Friday, June 26, 2009

Creemeed After Climbing Spruce Mountain

Spruce Mountain

Trail Length: 4.5 miles

Vertical rise: 1,340 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

For me, the hike up Spruce Mountain was a bit more than moderate and I've seen other posts on internet voicing the same sentiment. It was an enjoyable hike and the view from the fire tower at the top were excellent.

By the time we had completed the hike, my legs were moaning. On the way back from the hike we stopped at Bragg Farms and had a Maple Creemee. Creemee is the terminology used here to refer to soft serve ice cream. The maple flavor of the creemee came from 100% Vermont Maple Syrup. It was a delight.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tour de Indiana

This is my first multi-day biking adventure. It started out with two people, grew to five, and then shrunk back down to the original two. John Gardner and myself will bike across Indiana west to east, a total of 182 miles, in 4 days. We've chosen a modest schedule with our most aggressive days being the middle two days at almost 60 miles each day.

Some friends have consented to be our "SAG wagon" for a few days. If you are interested in participating in this way one day this week, contact me. (You would meet us at pre-determined locations with nourishment that we provide. Then at the end of the day, you would help us retrieve our vehicle from the beginning of the day.)

I've included maps at the bottom of this post. You will probably want to "view larger map" in a new tab/window.

My intent is to update this post daily and include photos. The actual ride begins Tuesday in Iroqois IL and ends Friday just east of Monroeville IN.

Daily posts follow here

Day 1
Started out from Iroquois, IL about 10:30 EDT. This was about 3 miles west of the state line. The only parking that would have been available at the state line on our route was a cemetary. I think a city park was a better option. There was miles and miles of little traveled country roads. There was the occassional dog that asserted it's authority over the section of road in front of it's house. Cows and horses would pause their grazing to give us the once over. Road kill was also available to play road kill bingo; snake, frog, fox, bird, pheasant. The weather was pleasant, overcast and not hot. The wind though did occassionaly push back at us. We exceeded our daily target and actually biked 38 miles this day. When we checked in to the hotel, I realized that I should have put the sunscreen on at the beginning of the day. My legs and arms were a little red.

We were grateful for the support that Steve Matteson provided. Thanks to him we had Subway for lunch and a ride back to our vehicle which was an hour away by car. Steve caught the excitement of participating in our Tour de Indiana ride. At supper we began talking 'hypothetically' about how we would arrange things if he were to join us the following day and ride with us. By the end of supper we had worked out all the details of how we would handle the ride with three riders and no support vehicle meeting us at pre-designated points. (Steve had heard that tomorrow holds some rain in the forecast and that Pastor John was not feeling the excitement of riding support under such conditions.) Tomorrow Steve joins us for the remainder of the ride.

Tomorrow's target destination is Denver.

We got started about 10:00 today just south east of Rensellaer. Shortly after starting the ride, I got a call from John Gregory who was riding support today. He was in Buffalo and would drive out meet us about 10 miles into the ride. He met us again in Buffalo and he then went to scout out finding us some lunch and bringing it out to us. Out here, there is very little to choose from. He finally found a little Dairy Queen type place and waited 17 minutes while they prepared the fried chicken. It was still quite hot when he finally caught up with us. Thanks John.

The afternoon ride was accompanied by fighter jets flying overhead for much of the time. The huge sound they created made it difficult to spot where they were since they were so much further ahead of the sound.

While stopped for a break in Fletcher, we met a biker riding east to west from Cleavland OH to Muscatine IA. He was biking solo and putting in an average of 80 miles per day.

Today's roadkill included possum, deer, raccoon and skunk. At one point we kicked up a deer along side the road.

After riding 40 miles, we began to get into some 'rollers'. One of earlier ones felt like the initial climb on a roller coaster. It got the best of me, and even having dropped the bike down into the lower gears, my legs were screaming out. I dismounted and walked the last bit of it.

All day we had been fighting a head wind. The west to east route was chosen to take advantage of prevailing winds which seemed to have abandoned us on this ride.

