Big Miles

Holy smokes, my big ride, my CO GAP 2017, is happening in about one month!

Big Miles

I need to get some miles in!

Sippo Valley

Mileage Plan

I parked at Fort Laurens, biked thru Bolivar, and then took the Ohio-Erie Towpath North.

Bike Trail Route

 

When I got to the break in the trail-which is just over a bridge-I decided to take the Sippo Trail, which goes west to Dalton. It is ten miles long, which makes another twenty miles under my belt.
Turn Around Trail

After a fairly sketch first half  mile, you exit the city area and are into the suburbs and country life.

Sippo Valley Trail

 

After a few miles, the asphalt turns into limestone trail. The Sippo Trail is pretty tree covered.Sippo Valley Trail

Sippo Valley Trail

Sippo Trail

When I got back to the Ohio Eric Towpath, I decided to just head back south. I meant to ride 60 miles, I rode 52 miles instead.

Longest Ride to Date!

Big Miles

I did really well on this bike ride eating and drinking. I had to hop off the bike a few times because of hydrating a little too well! It was interesting to see the differences between 7 hours running and 7 hours biking-you just are not beat up the same way as running.

Time Factor

I am a bit concerned about the time factor. This was seven hours of pretty much biking. I did stop once each hour to get my butt off the saddle, stretch, drink, eat.  I will be stopping much more on the C&O Towpath to take pictures, etc.

Fast Forward my Bike Ride

The more I think about it, I realize this is my bike tour. I can do whatever I want. My first day of touring will be 59 miles. I may bail out at fifty miles and call my husband (who is driving a vehicle and coming along) to cut the day short. Maybe. There is no DQ or Bike Police out there to dictate the terms of my ride.

I still need another long bike ride, preferably two back to back long rides. The clock is ticking!

 

My Biking Mistakes

My Biking Mistakes

Biking Mistakes

Read  What I have Done Wrong So You Won’t Make These Same Biking Mistakes

Buying an Inner Tube with a Presta Valve

Did you know there are two types of bike valves? Me neither. There is the “normal” one, called a Shraeder valve, which is on your typical bike and all your vehicles.  Then there is the “Presta” valve which apparently is used on mountain bikes and What else I don’t know.

The problem is, everything is made for a “S” or Shraeder valve which makes sense. You then have to buy an adapter to work with your Presta valve.  The Presta valve is also tricky to use. You have to unscrew the little metal top to be able to pass air into and out the inner tube.

Conclusion: Read the label on the inner tube box and don’t buy a Presta valve.

Brake Pad on Backwards

Inspect your bike before riding.  In one of my tire changing epic moments, when I got the brake pads back on the bike, I flipped one upside down. It still worked. I didn’t notice this until I was changing the next tire on the bike and adjusting brakes.  I should have noticed this sooner.

Conclusion: look your bike over now and then, make sure your brake pads face the right direction, tighten up any loose screws.

Adjusting Brakes-it’s called a quick release

Getting my rear brakes working again after changing a tire has been a challenge. I discovered that there is something called the “quick release” so you don’t have to fight your bike to remove the tire to change a flat.

Conclusion: Understand the quick release on  your rear brakes.

Using An Allen wrench the long way

I even know the name “Allen Wrench” now. Sigh. I did not set out to become a bike mechanic, but if I am going to ride my bike, I am going to make sure I can fix some things on it.

You can turn things much easier using the allen wrench like this  |______   rather than like this

Conclusion: Have a collection of allen wrenches. But don’t call them allen wrenches. The correct generic nomenclature is “hex key”.  You’ll be a more cool rider when someone asks for a “hex key” and you know what they are talking about.

Make Sure Your Cleats Are TightGoing Clipless

If you are using clipless shoes, make sure the cleats on the bottom are tight on your shoes.  If they are not, you may find yourself unable to remove your shoe from the bike. When you are doing the little twisting action to release your foot, the cleat simply moves around.

If you can get your foot out of the shoe, and the shoe off the pedal, that’s great. I had to watch numerous You Tube clips and remove the pedal with the shoe and take it off to the vise.

I was able to successfully FINALLY remove the cleat from the pedal. I had lost one of the screws from the cleat. I then had to buy more screws from Amazon for my shoes.

Conclusion: Make sure your screws are tight on your shoes. Buy and have available spare screws-I have already somehow lost another screw, glad I had a stash of screws. Carry your allen wrench. Carry your hex key.

