Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Few Shorts

Call It "Compulsive Lite"

A couple of folks who have seen me on the bike since my "Standing Down" post have made caring inquiries like, "How's that workin' out for you?", usually accompanied by some sort of smirk. Hey, folks, I didn't say I'd quit riding. I just backed off from riding every day. I was tired! I've taken a few days off in the last week and my legs feel much better for it. With great fall weather approaching, though, it will be hard not to ride most days, but at least the oven heat seems to be behind us.

The days are getting shorter

A keen observation, I know, but until darkness starts to reach into the end of my evening rides, I don't really notice. Tonight, the sun set around 7:30. Even with extended daylight savings time, it will soon be time to charge up the headlight.  Riding on the River Trail doesn't require a flamethrower. I've got a 1 Watt LED that is adequate and which cost around $100.00, uses 4 rechargeable AA cells and will go 8-9 hours on a charge. I leave front and back blinkies on my bike year-round. I like the added visibility on the road at dawn and dusk.

Here's a link that's useful for deciding your ride times:

Back On The Mountain Bike

With the exception of the BikeRumor ride written up a couple of weeks ago, I haven't been on my mountain bike since early June in Colorado. In the spirit of not heading out on my road bike every day, I headed to Camp Robinson with my mountain bike Sunday afternoon. I did resolve to take it easy and stuck to the flat trails, but thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I wanted to try out a new tire set up, which resulted from an encounter with something sharp, creating an opportunity for me to improve my trail contact situation. I had been riding some fast, light Pythons and replaced the front with a more aggressive, but heavier, Specialized Captain. I also aired my suspension back up to spec. I must say that reading the instructions for stuff can be very informative! I'm pleased with the result in that I seem to be riding faster, but will also add that I put a new computer on the bike so that I didn't have to take my Garmin along for information. There is the slight possibility that I miscalculated my tire diameter while setting up the speedometer, resulting in grossly overstated speed. I can live with that. If that is the case, it makes me feel better about my riding, even if I am pulling the wool over my own eyes.
I've never ridden at Camp when there was no mud and no water in the creeks. I'll have to take Willie-dog's bowl when he goes to run with me, as he refuses to drink from a hydration pack. There is a lot of timber marked for cutting in the CARP section. I had been told there was to be a timber harvest at some point, but have subsequently heard that they are installing some sort on navigation structure that requires line-of-site to the helicopter facility. Perhaps some of my more knowledgeable friends can fill me in on what's going to happen to the riding scene during and after the timber cutting.

Back to the subject of food...

I picked a gallon of muscadines at the Heber place a couple of weeks ago and put them in the freezer, planning on picking more last weekend. Diane was afraid we'd be a little short for our jelly-making needs, so we determined that she needed to buy a gallon at the farmer's market. Of course, she has her favorite farmers and doesn't want to disappoint anybody, so she bought three gallons of muscadines. I uttered a few exclamations, as that represents some long hours over a couple of big boiling pots set on the fish cooker. My grandmother always made muscadine jelly, so I picked up the torch after she passed away at age 100 a few years back, and I've pretty well got the process down. With Diane doing some prep work, we knocked out 5 batches of jelly.

Vintage 2010

My 8-grain toast is assured of company for the next year. I was down to my last jar of 2009. We're just getting started on our home grown berries, so it will be back to the boiling cauldrons soon.

Things are tapering off in the local produce department and I'm going to miss all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that we've been enjoying. Diane's penchant for the local-only Argenta Farmers Market assures that I'm virtually force-fed a steady stream of fresh, delicious food. I'm not looking forward to winter when my fresh fruit supply consists only of bananas. I can't bring myself to buy a tasteless peach, strawberry or tomato from a grocery store in the dead of winter. I'll get by and wait for the good stuff!

The OTHER MS Bike Riders

Well, my plea for donations for the MS150 apparently didn't strike much of a nerve and I think that I may know why! I was coming in on the heels of another MS Society group ride whose participants were far more, how shall I say this, "persuasive looking", than a guy in spandex and pink.
Central Arkansas motorcyclists held "Poker Runs" around the area for the MS cause. I caught up with these guys at Riverfront Park in Argenta.

I got the story on the Boozefighters a few years back at a gathering on the Mulberry River. The club was founded by soldiers returning from WW II with a taste for booze and a need for some excitement. I asked them if they were anti-booze or if they just liked to get liquored up and fight! I'll just say, these guys mostly just like to party!

If you're feeling like a rebel, don't forget that you can still "put it to the man" by donating to MSS!
If you're a left-leaning liberal, you can give to this worthy cause.

If you're a Tea Party supporter, what better way to avoid the responsibility of paying taxes? Sock it to Obama by giving to ME!

If you're a Glenn Beck fan and hang on his every word, you can......

 Never mind. I'll write the check if I have to count on Glenn Beck! I can only take this so far!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Standing Down: This Ain't Easy

Well, kind of. I'm trying to take more days off of the bike. I think I'll ride better for it, though I'm a miserable failure when it comes to sticking to any kind of a training plan and I love to ride my bike. Riding is just part of my regular day and on the bike is where is get my outdoor time, see my friends, keep up with the community and develop material for this endeavor. The result is that sometimes I just get tired. My riding suffers and I get frustrated, not only at my failure to improve but that I seem to start going backwards in terms of fitness.  I checked my bike log a few days ago and found that since March 1, I'd been on the bike 154 out of 180 days. Experts say that recovery is an important part of training, especially for older athletes, of which I am one (at least the older part), but it's just not as much fun as riding.The 26 days off the bike includes days spent paddling, day-long drives for vacation, rain storms and a very few "just tired" days. The heat of this summer seems to have worn me down more than usual. Long, hot Saturday mornings on the bike are usually followed by long Saturday afternoons on my tractor at Heber. I'm not sure what I'm depleting, but I'm damn sure running out of something, so I'm standing down. I'm not hanging up the bike, but shooting for 4-5 days per week for awhile instead of 6-7. Like everything else that gives pleasure, riding every day is a hard habit to break and I'm a pushover for those text messages that simply say, "You riding?", but I'm giving it a try.
By the way, if you get the urge to send me one of those messages, it's OK. As I said in opening, I'm a miserable failure when it comes to sticking to a plan!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Pitch: Seeking Donations for the MS150

The warning above is to allow for early exits by disinterested parties, but if you made it this far…..please read on!
2007 MS150 in my sporty then-new Fast Girl jersey.

