Monday, June 30, 2008

Now for the Century that was!

Ok, most important thing... electrolyes rock!

After the dismal failure of last Monday, I intrepidly talked Darrin into a repeat attempt. We started a bit earlier, and planned a little better.

Endurolytes are the bomb. Sure they taste like a water bottle full of sweat, but it made all the difference in the world. Capsules might be a better idea after this jar runs out. Also added Propel Fitness water to my arsenal. Finally, Gatorade has made a product that does not suck! Generally I drink Gatorade and I fell terrible the whole ride. That high fructose stuff just makes me want to vomit during the entire ride. However the Propel is a different story. Comes in little powder packets, mixes just fine in my water bottle, and is benign enough that I can drink it all day.

The first 90 or so miles when fine. We were cruising along nicely and felt strong. The last 8-9 miles lasted forever. It was like I was trapped in this horrible time warp. I didn't think it would ever, ever, ever, ever end!

Was tired when I got home, but after a shower and a 10 minute rest I felt pretty good. Added another 12 miles to that total by riding the fixed gear to my class tonight. Glad I did that. The high cadence spin down really made my thighs feel much better. The stiffness and soreness was gone and I feel great now.

We'll just see how I feel in the morning!

Read 'em and weep boys:

The Hotter than Hell is going to be a cakewalk this year! Especially if I do another Century every Monday for the next 8 weeks... and I think I just might.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Century that really wasn't...

Darrin and I got together to do a ride this morning. On our warm up I mentioned that it would be nice to try and do a long ride. Next thing you know, were mapping out a route in our minds that will give us a Century. Yes, that is 100 miles.

It was an incredible route. We rode East to Arlington and hit Gateway Park. A very cool place to ride. Even saw a first in the Metroplex... a Bobcat. Just walking along and not really caring that we were 3 feet away from it.

Very cool!

After that we headed back. Of course since we really didn't plan for this Century ride, I didn't pack enough nutrition for the ride either. An issue that reared it's ugly head about 70 miles into the trip. Not so much due to the lack of real food, but appropriate drinks. I'm not a gatorade drinker, I usually just drink water. However, drinking 8 quarts of water on a trip like this for hydration really doesn't cut it. I washed out my electrolytes in a bad way. By mile 80 I was pretty much done. That nasty waterlogged feeling in my gut was more than I could take.

Physically I felt pretty good. I just had a hard time going on with the ride. We ended up with almost 85 miles. I got home, sipped some chicken bullion (Yay Salt!), quit shaking, and started re-hydrating.

Feel much better now.

Lesson learned. I won't do that again without Endurolytes.

Think I'll give it a shot again next week.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm famous!

Well, even more famous than usual...

Got home from Amarillo this afternoon to find this at my local newsstand.

Didn't think I'd be on the front page. I know I told them I was photogenic and all... but really, the front page??? Wow.

Very cool, yet humbling at the same time. Hopefully it will help humanize those of us that travel by bike to those that choose to drive everywhere they go.

I think Barry did a great job writing this story and Ron was a really cool photographer that had tons of neat equipment that I would love to get my hands on. My thanks to both of them for not making me look like a total dork (a very real possibility in my world).

Amarillo, a cycling friendly city?

Surprisingly, that answer is yes.

I was there over the weekend for a wedding. Sharon and Gracie were part of the wedding party, that meant I had some time to kill. Figured I could either watch crappy cable on TV, or find a way to bring a bike and have some fun with my downtime.

Obviously I chose to bring a bike...

After careful consideration I chose to bring the fixed gear. Mainly because it is super easy to take apart and stow away. Glad I did. There wasn't much room left in the van we rented after 5 females and 2 guys + luggage were on board.

Woke up early on Saturday morning to get in some miles. Unfortunately an incredible storm decided to squat over my chosen playground. After a couple of hours, it slowed down enough so I could get out. Threw on the funny clothes and headed off into the great unknown.

I'm serious about the whole unknown part. Last time I went to Amarillo, I was 12 years old. So I was in a strange town that I had little knowledge of and no map. Fortunately I have a pretty good sense of direction and at least had the good sense to know my starting location.

While I didn't bring a good camera with me (kicking myself over and over and over), I did have the phone with me. Took a few pictures.

Cool thing about this town, there are bike routes and bike lanes everywhere. I was impressed. I first headed South. Went to the edge of town, then headed back a slightly different way to try and find downtown.

Downtown isn't huge, but it's pretty cool. Cobblestones everywhere. Rough cobblestones. Here's a pic from downtown...

Also found historic Route 66. Rode it from one end of town to the other...

The other cool thing was random signage. Everywhere I went I saw these odd signs everywhere. I wish I knew what they signified. Anyone???

My personal favorite:

I had a fantastic ride, with fantastic weather. Drivers were incredibly friendly and the roads were nice. I wish I would have had a couple of extra days to tool around with my bike and a better camera (like my medium format). There were so many great things that I wanted to take pictures of.

