Friday, October 31, 2008

The Bob has a Plan

Make sure to check out Bob's blog about weekend after this one. It'll be some great fun. We also might have some extra gear or rental places in mind that will allow the less gear havin people to join in.

This weekend: I'm on call Saturday morn. Would love to do an afternoon ride if anyone is interested. It's supposed to get up to 70!!!

Sunday, no plans, but if I do go, I'd like to be done early. So the normal meeting time/place would be fine by me. Or we could meet somewhere else, whateva.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Change to an oldie but goodie.

If you don't remember the old Waassssssuuuuup commercials from the super bowl a few (more than a few apparently) years ago, then this update will jog your memory and hopefully, uh, give you hope.  Watch to the end.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ok, Mister 11 to Downtown MAT bus driver.

If you have ever headed east bound on Leavenworth in the 7am to 9am hours between Saddlecreek and 42nd street, you'd know that there is supposed to be no parking along that section.  I'd like to think this was an early attempt to allow cyclists some passage, though it's more likely that it just allows more space for heavy traffic flow.  Regardless, this section has proved to be great most the times and annoying other times.  

It's great when the weather is nice and people move all the way over so I basically have my own bike lane for 5 blocks or so.   However, when it gets rainy, or when large vehicle drivers use the right lane, it get's annoying.  Last week when it rained for a month (at least that's what it felt like), I was on my way into work when this person came way too close to me so they could avoid spray from the cars in the left lane.  Does that make sense?  Risk running over a guy on a bike instead of getting your car sprayed?

Then this morning, it was perfectly fine out, weather-wise, but again along that section, a MAT bus (specifically a 2002 version, number 11 to Downtown, that hit 42nd and Leavenworth at about 7:15am) came way too close to me as I was in the "parking" lane.  Had there been a parked car there, he would have been running over it.  Yes, that's a large vehicle, but I'd think he'd fit in the right lane without needing to spill over into the "parking" lane.  But he did anyway.  This has also happened with school buses and large delivery trucks.  Hopefully, the plan is to paint some bike lanes along this route so people will know that I'm SUPPOSED to be there and will give me some room.  But that is probably more wishful thinking. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Anyone want to ride this weekend?

My big bro is in the hospital again, so we won't be doing any b-day stuff for him on Saturday.  I'm not sure how much I'll be able to visit him there and after the crazy week I've had, I think I need a couple good bike rides.

I'm up for suggestions for either days.  Yes Sunday will be windy and 40 degrees, but if it's SUNNY that's all I care about.  This weather is really getting to me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My commute to work this AM

After a "wee excursion" of 105 miles on Sunday, my 2.5 mile ride into work this morning was almost unbearable.  I was quite sad.  If this is the case now, then 3 weekends from now, when I'm supposed to be starting the 2nd half of 360 miles, it will be much, much worse.  

So maybe we jumped the gun on the whole Omaha to Kearney and back trip.  If I had another month or so to train for it, I think my body could build up tolerances enough to make it.  By the end of the ride yesterday, my legs were just kinda tired, but my bum, hands and feet were not doing well at all.  My hands were getting tingly from my nerves/muscles wearing down.  Shifting was very difficult by the end.  Then, there was one point where I was a few blocks from home waiting at a stop light.  It turned green and I stood to pedal, but when I sat down again, I almost yelped out loud.  My rear did not want to be on a saddle anymore.  I was beyond ready to be done.

The ride itself, up till the end, was great.  Bryan had a good report of the ride (the Sunday one, not the pepper spray threatened one), but I had wanted to put in more miles for 2 reasons.  One, I wanted to see what a century felt like since I was going to be doing a couple 180 mile days in a few weeks.  Two, I had a Challenge on the website where I would win a pair of SRAM socks if I was one of the first 300 people to get 300 miles in.  I wanted those socks and I wasn't going to waste any time getting them.  So 105 miles had to be done.  One thing Bryan did forget to mention was a fun little climb we did in the middle of the ride.  After you head North from Pacific Junction and cross hwy 34, there's a road that heads straight up into the bluffs to someone's house.  The road is gravel for the flat part, but then is nicely paved when the grade increases.  My Garmin read 17% at one point.  Granted, the whole climb was probably a block long, it was still STEEP but fun.

