Saturday, April 25, 2009

My thoughts on the Metro SIngle Track Tour.

Epically epicness of all that is epic!!!!

Ok, it wasn't that bad.  Never mind that I hadn't been on a mtb since August.  Never mind that the last time I did more than 60 miles was back during Crank N Camp in November.  Never mind that we changed a flat in the cold rain, outran a train (ok so maybe it was only moving at .5 mph and a guy was standing there telling us we could go around it), or did a total of 80 miles, 4 different trails, and finished up the ride on the Keystone going north directly in to a heavy, rainy, 15-20 mph wind.

But it was all fun.  Today was the kind of ride where, after you're done and sitting in the shower going on half an hour (10 minutes past total prune status), you contemplate if they'll ever create time travel.  If it ever came to be, the only thing you'd want to do is go back and give the person who created hot showers a hundred dollar bill.  Cause you know, that would've been like a billion dollars back in their days.

I met up with Ryan F at Crane, had some wakey juice, then we scooted up to Tranquility.  We met up with Mr. Miles and Dale.  I was already falling off these guys cause, well I'm not that stellar at bike handling.  I'm good enough to go at normal mtbers easy pace.  But as soon as they start picking it up, I'm left fanagaling the technical stuff.  Even when Dale goes on his fixie 32tx16(?), I can't keep up.  Sigh.  I'll get better with practice.

So after Tranquility, Dale bid us farewell so we could travel at people-with-gears pace.  As we yammered about all staying together, he stopped us with, "If you wait up for me, I'll stop."  Oh.  Ok.  So that decided that.  So Mike, Ryan and I headed downtown, over the BK Bridge, and up North to Lewis n Clark.  I had forgotten how hilly that place was!  It felt like you were going up hill all the time.  Also, it was on this trail that I figured out that changing the chain did not help my skipping issue.  So maybe I need a new cassette.  Worse still, it could be a freehub issue.  In the latter case, I'm not sure what I could do as I think that would be a pretty expensive repair.

Anyway, as we were just leaving LnC, Dale was just arriving.  We all said "hi," in passing and us 3 guys were headed Southbound to Manawa.  After a quick stop for water refill, we got to the trail and I started slowing way down.  My back really started to feel the different position, the wider foot stance, and the jarring of the trail.  I was watching Ryan and Mike go up the trail, threading through the trees like it was nothing, and I thought to myself, "Man it'd be nice to have a full suspension 26er."  I have a fully rigid 29er and I was feeling it.  My pressure was down to the low 20s, but still, at this point in the ride, I was needing a break. 

So break we did.  We stopped at the Caseys general store right North of Manawa and at some Pizza and guzzled soda.  MMMMMMmmm. Perfect refuel stuff.  After a quick trip over the South O Bridge and some getting wetter rain, we did our final stop at Swanson.  We cut out Jewell since I complained enough and we really didn't need to head any farther South since the North wind was going to kick our butts pretty good.  Plus I'm glad we did that since by the time we would've gotten to Swanson after Jewell, the trail would've probably been un-rideable.  So our lap was not bad, but still really slow to normal standards.  This is where Ryan got his flat.  He got that changed in time before we complained too much about getting cold. 

Then was our slog into the rain spittling wind.  Ugh.  I was pretty toasted by this point so maintaining 15mph was not going very well.  Ryan was apparetly in great shape since he had to keep looking back and sitting up after pulling away from us.  Glad you're riding that strong buddy.  Give em hell this year at the races.

So after getting cleaned up and not so pruney, I'm feeling pretty good now.  And by good, I mean ready for a nap.  

Friday, April 24, 2009

The weekend.

Metro Single Track Tour.  Epicly fun fat tire adventure all day Saturday.

On the mountain bike: new chain? Check.  Old front derailleur to act as chain catcher for my 1x9 setup?  Check.  New upright position to make for more comfortable ride?  Check.

Bad weather forecast that could possibly cancel the whole thing? Check.


I'm hoping the 50% chance of thunderstorms ends up changing to 0%, but we'll see.

