Saturday, March 10, 2012

To everything there is a season.......

I wake up Saturday morning thinking the same thing I did when I went to bed last night. I need to spend the day riding my FatTire bike.

So Saturday morning arrives and I gathered up, and packed up what I would need to do so. The paradox, the conflict is this, as I age, mentally I get stronger, the more I can endure, the more I mentally want to push myself, but physically I regress. I'm 59, it becomes harder to ride longer, to go further physically. Knees, shoulders, fatigue and other body parts, want to shorten my ride. Recovery is harder, overtraining happens more often, my mind would prefer to ride a bike all day everyday, but the body won't follow a schedule like that.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;"
-- Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

But I will ride. A dear friend of mine, Jules Hansel, the bike rider of bike riders, flopped over on his bike at the age of 89, he was bicycling his last conscious moment. I rode centuries with this man when he was 80 some, he always wanted to get 10,000 miles in every year, and that became a battle, mentally he could ride 30,000 miles a year, but physically he could no longer get the 10,000 in. That was the battle. But that did not stop him from riding, he was always out there, saddling up, and riding away.

Sitting on Jule's bench.

I rode past what used to be a home built over 132 years ago. A home of many, built in the flats for blue collar meat packing workers when that was this  towns booming trade. This home has now been tore down to make way for a water drainage ditch. I sat in the basement there for a few minutes. I can't imagine the millions of conversations that occurred here. The supper table talk. So many people people that came and left, and all the children that grew up here and moved on.

After my ride around town, and through a closed river camp grounds just for the sake of a change of scenery I headed to the countryside, where I find the most peaceful of rides.

A dirty pile of snow soon to be gone.

I didn't take anymore pictures, nothing caught my eye, I just rode an additional 40 miles more on Iowa gravel roads, looking at country side starting to wake up from winter, and begin to grow.  

Tomorrow is Sunday, my day off work, I will get out there and ride somewhere.....

Cheers and  thanks for stopping by...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Big Wheels keep on Rolling...

The ice can fool you, it starts to soften as the temperature rises, letting the tires bite in. I lose focus and gain speed and trust. Then suddenly the surface changes and you hit a section that is still frozen hard, slick, and bone breaking hard. I hold my breath, rolling 12 mph, not flinching, hoping to roll to that section of thawed trail with gravel I can see 50 feet ahead of me. The front tire starts to slide very slightly to the right. You know it’s over, and there is nothing you can do to change the fact you are going to be slamming down hard on the ice in just a part of a second.

It does seem that time slows down in moments like this. I was thinking on the way down, I hope nothing breaks, and takes me off the bike. Hip, shoulder and wrist all took a hard hit. I laid there and moaned and yelled at myself, and hobbled back up and walked around trying to loosen up.

Back on the bike, shoulder hurting like somebody took a ball-peen hammer to it. I'm thinking to myself glad I didn’t go down on my recently surgically repaired shoulder. I decided next time I see ice like this approaching I am walking the bike.

The day continued to warm up, and FatTires roll like your brakes are dragging when gravel, and muck thaw out. I drop gears and speed, and figured it was better than breaking bones on frozen ice.

I ride past  mushrooms as big around as kitchen plates. I first noticed them last summer growing on the side of the cliff that sun never touches, now wondering will they continue to grow again this year, do they live from year to year and through Iowa winters?

Continuing to plow forward I feel like a mule, but I’m on my bike, out in the country, the smell of spring in the air, thinking it just doesn’t get any better than this.

I don't know who left these pipes here a long long time ago, or why.

I circle back home, arriving tired, 50 miles felt like 100. This weekend promises more of the same.

Cheers and thanks for stopping,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Seems the best way for me to relax is to ride a bike in offroad places that are challenging in several ways. Is that good or bad I don't know. I have been working on my bike on and off this past week, trying to make 100mm rims work with fork spacing and with 2X9 gears. I was amazed how much difference that made, with the fatter tires and where I can now ride. With 40% more "foot print" on my tires, I can now ride off trail and bushwhack all over Iowa country side. So I have been.
 8 hours of this today, and only saw one other human being out here, I wonder what everyone else was doing.
I got to thinking about winter camping and packing overnight gear. Riding all day and then camping off trail somewhere. Making a campfire, sipping from a flask of Blackberry brandy and listening to the coyotes as I fall off to sleep and riding again when the sun comes up. I suppose that puts me in a minority, and that's ok.  I can't wait.
Find out where this path goes, I saw today.

Some pictures of Sunday's ride below.

Cheers, thanks for stopping by, and hope you get a chance to play too.