Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beautiful Evening for a Ride

After doing my official duty a.k.a. picking up all the dog poop in the back yard, I headed out on my road bike. Beautiful evening for such.
Rode through the rolling hills of the two cemeteries in my neighborhood, headed down and road along the flooding Mississippi River and then up through Dubuque's largest park, Eagle Point Park.
I was surprised to see a large Red Fox run right in front of me, and then followed a parallel path along with me on my ride. I took a bunch of pictures, talked to him, let him know I appreciated the visit, and then he trotted away.

Great view of the flooding Mississippi river from up here

Chatted today with superb bike wrench Joe today, and we got a plan for my Hardtail conversion to a Cross Bike geometry. Pictures will follow.

Hmmm, yanno, I think I really enjoy riding a bicycle. Always have since the first time I was able. As a youth it gave me freedom. I could go where I wanted. Today as an adult, it still gives me freedom, I can go where I want, my thoughts travel where ever they please, as I rotate the pedals.

I gotta scoot, thanks for stopping by,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stuff and things.

Spent the weekend up north, near St Paul Mn, visiting the tiny Cole Alexander, my grandson. As always he is such a joy to my soul. Melissa my daughter is in dedicated training to run a marathon in North Dakota or maybe it's South Dakota, I forget, but anyways it is this May 21st. Saturday the day I arrived Melissa and her husband, Brook had both taken turns running before I arrived. Melissa going for 18 miles. To me that is bicycling distance.
Oh note to Tom and Amy the bicycle rocket missiles from that area. Melissa says she often runs in your lake area I showed her your route map, and she says "Oh you mean Hairy Legs.

A short clip of Cole looking for me after I went downstairs.

I have been converting my HardTail over to drop bars. I am going with the Salsa Woodchippers. Seems the ergonomics of the dropbars are much kinder on my old bones. I have to decide between STI brakes/shifters or bar ends shifters. I will dial in the bike riding the rollers in my basement.

Went for a hard ride after work. Seemed my soul needed such. Kept the lungs wide open for an hour and some. Road riding is a rush, so crisp clean and responsive. It can be fun playing in the traffic too.
I ride most my mileage on dirt and gravel, and the road tonight was a refreshment. 
Shhhh, I am in hiding, I tore the tag off my matress.

I see you all later, Dave.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Let it ride.

GOOD GRIEF!!! Knees were stiff and sore today, must have been the cold weather ride yesterday with all the hard pedal through the trail muck. Felt comatose exhausted when I got home from work tonight almost called the mortuary and told them to get the embalming fluid ready, we got a warm one going cold.
So was thinking maybe take tonight off and not ride. The problem with that is I am out of town Saturday and Sunday to visit a man named Cole, a.k.a. my grandson, and will not be riding.
So I debated with the voices in my head, yes, no, yes, no, go, don't go, and fell asleep sitting on the couch.
30 minutes later I wake up with the unfinished piece of pumpkin bread still in my hand, and Judge Judy reaming somebody out on TV.
Said to myself, ya gotta go man. Saw the temp was 36 degrees on and put on 36 degrees bicycling apparel and hit the road on my roadie bike.
It never ceases to amaze me, often when you think you have nothing in the gas tank, and you start pedaling, pushing yourself, and finding out that feels good, and push yourself harder, and you find yourself flying, cranking, loving it.
I climbed a long hill, and started the descent, it was winding curves on the way down, I saw 34 mph on the cycling computer, and feathered the brakes a little bit, thinking I need to make all these sweeping bends. Then my next thought was this bike will hold these corners, get off the brakes, and my adrenalin and speed picked up. I thought to myself I almost stayed on the couch and missed this.

Dubuque's largest park, Eagle Point Park, I had all to myself tonight.

Almost back home, running out of daylight, and packing no night lights.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vacation Day

Took a vacation day. Headed out on my Cycle Cross bicycle with a bunch of new parts. New front tire, new rear wheel, ring gear, free hub, derailleur, chain, cassette, bar wraps, pedals, brake hoods, brake pads, cables, cable housings, and other stuff. It was 26 degrees out, I forgot the exactness I had for dressing just right based on the temperature out. The warmer weather we have had, made me forget what I should be wearing at 26 degrees.
So with two light layers of wool under a light wind breaker was giving me the chills with the winds. I decided to keep moving and let the exertion, and sun to get me warmed up.

