Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another National Holiday

Well I have officially declared this day, November 30th as a national holiday, Ms. Lard'O's 1st birthday, my FatTire Bike. So to celebrate we went and out and busted our butts on 70 miles of grinding gravel.

Before I talk about that I must give a little history about how the FatBack FatTire bike, appropriately named Ms Lard'O entered  into my life. 

The winter of 07/08 I put the skinnie tired road bike away on Dec 1st, I was out riding when the first significant snow of the winter hit That was it, I only owned skinnie tires, I couldn't ride again until the snow and ice finally left in late March. As much as I tried to ride indoors, I lost my bicycle butt, and my riding legs.

The winter of 08/09 I bought a used Schwinn Mountain bike from my LBS, and bought a pair of Nokian Studded tires from the local winter riders the Andres. That sorta worked and sorta not worked.

The winter of 09/10 I bought a used Trek HardTail from Ebay. I put the fattest tires on that bike it could accomendate, Big Earls, 2.5" The bike was shot, and after spending more money in part replacement then a new bike would have cost, I rode as much snow trail as I could. I entered my first snow race that year, and found out there were these beasts called FatTire bikes and they dominated the race, hands down.

During these last couple of years, I also purchased a new Road Bike, and a high end XC bike that I rode for 1000s of gravel miles.

So how could I buy ANOTHER BIKE!!!!!

Well I did, I had been talking with Greg up in Alaska owner of Speedway Cycles and builder of the FatBack, the sweetest FatTire bike on earth.

So somewhere around October of 2010, I ordered one. I came up with this plan to explain the presence of yet another bike. See picture below.

I wondered if this would work. I wondered if Birgit would believe me. In the end I decided to tell the truth, and I did. I was greeted by this comment, "You wear your bikes out, it is your passion, it is what you do.'  MUAHHH!!!!

So the FatGirl arrived and Creepy Baby and me stayed up late wrenched and assembled.

So zooming ahead one year. Today. After trying to figure out exactly what to wear with the temps starting out in the teens for the coldest ride so far of this winter season. I hit the hills of the start of Triple D first, and found out I was over dressed, zippers make for great climate control modulatoin. After a series of grass covered hills soon to become snow mobile trails I cooled down by the long drop into the valley and wandered around, up and down the gravel roads to the town of Dyersville.

Picking out clothes and opening zippers  to cool down afterwards.
Started out a frosty ride this morning and a ride past the local residents.
I  picked up Heritage Trail in Dyersville and figured 31 miles of level pedaling to get back home, and put myself in cruise control. I found the trail closed in three sections, so that left my climbing up out of the valley of the trail and onto gravel roads, so hills and distance were increased. The sun went way out west and down which left me riding home in the dark with lights. Tired and comfortably exhausted upon my arrival home.
Well I hope Ms. Lard'O has another great year.

See you later.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

ahhhh yes Black Friday. I wasn't interested in the mad shopping spree thing.......So plans were made. Lance Andre, and his better half Traci,  and I had plans to ride the wild wilderness of Iowa, or in other words the  Triple D bicycle race route. This is Lance's 5th year of being race director and competitor for this rapidly growing in popularity winter bicycle race.

So the three of us met at the Grand Harbor Hotel to emulate as best we could the start of Triple D race, minus the sub zero temps, blowing snow drifts, and the unpredicableness harshness of Iowa winters.

The ride out of town was just chit chat, then over the curb of Highway 52, through tall grass, and then 'the hills' Up and down rutted, hills. Traci was riding like a pro hill climber. Lance was riding like the Iditarod (click here) finisher, Dirty Kanza winner he is. I was riding like well um, here's a actual conversation after hill #3

I said, "Lance my HR was pegged out at 175, on those hills, that was it, I had no more"
Lance, "Yeah but geeesh, your almost 60 years old"

umm, thanks Lance.....I think....:-)~

After the steep roller coaster hills we continued on. Crossing 3 Creeks, which left mine and Traci's feet wet, and somehow Lance's feet dry.

