Saturday, December 31, 2011

happy new year!

Here's to more adventures on the bike in 2012! And fondly remembering 2011. I had a lot of great times on the bike this year, but it all led to my latest trip to Colorado.

I was able to add Hoosier Pass to my list of Colorado passes climbed.
 I got to ride through the Colorado National Monument again.
I enjoyed doing some climbs I had done before.
I made it up and over on a route that had foiled me before.
And mostly I enjoyed the company and camaraderie of some great folks who enjoy the challenges of riding up mountains as much as I do. I hope all of them, and all of you, have great rides in 2012!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

bike tour song

(To the tune of the Christmas Song)


Pedals turning in the summer sun
Wheels are rolling down the road
You’re shifting down as the road rises up
As you search for the perfect spinning mode
Everybody knows a mountain is a thing to climb
Some say just because it’s there
Who knew that riding could be so much fun
Though altitude does lead to thinner air

You know that when you make the top
You’ll have done it slowly so your ears won’t pop
A super fast descent, you’ve got to try
And if you have the nerve, you can really fly

And so, my wish for you this holiday
Whatever riding that you do
Make a plan, if you can, for a longer ride
Happy bike tour to you

Just think of how you’ll spend your day
With lots of rolling hills and rest stops on the way
And when the day is done, for sure you may be sore
But in the morning you’ll be ready for more

 And so, my wish for you this holiday
Whatever riding that you do
Make a plan, if you can, for a longer ride
Happy bike tour to you

And when the day is done, for sure you may be sore
But in the morning you’ll be ready for more

And so, my wish for you this holiday
Whatever riding that you do
Make a plan, if you can, for a longer ride
Happy bike tour to you

Sunday, December 4, 2011

race across the sky - leadville trail 100

It had been a while since I had watched my DVD of Race Across The Sky, so I popped it in when I climbed on my trainer this morning. It's kind of like watching Apollo 13, I know what's going to happen, but I still get caught up in the drama. Having happened onto Leadville as the race was reaching it's crucial 12 hour cut-off one year gave me a small idea of how grueling an event this is.
 I've ridden into Leadville in a cold rain at the end of a hundred mile day with lots of climbing. It was hard. But I was on paved roads, and it wasn't a race! I'm in awe of those who ride this race, and while I don't particularly want to do it, would love to see it again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

long way home

This makes a century ride seem kind of puny.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today I'm thankful for family and friends (and my family includes furry, four-legged members).  I'm thankful for green golf courses and pleasant weather, and hitting an occasional good shot to keep me coming back for more. And I'm thankful for roads that go through beautiful places, up mountains and down the other side. I'm thankful that I've gotten to see so many places from the seat of a bicycle.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

hold on to your hat

The temperature was near 70 yesterday. Not bad for late November in Kansas. The sun was shining for the middle hours of the day, and folks were out in shorts and short-sleeves. It would have been a great day for a long ride, except the wind was in the mid-to-upper 20s, with gust in the 40s.

I made it a short ride on the bike path, which offered some trees to block the wind a bit. Still, I had to work like a dog to ride south, and didn't have to pedal at all on the way back home. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but it was really, really windy. Anyway, it felt good to ride outside and work up a good sweat, if only for a short time. The time goes so much faster in the sun than on the trainer. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

nilsson schmilsson

I found a documentary on Netflix last week about the life and work of Harry Nilsson. It was fascinating! His biggest success was in the late 60's and early 70's. Most people fall into one of two categories regarding Nilsson: those who don't remember much about him, and those who loved his work. I fall into the latter group. My roommate had Nilsson Schmilsson when I was in my early twenties, and it was part of the background for many great parties.

Nilsson never toured, and worked on projects that interested him despite being wildly different from what brought him his biggest commercial success. He wrote the song "One",  which became a hit for Three Dog Night, but didn't write one of his biggest songs; he won a grammy for "Everybody's Talking", the theme from the 1969 movie "Midnight Cowboy".

He was famous for his partying, and he partied with some big names in the music business, including John Lennon, who called Harry his favorite artist. He died too young, from heart failure at the age of 53 in 1994. I was so enthralled with this movie that I rattled off several pieces of trivia for my wife, who then decided she didn't need to watch the movie for herself. So, thanks for letting me share with you. If you're interested, the documentary was called "Who is Harry Nilsson? (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him). Otherwise, enjoy some of my favorite Nilsson tunes on my Playlist.
picture borrowed from

Sunday, November 13, 2011

winter bike

I haven't been riding a lot lately. A combination of work and weather, and a bout of LAS (lazy ass syndrome) have kept me from more than a few short rides. It's still dry and relatively warm here, but it's starting to feel like winter, so I thought I should have a plan to get myself riding outside as long as I can before I resign myself to the trainer in the basement.

