Working at the local U, we get funny vacation dates
. Tomorrow is Columbus Day for me, Thursday's Veteran's Day, and on and on. I'm not complaining though, I like it this way. I get to spend all of it in one fell swoop. I've got a good schedule lined up: either chill with my wife or ride my bike -- life doesn't get any better than that.
I've been doing a bit of riding in the last week. Instead of being snow covered though, the trails are melting during the day and the slurpee stuff has been freezing at night. I get out in the morning to beat the daily thaw, and every trail I've ridden was covered in glaze ice, if not completely, then at least in sections that are downright scary. Imagine riding an inner tube on a bob sled run. No runners or rails (or whatever you call them), so you have no control. It makes even the mellowest rides interesting as you unclip on the slickest stuff, half expecting your bike to go out from under you, afraid you'll get body slammed into the ground. As always, fun.
Get out there yourself and enjoy the crisp winter air: fresh, clean, invigorating. Ahhhhh,
What's Your Resolution?
It's that time of year when people reflect on the past and say they're going to make all kinds of changes to their life like: exercise more, eat healthier, save money... how long does this usually last? Probably not more than 30 minutes, so post yours up so you'll have a whole crew to make sure you stick to it or make fun of you if you fail, how's that for encouragement!
So since I'm starting it here's mine, SM100. I did it 3 years ago and it was one of the worst/best/worst days ever on a bike. I finished... barely. I got my first leg cramp about 20 miles in, so bad I just fell over on the bike with my leg looking like it was atrophied, compressed against my stomach. I saw people I thought were weaker riders ride by me as I trudged along more and more demoralized with each passing mile. The next couple days were the most sore I've ever been from riding. I felt like I was 100 years old, could barely move, had trouble sitting and standing, and had to hold hand rails. The years since then I've managed to hedge not doing it. I always had an excuse because I still remember what it was like. Well this year I'm going back!
Al, Ricky and me the day after...
Candy is dandy
Merry Christmas y'all. So, does everyone know what they want?
Get this, as part of a fundraising effort for Histiocytoisis
, Phil Wood & Co.
is awarding 15 pairs of their hubs
to the sole
winner of their drawing. Read that again: if you win, you get 15 pairs of their hubs of your choice.
If you've ever had a chance to lay your greasy paws on one of these polished jewels, you'd know that they are bombproof and made with the highest tolerances, complete with exceptional bearings. They could even put a picture of one of them in the dictionary beside the word smoove
For me it's a no-brainer, but you need to hurry because only 200 donations will be accepted (meaning you have a 1 in 200 chance of winning for each entry). 50 measly clams per entry
. Considering a pair of their Kiss Off hubs go for close to $300
, you'll either be everyone's best friend or set for life with wheels.
Carless + Twenty degrees + fixie + woods + ice + 3' x 4' box on my back + single strap + four miles to UPS = interesting.
I knew on my drive up to the Frederick Watershed that it was going to be a rough day. I've done at least half a dozen snow rides up there, and they rank as some of the toughest ones I've done locally. Besides fighting the froze toes, fingers, and nose, any riding pointed upward from horizontal is a battle. Most times you can't get enough traction. Depending on the consistency and makeup of the snow, it may even be an all-out effort to go downhill
When I got to the parking lot, a modified shorter loop I had planned immediately got pared in half. As we left the lot to head into Watershed proper, I expected Stoner, Butch, and MikeH to grumble. 10 minutes later at the bottom, I heard a few remarks: "This is effin' ridiculous!" and "I shoulda stayed home and played my XboX!" and "If I knew it was like this, I woulda brought my skis..."
I chuckled. Sorry guys, but we were down at the bottom already, and anything from this point on is uphill, meaning walking, meaning slogging
. We valiantly tried riding up some of the less steeper pitches, but it wouldn't take long for us to get tapped. It was faster to walk, but in effect, easier to get called a wuss when doing so.
I dropped my pressures into the dainty zone. I had to ride very light in order to avoid a flat. 10 psi up front, and 15 in the back. On a few dropoffs I heard the clunks as rock squeezed tire, then met rim. With the lower volumes I got better traction, but the small treaded Exiwolf I had up front went in the directions I glanced. Keep eyes forward.
When we hit the rock gardens we stayed and played. We figured that we may as well have fun rather than humping a hill. But of course, hillhumps meant downhills, so we stayed at the playgrounds only long enough that everyone made it successfully through the section.
I got disoriented a few times because of the snow. Fortunately, it all worked out for the best. Every turn I took wasn't too painful for the gang and me. At one point when faced with a mile-long uphill slog/ hump/ walk, we decided to do a 180 and head to the other side of the park via the road. A left at the tower, then practically all downhill to the lake. Three hours in and at the point of baking, our legs were warm so natch we tried every uphill. Sometimes success, sometimes not.
