Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Year End Look Back

I can't believe I only had 4 posts for all of 2012! One of my 2013 goals is to be more faithful with my blog. I want to bring you up to speed on the past year with some of the events that stood out and helped to keep shaping what I am constantly becoming.

On the family side, daughter Beth Ann bought a house...or at least is in the process of buying a house in the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis. She thought she might close by the end of this year but it looks like it will be closer to the end of January. I'm proud of her for all the details she has worked out on her own. Hopefully this will be a wonderful starter home for her. In May, daughter Rebecca graduated from Purdue with a B.S. in Nursing, got married to her high school/college sweetheart, David Peck (who also graduated from Purdue with a degree in Civil Engineering), took and passed her nursing boards and started work at St. Vincent Hospital in Indy all within a 30 day period. I forgot to add that they pulled of a major move from Lafayette to Elkhart to South Bend to Indianapolis in that same time frame. It was my privilege not only to give her away but to co-officiate the wedding. How amazing is it that your daughter gives you the last word on her wedding day! They are living in Fishers, IN. Daughter Kristen must have liked the wedding thing so much that in August she got engaged to Jake Titus, who is the only man that I am aware she ever dated. They met at Camp Ray Bird as fellow counselors and fell in love not only with the ministry there but also with each other. So... we have another May wedding on the 18th in 2013. I had hoped for a little longer time for the pocket book to recover but we will be ready when the time comes.

One of the more significant achievements with my wife Nancy was to buy for her a new bike of her own. Her old Raleigh was donated some time ago and I was able to talk her into getting a single bike (as opposed to the tandem) and taking on some organized rides together. This worked out much better than I could have hoped. We took tandem rides on the Nickel Plate Trail between Rochester and Peru; to a quaint Amish restaurant in southern Michigan with two couple friends and the Blueberry Bicycle Cruise in Plymouth. The maximum distance on a single ride was 40 miles. We were a little less ambitious with our single bikes but Nan and I managed to ride 30 miles together on the Pumpkinvine Ride in the Goshen/Elkhart area. One of our favorite "stealth" rides was riding on the new US 31 bypass that is still being worked on and will not open until 2014. There are at least 12 miles of brand new paved roadway between Kern Rd. and south almost to US 6. It is wonderful not having to watch for traffic. Of course, we are pretty discreet about this and ride pretty much on the weekends only, so as to not garner more attention than we want.

I'm going to fill you in on some more but not now. I don't want to catch up all at once because no one will read this much. But I did want you to know that I am very optimistic for 2013 and will be more faithful with my blog, if you're interested! And I'll tell you more in the days to come. But for now this is it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

RAIN Ride 2012

Yesterday was the Annual Ride Across Indiana (RAIN). This ride was the highlight of the summer for me as far as riding goes. I'd put in almost 2300 miles so far this year getting ready and trained in the heat more than I wanted to be ready for what promised to be a very hot and challenging day. I enlisted the help of Joe Durand to ride with me at RAIN and we trained together on several occasions which really helped during the ride. I also had changed my bike to be more in comfort mode with the new moonsaddle and aerobars to help me stay on the bike as long as possible. After looking at the weather forecast for days in advance we really caught a break with more moderate temperatures than we anticipated. It was still in the upper 80s but we had no low to mid 90s.

Our strategy was to avoid all the SAG and lunch stops planned by the RAIN people because they were too crowded with over 1300 cyclists registered. To save time and congestion our wives did an excellent job providing our own personal SAG support with plenty of electrolyte drink, water, sandwiches, salt and cold wash rags to wipe the heat of the day away. We planned stops every 20 miles and had enough stamina to not have to stop more often. Our average pace while on the bikes was 17 mph for the entire 160 miles, which translated into 9 hours and 36 minutes of actual riding time. Our stops added up to a total of one hour and 4 minutes off the bike to give us a total elapsed time of 10 hours 40 minutes. That beat by more than one hour my previous best time so I was real pleased. Having Joe along for encouragement and a drafting partner helped make the time  possible. The girls did a splendid job of staying out in front of us and giving us the "coordinates" for each stop and were quick to change out water bottles and give us food.

This was my third time to ride the RAIN ride and it was my best by far. It will also be my last time since I've done about as well as I can expect and have nothing else to prove (not that I had anything to prove anyway). We also had the pleasure of staying with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law and were treated to comfortable showers, beds and great food. It doesn't get much better than this in the biking world!

Next up is the Amishland Bikes and Trail ride on August 4th in Howe Indiana and the Blueberry Festival Cruise on September 1st. I hope to ride centuries on both occasions and Nan will join me on the Blueberry ride. That's it for now. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I didn't have time to post anything over the last weekend because of a busy weekend. My daughter had her wedding shower on Sunday and our whole family was in for the weekend, which was delightful. I did manage to get in some good mileage, which I was eager to do in order to test out my new saddle and to see where I was in my conditioning.

