Friday, November 03, 2006

Final Century for the year?

Camp Hihaska make-up ride
Saturday October 7th

Two century rides in two weeks. Not much down time in between. But I did it. I rode in 5 Centuries for the Gateway Council's 5 Star Century Challange. I actually did 6 centuries with the Ride the Rivers Century thrown in for good luck but I didn't get credit for it from the HI people.

It was a cold day for a ride. I wore my wool socks and all my cold weather gear. It warmed up enough so that I just wore tights and my Bad Dog Jersey in the afternoon. Its great country down South in Bourbon Missouri with rolling hills and alot of coountry roads. It also has alot more dogs as well. I was chased by more dogs this ride thatn all of my other rides put together. I also met a woman who rode in the Beer and Brat Century. She also fell on the gravel at the first rest stop. We had matching road rash scars (mine is bigger).

I did this by myself (I found out later that other Chain Gang riders were there) and there were about thirty others who missed the Sandy Creek ride who rode as well.

Stats; Dst: 100 miles, Avs: 14.6, Mx: 39.5, Tm: 6:30

My average went way down from the first century. I always thought it should get better but it didn't. I'm not sure why.

I don't know if I'll do another 5 ride year or not, we'll have to see what next year brings.

One thing I know is I'm going to be wearing my Chain Gang Jersey to all the Centuries I ride in.
Ride the Rivers Century
October 1, 2006

It was a great ride. Tom and I met early in the parking lot of the Tap Room. This was a good sign, we were going to end in the parking lot of one of the best micro breweries in St. Louis. We also got a free beer ticket to use when we were finished. The great people of Trailnet also gave us socks as the ride premium and as I was wearing my sandles I was glad to have the socks.

We started riding West through St. Louis and headed to St. Peters and the Missouri River. The food for this ride was great. Normally you get the usual cookies and banannas but on this ride there was clif bars, apples, orange slices, oreos, trail mix and enough so every one got as much as they needed.

At the fist rest stop I saw Bob Foster who had a broken spoke on his front wheel. He left the rest stop after Tom and I did and finished the ride with a broken spoke and the front tire wobbling. He is a better man than me...

Well the first half of the ride was hilly and very scenic. Very peaceful and a great ride. We crossed over two rivers on ferries. The Golden Eagle and the Brussels ferries. The Golden Eagle ferry has a fee for crossing but the organisers took care of that and the Brussels ferry is free. After crossing the Big Muddy (the Mississippi) we went through Pier Marquette State Park and arrived in Grafton for lunch. It was sandwiches but you got a choice and it was made to order for you. The bathroom accomindations were lacking but the stop was really nice.

After lunch we rode South on the River Road out of Grafton to Alton. I've ridden this many times in the past but it was always earlier in the day. We were in the midday sun and against the wind. It seemed like we rode for 40 miles this way and I was getting tired but I had the Tap Room to inspire me to finish.

Once we were out of Alton we took stayed on the levys along the river until we got to the Chain of Rocks Bridge. We then took the River front path to Laclede's Landing. There was a couple of events going on at the same time and we actually got stuck in traffic on our bikes.

Tom and I arrived at the finish around seven hours after we started, thirsty and tired.

Stats; Dst: 100 miles, Avs: 15.1, Mx: 32.5, Tm: 6:25

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm sitting in my dining room writing this as it rains outside. It is cold, dark, and rainy at 11:30 in mid-October. I've heard it has snowed over the past weekend in far-off exotic places like Buffalo and Chicago. It hasn't snowed here but it could have.

It is hard to think about cycling this morning but I need to get the final three centuries posted before I totally forget them.

Tom and I rode several times to train for the Sandy Creek Century. Tom wasn't riding it just me, but Tom was riding with Dave and Brian on a week long ride so he needed as much time in the saddle as he could get. We rode in West county where there are great hills. I seemed to have lost the specs for the ride. I remember riding around 35 miles. Tom if you have the stats from the ride send them to me and I'll edit the post.

We also rode in Columbia, IL for around 20 miles.