Sunday is also looking iffy.  It is Spring and we do need the moisture, but why can't it happen during the week over nights when it won't ruin anyone's plans?  Come on, Mother Nature! Get with the program!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Catch me ridin durtay

I rode my mountain bike to work today.  I have mixed feelings about mtb.  I love riding in the trees where the wind won't bug you, but I don't like getting to and from the trails.  Have you noticed that most mtbers drive to the trail?  The main reason is a mountain bike is way inefficient on paved surfaces compared to a roadie.  It'll get you there, but you're probably going to work pretty hard before your ride is supposed to even start.

When I first got into mtb, I was super fit from racing.  So I hopped on my single speed mtb, whirlied my cranks down to the trail, did a few laps, then whirlied home.  I don't have that kind of endurance now.  Or strength.

I really like the single speed for trails, but it takes quite a bit of strength to punch it up those short steep bumps.  Jewell park is near impossible for me on the single speed, but all other trails are doable.  Like I said though, as my training/racing went away, so did my strength and endurance.  Last year I found myself driving to the trail head, riding a couple laps, then driving my sore, beat-up body home.

Well now I get to learn it all over again.  I just setup my mountain bike as a 1x9.  So I have a 34t chainring and a regular 11-34 cassette in the rear.  Plenty of choices to get me going on the roads and also not have to use my entire body to get a single gear over some steep stuff on the trail.  We'll see how that all works out.  I already made a mis-shift this morning on the way to work.  Right after a stop light turned green, I tried to push a pretty big gear, but instead, my chain popped off.  Crap.  So I moseyed over to the curb.  Nothing was broken, but I guess I can't punch it like I do on my roadie or when my mountain bike was setup as a single speed.  Very interesting.

In other news; please donate thoughts, prayers, money, bike parts, good luck, bandages, or skin to Bryan. He's had a couple of rough months so he could use any help possible.  Cause that's what friends are for.

Friday, April 17, 2009

And here's Ollie with the weather report...


Thanks Ollie.

So Saturday is looking pretty crappy weather wise and I need to do some spring cleaning.  So Saturday is out for riding.

Shabbos +1: couple options here.  Meet at the Bike Masters Century by 8 am and ride some or all of it?  Meet at Crane at 7am for some wakey juice then ride out to the Century and do some or all of it?  Or, meet somewhere sometime and ride someways?

Please respond with your availability and we'll decide by Saturday what the plans are.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Blog relegation

Not that anyone will notice, but I've relegated some of my links to "will link again when consistent posting resumes."  Just some spring cleaning, that's all.  Why have a link to a website that doesn't have anything new since a few months ago?

My guess is it's all the new Facebook, Twitter, or even Flutter sites that has everyone's attention, rather than writing full paragraphs or full page pics of blogging.  I know I'm pretty wordy with my posts, which is why I don't post that often.  However, I can't see just writing out one liners about what's going on in my life.  I'm not witty enough to make a comedic, sentence-long post about going to the bathroom.  Plus, who wants to read about that?

Biking - I didn't do a Wednesday night ride yesterday.  I was mopey, depressed, lethargic, and wasn't looking forward to the grocery shopping trip we needed to do.  I think it needs to get green outside soon.  It seems like this Spring is much more Winter like than in years past.  Not happy about that.  My guess is it's going to create a really hot summer.  Cause the yearly temp has to even out, so all this below average temps have to made up somewhere.  If it doesn't happen this Summer, next Winter would do just fine by me.  No more riding to work in negative degree temps.

Crank n Camp - It's not looking good, campers.  I've seen everything from 60% to 85% chance of showers on Saturday, with better chances to the South.  Which is where we would be heading.  Plus the thunderstorm possibility is just a slap to the face.  Limestone trails generally dry out fast and/or don't get too affected by lighter rains.  But throw in some lighting, and it makes for a very un-fun trip.

If I stay in Omaha this weekend, and Saturday is too crappy, I'll sure be up for a Sunday ride.  Bike Masters is doing their Spring Century ride on Sunday starting at 8am.  I'm in no shape to do a century, but I'd probably tag along for some of it.  Might be a good starting point for Shabbos +1.  Either that, or meet up at Crane at 7am, have some wakey-juice, then head there to meet everyone else?  Or do our own thing?  Or ride in the afternoon?  Guess I'm saying I'm up for whatever.  We'll see how the weather plays out though.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Of Slipping Seatposts and Forecasts.