The gravel roads were soft and sticky in a lot of areas. Was like riding through 2" of peanut butter, dragging my tires.

Was going to cut through this drainage ditch. Then I saw 'him' a Troll, a rare sighting. I turned around and took an alternative route. They can be dangerous. 

My rear tire started flatting on me. Saint. Green Slime took care of the leak, and with a refill of air I was back on my way. All and all I rode 25 miles out, and turned around and retraced my steps back for a 50 mile ride on the gravel and dirt trails. Legs are good and tired, a lot of soft spots had me standing up on the pedals to plow through.

Was a good day.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

UFO and other things.

 Been working, riding my Roadie bike on pavement after work, and working on my two beat up winter bikes a bit each evening.
Was drizzling, windy, and 39 degrees tonight for tonight's ride. But I found the ride very enjoyable. Wet payment on skinnie slick road tires is much more predicable then riding on a snow covered snow mobile trail.
The smoother riding that road riding brings is giving my joints and aches a break. It seems that all the snow riding, all the slide outs, and the different ergonomics that heavier snow bicycling brings was beating me up.

I am working on taking my FatBack snow bike and changing it's riding dynamics to the same as my cycle cross, this is going to take stem modification. salsa woodchipper bars, STI shifting, among other alterations.
But I have much better power transfer and endurance on a Cycle Cross or Road bike frame design then the mountain bike styles. So we shall see.

Spacious cemetaries in my neighborhood offer great rolling hills for road riding. Rarely see a car or a live human for that matter.

Rode out to the edge of town and had to make a quick stop here, to ummm, well use the rest room.


Caught this UFO, hoovering over the city above the Mississippi River bluffs, you can say you heard about this first here, it's going to be in all the grocery store tabloids I suspect.

I hope to get the Cycle Cross out for a full day on Thursday. Will see if the trails are dry enough to ride, if not I'll ride the gravel roads. Should be sporting. 

Hope all is well with you

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A good day on the bike.

Rode the back paths out of town, and hooked up on Heritage trail, and rode through ice, mud, gravel, and snow. Went off trail and rode some farm pasture along a creek edge. I knew it was going to be a butt breaker when your riding and out and back and you start to feel a bonk before your turn around point.

I was riding the FatBack, the soft 4 inch tires felt like they were being sucked into the soft mud at times, dragging, busting my butt.
Check out this homemade mudflap to prevent mud spray and from looking like this.

Today's ride 50 miles, 6 hours, hard pedaling, was the perfect place to be in. 

 My Surly Bars have not been forgiving on my shoulders, wrists and hands. I am not sure if it is the angle of the hand placement or the wider profile. I do know I can ride the multiple position drop bars on my Cycle Cross 8 hours a day without the arm and hand fatigue.
Tonight I ordered a pair of Sasla WoodChipper bars. They are like a drop bar but the ends are flared outwards. They are used a lot as a drop bar for off road riding.

Tomorrow, I think I'll ride the pavement. Not sure where, but that is part of the fun.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Into the woods

Couldn't stand it. Sunny and headed to 60 degrees. Took a 1/2 day off to catch up on yard work. NOT!!!!
Took a 1/2 day off to ride a bicycle in the woods and play in the dirt, every kid's dream come true.

The woods was dry and the snow gone here, I could ride anywhere I liked. Later I would run into plenty of slick melting ice.

VROOOM VROOM all I need is a motor on this thing.
Saw these piles of burning logs somebody is cleaning up out here

My bike is tired, she laid down here. I had to kick start her to get her going. 40 miles today, some rough, some not so rough. My legs are zapped. Feels good. Can't wait to do this again.
Still lot of ice where the sun don't shine.  Lotz of pictures today.

Thanks for the visit.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Some times my best friend, sometimes my worst enemy.

Some times I think my body is my best friend.
Sometimes I think my body is my worst enemy.

Today when I woke up, I was disappointed that my legs were still stiff and sore from this weekend's riding. That just shouldn't be. I have ridden a lot more mileage weekends with no recovery problems. Perhaps trying to plow through snow with 4 inch snow tires, low cadence, hard pushing, places a lot more load on the ligaments, tendons and muscles. At work today to get up from sitting at my desk I had to give a push with my arms to help launch me. Ridiculous I thinks. So my  thoughts, were I shouldn't ride again for the 2nd day. The best thing for bicycling would be for me to rest not to ride, I felt. My body was now my enemy.