Back to the car, rolled up into downtown, and wrapped up the adventure at the local brewery with much laughs and 2/3 of an oatmeal stout. Snow good, ride good, buzz good, day good.
New bike and fork held up well through the abuse I threw at it yesterday.
I rode to work this morning to see what parts are still working, and what isn't. Left thigh and bicep met with two immoveable objects so they are deeply bruised. Right hand had an encounter with the end of another person's handlebar, so it's a little sore as well. Left shinbone and knee contacted some rocks, hard, so you know what that means: Waaaah, waaaah, waaaaah, all the way home.
I'm taking at least a few days off from any serious rides so I can heal. Thank goodness for chopper bikes, slush, Pittsburgh, and the Punk Bike Enduro
Snap, Crackle, Pop
So how was the punk bike enduro? I found this:
I love riding in snow. Why do I have to damage myself just before it arrives? Oh yeah, I was messing around last Saturday on some singletrack, went over this really rad jump, maybe 6 or 7 inches off the ground, come down the other side and my front wheel finds no purchase at all on the slick trail. So I slow myself down by trying to burrow my left shoulder into the ground. This time instead of making a nice thumping sound as I hit the ground I hear SNAP! (not the greatest hits of The Jam
which I heartily recommend. But it does not hurt. I'll be fine. Uh, oh maybe not. Stuck right between D.C. and Bethesda, no I.D. no money, health insurance running out in four days. Jeez, that sucked.
Right now, I am back at work today. I feel about as useful as a 1 armed scientist. I will try and post the x-ray of my clavicle , it is in 4 pieces, perhaps 5. No riding for me for a month, anyone got a good indoor trainer?
Hit the Road, Jack
I'm schlepping Outlaw
, and some other friends up to the Enduro
in a couple of hours. Crashing at buddy BQ
's place, then powering up on the local Steel City suds and grub. Should be interesting because any time it gets dark on a long drive, my eyes clamp shut. I'll just tell the shotgun to be ready to grab the wheel if I veer a little too far.
BQ shot us ideas of what we could do tonight, and one suggestion was a down and dirty backyard rasslin' match. Imagine two mullet-coiffed 'necks hitting each other with folding chairs on top of the noggin. He assures us it's a good time (in the Darwinian sense?), but I'll leave it to the gang to decide whether it's a go.
I took the non-steel fork out for its first ride today, and it rides very smoothly. Flexy, but not scary
flexy or out of control. Definitely no disc shimmy. It was only 10 miles today, far too early
to pass judgement. However, I really, really dig 'em so far. I'll opine more after I put in more saddle time.
On a sad note for me - but hopefully happy for another - the rock steady, ultra reliable, highly recommended Monkey was sold this morning. I met up with a friend of a friend of a friend, and we rode a lap of Schaeffer this morning. He has never tried singlespeeding or 29er and (maybe?) rigid, and he got the triple dose this morning. Gave me a fat check, so the deal's copacetic. Onward, got at least 3 more bikes to get rid of to clean up the quiver.
What is the most rancid, putrid smell you can imagine? If you guessed Stoner
's armpits, you're close, but that's not the answer I was going for.
In my basement I have a refrigerator/freezer combo. It's the really old kind, and it came with the house when we bought it. It's not the frost-free variety, so ice builds up in the freezer really bad. When I opened it up the night before Thanksgiving to hold some stuff in there for the next day, there was literally 3" of ice along every wall. I figured I was losing a lot of volume and storage space, so I figured I'd chip away at the ice with a hammer and paint scraper.
I really got into it. It's one of those menial tasks I get absorbed into because it was different, and I had nothing better to do at the time, except of course, clean the rest of the house. I'd take a few wacks, and out would come these glorious slabs of ice. Tre cool. About 3/4 of the way through the task, as I got progressively closer and closer to the freon "veins", I was more careful. Apparently, not careful enough. One errant blow had the scraper puncturing the aluminum skin and I heard "hissssssssss". Effin' A.
The freezer's toast. Task over. The fridge should be ok though...right?
Hot damn. After five days, I checked the fridge for Turkey day leftovers. WHAM! Imagine getting punched inside
your nose. The freon was for the whole dang machine, not just the freezer. With no cold juice pumping through the food storage box, it got hot, stuffy, and ugly. I nearly puked. The worst culprit? A huge bowl of shrimp. The stink lingers, and only with a whole can of Ozium, a whole can of Oust, 10 incense sticks, 3 scented candles, and 1 Airwick is it muffled.
Soooo, what does this have to do with biking? Well, my bike workshop is in the basement, but this has completely offset any evil down there:
James, head Black Sheep
, joins my list as one of the guys I will always
do business with because of his excellent workmanship and customer service. What's to become of the delicious Waltworks fork? Don't worry, it will adorn an upcoming, just-as-worthy, exact-same-geo-as-my-Mute frame.
BTW, by the end of the month, this packrat is cleaning house. ALL unnecessary bike stuff is hitting the 'bay.