I put in close to 31 miles on Friday because I was uncertain whether my Saturday riding plans for a longer ride would happen or not. Usually I would not ride that far the day before a big ride but the weather was so uncertain I wanted to make sure I got some miles in. It was a good ride and I felt strong after it.

As Saturday began, I planned a ride to Plymouth and back which is about 50 miles. I wanted to start about 8:00 am but the weather was threatening rain and the temp was in the high 50s, not conducive for a wet day. So I waited another hour and kept an eye on the radar and felt that I would be safe to ride south, away from the rain. I also decided that I wanted to extend the ride to 60-80 miles. That meant riding to Culver and going around Lake Maxinkuckee. I reserved the lap around the lake as optional depending on how I felt at the time.

My ride began - no rain. The temp climbed to just above 60 at the beginning and the morning was overcast. I wanted to stay on the bike as long as I could without stopping to emulate the long ride (155 miles) that the Ride Across Indiana will bring in July. I wore a light riding vest over my riding jersey and carried my own water and energy drinks/gel. Any stops I did make would be 3-5 minute stops as much as possible.

To cut to the chase, my total mileage for the day (including going around the lake) was 87 miles. My total ride time including stops was 5 hours and 45 minutes. That averaged out to be 15.2 mph for the ride. If you took out the 3 stops I made for a total of 25 minutes my actual on-bike average jumped to 16.4 mph. That is more like the average I want to carry for RAIN (Ride Across INdiana).

My odometer quit working less than 3 miles into the ride because my battery died but MapMyRide helped with the mileage calculations. I was very pleased about the average pace because I had no speedometer to help me with my pace. I finished the ride fairly strong and felt like I had enough left to do extra mileage that RAIN will demand. I extrapolated the mileage, time and pace out for 155 miles to get an estimate of ride time for RAIN and it came out to about 10 hours and 12 minutes. That is substantially faster than my best time of 11 hours 42 minutes. So, I am hopeful that with a good riding day,continued conditioning, and improved gear from the last time that I can set a personal best come July 21.

Most notably and pleasurably, it was probably my longest and most comfortable ride I have ever taken. If I had had the moonsaddle on my coast to coast trip I am sure I would not have complained as much about being uncomfortable! Not only was my behind not sore, my shoulders, neck and arms were not as sore as usual. I experienced no numbness to speak of, which was a first for such a long ride. It makes me look that much more forward to RAIN and hopefully I can learn from my training how to make this year's ride the best yet.

Next up, the Fat and Skinny Tire Festival in Winona Lake on May 19th. Joe and I will be riding that one together and will look to get at least 65 miles in, if not more.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's a Keeper

 At my last post I told you that I was waiting for the arrival of my new "moonsaddle". It is a new type of saddle without a nose and is supposed to be less stressful on the nerves in the groin area to prevent numbness and long term damage. Now I've been able to put over 125 miles on it, including a 45 mile ride. It's official; I like it and am going to keep the saddle.

It took me almost two weeks to decide to keep it because it does take a while to get used to. Because the saddle doesn't have a nose it destabilizes the bike a bit. I didn't realize how much I depended upon the traditional saddle nose to help keep the bike stable.  It requires some minor adjustments to find other ways to stabilize the bike and when you do the saddle works just fine. As promised, the saddle is much easier on the groin area. No more numbness and soreness. Without the nose on the saddle my legs are more free to move and power the bike. If you're interested, go to and check it out. It's a little bit different sensation for a saddle but it's worth the adjustment.

I also snapped a couple pics of the aerobars I put on the bike in preparation for the Ride Across Indiana in July. So far they offer a nice alternative position on the bike during a long ride. I just signed up for the Fat and Skinny Tire Festival in Winona Lake over the weekend of May 19. I'm going to see if I can get a century in.

I'm closing in on 1100 miles for the year and am feeling strong for this time of the year. Nan continues to ride with me about twice a week (I ride her pace) and she is definitely getting stronger. I'll continue to keep you in touch as the riding season progresses.

