07/10: Seven Flats and Rain - Or How to Almost Ruin a Perfectly Good 275 Mile Bike Ride

September 26th through the 28th, I was riding my new Proletariat Bike in the Braking the Cycle AIDS Ride. While it may have slipped from the collective memories of our readers, how rainy it was that weekend. Anyone who did this ride vividly recalls how wet they were. From the time we mounted the bike, until we showered and dried off at night we were as wet as when leaving the pool. 3 Days - 275 Miles - and gallons of water wrung from clothes at the end of each day.

How is it possible then to recall this weekend with fondness? It is simple. The community that comes together once a year on these rides is amongst the finest people on the planet, period! And this makes every water, sand, mud and horse manure splattered mile a wonderful, cozy, warm and toasty memory.

Did I mention the Flats? Seven of them? Seven Flats?

"Hey Gary obviously you must have something stuck in your tires" Said Peter Furhmeister, Bike Tech Extraordinaire known to all as Pez Meister.

"Nah, I checked," said Gary standing in the rain at Oasis Two on Day One.

"You just gotta have something stuck in your tire." Steve, yet another of the amazing BTC wrenches, insisted, "check the damned thing." Pit Four Day One. "Lemme see that thing," as he ran his hand around the inside feeling for sharp edges.

"Did Ya check the rim? Did you over tighten the valve nut? That can pull the valve stem out and make it flat. There must be something stuck in that tire." Tom, the Man Wrench #3 - Pit 6 Day One.

Back in the barn that night, after five flats on day one alone, we all went over the rim and tire. Pezmeister found the hole in the tube opposite the valve by 180 degrees on the sidewall of the tube. "It looks abraded more than punctured." We all looked at the wet tire and found nothing.

To make a long story somewhat shorter, the next day, five miles into the ride, on another fast downhill left turn, as the rain and spray from passing cars washed across my sorry self... "Ah, (expletive deleted)!" Flat Six!

Tom replaced the rim tape, the fabric running between the inner tube and the rim where the spokes are attached. We pumped up the tire and off I went. I made lunch without incident about 50-60 miles under the repair. I ate, and rode out... 150 yards later, flat again. That was the end. We had tried it all, and taking care of me was draining the resources of the tech support, not to mention the tube supply. I sagged myself and became crew.

When I got home and recovered for a week, I went over the wheel and rims to find out why this wheel flatted so often, I was certain I would find a cracked rim or something that flexed while in a high speed left turn, some alignment issue that caused flexing and/or abrasion. Perhaps a wire strand from the bead was poking through, a rough or weak spot in the tire wall. Something exotic would be the cause of the angst.

First I washed off all the road debris from the rim and tire. Then I marked the tire opposite the valve. This way, when separated, the tire, tube and rim could be realigned to locate the fault. I performed an outside inspection marking every scratch and nick in the tire itself. After marking the holes I squeezed the deflated tire to expose any embedded debris.

These were relatively new Continental Gatorskins with perhaps 200 miles or so the tread of the tire was in very good shape, however, having ridden Continentals before, I believe they are notorious for embedding glass shards, and virtually every hole had a small piece of glass embedded in the tire. Typically flats do not occur right away, but rather miles and miles down the road after running over the debris. But nothing really showed. Finally, I removed the tire from the rim, found the hole in the tube, realigned the tube and tire and inspected the tire again. I found "The Hole." It was up on the side wall of the tube, not the tread, and there sure enough, hidden in the tread design of the tire, was a hole I had missed. And neatly embedded in the sidewall/tread shoulder was a perfect shark's tooth of glass. I felt the inside of the tire and felt nothing, but sure enough there was a small light spot where the cord of the tire had been severed by the glass, even though nothing poked through right now. I removed the debris installed a new tube and time will tell. But I am certain this is the culprit.

(That's a Red Sharpie Cap and the forcepts I used to extract the glass shown for scale)

What is the moral of the story? I had the distinct feeling that my flats occurred on fast downhill left turns. Where the debris was located in the tire perfectly supported this feeling, although I dismissed it as coincidence. Every tech and I were CERTAIN that there was something stuck in this tire. Yet we did not find it because we were equally certain we had checked the tire adequately under the circumstances. I should have sat myself down and followed my first instincts or listened to Tom, Steve, and Peter when they suggested, change the damned tire.

