Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sardis Loop

While others have already begun discussing 2011 goals, aspirations and, dare I say, resolutions, I recently undertook 2 micro-goals to end 2010 positively. After a very fruitful Oct/Nov when I lost just short of 20lbs, December was mostly a maintenance month. Knowing that the holidays can be brutal on the waistline, one goal was to do that, to maintain. The second would facilitate the first; I noticed on the riding calendar that I was close to turning 3000m for the year and if I was consistent over the break I could just top it. At this point I have no chance of catching LithoDale, Dave, Micheal or Tom, but small victories are still victories (ed. Neither Dale nor Michael lists his yearly mileage, but I know both to be at 5k or above).

Yesterday we went to visit the good wife's family and I managed to sneak in a ride after watching Tron-Legacy with the boys at the cheapie small-town theater and before the evening family meal. BTW, Tron was high derivative and has been tepidly reviewed, but I enjoyed it and found it entertaining. That's the point, right?

My route took up on familiar roads for the first portion, eventually taking me to Washington, KY, which is well-known for being an early important settlement of KY and of being an important location of the underground railroad.


The good wife's family farm down the hill. I took this while moving, so it's not the best.


Washington church. I wished I had taken the extra few minutes to get the info.

Washington home

The next portion of the ride included a long run down Clark's Run Rd., which followed a creek ("run") for a good portion, but which also included passing many suburban and "country" homes just outside Maysville. It took me a bit to get beyond the 'burbs.



I'll admit this is a nice presentation, especially with the wreaths in the windows.
The road textures became a bit more interesting as I descended into this creek swale (I won't call it a valley). You can see from the following pic that I had a cheeky little descent and nice warming climb out. From there the houses became fewer and traffic...completely non-existent.


The next two roads were quite similar in nature. Both Brandywine and Lowell followed creek runs through forested, hardscrabble land with few farms; the ground is too rocky to till it well. Because of the lowness I found myself a little chilly, but not too, on both roads. During my time on Brandywine I found the surroundings very reminiscent of previous rides in SW Mason Co, although I couldn't put my finger on where and when. At the end of Brandywine I realized that I had been on that road before and have a pic of the bike to prove it. Back during Thanksgiving '08 I sampled some of the same roads, coming into Sardis via 5 Lick Rd. and then onto Lowell, the Brandywine and later Clark Run. I had retraced the first 20m of yesterday's ride. Interestingly, the '08 ride finished in darkness with the use of a rear flashie and the helmet light. I have very little memory of that ride save the feeling of claustrophobia from the creek valleys, gnarled trees and isolation. Yesterday, once I turned onto 596 I thought I had missed my turn. It seemed closer in my mind. Why in my mind and not on my map? Because I forgot my map at home and was doing the ride from memory. It was that quality of "not lost" but also not knowing exactly where I was. I figured it would work out somehow. And then the turn onto Lowell.

Brandywine Rd. along Brandywine Creek, just like in The Shire.

A partially frozen Brandywine Creek

The climb up 596 onto the plateau, invigorating.
Lowell Rd. towards Sardis was similar to Brandywine following a creek run. It began, though, with a half-mile divebomb descent which I was glad I wasn't climbing (climbed in '08). On Lowell the light began to fade a bit, as evidence by the necessity of the flash in the pic below. It got a bit lonely as the shadows lengthened and the air chilled but I just set a tempo as best I could towards Sardis although I found it challenging as I found the 1m steady uphill into the town.



The turn onto 62 began my last leg towards the house. I knew I could get home from Sardis and it was good thing in that it was increasingly dark and I even felt some rain sprinkles. I was adequately prepared for darkness with my 2 rear flashies and Princeton helmet light, but I was also in foreign territory and I'm sure the locals didn't know what to think of a strange flashing creature in the dark cold. 62 gave me a nice downhill run into my turn onto 324 and then Old Sardis Pike. I had been in that general intersection before so I knew I was close and was going to make it regardless of conditions. Old Sardis provided me a steady 2m slight uphill. I pushed the pace a bit to help stay warm and it did the trick. The pics below do an interesting contrast in how the camera reacts  to darkness. The first two are with flash, the 2nd two without. It's almost like the first two make it look darker than it was, but the 2nd two without flash brighten the conditions more than they actually.  All along this stretch I imagined myself riding along with my SON hub and Edulux light brightening the road, rando style. Wonder how much a Shimano/B&M-IQCyoN+ system would cost?




Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Permathaw Ramble

We have sunshine for the first time on record today.

Hyperbole perhaps, sunshine and mid-30s we did have. I wanted to see if the trails were still in working order, as much to avoid another cold road ride. After a warm-up across Casselberry I dove down the first bit of Cherokee trail, this one downhill with some nice partially frozen portions. Towards the bottom I notice some softness and in the exit I notice *lots* of trail softness and some soup to boot. Maybe the trails had thawed faster than expected.

The next portion up towards Hogans Fountain, a section I usually do coming down hill, presented me with instantaneous goop, although I was able to hold a line. I don't like to ride and tear up the trails in this situation, so I thought I finishing this leg and going road after that. I didn't make it. Coming up the dip I didn't quite clear the uphill and stopped. No biggie. When I changed my footing, though, I slipped downhill with the bike taking a tumble too. Once down, "I've fallen, and I can't get up" with viscous mud keeping me from standing. It would've made for a fun Youtube video.  I decided to cut through the trees to the road and ride the mountains of mud off my tires. I rode across the scenic loop and headed for the Beargrass trail knowing that I wouldn't revisit the trails anytime the rest of the day. Up Payne I visited OYLC to shoot the shit. Afterwards, since I was in mtbike mode I rambled around hitting up the various brick alleys in the Highlands, giving it some gusto for a few hills and generally roaming.

It was at least1hr+ of riding, which was in addition to the 5m walk this morning. I even sprinted some hills on my walk!  I'm feeling the need to work the holiday calories off.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Training

This evening's dark, cold and windy ride should be considered "training". Yes, I enjoyed the fulfillment of the endeavor, the sense of accomplishment of a job reasonably well done. But did I enjoy it? I'm not sure. I'm not enjoying this winter, at least as the temperatures are concerned. I complained (apparently just in my mind, not on blog) that December has consistently been 10-15 degrees below norm,including today with a present temp of 30F (and windy!) instead of the average 42F. I've been cold. Maybe I'm old.

That said, earlier I went downstairs and dug out the Sidi winter shoes which I hadn't used it a while. I changed over to SPD cleats to use on the Crosscheck, which had the requisite flashie lights necessary for what would end as a dark ride. I used a thinner wool sock, newspaper bag, thick wool sock, Sidi and toe warmers, and, Hey!, my toes stayed warmer this evening than they did in comparable temps yesterday on the Xmas day ride with Dave. At least it's gratifying to see a little progress in toe warmth. Again, my toes are getting older.

The holiday weight scale has been creeping up and I refuse to go there. I refuse to go back. Like yesterday evening ride with Dave, it may not be about exultant epiphanies on 2 wheels. Sometimes it's about burning a few calories and giving the heart a workout. Training to live a not-obese life.

Training.

Xmas Day on 2 wheels

After a nice morning with the fam Dave and I got out for an evening ride on Christmas Day.  Dave was able to use his new GPS, so I'll let his post tell most of the story.

After this past week of holidays I feel like I've never lost any weight. Heavy and Bloated, blah! I'm ready at some point to get back on a schedule and get refocused. I gotta get back to "New Tim", as someone intimated.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Kickin' it.


Hanging loose getting ready to go to mom's and a great Nochebuena meal. Afterwards to DBCC for the 11.00 service. Always nice there. Very little riding. Oh well.