I ran across my little buddy on another website. Couldn't resist to include a picture of him. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2012 so far

It's hard to believe that I haven't posted since the last day of 2011. A lot has happened since then relative to my cycling adventures. Here are some of the highlights:

  • I just passed the 800 mile mark for 2012 thanks to the record setting warm month of March. UNBELIEVABLE! Of course, last year at this time I had almost 1800 miles on the bike and was in eastern New Mexico one year ago today.
  • I tuned up my bike by replacing a damaged front rim and chain due to almost 7000 miles on my "new" bike that is just 16 months old.
  • I have scheduled several century rides for the summer that includes:
    • The Fat and Skinny Tire Festival in Winona Lake May18
    • The Pumpkinvine Ride in Goshen, Shipshewana on June 16
    • The 160 mile long one day Ride Across Indiana on July 21. My good friend Joe D. is going to ride with me and our wives will provide sag support along the way and then we will spend the night at my sister-in-law's and mother-in-law's places at the finish destination in Richmond, IN.
    • On August 5 we ( my wife Nan will be joining me on several of these rides on our tandem and her new bike) will be over in Howe, IN for the Amishland ride.
    • And then on Labor Day weekend Saturday we will ride in the Blueberry Festival Bike Cruise in Plymouth, IN.
    • I'm still looking for a good October ride.
  • I am most excited that I was able to talk Nan into getting bike for herself so she can start getting conditioned to join me on several of these rides. With the help of The Spin Zone bike shop, we purchased another Cannondale Synapse for her. The major difference between her bike and mine (also a Synapse) is that mine is an all carbon frame and hers is primarily aluminum with an all carbon front fork. It's really a nice bike and the techs spent a lot of time getting her properly fitted to it. We are in the process of outfitting it with a speedometer, water bottle cage, etc. One of the more interesting purchases we made were "moon saddles" (see These are quite different ergonomically designed saddles that do not have the traditional horn or nose that a typical bike saddle has (see the picture below). They are very well reviewed and are supposed to eliminate the typical pain that accompanies distance cycling. It is a very weird looking saddle and I can't wait to try it out. I will probably let you know what I think of it when I've had a chance to put some long miles on it. Also, to work toward greater comfort and aerodynamic positioning for the Ride Across Indiana I installed a set of aerobars on my bike. This will allow me to ride in a more comfortable down position which will come in real handy when trying to cover 160 miles in one day. So far I have been very pleased with the results. A revolutionary new bicycle saddle  

Friday, December 30, 2011

Year End Look Back

It's been a while since I last posted, almost 4 months. Now I'm writing on the next to the last day of 2011 and this year has been one for the books. This has been a spectacular year with so many things to be thankful for. Without boring you with all the details here are some that stand out:

  • God's faithfulness to our family as we enjoyed safety, good health, great relationships, progress in our goals, and an abiding commitment to the God who has saved us and supplies all our needs.
  • Two month sabbatical that allowed me to cross America on a bike for the second time (1974) in my life. This was a life changer. I survived a health scare on the last day of the trip and have had absolutely no hints of a problem since. Nan drove down to meet me and we enjoyed a memorable trip back from Georgia to visit some Civil War memorials in Charleston, SC, Andersonville, GA, Atlanta, and Look Out Point and Chickamauga in Chattanooga, TN
  • Including the coast to coast trip, I rode over 6750 miles this year and rode 11 centuries (100 miles).
  • I was able to enjoy many good books this year - 18 of them and almost 4600 pages worth. A few of the best were Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem, Bonhoeffer by Metaxas, Decision Points by George Bush and Evangelical Convictions by the EFCA.
  • In July we were treated to the beautiful splendor of Alaska during a two week cruise and land tour arranged and paid for by Nan's mother, to celebrate her 80th birthday. I also added Alaska as another state I have ridden a bike in. That makes 39 states total so far.
  • In October we started a month long kitchen remodeling project that turned our tiny little galley kitchen into an open room with more cabinets, an island and walk in pantry than we ever imagined we could have.
  • Also in October, I played a key role in preparing our church to host our district's annual conference involving more than 250 pastors and delegates. We won rave reviews by our district leadership and attendees for our organization and hospitality. Our church did a great job of serving our many visitors.
  • Over Christmas break, we managed to get all five of us in the family together to fly down to Florida to spend a week with Nan's mom. We figured this might be the last time for a while to be able to do this because of increasingly busy lives and schedules. God treated us to the best weather we have ever had in Florida and Nan's mom did a  great job hosting us.
As good as 2011 was, 2012 is shaping up to be a memorable year as well. Here's what's cooking:
  • Surely the biggest event will be the graduation from Purdue in nursing and the wedding of second daughter Rebecca in May to David Peck. I get to co-officiate the wedding so I am really looking forward to the twin duties of walking her down the aisle and "preaching" to her one last time:). We are very happy for her and David. Of course they will also have to find a place to live and places to work, so they have a lot on their plate.
  • In March Nan and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary. I will officially have been married as long as I was single. However, I can truly say the last 30 years were more enjoyable than the first 30, thanks to my mate!
  • In June I hope to take the next step in acquiring the classwork that I need to gain certification in the field of Church Administration. I will be in Atlanta for two weeks for classes and then will have to come up with a project to write about in order to complete the certification in the next year or two. This is very timely since I hope some of my schooling will help walk our church through the transition of losing our present senior pastor and search for a new pastor. That is coming in late August but the wheels are already rolling.
  • And, of course, I hope to keep putting the pedal to the road in 2012. I'd like to ride somewhere between 3500 and 4000 miles and ride at least one century per month from May to October. All this is again dependent upon God's gracious, supplying hand and granting good health and freedom from injury.
Well, that's a rather short summary view of the last 365 days. I am thankful that through it all we were indebted to a God who is the same yesterday, today and forever! With the assurance that our eternity is with Him, it makes every day a lot less intimidating, stressful and enjoyable. Here's to wishing that you might also experience the wonderful grace of God as we all tick off another year. BLESSINGS!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Blueberry Bicycle Cruise