Did this ruin the ride? Not possible! This is a supported ride with wonderful people and the experience of being on the sag bus, and being crew were equally fulfilling and wonderful, but I could have ridden the entire ride, had I only listened to my own best counsel and failing that listened to everyone else in the chorus chanting "There's SOMETHING STUCK in the TIRE!"

05/08: An Interesting Development on Wednesday

I was riding along on my new Northern Corridor Commute route somewhere near the Merchant's Concourse when a Black late 1990's version Jeep pulled alongside as I pedaled into the headwind. I looked across my left shoulder at the two somewhat post-pubescent male occupants as the engine roared spewing its noxious fumes of partially burnt $4.00 a gallon gasoline. We were keeping pace fairly well, but I was burning body fat instead of fossil fuels.

OK so some people would argue that burning my body fat DOES CONSTITUTE a fossil fuel, but we will eschew that argument for a moment. I was sweating profusely at the time and what with battling the headwind and all I was in a less than chipper mood. This particular stretch of the journey from Hempstead Turnpike up to Old Country Road, is a high traffic, high speed section that really demands giving it all you;ve got in term of developing velocity. Anyway, back to the story... So, as I turn my head back into the wind, I hear some one call out in a remarkable display of literary acumen, "Queer!"

The term, obviously meant as a derision, began my thinking... OK, lets see. We are engaged in a value judgment here. I am exercising, eschewing petro-chemical based energy sources, decreasing automotive traffic, and doing all I can to help the planet. The epithet hurling, in-efficient fuel consuming, immature, and intellectually limited Jeep occupants are getting fatter letting dinosaurs haul their pathetic souls around as their internal combustion drips foul oil on the roadways, polluting the air we breath, and tanking our economy, transferring $700,000,000 annually from our economy to the nations of the Far East who hate our guts.

My pedaling to work will not in and of itself alter that hemorraghic outpouring of our nation's wealth, although it will help, especially if more of our readers join us byusing their bicycles instead of their cars. But there is actually more we can do. Take thirty seconds and please watch this video. Then if you agree in principle with the ideas expressed here, please join my group of friends at Pickens Plan Dot Com

Find more videos like this on PickensPlan

24/07: OK, It's OFFICIAL, I have a new FAVORITE BIKE!

Very early this year I ventured to Portland Oregon to attend and cover the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. The NAHBS was a promoter's dream, attended so well that the Fire Officials in Portland temporarily closed the doors because the show exceeded the legal limits of occupancy. Anyway, to get to the point, While I was there I met Todd Gardner of Proletariat Bicycle Company, and I liked what they were doing. Simply stated, Custom Handmade Frames and Bicycles. No Frills, solid frames elegant in their steel simplicity.

Several months passed and I decided, hell, why not order one. So I did. There is much more to this story than what I am telling you here and you can TOTALLY look froward to the full feature article in our Fall release, but for now, I simply can not contain my enthusiasm for this bike, so I'm giving you a sneak peak. This is the story about the arrival of the box and the first real ride.

So Ivan, my new PROLETARIAT bike shipped from Springfield, Oregon on August 10th, and UPS had it scheduled to arrive on the 16th. So I waited at home playing hooky from my day job. Of course UPS never showed until literally five minutes before I had to leave, later that evening, for the city. So, Ivan remained in the box gulag in which he had spent the last week traveling cross country. One minor hole in the box troubled me, but I had a train to catch.

Life intervened and it was not until the following evening that I had the opportunity to liberate him. Ivan, the leader of the Proletariat movement on Irving Place, emerged from his gulag in complete orange glowing beauty, intact and none the worse for his journey. I quickly reattached his handle bars, front wheel, and seat just in time for the sun to disappear end end our first meeting. Ivan went to the garage commune to encourage the rest of my two wheeled fleet to adopt socialism.

Friday: It must have worked, because my Six-13 Team bike left the commune to carry a competitor in the New York Triathlon. Ivan merely sat and waited, leaning against a piece of sheet rock in the garage, waiting for some TLC, adjustments, and tightening up for his first outing. He waited three days. Life, as they say, got in the way. It has been really hot in New York, and my days jobs kept me busy, but this was nothing to compared to my Honey Do list and busy-weekend-familial-obligations.

