Mountain Goat Trail

Mountain Goat Trail Wooden Path

Last Sunday morning, my son and I rode the Mountain Goat Trail at Sewanee.  This was his first ride on a Rails to Trails paved bike path, and he very much enjoyed the largely motorway-distraction-free experience, as well as the opportunity to ride through wooded sections that felt “like the middle of nowhere.”  The trail starts near Woody’s Bike Shop in Sewanee and ends at the Dollar General Store in, I think it is, Monteagle.  No more than five miles, probably closer to 4.6, each way.

The route includes a few gentle hills, maybe two secondary road crossings and one crossing at Highway 41.  Parking’s available at the Sewanee trailhead where there’s also an informational marker discussing the history of the former railroad as well as a topographical map of the trail.  At one point, there’s a 90 degree turn where the trail is constructed of wood and elevated over a declevity and around a property line.  In another place, gravel and sand tends to wash across the bike path from an adjacent gravel/sand pit or quarry – that’s the property around which the trail turns with the wooden elevation.

My son managed managed all of the trail well on his Modikoso superbike except for the gravel and clumps of sand across the path from the quarry.  He had to dismount and push the bike over it.  I rode over it on the Jamis Supernova with no real concern.  On the way back, oddly enough, we found the hazard had been, it looked like, completely washed away.  Odd, because although there’d been slight precipitation during the intervening time, nothing that would clear the trail.  Maybe somebody from the quarry hosed it down?

Mountain Goat Trail Information

 

 

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Bike Days

I think this last Thursday or Friday was Ride Your Bike to Work Day and last week was Bike to Work Week.  Something to do with Bike Month.  Because I work about 30 miles from the house, riding to work wasn’t something I was going to do, however, I take a bike to work most weeks, leave it there, and ride at lunch.  I’ve established three or four different routes, changing them as various subnormals* leave their pitbulls unchained in front of their domiciles.  Shooting the dogs would unnecessarily complicate my workday, so I’ve found other places to ride.  Usually about three to four miles, maybe 15 minute rides depending on headwinds.

Last Wednesday was the local bike club’s Ride of Silence to honor those who’ve been killed while cycling and to raise awareness among motorists that cyclists share the roadways with them.  I’ve ridden along on one other Ride of Silence two or three years ago and had found the experience unpleasant but one that also proved valuable in terms of insight gained.

This year, I brought my young son along because it was something he said he’d like to do.  I wanted my son to ride with me so he’d have some experience riding with a group and some safe experience riding on the street with traffic present.

This year, I’d adjusted my expectations based on my previous experience.  My son and I showed up only a little bit early.  I didn’t bother trying initiate talk with anyone beyond a distant “Hello.”  Not surprisingly, a couple of kids with whom my son’s slightly acquainted from school did not speak to him.  Three people I really like spoke to me, and it was good to see them – it’s been over a year, maybe closer to two, I think, since I last did anything with the bike club.

My son had trouble riding slowly – about nine miles per hour – and some impatience with riders ahead of him slowing unpredictably.  He did a pretty good job of keeping his bike’s wheels from overlapping those of other riders.  He found the Modikoso uncomfortable at first, and I may need to get him a bike-fit appointment one weekend soon.  Amazingly, he was able to maintain total conversational silence during the entire ride.  Afterward, back at the house, he told me it’d been VERY difficult to remain silent during the ride.  He also expressed some disappointment that our police escort rode bikes instead of the cars with flashing lights he’d expected.

Overall, this was a much better experience for me than my last Ride of Silence, because I’d adjusted my expectations regarding the other participants and because I got to ride with my son.

*EDIT: I call them subnormals not because they live in mobile homes, have several junky-looking cars parked in their driveways, possibly perform shift-work through temporary agencies at the area’s few remaining factories, or even because they have pet dogs some of which are pitbulls. I call them  subnormal because they fail to responsibly keep their animals confined.  $.02

Modikoso So Far

Modikoso So Far

Turns out I was able to find components around here beyond reasonable priced.  Ancient, road-rash, big Dura-Ace crankset plus Shimano 600 side-pull brakes.  NOS 105 9-speed shifters.  Seatpost and stem purchased from the frame’s seller.  Dura-Ace 9-speed RD I already had.  Same for handlebars.  The entire thing assembled at Woody’s Bike Shop.  Bike still needs a different front fork – carbon fiber, probably.  Also junky plastic bottle cage I had in a parts bin in the garage.  This frame will never make a cyclocross bike – rear stays clearance w brakes installed allows for maximum width 28mm tires.  Panaracer Paselas 650c in that width allow for a little surface versatility, but lack of clearance contraindicates success in muddy conditions.  My son loves the bike.  Here are a few pictures of the Modikoso so far:

Modikoso Panaracer Pasela 28mm

Modikoso D-Ace RD 105 9sp Cassette

Modikoso D-Ace Cranset & MKS Lambdas

Modikoso 600 Sidepull

Modikoso Bars & 105 Levers

 

Bike Project for 76

Update: I’ll try to post some better pictures of the bike frame this week. C.

