Sunday, August 28, 2011

What to do? What to do this weekend ?

Well I didn't get the garage staining finished this weekend.
Oh, and I didn't get the grass cut either.
Come to think of it, I was going to go to Sam's and stock up, and seems time ran out for that too.

However.........I nailed it out on the bikes this weekend.

Rode the FatOne Saturday for a metric C country style. Really pounded the tires, lots of rocks. Fun and challenging. This bike with enough water, weighs close to 50 lbs, as the ride went on, I had to push myself, keep the pace up, and not drag this out. Heavy pedaling has a way of slowly grinding you down, you start out zippy, and it comes and gets ya.  

Today, Sunday, I rode the HardTail. My Ebay special. By the time I replaced all the wore out parts I should have bought a new one. But she rides well now.  Lost my wallet today. At my turn around point I noticed I didn't zip up my back bag. Dang!!!!!!! I figured the chances of getting it back were slim. I had my two credit cards in there, my company's credit card, 100 bucks and other stuff. I followed my path back, watching, looking, gravel roads, county roads, and trails.
I didn't notice a call came in on my cell phone. I class mate of mine, Didi, was walking on the trail with her dog, and found it. Yahoooooo. I will go see her at her work sight tomorrow at noon. Remarkably lucky I'd say.

That makes two gravel metric Centuries this weekend, one last Wed, one the weekend before, and some more the week before and the week before  but I no longer know how many, quit counting, I ran out of toes and fingers. I am just enjoying the ride.

My legs are fried now. I don't know a good reason  why many of us enjoy riding into exhaustion. A fellow riding friend of mind thinks if we ever find out, why we ride as often as we can, as far as we can, in any weather, and preferably challenging terrain, we might stop doing it. I don't know if that is true, but if it is, I hope I don't find out.

I now have three bikes that need work, tuning, cleaning, and lubed. I spose I better take care of this, and try to avoid looking at the garage.......

Going to try to go back this week, and find out what happens to that trail I was on last week that went from manicured to abandoned.

Hope your weekend was fun too.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Biking on my mind.

It's Friday night, my lady and I went to catch some outdoor music and brews. I found myself leaning against a wall, beer in hand thinking about my riding this weekend making plans. My plans are to hit the FatBike hard tomorrow, on rough trail for 62 miles. Not too hard though, I need to have something left in my gas tank for Sundan and put my HardTail back together and ride  all over Iowa countryside. Cycling fanatic some might say. :-)

Wednesday I took the day off work, so I could take the psycho-X bike and car ride to Cedar Rapids and hop on the Nature Cedar Valley Trail and head out for 80 miles. I did. It was fun. The trail started out boring and was so well kept I could have closed my eyes. That all changed. After a change of counties the trail almost disappeared. It was unkempt, a lot of down trees, and just a small tire rut in 2 feet of grass in some places. Now we are having fun.
See the picture of my bike leaning against the downed trees. Is what the trail turned into. I moved several smaller trees out of the trail paths. Seems nobody was keeping this trail up anymore or using it. After a total of 40 miles I turned around, I would run out of daylight to keep continuing, and was not packing lights. So I turned around carrying my bike across piles of brush and trees. I shall return with lights, I hope soon. A lot of interesting sights along the way as you can see with the abandoned silos.

I got lost, and ran out of water, not good on both accounts. However running out of water at 80 some degrees and humid was a much worse biking sin then being lost. Found the small town of Brandon, refilled my water bottles and asked directions from the town man that rides a bike up down the 3 block main street. We rode out of town together as he showed my the path to Urbana Iowa, and we gave each other the fist high V. I could tell that most would label him as 'handicapped' and growing up in a small town along with the cruelty that often comes out of the playground life probably wasn't always pleasant for him.  But we were both on our bikes and damn the rest of the world we were where we needed to be. We could both forget the thoughts we didn't like, and pedal on.

I made it back to my car before nightfall, and rode an off road to a corn field out of sight, so I could change back into my going home clothes and car ride 70 miles and nobody would arrest me for such indecency. 

Tomorrow, I shall pack up and travel again. Food and water, and a good bike being my only necessities. Life at it's simplest, is life at it's finest.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Off the beaten path.........

Took Thursday off work, and the plan was to ride my CycleX out to the Field of Dreams movie sight, using the back roads of Iowa, and just enjoy the country side. The problem I found out early was that just wasn't enough tire (35CC) for the gravel. I was spinning out on the climbs and sliding around on the downhills. Sometime the gravel roads ride like pavement, and are hard packed, not today, however, too much loose gravel.
What amazes me on some of these rides, is I am on a road that is just two tire tracks wide, winding in and out and up and down, and then I will round a corner, and there will be some body's home. Miles from nowhere, alone, and, no traffic unless you are coming here.
I was on such a road, and heard about a half a dozen dogs starting to bark as if they were going to show me I don't belong here.