Last night working on my Hard Tail bicycle in the basement I lost an internal roller from my jockey wheel, it popped off and rolled away. Disappeared. My basement is cluttered, and somehow this little chunk of metal  was just consumed into thin air by the clutter monsters. I looked again today after work. No luck.

But as I was looking again today I saw my road bike, leaning against the bumper pool table, the bumper pool table that hasn't been used in 10 years, except to pile laundry on.

My road bike and I both wanted to ride. I was sorta settled into another not ride day. But I carried the bike upstairs anyways, and leaned her against the dining room table,  just in 'case.'

I fall asleep watching Judge Judy, with my laptop on my lap checking FaceBook.
I woke up and saw this picture and posting on FaceBook from my lady sending the world a message.

"If she has to be in the dinning room, I get to dress her up the way I want to.:-)"

So now 'we' gotta ride, I take that silly looking hat off of this pavement rocket and put on my 'cycling uniform' and hit the road  I heard this comment through my turned off headphones as we went out the door, "she's too skinny for you anyways"

I rolled down a slight hill, and turned into my first climb. Cranking felt good, I stayed in the big ring, I didn't bother to put my heart rate monitor on, but I knew I was hitting my peak, and it felt good. No more aches and pains, up and down hills through town I went, enjoying the feeling of my lungs screaming for oxygen. Nothing else now mattered, no problems existed, but the shear simplistic joy of riding a bicycle. I rode for 90 minutes, all of it pushing the pace. My body was now my friend again. Sore tomorrow? Maybe. But who cares right now?

 Headed home, I saw these two creatures walking up the sidewalk, sister Dawn and her husband, a.k.a. "CowBoy Dave" as Dawn would say


Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Zip went to Zonked.

Just could not get my motor started today. I was sore, I was muscle tired. Seems 'up days' and 'down days' are unpredictable when they are going to arrive. Recovery sure isn't the same as it used to be, I find the older I get, the better I used to be.
I He-hawed around the house, son Joshua visited, worked on one my bicycles, cleaned the basement, all seemedly to avoid getting on the bicycle and getting a good work out in.

I was thinking I would take a 3 hour ride on pavement, and give my joints a break from all the bumps and jolts a half snow covered, half frozen trail ride brings. Pavement riding does require  one to knuckle down, and keep on it. When you see a true roadie they are recognisable by full spandex, all specialty clothing, the aerodynamic tuck, brisk pace and eyes focused straight ahead. I would have to fill those shoes. :-) 

At 1:00 p.m. I decided on the "FatBack' and a trail ride instead.

There was no miracle recovery, it was all work. Sore and tired. Rode 3 hours. Trail was slushy, icy, and peopleless except for me.  

I would rather have rode something today, then deal with myself later for not riding on a Sunday, sunny, and having the day off work. George Sheehan, wrote in his book, "Running and Being" said, "Its the disciple I demand of myself"

Yes, I admit when I got home 'we' were a little dirty, but geeesh, Birgit why are you locking us out, and smiling about it too?
Oh I must mention.

I wore out my Bontrager Race X-Lite rear  wheel on my Cycle Cross from thousands and thousands of mile of gravel grinding in two years. Well Trek has decided they would come up with 415 $macker$ So I had to only pay $100.00. to replace.
Thank you Trek and LBS.  

Ok enough, I have to take my dirty shoes off now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Riding my day away.

A good day on a bike. Decided to take "Thy Fatness" my gargantuan 4 inch tire FatBack bike out for some country sight seeing.

Wandered out of town, down city streets, enjoying the ride. Hooked up on a singletrack, that had not seen much sun or bikes most the winter. The snow was hard and crunchy and I could ride on top of it for the most part. It was a rough ride, there were frozen chunks, and frozen foot prints and holes. I had to stay off the seat and on my toes to keep the bike upright.

The treacherous, got 10 fold worse after I reached the county trails. GLARE ICE!!!

I tried to ride the outside edge to keep from sliding out. FatTires are great for snow, but have nothing to offer on ice. There were some patches of glare ice I rolled across just holding my breath. This kept me totally focused trying to find the just right spot to ride. After about two miles I thought this is crazy, I am going to bounce down hard on this ice and spend the summer healing broken bones sitting on the front porch swing eating Twinkies.