For the several years, I’ve ridden in the MS150. It’s one of my favorite rides and the proceeds go to a very worthy cause. After I started doing the ride, I found that I knew people with MS and I also learned that the MS Society uses the money that we raise to help real people who are challenged by this disease. Follow the link below, whip out your credit card and drop a few bucks for a good cause. Let’s be realistic; are you really going to notice another $5-10.00 on your bill at the end of the month? (hint: NO)
You’ll feel good the moment you confirm your contribution and the high rollers among you will enjoy the tax deduction!

That’s it! You can put it to the man by giving!! If you want to REALLY stick it to the man, make it fifty bucks. You will send a message, my friend!!

I wrote that part. Here's the official line:

Every hour of every day, someone is diagnosed with MS. That's why I registered for the Bike MS Tour, and why I'm asking you to support my fund raising efforts with a tax-deductible donation.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to creating a world free from MS but they can't do it without our help. It's faster and easier than ever to support this cause that's so important to me. Simply click on the link at the bottom of this message. If you prefer, you can send your contribution to the address listed below.

You can give money here:


Contributors are entitled to absolutely FREE ACCESS to JBar Cycling!! Of course, non-contributors also get free access to JBar Cycling, but without the accompanying joy of giving! MS150 riders and contributors to other riders get a free pass.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hotter'n Hell Hundred: For Those Who Are About to Ride

The HHH takes place this weekend in Wichita Falls, TX. Wichita Falls is located approximately in the middle of nowhere. The terrain is slightly rolling and not too pretty, the hotels smell funky from flooding and cricket infestations, and the local hospitality community shakes down riders with year-in-advance prepay policies, high rates and mediocre facilities. And people swarm the place every year by the thousands for this ride. Hotel reservations are sold and traded, people camp in scorched parking lots and sleep in church gymnasiums. I've done it twice, which is just enough. Our first year was the hottest HHH ever, with temperatures reaching 109 officially by midmorning, Hell's Gate being slammed shut at 11:00AM instead of 12:30PM as advertised, Garmins reading 119-120 degrees  out on the pavement, medical tents full, SAG wagons overflowing, every shady spot (there aren't many!) packed and many riders simply laid out on the side of the road, ice supplies depleted at the rest stops for 40-50 miles in the middle of the course.......  In short, it was everything this ride is cracked up to be. It was a long, miserable slog as we nursed in a cramping buddy over the last 30 miles, but we made it. Our next trip was very different, with highs in the mid-80's and the logistics in good order. It was so much easier that it was almost anticlimactic.
Many of you have done this ride ride multiple times, but here are some nuggets that you might find useful, particularly if this is your first HHH:

Look at the course map and the weather. Typically, wind will be from the southwest and is light in the morning, building through the day. That means it is not a factor early, can be your friend through the middle of the course, and then kick your ass for the last 20-30 miles.


Start as far forward as you can and go out fast. If you're a 7 hour rider, don't go to the front, but if you're going to ride a 5 hour hundred, get where you belong. It takes 12-13,000 people awhile to roll out. Don't red line, but don't dawdle. You want as many people behind you as possible.

Do not ride off of the pavement!!!   I can't overemphasize this. After every rest stop, you will see riders lining the side of the road with their flat kits out, sweating, cussing and losing time. The only riders more pissed off are their buddies who have to wait on them.
The culprit: goat heads.
 Disregard this advice and you can easily end up like my friend Patrick a few years ago. Out of tubes, out of buddies, out of luck, walking across the finish in his socks, or, worse yet, in the SAG wagon. Even if you think most of my suggestions are bullshit, you will thank me for this advice!

These bad boys are everywhere on the HHH course. Any time you get off a paved surface, even for a few feet, pick up your bike and carry it!! Don't even ride or roll your bike in gravel driveways.

Skip the early rest stops and stop only long enough to refuel. You should have food and fluid for at least 30-40 miles. 50 is even better. The early rest stops are congested and will waste your time while leaving you behind all the faster, more savvy riders.

Every rider behind you can represent an opportunity for you to get into a pack or grab a wheel further down the line. If everybody as fast or faster than you is out front, you won't see them again.

If you have your own squadron, this may not be a big deal, but it's always good to have more riders to share the load out there at about mile 80. I rode solo on my second HHH and had a blast moving around in various groups.

Don't experiment with food, drink or pickle juice. I tried pickle juice before the ride and found that it really upset my stomach (it did not sit well on a hot fudge sundae, at least). Many folks swear by it, but don't try it for the first time out on the course. They use PowerAde sports drink at the rest stops, which I cannot handle, so if you're not sure how that works for you, take whatever you usually drink. I carried a couple of premeasured loads of Gatorade powder. I also pass on such food items as the chilidogs offered at some rest areas.

Do stop at the beer barn! This is just a matter of good form. At about mile 98 as you make a right hand turn, you will be offered free beer, often by bikini-clad girls. This is a good stop. Take a little cash for a donation if you want to partake of the hot wings or plan to have more than a beer or two. Keep in mind that the course is actually 102.something miles, so you still have to ride 5 miles to the finish.

Do not go to dinner and ask for a table for 16. You've spent enough time with those people, anyway, and you will never get served!

The Expo is worth visiting and some bargains can be found,  but it can also be like a flea market for out-of-style merchandise, gizmos and gimmicks. I'm not much of a shopper, but always stock up on threaded CO2 cartridges that can be bought in bulk.

Hotter'n Hell is something everybody should do at least once. The phenomenon of riding out with 12,000 people is hard to describe. The weather forecast for the weekend is mild, so this ride will only be epic if you make it that way. If you want to have tall tales of misery and woe, simply ignore everything you've just read!
Have fun and good luck!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Active Style Bump!

