Saturday, May 20, 2017

70 Year Old Fart Rides 70 Miles

Today's Surprisingly Effective Tracking for a Long Trip

Well, today was my big day.  I turn 70 years old tomorrow and would have liked to do the 70 mile ride ON my birthday but I didn't want to miss Church services and there wouldn't have been enough time for such a lengthy ride before or after Church meetings.  So I rode today.
I worried the length of this trip might actually run down my lithium battery pack, so I bungeed a solar panel onto the top of my rear baggage pack.

It was freezing this morning at 30 degrees, and was barely 32 when I left the house.  I had 3 light layers on, and they turned out to be sufficient once I pedaled enough to warm up.  It was still cold enough that I did not peel any layers until 30 miles into the ride when I arrived at Moriarty.
I was expecting much more difficulty for this ride than what occurred.  Since it was going to be the longest distance I'd ridden thus far, I deliberately plotted various routes for both 70-something mile lengths and lack of steep hills.  Even with that, I expected high eastbound winds at least during the last leg westbound on Route 60 to Mountainair.  This too did not present the expected difficulty.
We drove the route yesterday, just to have a look at the road conditions, width and availability of shoulders, etc.  I thought the lack of shoulders and roughness of the highway 41 between Estancia and Willard might be a problem, but that turned out not to be the case.  I also noticed on Highway 60 to Mountainair that the shoulder, while actually present, was not only narrow but deep rutted rumble strips occupied too much of the shoulder.  This INDEED turned out to be a very aggravating problem.
What inspired me the most about this ride was the pleasure in taking the less traveled roads instead of the usual high traffic roads closer to the house.   The less-populous atmosphere, lack of noise and traffic and people, all contribute to the ability to hear birdsongs and other country noises, or lack thereof;  very pleasant.
It reminded me over and over of similar sensations when visiting my grandparents at their ranch near House, Quay County, NM.  There, it was so quiet you could hear mockingbirds singing and could hear any cars approaching on the dirt road a long time before they appeared visually in a cloud of dust.
It's been a few years since I rode 472 out to Stanley and I'd forgotten that about halfway there, the road starts gently sloping downward, leading to easy pedaling and a lot of coasting.
My first break stop was at Stanley, at the junction of Hiway 41 and 472, for a blood glucose check, drink, and the inevitable pee break.
From there it was easy riding, all the way to Moriarty where Jacque met me at Crossley Park for a break and a snack.  30 miles so far, right on the button.
Hit the road again and continued south along Hiway 41 towards Estancia, approximately 20 more miles.
Stopped at one of the 2 convenience stores in that huge metropolis and - it was getting warm outside - a Klondike ice cream bar and a Diet Coke to wash it down.
I thought the Klondike bar would last me until Willard but it was not to be.  I started feeling weird about 5 miles south and had to stop & check the blood glucose.  It was low enough that I had to break out another of  Jacque's wonderful grilled cheese, ham, and jalapeno sandwiches.  Feeling much better I rode on.  There was a single shade tree about 50 yards from where I parked the trike so I walked over and enjoyed its shade while eating my snack.

In short order, my radio began beeping an "Improper Voltage" alarm, which I have never encountered before.  Wondering if the solar panel might be overcharging the works, I disconnected it and all electronics resumed normal operations.
Onward to the Willard intersection.  Willard is actually 3 miles east of this intersection so I turned a sharp right - after another short visit with Jacque who provided me with a nice potassium supplement (banana).
Highway 60 is one of my favorite routes to drive and it is also enjoyable on a bike or trike.
EXCEPT for the narrow shoulder with the abominable rumble strip.

The traffic was sparse and invariably polite and gave me wide clearances, even when I was to the right of the rumble strip dodging rocks and weeds.  The last several miles before Mountainair I spent mostly out on the much-smoother roadway, occasionally darting to the right of the hateful rumble strips to allow motorists to pass, and also staying in the lane and allowing them to pass me in the other lane.  I received NO abuse verbally and otherwise today, and lots of friendly beep- beeps from motorists.  I began waving at all who passed me, both to thank them for giving me a wide berth, but also in case anyone was in the least offended from my slowing their passage.
All in all, a wonderful ride, except for me finally getting REALLY pooped the last 5 miles to Mountainair, which involves a very slight but looooooonnng upward grade.  I had to stop a couple extra times to stand up and get circulation back in my feet and consume a few more carbs, which gave me sufficient energy to finally get there.  Jacque was a-waiting, jumping and waving, and had rousted up a gaggle of locals who crowded around, offering congratulations and assistance.
Google Maps claimed the distance from our home to the city limits of Mountainair would be 73+ miles, which I figured would be close enough.  My GPS indicated 70.46 miles when I met Jacque at the Mountainair town limits.