Riding back to Bryan's house was aided by a very welcome tailwind.  We got there and I was feeling ok with 75 miles.  I needed another 30 to reach my goal, and it was about 12 miles from Bryan's to my place.  So I headed NorthWest toward Elk City.  That of course, meant more headwind for the ride home, but I was ok with that.  After mile 70, it's generally about just surviving anyway.  So I headed out, turned around and was impressed that the wind didn't seem that bad.  I think it had shifted to a more SSW wind by that point, so anytime I was heading East, I was getting a little bit of help.  But again, by the time I was a couple miles from home, I was definitely feeling it.

So that really raises questions about the likelyhood of the big trip in 3 weeks.  I'm thinking we should train for it over the winter and make it a big spring fling.  Something to start the season off with a big bang.  Plus then, maybe more people will be willing to join us?  Maybe?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tour de Trainer

With the announcement of the 2009 Le tour de France next week I thought it would be fun to incorporate that into my mundane trainer training.

For me to set and on a trainer for more that about 5 seconds is a major accomplishment. So in a attempt to add a little excitement to an other wise boring task I came up with "Tour de Trainer"

What is this you may ask? Simple! Every week you will ride a stage of the 2009 Le tour de France.

21ish stages with a prologue (or not) and 2 rest days. When the route is announced on Wednesday then we will have the total mileage.

The idea is,

Ride one stage a week 21 stages, 21 weeks. Divide them up however you want. If the weather is suitable for riding outside DO IT! We are not keeping score.

If you miss a day, you can make it up somewhere during the week or not, again we are not keeping score.

The point of this is at the start of nice weather you will have a head start on next years riding.

For those who do not need any encouragement, good for you. For the rest of us... Its a thought!

Peace and grease.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tonight's ride had a little bit of everything.

From, "I almost died," to "I am Superman," my Thursday evening adventure was quite...uh...adventurous.  I left work at 4:30pm with a desination of taco's in Mineola.  One of the first situations of note was a guy standing beside his stalled car at a red light on Leavenworth.  All the traffic was using the left lane to get around him, but I just slowly passed on his right.  While waiting for the light to turn green, the guy asked me if I had a cigarette he could bum.(?) I said, "Sorry, sure don't," and he mentioned that he ran out of gas.  So that was interesting.

I crossed the trusty BK Bridge, and then made my way across the very flat town of Council Bluffs.  Funny, with bluffs in the name, you'd figure it would resemble Omaha.  I took this route out to Mineola, just so I could get in some more miles and also see what that climb toward Glenwood looks like on an elevation graph.  That climb's not as bad as I thought it would be.  I think it maxed out at a grade of 6 or 7 percent.  On the Barrus road I took toward Mineola, there was a couple of 8% grades.  My one, "I almost died" moment happened near the top of one of those hills.  I was struggling to get to the top and noticed a couple cars coming up behind me.  I had forgotten this road had no shoulder, so I tried to hustle on up just in case a car was coming over in the opposite direction.  Well, there was in fact a car coming over in the opposite direction and I was hoping the cars behind me would wait.  My hope was in vain as Mr. big huge red truck flies by me doing at least 40mph with inches to spare so he could squeeze in between me and the oncoming car.  This happened about a mile out of Mineola and I thought for sure that was where he was heading.  I thought to myself what I would do if I came into contact with him and/or his truck.  I had thoughts of keying or letting all the air out of his tires, but I kept my evil Munson side at bay.  Then I thought a good thing to do would be to approach the guy and ask him very nicely for an apology.  Basically, "Sir, you came really close to running me over. It sure would be nice to have an apology for that."  I roll into town and there are 3 red trucks near the taco house.  I see an older couple just entering the place after they had walked from a red trucks direction.  I thought long and hard about stopping, and sincerely demanding an apology from the guy, but I decided to avoid the whole thing all together.  I didn't even stop for a taco.  If you can believe that.  Would you guys have done anything about it?

