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APRIL …. FOOLS ? SHOWERS? AND MORE FREAKY WX

The month turns, April begins, and the first 1000 miles of the year is in the books.

My cousin in Canada sends me a BBC video of the new colony of penguins discovered actually taking to the air. Quite impressive stuff …….. but Mother Nature can adapt as required!

“Penguin Squadron  Clear to Land”

Weather wise, April always meant showers to me with fresh primroses, bluebells, daffs and tulips as another English Spring arrived. Well up here in Colorado the showers can be snow or hail and the winds get stronger with violent gusts!

Yep!

In my efforts not to be a wimp and “get out there” I have had to endure conditions that question my sanity. The freaky weather has been just that with some mornings temps way up at 55F at only 0530 as I set off to work and then the next day 22F only making a high of 35F. Several bursts in the mid 50’s a few 60’s and just one up there at 71 ………. but every bloody day the WIND is there sometimes gusting over 50mph and on two occasions I’ve been blown sideways and I’ve had severe problems trying to get my cleats out of the pedals to prevent nasty falls!

Feels like this

Nearly ended up like this!!!

Thursday 5th and we set off after the morning drive to get Brenda to Durango for her flight to see Phil, his band, another Disney-do and a quick trip to an “Ellen” show. No riding today but I make 1100 by Saturday Pool time where I get another 3rd to add to Wednesday night’s 3rd at 9 ball.

Good ride on Sunday but Monday becomes a rest day as its wild and windy and very cold again. Recover Brenda, including luggage on time from Durango on Wednesday.

Despite another rest day on Friday as the high is only 37F and winds gusting 45 mph I still make 1200 on Saturday before pool. Brenda gets another 3rd but my play is not so good……… and I break one of my front teeth off and now look mountain manish or full on redneck whichever way you look at it. The week starts on 1202.60 and I make 1318.06 before this weekend’s pool session.

 

TONY DOWN

 

MORE BUSTED SPRINGS

 

That time of the year again when teachers and bus drivers get some extra sleep at last. The body clock still kicks the system into gear but after a quick coffee its back to bed for me!

Yes it’s Spring Break but not bimbos and bikinis up here as they are still forecasting this for tomorrow!!!

Great!

So far only wind but a lot of it and temps in the 40F’s. The nice thing about this break is I’m not up trees decorating or weeding, mowing the lawn, or trying to plant anything as its all TOO early. I can get on and put some miles in the book in my journey around the Equator without feeling guilty that I should be using my time on other things.

Last week, up until the start of the break was certainly one for the Lions with 5 days of misery, hypothermia, snow, blizzards, rain and of course high winds.

First day of the break on Saturday, gave me a chance to turn in a decent ride of 20.15 and still have the ability to talk. Sunday, more of the same with a two part ride of 27.76 and then Monday another two part ride of 35.50 which takes the yearly total to 824.13

My plan for the break was to see if I could make the “900” as the 1000 was clearly a bridge too far with the current weather and those strong cold winds.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday produced some good numbers fighting those winds but 33.33, 33.25 and 30.50 took the total to 921.21 and I still have 2 days left until the end of the month.

Hoping for a “30” today and another “20” for Saturday morning before pool which is also getting better with a good run at 9 ball on Wednesday finishing in 2nd place.

Friday and my last big day for a ride so I take the ride to the Lakes which is 10 miles at the turn round point. Warmer but the ever present wind is less than pleasant ……. no matter I force on and with determination for a beer at the brewery hit 41.58 for the day.

Saturday, and with not enough time to hit the “1000” I grab another 23.43 to take me up to 986.22 which is 400 more than this time last year.

Sunday, its got to be DONE!!! Supposedly much warmer at 60+ and not much wind as yet. Some Shade Garden clean up to do first then off to the lakes again and bang in 24.39 after sailing through the 1000 mile banner.

