Friday, November 26, 2010

Add "Schadenfreude" to your vocabulary

I came across the word schadenfreude reading a write up about Trans Iowa. I believe it applies to the goal of a few of the guys I ride with. It is a German word that means pleasure derived from the misfortunes/sufferings of others. In english the closest saying we have is "it sucks to be you".

From Wikipedia: In the 2004 Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q the song "Schadenfreude" parodies the language instruction songs of Sesame Street. The song sung by characters Gary Coleman and Nicky, describes schadenfreude as "German for 'happiness at the misfortune of others'". In the song, schadenfreude is also described as "making me feel glad that I'm not you" and "people taking pleasure in your pain". The characters use examples like "D'ja ever clap when a waitress falls and drops a tray of glasses?" and "Don'tcha feel all warm and cozy, watching people out in the rain?" as being schadenfreude.

I have been on some grueling Tuesday night hammer-fests when the word could be used. I would guess most of us have been in situation that we had the thought but did not have the word to describe our true feelings at the time. I would guess most of us have been on the other side of the word as well. Maybe not Wiford.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bike Signs In Muscatine County

The much debated bike signs started turning up in Muscatine County recently.  These pictures were taken of the signs on the Burlington road just after turning off Hershey.  I am not sure this will do a lot of good but it cannot hurt.  Maybe this is the beginning of a bike more bike friendly city/county.  The ironic part about the location of the signs is that this very location four of us got yelled at by a guy in a septic tank “sucker” truck.  As mad as he was that day I think he would have run over the signs. It is just a matter of time before there is an editorial in the local paper complaining about the signs.Share the road sign 1

Bike route sign 1

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Attacked on the bike path

Last weekend Connie and I took a long weekend to go to Ames and Des Moines for some visiting and shopping. We left Thursday with plans to spend the night in Ames then go to Des Moines on Friday and Saturday night. I took my bike in the hopes of riding some of the bike paths in the Des Moines area while Connie was shopping. Thursday afternoon with the bright sun and slight breezes gave me the first chance to ride. Connie was meeting a friend in Des Moines for lunch before heading to Ames so I was going to meet her at the hotel around 5:00 as the sun set.

My ride started out un-eventful as I pedalled from Des Moines to Waukee then on to Adel along the Raccoon River bike path. Once to Adel I wanted to head towards Ames on county roads to Sailorville reservoir and then north on the new High Trestle Trail that runs from Polk City to Slater before riding the just completed bike lane that goes from Slater to Ames. This road is one block from Christopher's apartment and two blocks from our hotel. The goal was to get 60-70 miles of riding by dark.

You hear of problems on bike paths with people placing wires across them or riders being attacked in non-populated areas. I don't ride many trails but have never known anyone who has had problems. Normally, for a cyclist, you are safer on the path then risking your life playing with hurried motorists.

I was just leaving the small town of Sheldalh, 15 miles south of Ames, when I noticed him standing at the grassy edge of the newly constructed trail. He was looking towards me but I got the impression he wasn't looking directly at me. As I peddled near him he was startled and began running on my right side the same direction I was headed. This type of strange behavior I have seen in dogs before but this time it was not a dog that was chasing me. After 10 yards of shadowing me he made his move. He suddenly lunged in my direction like you see squirrels do in the road when they are not sure which direction to go. He hit my front wheel and bounce down to the ground. I reactively dogged to the left running part of him over with the back wheel as I struggled to keep my balance. My heart was racing as I looked back to see what his next move would be. Would he lay on the trail in pain, come after me, or just run out of sight. He chose to run away.

Not sure what to do I continued down the trail trying to get my heart back into my chest. As I looked down I noticed my computer was not working. For this I stopped. Heaven forbid I ride any miles without them counting. It was at this time I noticed the magnet on my front wheel was gone. That must have been what he was after the entire time. He must have been a collector of magnets.

If you are in that area please beware of suspicious looking cats that have collars of bike magnets. Unless you are prepared to aggressively defend yourself you could be the next helpless victim.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trans Iowa here I come again

The roster for the veterans is posted and I made the list again this year. Now begins five and a half months of worry, preparation, worry, planning, worry and training.  This year they have promised less outside support available from pass through towns. In the past you could at least rely on the check points as re-fueling locations.  This year the check points will not be in towns.  300 plus miles of graveled/muddy Iowa back-roads and you have no idea where your next meal our bottle of water will come from or even where you are.  Now that is adventurous.  Maybe a little insane as well.

The “big picture” plan for this winter is to focus more on core and upper body conditioning.  Focusing more for me means actually working out the core and upper body.  A better core should translate to better hill climbing and comfort on the bike.  Most gravel roads are pretty hilly and the promoters have a knack for finding the hilliest. Conditioning the upper body will help when I will have to carry the bike over any mud roads that are as sticky as peanut butter like last years.  I can’t imagine they will be that bad but if they were bad last year they could be again this year.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Trans Iowa VII sign up is tomorrow

My post card is off to Cedar Falls for my second attempt at the Tran Iowa VII. Wish me luck. This is a great write up on last years event and will have you wondering what I am thinking in entering this event again. Trans Iowa VI write up. Also a link to promoter Guitar Ted's blog.