Vegas Vacation

So, I was so lucky to be able to take a little vacation this past weekend!  About a week ago I was driving to work and thought how much fun it would be to take a vacation.  Sometime you can find cheap plane tickets to vegas from wichita so I was thinking that would be so much fun….if i could find something cheap enough.  The next day i thought I would at least look at what tickets were going for.  I couldn’t believe it….i found the perfect price on the perfect day for the perfect amount of time!!!  I found tickets for $60 round trip….i was so excited i went to talk with jason about going…..he said that he wouldn’t be able to take off work so we wouldn’t be able to go.  Later that night he told me that i could go by myself if i wanted to; we have family and friends there so i wouldn’t be all by myself.  The next day i looked at the prices and guess what…..they changed…to be more expensive!!!!  All I could think was “vacation baby!!!”

When I got into Vegas my parents picked me up at the airport then we had an hour or two to kill untill my aunt Carol got home from work to eat dinner.  My parents took me to Sunset Park where we chatted and caught up.  It was a beautiful park and I had a new camera to try out so I took a few pictures.  Most of the trip we visited with family…it was good to see everyone.  On Sunday we were able to go visit the hoover dam.  It was very impressive.

The last day of my vacation I was able to visit one of my best good friends Erica!! I hadn’t seen her for over three years wich had been way to long.  The last time I saw her she was ready to start student teaching in vegas….now she is married, and has the cutes little baby!!  I was so happy to see her and catch up, talk about old times.  We also went swimming and took a bike ride later that night.  All I have to say is that I loved her bike!!!  One day I told my husband…”I don’t covett what you have, I want one of my own!!!”  that is how it was with Erica’s bike….I want one! 🙂

Ride 4: Bumpy Ride

Today after a long day of work I decided to again take a detour on my ride home to tack on some more miles toward my goal of 500 miles. I decided to go on a path that follows the Arkansas river south of downtown Wichita. I found that the path is very nice in downtown Wichita, which I already knew, but that the minute you leave downtown, it becomes a bumpy ride. It was tolerable enough to continue on, and would be fine with a mountain bike, but on my road bike, I felt every bump, big or small.

I stopped once for a drink and saw a friend of the family who I stopped to talk to for a bit. I managed to fall over in front of him when I did not get my foot un-clipped in time. My ride on the way home seemed to go a bit slower, and I managed to hit every single red light once I got back down town, and even managed to fall over one more time. So all in all it was a bumpy ride.

Ride Number: 4
Ride Time: 42:59 (min:sec) numbers
Distance: 9.87 miles
Average Speed: 13.8 mph
Max Speed: 22 mph

Overall Distance: 22.67 miles

Ride 3: Better Luck

Well after last nights chain incident I decided to take it easy with a quick ride on my way home. I wouldn’t call this anything special, a whole 2.88 miles, but every bit counts. I did bring my chain tool and some others with me this time. I had planned on taking a longer ride but the weather wasn’t the greatest and I had an appointment to get to.

Ride Number: 3
Ride Time: ? (min:sec)ll numbers
Distance: 2.88 miles
Average Speed: ? mph
Max Speed: ? mph

Overall Distance: 12.8 miles

Ride 2: Broke Down

After all the fun of my first ride… I decided that it was time to do a major tune up on my bicycle. With work, school and weather the tune up took several months to happen. I finally started working on the bike yesterday. The rear derailleur was totally out of alignment causing it to lag when changing gears on my first ride. After spending a while trying to tune it without luck, I decided I would clean and re-grease all the parts and see if it helped. After getting everything back together it was still having a hard time, it would shift to the lower gears but would not come back to the high, something was keeping tension in the cable. I bought a new cable only to find out it was the housing, which after cleaning the old cable and lubing it, worked fine.

Finally after all the tuning I was confident that everything was ready to go. Kristen and I went out for a leisure ride around 8:30pm. We went to the Keeper of the Plains on the river, looked around for a bit and decided to head back home since it looked like it would rain. I only got about 20 feet when my chain came off. I got it back on and went another 20 feet when the chain locked up in the front derailleur. I got off the bike and took a look only to find that one of the links came undone and had bent causing it to jam. Lucky for me I had purchased a chain tool to easily fix it. Unfortunately my wife had to ride back to the house by herself to get it for me. After she came back and I took out the bad link I was able to continue on without further problems.