I put a different seatpost on my bike I'll be using this weekend for the Crank N Camp excursion.  I had reported yesterday that my bike was ready to go from the 2.5 mile ride into work.  Well, that changed on a ride afterward.

Bob had asked to meet up for a scouting ride Friday to see if the trail is good to go for this weekend.  I decided it would also be wise to see how the trail faired after a rain like we had on Sunday/Monday.  So after work I rode to the trail to check it out.  On my way there, I started to feel like my knees were hitting my chest.  I thought, "Well, maybe I moved my saddle too far forward?"  So I stopped, got out the wrench, and adjusted.  After another few miles things just did't feel right.  So I stopped, got out the wrench, and pulled the seatpost up.  That was way better.  I felt near perfect.  I had a smaller wrench so it would fit in my seatpack, but getting enough torque on the seatpost binder was diffuclt.  Oh well, it should work.

Not at all.  After only a few more miles, I could see my seatpost getting shorter and shorter.  Grrr...  So finally, after I had gotten to the trail and saw that it was fine only 8 hours after a decent rain, I moved the seatpost out one last time and really reefed down on the bolt.  It stayed there, for the most part.  And I had the position pretty good cause I was feeling strong.  I really pushed it on the ride home.  Granted, I had a tail/cross wind, but still making my heavy commuter move quickly was a welcome experience.

So I got home and decided to check my seat height.  IT WAS 2 CENTIMETERS TOO SHORT!!!  If you have ever moved your saddle around by 5 or so millimeters, you know what a difference that makes.  I was 20 millimeters off.  Well that explains the horribly sore muscles this morning.  They were not used to that position at all.  My hamstrings feel like I've been doing leg curls for days.  And my quads are tweaked in all the wrong spots (mostly around my knees - which is very bad).

I think the reason I felt strong is because I was using muscles I don't normally use, but I paid for that in soreness.  But I may have to revisit my position if a lower saddle did help the strength factor.

On to the Forecast.  This weekend looks glib, Matt.  Originally, they had thought it was going to be rainy on Friday maybe into Saturday.  Now they're saying Friday sprinkles and Saturday Thundershowers???  Not sure if I want to be stuck out on the Wabash trail between towns with lightning around me.  Hopefully the forecast will change again before the weekend, but as it stands now, the trip might be in jeopardy.  And not the good kind with Alex Trebeck.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yehuda Moon has ended!!!

Not sure how many of you stopped by the Yehuda Moon comic strip.  It was entertaining.  The creator, Rick Smith is on haitus for a while, probably to actually get some riding in.  So, that won't be on my blog anymore.  It was fun while it lasted, but that's the way it goes.

Anyway, I was on haitus for a while too this weekend.  Saturday I felt like crap.  Utter and horrible crap.  Which sucked cause it was a top 10 weather day outside.  Oh well, hopefully there'll be more down the road.  And Sunday I was busy cleaning house and getting the things done that I couldn't do on Saturday.

And next weekend is Crank N Camp.  My bike is ready.  Well it seems ready from the 2.5 mile ride into work.  Not sure how it will handle 70-ish miles over limestone each day next weekend.  I will need to ruffle up some camping gear though, so I'll be calling on some of you guys over the next few days.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

8 posts in 1

Here's an interesting quote:  Overheard:  "Next time you're in your car, at 50 miles per hour [80 kph], strip down to your underwear and jump out. That's what it's like to crash in a professional bike race." -- Jonathan Vaughters, former pro and current Team Garmin director.

I thought about how much it would suck to crash last night during the Bike Masters Wed night group ride.  We weren't going 50 mph, but at mid 20s, sliding along the pavement or rolling over each other with bikes in the mix isn't exactly enticing.  I wasn't really worried since the people I was riding with were solid riders, but every now and then when a weird gust happens, or a really bad hole in the pavement gets someone up front, you have visions of everyone going down and not being able to avoid getting caught up in it.  Unfortunately, this is one hurdle I'll have to cross if I decide to get back into racing.  And that's a fairly significant hurdle.

