Friday, April 29, 2011

Friendly Friday - Day 29 of #30daysofbiking

I met the SPP 5:45ers for the breakfast ride to Annapolis.  A great morning with clear skies and wonderful sunshine.  I met Rod and Doug for breakfast at C & R and we enjoyed nice morning together.

On the way back home I encountered a crew mowing the grass and other growth along the B & A Trail. I fully expected to slow and possibly to have to dismount and walk around them.  Imagine my surprise as they pulled to the side to let ME go by.

It was a beautiful morning. And I'm looking forward to an entire day like that tomorrow riding to O.C. with the club.  It should be a great day.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 28 #30daysofbiking

After a full day I finally clipped in for a quick ride around the neighborhood at 9:30 pm. One of my neighbors has a nicely lit flag displayed in front of his home.

Day 27 of #30daysofbiking

Day 27 - My Birthday

Wednesday was a big day.  It was my birthday and the kick off of Wednesday Night Races - our weekly summer sailboat race in the Chesapeake Bay.

Before I even left the house I learned that I am now officially a celebrity.  Ok that's overblown but my bike was featured on MG's blog Chasing Mailboxes. Mary writes much better than I do.  Rather than merely a chronicle of her riding adventures, and she has many with her husband Ed, she actually tells stories and writes articles about biking, people and the things she sees. So I was thrilled when she contacted me and wanted to include my Surly in her series about "Bikes to Like".  Here's the post and the results of our email "interview".  Mike B's Surly Long Haul Trucker.

To get from work to the docks in the evening I have to drive to the office.  So I started the day with the 5:45ers. The group opted to split the ride: those who wanted a sprint took the Solley Rd route at Mach 2.  Earl and I took the trail south in a more leisurely pace and picked up Jeff and Ben along the way.  The four of us continued all the way to the top of Naval Academy Bridge hoping to catch a sunrise but the cloud cover wouldn't cooperate.  I did take the video cam. Here we are approaching and climbing the bridge.

After riding and work it was back to Annapolis for the races. A great evening. The crew of Diamond in the Rough is a fun bunch. We're also fortunate to have a consistent group and function well as a team. The wind was blustery, a challenge after 6 months off and we were a little rusty. Bumping the mark cost us a 10% penalty on our time and took us out of contention. But we also kept the boat under control and effectively improvised when the vang broke, which is more than some of our competition can say. We watched several "knock down", but no one was hurt or went swimming. Races like that with the strong weather make for great tall tales back at the bar afterwards.

It was a great way to celebrate my birthday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 26 - #30daysofbiking

Great ride to work this A.M.  I slept in just a little, then rode to work after sun up.  It was my fastest one way trip to work ever, avg speed 16.7 mph, uphill.  I felt pretty darned good about myself, thank you.

The ride home offered no new records or such.  A head wind and a day of work limited that leg to a more standard pace. But still a pleasant afternoon.  Add in dinner at SQ's with some SPP friends and it was a pretty good day all around.

Wednesday evening is opening night of sailing, and Thursday evening is the Cub Scouts Bike Rodeo both require my attendance before 6 pm which oddly means a bike event will prevent a bike ride to work on Thursday. So I plan to join the 5:45 ers the rest of the week and see how I make out with the speed demons.

I'm also very much looking forward to the ride to Ocean City Saturday.  The weather forecast is looking absolutely awesome for that one.  Fingers crossed.

26 days done of #30daysofbiking.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 24 and 25 - #30daysofbiking

Day 24  - Easter Sunday -

Recovery from the 100K on Saturday, and a busy family day kept me at the bare minimum to keep my 30 days pledge.  At 9:30 in the evening after all the day's celebrations were done I rode 1.5 miles 'round the hood.    I hope everyone had as wonderful a day on Easter as the Binnix Family.

Day 25 - One way to work.

I rode the bike in to work.  Nice warm morning. Saw Earl and Lori in their car as Earl dropped Lori at work at the hospital then confirmed in a subsequent note that he was off to a morning ride.  Otherwise uneventful.  Eldest daughter Taylor was home for Easter and had to catch a lunch time flight back to school. So she drove to my office at noon, turned over the truck to me and I deposited her at the terminal.  After the whistle blew I placed the bike and my other accoutrements in the truck to drive home.