Monday arrived and I actually got home at a decent hour, so up on the bike stand lept Ivan. With very little fuss we attached his SPD pedals, adjusted the Ritchey bars, trued up the Ritchey Steerer, set the WTB seat height and rake, and Presto off we went for an adjustment test spin. Now mind you, this was in street shorts, and sandals. None the less I knew we were a team meant to spread the Proletariat Doctrine. The trip literally went 150 yards. Ivan hit the commune and slept fitfully leaning against the sheet rock again.

Tuesday morning I could endure it no longer! 6:00 am, off came the "u-trou" up came the Cannondale bib shorts, over the head came the Squadra Peal Pushers Online Jersey, and off we went, as naked as possible, Ivan and I headed East for the Cedar Creek run.

I literally turned the corner from the end of my block and I knew this was going to be a great ride. Admittedly, it was also the first ride I had taken in months without a trailer attached. But, that was part of the plan anyway. Ivan had been built up for Proletariat Service with all the considerations of attaching cargo gear. Look for more on that later when I write up the full review. The short answer; this ride reminded me totally of why I ride in the first place. I was comfortable, the ride was smooth, the steering responsive, yet neutral, and not even slightly twitchy. Power delivery felt like 100% possibly better. I spent the 23 mile round trip simply enjoying the bike's ride. It was one of those rare mornings where everyone on Cedar Creek was friendly and just happy to be there with very few Bike Road Nazis. Pleasantries were often exchanged as we shared a great morning.

Simply put, I am thrilled with this great new ride and I am honestly looking forward to doing the full review, which will publish in late September . The long over due article on the Handmade bike show, as well as an interview with Todd Gardner, frame builder extraordinaire, and Mike Parsell resident engineer, product manager, (formerly with True Temper the bicycle steel tubing company), will accompany that release. These are the gents who designed, built, selected the components and assembled the finished bike. Look for this, coming Late September to early October.

And Remember as always, Keep the rubber side down!

08/07: And Now It Is FOUR! And the Northern Passage Is Finally Discovered!

So I headed out the other morning to test out a new route from Baldwin to L.I.U. C.W. Post, where I work M-W-F. Before I had pedaled a quarter mile, It happened! Number four!

Those of you who know me know that I have been hit by cars three times. Well thanks to another upstanding citizen of Beautiful Baldwin, deep in the heart of Nassau County, New York that claim is no longer true. It's now four! THANKFULLY I escaped unscathed and all the rolling stock emerged intact, but the verbal exchange was colorful to say the least. Did I lose my cool? Abso-friggin-lutely! So I stopped (briefly) for a stop sign, for a school crossing no less, and on the other side of the sign was this driveway to this house. As I am pulling forward (pulling about 30 lbs in a trailer, this driver begins backing out of her driveway. (This is the google 360 degree photo of the spot at Chestnut and Seaman Ave along the route)

I Notice her backing out from behind the fully leaved bushes that block her view of Seaman Ave. I holler, I shout, I scream, and she keeps on backing out directly into me and the trailer. I'm fading left and she's moving reasonably slow, so the ultimate outcome is a glancing blow and an overturned trailer, that and a pantload of verbal abuse. Her excuse, "There's a stop sign." I suggested that this did not equate to "Stop here and wait for Aunt Tilly to emerge at will with utter disregard for cyclists!" Of course the discourse was far more colorful and explicit!

Well, onto the pleasant part! I have also been known, by those of you who actually follow this whining diatribe, to mention upon occasion that Nassau County is, at best, difficult for cyclists. To that end the various routes I have tried to allow me to arrive at Post alive have proven very unreliable in that regard. Well in comes Google Earth, and after some searching, I have a route that looks good on the screen. This morning I tried and Viola' I have a route!!!