 If I could only get on the Colbert Report!*

http://wikiality.wikia.com/The_Colbert_Bump  *

You may have noticed that I've got a counter on this site. I dropped the little counter onto my blog a few months ago to see if anybody was actually reading it. There were many options available, but I went with the simplest, electing not to have my demographics broken down by any of the many sophisticated tools that are out there. I don't really care if you are male or female, whether you own your own home or knit mole-belly fur socks for Pakistani flood victims. Your income and level of education is your business. If you choose to log on to JBar Cycling, then I can only assume that you're educated enough to read it and share some interest in bicycles and quasi-related topics. That's plenty of demographic information for me. I won't say that my standards are low, but I'm just not that particular when it comes to drawing an audience.
I say all of this because I've noticed a bump in my numbers, or perhaps I should say "number",  since this blog was mentioned a week ago in Celia Storey's column in the Active Style section of the Democrat-Gazette. I can only assume that I have some new readers, which I greatly appreciate. Those of you who have been with me for awhile know that this adventure is a freebie in that there is no advertising, no editor, probably not nearly enough proof-reading, no calls for donations so far (I had to get that in before I get to work on my MS150 plea) and therefore damned little accountability. I try to post a couple of articles per week, but sometimes the well of ideas runs dry or I get busy with life and the writing just doesn't happen. At other times, I struggle to get all of the many little things that I find interesting typed up and you will experience a veritable stream of posts. Folks, that's just the way it is! At times, you may feel like you stumbled across Rachel Ray with a five o'clock shadow or Wildman Steve Brill http://wildmanstevebrill.com/ because I like to talk about food, share ideas and like to point out some of the tasty stuff that grows along the River Trail . You'll find posts about our kayaking trips because that's an important part of our lives and often the driver for much of our travel and vacation planning. And where there are good rivers for boating, there are usually good trails and roads to ride. You are liable to find just about anything here, but mostly this space is devoted to the bike and the world of cycling. Much of the focus is local, devoted to the Central Arkansas cycling community, culture and infrastructure, along with occasional forays into the discussion of technical subjects and my opinions on gear selection or applications. There are experts out there who can do a better job than I can on almost any front, but I try to share little things that I've found useful or fun to know.
Anyway, if you just started checking in here, I appreciate it. If you are one of those folks who has been with me for awhile, I really appreciate you!
For those of you who are so inclined, I use Twitter as JBar Cycling to announce new posts and also share to Facebook.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Along The Trail: Odds and Ends

"Skeeter, are you sure you put the plug in?"

Whoops! Late last week, I noticed a barge loaded with rip-rap moored near the pavilion at the NLR foot of the BDB. Sometime over the weekend, the barge started sinking, allowing its load of rock to shift and spill. While I was stopped to take the photo above, I struck up a conversation with a guy who was also taking a few shots. He said that he knew somebody who worked on the crew and that another crew member was supposed to have come down Saturday morning to check all of the hatches and be sure that everything was secure. I'm unsure of said crew member's job status, but salvage operations are still underway.

The mist blowing from the sprinklers felt pretty good on this hot afternoon, but the tile brick in North Little Rock's Riverfront Park is treacherously slick when wet. I've proven this a couple of times, most recently with long skid that ended with a feet down Flintstones stop. My buddy was not so fortunate. I won't name the crash victim because I don't want to embarrass my friend Bill Steward.

Gear: Socks for Hot Summer Riding

 "If your feet don't hurt and your ass doesn't hurt, you've won half the battle of riding long."   The Gospel According to Darwin

I recently read an article about avoiding hot-foot on summer rides, then Diane mentioned that she'd grabbed heavy wool socks today for a road ride and her feet felt "yucky" hot. The topic of socks is one to which I've given some thought. For me, one of the benefits of road riding over riding the mountain bike is that it gives me some time to contemplate the minutiae of life instead of rapidly processing a stream of complex thoughts like, "tree" "rock" "root", as is necessary for my safe passage down single track.  As we enter warm weather each spring, I always relish the shedding of long-finger gloves, arm and knee warmers, ear covers and my beloved DeFeet Blaze winter wool socks in favor of the freedom of short sleeves, fingerless gloves, bare legs and sheer summer socks. That's the set-up until it gets really hot. I've noticed that when the pavement is really cooking that I get hot-foot, particularly at the ball of my foot, when wearing thin uncushioned socks. It may sound like a minor problem, but long rides can be painful enough without volunteering to up the ante. Many of my triathlete friends don't wear socks at all, but I can't roll that way. Call me delicate. My solution is to choose wool blend socks, preferably with some cushion in the area of the heel and the ball of your foot, but thin and loosely knit elsewhere. Here are some of my favorite socks for varying warm weather conditions:

The socks on the left are Bridgedale X-Hale multisport socks. They look a little fluffy for summer, but have great wicking properties and a little cushion just where you need it. The cushion also seems to allow for better blood circulation and allow a little air under the foot. They are my "go to" socks for long rides when the heat is on.
In the center are DeFeet Wool-E-Ators, great lightweight wool socks with good wicking and no cushion.
On the right are basic DeFeet Cool Max summer socks. They're great socks, but just don't cut it for me on long rides when it's really hot.

Many folks seem to be able to get by with whatever they pull out of the drawer, but for my comfort, it pays to be particular. If you're one of those folks who can stick your wet, bare, sandy foot into the shoes that you've left clipped onto your pedals in a triathlon transition area and then ride happily away, you have my admiration.

Gotcha!! Smash and Grab Follow-Up.

I was pleasantly surprised to read in the Democrat-Gazette this morning of the arrest of Tavaris K. Candy and Michael Wayne Daniel Jr. on charges of two counts of breaking and entering and four counts of possession of an instrument of crime. The two were arrested near River Mountain Park on Thursday after Daniel was pulled over for not wearing his seat belt. The officer recognized Candy as being wanted in car break-ins near the Big Dam Bridge, which had been caught on video surveillance. The officer found three screwdrivers in the car and brass knuckles in Candy's possession. A purse and other items taken in the break-ins were recovered from Daniel's 1996 Ford Explorer.

Lessons for Candy and Daniel to be learned from this episode:
Don't be a thieving dirtbag.
Always wear your seat belt. It's the law.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Old News: State Time Trail Results

I had obtained this information shortly after the State Time Trial Championship and never got around to posting it. On my ride today, a participant asked me if I knew where to find the results. Right here, of course!!

The formatting isn't the best, but if you're interested enough, you can figure it out. This is the best I could do without retyping all the information.

