Pedal Another Mile

Bicycling, death, life after death.

Filtering by Category: Gear

Something unnecessary

Before Billy Jo died, and before she got really bad, we discussed how I was going to be financially after she was gone. This was of great concern to her. Being a slave to spreadsheets, I created several and broke everything down for her.

This calmed her fears significantly. We discussed how the life insurance money would be used, how I would be without her salary, how I'd be for retirement. I will not go into details, of course, but when all was said and done, she looked at what was left over and told me to promise her I would spend some money (around $5K) on myself on something unnecessary. I had sacrificed a lot in the past for her she said, and she wanted to make sure that I treated myself. Could be a trip, could be anything. I told her I'd figure something out.

I'm on a six week trip right now. I can't imagine going somewhere we wanted to go... together... alone (Belize). Me, Vegas, a week, and $5K would not be a wise idea at this point. I have all the electronics I need or want.

I wasn't looking to make this unnecessary purchase anytime soon.

Then I walked into a bike shop down here a few days ago. I spent about six hours there over the last few days. I had a pro fitting done. I had adjustments made to my bike, and then I bought a real honest to god road bike, not a cross bike masquerading as a road bike.

I picked it up today. It is a 2012 model so it was deeply discounted, but nothing I would have ever considered before the talk with Billy Jo. Unnecessary? You bet. There's nothing wrong with my current bike other than it weighs a lot. As a matter of fact, I'm going to keep it for when I ride on crushed limestone trails back home. I'll put a rack on it and some fenders and can use it to go to the store and stuff like that.

Yes, it was unnecessary, but I couldn't think of a better way to fulfill her wish. She wanted me to continue living... to, in her words, "have a happy and healthy life". Well, I love to ride my bike, she surely knew that, and it helps me mentally and physically. It will last me a long long time. And even after buying a bunch of extra stuff I came in a few hundred under that number we discussed.

I picked it up this morning and took my first ride. It is a 2012 Trek Madone 5.9. It weighs almost nothing. My Fuji is a tank compared to this thing.

The bad thing is that the winds were just awful today:


Who cares - I'm not NOT going to ride a new bike because of 35 mph wind gusts :). The old one? Well, I may still have, but I would have been pretty pissed doing it :).

So, I rode almost 22 miles, at an average speed of 17.5mph... just ridiculous considering the winds, which were swirling crosswinds the entire time. The kind that can pick you up and move you over a few inches while riding. It is one of, if not THE highest average speeds I've had on a solo ride. The bridge over Sebastian Inlet was the easiest time yet, even with the wind. I can't wait to see how I do on a normal day. Oh, and of course, the last mile was in a complete downpour. Don't care. It couldn't remove the smile from my face :).

I also rode yesterday morning at sunrise, despite it being 45 degrees with 20-25 mph winds. That sucked, but when I turned around at the 10 mile mark I was rewarded with a great view that made it worth it:

Ride info for yesterday:

Today is January 19th. Last year I had 500 miles (the last 50 coming on 12/30 & 12/31). This year I have 405. I have spent over a day (25 hours) moving on a bike in 18 and a half days. I am feeling much better physically, other than my daily nausea. I am beginning to feel alive again. I'm still off the Coke Zero and lost count of days without it already - a good sign.

So there you go... the story of my new bike. RAGBRAI will be easier than last time. Speaking of which - the route is announced one week from today - I'm curious how long and hilly it will be.

Thank You Billy Jo... I hope you approve of my "unnecessary purchase"- it's going to help me do another thing I promised you - be happy and healthy.

Mostly Packed. Ready to go.

My awesome wife and I spent most of Sunday afternoon getting things together for the trip.  It has allowed me to sleep a little this week.  I won't have to worry about forgetting something if I know it's all ready to go already.  Everything is bagged up in giant ziplocs, gallon-sized freezer bags, or garbage bags.  Bike clothes are bagged for individual days and bagged again. I hope this is enough mojo to keep the rain away.

Of course, I had to take the geeky way of doing a checklist - a google document spreadsheet.  If it's not already in a bag, it's on this list and will be in a bag come Friday afternoon.

Yes, I more than likely overpacked, especially since I am taking advantage of the optional mid-week laundry service.  A tall kitchen bag full of stinky clothes returned nice and clean for a $15 donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Sounds like a bargain to me!


20.32 Miles 06/05/11 & 11.24 Miles 06/06/11

Yesterday morning was supposed to be another JBC group ride in the 40-50 mile range, but it turned out to be a no-go due to lightning.  I know I have to ride in the rain at some point to get some practice for the inevitable rain on RAGBRAI but I wasn't in the mood for lightning.

After running some errands the weather cleared up nicely so I went out for a 20 mile ride.  For once, there seemed to be no wind at all, and I was really going at a fast pace.  I rode north to Cherry Road and up it's "big" hill, and did it in the big ring.  I did the same on the Caton Farm Rd. "big" hill.

I finished the ride sweating my ass off and with a 17.5 mph average, my fastest ever solo ride, and with no help (or hindrance) from wind.

Today was hotter, more humid, and with winds about 20 mph.  Not much else to say about today except I did the Caton Farm Rd. "big" hill in the big ring again.  I just decided to make this a quick ride, under an hour, in order to practice setting up my tent in heat, humidity, and wind.  More on that in a separate post.

1.01 Miles 04/01/11

So yeah- it was my rest day, but I had just learned of 30 Days of Biking.  Sounds interesting and I figure I'll give it a shot.  This allows me to not blow it on the first day :)  Click the pic for more info.


I also wanted to try out my new tires that were delivered today.  I bought them from Performance at a pretty deep discount plus I had $35 in points to apply towards it.  They are Continental Ultra Gator Skins. 700x28.  That's down from my 700x32 cyclocross tires.  They are about half the weight of the old ones and I could tell after just that one mile that the rolling resistance is much much less, as they are a true road tire - no real tread to speak of, at least not like what I've been riding on.  Much easier to get on and off, too.  Those old tires almost needed a jackhammer to remove them - I broke two levers trying to get them off.