Rode into the moonset on the way to work this morning. Watching it low in the west over the city skyline, I thought setting over the lake would make a better picture. By the time I got to the lake, the moon was nowhere in sight.
Left work in a hard rain. Within the first block, it turned into torrential rain, driven by a 30 mph wind in my face. I grinned and said aloud, “Is that all ya got?” I immediately regretted it and thought, “Be careful what you wish for.” I still had >5 miles to ride (though the wind would be a tailwind in a couple of blocks), my house is still sandbagged, the river is still out of its banks from the last round of storms, and the water has barely receded from its high point. A few roads have reopened. Bridges are out on both sides of Black Earth, where I rode yesterday.
I just received our official totals from the summer. 4324.2 miles (not counting trips into town, doing errands, etc – just the official daily totals), 152,606 feet of elevation gain. Of course, the net elevation change was pretty close to zero – from sea level at the Pacific to sea level at the Atlantic; but don’t tell your legs that the net change was zero. They still have to lift you up those 150,000 feet. Going straight up, that is near the outer limit of the stratosphere. “Space” is typically defined as starting 62 miles up.
Some days are just too nice to do whatever it was you were going to do. Some days, the bike just calls out to you and says, “Ride me!” Today is one of those days.
I know the story of the grasshopper and the ant. Some days you just have to be the grasshopper. Yesterday I was the ant. Today I need a new pair of shoes. I pretty well wore out my sandals over the summer. The best shoe store in town happens to be out of town, and happens to be in a great area for a bike ride.
True confession: I took the photo last spring, but I like it and I haven’t used it yet, and this is the area I rode today.
Warm and sunny, but fall is in the air. The low angle of the sun casts a golden light over everything. Corn harvest is in progress. The early plantings have been harvested, the late plantings are still green; in between, some look ready to these layperson’s eyes.
I rode some of my favorite roads today. There was a headwind for a while. I didn’t care. I was riding into the wind because I wanted to go that way, not because I had to get somewhere. It seems to make a difference.
No map. No cue sheet. I had a route planned out roughly in my head, but when I came to Ryan Road (along Ryan Creek), that looked like a good way to go. My plan fell by the wayside. That led to Moyer, the climb through Pleasure Valley to County F, and Brigham County Park, one of my favorite places in the world. By the time I got back to Black Earth I was hungry. The shoe store owner also owns a sports bar a few miles out of town. I thought I’d stop there for lunch and visit my dad. (The bar has pictures of sports figures and his picture hangs by one of the booths.) Alas, they were not yet open so food had to wait. Back home, it is suddenly cloudy. This grasshopper made it just in time.
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Three weeks with no long-distance riding was enough. The Half-fast Cycling Club escaped to Door County, WI for a century ride on Sunday, September 9. (9/9/18, like an addition problem).
We left a narrow isthmus between two flooding lakes connected by a flooding river and headed to a narrow peninsula (looks like an island to me, since you have to cross a bridge to get to it) with Lake Michigan on one side and Green Bay on the other. At least this lake is still within its banks.
There used to be a beach between the lifeguard tower and the lake.
Find the bike path in this picture.
I arrived in camp in darkness after the 200 mile post-work drive. Rather than pitch a tent, I slept in the back of the van. Dinner was PB&J with popcorn. Left camp in the dark in the morning and had breakfast in a diner in Sturgeon Bay, not wanting to make breakfast in the dark.
They were nice enough to give me my birth year as a bib number in case I forgot how old I am.
In case we haven’t shown this yet, this is the back of the coast-to-coast jersey, with the flags of the countries and states of origin of the riders. You may note from all the Union Jacks that the former British Empire was well-represented. The marked cities are the weekend rest days.
We started out by riding a gauntlet of yard signs for a rogue’s gallery of Trump toadies, lest we think that Door County has gone soft.
I wasn’t used to riding in such crowds. I saw someone with rider number 2700-something. I frequently found myself speeding up or slowing down to escape a crowd. It was a bit chilly for the first 20 miles and anytime we hit a patch of sun I wanted to bask for a while.