I am pooped but happy.  We'll see if I can do any sequels to this trip, since it gets tougher as I get older.  The formula works against you, the older you get the longer you gotta ride for the bragging rights.
I'm not at all certain I can imitate Uncle Max's stunt of riding 85 miles at 85 years.....

Ride Started: 6:57 AM    Ride Ended:  4:43 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.3   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Highest:  13.7
Beginning Blood Glucose:  147   Ending BG Reading: 75 
Lowest Temp  35F      Highest Temp:  67F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  70.44
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  7.3 MPH                             9.7 MPH                   34.2  MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
9 hours 37 mins                    7 hours 1537 mins     2 hours 22  mins

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What a Windy Wednesday

Today's Tracking via APRS and Ham Radio

Been tied up working on Jacque's Subaru, which overheated and stranded her several days ago.
The radiator seals blew out, so I bought another radiator and - after removing the old one - decided I should go ahead and replace the timing belt, water pump, etc, all now almost exposed with the radiator missing.  Which, of course, ain't a simple operation.  We just blew a kilobuck or so getting the Exploder repaired and now this.  The weather has been non cooperative and thus a supposedly one-day job has taken several days.  Today, Wednesday, Jacque drove the Exploder to Albuquerque for other shopping chores but also had a list of MORE subaru parts needed for the repair job.
Since I was unable to proceed without the parts, I decided to take a trike ride to stretch the legs and give my aching back a break.  The usual 10 mile ride is repetitive but always enjoyable.
As I turned north on Mountain Valley from Frost this trip, I encountered a fairly large, fairly dead snake in the roadway.  I rode carefully around him just in case there was any life left in him and was dismayed to see at first he looked like a large rattler but turned out to be a bull snake instead, which is a sad loss.  You will note the absence of rattles on the tail and the narrow non-diamond shaped head.  Bull snakes are wonderful pest controllers, eating rabbits, rats, gophers, and even RATTLESNAKES, which they attack and kill with impunity.  Very sad to lose this big guy.

I'm turning 70 this week.  To mark that auspicious occasion I'm planning to ride 70 miles on the trike.
This is not an original idea.  I take my inspiration from Jacque's Uncle Max, who is 12 or so years my senior.  A few years ago when he turned 85 he rode HIS bike, a carbon fiber hotshot, from his home in Prescott AZ to Flagstaff, to accomplish 85 miles for his 85th birthday.  I figure since he could do such a thing at 85, perhaps I can imitate the stunt at 70.
My current plan is to ride directly from home, out to Frost Road, east to Edgewood, transition to Route 472 (a slight dogleg almost directly connects it to Frost), on eastward to Stanley.  Then turn south on NM 41 to Moriarty, Estancia, and Willard, then turn west on Route 60 to Mountainair, a distance of 73-something miles.  The elevation gains and losses look like it will not be a terribly hard hill-climbing route.  So perhaps I'll make it AND survive the trip.
Those few of you who might be interested in following me live on the trip can check the APRS link
at, the same link at the top of most of these blog entries.
Weather permitting, this grand attempt will occur sometime early Saturday, 20 May.  Google bike maps predict it will take about 6 hours, which I think is wildly optimistic since that would require an average speed of 12 MPH, which I can accomplish at times on level ground, but my normal trips average 6 or 7 MPH on a good day.  Of course most of my local rides involve hill-climbing but we'll see how it works out.

