Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Ride, A Fall, and a Paddle

The weather has been great in Iowa and Minnesota! I got home on Thursday afternoon and Kathy and I took the tandem out for a spin with the Owatonna "B" group riders. The "A's" joined up with us about five miles into the ride so I guess we were the AB group. It was a great night for a ride, we did 30 miles and got back into town just before dark.

Thursday's route and data.

On Friday I worked on my Stand Up Board a bit, did some yard work, and then had a nice fall while coming down the attic stairs in the garage. I was one of those slow motion---THIS IS REALLY GOING TO HURT kind of falls, about 4 steps up right on my back on top of the CV joint and drive shaft I had taken off of the Camry a couple of weeks ago. It could have been a lot worse! but it was bad enough that Kathy and I decided it might be best if I were not steering the tandem on Saturday morning (I also hurt my thumb and my wrist). I must not have did too much damage though, because I was able to work in the yard on Saturday, and I felt good enough to plan a paddle for Sunday.

I got back down to Iowa on Saturday night. I met up with Reece and Steve on Sunday afternoon for a paddle from the downtown bridge in Cedar Falls, to the rowing club in Waterloo. If we were not the first SUP's on this river I would be surprised! We know for certain that this is the first time Steve has been on his board apart for a little time in the pool. Steve's Board is an inflatable, and I think it is harder to stand on than mine. It flexes front to back in addition to the obvious side-to-side rocking that standing up on a fairly narrow board would create. Stand Up Paddleboarding is really a balance sport!

I was able to stand up through the rapids in the play hole and through the rapids at the cutoff leading the the west channel near Waterloo. I am working on a two handled paddle that will hopefully make it easier to paddle while kneeling-- that seems to be something that will be need around here-- SUP's are really bad in a head wind. The second is a self folding fin the will fold up when it hit something in the water (like a rock or a log). I am enjoying this figuring SUP for Midwest rivers thing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Great Day For a Ride!

Today was a great day (at least this morning was-- it looks like rain at the moment). I rode with John, Kat, and Keith today. The plan was to do a 2 hour+ ride in zone 2. What that means is that John tried to stay in zone 2 and the I tried to draft enough to remain in zone 2. Sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn't It felt like I was drifting high whenever we went up high or when I had to sprint to get back on the draft. When I checked the data, I spent most of the time at the top of zone 1 and about 55 minutes actually in zone 2., and maybe 15 minutes or so above zone 2. I thought I was riding a little too hard, but as it turned out I was not riding hard enough :-)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Mighty Wind and a Not So Windy Saturday

Mike Johnson was planning a 5 hour 15-20 mph non-stop gravel right for Good Friday morning. I was pretty sure I would not be able to hang with him at that pace for long, and I was right, but it was nice as always to reconnect with Mike! Wow he is in fine form this spring. A strong south wind and soft gravel, he just walked away from John, Kat, and me. Before long we decided that the surface was just too soft and unpredictable to ride as close as we wanted in the wind so we switched to pavement and did a loop out to Parkersburg south and back into Cedar Falls. I had some time constraints so left John and Kat and took the diagonal back into town so that I could make it out to the Good Friday Service at Hudson in time. The ride was a good effort, 42 miles for me and good company too!

Saturday Kathy and I took another try on Tom and Pat's Tandem. There was a bit of a wind out of the west, but nothing like yesterday. We are liking the tandem thing so I guess that is on my list of future wheeled vehicles.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Peddle, Paddle, and (work)

I have been getting out on the bike a bit more lately. (and on the SUP, and it is pretty surprising seeing as how it is holy week and I am really busy with the "day job (s)"). I rode 30 mile plus the last 2 day and tonight I stayed with the A group riders for about 8 miles. For me, that is a real accomplishment! The really good news is that when I was dropped, I had company-- there was this nice State Farm agent (also named Scott) with whom I was able complete the circuit.