Now this route is not without its exciting parts, BUT, there are actual sections that are down right pleasant by Long Island Standards. The trip is about 14.5 miles one way. The morning trip has me pedaling North from the South Shore where I live up through Freeport, Roosevelt, Uniondale, East Meadow, Carle Place, Westbury, Old Westbury, and ultimately Brookville. The trip takes me from 18 feet elevation up through Roosevelt Field ( a shopping mall on the historic site of Lindberg's Flight across the Atlantic and Mitchell field, an old WWII Army Air Corp Base which is now a series of Museums and the Home of Nassau Community College. this is at 98 feet of elevation and the Wind literally never stops. The morning has an off shore breeze that flows briskly into my face from inland (North to South) and in the afternoon it is an onshore breeze which kindly reverses the trend. This persistent wind is the reason that they chose this spot for the airfields. It is also that and the traffic that make this the worst part of the trip. The rest however is sweet. Especially the climb to the highest elevation of 300" just before I turn onto campus, where I finish the ride in with a great coast back down to about 170 feet.

Try out the google Earth stuff if you follow the links, upgrading to the most recent version and there are These Camera thingies called "Street View" you should be able to see a lot of the route. Sadly the northern most extremes are missing for the beautiful Long Island Gold Coast views! I'll try and take some shots on the way for posting here.

Anyway, I have finally found my route to commute, one which I am largely happy with, and I am enjoying some decent work outs

29/04: Some Days are Diamonds

The song goes "some days are diamonds some days are stones" well in the course of three days of riding I managed to have both. Friday, Rob and I went out for a quick shot up the North Shore of Long Island from CW Post up to the Long Island Sound at Bayville. Friday was the pearl, 60 plus degrees, virtually no wind, empty tree sheltered well paved streets, courteous drivers, what more can a cyclist ask of life.

Rob and I were also engaged in a business discussion so the ride was a rolling conference, but what an office… If only we could do this more often. Wait, that’s why we are doing all this stuff with pedalpushers and the like…

So Rob is obviously quite used to riding in this neck of the woods as he led onward with confidence and resolve. Personally I felt badly displaced, missing all the Diesel Fumes and 18 wheelers, SUV’s and garbage trucks I normally ride alongside of. In any case we made the 17 mile or so round trip handily and it was literally one of the diamond days of cycling. Bayville is still gorgeous, the Northshore is still gods country and for those of you who think of Long Island as flat, we have Terminal Morraines, in fact we are a Terminal Moraine. So we have elevation gains, I mean CW Post is all of 47 meters in elevation and Bayville is at sea level. The roads actually take you up and down this elevation two or three times each way. So figure it out, we even climbed 3 ups and downs each way there and back, heck we climbed a whopping 846 feet in all! ;-)

Now remember Rob rides with a highly aggressive pack of riders and I dawdle, but hey I actually hung on. (Wheel Sucking the whole way as I was totally lost) Gotta love those Diamond days.

Oh yeah the stones? Well Lee and I decided that we’d ride our bike over to Atlantic nursery to buy the vegetable plants and some impatiens for the garden. So, I busted out the Burley Trailer and the Cannondale Mountain Bike, and Lee broke out "Simple" (her Giant Beach Cruiser) and we set off for Freeport on a seven mile environmentally friendly bike trip eschewing the car. Well as you can see from the picture, Lee was wrapped up like Nanook of the North, and I was similarly attired. It was chilly, cloudy and the wind was howling smack dab into our faces. This should have been a nice spring garden planting ride, but instead we were treated to a fall - time to hang up the bikes - freezer burn ride instead. But we made it. Happily back amongst the broken pavement, potholes and rude drivers we were back in my element on the South Shore, feeling appropriately punished and thus liberated by our stone riding day! The garden and impatiens all went in and the rain came down to water them…

I hear it should stop raining soon, more to come If it ever does…!

Ed note: As I send this up to the blog the sun has broken in on my lonely IT garret here in Chelsea, downtown Manhattan, but this ending is so good I am leaving it alone. ;-)

Ed Note 2: A Terminal Moraine is the pile debris left by a melting glacier at the end of its greatest extension. Long Island is that pile of debris scraped off of Canada and New England by the great ice age.

23/04: The Season Opener

You may have noticed that I spend a lot of time writing about bicycling. In fact a lot of what appears on the pages of Pedal Pushers is written by me, but lately there has been a problem. You see, of late, I spend a tremendous amount of time writing about bicycling and very little time actually doing it, even less writing about riding! Hopefully this is going to change, effective with this morning.

Let’s consider this to be the opening chapter in a season of addled thoughts which spring spontaneously from the oxygen starved brain of an over 60 rider, me!

