Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Short, Warm Ride

With the cold Spring we have had, I was surprised yesterday when I started to prepare for a bicycle ride.  Noon, it was already warm and muggy.  Filtered sunshine and almost no wind.  Still wanted to ride, so grabbed the road bike and loaded it on the car rack.

In the morning, I was still tired from the ride Saturday, so slept in.  Kitting up for my ride, i realized that I had not eaten, so grabbed an apple to eat on the drive to the trailhead.

Aired up the tires and lubed the chain on the bike.  Already, I could feel the humidity (though it was only in the low 70s.  Headed out of the Lake Manawa Trail.  Took it easy, but still feeling pretty good - a decent speed up Mosquito Creek.

A little over 2 miles into my ride, I saw "Tom" (a wildlife photographer - "birder" friend) on the trail.  Stopped to visit with him.  After all, I was not in any hurry.  Drank some water before heading on down the trail.  I started realizing that this was not going to be a good ride!  Was happy to get to the Indian Creek Bridge for rest and consume fluids.  It was obvious, it was time to turn back to the car.

By the time I got back to where Tom was photographing a nest of owls in a tree across the road, I was a little light headed.  Stopped long enough to take a couple photos of Tom, drank some water, and popped a Shot Blok in my mouth.  On down the trail to car.

A mile from the car, I had to stop to drink the rest of my Gatorade and almost the rest of my water.  Slow ride with the wind (what little there was).  Seemed it took all my energy just to load the bike and exchange shoes.  Glad I still had some of my ice water in the cup in the car.

After resting a bit, I warmed up a pizza from the freezer.  Drank lots of water and washed doen the pizza with PowerAde Zero.  Processed the couple photos (that's my wildlife photographer friend Tom) and crashed into bed.

Don't want to duplicate that ride!  It was about the worse I have ever felt finishing a ride. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Awesome Riding Weather & a Camera Test

This is the first decent weekend we have had for bike riding.  The morning started with fog, but that burned off a little after noon.  Loaded the hybrid on the bike rack and headed to Wabash Trace Trailhead.

This time, I had all of the various pieces for the GoPro handlebar mount.  Attached the camera to the bike and headed out for Lake Manawa.  A couple times, I had to stop and tighten the various connections of the mount.

Temperature was in the mid 60s (I just wore my jersey & bibs - no long sleeve or jacket).  Just comfortable.  The winds was from the South at 5-10 mph.  A bit rough at times riding South on Mosquito Creek.  Stopped at Indian Creek Bridge.  Decided to head on around the Lake Manawa loop.  Before heading into the wind on Veteran's Memorial Trail, I stopped for a slug of my Gatorade and popped a shot blok in my mouth.  As expected, there were many folks out on the trail today.

Stopped at the bike shop (Xtreme Wheels).  Had not visited with Zach in some time.  Also, wanted to pick up a new membership application for Black Squirrel Cycling Club. 

Downloaded the video from the camera when I got back to the house.  Doing something wrong because I recorded 8 segments of under 2GB each.  Also there were regular "jumps" in the video. Oh, the photo here, shows the GoPro mounted on my hybrid, post ride.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring has Sprung - I Think...

Woke up this morning for near record cold over night.  Not surprised since it was Full Moon.  Frost on the windshield and 28 degrees as I headed to town for coffee and computer work.  When the sun came up, the temperature started rising.  About 40 when I drove home 9am.

Forecast was for high in the mid 60s, so I rested and kitted up for a bike ride.  The winds was starting to pick up and the temperature was a 62 sunny degrees when I got to the Wabash Trace Trailhead.  Was thinking of riding the Trace down South (with the wind) but I had not yet purchased my annual pass for the Trace.

Brought the hybrid for a pavement ride.  Wanted to check out the GoPro camera, but had a problem.  The mount was ending up aiming the camera side-wise.  Left a piece at hope that changes the orientation.

Rode over to the Indian Creek Bridge and back.  Had not been on the bike for almost 4 weeks, so the 9 mile ride was enough.  Winds was blowing 12-15 from the South, so enjoyed the ride with the wind back to the car.  At the car, there was a couple just loading their bikes.  I inquired on where they rode and the trail condition.  Seems that the trail surface is pretty solid except for mud in the tunnel.

