Friday, October 21, 2016

17 Miles and Stiff Knees

Friday Tracking, Courtesy of GPS and Ham Radio

We were chugging away at home trying to catch up on THINGS (such as pulling weeds, getting broken radios fixed, installing new software, getting Windoze 95 to work in the Brave New World, etc.) and it was well after noon when Jacque strongly suggested we go for  a ride. Since her Catrike is now mounted inside as an exercise trike and the Tandem Terratrike was easily retrieved from its protective shelter under the front deck, we did the tandem thing.
Since we already had a list of stuff to do and pick up in Albuquerque, we hitched up the trailer and hauled the tandem to town so we could ride the world famous Bosque Trail .
We decided to park at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Museum parking lot and ride the trail from there to the Bosque.  There are parking lots adjacent to the trail with easy access; unfortunately they are frequent targets for thieves who enjoy burglarizing parked cars, a well established detriment to the City.
It's close to 4 miles from this parking lot to the Alameda entrance to the Bosque Trail, and we made it to that point maybe a half hour before sunset.  After several miles southward on the Trail, it began to get quite dark - and cold as well - so we began to get worried about needing to turn around.  We were in desperate need of a bathroom, and Jacque was set to grit her teeth and survive the entire return trip without a break, when we suddenly spotted a VERY unusual sight on the Bike Trail:  A Porta-Potty.  Talk about a beautiful vision in the middle of the forested riverbank.  WOW, we thought, the City had Finally set up a FACILITY along the bike trail.
As it turned out, it was only there for some sort of construction project, meant for construction workers only, not unwashed cyclists, homeless waifs, or other denizens of the Bosque Trail.  Temporary though it may have been, it was mightily appreciated by all who stumbled upon it.  Cycling trails are wonderful but invariably they lack "facilities", meaning users must either hold it until they explode, or if of the male persuasion such as I, do it in the bushes and trees and other foliage along the trail.  Whatever, life is good, and the occasional porta potty is a wonderful relief.
As usual, we met all sorts of odd folks on the trail:  Homeless wanderers stumbling along with their quilts and sacks of stuff and layers of warm clothing regardless of the heat, high speed racers zooming along bent over face down in their pursuits, pretty Moms trudging along with their baby strollers (moving barely slower than we were), joggers, and ONE upright tandem with a grinning couple pedaling furiously, and ONE low slung 2-wheel recumbent headed the other way.  FUN
We decided to turn the trike around (the path has no turnaround points, so this involves picking up the rear wheel of the Terratrike off the ground and walking it around until the entire trike was facing the other way).
We got a bit more tired and exhausted as the daylight completely faded away, with the last half hour almost totally in the dark.  Thankfully we always ride with bright blinky tail lights, headlamps on our helmets, and bright objectionable clothing.  Which reminds me as I type this:  I need new batteries in MY headlamp.
And, Jacque got her wish for a "long" ride:  Stiff knees.  But they're still looking and working great.

Ride Started: 4:15 PM    Ride Ended:  7:17 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  12.5
Lowest Temp  57 F      Highest Temp:  75 F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  17.51
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   5.7 MPH                             7.0 MPH                   21.9 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
3 hours 3 mins                      2 hours 30 mins           33 minutes

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My, a Windy Tuesday

Tuesday Tracking via APRS and Ham Radio
Now that I'm a free agent again, I am totally free to ride around whenever I want to.  Sorta.
I finally got my first post-mission ride in yesterday, and it was the usual 10-mile loop around our East Mountain neighborhood.
PLUS, the wind was up.  Not violently so, but enough to require a few lower gear-rings than normal during several parts of the ride.  Also, the unpleasantness of having to pedal to maintain speed going DOWNhill....
I love my 2-wheel recumbent, but I'm getting antsy to get my electronics mounted on the new Catrike Road trike so I can enjoy riding it more, especially since it has both higher and lower gears top and bottom for cruising and climbing.
I still maintain balance just fine, but climbing long hills on the 2-wheeler gets tedious at my advanced age and, though I still have no balance issues, crawling along in granny gear on the 2-wheeler means lots of wobbling left and right to STAY upright, whereas with the trike you just keep pedaling and maintaining a steadier course.
Since we have only Windoze 95 on our PC's and laptops, I can no longer upload and edit GoPro videos from my helmet-cam.  GoPro deserted Win 95 shortly after Microsoft did.  Until we get an upgraded system somewhere within our budget and control, I'm stuck with a very expensive but useless camera.  Sigh.
I'm prepping to do a few longer rides, such as 30-milers into Albuquerque and back.  Today would be great but I would run out of time (3 hours or so to do 30 miles through the canyon) waiting for me to get the mods done to the Catrike.  So I guess I'll just wimp out today (Wednesday) and drive into town and, if time permits, do a short ride before or after on the bike.  Gotta maintain my girly figure, don'tcha know.

