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, January 29, 2008

Simple Green Freezes

I suppose you are thinking, “What are we doing talking about icy summer treats when it’s 10 degrees outside?” Well, maybe we’re not. Talking about lime slushies, that is. Think verb. Simple Green Freezes is an observation, not a couple of frozen fruit-flavored drinks. What it is, is... well, just read on.

I set up the Bianchi in the garage for a long overdue cleaning, as it had been a couple of weeks since I rode it in the rain and sleet. It was 20 degrees outside, warmer in the garage, although I did have the door open. With the bike on the stand and materials at the ready, it was time to clean.

Now Simple Green is, according to the manufacturer, an “effective, non-toxic, non-flammable, biodegradable, non-abrasive, environmentally safer all purpose cleanser.” Say THAT fast three times. As you might have already guessed, all of these features are delivered in a bright green liquid. Except when you use the lemon scented Simple Green, which is, in fact, yellow. Go figure.

I spray some right from the bottle on the running gear, and mix some with water to put in the chain cleaner and to generally wash down the bike. The first problem on this day was that my Simple Green, which I kept in the garage, was frozen solid in the bottle. No problem, just bring it into the kitchen, let it sit in a sink half full of hot water for a few minutes and voila! Liquid. Yes, I put it in the kitchen sink. You might be a redneck if your wife says,

“Honey, would you move that transmission Simple Green? I need to take a bath wash the dishes.”

You get the picture.

It was during the process of cleaning the chain that I noticed that the water/Simple Green mixture had quickly turned into a slushy semi-solid. Who could have seen that coming? There was no way I was going to get that off with the shop wipes. Soooo…. the bike, the stand, and aforementioned materials (including my Simple Green), were laboriously carted into the basement where I could finish the process.

The Bianchi is now clean and back in its spot hanging on the garage wall, waiting for riding season to start. In the meantime, I’ll store the cleaner in the basement. Simple Green freezes, after all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oh, for a Warm Spring Day...

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.
Anne Bradstreet (1612?-1672) US poet

With the trainer as succedaneum*, I’ve pedaled my way to 316.8 miles so far this year. No hills, no wind and not nearly as much fun as a long ride on the open road. But, it is riding. Sort of; certainly more than I am able to get on the snow-covered real roads around La Crosse.

Things are shaping up for 2008. A national park ride in the western US is in the running, as is, according to Bill, a ride in Switzerland. Talk about needing to get some vertical work in. It isn’t going to happen with only the trainer though, its wheels being nailed to the floor, so to speak.

Come on spring!

*, if you need it. Some won’t :-)

Why am I not riding the real roads...

Monday, January 14, 2008

X's and O's

The new trainer certainly provides the ultimate ride-and-get-nowhere experience, a faux ride as it were. Faux. Now there’s a puzzler. It looks like “fawks,” but sounds like “foh.” What is that all about? Were there surplus x’s floating around in the bayous of southern Louisiana, looking for a place to light? If so, why did they choose to attach to the “oh” words? Whatever, this French dipthong has gotten some press. For example, the LSU and New Orleans Saints football teams showcase this phonetic anomaly in their “Geaux Tigers!” and “Geaux Saints!” banners.

Where is this geauxing? X’s and O’s are football shorthand for game plans and I am in the processes of planning my 2008 riding. I didn’t quite make it to 5,000 miles in 2007, but that doesn’t mean I won’t aim higher this year. And, drum reauxll, here is the target...

2008 Geauxl :: 6,500 miles

And I will include the faux miles. With 172.7 miles already out of the way, I eauxnly have to get in 6,327.3 more in the next 352 days. Neaux sweat. Well, maybe that’s not exactly the case. There isn’t any wind with the stationary trainer meaning you can say goodbye to the cooling evaporation provided by the combination of perspiration, breeze and fancy jersey materials. But you can ride the trainer in any weather and the road conditions are always perfect. Let it sneaux, let it sneaux, let it sneaux!

The Trek on the CycleOps Trainer

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Breaking the Rules

There are a number of rules for biking safely and effectively. And I broke most of them on my ride tonight. Yep. Tonight. It was 8:30 p.m. and fully dark when I got on the bike. For an hour and a half I pedaled on with no lights. I don't even own a headlight and my flashing tail light rested then, as it does now, on my shop-on-wheels in the garage.

No lights. Not such a big deal when you consider I rode without a helmet*. I was also sans riding glasses and rear view mirror. If you are going to be reckless, you might as well do it up right. Just to round things out, I went without gloves and wore only shorts and a light weight jersey, in spite of the cool, damp weather.