Here I am through the 1000 mile banner and off to the Champagne function to celebrate……

Champagne is GOOD …… VERY Good

The banner is now in the dust!

……. and remember I’m doing this for me!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

MARCHING ON

One more week of bus driving and then Spring Break to wrap up the month. I had hoped we were nearly done with the bad weather but today its been non stop blowing snow and about 4″ still on the rail as evening approaches.

An enforced no cycling day today and probably nothing much in the next couple until it melts. So that was Sunday 18th, and Monday was no better with temps at 30F and not even making freezing!! Tuesday it looks a bit better but at only 37F, and with a biting wind, I return cold and hypothermic after just 14.74 miles but ……. as they say

Wednesday and with early release the temps only make 39F  before I can achieve anything  its time to get back to work. Maybe tomorrow which is supposed to make 63F !!!!!

Thursday and indeed much nicer and despite a late start I get out there in demi pleasant conditions at 55F and hardly any wind. Time beats me today but the 18.33 I did takes me over  the 740 mark.

Beware the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing !!

Friday, a very strange day as the temp is 51F at 0530 as I drive to work. It rains nearly all day and then becomes warm, sunny and very windy yet again!

Saturday and having dropped considerably behind my planned miles I need to get out there and get some in! Windy, but I push on and make 20.15 before its time to get ready for pool. Brenda’s day today and she runs out a GOOD 3rd.

Sunday 25th and 7 days left in the month and I would like to crack 900 before we move into April. Need 140 this week so my aim is to crack 20+ every day to give a little “insurance” in case of some nasty weather. Today goes well with a 27.76  so on track at the moment!

 

TONY DOWN

LIONS AND LAMBS

 

As we roll into March time to recall proverbs from English folklore and remember “In like a Lion out like a Lamb” or, vice versa, and up here at 7000′ in deepest Colorado the proverb is usually very much the vice versa variety.

Not been up there yet, but hopefully COMING SOON !

More often than not, and this year would seem to be no exception, the weather warms up, as it has this week, and then we are treated to “Bluebird Skiing Days” and warm 60+ spring like conditions through most of the month before a final snowstorm DUMP at the end of the calendar, usually in the last days of Spring Break.

Central Ave Dolores after a late March dump!!

A few “Lamb” days to start off the month and after being sidelined with cold and miserable conditions, not forgetting the bitter cold wind, I did manage to push on for a few more miles around the Equator.

How true !

So today, Sunday March 4th, we had a “forecast” Lion day and it really didn’t look that bad so I got a few more miles in although the wind was supposed to be gusting 35-50 mph. While I was out the cloud rolled in and it got colder and colder and of course the wind picked up.

Shortly after I got home the blizzard started and lasted a couple of hours and the temp shot down from 40 to 25F. Now early evening, temp down to 20F and the snow is settling. Score for the first 4 days of the month………..

3 Lambs, 1 Lion

Lets see what next week brings.

Monday, very much a “Lion” day, bitterly cold, with a nasty vicious blustery wind which nearly had me in hypothermia ….. and after 11.38 the body said this is ridiculous and we have had enough. It was so cold and windy it was blowing up my frock!

 

Tues-Thurs, 3 Lamb like days, still a bit of wind, but warm enough to get another 52 miles along the Equator without freezing  to the bars or pedals.

Friday and still windy but much warmer and the wind doesn’t feel as cold as it has been. Day off for me so a good lie in this morning then out there for a two part effort knocking up a pleasurable  39.32 on my giant circle ride of the Globe.

Still windy but doesn’t feel as cold

Saturday, a bit of a Northeasterly but I’m off to my 8 mile turn round point and well pleased with the ride until the last 3 miles where the wind hit me smack in the face. Never mind I make another 21.90 on the quest. The yearly total now stands at 605.41 so I’m 3 weeks ahead of last year’s tally but of course the weather could still shut me down at any time!