I turned around, and started headed back. I didn't like that feeling and thought I don't have a good enough reason to quit. Turned around again, and tried to keep moving forward without going down.

Another mile or two and the glare ice turned to crusty snow, and gravel patches, I could ride without the 'crash factor' YAHOO!!!

Rode out to the base of Sundown Ski Resort. I ate a snack and watched the skiers ski down the only slope still open after all the sun melt. The season is over for em. I'm glad my passion is 4 seasons doable.
I noticed lotz of empty beer cans laying around in the woods. This is a favorite stopping point for snow mobiles. I thought one word. "PIGS!!!" I can't comprehend the mentality that would leave a mess like this. I hope they're young and changing, and not adults, because then this behavior is not going to be changing.
Rode 5 hours, some on sticky peanut butter like trail, some ice, some snow, some hard single track. Was great. Saw only one other person out here today, a lady walking with 2 large German Sheppard part Husky dogs. They both started running towards me from about 50 feet. I got off the bike and kept my bike between me and them. No bark, no growl, they were just curious, but with huge heads and canines, I was glad when the lady called them back and had them sit.
As we passed each other she mentioned how dangerous this is out here for someone like me on a bicycle, and all the ice. I said, "I have to agree with you" and kept on.

I'm now whooped and my knees and shoulders are a bit beat up after bouncing through a lot of choppy ice ruts, and the being  tense fatigue that riding on slick ice can bring.

But like a moth drawn to a flame, I hope to be back tomorrow.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big Earls' Maiden Voyage.

My Big Earls Mountain  Bike Tires were virgins until today. These Bike tires were purchased over a year ago. I put them away to ride with Nokian Studs, and Big Earls became very lonely. The other night I put them on my Trek Hard Tail, they were quite happy and anxious to please.  I had to trim back the outside knobs on the rear tire to keep from dragging on the bike frame.

Today's journey would not be safe for babies, I had to tell Creepy Baby, NO CHILDREN ALLOWED. and then pry her away from Big Earl
I wandered into this small creek bed, it was a hard rocky bottom and rode easily, as long as I kept the bike upright, and my feet dry.

Then around this cliff, this gets totally over grown in the spring, and can only be ridden after winter snow leaves and before spring green shows up.

If I was a pound fatter this bridge might have collapsed on me. My path then took me to this private retired Catholic Nun farm. I ride here once in a while and I always get friendly hello's from the old gals so I reckon it is OK to tread on this ground.

It was wonderful to see beautiful sky blue today like this. My pictures don't show this but there was some places in the valleys that the snow was too deep to ride. I am hoping for more melt tomorrow with temp of 50 degrees fore casted. 

BiG EarLs did not disappointment me today. I will ride them again this weekend to some new places, to some old places. 

Some people can not understand why I try to arrange most of my free time for bicycling. I saw no other bicyclers today.  I can't understand why I don't have to wait in line to ride places like I did today.

and now home sweet home, time to kick back.. 
laTA, DAve.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Riding more road.

Riding around town Sunday literally rode my bike into my LBS. Here is Joe doing a quick de-tune of my miss-tune. They take great care of my bike neglect, and part replacement and great advice. Around 35 years ago I bought a French Road bike here, and bunches more followed.

My congested basement. I've been working on these 4 ladies. These are my main rides. From biggest to smallest they are FatTire, HardTail, Cycle Cross, and Road Bike.

Road a pushed pace on pavement tonight for 75 minutes, plenty of hills in this town to make it fun. Lights front and rear were needed to finish. I guy in a pick up truck actually turned around and pulled up next to me to comment on how bright my head light was. Go MajicShine. Picture of Eagle Point Park, which is closed for the season. I had her all to myself except for several sightings of deer running around.

Thinking I will take this Thursday off work, and try the Hard Tail with 2.5 Big Earl tires and see if the trails are dry and drained enough to get some miles in. Been spending a lot of time on the saddle this winter but the MPH has been slow.
The loneliest girl in town is my Roller Bike, with the FatTire buy this winter I could ride outside in the snow pretty much when I wanted to and for the first time in a long long time I never rode the rollers this winter at all. Money well spent.

So no fella in da cella this winter.

Time for night night. C'ya,