Monday, April 27, 2009

A week of riding and a weekend of not

I took a few days off the bike at the beginning of last week, but by Wednesday the pull was too strong to resist. I actually rode into work for the first time this year which was pretty damn nice if I do say so. I chased the gorgeous weather out the door in time to join Maria from PRC for a few hot laps doing hill repeats at McRea Park. She had to bail after just a lap or two so I stayed around for a couple more before heading off to the shop. I joined in on the Papa John's ride as the Paragon was still sitting broken. While I think my off road skills have been doing well, it seems to have come at a cost of my top end on the road. One lap of the route had me on the verge of hurling by the time we hit the top of the soccer hill so naturally, I opted to hit one more lap just to make it fun. Actually, lap #2 wasn't quite as bad as the lead group backed it down a few notches. We headed back to the shop for some free pizza! Woohoo. I took a slice and then hit the road to join the guys for a taco and beer at Gif's before winding my way home enjoying a perfect evening and a little after dark riding. I wound up with a bit over 65 miles on the day.

Thursday was the return of the "Race like a girl" series at Union Park. I headed over early to help with setup and get a few warmup laps in as well. I felt decent during the warmup and thought the racing would be pretty fun. The racing was fun even though I really didn't do much for results other than act as a good lead out guy only to get dropped as soon as the real roadies turned up the volume to 11. I think there's just a combination of things that I need to work on that are keeping me from having that top end snap. I need some more work on sprinting and high end interval training for sure, but having relatively heavy equipment and wheels doesn't do a whole lot for me either. I was really excited to have Miranda and Corley come out to watch the races as it gave me a chance to share more of what I do with them. We also had a nice group of other spectators which was great to see.

I enjoyed Wednesday's ride in so much, I repeated for Friday. I hopped on the cross bike this time and was even pondering a long route home with a detour through Denmans. I haven't had the chance to ride the dirt on anything other than my fat tires, so I was looking forward to the excursion. Fast forward and the plans changed as we got late notice the zoo was having an event that night. Not one to pass up too many opportunities to hang with my girls, it was a no brainer that we were headed to the zoo. We got to watch the trainers put the sea lions and seals through their paces, do a few activities, and wander around a bit before they kicked us out and we went in search of frozen custard to top off the evening.

And that my friends kicked off the weekend of not riding. Oh sure, I had great intentions of riding, but they never materialized. Saturday morning I woke up to threatening skies and decided to give into to snoozing and lounging around for a while longer. I finally made my way out to the garage and got a few things done on the motor I've been tinkering along with. I can't say really that I've been working on it as its taking me forever so I think tinkering is much more apropos.

Miranda was working Saturday night so it was Corley and I hanging for the evening. We ventured off to a friend's wedding to watch them share in the nuptials. It was a really laid back affair and more of a formality than anything else so we just kicked back, enjoyed some free food and cake, bid our best wishes and headed out. We capped off the evening with a trot our Jordan Creek including (to the horror of my wife) a trip into the germ pen of destruction aka the mall play area. Corley had a blast and as figured I had to peel her away from the play area when it came time to depart. I've been in search of a winter coat to replace the trusty yellow steed that has served me the past 4 or so years. I'm about a month late catching the end of season sales and now I can't find a damn thing so I'm thinking I'll have to resort to online clearance houses such as REI and Sierra Trading Post. Anyone got a link to a favorite winter coat they want to share? Preferably, I'd like to find something with a zip out liner so I can use it multi-season.

Sunday dawned overcast and wet. Though it wasn't raining, I didn't feel like taking the risk of getting soaked by going for a ride so I pitched that out the window again. I opted for a bit more time working in the garage and tinkered a bit further along. Miranda had a gift show that seemed to be a bit of a flop (per most of our excursions) and Corley and I loaded up to do dinner with friends. Miranda joined up with us after her show and me made quite the evening getting together with friends to create a fancy meal with new flavors. All in all, quite an evening. Yup welcome to my life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bent, Broken, and Bummed

Squirrel, Griz, and I loaded up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to head down to Bone Bender. Rain had been in the forecast most of the week and hope as we may, it was unavoidable. I had switched to my rain tires and was as ready as I could be. I figured after slogging through rain and near freezing temps at CIRREM not too long ago, some mud and rain wouldn't be too bad.

