now that fall is officially here i have to start worrying about a lot more things when i commute.  in the good old days of summer i mostly had to worry about packing my essential work clothes….shoes, socks, underwear, pants, shirt, and wallet.  with the exception of pants, think i have forgotten at least one of those items on the list on more than one occasion.  nothing like walking around the office all day in a retro “once” cycling jersey.  admittedly it was a little awkward and embarrassing, but it was actually kind of convenient. i carried around my pen, notepad, and cell phone in the back pockets for most of the day.  socially, that was probably the worst of all things to forget… god forbid i should ever forget to pack pants.  i would hate to walk around the office in padded cycling shorts… probably get slapped with a harassment lawsuit, get fired and have to explain to the judge what “really” happened.  also, it used to freak me out when i forgot to pack underwear…i think i was over reacting because recently i learning that my teenagers go commando all the time, i don’t ask why…but i don’t care so much.  it’s not like high school where i’m standing up in front of my coworkers and the office-jock decides that it would be funny to “pants” me.  anyway those days are over i hope.

now that fall is here, i not only have to worry about my clothing, but i have to worry about the weather and lights.  the weather is not so bad, it’s just that it can change drastically within eight hours. it can go from very very cold in the morning to very hot in the evening… and the worse part is when the weather goes from warm to cold.  those are the days when i really dread the ride home.  it’s usually dark, i’m under-dressed… and my support crew has the night off, or something.  anyway, i’m probably too stubborn to call it off and get a ride home.  it never fails,there is always someone at the office, who insists that i get a ride from them, they can’t understand why i don’t just take the ride already… but i have to explain how demented i am, and that i have absolutely no other choice but to ride home underprepared.

note: the absence of light problems usually occurs when i forget to pack my light, or when i forget to charge my battery at work.  by the way i don’t risk lighting problems….i may be an idiot but i’m not stupid!  haha…

so the other day it was my birthday and i got a new commuter light from my family.  they knew exactly which one i wanted because i had emailed them a link before my birthday.  just to make sure there was no confusion, i went ahead and ordered it as well.  i even brought it in from the mail box when it arrived.  after i opened it up and i made sure they all got to see the birthday present that they bought me. i couldn’t wait to ride home the next day.

the only problem with trying out the new light was that it didn’t get dark soon enough. this time of year it gets dark around 7:30.  i usually get out of work at 5:30.  so i decided to work two extra hours.  it was ok, i think i won some respect from my coworkers. “hey leo, working late huh?” ….me: “yeah, i just want to finish up some stuff here, you have a good evening…. he he”  a little after 7 i suited up, packed my stuff and out the door i went…

i forgot to pack my tail light, but i had my old flashy headlight with me, so i just mounted it on the seat post and pointed it backward.  as i rode it wasn’t completely dark so my headlight wasn’t too impressive.  as it got darker and darker the peripheral scenery slowly faded away and i could feel my mind sharpening as i just concentrated on what was in front of me.  each curve of the path brought a slight rush of adrenaline as i had no idea what was around the corner.  i stuck to the right as much as i could just in case there was someone on the path coming the other way.  as i exited the gravel path and pulled on to the shoulder of the county road, i could see my beautiful little light light-up the road paint.

there was a closed road up ahead, so the traffic was non existent, i could ride in the middle of the road if i wanted. in fact i did ride in the middle of the road after i passed the barriers.  i felt like i was flying through the darkness i could hear almost nothing but the rumbling of my tires as i zoomed through the empty county road.   it wasn’t long before i was on the concrete bike path.  the path was really dark and curvy but not as open as the gravel path earlier.  even if someone did have a light i wouldn’t be able to see them until they were 10 feet in front of me.  so i slowed it way down….and it’s a good thing i did because there were lots of people out walking their dogs.

people really forget that they are out on a shared path sometimes.  they often walk with their dogs on one side of the path while they are on the other.  they just assume that no matter what time of day, they are the only ones on the path… oh yeah and who needs reflective gear?  it got to be kind of annoying after a while trying to see people, i kept thinking i saw someone, and slowed down, but it turned out to be a shadow….. bleh.

anyway, wear something reflective or light colored please, and for the love of god stay to the right!!!

i made it back to my car and felt a bit energized.  the first night ride of the season is always a blast.  i just love it.  i actually always enjoy it just a little bit even on the bad days.  i don’t really enjoy all of the logistics that fall and winter commuting bring but i get used to it, and before long it becomes fun too.

