Monday, July 27, 2009
We're on vacation at Susan's parents' house in rural Illinois, enjoying the cooler weather. This morning I went with Bill (Susan's Dad), and James (my eldest) to pick up Susan's high-school ten-speed from the barn where it was stored for the winter. There wasn't quite enough room for the bike in the back of Bill's SUV so I opted to ride the four miles back to the house. Time for some bike maintenance, country style - I wiped the cobwebs off the saddle, then we used a compressor to air up the tires (very carefully!). The chain looked a bit dry, so Bill opened a can of two-stroke oil (!) and I lubed her up. Off down the road, then, for some real Country Style riding - no helmet, no Lycra, no gel gloves, no clip-less shoes and no traffic, on a 50 lb bike (well, it felt like it) with find 'em or grind 'em shifters and suicide levers. It was a lot of fun until I came to the climb up to the house, which felt like Ventoux on a particularly bad day. I'm planning a couple of short-ish rides along the I&M Canal tow path while we're here - watch this space for more bucolic biking updates.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Apparently there was a scottish gentleman, well known for his fondness for a dram or three, who always refused to go out on New Year's Eve (Hogmanay if you're scottish or pretentious). When asked why, he replied "Amateur hour!" That's how I felt this morning. I wanted to ride Terry Hershey and aimed for an early start to beat the (absolutely ferocious) heat. Unfortunately it appeared that every other cyclist in West Houston had the same idea because the trail was packed, even the sections along the dam and through George Bush park that are usually deserted. It was a good ride anyway, with just enough of a tail wind coming back to make it fun. Back in Terry Hershey, and I was forced off the path and onto the dirt by a lady who decided to stop her bike and turn around right in front of me. I didn't come off but a few minutes later I realised my back tire was going down and sure enough I had a flat. I had enough kit to make the necessary repair but took it slowly for the rest of the trip.
Back home in time to catch the last third of the Monaco time trial that opened the Tour this year. Very exciting stuff, with the racers whipping through a winding Monaco track that followed some of the roads used in the Grand Prix. I'm thinking Contador this year -