Tuesday evening I drove out Murfreesboro to buy a Modikoso bike frame for my son.  Goal is to build up a versatile cyclocross-ish bike for the boy to ride on and offroad.  I happened upon this amazing deal using SearchTempest to search multiple area Craigslist pages within however many miles of home I was willing to drive to make a purchase.  A couple of things sold me on this frame – it came with a Chris King headset that, itself, was probably worth close to what the seller was asking, and it was designed for use with 650b wheels.  A few years back, I picked up a 650b wheelset for $50 from Mike at Elon Bike Shop when I was visiting my best friend, Eric.  (See my Troi Villes Tour d’Alamance blog posts for reference as well as this post about Elon Bike Shop.)

Modikoso w Wheels

The wheels I thought were Shimano 105s, but turns out they were Mavic Experts Mavic CXP 21s (from a distance the sticker looked like it said Expert) with a 105 9 speed cassette.  I’ve got good condition Dura Ace front and rear derailleurs I got around the same time at a local sale for a few dollars.  Now, the big things I need are fork, seatpost, appropriately sized stem, handlebars, crankset and shift/brake levers.  And chain.  And cables. And pedals.  Tires and tubes should be no problem.  Those that came with the tires are old and unsuitable for the use I think this bike will get.

The frame’s seller told me she’d set it up for time-trials.  While I have only the vaguest idea what that is, that Kinesis Air Foil front fork looks like it was designed for riding fast in a straight line on intact, smooth pavement.  Thing I’m trying to figure out is whether the Kinesis fork has to be replaced with a 650b-specific fork or whether a more standard and more easily obtainable 700c fork will work.

Here are a few more photos of the Modikoso:

Modikoso Downtube Sticker

Modikoso Kinesis Airfoil Fork

Modikoso Seat Tube & Stays

Mavic CXP 21 - Not Expert

Modikoso Bottom Bracket

Modikoso Headtube & Headset

On another note, here’s something I drew goofing around with Sketchbook, I think it’s called, on an Ipad:

Nonobjective Copy

Better Motivation, Thanksgiving, Living an Ordinary Life in an Ordinary Way.

Motivation

For about the past three or four weeks, on weekends, I’ve been consistently getting up around 4:00 am and either riding my bike or driving to the gym Saturdays and Sundays.  Been a little hit or miss before that.  No idea why I’ve had better motivation recently than formerly.  My doctor told me about a year ago I should concentrate on strengthening my back and rotator-cuffs to alleviate bilateral shoulder pain he attributed, in part, to having overdeveloped my pectorals.  But to look at me, you wouldn’t think so.   Still, I’ve complied with his advice and my posture has improved as well as, a little bit, that shoulder pain.

My workouts have lasted about an hour and a half, and I incorporate legs and abs, some tricep and chest, with my primary lat, back, and bicep work.  Am I a glorious specimen of beautiful middle-aged masculinity?  Not so much, although I feel better – it’s good to feel strong.   I’m gaining weight, but my clothes still fit, so some of that must be muscle.

Thanksgiving

This was our year to spend Thanksgiving with my wife’s family but we stayed home for the holiday because of my work schedule.  We spent a really pleasant day with my family, instead.  Friday, my wife finished decorating the house for Christmas and my son and I went for a bike ride around the neighborhoods.  We stopped by and visited my godparents and then rode home when the boy looked like he was about to fall asleep.  He’s not ridden much over the past couple of months, so he had a hard time riding back up hill.

Ordinary

By some miracle or fluke of predestination and providence, I turned out not to be a complete monster.  I’ve written in this space, at some time or other, that for me or someone like me, the great adventure is to live the ordinary life in an ordinary way.  You can probably not grasp how unimaginable an outcome that seemed for me when I was young or how much joy it brings me now.  It’s what I’m daily most thankful for – my wife, son, our health, meaningful work for both my wife and myself, a modest house in a modest neighborhood, self-directed recreational activities like cycling, paddling, strength training, reading, a small and extremely Calvinistic congregation where we are accepted and maybe for the most part liked and to which we contribute by participation, prayers, offerings.  Also my extended family – much more important to me now in middle age than it seemed when I was a young man.

I have a lot to be grateful for and I hope you do, too.

