Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quivira Park Bike Group Ride 13 - July 24, 2010

It was a very hot and humid day today for the 13th Quivira Park Bike Group Ride on our Lake Lenexa Route.  We had three SAG stops as all of us were going through water very quickly since the heat index was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our first SAG was at the Black Hoof Park at Lake Lenexa in Lenexa, Kansas.  The park has 210 acres with a 35 acre deep water lake called Lake Lenexa and is located on Monticello Road between Prairie Star Parkway and 83rd Street at 9053 Monticello Road.  Besides picnic tables, water, and bathrooms there is a gem of a dam that was build to form Lake Lenexa by capturing storm water.  The dam is a real site to see if you have not done so already.

The picture of the group was taken on top of the dam which is about a mile in from the park entrance.  From left to right are Ed, Marty, Tracey, Greg, Ron, Jim, Bob, Joe, Larry, and Lisa.

This picture was taken at the bottom of the dam and you can see the unique architectural shape.  In fact the dam, designed by Black & Veatch and Gastinger Walker Harden Architects, earned the U.S. Society of Dams 2009 Excellence in the Constructed Project Award.  Additional pictures can be viewed on the Gastinger Walker Harden Architects website.

From the dam and Lake Lenexa we headed to the Charles J. Stump Park which is our usual SAG stop for this route.  Pictured at the left is Jim, Greg, Ron, and Tracey right before we headed back up the hill from the dam to get back on Monticello Road.

From Stump Park we headed up into the Shawnee Mission Park on Ogg Road or what we have named "Oh My Ogg".  This hill off of Midland Drive has about a 16% grade and seems to go on and on.  Because of this climb and again the temperature and humidity we paid a visit to the park headquarters for more water before heading down Renner Road to College Boulevard and back to Quivira Park.

A map of the ride from my house can be uploaded from my Garmin.  Total distance was just over 75K and average speed was about 23 KPH because of the hills and meandering along the trail at Lake Lenexa.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Randy's Ramble "Old Metcalf Place Bridge" - July 20, 2010

Randy Rasa and I had a nice ride this afternoon in southern Johnson County.  Randy, as I have said in earlier posts, always has some interesting sites to visit and today was no exception.  The picture to the left is of our bikes on the Old Metcalf Bridge that crosses over the Blue River approximately at 171st on old Metcalf Road which was also old US 69, which is now a divided highway.

There is a website called the Historic Bridges of the United States and the Old Metcalf Bridge is detailed there with pictures and facts.  I have taken some of the facts about the bridge and put them below.

Five-span pony truss bridge over Blue River on Metcalf Place (formerly US 69) Location Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas  
Closed to all traffic 
Built 1929 
Warren pony truss 
Length of largest span: 69.9 ft. Total length: 358.8 ft. Deck width: 20.0 ft. 
Approximate latitude, longitude 
+38.81296, -94.67094  or 38°48'47" N, 94°40'15" W 
Inspection (as of 02/2008)
Deck condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9) Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9) Appraisal: Structurally deficient Sufficiency rating: 2.0 (out of 100)

Of course Randy did not tell me about the serious substructure condition rating (a subject that I will have to address with him at a later time) but it seemed fine except that we had to climb over barriers to get on and off the bridge.  The history of the bridge does also not say when exactly it was closed but it did have a very unique design.
The weather was extremely hot and humid and there have been heat warning out for almost a week now.  Temperatures were in the 90's and the heat index was over a 100.  From the bridge we went and re-loaded water and my ice pack (see previous post) at a convenience store in Stilwell, Kansas.

But before we got off the bridge we had to climb over barriers and get through some fairly thick brush which at the time I was hoping did not have poison ivy or oak.  Thankfully it did not on this cycle-cross adventure.  Picture taken by Randy.

While I had biked through Stilwell many times I had not looked up any thing about the city but did find this from Wikipedia.  Stilwell, Kansas is a small unincorporated community in Johnson County in the U.S. state of Kansas.  It is a southern outlying suburb of Kansas City.

Stilwell was named for a conductor on the first Missouri Pacific train to arrive in the community in the 1870s.  Stilwell is mostly farmland, but in recent years has spawned suburban neighborhoods. The Aubry Township Board has stated that by 2010, most of Stilwell will be urban. Note: not true as it is still mostly rural so not sure when that prediction was made by the township board!

Stilwell has low land value and some farms are abandoned; however, in recent years, the large population growth of Overland Park, Kansas has increased the demand for new neighborhoods, raising the land value in some areas to high amounts.

After a nice break inside the convenience store with air conditioning we headed further down Metcalf to 223rd Street and took that over to Woodland Street and then into Spring Hill, Kansas (see previous blog posts).  We had a pretty strong southwest wind but it actually felt great because it helped keep us cool.  After another convenience store stop for more water and ice we discovered that suddenly dark clouds were appearing to the north.  We spoke with a gentleman who was filling up his car at the gas pump when we were getting back on our bikes and he said that there were strong storms coming in so we hightailed back over to Woodland Street and then over to S. Ridgeview Street.  Randy turned off at 183rd Street after offering me shelter at his house and then a head light but I thought I could beat the storm out.  I turned on my red tail light and also a new high intensity red light on the back of my helmet.

I had a nice tail wind and the temperatures were dropping but after going at speeds of 30 - 35 KM per hour and working my way over to S. Lackman Street and then to S. Pflumm Street I heard a crack of lightening and then high winds as I approached the Johnson County Executive Airport.  I knew this would be a good stop to check weather and see if I could wait it out.  I learned from folks inside that the storm was pretty widespread so luckily my wife, Carol, was home and came to pick me up.  We had strong rain and wind driving back to the house and it rained into the evening.  I found out from the news that there was 2-3 inches of rain across the Kansas City metropolitan area with wind gusts up to 70mph.  I had checked the weather radar before I went out for the ride and it looked like no rain and only patches of storms much further to the north.  These summer storms can form fast, however, and this one did just that.

I also found out that a several passengers were injured on United Air Lines Flight 967 from Washington Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport when they encountered severe turbulence over Kansas City.  The Boeing 777 was diverted to Denver International Airport and landed safely and 30 passengers were injured and transported to local hospitals.  Several articles here:

Passenger describes 'free fall' onboard United jet
Experts trying to determine what caused turbulence
Passengers, drinks tumble in harrowing flight
NTSB investigating diverted Dulles plane
30 Injured on United Airlines Flight in Severe Turbulence
United flight hits heavy turbulence; 30 injured
Turbulence injures several passengers on LAX-bound flight
United Airlines Flight 967 hit severe turbulence over the Midwest, the FAA says - CNN

All in all a very nice ride on a very hot day.  I went 65.45 KM from my house and average overall speed was just over 23 KM per hour.  The map of the ride can be viewed from my Garmin.  For more on Randy's blog go to DirtBum where you will find some very interesting stories on his bicycle rides, which are mostly on back roads and gravel in Eastern Kansas.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quivira Park Bike Group Ride 12 - July 17, 2010

We have been having a string of days with heat warning and a heat index over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Today was another one of those days but we lucked out for ride 12 of the Quivira Park Bike Group because there had been a severe thunderstorm in the area Friday late afternoon which cooled things a bit.  We had temperatures in the high 70's at the start of the race and mid-80's at the end, with little wind, and very high humidity.  All things considered, however, much better conditions than I expected.  The route was our Kill Creek Park Route.

I was in Dallas for a couples shower and party for our daughter and her fiancee last weekend but there is a picture on both the Quivira Park Bike Group website and Quivira Park Bike Group Facebook Page for ride 11.

We had a good group today and split into two groups on our way out to Kill Creek Park where we had our SAG stop.  The picture to the left was taken at the park and left to right are Griffin, Garrett, Ed, Ron, Greg, Tracey, Bob, Eli, Carlo, and Joe.

On the way back we got split up into four segments after climbing the 2nd Twisted Sister hill on 135th Street.  I waited at the top of the second hill but then decided to try and catch up with the faster group which I did not do until I got back to Quivira Park as I kept getting caught at traffic lights.  Another rider rode alone but since he was new did not know the route and instead retraced the route on 143rd Street that we used to go outbound on.  The other two riders split off to go home as they both live north of College Boulevard.

I wore my new RoadID Jersey today and you can see how humid it was as it was soaking wet when this picture was taken after the ride at  Quivira ParkRoadID is the newest sponsor of the Kansas Cyclist Podcast which I produce with Randy Rasa, the webmaster of the Kansas Cyclist website.

I highly recommend the RoadID as I have been using this emergency and safety bracelet for two years now.  Randy and I interview co-founder Edward Wimmer and Director of Marketing P.J. Rabice about the Road ID product line, how the company was started, and how their products benefit cyclists, runners, and other athletes in Episode 21 of the Kansas Cyclist Podcast.  There is a link on the site where you can receive a 10% discount on their products.

A map of the ride from my house can be uploaded from my Garmin.  Total distance was just over 77K and average speed was about 26 KPH.  As I have said in previous posts, the temperatures are overstated as the Garmin Edge 500, will give false readings in direct sunlight.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Quivira Park Bike Group Ride 10 - July 3, 2010

While the temperatures were only in the high 70's at the start and mid 80's at the end the humidity returned and we had a pretty heavy 15-20 MPH wind from the south for the Quivira Park Bike Group Ride today.  The route was the Stump Park with SMP Loop, which is one of our standard routes.

The route goes north on Quivira Road from Quivira Park,  then through the Johnson County Community College to College Road west.  From there we turn north on Renner Road up to the Shawnee Mission Park where we do an approximately 4 mile loop around the park back to the same entrance.  The loop is used by many cyclists since there are not many cars, it has some nice hills, and it is very scenic.

The map to the left is from the Johnson County Parks and Recreation website and shows where we enter the park at the Visitor Center and then around counter clockwise back.  A little background of the park from their website.  Shawnee Mission Park is a multi-use, 1,250-acre park that located at 79th and Renner Road in Shawnee, Kansas. The land was purchased through the District's initial bond issue in 1956 and officially dedicated on May 30, 1964. It is the largest park in the county and the most-visited park in the entire state of Kansas.

Shawnee Mission Park is home to developed facilities including a 120-acre lake popular for boating, fishing, sail boarding, twelve shelters, numerous picnic areas, horseback, nature trails, play areas, an archery range, a 53-acre dog off-leash area, the Shawnee Mission Park Beach, The Theatre in the Park and Shawnee Mission Park Marina, with canoe, pedal boats, and fishing boats rentals available.  So really nice place for all kinds of activities.  They also have a nice Frisbee Golf Course that I played with my son's homeschool group last year.

At the park we split into two groups with one group skipping the loop and heading directly to our SAG stop at the Charles J. Stump Park.  I went with the loop group.  The picture to the left was taken at Stump Park and includes left to right Annette, Joe, Ron, Steve, Wayne, Eric, Steve, Patrick, Garrett, Ed, and Jake.

From Stump Park we rode south on Woodland Drive to 127th Street where we turned back east to Quivira Park, using the detour around the construction on 127th Street onto Indian Creek Parkway.  We broke up into three groups according to speed and I rode with the medium paced group.

A map of the ride from my house can be uploaded from my Garmin.  Total distance was just under 73K and average speed was about 24 KPH.  Average speed for some of our routes can be lower since there is a lot of hill climbing.  On the other hand, my fastest speed was 62 KPH.  As I have said in previous posts, the temperatures are overstated as the Garmin Edge 500, will give false readings in direct sunlight.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ed's Rumble Mapping Ride - July 1, 2010

We had another beautiful day here in the Heartland with low humidity, temperatures in the 80's, and lots of sunshine.  I have been trying to map a new route for the Quivira Park Bike Group to Spring Hill and Gardner, Kansas and decided this afternoon would be a great time to take a fast paced ride by myself to get the job done.

The new route goes from Quivira Park out to Spring Hill, up through Gardner, then around the east side of Gardner Lake turning on 159th Street to Moonlight Road to a new section of 143rd Street that has been recently paved.  From there it goes back over 143rd, which we use for other routes because it has nice bike lanes, over to Pflumm Road then to Quivira Road back to the park.

Total distance for the new ride is just over 72K and there are some moderate hills all which I think will be a nice addition to the many routes we have for the group.  A map of the new route I am calling the Spring Hill and Gardner Lake Route is available on GPSies.  My next mapping project will be for a route to the County Club Plaza area in Kansas City.

For the ride today I tested out a new theory on keeping my core temperature down.  While it was not a hot and sticky day it was still hot enough to try. Allen Lim, who is the director of sports science and training for Team RadioShack has done research in this area.  Lim's primary principle is that you want to keep your core temperature down. The June 2010 issue of Bicycling Magazine had an article about Lim (picture to the left) which I recently read and his suggestions for staying cool are the following:

1. Drink cold fluids (as cold as possible)
2. Wear ice - some of the pro cycling teams actually wear special ice vests/jerseys
3. Dump water over yourself if possible
4. Recover right - the sooner you reduce your core temp, the sooner the body recognizes that the recovery effort can begin

I purchased the new Camelbak Podium Ice water bottle to help keep my Hammer HEED High Energy Electrolyte Drink cold and the bottles work much better than a normal one without insulation or ones with older technology thermo properties.  See my post from June 4, 2010. I put ice into the bottles before leaving on the ride and when filling up during the ride.  I figured I had Lim's point one taken care off.

I have used point 3 especially when it is hot and humid and I am on a longer century type ride and for point 4 I always have ice cold water as soon as I am finished with a ride so these points were covered too.  Point 3, wearing ice however, I had not done and that is what I tested today.  I used a heavy duty freezer bag and filled it with ice cubes then placed it in the middle pocket of my cycling jersey.  I thought it was going to be too cold on my lower back but I actually hardly noticed it until it had turned to water and sloshed around a bit.  At my SAG stop in Gardner I re-filled it with ice at a convenience store.  While I can't say that this definitively lowered my core temperature during the ride it did feel good on my lower back not only from the coolness but also for mitigating the sometimes lower back ache I get from long rides.  I will keep testing and report more in future posts.  If any readers have also tested keeping your core temperature down please write to me or comment on this post.

As you can see from the picture on the left and on the first picture of this post I obtained new vanity plates with LFTREK when I renewed my Kansas plates this year.  I have always liked vanity plates and usually always had them with my work name rather than something I am doing personally.  I had a number of ideas but decided on LFTREK because I cover sports and other things in my life.  Read my first post on why I have chosen Life Trek as the name of this blog.

A map of the ride from my house can be uploaded from my Garmin.  Total distance was just over 77K and average speed was about 26.2 KPH.  The temperature readings are overstated as the Garmin Edge 500, will give false readings in direct sunlight.