Sunday, June 23, 2019

A Week Of Expectations Exceeded

This was a good week!

From one point of view, I knew it would be. My mother and one of my nephews came from Philadelphia for a 4-day visit, and that did not disappoint. We enjoyed each other’s company and lots of good restaurant food. We even took in a little bike racing last night at the Giro d’ Grafton, Day 3 of the Tour of America’s Dairyland. Mom and Dean had never been to a bike race, and they thought it was pretty cool.

I looked forward to their visit, of course, but I worried about what it would mean for my training schedule. As things turned out, there was plenty of time for both. I finished the week with more than 10 hours in the saddle. It was my 2nd biggest week of the year so far. And there was even enough time to sell a bike I no longer needed: farewell to my 2011 Diamondback Steilacoom RCX, a great bike and a great value for the gentleman who bought it.

Strictly from a cycling perspective, the week to come might exceed the week we just finished. I’ll be volunteering as a course marshal tomorrow for the Downtown West Bend Concourse, Day 5 of the Tour of America’s Dairyland. Look for me if you’re in attendance between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.  We’re going to enjoy some legitimately warm, summertime weather for the entire week, and that will call me outside again and again. And on Saturday I will be in Milwaukee to spectate and to socialize at my favorite Tour of America’s Dairyland race, the Downer Classic.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Greetings From Grafton

They're racing under the lights at the Tour of America's Dairyland!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Approval Of The County Bike Plan

Last Wednesday our County Board approved the Washington County Bikeway & Trail Network Plan. I was hoping to have more to say on this subject, but even the people who were strongly in favor of it have been very quiet. Was I wrong to think that approval wasn’t guaranteed? Did everyone know this was a fait accompli except me? The proposal passed by a 25-1 vote, with only District 15 Supervisor Marilyn Merten of Richfield dissenting.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Happy 54th Birthday

Today's present to myself: a full-distance Eisenbahn State Trail ride.

I can’t complain about today. I did that goofy cyclist birthday thing, riding a mile for every year. The sun was out for a change. The winds were light for a change. The temperature was pleasant for a change. Gosh, we actually hit 70° today.

But it wasn’t much of a weekend. Take your pick: too cold, too windy, too wet. If you went up to Mt. Morris for the WORS race on Sunday, then you endured a mudfest in 50-something-degree temperatures. Me? I spent the first half of Father’s Day waiting for the temperature to crack 60°, then spent the second half working on my yard. It was another lost weekend on my cycling calendar in what is becoming a lost year. I’m going to reach the halfway mark of this season hundreds of miles behind last year’s pace.

Cycling ambitions aside, Father’s Day wasn’t a super happy Hallmark moment. It was a bummer to realize that this was probably the last year that both of my children will be living under my roof. The oldest graduated from college in May and the youngest will begin college this fall. Don’t get me wrong: there are many things about the Empty Nest lifestyle that I will enjoy. (I’m already benefiting by no longer having to negotiate the nightmare parking lot of the West Bend high school campus.) But I would rather have my children with me than not with me, and the journey that I have been on as a father since 1998 feels like it’s ending abruptly. When the nest is empty I still will be a father, of course, but the dynamic will be different. I must have done something right to bring my children to this point: two honors students ready to take on new challenges without me. But damn it anyway.

There are good family memories to make this week, as my mother and one of my nephews will be flying in from Philadelphia to visit from Thursday through Sunday. That won’t be good for my training, though, so I’ll make an effort to ride hard tomorrow and Wednesday in anticipation of yet another lost weekend. Cyclocross season begins just 9 weeks from Saturday. It’s getting harder to imagine that I will be in race shape by then. Oh, well. There’s more to life.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

CC Rider

Veni, Vidi, Bici!

Seven days, seven bike rides, 200 miles. Those are my totals since Sunday. I haven’t done a block of training like that in a long time. But the weather has been favorable and I have been motivated. (Cyclocross season opens 11 weeks from today!)