It will be an inconsistent week for mileage with sailing, sports, scouts and other such competing for my time and attention. But then on Saturday we have the big club ride to Ocean City. Very much looking forward to that. Should be a great day.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tour de Carroll - 2011

I met my Uncle Dave Waas at the Dutterer Family Park in Westminster, MD for the 2011 edition of the Tour de Carroll a charity ride round hilly Carroll County.  This is our second year participating in this ride and our second year getting rained on.

We started in a light, cold shower and it continued steadily for about an hour.  Then the rain let up and we enjoyed a cool ride the rest of the day.  They altered the route a bit from last year.   The area is quite hilly and very beautiful.  The new route avoided a few of the most imposing slopes but offered plenty of steady climbs, each with a grey, foggy vista of it's own.  Quite beautiful even in clouds and mists.

The area suffered some strong thunderstorms and one or two confirmed tornadoes last weekend.  Throughout the ride we saw the freshly downed trees in the wooded areas, fresh stacks of cord wood where the debris fell inconveniently across the road or driveways.  The aromas of farm country are also wonderful, dairy farms, spring blooms and in a few spots the fresh cut cypress and oak from all of the cleanup.

I was surprised by the turnout.  I don't know the final numbers, but I counted close to a hundred riders.  This on a ride that might have attracted a 300 - 400 on a nice day.  I arrived a bit early and it didn't look promising at first, only a small handful of us.  But as the start approached the crowd arrived, we all exchanged cheerful grousing about the weather and suited up for the day.  Clearly a little sunshine would have brought out more, but those who arrived were ready to take the tour at the appointed hour, in whatever conditions we would find.

Riding with my uncle is always inspiring.  He clearly shows the benefits of a lifetime of healthy habits and exercise.  Demonstrates I'm doing the right thing pursing similar habits, even if I took them up a little later in life.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 22 - Friendly Friday Then Work and Home

Met the 5:45 riders at the R.B. for our weekly breakfast ride to Annapolis.  10 of us met at the R.B. for ride to Annapolis.  Four Guys and Another Guy got to retell the fleche tales for the umpteenth time this week with a new audience.  I don't think they mind.  To a man they said they'd do it again, though they did have a few lessons learned to do differently next time.

At breakfast I met up with old friends Keith and Mark who I haven't seen in a while.  Great to visit and catch up.  Then Earl joined me for the ride to work near BWI.  He seemed to be having trouble getting is mojo by as we approached his turnout to go home he rode past and committed to stick with me the whole way to the airport.  I think he enjoyed the longer morning ride as much as I did.

The ride home wasn't so great.  Cool and rainy.  Getting wet is not so bad, I had my rain jacket.  But the mess to clean up on the bike, and my clothes is gross. 

Big weekend coming up.  I'm riding the Tour de Carrol with my uncle Dave Waas tomorrow.  Daughter Taylor is home from college any minute and then we all get to celebrate Easter.  Looking forward to it.

Day 22 complete.  Ciao.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 21 - A nice round trip to work

Set out a little later than usual this A.M. Sun was up and the temps were pleasant, just cool enough to require arm warmers and a light weight liner under my padded bike gloves. There was also a bit of a head wind but it was just a nice morning to be out.

I met Earl at White's road. He was on his way home from the 5:45 ride and we stopped briefly to exchange pleasantries. Then I was off to the salt mines, the head wind just enough to add a little more to the work out.

The ride home was awesome. Temps near 60 I could pack the glove liners and arm warmers away and just ride, with a tail wind too!

Erik had another game at Cypress park and I got there in time to catch several innings. My Father also came to see him play. Amazing how much he's grown in a year and how much better he and his teammates grasp the fundamentals now. It's really fun to watch.

A lot of chatter on the mailing lists today. The SPP has the big ride coming up to Ocean City in a week and the logistics of who will go round trip and who needs to shuttle home Saturday evening require a bit of coordination but it's all coming together.

