Monday, July 27, 2009

Copper Mountain Here We Come!


Here we go. Out of this furnace for some nicer temperatures. Although the low in Colorado is 70 degrees lower than the high temp here, we are looking way forward to it.


Pack the Bikes, Unpack the Bikes...I'm gettin' good at this!

After a few days in the Ft. Collins area to visit and ride with some BikeJournal buds, we will be moving on to Copper Mountain for the Copper Mountain Triangle ride. About 72 miles altogether with most of it at altitude. Should be fun. Bike story write up and pictures to follow.

Cheers, Kent

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pay Back Time!

They say that, “pay back is hell!” Without a doubt true as of lately in Vegas. We enjoyed the coolest June on record and now we are paying for it big time. Bobbie and I managed to get out on the bikes 3 times this week before work and each time out the temperature had cooled down to a mere 85 °F. Now that isn’t all that bad really. But, and there is always a “but”, you had to be on the road at 0515 to enjoy the 85 °F temps! Because if you weren’t, and Mr Sun started showing his angry head budding up over the horizon, it got to the mid 90’s in mere minutes. So early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and cool my friends.

What’s truly amazing is how the pavement around here really doesn’t cool off. The air temperature is what the weather guessers measure, not radiant temperature. You can add at least 10 degrees to whatever is posted, and that get’s you the “real feel” on a bicycle. But hey, we can’t complain. At least we get 365 days of riding around here. I wouldn’t trade the heat for 12 feet of snow any day.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Children of the Corn Part Deux - Normal, Illinois

The original plan was to ride all three days while in Bloomington/Normal, but Mr. Rain came by for a visit and decided to stay awhile. The forecast called for a break in the weather around 1pm, but like all really accurate forecasts (hint of sarcasm) this one was just a little off the mark, and the rain stayed around all day long. Not all was lost however as we decided to just go for a nice long 2-3 hour walk along the Constitution Trail and see what we could see.

Sunday, we hooked up with the Vitesse Bicycle shop group ride that takes place every Sunday morning at 0815. Andre, the bike shop manager gave us word that this ride would be mellow and would be centered around getting some of his “running” customers into cycling. Like every other group ride I’ve been on, the actual ride time isn’t really the ride time, even though it is clearly stated that the ride will start at a certain time. This one was no different and we didn’t really get rolling until about 0830 or so. After a little social time, we got rolling and headed out towards Lake Bloomington again, but his time we took a little different route to get there which was a nice change of pace. Speaking of pace, Andre did not disappoint and kept everything within the groups’ abilities to allow a little social time on our way out to the lake. I got to know a whole host of different folks: a biology professor, ISU cross-country runner, several shop mechanics, Andre himself and the one each racer-boy who looked all of 12 years old.

The weather did not disappoint and the ride around the lake was as gorgeous as the day before. We added a little twist today and added the Evergreen Lake loop. Evergreen Lake sits about 5-6 miles to the west of Bloomington Lake and appears to be another man made lake similar to Bloomington Lake. Once again, our route just dumped us off into the endless fields of corn segregated by country roads with little traffic. The pace quickened as the professor and racer-boy got on the front and unknowingly jacked up the pace. Andre was quick to settle them back a bit and we all regrouped for a nice uneventful return to the bike shop.

I rather like these types of unknown group rides. You never really know who’s gonna show up and what the pace will really be like. I guess it is sort of an adventure. I was impressed with the friendless of everyone and the consideration that was given to the new riders. If and when I get back to Normal, I’ll definitely meander on down to Vitesse and join another ride.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Children of the Corn - Normal, Illinois


You Won't See Many of These Barns In Nevada

I'm totally convinced after today's ride that old brain cells never die, they just need a familiar smell to wake them up. Cows, pigs, horses and the myriad of other farmland smells brought back fond memories of our childhood as we pedaled our way through the heartland. And what a great ride it was!


The Constitution Trail


Bobbie Rides the Trail

We managed to find the Constitution Trail that makes its way through the Bloomington/Normal metropolis and suburbs. This trail is a real piece of work and the usefulness of which can be gauged by the number of folks actually using it. Our start came a bit late in the morning for us, but we were pleasantly surprised by the coolness at this time day. Both of us expected the temps to be in the 90's with the humidity well up, as that was what we were used to as kids this time of year. So, the pleasantness of the day was a welcome surprise. As we completed our tour of the trail we opened up into the vastness of midwest cornfields, literally miles and miles of fields covered in corn. The complementary colors of the blue sky and green fields added to the pleasantness of the experience and did not abate for the entire ride.


