Saturday, July 07, 2007

Another day, another ride...

After much procrastination, I finally got out to do a
20 mile ride yesterday. With new hybrid tires on my
mountain bike, I did a 10 mile out and back on the highway
headed South to Anchorage. Why? Because they just
re-paved this road and it is smooooooooth riding. Ahhh...

Most of the pavement in AK is chipseal (think glued-down
pea gravel), broken by frost heaves and ruptured by
roots. "Highway" in AK also means that a few cars will go
by you once in heavy traffic on a Friday afternoon.
There were a few monstrous semi's hauling
double Sealand they charged by, they created
a back-draft vortex which pulled me along like a little
moth for a few seconds. In my motorcycling days in the
States, I used to tuck in behind one of these behemoths on
the freeways and draft off of them, giving my bike and my
body a rest from the constant wind impact.

Anyway---a good ride, although I am pretty tired the last
two days.....pushed my miles up a lot this week with two 30+
mile rides. To keep on 'schedule,' I have to do a 45-50 mile
ride in the next few days.

View from the highway lookout.

Laura, if you're reading this, here's a good shot of
the great Northern landscape you'll see over and over
if/when you drive the Alcan!

A friendly tourist offered to take my picture if I'd take
a few of he and his lady. And YES, I'm wearing a skirt.
I have my fancy-shmancy cycling shorts, but I am I like to wear skirts when
I ride.

At the end of the ride, I stopped in Ester and checked
out this Letterbox that Bugheart and I planted in 2005.
It looks great, BH! There are at least a dozen new stamps
in it.

Today: I am so thankful that the storm which moved in
last night hasn't quite left us. Grey, overcast, cool and
rainy. I may actually succeed in spending some time in
my studio today.
In thinking about my lack of art productivity this past
six weeks, I realized that I've spent more time
sleeping in my studio than working in it. Not good.

In all truth, this new obsession with riding my bike has
usurped all art hours.....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Miles and Gunshots

July 4th: 32.2 miles

It's a still, warm evening here. Sunlight on the clouds
above, but we're in the shadow of the ridgeline. There
are booming, echoing gunshots in the distance. Holidays
such as this bring out the need in certain types
of Alaskans to do some target practice. Such inanities
woke us up around 3:00 this morning....semi-automatic
rifle fire from down in the valley below our house.....

I've been doing some productive napping all evening.
After 30+ miles in the sun, I was exhausted. A family
4th of July party found me playing on the lawn with
my neice and her new doll: an old lady with a big mouth
and fabric gullet. The doll went with the "I knew an Old Lady Who
Swallowed a Fly" storybook. Neice and I gleefully stuffed
all manner of plush little defenseless animals into Grannie's
gaping maw. A good time.

Tonight, reading a new book by my most recent favored
author, F. Paul Wilson. (Easy reading, fun, unpredictable...)

Keep thinking about a movie I saw last night,
Tideland by Terry Gilliam. A strange, brutally
dark and beautiful film. Possibly the best movie
I have seen in months.

In contrast, the night before, I watched Jack
Black's The Pick of Destiny, and now I can't
get those damn songs out of my head....

Tomorrow---up early,
ride 17 miles to work....

then 17 miles home.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

She's a sexy little thing...

My mountain bike (sans seat) which is a Bridgestone MB4.
Fromage and I found this at a garage sale a couple of years
ago. It was $150.00 in perfect condition---even the brakes
and chain! This is the bike that Fromage rode down to
the States several years ago, so he knew it was a
sturdy, well-made it was my size, he
urged me to buy it...
It was a good improvement over my previous bike,
which was too big for me, although I had all kinds
of emotional attachments to it. I had ridden it
as a bicycle commuter in Portland, OR for almost
2 get really close to a bike that way.
Anyway---I sold it to my friend AmyLou, who
loved it, so all's well that ends well.

I've been using this Bridgestone
for my training rides. As a mountain
bike, it's not ideal for the road riding I'm doing....and
I haven't found good hybrid tires which would make
it an easier road ride. Still, it's been better than this bike....

This is my roadbike---a Takara "Advantage" which
I pulled out of a dumpster and got Fromage to
put new wheels, chain, brakes, etc. on it. Surprisingly,
the gears and derailler were in good shape. Mostly, I
use this bike indoors in winter on the trainer you see
it attached to here.

(I did a "ride" at home on the deck
in my underwear yesterday because I didn't feel like
going anywhere....)

Once again, the frame is too big
for me, so I almost never take it out into "the world"
for 'real' rides. And it's heavy. And it's a yucky color.
And it makes my neck hurt....

The major problem I've had with bikes is neck pain from
always having frames that are too big for me or I can't get
the bars/stem in just the right place. Also, I have small
hands....and I mean small. This makes braking difficult,
because most brakes are placed for people with hands
that are human, not midget gorilla grabbers.

In light of these difficulties, and the fact that putting 40 miles via highway on a mountain bike is kind of silly---I decided that I wanted a road bike. (I know, I crabbed about this in the previous post...bear with me.) I went shopping yesterday and in the 2 bike shops in my town...yes, only two...I found that road bikes were never less than $900.00. I'm getting "serious" about cycling this summer---as serious as I can get, I think---but I am NOT going to shell out what amounts to an entire mortgage payment on a bike! Then, being me, I checked the thrift stores (well, you never know!) and found some really ancient Huffys that looked like they'd been run over by a tractor trailer....not my lucky day.

This morning, I was sipping my coffee and decided to peruse ebay.......

And found this sexy girl! It's a Dawes---some British manufacture---
new, with Shimano shifters, tighter women's bars, the right frame
size for me (aluminum), dual brake levers, and a cute powder blue.

Fromage woke up about this time and I made him read the auction
details and examine the photos. He said, "Get it." and went downstairs
for coffee. (God, I love that man.)

So. She is ALL MINE.
Now, I have to keep riding the 'ol mountain bike until she
gets here. Then I will name her, like my blogging pal Bike & Beer
does with her bikes!

A shot of the headset...

And I could've gotten her in pearlescent pink.