Wednesday, January 29, 2014

State of the Union

I'm gonna be honest here. As a person who is inclined towards pessimism, I'm pretty pessimistic this morning:

  • burned out at work
  • burned out on brutal winter weather
  • burned out on coaching. I'm pissed that the KHSAA is proposing things that would/will make my coaching even less fun than it is now.
  • burned out on this crappy diet of restaurants and quickie food. Team effort. Can't fly solo on this one.
  • burned out on CoachCal. Cats ain't so good right now. The Brow, Boogie, and JohnW ain't in the building.

That's enough. At least Real is playing decently. At least we have out health. That's worth something. At least I'm not posted up in bed with the bottom of my leg torn off like some other people I know.

Carry on.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Some Thoughts on being Fat

I'm sure I'll forget some of my Fat thoughts, but based on a couple rides this week, including a 11F ride after work on Thursday and this morning at 25F after a fresh 3":
  • I dropped that psi real low this morning (too cold to actual measure. Bottomed out once). This worked great on plowing new trail on golf course or rolling fresh trail on mtbike routes.
  • I have rarely experienced anything more punishing that riding Nates on the road at 5psi. 
  • I need a mini-pump (or use one I have) to vary psi. It annoys me to have to start/stop and empty/fill, but I think I'm motivated after pushing that 5psi on the roads home.
  • Fattie sure does get a lot of questions and smiles. Really. More than any bike I've ever been on, followed by the Ute. Both the frames are gold/copper in color. Doubt that contributes.
  • Once I stopped breaking trail and used established routes other bikes had been on, I really would have been better at 12-15psi. It would be really interesting to roll a route on Fattie and then do the same on a fattish 29er. Seems like I need to organize a Comparison Trial.
  • I didn't really get off on rolling trails on Fattie, but then I found myself at KYMBA downhill in Cherokee and Holy Shit do those Nates bite. BITE. OK, climbing sucks on the Fattie, but descending, whether on the trails or taking a Marshmallow descent down an open hill is *amazing*.
  • I'm pretty happy how I've been layering lately. Thursday 11F I had 2 layers down, 3 thinnish layers up, good head coverage and my feet were frozen. Really, I was comfy at 11F, which is stupid.
  • I love reading the different surface conditions of snow riding: crust, fluff, depth, ice, texture, concrete. 
  • Would love to do a comparison ride between Mukluk and Pugs. I have read that Mukluks are more mid to low-trail, which means a lack of nimbleness on trails, but I also appreciate the non-twitchy nature in snow situations. Interesting contrast in design, if true.

Thursday afternoon at 11F on crusty leftovers

 Moustache snotcicle

Saturday morning 25F after 3" overnight


Blue peeking through 

Wind-swept thick stuff 

Experimenting this morning with a cheap Cabela gaiters. Right with, left without. FAR preferred with, as no snow found my socks and that boot stayed drier. 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I tweaked my back Sunday, so the last few days have included some walking and not much else. Yesterday brought 50F and sun, such a great potential day for a road ride. Alas. Today and out of school, I hammered a couple Aleves and went snowbiking in our blowy, slushy, crusty 3" base. I may not be able to walk tomorrow, but I would say it was definitely worth it. I also had the opportunity to meet a couple guys at the, one Brian who is actively trying to drum up support for the local fatbike community, the other who seemed to have deep knowledge of adventure trails throughout the state and IN. Good stuff. Good brains to pick for future adventure.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ride partners

Simply amazing how long it's been since I rode with Apertome. Life goes in unknown directions, and his seems to have done so with school and work and such, but he is/was a great dude to ride bikes with (and his bride is a fantastic hostess)and I miss our rides. One day, perhaps.

Monday, January 13, 2014

IN fatbiking/coffeeneuring

After our very successful mucky outing last week, el crew decided to do some of the same yesterday, this time visiting IN instead of the KY side of the river. As is the case, a road leg of some 8 miles delivered us to the IN river bank, we we inspected trash.

