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Bike the Drive ride report (with pictures)

Well, the second of my four scheduled rides, Bike The Drive, is in the books. Here is my report.

The weatherman predicted a beautiful morning for Bike the Drive, and Mother Nature did not disappoint. T’was a little chilly at the start (about 55F), but by the time I finished, the temp had risen to almost 70F. The turnout was fantastic. The organizers were shooting for 20,000 riders and I have an idea that that mark was reached pretty easily.

For my ride, I started at Grant Park and rode north first. Usually when I do BtD, I start out going south, so I thought I’d do something different this time around. Rode as far north as Hollywood Blvd (about 7.5 miles), the north turn-around point and rest stop. Took about a 15 minute break for a banana and a muffin. This is where I found out that my camera was not recording. Thought I had turned it on when I started, but I guess didn’t. Anyway, made sure it was recording this time, and was back on my way. Once back on the bike, it was south back to Grant Park and another rest break. Another banana served as fuel for the next leg, which saw me still heading south, with the Museum of Science and Industry as my next destination. MSI was the south turn around point. By now, it was after 8:00am and there were a lot more cyclists on the Drive than when I started. The Drive was now crowded, but not overly congested. For the most part, everyone was alert to those riders around them. Once at MSI, it was another rest for me. Filled up my water bottles, had a muffin and a few cookies, and rested for almost 25 minutes. By that point, about 23 miles or so into the ride, my legs were quickly running out of gas, so I knew I’d need to give them a good rest before heading back to Grant Park.

After the break, it indeed was time to head back to the start/finish area, so off I went. The last seven or so miles were the slowest of the ride. For about the last four miles or so, I “latched” onto other riders. Of course, they didn’t know this, but I kind of used them as the “dangling carrot” out in front of me. My legs were threatening to cramp up, so I needed any kind of motivation to keep me going. I told myself that if they could make it to Grant Park, then so could I. Well, make it back I did, giving a hearty victory “WOO-HOO” as I rode back into Grant Park. That got a chuckle, and some smiles, from some of the cyclists around me.

Yeah, 30 miles was a challenge, but I proved to myself that I could do it. It indeed was a great day, it was a great ride, and I’m pretty sure a great time had by all!!

Here are some pictures from the ride….

 

Joining up with riders after the first rest stop, and getting my camera going…

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Riders enjoying a wide open, car free Lake Shore Drive…

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A tandem recumbent; very nice. Very nice indeed…

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Looking south towards the Chicago skyline…

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The John Hancock building…

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Nice view of the Sears Tower. ( Yes, I refuse to call it by its new name )…

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Break time…

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Hmmmm, seems to me I know that guy LOL… (yes, it’s me)

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Looking south at the Field Museum of Natural History…

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Approaching the “check point.” If you didn’t have a wristband, ride officials forced you off the Drive…

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More recumbents…

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Coming up on the Museum of Science and Industry…

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Crowded rest stop…

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Nice view…

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Nice view. Oh wait, I already said that. LOL…

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Soldier Field on the right. Home of Da Bears!!…

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Back at Grant Park. Time to celebrate…

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Thanks for stopping by. Have a blessed day. :~)

 

 

Ride the Rock recap

Sorry it’s taken me so long to report back on my ride last weekend. “Real life” kind of caught up with me and kept me busy all week.

Well, what can I say about “Ride the Rock?” It certainly was a beautiful morning for the ride, that’s for sure. Very light winds, mostly sunny skies, temperature not too chilly (about 55F to 58F at the start of the ride) and a great turnout. Didn’t get the size T-shirt I wanted. It was first come, first served when it came to the shirts, and I got there too late to get a XL or a XXL. Oh well, I’ll hang the medium sized shirt I got in my closet as a keepsake of the ride LOL. The first mile to mile and a half was slow and congested due to so many people starting at once. Once I got a couple of miles into the ride though, things thinned out quite a bit, except for the 3/4 mile or so section when we all had to ride on a sidewalk. Things got congested and slow again through there. Plenty of rest stops along the way for water, bananas and porta-potties. When it came to the bikes seen, the style and quality ranged from “big box store” mountain bikes that looked like they weighed a ton to bikes you’d expect to see on the local bike shop / club ride that fetch a pretty penny, and pretty much everything in between. From my perspective, it looked like everyone was having a great time, so I guess it doesn’t matter what brand / style bike you’re riding as long as you are enjoying the ride.

Here are some pictures “snapped” from the video I recorded from my action cam mounted on my handlebars…..

