Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Sunrise, June 21st, Palmdale, CA

Welcome to summer! Well, at least here in Palmdale it certainly is summer. The past three Junes’ here in Palmdale, the temperatures have stayed mild for a few days, and then rocketed to 100+ almost overnight. It is rarely a slow build up; 80’s for weeks, then suddenly 102.

Andy slides into summer!

I celebrated the summer solstice by riding the Surly Long haul Trucker to work. The weather forecast prognosticated a high of 93, so I though it wouldn’t be too bad in the afternoon. Suffice to say I am now giving up on the local weather forecast and just expecting 100 degrees every afternoon through the end of August.

Commuting in summer heat has its benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, one enjoys lovely mild mornings, no woolly hats and jackets needed! Peaceful roads, and usually a nice sunrise are the order of the day. It is a wonderful way to start the day.

The view down Avenue Q...

Preferred parking for the Surly!

The view by the 'fridge, stowing my water bottle and lunch...

The helmet has a nice shelf to hide on...

The afternoons however are a different story. The Palmdale bike-commuter is met with a dry heat - around 100 degrees, and a stiff 20-knot breeze out of the southwest. I tell you, it is just too hot to even try hard! Just riding home is enough. As I surmised this past Tuesday, you know it’s hot when a 16-ounce water bottle is not enough water for an 8-mile ride. I just take my time; don’t care about pace or spin rate, and just ride the bike home.

I wish this photo could convey the 101 degree afternoon...

The flag is very descriptive of the wind!

If you have been thinking about bike commuting and feel overwhelmed or hesitant about giving it a try, check out a collection of bike-commuter profiles on a sub page of Web publisher, Alan Barnard has a wonderful commuting and bike advocacy web page, and along with the main page, created a collection of short commuting profiles from all over the world. All in the same format, they are brief accounts of how people address commuting by bicycle. Enjoy the profiles here.

So, maybe give some thought to enjoying some miles commuting to work. Don’t do it for the gas savings, or to make the planet greener, or to lose weight. Just ride to enjoy yourself! All the other ancillary benefits are too numerous to share. (Just enjoy the sunrises)


Saturday, May 14, 2011

As The World (and the clock) Turns......

Any guesses where this is?
Where does the time go? I blink my eye and a month passes. Ok, almost 6 weeks! I get so into the routine, and weeks pass like steps on a treadmill, or like the water rotating on this cool wheel. So, since I am doing housework today, here is a little housecleaning on where I have been.
Wait, which way is "up"?
First, I want to give belated thanks to Pete Heal for sending the really cool postcard from New Zealand. Have you ever noticed how much one appreciates a postcard? They aren’t bills, not ads, and actually contain a brief but handwritten note from a friend that says they have been thinking of you. We should all send more to our friends! Tons more meaningful than Facebook, and you get a cool picture from a distant place.

Brian, up over Dad's head!

Andy, being Andy...
Next, here are two other reasons I haven’t been writing. (Brian and Andy!). We spent a week in March with Paul, Christina, and Brian, then in April, Easter at the Wheeler household in Arizona. Family and grandkids are a wonderful invention. They can make you forget to workout, and even make one not want to go to work either!

Ahhhhhhhh, Plumeria...
So, I will get back on the bike, back in the pool, back on the trail, and back to writing to you!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Different Type of Spinning...

Private Parking for the Surly...
Sorry for the lapse in writing. Yes, I am still swimming, riding, and running, except that for the last week and a half, I have been doing a different type of training. Swimming? Well not so much, unless you count swimming below the waves at the office. Riding? Of course! Riding the bike to work, and riding great rides at Disneyland with my grandson, Brian. Running? Yes! Chasing after the aforementioned 3-year old!

Mmmmmmm...fresh oranges...

Jello, pudding, and Minnie! Priceless...

See? I'm spinning!

Ok, is this Chip? or Dale?
As you have by now figured out, My son, Paul, his wife Christina, and their son Brian spent a wonderful 9 days with us here in the desert. We enjoyed lots of time with Brian, had an outing to Santa Barbara, and a great couple of days at Disneyland. Paul got a well-deserved break from a heavy workload at his bank, and Christina hopefully just got some rest from chasing after a precocious boy who loves to play.
Diggin Goleta Beach...
In other news, spring planting has been completed in the garden. Grandma and Brian had a great time digging and planting new roses and an assortment of annual flowers. The weather has turned mild and lovely, and hopefully our new plants will thrive and bring lots of color later this summer. Brian, Grandma and I also completed a massive construction project, creating a small sandstone “path” next to the pergola. Brian did a great job as Foreman and together we had a great time digging and shoveling.

Brian likes real tools, not "kid" tools...

Even Diggers get tired!

It's good to have helpers!

Busy hands, happy hands...
Our completed project...
A nice image from Paul...
The mild weather also means more triathlon training. There should be no excuse for me to not be riding to work a couple of times a week. I have several weekday graveyard shifts this month, so that means I will get my endurance swimming accomplished at the noontime lap swim at Marie-Kerr Park. Running, however, continues to be a challenge. I just can’t get my legs and brain into running. It is (of course) a necessary segment in triathlon, and it is unavoidable. Any hints from my dear readers on how to get past running 1.5 miles would be greatly appreciated. See you next week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let There be Light...and Hoops!

I want one of these, anyone know what it does?

And for those you not paying attention to silliness in sports, it's time for the annual prayer and tea leaves experiment. Fill out your brackets, yet?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Friday Night Lights

The pool at Marie-Kerr Park in Palmdale. Note the deluxe parking for the Surly on the left...
The end of this week marked a stretch of 6 straight workout days. How did I get all of this free time? Well, with Kathy still in Utah for the Women’s Walk to Emmaus, things are quiet around here. So, after work, I made time to work on most of the three disciplines of triathlon. This week’s emphasis? Riding and swimming.
One of Lifeguards rides to work too - riding this classy fixie. Note the purple rim!
The pool is open for evening lap swimming on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. That made the plan easy. Monday swim. Tuesday spin-intervals. Wednesday swim (WINDY!). Thursday spin-intervals AND ride. Friday swim. Of course, I did ride the Surly to the pool all three days.
Quartz Hill Swimmers finishing up...
How was the pool? Very productive; I got in 1400-1500 yards each night. I work on freestyle intervals, breaststroke, kick-board work, and pulling sets. My endurance level is improving slowly. I actually swam a couple of 200-yard sets on the last day. On a positive note, I met the head coach of Quartz Hill High School’s Junior Varsity swim team. A nice fellow, he has given me some better sets to work with, and lets me start my workout early in the last lane before their workout is over
No comment necessary...
Today? Well, to end the week, 20-miles on the bike. Where did I go? Running errands. At near $4.00/gallon here in CA, one begins to think twice about whether or not the errand at hand can be done by bike! One idea you might try; Checkout this link to the 2-Mile Challenge. You will be amazed at how much of your travel is within 2-miles from your house!
I remember leaping off these a long time ago...
I will have to admit quite a bit of weariness in my legs as I wandered home today. I wonder why! Perhaps tomorrow, I will rest. The big jigsaw puzzle on the kitchen table still has about 100 pieces to go!
See you later this week.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Central Coast

Pismo Beach, January 29th...
Once again, I have fallen behind in posting. Between work schedules; a trip to Pismo Beach; and then this past weekend a trip to Utah for the Walk to Emmaus Retreat, there just hasn’t been much time to do any writing. The picture folder keeps filling up, and eventually I get around to sharing my latest landscapes with you.

Pismo Beach, long, flat, and quite shallow for 100 yards out!
A beautiful Cammelia...
Our trip to Pismo Beach was a lovely weekend away to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary. We enjoyed touring to Solvang, the central coast of California, and had a nice browse around San Luis Obispo. We enjoyed not having a schedule, a computer, and basically just had a nice relaxing time.
A Callalilly, At the Mission of San Luis Obispo
My training schedule has been a bit disjointed, but I have been getting some work done. Three days a week I do spinning intervals on the ‘Tri Bike. The DVD’s that my sister Sue gave me are particularly evil, and it has taken quite a few attempts to complete a 30-minute session without hitting the “pause” button! Later this week I am going to attempt a spinning workout, then switch shoes and head out for a 15-minute run. That’s how triathlons progress, so it will be a good experiment.
And a magnificent Magnolia tree that was covered in flowers!
I also have been more consistent in riding to work. Here in California, the price of gas has skyrocketed, and the gouging due to the unrest in the Middle East has just been outrageous. So, the higher the price of gas, the more I ride to work!
A file photo of the pool. I forgot to bring the camera!
Speaking of riding the Surly, I swam tonight. I rode the Surly down to the pool and got in around 1100 yards. It was a lovely evening, chilly, around 45 degrees, but no desert wind! It was pleasant to swim in the gently steaming pool, and only 3 lap swimmers too! I am making progress, but the stamina for intervals longer than 200 yards is just not there as yet. I can swim a 30-second 50, but I can only do it once!
And of course, a Curlew...
That’s the news for now; enjoy all the nice pictures from the Pismo trip.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tailwinds and Taillights