We rode on. Then we saw them. The attacking, foam in the mouth dogs.  I could tell by the rapid rate we were being approached this was a serious problem. One of the dogs was huge, over 100 lbs, leading the attack. What I saw next amazed me. Lance pulled a "Bear Spray" canister from his back jersey pocket, pointed it in the general direction of the attacking dogs and mainly at 'the beast' and burped out a orange fog,  stopping 'Cujo' in his tracks, and left him trying to wipe his eyes with his paws. Cujo, I will make you a deal, you leave us alone we will leave you alone.

Now before PETA jumps on me, and punishes me by making me live off of the dog biscuits I feed, my most spoiled child, Pitty the Pit Bull. Well at least I buy the favorite ones.  I love dogs. Always have and always owned them. It is a shame when dog owners do not control their pets. These particular dogs have a history of attacking bicyclists. I would prefer to bear spray the dog owners. But instead the dogs had to take the hit for their owners not being responsible.

Traci had enough of us guys and headed home. Good lawd, who blame her, Lance and I were now talking about titanium spokes, carbon gears, and secret bike builds.  I fed Lance some granola bars and we headed down Heritage Trail

During the ride, this Text Message came in from my daughter Melissa, "18.5 miles in this morning. Triple D here I come."  These are running miles. She is running the Triple D marathon. Run Melissa, Run.

After all this, I hooked up with my family, all my kiddies, my lady, son in law, Brook, and Mr. Cole my grandson for some beer, and pizza, and some more beer. They all said I had to much to drink. I say they don't know what they are talking about.

What can I say. The thousands, and thousands, and thousands of miles I have spent riding a bicycle, is always new, always a new experience, and I look forward to tomorrow's journey.

OK sleep sounds like a good thing. Hope your day had fun in it. Mine sure did.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Triple D, Amazing Grace, and "You Suck" award.

Best laid plans of Mice, and men, and Dave. I had maps in my back jersey pocket. I plotted a route from Google Satellite. A lot of hills on C clay hard roads, and grassy paths. First steep hill I shifted into my small gear of my 2X9 set up and I came to a fast halt. My small ring had fallen off the crank spider. YES!!!. The bolts must have been vibrating loose, I could find only one. So a change of plans, to keep from blowing out a knee I didn't want to hill climb in the Big Gear only.
Took the flat route, worked on keeping my heart rate up and finished out with 62 miles on Ms Lard'O my Fat-Tired bike.

I found a small cave awhile back. Today this became my very own "Man Cave" I think every man should have his very own "Man Cave" John Gray, thinks so too,  author of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" A multi million dollar seller. I didn't think his book was as great as a lot of people did, I  thought he kept pounding the same theme, but I digress, now back to my "Man Cave" Here I am at the entrance of my man cave, and next picture I am in my Man Cave.

So being I was in my Man Cave, I thought manly thoughts. I thought of all the manly jobs I have in my household

Manly Job #1. It is my job to roll up the toothpaste roll as it is emptied. No one else does this. It is my responsibility. I make life a lot easier for the tooth paste users.

Manly Job #2. Those little small almost used up bars of soap in the shower. Yeap, you guessed it. It is my job to take care of them. I will squish them together and make a soap ball. I think I am then the only one using that ball of soap, while others opt to use the easier newly opened bar of soap.

Manly Job #3. I can't think of any more, but #1 and #2 are quite enough.

Triple D a snow race, of bike, ski, and run sorta made it's official announcement less then 24 hours ago and has all ready 38 participants on Face Book committed to competing. I will be one of those for the 64 mile bike race. Andddddddddddddddddddd. My daughter, Melissa, is in for the 26 mile foot race.
She started running in 2010, serious training just this year, and so far has competed in 2 full marathons, a 20 miler, 4 1/2 marathons, 1 10k and 4 5Ks. Now some say to me, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" Well perhaps she inherited my insatiable desire for endorphins, but my contribution stops there. It was all Melissa's hard work, and it is not like she has nothing else to do, she's also a wife, mother and a more then full time employed Chemical Engineer. She's an endurance athlete just being discovered. Shout out to you Melissa, you give me encouragement.