The first though I had this morning (the first ride of the season) was that the best spring training have ever done on a bike, was done off the bike. I occasionally play at running over the winter by doing the Long Island State Parks Winter Runs with my daughters Chris and Candice. Somehow this season I allowed Chris to talk me into training up for the Long Island Half Marathon (Not happening - ITBS). But, having made it to the 9 mile level before retiring from training, I actually found myself in far better shape for this ride than I expected. Far better, in fact, than any other first season ride – ever! Mental note to self – Run over the winter!

I set out with the idea that MAYBE I’d make it down Cedar Creek, but if I adjusted the terminus, well that would be ok too, so I set out at a leisurely pace and took Seaman Ave East instead of Sunrise. I thought, "Lee might enjoy it if I made it home alive." Note to self… remember some kind of visor, this is the time of year that the Sun literally blinds you riding East. Good thing I took Seaman. I looked down at the odometer 19 MPH, What???

Crossing Merrick Road heading the Cedar Creek Park I realized, once again, that no one in Nassau County ever cares one iota about cyclists. I waited for three cycles of the light (it turned green for opposing traffic exiting the parkway, but never turned green for me) before a car finally showed up behind me to trip the sensor for the light. I had looked around for a pedestrian button but found none... (note to self – complain about this at the next neighborhood watch meeting)

Finally made Cedar Creek (elapsed rolling time 22 minutes) 19.85 Average speed? OK something is definitely wrong, but hey sounds good anyway… (Note to - self check wheel diameter settings)

God the fact is that I still love things about Long Island, once you get away from the traffic and the noise, the ride down Cedar Creek is really lovely, and today’s ride was once of the perfect ones, Slack tide, no wind, the bays were like glass. The only sounds, the chain on the cassette, whirring tires and the ragged breath of a sweaty old man huffing down the trail.

Passed a couple of inline skaters. They are much nicer than most spandex clad full kit arrogant Lance wanna bees. They say hello, and good morning, they smile and are happy to be out on such a morning as this. Pass the typical Tour de Farce Roadie poser, and they look angry and rule number one if you ride in a matching team kit, NEVER BE NICE TO ANYONE PASSING IN EITHER DIRECTION. Who the hell wrote that rule anyway? Find a nice dude all sweaty and working hard as hell on his 28 lb. Huffy Mountain bike, and he’ll be all smiles and short of breath but he’ll smile and say “hi, how ya doin’?” just like a real person. Ahhhch, the heck with it, enjoy the morning, ignore the posers and enjoy the nice folk.

This might come as a shock, but every now and again I manage to slip into a less than optimistic attitude, the last few weeks were particularly bad. Then I figured it out… I had quit running and replaced it with nothing. No endorphins, no exercise, nothing, and the mood slipped. Climbed back on the bike, put in about 23.8 miles and the world was all smiles again. Gotta Love it…


44 and still rollin'

There comes a time, in the chronology of things, when occasions go marked (and they will) by “those” cards…you know which cards I mean…the cards which invite our inner goddess (whoever she is!) out to play…that offer us new ways to think about girdles and facial hair or guide us to mirrors that will hide our double chins, sagging breasts, and pot bellyhangovers. The cards where women start looking like men…and we are all wearing purple!!

So who cares and what’s your point this time Row-Z?

Well, today more so than any other day this year, I care, because today I turned 44. And this year as never before, I received for the first time…”those” cards…which means…I am officially old.

But…I mean really… what was I expecting today when I looked inside my Cracker Jack box? I mean…lets face it I have been in my 40’s now officially for 4 years…and know what…mustache aside, it has been great!

But oh no don’t think for a minute that I walk this side of the hill unawares that I am starting to look more like my mother (and my father) every day…that chocolate should be labeled “chuck-that” because every time I down a kiss the junk in my trunk rattles a little larger.

So…given the fact that I have been carded for the last time…unless I try to take a flight on a major airline or give blood…what am I gonna do with this year?

Dan-O my trusted companion and side kick helped me figure this out. Over a peanut butter and jelly ice cream cake that we washed down with my favorite Proseco, we talked about Peter Pan, Never Never Land, and how we are going to stay young.


