Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Randy's Ramble "Roads To The West" - June 28, 2010 LifeTrek.Eroe.com

Randy Rasa, my partner in the Kansas Cyclist Podcast and I got together for a ride out to explore some of the historical places along what were the California, Oregon, and Santa Fe Trails which are very prevalent in this area of Kansas.  We had a beautiful sunny Monday afternoon, low humidity, and temperatures in the mid 80's which was a welcome change from the hot and sticky conditions that we had over the weekend.

Kansas City was the starting point for many who journeyed west by covered wagon in the 1800's and as can be seen from the picture to the left there were many branches to the trails until they pretty much ran together from the Lone Elm Campground to Gardner Junction.

Randy lives in Olathe so we met at the Lone Elm Park which is the site of the Lone Elm Campground.  The campground was one of the most famous frontier trail campsites and rendezvous points. In the almost four decades of its use starting in 1821, thousands of Santa Fe traders, Oregon and California emigrants, mountain men, missionaries, soldiers and ‘49ers passed through or camped at Lone Elm, including such frontier notables as William Becknell, John Fremont, the Donner-Reed party, Kit Carson and Francis Parkman.

Along with traders and emigrants who camped at Lone Elm on the first or second night out of Independence or Westport, Missouri, the Mexican War in 1846 brought the frontier military through Lone Elm.  Several of these soldiers and also ‘49ers who succumbed to cholera are buried at Lone Elm.

Today there is a 160 acre community park which was dedicated in 2004.  The park features many modern amenities but is unique for its history, native trees, and native prairie that are maintained by park staff.  During construction of the ball fields, several artifacts were discovered that dated to pioneer travelers.  The park offers visitors a quiet walking trail that winds through forests and prairie lands and past three original water wells.  The wagon swale can still be seen at one point along the trail where it crossed the creek.  It is a great place to bring the kids and reminisce on the past or participate in other outdoor activities.

From the Campground we rode over to Garner Junction which is located just west of Gardner, Kansas.  Built adjacent to the site where the Santa Fe National Historic Trail splits off from the Oregon and California National Historic Trails, this park commemorates the site where perhaps as many as 500,000 traders, trappers, missionaries, land seekers, gold rushers, and others passed through on their way to create what would become the American West during the 19th century. This is also near the site where the Westport and Independence Routes of the Santa Fe-Oregon-California National Historic Trails come together, making the Gardner Junction a very unique site in American history.

I was a bit underwhelmed at the site since Randy had talked about it several times before and we also got caught by a train for nearly 20 minutes on the way to the site.  After spending some time reading the plagues and imagining what it was like with covered wagons moving through I highly recommend a visit to the site!  The park is called the Gardner Junction Park and you can get more information at this link.

Randy and I took a couple of pictures then we were on our way to Edgerton, Kansas for a SAG stop at one of the convenience stores.  Our ride took us back up through Gardner, Kansas and then over 159th Street where we split at Lone Elm Road back to our respective houses.

I always enjoy riding with Randy as he knows the area so well and through the Kansas Cyclist website knows of all the trails and sites in Eastern Kansas and beyond.  Someday I will need to take my son's mountain bike and go on a gravel Ramble as some of the back roads are even more interesting.

A map of the ride from my house can be uploaded from my Garmin.  Total distance was just over 91K and average speed was about 25 KPH.  The temperature readings are overstated as the Garmin Edge 500, once in direct sunlight, will give false readings.

Quivira Park Bike Group Ride 9 - June 26, 2010 LifeTrek.Eroe.com

I was out of town for ride 8 which took the Lake Olathe Route but there is a short write up on the Quivira Park Bike Group website.  Thanks to Ron Kneib for leading, taking a picture, and providing the wrap-up.

For Ride 9 we did not have a map as I was going upload the route from my Garmin but unfortunately some of the faster riders missed the turn off of 175th Street to Ridgeview Road which would have taken us to Spring Hill.  So rather than slitting up we re-grouped further down 175th Street and decided to detour down Clare Road to the south then over 199th Street to Gardner Road where we continued the planned route.  We also missed the turn to go around Gardner Lake on the south and then up to 151st Street but still all in all a very nice ride.  I will get this route mapped at a future date.

The weather was hot and humid with temperatures in the 80's at the start and high 90's at the end.  The humidity was the big factor, however.  We stopped at one of the new riders Grandparent's house on Clare where we filled up with water and ice.  The picture to the left was taken at our SAG stop.  Left to right are Ed, Jake, Patrick, Eli, Joe, John, Rick, Joe, Carlo, Garrett, Griffith, and Ron.

I was pretty spent from the 75K ride and humidity so thanks to John for riding with me coming back over 143rd Street.

The map of the ride which includes mileage on a short warm-up ride from my house can be downloaded from my Garmin.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quivira Park Bike Group Ride 7 - June 12, 2010 LifeTrek.Eroe.com

I got up in the morning thinking that I should possibly cancel the ride this Saturday as there were some thunder storms moving from the north.  After consulting Weather Underground and the local TV news it seemed like the storms would not move into the Kansas City area until 12:00 noon or so.   Well I was wrong but more about that later.

