Hitting the Road Literally on a Trek Madone 2.1

County Road 166
County Road 166 With No Traffic Only Dogs

Pride really does come before the fall, even literally. I guess looking back at my first wreck on Wednesday I would say I was probably pretty proud I had never wrecked a bike as an adult, motor or cycle, nor did I ever expect to wreck, and certainly not on a bike less than a week old (see previous post). But, it’s all a matter of perspective because that ominous looking road above on Wednesday got the better of my ride. After finishing my ride for the day I decided to go a little farther down the road from my car to cool down when all of a sudden I found myself being chased by a 90 pound mass of Doberman flesh at 26 mph. Without any warning, in less than a blink of an eye, in full stride, he turned his 90+ pounds like a pro running back directly into my front tire and it was all over.

Being chased by a dog is certainly nothing new out here in the county. There are way WAY too many dog owners out here in Lee County Alabama who just refuse to tie up their dogs, and most of them own Rottweilers, Dobermans, or Pit Bulls. It wasn’t even the first dog who chased me on my ride that day, it was more like the 5th or 6th dog. Faced with slowing down and possibly having the dog take off flesh like a shark out of water, then the ensuing rabies shots that follow, I generally just keep going hoping to outrun the dog (note to self, big giant dogs can actually run over 20mph for not so short distances).

I really gave no thought to my helmet or anything else I put on that day. When I landed, or bounced, on the pavement I was so stunned when the dog speared my wheel, seemingly at the time on purpose to take me out, I hadn’t really understood that all the safety gear I was wearing actually did what it was supposed to do, give me a fighting chance at surviving a body plant on pavement at 26mph. I landed directly on my hip and the back of my head simultaneously. My helmet basically was split in two and apparently a hip socket can take a beating I never knew was possible. I’m not sure how I didn’t black out completely, and my brain somehow didn’t seem to get scrambled inside my skull as I quickly went through the “do I have a concussion” routine.

Some questions came up of course:

How Did it happen? See above.

Are you ok? I think so although I still can’t really walk yet, have some nice road rash on my skin and every muscle I have seems to be yelling at me. Nothing broken (I think, but how I don’t know), and seemingly no concussion (at least not a serious one).

How is the dog? Who cares, but, yes he never even slowed down or looked back. Pepper spray will be flying next time around.

How is the bike? See below, but surprisingly, it fared extremely well. I was wearing a pair of Bontrager RL Road shoes (pictured here in their new splendor), which split at the seam of the buckle. Kind of strange but it just snapped in half. I was hopefully Bontrager would warranty the shoes being only 5 days old. After my LBS checked on it for me they said, no Bontrager said they couldn’t warranty the shoes because they were smashed to oblivion and in an accident. They did however say they would replace them under their “good will” program because they were less than a week old. I figured out this meant they felt really sorry for me. WOW, well I’m now a Bontrager fan now and will certainly recommend Bontrager gear to anyone who asks.

The bike, a Trek Madone 2.1, purchased a week ago from my fantastic LBS in Auburn, had some fabric wear on the seat and bar tape, and the front tire is slightly out of round, but other than that, the frame held up extremely well, hardly even a scratch on it. I didn’t really anticipate writing a review about how well a Trek Madone 2.1 holds up in a wrecked, but crashing at 26mph, the bike looks fantastic.

What were you wearing? An old Trek helmet. My helmet was smashed but my head wasn’t. I was wearing gloves. Something I never thought about much, but they kept my hands from some serious pain. I was wearing thicker riding pants (tights), something that also saved me some pain (hair on legs was not a good idea). I had on a breathable non-cotton shirt, but it was pretty thick, it also ended up being a good choice.

This is all basically to say… if you ride a bike, wear a helmet, period. Make safety a priority. I never ever ever thought I would make use of my helmet, but when I go to pick out my next one it will be with a keen eye on safety. I do wish I had mounted my GoPro Hero 3 on my bike to capture this event, but hope it never happens again.

Broken Trek Cycling Helmet
Broken Trek Cycling Helmet
Bontrager Seat Damage from Wreck
Bontrager Seat Damage from Wreck
Shimano Hood and Tape Damage from Wreck
Shimano Hood and Tape Damage from Wreck

Trek Madone 2.1 On the Road Again :: Friday Feet

Cleats and the Front Fork of a Trek Madone
Cleats and the Front Fork of a Trek Madone
Trek Madone 2.1 on the Car Rack
Trek Madone 2.1 on the Car Rack

It’s been a while since my last Friday Feet post. I kept trying to get a shot on a Friday with a different pair of shoes and decided this was it. For the first time in 2013 I got back on my bike again, although it was still pretty cold, I did ride for about 10 miles and didn’t bonk. I have high hopes for riding this year, and even higher hopes as the temperature rises into the Spring and Summer. For now, I’m just trying to rebuild my cardiovascular from far too long a break.

My previous ride was a Trek Madone 4.5 and this year I have moved to this updated aerodynamic frame of the Madone 2.1. At some point after I get a few hundred miles on this frame I’m going to try to do a review, albeit an amateur review, but I can already feel a few differences between the carbon of the 4.5 and the aluminum of the 2.1, but not too many if you are a rider who isn’t too concerned with winning the next Tour de France.

Labor Day Monday Photo With a Bike Uganda Style

This Labor Day was a glorious day. It rained almost all day today due to Tropical Storm Lee pounding up from the Gulf Coast. For those of us fortunate enough to be able to take at least part of the day off today it was wonderful. For a few shorts minutes this morning I was able to sit on my patio and watch the rain and do nothing. It was great, but a time of solitude took me back to thinking about those in Uganda, many who labor very hard every single day. Matthew says “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (11:28), and we came across many who needed a little rest over there, as we all do everywhere. Margin is such an important thing in life. So important in fact that God put it 4th on his important list of things for us to do.

The photo above was so typical of the people we saw in Uganda. Super nice, hard working people, many moving goods from one place to another, by foot. I had never seen so many crazy things being moved around on a bike and moped; like a full sofa, a coffin, a refrigerator, and all kinds of agricultural goods. At some point I’ll do a post with just photos of things we saw people carrying on bikes, for now, this guy is my honorable labor day photo. Something like 50-75 pounds of trees being pushed up a hill in the mud, pretty incredible.

Long Ride to Florida and Key West by Motorcycle

Deborah Honda Shadow

Deborah Honda Shadow

Scott and Deborah

It usually gets to be about this time of year when I start dreaming about being some place warmer where the days are not 50-60* and gloomy (yes I know if you live anywhere farther north than the deep south 50 is not cold, but it is to us).  One of our favorite spots to go this time of year is the Florida Keys.  We have made more than a dozen trips down there over the years but a few years ago we did something different and road our motorcycles from Auburn Alabama to Key West Florida.

You may be saying big deal, who cares, but if you have never ridden a bike, or haven’t ridden more than about 50 miles at a time on a bike, it was a pretty big deal to us.  It is about 850 miles from here to there, and by car, usually takes us two days if we stop in Orlando.  That means long driving time in short light, and cold.  It was a great trip, and goal achieved, but one of the best and most memorable trips we have taken down to the keys (other than this one).  We didn’t make it all the way to Orlando the first night, and we only made it to Islamorada the second night, so it was a whole lot of very sore riding by the time we made it to Key West, but a memory I wouldn’t trade for anything.

So there are a few shots done with a point-n-shoot a few years ago, one while I was riding next to Deb while she was on her Honda Shadow VLX 600.  I was riding a Honda Nighthawk 750 at the time and loved to take pics of Deb while she was riding (of course).  We took many trips on these two motorcycles but this one trip to the Florida Keys was one of our favorite, and in one of our favorite spots in the country.

Bike Ride Through Chewacla State Park :: Friday Feet

Scott on the swing

Scott and Deb Biking

Scott and Deb Biking

Scott and Deb Biking

Scott and Deb Biking

This was an extremely busy week again but today is finally Friday and time for Friday Feet.  Today we drove out to Chewacla State Park to ride our bikes on the trails (paved that is).  Is you live near Auburn this is a great gem right out of town, has a nice river, waterfall, and fishing lake.  Along with a very nice route around the river, there is a bike trail just at the entrance of the park which is a popular running and biking spot.  It was nice to get some exercise outside now that we are deep into winter, but it ended up being about 70* today and made for a nice bike ride.

We stopped at the lake to sit on the swing, which made for my Friday feet post today.  I was able to work a little panning technique into the shoot today with Deb on the swing.  I love the effect of motion but it isn’t all that easy to pull off and make it look half way decent.  You can do this in a number of different situations, I just forget to give it a try sometimes.

No body else has jumped on the Friday Feet bandwagon yet, but I have found that it has forced me to look at different ways to do this weekly (short) shoot.  It isn’t that each Friday has to be something spectacular, it just keeps me thinking about how to keep creating original ideas.  It helps to have a nice mild day in winter.