For me, age is a state of mind as well as a state of fitness and so we talked about our next ride, training for the AIDS Lifecycle. You know, it’s been snowing…and snowing…did I mention its snowing…well into April and we are ready for spring. By this time last year we had retired our skis and were getting ready for our first century ride. But not this year, we ski and will ski until late April and so have had to consider points east, landing this time in Pendleton, Oregon.

The Century Ride of the Centuries is a three-day supported ride through the Century Farms in and surrounding Pendleton, Oregon. The “CROC” as it is called, is noted for the varied routes, rolling terrain, and the Monday ride up the formidable Cabbage Hill. The ride offers meals and entertainment served by friendly volunteers and organizers. The terrain is challenging, but with enough variety that all levels of riders can enjoy themselves. The CROC features a century, metric century, and recreational family rides and riders can enjoy vistas of historic Oregon farms and the Oregon Trail while rolling through the Eastern Oregon countryside and the Blue Mountains. You can get more information about the ride by contacting:

The Century Ride of the Centuries
Event Date: Memorial Day Weekend
When: Friday May 23rd through Monday May 26
Location: Pendleton/Wildhorse
Contact: habitting05@msn.com

For Dan-O and I, we are looking at this one. Perhaps, if we are lucky it will turn back the croc of time. Between then and now however we need to do a little crosstraining and have some serious work to do on that birthday cake. Row-Z Out!

24/03: No More Diets...No More Disciples...Row-Z has Found Her Religion

Row-Z and Dan take a 70 miler in prep for the AIDS LifeCycle Ride

So, I was at the gym this morning staring at perpetuvision titillated beyond one’s wildest imaginings by the prospect of enlightenment and the perfect azz, which could be mine,…without!...I’ll say it again…without!..going to the gym or going to church!

Think about it…no more diets! no more disciples!

I am not a religious person and although my Catholic mother would cringe at the thought of this, I was really excited and gave the idea some serious consideration. I mean it was 5:15 AM and I had an Easter basket full of salvation at home!

Thinking better of abandoning my treadmill…I turned up Madonna's “Like a Virgin” on my MP3 and thought about the 70-mile training ride Dan and I busted out over the weekend to prepare for the AIDS/Lifecycle.

Talk about enlightenment and the prospect of a perfect body…70 miles between Portland and the Woman’s Forum in the Columbia Gorge and back along the Columbia River is religion!

The Columbia River Gorge Bike Map landmarks the Historic Columbia River Highway, the Woman’s Forum where we were headed, the Vista House at Crown Point, and Multnomah Falls just to name a few.

The map is thorough in it’s direction from Portland to Troutdale and points east…and along with information regarding climate, weather, route, and elevation, provides great tips for riding in areas of a narrow shoulder; essential “bring alongs”; and insights to camping, picnicking, and lodging one-self for a day or weekend ride.

This is a super resource and I wish I had learned of the map before our sunny Saturday morning ride.

So, while Dan contemplated our route I was thinking about the last time I was on my bike and all the second hand, grab-and-go, late night, one for the roads that went into the hole between Athens and Portland; the Castro, and Easter…yeeeeccchhh!

I drifted off, wondering what a chocolate bunny would look like in a girdle? You see, the magic girdle…they were selling…this morning…at the gym…is multi-purpose. It works, kind of like smoke and mirrors and can deliver the tight flanks, boob job AND the Angelina brood we all so desire for only $29.99 and we never have to diet or workout again...ever!

There is a reason these commercials are on a 5:00 AM Homer!

So back to the ride and our route that took us out of Northeast Portland toward the Springwater Corridor, part of a 40-mile loop extending from southeast Portland to Boring, Oregon.

The Springwater Corridor began as a commuter railway in 1903 delivering folks from downtown Portland to outlying communities. The rail carried passengers through the 1950’s when autos became a preferred method of travel. Now, the multi-purpose trail serves a recreating public of Portland and the burgeoning Metro area.

Presently, portions of the corridor are under construction so Dan and I were diverted to a detour through residential areas of Metro Portland. Once we regained the main corridor, we rode it to where the sidewalk ends near Rugg Road outside of Gresham, Oregon.

The route winds its way up 267th Avenue, crossing Highway 26, and into Gresham. A number of busy roads can be followed through Gresham and none are ideal. We choose a route along Stark Street, passing the Mount Hood Community College.

