Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A year of miles

The view from in back
This being the last day of 2014, I thought I would recap my year on the bike.  It seems to me, like I did not ride a lot, this year.  Mentally, I don't recall a lot of riding, though Strava says otherwise.  Yes, I use Strava to keep track of mileage, and performance, on my rides.

Since we started riding again, back in 2011 I have wanted to increase my total mileage ridden each year.  I have tried for 4000 miles for a couple of years.  I did not hit that goal, yet again.  Perhaps 2015 will be that year...

I don't know why exactly, I seem unable to hit that mileage goal.  It really isn't all that difficult to do, and it need not involve lots of really long rides to do it.  Just lots of rides period, will get me there.  This year, I got into a real funk about riding (same as the end of last year, after my October crash).  Partly, it was related to DH's health issue over last winter.  Partly it's the fact I don't feel right riding, if DH can't ride.  I know, I'm just weird that way.

This year saw me sell one bike of mine, and buy two others.  Yes I have two singles to ride, plus the tandem, and I guess the mountain bike still counts as a third single, though it only gets ridden far enough to run the dogs, as it just isn't comfortable any more.  I spent more miles on my Specialized Roubaix than I thought I would.  It is a good bike, though my max on it is about 40 miles before it just gets uncomfortable to ride.  It is a good bike for doing hill torture on, as you can power it uphill pretty easily.

I didn't do any solo t-shirt rides this year.  In fact, I think I only did two, Tour De Paris, on the tandem, with DH, and Octoginta.  We had planned and paid for the Turkey Roll in November, but for the second year, bad weather forced us to cancel.
Paris, not Paris.
Who's that good lookin' guy?  Wonder if he needs a stoker?
Finally, here this December, my dream bike, my carbon Encore, arrived.  So far, it is everything I had hoped it would be.  Light, fast, and comfortable.  It's way more comfy than I had imagined it would be.  I had always expected carbon to give a harsh ride, due to its stiffness, and coupled with a hardshell seat, I imagined some issues would crop up.  I am SO happy to be wrong on that count!  This is one sweet ride!

One happy Encore owner!

I did actually succeed in one biking goal this year, sort of by accident.  I had not kept up with my total mileage until I looked at it this month.  I actually did set a new mileage record for myself!  2170 miles so far this year.  I may have to add to that today**, on this last day of the year 2014, just for grins.  Now, that isn't really a lot of miles, when you consider DH doubled me, and he lost the better part of 4 mo riding due to illness and injury.  But for me, I still managed to beat my previous mileage high, so I am happy.

Next year, we are planning a cross-state ride with the Monkeys, and I plan to put a lot more miles on the Encore.  I need to get my recumbent-legs back, so I can see what this bike is capable of, with this engine on board.  I am again hoping to top 4000 miles in 2015, maybe I can even double this year's total!  That would a pretty good goal for 2015 I think.

May you all have smooth roads, sunshine and tailwinds in the new year!

**Year end total after today's short subfreezing ride: 2182.5 miles.

***My year in review via Strava

Friday, December 26, 2014

T'was the morning of Christmas...

And all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a Ridgeback! 

With bacon (just a tiny) and Milk Bones and breakfast in bowls, it seems even Ridgebacks get food coma.

The unwrapping frenzy had burned itself out.  The pictures were taken, the trash all picked up.  The Monkeys were pondering what next to do be it painting, or sketching, or tie dying too.

There was much joy in Who-ville, with t-shirts and more, some posters and pins, and book marks even.

The big "kids" even scored, with treats from dog rescue.  It's hard to say which was more popular with the Hounds--the meat and cheese box, or the BBQ kit, or more likely the wrapping paper that carried all the scents of the folks at the kennel whom Cody adores (and other dogs too! )

By the end of the morning, with an apple pie in the oven and a ham on the smoker, Indy summed up the day perfectly! 

Wishing you all had a grand time with family and friends, celebrating the love and joy of Christmas with all the abandon of young children.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

On a night long ago, and far far away...

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, may we all remember the reason we should celebrate.

Cloverton and Hallelujah Christmas

Monday, December 22, 2014

Not a sign I expected to see...

DH and I have a tradition of going out to dinner on our birthdays.  The kids stay home, with a sitter if necessary, and we get a "date night" out.

Well we had decided to use a gift card he earned through work to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings.  We drove cross town, parked, and walked up to their door.  That was as far as we got though, because this business apparently does not want us as customers.  

This was posted on the door.  Note that in Texas, a sign such as this is not legal notice to restrict licensed concealed carry.  But it does make clear they do not respect my right of self defense.   Just as they have the right to post such signs, I have the right to not do business there.

Luckily, there was a Spring Creek BBQ next door, with no offensive signs posted, and probably better food too.  DH had the ribs and I had the sausage and brisket. We swapped a bit too, sharing across the table.  It was also nice that Spring Creek is quieter inside than most restaurants where it seems the rule is to play music so loud you have to shout to be heard across your table.

All in all, a very pleasant birthday dinner was had, and BWW didn't get our business.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mine at last!

