Monday, September 29, 2008

plan ahead? MOI?

yup, it happens, every now and again.
here's why this time:
time putnam, promoter of the wonderful clear lake blues and bbq series, is going to be in town wednesday, october 15. got some bidniz to do later on, it seems. i suggested a gravel ride, leaving maybe 200 pm?
give it some thought, and if you feel a sick day coming on, pencil one in for wednesday, october 15th, 200 pm.
you're looking a bit pale and wan. some fresh air would do ya a world of good.

tuesday's renegade cross menu

tuesday, september 30, 2008
greenwood park
[turn south off grand avenue at the art center]
hot laps @ 500 pm
"racing" @ 530 pm
el bait shop to follow
. . . . .
special shout out to the rassy's "elite" team:
hey, did you ALL sell your cross bikes?
. . . . .
the action shown above:
Championnat parisien de cross cyclo-p├ędestre, 18 Feb 1930
Valentin Tondeur, who was to win the championship of Paris thanks to Cornez rolling a tubie, takes a run-up in the bois de Biscorne.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

early thoughts about the 2008 tour of missouri

last saturday, steve fry and i drove to kansas city to begin what turned out to be a quite interesting and thoroughly enjoyable experience covering the 2008 tour of missouri. with the cooperation of brook watts and his amazing crew at medalist sports, and the missouri department of tourism, as host of the kim west radio cycling show, i was given insider's access to this remarkable race, still now in its sophomore edition as i type this.
i have hours of recorded conversations with racers, support people, race fans, and more; fryguy shot scores of photos from the start of the first couple stages, from the women's criterium in kansas city, and from along tuesday's route. we're both going through our work, editing, and trying to make sense of it. fry already has a couple files posted. i'm going through recordings, notes, and scribbles i accumulated.
it's amazing stuff, and i can't wait to get it polished and either posted here and on the radio show blog, on the radio show website itself, or to use it in upcoming episodes.
i broadcast sunday's show, episode 20, live from the penthouse suite of the embassy suites on the plaza in the historic plaza district of kansas city. i was excited to talk with liz hecht of vander kitten racing team during the first half of the show, and i finally got to chat face-to-face with previous guest ally brandt, of cheerwine racing team. immediately following the live show, we all rushed downstairs to the gala woman's team presentation. race announcer extraordinaire dave towle was emcee for the women, as he was the night before at the men's presentation, a $250/head shindig up the street a few blocks.
without giving it too much thought, here are some highlights [several full reports will follow]:
1--meeting in person--and talking at length--with the many cyclists who have appeared on the radio show in the weeks leading up to the tour;
2--going on saturday's team training ride with the kelly benefits team;
3--many meals with a variety of teams in the team dining rooms;
4--talking at length with recent radio show guest and cycling legend john howard;
5--talking again with current cycling menace steve tilford, who seemed rather edgy and puzzled why a race would be taking place withOUT him;
6--appearing as a guest live commentator on missouri radio station KRWP, 107.7 FM, "the lake" during and following the edward jones sprint competition in stockton [watch out, liggett!];
7--talking with recently retired race legend gord frasier;
8--serving as inspiration for both tom zirbel [stage 1] and mike sayers [stage 2] shortly before their day-long race-leading breaks about the importance of racing aggressively [coincidence? i don't think so!];
9--nearly being killed as i was a part of the garmin chipotle team train tuesday morning driving from the airport hyatt to the start of stage 2 in clinton, missouri;
10--meeting rory mason, an old friend from my ames cycling days, who has for the last four years served as global sports marketing manager for cannondale europe. b.v. in this capacity, rory works as liason for all of the pro teams who ride cannondale bikes, giant bikes, and more. look for an interview with rory in the coming weeks, and look for the return of someone who WILL challenge lance in france next july.
. . . . .
as you can tell, without giving this any thought at all, and without checking my notes, i have a lot to talk about. and i was only there for four and a half days.
i can't WAIT for the tour of california, man.
thanks, brook!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

central iowa trail updates

how about THIS?? there actually exists an estimated timeline of construction and repairs. thanks, lori. read and weep--or laugh, but DON'T hold your breath:

Trails and Greenways Advisory Committee
City of Des Moines Parks Department
Polk County Conservation Board

Project Updates -- September 2008

Trail Closures Due to Flooding
Neal Smith Trail – The trail is back open, but users should use caution near the Kiwanis Nature Island where the trail surface is gravel for now. Plans are to place hard surface back in sometime this fall. [no reason to resurface, is there? this thing is smooth as silk. RIGHT. --kim]
John Pat Dorrian Trail – Trail is closed south of the Des Moines Police Station all the way to Crivaro Park due to several sink holes in the levee and cannot be repaired until levee repairs have been completed – No estimated completion date.
Trestle Trail – The trail has a temporary levee placed on it west of the County building and cannot be opened until the levee is removed. PCCB and Des Moines Parks are working to establish a temporary access around this area. Plans are being drawn up to replace the trail segment. Construction will start next spring and be completed in the spring of 2009. [any thought given to a complete redesign and reconstruction to the underpass on lower beaver, maybe, or perhaps to installing a rain and water diversion system? --kim]

