August 2007

Cookies and Bread

Whipped up a batch-and-a-half of Sugar Cookies and a batch of Polish Sweet Bread.

After that, I was too tired to ride my bicycle today.

PA border signs

I got up early to run out to buy bagels and the morning air had a definite feel and scent of autumn. I ate a large breakfast—bagel, 2 eggs, bacon, and toast—so I would hopefully have enough energy for a ride to Montrose, PA and back. The route I planned would be about 53 miles round trip.

It was a cool 55° and breezy when I left around 8:30 am. I knew getting into PA would be a bear; much of the ride from home to the PA border would be climbing nearly 1000 feet. Some of that was on a State Line Road, a road I had never been on before, so I was not too sure of the road’s grade. Knowing that I had a long ride ahead, I did not push myself up the hills to the border. At the top of State Line, I was still feeling good. I paused to snap the photo above, then had to figure out if I was on PA 167 or not. I saw someone getting into the truck just beyond the "Welcome to Pennsylvania" sign and they confirmed I was on PA 167. PA 167 would take me the rest of the way into Montrose.

Well, that hick steered me wrong. It turns out I was on route 4006, which dropped me almost 700 feet onto PA 267. I knew there was a way to get to Montrose via 267 and some backroads, but I also knew 267 had crappy shoulders and a lot more traffic than 167. I called H and got directions back to 167 via Quaker Lake Road (4002). I found my way back to 167, but not after adding about 2.5 miles and, more importantly, 700 feet of climbing to the day’s ride.

PA 167, like 267, had no shoulder. But with very little traffic, I never felt threatened. Every vehicle that passed me gave me plenty of clearance.

From looking at elevation profiles, I was expecting some gentle rolling hills. But the climbing on PA 167 was a lot steeper than it looked on those profiles. I was hoping to see Montrose at the top of each climb. The further I got, the more I doubted that I’d want to pedal back.

Once I made it to Montrose, I found a nice stopping point overlooking the Montrose Club and Lake Montrose and called for my second rescue from H in as many days.

Riding in a car or van, I have a tendency to underestimate the grade and difficulty of hills. I was glad I did not try to ride the bike back to Endicott because even from the van, the hills seemed difficult. On top of the hills, there would have been a 15-20 mph chilly breeze out of the north in my face the whole way back.

[View Route]

Here’s one last post to finally catch up on all the posts I didn’t make starting with my vacation back in July. I did not drink these all in a week. In fact, it looks like my last wine review was posted on June 18, so it took just about two months to finish these off, and H helped a little.


Glenora, Cabernet Sauvignon (2004) – (RS)2 rating: 1. (Not shown)

Dr, Kontantin Frank, Dry Riesling (2006) – (RS)2 rating: 3. (Not shown)

Bully Hill, Equinox Blush(RS)2 rating: 3.

Salmon Run, Pinot Noir(RS)2 rating: 1.

Wagner, Cabernet Franc(RS)2 rating: 1.

Lakewood Vineyards, Pinot Noir (2002) – (RS)2 rating: 2.

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon(RS)2 rating: 1.

Bottles shown on our new kitchen island!

I put a new tire on the rear before last weekend’s rides. The old tire was getting worn flat spot around the circumference of the tire. The guys at the bicycle shop urged me to replace the tire, as being worn it is more susceptible to getting a flat.

I rode the bike to work just two days this week on Monday and Tuesday. After riding home for lunch on Tuesday and eating, I went out to ride back to work and the rear tire was flat. Here I was, pushing the old, worn tire for many miles with no flats despite warnings from the experts, and after just 40 miles or so on the new tire, I get a flat.

I did not get a chance to fix it until Thursday evening. When I took the tube out, I did not see or feel any leak, and even though I had read many times on various cycling sites,"flat tires do not fix themselves," I put that tube back in. The tube and tire were fine for a 21-mile ride out to Apalachin, returning via Vestal. [View Route]

This morning the tire was flat again, so after work I replaced the tube. I did another visual check of the tire and did not see anything amiss. I took another look at the old tube and I did find a small hole. I really want to get this tire fixed; I’ve been thinking about taking a long, 50+ mile ride (roundtrip) to Montrose, PA. I’d rather not do it with a questionable tire!

I set out with the new tube on my 16-mile ride out NY 17C and returning via NY 434. Well, a little more than halfway, the tire started getting really low. I called H for a rescue, since at this point I was thinking that there was something wrong with the tire and I didn’t want to ruin another tube.

When I got home, I checked the new tube and found a hole. I checked the old one and both holes were in just about the same spot. Looking more closely at the tire and rim, I found what looks like a flaw in the tire. It appear that the steel bead core in the tire is sticking out into the interior of the tire and puncturing the tube. I called the bike shop, but they had closed 10 minutes before I called.

I cleaned the bike and put the old tire back on with a new tube. Unless that tire is flat in the morning, I still plan on taking that long ride to Montrose. I’ll take the new tire to the bike shop later in the day and will hopefully get a new one in exchange.

It was a low-mileage week: commute to work only two days (for grand total of about 6 miles), Thursday’s 21 mile ride, and today’s 10 mile aborted ride. The flat tire was not my only excuse: H and I were working on painting and assembling the last major piece of our mini-kitchen remodel, an island for the center of the kitchen. We had a pedastal cabinet and countertop special ordered. The cabinet was unfinshed; we thought it would be too hard to try to match the finish and style with our existing cabinets. We had to paint, drill holes for the hardware (drawer and door pulls), and attach the countertop an toe-kick to the cabinet. How’s it look?

New Kitchen Island

I’m still catching up after my vacation blogging hiatus.


H and I drove up into the Adirondack Park again, this time to pick up Things One and Two from camp. We missed them; Thing One was there for four weeks and Thing Two for two weeks. Even though it’s a long drive, we love heading up into the ‘Daks.

Happy Sweet 16th to Thing One (26 July)! We had dinner, cake, and presents at home on her actual birthday. H’s Mom, Dad, and Brother joined us for that party. We had yummy chicken spiedies off the grill and Thing One baked her own cake, a Snickerdoodle cake from The Cake Mix Doctor book.

Three Cakes

We had a second party up in Remsen, NY at my Sister C and Brother-in-Law B’s house. Another barbeque; hamburgers, hot dogs, and kielbasa dogs off the grill. Big thanks to C & B for providing the food and drinks; that made it a lot easier for us to travel up to Remsen. All we had to bring was the cakes. (Clockwise from the top: Fresh Orange cake, Snickerdoodle cake, and Devilishly Good Chocolate cake, all from The Cake Mix Doctor book.

This party was huge! Besides the four of us: my Dad, Brother T, Sister B, Bro-in-Law B, Sister L, Bro-in-Law F, Niece S, hubby M, and grand-nephews J and E, Nephew B, wife K, and grand-niece M, Nephew J and g.f. E, and Niece H! Niece J showed up as we were heading out.

Happy 33rd Anniversary to Sister and Bro-in-Law C and B (3 August)!

I’ve mentioned before that after a ride, I plot the route via Toporoute route planner, then export the GPX then import it into Bikely. (You can see all of my Bikely routes here.) I also maintain a basic training log in a Google spreadsheet.

The Toporoute route planner makes plotting routes easy; the route follows roadways, unlike many other bicycling/running/walking sites. Toporoute also has nicer elevation profiles than Bikely. Toporoute, however, does not have great route-sharing capabilities. That’s where Bikely fits into the picture.

I recently came across the Map My Ride and have started playing around with the site’s features. Right now, I have just one ride logged on the site. You can see my profile and rides here. It has some benefits over my old Toporoute + Bikely method of plotting and logging routes. Map My Ride can follow roads, has elevation profiles, and in addition, has a training log. I may be switching to Map My Ride soon.

One bug with Map My Ride is their calculation for ascent and descent totals for a ride. In an effort to filter out noise in elevation data, it appears they’ve filtered out too much data. For example, in my ride across the PA border, the elevation data shows a maximum and minimum elevation 1030 and 818 feet. However, the calculated total ascent only 208 feet! It has to be at least 212 feet, and with the gentle rollers on the route, it should be quite a bit higher.

At least they acknowledge that their calculations may be a bit off and appear to be still open to tweaking their algorithms.

What do you use for plotting routes and logging training activities?

After yesterday’s tough ride, I needed an easy day. I put in decent miles—just over 30—but it was on gentle slopes. I got a early start today; 7:30AM while there was still a little fog in the area.

Today’s ride took me south on Pennsylvania Avenue in Apalachin to just over the PA border. That’s the first time I’ve ridden in another state. Pennsylvania Ave rises gently; just a little more than 200 feet over the 6 miles from NY434 to the PA border. That’s a lot easier than the hill I tried riding up yesterday. [View Route]

Pennsylvania Ave has a smallish shoulder, but with very little traffic on an early Sunday morning, I never felt uncomfortable. It was interesting to see the should totally disappear once I hit the PA border. I was heading out into a more rural area, but it still surprised me. Is all of PA this bike-unfriendly?

Also, mowed the lawn and trimmed the bushes. We got some rain a couple days last week; the grass is starting to look green again. The river in Vestal is up over 4 feet for the first time in quite a while.

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