Man’s Best Friend?

If had known it was going to be misting rain, I probably would have never left the garage. However, I had a good ride, and I’m kind of glad I went. This picture shows the overall gloominess of the day.

Goat Line Up
I’m not sure why these goats were lining up like this

My route took me on 400W and Jackson Highway to Montmorenci, and then east on US52 back to 400W. Early on, I was greeted by a barking dog, either a miniature collie or perhaps a sheltie, that ran out to meet me. His tail and ears were up, and he seemed to be saying hi. Later, when I was riding up a hill in an area without houses around, I heard another dog barking behind me. Assuming it was some feral dog that had come across the corn stubble looking for cyclist meat, I turned around expecting the worst. Instead, I saw a large white German Shepherd with his head out of the window of a car waiting patiently for me to clear the hill so it could pass. (Actually, the driver was waiting patiently. I have no idea how the car was feeling.)

Old Barn

I’ve been riding past this place on 400W for a while now, and I’m surprised it’s still standing. I especially like the hood from an old farm truck on the roof.

Miles Ridden: 13.8

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Man’s Best Friend

I was was finally able to get out today!

The neighbor and I took a quick ride before supper. The wind was stronger than the Weather Channel had predicted, so the ride west on Division and South on 700W was a little tough.

As we were stopped at the top of a hill waiting for traffic to pass before turning around, we noticed three cyclists coming towards us at a pretty quick rate. They asked how we were doing as they passed. We followed them back north, and I remembered how much my size and weight help me on downhills (just as they impede me on uphills). With the tailwind and the downward slope, I left the neighbor in the dust – pedaling in the top gear with little effort. Still, the three cyclists were quickly becoming specs on the horizon.

The clouds and the lateness of the hour conspired to make things darker than usual. I put away the sunglasses and fired up the blinky light.

When I arrived home, this little guy was waiting to greet me.

Post Ride Greeting
Nelson welcomes me home

Miles Ridden: 11.7

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The Windy City

I’m in Chicago again for my yearly conference, and while I spent some time this morning on the recumbent in the hotel health club, I don’t think I’ll be getting many street miles in during my visit. It’s a little cold, a little wet, and a little crowded for my tastes.

However, I did ride in Chicago once. Maybe in 1999 or 2000, I took part in the Boulevard Tour. This year’s was held in September, but my foggy memory puts it in the spring – maybe May. Regardless, we started at the U of C campus at the site of the 1930 something World’s Fair and rode up through Chinatown, the Loop, the Puerto Rican district (there was a big neon PR flag installed over the street in the business district), and then back south on a path slightly west of downtown. I think it was around 45 miles.

I hadn’t been in a big city ride before, and I just loved the idea of thousands of riders taking over the LaSalle banking district – even on a Sunday. The tall buildings, which are a little intimidating and are difficult to see from a car, were resplendently visible, and the normally busy streets offered lanes for the taking. There was a tandem bike pulling a trailer that contained a drummer, a guitarist, his amp, and a generator. The two riders were working hard to keep the music traveling. (The duo sounded horrible, but I still loved it!) The route was barely marked, and the SAG stops were undersized and backed up – what a great day!

I wish I had photos to share, but I had a camera accident at the beginning of the ride. My Kodak camera was bumped while in the pannier, causing the lens mechanism to attempt to engage. I had things packed tight, so the plastic gears stripped instead. It was fixed about $250 later. (One would never think of fixing a digital camera today. The price of repairs is too close to the price of a new one – with better features!)

I was riding with a co-worker who pushed very hard through most of the ride, but bonked about 5 miles from the end. He was cursing himself and getting generally upset, while I was happy just to be finishing. We rode in the Wabash River Century later that year, and he did the same thing on that route – stopping every five minutes of the last stretch to restate how much of an idiot he was for not pacing himself or for not being strong enough. I didn’t ride with him after that.

While I’m out sightseeing/shopping this afternoon, I’ll look for messengers or commuters. And I’ll be a little jealous.