Your's Truly...
Well, I finally got off my lazy butt and got back to the routine of bike commuting. There really hasn’t been any valid excuse for not commuting. We have had barely any rain since the grand snow event on January 3rd and the wind has been almost non-existent. I guess the chilly 25-degree mornings kept me away. No excuse at all as I have ridden in those temperatures for years.
The battery mount for the headlight...
What got me started back on the road was a photograph on a cycling blog I read. The picture of the rider with the frost building up on his beard was enough for me to get off the snide and get moving. As I was putting on my wool base layer at 5 AM, I could hear the vinyl fence creaking in the wind. The wind? Where did that come from? By the time I made it out to the morning news, the high wind watches were all posted for the Antelope Valley.
But it all worked out! On the ride in I enjoyed a marvelous 10-15 mph tailwind. Nothing more fun than spinning easy at 19-20 mph! Of course I worried about the high wind watch and the payback headwinds that the afternoon would bring. But then FROPA happened. For all you non-ATC types, FROPA means frontal passage. FROPA occurred about 8 AM, and by quitting time, the winds had switched 180 degrees out of the east and I had a lovely tailwind to push me home. A double-tailwind commute; Almost unheard of in cycling lore, but I’ll take it!

My new blinkie. I was told by a co-worker who passed me on the way, that it was so bright, he thought it was the Sheriff!
Along the way, I was able to perform my civic duty and pick up some things off the road as I breezed along. It reminded me of a long ride in 2008 or so, where over the course of a 30-mile ride, I picked up a knife, fork, and spoon!
A nasty nail, a crisp dollar, and some lead for Jon!
And, finally, as I was near the house, coming through the neighborhood, I came across two Mormon missionaries riding their Walmart mountain bikes. They were friendly and greeted me, and I returned the favor by greeting them and giving them a quick rendition of the Utah State Aggie fight song. Ranked #17 in the country, we are still loyal here!
More news later this week.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Links and a few Extras..

Eucalyptus bloom...
Just time for a brief note this week. Enjoy a few extra pictures from our trip to Goleta two weeks ago.

I still enjoy black and white...
Also, you may (or may not) notice the updated link tab. Today, I am adding The Argyle Sweater, a completely random cartoon that a coworker shared with me. It's pretty funny, and when you need a laugh, the tab is there for you.

And for you folks that are in need of Rum Therapy, check out my brother and sister in-law's new link. The page is full of excellent travel and relaxation ideas.

Three straight weeks of sunshine, minus the blustery wind! Most odd, most enjoyable.
See you next week,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Mile a Month

January below the Ellwood Bluff...
Before I get on with this week’s post, enjoy a set of photographs from the beach near Goleta, CA. We spent a lovely day last Saturday celebrating my sister, Nancy’s birthday. A picnic, RC gliders, and a nice walk on the beach is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

We had cake!

Looking west, at Ellwood...
Well, the snow sure didn’t last long. In fact, since the snow came (and went), we haven’t had a drop of rain, and none forecast in the near future. So much for rainy season, I guess. With the return of the nice weather, Kathy and I have been spending a lot of time outdoors. Everyday after work, Kathy and I have been power-walking 3-4 miles each day, and I have been going up the hill to towards the aqueduct for some hill work and intervals.

The big 120 Meter long hill above my house. A wonderful place for intervals...
Why all of the roadwork? Well, during the Santa Barbara Triathlon last August, and the Palmdale Aquathon Last July, my worst section was the running part. Every week in the Aquathon, I routinely finished in the top 10 in the swim, and the bottom 10 in the run! That has to change. So, with hopes of competing at a higher level while wearing running shoes, I am trying to emphasize running.
Here is Sue's friend Kent demonstrating how to fly a remote-controlled glider....

It looks easy, doesn't it!

Just launch and fly!

Looks easy, trust me, it isn't...
How’s it going so far? Not so good. Really. I never have been a runner, so there is a long, long way to go in this department. My initial goal is to be able to run one-mile by the end of January, two-miles by the end of February, 4-miles by the end of March. This would help me prepare for a possible 5 Km or 8 Km running event in April.

Along the way I have been riding the new ‘Tri Bike. Last Sunday I rode the Aqueduct in perfectly calm conditions. All I can say is “WOW.” My friend from RAAM, Denny Voorhees once told me: "I never knew I wanted a Carbon Bike, until I got one!" Well, he is right! What a rush. The engine riding the bike is a bit suspect, but the bike is fast as heck.

The Pool. Yes, I have made it to the pool too. I am just as fast as I was at the end of the summer, but my endurance level is kind of lacking. So, I can swim a 31 second 50, but I can only do it once! And finally, I am taking a survey. If you made it this far and are actually reading this blog, drop me a note here, will you? Just a thumbs up (or down for that matter). Just curious to see if I am just broadcasting in the blind.
That’s the news for now. More as I run down the road.