My fifth century was going to be the Sandy Creek Century on September 23rd. I started off with a big problem. I was planning to ride and finish in around 7 hours and then go to work. I had it figured out that if I started at 6:00 am and it took me 7 hours I would finish at 1:00 pm and that would give me 2 hours to get to work shower get dressed and be ready for work. Seven hours is reasonable for me. All my other centuries I finished in 7 so as long as nothing went terribly wrong I could do it.

I woke at 4:30 am the morning of the 23rd to the sound of rain. I thought I could still do it. It had rained in at least three of the other centuries. I drove an hour to get to the start. It was 6:30. Already half an hour late. I signed in. Still raining. And now thunder and lightning. I waited until 7:15 to start. I figured I could call in late. If I was an hour late for work it would be OK still.

At the ten mile mark I realized that I wasn't going to finish. I was soaked, and cold. I had fallen on gravel on thse last century, just one month befroe, and my right elbow and right hip were beginning to nag me about falling again. So I stopped at a gas station and looked at the map and decided to go to the first rest stop (at the 20 mile mark) and take the Sag back to the start.

You got to understand, after at least 20 years of riding in organized and unorganized rides I had until that point never Sagged back to the start. Even after falling off my bike.

Well, I knew at this point, I couldn't expect to finish the ride and get to work. So I got to the first rest stop. It was thundering and there was no break in the clouds at this point. The rest stop had two volunteers helping out. One of the volunteers was Jasper a Turbo rider from the Gateway HI. He is one of the 70+ youngsters that Tom and I have had the pleasure of riding with, or pleasure of trying to keep up with on some of our training rides. He and I talked for a while, while I was waiting for the Sag.

Right as the Sag got to the rest stop to pick me up the sun came out. Susan, another Gateway HI volunteer who I've ridden with on other centuries, was the driver of the Sag van. She offered me a cup of hot chocolate. It was the best hot chocolate I've had since the last time I was camping.

Anyway I only went 20 miles on this ride. I averaged around 15 miles per hour, not my best but this was the Sandy Creek Century. The hilliest ride of the year, so far...

Monday, August 21, 2006

I haven't posted in awhile but that doesn't mean I haven't ridden. I have 5 rides that I need to catch up on.

The first ride was Saturday August 5th
Buder State Park in Jefferson County Missouri.
I found out earlier in the week that the last Century of the Five Star Century series was going to be the hardest century of all five. It was mainly the hills that were going to make it hard. Jefferson County, for all of you who don't know, is very hilly. There isn't a flat spot in the whole county and the hills are big ones. So it is a great place to train if you are going to ride a century in the hills.

I got an invite from a list I'm on, I think its one from the St. Louis Regional Bike Fed, for a ride at Buder State Park starting at 7:00 am. This was organized by Bob Chekoudjian. Buder is an hour West of Belleville so that means I got up at 5 and got in the truck at 6 and was ready to go at 7. I woke up to a flat tire. I just bought new ones and put them on Wednesday night and must have pinched the front tube putting it on. I changed it again before I left. By the time I got to Buder it was flat again and I only had one more tube. The third time was a charm, I changed it and it held until the end of the ride.
We rode from Buder State Park to Shaw's Arboretum and back. The park is beautiful and the area around it is great for a ride. Tom has said many times in the past that he likes riding hills and he would rather ride a century in hills than flats because on flats you have to pedal all the time. I didn't understand until I rode this ride.
Stats: Dst:44.61, Avs: 15, Mx: 35, Tm: 3 hrs.

The next ride was on Sunday August 6th and it was in O'Fallon IL with Dave and Brian. Brian and family had just gotten back from Door County and Dave and family had gotten back from the Grand Canyon. It was an easy ride, we were mainly getting some time in the saddle.
Stats: Dst: 35, Avs: 15.6, Mx 31.5 Tm: 2:14.
We really weren't pushing it.

My third ride was in Jefferson County again, another Bob Chekoudjian organized ride. Saturday August 12th. Rockwoods Reservation to Pacific and back. Again many hills and a good group of people. We actually stopped for lunch in Pacific at a little diner called the Depot.
Stats: Dst: 44.35, Avs: 14.5 Mx:45, Tm: 2:50.
Yes, thats right, Max Speed 45 miles per hour! I glad I had new tires.
The hills were very big and with this route some of the down hills were long and straight. I actually walked up two of these hills. I couldn't ride up all the way.