We made of us an unnamed trail which I'm quite sure we weren't supposed to travel and did some muckity muck along the Clarksville River Trail, aka the Ohio River Greenway. We took a spur along Bailey Ave, which interestingly enough, isn't even shown on the aforementioned websites. At its terminus we found the reasonable ship-shape railroad bed that has been used a fair amount by other people, including the Southern Indiana Wheelmen who have an extensive write-up here. BTW, some assmonkey parked his dumptruck bed in the middle of the aforementioned abandoned RR bed.

Seeing an offshoot, I took it while Dave and Patrick cowered in fear at not having enough skills to reach under the bridge. Wimps. We made coffee, perhaps the best coffee ever. Fantastic!

We then crossed the scary bridge, and Dave toppled and fell into the creek. He was cold. We mudded in Loop Island Wetlands, where Sr. Fattie could have dominated, but people's skirts were too short. We did see scenic views. It was warming.

We returned via paved areas that required effort. I'm sore. Still. Great Day. Really.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Portland Fattie Ramble

PJ and I did a fat bike ramble this morning, he on his Fargo+Duremes and I on the Mukluk down along the river and into the now-closed Shawnee/Portland area. It was pretty great, and the Mukluk was pretty to very great. It just gobbled up the sand, mud, and leaves.  For those out there who think that fatties are only for snow, Wrong! Great stuff.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Cherokee trails

We having some seasonably cold weather in KY at the moment, which means late Spring temps in Minnesota. I suited up and went out yesterday at around 15F, but as you can see, the sun helped warm my path. It has barely snowed, but I felt that the fatbike was in order.  I dialed the clothes in quite nicely, but the cold made each effort that much harder, so when I needed to back off, I did. Which gave me time for birds. (sic)

 Same a previous photo, but his one shows the run-in to the turn a bit better. Fun section.

What I wore to be comfy at 15F:
NorthFace headband- removed
Performance fleece balaclava
Defeet undershirt
Sport Hill top
Bellweather coat
windfront boxer brief
Performance fleece pant
Defeet thin wool sock+medium wool sock+ chem foot warmer
Keen pull-on boot
wool gloves+Hind mitten

What I saw:
Brown Creeper 2 **first
red-headed woodpecker 2
downy woodpecker
tufted titmouse- at least 10
c. chickadee
**What looked like a ruby-crowned kinglet. A little greenish bird with 2 white bars on the wing, about that same size. Too quick to tell. Another day.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Tour bike geometry

As I'm getting into more touring, finding and maximizing a rig for long tours is an essential for my next years of cycling.   With that, I came across an interesting picture from Dave's blog from a ride in January '13, which I did on the (now-sold) Troll.

To me, the short wheelbase creates a situation where rack is rather far behind the bike's center of gravity. Way back there. This pic doesn't have panniers, but I can imagine a situation where you get loaded panniers too far behind the rest of the bike, and that is what contributed to the waggles I experienced when loaded touring on the Troll.

I am curious to check out the proportions of the frame/rack/panniers on Seafoam to see whether the mass sits a little closer to the bike's center. I think the Troll is a great multi-purpose bikepacking bike. For me, it just didn't work out as a loaded tourer.

I didn't have the best day on the bike from whence this pic came.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 mejores exitos

It's that time of year, time to reflect on all the meatballs I ate yesterday, and the amount of gnashing of teeth I'll have to do to still fit in the current size of pants.

In not particular order (well, they end of sort of chronological, sorta):

1. I partook of several nice mixed-terrain rides this year, with highlights including the Marengo Mixed-Terrain, which for me was difficult 36 with a great course Timothy designed, a Fall HenryCo ride, a particularly nice visit to Muscutatuck in late Oct., and a rough-but-gratifying effort out of Holland in November. I felt like real shit that day, but it was one of the best MT courses I had ridden. And, finally, Dave and I visited Mucutatuck again in the ice and snow in December. That was a cold, short, slick trip. Fun, though. Fatness in all its glory.