Anyway, the group ride was fun and furious.  Huge group showed up for the first annual "Return of Marco Vasquez" ride.  He was just visiting, but apparently he was quite welcome as about 30 people showed up to the ride.  Of course, the ride split up eventually, but it was still fun.  The really fast guys took off on a hill and Bryan and I tried to bridge up, but it was all for naught.  We kept it steady and picked up about 8 other riders to form a solid group.  Bob used the momentum of his 26lb bike after a big dip to punch it up a hill.  And dropped I was.  My legs just gave out.  Last weeks Trek Store ride showed my lungs' weakness, this time it was my legs.  After a while in no man's land (it was actually quite enjoyable to be pushing along at 22-ish mph) the fast guys who went further than us at our turn around, caught me and I hopped on.  I stayed with them surprisingly well, but I think they were at the end of their beating up on each other stint.

So that's my ride report.

Onto part 3...

Shabbos ride!!!  Any plans?  I know Sean's going to be in town and wanting to ride.  I also know Mr. Miles would like to do a mtb ride (probably on Saturday since Sunday will likely be rainy?), and I also know Jon Randell wants to do a 7-ish am Saturday road ride for base miles (3-4 hrs).

So what does everyone think about a ride?  Would there be a large enough group to start at Crane at 7am on Saturday?  Sean, do you need to borrow my bike?  Mr. Miles, are you fine with doing road or mtb?  Is this thing on??  Check 1, 2?

Monday, April 06, 2009

I thought the sky was supposed to fall?

All last week everyone was certain we were going to get shut down with a horredous blizzard with accumulation of 3-6" of snow.  

We got maybe an inch and a half?  Granted, getting aroud during the storm was not fun.  The wind was crazy strong and the snow falling sideways didn't help.  Locally, there was power out around where I live.  But the good folks at OPPD got everyone back online by about noon or so.  

So instead of breaking out the fendered beast for my ride into work this AM, I just stuck with the light and agile race machine.  The ground was dry, the air was cold, and the wind was moving, but I made it in just fine.  There were a couple spots where I thought I was going to run over large shards of glass, but it turned out to be ice chunks that had falled down from limbs or signs.  Besides the wind that made my eyes water pretty much the entire ride in, it was just fine.

I guess we'll have to wait till next winter for the sky to fall again.  And I'm just fine with that.

Weekend after next is the Crank n Camp weekend.  Should be a good time.  Hopefully it won't be as cold sleeping overnight as it was at our past fall Crank n Camp.  Oh, I may be contacting some of you to borrow some camping gear if it's available.  That is unless some of you plan on joining us???

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Early Shabbos Posting

Plans for Shabbos
7am meet at Crane Coffee - 78th and Cass.
Ride South some way so we can be at 108th and hwy 370 by 9:45am.

This will be tricky.  We could do the old High Gear Wed night route where we Head South on hwy 50 to loop around Schram park, then come back.  But that might take us longer to make the 9:45 deadline.

Then again, this whole thing could be rained out.  How does everyone feel about riding in the rain AND cold.  I'm good in either/or, but both is usually too uncomfortable for an extended time.

I'm open to route suggestions if anyone has an idea.  Here's mine.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wed night group therapy

Even though Brady got me all fired up for the Wednesday night group ride, then pulled an April fools by not showing up, I still had a good time.  In attendance was Mr. Webb, Lucas, EB, Shim, and 3 other gents I did not know.

I only got dropped 2 times.  2 times? 3 times.  3 times?  Ok maybe 4.  It always involved a hill.  So once I loose some winter padding and ride more frequently, I won't be dropped on the hills as much.  So right now, my training regiment involves the Wednesday night group ride for intensity, Saturday spirited Shabbos ride, easy spin Shabbos +1 ride on Sunday, then what ever other miles I can do the other nights of the week.  Having someone to ride with will always garauntee that I get a ride in.  So if you're ever up for some miles with an easy going chap, reply to any of my posts, or email me, or call or whatever.  I'm done with work at 4:30 and am riding my bike from 42nd and Leavenworth shortly thereafter.

Hope all of you are getting out for some great riding also!