Saturday, 28 June 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a story about the Democrat Party.


This morning, in Waxahachie, Texas, I did my 12th bike rally of the year and my 433d overall. I’ve been doing the Cow Creek Country Classic since 1990. I rode the 100-mile course six times, but in recent years I’ve done the 77-mile course. The other day, I asked my friend Joe whether he wanted to do the 100-mile course with me, “for old times’ sake.” He said yes, even though he hasn’t ridden a lot this year. (I ride once a week.) We knew it would be hot and humid, but both of us like a good challenge.

Our friend Phil was there. Although he planned to ride 77 miles, he would be with us for the first 50 miles or so. We had fun. Joe and I had to moderate our speed, so Phil went slower than he would have if he were on his own. He did a lot of pulling for us. We referred to him as our “domestique.” When we reached Milford, having fought the wind the entire way, Phil veered off toward Italy. Joe and I continued south toward Mertens. You may remember these names from a week ago. Some of the Waxahachie course is the same as the Italy course.

Luckily for Joe and me, we fell in almost immediately with four or five riders who were wearing the same jersey. Before long, we had a rotating paceline going. A couple of the riders in the group didn’t understand it, so we explained it to them. It wasn’t long before we were working smoothly. It saved us a lot of energy and made the miles go faster. I thought we’d break up in Mertens, because that’s where Joe and I planned to stop, but the others stopped as well. There was a playful black dog at the rest stop. It was by now very hot, so I asked the rest-stop volunteer whether the dog had water. He said yes.

As far as the wind was concerned, the worst was behind us at this point. We had paid our dues, and now we were going to enjoy the tailwind. Our group stayed together until the final couple of miles. There were times when we were flying along at 25 miles per hour. I never did lose my legs. Aerobically, I’m in great shape from all the riding and running I’ve been doing, but usually my legs go weak after three or four hours in the saddle. Today, perhaps because of the tailwind, they stayed strong. I won’t lie. I was tired at the end, and so was Joe, but I was far from devastated, as I thought I’d be. We started riding at 7:30 and finished a few minutes after two o’clock. By then, it was scorching hot, perhaps as high as 100º Fahrenheit. I’ll know the official temperature (and wind speed) tomorrow.

I rode 50.4 miles during the first three hours, for an average speed of 16.8 miles per hour. This was mostly headwind. I averaged 17.97 miles per hour for the final 2:41:31. That gave me an overall average speed of 17.35 miles per hour for 98.8 miles (riding time = 5:41:31). Obviously, I wasn’t going to write “98.8” in my log, so I rode back on the course for half a mile and ended up with 100.1 miles. It’s my first century in 10 months, since the Hotter ’n Hell Hundred in late August. I burned 3,376 calories during the ride, which is a record. My maximum heart rate was 157. My average heart rate was 124. My maximum speed was 35.2 miles per hour.

I don’t know what I would do without bicycling. I’ve been at it since 1981 (in earnest since 1985) and love it as much as ever.

Addendum: Near the end of the rally, Joe and I rode past the Ellis County Courthouse. Isn’t it beautiful?

Addendum 2: My heart beat 42,348 times during the ride. No, I didn’t count them. I multiplied 124 (my average heart rate) by 341.5166 (the number of riding minutes).

Addendum 3: In case you’re wondering, running a marathon (which I’ve done 11 times) is much harder than riding a bike 100 miles. Remember what Lance Armstrong said after he finished his first marathon. He said that it was by far the hardest thing he had ever done, physically.

Addendum 4: According to Sunday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the temperature was 80º when we started riding and 97º when we finished. Two hours later (at 4:00), it reached 100º, which was the high for the day. The average wind speed was 16.5 miles per hour.


I don’t know whether to be distraught that my beloved Detroit Tigers blew a 5-0 lead or delighted that they won the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, 7-6. At any rate, the Tigers (40-40) have reached the .500 mark for the first time this year, which means I can resume my taunting of Yankee fans.

Addendum: Two pitchers for the Los Angeles Angels pitched a no-hitter this evening against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Dodgers won the game, 1-0.

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

The first 13 words of the Second Amendment, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,” indicate their importance. And coming, as they do, at the very beginning of the amendment indicates that the clear intent was that gun ownership required participation in the local militia.

Today, the meaning is just as clear. The privilege of gun ownership requires membership in the National Guard, our modern militia. Today, participation in the National Guard and its training programs, as well as active service when called upon, should be expected in exchange for the right to own a gun.

Ellen Wiest
Santa Monica, Calif., June 27, 2008

From the Mailbag


This blog, which is written by three people (all lawyers, I think), is a good source of interesting commentary (sometimes about music). This post is about the subject of college-instructor ideology.

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)