Thank you to Cadence Cyclery for acting as my receiving shop.

The box...Vite Bikes warned me it was big.

 The sticker on the box.  I thought it was funny!
Opening the box, just add pedals and it is ready to ride.
My new ride.  I am well pleased!
And a special thank you to Vite Bikes, John and Jacquie Schlitter for bringing their Encore design to fruition, for their support through the order process, and for ultimately delivering this bike to ME!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Today is Tuesday, Dec 16, aka Bike Tuesday.  My Encore is supposed to be delivered today...the wait is driving me nuts.  Made worse by having tracking data that indicates the carrier isn't quite sure where my bike is...They think it's in Dallas.  Dallas hub is looking for it even now.  It might already be on it's way up the road to my bike shop...or not...And of course, today is the last good riding day off the week according to the weather guessers.  It figures, I know it will arrive eventually, but I would like to get it today, before the rains come.

**Update, Wed, 13:30hrs.  Still no bike.  Freight company is conducting a whole-hub search in DFW for the box.  I am trying to be patient.  I haven't yelled at anyone yet, and I'm actually pretty calm, considering what I have tied up in this bike.

***Update, Wed. 13:55hrs.  They found it!  Yay!  Delivery should be tomorrow morning.  I'm still a little unclear on how exactly one misplaces a 53' semi tractor trailer, but I'm told it does happen on occasion.  I'm just happy they found it!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

R.I.P. Tucker

It was sad news I received this morning, via an email from my friends at TIRR Rescue.  My buddy Tucker, a big ol' boy I fell in love with the first time I saw him, had passed away in the night.

Tucker was one of the biggest Ridgebacks I had ever seen.  His paws were like the size of my fist.  But he was gentle and tolerant, being a supreme "leaner", enough so as to almost knock you off balance if you didn't realize what he was doing.  He enjoyed people, and got on well with every other dog I ever saw him with.
Soaking up attention.
He would have joined our pack, but for Cody.  We introduced Tucker to Shiloh and Cody once earlier this year.  Supremely confident, Tucker felt no need to exert his dominance over either dog.  There was no aggression.  Shiloh thought he was cute...but Cody, poor Cody, the life just drained out of him in the shadow of Tucker.  He was instantly demoted to third wheel, and he knew it.  He just sort of "wilted" there in the big run.  And though our whole family loved Tucker, we knew it wasn't fair to Cody in his waning years to take that emotional hit of demotion.  (Now some of you may wonder why we then got Indy.  Well, Cody did not take Indy's presence as a demotion, not at all.)
Tucker and my hat.
Tucker had a real showman's flair.  He adored sitting in a nylon folding chair, to better survey his domain!  Woe to the dog who dared steal Tucker's chair, or worse, chew it to ruin!  The King did not tolerate such insolence.  Yet Tucker also tolerated human silliness, with hats and glasses being placed on him.  It was a real crowd pleaser at adoptions, when he would sit in a chair,with a hat on, or glasses.
Tucker with lion's mane.

At Woofstock 2014.

Tucker, King of Chairs.  I will miss you, big guy.  Say hi to Charlie for me, ok?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore!

No, I am not on stage, receiving applause.  My Encore, however, is shipping, soon to be in my possession, after months of waiting for them to be released for sale, and then only a short delay for the batch my order is in, to be shipped and built, and shipped again.  And honestly, the delay was short--and it is the price you pay for being an early adopter of what is possibly the coolest production recumbent bike yet!

What makes it so special in my mind?  Several factors, actually.  First, it is a full carbon frame, but at the cost of an aluminum frame.  Second, is its flexible mission parameters.  What's that mean?  Well, you can run it as an uber-fast race bike, going for the complete ultralight set up.  Or you can set it up for randonneuring, or touring, or for gravel grinders.  The Encore is designed, with the right fork, to handle tires up to 42mm, and a variety of wheel sizes if disc brake equipped.  Third, while it is a production bike, it is optimally-sized to the original buyer (think custom fit).  You submit your measurements to Schlitter Bike, and the frame gets laid up to fit you best, with optimum weight distribution.  Yes, you can move the seat to accommodate different riders, so if you opt to sell it in the future, you won't have to rely on someone being just your size to purchase.  And finally, it's light weight!  It should bench out at just about half what my old steel Giro did.  It should be a joy to ride, with the light weight for climbing the rollers around here, and to ease transportation, plus the carbon frame will soak up a lot of the buzz from chipseal roads.

The bike should arrive early next week.  I'll be sure to take pics of the unboxing at my LBS, since they are acting as the receiving party for the shipping company.  Guess I'll have to bring another bag of bagels to the guys there! 

Only a few more days to wait...YAY!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday, a chance to give back after the excesses of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If you support the work and mission that TIRR performs, please donate to our cause.

Selecting the link below, or clicking on Congo's picture, will take you directly to the site.  From there, you can choose to donate financially, and also to share the information with your friends and family, so they too, can have an opportunity to give back. 
On the site there are links for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Email. According to the published statistics, each share averages $18 in much needed funding.
I thank you very much in advance.

Congo, a senior dog looking for his forever home.