Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bike Touring Diaries

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I love to read the diaries of folks doing cross country tours by bike. CrazyGuyonaBicycle is one of my favorite sites. I was chatting with CDV while on a ride about this addiction of mine and he told me that our fellow MS Bike Ride team member, Travis, is currently doing a tour in the southwest and is posting on CrazyGuyonaBicycle. I was so excited to read the diary of someone I actually know! And then later the same day, we met and road with the Biking Beans, a couple who are traveling cross country that were passing through the area. They also have a website of their adventures!

In general I like to read the travel diaries of anyone touring the US, but especially those who are passing through South Dakota. Here are some of the diaries I'm currently following:

Travis' American Southwest Tour - Travis whose whole family rides the MS Ride with Team Road Kill each year

Biker Beans - The couple on a recumbent tandem who came through Vermillion last week on their way to the west coast.

Real Geeks Ride - Don't know these people personally, not traveling through SD, just very entertaining reading!

My First Tour of the US - Another guy who passed through our area of the state recently.

A little less than 150 miles in last 4 days.....

Thursday evening - 40 miles - Wakonda to Bluff Road east until I met up with Cindy and Evie, rode with them to Meckling and turned around and headed back to Wakonda. A beautiful evening, the winds were actually calm! A rarity here in South Dakota!

Friday afternoon - 23 miles - Wakonda to county line road to Volin to Bluff Road up "Turkey Hill" and back home. Another gorgeous day for a ride.

Saturday - 67 miles - Bunyan's (Vermillion, SD) to Bob's (Martinsberg, NE) Ride. Going to Bob's was way too easy! Going back to Vermillion against the northwest wind was more of a challenge but it helped to have great company; Marilyn and Colleen.

Sunday morning - 16 miles - Four miles east of Wakonda, 4 smiles south, 4 miles west, 4 miles north. A short ride before church.

Not sure I'm ready for Tour de Kota, but ready or not it starts next Sunday!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"There is no limit, no boundaries to when and where you can commune with God. It doesn't have to be in church all the time." Sister Madonna Buder

I saw this story on the ABC Nightly News and loved Sister Madonna's quote. This is a 78 year old nun doing triathalons. A priest suggested she try running for spiritual enrichment and she was a natural runner. She was 47 at the time and now also swims and bikes.

I tried to explain to a non-biking friend how spiritual a solo bike ride can be for me; admiring the beauty of God's creation, reflecting on all the blessings that have been given to me, and letting worries slip away while spinning the pedals. She didn't get it, but Sister Madonna would understand completely.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Couple Riding Cross Country on a Recumbent Tandem

It has been a busy weekend and I was anxious to get some riding in. I left home at 11:00 am hoping to get in 60-70 miles but didn't really have a particular route in mind. Since the wind was from the southeast and blowing pretty good at 17 mph with gusts up to 22 mph I headed for Vermillion via the Bluff Road which gives some protection from the wind. After a break at a convenience store I decided to ride to the Vermillion-Newcastle Bridge before heading back home. I rode across the bridge just so when Charlie asked where I rode to I could tell him "Nebraska." It always seems to sound more impressive when you say you road to another state!

On the way back I met CDV. Since CDV was out for an "easy paced" ride, I rode along in hopes I could keep up. We went back to the bridge and turned back to Vermillion when Kevin called Craig and said Kathy R. rode up from Sioux City with a couple do a cross country ride on a recumbent tangent and they were now at Kevin's planning to ride to Yankton where they would spend the night. So we rode to Kevin's where we had a nice visit with Dave and Heather. I live vicariously through the adventures of other cyclists who have done cross country rides by reading their journals on; one of my favorite web sites! This was my first opportunity to talk with someone doing a cross country tour in the midst of their tour. After discussing the best way to get to Yankton due to road construction, we all headed out of Vermillion on the Bluff Road; Dave and Heather, Kathy, Kevin, CDV, and myself. CDV had things to do and turned around and went home and I rode with the group for a total of about 15 miles before I turned off and headed home to Wakonda.

What started off as a solo ride turned out to be a very fun group ride. Dave and Heather may have been complete strangers but it is amazing how when you meet others who share a passion for biking they don't feel like strangers at all!

