Sunday, January 24, 2016

Big (Bend) Thoughts

I feel to be in a period of transition. Perhaps more to come at some point. I saw this image and it immediately nudged me an inch closer to a position- mental, spiritual, physical-, some kind of position where I need to be, to strive towards.  Just a thought.

Thanks, Justin, for the inspiration. Blog about Big Bend, TX area found here.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Mas snowfatcold

I met Timothy at Please&ThankYou for a cup, and for me one of their excellent egg bagels, before we headed out on the early edge of our next snow-ing, billed this time as a potential storm between 1" and 12". Yes, you read that right. Anyway, it was snowing.

Timothy brought his Orbea 27.5+ bike to try in the snow for the first time, while I was again on the Mukluk, whose tires were I'm guestimating at 8psi or so. We plowed the bumpy trail our the Riverwalk towards Shawnee. In this section, Timothy was stronger than I and I think having more fun than I. Pushing the knobby Nates over long flat sections (long is relatively here) is not particularly enjoyable. As we began to explore the Shawnee/Portland river bottoms area the Nates sprang to life, so to speak. Noodling and Toodling around at 3mph with an extra grippy footprint seems to be what the Mukluk is made for, while Timothy was consistently losing grip with his mild knobbed 3" tires (sorry, don't remember make). We explored a bit until Timothy's cleats were entirely frozen up. After fortunately retrieving a missing coffee thermos, we wended through the woods a bit more and began to head back. At the flood wall under I-64 I borrowed Timothy's pump to boost my pressure a bit and basically tore the valve stem inner stem off (whatever it's called), but low and behold the tire held air. I assume there was some frozen stuff in there aiding my cause. We trudge back in increasing snows and wind, eventually popping over to River Rd. to avoid the snow drifting o the Riverwalk. A beverage and hot food melted our frozen edges and topped off a fun day. This made for the 3rd snow ride in a row, all with different shoe combinations. The zipper on the Wed boots (my favorite broke, begetting the Oboz boots, begetting the new Shimano bikepack boots, all with weaknesses.  Maybe I'm the weak link. I hate cold toes.

Snow Ohio River scene.

Frozen face selfie. Googles this time, but same hat.

Portland/Shawnee river bottoms. This area had scene much ATV/truck/4x4 activity, making for ruts that Timothy found difficult with his level of tire grip.

Drive home not so rosy for the Mukluk wheels. Even worse (not shown) was the frozen front mechanism on the rack. I engineered a questionable solution with a small bungee. I got home in tact, so I guess it was good enough.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

First Snow Fattie '16

Is started snowing around 3am, so by the time I awoke at 4.45am to check on school status they had already cancelled. I tried to go back to sleep, but to no avail. Eventually still under the cover of darkness I hit the ol' fatbike, for the first time in while. I managed to stay out for 3hrs. Although I didn't do much mileage, it felt good to manage temps at 21F and to pedal for a long time. Below is my account.

 Seneca golf course is always fun

 Along Beargrass Creek as the light begins to increase bit by bit.

Seneca Golf Course singletrack. I only did a portion. 

Further into Cherokee trails. I dabbled and explored but don't consider it much of a trail session. 

Bad pic, but a cold, wet Blue Heron along Beargrass Trail. He set to flight shortly after this. For as large as they are, they tend to be nervous, although a bit less so than Kingfishers.


New bridge behind old bridge

Mukluk along the riverfront. It was sorta snowy at this point. I was comfortable until my hands got a bit cold about here.

Love this pic, the snow, the river, the RR bridge. Oh, and the green grocery cart.

Legit ice beard at my coffee stop at McQuixote down in Portland

My original plan was to travel down to the Shawnee river trails area for some exploration. At this point after coffee I had been out for two hours and had around an hour to get home at the substantial mph I was managing, so I turned for the barn. I stopped at OYLC on the way home for some bike BS and even briefly test-rode a 27.5+ Scott, which I had to say tracked better in the snow than the Muk. Less rubber though. It was a great day on the bike, and apparently I might have another opportunity on Friday as we get another system.