Category Bib Number First Name Last Name City State License Number Racing Age Team Name Start Time Finish Time Elapsed Time

Cat 1-2 Male 6 Kris French Little Rock AR 265172 30 Panther 7:31:00 8:25:24 0:54:24

Cat 1-2 Male 7 Zachary Spinhirne-Martin Little Rock AR 87169 32 Panther 7:30:30 8:26:03 0:55:33

Cat 1-2 Male 8 David LACEK Germantown TN 62212 48 Amateur Cycling Club of Memphis 7:30:30 8:26:58 0:56:58

Cat 1-2 Male 5 Mark GRIESSE Fayetteville AR 238104 26 Snapple Cycling Team 00:00:00 00:00:00 DNS

Cat 3 Male 12 Westley Netherton Winslow AR 97091 31 Snapple Cycling Team 7:29:00 8:29:04 1:00:05

Cat 3 Male 11 Nicholas ROGERS Conway AR 259064 21 Boston Mountain Cyclists 7:29:30 8:31:32 1:02:02

Cat 4 Female 24 Karin BERG Memphis TN 281173 47 Unattached 7:05:00 8:10:22 1:05:22

Cat 4 Female 26 Heather Bender Cabot AR 1-Day 25 Unattached 7:04:00 8:21:01 1:17:01

Cat 4 Female 25 Raegon BARNES Bentonville AR 320642 32 Tulsa Tough Racing 7:04:30 8:55:44 1:51:44

Cat 4-5 Male 143 Norman GRAHAM Little Rock AR 275521 49 Unattached 7:24:30 8:26:14 1:01:44

Cat 4-5 Male 144 Kevin CLEVELAND FAIRVIEW TN 241640 36 Unattached 7:24:00 8:26:09 1:02:09

Cat 4-5 Male 148 Karl Hanson Little Rock AR 215256 39 Carve 7:22:00 8:24:45 1:02:45

Cat 4-5 Male 142 Alistair DUNSTAN Little Rock AR 274743 40 Carve 7:25:00 8:27:51 1:02:51

Cat 4-5 Male 149 Ryder Pierce Mountain Home AR 319938 22 Carve 7:21:30 8:25:51 1:04:21

Cat 4-5 Male 146 Charlie ROBERTS Little Rock AR 289509 33 Unattached 7:23:00 8:28:07 1:05:07

Cat 4-5 Male 145 Chris RAMIREZ St. Louis MO 276458 41 Saint Louis Cycling Club 7:23:30 8:28:55 1:05:25

Cat 4-5 Male 147 Charles SANDERS Little Rock AR 275773 53 Carve 7:22:30 8:40:12 1:17:42

Junior 14 & Under Male 161 Dub SORRELLS Marion AR 265348 14 Sorrells Family Dentistry 7:01:00 7:40:55 0:39:55

Junior 14 & Under Male 162 Logan GARTIN Benton AR 258434 11 Unattached 7:00:30 7:44:54 0:44:24

Junior 14 & Under Male 163 Allen SEARVOGEL Sheridan AR 12 Unattached 7:00:00 7:48:29 0:48:29

Junior 15-18 Female 30 Rachel Netherton Winslow AR 291708 18 Tyson Racing 7:01:30 7:39:41 0:38:11

Junior 15-18 Male 160 Clayton WILKINS Paron AR 295226 15 Unattached 7:02:00 7:34:25 0:32:25

Master 30-34 Male 51 Jason Beebe Fayetteville AR 253147 33 Tyson Racing 7:20:30 8:20:48 1:00:18

Master 30-34 Male 50 Timothy THOR LITTLE ROCK AR 295025 34 Unattached 7:21:00 8:23:49 1:02:49

Master 30-34 Male 52 Josh Davis Springdale AR 260439 33 Tyson Racing 7:20:00 8:28:09 1:08:09

Master 35-39 Male 171 Scott BARNES Bentonville AR 198584 35 Tulsa Tough Racing 7:19:00 8:15:18 0:56:18

Master 35-39 Male 170 Marty DOWNS Tupelo MS 214036 38 Mercury Racing 7:19:30 8:20:31 1:01:01

Master 35-44 Women 182 Emily Hartman Little Rock AR 1-Day 43 Unattached 7:02:30 8:12:10 1:09:40

Master 35-44 Women 180 Antoinette RILEY Texarkana TX 302130 39 Edge City Cycling 7:03:30 8:26:36 1:23:06

Master 40-44 Male 178 Matt HEITMANN Little Rock AR 149133 43 Panther 7:17:00 8:12:38 0:55:38

Master 40-44 Male 119 Peter Beland Little Rock AR 47037 41 Boston Mountain Cyclists 7:15:30 8:13:19 0:57:49

Master 40-44 Male 175 Devery ANDREWS Cabot AR 277650 44 Unattached 7:18:30 8:19:07 1:00:37

Master 40-44 Male 177 Brian NEUKIRCH LITTLEROCK AR 300802 42 Unattached 7:17:30 8:18:30 1:01:00

Master 40-44 Male 176 Kevin GRIFFITH FAYETTEVILLE AR 318586 43 Tyson Racing 7:18:00 8:22:53 1:04:53

Master 40-44 Male 200 Kevin Golden Maumelle AR 244105 44 Carve 7:16:00 8:26:47 1:10:47

Master 40-44 Male 179 Tim Burson Paron AR 320628 43 Carve 7:16:30 8:29:45 1:13:15

Master 45+ Women 181 Marianne Park Maumelle AR 1-Day 47 Unattached 7:03:00 8:21:53 1:18:53

Master 45-49 Male 77 Kurt SEARVOGEL Sheridan AR 217964 47 7:14:00 8:15:44 1:01:44

Master 45-49 Male 76 Paul PHILLIPS Little Rock AR 275243 48 Unattached 7:14:30 8:20:39 1:06:09

Master 45-49 Male 78 Scott Philbrick Little Rock AR 1-Day 46 Unattached 7:13:30 8:22:00 1:08:30

Master 45-49 Male 75 Jackie BRIAN Camden AR 54260 49 Boston Mountain Cyclists 7:15:00 00:00:00 DNF

Master 50-54 Male 194 Tim PERRY Monroe LA 187903 52 Team LaS'port 7:11:00 8:06:24 0:55:24

Master 50-54 Male 190 Dan GRIESSE Fort Smith AR 169235 54 Snapple Cycling Team 7:13:00 8:11:34 0:58:34