Eventually, any route will force one toward Interstate 84 and the Troutdale Outlet Mall and just before you get sucked into the vortex of shopping megamallmania you will turn into downtown Troutdale and toward the Historic Columbia River Highway. If you miss this just head toward the on-ramp of the interstate because your chances of surviving I-84 are much better than surviving the outlets.

Out of Troutdale the ride travels through Springdale and Corbett, two burgs that offer home town opportunity for distraction and refreshment at Big Bears and the Corbett Country Markets.

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania so I love country markets and the prospect of ice cream, whoopee pies, licorice and carmel corn...all one really needs when riding 70 miles. So, of course we stopped and while Dan enjoyed his third Laura-Powa-Luny-Cliv bar and Gew packet I went inside and got me a fudgicle…and no...it wasn't a fudgcicle…”cicle” is too close to “cycle” and at this point anything that could deliver as much pleasure as a fudgicle was no where near my cycle!

Pulling out of Springdale and into a 25 mph head wind, we cruised just five short miles up hill to our turnaround at the Women’s Forum. You will see from our photo we were smiling at this point because the ride home was really a coast in a tailwind along Marine Drive and the Columbia River.

We ended the serious part of our ride in the Kenton Neighborhood of Portland where we stopped at a favorite pizza joint. Pizza Fino! It was all better than communion and you know I'm really thinking about cancelling that girdle.

Hey dont forget to check us out at http://www.aidslifecycle.org/2816/

13/03: Row-Z Almost Home and Ready to Ride


I haven't been using my brain much lately, as testimony has it, and I turn to the Origins of Virtue and Thomas Hobbes Leviathan to entertain myself...

What are we doing? The Japanese woman in front of me is watching Talladega Nights. The Chinese couple next to me is sleeping off a humbao hangover and I am listening to "They Call Me the Breeze". I guess I have been feeling, not thinking...living, not rationalizing, recovering, reconciling things which are long since past. After all it was a vacation...and there was ouzo!

What am I doing? I find peace in the Origins of Virtue for it pulls a focus from my ego to my intellect forcing consideration of that which is beyond my control but very much in my realm of influence. There is virtue and as well a Leviathan in all of us. But who is called to order when we commit to charitable acts. The virtuous self one would consider. But he is only determined virtuous based on whom we concluded the Leviathan.

This was a good vacation, and now as I wing myself, jet lagged and bedraggled, toward home I contemplate the tata I will help prepare to serve the guests who have agreed to join us in San Fran for St Patrick's blow it out your blarney brunch we are hosting to raise money for the AIDS/Lifecycle.

Then I gotta start riding!

13/12: Cyclocross Nationals, Kansas City Style

Kansas City Cross
Cyclocross is a sport born of incongruities. You ride what is basically a road bike, only you ride it off road. It is a bike race, but you also run, carrying your bike even, and then you get to hop over barricades. You make absolutely certain that your bike is clean as it can possibly be, but the muddier you are at the end of the race, the better.

If you can accept these incongruities, then you can be reasonably expected to understand the incongruities of feeling that accompanied our trip out to Kansas City to cover the 2007, Kansas City Cyclocross National Championships. It started Tuesday with the dire predictions of a massive ice storm striking the Mid West. The predictions proved true, and all the coverage of the disasters emanated from Kansas City right where we were heading. 1 in 3 without power, federal disaster relief declared... OK there should be plenty of mud, but our hotel may be without power...
Ice Crust, ready for racing

5 AM arrived way to early. We opted to fly out of JFK. Our best flight option carried us to Kansas City via a connection in Minneapolis St Paul. As we flew over the Great Plains we saw the snow and ice and we wondered... anticipated the worst. We found instead beauty, a sunny, beautiful picturesque wonder world of ice encased everything. We also found a community totally recovered with clear roads and light weight jacket temps...

We have heard the course today was mud, mud and more mud. Below 20 tonight and snow and 20's tomorrow... with a major snow event.... and thunderstorms. What a great day for a cross race?! Tomorrow will bring the conditions that are inherent in classic Cyclocross action. An utterly perfect day for those who come to us as Cross competitors.... Look for it coming tomorrow.