Finally hit the 100 mile mark for the year.  Way too late start of the riding season!

While in town, ran some errands.  Late lunch at Freddie's. Sam's Club, Best Buy (verify I had parts needed for mounting my GoPro), and Xtreme Wheels.By the time I was driving home (had to stop in Treynir at Pickle Barrel for bags of popcorn) the thermometer in the car was ready 67! 

Weather forecast is for bike riding weather.  Lows in the 40s and highs up to 70s and near 80.  Sunday is Lake Manawa Clean-up Day.  See if I will attend that or ride my bike.  The walking the trails could be rough in my knee.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rain and Power Outage

Sunday evening, right on schedule, the rain hit at 9pm.  It was a deluge.  About 10pm (just as I was settling in to watch the news) the power went out. No lightning strikes that evening.

The power system was trying to clear the line.  Power would come back on for a short time,  then go off with a "thunk" I could hear in the house.  I grabbed the flashlight from the night stand.  Saw a orange glow when the power was off.

The glow was emanating from the area of the transformer supplying my house.  When the power finally went out, I ventured out on the porch.  All power was out in the area.

I called the power company emergency number. All I had the call with was my cell phone.  I hate their automated call answering system.  It does not allow you to leave any details of what you saw - just report the power is out.

Watched for the line crew - looking for the problem.  Missed them as they drove past me.  When they cam back down the road, I was out with my flashlight flagging him down.  Told him that I believe the problem is right here at my transformer pole.  He did a cursory inspection (from the ground) of the pole.  Looked like a failed insulater.

While he was back down toward the highway, the power tried to come back on 2-3 times. This was about midnight.  That brought the lineman and a neighbor to the driveway.  The lineman said he saw the arc 2 miles south on Hwy 92!

A larger line crew truck with 2 more linemen joined the lineman in my driveway.  They isolated the stub line to my transformer.  Parked in my field road at the transformer and made repairs.  Power was restored about 1:20am Monday morning.  Of course, I could not then get to sleep.

 Photo accompanying this posting (apologies for the quality) was taken with my new GoPro. I wanted to check out what the camera would do in low light, and did not to startle the workmen with any flash on a D-SLR.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

GoPro Hero2

Since I started cycling, I have been looking for a video camera to record some of the trails I ride.  I tried mounting a regular video camera - its to heavy and the mount would move.  Tried using my Canon Point&Shoot camera.  I was met with limited success.

Most successful have been the "lipstick" cameras.  I have had 2 - a "Tony Hawk" camera and one from Oregon Scientific.  Had the best luck with the Tony Hawk camera.  The video file size was good for posting on my web site.  My problems was getting the camera aimed, the battery life, and memory card limitations.

I started to concentrating on my still shots.  My Canon PowerShot S95 will record both JPG and RAW.  It also does bracketed exposures (I am a believer in HDR Photography). 

Over the last could years, more and more of my singletrack cycling friends have purchased GoPro Hero POV (Point of view) cameras.  This Spring, a friend of mine was looking to sell a GoPro Hero2 that he had as a demo camera.  We agreed on purchase of the camera and included mounts.

I have added the back screen and a handlebar mount.  Topped off my purchase with a hard case by UKPro for the camera.  Now, just need some riding weather to check out the camera and start honing my skills are a cycling videographer.

GoPro cameras and mounts are available as several "big box" and local stores.  I purchase my UKPro case from Breeze Cycle in Omaha.  The photo above is on my GoPro in the UKPro hard case.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bike on the Intrepid Trail

This weather has really getting me down.  Most of my friends are feeling the same.  Last week I took the hardtail to the bike shop to get the tires and pedals changed - studs and flats for knobbies and clipless.  Thought MAYBE the weather is waiting me to signal Winter really was over. 

Alas, the weather is very slow in changing.  This week we are getting cool temperatures, overcast skies, and wind.  Rain is in the forecast for later in the week.  Even some predictions of snow!

Thought maybe a photo and thoughts of warmer temperatures, sunshine, and awesome scenery would brighten my spirits.  This photo was taken on my birthday.  The bike is my Trek Fuel EX7.  My "buddy" on the handle bar is "Fest-er" from the MidWest Mountain Bike Festive.  I was riding the Intrepid Trail at Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah.  Was topping a great day in the red rock country near Moab.