Miz Bobbie Cruises The Farmland


Tons of this Stuff!


Lake Bloomington and Surrounding Area

We arrived at Lake Bloomington and decided to just take a tour of the surrounding road. The tour is mostly tree covered and you only get a glimpse of the lake here and there. The speed limit is set a 20 mph for moving vehicles so that gave us a little added comfort. There is a little bar-and-grill located at what is called the main entrance to the and is also to have the best hamburgers in Illinois. We decided to come back later with the car as a belly full of hamburger on a bike ride didn't seem like too good of an idea. So, the sharing of a 65 cent Coke and sit-down was the order of the moment.


Best Burgers in Illinois!!


Creative Flower Pot

If you ever get to Normal, we highly recommend a trip to Lake Bloomington either by bicycle or car. You won't be disappointed.

Cheers, Kent and Bobbie.


Happy Birthday America!!


Just Chillin' at Lake Bloomington


One of the Smaller Homes Along the Lake

Friday, July 03, 2009

No Bikes...Unless You Got 50 Bucks!

The crack of dawn came early this morning as we started our journey to the midwestern town of Bloomington, Illinois. The temperature was up again in the Vegas valley, along with humidity and it almost felt like Florida around here. Yuk! Funny how you can break a sweat walking the dog at 0430 on a very hot and humid Las Vegas day.

The jaunt to the airport was uneventful and the gut wrenching flu bug I managed to catch two days ago finally abated. Lord knows I wasn't looking forward to travelling with that. I did say the trip to the airport was uneventful, but the arrival was a bit frustrating. It seems Southwest charges for bikes, 50 bucks for bikes. Even though mine is broken down into a nice tidy little suitcase, they still charged me 50 bucks. She asked, "what's in the bag?", A bike... "Oh, that'll be 50 bucks. We've always charged for bikes." Bobbie says, "You've never charged for this bike before." She again says, "we've always charged for bikes, that'll be 50 bucks." Seems the operative word was a bike, not suitcase. So, I call customer service. "Sorry, all of our representatives are at a staff meeting until 0830 central time, please try your call again." It's 0848 central time. So, I hangup and wait at 37 thousand feet.

Funny what and who you encounter on airplanes. I kindly asked the flight attendant, they were all stewardesses when I was kid, for another coke. She says seriously but at the same time rather jokingly, "No, I'm busy and I have three other orders in my head." I smile and say, "I'll pay you." She gives me that police, vice-undercover look and says, "Ok, 5 dollars" and then walks off. I smile and feel satisfied with the humor of the moment. She returns with my coke and says that she was sorry but she has had a lot of crappy passengers to deal with lately. "It must be the travel season or something, people just don't know what they are doing.", she says. I say, "yep, probably is something like that" and listen attentively to the rest of her story. Then she says, "You won't believe this, but I actually had one lady do something really astonishing the other day." I say, "Oh really, what was that?" ever so curiously. She says, "Well, you know how we go down the aisle collecting trash every so often." I say, "yes" "Well" she says, "this lady reached down to give me her peanut rapper that was lodged in her seat pocket, and before she gave it to me, she blew her nose in it! Can you believe that?" I say, "no, that's disgusting." "Some people" she says, as she walked off. We look at each other in amazement and disgust and Bobbie says she doesn't know how these people do this kind of work, and that she'd rather deal with snotty little kids all day then deal with adults sometimes. Me too. Hopefully we won't have to experience anything like that on the rest of this flight.

The plan for riding over the next couple of days is to explore the flat lands of Illinois by bicycle and try to document a bit of days gone by from our past. Should be fun and pictures to follow. The plan on day one is ride over to Bloomington Lake for a tour and maybe a picnic. Then, we will had west over to another lake that I can't remember the name of, spend some time there and head back through a couple of small Illinois towns located just north of Normal. We will also be using the Constitution Trail. I did a little research and the trail appears to head both East and West as well as North and South. We will be making our way on the North South portion and will hopefully explore the rest in the next couple of days, either on foot or by bicycle. Should be fun either way, especially if the weather holds out. So, we'll see.

Now, time for a little rest while I enjoy the message from the 6 year old behind me kicking my seat and listen his ever so loud lulliby out how big the clouds look up here.

Cheers, Mozam