So with that in my past, I headed North-ish on the trail very surprised not to see many people.  It was now about 6pm and since it got dark at 6:45, I'd figure people would be at least starting the ride.  It was only about half way back to the trailhead that a lot of people were seen.  The next situation of interest was a group of 3 guys who were trying to fix a bike.  I asked if they had everything they needed and they replied, "Not really."  I took a look at the upside down bike that was in need of help and found that the rear derailleur had somehow got bent over into his spokes.  He might have got a stick caught in there while he was shifting to an easier gear or something.  I gave the derailleur a couple of tweaks, but the hanger, which was the worst bent part, was actually a very solid bolted on peice of metal.  It's hard to explain.  But anyway, right as I was about to give up on getting that thing straightened, a couple passerbys asked if we had everything we needed.  I said, "We could use a crescent wrench."  Little had I known, that was about the only tool these guys had brought.  So I fitted the wrench to the derailleur hanger and torqued just a little bit.  Somehow, the whole darn thing came out nearly perfectly straight.  They pedaled it and it worked great on the middle cog it was shifted to.  They asked if he should try shifting out of that gear and I recommended that he just use the front shifter to go to big,middle, or small chainring.  They were quite grateful and said I saved them from a huge headache of needing someone to come pick them up and such.  I was quite happy after that.  That was my superman moment.  Nothing makes me happier than hearing someone say, "Oh you just saved the day," or "What would we do without you."  I get that a lot at my job and it's usually after I just turned the power on the PC that, for some reason, "wasn't working at all." Getting paid to be peoples' hero, however little the disaster averted is, makes it all worth while.

Last item of note was running into Mark and Anne.  They asked if I wanted to join, but I had the woman cooking dinner, so I was on a mission not to be too late home.  Wish I could have joined you guys.  Next time fo sho.

I took a couple of pics on the way home with my camera phone.  One of them was too large to send, which was of some turning leaves.  Very Fall like.

So here are a couple pics from the return trip:

Here's the trail with some leaves turning.

Here's Omaha's downtown skyline from next to Harrahs

Here's the BK Bridge with lights.

And that's it for me kiddies.  I have 104-ish miles to make my 300 mile SRAM Road Challenge happen and get me some socks.  I will accomplish that on Sunday.  Who's with me??  Bryan, my guess is that 100 just doesn't make sense for you at this point in training.  But I'd be happy to put in a few hours with you then top off my total solo if need be.  I'm on call on Saturday, so there's no Shabbosie goodness for me.  Should we say 7:30am at Crane on Sunday??  Anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To my Plus3Network buddies.

Hey guys, I goofed and put the .org version up.  If you are trying to load up your Garmin device, make sure to use  I will update the blog to make things go better.

I double dog dare ya!!!

So, like Bob has mentioned on his blog, he and I will be taking a little jaunt out to Kearney from Omaha.  And then ride back again the next day.  This will be happening on the 8th and 9th of November with details to follow once times get finalized and such.

I'm seriously freaking out, man!!!  I have done a 130 mile ride and a 144 mile ride before, but both were at the height of my biking fitness.  Let's just say I'm not quite at that level anymore.

To all those who have the means, I'm double dog daring you to join us for a weekend of more than a couple turns of the bicycle cranks.  The destination in Kearney is free, but can hold, at most, 4 of us.  So claim one of the 2 remaining spots while there's one available!

I know most of the comments/replys are going to be "Are you $%^# insane?!?!?" But seriously, join us if you can.  It'll be a good time.  I promise.  There will be no pain, just pure joy.  Seriously.  I promise.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

125 miles = one quarter.

I tweaked my blog a wee bit.  I used to have a training schedule under "Progress Report" on the right side.  I have replaced that with my profile for a great new site, the Plus 3 Network.  This site lets you log your miles, by hand or by uploading your GPS device, to count toward donating to certain charities.  You pick a sponsor, such as Trek, who will donate money on your behalf to the charities they work with.  If you go under the "Causes + Sponsors" tab, you'll see what I'm talking about.