We set up camp and I took off for a quick preview of the course. We'd all ready been dumped on during the drive down and the rain returned as we set up. I sputtered through roughly a half mile of the course and knew it was going to be pretty ugly. I was stoked about the first MTB race of the year and my first enduro having signed on for 6 hours of "fun". We lined up for a LeMans start and were blasted off at the stroke of noon.

I wasn't really thinking much other than to get out quick and hopefully not be held up too much in the mud bogs. I hit the singletrack somewhere in the top 15 and started the slipping and sliding. I actually did ok for the first portion as it wasn't a whole lot different than trying to ride Denmans during the winter snow and ice. I made it past one rider on the singletrack and another as we hit a spot of paved trail into the 2nd section. The wheels fell off here. The mud started turning to goo and even though my tires weren't yet balling up into being completely useless, I couldn't get enough traction to pedal through. I hopped off and ran a few 50 yard sections, but was still riding a lot of it though I was all ready keeping my heart rate in the 180's now. Oops, so much for going out at a pace I could maintain for 6 hours.

About 2 miles in, my rear derailleur starting hiccuping. I'd back pedal to clear it and go again. On about the 4th shot through it clogged solid and broke the hanger. It wrapped clear up to my front derailleur and even shredded a new section of housing I'd put on Thursday. Damn. Not quite sure what to do, I scratched my head for a minute and thought I'd head back to camp to see if I could straighten things out. After slogging for about 15 minutes, I stopped in a field and thought I'd try my hand at single speed conversions in the middle of the field. I threw the bike over, scraped as much mud as possible off and went to town. Ya, that didn't end well. I think somewhere in here I set my sunglasses down as well and managed to not pick them back up once I gave up and headed back to the tent.

I knew it was going to be an interesting day as I was all of 2.2 miles in and watched riders trickle past for another 30+ minutes as I worked on my bike and then headed back. I wasn't the first one back as others had given up before me, but I think I may have been the first broken bike back. Over the course of the afternoon I noted a good dozen or better other riders with very similar broken bits. The bike shop on hand offered to fix me up and send me back out, but I opted to stay and hand up bottles and do whatever I could for the other guys still riding.

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing some cleaning on bikes, bottles, and drinking some beers. Not exactly the way I planned on spending those 6 hours, but not the worst thing in the world either. I'd say the highlight of the weekend other than watching Squirrel kick some ass was getting to hang with some good buds for the ride down and back and spending some hours with like minded fellows.

Sunday's teardown and cleanup of the bike left me a bit more bummed. Beyond the broken hanger and lost sunglasses, I found the derailleur to be trashed due to the main spring being over stretched (backwards), the chain trashed (I kinda knew that all ready), and one of my newly installed ceramic bearings was now making crunchy noises. All told roughly $150ish in damages when you factor in the lost glasses. That pretty much shot my enthusiasm and has kind of left me moping around a bit this week. Add in that my sternum has been giving me fits and is hurting worse than when I first hammered it a week ago (hopefully that means its healing) and I'm not too motivated to get back on the saddle. I'm thinking a little fun riding this week is in order with commuting tomorrow, riding over to the PRC ride, and then catching up with the guys for tacos at Gif's. Maybe Thursday I'll break back out and do some more riding though I don't think the Paragon will be back in shape until this weekend at the earliest.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bone Bummed!

Bone Bummed!, originally uploaded by Buckshot77.

Broke the rear derailleur 2 miles into the first lap. Muddy as all get out down here but its not raining and the sun just came out. Squirrel is in 1st place overall on the 1st lap!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not that anyone asked

But here's my opinion on the subject of bikes, cars, and something that should never have happened in the first place. Set yourselves down for a good long while as it'll probably take me that long to get it all out.

Bikes and cars, they're oil and water if you ask me. They're both liquid, movable, and have certain desirable properties, but if/when they get mixed up, you're going to have some problems. Ask anyone that's gotten some water inside an engine destined to be lubricated by oil and you'll see right away a little water doing damage goes a long way even when totally overrun by the quantity of oil. However, this doesn't mean I don't think the two can't coexist mostly peacefully. Here are some problems as I see them and seem to be echoed in a number of responses to articles published by the Register and other local media.