After the first 10 days of March the score is now Lambs 7 Lions 3 and on the Pool front a 1st at 9 ball and 3rd yesterday at 8 ball.

Sunday, clocks changed. Weather overcast with a threat of rain and not exactly warm at 38F. Don’t be a wimp!! Get out there and do something!

I did, despite being so cold and only 4 “lambish” days the week ground on and the yearly total climbed up to 707.65 in less than truly pleasant conditions. However, another 3rd place in 8 ball to wrap up the week.

Ides of March, gone, St Patrick’s Day, gone ……. and now another Lion rolls in with at least 4″ which is already on the rail!! ……… there will be NO CYCLING for the next couple of days but temps will be back up in the 50’s by mid week.

Final score Lambs going well with 2 weeks left

TONY DOWN

 

WHEN WILL THIS END ?

A very dismal week on the weather front, freezing cold, snow every day and bitter cold single digit nights …… all combined with that knife edged wind! Friday finishes up the working week with a little “sting in the tail” snowstorm for the last school run and the drive home.

What fun !

Homeward bound

Saturday morning, storm gone, bright and sunny, but only 15F. Should be back in the 40’s next week so maybe I can get going again on my Equator Quest. Another snow shower overnight and only 8F this morning, and of course the “nice” wind is still here although it is bright and sunny.

Time to get the wood stocked up as more snow is forecast for tonight and I won’t feel like swinging the axe after pool this afternoon.

At the ready

Something about a real log fire

I think not !

Tempting thoughts of a ride as temps crest 32F but as I pick up a load of fallen branches from the last 50 mph winds but then a couple of severe mind numbing gusts brings me back to reality.

Conversion sets for the NEW road bike shoes

Time to fit all the cleats to my new cycling shoes as its officially an inside day.

Mucho bling Gaernes

Works well and both sets fitted but as yet untried due to this windy cold weather.

Looks good

Thank goodness I had a better than average education!!

I recently bought a bicycle chain cleaning tool and eventually it arrived from China ! …….. along with the easy to follow instructions!

The pedals are waiting

 

TONY DOWN

 

ALL AHEAD STOP !

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ALL Ahead STOP

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So it starts snowing while we are playing pool on Saturday and here we are on Tuesday and the storm is still with us and looks like staying until Thursday …… so zero chance of getting the bike out or making any progress “Around the World”

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Here I am on Thursday, and the weather is still miserable with showers, melting snow, and a crisp cold wind …… not my kind of cycling conditions! Maybe tomorrow.

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Friday then, bloody cold, and its lunchtime and just made 30F so not a cycling day for me. Saturday, will I get a ride in at all this week?? Looks nice outside at the moment (0830) but the temp is only 13F. They say its going up to 47F so I’ll start thinking RIDE…… it all comes together, windy, so it feels colder than the 44F on the Bank’s sign but I struggle on and crack 20.13 before the afternoon pool where I manage 4th.

The weather once again has the upper hand, windy and then a lot of snow over the next few days and temps as low as 3F and not even reaching freezing as the daily high. A Sunday “hard effort” in high winds but 24.50 goes in the books creeps me up to 395.86 for this year.

Monday morning, President’s Day, and so far none of the forecast “doom & gloom” has arrived. At the moment still dark (0600) but temp at 32F, no overnight snow, and the severe wind is currently calm.

I venture out as wife looks on in disbelief ……… battle my way down to the school and get pelted by the first shower of hail …… up ahead its BLACK!  ….. VERY BLACK!!! …… the wind picks up and I realize  the futility of the mission and return chez moi !

I only need a mere 4 miles + to break 400 and ready myself to hit 500 by the end of the month if this weather will play ball. Maybe I’ll try again later if there is a break in the weather but the 55mph winds do nothing to encourage my enthusiasm. I know its madness even crazy some would say but I WANT that 400! Right now its as windy as hell and just started snowing again!!

TONY DOWN

19,000 TO GO

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What is this you ask?