You Tube Videos

You Tube Videos are the bomb. Just type in something close to what you think you are trying to accomplish, you will either see a video or something suggested to get you closer to what your true problem is.

What’s your Newby Biking Mistake? Please share so I can avoid another one!

 

 

Micro Adventure: Visit a New Town: Dayton

Greetings reader, as I stated in my last post, do something new this summer, visit a “new-to-you” town within your own state. We had a micro adventure, visiting a local town on the other side of the state, Dayton Ohio.

Daycation Vacation

Daycation Staycation

We decided to head over to the western side of Ohio, Dayton.  I have not been to Dayton since my college years of visiting a friend’s home, this was all new to us.

What To Do in Dayton

There is quite a bit to do in Dayton! First, it is the home of the Wright Brothers, printers, inventors, successfully launched the first flying machine. There are five Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Parks in the Dayton area.

Parachute Museum

The Air Force Museum is located in Dayton.  There is the Carillon Historical Park, which is a museum complex with more Wright Brothers history, the history of Dayton and of cash registers. Does anyone remember NCR-National Cash Register?

There are tons of outdoor activities! Kayak on the Miami River,  hit up a bike trail, or go hiking. Dayton is an authorized “Trail Town” by the Buckeye Trail Association, meaning it is friendly to hikers and has great amenities for your hike.

Antique Malls on the Way

We traveled west on I-70 to Dayton. There are three big antique malls to hit up on your travels if you are into that sort of thing-we are. I scored some new political buttons, and a new set of Staffordshire Spaniels!

Air Force Museum

If you are interested in history AND aviation, you have come to the right place! There are four hangars full of planes to marvel over. These are not small hangars either. Be prepared for LOTS of walking. Perhaps plan out your visit.

air force museum

This could take you four to six hours or two days in case you end up watching a movie while you are there.  But you know what? Admission is free, so take two days to take it all in!

Wright Brothers

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

 

Wright Brother Quote

Parachute Bear

Anniversary Dinner

We wanted to go to a good restaurant that was not a steak house in Dayton! (It seemed the restaurants with the best reviews all were steakhouses.)  We went to Kitchen Corner in the Oregon district, and had the tasting menu.  I thought it was very good, my husband was not that impressed-except for his addition of poutine-that was really tasty!

Aviation Day

It was a fun weekend out of town, we left Saturday morning at 8 am and returned home about 5pm on Sunday. Even though it was just one night out, it did feel like we had “gotten off our hilltop” and had a small break in the regular schedule.

Have you gotten out of town for a small staycation?

Summer Reading Top Picks

My summer reading top picks are books about the outside! Of course! Pick up any of these for some summer reading pleasure!

Summer Reads

(If you click on a picture, it is an affiliate link, which will take you to Amazon via my affiliate link where I may get a few cents if you buy a book! Thanks!)

The Tower


Famous climber Cesare Maestri with his partner claimed first ascent on Cerro Torre, a beautiful ice capped peak in Patagonia in 1959.  His partner died on the descent.  Many world class climbers attempted to climb this route in the years following but never were able to duplicate the summit, with the rumor that Maestri did not make the summit. Maestri always insisted that he had done it. But did he?  Kelly Cordes explores this fascinating mystery. Even if you are not a climber, it’s a well written interesting read.  Did he make the first ascent?

Lost in the Wild

This book is two stories: two separate people who became lost in the woods. Spoiler alert, they do both live. It’s a very interesting story to see what little, small mistakes can turn into HUGE problems when you are in the woods alone.  Even though I knew the men were rescued, I was literally on the edge of my seat when the rescuers almost missed him.

Tales from Out There: The Barkley Marathons

If you are an ultra runner or KNOW an ultra runner, you may have seem the documentary “The Barkley: The Race that Eats it Young”.  This book is the history of The Barkley written by Frozen Ed Furtaw. If you are thinking of running The Barkley, you need this book. If you are just interested in Barkley lore, you need to read this book.

Deep Survival

Yes another survival book. They do interest me!  This is a compilation of stories. It goes into the psychological side of survival, meaning why do certain personality traits help you to stand fast and get out of your situation, when other people may simply cave and die?

Micro Adventures

You can have an adventure in your backyard.  Alistair Humphreys shows you how in this simple book to have an adventure in your backyard or the next town over.   Keep your adventurer close to home!