Land Trail Projects
Walnut Creek Trail Segment 3 – Construction should be completed by the end of September.
Walnut Creek Trail Segment 4 – Asphalt paving is scheduled for the week of September 11-18
Waveland Trail Phase 1 – Preliminary design has started on trail. Construction is slated to start in June or July of 2009.
Waveland Trail 40th St to 42nd St – Trail design is nearly complete, working with property owners to purchase necessary easements for trail construction. Construction estimated to start April or May of 2009.
Trails Signage - Maps and design specifications for trail signs is nearly complete and should be ready for bid within a week and construction will likely start late Fall 2008 and be completed by May of 2009.

Water Trail Projects
Safety Cabling Across River – Center Street Dam emergency cable across river was destroyed by flooding. New cable will be installed. Cable across the Des Moines River upstream of Scott Street still needs to be installed. Installation is expected to be completed by the winter of 2008.
Water Trail Kiosks – Installation should be completed within 2 weeks.

Bicycle Projects
Indianola Avenue Reconstruction – Designs are starting on the roadway with trail, bicycle and complete street elements. Staff will bring designs to the committee at a later date.
Complete Streets – Des Moines City Council will be asked to approve a complete streets policy at the second Council meeting in September.
Inductive Loop Detectors – Subject to approval and installation by Traffic and Transportation Department and the next two will be 31st and 42nd Streets at Kingman Blvd.
Bicycle and Trail Master Plan – Proposals from consultants expected to be received by the City around October 1 with the master plan likely starting around the end of November. [suppose we can get access to this? --kim]
Application for Bicycle Friendly Community – Application was submitted August 15, 2008
Bicycle Parking [see my earlier post on this. you know, maybe if they would work on changing institutional attitudes they might stand a better chance of getting their blessed designation. why doesn't someone ask ME what i think? --kim]
Installation of bike racks – Approximately 50 installed to date, 150 remaining to be installed by the end of October. [would somebody PLEASE tell them simply to buy and install old school bike racks? THESE FANCY SCHMANCY ART RACKS SUCK!!! my mama always told me, "kim, don't EVER lean your bike on a piece of art--even BAD art.]
Bicycle parking ordinance – On hold [oh, THIS should be good. --kim]
Installation of bicycle parking on private property – On hold [you mean like that piece of shit "bike rack" at beaverdahl's? that thing is older than john mccain! --kim]

Greenway Projects [nothing is included here--the mostly rev]

. . . . . .
Trails Update from Polk County Conservation
September 5, 2008

Ankeny to Woodward Trail. Anticipate Ankeny to Sheldahl will be open by October 1. Friends of Central Iowa Trails is working on an opening celebration for this segment of the trail. Fundraising continues in earnest. Still hoping for a December letting on the Madrid-to-Woodward portion that includes the bridge across the Des Moines River.

Great Western Trail. September letting expected for the repair work South of McKinley with construction completion expected by November 15. [wanna bet? november 15th my ass! --kim]

Trestle to Trestle Trail. A pier snapped during the flooding on the trestle bridge at Johnston (Beaver Creek). Working with FEMA to prep for repair. Working with NRCS on debris removal under this trestle bridge. 1800’ of trail between MLK and River Place (just N of Euclid) remains covered in roughly 3’ of dirt from the city’s efforts to raise the levy during the flood.

Gay Wilson Trail West (Neal Smith to Ankeny). Should be receiving contract documents from DOT any day now, allowing engineer to begin design work. Hoping for spring letting and summer construction.

Easter Lake Trail. Working to incorporate portions of this trail as part of the Summerset Trail extension to the North. One section of the proposed route requires WRA easement. Awaiting legal description from the engineers and then will proceed with trying to acquire that easement.

Chichaqua Valley Trail. While this trail was damaged during flooding, it has so far been able to remain open during repairs. Will keep you posted as work continues.

. . . . .
PLEASE post comments, complaints, and suggestions, and i will pass them along.