Master 50-54 Male 192 Grant DONA Monroe LA 237710 53 s-3 7:12:00 8:11:23 0:59:23

Master 50-54 Male 193 Chris HINES Bentonville AR 226710 51 Boston Mountain Cyclists 7:11:30 8:11:25 0:59:55

Master 50-54 Male 191 John WILP Oklahoma City OK 49544 50 Unattached 7:12:30 8:14:32 1:02:02

Master 50-54 Male 195 Don FLETCHER little rock AR 157337 54 carve 7:10:30 8:13:54 1:03:24

Master 55-59 Male 187 Scott SIFFERMAN Mt. Vernon MO 210464 56 Ozark Cycling Club 7:09:00 8:05:05 0:56:05

Master 55-59 Male 186 James GREENAWALT Ganado TX 186756 56 Southwest Cycling Club Racing 7:09:30 8:08:41 0:59:11

Master 55-59 Male 188 M. Chris THIBODEAU Telferner TX 59647 57 Violet Crown Sports Association 7:08:30 8:10:49 1:02:19

Master 55-59 Male 185 Sidney DEGARMO Bryant AR 184521 55 Central Arkansas Velo/Team CARVE 7:10:00 8:16:09 1:06:09

Master 55-59 Male 189 Bill Crow North Little Rock AR 1-Day 58 Unattached 7:08:00 8:27:21 1:19:21

Master 60+ Male 93 Richard RASPET University MS 29198 57 Discover Oxford MS 7:07:30 8:06:29 0:58:59

Master 60+ Male 97 Frederick Beland Little Rock AR 47436 63 Boston Mountain Cyclist 7:06:30 8:10:39 1:04:09

Master 60+ Male 94 Rick SEDERBERG Batesville AR 171312 61 Unattached 7:07:00 8:22:27 1:15:27

Open ED Male 104 Steve CAMPISI Texarkana TX 293294 45 Team Hammer Nutrition 7:27:30 8:31:12 1:03:42

Open ED Male 107 Frank Webber Little Rock AR New 25 Carve 7:26:00 8:31:23 1:05:23

Open ED Male 103 Larry YANCEY Jonesboro AR 133160 58 Boston Mountain Cyclist 7:28:00 8:34:41 1:06:41

Open ED Male 102 Todd GILL North Little Rock AR 312296 32 Unattached 7:28:30 8:35:52 1:07:22

Open ED Male 105 Michael Evans Little Rock AR 308427 34 Carve 7:27:00 8:36:31 1:09:31

Open ED Male 106 Robbie Hemmer Little Rock AR 257815 40 Carve 7:26:30 8:37:15 1:10:45

Open ED Male 108 Erik Blaty Little Rock AR 1-Day 33 Carve 7:25:30 8:37:51 1:12:21

Open EM Female 125 Priscilla Cazer Little Rock AR 193799 31 Tulsa Tough Racing 7:05:30 8:12:11 1:06:41

Open EM Female 124 Kelly CLEVELAND Fairview TN 307760 30 Unattached 7:06:00 8:33:16 1:27:16

Monday, August 16, 2010

BikeRumor Schwag Ride Brings Out The Fatties

 The BikeRumor Schwag Ride had a couple of things going against it. Monday night. Short notice. Recent impressive heat and humidity. But it also had the benefit of Little Rock's vibrant and connected bike community, a posting here, a nice write-up by Celia Storey in the Dem-Gaz, and the a very welcome break in the heat. Oh, yeah, and they were giving away a bunch of free stuff and letting folks ride Orbea bicycles. At ride time, the temperature was mid-nineties and the humidity was downright bearable. The place was vehicles and riders. Eighty-one riders signed waivers and the roll out looked like a charity ride. It was really impressive that word got out and that so many smiling people showed up. It was the first event of its kind for Bike Rumor and I think the folks doing the organizing were blown away by the response. Much credit goes to Orbea and Steve Shepherd for getting the word out and to the local bike shops that helped provide the schwag*, including Competitive Cyclist and Arkansas Cycling and Fitness.

The fat tires were out in force on Monday night.

Eighty-one riders signed in. The roll-out stretched from the parking lot and out of sight through the quarry.
There were a few bottlenecks on the single-track, but back where I was, nobody was in much of a hurry.

Waiting for the free stuff! Everybody was a winner with every name registered being drawn for a prize.
Some prizes, like this CamelBak, were a step up from the usual water bottles and tee shirts. Not that there's anything wrong with water bottles and tee shirts, as there were many given away, along with tires, helmets and other cool stuff.

In Celia Storey's column in the Democrat-Gazette on Monday, Celia kindly mentioned JBar Cycling. Thanks for the call-out! A couple of folks even admitted to reading it after the validation in mainstream media!
*Celia also tickled me by noting that "schwag" is not a word in standard usage that means "free stuff".  "Swag" gets mention. I was a bit puzzled when I first started hearing "schwag" and hesitated to use it, not being comfortable using words for which I don't have a good grip on meaning. But then it seemed that whenever I heard it, somebody gave me free stuff, so I soon got the hang of it.

Single-Track Re-Entry

Until Monday, I hadn't been on my mountain bike for a couple of months and I could tell! It really is a slightly different kind of fitness from the road and the differing bike geometry requires a little adaptation. That means I really need to get on the mountain bike more often, but it's hard for me to get into when it's hot. Fall is closing in, so I'll look forward to some cooler days in the woods. I had one momentary lapse in attention, resulting in my clipping a tree and being unceremoniously thrown to the ground. About the only good thing about it was that the spot was too rocky for poison ivy to grow.

Along The Trail: Little Rock Steps Up

Credit where credit is due.
 I will confess to having been somewhat negative of attitude toward the City of Little Rock when it comes to the city's commitment to bike infrastructure.  Little Rock's inability to get resolution on a route for the trail gap from downtown to Junior Deputy Park is the most glaring issue, but small things like the sweeping of the heavily used bike lanes along Rebsamen Park Road also provide fodder for criticism. In comparison, North Little Rock sweeps the trail several times per week, repairs pot holes promptly, and has added many features to make the trails more safe and accommodating for cyclists and other users. Pulaski County is engaged in the construction of the Two Rivers Bridge and taking advantage of construction along County Farm and Pinnacle Valley Roads to add bike lanes. Well, in the interest of fairness, I must give Little Rock credit. Here ya' go. This patch of asphalt will allow riders to avoid the congestion at the foot of the bridge.
You have to cross some rumble strips to the road, but riders can more easily bypass the often-crowded area at the foot of the bridge. Initially only a few feet wide, a second pass of the asphalt truck was made to widen the cross-over to its present magnificence.

