My RAGBRAI Team LIVESTRONG Fundraising Page

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Phone Charger for Your Bike

I had the opportunity to review a product from Bike2Power that allows you to charge your smart phone while riding your bike.  The review was for a great website called and can be found here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Postcards From My Ride

On Saturday, 4/28, I'm scheduled to do the "Feed the Need Ride" in Highland to benefit the local food bank there. It's a small ride (they only expect about 70 riders), but with lots of options for distance.

I have been trying to decide if I was up for their longest ride - 150K (~100 mi). But it comes with 10,000 feet of climbing! The longest ride I've had this year is the 42 mi ride (mostly flat) the day I crashed. A long ways from 100 miles. And only a fraction of the climbing.

So I mapped out a route (thanks in part to Twitter pal @kmoorejr) to Blue Mounds and back to ride this past Saturday. It would be just under 80 miles, with over 2600 feet of climbing.

The Day's Route
The Day's Profile
It was a beautiful day for riding, just a little chilly (high of 53F), but sunny and calm. I left home at 11:30 to begin my day in the saddle.

I hadn't gone too far, about 5 miles, when I crested a hill at a farm called "Angel View Acres" outside Waunakee. They have a beautiful view of Madison from there and you can clearly view the capital dome standing out in the skyline.

Looking south from Angel View Acres.  You can see the dome of the state capital building about 12 mi away if you zoom in (one fence post to the left of the flagpole). 
Looking back down from Angel View Acres
I continued west, taking myself up two climbs (158' in 1.2 mi and 195' in 1.6 mi) on Enchanted Valley Rd that Map My Ride classifies as "Cat 5s" (category five - difficult enough to be labeled, but the "easiest" of those that ate categorized).

At the top of the second climb, I turned left onto West High Point Road and continued upward. As the road turned, there was a magnificent view of the farms and the edge of Cross Plains below.  
Now the road name (High Point) makes sense!
I cruised down the hill and contined into the village where I took my first rest stop. I popped into the Kwik Trip for a yogurt parfait and a Gatorade for lunch. Then I was off again.

Next up, a climb up County P, another Cat5 climb (150' in 1.0 mi) and then a left turn on West Mineral Point Rd. in some ways, this road was tougher than the Cty P. It had a series of rolling hills with steep climbs and rapid descents. Before a final downhill, there was this view looking southwest. Beautiful, isn't it? 
Looking SW from West Mineral Point Road.  That's where I'm heading.
I continued on, pedaling closer to County Hwy F, the big climb of the day (587' over 3.7 mi), taking Hwy 78, the Greenwald Rd, and Cty J. The views on Greenwald and J were incredible. Picturesque farms with green fields surrounded by rolling hills and old woods. This was turning out to be a spectacular ride! I am incredibly lucky to be able to enjoy this.

When I reached Cty F, I turned to the south to ride to Blue Mounds. I began to gradually climb. Not steep, but steady. This was it. The Cat3 hill that was on the proposed Olympic course if Chicago had won the bid. I paused briefly at St James Catholic Cemetery. They may rest in peace, but I had mules to go before I could rest.   
May they rest in peace.
Finally, I summitted the hill, after miles of climbing feet. It took me minutes from the time I turned on Cty F until I reached the top. The view was grandiose. This is looking NNE from the top of the hill. 
From on top of County Hwy F outside of Blue Mounds
I turned left on Cave of the Mounds Rd and rode past this visitors attraction. It's a fascinating cave if you're ever in the area. Worth visiting. But I've been there before, so I pedaled on, left on Cty ID and into Mt Horeb.

On ID, I was joined by another rider, a guy from the Twin Cities who was down for a seminar. He had been out riding and was looking for Cty F. He had heard about it, our Alp d' Huez he called it, and wanted to climb it. I told him he just missed it, gave him directions and he said he'd ride it tomorrow. He's going to come back with some buddies for a weekend to climb that hill and do a long road ride. They just don't have hills like that up there he said. I guess he can thank the last ice age for that.

I made my second stop in Mt Horeb. At the Grumpy Troll brewpub. A pint of Maibock to wash down a Clif Bar was a perfect mid-afternoon snack.
An excellent location for a pit stop! A great brew awaits no matter what your taste.  At least 10 beers that they brew on tap.
Time to turn for home. Only one big climb left, another ascent up Enchanted Valley Rd on my way. But first some nice descents, first down Cty S (at 32+ mph) heading northeast out of Mt Horeb. Then going down the Cty P hill (at 38 mph) I climbed earlier heading back into Cross Plains. .

Taking Cty P north thru Cross Plaines, I turned right on Enchanted Valley. In the first part of the climb I noticed this odd formation of roots and ground. The hill is eroding away exposing the roots of the old trees above.  
I finished off my ride, dragging myself across the flats of Schneider Rd, the Hwy 12 bike path, Cty K, then Woodland Dr back to Waunakee. I was tired. My legs spent. If this is how I felt after 80 miles/2600 feet of climbing, there's no way I could do 100 miles/10k in my current shape. I'm just not ready for that.

The next day, I was exhausted. I even napped for a bit after lunch (and I rarely nap).

That evening, I started thinking more about the ride coming up next weekend. The rational side of me says that it can't (or shouldn't) be done. At least not the big ride. Take the the shorter route w/ less (but still a lot of) climbing. But I'm thinking I'm gonna do it. To get faster, stronger, better, you need to challenge yourself. To push past your (imagined) limits.

So... next week, a ride recap from the Feed the Need Ride. Let me know if you want to join me for the ride!
Chasing my shadow the last mile home.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Update #2 on #30DaysOfBiking

It's now April 16th - the start of the second half of 30 Days of Biking.  And I have been on a bike every day this month so far... barely.  On day 9, I....  Well, I'll get to that.  Here is an update of how the month is going so far....

