Riding for a Reason

Changing the world, one mile at a time

From chilly mornings to mid-summer temps!

Man what a week it’s been. Last week I wasn’t able to ride to work at all because there was a decent chance of storms every day! That made for a pretty depressing week as far as cycling goes. Hopefully this week I will rebound a bit though.

Wednesday of last week I took advantage of a nice evening and took an 18 mile ride at race pace. I wanted to see about how long it took me to go the race distance for the Door Country Triathlon coming up. I did the Puetz route the connects with the Oak Leaf Trail in Franklin. I took that to Whitnal Park and back. A few stops here and there which is expected crossing traffic and sharing the path with walkers and casual riders. It took me an 1:07 so not too bad overall. Although I did realize it’s going to be a little interesting trying to meet my Triathlon goal of a 15 minute improvement in my time. The Whitewater bike portion was 13.7 miles compared with the 18 mile ride for the Door County race. At about 4 minutes per mile, that will probably be an extra 16 minutes right there, on top of swimming in open water instead of a pool. But I should have much shorter transition time and will probably shave off 5 minutes from swimming to biking alone. I just don’t want to finish last in my age group this time. :o) Continue reading


June 23, 2009 Posted by | Cycling | | Leave a comment

Bike to Work Week

Well it wasn’t exactly seasonal weather for bike to work week last week, but at least Thursday and Friday were dry and a little on the warmer side. It was starting to feel like it was really never going to warm up.

Thursday I got a couple of great rides in. I was a little sore from running Tuesday and Wednesday, but as soon as I go on the bike I got through it. The part of the ride the sucked was the strong head wind the ENTIRE way in to work on Thursday. My only hope was that that wind stayed and aided me on my way home Thursday night. I passed up the free coffee station this time since it was a little before 7 and it wasn’t suppose to start before 7. My plan was to stop on the way to work on Friday since I didn’t have to be there until 8am. The ride home was the best that I’ve had yet! The head wind became a tail wind for my ride home and I made it in 1:05. This was a 15 minute inprovement from my average since the way home is more incline than decline. On top of that I finally got over 30 mph. I topped out at 33.9 mph over a short stretch. It was a pretty awesome feeling on the bike.

Friday was another half day for me which makes for a pretty relaxing afternoon ride home. I wasn’t in a rush so I didn’t push it too hard. I made average time and sported the short sleeves for the first time this summer. Although when I got home I crashed after lunch for about an hour and a half. I was exhausted from the combination of exercise and lack of sleep.

Sunday Katie and I went out for a ride. It was her first ride on her new road/hybrid bike. We took the Oak Leaf Trail from the Milwaukee County Sports Complex down to Whitnal Park and back. A nice flat trail that is smooth and pretty fast. It was a total of 10 miles in about an hour. Beautiful day for a ride though!

Total last week I biked 74 miles bringing my YTD total to 248.55 Miles or 49.7% of my goal! I might have to try and stretch that goal soon!

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Cycling | , | Leave a comment

Little more exploring to and from work with a new speed record!

Last Thursday was probably the coldest bike ride that I’ve ever been on. Since I’m working summer hours now I start work at about 7am. I aimed to leave the house shortly after 5am. When I woke up, I looked at the temperature to find that it was a sizzling 42 degrees out. I decided to wait a couple minutes for the sun to come up a little and warm things up. At about 5:30 I left the house and decided to grab a light coat to go over my usual cycling gear. About a mile into the ride I was starting to think that maybe I was a little crazy. I mean afterall, I could see all the frost on the grass as I rode by. My ears were freezing and the tips of my fingers were beginning to get number where my biking gloves did not cover them. I decided to ride down to Chicago Ave and if I still couldn’t bare it, I would turn back and drive my car into work.

Once I got to that point I was finally starting to hit a groove. I was warming up a bit and the sun was starting to come out. One of the coolest things I’ve seen so far in my biking adventures happened on this trip. As I was cranking through the bike path, I came around a corner only to find a decent size doe hanging out on the bike path. I slowed down almost to a complete stop as we stared at each other. I started to weigh my options. I could turn around and go back to Lake Dr. and come around, but that probably would have taken an extra 30 minutes since I was pretty deep into the bike path. I decided to just go all the way to the left and hopefully the deer wouldn’t mind. She kind of hopped off into the grass so we were both in the clear. What a beautiful and breathe taking sight though! It’s pretty amazing how close you can get to wildlife when you’re on foot or on a bike.

This time when I got to St Francis I veered right to stay on the bike path where last time I went out to Lake Dr. This ended up being an awesome descent right along the lakeside with the sun shining over the lake. The view definitely overshadowed the fact that there were several occasions where I was holding my breathe so I didn’t inhale any knats. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the ride now. Not to mention the fact that I’m pretty jealous of the people that live in the new condos right there on the lake. Their pool is even lakeside!

Another thing that I noticed was that a lot of people have very consistant workedout routines in the morning. I’m starting to see some of the same people at the same spots in my ride. Being a people watcher in general, this kind of intrigues me.

The way home was a pretty good ride and definitely much warmer. I can start to feel it in my lower back as I’m closing in on the last 3 miles of my rides heading back south. There is definitely much more of an incline coming home than going to work. Which I think I’d rather have it that way since in the morning I’m still kind of waking up on my ride in.

Friday’s ride turned out to be a beautiful day. It was a little chilly in the morning so I wore my jacket part of the way until I got warmed up. On the way to work I reached a new personal best for speed. There’s a great hill that I usually try to top out at. This time I hit 27.4 mph! My next goal is to hit 30 mph, but I might have to do it on a longer hill with better pavement. At work, it was my first half day of the summer, but I’m going to try and ride every Friday as long as the weather’s nice, becuase I don’t have to rush back after work. On the way home it was in the mid 70’s. Unfortunately I forgot to pack my short sleeved under armour, so I was stuck with my black long sleeve shirt. After the ride I realized just how much sun I can get on a bike ride since I had a big tan line between where my gloves ended and my sleeves started! Anyway, I met up with my friend Erika who had just moved to Milwaukee from Madison. She lives in Bay View, so we met up for lunch and then I showed her the bike paths along the lake. I also showed her Grant Park and we found where the beach is. The water is never really warm enough in the summer that you can be comfortable swimming in it, but it’s still a pretty decent beach. We ventured around about 4 miles more than my usual commute home, but it was a perfect day for it.

With my usual 33 mile round trip and the additional 4 miles, I biked for 70 miles on Thursday and Friday. That brings my YTD total to 174.55 miles or 34.9% of my goal! I should reach this in no time! My next ride I will officially have put more miles on my bike than the original owner. And I’ve only had the bike about 2 months! Woohoo!

The next 3 days should be a pretty good challenge. I’m biking to work the next two days (tomorrow there is a 30% chance of rain in the morning), then Saturday I’m getting a group of people together to ride north along the lake for about 20 miles. Looking at about 90 miles in the next 3 days. :o)

June 10, 2009 Posted by | Cycling | , | Leave a comment

Work Commute i.e. Lakefront North to Milwaukee

Friday was my first official trip to work in my summer goal of biking to work at least once a week. It was the best way I could justify getting my new bike last month. The weather was a little cool, probably around 59 degrees, but nothing some underarmour and a little exercise couldn’t handle.

I left the house a little after 5:30 am, which that in itself is quite an achievement! I took the Oak Leaf Parkway to Old Ryan Rd about 4 miles east past Chiago Ave to 5th Avenue. I headed North on 5th pretty much until Grant Park (5th Ave curves into Michigan St and then you take a right to get onto Lake Dr). I took Lake Dr most of the way and cut over onto a bike path at about Warnemont Park. It was a perfect day for a ride with no clouds in the sky and riding right along the lake. I hit a little construction right on the north end of Cudahy so I had to take about a block detour, but no big deal. In general the bike path as I got a little further north was a little more beaten up from many winters. It was a little bumpy on the road bike, but still better than dealing with auto traffic. Once I got to Oklahoma Ave, I went west towards KK Ave. I turned north onto KK to take that the rest of the way into the city. To my enjoyment, there is a bike lane in Bay View! So I was pretty excited about that and it made navigating between parked cars and passing cars much easier. Plus the Bay View area is pretty scenic with a lot of history, so that was a lot of fun. I rolled into work in about an hour and ten minutes!

I left work at about 4pm to head back and miss a little bit of traffic. Bay View was a little slow with the increase in traffic from when I first rolled through before 7am. Once I got back to the lake I took the bike path pretty much all the way until it ends at the southern tip of Grant Park. There were a lot more winding parts of the path than I caught on the way in, so that was fun when I had an open path and a little bit of a pain when there was some traffic.

I definitely enjoyed this trip and look forward to doing it many more times. The total mileage round trip was 34.4 miles! YTD total is at 104.55 miles or 20.9% of my goal.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Cycling | | Leave a comment