2. Cyclocross Worlds- a week of festivities beginning in January with the course prep, the mid-week Singlespeed Worlds in the snow at Seneca Park and then crescendoing with Sven's victory at the Saturday, not *Sunday* worlds, due to the impending flood conditions. The entire week was just nuts, as was the post-race. Fact is, the Sierra Nevada was flowing at 9.30 that morning. Nuts. But I did not make it to the #FoamParty.

3. Early March provided the platform for a Ferdinand SF Camp+Gravel out at Ferdinand Forest in IN. We finally found Timothy and the campsite and proceeding to freeze pretty much all night. We awoke to a layer of snow, some ominous buzzards, a sick Timothy, and 30 miles of delightful mixed terrain. A good one, that was, regardless of fitness.

4. Not revelatory, but PJ and I did a few training rides on the traditional Covered Bride/Sleepy Hollow loop. That's a great loop and one worth using as a fitness marker. Maybe 2014 can or should act as that, a monthly Covered Bridge loop to show where the body is.

5. Skyline Metric in late June. I sort of forgot about this ride until I read my post, and I'm adding it here remembering how great the roads east of Jeffersonville and Skyline are. It was the kind of ride that needs a sporty road bike. And, no, I didn't ride the IF enough in '14. Once a week. C'mon, Man!

6. S24Os- For some reason I thought that I hadn't done as many in '13, but I had some nice ones in the summer: 2 solo stealth camps during which I woke up at stupid times in the morning and bailed. Fun, though. A longer trip with David to Clark SF in mid-June. That one started poorly but improved. And this past weekend with an excellent time in JeffForest.

7. I've been doing more birding beginning in '13, and my July bike-n-bird roll on the QB represents the best of that vibe. I don't know. It's just peaceful, and I/we need more peaceful.

8. Highlights are always going to include tours, especially mixed-terrain tours in Daniel Boone NF. Patrick and I undertook another 3-day tour in August. Day 1 was short and hot, Day 2 a robust lollipop and the return on Day 3 probably my favorite portion of the weekend even with the 2-mile climb. Did I mention the rain?

9. I have to include the wacky jeep route Dave and I found west of New Albany. It's on googlemaps as a "bike trail", but it's more like a goat trail. I don't know what else to say except that that was a nutty day on the bike.

10. The Family Camp Hundy returned this year. 105 miles in mid-90s heat. I did it, and damn glad of it.

11. Rides with NavyDrew. I did the BiketoBeatCancer in September, which was awesome and I want to again than folks for donating. Drew and I did several rides building up to the BtBC, and then continued through October, during which I probably had my best fitness of the year.

12. Finally, 2013 was a year in which I picked up 2 new bikes. In spring I picked up an RBW Atlantis frame with the proceeds of the Troll sale and some tennis $$. I was my most-used bike in 2013 and serves, obviously, as a nice ride. So far I've used it more for a country bike than a tourer, but '14 should serve as a platform for some touring fun. In the Fall, I  then was gifted a new Salsa Mukluk. Quite the bounty. No, we don't have that much snow here, but it hasn't stopped me from taking numerous all-round rides on the Mukluk. It's fat and will go anywhere: trails, snow, curbs, alleys, you name it.

I have some bike sales and bike tweaks to come in '14. I'd like to do 5k in miles. I'd like to lose some weight, as ever. I'd like to pull off a reasonable tour. I'd like to have some piece of mind.

And Peace to you too, for a fulfilling 2014. On two wheels, 2013 wasn't too bad.

UberJRA, aka Happy New Year!

Extreme JRA with me on the fatbike and Dave on his BigDummy. We wandered Cherokee, Beargrass Trail, Butchertown path, Botanica landfill and then along the river. We ran into joggers from the Hangover Classic 10-miler and then some RedZone 'cross kids doing some pre-Nationals training down at the Big Lawn, where I had a nice chat with a couple Rogue Racing guys I know (well, at least one of them).

I looked at some ducks and then we turned towards home for another coffee, this time at Quill's. Not sure the day did a whole lot for my lactic threshold, but it was nice, sunny day to begin 2014.


FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: