Posts tagged ‘topocreator’

Cold and Icy Double Oak Mountain

Great ride today – very cold though! I climbed up Double Oak Mountain to see if there was more snow and ice up near the top because of the elevation difference. I was surprised to find trees sagging under the weight of a lot of ice. I think we dodged a bullet here in Birmingham with what could have been a terrible ice storm!

Double Oak loop icy ride

Cold temperature – look at the temperature dip because of the elevation and ice/snow cover on top of Double Oak Mountain

Garmin statistics – small problem with regards to daylight

Beautiful icy sunset from the top of Double Oak Mountain

The Double Oak roller coaster section with icy roads and bent over trees from the weight of the ice

January 13, 2011 at 1:11 am Leave a comment

Last ride of 2010

The weather forecast for today included a winter weather advisory with really cold temps. We went to visit some friends about 30 miles away near Hayward, WI. I took my bike along to try to ride back to Shell Lake if the roads were clear enough. I mapped out a route that took me near the highest point in the area – Meteor Hill. Even though I was on my mountain bike, I was flying home with a stiff wind coming from the northeast, mostly a tailwind. Wonderful ride, and I’ll let the video and pictures below tell the story.


Heading out from near Hayward, WI


Beaver lodge a few miles into the ride. I saw several more of them throughout the ride.


Interesting historical marker in the middle of the Indian Reservation that I rode through.


My Garmin tried to take me down this road. I don’t think so.


Frozen river.


Icy road near Meteor Hill


Beautiful winter scene looking from near the top of Meteor Hill back down into a valley to the east.


Another beaver lodge – this one had lots of beaver tracks in the snow.


A very frozen Shell Lake – with a pickup truck driving out to the ice fishing huts.


Near the very end of my ride, at the Shell Lake boat landing, frozen beard icicles, 18degrees F


Garmin Connect ride data – annotated

TopoCreator map and elevation profile for the ride
(Or download the huge version)

January 1, 2011 at 2:28 am Leave a comment

A very rainy Pine Mountain climbing loop

I explored three new climbs today on a somewhat epic 103 mile ride in the rain with nearly 8500′ of climbing. Classes ended last week, and my students finished up their finals online today. With the icy roads and a very busy day of grading yesterday, I decided to take yesterday completely off. That opened up the opportunity in my training schedule to go for a super long ride today. The only thing that didn’t cooperate completely was the weather. Today was much warmer than yesterday with temps in the mid to upper 50s, but it was still quite wet. It wasn’t raining when I left my house, but within 1/2 mile it had started to rain, and another mile later it was a veritable rain shower. Unfortunately, the rain shower was tracking the same direction as the route I had planned out. So I ended up riding in the rain for almost 10 miles straight before it let up. Then it was nice, cloudy, and nearly 60 degrees for the next 40 miles. Then right about the halfway mark of the ride, the rain picked back up again and didn’t stop all the way home.

About the ride – awesome – well, except for all the dogs and the rain. Seriously, as one set of dogs chased, you could hear dogs barking at the next house up the road. The dogs were heavily concentrated in the Annie Lee, Blackjack, Mountain View area. Two of the new climbs were on Pine Mountain just outside of Springville. I had done part of one of the climbs, but never turned to continue climbing the rest of the way to the top. Also, I descended off the backside of Pine Mountain into the valley containing Alabama Hwy 75 near Remlap, and then climbed the backside of Pine Mountain all the way to the Pineview Rd towers. Also, near Clay I climbed Goodner Mountain for the first time. Great view on a nearly bald exposed top (unusual for Birmingham) looking back towards Pine Mountain and Cedar Mountain.

The view from Mountain View Rd near Springville looking south towards Bald Rock Mountain. Kelly Creek Rd would be in the valley in front of the highest ridge in the distance.