1) Bikes don't pay for the roads therefore they don't have the right to be there. The law grants us the right to be there. The same as it grants you the right to own guns. You say your tax dollars pay for the bike trails we eschew in order to ride the road. Our taxes also pay for a police department so why do you need a gun? It's your given right and you choose to exercise it, the same as we do. As a matter of fact, I exercise both of those rights and have begun to wonder if I should be exercising both at the same time for personal protection. Obviously that's a bit tongue in cheek, but when you feel like you might be the next target, the through does cross your mind.

Solution: I'm not against paying a licensing fee for my pleasure of riding on the road. Heck, we're "supposed" to pay a fee for riding on the RRVT even though its funded by taxpayer money. If it means that drivers see us as having paid our dues to use the roads, I'm just fine with it. I'd pay $20 or even $50 per year in hopes that it will buy me a bit more safety or at least recognition that I too pay for the right to be there. Sure, I'm paying more money for a right I all ready have, but then again, we do it every time we pay the gas tax to drive our vehicles as well. The only stipulation I'd have is that traffic enforcement treat us as an equal on the road at that point even though I realize that might be a bit far fetched.

2) Cyclists think they're above the law when it comes to obeying traffic laws. I've got to admit, I think the cagers (car drivers) have a valid point on this one. Until the law says we can legally roll stops signs/lights, not signal, roll through stopped traffic, and generally ride in a way that puts the least penalty upon our legs, then we're at fault. Arguing that drivers break the law just as much as we do is pretty lame and not going to get us anywhere. Its no different than your child saying he should get away with something because his buddy's parents let them do it. We have to be self policing. I can't even begin to throw the first stone, I roll through signs (sometimes) and generally do what I can to keep my momentum from being broken on the ride.

Solution: We have to police ourselves. We can't expect equal treatment under the law and blatantly disregard the ones that don't favor our sport. Sure, it sucks stopping and starting on a bike; especially if you're riding clipless. Taking your hands off the bars to signal a turn shouldn't be a big deal. If you don't like it and don't do it, be prepared to get a ticket. The bottom line, its our own personal choice to be out there and therefore we have to deal with the limitations that we have set out for ourselves and how the law treats those limitations. I'll be doing what I can to ride as closely as possible to the law as I can. Considering I'm an equal opportunity offender in a vehicle when it comes to speeding and such, I don't want to hear anyone chastising me if they see me breaking a law (unless of course you never break ANY yourself).

3) Bikes belong on "bike paths" and I (the taxpayer) paid for them so why don't you keep your butts on them. Sure we have bike paths, I even helped pay for them (as a taxpayer), and yes I love riding a nice stretch of black label when available. That being said, bike paths don't always go where we want and in some cases, neither do sidewalks. So, if we're left with no other options to get from point A to point B, either you (the taxpayer) cough up funds to pave a bike trail/sidewalk to everywhere I want to go or accept that I will be on the road with you. "Bike paths" are actually multi user paths that have to be shared with various other types of foot and human powered traffic. I can't remember how many times as a roller blader (snicker all you like), I was surprised and/or crashed due to a bike blasting past me at speed on the bike path. Even if they weren't riding very fast the speed differential could easily be close to 2:1. That's not much different than cars and bikes on most residential streets. You have to be prepared for whatever situation you come up on whether riding or driving. Might may be right in regards to who has the right of way, but that should also come with using that right responsibly.

Solution: This ties more into my first solution of being licensed to ride on the street. If you want to ride just paths and sidewalks, no license needed. If you want to avoid those hassles and ride where you need to, grab a license.

4) Bikers don't get equal treatment from law enforcement when it comes to accidents. While I can't say I've personally had to deal with this issue even though I was a victim of a right hook hit and run when I was younger, I think there is a lot of truth in this argument. To me, it seems like cyclists have about as much weight in enforcing penalties as a piece of property. I.E. you hit someones mailbox, cow, etc, you have to pay for the damages and might get a minor ticket, but you're not going to be charged with a felony unless you were drunk, impaired, or someone managed to tape you saying that you were going to run this guy down and kill him while he was riding his bike.

Solution: Treat our bikes as vehicles and us as the driver, no better, no worse. If someone hits us (accidentally or not), hurts us, and leaves the scene they'd get charged with a number of moving violations and possibly a felony or two. Accidents happen, I assume that responsibility every time I ride my bike. However, if someone appears to be blatantly trying to damage my person as in road rage, then there are additional penalties that need to be levelled.

