun to see all the different types of bikes..from all different eras..that were tooling around.
Not only did I see a bicycle that seemed to have bowling balls for tires... I also saw a lot of cool old vintage bikes...including Schwinn Sting Rays. Now maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but I don't think I saw any one doing wheelies. Maybe that's because they didn't have an official Wham-O Wheelie bar!
Check out this video to see a great old school commercial, and some pretty awesome bikes.
There's a couple of things that I've been training for lately- I'm getting ready for this weekend's 100 mile Centurion Bicycle race with a group of friends on a team we're calling "Something About Mary" in honor of our friend Mary who we lost during Ironman training last year.Â I'm also in the middle of training for the Chicago Marathon with Team In Training- and along the way raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.Â You can make a donation to those efforts here.
Between the two efforts- this weekend was "one step up and one step back."
Starting with the Centurion training- Something About Mary hit the road early on Saturday morning and rode about 70 of the 100 mile course.Â We rode about 35 of it last weekend and I had a horrible ride.Â About 25 miles into last weekend's ride I BONKED- I got dizzy, felt really weak and thought I was going to throw up.
SoÂ after last weekend's debacle- it felt good to get out on this course and ride it like I know we can, or more precisely- like I know I can, as I was the one having problems last weekend.
We started at Uphill Grind in Cross Plains and rode out to the loop- did one loop plus a smaller loop that included the big Enchanted Valley hill.Â Â I felt good throughout the ride- maybe a little tired by the end of the Enchanted Valley loop- but really good overall.
On the course we ran into a couple guys riding from Oregon to Maine.Â When we got back to Cross Plains after the big loop we stopped for a water refill at Uphill Grind before heading out for the last few miles.Â As we left Uphill Grind,Â we saw the cross-county travelers again, so we rode back to them and told them about Uphill Grind.Â When we finished our ride they were still there, telling stories of their adventures to all the other riders that were hanging out at Uphill Grind.
We finished off the day with a great smoothie- definitely hit the spot after the ride.
That was the "one step up" part of the weekend.Â The "one step back" part came on Sunday.Â It was a step back, in that I didn't get out for the planned Team In Training run on Sunday afternoon, but it was worth it.Â Â I spent the day working asÂ the race announcer for the Bicycle RacesÂ at the U.S. Transplant Games.Â I remember from the last time I was a race announcer (about 15 years ago at Madison Marathon- long before I was active myself), that this is a really tough gig.Â Even now that I am a fairly active guy, this is still a tough day- in fact I'd say this is actually harder than racing.
This was a particularly inspiring race to work- transplant patients from all across the country come together once every other year for the games- they rotate through cities- last time Philadelphia, this time Madison.Â 1500 athletes + family and friends and some doners and their families too.Â It makes for a pretty emotional event.
Beyond the obvious emotion of the event and the inspirational part of watching every athlete- fast and slow alike- come across the finish line, the coolest non-race moment came when I was looking down at my notes-Â I noticed out of the corner of my eye a Felt bike with an argyle patern ride past- I looked up just in time to be staring Christian Vande Velde from team Garmin/Slipstream in the eye.Â Christian has had a couple of top 10 finishes at the Tour de France.Â Christian's brother Ian was competing and won his age group in both the 5k time-trial and the 20k race.Â A woman who I assume was his grandmother wanted to introduce us, but I was too busy at the moment...maybe next time.
After 5 flats in the last 2 weeks, I have come to realize that bikers are generally a great bunch of people.Â Yes- too many of them run red lights, ride on the sidewalk or ride the wrong way on a one way street.Â But basically they are really good people.Â
The first 3 of the 5 flats came at convenient locations (if there is such a thing)- at home, at the office, 3 blocks from my destination.Â The last 2 (hopefully the last 2- but more likely the more recent 2) came at less convenient locations.Â
It was only supposed to be about a 30 mile ride on Sunday, but the first flat of the day came 15 miles into the ride.Â I happened to be riding past a park when I flatted, so I found a nice spot on a park bench and pulled the back wheel off the bike (why does it have to be the back wheel when you're out on the road?).Â Â It was at this point that I realized that had had not returned all the proper equipment to the bike bag when I fixed flat #3.Â No tire-levers.Â So I called my wife to ask her to come get me.Â Before I finished on the phone with Laura another rider came along with tire levers- pulled the tire off and rode away (he wanted to get home before the heat advisory at Noon), so I told Laura that she didn't have to come get me.Â I pulled the old tube out, checked the tire for any foreign objects, grabbed a new tubeÂ (the last one in the bike bag) and a CO2 cartridge.Â But there was no adapter for the CO2 cartridge.Â I called Laura again- "come get me."Â Only this time she was in the shower and didn't notice the answering machine when she got out.Â A few minutes later another rider came along- not only did he have an adaper, but in his car (right across the street) he had a floor pump- so I didn't have to use my last CO2 cartridge!Â Minutes later my tire is changed, I call Laura to tell her not to pick me up and I'm on the road again.