Additionally, viewing passively:
Great Blue Heron
Northern Cardinal
American Tree Sparrow
White-Throated Sparrow
some other LBJs
Dark-eyed Junco
Downy Woodpecker
other ducks along river
Ring-billed Gull
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Mourning Dove
Eastern Towhee
Carolina Wren
Carolina Chickadee

Friday, January 01, 2016

2015 Highlights

In no particular order:

  • 4510 miles- my highest mileage year ever. I had a slow-ish start to the year but finished quite strongly, totaling 3400 miles since the beginning in June.
  • The "Most Trips" award goes to the JonesATB with 52 trips, and that is from early August. I had a really nicely balanced year of bike usage with 6 different bikes with 30 or more trips. Share the wealth. The "Most Mileage" award rightfully goes to the IF with 908 miles. 
  • In February I picked up an amazing new ride, My Jones Diamond+Truss. My previous mtbike rig was a 10yrold Cannondale that had seen its better days. I wanted something fun, interesting, and capable on the trails and I found it in spades with the Jones. I love the Jones. It makes me want to ride the bike, which I think is the point. My trails rides increased significantly with this new rig, and my long-term ambitions are that much greater with its capabilities. AZT? CT? Maah Daah Hey? Big Bend?

  • In August, heavily influenced with my love of the truss Jones, I got another Jones, this time a steel unicrown Jones ATB. I love the Jones' position, security, footprint, comfort, comfort, comfort. I loved it so that I wanted to translate that feeling onto all aspects of my riding, not just on the trails. I didn't want to have to constantly bounce between set-ups. I wanted to jump on and use it, so Jones for trail, Jones for everything else. I was also influenced by an article I saw in Bicycle Times, a review of a "Jones ATB" as a city/tour/trail, as the article states, "anything short of road racing". Jeff Jones himself is also marketing his machines in this way, obviously trying to expand into new markets.

  • The most memorable cycling experience of the year was our DBNF modified bikepack all-terrain tour in June. Again Patrick and I visited that area as we had done in previous years. We spent 4 days on a mixture of pavement, forest, gravel, trail, 4x4, and bushwack. Write-ups can be found for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4. If I could capture the essence of cycling in a bottle of magical elixir, it would be the 15 or so miles of ridge-running on day two, paved mind you. Empty roads, great flow, good company, good temps. What it's all about.

Found this spot nestled deep in Rockcastle Co., KY. This is my off-the-grid dream.
  • While not "epic", our S24O to Lake Shelby on my birthday weekend was deeply satisfying. I felt great on the bike both days, slept great, and generally had a wonderful time exploring this new doable campsite.

  • In keeping with the theme of bike camping and such, the Ferdinand SF camp-and-bike in February was another highlight. We car camped on a very cold night and the rode FSF's old-school trails. Other than belching a rear tubeless tire that I'm still confused about, it was a fun first test for the Jones.

  • Yet another off-road ride of note was my and Dave's another round of DBNF exploration in January. I had forgotten this trip a bit until looking back, but the memories and textures remain strongly embedded, aka I liked that ride a lot, a whole lot. And the Mukluk was entirely in its element.

  • My mileage was predicated mostly on small and medium trips, but I did pull off a nice Spring Break 70 from the in-laws down to Lexington. I felt so beat up the last 15 miles of that ride, but it was a fun experience and the longest ride of the year.
  • Another memorable road day was my "Sunday Service" ride with a mix of local strong riders I sort of know. It was a fast 50-miler on which I sucked every wheel I could find. For them it was just a random semi-easy training day. For me it was proof that I could attain another level of fitness if I really applied myself. 
  • Louisville hosted the NAHBS show in March in the middle of an enormous last season storm. Incredibly, I never did a post of pics from the show. Weird. I volunteered to work the door and later even wrote some copy on adventure bikes. I don't remember where that article ended up. Suffice to say that was an excellent bike weekend, albeit in 10" of snow which basically shut the city down.
  • And finally, I can't say much more than that we all lost a great person in Drew in June. He inspired me to ride 3 BiketoBeatCancer rides, including the one this year with a sizable group of his former classmates. He was a good man, a good friend, and an inspiration regardless of activity. I am better for having know him and spent time riding bikes with him on his quest. Peace, my friend.

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: