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July – Bikes, Running, and a Puppy!

Posted Aug 04 2009 7:38pm

Running -

You know, I am feeling better.  Is the Plantar Fasciitis gone? No.  I still feel it.  It is getting better.

I’m feeling so good, I’m running more!  In July, I ran a total of 18.4 miles.  That is an improvement of 12.3 miles over June.  I just have to watch myself.  I ran a 5k distance 2 days in a row.  I was sore and uncomfortable for a couple of days.  I’ll work on that!

Running is going so well, I am trying GPS Writing.  I use a Garmin sport watch to track my bicycling, running, Jeeping, or any other recreational activities. I use SportTracks to download the watch’s data.  The software will write the GPS track on a map.  So, why not use the map to spell out words or for a runner to become a large canvas running artist.  This is an example of a quick exercise in writing.  The map on the left is the entire run, the map on the right is my attempt at “HI.”

  07312009-1 map      07312009-2

Biking -

The biking has been a Godsend.  Without it I would have been lost.  I am so glad that I could still exercise!  In July, I rode 381.9 miles with an average speed of 14 MPH.  That, too, is an improvement of 115.1 miles over June.  The average speed for June was 13.1 MPH.  Why the difference?  It might be the new bike.

I bought a Motobecane fantom (Cross) cx from BikesDirect.com.  Here is the review:

B Side 08022009

B Front 08022009

You have to be prepared when this bike arrives.  It is shipped in a single box. Everything is padded.  The front fork, tire, headset and handle bars need to be assembled.  The cross tires are 700c and need to be filled. This not my first bicycle.  I have had many  bikes.  I’ve customized one or two.  So, I have the tools.  But I also have a good friend.  So, Tom did the initial assembly for me.  After the sizing and a ride or two, the bike was ready to ride.  I did change the pedal clips out for some mountain bike clipless pedals I already had.  The back derailer needed a slight adjustment and this thing was ready.  Total setup time? About an hour.

What is the Cross? It enables the bike to be ridden in more venues.  So, knobs on the tires along with a fairly flat bottom ridge in the center and they  are 700c fairly thin tires. It has brakes on the handle bar in the same relative area of a mountain bike, and in the usual location for a road bike. It is an aluminum frame with a chrome-molybdenum front fork and cro-mo rails on the seat.  These are used to condition the ride. The bike is also fairly light for portage should you need to.

I ride on streets and all kinds of trails (everything from dirt to gravel to cement and asphalt). My first impression is that I really like these tires. They work well in all of the environments. One of my favorite trails is the Highline Canal trail.  It meanders throughout the southwest Denver area. It is a gravel surface trail. I was using my mountain bike with road slicks on it. I sometimes feared the corners. I had to take them upright on the bike and generally braking before and during the turn on the loose gravel.  These tires fixed that!

The seat is a racing seat.  There isn’t much to it. Do not expect to find great comfort in it.  I have a feeling (mentally and physically) that a lot of people switch them out.  I haven’t yet.  The padding in my biking shorts compensate enough to tolerate it.  It is an uncomfortable seat.  Keep that in mind if you are interested in the bike.

On one of the long weekend rides,I took it on a mountain bike single track.  It was thin with loose fine dirt and, at times, rocks.  The bike did great!  It was fun to ride and shifting was simple and responsive.  The only area I could not ride was a sharp incline that had embedded rocks about halfway up.  I think that is just some necessary trail experience.  I think that if I tried it a few times then it would have come natural. We had to port the bikes across the river at one point.  The river bed was cobblestones.  The river was also fairly deep. There was no choice.  Off the bike, lift it up and carry it across.  The bike is light. I think it is 23 pounds. Simple to lift and carry. That was good, too, as I had to keep my eyes on my feet to keep my footing.

It is an 18 speed bike. On my mountain bike, I was using a 27 speed. I had been using the mountain bike as a single speed with it geared all the way up. I do find that I go through most of the large chain ring gears on every day rides, but for some climbs I do need to go through all of the new bike’s gears.  I found myself wishing for some additional gears to down to!  On the other hand, where I point this bike it does go.  Climbs take more time and energy, but I get there! 

I have had the bike since July 21 st.  I have ridden 170 miles.

Charlie on bike 08012009

On the new bike at Chatfield Reservoir (a Colorado State Park).

Biking Map 08022009

I am compiling a map of bicycle paths within range of my house. To give you an idea of the size, the distance of the trails that run north to south is 22 miles.

Puppies! -

Sami is getting big.  She is growing up!

Sami 1Sami 2

These are pictures from a recent jeep trip on the Jenny Creek trail. She does enjoy the back country!

Took Sami to a water dog park this weekend.  The girl is a Labrador retriever that didn’t like water.  She has webbed feet and a slightly oily coat but did not like water!  So, take her to a dog park! 

Chatfield  Pano 08012009

Chatfield is a Colorado State Park.  In addition to offering the usual recreational opportunities for a water area, it also offers an off leash dog park.  This dog park also offers water for the dogs to play or train in.

Dog park 08022009      Sami Tom 08022009

Tom, Sami and I all went together for this one.  We parked in the open space side of I-470 and walked in.  In addition to being cheap, I figured that the additional walk would calm her down. But she is a puppy, and she maintained a high degree of non-disciplined out-of-control puppieness!

Dog parks are wonderful places.  Most of the dogs and their masters are friendly and gregarious. Sami was let loose. She is a socialized dog. People and dogs welcomed her.  We got some help in interesting her in the water.  Sami ran out in the water after a ball and lost her footing from the bottom of the lake. It shocked her but the paws went up and she dog paddled back in.  She ran out of the water.  She didn’t stay out for long.

Before today, she had been in water to where it barely touched her belly.  Today changed all that!  She was very adventurous and got braver as the day went on.  Tom went into the water with her so she would feel comfortable.  I think that he went out into the water with her to experience a special moment in the dog’s life!

Doesn’t matter, though, as everyone had a lot of fun!

 

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