OK, it is time for my new feature. The "You Suck Award" Now I am not saying this makes me any better then any of the winners of this award. In fact, I will be one of the up and coming winners. But not today. Today's winner is Mr John Newton.
Most people know John, from his well known song he wrote, "Amazing Grace" For many this is a spiritual awakening song. Now John wrote this song  when he was scared out his mind, aboard a sailing ship when a ship sinking storm blew up. That I can understand, I've heard there are not to many atheists in fox holes once the bullets start flying. So John, you wrote and sang "Amazing Grace" that night the big storm almost sunk your ship at sea. Your slave ship. You wanted YOUR God to save YOU. OK after this conversion you had, WHY did you continue to work on slave ships. Here is what Wiki had to say about the conditions of slave ships. "In order to achieve profit, the owners of the ships divided their hulls into holds with little headroom, so they could transport as many slaves as possible. Unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery and scurvy led to a high mortality rate, on average 15%[4] and up to a third of captives."

John what did you think when you removed the corpses from the barely living? When you pulled children from their mothers. When you sent men to the auction block to live a life of slavery. Was the money worth it? John I guess your God was only interested in saving you. John, You Suck.

OK, my bike is repaired, I still have the maps I made for today and didn't use, and tomorrow is another day YaHooo!!
Well glad you stopped by,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Riding my day away...

I have no explanation as to why I desire this and really don't need to know why? Nor do I make any excuses regarding this drive, it just is, what it is. I enjoy spending as much of my free time as I can on a bicycle. Today was no exception, I took a vacation day to ride. I would have to say it was my most exceptional  ride of the year. I needed a different flight pattern, so I followed some 4 wheel tracks off the side of a road and into the woods. That began a series of riding up and down hills, trying to hold into one of the two tire ruts on each hill. Many, I almost didn't make, I was on edge of dumping the bike often. One hill I couldn't make it, and one hill I didn't even try. It was a blast. 

After several miles of 4 wheeler hills and almost running my gas tank into empty I found myself back on county roads, allowing me to recover.  The winds picked up, and I could feel the warmth getting sucked out of my body and a chill entering in. 

After being chased by the dog from bicycling hell, I went down a C road that was a steep decent  down steep slabs of exposed bed rock. My senses were on hyper awareness dodging and weaving around rocks from baseball to shoebox size. 

At the bottom of this knee cap breaking decent was my old travel companion, "Heritage Trail" but to keep with the exploratory theme of today's ride I found new paths. Riding tractor paths and gravel roads I ended up in Dyersville Iowa, with 40 of the hardest miles I've had since snow plowing.  

The shortest path to home now was 30 miles, I took it, and if there was any possible way to make it shorter I would have.  Arriving home just as it was getting dark. 

  "Get on your bikes and ride" Queen.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Let us ride.

It is 8:48 a.m. Sunday morning, I have sat around and drank coffee long enough. I am becoming irritable. That's OK, I know my medicine, and I am procrastination taking it. Ms. McLard'O my FatBike waits to go play in the dirt. My legs are feeling the effects of yesterday's Metric Century, they wanted to knock of the back half. Now they complain about riding another one . It is 50 degrees out all ready, warmer then I expected, not much clothing to pack along. Not sure exactly where I will travel, I will head out of town on city streets and out the highway and go where I go.
People at work, my co-workers, acquaintances, and friends, the vast majority of people I am in contact with  do not understand why I do what I do. I hear about it regularly. Those of us that do this, find pleasure in pushing ourselves, testing our limits, overcoming injuries, challenges, managing tight schedules, and beating that hidden lazy bone inside us all. We that do so, do not understand why others won't jump in and do the same...