Heartrate data annotated with road names

Arriving back home – wet, tired, and reflective

December 16, 2010 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

Gotta love the commute

Double Oak Commute
What do a midterm exam, excellent students, and a beautiful day all equate to? Answer: a 55 mile commute with nearly 5000 ft of climbing. In the map above, I have numbered and labeled the six major climbs on the route. Also my ride crossed four different river valleys – Shades Valley, Cahaba Valley (2x), Little Cahaba Valley (2x), and Shoal Creek!

My computer architecture students have done really well this semester and are way ahead of schedule, so when I gave them their second take-home exam yesterday, I also decided to give them the day off from class. This meant I had the opportunity to go for a long ride on the way in to work, how long? My longest “commute” yet at 55 miles and over 5000 ft of climbing. I did one of my favorite climbs in Birmingham (Double Oak Way), and I also discovered a cool addition to the Grants Mill climb from the Cahaba River.

Contents of my jersey pockets for the 55 mile commute: 2 powergels, 1 chocolate milk, 2 powerbars, 1 set of keys, 1 wallet in a grocery bag, 1 saddle bag with holes.

The ride was awesome, and my legs felt good so I attacked the hills pretty hard. I had ridden all these roads before with one exception – the cement path down into the Cahaba River (literally) for the Grants Mill climb. There is a cement path that leads from a parking area on Grants Mill Rd down a 24% gradient to the Cahaba River. Near the river, there is a ramp leading to a canoe/kayak landing with a gradient of at least 35% maybe even 40%.

Annotated Grants Mill / Cahaba River bridge area.

The ramp down to the landing is pretty short as shown in the satellite image above at about 15-20 ft long and leads to a 6′ by 6′ landing. So when you are heading toward a flooding river with your brakes completely engaged and the bike not stopping, you contemplate life a bit right before you roll to a stop at the edge. Then you get to turn your bike around and attempt a standing start climb of a 35+% gradient ramp. It might not work so well, and you might tumble back down the ramp onto the landing again. Or if you are lucky like me, you manage to clip both feet out of the pedals and catch the bike as it starts to wheely over backwards onto you. Then you might reasonably decide to walk the bike back up the ramp and remount to tackle the 24% gradient back up to the road to begin the 2.8 mile climb up Grants Mill onto Old Leeds Rd with 665′ of climbing and a vertical elevation difference of 540′ (a lot for Birmingham).

Lastly, here is a picture of the Double Oak Way ridge and my iBike elevation data for the ride … the climb looks much bigger in person when you are at the bottom of it.

Double Oak ridge with neighborhood off of Co Rd 41 in foreground.

Double Oak Commute iBike elevation data

December 2, 2010 at 10:41 pm 2 comments

Thanksgiving riding in Indiana

It has been a cold, wet, windy, and fun Thanksgiving up here in Northern Indiana. No mega climbs, but lots of fun roads to explore with small rolling hills nearly constantly if you pick the right roads.

Saturday’s ride to Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes (Updated 11/28)
For my last day of riding in northern Indiana, I wanted to get as much climbing/hills as possible so I headed over towards Lake Michigan and along the “morraine” — leftover hills from the ice age. La Porte is quite a popular place for riding, and so the roads were covered with all kinds of markings (LSC – La Porte Spring Century, Hills 100, Apple/Berry markings). My garmin was not working correctly because of the rain from a couple days ago so I had to pick out my route by sight, and I ended up following a lot of these roads and getting in some good climbing on lots of fun hills. The highlight was the beautiful dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline southwest of Michigan City. The dunes are not like normal east coast sand dunes. These are much older dunes with grass, trees, and even forests taking hold and eventually replacing the sand with dirt.
Forest dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan

Typical Indiana road in the morraine (hills) area

Climbing around on the dunes with temps hovering around freezing!

Thanksgiving Day
Another riding highlight from the long holiday week of training was riding around the Potato Creek State Park near South Bend, IN on Thanksgiving Day. Kristine’s family was celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday instead of Thursday to accommodate everyone’s travel schedule (26 people!) So on Thanksgiving, Kristine and her dad decided to go hiking with Analise and Josiah. I rode the 24 miles out to meet them. It was cold and rainy so we were the only ones out on the trails in the park — which meant that the sign below could be interpreted a little bit differently than if the park was full of people.

