Archive for September, 2007

Horseshoe Lake

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Today I decided to drive over to Illinois and then ride the bike south from East Cape to Horseshoe Lake and back. It’s basically a warm-up for the Tour de Cape next week, which includes most of that route. I went past this trailer church (the sign says Church of Jesus Christ, but it’s a bit blurry.)


While it’s too early for fall color, the lake still looks pretty nice. The water lilies aren’t in bloom this late, of course.
Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake

I passed Mark Farmer out on the road around the lake, and again going back on IL 3.  At the convenience store at Olive Branch, a woman asked me about the bicycling in the area – she said she’d seen a lot of bicyclists around, and it was unusual for the Midwest.  I suppose so, although there is RAGBRAI to think of.  Unusual for the “heartland,” though.

Have a cigar!

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

I’ve planted a lot of trees on my property, free seedlings courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation.  One of them is a persimmon that I’ve made the center of a little circular garden with a sundial.  Persimmons are dioecious — that is, they have male and female trees.  Today I was out in the yard and realized that my little persimmon tree has some fruit on it.  It’s a girl!

I’m so pleased.  There are only a few persimmons on it, but there are other larger female trees on my property, so I’ll be making persimmon pudding later this fall.  You have to wait until the first frost, because the fruit are too astringent to eat before that.

Altenburg Fair!

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

We just got back from the Fair. We were in Altenburg by 5:25 or so, but the traffic was absolutely jammed all the way back onto C and out toward Frohna. By the time we got parked and walked to the arena, the small size class competition was almost over. I got a few pics of the finalists, including this slightly blurry action shot of the winner, Bucky:


That was one jumping mule. He didn’t even wait until his handler was ready for him. And remember, these mules are jumping from a standing start, not running up to the hurdle.

Robin and I watched the end of the small size class, and the first few rounds of the medium, and then we were hungry. So we wandered up the hill and had a pork burger. Later I had a brat:

Me eating a brat

And Robin had some ribbon fries.

Robin with Ribbon Fries

And we were able to find a place on the bleachers by the band shell to sit and eat and watch the Jackson Community Band.

Jackson Community Band

Hannah will recognize a few of her band teachers from Jackson High School here. BTW, Hannah, Mr. Vangilder and Mr. Fliege send greetings. They miss you. We didn’t get to talk to Mr. Crawford, but he probably would have said hi too.

Being old, we were pretty much done after finishing our food (and a couple of beers for me.) But we did have to go look at the competitions for best pie and bunny and chicken and pickles and such. Here are the pumpkins.

Gourds and Pumpkins

There really weren’t many competitors in the pies. Every year I swear I’m going to enter next year. Maybe for real this time. Janet Koenig won blue ribbons in blackberry, rhubarb, apple, and lemon meringue pies, and biscuits and cookies too. I think I can take her.

Beer run

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

This morning I decided to take the long haul trucker into town for groceries. Actually, mainly beer, since I bought most of the other stuff we needed yesterday. I still don’t have panniers, so I hooked up the trailer. And as long as I was getting beer, I figured there’s no sense in getting crappy beer, so I went into Cape to Schnucks, which has the best selection.

The closest beer to home would be in Fruitland at one of several convenience stores, about five miles away. But about the best you can expect there would be Corona. Their business is mostly Bud and Bud Light, I’d say. Then if you want to go further, about 12 miles away would be the Jackson Wal-Mart, but their selection is about the same, just cheaper.

Schnucks is about 17 miles, but has lots of imports and mini-brews. Like Schlafly, which is a mid-sized St. Louis brewery. Besides, I hadn’t been to Schnucks in a while, so we were out of things that you can’t get at Wal-Mart. Soy Butter. Go ahead, make fun. Peanut butter doesn’t agree with me; soy butter is okay. Decaf tea. I’m a total hot-beverage wimp — no caffeine, and coffee also doesn’t agree with me. Schnucks also has Le Petit Ecolier cookies, which are my favorite.

So I bought a bag of ice, stuck it in the bottom of my cold-bag (I got this one at Sam’s Club — it’s insulated, zips shut, has handles so you can carry it over your shoulder), put in the milk, some frozen bake-and-serve rolls, cheese (oh, yeah, Schnucks is also the only place nearby where you can get Manchego), and the cookies (don’t want the chocolate to melt) and a couple of beers to chill for when I get home. The rest of the stuff went in outside the cold bag, in the dry-sack on my Yak trailer. Here’s the bike on the way home with everything loaded.

The Long Haul Trucker on a grocery run

I took the scenic route coming home, and went on County Road 618, past the 5-H ranch. They have various sorts of exotic animals.


Such as camels.  They also have emus, and one of them was running after me for quite a distance — I was glad they had a tall fence.  I don’t know what an emu does to you when he catches you, but I don’t think I want to find out.

Anyway, a nice ride — including some detours and wandering around, just under 40 miles.  Now I have to get ready for the Altenburg Fair.


Friday, September 21st, 2007

Tomorrow night is the Mule Jump at the Altenburg Fair!

I can’t wait.  Of course, there’s also the brats.  As in bratwurst, not ill-mannered children.  And also pork-burgers.  Of course, some go for the funnel cakes.  And the cheap beer.  Not to mention the preserves, pies, and obscure German baked products contests with blue ribbons for the winners.  I love the Altenburg (strictly speaking, the East Perry Community) Fair.

Mule jump starts at 5:30 tomorrow.

Floyd gets robbed.