The next ride was Tuesday August 15. Tom and I went to Alton and rode to Pierre Marquette State Park but we rode in from the back side and returned to Alton on the river road. There was a bunch of dogs on this route and the final dog pack was two mean Chihuahuas and a really ugly Pug. I fell off my bike at one place and had a flat but the rest of the ride was nice except for the feeling that I was on the set of the movie Deliverance a couple of times.
Stats: Dst: 44.35, Avs: 15.6, Mx: 34, Tm: 2:50.

The fifth ride was the Beer and Brat Century in Millstadt Il, Saturday August 19th. We had around 13 to 18 people in a group that stuck together for the first 67 miles. John & Michelle, Mike K, Virgil, Dave, Brian, John, Tom, Craig, Joey, Kathy, and three or four others I didn't know rode with us. The beginning of the day was very nice, overcast and about mid 70's and no wind. We stayed together for most of the first part of the ride. I dropped a tube out of my seat bag and had to go back after it but I didn't get left behind. Tom however dropped his water bottle and was very far back after about 30 miles. I slowed to see if I could help him catch-up but I didn't see him and I didn't want to get too far behind so I sped up to catch the pack. Well right before the second rest stop at Washington Park in Fayetteville I turned a corner on gravel and went down. Hard.
My bike was fine. I was a little scraped up, a little loss of skin and a large raspberry on my hip but no broken bones and no deep cuts. I got some first aid help at the rest stop and continued on.
I saw Craig leaving the rest stop as I came in, he wasn't fooling around. He stayed out in front of us the whole ride even tho he said he didn't feel well. He had just returned from a business trip and said all he ate was conference food (m-m-m donuts).
Tom caught up with us at the rest stop and we rode together again for about another 20 miles and then Tom flatted. He ended up with two flats on the road and the last tube he had was going flat as he ate lunch so he stopped at 67 miles.
After lunch we got ready to go and Dave had a flat. He fixed it and we got started and about 10 miles into the last 30 Dave had another flat. Some of us went on and some stayed with Dave. Brian and I rode together and met up with another rider from the Belleville area. Brian had a flat at the 80 mile marker and we had a little difficulty getting it aired up. Dave and the group with him passed us and continued on. We eventually got Brian's tire aired up and rode on.
The total flats for the day for our group was 9. Total for people falling off bikes in our group 2 (Michelle also went down but she was OK). I heard of several others having trouble with the gravel that day. The Illinois roads were covered in gravel this weekend.
Stats: Dst: 100.6, Avs: 17 (sad times but I think it was because of all the gravel), Mx: 32.5, Tm: 5:54.
This is patch #4 for me...
I heard it was Joey's first century. He looked strong, he'll be out there again I'm sure.

One more picture from the day of the ride...
Arm road rash...

I also wanted to mention, Joey, Dave Brian, Kathy and I talked about the team jerseys after the ride and we have a date of September 18th for delivery, if I can get the art to the printer by Thursday the 24th. We have sponsors and we have a design all I need to do is put the two together and send it to the printer and we will have jerseys.
We would have looked awsome on this century, riding in a pack of 15 with matching jerseys...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Logo, New Tires and a new Bike!!!

Here is a drawing for the Team Logo. It will be "Chain Gang" and I thought a catchy tag line should read "Take No Prisoners" just to sound like we have a really bad attitude.
Vote whether you like it or not.

Brian, I will incorporate the line of riders in the over all logo.

NEW TiRES!! I wanted to wait until I rode all 5 centuries before I got them but I noticed the threads coming through the rubber on my old tires.
This is a momentus day my friends...

And finally. A new bike, well new to me anyway.
I've been looking for this type of frame for literally years.
I don't think I'm going to ride it in any centuries or even training rides just yet.

Its more for fun than anything else...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Weekend rides
Saturday July 22, & Sunday July 23 2006

Saturday Dave and I met Brian and we rode the country side around O'Fallon. There is much damage from the two storms this week. So we rode slowly.