I understood this sign to mean “have a great time and enjoy the wild ride”

Fun bike path through the woods

This bike path was 3.1 miles long one way, so by the time you doubled back and went back to the beginning you had 6.2 miles covered. I went back and forth six times, timing myself a couple of times to see if I could get my average speed up over 20mph, which was pretty hard considering how wet the path was and how you had to slow down to 10mph in some of the corners.

By the time I was ready to head back to La Porte, the rain had picked up from a light mist to a steady rain. Keep in mind the temperature was only in the mid 30s! Eventually it became a veritable downpour, and I was soaked and numb by about mile 70 when I was out of food and out of energy. I was riding along a flat road with a hill coming up in about half a mile when my legs and body decided that they were done. It felt like somebody else was pedaling the bike as I slowed down from 15mph to 10mph to 0mph on the side of the road not sure what to do. I thought about flagging somebody down in a car to see if they had any food, but my feeble attempt didn’t even slow down the first car so I just sucked it up and said I’ve only got 5 miles left, I can make it up the hill and back home.

It didn’t help that this was my first time on that particular road, so I didn’t really know where I was even though my Garmin was telling me I only had 5 miles to go. When I made it to the top of the hill, however, I recognized immediately some of the landmarks just up the road and that motivated me to pick up the pace and just push it as hard as possible all the way back home. That’s what I did and I managed to get it back up to nearly 20mph into the wind and then when the road finally turned for the last mile with a tailwind, I drilled it like it was the end of a race. That has to rank right up there with the worst “bonk” I’ve ever had.

Wednesday (before Thanksgiving)

Wednesday’s ride (the day before Thanksgiving) was colder but not quite as wet. I made it all the way up to the shores of Lake Michigan without any rain, sleet, or snow. Then I did a loop along the lakeshore and then away from the coast before heading south again. It started to sleet as soon as I made it back into Indiana. Hard, stinging, sleet with a stiff wind blowing it even harder into your face. As I made it closer to La Porte, the sleet turned to rain, which was actually better because it didn’t hurt as much — although with the temperature still hovering right at freezing all the rain was freezing onto my bike and clothes.

Sleet starting to accumulate on a frozen pond

Freezing rain accumulating on my booties

Layer of freezing rain and ice on top of my helmet

Ice on the Garmin and iBike

New Buffalo, Michigan on eastern shore of Lake Michigan

Dunes at the New Buffalo beach

Today’s ride (Friday)

Today’s ride was the coldest yet with temps hovering in the mid 20s the entire ride. Plus, the wind coming from the west was just amazing (10-15mph wind with higher gusts). So I tried to work the wind to stay warm by starting out heading east with a tailwind while my body warmed up before heading north into Michigan chasing some dark clouds to see if there was any snow in them. Alas, there wasn’t any. So after a while I made it to the road I wanted to take back into town and headed due south all the way back to La Porte just in time for the big family dinner. I took this picture of the cold horses on my way back into town.

Even the horses were freezing!

iBike heartrate and power data
Wednesday’s Freezing Rain and Sleet ride

Potato Creek Thanksgiving Day ride

Friday's cold 45 mile ride

Saturday’s ride out to the Indiana dunes

TopoCreator Maps
Wednesday – Lake Michigan

Thursday – Potato Creek
Or download the huge version (3.2MB)

Friday – Heston Hills

Saturday – Lake Michigan and Indiana Dunes

November 26, 2010 at 7:47 pm Leave a comment

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Samford at 400watts across the top of Vestavia Dr Josiah got a base hit to the outfield!!! Injured pitcher, all the Mets kneeling, JT was ok but took line drive to the arm hard.

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Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Maximums:
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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