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