Nan and I rode in the Blueberry Bicycle Cruise today. I rode 66 miles in the morning and then at 11:00 am Nan came down with the tandem and we rode the 41 mile route. We were done in plenty of time to get home and cleaned up to watch the ND game - they are in big trouble! The total elapsed time for the 107 miles was 7 1/2 hours and the actual riding time was just under 6 hours and 30 minutes. Even  though the heat came out in the late morning we were able to avoid the nasty weather that is occurring as I write this. My goal of getting 6000 miles in for the year is still alive - I passed the 5360 mile mark with today's ride with almost 4 months left. I bought a new trainer a couple weeks ago to be able to keep riding once winter comes. I'm hoping the next ride will be from Rochester to Peru on the Nickel Plate bike path. That's a 20 mile one way ride on the old railroad bed between Rochester and Peru.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bloom and Zoom

I rode in Elkhart's inaugural Habitat for Humanity Bloom and Zoom ride today. There were about 140 riders for their first ever ride. That's a pretty good first time turnout. It was a nice ride and the weather cooperated for 94 of the 105 miles I rode. Then it started raining which actually felt good. The ride took us past many of the "Garden Quilt" flower gardens in that area and along the St. Joe river. It was hard to maintain a good pace because there was a lot of neighborhood riding and even about 3 miles of unpaved bike path (compliments of the Pumpkinvine bike path in Goshen). Nonetheless, it was a great ride and I rode the 105 miles in exactly 7 hours total elapsed time. My actual time on the bike was 6:21:36 and my average was 16.5. I'll take that!

Next up is the Blueberry Bicycle Cruise in Plymouth on Sept. 3. Nan and I will ride part of it on the tandem and then I will tack on more miles on my bike and try to get another century in. I just passed the 5000 mile mark for the year with the Bloom and Zoom and have 6000 as a goal for 2011. I think I can reasonably get that before year end.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Amish Land and Lakes Ride

Was over at the old Howe Military Academy for an organized bike ride today called the Amish Land and Lakes Ride. Took both the tandem and my bike where Nan and I rode the 50 mile loop, then I switched bikes and rode the 62 mile loop. It was a nice day, although quite humid all day with a little more wind, sun and heat showing up in the afternoon. We were able to dodge rain most of the day but did get damp a couple times. It actually felt good at the point of the ride where I was.

Highlights of the ride: 1. Nan doing very well at the longest distance she's ridden since the mid-eighties, 2. A lot of Amish kids out providing their own SAG support. I used it once on the 62 miler because the regular SAG stop had already closed. 3. There was a nice little climb on the 62 miler with a big steep downhill for Indiana. I hit 41.25 mph on the way down. 4. I rode strong considering we spent two weeks on an Alaskan cruise just over a week ago where I didn't get my usual miles on a bike in and ate way too much food. 5. When the ride was finished we were treated to a huge bowl of homemade raspberry ice cream. There are not many better ways to end a long ride than that!

The next ride is the Bloom and Zoom in Elkhart August 20th  to help benefit the Elkhart chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Total riding miles so far for 2011 stand at 4745, easily the most since I started logging miles in 2000.

Friday, August 5, 2011


 I told you I would keep in touch via blog while we were enjoying an Alaskan cruise. My intentions were sincere, the cost of internet connection on the ship was not! I was also disappointed with the connectivity even on land in Alaska which for the most part was non-existent. So, even though I was disappointed with the technology, that was the only thing that I was disappointed with while being dazzled by Holland America and the unsurpassed beauty of Alaska. Rather than bore you with words I will try to capture some of the highlights with pictures.

Following is a random sampling of our Alaska trip. Even though there are quite a few pictures here, they are about 1/20th of what we took. Hope this helps you visualize a little bit of the wonderful experience we had while in this amazingly beautiful 50th state of the union.

Humpback whales

The Ptarmagin: The Alaska state bird
Dall mountain sheep
Wild moose

Red fox
The Hoary Marmot

A grizzly from a safe distance

Future Iditarod sled dogs
To many current Iditarod winners

To Salem, retired 4 time Iditarod lead dog
We visited... 

Vancouver, B.C.



and Anchorage and Fairbanks.