Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1000 Mile Challenge – Another windy day…


Sunday’s ride took me out Rte 161 towards Urbana.   Newly paved roads and a tail wind made the first 20 miles a breeze (no pun intended).   However, at the junction of Rte 4, I took the turn towards Marysville and the real work began.    Eleven miles into a 15mph headwind with a slight uphill grade.  Did I tell you I really don’t like wind???   Unfortunately that would be the story for much of the remainder of the ride as the wind would somehow find a way to tunnel right into my face.   Grueling as I rode East on Watkins road from Marysville to Rte 42.  GEDC0035

As I grew increasingly more tired, I envied the cattle that were sunning in the field.   The funny thing is I think they were as intrigued with me as I was with them, or perhaps they were thinking that I was bringing their afternoon meal.  Yes, I was definitely hungry too.


Once I hit Rte 42,  I made the decision to turn around and head West on Watkins.   Yes back to Marysville.   Why?  Well first of all I needed a way to get more miles, and perhaps most importantly, by Heading West I could escape the wind for a good portion of the return trip.   The less windy route allowed me to enjoy some of the Fall scenery as the farmers cultivated their fields.

After a 65 mile day I returned home to eat and rest.   Not hitting the mileage goal that I had hoped to, my wife and I headed out in the evening for 20 more.   My legs were screaming the whole way.   Misty could tell I was struggling with the wind and took over the lead, allowing me to draft and save some energy.   She picked up the pace and did a great job setting the pace.   It was nice to go fast again.  Thanks for pulling me along, babe!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

1000 Mile Challenge – That wind was a Bitch!!!


  Ok, so I had big ambitions to get up early on Friday and ride but I just couldn’t stomach the 3:45a wake up call and after a day of meetings and 8 hrs in the car I was too tired to do a Friday ride.    So that means another 40 miles to make up over the next 4 days.    Saturday, however, I slept in until 7:30a and hit the road at 8:05a.   GEDC0015 It was a beautiful Fall morning with the moon still visible in the Western sky.   My goal today was to ride 70 miles before my sons cross country meet in Lancaster.     Today’s route was to Prospect and beyond.   Prospect is 26 miles north of my house.   This is a favorite location for biker as the ride is very scenic and there is a little grocery store (Dexters) that makes a great place to stop for some refreshments.GEDC0025    This first leg of my trip was pretty smooth as the route was recently paved.   After a brief stop for and iced tea and a Snickers, I crossed back over the Cecil B. Ohler bridge and continued North to Green Camp.    Some clouds hadGEDC0023 rolled in and the wind picked up a bit making my already tired legs that much weaker.   But I ducked my head and continued to cut through the gusts.   The good news about a head wind is that you get to turn around at some point and it becomes a tail wind, so thank goodness the return ride was a bit easier.

I’m closing in on my goal with less than 200 miles to complete before 6:00pm on Wednesday.    I hope to put in another 70+ tomorrow.    The plan is to start with around 30 in the morning (I get to ride with my wife) then Misty and I will go to our favorite breakfast spot, Hellas.    After a little more rest, I’ll hop back on the saddle and see what more I can put in.    Hopefully the wind will subside a bit.

All for now!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

1000 Mile Challenge – A day from Hell???

Last night I hit the bed at 11:30a  after a 32 mile ride, only to rise for _JLK3415a morning 21 mile ride with my wife at 4:45a.     After a rather long day at work I hit the road again tonight at  6:45p for another 22 miles.    Needless to say I’m a bit tired.   The real challenge is that I need to get a 20miler in tomorrow morning before I leave for Louisville for a day trip.   That means the alarm goes off at 3:45a.

So you ask, “why go through all this hassle?”   Well I must admit I did have a moment of doubt this morning when I found myself about 5 feet away from a head-on collision with a car who for some reason decided to make a left turn into my path at a well lit intersection.  In an effort to miss me he swerved and almost hit Misty.   My guess, some young kid, up too early, just not paying attention to the road.   At any rate, Misty let him know how we felt.

