Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday sojourn / DuPage River Trail

A pleasant ride this morning.

First to Colonial for my standard breakfast. After the retirement of my longtime steady waitress Juanita, I'm breaking in a new server, Josie. She's already bringing me two glasses of Diet Coke as soon as I sit down. Juanita would do that AND put in my standard order without even asking (Egg Beaters very dry; wheat toast, no butter; bacon, fruit). Josie hasn't quite gotten there yet, but I have complete confidence in her.

I brought my new Nikon camera along for the ride today. It's a much more sophisticated camera than my old film Olympus. I feel like a bonobo trying to land a 747.

But the Nikon has a pretty forgiving idiot mode, so I got a few good snapshots (I won't call them photos) out of the thing. Here's the DuPage River that the trail is named for. This is looking east from the bridge at Knoch Knolls park.

Flowers are starting to bloom along the trail side.

Some gentlemen were playing cricket in the DuPage River Sports complex. I watched for a while, mystified. Looked like fun, though.

Some trees are blossoming, others are sprouting leaves. It's a deciduous riot up there.

Grilled up some slider hamburgers for the family when I got home. Spent an hour or two putting a second coat of stain on Mary's vertical herb garden while listening to the Cubs lose. All in all a good way to spend a Sunday.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Muffaletta run to Plainfield

A 30-mile ride today, from home to Plainfield and back. Mary drove out to Moe Joe’s restaurant to meet me for some Cajun food. Now, we’ve been to ’Nawlins a few times, so we know Cajun from a hole in the ground. This was some good Cajun food, y’all. Plus they have Abita Turbodog on tap!

Turbodog on tap!
The muffaletta had just the right amount of olive dressing to set off the deep pile of lunchmeat nestled in the foccacia bun. The hush puppies had jalapenos in the mix (although Mary thought they were overcooked). Mary’s oyster po’boy had healthy pile of deep-fried oysters on a (we’re guessing) Toscano roll which was almost -- but not quite -- as good as our favorite place in the Big Easy. Very nicely done. Portions were generous: we both took half our sandwiches home.
By the way: the gumbo is the best I’ve had this side of the French Quarter. Maybe better. Damn, it was good gumbo. I’m going back for a full bowl, which will be a meal for about a week.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bicycle commuting

Here's a very short video of my first successful ride home from work this year. (An earlier attempt resulted in a flat, which led to a broken derailleur arm and a call to the SAG wagon)(Mary). Note that it's not a continuous video of the entire one-hour ride, and it's at 8X speed, so the whole thing takes about a minute.

At the time, it was still too cold to ride in the morning, so I asked Steven to drop me off at work with the bike, so I could ride home in the relative warmth of the afternoon.

I hate this hill.
Since this video, I've managed the full commute, inbound and outbound. Now of course Mother Nature's turned on me like a snake, so it may be another week before I can do it again. But once the weather stabilizes a bit, I'm hoping to bike-commute at least one day every week.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Welcome spring 2015!

Finally. I mean, jeebus, that was a long winter.

Now that the weather's broken, I've been getting out here and there, racking up some rides and coughing the cabin fever out of my dusty lungs. 

I tried to meet up with a Chainlink group for a run to Two Brothers Brewery in Aurora on March 14, but the Illinois Prairie Path was a sea of mud. Unrideable, especially on my road bike with its skinny 25mm tires. I bailed out of the brewery part but I got a nice 20-mile ride from my house to the Prairie Path and back.

My road bike is many things, but a mudder it is not.
The next day I set out to have lunch in Plainfield, about 10 miles from where I live in Naperville. A glorious early spring day -- sunny with a moderate breeze from the southwest. My goal was the Tap House Inn on Rt. 126. Well, it turned out that particular Sunday was the Plainfield St. Patrick's Day Parade, and the place was swamped -- as was every other food establishment in town. I ended up getting a seat at the Tap House patio and munched chicken wings and watched green-decked Plainfielders head for the parade route.
Gets a little bit rural 'twixt Naperville and Plainfield.

Today was my first round-trip commute to work (I've ridden home after being dropped off when the morning was too cold to ride). A relatively pleasant a.m. ride: 40F, no wind. Started out just before sunrise and got to work in 57 minutes, about average.

The ride home was warmer but head-windy. I powered the last mile to make the round trip in just under two hours (1:58:23).

My commuting route takes me through this little stretch of
Greene Valley Forest Preserve. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

A squeaky clean ride to work

Figured it was too cool (55 degrees) to work up much of a sweat, so I showered before I left home.

This was my very first ride to work this year -- where did the damn summer go? -- and I was slightly surprised that I remembered all the turns in the forest preserve. The chug up the hill on 83rd street, which used to intimidate me so much, was just slow and tedious.

The view on 79th Street just before 7 a.m., with golden sunlight filtering through the trees.

Rode the 12.5 miles in 57 minutes, two minutes off my personal best, and I wasn’t even trying that hard. I had, however, worked up quite a sweat, so I needed another shower. Behind my desk at 8:10 a.m.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Training ride

Put a few miles on the road bike today in preparation for the North Shore Century on Sept. 21.

I have no feet, or hands, yet I must bicycle.
Woke up early and unusually hungry. Target was a 30-mile ride. I checked the TV, which said 60 degrees outside -- might as well be snowing sideways. I put on a sweatshirt and headed for my usual breakfast place: Colonial Pancake House.

Maybe George Washington ate here! Sorry, history freaks,
this chain only dates back to the 1940s. 
Angie brought me my standard Egg Beaters (well done, very dry), wheat toast (no butter), bacon and fruit cup. I read the Chicago Tribune on my Kindle Fire and sucked down three Diet Cokes. 

Life is Good.

Thus fortified, I headed back south on Modaff Road and squirreled through the backstreets until I hit the most excellent east-west bike trail -- the "Ashbury Greenway" -- that starts at Book Road and continues with bicycle-friendly asphalt smoothness until 248th Street.

Bicycle heaven, for about 4 miles.
After that, it was high-traffic roadways for a while, until the CycleMeter voice said I'd gone 15 miles. I figured at that point, I should start heading back.

A lovely bike trail that turned out
to be a dead end. A life lesson.

Total for the day was 24.88 miles, average speed an uninspiring 13.08 mph. Seriously, there are people who can walk faster than that. I've got a long way to go.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

DuPage River Trail near Whalon Lake in Bolingbrook.
The trail is lined with prairie flowers on both sides.