5) Passing a group of cyclists sucks. No argument from me on that one. However, it seems cyclists hear that argument anytime we're in a group no matter if we're riding single file (paceline is too long to pass) or as a bunch on the road (I can't get around them). It seems we're damned if we do or don't here. But, if we have a right to take up the roadway however we see fit, whether it be over to the right shoulder or the full lane, passing isn't that difficult. I don't see it much different than having to wait for slow moving farm equipment or even tractor trailers from time to time.

Solution: The only solution to this is patience and adherence to the law. Pass in a passing zone when safe to do so. I can't recall the number of times I've wondered when a car is going to merge back into the pack on a TNWC ride as they try to pass on Morningstar drive. It's certainly much easier to plow us down than head on another driver. Partly for that reason, I'm usually pretty heads up about what cars are passing and where my nearest escape route is.

6) This guy on a bike was drunk and swerving all over the road. As long as I'm working on pissing off other cycling groups, I may as well hit the party guys/baggers as well. Luckily, I've only had to ever deal with a few drunk bikers on the road during my time behind that wheel. However, the last time, really changed my opinion. Someone obviously had spent too much time at the Cumming tap and road up the bike trail to the bar in Orilla. He wobbled out in front of our car (and others) using up both sides of the highway on his way from the bike path to the bar. Luckily, we all were watching for his drunk ass and slowed to nearly a stop until he could negotiate his way into their parking lot.

Solution: I don't know that a full on OWI is the answer as I believe those laws are meant to deal with people that show a greatly increased risk of harming people or property other than their own when driving impaired. However, I do think public intox or something along those lines should be used as a deterrent for riding on the roads while impaired. However, this should be applied to road riding only as I don't necessarily see a lot of difference between operating your bike while drunk on a bike path, than walking down the sidewalk while equally drunk. Unless you're being a public nuisance, you're just going to increase the amount of road rash you cause yourself when falling off the bike versus falling down while walking.

Yet, after all this verbiage and wordiness, I'm still drawn to a simple thought. There are too many people pissed off on every side of every issue that refuse to listen. We ALL have to find an equal ground and take responsibility for our own actions in EVERYTHING we do and we can't be selective about how we do it.

I'm riding tonight to show that I support my friends that have been injured. I'm riding tonight because I want people to see that we're people too. I'm riding tonight to show that cyclists can be responsible in their actions. I'm riding tonight because I want to ride my bike.

PS- Though I'm a numbers junky and would lover to see a huge influx of hits on my blog, I'm compelled to ask that if you wish to share this opinion with anyone, please copy and paste, but do not link to this post or my blog. With a decent amount of personal information on here, I'd rather not find myself fending of jerks and a-holes on either side of the argument lest I have to pull this post.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Birfday!, originally uploaded by Buckshot77.

Happy third birthday to my beautiful baby girl. Im playing hooky today to spend it with my ladies.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tuning it up

Heading into next weekend's 6 hour challenge at Bonebender, I thought it would be good to get some hours in on the Paragon at an endurance pace and also to check out my new hydration drink I'm testing out. After failure at last years Dirty Du, with the Hammer nutrition stuff, I decided to try something different. Basically, the Hammer drink was making me bloated and gassy as I'd drink it during the race and still was too sweet as it left me wanting plain water after only a bottle of their product. I think it may have also played a part in my bonk last year at Almanzo so it's time for something new.

My goal was for 5-6 hours at the Center trails/Denmans doing loops where I could compare lap times. I wanted to check out the hydration and also work on some long term fueling to see what I could stomach other than just gels. I took along a PB&J to try out and other than I stopped to eat it, it went down really easy so I'll be taking those this weekend as well. I'm thinking I may try cutting them into quarters rather than just halves and see if I can eat while riding.

I hit the trails bright an early heading out from Ashworth pool at 7 for the first loop. I headed off through Rollercoaster including the hill climb from the Dirty Du as part of the loop before dropping into the main trail. After that, the rest of the loop was paved trail to a little portion of J-11, then over the bridge to Denmans, Dirty connector to Squirrels, Rhythm, and then the trestle bridge to Hillside before dropping back to the parking lot. All in all I could only squeeze 11.5 miles out of my loops. I'm not sure if I'm taking a shorter version of Hillside or if it is a combination of things like using the paved trail in lieu of Dirty connector in my loops. In any case, 60-61 minutes were my loops with 11.5 miles and 500' of climbing per loop. A good start for the 11 mile 1200' per lap I'll be hitting next weekend.

