Category Archives: dogs

Longer commute

So that 2 mile challenge thing wants you to take short trips to places less than 2 miles — but they *do* count some rides longer.   Not mine, though.

Danville had its first (“hopefully annual”) “Community Bicycle Day. THey’d asked Ed Barsotti if somebody would come down and “talk about bicycling safety.”

I put together a script to fill 15 minutes — more, if I told stories. I made some handouts but since I didn’t know the setup… as it turned out, I could have even pulled off a powerpoint – there was a nice shelter with power, and computers.

I had  decided that casually cruising to Danville on my bike would make a clear statement about the genuine feasibility of bike riding.  I decided it really needed to be the Xtracycle so they could see the thing I rode in on. That meant it was more of an athletic endeavor, but it’s all about perception, isn’t it? No spandex = no work 😛

I got up early enough to try to remember everything I forgot… and banked on the event starting at 9, but my part at 10:15, as my margin for error.   I *did* get out the door at 6:05.

Oh. The weather. Friday night there was a huge mass of storms eking its way mostly north and slo0wwly East.   Thus places were getting a *lot* of storms for a *long* time. If those storms got here in the morning… I hoped they wouldn’t get here at oh, 7:30…

At 5:00 the storms had faded and the forecast  changed from 70% thunderstorms to 50%.   I put stuff in plastic, and took off.  Had a route in my GPS. Tried to call it up – and the whole unit just shut down. Oh, dear.    I had my paper map and hey, the stories I could tell! I got it going again. I knew I should stick to just north of I-74 from Cottonwood Road a mile east of 150 out past Ogden… and somewhere around St. Joseph I tried again and the ride loaded. ( is the actual day’s ride.)

About then I realized that I had left without any water or sunscreen… and there was a headwind… but hey, if I *could* manage a little better than 12 mph, I’d probably get there on time. The wind was significant — SSE, but crosswinds   rather grab the Xtracycle bags like unto a sail.

The sun came out. How hot would that rain gear be, used for sun protection? No problem –  the sky to the south greyed and greyed darker.   It was an interesting grey – not exactly threatening, but not “just overcast” either.  I didn’t know whether to be worried or not, so I didnt’. Hey, there was no lightning, and the weather is kind to me.  Out of respect for our relationship,   I got motivated to  pedal harder, and debated whether I should sprint in to Ogden and get Gatorade…

The clouds made me really want to get there, and I got to Kickapoo …  rode by concessions because I really might make it — but I also still might hit gravel or storms to slow me down.   It sprinkled enough for me to put my jacket on, but stopped.

I had a half mile or so of very fast riding when a large black mutt dog and his friend came out after me.   I t was running *hard* so I almost really went all out for little spurts … and because it didn’t quite seem to be running for fun and love, I screamed primally at the creature (okay, that was *almost* fun — especially in hindsight —  but I’m afraid it sounded more like screaming than commanding… ) After a half mile or so of run, run, run it just stopped cold and turned around and went back.  (It was in Vermillion County else I’d have let Champaign County know.)  I can tell you zackly where it is on the GPS recount of my speed 😉

I got to Danville and managed to only have to ride a block on 150 — and hi-viz vests work, ’cause I saw a mess of ’em in a parking lot.  There were about 15 people; half a dozen cops on cop bikes, a couple of families, and a couple of bike rider types.

The mayor talked ( a good sign! 🙂 🙂 ) and the cop talked — and went through teh whole ABC check, which was the first 20% of my safety speech.   No problem — there was all kinds of other stuff … tho’ he covered another 10% of it before we took off.

We went through the town, the mayor joking about needing oxygen and more rest stops. 2 miles later we were at the park, where there were all kinds of food and displays.  THen they showed… the C-U Share the Road VIdeo.   Oops, the next 60% of what I had to say.

Welp, I went through ABC again on my bike,  gave a plug for LIB (but forgot about license plates — GET YOUR 🙂 )  then I just used my bicycle as the discussion theme — what gear, why — and talked about how much learning to ride is like learning to drive, but we don’t remember how complicated learning to drive is because everybody does it, and talked at length about lane position.

Nobody had a single quesiton — though a couple people came up after and talked about the bike.

