Saturday, December 22, 2007

christmas time

look what arrived:

and the music for the day is:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

26" wheels, suspension, gears, no ergons, snow, what is this world coming to?

That's right. Small wheels, multiple gears (gasp) etc.. Going backwards this week...

Last Wednesday I got back on the bike. I was determined to ride in an effort to jumpstart the system and eliminate this bout of excessive tiredness. Warmest day in weeks and everyone in my Wednesday night group bails on me. Earlier that morning, I packed earlier for a 45/50degF ride but it turned out to be around 35degF at 5pm.

Couldn't find the long pants in my dufflebag (I thought I packed them); just had insulated knickers and ankle-high wool socks. Looks like my shins are going to freeze.

Forgot the booties for my shoes.

Forgot warm gloves; stuck with full finger summer gloves

Forgot a winter beanie but had my BKB cyling cap.

Rocked the poly t-shirt, insulated long sleeve and insulated vest. Perfect for keeping the core warm!

Guess I'm riding solo. I tucked my cell phone into one of my pockets so I could call Bob in case something happened.

What is this? 26inch wheels. full suspension (4inches at that). multiple gears. What is going on? Well, I've been lazy and only got as far as stripping my 29er SS upon returning from La Ruta. As you can see, its sitting on the floor awaiting a full clean/detail and rebuild. Figured the offseason is a good time to take it easy. Why not do that on a cushy bike? Time to break out The Groover!

Not even five minutes into the ride and my index fingers are frozen. Guess its going to be one of those rides. A few minutes later, after lots of wiggling of my fingers, I'm off the road and into the trails. Hmm. I'll just make stuff up. A turn here and a turn there. Wherever I end up is where I'll be. Great way to ride solo at night, in the winter. After all, I had my cell phone to call Bob if there's an issue.

Once I got into some climbing my fingers warmed up and conversely my toes started getting really cold. About an hour into the ride I'm having a blast and am stoked to be out riding again. I did notice a few things about both myself and the bike. I was only using two gears, if that! I'm so used to riding with one gear the second the trail changes pitch I found myself standing up pedaling. It was quite interesting with 4inches of front travel on a fork I forgot to pump up the air chamber. I coughed it up to "winter training".

Later into the ride I also noticed I'm trying to pick the cleanest line whilst simultaneously riding around big rocks. Something I've naturally learned to do while riding a fully rigid bike. Then reality set in: "You have four inches of suspension travel. Use it!" I graciously pointed the bike straight and pedaled harder. Whoa Hoo! Now we're having fun. Nothing can stop me now!.... Except reduced momentum of the smaller wheels. Yuck! It wasn't drastically noticeable due to the suspension soaking up a lot of the bumps. However, I did find little things like small rocks and roots to be annoying whereas I've gone all season not even noticing them.

1.5hours in my palms are bothering me, and bothering me in an isolated location. Hmm. pressure point(s)? I tend to have a very loose grip on the bars so I was quite shocked my palms were bothering me. Then I realized I haven't ridden a bike with round grips since April or May. Guess my tender hands got used to the increase contact patch in my palm when riding Ergon grips...

2hours approaching and I'm doing more climbing out of the saddle (still couldn't quite naturally shift gears without telling myself to) on a very loose gravel powerline trail. I made it riding in way too big of a gear while loosing rear tire traction the whole time and cursing the electric company for messing with the trail. Guess I haven't lost much since La Ruta.

A few minutes later I'm back to the car. A solid 2hour+ ride. My first 'cold' ride. Felt great!

The next day we get about a foot of snow! Guess I'm not riding outside for a while. I hope I can bring myself to get on the road bike and stationary trainer. I hate riding the stationary trainer. Its SO boring.

After having some fun driving the AVant in the deep snow, then going back to work 'till late, I decided to shovel the driveway. Twelve inches of fluffy snow was a hoot to shovel at 11pm. Kept the back straight and lifted with my legs. No back problems what-so-ever.

Sunday, super early in the morning (3am), its sleeting and freezing rain. Woke up to 3inches of crap on the driveway. Then it decided to rain and freeze again. This crap was heavy and I spent all afternoon shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. Decided to get an extra work-out and broke up all the ice and frozen stuff on the driveway. Then moved it all off.

My neighbor and his wife have unofficially given me the 'bronze shovel' award for our neighborhood. He can't believe how clean and organized I keep the driveway and sidewalk. I told him its just good exercise and some "offseason training" for biking next year. Haha.

Looks like it'll be a white Christmas here in Connecticut. Wonder what'll happen down in New Jersey....

Sunday, December 09, 2007

head-on into a train

I'll never forget riding down those railroad tracks on day four and hearing the whistle of a train. This pretty much sums what I saw.

I haven't been doing much since La Ruta. My singlespeed is in pieces awaiting a thorough cleaning and rebuild post-Costa Rica. Haven't touched a bike in a few weeks. Okay, I take that back. I rode to the bar on my track bike one evening with Matt. The recent cold is taking its toll on me. I'm usually really good about this being one that loves the winter but these past few weeks have been too cold. All I've wanted to do it sit inside next to the fire..

Work has been crazy. Nothing like the holiday season and your primary task is behind schedule. Good news about the AVant. Last weekend a new clutch was installed. Within a few weeks it'll have double the power it currently has now! Other than that, I've been trying to finish a bunch of remodeling projects around the house that go largely unnoticed during bike season.

Its been a good few weeks off. I was thinking I might continue through the end of the month but I've been excessively tired all the time. Esp with 12+ hours of sleep at night. Why? Hmm. Only thing I can think of is that 95% of the year I'm riding my bike or doing some form of exercise. Going from such a high level of intensity to nothing is screwing my body up. I need to go to some low level of intensity rather than none. So, this week I'll hop back on my bike and see what happens..