I learned some biking phrases today; pull, sucking wheel. Here is how they might be used in a sentence. "Steve was pulling for Harold while he was sucking wheel." Pulling for someone is riding lead and providing a wind break allowing the following rider(s) to take advantage of the draft created. Sucking wheel is someone who is riding too close the rider in front of him. Actually, I didn't suck any wheel today. For the most part, a was a little further back from John and Steve. That is until we got into a downhill mode. Physics gives me the advantage on a downhill.

Just after achieving 24.5 mph on one of the rollers, the riding day ended in Denver at about 5:30. John Gardner gave me the keys to his van. Steve strapped our two bikes to his bike rack and we took off for an hours drive back to get the van from where we started that day. John on the other hand rode his bike an additional 15 miles to the Holiday Inn Express where we were spending the night. The worst part of the trip is the two hours at the beginning and end of the day to move vehicles. If we had someone who was with us whose sole responsibility was to drive the vehicle with the bikes, we would free up 4 hours a day. This moving vehicles 'sucks wheel'. The good news; the hotel has a spa pool. The bad news; it's currently out of order.

Thursday breaking from trek due to weather. Will resume in a few days.

Day 3
Finally back on the route. Unfortunately, by the time we got down here and parked our car at the end point, Salamonie Dam, and drove back to Denver, it was 2:00 in the afternoon. Today's ride was fairly short, 30 miles, but it had a slight head wind and numerous 'rollers'. Rollers is some more cycling jargon which refers to hilly terrain. There was no incline that whopped me, but I did get the gears down really low. On one downhilll, I exceeded 25 mph. The last part of the ride took us through the Salamonie Forest. It was a beautiful shaded ride full of rollers.

The only significant roadkill today was Bambi which was in the forest. We did see other deer today two crossing highways and one in a field.

Many thanks to Barb today who sagged for us. Sagging is not a lot of fun, but we bikers really appreciate it. Thanks for giving up a day to help us out Barb. You did a great job.

Steve will join up with us for the final day and the longest day. We are looking at just about 60 miles to finish up. At the moment, my odometer reads 124.75 miles for the trip. Tomorrow, the ride will be relatively flat, but the wind will again be out of the east. What's up with that? We chose west to east because of the prevailing winds. No such luck.

Day 4
What was originally planned to be a short day, turned out to be the longest day. To finish the ride we needed to put in 60 plus miles today. Moving vehicles was going to chew up 4 plus hours, the drive home another 2 plus hours. The ride itself was 6 hours peddling time averaging just over 12 mph.

The day started at 5:45 am when we arose and took nourishment. It was 8:00 by the time we were on the bikes at Salomonie Dam. Today's ride was fairly level, although there were times I got the gears down pretty low to climb some hills. The wind was once again out of the east and we were riding right into it. By 11:00 we had reached Zanesville which was what I considered the halfway point of today's ride. I stayed with the bikes in Zanesville under the shade of a tree while John and Steve repositioned the vehicles. While resting, I head some talking and looked up to see three motorized wheel chairs with a gaggle of kids, one with a blue mohak, coming into town up the main road. An interesting site to say the least.

It was about 5:30 when we finally concluded the ride on the Indiana and Ohio state line.

Today's roadkill included a ripe deer, a snake, a frog not yet flattened, a racoon, various birds and numerous unidentifiable critters.

Steve and John are already talking another major ride. Me, this ride has satisfied me for awhile. A few day trips, fine. But, a multi day mega mile trip...ask me next year.

Day 1 & 2 (You will need to zoom out to see full map)

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Day 3 & 4 (You will need to zoom out to see full map)

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Friday, June 5, 2009

National Do Not day

The first Friday in June, National Doughnut Day. But for me, it was National Do Not day. It was mid morning and I was getting a little craving for a doughnut and was just about ready to walk over to Stone's Bakery and get me a cake doughnut when the phone rang. "Hi, this is Amy from Get Fit Get Healthy." She was making a followup call to see how I was doing on my goals that I had set months before. After reviewing my failure to meet my goals and what I could do to make more progress toward my wellness goals, my desire to get a doughnut was still there, but I knew that for me it was "do not" get that doughnut. So, I walked down the hall with my water bottle and filled it up. Drinking more water and eating less doughnuts will help me move towards my goal of loosing a few pounds.