test post for yesterday’s epic day.

via Garmin Connect – Activity Details for Untitled.

it is so fucken cold this morning. I sit here in my car writing this hoping that the sun will show up, but I don’t think so. I’m usually not such a whimp, but I am severly underprepard for such a day. I usually carry a wind breaker or leggens but last week I emptied my car to get better milage. well I’d better go I’m going to be late…. Plus I have to find a restroom.

i figured out some new ex-math to help you improve your ex-miles-per-gallon in you vehicle.  the way i see it mileage is the number of miles that it takes to get you from one place to another.  it takes me 17 miles to get to work.  if i ride my bike one day that is 34 miles i didn’t drive my car…i can add it to my car’s total mileage.  if i go out for a 100 mile weekend ride, i can not add it to my mileage.  however if i ride out to a bike trail and ride the trail, i could arguably add that to my car’s total.    here are some rules:

1. only add miles that you used to replace a car drive.

2. do the calculation after each fill up.  don’t just drive a mile and fill it up after a really long commute and get like infinity miles per gallon.

3. do it for a long period of time, just to see how much you save.

sample calculation for this tank:

miles driven = 420

miles ridden=  102

total miles = 522

total gallons= 11

ex-miles per gallon= 522/11=  47.5 emg!!!  [note this is with only 3 days of bike commuting]

i have been at this same job for about 17 months now, and believe me it’s been kicking my butt.  i have either been working crazy hours, or else been out of town working crazy hours.  in either case i haven’t been in the best of shape.  i’ve actually lost some weight, but mostly due to atrophy.  my heart rate was jumping up for the most trivial task. i’ve been in town now for a couple of weeks and my fitness schedule is starting to return to normal.  i have tried to do something….anything everyday. at first it was mountain biking in the mornings….then it was running. more recently it’s been swiming some mornings and riding my bike to work, or running at lunch.  it’s been like a crazy cram session of fitness.

a couple of days ago i was telling this story to my coworker and he asked it i ever work out in the gym?  i denied such allocations and tried to change the subject.  i really don’t like the gym for some reason.  i think because the “gym”and all that it stands for imply “indoors.”   i’m not really an “outdoors” person, but when it comes to exercise i have to be outdoors.  anyway, after some more talks with my coworker, we came up with a pretty elaborate plan to get some exercise in on friday [today].

here is the plan…. at lunch we change into our running/workout clothes,  then run the trail to the longmont rec center, lift some weights,  run back to work.  we estimated that the run would be 1.5 miles or so.

here is my side of the story;  i woke up this morning after such a wonderful nights sleep.  i decided to ride my bike in since i had so much energy.  i took my time getting ready, there are just so many things to do before work. like make a lunch, get all my cold weather gear out because it was pretty freaking cold outside.   i froze my butt off getting in to work, but still rode hard enough to keep my body temp up.  work was ok, just a little cold… work work till 12:30.  at that time we got ready for our workout and headed out the door.  still freakin cold, and i am fairly under dressed.  my coworker was severly underdressed and looked pretty cold.

the run portion took quite a while since it was not 1.5 miles like i had originally thought. i think it was more like 3 miles…ugh.  the added distance gave us plenty of time to work up a sweat as we walked into the rec center.  i was sweating so much that one of the check-in ladies mentioned how much i was sweating.

cil: “wow, you are already sweating!”

me: “yeah… you don’t have any policies against that do you?….heh heh”

cil: …silence

cil: “no”

me: “heh heh”

so we got in, worked out on the machines and stuff…till my arms were shaking like a couple of small blades of grass in an open field of free range cattle.  after 40 mins or so, it was finally time to leave….and i do mean finally!  we actually ran back to work and tried to take a short cut which probably took off a half mile or so, but we were so tired that it felt bad anyway….all the way.  we got back to work and i was very tired.  i actually felt good, but not in a good way.  i felt good that the pain and suffering was finally over.  i was in the nice warm comfort of hig voltage equipment and soothing white noise from the mundane conversations going on around me.

