Monday, April 26, 2010


Last year I made a deal with my daughter. When she learned how to ride a bike, I would buy her a real bike. She was never very motivated though, and I had to nag her to get her to practice. She made progress but never seem to be able to make everything click.

This year, she has a friend who lives on the next block. Her friend rides a bike and this got Rachel motivated. She wanted to be able to ride a bike to her friend's house. We talked about this last week and she decided that she would learn how to ride a bike on Saturday. I told her that it might take more than one day but she was determined.

It was supposed to rain off and on all weekend so we started about 9 am on Saturday. We went up and down our driveway. I would give her a push to get started and then run alongside her. This was hard on me because I can't run without pain since the accident. She did very well, and by noon she was able to go up and down the driveway with only a little help to get started.

Since she had fulfilled her part of the bargain, we were off to Maplewood Bicycle to pick out a bike. We had looked at them before so I had a good idea what she wanted. Jessica was a great help.

Once we got home Rachel was eager to ride the new bike. It took a while for her to get used to the the hand brakes and to the size of the bike, but she was undaunted. For the rest of the weekend, whenever the rain stopped, whe wanted to be on that bike. Even when she feel she got right back on it. We even went for a ride around the neighborhood together. She was on the sidewalk and I was on the street. This was a little tough for her because the sidewalk is narrow and bumpy with lots of nearby obstacles. I told her that, if the weather was nice, I would take her to a bike trail next weekend. Someplace that is not crowded.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The 300K started at 6:00 AM. Since we only have one car, Helen and the kids had to get up early so Helen could drive me to the start. I was a little slow getting ready so we did not get there as early as I would have like but I did have time to turn in my registration and get ready before the start.

The weather would be warmer later in the day, but it was still in the 40's when we started. I started off wearing a jacket, tights, and full fingered gloves. As usual I hung out with the front group once we started. I thought that Scott was in that group too but I realized later that it was someone else.

The front group was about 9 people. The pace began to pick up and a few people (including me) got dropped. The group slowed down enough for us to latch back on. We got into Pocahontas at 7:26 at a 17 mph average. At the stop, I took off my jacket but forgot to put on sunscreen.

Shortly after Pocahontas, the route turned south into the wind. The wind would be coming out of the south at about 15 mph for most of the day. I was glad that I had a group to ride with for this section. The first checkpoint was at Breese. We had average almost 18 mph between Pocahontas and Breese. Here I took off my tights and put on sunscreen.

Not too long after Breese, I was not able to keep up with the group. I rode by myself for a while until I was joined by a rider named George. He was seemed to be doing okay but he said that his knee was bothering him. He talked about abandoning the ride though I don't know if he was seriously considering it. I told him that he was not allowed to quit before he got to Okawville. Experts say that if your are thinking about quitting a brevet you should stop, get something to eat, and rest at least 15 minutes first. This can help you metal state quite a bit. He decided to keep going and I ending up dropping back for a while. I did catch up to him in Okawville.

I ate ate and bought extra water in Okawville. I meant to put on more sunscreen but I left quickly because I wanted to ride with George and another rider. I wasn't able to stay with them for more that a few miles. I ended up stopping in New Minden to put on sunscreen and buy a snack. New Minden is the last place to buy supplies for the next 33 miles. There was an 18 mile section that was almost entirely south. During this part I was struggling to go more than ten or eleven miles an hour. I kept looking for a shady place to stop and rest. Illinois farm country does not seem to have much shade.

I finally saw a place around 2:00. I was about halfway between New Minden and Oakdale. I stopped and sat in the shade for about 15 minutes. I also called Helen and told her that I might not finish until 10. On the bright side I only had about 3 more miles until I reached the southernmost part of the route. After that the wind would be helping me (or at least not hurting me) for the rest of the ride.

I reached Oakdale at 3:35. The checkpoint there is also a restaurant so I had a second lunch and drank lots of water. I spent about 45 minutes there. I did remember to put on sunscreen this time. The next 30 miles were almost easy. On many of the northbound sections I was able to cruise at 20 mph because of the tailwind. I reached New Baden at 6:10.

I stopped to eat some ice cream and get more ice for my water bottles. While I was there I met Wayne. Wayne was not doing the ride but he lives along the route and like to ride portions of it with other riders. I was glad for the company since I had not seen any other riders for about 6 hours. I started feeling stronger at this point.

Not too much later, the sun started to set so I stopped to put on my reflective gear and to turn on my lights. I also called Helen and let her know that I would be done by 9:30. Wayne rode with me to St. Jacob where he lives. He told me he would ride farther but he didn't want to fight the headwind coming back. I didn't blame him and I was glad that he rode with me as far as he did.

It started to get a little cooler once the sun went down but it never got cool enough for me to need to put on my jacket. I was probably a little slower in this section because I would need to stop to look at my cue sheet. I was familiar with the route but I didn't want to make any navigational mistakes.

I finally finished at 9:18. 188 miles in 15:18. (11:30 rolling time).

After I got home I noticed that I had some sunburn. I think that this was because I didn't put on sunscreen often enough and because I missed some spots. This may have been why I fekt so weak during the middle of the ride.