Stats; Dst: 31.11, Avs: 15.6, Mx: 31.5 Tm: 1.59.13

Sunday Dave, Brian, Joe S, Joey S and me. We rode to the catsup bottle in Collinsville.

Stats; Dst: 38.1, Avs: 16.2, Mx: 35.5, Tm: 2.20.44

Both days the weather was great. Cool around 70, a little wind on Sat and almost none on Sun.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sunday July 9 2006
Firecracker 100
Greenville IL

This ride is called the Firecracker, I imagine because of it being right after the 4th of July and normally it is really hot.

The weather was great for a ride. It rained a little but not enough to spoil the fun and the cloud cover gave us a rest from the heat. This ride was the day after the donut ride and a few of us from the donut ride woke up early and rode the country side of Greenville Illinois. Joe S., Virgil, John, Michele and Joe P. were in attendance. I arrived late and didn't ride with our group. I don't recommend this to anyone. If you ride a pretty fast race or ride one day and plan to ride a century the next day make sure you have someone to ride it with.

Riding by myself, I was continually thinking of the bad parts of the ride. Especially after 70 miles or so. The ride was great, there was enough hills to make it interesting, no dogs and the scenery was beautiful. But I got into a funk and couldn't see anything but the uphill climbs and the rough road. I did suck on to a couple of pace lines and rode with some really nice people. It took my mind off how tired I was, but it would have been better. I am going to make a point of riding with someone next time.

Enough complaining.

First off, I forgot my computer...

I don't know my times and distance from my computer but I took my time off the time sheet and the distance off the trip sheet and figured out the speed etc.

The scenery was great. This is a little country side church...

We rode on several small highways most of the time but traffic was not a problem...

Nothing but corn and clouds...

About 80 miles in I broke the pad on my aero bar...

Finally finished...

Once I finished I found Joe S, John, Michele and Virgil. They started out about a half an hour before me and I almost caught them. It wasn't because I rode so much faster, they rode 100 miles and I only rode 96. The course was set up for only 96.

My stats: Tm: 5.41, Dst: 96, Avs: 16.89

Not bad for a 96 mile ride the day after a 31 mile race.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tour de Donut cont....

Dave, Joe, Brian and Tom...

Sitting left to right, Dee, Dave, Joe S, Tom
Second row, Mike, John, Michele, Joe P, Brian
Third row, Kathy, Peggy, Virgil

Real times...
8 1 :20:41 Virgil Moehsmer
12 1 :23:32 Kathy Fisher
26 1 :27:05 Joe Switzer
29 1 :27:58 Mike Kapilla
49 1 :33:57 David Paeth
50 1 :33:59 Michele Hopkins
53 1 :34:05 Thomas Cramer
93 1 :41:02 Bryan Kendall
94 1 :41:03 Joe Pierce
135 1 :46:52 John Hopkins

Adjusted times...
1:11:03 Joe Pierce
I only ate 6 donuts and I finished 4th for the over 50 adjusted time group...

Specs off my computer, Tm: 1.35.31, Dst: 31, Avs: 19.4, Mx: 33
19.4 Average speed. That is an all time best for me for 31 miles.
We all really did well. Virgil, Kathy, Joe S, and Mike took off at the start and didn't slow down until they saw the finish line. Great job everyone!!

The whole town welcomed the racers. The main street in town was closed to automobile traffic and a lane was kept open for the riders to go through.

This was a very cool ride and I will do it next year...
Tour de Donut cont...

675 people in the race...

Joe & Virgil at the front of the pack...

Brian and I started near the front of the pack...

Kathy was the first woman to cross the finish line (second from the left). At 1 hr, 23 min, and 32 seconds, she was the 12th person to cross the finish line. Way to go Kathy!!!

Gold medalist Kathy Fisher...
July 8th 2006
Tour de Donut
Stauton, IL

It was a great day for a race. The morning temperature was in the low 70's and still, no wind.

We all met around 8:00 am and discussed strategy, actually we all talked about how little sleep we got the night before and tried to figure out who was going to eat donuts and who wasn't.

Dave didn't want to waste any time getting to the race so he slept in someone else's trailer and got up with the birds dressed and ready to go...

