Weekend Ride

Sometime in September, Erin and I are planning on riding from Chicago to South Haven, MI.  Now, since this is incredibly further than I’ve ever ridden before, there needs to be some training (specifically for the posterior).

Lately, I haven’t been riding at all.  In fact, the last time I had gone was over the fourth.  Granted, we did probably put in just over 20 miles that day.  So, Erin found a workout schedule online that prepares you for a 100 mile ride.  Basically, you ride 10 or so miles a day, and then ever Saturday you put in the large miles.  Last weekend we were supposed to put in 30, which isn’t that far, as long as my rear end keeps up.  Thankfully every time I’ve ridden it’s been able to keep up with longer and longer distances.

Well, like I said, we were supposed to put in 30.  Instead, we put in over 40.  Oops.  This weekend we’re supposed to put in 37ish.  For some reason, I don’t think that’ll be a problem.

Summer is Here

Summer is most definitely here, and on the correct weekend no less!  As I type this, it is 81 degrees outside with 55% humidity.  Welcome to the midwest.

To kick off summer right, Erin and I went for a bike ride.  It wasn’t that hard to convince her to go, especially since she just got her new bike.  We started out in Lemont at Waterfall Glen, and then headed down to Lockport and did the I & M Canal trail between Lockport and Joliet.  Grand total, probably ~20 miles.  Not bad, especially since we put in ~20 miles earlier in the week.

So, I had never taken the I & M Canal trail that far South out of Lockport, which means I had never seen the old steel mill ruins (steel mill closed in the 1930’s) that are down near Joliet either.  Talk about awesome.  I definitely need to get my camera down there.  Certain parts looked like a bombed out town, and the old locks that are still in the old part of the canal are awesome too.  It’s interesting to see what it used to look like through various photographs, because it sure doesn’t look that way now.

Oh, and for all you Prison Break fans (Aaron), the trail goes right by the old Joliet state prison, which is the one in the show.  Definitely need to get pictures of that too.

Bike Rack

Now that I’m actually using my bike, I want a better way of hauling it (and Erin’s) around.  Currently she has a trunk mount one, but, well, it sucks.  If it didn’t scratch the crap out of her car, I’d be half way tempted to slap it on mine and then we could take my car, but alas…

Plus, I’m getting some extra money from the University for my vacation days.  Nothing like a little extra cash to burn a hole in your pocket.  Anyways, I’m looking at getting a Thule rack from ORS Racks Direct.  They have the best price by far (20% off MSRP), free shipping until tomorrow, and no tax (man I love the internet).  Anyways, I need some help from my fellow readers.  I need to know which is better, an upright mount, or a fork mount?  I can see how each one would have it’s benefits, plus there’s the fact that having the upright mounts increase the price by $38 (more for the actual mount, plus I need 2 more lock cylinders). 

Any help would be greatly appreciated, and the sooner the better, since the deals seem to end tomorrow.

O’er the Hills and Through the Mud

Talk about another great weather weekend.  So far, two in a row.  I hope this trend continues.  Anyways, this weekend was another first of the summer months: Mountain Biking.  I brought up my bike to Chicago this weekend and on Saturday we went to the Forest Preserve District, and visited the Palos trails.  The main trails used for running, horseback riding, biking, etc, were nice and easy.  However, as soon as you got off the main paths, it quickly went to mud (at least the one we jumped on).  We were actually out there for quite some time, especially since it was the first time this year.

We started on the blue trail near Bullfrog lake, then met up with the green, then orange, then yellow.  We took the yellow trail to the brown, and not having any idea where we were (nor how far we were from anything, headed back.  All of these trails were wide trails, no single track, so the it wasn’t that much excitement.  However, on the way back, we jumped on the dark green trail by Joe’s Pond.  This was a single track, and about 50 feet into it, it got pretty muddy.  On the map, they don’t show it going past the road, but in fact it does, and with the meandering stream down there, it went from muddy, to, “holy crap, are there ANY dry spots?” and “That creek is kind of intimidating with the rocks and stuff.”  Needless to say when we came out at Pioneer Woods, we were covered.

It was an awesome time though.  Too bad my ass took the blunt of it, and it’s incredibly sore now.  But, my bike didn’t attack me like Erin’s did.  She has metal pedals, and both of the back sides of her ankles are hacked up pretty well.  Thankfully, I came out relatively unscathed.