I told Laura that I would call her when I was 10-15 miles from the end, so she could then come meet me for lunch.Â When I got to that point I called her and then started riding towards Brasserie V, where we would meet for lunch.Â About a mile after turning on to Seminole Highway, I flatted again!Â This time I had no spare tube, so I called Laura to tell her where I was and this time she really should come pick me up.Â As I walked towards Madison, waiting for Laura to get to me, about 3 out of every 4 riders (and if you have ever been on Seminole Highway, south of Madison, you know that's a lot of riders) stopped to ask if I needed a tube or anything else.
When Laura picked me up I told her about the experience and told her that I realized that bikers are basically good people.Â I also told her that I realized that it's time for a new set of tires.
So, for some dumb reason, we decided to turn the Crazylegs run into a brick last weekend.Â I put out the e-mail to my teammates, so I should probably take the blame, but I truely don't think it was my idea- I just sent out the invite.
Anyway, since it wasn't an official team event I also invited a few non team members to join us.Â A simple route- the stem of the Ironman course- out to Verona and back.Â We started at 7am, so we'd have plenty of time to then get up to the square for the start of Crazylegs.
Well, we made it almost to Verona when we saw the first of the lightning- so we turned back.Â Hindsight is 20/20- we probably should have just continued on to Verona, stopped in to Grays for a Bloddy Mary and watched the storm pass.Â But we didn't- we turned back.Â Which meant- by the time the storm really hit, we were about half-way between Madison and Verona- with no place to seek shelter.Â So we rode...through the rain...and the lightning...and I think maybe some hail...until we came to a convience store just outside of Madison.Â When we pulled in we saw a police car- so I asked the officer if he knew anything about the storm.Â The officer took meÂ to his car to show me the radar and assure me that we were right on the very edge of the storm- we should be alright.
So off we went- back towards Madison, until one of the riders (of course it was one of the non-team members who I ahd invited along for a fun morning ride)Â caught his tire on the edge of the road and wiped out...into the lane of traffic.Â Thankfully there were no cars coming at that moment, although we did need to stop traffic for a bit while he pulled himself up off the road.Â I will say- since nobody was hurt- it was a really cool looking crash.Â Looked like something you'd see at the Tour de France.Â Only those guys would have been going about 50 down the side of a mountain.
After all of that- we decided to skip the run.Â Instead I found a nice warm bar and had a Bloody Mary.Â Hey- I already had the T-shirt.Â Quite obviously, I wasn't the only one thinking that way.
It was my first bike ride of the season yesterday--and I must say it felt great. There are some fantastic bike trails in Middleton (near the new Costco of all places)...and once you dart through all the traffic it's really quite peaceful..and the best part...not too hilly.
Mike and I even saw a great blue heron chilling in one of the little streams back there. Those birds are huge!
We only went around 12 miles this time..but next time hope to venture a little farther..maybe into the Pheasant Branch Conservancy to see if they got any more of the bridges completed. Last year we rode through there and all they had was little stone-like steps you could cross on...Mike had to carry my bike over for me..and then come back and get me, holding my hand so I wouldn't fall in.
I know, I'm not much of an adventurer. But I guess it's better that I spend my afternoons in the "wilds" of Middleton instead of sitting on the couch watching Judge Judy!
While I was in Chicago earlier this week, I drove past a building that was all painted up with Olympic scenes- swimming, soccer, cycling, etc.Â I was reminded of a trip to New York a couple of years ago- my wife and I wereÂ in New York on the morning that it was announced what city would get the 2012 Olympics.Â New York was on the short list and there was a huge party leading up to the announcement- unfortunately New York lost out to London.Â
The whole thing got me wondering where Chicago is in their bid for the 2016 Olympics.Â One of the main reasons I want to know is because it looks like Madison will host several cycling events if Chicago is successful!
So when I got home from Chicago I googled "Chicago bid for Olympics" and came upon a couple of interesting sites.Â There's the official site...
And I found a Facebook page dedicated to the bid...
There are actually several Facebook pages dedicated to the bid- that's just the one that I became a "fan" of.Â I don't know if becoming a Facebook fan really does any good- they act like it does, but I always wonder about those things?Â In any case, it won't hurt the bid.Â And a bid could mean some pretty cool stuff right here in Madison.
A little inside info from the Tour of California...
Yesterday I told you about my coworker's significant other- he's the guy with Trek out in California right now for the Tour of California.Â She came in to work this morning with a little inside info.Â You may have heard that Lance's bike was stolen the other day- he's been riding a back-up.Â Well, the bike has been found- in pieces.Â But Lance wants to ride that bike- so the crew pulled an all-nighter to get the bike ready.Â As I post this, the new blog is not up yet- but eventually you can read all about it here...
In the mean time, enjoy this picture of the bike- as it was before it was stolen and stripped...
And I was just sent a picture of the crew pulling that allnighter- getting the bike rebuild...
Yesterday I posted on my Facebook page how upset I was with VS. for cutting to a hockey game before yesterday's stage of the Tour of California was finished.Â Yes, they gave you the option of following the rest of the race online, but I didn't have time to fire up the computer- I was on my way to my own workout.Â And there's no TIVO on the computer- so I couldn't just record it.
Â A coworker saw the comment on my Facebook page.Â Turns out her significant other is in California right now, working for Trek (and Lance and team Astana) and he's blogging about his experiences there...
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