This wasn't going to be good, with all the twists in this road I would not out run them.
Their barking became louder, I couldn't tell for sure if they were behind me or in front of me, the ruts got deeper, my heartrate hit my high zone. Then I saw him walking. A large, strong, fit looking man, 60ish, Tshirt soaked with sweat, a 5 year unshaven beard that went from just below his eye sockets to his Tshirt neck line. He was swinging a large stick in the brush. He knew something was headed his way, his dogs told him. He did not expect to see a man riding a bike out here. I thought he will save me from these animals, I need to say something, nice, so he would like me, something so he would not turn me into tonight's dog food. I started to say something like, "It sure is beautif...." and he interrupted me and said, "You are off the beaten path" with out a smile. He then went on to say, the dogs are all in their pen, and watch out for road washouts" That was it, he was done talking to me, he was living out here so not to be bothered by people, he looked down to the ground, which told me not to talk, and ride through.
Rode to the Field of Dreams movie sight, watched the tourists for a bit, bought a cold pop drank her down, stopped at the local park refilled my water bottles and rode back home.


All in all it was a good ride, my legs were spent, one wipe out in the gravel, and a bike that needed a good wash, air dry, and lube.

Today, (Saturday) I rode with the FatGirl. Those 4 inch tires ride well in washouts, ruts, and gravel.
This bike fully loaded with gear, and water is weighing in at 50lbs. It doesn't feel that heavy, but you really notice the difference when you ride the pavement on a road bike after riding a bike like this for a time, makes the road bike seem like weightlessness.

Rode 70 miles for a gravel Metric. Even took a moment to "plank" it has been awhile, and I didn't want to get rusty at planking.

Saw this sink hole big enough to fit myself and bike in. It twisted downwards and out of sight, maybe one of the 100s of buried old lead mines that are known in this area, that have been covered up and open up sometimes with wash outs. I couldn't resist climbing in.
I rode 70 miles out here, and surprisingly ran into a man that I have seen out here perhaps a couple of dozen times in the last couple of years. Today he called me by my name as I rode by, and told me his. WoW, was a good friend from 35 years ago, and we hadn't seen each other since or so we thought. He had not recognised me either the last couple of years, riding out here, but he read an article the newspaper did about my winter riding, and recognised that was me. He still didn't know it was me he was seeing out here until somebody told him about my century goals and I rode out this way often then he put two and two together.  We had fun talking, and said we will talk again. He is retired and rides as much as I do out here, and he had me wishing I was retired too.

Rode hard, and the 50lb bike didn't feel so light as the day's travel lengthened. Well my legs are now toasted, I hope they have something to give me tomorrow. Well after all it is Sunday, yanno, my day off work.

:-) Thanks for visiting my ramblings.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seems I put myself on a bicycle as much as I can,

Been riding as much as I can, did a night ride with lights on trails that primarily serve as Snow Mobile trails, was lotz of fun. I have a very bright 900 lumen lighting system, I rounded a corner and surprised a mama, and her baby deer, they froze with my bright lights. 10 feet away, they just stared at me, I tried to slowly get my camera out and I spooked the baby and she jumped one way, and mama went to the other way hoping to draw me away from the most important thing in her life.

Rode through some serious hot spells a bit back, my legs were starting to feel like I had 20 lb weights attached to my ankles, exhausted, and full of lactic acid. Been riding allot, heat and humidity were taking its toll on me. So I took a day off the bike, hoping to drain the lactic acid  and soak up some energy. I took vacation day the next day, to explore all the flood damaged trails thinking I would be ready to ride all day. Woke up  and my legs still felt like they had 10 lb weights attached to them. But I had the day off, I didn't want to 'waste' it. Spent the day riding the back roads and trails that were damaged from last weeks 15 inches of rain, and severe flooding. Riding in and out of ruts, on closed roads, was a blast.

Been working on my FatBike. Put drop bars, STI shifters and brake levers, aero bars on her, and it is working great. I power better and ride more comfortably with this set up. Aero bars give my shoulder and hands a break if the path requires little maneuvering. The wide flair of the Salsa Woodchipper bars give control in the ruts. 
There is nothing like riding 4 inch tires through ruts, weeds, creeks, fields, sand,  and wash outs. The extra weight and big tires slowly grinds on you. Fattire riders know you ride with great zip at first, and as time goes on the extra weight and rolling resistance comes after you in the form of fatigue. But on the other side of this is the fact you are riding where no other bike could.

Worked 13 hours today proving our method of measuring cubic feet of air exhausted from a boiler stack was accurate and to satisfy the EPA and DNR strict requirements. Now that just seems crazy to me. Need a day on the bike, on a dirt trails, and I think I will just do that after I finish up testing tomorrow. :-)

OK gotz ta go, things to do yet and a body that want to crash.
Thanks for the visit.