Saturday, January 30, 2010
I was out of town, briefly. Like I said...don't ask. Today, I had a few things weighing heavy on my brain that needed sorting out. Gravel adventure should clear the cobwebs so I headed out around midday with no plan. Found myself down in Czech country, I never stop to get a picture of this landmark, its been there for years that I know of. Nothing says welcome like catfish skulls...Something I discovered today, long gravel doesn't clear my head it just gives me a chance to think & re-think & then think again about everything including what was bothering me from the start. Group ride is probably a more cathartic avenue.
I paid homage to the gravel & the barren fields...
I shouted at the sky...Returned home 80 miles later a little less bogged down in the brain, maybe exhaustion is a better remedy.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Right now I have two weekday riding options, well actually three but I'm not counting the trainer. Since I'm at work all day I have a couple of choices...1. ride before work (in the dark) or 2. ride after work (in the dark). Option 2 at least allows me to get a daylight start with a dark finish. Option 1 is all dark.
I don't love option 2 because I'm already an early to bed early to rise kind of guy (old) and this time of year when it still gets dark pretty quick my system is winding down. I get up stupid early every day so I go to bed early, simple.
So back to Option 1. My plan: get up even earlier & get out the door in enough time to get in a 2 hour gravel ride before I show up for work around 6:30ish. I worked out the logistics yesterday & got everything ready that I would need for this pre-work mission.
Temperature cooperated, forecast was for low teens with a light NE & I awoke to 20 with a light NW. Perfecto!
W. Claire, W. Pioneers, NW 98th, W. Superior, NW 56th, W. O, SW 63rd, W. A, work...
"I think I just saw a cougar..."
"whew!...nope, just a mean farm dog..."Didn't quite get 2 hours & only made it 28 miles. I think some of the hills around here are steeper in the dark. I was a zombie all day at work, it was worth it!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
No matter what! Yesterday I didn't care if it was raining, snowing, blowing, whatever...I was riding outside. Forecast had some rain in it so I had every piece of rain gear I owned at the ready. Didn't need any of it. Ended up with bibs, knee warmers, shoe covers, long sleeve jersey(s), & a vest. Temp in the 40's wind chill in the 30's, perfecto!
Thought I'd throw in a picture of the ol' Jetta. The stalling out problem from this summer has disappeared, but I haven't taken it out of Lincoln just to be safe. I ran a can of expensive fuel system cleaner through it & either that or I don't what cured the stalling issue for now. The last few weeks she's seen a lot of action, on most days I've opted to bag my 3 mile two-wheeled commute & drive the ol' Jetta instead. I miss my ride to & from work but it's supposed to be enjoyable not a white knuckler on the snow & ice between my house & the office. She's not stalling but an exhaust hanger rusted through & the exhaust is resting on a frame member & rattles like crazy when you're driving. Also a hole has opened up where this point of contact is & its loud & sometimes smelly in the cockpit. Should probably get it fixed, I know my neighbor would like that when I start it up around 6:00am on drive days:)Met up at 8:00 at D. Group splintered once we hit 14th south of Pine Lake. As we passed Wilderness we spied a bald eagle take off from the creek just before the parking area, right on!
weapon of choice, sepia style...
farmer brown...Gravel is UN-rideable! Ok...it might be rideable but rideable is a broad term. We had committed to this being a road ride at the beginning of the journey. 77 to Cortland, whatever road that is over to Adams, North to Bennet & back in on Hwy 2.
C-bread & I landed in Bennet for our just reward, throw backs, sepia style...Best ride of 2010:) 73.9 miles, 4 hours 33 in the saddle. Legs were real good until that last hill coming into Lincoln by Walmart...ouch.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I decided to do a follow-up story on my rack of rootbeer from a week ago. I can't remember if I mentioned this but this sextet was just a tic under nine bones. I plan on doing it again but at that price I need to pace myself. Rather than bore you with a review of all six I'll just break it down to the pair that had the most distinctive flavor, all were good by the way.