Before the Madone there was the Cross-Check. I had put skinny road tires on it and it had served me well on a Tour de Kota  and my first CRMBT including a climb of Independence Pass. In recent years it has been a back-up bike. If the Madone is in the shop, or needs a minor repair that I don't have time for, I take the Cross-Check out for a ride.
Recently I decided to put some wider tires on it, and replace the well-worn Brooks saddle and get it ready for winter. Yesterday I got it ready to go, and this morning I took it for a short ride on the paths through the neighborhood. I even went off-road on some mountain bike trails for a short while. Now I just have to commit to bundling up and riding as long as I can. I need to keep some kind of form through the winter, and even with a dvd playing the trainer is so boring. So, here's to my winter bike!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Moorhead boy, who lives at 11th Street and 11th Avenue, turns 11 on 11/11/11

Auspicious date also plays part in wedding planning
FARGO – 11/11/11: Good luck or the end of the world? It depends on whom you ask. For 10-year-old Gunner Parr, he’s hoping for the former as he turns 11 on this once-a-century day. By: Wendy Reuer, INFORUM

Gunner Parr not only has a birthday on 11-11-11, but he also lives at the intersection of 11th Street and 11th Avenue North in Moorhead. Dave Wallis / The Forum

FARGO – 11/11/11: Good luck or the end of the world?
It depends on whom you ask.
For 10-year-old Gunner Parr, he’s hoping for the former as he turns 11 on this once-a-century day.
It wasn’t long after Gunner was born that his grandmothers found how special his golden birthday would likely be.
“We were in the hospital, and we said to each other, ‘Oh, my gosh, he’s going to be popular on his 11th birthday,’ ” said great-grandmother Betty Cannon.
His mother, Nichole Parr, said the family is planning a weekend celebration complete with a surprise for Gunner and his fifth-grade class at Robert Asp Elementary School.
Gunner Parr said he thinks the unique birthday has been a sign of good luck – which would make sense.
An old adage says it is good luck to make a wish when clocks read 11:11. The origin and reasoning of the clock-watching command is unclear.


I wished my brother-in-law Paul a happy birthday yesterday via Facebook, and he wrote that it was too bad he wasn't 11 like the kid in the above article. Turning 11 on 11/11/11? How cool is that? Gunner also has 11 brothers and 11 sisters. Just kidding, I made that up. Anyway, I hope you had a great day, Paul. And if you hear what the surprise was for the 5th graders at Robert Asp Elementary, let me know.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I was looking through some pictures from rides through the Colorado Rockies and was struck by how one's perspective changes how you see something. There was a picture of the elevation sign on McClure Pass that read 8755 feet. When you live at something just over 1000 feet that seems like a respectable elevation. And the ride up McClure though short, can be a little steep. I remember on a Bicycle Tour of Colorado a few years ago, seeing folks walking their bikes through the steepest portions. And while I didn't think it was that steep, it was work. So I have a respect for McClure Pass even though it "only" takes you to 8755 feet.
When McClure Pass was announced as part of the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour for 2011, I looked forward to a short, challenging climb, followed by a pretty amazing descent on the way to Hotchkiss. I wasn't disappointed. The climb features some of the best scenery around, and I took advantage of several photo opportunities.  And as is the case with many rides for me, the descent was better than I remembered.
But, the fact that McClure Pass was on the fifth day of riding, and after back-to-back days where we climbed  Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass, 8755 feet seemed a lot less difficult. It's all about perspective, how you look at things. I like the view from a bicycle.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Late last week, the Bicyle Tour of Colorado announced their route for 2012. The tour runs from June 17-23 and starts and finishes in Fort Collins, CO. I've never ridden in this part of Colorado, so I know nothing about the route except what BTC tells me, and what I can find on the web. Another interesting feature of this route is that one whole day, and parts of two others are spent in Wyoming! I'm sure that those will be beautiful days, so that's not a deal breaker.
This isn't the epic, many hard days with great climbs kind of route that BTC has used in years past. From Fort Collins to Laramie, WY features some climbing, but no high passes. Laramie to Saratoga goes over Snowy Range Pass at 10,840 feet. Before heading back into Colorado riders will climb Battle Pass at 9,955 feet. The day before the rest day in Steamboat Springs features 44 miles and gains only slightly more than 500 feet. From Steamboat Springs riders will tackle Rabbit Ears Pass at 9,426 feet, and the last day features a small climb over Cameron Pass at 10,276 feet before a long downhill into Fort Collins.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

colorado bike racing

My buddy, Clay, got to be in Colorado during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and posted about it with some great action shots at Clay's Cycling Blog. Go check out the action. I've got to see that myself one of these years.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

biking around kansas

Quite different from Biking Across Kansas. I had a couple hours to ride today and headed for one of my new favorites routes. It's a favorite because it offers bike lanes where the traffic is higher, and gets me to a spot about 10 miles from home in a roundabout fashion. Out and back ends up at a little more than 23 miles, and there are a few opportunities for side loops or figure-eights that can add some scenic miles fro a 25-30 miles loop if you have the time and are in the mood.
 After only 5 miles I can stop to admire this girl on her rural oasis in the middle of dozens of new subdivisions. If you're looking for a garage sale or a giant kid, this area is for you. After going west about 4 miles, I spend the next 6 miles going north, then west, then north, then west.....
This guy has startled me before. He's kind of cute, but makes a big noise. He was very cooperative today though,  as I tried to get a good picture. Maybe our relationship is growing.
I've driven by the intersection of two highways several times and never knew Honeywell was there, but if you get on the road less traveled, especially on a bike, you get to see so much more.
The roundabout ahead is the point where I turn around and head back the way I came, or take a right, head east, and make it a loop. If I have the time and the weather is good, I throw in one of those loops, and keep on riding. I've also used part of this route to get farther west or south to make it an even longer ride.