Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Mixed feelings

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

A bit of a rant … feel free to skip down below for some recent photos

Riding lately has been a mixed bag. I’ve done some fantastic weekend rides, long and short, but aside from commuting, I’m hardly riding during the week at all. I am planning on riding an upcoming century ride with Bill Lambert, of the Bike Oak Bikes blog. I should be training for that, but I’ve been having a hard time finding time for evening rides. And it’s rained the past two weekends; I still got out a little bit, but not the long miles I’d like to be riding. I have enjoyed the weekend rides I’ve been able to do, and I’ve enjoyed my commutes and even the few weeknight rides I have done, but for some reason that isn’t translating into frequent rides during the week.

I think part of the issue is my new commute. My round trip is now over 10 miles each day, and hillier than my old commute. I like that this encourages me to ride more miles each day, but I feel less inclined to go out for training rides afterwards.

I’m also trying to strike a balance. Family and work are important to me, and cycling is not my only hobby, either.  Each year, the balance seems a little different. This year, riding seems like a little less of a priority. But oddly, at the same time, I reached 1,000 miles for the year a couple weeks ago, which is earlier in the year than ever before. So, obviously I have been riding more than I realize.

I think what I really need is a few defining rides to point me in a new direction. I’m itching to do more mountain biking, and to find new gravel roads. The obvious solution is to further explore Hoosier National Forest; it’s nearby, and has hundreds of miles of gravel and trails. I also want to branch out and do some longer road rides, and of course some touring/bike camping. There is so much I want to do that it’s almost paralyzing.

So, it’s safe to say that I’m in a bit of a rut. I need to mix things up. With a few upcoming riding opportunities, maybe that’ll happen.

New camera

On a positive note, I got a new point & shoot camera. My old camera got some scratches on the lens and developed a real problem with lens flare. Plus, I wanted to upgrade a bit anyway. The new camera is a Ricoh CX2. This is a bit of an oddball camera, with limited US distribution. It’s only available in the US from Adorama.com, for some reason. This will be my new primary camera for rides and such. It has a fantastic high contrast black & white mode designed to simulate high-contrast film photography, complete with lots of very pleasant grain … and lots of other tricks up its sleeve as well.

I’m finding I can tweak the settings more on this camera, to the point where I think I will be able to get the results I want directly out of the camera, with little or no post-processing. All these images are directly from the camera. Note that the color shots are in “vivid” mode, which yields more-saturated images. In general I like to push the saturation a bit, but some of these are a little over the top, I think. I’m still learning.

I’ll write more about the camera later, but here are some recent photos.

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9 Responses to “Mixed feelings”

  1. Steve A Says:

    I haven’t been riding this year as much either. The commute is definitely a factor.

  2. Chris Says:

    I’m a sucker for flowers, loved the photo with the low fence.

    It’s been awhile since I’ve done a century. I think the fun would disappear somewhere around mile 70 for me. In the last three years or so, my rides are more frequent, but shorter.

  3. bill Says:

    Great shots as usual. Thanks to soggy weekends, I can definitely understand your riding rut. But you’re really putting in some great base miles. Maybe some alternative routes on the way home would help? Or if you’re locked into shorter rides, maybe increasing the intensity? I bet you’re in better shape for a century than you think. Before we know it, the weather will be great, the “lack of miles” angst will subside, and you’ll be posting more cool photos than I’ll have time to admire.

  4. Jon Grinder Says:

    I felt the same way about my riding, coming into the new year. That’s why I set the goal of riding 12 centuries (not necessarily one a month), this year. I rode my first one on the 2nd of January, if you recall, with no real “training”, and made it through fine. I credit that to the commuter/base miles I had through the winter.

    I think that you will find that is the case for you, as well. Unless it’s a race, don’t sweat it. Ride a comfortable pace, and the miles take care of themselves.

  5. Apertome Says:

    Thanks for the comments … some great suggestions here. I’m hoping this will work itself out on its own, but it certainly couldn’t hurt to be a little more proactive, as well.

  6. furiousball Says:

    I’ve always found with music or anything that gets me into ruts or writer’s block the best medicine is to do something completely out of your element. So I say you try hang-gliding to work… be sure to wear the helmet cam.

  7. doc Says:

    Balance is good. I never saw a tombstone that said “He rode his bicycle a lot.” From life, to athletic training, the goal is not to put on more miles, but to put on quality miles. I have a neighbor who appears to have been a serious mountain biker at one point. Now I see him a few nights a week towing a Burley and a small red wagon behind that. In my mind, he’s still logging good miles.

  8. Alice Says:

    Nice photos. I especially like the high-contrast B&W photos. Great job. BTW, how did you get your My Cycling Log widget on your sidebar? I tried putting mine into either the sidebar or on a new page (where I really wanted it), but I get an error. Supposedly WP doesn’t allow Javascript? Not sure what’s up with that. Any tips you can provide are appreciated. Thanks!

  9. Chandra Says:

    Very nice photos, Michael! The B&W ones were especially cool.
    Peace 🙂

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