Joe was thinking if he left his glasses off he would be 6.2 ounces lighter and just a little faster. But can I see?!?

Discussing strategy...or dreaming of donuts...

The parking lot filled quickly...

Brian & Tom before the race...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fourth of July 2006

Columbia, IL

Once again Tom, Dave, Brian and Joe met at Columbia for a ride. This one we choose to ride the flats. It was flatter than the "Flat-as-a-Pancake" ride. We actually changed the ride from Alton to Columbia because of rain in the Alton area.

Tm: 2.23.4, Avs: 17.4, Dst: 41.87, Mx: 25.5

We rode at a slower pace than usual for the first half of the ride and we found out it was with the wind. Once we turned around and started into the wind we picked up the speed and kept it around 20 for 12 miles, into the wind.

Great work-out. This is a good training ride for the upcoming Tour de Donut on Saturday. We should have around 8 people riding.
Sunday July 2 2006
Columbia, IL (Yea, I know, Columbia again)

Brian, He did ride with his eyes open, really...

Dave and Tom

Dave and Joe

It was a pretty hot day with a lot of sun. We rode a route that Tom and I have ridden before a couple of times. But this time it was profitable. I found $36.00 and four Lottery tickets! I'm still not buying new tires.

Beer and Jerky was consumed at the finish.

Tm:2.38, Avs: 16.7, Dst: 44.17, Mx 36.5

Monday, June 26, 2006

What a great job. I get to ride a bike around the Missouri Botanical Garden. Its mostly at night but there is not usually too many people and the paths are very smooth. The total loop is around 1.5 miles and there are a few hills I can ride. Not much of a work out but I do get a bunch of saddle time.

I just need to watch out for the wild life, like the foxes...
Sunday June 25th 2006
Temp 75

We got part of the group together to do a Sunday morning ride. Dave, Craig, Joe S, Joey S, and Joe P. The spicy meat sticks were tasty, the Fat Tire was cold and it was a beautiful day for a ride. We rode some of the roads around O' Fallon IL, some of the same roads we've been on before and some new. Joey must have been training on his new bike because he looked like Lance as he crested Rose Hill and even tho Joe S started out not feeling too great he led the pack for awhile until Dave and Craig changed the route.

We rode 42.47 miles, Avs 17.2, Mx 35 (down hill), Tm 2:27.

We also talked about getting a group together for the Tour de Doonut, so far we have five.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Boy! Not much happening lately.

My wife and kids are taking the Road 1 class through the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation. So far they are having a good time. Tomorrow is the last class. They are riding on streets in Fergison MO.

I've been commuting to work and riding at work lately. Not many miles but a bunch of time oon the saddle. I'll take some pictures at work and post them.

My commute is only 2.5 miles to work and the same returning. The return trip however is at 11 PM. Some of the streets are a little dicey. I was spotted the other night by a laser spotter. I don't believe it was a gun sight laser but I've changed the route I'm taking now. Actually I'm starting to drive to work again.

I'm riding tomorow with the group.

We still don't have a name for our group.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pictures for flat as a Pancake ride

Most of the morning was cloudy

Finally the sun came out at about 20 miles

Fording the river...there actually is a road under there...

More pot holes or snakes...please...
Sunday June 4th 2006
Flat as a Pancake Ride or
How I spent a rainy, windy day, lost and fording rivers...

What a ride. I tried to ride with Craig this morning but we didn't get together. We wanted to start at 6:30 am so we could beat the heat and wind. I got up early and went out to put my bike in my car and noticed that the sky to the North West was dark and cloudy. There was also lightning but I went anyway. Craig called me, he didn't want to start in the rain so he started later.

It was fine until I got started. It rained for the first 15 miles or so. I don't like rain so I kept the pace down and there was also a good head wind so my average speed was around 16. A disappointing start.

Once the rain stopped it got better but the roads were still wet. For the first part of the ride we were pretty much riding straight North. When I got to the 25 mile mark I got a little concerned. I had just passed two people but I didn't see anyone else in front of us. I stopped and checked the map and realized we had missed a turn. We got directions from a Farmer who was passing on a tractor and decided not to turn back. We probably only added two miles. We turned and rode towards the route and joined them after a bit. But we missed a rest stop. That isn't too bad in the first part of the ride but I was getting low on water and the first part was 66 miles, so I had to get to a rest stop or buy some water in a gas station.

