Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hey, Wake up! It's 2007!

One more from Austin's Collection - 1968
Happy New Year!
2006 is coming to a close with the regular assortment of riding goals met; riding goals failed, and riding goals ignored. On the whole it has been a great year. More miles than any calendar year, and I rode a lot of new and exciting routes. Were there any goals ignored? That goal of a double-century was probably out of my reach to start with. I am not quite ready for that yet. Were there any failed goals? Well, I never did ride Little Cottonwood Canyon, but hey, something for next year!
Most cyclists would agree with me that they each ride for different purposes. Some ride purely for fun, never knowing or caring what miles they ride, just that they enjoy doing it. Others are true mileage geeks that track every mile of every ride, and all of their riding is results, results, results. Some riders are commuters, taking great joy in not using their car. I could go on forever, the list is endless.
But, how does one assess and quantify yearly goals? And I don’t mean just riding goals; our lives are filled with small and large goals every day! But, let’s just talk about riding. If my friend Pete reaches his goal of 12,500 miles for 2006 (really, I am not making this up!) But ends the year burned out, exhausted, and feeling no joy in riding, was his goal a worthy pursuit? I think not. (Not that he is burned out or tired, I am just using his goal as an example. I don’t think he ever gets tired!)
For me, I ride to tackle new challenges; to become more physically fit; to stay healthy; to sometimes commute; to enjoy the fresh air and the peace of riding; and lately to take pictures. I do however, track miles and rides. I keep a log, and sometimes record a comment about the day’s ride. And on especially gorgeous days, I may tape over my cycle computer, and ride off into the world without a care about any statistic. One of the benefits of recumbent riding is the view why not enjoy it!

So, let’s look at the 2006 achievements, and compare them with previous years.

This has been a great year for the Little Red Barcroft
1405 miles; I feel like I transitioned from bike rider to cyclist, I had a better bike and a healthier body to ride it. I rode bigger and longer hills, and never felt “burned out” wanting to shelve the bike. The season actually left me energized for 2007.

602 miles; A year of dead legs and doldrums; I never got emotionally geared up to ride, and didn’t start logging miles until mid to late summer. I did however, ride commute to and from work in the same day for the first time, a 52 mile round trip!

Me and my trusty Burley Limbo, where else, Antelope Island!
1175 miles; My coming out party. I broke 1,000 miles and rode my first ‘bent century, riding a Burley Limbo.

Finishing my first 100 miler, I darn near passed out about 30 minutes after this picture was taken!

992 miles, I rode my first century on a 1982 Raleigh racing bike I bought for $60.00! Believe or not, I actually sold the bike back to its original owner, he missed having it!

Cycling at Bryce Canyon - 2003
675 miles, the first year I started actually working at riding. I seem to recall that I trained most of the summer to be able to ride my age on my birthday. (45 at the time)

It works out to be 4849 miles in the last 5 years. It seems more amazing to me just looking at the number, and it is sometimes hard to visualize the almost 5,000 miles just looking at the bike in the garage. Oh, the places we’ve been!
What’s on the docket for 2007? Well, the usual ideas come to mind. 15% more miles; longer training rides in the 50-60 mile range, and my first 200k brevet. (Oh yes, and Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird, too!) I think these are reasonable and attainable goals. It’s going to be a great year! Come along with me and enjoy the ride!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas to my few, but dedicated readers…

This Christmas Blog post is written in part on behalf of a distant blogpal, Emma Muhlack, from Adelaide, Australia, (who) recently mentioned in her diverse and interesting blog that:

“Christmas (at least in my immediate family) has always been a celebration about Jesus' birth. Church Christmas eve and Christmas Morning, nativity scene, angels on the tree”

Well, I just wanted to share a few pictures with you of our Nativity scene, and of the Christmas trees that make this season special for us here at our house in Utah.

After all, being able to “Elf Yourself” and generally being very silly as we stuff ourselves with Christmas cookies is great fun, but let’s not forget the real reason for the Christmas season. Now, I am really not trying to get up on my editorial soapbox here. I just felt like sharing a little of the Christmas spirit from our house to yours. Here’s to you and yours this Christmas.

From the book of Luke:

…And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David :) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Amen to that!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Photography of the Past

Hi all,
This is not a post about recumbent cycling, or even about riding some steep canyon, or the repairing and configuring of the Little Red Bike. The subject of this post is photography. Primarily, it is about the history of photography in my family during the last one hundred years. You may have noticed that every past blog post has been accompanied by at least one photograph. In fact it is almost a requirement for me to include a photo to help tell a story or to share a landscape that you might appreciate.