Friday, September 5, 2008


State Rank: 21 out of 50.
Reasons for Ranking: In Iowa, bicycle enforcement is included in POST standards and police academy training, and there are good education efforts for cyclists and motorists. However, the state has no bike master plan.
Iowa's Bicycle Friendly Communities
Currently there are no cities in Iowa that have been designated as bicycle friendly communities.

which do YOU prefer?

cast your votes in the comments section

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

renegade cyclocross tuesdays

PLEASE join us for Renegade Cyclocross Races in Des Moines starting THIS coming Tuesday, September 9, as well as each Tuesday thereafter through the end of November. At between 5 and 5:30PM we’ll start doing warm up laps, with a 45 to 60 minute ‘race’ starting shortly after. This week, the 9th, we’ll be racing at Union Park. At the conclusion of each weeks’ race, the venue for the following week will be announced/decided. The ‘courses’ will be pretty simple, and not marked as though it’s a UCI event, so if you’re looking for something PRO, you’re gonna be upset. We’ll do your best to get some tight turns, off cambers, pavement, etc. These events will be AT YOUR OWN RISK!Please understand the word ‘race’ is used loosely. This will be a training race, bike practice, or whatever else you kids want to call it. No entry fees, no prizes, no official results. What it WILL be is a great opportunity to get some intensity in, practice barriers, run-ups and other cyclocross skills and ride against guys of varying abilities-this makes it a GREAT chance for newer riders to gain some confidence and have some fun, while the experienced guys get a good workout and pass on some knowledge. Above all, it’s a good reason to ride cross bikes with friends. Cool? Questions?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

hardin county board of supervisors today

earlier this afternoon, i spoke by phone with jim johnson, one of the three members of the hardin county board of supervisors, discussing today's action regarding "ordinance #43," the anti-bicycle ordinance.

mr. johnson told me that the board took the first step toward repealing the ill-advised law, enacted surreptitously july 16, 2008, on the advice of david vestal of the iowa state association of counties [isac]. explaining that the process of repealing an ordinance is the same as enacting one, the board must have public notice and opportunities for discussion, and then vote twice to repeal it. the first hearing and opportunity to vote to repeal is now set for wednesday, september 24, at 1015 am, at the courthouse in eldora. mr. johnson told me that they are following the recommendation of isac, in light of the agreement of the des moines register to change the ragbrai insurance policy and the rider waiver.

mr. johnson also disclosed that the board, upon voting once to repeal, can also vote to waive any additional readings and delcare the ordinance repealed as early as the date of the first reading. he indicated that the board would so vote to repeal and waive additional readings unless between now and then, or at the meeting september 24, a large number of folks showed up speaking in favor of retaining ordinance #43.

curiously, mr. johnson told me, when i asked him "why just bicycles?" that the county engineer told him that the county roads were not designed for bicycles but for motor vehicles only. i asked him if ever, or at least in his recollection, had hardin county every had a claim filed against them by a bicyclist as a result of a crash or injury, and he said no, but did quickly mention that a hardin county bicyclist "was life-flighted to a hospital this year because of a crash on ragbrai just a few weeks ago" and that he was still going through rehabilitation. he also told me that ragbrai had traveled through hardin county at least three times in years past, and never with a claim for damages.
mr. johnson also told me that crawford county, after they settled their case, called ALL the other 98 counties to warn them to prepare for such claims, since now "bicyclists have found a way to get money from the deep pockets for when they crash." he told me that hardin county is self-insured, meaning that they would have to pay the entirety of any claims.

crawford county, it should be remembered, has an insurance carrier, and only had to pay a $5,000 deductible, of the $350,000 negligence settlement against them.

i asked mr. johnson, if as he was advising them to adopt this model ordinance, did david vestal take the time to explain to the hardin county supervisors that the actual basis of the claim against them was for the negligence of the county employee who removed the warning pylons, leaving exposed the wide expansion crack into which two other riders had previously ridden and crashed, leaving THEM seriously injured, after which mr. ulrich ALSO crashed and was fatally injure at the exact same spot--and NOT for merely the condition of the road itself?

mr. johnson told me that "he had heard that," but that it wasn't from david vestal, and he was uncertain where he'd heard it, nor whether the story was in fact the truth. i told him that those were INDEED the facts, and he said, "oh."

mr. johnson gave no indication whether he had seen the video interview i had sent him earlier, following the illegal ride around hardin county.

he did tell me that there were a couple local cyclists who spoke very supportingly on behalf of the board, and that there was "a woman from iowa city who was there for the iowa bicycle coalition."

the kim west radio cycling show will keep you apprised of this situation,

Monday, September 1, 2008

the kim west radio cycling show goes VIDEO!!

i had the pleasure of interviewing a mystery cyclist this afternoon, who said he had a message for the hardin county board of supervisors, something about their efforts to review and maybe repeal a silly little ordinance they silently--ill-advisedly and hastily, i would add--enacted this past july, just in time for ragby, for goodness sake.
with no further ado, here's my interview with the mystery rider. i hope the supervisors get the chance to see this before they take any further hasty actions.