Need some time alone?

If you ever get to thinking that things are just too hectic with the weekend crowds along the River Trail and on the BDB, I suggest that you take a little spin on a hot Friday or Sunday afternoon. You'll have all the solitude you might want!

The geese had even abandoned the trail in favor of the shade or the water on Sunday afternoon as the temperature hovered around 102.

This solitary fisherman had the foresight to bring his own source of shade.

Darn these weekend crowds!

I spotted a doe and her two fawns near the FOP. They were remarkably comfortable with my presence while I circled on the bike. The fawns moved for cover when I stopped. One of the fawns is in the center of the photo. The doe's head can just be seen as she peeks around a tree on the right margin of the photo.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Along The River: MV Mississippi Calls

The Motor Vessel Mississippi made a stop at North Little Rock's Riverfront Park on Wednesday. The largest towboat ever built in the US was taking dignitaries from the Mississippi River Commission on an inspection tour of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System
Though this seemed like a bit of a pleasure cruise, the Mississippi is a workboat for the Corps of Engineers 90% of the time.
The Log Cabin Democrat in Conway had a good article on their website:

Here are the facts and figures about the boat.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BikeRumor Schwag Ride

Special Edition Lunch Hour Post:

Like most people, I am driven by self-interest; however, I must often put aside that self-interest in favor of the common good. Perhaps it's because I'm a Democrat, but that's another subject.
The self-interest perspective is that if I keep schwag opportunities to myself, fewer folks will show up for the fun and goodies and the odds of said schwag coming my way are enhanced. The "common good" perspective is that with greater participation in such opportunities, the more likely it is that the sponsors of such events will do it again and lead others to hold similar events so that the community as a whole, myself included, benefits. With that in mind, I encourage your participation in the BikeRumor Schwag Ride. My mountain bike has been relegated to the garage since the temps bumped 3 digits, but the 29er will be rolling Monday night. No MTB, you say? Get crackin' and you can ride a sweet Orbea demo! Let's see....free stuff, fun folks, bike ride, pizza, beer, and free demo rigs.....  I'm sure that you'll be missing some great Monday night TV (insert canned laughter), but this gig has a lot of appeal!

Riding is fun…riding with a bunch of new friends is more fun…taking home some sweet, sweet schwag from some of the best companies in the cycling biz makes it all even better!

Come join us for the first ever Bikerumor Schwag Ride this coming Monday, August 16 at Burns Park in Little Rock, AR. Our buddies at Orbea are kind enough to mark out a course for us and provide a little onsite support (along with some demo bikes…click past the break to reserve one), and we’ve got more than $1,000 worth of awesome bits and pieces from Giro, Camelbak, Maxxis, Competitive Cyclist and Orbea to give away!

Here’s the deal: Show up at Burns Park between 5:45pm and 6:15pm, sign up to get in on the schwag and be ready to roll out at 6:30pm sharp. We’ll be parked at the parking lot with the boat ramps, don’t be late. The kind folks at Chainwheel and Arkansas Cycling & Fitness will be rolling with us, too, and afterward we’ll meet up at Vino’s for some pizza and local beverages (that part’s a Dutch Date). Click here for a map, showing both the ride location and Vinos.

Check the list of available demo Orbeas:


ALMA 26 S10 LG

ALMA 26 S10 M











Contact Scott Burke at Orbea USA to reserve a bike.

This event is brought to us by Bikerumor.com, Orbea, Competitive Cyclist, Arkansas Cycling and Fitness, and Chainwheel.

Here's a link to the post on BikeRumor:

Thanks to Steve Shepherd at Orbea for the heads-up!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Selections from "The Rules"

There are many rules in cycling. Unfortunately, most people have no idea what those rules are and they are subject to change or interpretation by just about anybody depending on the situation at the moment, as there is no governing body of "The Rules". Perhaps these nuggets will help!

Rule 39:
You should never leave home without your eyewear. You should not make a habit of riding without eyewear, although approved extenuating circumstances include fog, overheating, and lighting condition. When not worn over the eyes, they should be neatly tucked into the vents of your helmet. If they don’t fit, buy a new helmet. In the meantime you can wear them backwards on the back of your head or carefully tuck them into your jersey pocket, making sure not to scratch them.

Rule 62:
You shall not ride with earphones. Cycling is about getting outside and into the elements and you don’t need to be listening to Queen or Slayer in order to experience that. Immerse yourself in the rhythm and pain, not in whatever 80′s hair band you call “music”.

Truth in posting: I'm not making these rules up. They are poached.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What's New? Crostata!!

One of my favorite blogs is Brendan Quirk's "What's New" which is found on the Competitive Cyclist site under Service Course. Brendan is a fine writer and offers a lot of insight into the bike industry, technical developments and sometimes a really tasty post like this one entitled, "At Night Add Gelato":

The gelato got my attention. Our trip to Rome and Florence a few years ago was punctuated by multiple daily stops at the ever-present gelato outlets as I feel that the Italians do a superior job when it comes to rendering this delicacy, with ice cream being one of my many weaknesses. Instinct told me that if something goes well with gelato, it has to have value. Sneaky, manipulative devil that I am, I forwarded this link to Diane a while back in the hope that she would embrace the idea of the crostata in light of the fact that we had recently been enjoying a wealth of fresh fruit and free-range blackberries. Things worked out for me and she whipped up a blueberry crostata one Sunday evening. Many years ago, I planted a couple of blueberry bushes at the river house. At the time, I didn't really even like blueberries, but I've overcome that and we look forward to each year's crop. The local farm-grown blueberries came and went many weeks ago but ours seemed like a miss for the year. Berries would approach ripeness and then be gone. I assumed that they were being consumed as they ripened by the birds or by my Huck Finn-clone nephew, Jack, but a couple of weeks ago we were pleased to find a late bumper crop of ripe berries. Diane has picked a gallon each of the last couple of weekends, leaving her with a challenge as to how to use them. Lucky for me, she found that they fit nicely in a home made butter crust!