The history of photography in my family dates back to somewhere around 1898 or so. My grandfather, Tad was an avid photographer, taking pictures of his adventures and travels in the Lake Louise, Banff areas of Alberta, Canada, and throughout the rest of his life. Tad passed on his love of photography to my dad, Austin, who as it seems, was never, ever, without his camera. Austin, spent a lifetime enjoying taking pictures of landscapes and of what he used to call “typical Americans” doing normal and typical things. He was a master of the candid shot, composing and framing people with their natural smile. He also rejoiced in sending lovely sailing pictures like the one at the top of this post, to his relatives in New York and New Jersey in the dead of winter! Austin then passed his love of photography to his children, and all four of us either enjoy taking pictures, or just appreciate the pictures of the past. I have fond memories of working in the darkroom with Austin, learning the important tricks of the trade like: “Get closer, Get Closer!” and of course the famous line in our house, “What are you waiting for! Push the button!”

This is Austin, with his Speed Graphix, in 1968.
But how do all these pictures from the last one hundred years or so survive? The digital world of course! When dad had leukemia in 1998, he spent months scanning Grandpa Tad’s old negatives, transcribing written notes and descriptions and creating digital files and HTML thumbnails. My brother-in-law, Dana has continued the task for the last eight years, running 35 mm rolls of film through a machine scanner, and storing the images on external hard drives. At last count, my external hard drive showed approximately 31,000 images! And Dana has advised that he is ready to upload another several thousand! Sometimes it’s hard to let these numbers sink in and truly register as to the enormity of the task that has been accomplished.
The true treasures of the collection are the scans from glass negatives dating back to around 1898. With the help of Adobe Photoshop, Austin was able to recover images from the glass that were barely discernable to the naked eye. The pic below is from a glass negative; Grandpa Tad (On the right) circa 1900.

Tad, (on the right) In Alberta, 1913.
Of course the other treasure is the photographic account of our lives. Every roll of film is a small thimble full of what life was like growing up as a family. I have included a few old photographs for you to enjoy. Back to riding and other exciting news about weddings and grandchildren next week.
My new 1968 Schwinn 3-speed. I rode this bike for years, commuting all over Goleta and Santa Barbara.

Cyclist Austin with that "Push the button" look!

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Chain"-ging of the Seasons

It doesn't look cold!
Well, December has brought colder weather, and I think it’s time to change my training/riding habits. I went for a chilly 25 miles out to the Antelope Island causeway yesterday. Starting temperature was about 28 degrees with hazy sunshine and I never really warmed up and got loose. Wearing a pair of shells inside a pair of XC skiing gloves left my fingers still cold for the first 15 miles! I am always amazed at the difference in riding at 30 degrees vs. riding at 40 degrees. So, I am thinking about being more selective about my winter rides. (That’s a nice way of saying I am wimping out about freezing on the bike!) On colder days I will head to the gym and work on both upper and lower body strength, and spin on my Cycleops Fluid Trainer in the garage. Also, I plan to head to Solitude Nordic Center, or Mill Creek Canyon to enjoy some cross-country skiing.
And if I really get desperate, I will head over to the pool for some lap swimming. Many years ago, when I was young and crazy, I was a fairly decent 500m swimmer. I actually swam all freestyle events, but enjoyed the 500m the most. I still enjoy a good swim, but the idea of serious training to race just isn’t there anymore. Am I still going to ride? YES! But, with a few caveats, like not starting late in the afternoon and making sure there is nice sunshine to keep me warm! Yesterday, I started after 2:30 PM and the sun got rather low on the horizon on the way back east to Layton.

Not saying how old this photo is, but the 38th President was in office!

In other news, I am continuing to think about how to configure the Little Red Bike for the longer events in 2007. One issue I am addressing is the size of my chain rings. I currently use 53/39/28 and I find that I spend all my time on flat terrain using the 53t (big ring) and about the middle of the 11-34 rear set. Conversely when I am on a long steep downhill, I find that I run out of gears to spin. That is to say that I spin using the 53t/11t and can’t get any more speed out of the bike at 90-100 rpm. So, what to do? My thoughts are to perhaps change the bike to 54/42/30, adding more gears in the mid-range to spin, and a little more gearing at the top end for going fast. The other reason for this discussion is that I inadvertently broke my front derailleur. My right pedal cleat disengaged while working hard up a hill, and I kicked the front derailleur into the chain ring. So, I would like to replace the derailleur and change chain rings all in one shot. Any suggestions/recommendations for a derailleur to replace the Shimano 105?

I know, I know, time for some solvent and dirty work..

Here is where you get to help!!! As I am a neophyte when it comes to the technical aspect of bike configuration, I would very much appreciate your comments/ideas.

And lastly, lately I have been enjoying my digital camera in black and white mode. When I was a young boy, I spent many a fine evening with my dad, Austin, developing and composing in black and white. Here are a few recent images. Enjoy!

Happy riding, skiing, or whatever fun you can find to do outside!