I guess I’ll ask Ed about feedback… wondering if this is yet another “well, she wasn’t what we expected” (trying to say somethign else nicely) situation…

Then it was time to ride back.  Danville has a local bike route map now and that came in handy to find my way… their “worst” road was very reasonable on a low-traffic weekend.  Um, yea, the wind had shifted a little — from SSE to SSW.   Yea, I was going back West. It wasn’t quite as much W as it had been East at least.

Then came this warm blast behind me… was God breaking wind?   I didn’t care, it was going my way.   I took the Xtracycle up to 17-18 for a couple of miles… would I get home by 2:30???

Whoosh! Just as suddenly, the cooler SSW breeze returned.  (You can see where it happened – West of Newtown — on teh GPS recount.)  I realized I was pretty tired and wondered what bonking would be like out there…  I paused for some of the munchies and water and bananas that I’d tossed on board…  and made myself put enough into the system to get me the rest of the day, ’cause stopping felt lousy… and I really wanted a bit of caffeine. If I had been *sure* that the chocolate Gu I’ve stashed somewhere was in my bag, I’d have stopped and dug it out.  I’ll have to check 😉

I *did* get in at 2:45, with 77 miles on the GPS. Went inside and quaffed Gatorade with a mess of tea, and duly noted the heart rate and breathing were taking longer than they should to ramp down… but I still had time to fit in a shower and between that and the tea, things balanced out.

So, chapter two, next post 😉

Thomasboro bites

Saturday we wanted to avoid game traffic and headwinds home, so we went to Thomasboro. Last time I was out there, I was chomped on by a dog at the house at the corner of Highcross and 2300. This time, when I pulled in to the Casey’s, something got me through my lycra. I’ve got a lovely welt on my upper thigh.
On an unrelated email discussion, somebody mentioned the value of photographing skin reactions to things, to document changes, etc. I was inspired and had the camera with me.
There was a viral email a decade back about “things to do to freak out your co-workers.” Add to the list: Go into a bathroom stall and take flash pictures.
(Don’t have the right cable or I just might post it 😉 )

Went in this a.m. via Office Depot and a fella on big tires engaged in a race. I passed him and he stayed just behind… lagged a bit and then surged, giggling audibly, got a little ahead of me and then faded fast, coughing. Okay, we were both trading “woopee!” noises 😀
On the other hand, the Trek rider I talked to at lunch was struck by a driver on the way in today 😦
The South Route to Parkland:
The North Route, with Roads
An even more North route based on the map and my vague memory that parts of Washington are Brick and a pain, which could be wrong:
(the North route can be taken right on through Main Street, too, through Seibel Hall)

Dog Bite

Dogblog: 2300 & 1600, he bites

That would be Champaign County, corner of 1600 (which is HighCross closer in) and 2300 (which is ??)
About to call animal control (but wanted to be able to refer to this)… dog came out and chased our group for a good half mile; kids were playing with four-wheel drives in their yard so no doubt it was feeling protective. (Kids were in their own world.) Did not take me down. Might have had I not had thick sweatsw and thick tights. We stopped about half a mile down (fully visible; nobody came out to check except the dog who came down to confront us again, but wasn’t quite confident enough to take on six of us.) Stupid humans.

(Oh… found it…
First Day of Spring (Garnet Rogers)
… this and “ease into it” are just too delicious for words from his “SHining Thing” album…

The crocus raises up a fragile head
In The snow beneath the trees
Winter was so hard this year
You swore it would never leave
Now the rain soaks in the garden
Sweet scent upon the breeze
Open up your window and breathe it in

It’s funny how it happens
It’s a mystery to me
Passed you by so many times
You think it’s not to be
But then love is standing there beside you
If you had the eyes to see
Open up your heart
And let her in

She’s the one whose touch will heal you
She’s the one who;ll guard your heart
She’s the only one who got the joke
She got you right from the start

She’s the one who loves you for yourself
Complete within your skin
Open up your heart
And let her in

While all the trees across the meadow
Bow their heads against the storm
Clouds are racing gray and low
The rain is sweett and warm
This first day of spring is fading fast
By the bed the light is dim

Open up your arms
And let her in

This first day of spring is fading fast
By the bed the light is dim

Open up your arms
And take her in