This is our second round of crostata. While we don't have gelato to complement this beauty, Edy's vanilla bean ice cream will do in a pinch!

Thank you Brendan and thank you, Diane. Call me double-lucky!

They're Back: Smash-And-Grab Dirtbags

While on a ride with a friend Monday afternoon, we noticed a Little Rock Police patrol car in the parking lot just east of the foot of the BDB. Two young women in workout clothes were speaking to the officer and our immediate assumption was that they had been victims of a car break-in, as such crimes have been common in the past. We were, unfortunately, correct. My friend, Karen, said few cars had been in the lot when she parked around 5:00PM, though by the time of our observation at around 7:00 the parking lot was completely full and all roadside parking in the area was also full. This parking lot is probably the most populated area along the trail, especially at this time of day. There were folks enjoying the benches nearby and a steady stream of riders, runners, and walkers while quite a few cars cruised through looking for parking. So how do these low-life bastards manage to smash two car windows in vehicles parked several spaces apart, grab the readily visible contents and then flee without being noticed? From what I gathered, the girls had arrived at about the same time to meet for a walk. Since their cars were not parked together but both were broken into, I would guess that the scumbags watched them arrive and hit the cars soon after they left the parking area. Never having smashed out a car window, I'm not sure how much noise it makes, but I'd think people in the area would notice.

It sucks to come back to your car to find this after enjoying your workout.

Both cars were parked next to SUV's, though I'm not sure if the SUV's were there at the time of the break-ins. If another car pulled up behind, the thieves would have had a fair amount of cover from passers by.

This puddle of glass a few yards away indicates that the break-ins were not an isolated incident.
Folks, this has been an ongoing problem, particularly on the Little Rock side of the bridge and especially in the now-closed area near the round-about, though I haven't heard of many such events this summer. As a community, all that I know for us to do is to be observant, call the cops if you notice anything out of place and don't leave any valuables in plain sight. We can't assume that these guys are stereotypical thugs. I was told last year that a thief was caught after breaking into a car near River Mountain. He had a bike on a bumper rack and was milling around looking like he belonged until he had a moment alone, at which time he pulled the smash-and-grab.

I think the mentality of these guys is that:
1. They're unlikely to get caught.
2. They're likely habitual criminals who do this stuff all the time, so what's another conviction? In some circles, there's not much of a stigma to being thieving low-life.
3. If caught and convicted, they'll be right back on the street because there is no room in jail for petty thieves.

About all that we can do is hide our stuff where it can't be seen and easily grabbed. If my car is broken into, I at least want them to have to grub around to find anything of value. It may be the closest thing to work these guys do.
Let's watch out for each other.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Big Moves and Digging Up Bones

Well, the 2010 Tour wrapped up with no more surprises and now we have made an early entry into what is known as "the silly season". Teams are forbidden by the UCI from announcing until September 1 the signing of riders currently under contract to other teams, but.... as usual, it's all over the news.

Alberto Contador is going to SaxoBank: This rates as a surprise in that as late as half way through the Tour, he was still showing the love for Astana and seemed ready to sign on for a couple of more years. Love is fickle, as is Alberto, apparently. Maybe he feigned the romance through the race because he feared attacks from Vino, who behaved admirably as an able lieutenant, or perhaps he just didn't want to risk riding another Tour with the drama of a divided team. Probably as big a surprise as Alberto's defection is that SaxoBank has elected to remain as a ProTour sponsor for another  year. It was widely rumored that Specialized would be the new team sponsor, a notion that was reinforced by Astana's  complaints that Specialized had driven the deal to put Contador on the team of Bjarne Riis. In addition to serving as team bike sponsor for both Astansa and Saxo Bank, Specialized has a personal sponsorship deal with Contador, so wherever he went, the team would likely be on Specialized equipment.

Frank and Andy Schleck are going...well, somewhere: likely the announced new Luxembourg based team being run with the help of Saxo refugee, Kim Anderson. The team sponsors have not yet been announced and there is some speculation that the deal will not come together in time for the 2011 season, which would be VERY interesting. That unlikely prospect would leave the Schlecks looking for a team for a single season. Radio Shack has shown great interest, and even a one year deal could be attractive. With the great competition between Contador and Andy Schleck, it would be a hell of a lot of fun and would give Lance Armsrtong and Johan Bruyneel another shot at dethroning Contador.Everybody's favorite toughest nice guy, Jens Voigt, is going along with the Schlecks. It looks like strong man Fabian Cancellara is staying put with Riis.

More comebacks...
It appears that Michael Rasmussan, aka "The Chicken" and Ricardo Ricco are poised to return to the ProTour ranks after suspensions and stints with lower tier teams. Ramussan, as you may recall, was dismissed by Rabobank while wearing the yellow jersey for not properly reporting his whereabouts prior to the Tour. He never tested positive, but skated testing procedures with his shenanigans. Ricco was plain old busted. The Italian is an exciting climber with an attacking style, but is a bit of an ass.

U.S. Postal probe continues. There are many more notable transfers and team announcements to be made, but this silly season is young! Unfortunately, the bigger headlines are likely to be made by the ongoing investigation of the US Postal Team in which Lance Armstrong once again will be the star. I'd rather the whole thing just go away, but we know it will not.