First loop was perfect and I wore my windbreaker as a precaution against the temps. Less than halfway through I was sweating my butt off so it came off after the first loop. I grabbed a gel at the end of the first loop, but didn't eat it until after Denmans. On the 2nd loop I switched bottles to a new one and stopped to wolf down a half a PB&J. I was also stretching as I stopped which garnered some comments from a couple walking by about how I must be training hard since I was eating and stretching simultaneously. I'd really found the flow through Denman's by the 3rd loop and was hammering along while still on cruise control as far as the overall effort I was putting in. I was just starting to feel my legs as 3 hours were rolling closer and I was up on Hillside.

Just like that, my day was over. I was crossing the angled log on the way down Hillside almost done with loop #3 and misjudged the timing as I was working on increasing my speed crossing it. I didn't get the back end up in time and it hit hard enough to buck up the rear end of the bike and I flew over the bars. I hit with both hands outstretched in Superman form and then bounced my chest off the ground as well as I slid to a stop. Spitting out dirt and leaves, I rolled over and assessed the damage. No broken bones, but I knew I would be feeling the hit soon enough so I called it quits before I even stood up. I eased my way back down, stopping to talk with Teri for a moment and then decided I may as well finish the last half mile of my loop and then head home. I eased through it and still gained almost 30 seconds over my previous lap so I must have been cruising pretty well before I hit.

Here I am at the end of the loop with the "I ate sh!t and didn't like the taste" look on my face. Nothing seems to be damaged other than some bumps and bruises so at least I should still be good to go for next weekend.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A mish mash of gut bombs, that guy, and riding

I'm getting lackadaisical about writing in my blog. Damn, I've gotten good rides in, decent things to talk about, and occasionally some free time to write, but the motivation has been lacking to put keyboard to screen. Shoot, I even spent a bunch of money on new gear. I think maybe losing my money clip last week kind of shot my enthusiasm in the ass partially. Its just a pain to have to work about replacing everything. To date, I think I'm about 80% whole in getting things put back in place that were lost. In any case I digress.

We hit another work day at Summerset last weekend. All told there were 30+ of us out there which was awesome to see. I kinda sorta volunteered to lead a crew through the Riverside trail doing clearing and cleaning. All was well until we got to a couple areas that none of us were sure where the trail went so we lost a few minutes tracking the correct line down and then getting it cleared. We made it through all but roughly 1/4 mile that includes some new routing that will need to be dialed in the last work day. Other than that, it was wide open and flowy. Fast isn't quite the word as it definitely needs some burn in and is suffering from various sand deposits that rob your forward momentum. After we broke for lunch it was time to roll the full course. I was a bit apprehensive considering Fuller and I's last time rolling through seemed pretty damn tough. All in all, it went much better with all the work that has been done and I cleared all but a couple of the climbs without much problem. It'll be a good workout for sure come race day.

Tuesday I had TNWC on the brain and while I was out replacing some items from my money clip, I opted to hit Panchero's for lunch. All in all, the burrito was damn tasty, but the shell was definitely undercooked per my definitely. Nothing like having to peel the burrito shell off your teeth while eating. A couple hours later as I was thinking more and more about riding my bike, I began to realize the burrito had indeed become a gut bomb. Uggh, it just was sitting in there like a rock that refused to move. For the most part I ignored it and got on with the ride. I made it north of Ankeny again as the pack was mostly just cruising until a truck cut us off and we pretty much all hammered our brakes. As soon as that happened, the pack fired up and took off. I couldn't get my legs to make any response and was out the back just like that. I kept my head together and rode hard the rest of the way home and felt like I got a worthwhile ride in, but I still need to figure out how to dig deeper when I need it.

