Paddys Cycle Playlist

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Icarus - This isnt Rocket Science, but it is Houston!

I am sure if Icarus were alive to day he would be living in the suburbs South of Houston heading up a new adventure for NASA
Most of us know the story of Icarus and his futile attempt to escape from the Island of Minos where his thoughtful father made him a pair of aerodynamic wings fashioned from the feathers of a couple of geese they had for dinner and left over wax from their illicit mead distillery.

Of course if the had rented "The Wizard of Oz" from Blockbuster the night before they could have heard Margaret Hamilton utter those famous words "I'm Melting"
Did you know that the wicked witch went on to be a spokesperson for Maxwell House Coffee ( I guess that means Glinda must have got the Starbucks Gig!)

Like Icarus I tried to escape today, not from the Island of Minos but from the Island of Monotony (Work Week)

My escape took the form of a very hot ride. I guess you know its going to be warm when your departing temperature @ 0700 is already in the 90's and the arrival back in the parking lot saw the temperature reach 107.

Of course I was prepared ! In addition to the largest camel back I possess I loaded up my bike with a few extra bottles of ice water which I continually dumped on my head every time I saw that tree lined tropical oasis in the middle of the road, where people were sitting by a submerged bar drinking drinks with umbrellas in them. (One of many illusions, the rest weren't as endearing)

Hey its an early Houston Summer! and 4 months ago I had cleat warmers and leggings! Such are the challenges for the year round cyclist..........and I Love it!!! .........At least I did not run into Toto!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Team Shirt Tuesday

We finally decided on our team shirts for the Mules

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wet behind the Ears

My week similar to the last three have all included quick jaunts from Houston to New Orleans, and then a 2 1/2 hour drive down to Port Fourchon in Louisiana. This has played havoc to any form of training and dietary routine.(Fried Shrimp, Broiled Shrimp, Fried Oysters. get the picture!!

For those of you who don't know the area well we are talking about the "Boonies"! A great percentage of Louisiana is made of "Wetlands" which has been under threat now for many years and the road to Fourchon is no exception as you drive along Louisiana Hwy 1 South following Bayou Laforche

Its not uncommon to see the bodies of alligators along the side of the road as the poor beasts have been hit by cars.

My company is thinking about sponsoring the Tour De Rouge next year which is a ride from Houston to New Orleans over a 5 day period cycling 85-90 miles a day I am keeping my fingers crossed as it will be a wonderful experience. (And I thought Dogs were a problem)

Meanwhile back to present day riding!

The US contingent of the Mules have been training hard in the Texas heat, with 50 mile rides on Saturday & Sunday and with no heat relief in sight we have decided to extend both our biking performance and our sporting challenges into the realms of the maritime world.

We have all opted for getting kayaks as we feel that this will help our upper body strength and get those abdominal muscles stronger for those long endurance rides.
So starting next week we are going to cycle in the mornings and Kayak in the afternoons. If we really get inspired we could hitch up the Kayaks to our bikes.
Of course our new expansion has also started debate on whether of not our kayaks should be suitably named:

We have also set ourselves a new goal - "Texas Water Safari" which is touted as the worlds most difficult canoe race.

Virtual Mileage. While my Twin Brother Philip is taking his virtual tour Westwards from England (He is now over 3,000 miles and into Massachusetts) I am just passing the Northern Coast line of the Cape Breton Islands as I head East at 2220 Miles.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Give them some Heat" - Nolan

This morning I ventured down to Alvin, Texas with a fellow Mule "Kenny" to take part in the "Tour de Brazos"
Alvin is a city in in Brazoria County and whose claim to fame is Baseballs Hall of Famer "Nolan Ryan". One of Nolan's more famous pitches was his fast ball and fans often delighted when Nolan gave his opposition some chin music in the form of some "Heat" (Fast Ball).

Having experienced Alvin today I am not at all surprised about Mr Ryan's fastball as those fortunate to survive the full 100 mile ride of the "Tour de Baz" - HEAT was the theme for the day.

By noon the mercury had hit above 100 Degrees F and with a heat index closer to 106 Degrees we were thankful to see a Fire Engine at the halfway mark spraying a water mist into the air to cool of the riders.

The ride spent a great deal in Brazoria County including stretches where we crossed over the Brazos River (Hence the name of the ride)The first part of the ride was against a stiff onshore wind coming in from the Gulf but we made great time and got to the 50 mile marker at a great average of 20mph.
Then we went over a railway track and Kenny heard a pop on his bike and automatically started having problems changing gears. I did not look too closely at Kenny's Bike, but in hindsight it did resemble one of the wheels off "Fred Flintstones" car .
One of the spokes had snapped and the wheel was wobbling around dramatically as if the wheel had not been invented by Cavemen, and was in fact still square in shape.