Ride Started: 12:36 PM    Ride Ended:  2:46 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.4   Ending Voltage: 12.8  Lowest:  12.8
Beginning Blood Glucose:  170   Ending BG Reading: 81
Lowest Temp  53F      Highest Temp:  82F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.58
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.9 MPH                             6.8 MPH                   28.8  MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 8 mins                      1 hour 37 mins           31 minutes

Friday, May 12, 2017

22 Miles to Albuquerque

Today's Going to Town Tracking

My Ford Exploder has been in the Repair Shop for the last several days.  I needed to pick it up today but Jacque, my sidekick and only available ride, had multiple places SHE needed to be, thus unable to give me a ride.  I decided to just ride my trike "to town" and load it into the SUV and bring it all home.
I hadn't previously ridden to that particular area on Menaul  so I looked it up on Google Maps to see what its recommended bicycle route would be.  Google did a good job of recommending routes on non-major less-busy streets but I noticed the major part of the route was what I had ridden several times in previous years so I went for it.
Since I knew it would be over 20 miles (it's 15 miles just to  Tramway from our house), I stocked up with extra carbs.   I originally planned to follow the shorter, less traffic, Google route south to old Route 66 via Guiterrez Canyon Road but a call from my daughter Sarah telling me they had a package for me - changed my route to Frost all the way to North-14 and south to Tijeras and catch old 66 there.
The weather today was absolutely perfect for such a journey.  I encountered dozens of fellow cyclists coming and going.   A couple of them greeted me by name as they passed, but their memories are less foggy than mine and I was unable to recall THEIR names.
Nice and cool and almost no wind except going through Tijeras Canyon, where the funneled wind rarely stops entirely.
Here's a clip from the GoPro as I achieved 33+ MPH coasting down 14 toward Tijeras and Route 66...

I was pleasantly surprised how nice this trip was.  By the time I got halfway through Tijeras Canyon I had shed all my layers.  I had also somewhat forgotten how pleasant it is to ride many areas in Albuquerque, with it's almost level streets and mild grades.  Lots of traffic, yes, but also lots of bike-only lanes and routes around town.
By the time I arrived at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Menaul I thrilled to see a 7-11 on the corner, and I used it for a potty break and candy bar treat.
The Google route saved on my Iphone suggested riding up to Phoenix St. just north of Menaul, but I spotted the alleyways just behind all the stores and shops paralleling Menaul and within a few minutes spotted the back side of Chet's and my cycle trip was done.

Ride Started: 9:31 AM    Ride Ended:  12:52 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.7   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.5
Beginning Blood Glucose:  180   Ending BG Reading: 62 
Lowest Temp  53F      Highest Temp:  82F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  22.41
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  7.0 MPH                             9.4 MPH                   33.5  MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
3 hours 12 mins                    2 hours 23 mins        49 minutes

Ten Miles of Bliss

Today's Very Familiar Tracking

Got in 10 miles today.  I rode alone this day, without doggies, and did the usual 10-mile loop around Mountain Valley and Entranosa Road, closing the loop at Tumbleweed.

Ride Started: 9:27AM    Ride Ended:  11:31 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.8   Ending Voltage: 12.9  Lowest:  12.5
Beginning Blood Glucose:  140   Ending BG Reading: 58 
Lowest Temp  46F      Highest Temp:  67F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.56
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.1 MPH                             6.4 MPH                   31.4  MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 2 mins                      1 hour 38 mins          24 minutes

Monday, May 8, 2017

Afternoon Bosque Riding

Today's Tracking via GPS and Ham Radio

We had all kinds of excuses for being too busy to stay healthy this last week, and then we had visitors over the weekend so no riding whatsoever was enjoyed.
Today, however, with no company to swap tall tales with, we decided it was high time to get back in the bike saddle again.  I say "bike saddle" when our seats are in fact more like lawn chairs with wheels.
Jacque decided we were taking another Bosque ride today, and it was a good choice indeed.
It was well after noon by the time we got going, as in the hottest time of the day.  No matter.  The winds were gusty and fairly strong, providing much-appreciated cooling that overcame any irritation at being buffeted by the stiff winds.
Since Albuquerque started destroying downtown Central to install the much ballyhooed ART (Albuq. Rapid Transit) system, downtown has been a mess and all kinds of businesses depending upon normal traffic flow are suffering.  To get to our favored parking spot close to the Albuquerque Bio Park requires extra time and aggravation both coming and going but we still like to park in that area so we can choose either north or south for a starting direction and still get in a good ride.
We have been noticing some new signage along this trail and new packed gravel trails hare and there along the trail.  We decided to ride and explore a few of these new-looking trails and really enjoyed them.
The city or whoever has been doing a lot of work scraping and leveling these trails and they go all over the place between various crossings along the pavement of the main Bosque Trail.  Lots of deep trails among the towering cottonwoods, some connecting to old rugged paved trails that we had never previously heard of.
After wandering around a while we decided to re-enter the main trail and encountered a big sign forbidding anyone EXCEPT walkers - Horses, bikes, anything but walkers were prohibited.  This just made us laugh out loud.  We had encountered several other innocent cyclists like ourselves along the forbidden trails, and pile after pile of horse poop almost everywhere.  So we are not the sole scofflaws out there.
On the way back toward the car/trailer return point, we made the obligatory run across "Bicycle Boulevard" (Mountain Road) to Old Town for a delicious ice cream break at Steve's Ice Cream on Romero Street.  Pricey but great stuff.  After all, it's Old Town !!

