Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blood and sweat (but no tears)

Yesterday, I stopped on my way to work to give blood. Originally I had made an appointment to give on the 19th, but I wasn't feeling well that week. I did give the next week because I didn't want to donate in the week before the 200K.

I always make sure to take plenty of time to rest, eat, and drink before leaving the donation center.
It's only about two miles from the Red Cross to where I work so it's not a big deal to ride afterward. I actually feel it more on the ride home and for a few days after.

The weather has been incredible lately. I've ridden home in just shorts and jersey for the past several days. Today I was able to ride in to work with just shorts and jersey. The highs for today and tomorrow are supposed to be around 80 (that was the sweat, in case you were wondering).

Monday, March 29, 2010

One good turn deserves another

When I went out to my bike this morning, I noticed that a couple of screws that hold the rear rack on were loose. I tightened them up and rode to work. They may have loosened during the 200K on while the bike was on the bike carrier on the car. When I got to work I noticed that one of the screws that I hadn't tightened was missing. I don't know if fell off during my ride or sometime earlier. I decided to stop at Maplewood Bicycle on the way home.

On the way home, my foot slipped off as I was clipping in and knocked one of the nuts of the front fender. I figured that this was something else that I could get fixed at the bike shop.

I little while later, someone called out to me from a bus stop on the other side of the street, "Hey, have you got any pliers?" Since I did have pliers I told him to hold on and I turned around and went back. He had some electric hedge clippers and something was caught between the blades. I let him use my Leatherman to fix it. He said that he rode a bike and that he used to live in Alaska. Oddly enough his name was A.J.

After helping him out, I rode off into the sunset (Well, it was evening and I was headed west). When I got to the bike shop, they replaced the screw and the nut. They didn't charge me anything. They told me that I could pick up the wheel tomorrow. Support your local bike shop and they will support you.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I have two sets of wheels for my current bike: the wheels that came with the bike and the wheels from my old bike. The wheels that came with the bike are a little wider and have 32mm tires with tread on them. The other wheels have 25mm tires with no tread.

I switched to the wider wheels after falling twice on the way to work one day when there was a little bit of snow on the ground. Idecided to switch back because I wanted the narrower wheels for the 200K this weekend. I switched them last weekend so that I would have time to deal with any problems during the week. You never want to make a change to a bike's configuration right before a long ride.

When I went out to the bike on Monday morning, I saw that the rim on the back wheel had failed. Part of the rim had separated and was curling out from the wheel. Rims do eventually wear out and the back wheel has several thousand miles on it. The front wheel had the rim and spokes replaced after the accident so it should still be in good shape.

I put the wider wheels back on and had Helen take the bad wheel to Maplewood Bicycle to be rebuilt. It was not going to be ready until after the 200K so I just planned on using the wider wheels.

The start of the 200K was at 7:00am on Saturday. It was about 40 at ride start with a southeast wind of about 15 mph. The route heads generally south and east so we expected to have a headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back. Rain was expected that evening but I was hoping to finish the ride before that.

I was a little chilly before the start but we warmed up once we started. I stayed with the front gorup at the beginning but I knew that I wouldn't last long. After one turn at the front I wasn't able to latch back on the end. This made it harder because the route was still heading east and I had no one in front of me to protect me from the wind. I had to work a lot harder and took my jacket off a little while later.

A couple of other riders caught up to me later and I rode with them for a short while. I lost them when I stopped in Pocahontas (mile 24) and they didn't. At mile 30 the route turned south but this didn't help much the wind. In some stretches I was struggling to maintain 12mph. At mile 36 the route turn towards the west and I was treated to a tailwind for three miles. I was able to travel at 20-25 mph for this stretch. Then the route headed south for 12 miles towards Breese.

In Bresse, at the first checkpoint (mile 51) I met Scott. I rode with Scott during large portion of the 400K and 600K back in 2007. He was on a fixed gear bike for the 200K but said he would use a geared bike for the longer rides. I ended up riding with him for most of the rest of the day. For the next 18 miles we were heading either south or east. When we headed south, I was having trouble keeping up with Scott since he is so strong. When we headed east we had a tailwind it was easy because the lack of gears limited his top speed.

At mile 69 mile made the last towards Okawville. This meant 9 miles heading southeast; almost directly into the wind. I soon realized that I would be able to keep up with Scott so I let him know that I would see him when I got there. When I finally reached Okawville (mile 78) I was pretty tired, but I was pretty excited to no have to worry about the headwind any more. Also the MotoMart in Okawville is my favorite convenience store in the world. It was about 1:30 so I called Helen and told here that I expected to finish around 5:30. After resting and eating, Scott and I got back on the road.

The first 10 miles out of Okawville were retracing our steps. the wind that was in our face was no at our backs. It almost felt like we were cheating but we earned that tailwind. After that we heading mostly north, but with the occasional section heading west. The wind seemed to be coming more out of the east than the south, but it was never headwind. We stopped and ate again in New Baden (mile 92).

We made the turn onto Fruit Road (mile 115) around 4:30. Now we were heading west for the last 10 miles we a tailwind the whole way. It felt like I could coast the rest of the way. Scott told me I did not have to slow down to stay with him but I didn't feel the need to push my speed. I enjoy riding with someone else.

We reached the final checkpoint at 5:14. That's a time of 10:14. My bike computer showed 8:31:31 rolling time and a distance of 128.06 miles.

I think I did pretty well considering that this was the first ride of more than 50 miles since the MS-150 in September 2008. I am not as fit as I was in 2007. I need to work on that to be ready for the longer rides.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not feeling well lately

On Wednesday night, after the kids had gone to bed, Rachel came running down the stairs yelling "Daddy, A.J.'s puking in the bed!" I went up with a towel and got him wiped off and put him in the tub. I then took the sheets and blankets to the laundry room. After he was cleaned up. I put him on the couch to sleep. Helen was at the grocery store so I called her to let her know what to expect when she got home. After doing all this I wasn't feeling too good myself. I figured that it was from dealing with a rather unpleasant task.

The next morning I still had an upset stomach. I ate breakfast and that did not help matters. I decided that I wasn't feeling good enough to ride to work so Helen was planning to take me to work after taking Rachel to school. A.J. was staying home, of course. While she was gone, my stomach convinced me that I, along with everyone where I work, would be better off if I stayed at home. I mostly sat around watching TV and not eating all day.

On Friday, I woke up, emailed work that I wouldn't be in, and then went back to sleep until about noon. A.J. stayed home again too. I started feeling better later in the afternoon but still had no appetite. I did end up a couple of slice of frozen pizza for dinner so I thought I was getting better.

Saturday I woke up with no appetite again. I had enough energy to go outside and play with the kids but not much else. Other than hot chocolate and crakers, I didn't really eat until dinner. I was definitely feeling better but not at 100%.

Today (Sunday) was more of the same: no appetite. I did more today than yesterday but I still get tired easily (probably has something to do with eating one meal a day). I actually feel like I can function but not being hungry is weird. If I could figure out what germ is causing this, I could sell it for a fortune as an appetite suppressant. Sure there are some side effects, but not nearly as bad as the side effects of the medicine that makes your eyelashes grow.

A.J. seems to be over the stomach problems. But started complaining of a sore throat yesterday and has been having trouble talking today. He is also very tired. He probably will be staying home again on Monday.

Right now I'm planning to go to work tomorrow. I may ride in. We'll see how I feel in the morning.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thank you

On my to work this morning, a driver pulled up next to me and thanked me for signaling a turn. That put me in a good mood for the rest of the ride.