We decided to pull into a a rest stop where some very creative bike mechanics patched Kenny up. The next 50 miles was reasonably uneventful except for the occasional cramping and "day dreaming" of a cool glass of lemonade.
The ride was fantastic, and the volunteers "All Stars". It was a good training ride for the Hotter than Hell 100 in August, which today saw very similar temperatures and conditions.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Pit and the Pendulum

I don't know about all of my fellow cyclists out there, but I am sure we have all had those "Near Miss" experiences.
That car on a two lane road that insists on passing you as if they are on the Bonneville Salt Flats. In their attempt to pass as close as possible, they nosily honks their horns in disdain and create a massive air vacuum that sees your fingernails piercing the handlebars as you quickly try to remember the Lords Prayer.

Unfortunately, I have experienced this dangerous behavior far too often, and find myself lured into a dark and sinister place of what punishment I could deliver upon the assailant if ever got my hands on them. (I know its naughty, and not Gandhi like .....but it helps my venting process)

The Punishment would have to fit the Crime!!
In the same way as we feel that whooshing sensation on our legs and arms, and the startling honk of the obnoxious horn, what better way of exacting ones revenge than taking a leaf out of one of those classic old horror movies.

When I was a young lad growing up, Friday night was significant in the way that it represented the "Horror Movie Ritual". It was a time when the munching of fingernails, and cowering of ones head behind a cushion would take one away from the evil banter of Vincent Price and Christopher Lee. (I am sure I am ageing myself now). All cars should be fitted with Mr Price's evil laugh anytime they come within three feet of an innocent cyclist.

Unlike the new generation of Wes Craven with his propensity to use up about 1,000 containers of Ketchup the older horror movies relied on suspense, timing, and "what ifs"?

One of my Favourites was the classic "The Pit and the Pendulum" based on the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe. The story is especially effective at inspiring fear in the reader because of its heavy focus on the senses, such as sound, emphasizing its reality, unlike many of Poe's stories which are aided by the supernatural.
Of course in my version there will be a hero who comes to the rescue of the estranged motorist in the unlikely form of a "Bike Messenger" who only agrees to save the assailant after he agrees to have a better attitude towards cyclists.

I guess we can always dream! In the meantime be careful out there.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Forest Gump (Mrs)

When Forest Gump uttered that now famous Quote "Life is like a box of Chocolates, you never know what your going to get", I never thought it would have such a resounding application to my riding adventures.
This weekend was a perfect example! On Friday Sean and I set forth on a 50 mile ride and on one of our fav stops we encountered a young lady who was bravely back packing from Florida to Waco Texas along with her dog.
Her dog could definitely have been an "Honorary Mule" as he was well equipped with his own panniers and provisions, and she had biceps on her that were proportionate to the huge back pack she was carrying. I guess you don't have to worry about the Gym when your hitting the road!
At first we were a bit suspicious and concerned for the young "lassie" but being anxious for a break we exchanged the typical social pleasantries and very quickly realized that our preconceived ideas were sadly judgemental and this exchange was very rewarding.
She was great! young, confident, eloquent and full of that "Joi de vivre" that seems to be missing in a great deal of our youth today. She also new a great deal about bikes which of course opened the door for full acceptance.
As we guzzled back our water in attempt to hydrate in the beating sun we listened intently on some of her adventures. In New Orleans she was arrested for trying to hitch a ride on a freight train and had the pleasure of spending the night in one of the Crescent cities finest "Lock ups" while her poor dog was thrown in the pound.
She, like any "dog lover" knows found this experience more compounding by her dogs situation than her own dilemma. Still after paying a hunk of change $270 she bailed the dog out of "Doggy Jail" and was on her way swearing never to try to take a ride on the Railroad again.
Kenny & I pushed a respectable 50 miles but admitedly jumped on the back of a very fast (23mph hour) Peloton for the last 12 Miles. I could have read a book it was soo comfortable.

We started today in great form as I was joined by Sean,Kenny,Andy and Paul (Paul joined up with us today) Had a great ride and found a Horseshoe en route!!! The wind was stiff from the South and had us on our toes with some difficult cross wind action. One little time event was after 30 miles into the ride when I broke through my 2000 Mile mark for the year. It just happened to be on a hill which I thought was very fitting.

Thursday, June 4, 2009