Wednesday signalled the return to dirt in the form of the Taco Ride. I somehow found myself designated as the ride leader which is ok by me, but meant that I should at least feel some sense of responsibility for getting everyone through the lap and back home. We had a new guy named Matt that was in town from Indianapolis show up so I definitely wanted to make sure he didn't get lost as we wound our way through. I found myself in a new position as we worked through Denman's. Lou and I were cruising along, at a decent pace but not killing it, and I suddenly found myself being "that guy". The guy I used to always be chasing. The guy that was off the front and seemingly just having it on cruise control. Don't get me wrong, I've still got plenty of, "those guys" to chase Pete, Lou, Squirrel, Kyle, etc, etc, but it was interesting changing perspective for a bit. We looped Denmans, Squirrels next, had a beer break courtesy of Sammy at the firepit, rolled Rhythm, Hillside, Rollercoaster, and then a reverse lap of Denmans before calling it good enough. Some beers, stories, and tacos later, we split out of Gif's and called it a night.

I'm finally getting to a happier place at work. The looming deadlines and schedules that have hung like thousand pound weights are beginning to be passed and lifted one at a time. One more small push to the end of the month and things will be done on this project and I'll be onto the next big thing. Its nice knowing that things are wrapping up at least on one project.

Home life is also shining more and more. Our daughter turns 3 years old in a few short days. Its hard to believe. I never knew you could love something so much and at the same time, sometimes in the same instant, be totally driven insane by it. Yup, sounds like love to me. I can't wait to see how much she grows in the next year. Most days, its hard to believe she's only 3.

I'm focused right now on next weekend's Bone Bender 6 hour race in Missouri. Beyond the nervousness of having never ridden the course and seeing that the course map shows 1200 feet of climbing per 11 mile lap, I'm actually relatively calm about it. I'm just planning to go, put in a good solid effort and see where things shake out. I'm mostly interesting in seeing if I can find some things that work to keep me going for that many hours in a row. I've got some plans to take a few additional nutrition choices with me that I hope to try. My long term goal is to make a passable effort for the Boone 24 hour race as part of a 2 man team.

Friday, April 03, 2009

It was the best of times

It was the worst of times. Ya, I know, stealing other peoples work, isn't cool, but as you could read from my last post, I had a pretty crappy turn of events after a killer ride. I'll detail the ride here so it can get as far away from that turd laden punchbowl as possible. For anyone that has been on the Center Trails in the past few days, you know how absolutely primo the conditions have been. The line is clear, you can see for miles, the weather is crisp, and the dirt is "tacky, yet refined".

I burned some serious wife points last night and got the pass to go riding again before the conditions were lost. I tried playing it cool, but I think my giddiness to go riding again probably wasn't well hidden in the face of a mountain of dishes and other household chores I really should've been helping out on. I'm sure I'll be making up for that tonight! In any case, I raced home as soon as I could escape the grip of the "Man" and ripped through getting changed and back out the door. I parked at the shop so I could say hello to the boys and have a few minutes spin via the levee trail to warm things up.

Feeling a bit spunky I decided to see where I was in comparison to last years Quarter Rage efforts. I ripped off a 22:40 something on my first pass through. Not blazing by any means, but a good start considering I've still got the tubes in and slower rubber mounted. I'm hoping to get much closer to 20 flat by the end of the year. Judging by my pace and comfort level on my final lap (in reverse) of the night, I don't think it's too far out of the question.

I met up with Kyle, Taylor, and Rick Noyce for some more fun at 5:45. We headed back down for my 2nd lap through Denman's where I chased Kyle pretty much all the way through. I felt like I was hammering the trail and wasn't having any problems with the various log-overs or even the tractor tire. All was good and right. We headed through Squirrel's nest where I washed out in some sand as did Taylor right before I got there. Once through that, both Kyle and Taylor gave pause to the gnarly looking drop through the wash by the river while I plowed through it. They had enough of the sand though and headed back for more flatlanding in Denmans while I opted to stress the legs on Hillside and Rollercoaster.

I ran Hillside about every way I could think of back and forth and I'm pretty certain I rode about 99% of the track up there including one dead end washout. I rode a few of the trails a couple times just linking things together and even road some backwards. I even cleared the angled log that always makes me pause and did it pretty much at speed. Nary a bump felt on the chain ring as I sailed my happy ass over it and carved my way down the hill beyond. After that, it was time for a requisite lap of Rollercoaster. I blasted everything and had a chain skip cause me to stop at the bottom of the switchback, but that was the only hiccup on that trail. I even cleared a nice rock at the entrance by the pond that I'd previously only been eyeballing. Something was just clicking with my ability to hop obstacles for sure.