Twenty five miles in I found a coffee shop for an espresso. For Tim, here’s a picture of that espresso; and the view, through the coffee shop window, of riders in more of a hurry than we were.
There were water and snack stops every 15 miles or so. Every one had PB&J.
Door County is beautiful, with plenty of quiet back roads despite being a narrow peninsula. The wind came up in the afternoon to make sure the day wasn’t too easy.
Still life with Camp Sierra cup and camp stove
FAQ (there was only one): Q: After what you did this summer, this was easy, right?
A: Wrong. 100 miles is tough no matter what. Maybe if you’re an elite cyclist, 100 miles is easy. If you’re half-fast, it’s hard.
Oh, yeah. I had a another flat tire. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s, I don’t know, I stopped keeping score.
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Tonight was my first Wednesday night ride since the tour ended. My bike arrived back from Massachusetts last week and I cleaned and rebuilt it Monday (except for the new chain, which I installed Tuesday).
After riding my city bikes, it felt great to be back on this bike again. Ten miles into the ride I felt my rear tire losing pressure. A prior patch had failed. A woman walking her dog to the mailbox offered assistance. After 4400 miles and double digit punctures, this felt pretty routine. I changed the tube and went on my way.
Thirty two miles felt like a warm up. I think I’ll be able to handle a century in a week and a half. The post-ride pizza felt like a snack. I think I’ll need to adjust my eating to keep from regaining the weight I lost. While riding your bike 80 miles/day for 9 weeks seems like a pretty effective weight loss program, I doubt it will catch on.
My basement windows are sandbagged. The river is out of its banks and we are currently ½ block outside of the high risk area for flooding. I live on an isthmus between two lakes separated by a lock and dam. They are releasing water from the dam today so the river should rise again. I live on 100 year old landfill. What was once a meandering creek through marshland is now a straight cut from lake to lake. It is dry today so we’ll see what happens.
You may have noticed that old people tend to reminisce. Truth be told, that doesn’t seem to be limited to old people.
Since I am officially old (Emery, you didn’t see that here), allow me to reminisce.
I was thinking about war the other day, which reminded me of my old friend Francis Hole. He was an agronomist (soil scientist in plain English) and always signed his name “Francis Hole, TNS”, which stood for “temporarily not soil”. Alas, Professor Hole is now PS (“permanently soil”). Aside: It is due to Professor Hole that Wisconsin has a State Soil (Antigo Silt Loam, if you wanted to know).
He was also my draft counselor. Professor Hole was a Conscientious Objector during WW II. I was a CO during the Vietnam War (the American War to the folks whose country we invaded).
Dr. Hole taught me about the process of applying for CO status and we also talked about our views toward war. He let me know that CO status was very hard to get without the backing of a church. Personal morals didn’t carry much weight with the US government. Dr. Hole was a Quaker, one of few religions with a firm anti-war stance. He asked about my church.
Having the backing of a church seemed like a Catch-22. Since many (if not most) wars arise from religious conflicts (especially if said religion has an imperialistic bent), since the dominant religion in the US is Christianity, and since Christianity is among the more imperialistic religions (imperialism and evangelism seem pretty closely linked, both historically and philosophically), it seemed pretty hard to convince the government that I was firmly opposed to war and a Christian (remember the Crusades?).
Dr Hole sent me to the minister of the church in which I was raised, and of which I was a member (that’s another story). The minister asked me what I knew of the church’s position. Not much, I said. He asked me about my convictions. About that, I knew more.
After we talked for awhile, he let me know that our church (Congregational, now part of the United Church of Christ), taught that each member has a personal relationship with God; that he as a minister was not a go-between, and that he as a minister could not tell me what to believe. (Another aside: you may have noticed that religions, and other belief systems, tend to fragment over time. New sects arise and folks bicker over smaller and smaller differences. UCC is unusual, in that it arose from sects actually joining together.)
He followed that by telling me that he would testify on my behalf before the draft board. My lottery number was high enough that that never came to pass.