We had twelve riders with four new riders.  After meeting up at Quivira Park and doing introductions we decided to change the route from the Stump Park with SMP Loop to a new one that I have been working on that goes down to Spring Hill, Kansas.  We did this because I thought we would work into the fairly strong 15-10 MPH wind on the way out and keep away from the approaching thunderstorms since the original route went north first.  The temperature was in the high 70's, but as it has been for several days now, it was very humid.

I mad a few errors on the way down as I did not turn off S. Brougham Road onto 159th Street then when turning around should have turned west on 161st Street.  But we got over to Mur-Len Road and went down the route I had been mapping to Spring Hill.  We SAGed at the gas station we had stopped at on the Wednesday morning ride on April 14th although I want to find a different location as they have ice but don't have tap water unless you ask them to go into the backroom.

Pictured from left to right are Ron, Ed, Garrett, Charlie, Carlo, Eli, Joe, Ryan, Tera, Steve, and Greg.

Joe noticed on his handheld PDA telephone that the thunderstorms were moving in faster than expected so instead of heading a west, as I had planned, we hightailed it back to Quivira Park via Ridgeview Road and 143rd Street.  As the skies darkened we knew that we were going to get dumped on and that we did from before 151st on Ridgeview Road back.  To add insult to injury the wind also shifted from the southwest to the northwest so back into a headwind!  We got split up but all got back to either homes or Quivira Park to their cars.  The rain continued until about 2:00pm so I felt for all the Biking Across Kansas riders who had to finish in the rain on their final leg into Leavenworth, Kansas.

Hopefully next week we will have better weather!  How about some lower humidity too.  The map of my ride which includes mileage on a short warm-up ride from my house can be downloaded from my Garmin.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bike Across Kansas Intercept - Kansas Cyclist Podcast June 11, 2010

Randy Rasa, my partner in the Kansas Cyclist Podcast, and I joined the Biking Across Kansas (BAK) group on Friday, June 11, 2010 in Baldwin City and rode with them to Eudora on their next to the last day on their journey across Kansas.  It was a very hot, humid, and windy day with temperatures in the low 90's and there was a

Randy left from his home in Olathe and I drove to Eudora and then biked backwards on the route to Baldwin City.  We met up at the Hickory Creek BBQ Restaurant with Robert, Tim, Mark, and Dave and did a quick interview with them on their experiences over the 6 1/2 days so far starting at the Colorado state border.

The route for BAK changes each year and this year was a northern one.  Contrary to what most believe outside of Kansas, the state is not completely flat and in fact from the Flint Hills east it can be quite hilly.  Many of the routes that I map out for the Quivira Park Bike Group have several hills and, in fact, I am known for finding the steepest ones and incorporating them.

Shown in the picture to the left is Mark Rainey who we interviewed in Episode 4 about the Tour de Cure race in 2009.  This was Mark's 1st BAK.  Everyone felt the organization of the BAK has been great and many of the towns did a wonderful job in welcoming the 800 riders along the way.  Pies are a tradition of BAK and are available at all the stopovers.

We took a picture of the group before leaving for Eudora in downtown Baldwin City.  Pictured left to right are Robert, Tim, Randy, Mark, Dave, and Ed.

Right outside of Baldwin City going north is a nice hill, which I climbed going south, and now got to take a fun ride down it.  The BAK photographer was on the hill about half way down and took a number of pictures and Randy and I ended up getting pictured on the BAK website.  The two photographs taken of Randy and I are below.  I am the fourth rider in the back in the second photograph.

Randy brought his camping things and stayed overnight in Eudora with the group then rode back to his home the next morning.  I drove back to Overland Park and it was a welcome relief to have air conditioning and a hot shower.

I would be interested in doing BAK but I think I would have to have a camper van following as I am not sure I would enjoy sleeping in a tent especially if it started raining and I was tired and hot.  I am sure everyone gets used to it, however.  Maybe some day!

A map of my ride can be downloaded from my Garmin.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quivira Park Bike Group Ride 6 - June 5, 2010 LifeTrek.Eroe.com

While temperatures were only in the high 70's with overcast skies, the humidity was extremely high which really sapped the energy of the eight riders we had today (actually 9 but Carlo had mechanical issues and had to drop at Quivira Park before we even started).  We completed the Holiday Drive Route and had to detour on 127th Street around the construction between Mur-Len and Black Bob Roads.  The detour took us down Indian Creek Trail from Mur-Len to Black Bob and then we through the neighborhoods around the back of Olathe East High School to 133rd Street where we turned back north on Quivira Road back to Quivira Park.

Our SAG stop was at the Charles J. Stump Park which we use for many of the Quivira Park Bike Group rides.  Pictured from left to right are Ed, Bob, Ron, Joe, Garrett, Greg, Steve, and Rick.  Joe rode his cross bike which did not deter him keeping up with all others on light weight road bicycles.  Garrett and Rick were new riders with us this week and hope they will be back for future rides.