Day 5 - View Of a Bridge
My daily bike commute take me under Johnson St along the Yahara River in Madison.  The river is just out of frame on the left.  There is another underpass at E Washington two blocks away (which is, honestly, a nicer bridge).
Day 6 - Blood Run
It was a 10 mile ride each way to the Red Cross's donation site on the east side of Madison.  I rode over late Friday morning, spent 86 minutes on the apheresis machine donating a triple dose of platelets, then rode back home.  Great way to spend the day off!
Day 7 - Grocery Run
Rode to the grocery store with my favorite partner.  We took a different route and didn't always agree on which way to turn, but we made it there and back.  And even got all the groceries we needed for supper.
Day 8 - Late Night Spin
It was late on Easter Sunday.  And I hadn't been on the bike yet.  So I hopped on and took a spin around our neighborhood (about 5/8 mi) at 10:30 p.m.

Day 9 - no pic
No picture for today.  I spent most of the day doing chores and running errands.  By the end of the day, I realized I hadn't ridden.  So I went to the garage, grabbed the bike closest to the door - Olivia's old 20" and rode it around our cul de sac.  This really shouldn't count as a ride.  But I was on a bicycle.  Even if only for a couple hunderd yards.

Day 10 - Capitol View
Madison is a beautiful city, as evidenced by this pic of the isthmus with the capitol dome standing out in the blue sky.  This view is from Maple Bluff Park on the east shore of Lake Mendota in the Village of Maple Bluff.  I ride past this view every day I commute to work by bike.  (I work a block away from the capitol.)
Day 11 - Tulips
After an incredibly mild winter, we had freeze warnings two nights previous to this pic being snapped.  The temps stayed at about 30 and the tulips survived.  Always great to stop and smell the roses.
Day 12 - Park-N-Bike (car)
Sometimes my schedule necessitates that I not commute by bike all the way from home to the office.  Doesn't mean I can't still ride part of the way though!  On this day, Pre got to ride on the rack into Madison and was used for the last couple of miles to the office and back.  And yes, I did make it on time to where I needed to be after work.
Day 13 - Loving the Bike
It was a little cold yet this Friday morning.  Cold enough for leg warmers under my shorts and long sleeves on my bike commute. 
Day 14 - Late Night Spin
Olivia had a dance competition allll day loooong on Saturday.  We left at 6:45 am and got home at 10 pm.  But that's no excuse for not getting in a ride of any kind.  So, the girls went to bed and I pulled Pre out and we went for a short ride.  Pleasantly surprised by the speed, btw.
Day 15 - Legs
Finally, a "real ride" - on Candi. Even if it was too short (just under an hour), it was a chance to do a road ride and stretch my legs just going.  This was Sunday morning, before we had to leave to go to a volleyball tournament for a big chunk of the day.  Thankfully, we didn't have to leave until 10 am and were home by 7 pm.
Day 16 - Winds Are Blowing
After a gorgeous weekend (sunny w/ highs in the 70s both days), the weather turned overnight.  It was a little breezy this morning - enough for whitecaps on Lake Mendota.  The wind was out of the SW this morning and is changing to out of the N this afternoon.  Great.  Headwinds both ways on my bike commute!  I guess, I'll consider it resistance training.

There you go.  My month on the bike so far. 

How is your month going? Getting in some great rides? Taking time to check out the world around you? Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below.  I'd love to hear how your 30 Days of Biking (or just 30 Days of April) is going.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It is April.  And that means it's time for another round of 30 Days of Biking.  Today is Day 4.  And I have been on my bike every day so far.  Actually, my first day back on the bike after my accident was a test ride around the neighborhood on Saturday, March 31.  Just in time for 30 Days!

30 Days of Biking was started by a couple of guys in the Twin Cities who thought it would be cool to get people to commit to riding every day for a month and share their stories/pics via socail media (facebook, twitter, web).  It is done in April and again in September.  This is the third year.

All you have to do is register on their website (there are 3425 others registered as I write this).  And ride.  Around the block.  For a Century (100 miles).  Or any distance in between.  And share your experiences with the rest of the world.  Literally. Most people who registered are from the US or from Great Britain.  But some are from other nations as well. (Canada, Croatia, Japan, Germany, Sweeden, Netherlands, Australia are just some I found!)

Below are a some pics from my adventures to date:
Day 1: The Cracked Asphalt of Wisconsin, in honor of the Pave du Vlaaderen (the Cobbles of Flanders). This was the day of the Tour of Flanders, one of the "Spring Classics" races in Europe.  Great race.  After it finished, I went for an easy 21 mile ride on Candi.  A great day!

Day 2: I ride past this B-Cycle station in Tenney Park in Madison on my way to work whenever I ride (which is whenever possible!).  Over the weekend, they repopulated the station with the bike-share bikes in town.  I guess spring is officially here!  If you're ever in town and want to get around, use a B-Cycle!

Day 3 was primary election day.  So I rode Pre, the bike I usually use to commute to work on, to the polling place before heading to work.  The black bag behind the seat is a saddle bag w/ zip-out panniers.  My work clothes are in there.  I'm lucky that we have a locker room with showers at the office.

Day 4: I was riding past one of the older country clubs on my way to work and took this shot.  I wanted  to get both the background greenery as well as the "g" logo on the jersey sleeve.  Spring has spring early in Wisconsin and it's been beautiful!
I will be posting more pictures and anecdotes on facebook and on twitter if you want to follow me this month.  Better yet, hop on your bike and JOIN me!  Don't forget to share your stories from your time on the bike!