I have to ask: If Armstrong is stripped of his Tour titles, who won?
My question is, if it is proven that Armstrong doped, who becomes the winner? Let's look at every podium finisher in the Lance Era. Jan Ulrich? Nope, doper. Ivan Basso? Nope, doper. Andreas Kloden? Teammate of both Ulrich and Armstrong. Probably guilty if they are. Joseba Beloki? linked to Operacion Puerto.  Vinokourov? Doper. 2002 3rd place finisher Raimondos Rumsas, a Lithuanian rider who obviously made a splash, but that Im not familiar with? His wife was jailed in France in August of 2002, charged with arranging and supplying doping products. Unlikely that he would pass the test? The only podium finishers between 1999 and 2005 for whom I found no doping connection are from 1999, 2nd place finisher Alex Zulle and 3rd place Fernando Escartin. My research was cursory, so they could easily have slipped through my investigative net. In the years immediately prior to Armstrong's string of victories, the winners were Marco Pantani in 1999, doper, Jan Ulrich in 1998, doper, and Bjarne Riis in 1996, who admitted in 1997 that he had used EPO to win the Tour. I don't want to piss off the Spanish by picking on Miguel Induran, who won five in a row from 1991-1995, but Greg Lemond thinks everybody but him was doping from 1990 onward. The only part about that assumption that is suspicious is that LeMond was above it all. He points to average speeds and rates of ascent as proof of doping, yet he still holds the Tour de France speed record for individual time trials over 20K in length (Versailles-Paris, 1989, 54.361 kph). And he did that with some tri-bars stuck onto a road bike and an aero helmet- none of the advanced TT specific gear and bikes that riders enjoy today. You can decide about LeMond, but folks like Fabian Cancellara have never beaten his speed and Cancellara has been accused of having an electric motor!
If we want to keep digging, it was revealed that the 1984 US Olympic Cycling Team engaged in blood transfusions....

My point in pulling up all of this muck is that much harm can be done and little real good by going after a select few high profile folks and imposing the standards of today upon actions taken years ago. Sometimes the absolutes of right and wrong are not so absolute and it's just time to move on.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Correction and Technical Difficuties

Not-so-fresh water
My friend and reader, Martin, corrected me on the purpose of the pipeline along Pinnacle Valley Road. It is a sewer line, not a water line as I had stated. I'll correct the copy below.

Technical Difficulties

Internet service at the JBar Bunker has been temporarily disrupted. I'm posting this from the public library just so that you know I'm not ignoring my self-imposed duties. I have a post or two ready and there is much going on within the world of Protour cycling, and I'm gathering material for articles. Obviously, I can post from here but don't have ready access to my photos, etc. Comcast should have me fully functional again in a couple of days.

Chasing Noises And Other Mechanical Misadventures

If you ride your bike, eventually, you're going to have to do some work on it or take it to your friendly local bike shop for the purpose of service or repairs. If you ride your bike a lot, it pays to learn to do minor repair and maintenance functions yourself, not so much due to the minor expense of paying the bike shop boys but for the convenience. You don't have to be a mechanical whiz to perform basic service chores and I will not even suggest any particular degree of self-sufficiency, though I do suggest that it be somewhere this side of that of my wonderful neighbor who regularly took her bike to the shop to have her tires aired up.
I'm near the other end of the range in that I'm mechanically curious and it has occurred to me that bicycles, even with STI shifters and elegant aerodynamics, are wonderfully simple machines. However, simple doesn't always mean easy and, unfortunately, my curiosity and willingness to dive in over my head do not necessarily mean that I know what the hell I'm doing. The result is that some of my learning experiences have required that I repeat a lesson or two. Perhaps you can benefit from my experiences, either by resolving your problem expeditiously with accurate diagnosis and prompt action or by resolving to go directly to your favorite bike shop at the first sign of trouble. Here are a couple of my recent adventures in bike  repair:

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my trusty Litespeed had started making a little clicking sound. At first, it was barely noticeable, but over a few days it wore me down as it clicked on every pedal stroke. I cleaned, lubed, oiled, greased and tightened everything I could think of. I checked the headset, reset my bars on the stem with assembly paste, greased and tightened every bolt I could find, tightened the lock-ring on the cassette, removed my saddle, cleaned, greased and reinstalled my seatpost, lubed the pedal cleat lock mechanism, and finally dropped the chain and checked the bottom bracket. My bike looked like new and worked perfectly, but it still clicked and the clicking was taking my joy away so I gave up and took it to Competitive Cyclist, having come to the conclusion that the bottom bracket was shot but was only making the noise under load, something I couldn't duplicate on the work stand. I'd called ahead and fortunately Adam had a little time on his hands, so he went to work. He repeated many of the steps I'd been through, riding the bike after each, then coming back to the work stand to try again. Finally, he reset the bars yet again AND greased the front dropouts where the quick-releases make contact. No more click. I had called my efforts thorough, but I had overlooked a simple solution. I was embarrassed and out a couple of six-packs of I.P.A., but noise in a carbon, ti or aluminum bike radiates throughout the frame and is damn hard to locate while riding. I'm almost sure the QR's were the source of the noise and a small dab of grease solved the problem. Simple. That is, simple once you know where to put the grease! And if you've ever watched a bike frame being built up, you've seen that just about every contact point gets some grease.

Having my on-the-bike peace returned made me very happy so, of course, I couldn't leave well-enough alone and I was overdue for a new chain. Replacing a chain is an easy task with the proper tool and is a rewarding endeavor. Well, it usually is. Immediately after replacing my chain, I had drive train noise, especially when the chain was loaded up during climbs. The bike shifted perfectly and was quiet while on the work stand but on the road that was far from the case. I have changed a few chains and simply couldn't imagine how the chain could be causing my problems, but the fact remained that things went to hell when I put on the new chain. Things came to a head on Saturday during the course of a 60 mile Log Cabin ride with my friend Heather. My chain rattled noisily and shifting had become erratic and uncertain. I was frustrated, but at least the symptoms pointed me in the right direction. I could adjust the rear derailleur perfectly, only to have it skipping gears a few moments later, which told me that either the cable was seriously sticking in the housing or that the cable was failing, breaking one strand at a time. The coincidental timing of the chain replacement had been a misdirection.

This cable was failing a strand at a time, making for really spooking shifting. The first time I had a cable fail in this manner, I was out on the road when it finally broke. If you ever break a rear cable, you can pick a gear and tie the cable off . You'll at least have big-ring/little ring gearing.

Fortunately, the solution is easy; however, do not start in on the chore of changing your cables without the proper tool to cut the cable and housing. Most folks find it's worth a trip to the bike shop.

Barrel adjusters mystify many riders. When the adjuster is screwed in, the cable housing is effectively shortened, loosening the cable. Screw out, or counterclockwise, to tighten the cable.

My friend Darwin told me very early on in my still-short riding career that if something seems to be wrong with your bike, then there's probably something wrong with your bike.  In cycling, a mechanical failure can be dangerous at worst and inconvenient at best, so it pays to be proactive and find the source of the problem. A creaking noise can indicate anything from an ungreased seat post to a frame failure.