Chip Adams also published his ride report from the Fleche last weekend. Quite a feat as these guys had to not only keep moving in torrential rains and strong winds but had to keep improvising their route around roads closed by the authorities due to flooding. Quite the "Epic" ride. I know that description gets overused but I think it applies to the 4 Guys and Another Guy team and the 237 mile journey they completed in just 24 stormy hours. If Chip give's his O.K. I'll re-post it here. It is worthy of preservation.

Day 21 of #30daysofbiking complete.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 20 #30Daysofbiking

With good weather predicted I left the skinny tires on and had no incidents. I'm down 10 lbs since mid March and I think that helps with flats, spokes, etc. This evening I left the laptop at work which also lightened the load a bit for the ride home this evening and tomorrow's ride back to the office. Posting this from the kids' computer.

The result was a zippy ride both directions, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary. On the way home I reached Cypress park in time to catch Erik's last at bat. He hit a single and ultimately scored. Very cool.

20 Days done for #30daysofbiking.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Catch up Days 17, 18 and 19 of #30daysofbiking

It seems to be a recurring pattern lately, I'm biking more diligently than I'm blogging:

Sunday the 17th

I took Zach and Erik for a ride on the NCR trail Sunday afternoon after church.  We met my brother Todd, and his family wife Heather and daughter Kaitlyn who live near there.  They took young Kaitlyn for a walk on the trail and we caught them on our bikes and enjoyed a short visit while the kids climbed around the sandbars on the Gunpowder river. It was sunny, clear, and  a wonderful day out with my boys.

The only downside, the left rail of my Brooks saddle split a mile from the end of the ride.  I stood the rest of the way to the parking lot.  It was late enough that I couldn't get a replacement from any bike shop (tried at least 4) until Monday

Monday the 18th:

After work I went to the bike shop to get a new saddle.  Took the bike for a test ride with the new saddle.  It's all set but now I have to break in a new Brooks saddle. After 10,000 miles the old one was just about right.   Crap.

Tuesday the 19th.

No mojo this morning.  So I slept in and drove to work.  After work I took a short ride to Squizito's and met Janet, John, Jim, Jane and Jeff for dinner.

#30daysofbiking in tact

Saturday, April 16, 2011

4 Guys and Another Guy - Big Send Off

About 10 of us from the SPP met at the Big Bean coffee shop to send off the 4 Guys and Another Guy fleche team. A fleche is a 24 hour team ride. All participating teams finish at the same place at approximately the same time. This year the finish is at a Marriott in Arlington, VA. Each team is riding a different route over 24 hours to finish at the Marriott tomorrow morning for breakfast. The event details are here

SPP's 4 guys + 1 team will ride north to PA then west and south through MD, West Virginia and VA in a big arc to arrive at the finish. Neat that they planned the start right here in our back yard. After coffee and snacks the team posed for photos, got their control cards signed and were off. We followed for about a 1/2 mile then wished them well and broke off.

Next up was the weekly club ride to Annapolis where we enjoyed another snack (we like coffee shops) and watched the winds build up and whip the flags downtown. Then a quick ride back home. A nice start to the morning. The teams will likely face some wet weather but I'm sure they'll all do fine. I shot some video. I'll get it edited and posted later.

Next up, a day with the kids and sports. Day 16 of #30daysofbiking complete.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday and Friday

I missed my blog post last night but not my bike rides. Thursday featured great weather, an uneventful ride to work, then to the evening Cub Scout meeting, ice cream shop visit and finally got home about 8:30 pm. All by bike. A really nice day.

Today I met the 5:45ers at the Ranger Station where the buzz was all about tomorrow's Fleche ride. 5 riders are setting out from Severna Park on Saturday for a 240 mile ride to Arlington, VA by way of PA, and WV before they make to VA. A big arc North, West, South then East. After the ride team put their bags in Bryan's truck for transport to the finish, we all set out for Annapolis for Friday Breakfast. We had a great visit at the Hard Bean then headed out for our day.

Earl kept me company from Annapolis to work. We had a very nice trip. I always enjoy riding with the good reverend. Then work happened. Ugh....

The ride home was cooler than I expected, and also featured a bit of a headwind. Throw in a little fatigue, 2 calls from the boss and it was a slow ride home.