This pic is from AlastairHumphreys which I found from BicycleTouringPro's 8 Super Cycling Sites which I got from TheAdventureMonkey. It's fun to blend the mundane of folding and putting away clothes with stories and adventures from far-flung lands. Hopefully we'll have a little bit of "adventure" here tomorrow via a 1"-3" snow forecast. 3" would be about perfect to take the knobby mtbike out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Being Studly

Riding opportunities were few and far between this past week, first due to cold, then the schedule and then an ice storm which had me out of school for 2 days but without means of enjoying the time "off". Just by happenstance, Apertome commented on my Monday post if anyone was looking for some 26" studded Nokians.  ME, ME, ME, Call on ME (think Horseshack if you can get back that far)!!  I took Michael up on his offer and purchased the Nokian Mount&Grounds for a very fair price; he has bought used 700c studded tires from Doug in MN. Funnily enough, we could have taken care of it Sunday- th day before- with much less fanfare.

Yesterday I arranged with Dave to take a night ride after my family activities were finished up. In the process of mounting the Nokians I did have to take one trip to OYLC. The rear TravelContact did *not* easily come off the LHT, but I eventually got it to do so. Then I couldn't really get the new Nokian mounted, but I did so. I pumped it up to pressure and it seemed alright but 5min later most of the air was gone. On a normal tire I would have changed out or patched the tube myself, but changing out the tight tire in the cold of the garage set me at my limit. Derek at the shop confirmed my observation, but being a pro, he also manged to remount the tire using only his hands. Way more manly than I!!

Dave and I met at Heine's- sans coffee- and directed ourselves towards Cherokee where we found a barrier and an icy decent onto Scenic Loop. Cherokee was basically an ice rink, and a perfect chance to see what the Nokians were made of. I rode *very* tentatively, the kind of tentative that gets you in wrecks because you're not flowing with the bike, but no accident did I have. We found clearer surfaces towards Seneca and then proceeded into St.Matthews for some barrio riding. To keep warm  and to get the competitive juices flowing we both were punching here and there on the mini-hills, only to find that "punching it" with studded tires meant 12mph instead of 9. We went back through Cherokee and up Dog Hill where we stopped and discussed post-ride options. Cumberland Brews and sweet potato fries it was decided.

I had a Special Bitter at Cumberland, and Dave an IPA. Both were fine, but the Fullers Bitter at Ramsi's is better. I find Cumberland to be fine but not authoritative when it comes to their craft beers. Dave tried the Mead and I the IPA on the 2nd round. Good again, but not really good and certainly not great.  The warmth, though, was great. We used our time there to discuss fast bikes and tri's. Dave has announced that he's going to train for a triathlon and we discussed the various merits of different go-fast bikes and the options he faces. We have spent many hours rolling along at 13mph on our LHTs and sometimes others like his SS or my Bleriot. This kind of effort, though, will/would be better with a legit go-fast.

I have a rather old C'dale 'criterium' road bike sitting in a heap my the corner of the garage that I'm going to offer to him to use for training go-fast. As all my bikes are for Dave, the frame is too small, but he can get the bars up with the old-school quill stem, and it's a light bike for sure. It'll be an adjustment for him to go from riding 40c or 32c to using 23s, but that is the reality for the 'criterium' geometry.  I forbade him to put one single dime into the bike until he decides whether it's usable. If it doesn't work for him, he'll have to go to a Plan B.

As for the Nokians, I give them a very solid score for the first ride. I had very little slippage either going downhill for the front or uphill for the back. I didn't feel particularly confident while on them, but that was my own fear, not the performance of the tires. I know now that I'm ready for whatever commute comes my way this winter. The Crosscheck is the new dry commute, the LHT the new muck bike. It's great to have options.



front SON/Velocity wheel with 1.9" Mount&Grounds


Picked up this Portland Design Works danger zone at OYLC. Its flashie setting is a wild, kaleidescope of burps, twitches and gurgles. If fits quite nicely on a SuperFlash bracket. Now if I can find the missing SuperFlash hiding about.


Old C'dale road bike. We'll see what Dave does with it. Those downtube shifters look tempting to steal for the Blueridge, as the right (rear) shifter is about to go out, and I'm not paying $150 for new ones.

Ick

After a desolate week of riding last week Dave and I got out Saturday (to be discussed when the pics post) and then today I cobbled together a "work out" while the Dauphin was doing a cross-training session with the track team.

