Each Sunday morning for the past 15ish years, riders have congregated at my house to meet up with riders of similar abilities and head out for a bike ride.
If you know that someone is showing up at your doorstep to go for a bike ride, it is much easier to get motivated to ride-particularly when the weather isn't sunny and 70+ degrees.
This is a tough group. The general guidelines for whether or not a group ride will "go" from Gale's house or not is:
A minimum temperature of 25 degrees. (Although we have ridden when it was colder.)
If the temperature is under 30 degrees, we need minimal wind. (With wind chill and much humidity, the temperature can become dangerously uncomfortable.)
The roads need to be dry. (This means the bike lane needs to be free of snow and ice.)
We did have snow earlier this week and some snow remains on the ground event today, but we met the above conditions so the ride was "a go". The thermometer in my backyard said 30 degrees Fahrenheit at the start of the ride. The rolling temperature was less than 30 due to wind chill, but it helps to be able to get out of the wind now and again through the shelter the group provides. There were 15 people that decided to ride between two and three hours.
If they hadn't been on my doorstep, I might have gone for a ride by myself; but I definitely would not have gone as long as I did having the group moral support.
I ran across this swimming research and thought you might be interested:
The purpose of this article was to investigate whether swimming world records are beginning to plateau and whether the inequality between men and women's swimming performances is narrowing, similar to that observed in running world records. A flattened "S-shaped curve" logistic curve is fitted to 100-m, 200-m, and 400-m front-crawl world-record swimming speeds for men and women from 1 May 1957 to the present time, using the non-linear least-squares regression. The inequality between men and women's world records is also assessed using the ratio, Women's/Men's world record speeds. The results confirm that men and women's front-crawl swimming world-record speeds are plateauing and the ratio between women's and men's world records has remained stable at approximately 0.9. In conclusion, the logistic curves provide evidence that swimming world-record speeds experienced a period of "accelerated" growth/improvements during the 1960 - 1970s, but are now beginning to plateau. The period of acceleration corresponded with numerous advances in science and technology but also coincided with the anecdotal evidence for institutionalised doping. Also noteworthy, however, is the remarkably consistency in the women's/men's world record ratio, circa 0.9, similar to those observed in middle and long distance running performances. These finding supports the notion that a 10 % gender inequality exists for both swimming and running.
Nevill, A. M., et al., Are There Limits to Swimming World Records?, Int J Sports Med 2007; 28: 1012-1017
I wonder if every sport on the planet has seen the same basic "accelerated growth" due to the use of institutionalized doping? Is any sport exempt?
Yesterday's high temperature was 76 degrees and tomorrow's predicted high is 26. Today was the transition day, with temperatures dropping throughout the day.
I got out for a morning run with my office assistant at about 9:30 am, it was a good break between jobs for both of us.
When a storm like this one moves in, the air is heavy with humidity and it enhances all of nature's aromas. Everything smells really fresh.
We ran in an open space area nearby and saw a bald eagle. Unfortunately I didn't carry my camera, so no shots for you to see. There will be more opportunities though, I'll be sure to get a shot for you.
I never get tired of admiring eagles, and all wildlife for that matter. My office assistant feels the same way. It's nice to run with a buddy that enjoys the same routes you do.
One advantage to the cooler air is it is easier to run faster. I'm not particularly fast, but my office assistant is a phenomenal runner. She's a fantastic athlete, strong and lean.
When we got back to the office, I started writing again. From her chair, my assistant monitored the phones...
As far as I know, triathlon race distances for men versus women were never different. While the race distances were the same, prize money was not always the same. I do recall some early discussions to make prize money distribution equal between the genders, so this point was an issue and there was not early equality. Currently most, if not all, of the major races have equal prize purses for men and women.
Recall in my magazine survey, that I found that Triathlete magazine was closer to equal exposure for men and women than the other non-gender-specific sports magazines. I decided to do a count in Inside Triathlon as well. What I found was 47 female images and 45 male images. In fairness to the other magazines, this particular issue of Inside Triathlon was the 2007 Women's Special (which I didn't realize before I started counting); but still, darn good numbers.
It seems that triathlon is a sport where equality between genders is more the norm, than the exception. What do you think?
Has the sport of triathlon influenced cycling in this area? How about other sports?
I must admit that I planned to see aliens and spaceships on the group ride today. My first encounter with the spaceship was in 2000 or 2001 and I'm a believer. Yes, a spaceship landing pad is just outside my hometown of Loveland, Colorado. Hard to believe, I know.
Steve Douglas, one of my riding buddies from the Ft. Collins Breakfast Club group ride, was not a believer-until today. And we have photos.
Before I get to today's ride, I must go back to August and the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. Steve had mechanical difficulties that day and it wasn't such a good race for him. Similar to others that have had no-so-good races, he proclaimed the day after the race, "I will NEVER do Leadville again."
Several days after the race was over, he posted the gory details of the event on an August 21, 2007 posting titled, "Leadville, Aliens and Suffering". You can find that posting here and you will have to page back to find the August 21 post.
The most critical piece of that post is:
"Would I ever do this again? ... Mark these words: I will only do this one again under 2 conditions: 1) When Aliens announce their presence to this planet or 2) If my brother says he wants to do it.Keep in mind there is little chance of either of these things happening!"
I present to you photographic proof that Steve has met with the aliens - well, at least one alien. Below is Steve posing with the handcrafted spaceship and one small green alien, who's name I did not catch.
This alien spaceship was handcrafted by Russ (Russ's Machine Shop). In all of the alien excitement, I did not get a photo of Russ and Rick, who I assume is Russ's son. We'll have to go back another time.
In addition to handcrafting the spaceship, Russ has a garage filled with ever-so-beautiful Indian motocycles, a gas pump, a handmade three-seat motocycle (Ed, help me with that engine again in the comment section) and even a John Deere bicycle. Check out the photos below.
Now I think the aliens may have been a bit peeved at non-believers because our 45-mile ride had five flat tires, one mechanical chain drop/jam and time in the ride when the group was separated by a series of errors. Apparently the aliens were testing us.
When the group got split, I received a call from Ryan in the other group asking if our group had been abducted by the aliens. This was proof to the aliens that people are indeed believers.
The ride finished safely, with several people talking about aliens. I think we will have great rides from this point forward because we have full alien support.
And Steve, I'm sure you'll be cutting a check and sending in your entry form for Leadville in January of 2008. With alien support, I'm certain you'll be selected in the lottery.
At 4:30 am this morning, I was lying in bed thinking about writing projects that were calling my name. Rather than toss and turn any more, I decided to get up and crank up the computer.
By 5:00 am I was typing away and the words, for this day, were flowing from my fingertips. In the cool morning silence I was able to get some work accomplished.
At 7:00 am, I needed a caffeine boost, so I stopped to make a hot homemade latte.
By 10:00 am, major amounts of work were accomplished and I rewarded myself with a mountain bike ride. I met one of my cycling buddies at a local trail, Devil's Backbone (I'll post a photo of this soon) and we rode for just over an hour.
The sun was out, the winds were calm and it was a perfect Colorado day at near 70 degrees.
This weather, however, is to be enjoyed to the absolute fullest because snow is near. The weatherwomen and men on the news have constantly been reminding us that November is the second snowiest month in Colorado, behind March.
Occasionally, memories of the December of 2006 slip into my mind.
Although we have a snowblower, it is usually at my mother-in-law's house and I am actually happy to shovel snow. That is, I used to be happy to shovel snow.
When the first snowstorm arrived last year, I cheerfully shoveled the driveway and sidewalks.
In December when it snowed again, I was still happy to shovel the snow; but I will admit this one was tougher to shovel. While I was shoveling, the snow continued to fall and the wind was picking up. This was going to be a problem.
The next day, shoveling was not so fun....
But the city tried to help by opening a path down our street. The first time they tried to help, there was one swath down the street. (Translated: Dig yourself out of your driveway.)
By now, the snowblower was transported to our house so we could dig ourselves out, then dig out other family members. Good thing we had the snowblower because we got another storm...
After this storm, the city was more helpful, in that they cleared a path down our street and did try to open the driveways as well. By this time, we had two glaciers formed in front of our house, the remains of all past storms piled high and frozen into blocks. We took bets on what date the last piece of glacier would melt away.
While these 2006 winter memories are not far from my consciousness, I will ignore them for now and enjoy the great weekend weather.
In January this year, I wrote a column about goal setting and the characteristics of good, challenging goals. Twelve of us set out to ride to Estes Park once per month throughout 2007. The last I knew, eight people are still on track to make it and receive the coveted award.
Last Sunday, several of us rode to Estes to check off the month of November. We reminisced about our February trip - that was the coldest and windiest ride of the year. The ride included a dermabrasion from the sand on the road. Ah, a grand adventure for sure.
For our Estes goal, there were a few rules:
Ride to Estes Park starting from anywhere in Loveland and no further west than the Big Thompson school.
Either route, Hwy 34 or Glen Haven, is acceptable.
A return trip sans car and via bike back to Loveland is not mandatory, but encouraged when conditions are safe and fitness allows.
The honor system is strictly enforced - ride with or without the group, with a buddy or solo.
Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Tourists flock to the park to see wildlife, including herds of elk. The elk do notice bike riders, especially us. For 2006, the elk gave awards to six cyclists for managing to ride to Estes Park once per month for the entire year. (Yes, the elk were so impressed to see the cyclists each month, they decided to make a personalized award for each cyclist.)
This is last year's award:
And yes, that thing hanging on the bottom of the lower loop is exactly what you think it is - forever fossilized and now waterproofed by craft lacquer.
When I work on something related specifically to the women's market, I have heightened awareness of advertising and marketing issues.
Last weekend I had just finished writing a piece on women's products in the sports industry and was feeling really smug about how well women are represented in the endurance and outdoor sports industry.
I, and all of my smugness, settled down on the sofa to enjoy a homemade latte and a magazine. While thumbing through the magazine, I began to wonder, "Hey! Where are the women?"
It seemed to me that men were photographed and featured significantly more often than women. Instead of making accusations and assumptions, I decided to count. I wanted data.
I simply thumbed through the magazine and counted the number of female and male images. This included ads, stories, editorial and anything that was not in the small ad section in the back of the magazine. If there was a male and a female featured in a single photo, I didn't count them at all-they cancelled each other out.
I was surprised with what I found. My smugness changed to disappointment.
I checked more magazines, five in total. The magazines are non-gender specific related to outdoor or endurance sports. Here is what I found:
6 female, 80 male
12 female, 101 male
13 female, 55 male
38 female, 68 male
81 female, 99 male
Go on a magazine hunt and let me know what you find...