BUT!!!!! It is  now 9:03 a.m. and Ms. McLard'O is leaning against the dining room table and says "Let us go!!!" So I know I must. I shall return.

This was the snow cover yesterday on the trail. I saw these bike tracks, Mountain bike tires, I followed.

 I was thinking someone was ahead of me and not yesterdays tracks because I didn't see any return tracks.  Not often I see another cyclist out here, especially with snow cover. I could tell he had good bicycling skills, by the way he weaved in and out of fallen trees with the snow cover with ice underneath. I figured he was a 'he' because of the size of the footprint in the snow. I did not know how much of a head start on me he had. We met at 31 miles out.
We exchanged small talk about bicycling, age, Iditarod and Triple D. I introduced myself, he replied, " I know, I read your blog" I think to myself, "Good Grief, anonymity has sure disappeared with the digital age." We parted ways and rode to our destinations.

Today all the snow was gone. Soon that will not be the case. Snow will soon come and stay and cover all of Iowa. It is the way Iowa winters always are. The 15-20 mph headwind was making my southwest travel much harder then my legs wanted it be. My pedaling engines were zapped. This was the 3rd gravel Metric in 4 days. I pushed to keep things moving. Slowing down on a FatBike means settling into a 'crawl' I didn't want this to take forever. I had a goal, and wanted to finish. I was bonking, it wasn't fun. Quiting now, without finishing would be more of a discomfort to me, then it was to keep going. I reached the turnaround point, the wind that had been my enemy, was now going to be my best friend, and helped me keep moving. I finished.

Miles from No Where.                                                      Sun meets earth.

I saw a cave entrance today in the side of a cliff. I will return and explore, I'll show you the pictures.

Thanks for visiting, and a shout out to you sir for riding your bike yesterday, snow and all.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

I put my bike on a diet.

I've been riding lots. Probably a good thing, because I'm prone to eating frenzies. Like last night, I picked out a mini snickers out the leftovers from Trick-or-Treat bowl, then another one, and another one. and before I knew it, I ate every mini snickers out of the bowl of leftovers. I didn't count how many, it lessons the guilt not to know. This wasn't the first time I attacked this bowl. The first assault came right after Trick-or-Treat night  was over.
So to compensate for any weight gain I might encounter, I put Ms. Lard'O the Fat Tire bike on a diet, I've chipped away about 10lbs off of her, with carbon, upgrades, and part removals, so pass the Milky Ways bars. Here she is Ms. Lard'O weighing in at 35 lbs with no water or gear. 

Today was Metric Century #3 for the week, hoping I got something left for another one tomorrow, might be one of those slow-grinder rides, the old legs might be low on zip juice. 30 mph hour winds are going to add to the challenge. With the leaves falling and brush dropping a whole bunch of new routes are opening up. My fattest of fat tires
will ride about anywhere.
I did something, I wish it wasn't so. But I did. I ordered a indoor cycling trainer. Last winter I rode often after work, at nights with lights in ice and snow. My shoulder is to blame. The last shot of cortisone didn't help much, it keeps me up at nights, and that usually means the "s" word. I can ride hard with it as long as I don't have to hop or work the bars hard. If I crash on it, I think it's game over. Hence I will reduce riding risks. I am hoping all works out and I can race a couple of races this winter. I used to go to spin classes several times a week, and rode my bike on rollers in the basement before I had my snow bikes in these Iowa winters. With this indoor trainer you can pick routes and race others on a screen, I am hoping to beat the mental challenge of indoor riding. I can ride 10 hours in snow, or heat, or rain, or anything outdoors, but one hour an indoor trainer, is a long, long time, I count minutes left to ride, and is mentally a challenge. I know a lot of people have suggested to watch TV, I want to ride harder then watching TV would allow. I need it that way, to feel good about the work out, and get me some of those endorphins.
I don't know, maybe it's just me, I just think the scenery is much better out here then in my basement with rafters and spider webs.
Well I gotta go, there are is a good UFC fighting cooking on TV.