I took Mellwood to Mockingbird Valley Rd. and rode tempo up the hill into Indian Hills. I don't know if it's timed service or a result of the recent miserable weather, but I ran into 2 road/sewer/water crews in the first couple miles, which made for an attractive street surface to ride on. Notice in the pics below that idiot recently took off the fenders. Why? Their fit wasn't perfect, so instead of modifying and improving, I threw the baby out with the bath water, and the lower pic is evidence of the resultant muck all over the bike and me.

After linking to Indian Hills Ave., I did a variety of loops and climbed all four hills in the neighborhood. I tried to ride a steady, industrious pace up each and managed to run out of gas towards the top of each. I only switched into the smallest chainring once, though, so that's worth something, I guess. Once done climbing, I used the Cox's Park trail to Zorn and then River Rd. back to Zorn, doing in excess of 15mph for a change, and with a reasonable amount of climbing in the hour. I was a dirty mess when finished, but it'll wash, right?

Tomorrow the BR is going to re-receive the fenders, although I have to search hard for some extra fender stay hardware; that was a problem with the initial installation. Zip ties only work some of the time.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Studs and Going Fast

Riding opportunities were few and far between this past week, first due to cold, then the schedule and then an ice storm which had me out of school for 2 days but without means of enjoying the time "off". Just by happenstance, Apertome commented on my Monday post if anyone was looking for some 26" studded Nokians.  ME, ME, ME, Call on ME (think Horseshack if you can get back that far)!!  I took Michael up on his offer and purchased the Nokian Mount&Grounds for a very fair price; he has bought used 700c studded tires from Doug in MN. Funnily enough, we could have taken care of it Sunday- th day before- with much less fanfare.

Yesterday I arranged with Dave to take a night ride after my family activities were finished up. In the process of mounting the Nokians I did have to take one trip to OYLC. The rear TravelContact did *not* easily come off the LHT, but I eventually got it to do so. Then I couldn't really get the new Nokian mounted, but I did so. I pumped it up to pressure and it seemed alright but 5min later most of the air was gone. On a normal tire I would have changed out or patched the tube myself, but changing out the tight tire in the cold of the garage set me at my limit. Derek at the shop confirmed my observation, but being a pro, he also manged to remount the tire using only his hands. Way more manly than I!!

Dave and I met at Heine's- sans coffee- and directed ourselves towards Cherokee where we found a barrier and an icy decent onto Scenic Loop. Cherokee was basically an ice rink, and a perfect chance to see what the Nokians were made of. I rode *very* tentatively, the kind of tentative that gets you in wrecks because you're not flowing with the bike, but no accident did I have. We found clearer surfaces towards Seneca and then proceeded into St.Matthews for some barrio riding. To keep warm  and to get the competitive juices flowing we both were punching here and there on the mini-hills, only to find that "punching it" with studded tires meant 12mph instead of 9. We went back through Cherokee and up Dog Hill where we stopped and discussed post-ride options. Cumberland Brews and sweet potato fries it was decided.

I had a Special Bitter at Cumberland, and Dave an IPA. Both were fine, but the Fullers Bitter at Ramsi's is better. I find Cumberland to be fine but not authoritative when it comes to their craft beers. Dave tried the Mead and I the IPA on the 2nd round. Good again, but not really good and certainly not great.  The warmth, though, was great. We used our time there to discuss fast bikes and tri's. Dave has announced that he's going to train for a triathlon and we discussed the various merits of different go-fat bikes and the options he faces. We have spent many hours rolling along at 13mph on our LHTs and sometimes others like his SS or my Bleriot. This kind of effort, though, will/would be better with a legit go-fast.

I have a rather old C'dale 'criterium' road bike sitting in a heap my the corner of the garage that I'm going to offer to him to use for training go-fast. As all my bikes are for Dave, the frame is too small, but he can get the bars up with the old-school quill stem, and it's a light bike for sure. It'll be an adjustment for him to go from riding 40c or 32c to using 23s, but that is the reality for the 'criterium' geometry.  I forbade him to put one single dime into the bike until he decides whether it's usable. If not, he'll have to go to a Plan B.

