Saturday, September 24, 2011

Finished the 50-miler!

I wrote before about superstitions. This time, the word is "luck".
I was packing for the Tour de Whidbey and remembered the blown tube I had yesterday. I don't usually carry a tube on the road, but I had bought two of them, so I figured "why not?".
I'd finished the first big climb and the rear tube blew. The pry-bars I'd packed (at the last minute) don't work with my road tires. I didn't know that, obviously, but I do now. I eventually got the thing changed, inflated, and reassembled.
Even with the tire trouble, I finished the ride in 4 hours, faster than I had planned. I am afraid that I succumbed, on occasion, to pushing harder than normal if there was a rider in sight in front of me, but I finished and that's what counts.

Here's a pic or two:

Early start, long shadows.

First rest stop, Langley, WA.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Not superstitious

It's a good thing I'm not the superstitious type.
I went out this morning for a light "loosen up" ride. I intended to just cruise for an hour or so to keep my legs limber for the 50 miler tomorrow.
I had hardly begun when I noticed that the cadence transmitter wasn't working. No problem, I have spare batteries in the box at home; I can just swap it out when I get back.
On a fast downhill at about mile 5, I hit a rock. I never saw it, but I felt and heard it. I was doing about 25mph. At the bottom of the hill, I was going to turn around and climb back up. As I angled across the road to make the u-turn, I nearly crashed.
The front tire was flat.
I walked the bike a way along until I could find a comfortable place to sit and work on the tire.
I got it all apart and put the air cartridge into the nozzle, squirting some air into the tube. Bad news. The leak was under a patch from a couple of hundred miles ago. No way to fix it.
I have a cell phone but no one to call today, so I had to hoof it back home, a little under 3 miles walking the bike. It's a good thing I still have my mountain bike shoes with the thick rubber tread.

Along the way, I spotted a crow feather in the weeds. I like crows (sorry Cousin Tony) and thought I'd add the feather to my collection.
Instead of turning around, I just walked backward a bike length. That was the plan.
When you walk a bike backwards, the pedals turn. The pedal caught my ankle, I jumped, lost my balance, and the bike and I went down.
Nice feather, though.

Now I have a nice new tube in the front and a spare in the under-seat bag. Plus TWO air cartridges.

Tomorrow is the ride. Heading up the island at 7am, hope to be on the bike by 8am and done with the 50 miles before 1pm.

Check back this weekend to see if I made it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

3 Days to Go

Saturday is the big day, though it seems less big now than a month ago. The "Tour de Whidbey" is on 9/24 and I'm signed up for the 50 mile southern loop.

I told my pen pal that I was no longer as fired-up as I was about the ride. She suggested I was preparing myself to fail by lessening the importance of the ride.
For once, I think it's something else entirely.

In fact, I don't anticipate any difficulties at all.
I learned that the articles are correct: riding every day is better than every other day. If I don't go out, I put the bike on the trainer and pedal up a sweat.
I went out today and rode for 2.5 hours and though I drank both bottles of water (it was warm out, 64F according to the handlebar computer), I still was 1.5 lbs lighter when I got home.

I tested out a handlebar mount for my iPod, thinking to lighten the load on my helmet (the alternative mount). A brief test revealed that the audio is totally trashed on the bar mount. I suspect it's the styrene foam I used as padding in the mount. I think it's squeaking as the vibration moves the case against the cheap foam.

For the Saturday ride, I'll put it back on my helmet. I like the shock absorbing power of my own neck better than the bar mount, and the iPod only weighs an ounce or two. And I can turn and look at the scenery which has to improve the video a bit.

Not that I expect anyone to see it, but I'd like to learn a bit more about video editing.
Wish me luck, folks!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Review of Kodak P570 Personal Photo Scanner, 5 x 7 inch Photos, 600dpi Resolution, USB 2.0

Originally submitted at Adorama

Kodak P570 Personal Photo Scanner, 5 x 7 inch Photos, 600dpi Resolution, USB 2.0

Scan that shoebox of photos...

By Old Mike from Langley, WA on 9/5/2011


4out of 5

Pros: SD memory card, Easy to use, Great color

Cons: Can't if card is full

Best Uses: Getting old pix scanned

Describe Yourself: Casual User

Primary use: Personal

Computer Platform: Mac

I sit on the floor with a box of photos on one side, the scanner on the other. When the box is scanned, I pop the SD card (a 2Gb card holds about 2,000 pix) into the computer, rename the scans, and put them in their own folder.
Erase the card.
Repeat. Ad infinitum.
Do use the protective sleeves provided. It keeps the dirt and "stickum" from photo albums out of the mechanism.
I've only had a couple of mis-scans in 2500 photos, issues with the software mistaking the edge of the photo.
In all, excellent value for the money.
Take it on the road visiting grandparents, get those old pix into the digital age. You don't even need the computer with you, just a stack of 1GB SD cards.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Gearing-up for Tour de Whidbey

I know you're excited about this. I sure am.
Three weeks until the Tour de Whidbey!
I've never ridden a 1/2-century before. I'm looking forward to it.

Sure, once a long time ago these two young coworkers invited Jim and I to "go for a bike ride" with them. We drove up to Mission San Jose and unloaded our bikes. I had been riding 5-8 mile flat pieces, just enough to recapture the youthful feel of freedom on two wheels one enjoys before getting a driving license.
We rode through Niles Canyon then lit South to climb over the hills into the backside of Milpitas.
The two young guys rode away from us in a heartbeat. Jim and I walked our bikes for a couple of miles uphill. On the downhill, we hooked up with them again just as they were finishing their hamburgers at the golf course. We kept up with them into Milpitas, but they got ahead as we turned north.
We didn't see them again until one of them had a puncture. Of course, neither of them had spares, tools, patches, etc.
We did.
We repaired the tire, they rode off, we never saw them again.

Past history.
My recent riding history is nearly as dismal. In 2000, I rode a fair amount. Some mountain bike, some road bike. Mostly before work, 10-15 mile dashes.
In 2010, I rode a couple of times, logging perhaps 40 miles total.
This year? Ah, I'm so proud of this year. I rode 44 miles this MORNING. I rode Langley - Bayview - Greenbank Farms - Freeland - Langley. It took 3hrs 15 minutes, so not too slow. 2200 calories.
Thursday I put in 32 miles.
That's almost 400 miles since mid-TourDeFrance when I got my bike out.
Six weeks of riding.
Three more to go. I'm pretty sure I can do it.