OH, to be there today!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Artistic Rendition of Racing Photos

Over the last couple days, I have been playing with filters (plug-ins) for Photoshop Elements.  Just received an update of Topaz Labs B&W Effects.  I like the look I get with this plug-in.  The photo on the right was taken during the Swanson CrossCountry (XC) race.  Processed from Camera Raw by Photoshop Elements 9 and converted grayscale with tinting and vignette.

I can do similar and other artistic effects to any of the photos I have taken at the races.  Please contact me to discuss.

Photos at TomWinfield dot com

Monday, April 8, 2013

Swanson River City Shoot Out

A long weekend of mountain bike racing was capped off by Swanson River City Shootout.  The photo to the right is the first of the lead-out group of the day.- Marathon.  These racers rode laps over the course for more than 4 hours!

The weather started cool and threatening some rain.  By the start of the first race, it was comfortable for racing.  The sun cam out and the air warmed up causes me to shed my sweatshirt.  By the second race was lining up for the start, it was down-right balmy.  Thermometer in the car showed 77 when I headed home.  Back to the race...

The first race of the day was for the Marathon riders, Juniors, and Category 3.  Cat 3 and Juniors races one lap around the course.  I hope that I caught ever racer on the course for a photo.  I stayed for the first awards podium call.

Was down to the starting line for the second race of the day - Category 1 and Category 2.  At the short track race Saturday, I scoped out shooting places not too far from the start line.  That lowered my walking time.  Shot photos of all of the Cat 2 and Cat 1 racers as they raced their first lap.

By this time, my body had enough.  Sucked on a shot blok and slowly walked up to the registration area.  Said my good-bye's and headed home.  I knew I would miss the kids race and second podium call, but I just could not do any more.

A shout out for Nebraska Lottery for their support of the Psycowpath Mountain Bike Series.  Another shout out for Edge Physical Therapy for providing the food at the race. Race results will be available on the Psycowpath web site.

Now, for my shameless plug - my photos of Swanson River City Shoot Out are available on my race and events web site:  http://win-photo.photoreflect.com

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Psycowpath Mountain Bike Series is Off with a Weekend of Racing

Saturday morning, the Psycowpath Mountain Bike Series started the 2013 season with Jewell Jam - a time trial helt at Jewell Park in Bellevue, NE.  Jewell Jam was the first race of a two stage race.  The second stage was the Swanson Short Track Race.

Swanson Short Track was held Saturday afternoon at Swanson Park, also in Bellevue, NE.  The course of the Short Track Race was reported to be 0.9 mile in length.  This made for a full day of racing!

The photo here, is of Junior (13-15) category racer Jack Ferguson of The Bike Way Racing Team.  Jack was the first racer on the course.

Race results are available on the Psycowpath web site.

I attempted to to catch a photo of each racer during both Jewell Jam and Swanson Short Track.  Race photos are available a http://win-photo.photoreflect.com.  As usual, photos posted on the web site are "proofs".  When a order comeoms if for a photo file, I will retrieve the original camera raw file for processing.  The processed files will be e-mails to the customer.

Screwed up the focus on many of the photos at Jewell.  I had the telephoto zoom lens set on "anual" focus to shoot Eagles at Lake Manawa.   Wondered why I was having problems getting a focus lock with the camera.  Realized the problem and corrected the error for Swanson Short Track.

Please note that I did NOT stay for the last race of the day - Category 1  Short Track.  It was just too much in one day.  As it was, I had to suck/chew on a Shot Blok on the walk up tp the start line to ward of a bonk.

Photos of today's Swanson River City Shootout should be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Fool!

Yesterday, the weather played an April Fool joke on us.  This photo shows what my front yard looked like when I first stuck my head out of the door.  Didn't get much warmer the rest of the day.

So, I spend the day napping, resting, and working on the computer.  Sunday night I had problems sleeping.  Lots of thoughts in my brain - thoughts about getting home from the hospital after the stroke and open heat surgery.

Spent time writing down my thoughts about how I became a cyclist.  For now I am calling it "Re-discovering the Bicycle".  It may become a chapter of a book about my recovery from my health problems.