But the big news is that this week marks the first time in 2 years of biking that I managed a full week commuting, 5 days M-F, round trip to and from work on the bike. I did 5 days in a row once last year but it included a weekend. This is the first time I've done it on a regular work week. The biggest barrier is usually the evening schedule, or my inner weather wimp. But this week I managed to navigate both and pulled it off. Yeah me!!

So that's Day 14 and 15 of #30daysofbiking complete

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is often blamed for inspiring all kinds of mayhem, especially by young people. But I've found it can also be harnessed as a great motivator. This morning was a good example. The morning lived down to expectations set by the weather forecast. 49 deg F and light rain before sunrise. But Bill and I had made a date to ride to work together and I wasn't about to contact him that I was pulling out at the last minute. He indicated similar feelings.

So I overcame the nearly overwhelming desire to silence my alarm and roll over. Instead I suited up and headed out in to the mist. The reality of riding in those conditions wasn't nearly as bad as thinking about it while lying in a warm bed. A wool base layer and my rain jacket worked just right to keep me comfortable. I got a little warm on the climbs along Andover Rd at the end but otherwise it was fine.

The weather cleared earlier than forecast and the ride home was quite nice. By prior agreement Bill and I knew we couldn't synchronize our return trip so I rode home solo. Took the long route home along WB&A Rd to score a few extra miles.

Day 13 of #30daysofbiking complete.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Commuting and Pizza

Met Bill C for the ride to work this A.M. It was balmy and the ride was uneventful. Nice to have partner along. The forecast made clear we shouldn't expect the same for the ride home.

It was much cooler when we met for the return ride, and there was some light rain, but not the heavy showers forecast. Also a bit of a headwind.

Bill and I parted company at the Rusty Bridge as usual and I continued to Squizzito's for the first weekly Tuesday Night Pizza Ride of the season. Of course I was the only one there who arrived on a bike. Had a nice dinner with Janet, John, Ben and Ben's wife Rachel. Very nice lady, I'd not had the pleasure previously of meeting Rachel. We all encouraged her to bring her bike out and join us for a Saturday bagel ride to Annapolis.

After the pizza and a couple of beers I returned home. Still dry as the heavy showers just never happened.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fuzzy Bunny Slippers

Okay that title will have to just keep you guessing for a minute....

Slept in this morning and didn't get started riding to work until after the sun was up. But what a nice morning to ride in. Temps right around 60 deg F, no wind. Warm enough to wear my shorts and jersey, and no winter or insulated clothes of any kind!! Hello Spring, and welcome. We've been looking for you.

Got a text mid morning from Bill Cunningham suggesting we connect for the ride home. We both arrived 5 min early for the rendezvous on Andover Rd and enjoyed a brisk pace home, even picked up a drafter who followed for a few miles and introduced himself at a stoplight. It is my worst social handicap that I can't remember names well, we'll just call him Drafter.

Bill and I made a date to brave the showers tomorrow and meet at the Rusty Bridge at 6 am for the ride to work. Peer pressure is a great way to get on the bike when it would otherwise be too easy to skip it.

All was well until I'd been home and in the house about 5 min. Then quite suddenly the pollen hit me. My eyes started burning I wanted to claw them out. A shower took care of that. Now it's officially time to go on the Clariton.

Oh the title of this post.... Saw this goofy kid walking on The B&A trail just before I got off at Jones Station to return home. Check out his footwear...

Day 11 of #30daysofbiking complete.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Annapolis and Back

Met my friend Rod for a ride to Annapolis this morning. When we arrived downtown we ran in to Bryan, Janet, Dave, Gardner, George, and Bill who were enjoying a Sunday visit downtown as well. Cool and overcast but dry, it was a nice morning to be out. Lots of folks on the trail running, riding etc.

Also saw a bit of interesting work on the Naval Academy Bridge over the Severn River. An unusual looking crane with a cage that could lower a workman over the side to inspect, paint, etc while the truck was parked on the bridge deck. I had the helmet cam on and will post the vids later after the kids' sports and other excitement for the day winds down.