As for the Nokians, I give them a very solid score for the first ride. I had very little slippage either going downhill for the front or uphill for the back. I didn't feel particularly confident while on them, but that was my own fear, not the performance of the tires. I know now that I'm ready for whatever commute comes my way this winter. The Crosscheck is the new dry commute, the LHT the new muck bike. It's great to have options.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

cerca de Stir Crazy


We're off school for the 2nd time in four days, first Monday for the remnants of the snow we experienced Sunday in Hoosier NF. The roads, and more so the ability of drivers on the roads dictate for the kiddies to be safe and sound. Today (last night) we had an ice event. I had to hold on to the car's door handles to keep from sliding down the driveway.  I was able to get the wife to work and to buy some cookies on the return, along with buying some salt for the driveway.

I haven't ridden since Sunday, no, incorrect. Since Sunday's 41-miler, I have:
**ridden 30min Monday in the dark 20F  night during L's soccer practice. I wouldn't call it satisfying.
**done nothing Tuesday amidst the frigid temps and busy semester-end schedule, which has been tough for everybody. Instead of exercising, I ate.
**walked for 1hr at 4.30 in the morning with 9F. I was so pissed at eating like shit Tuesday that I took it out on myself. I certainly didn't want to awake at 3.45 with a grumpy belly from all the shit I ate Tuesday. Lesson learned.
**planned to commute Wednesday but didn't in order to taxi children. #2 had to be at school at 6.45 and both had activities in the afternoon, so I drove. The afternoon fell apart and I didn't ride/walk after work.

I sit here Thursday and am chomping at the bit to get OUT! Coming back from dropping the wife off I saw a dude in a nice bright blue Salsa 29er with a rigid fork. I looked online and couldn't find a comparable frame, but it was purty. I rolled down the window and asked him if he was riding studs. "Nope." Good for him, I guess. I wouldn't want to be on the roads without extra traction.

Tonight is another Car-Free Happy Hour, this time at Smoketown BBQ. I've never been to one, usually b/c the schedule is packed, but this one I might have to attend. Otherwise I will go crazy just staring outside in the cold.



30-8PM at Smoketown USA, 1153 Logan Street



Monday, December 13, 2010

Just did it.

Just got home from soccer practice and exercise effort. While El Segundo did his thing, I suited up and took the Monocog out in the 20F, windy misery and rode the 'cross trails at RiverRdCountryClub for about 30min. At some point, I looked at my watch and accepted that I had gotten out, had done it, and that I was ready to not be doing it.  Riding into a stiff headwind at 20F in the dark (with light) was just what it was, but no more.

Tomorrow I'll have to think very hard about the commute. After thinking in the back of my mind that Dave didn't need those Marathon studs, now he's ready for ice spots on our snow and ice strewn streets and I'm stuck with semi-slicks like the Paselas or Travel-Contacts for the commute. Ick, I don't like the thought of icy patches at 6.15, so we'll see.

HoosierNF Mixed-Terrain

It's funny sitting here with my coffee in my wool sweater (made by my mother) and slippers at 9.35 on a snow day (kids are home, one in the basement playing videogames while talking to a friend via the magic of videogame technology and the other asleep indefinitely) that I could speak so enthusiastically about a ride with so many miserable moments, but that I do. Hosted by Apertome, four of us met up for what, for me, was one of my top adventures I've undertaken on two wheels, a ride bordering on "epic" for those of us who live in the mundane, non-mountainousness middle. We had chosen a date a month ago and Saturday found ourself facing winter storm watches and warning from the southern remnants of the storm that collapsed the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

The weather called for low 20s with windchills closer to 0F. I chose to go a little lighter up top to avoid the inevitable wet chills (foreshadowing) and though I dialed in the feet pretty well too (list at bottom of what I wore, mostly for my own purposes). Dave (writeup already posted) and I took one or two wrong turns b/c of my stupid GPS. I have a better sense of direction than those pieces of crap. Dave C and I met Michael and Dave G at The Hitchin' Post in Norman, IN and left for a 42m Figure-8, designed for Dave G's knee as he sometimes has trouble with it (foreshadowing), the route giving him 2 or 3 bail-outs as needed.