No this isn’t another massive Chinese Take Away order, but the New overall target for my lifetime. Over the past two years, and following the awful bout of pneumonia and the pronouncement of the not unexpected Stage 3 COPD I’m moving on !

Stopping smoking, a year on nighttime oxygen, and a remarkable recovery to COPD Stage 1, I think I can say the persistence of cycling at 7000′ has paid off.

w2

Trolling through E-Bay I came across a rather nice wind stopper cycling jacket by Castelli with an appropriate logo, front and back, and that spurred on this article after assessing all the feasibilities of whether a non cyclist in his 70’s could achieve the following mission.

w1

Google informs me that the circumference of the Earth at the Equator is 24,902 miles so there will be a fair bit of pedaling to achieve this feat.

When I look at the distance I have already knocked up in the last 2 years, 5634, and subtract it from the 24,902 I’m down to 19,268 and I’ve already cycled 351 miles of this year’s goal of 4000 ….. looks like about 5 years to get “that” bottle of champers!!

This morning’s ride was bloody cold and seemed to get colder the further I went but I hit the desired 14.39 in the time available before our weekly pool adventure and once again Brenda got in the money with a fine 3rd place. I played well and got nowhere!!!

I have also found another couple of cycling items that could easily be with me in the near future.

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Nice World Team shirt by Reebok

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Matching shorts from a different seller

Returning from the morning run I could hardly speak as my lips would not work! The following caption says it all…….

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22089657_318880595244370_5512503566856770935_n beer

…… and some pool too

While we were at pool it snowed like crazy but at least my new bling shoes arrived

gaerne1

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Just hope they fit.

TONY DOWN

FEBRUARY YOU SAY ?

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Superbowl Sunday and things not going too well for my team so time to reflect over the rest of the weekend.

Saturday and while the weather holds its current trend of high 40’s I push on and get those miles in the book. 14.87 takes me up to 243.65 for the year and a quick “steal” on a pair of cycling shoes puts me in the mood for a fine 2nd place in the pool competition.

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Good steal on the Gaernes

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Good 2nd place at last!

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Sunday and I had visions of a two part ride with the hopes of close to thirty miles but it got so windy that I gave up at 17.74, came inside and sat down by the TV for the football.

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Oooops  …… or words to that effect

Monday my next pair of cycling shoes arrive and they fit! Mileage continues to rise and the total is now 278.67

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Tuesday and 0430 arrives along with a dusting of snow on the balcony rail. 0445 and its snowing “Resort Snow” in huge lumps …. ….. 0515 and the car is covered as are the roads!!

Home again and the sun is up and everything is melting. Will it dry up in time for a few miles? We will see. Up the road at our local resort, Telluride, 12″ in 12 hours so they are happy. Down here the temps just crest 35F and I take a very unwise 7.80 in the cold and wind.

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Hoping to get up to Telluride on Feb 19th, my next day off

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Here’s the “Real Deal”

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Just seen a beautiful bike at a ridiculous low price, could be a scam but I’ll watch with interest! Currently 2 bids, and only $404 with No reserve!

Friday morning, cold and bright but forecast to get up to 54F this afternoon. The bike I’m looking at has risen to $419 with 10 hours to go. Hoping to make 350 miles by the weekend although 70% chance of snow so riding may not happen!

The year’s target of 4000 still holds and a NEW overall mission will be to circle the globe around the Equator, a distance of 24,902 miles, and see if this can be achieved in my lifetime or if it kills me in the process.

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Another 4 years to go ?

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I think I can !

Currently  my totals are: 2016  = 2032,  2017 = 3602

So, only about 19,000 to go!!!

 

TONY DOWN

COLD AND COLDER

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Winter grinds on with very cold temps overnight but not too much of the white stuff! What we have had has mostly melted, apart from a few icy patches under big fir trees to catch out the intrepid cyclist on slick tires. Providing I can brave the cold in all my new thermals and keep the enthusiasm button lit, then I could bang in a few miles in the coming month.