Late addition - another example of my not-so handy work with the new video camera. Nothing compelling here, just me playing with the editing tools from the raw video the GoPro captured.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday Bagel Ride

It was cold and damp Saturday morning, but said it wouldn't rain, and it didn't. Janet, Steve and I set out from the RB for Annapolis and had a nice visit on the way. Ben met us at Hard Bean.

After breakfast Ben, Steve and I set out round the river through Crownsville. I finished up with a quick visit to Kinder Park to see the festivities for Green Hornet's opening day of Baseball season. The kids, including Erik and hist team, were having a great time.

After the ride the day included a Lacrosse game for Zach and dinner with Rod and Sandy. A good Saturday.

Day 9 of #30DaysOfBiking complete

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fighting for Every Mile

The winter was a disappointment for me. I finished my R-12 last December and my mileage in Jan and Feb fell significantly. Work was busy, the weather was lousy, and maybe I just needed a break. Okay, slowing down a little on the pedaling is no crime. But I packed on several pounds along the way. Very frustrating. I worked hard to loose those pounds only to find them again sitting on my A** over the winter.

In late March as spring emerged I came roaring back and finished at a great clip. I logged 300 miles in the last 10 days of March and lost several pounds. Things were looking up.

But at every turn this week I'm back to fighting myself for time on the bike. Today was typical. I woke to light rain and 45 deg temps. I set out anyway, hoping to catch a couple of the others from the club for the Friday ride to Annapolis for breakfast. It was not to be, so I rode solo. I skipped the hills on Old County and just stayed on the trail wondering if I should have worn the rain pants in addition to the jacket. My legs were getting damp and cold despite doing all the work.

I arrived in Annapolis and enjoyed a great breakfast with Charlie, Rod, Doug, Earl and Jeff. Maybe today would turn out well despite the dodgy weather. RING!!! Work started abruptly with more drama than I care to recount, while I was still savoring my second cup of coffee with friends in my favorite greasy spoon diner in downtown Annapolis. Back to reality. I had to accept a ride from Earl and get back home to a computer quickly. My bike just barely fit in his back seat. Thank you sir for the lift.

But #30daysofbiking is still in tact. 8 down, 22 left. I guess it could be worse. This concludes Mike's whining for the week. Thank for stopping by. Look for more sunny posts and a chance to play with the video camera again this weekend.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

No zip

It was a great spring day. But I felt sluggish on the bike and I don't know why. After the ride in to work I assumed short sleep and perhaps not enough grub after last night's ride. But I ate well all day and still felt like I was running on fumes on the way home. I guess there's still the matter of sleep. Shame because the weather was great.

From work I rode to the high school for a Cub Scout den meeting then came home.

Now I'm gonna eat dinner and get a full night's sleep.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happiness is a clean bike

I had to take a road trip to Richmond, VA for work today. That required an early start so there would be no morning ride. I scheduled to have the Surly overhauled at BDA while I was away and it worked out nicely.

After riding all winter the effects on the machine from salt, grime, and wet riding are obvious. I'm sure better bike hygiene on my part could alleviate some of that but salt inside cable housings and other hard to reach places would happen anyway. So each spring I've signed up for Bike Doctor's overhaul service. New cables and housings, and a deep cleaning of everything. All fittings, bearings and seals checked and attended to as needed.

Wow I hardly recognized it. So shiny, and it shifted like a dream. It was already getting dark as I set out but the weather was glorious and it felt great to get out after spending the day in a car and meetings.

Best of luck to @revrider tomorrow, the weekend storms forced some juggling of his brevet schedule so he's tackling another R-12 ride solo. He should enjoy great weather, wish I could break away and join him.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 5 - Short Ride with Zach

The storm this A.M. kept me off of the commute. But I got home in time this afternoon to enjoy a ride with Zach (age 9) around the neighborhood. Riding with Zach was great fun. Also used my new GoPro Helmet Cam for the first time. I'll write a review of the camera after I have chance to school myself a bit in video editing tools and put it through it's paces.

REVISION: Wallstreet Journal published this about GoPro this evening.