Ended up with around 50 miles. A fast 50 miles on the fixed gear I might add. 44x16 is really working out on this bike. Almost makes me want to put the 48 tooth ring up front.

p.s. The wedding was pretty fun too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

An interesting and worthwhile item

In the past week 7 cyclist have been killed or injured in the DFW area. This petition was passed onto me from BikeDFW . While it might only be a feel good proposition, you never know... it might actually make a difference.

If you ride a bike, or know someone who rides a bike. Take a second to fill it out.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Product Review Update that is long overdue

I originally did a glove review over on the old Eight One Seven courier blog.

Well it has been well over a year, so I thought it was time for a product update.

These gloves Rock! Seriously. Mortal gloves generally tremble in my presence, the whisper of my name makes them cower in terror. However, the Taurus gloves from Planet Bike could care less about where I am or what I'm doing. They just keep on keepin on.

I originally bought the gloves on March 9th. I remember this because we were one our way to see the movie 300 when I bought them. Here I am 15 months later still using the same gloves. I have put several thousand miles on my bikes since then, worked part time as a bike messenger, commuted to work every day, ran errands, crashed(plural- no really!), changed tires, ran the kevlar patch across tires while rolling to dislodge glass bits, fixed broken chains... heck I even took these gloves on a cycling tour earlier in the year. They will not die.

It is almost too good to be true.

As far as how they look, well a picture is worth a thousand words.

This is a picture of those very gloves 15 months later:

As you can see, they are holding up well. Especially considering the gloves that hold the second longest lifespan with me was around 6 weeks or so.

$15.00 well spent in my opinion. In fact, I should probably buy 3-4 more pair as Planet Bike will most likely discontinue these gloves nanoseconds after I publish this post.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Beautiful Day to ride

Since I've gotten the Big Dummy, I've sorely neglected the other bikes in my stable.

This year I'm riding on a team, so the Masi is finally getting some attention... however my poor Cross Check fixed gear. It's sat alone too long. So I took it out on a cruise running errands. Probably ended up with around 15 miles or so.

I almost forgot how much fun it is riding a fixed gear bike. It's geared 44x16 and it felt fast. Since I'm wasting away I feel a bit faster as well. Climbs aren't so bad either anymore.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

So I went to the Highland Games and...

had a great time with my family.

It was a bit hot, but there was some great music. Also had fun watching the games. Shopping the same booths that have been there the last 20 times I was there, and of course... watching Grace take it all in for the first time.

Most of my pics were taken with a film camera and I need to have them developed, but I did snap a few with the digital P&S camera.

Watching Grace at the games was fun. While there wasn't as much kid stuff as in the past, she still seemed to have a good time.

There were a few games:

Face Painting (which she loved):

Then, her absolute favorite part of the day...

Some fancy hair braiding. I think it's going to be habit forming for her!

Finally, a pic from Grace:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

When did BBQ become so mainstream?

I was reading the Fort Worthian blog concerning BBQ. It specifically regards the new issue of Texas Monthly that list the 50 best BBQ places in Texas. One in Fort Worth made the list. It is Cousin's BBQ. While I'm happy for them, there's a bit of discussion about it that got me thinking.

When did BBQ become mainstream?

I remember BBQ places as a child mostly being hole in the wall affairs that looked like they might burst into flames at any moment, or considering the amount of smoke in the dining area, already had and was just reaching the smoldering phase. The food was legendary in the right circles.

Of course the best places had everything perfect, but others might have stronger points than others. Perhaps one for sausage, one for brisket, or one just had really good sauce. You knew which was which. However, you didn't broadcast this information for the world. You held it close to the vest, like a good trump card. You didn't really know why, it was just something you did.

Maybe the information wasn't so open because you were afraid the place would become a chain and change the way they do things. Sort of like your favorite band when you were in college. Sure you thought it was cool that they hit the big time. You liked seeing them on MTV (when MTV still played music), hearing them on the radio, but deep down inside you feel like they sold out. Just a little bit of their soul was taken away...and you were afraid of the changes that were going to mess things up.

You couldn't just Google "good BBQ in Fort Worth" and get an easy answer. You either had to know, or have someone take you there. Word of mouth was always reliable. Now it doesn't seem to be that way. Most word of mouth concerning BBQ is more of a popularity contest. Who has the coolest motorcycles parked out front, which place has the hottest looking divorcees on the rebound, the coldest beer, and so on. I don't care about that. When I want BBQ, I want good BBQ. The rest is just details.

Now they're mostly chains, or not as good as I remembered them. Of course, as a quasi vegetarian, teetering on the edge of failure for that lifestyle every minute of every day... BBQ doesn't have quite the same appeal to me as it once did. Actually some good grilled veggies, or a grilled chicken breast from time to time sounds better .

Hopefully my Dad won't have heart failure when he reads that last paragraph!

However, it seems like none of these places have anything perfect anymore. There really does appear to be a dearth of good BBQ in Fort Worth. I wonder why that is? Or if I'm even right.

Sounds like a quest of epic proportions. Maybe I'll take the summer to track down the best BBQ places in Fort Worth, with a little help from some trusted friends of course.

I'll start off by Googling "Good BBQ in Fort Worth".