Ride Started: 12:25 PM    Ride Ended:  2:16 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   14.0   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  12.5
Lowest Temp  71 F      Highest Temp:  82 F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.67
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   5.9 MPH                             7.6 MPH                   24.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 40 mins                      1 hour 23 mins           24 minutes

Friday, October 7, 2016

Balloon Fiesta Rides

Tuesday's Ride to Pep Boys and Back

Thursday's Early Morning Ride to Balloon Fiesta Track

Wednesday Night Tracking

We've put in a few hours on the Tandem Terratrike this week.
Tuesday evening I rode it over the I-25 overpass to Pep Boys to pick up a new low beam headlight bulb for Jacque's Subaru.  A short ride, indeed, but a good stiff climb to get up and down the bike path overpass at I-25.
Wednesday morning we decided to make the tandem actually function as a tandem and rode over to participate in the morning's balloon launches.  We got  there almost an hour after the balloons had already started  to launch, but there were still at least a hundred or more balloons on  the ground in process of inflating and launching, so we got to see plenty of up-close action.  We had a couple of expensive but delicious world famous Balloon Fiesta Breakfast Burritos, some Diet Coke to wash it down, and then a warm Cinnamon Roll to counteract the effects of the Diet Soda.  No tummy-aches, so all went well.
We left the doggies behind in the RV since we worried they would be unduly alarmed at the roar of the burners inflating all the balloons.   They forgave us, but barely.
Riding the bike trail into Balloon Fiesta is the only way to fly.  That morning there was very little other traffic, lots of places to park and lock the trike once we got there, and for some reason, there were no ticket sellers  or ticket takers when we walked in.  Maybe they all wandered away from their posts to watch the balloons.
We hiked clear across the park to find the ham radio tent, encountering thousands of people and all kinds of balloons along the way.  I was scheduled to operate my radios for the SCAT net (Senior Citizens And Travelers) from Balloon Fiesta on Friday and Saturday, but every security guy we talked  to said there was no way to allow the trike on the field itself.   So the Friday net was conducted from the RV instead.  Maybe I  can obtain some kind of   advance waiver next time, IF there  is a next time.
Then, Wednesday night, we did another first, and rode over for our first Balloon Glow.  It was well worth the effort.
This time we took Lilly and Tinkerbell, which was fun but cumbersome what with all the crowding and noises.  We planned to eat a Navajo Taco while there, which turned out to be a mistake.  EVERY food vendor had  lines with at least a hundred people waiting - especially at the  vendors selling Mexican fare.
Jacque got in line at Fenrico's (SP?) and I got in  line at the vendor 2 stalls away, hoping one line would move faster than the others.  The plan was to call each other on the cell phone when either of us got up to the front and got served.  My line was longer and it took forever.  I was low on blood sugar, a bit spacey, and desperate for some carbs or we would have given up and gone  back to the RV for supper.  The balloon glows actually ran out of time and closed before we got to purchase anything.  ZILLIONS of people, with food lines so long we had to continually open up  so walkers and baby buggies etc. could get  past us.
I was  mildly shocked  when I finally got to the window, so I tried to call Jacque, but too many people with too many cell phones.... I called her several times but it never got through.  So I  handed over $12 for the so called Indian Taco.  I was holding Tinkerbell in one arm and trying to get to my wallet with the other, not daring to put her down on the ground with all the food scraps for her to gorge upon.   I put  on  quite a show for everyone within view. Finally I got the dish in one hand with Tink in  the other and fought my way back to an eating stand.  I tried Jacque several more  times to no avail.  I expected her to walk up at any time with ANOTHER Navajo Taco, but suddenly my phone rang, she had noticed missed calls and called me back.
When she came over and we started to eat our treat, we wished she HAD gotten another one, since the one I'd just wasted 12 bucks on was (1) cold, barely warm, (2) lacking any beans, (3) NO CHILI AT ALL, (4) VERY few chunks of meat.  Just shredded lettuce, no onions, some shredded cold cheese, BAH.   I wish I could recall the name of the place to warn everyone to avoid them, but I can't.  I doubt we'll EVER try to find a Navajo Taco at Balloon Fiesta in the future.  Our NM State Fair may be dwindling in size  but, by George, they know how to make REAL Navajo Tacos there, and for far more reasonable prices. (It helps when it's a Navajo lady making the taco in front of your eyes!)
Escaping Balloon Glow was another challenge.  Though we moved faster than drivers in  vehicles (stopped more than moving), there were hundreds of pedestrians and  baby strollers who had used the bike path to arrive and were literally clogging the  pathway blissfully unaware of the  dozens of cyclists trapped behind them hoping to get through.   Many cyclists had given up and were just walking their bikes instead of trying to get around into the clear.  After  much twisting, braking, and dodging, we cyclists were able to get out into the open bike path and actually spread  out and make good progress towards home.