 

Folks and families getting ready to start their ride…

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We’re on the trail…

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Still close to the start. Path is, at this point in the ride, still somewhat crowded…

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Now a few miles into the ride. Going thru a nice forest preserve area. Path is much less congested now…

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We even had police stopping traffic for us. A lot of riders, myself included, thanked them as we rode past…

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Crowded rest stop…

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The last couple of miles was on the I&M Canal Path. Although it was crushed gravel and not paved, it was still a pretty smooth stretch of ride. Will have to ride that path sometime in the future…

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Even kids were enjoying the ride…

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Back at where it all began…

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All Systems Are Go…and other musings.

Well, tomorrow is the first of (now) four scheduled rides. Tomorrow I’ll be “Riding The Rock,” the Lower Rock Run bike path / trail in Joliet, Illinois. It’s a 16.5 mile “family fun” ride put on by the Will County Forest Preserve District. It’s one of the rides I’m doing as a lead up to the 2 day, 100 mile Tour de Shore on June 13 and 14. I know, it seems like 16.5 miles is a drop in the bucket compared to 66 miles on day 1 and 34 on day 2, and in reality it probably is, but that’s cool. This ride has given me a training goal to shoot for, and I’m happy to say that I reached the goal, and surpassed it even. This past Wednesday (the 7th), I went out for an early morning ride, shooting for 16 miles just to prove I’d be able to do it on Saturday. Well, that 16 turned into 22 thanks to a happy accident. Since I don’t like staring at the mileage display on my Garmin 800 while riding, I have a different screen on, one that shows elevation and how many total feet I’ve ascended. Before I did the ride Wednesday, I “mapped out” my route, which was for the most part on a paved bike trail, so I would know when I had reached 8 miles out and to turn around and head for home. Well, despite the fact that I thought I had the turnaround point memorized, it turns out I didn’t. When I finally did check the mileage, I had gone a little over 10 miles. Went a tad further, then did my turnaround and headed for home. Went back on the trail part of the ways and on side streets part of the ways. By the time I go home, I had gone 22.03 miles. Yeah, my legs were shot and I was exhausted but I was happy as hell. Proved to myself I could do 16 miles, and then some. The 22 miles is also a good sign for the next two rides I’m doing, both of which are 30 mile rides. If I can do 30 miles (hopefully) pretty easily by May 25th and/or June 8th, with a little bit of extra effort, and the motivation of a few hundred other cyclists, I hoping 66 miles won’t be out of the realm of possibility. I’m just going to keep on training and do the best I can on each ride. (Link to ride ——> http://connect.garmin.com/activity/494914474 )

In news on the weight loss front, I’m happy to report that I have dropped some weight. Not a lot, but some. Back on April 8th in my entry, I mentioned weighing in at 243 pounds. Weighed myself Wednesday morning before my ride and I was at 237.8 pounds. I was kind of hoping for 8 pounds, but I will certainly take 5.2 pounds. It’s progress, and the battle of the bulge is all about progress.

I have a question. Why do energy bars taste like a mixture of chalk, mud and wet cement? When I bought my Fuji about a month ago, the salesman tossed in a couple of chocolate/peanut butter CLIF energy bars free of charge. Decided to take one along on my Wednesday morning ride. When I stopped for a rest around the 15 mark, since I was beginning to feel a little hungry, I opened up the energy bar and took a bike. Not the best tasting thing I’ve ever tried, that’s for sure. Took a second bike, and after a couple of “chews,” I had to spit it out. By that time, it had turned into the nastiest thing I’d ever eaten. Okay. maybe not quite that bad, but bad enough. Good thing there was a trash can nearby so I didn’t have to put it back in my saddle bag LOL.

Well, that’s all for today. Thanks for stopping by. Take care and have a blessed day!! :~)

Wind builds character…or so I’ve been told.

I heard it said that hills build strength but winds build character. If that’s the case, I built up a lot of character this evening. It was pretty nice this evening, with temps around 68 when I began my ride. However, it was a little windier than I prefer when I started, but I wanted to get the ride in, so off I went. According to the Weather Bug app on my phone, the winds were W/NW around 12-15 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph. Rode into the wind so I’d have a tailwind on the way home. When I have to ride into winds, I have a habit of going a block or two into the wind, then cut over a block or two with a crosswind, the turn back in to wind for another block or two. Kind of helps on saving a little bit of energy.

When I got to the park I was riding to, I stopped to rest for a few minutes. A lot of people we out enjoying the nice weather. There’s a skateboard / bike ramp park there, so I watched the kids for a few minutes. Got to thinking where were the bike ramp parks when I was growing up. Would have been nice. Then it hit me that I had something better; the dirt trails in the local forest preserves. That was much better than any bike ramp park.