In the mean time here's a rough cut of the video I shot on our ride:

After our brief tour of the hood I stripped all of the accessories off and took the Surly to BDA for it's spring overhaul. New cables and housings, complete tune up, re-tap a couple of fittings where the cheap bolts from the last set of fenders corroded and clean it all spanking new. Kind of like getting a car detailed.

5 Days of the #30days of biking done.

Monday, April 4, 2011

He spoke of spokes....

It was 48 deg F when I set out this morning forecast to reach the upper 70s for the ride home. I was really looking forward to that!

So I set out a few minutes after 6 looking forward to nice rides each way. As I stood to zip over the Rusty Bridge on the trail I heard the loud TWANG! of a spoke letting go. I stopped at the top and sure enough, a rear left spoke had popped at the hub. I didn't have the right size spare as I hadn't replaced it yet from the prior week's mishap. The wobble wasn't bad so I secured the loose end with a little electrical tape and continued on my way.

As I stood to climb over the Stewart Ave overpass crossing I-97 I heard it again!! Sure enough a second one let go also on the left side of the rear wheel. I briefly considered trying to cannibalize a front spoke but I know that's the wrong length and seemed like a good way to add more problems. I resolved not stand up and just geared down for the rest of the ride and made it to work without further incident. Despite these recent snaps, a 36 spoke wheel is pretty sturdy and these were spaced in such a way that the wheel wobble was minimal with no rubbing on the brakes.

At lunch I borrowed a colleague's car to pick up several spares at BD Linthicum. After the work day wound up I replaced the two on the wheel, and fitted two spares in to the storage space on the left side chain stay of the Surly LHT.

So I set out for home a half our later than I would have liked but the ride was uneventful. It was glorious to be out in short sleeves and bare legs. On the ride home the climbs up Brightview Rd and Woodbury Rd are both steeper and longer than the overpasses that assaulted my wheel, but I got up them entirely without incident.

The Surly goes to BD Arnold for an overhaul anyway on Wednesday, while I'm traveling to Richmond. I'll ask them to re-lace it while they have the bike. Preferably with something made from kevlar or titanium or some other super spokes.

Day 4 of #30daysofbiking complete.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Evening Ride

With Tivy out of town at Elon, the kids schedule through the day ensured I had a commitment somewhere every 2 - 3 hours, from early morning until after Zach's lacrosse game ended at 5:30. All exciting stuff, capped with a big win by Zach and his team for their season opener.

But by 6:30 I still hadn't touched a bike. So with the kids all settled at home and teens available to look after Zach and Erik, I finally set out for some "me" time on the bike.

It was nice zippy ride out to Sandy Point then down St. Maragaret's Rd to the river and back home. Rounded it out with a loop around the neighborhood.

Once home I swapped the wheels back for commuting mode and mounted the rack. All set for the ride to work tomorrow.

Day 3 of the 30 Days of Biking complete.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 2

The forecast in central MD and VA was for cold temps and showers all day. So the crew planning the Sugarloaf Brevet decided to reschedule for Sunday. Unfortunately for a few of them, that leaves them out for this weekend due to other commitments. But the weather did look pretty tough for such a long ride.

But that did bring out a bigger group for the club's bagel ride this morning. 10 of us enjoyed a nice ride downtown as well as java and breakfast sandwiches at Hard Bean. Only light showers so far, but I still think they made the correct call.

So that's 2 down / 28 to go for the 30DaysOfBiking.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I signed up for 30 Days of Biking, an online pledge to ride every day. No mileage commitment, no restriction on where or the type of bike, or how far, just a pledge to ride very day in the month of April and post it online in your favorite forum: blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

But today, Day 1, posed a bit of a conundrum. I'd put in 298 miles in 8 days from 3/24 - 3/31 and was ready for a break. Insufficient sleep, rain and 34 deg F this morning gave me a good excuse to take it. After work I met my father at Stan and Joe's in Annapolis. The evening progressed to Castle Bay and then dinner with Mom and some of their friends at Cafe Normandy. A great evening, but no miles on the bike and it was getting late.

So when I got home I rigged the bike for weekend riding, swapped the fat commuter tires for skinny weekend tires and removed the rack. Then took it for a quick test ride around the hood. 1 down, 29 days to go.