I hope next weekend is just as nice, because I could definitely handle doing that again.  In fact, I left my bike up with her, so it’s all set.  Granted, it’s more to do with the fact we thought we were going to go riding again on Sunday, and never actually got around to cleaning them off.

It’s Here

Well, I got my bike yesterday.  Walked in, and they know who I am.  Man, I’ve gone there way too much in the last week.  Anyways, I took it for a test ride before I made my final purchase.  It’s amazing how light it is.  I still can’t get over that fact.  It’s like I’m not even riding on anything, especially when I’m mentally comparing it to the steel frame bike I had when I was a kid.  So of course I took it for a ride after I made the purchase.  I will definitely get a lot of use out of the bike.  Probably even more-so once/if I move dept’s and have room to store my bike when I ride it in.  But more about leaving DIA in a later post.

Bike Part 2

So I get a call today from Durst saying that they called Cannondale, but the didn’t have the size I needed in the color (blue) I wanted.  I was going to say that it was ok, I had made my purchase at Champaign Cycle already, but then he went on to say that they had ordered the green one and that it was at Durst.  Again, I was about to say that I didn’t want the bike, but then he said that I could come by any time and give it a ride. 

Well, I don’t feel as bad now.  I thought they had ordered me a bike, and that they were ready for me to come pick it up.  Granted, I never said I wanted it, but it still would’ve made me feel a little bad.  Needless to say, I’m not going to be going to Durst to try out the bike.  Maybe if he would’ve let me know back on Tuesday like he said he was, about what was going on with Cannondale.  But, he screwed up royally on that one. 

New Bike!

So, over Memorial Day weekend I went bike shopping.  Talk about choices.  I started at Champaign Cycle.  They carry Trek’s, Gary Fisher’s, and Klein’s.  The guy that I initially talked to was very helpful.  He asked what I was going to use the bike for, and then, amazingly enough, started me off on the cheapest bikes.  I told him how much I was looking to spend, and then he brought me around to those.  Unfortunately Saturdays (especially good weather weekends), are probably the busiest days for bike shops.  Needless to say, the guy that initially started helping me got bogged down with another customer as I took out the Trek 8000 for a ride.  I then asked the other guy what exactly going to the 8500 got me.  Obviously the components change, but how much does that really change the feel of the bike?  So, he told me to go for a ride on it and see.  For one, shifting was obviously smoother.  Granted, if I took it someplace other than a sidewalk, I could probably tell more of a difference, but the shifting alone was enough.  Now, as nice as the shifting was, it was priced a little more than I wanted to spend.

I told them I’d have to think about it, and then headed over to Durst Cycle.  Now, they sell Cannondale’s, Schwinn’s, and Giant’s.  So, I head in, and the place is packed.  It takes me forever to get any help over by the Cannondales.  Finally, after 10-20 minutes of standing around, a guy helps me out.  I tell him about how much I want to spend, what some of the components are on the Trek I’m looking at, and he points me to the Cannondale F600 and the Giant XTC 1.  The Cannondale felt like a good bike, comparable to the Trek.  However the Giant felt cheap and flimsy.  They didn’t have any of the F600’s in stock in my size and color.  So, the sales guy took down my name and number and said he’d call Cannondale on Tuesday and then let me know (also on Tuesday). 

So now I take about 30 minutes to cool off on the bike browsing and head over to a friends and ride his Cannondale with him.  It’s a nice bike, nothing to complain about.  The bike of his that I rode was more of an easy-rider bike than I was looking for.  So, I then headed back to Champaign Cycle to talk about upgrading the brakes to disc brakes.  The guy gave me some numbers, but told me he wasn’t very informative about what’s good and what’s bad.  Instead he said to come by on Tuesday and talk to Brandon about them. 

Tuesday rolls around, and I head in to talk to Brandon about disc brakes over my lunch hour.  He gives me the general low down, and then I did some of my own research.  I didn’t want to say yay or nay to them because I was still waiting to hear back from Durst. 

Needless to say I didn’t hear back from Durst.  Talk about crappy service.  Granted I’m not laying down huge amounts of money, but still nothing to sneeze about.  So, today after still not hearing back from Durst, I again went in to Champaign Cycle during my lunch hour and ordered my bike.  Unfortunately they don’t have the 2004 Trek 8000 in my size in stock, so I need to wait a few more days.  They did, however, have the 2003 version in my size in stock.  I elected not to grab that one because it was only discounted $50 and it doesn’t have the necessary hubs and wheels to upgrade to disc brakes in the future. 

I’m so excited for it to come.