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.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Two Rivers (Half) Century

Two Rivers Century is a really pretty ride along the Kankakee and Iroquois Rivers. It’s sponsored by the Kankakee River Bike Club, which did a great job. Great SAG support, well-marked routes, and excellent cookies along with the standard bananas and Gatorade at the rest stops.

Entry fee was $30, which benefits the Greenways & Trails Fund of the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley, working with multiple governments to develop the riverfront trailways. Money well-spent, I think: the first couple of miles took advantage of a truly amazing paved trail along the Kankakee River.

The routes are set up with a nifty “loop” system. Add up the loops to get the length you want. I went with the Red and Green loops, which add up to just shy of 50 miles.

Along with riverside trails, the route wound through residential neighborhoods, forests, and farmland. Very little car traffic, even for a Sunday morning.

The corn’s looking especially robust this year. Lots of rain. This Illinois boy cannot wait for the sweet corn to start coming in.

Here are some of the hundreds of people who passed me along the way. I averaged 13.81 mph along the course, which I imagine most of these folks could do with two flat tires and a broken femur. The only people I managed to pass had wicker baskets on their handlebars and “I (heart) my grandchildren” jerseys.

One of several bridges, just before a very welcome rest stop. Those are dozens of flower baskets full of petunias (or something, I don’t know flower names) lining the bridge.

With about 10 miles to go, there was this wonderful shady stretch that helped revive me for the final push. It wasn’t overly hot — about 85 F — but it was humid. My left calf started cramping just as the finish line came into view. It was a near thing. I had been slamming water the whole way, but I probably should have been chugging Gatorade at the rest stops to replenish the salt.

Naperville Rotary Ride is next Sunday … I’m thinking metric, but only if it’s cooler and/or less humid.

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