Monday's Ride

Tuesday's Ride

This past Sunday I paddled with the Cedar Valley Paddlers. There was quite a group of them at Sweet Marsh. We saw some bird (not so many ducks), and had a nice paddle and an even nicer barbecue afterward. I put together a YouTube of the paddle:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Bicycle Built for Two

Kathy and I have been pretty sold on the idea of pedaling our own bikes but we decided to give a tandem a try today. It was harder than I thought it would be. After getting great instruction from Tom on how to stop and start, I wobbled across the street heading right for the curb on the other side pretty sure that tandem riding was for those more skilled than us. We took a few trips around the block and got a little more practice starting and stopping, and eventually we felt comfortable enough to go for a 20 miler with Tom and Pat.

Kathy is recovering from an injury, It used to be called game keepers thumb, because people who raise rabbits get it from strangling too many bunnies. When skiing got more popular than strangling rabbits, they started to call it skier's thumb from a common injury that skiers get when the fall with their hand wrapped around their ski pole. I am thinking we should rename it biker's thumb because that is how she got it-- a flat front tire on a sharp corner. Anyway she is under strict orders to stay off her bike, so we tried our friends Tom and Pat's tandem (Well it wasn't her bike and she didn't have to steer or brake).

I think we could get used to this kind of riding but I am pretty sure Kathy is not ready to trade in her road bike just yet :-)

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Stand Up Day on the Crooked Straight River

I got home Thursday night with enough time to ride with the Owatonna Group. I was a good ride. It was a great night for a ride but I found myself mind wanting to go a little faster than my body could deliver. (Now that I think about it, that is usually the way it works for me :-). Todd was in good form, setting the pace on his XC bike. I was trying to keep him insight on my road bike.

While we were riding, Dave asked if I wanted to paddle with him on Friday, and I decided that I would give my new SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) a try. It is possible that a 30 mile 6 1/2 hour paddle might be a little far for the first paddle of the year, but It did give me a good feel for the new board and gave me a couple of ideas for future modifications.

I also learned a couple things about SUP's on rivers. I stared out with a 4.5 inch fin but found that it did not help the tracking enough so I switched to the 6 fin still pretty small by SUP standards. It helped the tracking but it still was a little like paddling a whitewater C-1 (tends to go in a circle) My fear about using a surfboard fin turned out to be correct. The problem is that with a rigid fin sticking down below, impacts with rock throw you right off the board.

I was thrown from the board twice in rapids, and once from my general clumsiness. This is definitely going to be a helmet, shin guard, knee pads, elbow pads kind of actively.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

We Were Tourists

About noon today we got new of the earthquake in Concepcion, Chile. Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends there. We are in Costa Rica on this trip but the original plan was to be in Chile, and if we were there we would very likely have been in Concepcion today....

Yesterday we did some real touristy things, and I was skeptical, but the canopy tour with zip-lines in the cloud forest was a real rush! There were 14 lines and the longest one was a kilometer long. We had a guy in our group who runs a challenge course in the US and he assured us that the safety procedures here were not near as stringent as they are in Oregon, but no one fell that we saw. Take a look at this video to get an idea what it was like:

AND, if you really want to hear Kathy scream, play this one:

In the afternoon, the girls toured a coffee plantation, and had a great time with Don Juan, the founder/flirt of the plantation. They found out all about coffee production, and heard a really convincing story about why Don Juan is not a fair trade plantation (apparently there is a rather high fee for certification and is too expensive for such a small plantation -- they actually pay higher wages than required to be considered fair trade).

Today we went on a hike to a great little water fall south of Monteverde. It was a short hike, but the view was spectacular. I even went for a swim. It is hard to believe that the water can be this cold in the tropics!

This afternoon I went up into the Monteverde Biological Preserve in hopes of seeing a quetzal. I did not see one but I had a great guide and added about 10 new birds to my list.

Kathy and Linnea went to the Monteverde cheese factory (that is really how we ended up here-- Linnea is always looking for the new culinary experience.) This area was settled by Quakers who objected to registering for the draft following World War II and 4 of the founding members were sent to federal prison for one year and a day. They immigrated to this country because at the same time Costa Rica abolished their army following their civil war.