Moving On

The original purpose behind The Fourteen Percent Ride has long since been fulfilled. So, I've decided that Mighty Proud will be the last posting. It just seems right.

But, don't worry. Or maybe you should. In any event, I plan to continue. I'll keep riding. And writing. Click here to come along in my new blog ~ The Long White Line. <-- check it out!


As I've ridden for the last two years, I've picked up on the fact that Shirley, my darling wife, has been more worried about my safety than impressed with my "accomplishments." How do I know this? Well, when I'd come back and tell her, for example, that I'd hit 53.6 mph going down FO, she'd reply, "I don't want to hear it." Being the sensitive sort I figured out, after many such comments, that just maybe we were not on the same page here. But last week, she told me that she would "greatly reduce her focus on the 'fear for my safety' issue." We talked about the tour, looked at some maps, researched nutrition suggestions on the internet, and so on, just enjoying the idea of the ride. How nice is that? Thank you, Shirley!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Forty Days and Forty Nights?

If you hang around long enough you’ll find that no matter where you live, you are in a flood plain. Just ask Noah. It has rained here for more than two weeks and there has been serious damage done to homes and roads. It has affected my riding; many of the routes I regularly ride, especially to the south, are now closed, the washed out roadways being repaired. That’s not so important of course. Many people are working to put lives back together, too many after suffering the loss of loved ones in the major storm that appeared on their doorsteps during the night of August 18.

To check out the latest slide show on the flood and recovery at the La Crosse Tribune’s web site, click here.

I did get some riding in since last Tuesday: 141.2 miles with 6,303 feet of climbing. Not much, I know, but I’ve now gotten to within 1,252.1 miles of my 5,000 mile goal. Ride on…

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rhymes with Orange...

What a week. No riding. Not one bit. Work, work, work. We had a visitor from the UK on Monday and Tuesday. All about a project for CFD analysis of screw compressors. This is really exciting stuff, trust me. But it is a lot of work. And, we HAD to go out to the Freighthouse on Monday and Piggy's on Tuesday. What a grind. Then a meeting on Wednesday night for the Dominican Republic mission.

Thursday finally arrives – let the riding begin. But it rained. And rained and rained and rained. Throughout the weekend. Some serious water causing considerable damage in the area. A wild ride through the week, but not the kind of riding I'd hoped for.

A week that started with food and ended in a flood. It is during times like this that I do some serious thinking, pondering issues such as "Why do food and flood not rhyme?" Throw good into the mix and you have a real conundrum.

I wonder, what rhymes with conundrum?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Brake for Rust

There has been a new twist in my riding lately. Shirley’s artistic pursuits have led her in some interesting if not unusual directions. Rust is one of her primary mediums. She has a rusting operation going on under our deck – if a piece of metal doesn’t have the good sense to rust naturally, she’ll help it along. As of late, I’ve facilitated this behavior by collecting rusty detritus encountered on my rides. There is a lot of that stuff and I stop and pick up pieces that will fit in one of my jersey pockets. The picture below is one of my recent finds. Last weekend, I saw a really large piece, too much to tote. So, upon returning home, we got in the car and took a ride in the country, recovering the artistically oxidized metal plate.

Rust is OK as art, but not on a bike chain. I clean my bikes regularly. When riding in the rain, as happened a week ago, the running gear gets particularly gritty and a good cleaning is necessary. The picture shows me hard at work on the Trek. The bike stand is a hand-me-down from Bill and the rolling bicycle shop on the left was a surprise from Shirley. I guess it takes a village to take care of a bike…as well as all of that homeless rust.

Progress since last Tuesday: 115.1 miles and 6,376 feet of climbing. Total for the year stands at 3,607.6 miles, leaving 1,392.4 miles to go for a 5K year.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Shall We Dance?

Did you know that you can dance on a bike? You need rhythm, balance and a nimble-footed partner. Last Saturday, at the start of the County X climb, it all came together. My rhythm and balance are legendary, of course. And my partner on this cool and soon to be rainy day? A rather large cow, her color a blend of copper and rust. Just after I'd settled in to a lower gear to start up the hill, she ambled onto the road about ten feet ahead of me. She looked over her shoulder, taking in my bright yellow jersey, new silver shoes, white helmet and laser-bronze Technically Cool* glasses. Her reaction was reminiscent of the young Ugandans* when they saw me, their first mzungu*: wide eyes, a bit of panic in the look and feet ready to beat a hasty retreat.

Our dance started as she tip-toed, if you can picture that step from a 1,200 pound cow, across the road. I moved in the opposite direction to go around. A fence, however, blocked her retreat to the safety of the field, so she clip-clopped back to the side from where she started. I countered, moving now to the right. But, being farther up the road, she encountered another fence, so back she went, a little more frantic now. I followed her lead by going left across the road and slowing a bit to provide a little more space between us. So it went. A bovine two-step. Or four-step in this case, I suppose. Our dance continued until she finally found an opening providing an escape from the multi-colored threat rolling along behind her. A "mooving" experience for us both, to be sure.

Bill saw it all in reverse in his mirror. His laugh rolled down the hill. It was one of relief, I know. It could have been him.

* click on the links for information on technical coo-ality (I made that up), the Uganda trip (an earlier post in this blog), and mzungu (did not make that up) :-)

Oh yes, the riding. That is what this is about after all. Since last Tuesday, I've accumulated 155.2 miles and 8,450 feet of climbing. Total for the year is 3492.5 miles leaving a mere 1507.5 miles to go for 5,000. And,for the first time in over a year, I had a flat. As this update is being written on Wednesday after the ride, I can report a second flat. Not a good trend...