Final Ride Started: 6:13 PM    Ride Ended:  9:08 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.1  Lowest:  12.9
Lowest Temp  57 F      Highest Temp:  67 F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  8.37
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   5.7 MPH                             6.4 MPH                   19.0 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 55 mins                    1 hour 18 mins          1 hour 20 mins

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tired Tuesday

Today's limited Tracking

I rode off again today towards Balloon Fiesta Park but ran out of time and turned back for home at the Paseo fork-in-the-trail.
It was 50 degrees according to the outside thermometer today and it was downright COLD even with the windbreaker  on.  Of course  this didn't prevent me from getting sweaty later on in the ride.
When I woke up this  morning I was sleepy and wanted to lay in the sack a while longer but I do so want to keep my A1C and blood glucose in  better control.
The stiff breezes, mild though they were, kept the Balloons from launching on time this morning.
When they finally did, after I got back to the RV, dozens of hot  air balloons floated right over the top of us as we were eating breakfast.  We were sitting at the breakfast  table and heard the loud WHOOSH of a hot air balloon  burner and realized  they were very close.  One was just 50 or so  feet above our heads and waved and shouted "Hello!" back at us.  The other office missionaries came outside in a  few minutes and  enjoyed the  low flying balloons as they floated overhead  at  seemingly low altitudes.  Great stuff, one of the benefits of living in the Albuquerque area.

Ride Started: 6:12 AM    Ride Ended:  7:51 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 12.9  Lowest:  12.5
Lowest Temp  49 F      Highest Temp:  53 F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  5.2
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   6.5 MPH                             6.9 MPH                   17.9 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
48 minutes                             45 minutes              3 minutes

Monday, October 3, 2016

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2016 ! YAY !

Balloon Park Ride Tracking via APRS and Ham Radio

I woke up this Monday Morning about 5:05  and speedily leaped out of bed  about 5:25.
Honest.  I just closed my eyes for a second there.....
Balloon Fiesta started last Saturday,  day before yesterday, and thus far the weather has permitted launching of most of the balloons.
It had rained on and off part of the night last  night, but as I looked outside all I could see was  clear sky and stars, so I assumed it would be a great balloon morning.
I thought  I should take a ride up  TO the Balloon Park just to see how they were handling bike entries, parking in  general, etc.   Jacque and I plan to ride there to actually go in and participate  on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I needed the early morning ride and was curious to see how  many bikes might be clogging the normally-mostly-empty bike trail going into the park.
Believe me, THIS is the way to attend  Balloon Fiesta.  I encountered NO other cyclists as I rode to  and entered the park, there were NO traffic jams blocking the route, unlike all automotive streets leading to or nearby the park, and it was. just. cool.   As I entered the actual Balloon Park entry on the west end of the Balloon  Park, there were  no roadblocks,  no orange barrels, nobody demanding payment..... just a  few THOUSAND vehicles jammed in together, many blocking the bike path through the  park, and lots  of  bright lights.  There was an Albuquerque  small city bus trying to wend its way through the throngs of people, and I merely turned around, looked around a bit, and rode back out from whence the way I came.
THEN I must  have met twenty or more cyclists heading for and  into the parkway, and all friendly enough to respond to my greetings.
I'm sure there's a gatekeeper demanding payment to go further into the park, but getting there  is sure painless compared  to trying to drive or wait for the bus.
All that enthusiasm and then they didn't fly.  The breezes that seemed gentle enough to me evidently were too dangerous for  the balloon pilots.  The official explanation for cancelling the launches today was " wind ".
Oh, well, still several more  days of fiesta left.   Hopefully tomorrow....