I also have been a little worried about what the next seven days will bring, so I’ve been “making hay while the sun shines,” as my father would have said. Rain in tomorrow's forecast could mean a rare Sunday without cycling. Monday and Tuesday look OK (maybe), then more rain arrives with a big cooldown mid-week and we will struggle to hit 60° for a couple of days. It’s definitely still spring, not summer, despite a couple of recent 80° teasers.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

One Last Push

If you genuinely care about bicycling in Washington County, then the stakes don’t get much higher than this.

It’s time for the County Board to vote on the Washington County Bikeway & Trail Network Plan, a comprehensive study of current conditions and future opportunities. This is the most important moment in history for bicycling in our county. Adoption of the plan will begin a process that will take years to complete, but don’t be discouraged by the long timeline. The process has to start sometime, and future generations will applaud us for having had this vision. Or they will curse us for our shortsightedness if we allow the plan to fail. The County Board will meet next Wednesday, June 12, at 6 p.m. in Room 1019 of the Government Center, 432 E. Washington St., in West Bend.

Please contact your County Supervisor to express your support for the plan. It’s easy!

1. Go to the county’s website.
2. Zoom into the map and click the location of your residence, as in this example:

3. Click on the  >  symbol to get your supervisor's contact information:

4. Click the EMAIL hyperlink. Depending on your browser settings, your email program may launch at this point. Otherwise, use your mouse pointer to hover over the EMAIL hyperlink. Make note of the email address and then enter it into your email program.
5. Compose and send your email. Be sure to include your name and street address. Use your own wording or simply Copy & Paste this text:

Please support the adoption of the Washington County Bikeway & Trail Network Plan when the County Board meets on Wednesday, June 12. The plan includes much needed enhancements to the pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure of Washington County. The multi-use paths in the plan are especially important in providing safe recreation and transportation for me and my family. Thank You!

That’s it!

Contact from constituents is extremely influential at the county level. You can make a difference in this process!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Re-shoein’ The Boone

Over the years I have used this blog to affirm and reaffirm my affection for Continental Gatorskin tires. They are great, great, great. I recommend them without reservation. I have used the 700x25 Gatorskins for tens of thousands of road miles, both in training and in competition. And my recommendation now extends to the 700x32 variety, which I experienced for the first time on Sunday and again this afternoon.

Having retired the trusty Diamondback Steilacoom (still looking for a buyer, by the way), I’m asking my Trek Boone to do triple duty as a responsive cyclocross racer, a stalwart gravel grinding steed, and a reliable recreation trail bike. I have two hot-swappable sets of Shimano Ultegra wheels dedicated to the Boone. The wheelsets were identical out of the box, but I have set them up differently for my particular needs. The cyclocross race set is tubeless with, of course, race-only cyclocross tires and a wider range cassette. The gravel grinder / recreation trail set has a smaller cassette—rec trails are almost dead flat, after all—and now these new Gatorskins, which are more than enough for the tame gravel roads and rec trails of southeastern Wisconsin. I’m expecting much longer tire life from the Gatorskins than I was getting from the second-tier cyclocross tires I had been using on the Eisenbahn, the Wild Goose, and the like.

Fifty miles down … who knows how many miles to go?

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Over Before It Began

Gatherin' dust ...
September 23, 2017. Remember that date. It was the last time I went mountain biking. When I will go again is anyone’s guess. I wanted to return to mountain biking in 2019, but that’s probably not going to happen. At least it doesn’t look like I’m going to be racing.

I wanted to do the WEMS Championships at New Fane in September and I thought I might hit Stump Farm (August 10) in preparation, but now both are off my calendar. The plan now is to concentrate almost exclusively on cyclocross with maybe a gravel race or two for a change of pace.

Mountain biking simply doesn’t fit right now. This year my time and financial resources are very limited. I don’t want to spend the better part of an hour just driving to and from New Fane or Pleasant Valley. I don’t want to spend the money to acquire a state parks vehicle sticker and a state trail pass. To be honest, I’m tempted to sell my mountain bike. As rough as this year has been, I’m optimistic about 2020. With more time, more money and a new mountain bike, I think I would rediscover my motivation for that side of my cycling obsession.