Everest: Expedition to the Ultimate

Maybe your adventurer is fascinated by Mount Everest. There’s many books on Everest.  I have a few others than could be considered favorites, but Reinhold Messner was the first person to ascend Everest without supplemental oxygen.

Be Brave Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide

Jill Homer is a writer and adventurer. This is her adventure as a bike rider in the Tour Divide, which is riding your bike-across mountains-from Banff, Alberta to the Mexican Border of the Untied States.  By herself.  (She rode with other bikers at time.) Jill rocks!  I’ve read this book several times over.

The Last Season


Eric Blehm

A comelling narrative about a back country ranger who worked for the National Park Service for 28 years-and just abruptly disappeared one summer. A very interesting read.

What is on your summer reading list for this fleeting summer?

 

 

 

Save

Save

Try Five New Things This Summer

Try something different in July!

Paint Your Nails

Paint Your Nails a Color You Normally Would Not. Try…blue? Green?   paint your nailsIf you are a guy, paint your toenails. I dare you.

Eat a Vegetable You Hate

Eat a vegetable you hate. See if you still hate it. Maybe you don’t!!

Read a Book

Books on my Reading List

Read a book in a different genre that you normally select. Read a mystery? Read a romance? Read a non fiction book?

Drive a different route to work

new route

Drive to work-or drive home-on a route you normally don’t drive if you can. So it takes you longer. Big deal. See some landscape that you normally don’t see.

Go out of town

happiness

Go out of your town and spend a day in a town that you really haven’t visited in your state. (We’re visiting Dayton!)

Do something different for the fleeting month of July and report back here!

Social Media Day

 

It’s Social Media Day! But isn’t every day social media day?
Social Media Day June 30

Ah, social media day.  Where would we be without it?  Did you know there is a college degree in becoming a social media celebrity?  Say what you want about the negatives of social media, I would have less friends and adventures without it.

Facebook

My main reason of joining Facebook was “all the runners” were on it.  It is true, I’ve met new friends and had new trails to find since finding Facebook. I’ve “unfollowed” quite a few people in the last year.  (Psst! Come over and LIKE my FB Blog Page pleease!)

Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter since…2007? My Twitter surfing seems to come and go. Twitter has been useful in “watching” trail races via friends and irunfar live tweeting of races. Of course, the best Twitter hashtag feed is #BM100, which is following the ever growing popular Barkley Marathons in April.  I’m on Twitter as @kim_today!

Instagram

One of my Project 50 goals was “to figure out Instagram“. I think I did! I started following German Shepherd Dogs, and my feed got far more interesting! I learned that using relevant hashtags to my interest helps me find interesting folks to follow.  My Instahandle is https://www.instagram.com/kim.today/

Google Plus

I haven’t really gotten there with old Google Plus yet.  Nope. Just took another look. I have a profile there, but I just don’t get it.  Any tips for Google Plus?

Pinterest

I love Pinterest! I have lots of boards on all sorts of things I like. I don’t seem to get any more traffic to my blog from Pinterest, but I do get great ideas and recipes to try.

 

 

 

Snapchat

I thought I would figure out Snapchat in 2016, but then Instagram came out with “Stories” so I deleted my Snapchat account.  Not knowing what someone’s user name was on Snapchat was just too hard to follow. Then  IG just copied Snapchat, so I just stayed on IG.  (I still don’t know how to make a “story” on IG.)

Podcasts

zune

The MP3 Player is a Zune. Yes, it is an ancient antique invented and abandoned by Microsoft.  I still love podcasts, but as my health has changed, my interests have changed a bit, and I have found new podcasts to enjoy.

New Podcasts This Year:

The Hamilcast: I discovered Hamilton An American Musical last year. Yes, it is everything it is hyped to be. I’ve recently finished Hamilton by Ron Chernow-the biography that inspired Lin Manuel Miranda to write the musical. I have not seen the musical but am optimistic about maybe getting a ticket when the show travels to Cleveland.  The Hamilcast is an energized fan girl podcast about Hamilton. It has become the unofficial podcast of Hamilton, and many of the latest podcasts are interviews with the actors in the show!

Outside In

A highly produced show from New Hampshire public radio, Outside In produces podcasts about nature-to bring the outdoors to you, where ever that may be. The shows are varied and well written.

