Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Few Flood Images

There are a number of better ones in the QC Times, but here are a few that I've taken in the last few days.

This one was taken from the Centennial Bridge looking down at the baseball park, Modern Woodmen Park (I have zero clues as to what a Modern Woodman is. Perhaps it is one that uses a laser instead of an ax.)

This one is on the Illinois side of the bike path right between Rock Island and Moline. If one clicks on the image and looks closely, you can see a blue heron that is in the water where the bike path runs. I think it is enjoying the water more than most folks here are.

Here is a view from the Government Bridge. The water on the left side of the image is the Mississippi River. The water on the right side is where some railroad tracks are that run parallel to the bike path. The water here is something on the order of 10 feet deep. You can also see that they have the roller dam all the way open.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Little Detour

This morning's ride into work was a little different. I had to make a little routing change. Last Thursday, the Quad City Times ran a story about how Davenport handled the flooding on the Mississippi River. The height of the river at Lock & Dam 15 (where I cross the river via the Government Bridge) topped out at 16.5 feet. To sum the article up, "Flooding? What Flooding? 16.5 feet? Hah! That wasn't anything, we handled that so easily. Bring it". Well... Thursday night / Friday morning there was a little bit of rain up north... about 4" in a few places. So... the 16.5' easily handled flood is now forecast to be a 19.5' flood, cresting this coming Wednesday. (See http://www.qctimes.com/special/river_levels/) Coming into downtown Davenport Saturday around 2:00pm at the end of a lovely ride, Davenport was busy sand bagging, building several earthen walls in downtown, and building a big wall around the water company. I ride by the water company normally on the River Front Bike Path, so it was going to be un-ridable.

There is a user pointable web cam right by the sky bridge that can be found here -


So... It was down the Duck Creek Bike Path this morning to Farnam and then two blocks east to Iowa to get down to the Government Bridge. That was a bit different, but not too bad. The worst was the 37F and rain this morning. The rail bridge that goes onto Arsenal Island had a bunch of water under it, but it was still rideable without getting into the river. It won't be in another foot of river, so I'll have to work something out for that.

More on Saturday's ride: That was the annual QCBC Tailwind Century. So... we hopped on a pair of school buses and got dropped off in South English Iowa. Basically, it is 100 miles west of the Quad Cities. It was a good one. The wind was out of the west at 20mph, with gusts to 40mph. I was back at Scott County Community College with 98 miles in about 4:40. It was nice to remember how it was being able to ride big gears for miles and miles at speed. Made me feel like I was fit again. The wall clock time for me was about 5:20. Made two stops, once in Riverside Iowa (future birth place of Captain James T. Kirk) where I had a Gatorade and a doughnut. The other stop was in Buffalo, where I had a Coke and an energy gel. I decided to blow lunch off since I was certain that it wouldn't be something that I'd like to eat on the road (read fried "stuff"). Coming in, I think I found the World's Longest Rubble Strip, aka Rockingham Road. There were holes that had holes! It was a pretty hairy dodging them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Sunday With The Tri Folks

Well... I managed to have a much better ride this Sunday than last. We rolled from the Iowa side today from the house of some folks I never met before. I did get to drive through the round-about to get there and back, plus twice on the bike. It was Ms. Jen, Ms. Nancy, Ms. Ally, Ms. Laura, and Mr. Eric. I knew it was going to be a hard day when I could barely hang onto Jen's and Ally's wheels in the first 10 miles (Jen is a sponsored racer and I believe Ms. Ally rode junior nats). It started to get a bit better for me, but I was a hurting unit all day. I haven't been riding that hard all year. Eric bonked serious hard about 35 miles in and that basically split the ride in two. Jen and Ally, and then the rest of us. I did a bunch of work and was feeling better from the 45 mile mark to about 78. The little climb up from under I-80 put the hurts to me, but I suppose I could have ridden it smarter (read easier). We got back to Laura and Eric's with 82 miles in 4:40. That was a pretty respectable 17.5 mph. Jen was hanging out working on her tan.

Got home... and then did the shower, food, and rest bit, sort of. I needed to roast coffee and this was the first good day to do that. I was roasting some Espresso Monkey blend. I get that from Sweet Maria's. It is the best green coffee you can get. Period. I've been using the Espresso Monkey for the last three weeks. I think I might have gotten it close to how Tom roasts it, but I think it was a bit to the dark side. I did three batches, stopping it at different times. Now to let it rest a few days and see.

Now to stretch a bit and think about a nap.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

O Spring... Spring, Wherefore Art Thou Spring?

With apologies to Willy S. I got out on the road bike for the second time this month today. I road with a tri-athlete friend of mine. It was maybe 43F or so when we rolled north up the river into a 14mph wind out of the north. I was not having a good day. My legs are now starting to feel ok again after a bit of food and an hour and a half of doing nothing. A nap is starting to sound really good. The low point of the ride were watching the snow flakes bounce off my jacket for a brief period. I'm suspecting that we really aren't going to have spring. It's just going to step function right into summer.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Stupid Drivers - aka Dim Bulbs

I guess it's really spring. The folks in the cars are back being seriously stupid. I had two head shaking incidents today. Both on the way home. The first was when I was coming over the bridge by the casino boat. I'd crested the bridge and was starting to coast down to get to the red light. Dim bulb passes me to dive completely across me to get to the right turn lane. I was going straight. Couldn't wait 2 seconds until he got to the turn lane.

The other was going down a hill. I stopped at a stop sign. Dim bulb was behind me. I go straight. He follows a couple of seconds later. I'd pedaled a little, but then started coasting since I'm going to be making a left at the bottom. Dim bulb passes me, never mind the car coming up the hill toward him. At least the guy in the car going up the hill was paying attention. He brakes hard to leave enough of a gap for the dim bulb to get into his lane. Dim bulb was making a right at the bottom on the hill. I was within 5 feet of him by the time we both got to the bottom. Stupid drivers!

But... In another sign of spring. I saw the first heron of the year. I was a bit surprised to see it. They will be here until fall. The ones here are the are of the Great Blue variety. I'm not sure about the range map in the link. I don't see them in the winter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

An Interesting Ride

Well... The swapping on of the slicks didn't cause a major ice storm here... yet. Here is the promised story of yesterday's ride. I had just about reached the Government Bridge when I came up on a guy walking his bike. In his left hand was a rather large beer in a paper bag. I asked if he was having bike problems and then we got to talking...

"No... I ain't having bike problems. Just thinking about problems with my old lady. She hit me with a lamp right here (point to his head) and now she's in jail. I don't got no money to bail her out. I need like $500 to get her out. I just got out of the Scott County jail myself. (I didn't ask) That's a nice light you got you your bike. Where'd you get it?" I said it came from Europe and suggested that a light like my backup would be easy to get at a bike shop for around $20. "I got this ticket in Rock Island last year for riding my bike without a light at night. It was $75! Man... I didn't got no $75, so I did community service. I been riding my bike cause I can't afford gas. It's all that Bush's fault." I allowed that he's a bit of a problem. "Yeah... I don't like him at all. Hell, I'd vote for Hillary before I'd vote for him. I was driving my car to where I work, I work construction, so I got to get to all sorts of places. Man... I'd be buying $5 of gas to get there, then $5 worth to get home. It was costing me, like, $15 a day to drive my car." I said that I really had to be getting home. We shook hands, said our goodbyes, and I head off to home.

The other thing of note about the ride yesterday were the birds. The bald eagles have moved on to be replaced by the American Pelican. I saw about a dozen of them flying and then landing over by the lock. Man... those things are big!