After that, it was back towards home. As I figured, I had a tailwind with me. Not as big as I thought it would be, but it was a tailwind nonetheless. Finished with a total of 14.20 miles. With my first scheduled ride just a couple of weeks away, the 16 mile ride, being able to do 14+ miles is a good sign. Need to crank up the training for the other two rides however. Second ride is 4 weeks away and the third ride just seven weeks. It’s going to be tight, but I think I’ll be able to pull it off.

Well, that’s all for today. Thanks for stopping by. As always, I appreciate it. Take care and God Bless!!

Have I ever mentioned I hate hills?

I don’t think I have, but yes, I hate hills. However, I’m going to have to learn to tolerate them, at least for a couple of months anyways. Let me explain.

One of the rides I’m planning on doing, the Tour de Shore, starts out in relatively flat Chicago, and even a ways into Indiana the course is pretty flat. However, once it get to the Indiana Dunes area, the terrain begins to get a little hilly. Not massive hills like you see in some professional races, but hilly nonetheless. That’s a problem for me since I don’t like hills of ANY kind. I have mentioned that I hate hills, haven’t I? LOL.

Well anyway, today, before the rain moved in, I put the bike carrier on my car, strapped my bike to it, and headed over to Beverly Shores, a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan just east of the Dunes. As I rode along Lake Front Drive, it was a pleasant ride…because it’s a flat road. However, my intent was really to see how I could fare on some hilly roads. A test in other words. Well, I have to admit that I failed the test. Oh, it started out okay. The first couple of hills went okay. At one point, I even startled a deer that was “grazing” along the side of the road. I’d say that things went well for the first four hills, then it was all downhill from there, no pun intended. Really struggled getting over the next three and on the last one I has to dismount and walk over it. Talk about a blow to one’s ego, that was it. After resting for about 15 minutes, I was able to slowly ride back to my car. Did a total of just a hair over 9 miles.

However, if there was one good thing that came out of this ride, it was the realization of what I need to focus on during the 7 1/2 weeks leading up to the TdS. I think as long as I continue to ride regularly, being able to handle the distance will take care of itself. To get better on hills, I will have to seek them out, to tolerate them, as it were.

Well, that’s it for today. I’ll wrap it up by saying thanks for taking a few moments to read today’s entry, to share a few pics of the deer (sorry for the lousy quality, I didn’t have a high resolution setting on my action cam) and to say take care and God Bless!!

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Progress…and pictures (finally).

Good afternoon everybody. Hope you’ve had a good week. Things have been going well here.

It’s been a good week of riding, even though it’s been chilly and windy. I’m seeing some progress. When I last did an entry (the 12th), I did a 7.71 mile ride. Yesterday I did a 14.56 mile ride. My legs were tired and my knees hurt a little bit, but I’m thinking that if I can keep this up, I shouldn’t have any problems doing my scheduled 16 mile ride coming up on May 10th. I’m a little over five weeks out from Bike the Drive (May 25th) and exactly eight weeks out from Le Tour de Shore, my 2 day, 100 mile ride June 13th and 14th. I’m excited about all three rides, and I think staying excited will help with the motivational factor and keeping me focused on my goals.

One of the things I like about organized rides are the T-shirts. This year will the sixth time I’ve done Bike the Drive. The first time was back in 2004. I still have the shirts from all the rides. Two of those years of doing BTD also saw me riding as a “Red Rider” for the American Diabetes Association’s “Tour de Cure.” Got a couple of t-shirts, and one jersey, from participating as a TdC rider. For my upcoming ride on May 10th, the first 1000 rider to check-in will get a shirt for participating in the Ride The Rock ride. While a shirt isn’t high on my priority list for that ride, if I get there in time, I will certainly take a shirt. Yes, I’m kinda weird. LOL!!

In a previous blog entry, I made mention I would post a pic or two to show how I look nowadays and to use that pic as a baseline as I make the journey towards a smaller guy on a bike. Well, I finally found my regular camera, so I snapped a couple of shot of me….in the jersey I received today for the Tour de Shore ride. It’s a very nice jersey that includes the TdS logo on the front and the route map on the back. When I ordered the jersey, I considered getting it in XXL, but something told me to order the XXXL. Good thing I did. The XXL would have been a little too snug on me. Anyways, you’ll be able to see how it looks, and fits, at the end of this entry.

Speaking of the end of this entry, I think I’ve just reached it. I want to thank y’all for taking a few minutes out of your day to stop by and read my blog. I appreciate it. Take care, have a great rest of your day, and God Bless!!

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