The next 20 miles were uneventful, the weather turned out to be great and no mishaps. After a rest stop at 45 miles with a water fill-up the pace picked up to a more normal 19-22 mph. The woman who was in charge of the rest stop warned us about flooded roads ahead and at 55 miles we hit it. The road was completely flooded over. Even the cars didn't want to go through it. I didn't want to turn around so ahead I went. My sandles were the best thing to wear as it turned out, because the water was about six inches deep and over my pedals at the bottom of the stroke. Other people were complaining of wet feet, socks and shoes. The water only lasted about one block but it was enough to slow many riders to a crawl.

Lunch was served at the 66 mile point. Once again it was cold cuts and chips. Some of the riders were passing up the lunch. I had a sandwitch and salad. I tried to eat light and fast.

My stats for the first half were:

Dst: 69, Avs: 17.5, Mx: 31, Tm: 4 hours. Not too impressive but I did have mother nature against me.

The second half was pretty uneventful. It turned out to be great bicycling weather. There was a little wind and near the end we rode right into it. At one point some buzzards were circling but I wasn't dead yet.

My stats for the second half are:

Dst: 104 miles, Avs: 17.2, Mx: 31, Tm: just over 6 hrs.

Not too bad considering. And once again my tire held out.

This was at mile 1, raining and cool.

This was the 20 mile mark and when the sun first came out

Clouds. What I was looking at for the first part of the ride

80 mile mark. This is what most of the ride looked like

I played tag with this couple for most of the last part of the ride

The buzzards were circling but I wasn't finished yet...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

May 29th 2006
The Great Pizza Ride and Recumbent Rally

Boy what a ride. Under 50 miles in 90+ degree heat some small hills, not big enough to speak of, and we even had a GIRL RIDING WITH US and she didn't even seem scared of us when we finished! Even tho Tom had his "Show-Me-State" license.

Anyway, as I was saying, the ride was in Millstadt where Tom and I have ridden at least three times this year. Its an OK ride but I'm going to avoid Millstadt and Columbia Illinois for at least another month. I just want to see more of the country side. We started off with a bang. Literally. Brian had a blow-out before we even started and normally that would have been a bad sign but even my 10 year old Continentals held out for the rest of the ride. While we were getting ready, the organizer of the ride (the Trailnet guy) kept announcing that we had to be very aware of what we were doing on the road because bicyclists are getting a bad name in Madison County Illinois and St Clair is beginning to not like cyclist as well. Well that was what I got from what he was saying.

We didn't see any problem with authorities the whole ride until the end. While we were partaking in our end of ride ritual (beer and jerkey) a Millstadt Police Officer pulled up. He sat in his car for a minute or two and made us a little nervous. When he finally got out he came up to us and asked if we were the organizers (I guess it was all the grey haired executive types standing around[see picture below]). It seems that the Mayor of Millstadt got a call that there were a bunch of bicyclists on the rode and no-one even bothered to call them and tell them that the ride was happening. The Officer said that they just wanted us to have fun and if Trailnet had notified someone they could have shut down some roads for us and gotten more Police on duty even had some extra Paramedics to stand by if needed.

Kathy (the girl with us that put some of the boys to shame) retrieved her ride sheet and gave him Trailnet's SAG number. We told him we thought he was going to tell us that we couldn't drink in a public place but he said they just wanted us to have fun. What a great guy.

The ride itself was pretty fast paced. We rode with Craig and some of his friends. They kept the pace at 20+ mph even in the 90 degree heat.

My stats for the day were:
Dst: 43.35, Avs: 18, Tm 2 hrs, 24 mins Mxs: 31.5

The beer and jerkey was consumed quickly...

Joey, didn't wait long after the ride was finished to get back to work...

Left to Right, Brian, Jeff, Joe, Dave, Kathy, Mike and Tom

Standing, Left to Right, Brian, Joe, Joe, Dave, Kathy
Kneeling, Left to Right, Joey, Tom

Thanks to the guy who took the pictures, who ever he was...