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November 2006 Total

Picnic in the Park

Miles This Month: 119.5

Miles November 2005: 52.9

2006 Total So Far: 1,475.3

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Another Reprive From the Cold

The rain held off another day, so I rode to work again using the South Work Route.

Miles Ridden: 8.4

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My Vehicle is Powered by Tacos and Ice Cream

Sorry for the post title. I was waiting at a light behind a Toyota hybrid car sporting a bumper sticker with an environmentally sensitive message, and it just popped into my head.

I thought that yesterday would be my last ride of the month, but as long as my favorite weather caster Kelly Greene keeps pushing the rain and cold further into the week, I’m going to keep riding.

Today, I rode to work, to lunch, and to two meetings, including one up at the Ross building. I came home on the South Work Route.

Miles Ridden: 19.6

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Back Home

While working on the post about yesterday’s ride. I almost missed my chance to ride today.

I was able to get in a quick jaunt to Granville Bridge, plus a little extra south on 700W.

Miles Ridden: 10.9

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My wife’s extended family spent the weekend at the Rawhide Ranch in Nashville, IN. It is a small horse ranch that hosts family gatherings and corporate retreats. With over 60 people in our party, we filled the entire place. (My only complaint was that there was a never-drying mud hole at the base of the steps leading to the bunk house – the Buck Inn. We tracked watered down horse manure and urine all over the building!)

Rawhide Ranch Sign

I’ve spend the last few weeks hoping for great weather this weekend, and I was not disappointed. The Pilot 1.0 joined us in the van for the trip down.

West Lookout Tower
West Lookout Tower
Brown County State Park

Brown County is a great scenic area of southern Indiana. I’ve been there a few times before (the annual family gathering once took place at the Abe Martin Lodge at the Brown County State Park), and I took a bike along on a camping trip long ago. However, I seem to have forgotten how hilly this part of the state is – nothing like the prairie back in Tippecanoe County. I was riding through the state park when I came upon a hill that I thought would kill me. You know the feeling when you are in an easy gear, but the cadence gets slower and slower as the hill gets steeper. Then, when you reach for the shifter to go down one more, you realize that you are already in 1st. I got the top panting like … well, like something that pants a lot. I hit two more of those climbs in the park. (I’m sure that most readers of this little journal must think that I’m a wimp and horribly out of shape for having trouble on these little bumps in the road as they tackle much tougher mountains in places like Colorado and California. All I can say is – you’re right!)

Brown County Overlook
It’s tough to capture the rolling hills in a photo, but I tried

Riding back to Nashville from the west gate was mostly downhill, and fairly level roads led back to the ranch. However, the worst climb of the day was the driveway at Rawhide. I can’t estimate slopes, but I know that I have never hit anything this steep in my life. I tried a serpentine path to minimize the slope, and I had to stop halfway to get my breathing back to normal. However, I’m happy to announce that I did not walk up any hills on this ride!

A father and son from another branch of the family went on a 12 mile mountain bike trail somewhere near Story, IN at the same time I hit the pavement. They came back muddy and happy.

Miles Ridden: 15.8

Click Here for Gmaps Pedometer route.

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Vacation Day

My wife was off work today, so I took it as well. We shopped all morning, and I was able to get a ride in the late afternoon on the Wabash Avenue Route. The temps were in the low 50s, and the wind was light. A nice day for a ride.

You can see in this picture, that there is an unbroken wall in the median on US231 between River Road and SR25. Today as I was heading southbound I saw what I thought to be a nice photo op on my left, but I would have had to cross four busy lanes of traffic and jump over the wall to get it. Maybe tomorrow.

I’m noticing that I’m having a tough time finding new things to photograph on my rides. I need to find some new roads!

Trains on the Avenue
The Future of Freight

Miles Ridden: 12.4

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Cold, Wind, … and Goats

The neighbor and I were able to get a late ride in today. It was in the low 40s with a wind near 10 MPH. Still, we bundled up and took off. To avoid post football game traffic, we pretty much followed the llama route.

Goats on Jackson Highway
Two goats found on Jackson Highway

By the time we returned home, our ears and fingers were quite cold. Still, it felt good to get out.

Miles Ridden: 12.7

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