EDIT: Whoops, I figured out you can't do much on that site unless you're a member.  So now my link on the side just has the homepage since my profile is only viewable to members.  But you can still click on the Sponsors + Causes tab if you want to look into it

I have been looking for a reason to ride, and now I have one.  So many times, I've bailed out on a solo ride during the week because I wasn't motivated.  Now, I have a reason to get out there and put in some wicked miles.  There is some fine print with the donation rate though.  If you enter your miles by hand, each mile only qualifies for $0.0025.  One quarter penny per mile or one single penny per 4 miles.  I did a 60 mile ride with Bob on Saturday and did another solo 64 mile ride on Sunday(I'll talk more about those later).  All that effort (especially with the wind!!) equals a massive quarter.  Now if I had a GPS device, like this one, each mile would equal $0.02.  2 pennies per mile.  So my weekend would have netted me $2.50!!  That's a huge difference.  Now my goal is to donate to as many of those charities as possible.  So I ordered a GPS device like the one I linked to before.  It's gonna be awesome.  The way I figure it(hey, stop shaking your head at me...) is that the money I spent on the device will kind of be like me donating that money to those charities.  But I get a cool device and really, really good motivation to ride.  Plus there's little goals with rewards to achieve.  I'm hoping to be one of the first 300 people to make 300 miles so I can get a pair of socks.  There's other goals too, but I'll tackle them when I get the time.

So that's the new direction I'm taking.  I'm going to ride my bootay off for charity.  Hopefully this website will take off and a bunch of people will join.  Maybe more charities and sponsors will find this website useful.  Any of you that read my blog and have a GPS device should really consider signing up.  It's an easy way to donate to some worthy causes.

Now on to the rides.  Saturday: I met with Bob at 8:30am at Crane Coffee.  We both had our heavy commuters, so going was slow.  Bob had yet to venture over the Bob Kerry bridge, so we went that route.  He used his handy dandy camera to take a video of our ride over the bridge.  We took the trails SouthEast until we got to the Wabash Trace trailhead.  We were trying to figure out a way back and decided to pretty much go the same way, but stop at the Riverside Grill for lunch.  I highly recommend the place.  The food was quite good, service was great, and the price was about medium.  Would've been nice to spend less, but I rarely do lunch on a ride, so it was nice change of pace.  After we got back over the BK bridge, we headed North to hwy 36 so we could mosey back toward Bob's place.  He lives out by Lake Cunningham, which is a easy shot toward the trail.  Ooh!! When we were riding along 72nd, we saw a B2 Stealth Bomber making some rounds.  That was purdy sweet.  My guess is that Bob will eventually put the whole ride experience up on his blog if he hasn't already.  Oops, I typed too soon.  It's on there.  So that was Saturday.  60 miles with lots of wind for a total of 5 hours!!!  Yeah, that's how mellow it was.

Sunday: I woke up and was weary of 2 things.  1, the wind was about the same as yesterday AT 7am with ominous looking radars of rain, and B, scheduled ride buddy Bryan had just done an absolutely insane running race the day before.  But it was just about time to head to Crane, so I suited up, put on a little sunblock since I had gotten sunburned the day before, and was just about ready to roll.  Then Bryan calls to dash my dreams of witnessing the mighty Blue Rocket's return to glory.  I will eventually see him ride the stunning machine I helped him recreate, but it will not be it's uh....2nd maiden voyage.  (Enough guilt laid on there yet, Bryan?)  So the ride itself, aside from the wind, was great.  All those ominous clouds stayed to the NorthWest and the temp was a nice comfy 70-ish degrees.  I did the old standby of taking Bellevue blvd to cross the Bellevue bridge and climb the bluffs to reach Glennwood before looping around and coming back on that glorious flat tailwind section.  For some reason, I averaged 18mph by myself.  I'M POOPED!!  But I can now say after every ride, "It was for a good cause."  I'm well on my way (A whole quarter!!) towards donating $25.00 to the Rails to Trails Conservacy.  It's going to be an awesome time.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ride suggestions?

I'm up for putting in some miles this weekend since all I've done during the week is ride to and from work.  Yeesh.  But it's been a crazy week, so that doesn't help.

Saturday: Taking requests now.. Please leave comments.

Sunday: I'm gonna leave the start/finish locations and timing up to Bryan since we have a deal worked out for some tendered services.  Again, comments are welcome.

Monday, October 06, 2008

One benefit from the $700 B bailout plan!!

If you read the MTBOmaha blog at all you'll have seen this.  I thank MOD for bringing it to my attention.  I'm going to bug my workplace about this possibility.  