Ride Started: 1:32 PM    Ride Ended:  4:39 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.5   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  13.0
Beginning Blood Glucose:  228   Ending BG Reading: 155 
Lowest Temp  75F      Highest Temp:  82F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.95
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.3 MPH                             5.6 MPH                   16.6  MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
3 hours 7 mins                      2 hours 20 mins        47 minutes

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day

Today's Terrific Tracking via GPS and Ham Radio

The last few days have involved pukey weather for cycling.  We have both gotten severe cases of cabin fever from sitting at home watching the snow accumulate, so close to May, keeping the fire going in the wood stove, and getting precious little exercise.  Saturday morning we awoke to 3-4" of wet heavy snow and it accumulated more all day until early evening.  Yesterday morning, Sunday, we drove to church meetings through a winter wonderland, with the sun shining brightly.

By the time we got home from church late in the afternoon the snow was almost completely gone.
This morning we awoke to blue clear skies, as George Strait would put it, and it quickly warmed up, allowing us to let the morning fire go out in the stove.  I was determined to make up for  lost time but Jacque's had a bit of a growling gut so she decided to let me outside alone.  Since she was home to keep the dogs occupied, I saddled up and rode away without a beast of burden riding with me.
Very hard to adjust this warm balmy day with the freezing temperatures and snow and dark skies of the last 3 days.  Here in NM we're used to the idea of "15 minutes between weather changes", but Jacque claims they say the same saying in Illinois, Michigan, California;  everywhere.
I thought I'd have to start off with just a short ride today - again - but it was so fabulous outside I did my usual boring 10-mile-ish loop out to Mountain Valley road and back.
After turning around at Mountain Valley and Entranosa Road, I discovered a fairly stiff head wind coming at me, but it didn't bother me much at all.  I do believe the silly little windshield helps in cutting through the wind.  Now that I'm convinced, I need to find out how much the little plastic bubbles cost to see if we can afford
installing them on our other rides.

Ride Started: 12:16  PM    Ride Ended:  2:12  PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.4   Ending Voltage: 12.9  Lowest:  12.5
Beginning Blood Glucose:  212  Ending BG Reading:  55 
Lowest Temp  60 F      Highest Temp:  75 F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.57
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.4 MPH                             6.8 MPH                   30.7 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 56 mins                      1 hour 33 mins          23 minutes

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cold Pinkies, Wimped Out

Today's Very Short Tracking

The local weather lately has been extremely windy, gusty, rainy, and a bit of sleet mixed in.
Today dawned bright but cold.  Forecast:  More High Winds.  We hate being off the cycles so long so we decided to layer up and ride the Terratrike Tandem up to the Post Office for at least a short vigor-inducing ride.
We wimped out almost immediately.  The wind was very strong, cold, and in our faces, not only numbing us but slowing us down.  I didn't seem to have much "steam in my boiler" and, when I asked Jacque how she was doing, she was lacking in both strength and enthusiasm as well.  I now think the bitter cold and headwind were just too much for our motivation..... hee.
To call this a short ride would be to belittle the term "short".  We didn't even make it a mile before we agreed to give it up and turn around.  We did get a bit of brief exercise out of it but never got warmed up enough in spite of our layers.
Here's a typical example of how much clearance passing cars give us while riding the tandem:

Ride Started: 10:29  AM    Ride Ended:  10:53  AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.9
Beginning Blood Glucose:  ?  Ending BG Reading:  122 
Lowest Temp  53 F      Highest Temp:  60 F  
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  1.35
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.4 MPH                             6.1 MPH                   24.3 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
15 minutes (!)                        13 minutes               2 minutes