Being unencumbered by what had previously been required equipment, I made really good time on the ride: 26.6 miles at almost 19 mph. I think I'm going to have to ride like this more often.

There is one more thing I might mention. Tonight was my first ride using the indoor trainer that was FedEx'ed in this morning. The Trek is securely mounted at the rear axle, the front wheel supported in the climbing block. It was a surprisingly taxing ride, given the fact that there was absolutely no wind with exactly zero elevation change.

One real ride and one fake one so far this year and I am 63.1 miles into my 2008 goal. More about that later!

* Disclaimer: this was a simulated ride carried out by trained professionals in a controlled environment. Never, ever get on an un-tethered bike without a helmet.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Often the search proves more profitable than the goal.
E. L. Konigsburg

What were they searching for, I wonder? The StatCounter service I use to count visits to the blog also provides information about how visitors made their way to the site. Sometimes it is because they Googled something and were led here. I browsed the statistics the other day and found 18 of the last 100 visitors got here via a Google event. In this post, I'll tell you about what they were looking for and why, I think, they were directed here. All references to other posts are also links to the post mentioned, just in case you are inclined to look.

The most recent Google-sent visitor to be brought here was looking for Skykomish coffee stand. I looked for one of these when the tour was in Skykomish to no avail. I wonder how the searcher fared in his or her virtual hunt? The June 27 post Bigfoot Country described my visit to an espresso stand on the way up into the Cascades and the subsequent overnight in Skykomish, hence the connection to this visitor's search.

Then there was the search for fourteen girls. Landing here was a result of the fourteen as in fourteen percent ride and the posting Girls’ Night Out (June 7). But I wonder what... no, I guess it's best that we just move on.

Lark toys brought three visitors to the blog. I saw the real thing as noted in the October 9 It Was a Lark! post.

Laying out all of my biking gear (Fashion Sense, October 23), introduced readers to my bicycling ear covers triangles as they were called by one seeker of cool weather cycling gear. Another cold-eared rider found this site by looking for Seattle bicycle store ear cover fleece.

A combo of posts, May 18's The Last Word on Wind and It’s Hard to Stop a Train(ing Program) from June 13 proved enough to attract one visitor who had Googled train aerodynamic streamlining.

You might not expect someone looking for horseradish encrusted grouper calories to have ended up here, but recall the Squid Ink Risotto post of May 4. I described a dish I had at a local restaurant: horseradish encrusted grouper. What are the odds?

One hit came as a result of the search for nautical themes for cycling jerseys. "Cycling" and "jersey" appear often enough in the blog, of course. But nautical? Well just call me Captain Jack -- "nautical" appears twice, first in the May 10 post entitled Back in the Saddle Again (you'll just have to go read that post to see how I get to nautical from saddles.) Then there was the reference to nautical twilight in the July 1 Miles to go Before I Sleep post. By the way, who knows what "nautical twilight" is? If you know me, you’ll realize that having "nautical" come up only twice in the entire blog (to date) is a sign of great restraint. Hey, I was even told once that I looked like Johnny Depp. OK, I was actually told I look like how Johnny Depp is going to look 30 years from now. Oh well, close enough.

My penchant for the comic strip Frazz and my special affinity for a particular strip where one of the elementary school’s young students discusses Horace's philosophy with Frazz, the school's custodian, are shared by at least three others who stopped by during their searches for Frazz Horace, Frazz bicycle and Horace guy says possessions don't make you happy. This last search target is actually the subject of the May 13 Moments posting.

My Paradise post of July 5 pulled in a searcher who Googled rode to paradise. It can be done, just check out the pictures in the post.

And then there were the poets... looking for rhymes with orange, wonders rhymes with and what rhymes with percent. I hope the August 20 Rhymes with Orange... posting provided them some inspiration.

Finally, there is my favorite. A search for happy moments with bike. This is just what I've tried to convey throughout the blog. I have had many "happy moments with bike."

I hope the Googlers find what they are looking for. Me, I stepped away from the computer and searched for biking experiences in 2007. And I found the time of my life with the ride from Seattle to Missoula. I also sought a 5,000 mile year. Did I make it? No. I rolled out of 2007 with 4,843 miles.

Am I disappointed? Not really. As our friend Mr. Konigsburg pointed out at the begining of this posting...

Often the search proves more profitable than the goal.

Thanks to daughter #1 who provided the idea for using the Google generated hits as the basis of a posting by doing one in her blog a few weeks ago.