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

So, as everyone has heard by now, the USADA panel, in a 2-1 split decision, has stripped Floyd Landis of his title.  The decision, and the dissent from it, are available in PDF from Trust But Verify.  The panelists all agreed that the original 11/1 Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio was the result of a bad test.  That was what cued all the further investigation, so if it had been done right in the first place, Floyd’s victory would never have been in question.  The majority, though, decided that the isotope ratio study was convincing evidence that he had taken exogenous testosterone.  This, even though the method of identifying the peaks was basically guesswork.  Even though Landis’ testosterone levels overall were lower than average, not high.  As the dissenter said, “the metabolites identified in Landis’ samples are not behaving according to known science.”  If you’ve been taking testosterone, you have an elevated T/E ratio.  Floyd didn’t.  Other testosterone metabolites that should be correlated with each other don’t show those correlations in Landis’ samples.  The data show pretty convincingly that the lab’s techniques are simply not reliable.  In a real court, Landis would have won this case easily.
Nevertheless, two panelists think it’s good enough evidence to ruin Landis’ career.   Or more likely, don’t think that it’s bad enough to risk hurting the reputations of the USADA, WADA, and French LNDD lab by finding for Landis.

Doping is bad and we should be doing something about it.  It shouldn’t be a witch hunt, though.  As Sports Illustrated said, Landis “now has been found guilty by the closest thing to a fair trial any accused athlete will get.”  Too bad it’s not all that close.

A question

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

As I said before, Monday I wound up riding at night, which I don’t usually do.  But I used to years ago.  And I observed the same phenomenon Monday night as I had then.  So here is my question to Anonymous Driver on Country Roads (or ADROCR for short).


Why, when approaching a bicyclist head-on on a road at night, after you have already figured out that it’s a bicyclist coming at you, do you then TURN ON YOUR DAMN BRIGHTS?

Do you imagine that somehow, with better lighting, said bicyclist will turn into something else?

Are you thinking that anybody stupid enough to ride a bike at night might as well do it while blind as well?
Are you trying to figure out if you know me, so as to help you decide whether you want to run me down?

Just curious, ADROCR.  Thanks.

The Fair Parade

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Today was the SEMO District Fair Parade, and I volunteered to ride my bike with the SEMO Climate Protection Initiative group. So, I rode in to work this morning on the Surly — first time commuting to work since getting out of the hospital. Riding in was okay, not too much traffic.

Sunrise in PocahontasAbout 4:30 I rode over to Capaha Park to get in line for the parade. Alan Journet, my colleague who’s a leader of the SEMO CPI, showed up shortly with his Prius. All told, we had three Priuses (Priae?) and three bikes. Not a huge contingent, but bigger than the one in front of us (Second Place, Miss Junior SEMO Fair) and the one behind us (Show-Me’s Restaurant*). The Priuses sported signs saying “GO Hybrid” and “45+ MPG”. I made a sign for my bike:

Me at the Fair ParadeI’m not sure exactly per gallon of what. Maybe chain lube.

I’d been thinking the parade actually started around 4:30, and that I’d easily get home by 7 (sunset at 7:15). This was optimistic. We actually didn’t get onto the parade route until after 6. Then the parade moved at a pace set by the Clydesdales, marching bands, and SEMO Homeschoolers with babies in strollers. Since we were moving so slowly, the other cyclists and I spent much of the time circling the cars and weaving in and out. Kind of like the Shriners with those little Go-Carts.

Priuses in the Fair ParadeThat’s Glen Williams on the bike, wandering about. Anyway, we got through about 7, and I headed for home. It’s an hour ride, and it wasn’t that dark most of the way. I’ve got nice bright front and rear flashers, so I’m visible to traffic. By the time it was really starting to get dark, I was on county road 543, and there’s no traffic there anyway. Still, a bit darker than I prefer to ride in. Fortunately I know the route well enough to ride without being able to see it.
*”Best Tails in Town”

More on my new Surly Long Haul Trucker

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

So I went for a 30+ mile ride today.  The road was wet, as it’s been raining for a couple of days now.   The fenders, though, worked great.  A little spray around the ankles, but otherwise dry.  I rode out to Oak Ridge, then turned north on highway B, because it looked rainy to the south.  Good choice.  It cleared up some, the sky was blue, the sun even peeped out occasionally.  I made a loop by taking KK to D and D back to Oak Ridge.

When I got to the hill entering Pocahontas, I shifted onto the smallest chainring in order to be ready for the dog.  He wasn’t out, though.  The other day I was on that hill and the dog came running out barking, got halfway across his yard, and just stopped dead and turned around.  I don’t know if he was daunted by my having squirted him with my water bottle last time he came after me, or if he could sense that I’d bought Dog Mace.  In any case he hasn’t actually come close enough to me to get pepper-sprayed since I bought the stuff, so I’m happy.

I did find out, though, that in the lowest gear combination (30 x 32) the chain rubs on the front corner of the rear fender.  I’m going to have to customize it a bit.

Otherwise, looks great.  I’m planning to ride to work tomorrow and then ride in the Fair Parade with the SEMO Climate Protection gang.

New Bike

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

So I got the new bike, and this morning I put on the aero bars, rear rack, and computer. Here it is:

New Surly Long Haul Trucker

And another view:

New Surly Long Haul Trucker

In answer to the obvious question, yes, it weighs a ton.  35 pounds as shown here, including seat bag full o’ tools.   As opposed to 22 pounds for my Giant OCR1.  However, it’s exceedingly comfortable to ride, and the wheels are fairly light, which means that the rolling resistance isn’t bad.   And that rear rack is rated to hold 80 pounds.   I plan to be using this bike for my commute to work, as well as any long distance ventures that are coming up.

I had a 20 mile ride on it yesterday, but today it’s raining, so I’m going to have to wait.  Besides, I have a splitting sinus headache from allergies.  Aargh.