My favorite was Sparky's from Pacific Grove, CA. This was more like a smooth rootbeer syrup loaded with an assortment of pleasant flavors beyond what the others possessed. Took me by surprise, I'll buy it again. Side note: bottle was practically full to the top, small operation for sure.
Right along side Sparky's was the offering from Maine Root, from Maine of course. I would say this leaned more towards the beer side than the root side. I'm no rootbeer expert but it strayed the furthest from the traditional rootbeer taste & it worked for me. I'll buy it again because I want to figure this one out.
Anyway...weather has been crappy. I feel lucky to have gotten in two rides this weekend. Last weeks warm up trashed the skiing in Wilderness & now we're in this freeze, thaw, & now rain pattern for a few days. BS I say, BS! I don't hate riding the trainer...I'd just rather be outside doing something.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
In an attempt to beat the meltdown yesterday, with temperatures forecast pushing 40 we decided to roll out at 5:00am. On paper our destination was to be Wilber, in reality we only managed a longish Cortland loop. Damn! It was chilly. Temps in the teens with a cold south wind blowing. After 2 hours of dark gravel riding, it was sweet by the way, we stumbled into the Cortland quickee. The usual quasi-friendly sarcastic good old boys were parked in their traditional window seats but this time they were actually friendly, enjoying our gravel riding sadistic nature.
I've got to say that one of the best purchases I made last year was my prescription transition Oakley half-jackets. One pair of glasses good in all light conditions, total dark to full sun. Not cheap, but everything I need in one package. I will say I struggled skiing with them a few times though, they fit really close to the face & tend to fog up when you heat up while skiing.The cast of fools...dark knight, C-bread, FOB, Butchie, & m-dub.
victoire!This was as bad as it got, roads were really good. A couple times in the dark I had to navigate some deep road-grader ruts but besides that...
Jamaica/Homestead @ S 25th, I don't see this being cleared for a long time.
I guess mileage ended up being 55 or so, unsure exactly. 4+ hour excursion, it was just great to be out riding. Oh yeah...that was my first real outdoor ride of 2010, it was great! It just felt wonderful being back on the bike, legs were there.
Going to get out for a bit today & check things out...
On a side note to my riding companions...here's the link to that dude's journey to bus 142:
Friday, January 15, 2010
Since nationals in mid-December I've spent little (actually no time) at the bike work bench. We've had so much snow, its been crazy cold, & I've been skiing for weeks so bikes have been a distant memory.
Made my way to the work area this evening & found this bad memory sitting on the bench. Saturday at Jingle Cross, 1st lap...rock tried to go through the derailleur. 6700 RD explosion, game over.
Trashing the RD was bad enough, toasting a pulley with ceramic bearings, mega-bummer.Later,
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
25 degrees, a heat wave. The track last night was way-fast, the daytime warm up iced things up a bit & left us with a really quick surface. FOB & Cornbread joined me on this pleasant evening out, hooked up with Matt T. once we arrived. Forecast has 30's & 40's coming, our venue will be tested & our days may be numbered.
I took some pictures last night but night shots are a work in progress. I keep thinking the flash is going to do more than it can & I end up with darkish, grainy shots. Below: close-ups...no problem, for those familiar with the layout...powerline waiting for my cohorts.Finally made it over to Rocket Fizz. Dangerous place for someone who likes soda and/or candy. I like both:) I asked the proprietor to pick me me out 6 root beers from his selection of many. The only criteria was they had to be all made with cane sugar, no HFCS. I cracked the Sea Dog from Portland Me. Not to get all technical on you but you know what it tasted like...well, root beer. It was good though.
On a side note: I saw the boys in Portland, ME once. Drove up there from a friends house in R.I. in the Spring of '85 or '86 can't remember exactly. Didn't have tickets but manged to score a pair & I think it was the first time I saw a cop on horseback. Anyway...