Ride Number: 2
Ride Time: ? (min:sec) I will say 30 min for my overall numbers
Distance: 4.11 miles
Average Speed: ? mph ~ sidewalks : )
Max Speed: ? mph

Overall Distance: 9.92 miles

Ride 1: Cold and Out of Shape

In the summer of 2008 I attended a “Woodbadge for the 21st Century,” which essentially the eagle scout for adults. It is a week long outdoor training event designed to help adults in the BSA program become better Leaders. Thoughout the couse we learned how a troop “should” be run, and many helpful ideas of how to get ours running better. We also learned skills for teaching, listening, and helping the youth in BSA reach their potential. That is the first part of Woodbadge. The second part is where this post comes in.

To become woodbadge certified, you must not only do the week of training, but during that time you choose five items which will make up a “Ticket.” These are goals that you are given 18 months to complete from the end of your week course. One of my five ticket items was to help encourage me to get back into cycling, something I enjoyed when I was younger. My goal is to ride 500 miles… not in one ride… before the 18 months is up. While this may not be a lot for most avid bike riders, I figured with school, work, family, and 4 other items on my ticket to complete, 500 would be enough.

To track my miles, and the journey along the way, I decided that I would not only write a post for each ride to keep track of my stats, dates, and experiences, I also would try to take a photo from some point in the ride as well. With tonight being the first ride, I amost wanted to skip adding it to the list.

As I came home from work tonight, I could not help but notice how nice it was. It is still mid January, and the high temperature was about 64 degrees. As I left work it was probably still in the 60’s. I was thinking it would be a great night to ride. When I got home, Kristen had to do some visiting teaching and would be gone for a couple hours, so that sold me on going on a ride.

Since it was last minute, and months or maybe a year since I have used my road bike, it took a lot longer to get all my things together and my bike shirt and shorts a lot more snug than I prefer. Once the tires were aired up, and I was ready to go, I hit the road. Getting used to my clip in shoes again took me a little bit, and since Wichita is not a biker friendly city, I stuck to the sidewalk for a half mile while I got used to the bike again. I finally reached a nicely paved road on the west side of the Arkansas river, got on it and took off.

I am used to riding my mountain bike to and from work (.5mile) so riding the road bike with clips was a lot of fun. I could easily get up to speed and was free to cruise. At first I was doing great, cruising between 22-25mpg. I made it a little over 2.5 miles at that pace before my legs decided they didnt like this “excercise” thing they had to do. I made it to Central, which is where I got the photo of the glowing tubes and decided to turn back. It would be my “test” run to make sure everything worked right. It was dark out already and was down to 50 degrees, which at 22mph in tight shorts and shirt is kinda chilly. Plus I was out of breath and could bearly keep going… pretty sad. So I took a bike path that runs along the river and headed back home at a much more leasure pace.

I stopped at the Keeper of the Plains exhibit located on an Island in the river and got a drink from a fountian there and also got two more photos. Although the distance I rode was embarrassing, it was even more so that it wore me out so much. But this has not hurt, only helped my determination to get back out onto the road and get back into shape. So to finish things up I will list out my stats for the ride and will continue to do so for all future rides.

Current Ride

Ride Number: 1
Ride Time: 34:58 (min:sec)
Distance: 5.81 miles
Average Speed: 10 mph ~ sidewalks : )
Max Speed: 25.1 mph

Overall Numbers

Same as above, it was my first ride. In the future I plan on keeping a total ride tally.

Let it Snow?

I am not sure about other states but it seems like it’s spring in Kansas right now… the only problem is that its still January. Last year we moved downtown, only five or six blocks from my work, so I decided that I would try to ride my bicycle to work instead of driving. It would help to save money, get excersize, and it is faster to ride to my work than to drive a couple blocks to my parking spot and walk to my office. I figured that I could bike most of the year with the exception of rainy day and winter… nobody wants a soaked co-worker. Today, mid January, as I rode home for lunch with my jacket unzipped, I realized that it is unusually warm out for this time of year.

Growing up in Kansas, I remember having ice storms in October, this year the first ones didnt seem to come until late November and early December. But after a handful of really fridgid weeks, here we are, back in the mild temperatures again. Today the high was around 58 degrees, which for Kansas is a bit warmer than usual. Since today is not over, I am not able to get todays high and low temperature records but I was able to get yesterdays, which I imagine are similar. The record high was set in 2002 at 75 degrees, about 17 degrees warmer than today! The average is 39 degrees which is about 19 degrees colder than today, so although were not breaking any records, its still quite a bit above average. And for all those people in Haiwii, who this 58 degrees is the end of the world, the record low was set in 1979 at -11 degrees.

Who Needs Mountains

One of the things that I have always liked about Kansas is the sunsets. It’s one thing that I missed when I lived out in Utah and Los Angels. While you get a different type of sunset in Utah with the mountains I don’t think of can compare it to the ones out here. L.A. could also have nice sunsets but you usually ha to go out to the ocean and away from the smog. Overall kansas has great sunsets and they happen pretty regularly.