Here's the copied post:

Bike commuter benefits is now USA law

President Bush signed the Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act into law today.Congressman Blumenauer of Oregon included a bike commuter benefit provision in the $700 billion Wall Street bailout package that passed both houses of Congress this week.“We are delighted that the bicycle commuter benefits act has passed after a lengthy and persistent campaign spearheaded by Congressman Blumenauer (D-OR),” said League President Andy Clarke. “Bicycle commuters will now be extended similar benefits to people who take transit and drive to work – it’s an equitable and sensible incentive to encourage greater energy independence, improve air quality and health, and even help tackle climate change. Thanks to everyone who has helped reach this milestone, especially Walter Finch and Mele Williams, our government relations staff over the years who have worked tirelessly with Congressman Blumenauer, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and many others in Congress.”The benefit allows employers to reimburse bike commuters up to $20 per month tax free for expenses related to their commute by bike. Bke commuters who receive other commuter benefits, such as a transit pass, are not eligible for further reimbursement.


(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘(D) Any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’

.(b) Limitation on Exclusion- Paragraph (2) of section 132(f) is amended by striking ‘and’ at the end of subparagraph (A), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting ‘, and’, and by adding at the end the following new subparagraph: ‘(C) the applicable annual limitation in the case of any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’

.(c) Definitions- Paragraph (5) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:


‘(i) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT- The term ‘qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement’ means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar year for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.

‘(ii) APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION- The term ‘applicable annual limitation’ means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.‘

(iii) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING MONTH- The term ‘qualified bicycle commuting month’ means, with respect to any employee, any month during which such employee--

‘(I) regularly uses the bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment, and

‘(II) does not receive any benefit described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).’.

(d) Constructive Receipt of Benefit- Paragraph (4) of section 132(f) is amended by inserting ‘(other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement)’ after ‘qualified transportation fringe’.

(e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Shabbos + 1

Sunday, bloody Sunday.

Meet: Crane Coffee at 78th and Cass
Time: 7:30am
Pace: Slow since we'll have non-fast bikes
Distance and route: TBD

Good?  Post responses if that's cool.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Why am I working right now????

73 degrees, sunny, no wind.  It's 1:30 now and I got another 3 hours to go.  Grrr.  Plus I told my dad I'd help out with a PC problem right after I get off work.  So there goes my riding on probably the best day of the year.  Seriously, could you ask for more perfect weather conditions?

So I haven't posted in a while.  I also haven't been riding much for a while.  I get about 3 rides in a week.  Yeesh.  The rides are fun as can be, but I'm definitely losing fitness.  I guess it's no biggie since the road season is done.  When I did try cyclocross a few years back, it was quite depressing.  I was always either dfl or in the bottom 3.  Getting lapped multiple times by the leader is never fun.  But the ride itself was ok.  So I'm just gonna ride fun terrain and call it good.

My last 2 rides were last Sunday and yesterday.  On Sunday, my dad and I rode from Carter Lake up to Ft. Calhoun for some lunch, and then back.  It was quite nice out, but we found that the wind, which was supposed to be Northish, switched to the south to give us a little harder time on the way home.  It was still a great ride though.  When we got back to downtown, we rode over the new Bob Kerry bridge.  Of course, since it was the first day it was open, it was swamped.  We rode at a walkers pace most of the time.  It was funny, because there was a trio of mtb-ers that rode past, dinging bells and announcing, "On your Left," and expected people to move over for them.  Many of the walkers also thought it was funny.  Yes, eventually that will be the norm to have faster moving people announcing their presence when passing, but when you have groups of 30 people moving in opposite directions, there's no reason to expect that they should get out of your way.  It's openning day!  Take in the sights and ride slower!  And that's all I gotta say bout that.

Yesterday, I left work, headed downtown, and crossed the BK bridge again to ride on some of the Council Bluffs trails I haven't ridden before.   I took the trail South all the way to Lake Manawa.  I wanted to see what the trip would take to get to the Wabash Trace.  That would be a long ride in the works: leave work, head over to the Wabash, and ride as far as the daylight would allow.  Which right now, is not much, but at least I have some more options for next year.

This weekend: I'm officiating the Omaha CX race on Saturday.  Cyclocross is a great spectator sport.  Cause you know.  It's always fun watching people pummel themselves.  Sunday, I might be helping Bryan put together his bike if it makes it to his shop in time.  If not, we will probably be doing a slow Shabbos + 1 ride.  I shall post more details when things get figured out.