POC

Right now I’m trying for my first target of 200 miles for January and the day starts on 128 so I would like to be over the 150 hurdle by close of play.

Its a cold Sunday, but he forges on and hits a very chilly 23.66 taking the year’s total to 151.81   …….. now, as they say “cold overnight and about 45-50F by day” it would seem likely that if I can stick with it I could make 200 by the 31st. Despite headwinds and the cold I make it to 202.08 for the month and that is all on the positive side as I didn’t push the bike out of the front door until February last year.

On the “Good News” personal front I’m hoping one of my new pairs of cycling shoes will arrive at lunchtime ….. and I have my fingers crossed that I can get my club feet into them.

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WE live in hope!

If they fit then I’ll put some cleat adapters on and stick with my MTB pedals. They arrived, and they FIT !! so now I’ll order the other pair I like from the same manufacturer.

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I love the look of these

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Good walking sole

These are MTB shoes and of course I’m hoping for another good fit here and if this all goes well then I’ll order a pair of Gaernes that are pretty with lots of bling.

Meanwhile as they are reviewing my best offer I’ll carry on for this weekend’s target of 250 by Sunday. Very cool bordering on bloody cold with a vicious bone marrow sapping wind! Only going for a top up 12 miles this morning. Firewood in at the ready for Superbowl and some serious snacks and beer swilling!

They accept my best offer, $20 under their “buy it now” so they will join my footwear collection which now has 3 new pairs for the same cost as the Sidis that didn’t fit!!

gae

gaerne1

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The Gaerne  shoe coming from Puerto Rico with all the bling

I also have a cheapo helmet with visor coming from China not that my other helmets don’t fit.

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Might be good

I was planning for a before & after ride but the first one started well in zero wind conditions but then went downhill in a heartbeat! By the time I had knocked up 17.74 pre lunch the wind was getting beyond a joke and unless it abates bigtime I’ll be couch spudding   for the Superbowl

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

CYCLING WITH BIGFOOT

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The Maple Tree decs all boxed up

With the Christmas decorations all in their boxes, and NO garden work in the imminent future, time to look at Cycling once more. First up I want a NEW pair of cycling shoes to take over from my 18 year old pair of Sidis.

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Need bigger shoes!!

I ordered what I thought would be the perfect pair but on arrival they were too tight in the toe box area and had to be returned.

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Great shoes, but tight in the toe box

Sidi has always been my favorite option for cycling and motorcycling going all the way back to the early 70’s riding the Scottish Six Days Trial. I still have 2 pairs for trials in the workshop, and another 2 pairs for road motorcycling, and of course my current cycling pair, which were a good fit from the gitgo.

Seems I now need a pair in size MEGA and of course these can be hard to find unless you like Black!! After 30 years in the RAF black shoes have been on my feet enough and for cycling something a bit more colorful is my No1 choice. Blue/White is a good choice to go with the Roubaix, but any combo would be OK even with a splash of black . Here are some I like but of course most of them are not in the “mega” size.

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These are in my size and Mega! …. but they are overpriced and only take the expensive Speedplay Pedals

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Same shoe but not available in Mega!

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So far I haven’t seen this one in Mega

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Haven’t seen this one at all !

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Serious bling but not seen anywhere

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These are available in my size and mega

Never mind I’ll just keep looking and maybe I’ll get lucky with a last of the line close out deal.

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In the meantime the 2018 Target is 4000 miles @7000′ and despite the cold, 121 miles has been knocked off the total in last luster January conditions. This weekend the cold and snow is back!

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Serious snow and bloody cold!!

This morning 4″ on the rail, strong winds, and a high of 18F as we get to lunchtime …….. even worse tonight at 12F. The forecast 12 was 1F when I went out for my Monday morning drive and it never made freezing all day.

TONY DOWN