Ride Started: 6:51 AM    Ride Ended:  7:54 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.1   Ending Voltage: 12.9  Lowest:  12.2
Lowest Temp  60 F      Highest Temp:  64 F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  8.13
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   6.9 MPH                             7.5 MPH                   20.0 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 10 mins                      1 hour 5 mins           5 minutes

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Bicycle Ride is Not a Big Deal

Today's No Big Deal Tracking via APRS and Ham Radio
This ride took place yesterday, and I'm only just now blogging it as LDS General Conference is unfolding on the Roku-assisted TV screen.
I was (as usual) running low on time last night and needing to flop and get some sleep. I hadn't blogged about the latest bike ride and was considering just skipping it [again].
I thought to myself "After all, a bicycle ride is no big deal" but this thought congealed in my muddy brain as a title for a blog entry.  So here goes again.
Saturday, yesterday, was a full day for LDS General Conference, 2-hour sessions starting with  the first 10 AM session, the 2:00 PM session, and the Priesthood session at 6 PM.
I watched the first session with Jacque and then hit the road, hoping to not miss too much of the 2:00 afternoon session.  I almost made it.
Since it was Saturday, I was able to do a 10-miler.  It's not a new route but it never stops being a great loop to ride.  And, as usual, I rode swiftly away without my GoPro camera.  I had actually put a fresh battery in it to make sure it would perform well, and still forgot to take it out to the bike with me.  At least it gets less wear and tear that way...    BAH
This fall weather is perfect for riding.  Even later in the day when the sun is high it seldom tops 80 degrees.
The wind was, at first, a bit off-putting but it turned out to not be bad at all.  It only slowed me down for a few minutes at a time once or twice during the ride.
When I stopped for s short water break I noticed my chain had jumped off the lower idler pulley.  I hadn't noticed anything unusual until this.
A short twist of the wrist with the pocket multi-tool cured this minor difficulty.

Now, a short listing of reasons why riding a bike is no Big Deal:
-It doesn't take much time out of your life
-Studies actually point to gaining extended life from the times dedicated to exercise
-A few moments or hours of enjoyment and exposure to nature is certainly No Big Deal
-Feeling like a million bucks after cooling off from a ride is No Big Deal
-Lowered blood glucose the rest of the day is No Big Deal
-Having a low pulse rate from regular riding is No Big Deal
-Feeling the wind in your face while under your own power zipping down the road is No Big Deal

Ride Started: 12:43 PM    Ride Ended:  2:03 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   14.2   Ending Voltage: 12.7  Lowest:  12.7
Lowest Temp  75 F      Highest Temp:  87 F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.37
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   7.2 MPH                             8.1 MPH                   29.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 26 mins                      1 hour 16 mins          10 minutes

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Must be Thursday .... Or Whatever

Thursday 29 September Tracking

I awoke about 5:26 AM today and immediately thought "BIKE RIDE!"
A few dozen winks later, the bed was feeling awfully comfortable, but I managed to get my  lazy butt out anyway.
As usual, I was glad I did.  I had a middling headache when I first  started out, but it didn't  take more than a  mile or two of wind in my  face to clear it up and start to feel  like a million bucks.
My 2-wheeled recumbent and my new Catrike are both safely secured at  home 20 miles away so the only thing I have left to ride is my 30-year-old DF Diamond Back mountain bike or our 3-wheel Tandem Recumbent  Terratrike , and I unfailingly prefer the recumbent in spite of its  length and  weight.  It's a fun ride and good exercise even without Jacque in the back seat stoking for me.
By the time I got  rolling it was a bit after 6 AM so I decided to ride out for half an hour and turn around, making at least an hour ride this morning, which is still enough  to get the old ticker and  circulation going.
It feels like a million bucks, too, once I get  out of  the shower  and stagger off to work.
My GoPro camera batteries are going soft on me:  If I  leave them out of the charger more than 1 day, they have little charge left  in them and poop out after only a  few minutes of running the camera.    I guess  I need to spend some more money, again, to see if I can get some reliable batteries  for this expensive toy.
Not much to comment on this morning.  Weather was noticeably  warmer, about 62 degrees, which is great for cycling.  Cool enough to eventually  work up a mild sweat, without the necessity of starting out with the outer  windbreaker on.  Since I again, as usual, had limited time, I rode only to Paseo Del Norte on the North Diversion Trail before turning around and hightailing it back to the shower.
Tomorrow, Friday, I'll be tied up  from the wee  hours until late or mid afternoon, so no bike ride to cheer me  up tomorrow....
Ride Started: 6:05 AM    Ride Ended:  7:05 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.1   Ending Voltage: 12.7  Lowest:  12.2
Lowest Temp  60 F      Highest Temp:  64 F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  6:94
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
   6.7 MPH                             7.9 MPH                   19.4 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 2 mins                         52 minutes                10 minutes