5 Years a Cyclist

Back in the summer of 2015, I was averaging about a hundred miles a week and I was still the slowest guy in the bike club on group rides, no matter what bike I rode.  Later in the season, just before Fall, I started getting sick. Like a knucklehead, I googled my symptoms and came up with viral spinal meningitis.  My doctor’s nurse practitioner diagnosed instead seasonal allergic rhinitis.  I still think I was probably right, but whatever the problem was, I got over it.  Still, the pounding heart thing while riding abrupt and steep (for me) hills niggled at the back of my mind.  In 2016, about a year later, painful irregular heartbeats occurring at least once a day prompted a lot of diagnostic procedures by a good cardiologist in a neighboring county.  Turns out at some time or other, I’d had a heart attack but damage was not too bad and my arteries were clear.

Anyway, after Fall of 2015, I quit riding for a while and then started again riding only for fun.  I think this year my longest ride’s been about 22-24 miles.

This year, I’ve got a new solo kayak, have taken my son paddling a couple of times, have started working out at a local gymnasium, and continue to ride most weekdays from work at lunch with a few after work and weekend rides.  My son still doesn’t enjoy riding for exercise – mostly, he wants to ride to a destination for nerf-gun war or in hopes of finding a disc some cannabis use disordered frisbee-golfer has lost.

Here’re a couple of photos from 2016 – the cotton field picture is from a lunch ride while I was working in a rural Southern Middle Tennessee county; the dredge photo’s taken beside a small, decorative lake that’s got clogged up with mud and lily pads.

Cotton Pickin Supernova

Supernova Dredge Phot

 

Early Mornings but Little Motivation

I got up around 4:00 a.m. this morning and yesterday morning planning to get a cup of coffee and ride my bike to the gym, but instead, both yesterday and today, I had my coffee and read the news.  This morning I think I will work out here at the house, but yesterday I engaged in no fitness activities whatsoever.  Did some other stuff like help out a neighbor and attend my son’s first soccer game of the season, then socialized with other parents afterward at the local Chic-fil-A restaurant.  I almost never socialize with anyone, but sort of enjoyed the time I spent with both my own family and others from the sportsfield group.

My wife, who earlier in the morning looked after her friend’s three young children d/t a family emergency, wanted me to check an email we received to determine whether we’d had our data compromised in the recent Equifax data breach and I got side-tracked deleting some 2200 emails from the family email account my wife uses.  There’re probably about that many more that need purged.  No, we didn’t get any Equifax notification.

Finally, I tore myself away from the computer and drove out to my mechanic’s garage on the off-chance that he’d be there working on a Saturday.  He often does work Saturdays and holidays, but doesn’t answer the phone on those days.  The car I’ve been driving since my green ’98 XC70 was totaled last summer by a young woman who had lterally gone off her meds a week or two prior to the wreck.

Apparently some previous owner had a mechanic (or did it himself) who hard-wired one of the low-been headlight bulbs.  Now, after seven years, it’s gone out.  I ordered some replacement bulbs to change them out, myself, but found yesterday morning the wired-in problem.  Hence the need for professional intervention.  I may drive out the garage again, today, because the place was closed up when I got there, yesterday.

On the way back to the house, I stopped at a produce stand and got my wife some tomatoes for BLT sandwiches.  Our backyard garden hasn’t produced much.  Three green tomatoes out there, now.  Not much else besides, although the various plants seem to be okay.  About a 30 mile round trip, but not completely wasted.  I hate driving around with a headlight out – it feels shameful not having something that basic tended to.

Did I mention I’ve been reading a lot, this year?  Mostly Star Wars “Legends” novels – way more entertaining than the lame SJW-inspired Disney sponsored novels that are now, supposedly, “canon.”  By “reading a lot” I mean wasting a lot of time reading novels like some people eat candy.  My mind is probably getting fat and lazy and my brain fit for maybe the glass-jar equivalent of soft, fast-food and ice-cream stained couch.  Did I mention I had a milk-shake yesterday at lunch.  See?  It’s not just my brain that’s deteriorating here.

My wife reports my son has complained that I’ve been spending too much time reading and not enough time playing with him – hunting each other with Nerf guns outside Son-on-Scooter versus Dad-on-Foot dodge-the-scooter driveway game; backyard target shooting with the Tippman 98 (ours has been modified for killing grackles); building with Lego blocks, etc.  So, late yesterday afternoon when my son was too worn out from a day playing soccer and running around outside with friends while watching other teams’ games, I got another Mojang account so he and I could multi-play Minecraft on our LAN.  THAT was pretty time-consuming.

Next week, I’m scheduled to preach at our congregation’s worship meeting.  I don’t think I’m very good at that kind of speaking.

I think part of what’s getting in the way of my preferred leisure activities is that I know I’ve got two or three responsibilities I’ve got to carry out and have been procrastinating about getting them done.  That’s weighing on me and obstructing the clarity of purpose and function that equals motivation I seem to’ve been lacking recently.  To the good, I haven’t been binge-watching series on Netflix.

That’s all for today.