Perdido Key National Seashore Photos :: Friday Feet

sea gull on the gulf coast

friday feet

bike ride in the gulf coast

plant in the sand

scott and deborah

parasailing

Today was our first and last full day on the gulf coast.  For January, the weather was beautiful but very very windy.  We went to one of our most favorite places in the Perdido Key area, the Gulf Islands National Seashore. We never really stay for more than a day or two down here but you pay for a 7-day pass ($8) and have access to one of the most wonderful white sand beaches on the Alabama/Florida gulf coast shore lines.

Every time we have been here the 5-7 mile stretch of beach has only a handful of people (today almost no one) and it seems to be one of those few areas in the country that still has pristine beaches and little sign of city life.  Our other favorite area like this is over on the Outter Banks of North Carolina which also has some of the most untouched beaches in the country. So for my Friday Feet post today, here is my feet image, and also a few more.  Tomorrow is it back to Auburn and back to work.

Gulf Shores Bike Trail to Beautiful Sunset Beach

Gulf Shores Sunset

Branyon Backcountry Trail

Bike ride

Bike ride

I would like to say that every day is filled with a bike ride and a walk on the beach, but at least, today, it was.  We use to spend quite a bit of time in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and Perdido Key, but haven’t made it down here in the last 6 months.  This is our absolutely favorite time of year to be down here.  The beaches and parks are usually empty, the temperature is still pretty nice.

After getting some work done at home we drove down to a bike trail in Orange Beach that is easy to find but not on many maps or searches.  The Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trail, which starts and runs through Gulf State Park, is a paved trail that have several different 1-2 mile sections that runs through the sand dunes and some beautiful nature areas.  We have driven by several times in the past but never stopped to ride the tail.

Of course no day would be complete down here without a walk on the beach.  We made it over to the sand just in time to see the sun set.  I walked a few miles down the beach and then we had dinner at a restraunt there on the beach, The Hangout.

I am always amazed at the beauty of the beach and the ocean.  I have seen it so many times, in many different states and countries and it still has some magical, almost mystic quality.  A place that for one reason or another allows you to remove the routine of life and the busy world around you and leaves you with sand and water… but a lot of sand, and an unreal amount of water.

I think people are attracted to the beach because it represents life.  Water that is living, breathing, and a constantly changing yet every time you go to the same beach, it looks relatively the same.  Taking a walk a few miles down a nice white sand beach (especially in January) is a spiritual thing, and I will take a walk any chance I get.  Here are some photos from the day.

My Honda Shadow VLX Sold This Week, My Last Ride

My bike sold this week and it was time to deliver it to the new owner today. Scott cleaned her up so nice it was hard to let her go. Below are some photos of my last ride. She was such a good bike and I will miss riding her, but it is time to go look at new boats now. We are headed out this weekend for Florida to look one over. It looks promising, wish us luck.

We have been looking for a boat since we left North Carolina where we left our 26′ Chrysler.  A great boat, but small, heavy, and not a real easy boat to learn on, but a lot of fun either way.  We have lots of stories from that boat, hopefully we can find a new boat and make new memories over here on this side of the south.

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My Honda Nighthawk Sold Today, What a Great Bike

Sad to see it go, but ecstatic about the future… there are many things in life that I am glad I did, this is one of them. I have had so much fun riding with my wife on our motorcycles, and this one has nothing but great memories for me, especially getting to take a long trip down to the Florida Keys.

Ready to go

Final Ride

Bye-bye Nighthawk

The Final Choice is the 600cc Honda Shadow VLX Motorcycle

Since I have had this bike for 2 months now I thought it would be a good idea to post the photos of it. In November we were talking about upgrading my bike and the requirements were pretty specific. The rebel was a great bike for me to learn on because it was a 250cc and was lower to the ground than most mainstream bikes. Whatever bike I was going to look at to replace the rebel had to be roughly the same seat height, but with more power. We were thinking that if I had a more powerful bike we would be able to ride longer distances together (see next post) more comfortably and would be able to ride on the interstate more safely.

The bike we decided to look for was a Honda Shadow VLX. We were thinking that it would take a few months to locate one that we liked and that was reasonably priced. Boy were we wrong! Scott was perusing eBay and came across the exact bike we were looking for and it was even being offered by a dealer. This meant that we could trade in the rebel without having to go through the trouble of trying to sell it. Scott called the dealer who ended the auction and the rest is history. Here she is…