Sunday, January 10, 2010
What'd we do this weekend...ski, ski, ski.
Saturday morning didn't bring the arctic mega-blast (not that mega-blast) we were promised but we already had the sess scheduled for 1:30 pm. Temps in the single digits, good skiing weather. 3 hours & we were all gassed.
mt & k-dub at the first bridge regroup spot...
on the way back we picked up aaron g., again here we are at the regroup spot, jb leaning on his poles reflects the unanimous feeling of the group...gassed!
late start, sweat going on, sun going down...chillySunday...10:00 am start.
already pushing 20 degrees at game time, c-bread prepares the wax for our assault...
jamaica regroup spot, our group heading south ran into the 9:30 crew heading back North...
k-dub with his phone out again, 1st photo above he also has his phone out, here he's helping james b. register for DK, the wonders of 3g. james kind of has that "what have I just done" look on his face. Welcome aboard man, it'll be fun, in a sick, hurty kind of way:)I did get a couple jams in on the trainer this weekend as well, keepin' it real...
Tuesday night at 6:00 is our next scheduled event in Wilderness, see ya out there.
Great skiing with everybody this weekend! Good times...
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
found myself out of town on deliveries again, weather was crappy!...
Elmwood, this was just one piece of many pieces of lawn-junk...
Wabash, the air mail box is sort of funny (I get it) but I really like the weird monkey climbing the pole...
Mopac finale @ Wabash...
this crew seemed pretty content with the weather & the well stocked feed bunk...
Eagle, late morning snack...Passed on the ski last night, we battled Super Mario Bros. on the Wii instead. Hardly relaxing, my thumbs hurt:)
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
a lot of this...
and this, I think somebody exhaled as I took this...
there we go!
post-ski breaking it down, tea provided by FOB. C-bread's checking out the picture of a fresh rabbit kill we found in the park, some animal had its dinner interrupted by our night ski...
Forecast is for more snow but dangerous wind chills the next couple days. We'll see how tough we are, or stupid:)
Saturday, January 2, 2010
bikes are not on the agenda at the moment. sure we could ride but for how long? last year we hid out in wilderness even on the coldest days when it was well below zero. this year...there's just too much snow in the park to even attempt to ride it. can't believe I'm saying it but it's all about skiing right now. I'm not anti-ski, it's just that we never get that much snow so it really hasn't been an option for me. I've thought about getting skis the past couple years but we just don't get that much snow around here...until now.
C-bread gathered me around 8:15 this morning, temp was -7 or something like that. The wind was very light so it wasn't a factor...just minus 7 or something like that. Butch & m-dub did the bike-ski-bike (hard men) & then k-dub rolled up, sweet! 5 fools out for a ski:)
FROZEN BEARD CONTEST...
Corey called this the frosted mini-wheat. Man, I look old & tired, oh yeah...I am old & tired.
frosty with some nuggets. thanks for the coffee man!
more frost, more nuggets.
the winner, hands down!
Butch also was the skiing canteen...thanks for the potatoes, almonds, & tea.
3 hours just flew by & except for the first 15 minutes or so I wasn't cold at all. Thanks guys for a great time.
Today felt like Sunday but it was Saturday! Suh-weet! One more day of freedom!
tomorrow 10:00am start.
Friday, January 1, 2010
later that same day...
Crew gathered for some wilderness skiing...
m-dub making it look easy...
planning our next move...
C-bread shows how humbling this sport can be. We had a big laugh over this sequence apres-ski. He's cleaned this downhill numerous times until I was waiting at the bottom with camera ready. He survived...
So I'm a week into this XC skiing business. Shoulders, triceps, right collar-bone?, & the GROIN all getting worked! No joke. Learning something new can be fun & challenging but painful as well. I've got a ways to go to get any where near some of this crews speed & skill, may never happen but I'll have some fun along the way:)
Heading out again tomorrow & maybe try the bike on Sunday?