Pedal Shift

As I prepare for my first bike tour, I was happy to find the Pedal Shift podcast. Tim is from the DC area, and has produced quite a few shows on the trails I am going to ride, the C&O Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage! I’ve picked up quite a bit of knowledge from him.

 

What are your favorite social media sites?

Climb Up Out of Your Comfort Zone Spend a Night in a Fire Tower

Climb Up Out of Your Comfort Zone-spend the night in a fire tower

Climb Up Out of Your Comfort Zone

Thorny Mountain Fire Tower, located in Seneca State Forest in West Virginia, was constructed in 1935 by the CCC. It was styled after western fire towers, with a larger living quarter at the top. The fire tower was renovated in 2015 and began taking reservations for overnight stays.

It’s All Old School

fire tower

You have to phone for a reservation. There is no electricity or wi-fi at the fire tower. There are no bathrooms at the fire tower living quarters-but there is a pit toilet, picnic table, and fire pit available on the ground level.

Climb to the Top

You do have to climb up three flights of fire tower steps to get to the tower. These are nice sturdy planks, with roof shingles affixed, for good footing. fire tower steps There is also wire fencing on each side, so you really can’t fall off.  It is still a steep climb of 69 steps to the top.

Fear of Heights

About one week before the solstice, the husband surprises me and says he is coming along. Despite being a former paratrooper, he is afraid of heights.  I hedge bets by putting a tent and air mattress in the vehicle.  It’s both for him -and actually for me, in case there is inclement weather. I don’t really know protocol about lightning storms in fire towers.

Stairs

We arrive in the mid afternoon. I start up  with a armful of stuff and the keys.  Not fond of steep fire tower steps, I deposit my bedding on the first landing in order to have my hands free to  be able to be able to unlock the pop up gate. The  husband is right on my heels. And I can’t figure out how to get this gate.  The husband finally gasps out, just push it up, and it goes! Now we are out the top and I quickly unlock the fire tower room.

At The Top

The room is solid, windows on all sides.  living quarters fire tower It is very cool.  The husband comes into the room. He stands around for a minute or two. I don’t’ say anything to him.  He says “nope, I can’t do it.”  He will sleep on the ground tonight.  (He thought he was getting a handle on his fear, as we had ridden a ski lift in Rotorua New Zealand that he had almost enjoyed.)  I feel bad. 

Living Quarters

There are two cots, with mattresses, about twin bed size. There are four chairs and two tiny night stands.  There is no electricity and no lighting, you will need a light source-no combustibles in the fire tower.  


door to fire tower room
There is a catwalk around the whole room, very secure, where you can also lounge and take photos from.

cat walk fire tower

view from fire tower

Dinner

The husband cooks up a great meal on the fire ring, despite me forgetting to bring our stove.

steaks

I have also forgotten the air mattress pump, and now the husband is going to sleep in our vehicle rather than on the ground!

Gloaming

My adventure has changed a bit for me, I had envisioned sitting alone, in my fire tower, writing, enjoying the view as the day wore down. kim on the fire tower

I stayed on the ground until almost twilight so my husband is not all by himself.  I climb up before it gets totally dark and enjoy the gloaming.

Night Alone

I woke up several times in the night to look at the stars. The wind would kick up now and then, but I never felt the fire tower move. (My husband said it did.)  I did have many disjointed dream fractures as I woke up countless times. I can’t say I got quality sleep, but I have never slept in the air before.

Sunrise

sunrise fire tower

The  sunrise woke me early. I  got up and peered outside several times to take pictures, as the early pinks and oranges got stronger as the dawn progressed. pinks of fire tower As soon as it was safely possible, I climbed down to join my husband for breakfast.

Husband Adventure

He has his own adventure. Getting out  of the vehicle for a bathroom break, he startled “some large animal” which crashed away from him. But the animal didn’t leave! It stayed in the edge of the woods, right past his perimeter of the light source, making noise at him.  He slept with the windows the most of the way up the rest of the night!

Can You Step out of Your Comfort Zone and Sleep in the Air?

The fire tower is a great place to have an adventure. I would imagine the fire tower in the late days of October would have to be lovely with the fall leave colors. It is extremely sturdy, there is no reason to be fearful in the room.   fire tower roomThe steps are well maintained and there is protective fencing on each side. However, you still have to climb up AND down these steps, which I will not lie, I held onto the sides and carefully climbed up and down, one step at a time.

view from fire tower

It’s a great place to have an adventure!