The opening miles were mundane save this intersection where we met this cold crowd of horses and mules. From there we turned right onto Polk Patch Rd and our first section of gravel. I was personally pleased at this point with my bike set-up, the C'dale 29-er with re-mounted Exiwolfs running at 38lb and the first big test for the Jones Loop bar. Dave G and Michael were both on mtbikes and Dave C was the lone LHT stalwart, he running Marathon snow studs. The first gravel sections felt good and relatively smooth underfoot.




Descending PolkPatch towards a left turn we encountered our first drama of the day. Dave G had zoomed ahead, with me gingerly descending in the middle and Michael and Dave C just behind. I heard a noise of some sort and at the bottom DaveG and I waited for the other two, eventually to find Michael arriving with blood on his face. He had taken a face plant on the descent, cutting up his noise and scuffing his cheek. He got a good going-over from the nurses and we decided to soldier forth, checking up on our patient a few more times. Not one of us wanted to risk a swollen eye out in those conditions. We turned left onto Horse Camp Rd. and found 1.5m of up-n-down climbing. I must have felt fresh here b/c I don't remember much the 17% we rode at some point.


Lost the cap at some point. Strange to look straight down to the tire. Dave G lost his too on his 'dale.


I can't pintpoint on our map (maybe McPike Branch at the western end?) where the pics below came from, but I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of snow, grass, fence, descent and such. I'm a sucker for grass pics; what can I say? This was a portion that Dave G told me intersected Nat'lForest and IN state lands. Further research is required b/c I'd love to return there during another season.

Waiting for Michael, who was descending a bit more cautiously now, for obvious reasons.






I love fields, even frozen ones in winter.

Our route turned south, *finally* giving us a tailwind and also some pavement. We began a new section of rougher gravel on Henderson Creek Rd. when shortly Michael stopped us to consult the GPS. We had missed our turn with Michael blaming me b/c I was talking about some kind of crap (I don't remember). We used the time for a snack stop during which DaveG brought out the best snack of all, some peppermint schnapps. I'm not a big liquor drinker, preferring my booze in rotten grape or hops form, but, Boy, that hit the spot! Thanks Dave G! Oh, and thanks Dave C b/c he had his trusty Combo's with him. They went down easier than the brick-hard Clif bar.

At this point I have to discuss some gear issues. During our snack stop I got rather chilled, especially in my torso. From this point on I had a hard time stopping b/c every time we did so, I got cold, uncomfortably so. Just Friday Michael wrote a post about the benefits and detriments of layers philosophies, his being that he strongly preferred a blend of synthetics and wool as opposed to only wool. Well, because I'm prone to philosophy following and RBW kool-ade drinking, I've entered the "wool crowd" of late and on this adventure I wore two layers of wool (including my excellent TJMaxx find) and a gore-tex jacket. With each stop I paid the penalty for the wool-only cold drenching. Once I got going it wasn't so bad, especially if I could find a good climb to heat me up, but after this ride I'll be experimenting with the Apertome Philosophy: synth base layer to wick away moisture, wool middle layer to insulate and whatev jacket.

We climbed back up Hickory Grove and made a nice 10m run of ridge-top gravelling through the forest, during which we found worsening, snowy conditions and slick surfaces. The ride was becoming "epic". My pictures were scarce through this portion b/c the hands became quite cold handling the camera gloveless. Once we descended out of the forest we ran into some civilization and flat pavement just west of Houston, the pavement at this point becoming snow-covered in spots, even virgin snow cover, something I rarely find in Louisville after a snow.




Houston design and architecture

He had a particularly snowy noise, poor thing.