I'll definitely be watching Heather and Dave's adventure on their blog: BikingBeans! Stay tuned for pictures from Kathy and undoubtedly more stories from Kevin!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Look for story on favorite bike trails/routes

in an upcoming issue of the South Dakota Magazine. I was contacted by a writer for the magazine regarding my favorite trail to ride in the state. I explained that I do very little mountain biking. Mainly my biking is done on a road bike on local roads near Wakonda so I was surprised he still wanted a brief interview to talk about my favorite route. Several others, including Biking Brady, were interviewed as well.

We've been subscribing to the South Dakota Magazine for the last several years and its one of the few magazines I read from cover to cover. I loved the article earlier this year on the 1804 Highway (Native American Scenic ByWay) between Pierre and Lower Brule. This is a route I rode solo in 2007 with Charlie providing SAG support. I thought about choosing this route for the article - but went with a route closer to home and more familiar to me.

You'll have to wait until it comes out in print to find out my favorite route but I will give you a hint, its my favorite in part because of the food - no surprise there!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

From cold to steamy hot in 48 hours....must be South Dakota

Tour de Kota is less than 3 weeks ago and I need to step up my training.....seriously, this is it! The problem is a full time job and weather that doesn't cooperate with my schedule.

For instance, last Saturday I had the morning and early afternoon open and was hoping to get in a long ride. First of all Saturday morning started off unseasonably cold and then the wind blew 100 mph, or what seemed like a 100 mph. However, it was a great morning for sitting in the coffee shop with a group of girl friends to brainstorm some ideas on how to get more women involed in our biking group - the Lady Lane Hogs! We did eventually bundle up and head out for a ride but 10 miles was our limit due to time constraints and WIND!

Next bike ride was Monday. I had about an hour and half between work and meetings to sneak in a ride so I opted to make the most of my time and challenge myself on "Frog Creek Hill." It should be called "Feels Like My Heart is about to Explode Hill."

So on Saturday's ride it was about 48 degrees - I wore thermo-fleece lined tights over my cycling shorts, a base layer of smartwool on top under my jersey, a jacket, thick smart wool socks and cycling shoes, and a headband to cover my ears. I was NOT overly all.

On Monday's ride it was 90 degrees - I wore cycling short, sleeveless jersey, cycling sandals. And when I got to that really steep part of Frog Creek Hill where there is no breeze no matter how hard the wind is blowing, I thought I was going to have heat stroke.

Determined to get some riding time in, I rode my bike to work today. The radio reported the winds to be 5 mph from the south......I can tell you if the radio announcer had been on a bike, he would've realized that was no 5 mph wind! I got a ride home with a neighbor - seemed to me to be too windy to ride even with the wind to my back!

Typical South Dakota weather, I should be use to it. And it will be a good reminder to be prepared and bring clothing for both hot and cold (and rainy) weather on TDK....and to train for some wind!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Training has officially started for Tour de Kota 2009

March mileage = 188
April mileage = 132
May = 115

Total miles for 2009 = 435

I'm off to a good start for May, I've ridden every day so far this month (okay, so it's only the 3rd of May).

Friday was a 21 mile total, 11 miles out from Vermillion on the Buff Road and turned around and came back. Rode with some potential new recruits for Team Road Kill for the MS Ride in August. For some this was their longest ride to date and from the smiles on their faces, I would say they are hooked.

Saturday I left Wakonda and rode to Highway 19 and then turned south and headed towards Vermillion until I met up with Craig, Joe, and Kwen, and then turned and rode with the group. We ate lunch at the Centerville Cafe and then Kwen headed back to Hub City and Craig, Joe, and I continued on to Viborg, Irene, and after the suffer fest of hills on the "county line" made it to Wakonda where the ride ended for me with 58 miles logged in. Craig and Joe had another 24 miles to get back home to Vermillion. Thanks guys for letting me draft the whole entire ride! I need to start riding with the group more to work on my speed.....I've gotten so SLOW! I think it has something to do with turning 50....or at least maybe I can blame it on that.

Today (Sunday) I took off without much of a plan....probably not a good idea as I meandered around and the ride was longer and hillier than what I intended. I ended up with 35 miles.

In between bike rides the weekend consisted of spending time with family, attending a surprise birthday party, church, and yard work. It's wonderful to be able to be out enjoying the great outdoors. Life is good!