i was not looking forward to riding home. i was thinking of bailing, but that wasn’t in the plan. i had to do it, i rode in, so i had to ride home…that’s the rule. the only real exceptions are mechanical failures, or i’m took drunk to ride home.  my bike was in fine condition, and there was no beer to be found anywhere….. i had to ride home.   it was so cold [sorry for the repeat adjetive, but it really was cold today].   it was a pretty horrible ride home. i was extreemly stiff from the waste up and i was getting stiffer by the mile.  my legs were extreemly sore and hurting like sand paper underware [maybe i should edit this later…?].  i put all my lights on even though it was not quite dark yet and put my head down and just pecked away at the distance.   i don’t know how long it took me, nor do i know how many times i almost got killed, but i do know that it is over and i am home.

now if i can only find some beer/

i didn’t feel like working out at all!

i usually don’t like to spend the whole day out doing my stuff, but if i start early enough, i might be back before noon. right at dawn was my goal. this is probably around 5:30am. i made a sandwich, packed my new tube, and patches and before i knew it i was leaving the house at 7…. i don’t know what happened.

the first stop was the devil’s back bone. this was only about an 8 mile road ride from my house to the trail head. nothing eventful really happened, except that i found out that my rear hub was loose. too bad i didn’t bring my cone wrenches, all i had was one small cresent wrench…would have worked out perfectly if i had at least two. i managed to get it hand tight, and probably good enough. i rode the trail from the back bone trail head all the way to fort collins. there was some fairly technical mountain bike stuff along the way, but my touring bike managed just fine.

when i got to fort collins, i rode out to the south end of horse tooth res. i wasn’t really tired or hungry, but i ended up eating this instant tuna sandwich and some gatoraid. this was really a difficult sandwich to put down, because it was just bag tuna and whole wheat bread. i was just sitting there chomping on it when a really low flying ww2 plane came by.

the old plane….

as i was sitting there relaxing eating my tuna, watching the plane…. a good friend of mine happened to be riding by and saw me sitting there. we talked for almost an hour before packing it up and parting our ways. this guy is in such good shape, that after talking with him, i always feel like a 90 year old fat guy wait for rigamortis.

my plan was to ride around horse tooth to the town of bellvue and up rist canyon.

the rid up rist canyon was pretty uneventful. lots of slow gradual hill at the start.

this rode basically went on for infinity. only it gradually got steeper and steeper with fewer flat spots. i was getting a little worried, because i had no idea where i was, and i had already been fool by two false summits. i didn’t know where i was but it sure was pretty.

how did this whale get up here?

i finally got to the summit, but i didn’t take any pictures, because i thought there was more climbing to be done… i was wrong. going down toward stove prairie was even prettier.


after finally getting to stove prairie, it started to rain on me just a tad. it wasn’t too bad and everything looked so nice i had to stop and take a picture.

right after i got through taking this little gem, it started raining pretty hard. the next 20 miles or so i spent putting on my rain cover, and then taking it off, then putting it back on….etc.

so at the end of the day i traveled:

11 miles of off road dirt.

11 miles of road climbing

48 miles of road riding.

70 miles total…. don’t ask how long it took me.

if you’re expecting an answer other than “yes”…. then you are in fact on the wrong website. i have read articles that try to prove that one is more likely to get hit while wearing a helmet than one who is not….. and frankly it’s all 100% bull crap. i happen to drive a car when i am not riding my bike and i occasionally pass cyclist on the road. most of the time you can’t even tell if someone is wearing a helmet until you get pretty close. there is one element of truth to the said article however. the more stable someone looks on their bike, the closer cars get to them. i actually use this to my advantage when i ride by myself (i intentionally try to look a little unstable). if you think that not wearing a helmet is going to give you more room as well…. then you are playing a very risky game. we all know that if you hit your head on something it could cause serious damage. we also, know that there are plenty of opportunities to hit your head while riding in traffic. wearing a helmet should be as automatic as seat belts in your car. and don’t get me started on people that don’t wear seat belts. i have heard arguments that people take unnecessary or extra risks when wearing a helmet, which puts them in more danger. while i believe this to be true in some respects, i think that in general it is a moot point. you could also attribute most foot and leg injuries to shoes. if you were not wearing shoes you’d be going much slower, and you’d be much more careful.

if you decide to not wear a helmet, that’s ok too. after all the organ donor pool is getting pretty low these days. :)

this morning i had the most awesome ride in to work. the weather was perfect, i was pretty well rested, and my bike was dialed. the music from the ipod was like blood dope in my system. the other thing that may have led to one of my most enjoyable ride in a long time, was the album by broken social scene. this was the same music from the bike courier video i posted the other day.

what a sweet day so far.