From here, cold and creaky, we turned south for a spectacular run along Buffalo Pike. After some flattish portions we went straight up along a .5m climb punctuated with 13% portions. Honestly, I felt great up this climb. Micheal had plunged ahead and I settled down into a very, slow, almost meditative rhythm, using my smallest gear. I never went into the red but also had to focus to keep my footing, so to speak.


Dave at the crest of the Buffalo Pike climb.

From the top of this point we began to think about the end, and how to best achieve that. Dave G's knee was acting up and we needed an efficient means of getting us back in one piece. If not his knee, it would be my cold feet and sometimes cold torso. I felt bad at some point b/c Dave G was (k)needing to ride at his own tempo, but that tempo made me cold, so I had to up it myself. For portions of the ride we had two distinct grupettos, Michael and me and the 2 Daves. I don't like to separate up small groups; at points during our BigSouthFork trip Michael and Dave C could have easily left my ass lying on the side of the road. This time, Dave C was an awesome ride companion and helped Dave G's balky knee move along.

We took a left turn towards smoother roads and then turned onto 58 at Kurtz. At this point it was nothing more or less than making it back in one piece. I think each of us was fighting our own battle with the cold, snow, terrain and most importantly, wind which we found once onto 58.  The road was mostly covered and I drifted to riding about 15-30sec behind Michael. The wind and grade were making me forget my feet, which were miserably cold as much as my torso. The long-term review is that SealSkinz aren't that impressive. I'd have rather had an extra layer of wool with a grocery sack. Another niggler was the Jones bars. I love the design, but they tend to slip down making for an awkward angle. I'm in dire need of a hearty non-slip shim. We then encountered our last impediment, up the 58 hill and into Norman. The map later revealed that from Kurtz we did two small hills and then a false flat towards Norman until the final .3m climb, a brutal section directly into the wind. Whew!


Michael had waited for me part of the ways up the 58 climb near our finish. 

No ice beard, but part of an ice mustache.

Snow

Michael and I finished and started warming the cars up for both our benefit and the Daves once they arrived. Their challenge up the hill was having to hop the guardrail to steer clear of the state plow coming through at the time. We debated eating in Norman- they had closed though- so we headed to eat at our original choice, the 58 Cafe in Kurtz, only to find that it had closed due to the conditions. It was an unfortunate way to end a spectacular day on the bike. We went our separate ways and DaveC and I ate some fast food in Brownstown on the way home. It wasn't always pleasant, but for me at least it was very satisfying, at least here in my warm and cozy slippers and sweater looking outside at the cold, white terrain.

What I wore for science sake:
head- fleece balaclava (wanted to use my PearlIzumi skullcap and neck gaiter but couldn't find it). This gets annoying after a while b/c you can't access your mouth very easily

torso- thin wool, medium wool, Performane gore-tex jacket- Last time for two wool base layers. I wonder if the "all wool crowd" rides in the low 20s?

legs- lycra shorts, Performance fleece pants, RBW knickers as wind break- adequate

feet- thickish wool, SealSkinz, "ladyboots" snow boots- er, No. Back to the drawing boards for this.

hands- Lobsters, as always- Not great for taking off repeatedly for pictures, but if they stay on, they're warm.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Cold Commute

My decision to cold commute this morning (18F) was instantly vindicated when I saw 'Sheryl' in the lobby with her commuter bike. 'Sheryl' moved relatively close to me this summer, so her commute is perhaps only a mile shorter than mine (and up from her earlier flat 2.5m commute). No excuses. If a new(ish) mom can pull herself to work on 2 wheels, I damn well can myself.

No present pic ,but a bike working well for me as a commuter is the CrossCheck. I was very unhappy with the ride quality of the oafish 45c FireCross's. As soon as I traded them for some puffy 35c Paselas and a seatpost rack the CC became a more nimble, cushy version of the LHT. I'm thinking of mounting a basic Axiom Streamliner Road, which I can get mounted for less than the list price. One online source had it for half off at $21.  I'm just really enjoying the ride quality with the 'Stache bars and Paselas. It's great to "re-find" a bike, isn't it?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Compras F29er

This is the last in a series- nope, I just realized it's not- of bike updates from this Fall. I never posted these from my ride last Sunday. As you can see below, I took out my rarely-used mtbike, in this case a C'dale 29-er. I've made some modifications because I've decided to give it a try as a gravel grinder. Fact it, I don't mtbike that much, whether from lack of interesting trails, fitness, fear of rocks, technique, yada yada. This C'dale gets very little mileage compared to the LHT or Bleriot, so why not?  It's a kind of bike recycling. As the pics suggest, I've made some interesting modifications and a good mixed-terrain fest next weekend in Bloomington will hopefully give me some insight as to their success:
  • The biggest one was adding alum Jones Loop Bars. Like pretty much all bikes of this ilk, it had relatively wide risers, but I knew I would need something with a greater variety of hand positions. Drop bars would require lots of stem fiddling, so I went with the Loop. Financially it would've made more sense to do the cheaper Titec 'H', but it seems to require thumb-shifters. I'm not opposed to those, but again, cost said "buy a bar and some tape and you're finished". Initial reports on this bar are very positive, but a longer session is needed. My only concern so far is whether I have some slippage downward as I put lots of weight out of the extensions. Honestly, some of it may be real and some imagined.
  • Banjo Barrel Bag- I needed a means of carrying gear on a gravel grinder, so this became an inexpensive option. Because the basic OEM saddle, I lacked the Brooks loops to most effectively mount the Barrel, so I bought some Loop Adapters from VO via Vic's Classic Bikes. Thanks Vic.(And after looking at a couple other pics, I think I'm going to remount the adapters to a more logical spot) It's a reasonably sized day bag with a stiffener to keep the space open, and it's quite light. My one quibble with the Barrel is that while the buckle closure is very solid, the closure design lets cracks and openings form, making it very possible to lose something. I ended up with an extra jacket stuffed in there to block anything from escaping, so I will have to be mindful of that set up for rides.
  • Epic Ride Research Mountain Feed Bag- I discussed a bit the story of getting the MFB, but all early indications are that it's a really nice product. I haven't used it on any big rides, but for in town it is certainly a camera/phone carrier bar none, especially with its soft interior. I'm excited to put it through its paces at the end of a long, tiring day in the boondocks.
  • WTB Vulpines- Funnily enough, while I'm excited about these tires, I'm realizing that the changing weather may not make these the best option for a maiden voyage. I've seen mixed reviews on the Vulpine, but fundamentally it's a semi-smooth 29er with side knobs, perfect for road-ish kinds of rides. . The lack of very much center tread makes it dicey, though. The complaints tend to be the lack of bite is loose terrain; my/our usually gravel rides don't involve that much loose stuff, so I'm not as concerned. We're having early snows where in the 'Ville, and certainly in Bloomington for next week's outing. So, after spending good $$ getting gravel grinder tires, I might have to go back to the original Exiwolf knobbies, which I think are horrible in mud. Hopefully we'll have no muddy singletrack.
  • Lastly, these pics were taken with my Lumix DMC-ZS6 which I got back in late October. In looking at the pic quality I'm underwhelmed. They seem awfully grainy. Reviews suggest that it's a great scenery/outdoor camera- and not so strong indoors which is a shock to no one- but I'm not too pleased with these. The end result of the CanonS90 story is that Canon offered to sell me a refurb  camera for $120 to replace the one I dunked. I thought it was a fair deal for a camera selling for $350 on Amazon right now, and one I paid $400 for in June. There's a lesson to be learned there. Wait until the new model comes out and scoop up the well-reviewed older model the next week at a big discount. I'm hoping and assuming that the refurb will be adequate. I also might need to read up on how to maximize the DMCZS6.
  • I've spent a lot of money this Fall. NO MORE!!
(these pics are out of order now)

Eva Bandman Cyclocross starting area from GP a few weeks ago

F29er with Jones Loop, Banjo, Vulpines and Barrel

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Another view of the cyclocross park

Butchertown Greensway

Tug and coal playing peek-a-boo along the river

Paddler on  the Beargrass along the greensway. Brave. Surprise they didn't find a body in there.

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