Tonight’s ride was much less eventful.   As the sun set the temp dropped into the mid 80’s.   That’s pretty nice in my book.     I did my typical 22miler from my house out to route 42 and back.  

So once again, “why go through all this hassle?”  IMAG0100  For me the scenery has a lot to do with it.   I can ride the same route day after day and I’ll always see something new.   Yesterday it was a snapping turtle (about 18” in diameter") crossing the road.   I stopped to try to give it a hand but after nearly getting my hand bit off I decided he would do fine on his own.

Tonight was a real gem as a Harvest Moon followed me as I headed West on Harriott road.   I had to stop and get this picture.   Too bad I only had my camera phone.

 IMAG0101 One thing I’ve become accustomed to during this challenge is riding in the dark.   In fact about 70% of my riding time has been at night.    So the scenery that I see looks a lot like this.    

In reality, this picture doesn’t do the actual beauty of the night any justice.  City lights in the distance; rock quarries in full production in the middle of the night; moonlit roads in the middle of the country; a thunder storm in the distance, and my favorite, the pitch black as I escape the city.    There something to be said for the feeling of smallness and perhaps insignificance, when you’re alone in what seems like ‘the middle of nowhere’.    I, like many of you strive to be significant in this world.   Riding hard is one way that I achieve this.  

Six days remaining, 735 miles ridden, 40707 kcal burned.   I’ve got a lot of riding to do this weekend.    See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

1000 Mile Challenge – The final week!

If you’re one of my Facebook friends, I’m sure you’ve been hounded during the past month by the daily (and sometimes twice a day) messages like this one:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jerry Kuamoo Was out cycling 31.17 miles with Endomondo. You can see it here: http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/vtYnL7rFzBI  Cycling Workout    Calories: 1965 kcal     Distance: 31.17 miles


If these messages have annoyed you, please accept my apology.  My intent was never to annoy or upset anyone, or even to brag about the miles that I’m logging.   In reality, Endomondo is not my Peruvian masseuse as my buddy Bill thinks, nor is it the name of the pool boy that my wife has hired to keep her company while I’m on the road.   Endomondo is simply a web-based application that I use to track my cycling workouts.

On August 30th I created a challenge on Endomondo to cycle 1000 miles in 31 days.  It’s a steep goal for someone who works full-time and is typically pretty active in my personal life.   But since I rediscovered cycling, I felt compelled to do something that most riders have not achieved.   I’m not sure if my motivation is the love of cycling or simply a “bucket list” thing.   Perhaps a bit of both.  Either way, I’ve made the commitment and as those who know me well understand, I hate to fail.

It’s 10:30pm on Wednesday, September 22nd and I’ve just returned from a 31 mile.    Endomondo tells me that with 7 days remaining I have ridden 692.68 miles.   That leave just over 300 miles to go.


Tomorrow’s wake-up call is at 4:45a, the time when my wife and I typically ride during the week.  We have mapped out a route that is pretty well lit.  Of course our bikes are lit up as well for added safety.  Off to bed now for a short nights rest.   More tomorrow.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Good Ride, Good People, Great Cause

LogoRecently I had the opportunity to participate in the 1st annual Tour de H20 bicycle ride.

After being inspired to get back to bicycling, thanks to my man DJ who teaches a spinning class at the local health club, this was my first attempt at an organized ride in about 30 years.   So why Tour de H20?   We’ll I’ll be honest; As I looked for local rides I came across this one.   It was a reasonable distance (52 miles) for a first ride and the base fundraising commitment was within what I felt was achievable.   However, as I peeled back the covers on this fundraiser, the more intrigued I became.    With sponsors like Whole Foods and Global Partners for DevelopmentIMG_1248, I found this to be a true grass roots effort to help those in need.

Tour de H20 is the brainchild of Steven and Keely.   Both avid riders (although Keely is grounded for awhile – Congrats on the upcoming July baby) they decided to expand their giving ways by organizing a ride to raise money to build fresh water wells in the dry lands of Kenya.   Building wells and helping underprivileged people seems to have become a passion with this unselfish couple.  Check out their bio at  http://tourdeh2o.org/AboutUs.aspx for more details.

For a first year event, I found TourdeH20 to be very well organized.  Apparently Steven and Keely really did their homework.  Food and snacks provided by Whole Foods, SAG services provided by BikeSource, plenty of volunteers, and well marked routes. (Okay, I missed one of the markers and went 1/2 mi out of way – shouldn’t I get extra credit?)  

The route consisted of two 27 mile courses that traversed the countryside near Galloway, Ohio.   Although the weather forecast called for rain, it turned out to be a great day for riding as it was a little overcast and the winds were moderate.

The ride was fun and the old legs, butt, etc. held out pretty well as I maintained an overall average of 16.3 mph.  But the real victory was in the good that will result from the generous contributions from friends and families.   The end result was that the fund-raising goal was exceeded and it is exciting to learn that at least two water wells with hand pumps will be constructed in partnership with the Kakelo Community.clip_image002

According to Steven, “These wells will be constructed this year! Women and children from this community normally spend hours each day fetching water from distant sources.  The Kakelo Community members will be so happy when they learn that their long-desired dreams for nearby, fresh, bikes_and_waterclean water will finally come to fruition.  With this project, the women will be able to use their newfound time much more productively, villagers won’t be debilitated by water born diseases, and childrenDirtywater ’s attendance at school will increase thanks to improved health. “    

The ride was a great fun but the big satisfaction came from knowing that those contributing to the ride have helped to generate a bright new future for these people in need. 

Specifically I’d like to thank the following people who supported me in my fundraising efforts: (for privacy purposes I’ll keep it on a first name basis)

Mitch, Pat, Tom, Nancy, Jonelle, Shawn, Jeff, Belinda, Karen, Mike, Rachel, Geoff, Christine, Lysandre, Bill, Tom, Bil, Evonne, Randy, Lynn & Myron.

Throughout the year I’ll keep everyone posted as to the progress made on the wells.  I’ll also keep riding as I train for Pelatonia in August and I’ll definitely be back for next years Tour de H20.

See you next time!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Race for the Cure 2010

This Saturday my wife and I were once again privileged to participate in The Komen Race for the Cure.   A record crowd of over 50,000 runners and walkers were blessed by beautiful weather.  As always the crowd was excited and dressed for the occasion. 


  As the volunteers prepared the post race drinks and snacks for the participants.   We were sipping our morning coffee as we watched the the crowd congregate.   DSC_0065






This years route was slightly different that last year and really showed off the size of the crowd.   It was an impressive site.   Yet


even with the massive amount of support for this cause, there was no escaping the fact that with every positive story of celebrating another year of survival, there were many more stories of loved ones lost.  DSC_0082 Perhaps

toughest visual for me was a small boy, maybe 9, who wore a shirt which read “In Memory of Mommy”.      I have thought of this boy often as I am no stranger to the death of a parent at a young age.    Let the images like these be our motivation to always give back to our family, friends and community.  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Outdoor Sports - Get In Focus!

Okay, so you're out watching your kid play an outdoor sport, say lacrosse, and you are all excited to catch the action with your camera. Then in a flash your kid (#33 in this case) enters the action. You point your camera, autofocus kicks in and you shoot.

Now thanks to digital technology you look at the camera viewer to make sure you captured the shot. Got it! Later that evening you go home and download the picture onto your computer. Ahhh, there it is, the once in a lifetime shot of your son defending, arguably, the best offenseman in the state (okay I made that one up). Next you zoom in to take a closer look (that's your queue to click on the picture) and d#%@*^&, it's blurry.

This is an all to common scenario that often just can't be avoided. What you really want is to be able to follow the action all across the field and at the same time keep your subject in focus. To be honest this is not a trivial task and can be challenging even for the 'pros'.

In my experience, one of the biggest assets of a camera can also be one of the biggest pitfals. What is it? Auto-modes.

Here's the situation; when shooting sports you want the maximum light to achieve a reasonable shutter speed (around 1/500th sec for most sports with human participants). You would also like to have a reasonable aperture setting (I like f8 or greater) so that you attain a nice depth of field. Auto-modes, although pretty effective about 70% of the time, often make inaccurate assumptions when shooting moving objects, especially in situation where lighting is inconsistant.

So here's four tricks I've learned that might help:

1) Go Manual - I use the manual setting so that I can control both shutter speed and aperture. General rules of thumb for sports, shutter speed > 1/200th - Aperture >6.5.

2) Use Continuous Focus - if you've got it, use it (for sports). This will help your camera stay in focus as the subject is in motion.

3) Use Auto ISO - as dusk approaches or if shadows are a problem, Auto ISO will allow you to maintain your preset shutter speed and aperture by simulating the use of a faster speed film (in the 35mm days). Caution - when using this feature there is a point where your picture will degrade and become grainy. Find that point on your camera (around 800 for me) and manually re-adjust your shutter speed or aperture to keep below that point of degradation.

4) Use a tripod or monopod. This is especially important with zoom lenses as it is harder to hold the longer zooms steady.

As a bonus tip, use your continuous shooting mode liberally. Believe me, the pros don't rely on a single shot to capture the action. I shoot around 150 shots in a 1 hour game. The good news is by using these techniques over 95% of my shots are keepers.

Think about these tips at your next sporting event. Let me know about your success or failures. Also, if you have a tip you like to share, make a comment.

Until next time - keep shooting

PS On May 22nd I'll be riding in the Tour de H2O. A bicycle ride to support the effort to provide clean water to impoverished areas of the world. Check my Facebook page for more details and help if you can! Thanks!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Out of Hybernation

After a long cold winter it's finally starting to feel like spring, and for me it's time to start shooting sports. Right now it's 8th grade lacrosse which is an interesting game with lots of action and lots of good shots.

This is my son Caleb in the green #33.
For those of you not familiar with lacrosse, he plays a position called 'long-pole defense', or pole for short.

His experience in hockey has helped him progress very well in lacrosse, not to mention he plays a physical game which is another transfer from hockey.

Shooting lacrosse in Ohio is always interesting because of the changing conditions throughout the season, not to mention throughout the game itself. During a single game you may see bright sun at low angles, overcast, rain and yes even snow. As a photographer I've learned to dress for the conditions (maybe even overdress).
Aside from the weather, another challenge is that the games start at 6:00p and end around 8:00p. Well with spring in Ohio, it starts getting dark around 7:30p. So good shot are harder to compose as the evening grows later.
Over the course of the next few weeks I'll discuss in more detail some of the challenges of shooting outdoor sports in the East. I'll share with you some good shots as well as some bad ones. But most of all I'll share with you some of the techniques that I use to capture the action, without having to take a second mortgage on your home or sell your hierlooms.
Capturing the action under the best of conditions takes patience and persistance. If you're a perfectionist at heart, you may be in for a lot of frustration as you try to overthink the shot. But if you just become one with the "photographic zen" (see earlier posts) you'll soon begin to anticipate the action before it happens.
Communicating the action to your audience is how you get those attention getting shots. Because even though I'm all for that still shot of the player on the sidelines, it's the action shot that the players, families and friends really want to see. The shot that says "yeah I did good" or "that's my kid"; that's what brings the smile to the audience.
Well it's gettig late here so I'll leave you for tonight with a simple hint on shooting action shots.
HINT: If you study your subjects before you begin shooting, you'll be more equipped to anticipate where the action will be.
See you soon and keep shooting!