I finally turned back as it would soon be dusk and I hoped to make it in time to the shop for a post ride brew. I attacked Denmans in reverse and everything fell into place. The flow just seemed even better that I ever remembered it. Logs barely made bumps as I cleared them with ease. I cleaned one new (for me) log out by the firepit that I hadn't attempted before and I had my eye on the prize. The entrance log to Denmans has amazed me from the get go. Watching the good riders hop it like it was nothing more than a twig put me in awe. As I rode, I was determined to give it a go tonight. At the worst, I'd be at the end of my ride and have a nice little crash to laugh at, but maybe just maybe things would be right and I'd clear it too.

I'll have to admit, as I approached it from the back side, I chickened out and went around. The angle just didn't seem right and the approach to steep. I circled through and came out of the woods headed towards home. Then, I circled back, eyed the target and cleared it with ease. Shoot, I don't know that I've ever cleaned anything quite that easy. I'm sure I let out a whoop of jubilation and then just to make it official I went ahead and hit it from the back too. It wasn't quite as clean as I made it over and then had to push off the tree on the far side after I was over it, but I made it.

Of course, you know the rest of the story....

Karma's bitch

Yes, I am officially owned by Karma. She done stuck it, broke it off, and didn't even offer up a reach around. As opposed to my well played April fools prank of saying my bike was crushed in an unfortunate crane accident at work, this one is real. I went from the highest point to pretty damn low in about 2 seconds flat once Greg informed me that my seat bag was hanging wide open and had apparently puked all of it's contents somewhere during the last 25 miles of mostly singletrack. That makes this the 2nd time I've had this particular brand of bad luck. It happened last summer and I lost just my keys only to find them pretty easily. I would swear I double checked the zipper was done up right before pulling out last night, but apparently it wasn't and I'm the only one to blame. The tally wasn't terrible, but bad enough- 29'er tube, 2 CO2 canisters, CO2 inflater, spare link, keys, and my money clip with ID and credit cards.

Kyle actually found the keys on their second lap through Denman's after I'd headed off to get some Hillside action. He was kind enough to turn around from the other side of town and run them back to the shop so I could at least get home. I definitely owe him a beer or three. Around 7:30 I headed back out with my bright as light mounted up for a slow lap of Denmans to scour for the missing money clip. With the light pretty well dead, I headed home a little after nine empty handed. I was back out before the ass crack of dawn (about 5:15 AM for those unfamiliar with the terminology) and spent 3 hours walking every step of the trail I didn't cover on bike last night. I can now pretty much say I'm intimately familiar with about every step of the center trails and then some. A few others are keeping an eye out while riding this afternoon, but I've pulled the plug on the cards all ready so I'm just hoping to get the ID back so I don't have to get it replaced.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


The shop was packed with Wednesday night riders last night. The PRC Papa Johns Ride was kicking off for the year and though there was no official announcement, the taco ride kicked off as well for us dirt lovers. A few of us met up for some dirt lovin good times.

The trails were in conditions that were nearly unbelievable. They were dry yet tacky and perfect for riding. The only thing that possibly could have made it better was if they'd been ridden a little more to clear the line of some debris, but I don't think we could've asked for any more.

I let my arm get twisted to hang with the guys and hit tacos when I really should have hit another lap through Denman's on the return route. I even considered joining Courtney for an additional lap with lights, but by the time I rolled out of Gif's all fat and happy, it was too late and I needed to head for home.

As for the musings, something struck me last night and carried over through this morning. It had been a week since I'd been on the bike. A busy week at that with lots of stuff going on both at work and home. That's life. That's how it happens. In the past few days, I've really been pretty blah and beat down feeling. Even before I got on my bike last night, I was all ready calmer and in a better mood than I'd been in almost a week. Getting on the bike only cemented the feeling into place. Chasing Squirrel around and blowing the cobwebs out just drilled it into my head. I NEED to bike, I want to bike. And getting out on my bike makes me want to get out on my bike even more. It's a self perpetuating cycle (haha) so to speak.

I think it's starting to become more clear to me. If I want peace of mind, sanity, focus, and clarity, I need that time on the saddle. Now I just need to figure out better ways to work my biking into life and vice versa.