My total distance was a bit over 68 kilometers as I did a warm-up ride and we had a few more Ks with the detour.  The map of my ride can be viewed from my Garmin Connect Account.

For those of you on Facebook please become a fan of the Quivira Park Bike Group Page as I need only a few more fans to obtain a unique URL and thus make it easy for those both on or off Facebook to view.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spring Hill Ride - June 3, 2010 LifeTrek.Eroe.com

I rode out to Spring Hill in the afternoon thinking that I would get a ride in to include attendance at the meeting on the Lone Elm Road and K10 Interchange so that I could make my voice heard on providing good bike and pedestrian access.  I received notice from the Johnson County Bicycle Club and wanted to support this advocacy effort.

I headed south then was going to go north to Lenexa for the meeting but unfortunately had my 4th flat tire of the season.  Like the others it was in the back tire but this time it was in a brand new tire and tube which I was not too happy about.  It was a staple that I must have hit just right as it punctured right through the tire into the tube.  Since I have had so many flats I am getting good at changing them (not a skill I like to have really) and was up and running again in just under 20 minutes which included having to move for a farmer who was pulling in a big tractor onto a field in the clearing I was in off of 207th Street.  He and a couple of other cars were stopped to see if I was okay or if I needed anything which is always nice especially when you are riding alone.

So after I knew I would probably not make the meeting in time I headed west through Spring Hill and then north on Clare Road.  It was a great day to be out as it was sunny with temperatures in the mid 80's with very little wind so I kept a good pace no matter what direction.

My big news is that I finally invested in a Garmin Edge 500 (see picture above) as I had been using my Garmin Forerunner 405 which I am going to keep since I like it for Nordic Skiing, Nordic Walking, and Hiking.  The Garmin Edge 500 is quite nice and easily mounts with straps to your handlebars.  I like a lot of data and with this unit you can setup three screens with up to eight items per page and then rotate them while riding if you want.  Definitely a geek paradise but probably a bit more than you need just to ride and we don't need distracted cyclists on the road along with distracted drivers!

The funny thing that when setting it up I had changed around the fields a few times and then when riding I did not have distance as one of the fields, which of course is one of the main items you need.  I fixed that with the stop for the flat.  There are 45 fields to choose from but the ones I like are in blue on the list below.  I repeat Time of Day and Time as the top two fields on each screen.  For Cadence, Heart Rate, and Power you need optional equipment.  I already had the Cadence and Heart Rate monitors from the Garmin Forerunner 405 but the Power monitor I will have to look into.

I purchased the unit on eBay as I was able to obtain it well under list price with no shipping or taxes added.  Since the Garmin International Headquarters is right here in Olathe, Kansas I thought it quite amusing that the unit was shipped from Brisbane, Australia and I received it in 4 days!

Data Fields for the Garmin Edge 500:

Cadence – Avg.
Cadence – Lap
Dist – Lap
GPS Accuracy
Heart Rate
HR – %Max.
HR – Avg.
HR – Avg. %HRR
HR – Avg. %Max.
HR – Lap
HR – Lap %HRR
HR – Lap %Max.
HR Graph
HR Zone
Power - %FTP
Power - 30s Avg.Power - 3s Avg.
Power – Avg.
Power – kJ
Power – Lap
Power – Max.
Power Zone
Speed – Avg.
Speed – Lap
Speed – Max.
Time – Avg. Lap
Time - Elapsed
Time – Lap
Time of Day
Total Ascent
Total Descent
Vertical Speed
VS – 30s Avg.

Another purchase I made recently was for the new Camelbak Podium Ice water bottle which I had been looking for for sometime.  This is a new bottle that uses Zeroloft insulation which keeps the fluid cool four times longer than standard bike bottles all by keeping it very light too.  I could not find anyone local that carried the bottle except for the Camelbak Podium Chill bottle which looks just like this bottle but does not use the same insulation.  These bottles are expensive but I got mine through REI during their recent sale so they were quite a bargain and about what retailers are selling the Chill for.  If you are in the market this bottle is definitely a major improvement in water bottle technology.

Through playing around with the new Garmin Edge 500 I also decided to learn the Metric Measurement System and thought the best way was to immerse myself.  There has been several efforts in the United States to go metric and I remember back in the 1970's that there was a conversion push as some of the road signs had both statute and metric distances.  The United States actually is one of only three countries that do not officially use the metric system, along with Burma (Myanmar) and Liberia.

It is all in the conversion that everyone is afraid, however, and like anything if you just start using it you soon do not have a need for converting.  Through working in the healthcare and air medical fields for my career 24 Hour Time or Military Time is used so as to prevent medication and other errors.  I have all my clocks set that way now and it is so much more efficient than AM and PM.  Now don't get me started on Time Zones as to further prevent confusion I think we should all just go on Greenwich Mean Time.  Did you know that all airplanes in the air must use this time that they call Zulu so as to prevent confusion on what planes are flying at any given time!  I know probably a bit far fetched as 12:00 Noon would not have the same meaning except in England!

So from now on my posts and maps will all be in metric!  A map of the ride can be viewed from my Garmin Connect Account and have fun converting!