Monday, January 29, 2007

0 for 2.

Twice now I've set out to do a sweet MTB ride with a fiesta of singletrack and twice now fate has intervened... and given me the shaft.
Just to be clear, I did do a lot of singletrack but most of it was uphill. Fate didn't bother to intervened until I had done all the climbing and was juuuuuuust about to enjoy massive amounts of singletrack descending.
Here is the lowdown on numero uno and numero dos:

First John and Brooke and I set out to do a pretty long MTB loop, about 70 miles and 9000 ft. of elevation gain. Brooke knew from the beginning that she would turn around before John and I headed back.

Brooke and John at the White City ruins.

This is cool because you can see quite a few turns of the Merril trail.


Rode it! (I take full credit, even though I would've stopped if my finger hadn't slipped off the brake lever...)

I asked some poor teenager if he could take a picture of us, and when he agreed I said "Thanks, do you have a camera?"
He looked crestfallen and said, "Oh, no. Sorry"
His parent's busted up laughing and I felt kind of bad so I said that I was just kidding. He took that to mean that I was kidding about him taking a picture and started walking away.
When I told him that I really did have a camera he came back and snapped a shot. I'm surprised he didn't take a close up of our feet. Or his thumb.

This was a kind of neat shady area.

It got progressively colder and I finally came around a corner at a pretty good clip and found myself riding (barely) on ice! It was too late to stop, I don't have much experience riding on ice but I'm pretty sure I would've dumped it if I'd tried to brake.
John "We have ice in Minnesota" Mc Keen makes it look easy.

It was pretty much down hill from there but John had sprained his wrist earlier and decided to opt out of the singletrack so our ride got cut short (still 50 mi. though) and we rode down on the (totally exposed, freezing cold) fire-road.
Okay, so I was bummed to do all the work and miss the singletrack but....

I planned a new ride with the Helen's/Subaru/Fisher team and figured I would make up for that last time with an epic singletrack bonanza!

The team heading up.

Wrong again! After climbing up lower Merril and the Lowe toll-road, out of Valley Forge and up to Clear Creek, it started raining on us at the EXACT moment that Papo got a slice in his tire at the top of Strawberry Peak.
We booted it (and by "we" I mean Papo, everyone else just stood around) and finished Strawberry in the freezing cold and rain and...
Once again, after all the "work" was done and it was time for my anticipated "singletrack-bonanza" I was outvoted 3 to 1 and we came down the same exposed road, only this time there was rain to add the the freezing cold.
I still think the singletrack would've been warmer but I will agree with the opposing argument, which was basically that the rocks would be wet.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Brain freeze.

It was so cold on Saturday that one of the guys sweat actually froze in his hair on the way up.Le Tigre with ice in his hair.

We started early from J Mc K's house and rode out to Hwy 39 for the climb up to Crystal Lake.
Hwy 39

Sat. was a record breaking day for cold and there were patches of ice lurking on the road. Below is a pic of the road to Crystal Lake with snow and ice on it.
Everyone is standing but me because I am taking a pic, but the road was so steep here that I almost came to an involuntary stop when I tried to get out my camera.

We rode past Crystal Lake, almost to where the road turns into gravel. We decided to turn around when we saw that is was so cold Graham's sweat had frozen on his head.
I got a wicked brain freeze on the descent from the cold wind on my face! I was going pretty slow because I was paranoid, there was ice on the ground and I didn't want to be caught off guard coming around a corner. Braking and shifting was strange too since I couldn't feel my fingers. I knew I was shifting or braking but I couldn't feel how much. It was very clumsy.
Even though I wasn't going too fast wind chill was definately a factor and by the time we got to the gate at the bottom (23 min. later) my hands were painfully cold.
I missed a terrific photo opportunity of the five of us, all clad in lycra, shoving our hands down our pants trying to get them warm again. That would've been a classic pic, but I didn't think of it until my hands were starting to warm up and by then it was too late.
From there we rode over to GMR and went up the back and down the front.
On the way home I stopped by a buddies house just as he was pulling chicken off the grill. Perfect timing.
Obligated to feed me, he whipped up a gourmet salad and gave me some of his chicken... thanks Kirk!
Saddle time: 6 hrs 45 mins. Ouch.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I assure you, that's a trail.

Had a great time riding mountain... the intervals were hard because I was sore from yesterday but it was fun anyway.
My only complaint... mechanicals!!!!!!

I didn't even get out the front gate before I had to bleed my rear brake and since I didn't have any DOT3 I had to go out and get some first. I tried to just top off the reservoir but no dice, had to bleed it.
Thankfully, Avids are well designed and easy to bleed. This is the first time in years that I've HAD to bleed one and I have them on 3 bikes. Also, if it ever comes down to it, they have always stood by their equipment and in my experience customer service is 2nd to none.

After I got that taken care of I had a great ride to Inspiration Point...
You look through the tubes to find a location.
It's all very scientific (robot voice: "LOCATING...")
Today the view was, uhhh... not.
Herbert the donkey PUSHED a cart up the mountain on these tracks. You can see how worn the middle tie is.

I wish my ass was that strong.

Rocky and foggy...

After I left Inspiration Point I had a blast on the descent! It was a little surreal riding through the fog because you only had the sense of motion in your immediate space! It was like being in a loop of time where you rode the same ten feet over and over and over and over and... sorry.
It was like being in motion but not traveling any sort of distance. I really had no idea when the trail would end or how far I'd gone.
Hearing the fog-muffled trail sounds over my iPod while riding through the fog on this trail was really cool.
....I must've hit a loose rock JUST right to kick it up at my rear derrailleur which then went into my spokes!
Luckily no spokes broke and I got the derrailleur out (totally mangled, and the hanger too!) and rode/coasted home. I wish I'd taken pics of the der. in the spokes but I just sort of panicked!

When I got home I had just enough time to replace the der. and hanger ( I had spares ) before I was supposed to meet my friend Beamer for a night ride. I got to Beam's house only 5 min. late only to find that he had to work late! After all the ringing his doorbell and waiting I barely had time to make it to Matt G's thur. night Cherry Canyon bonanza and had to sprint the whole way.
But I made it. And it was fun.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The life for me.

Stole these pics from Nick Martin's blog:
maybe the best blog ever!
This is what I aspire to! This is why I rode 6 hours yesterday and am heading out for another long ride today even though it hurt to get out of bed...

My hero.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Night-riding, tires and Wifey

Ah, yes. Another hard day of training in Southern California...

Doggie Ride!!!!!!!

Last night Brooke and I went night riding and met up with the infamous "Doggie Ride"
The dogs were fun and everyone had a blast.
I had some light-reflective tires on my bike that were super cool at night.
After the ride was over Brooke and I went for another couple of hours and then rode home just in time to order take-out chinese food.

Thanks for the tires John! Super fun at night.
Beamer and Banner. Beamer looks like he's having fun! Maybe that's why he's been showing up so much lately.

The only girl I know who will throw down a 4 and a half hour night ride and love it!

Who says training has to be hard?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Weird Science.

In my last post I mentioned that Brooke and I were going out of town for the holidays and now I will attempt to chronicle my travels and my efforts to keep training along the way. "Wait, what about that picture?" you are asking yourself, "where is the weird science?" Patience....

A few days before New Year's Brooke, Alex and I (team A-LaB ?)finally piled into the car after much dilly-dallying and drove north to her parent's house which is located a few minutes north of Yosemite.

After driving as long as we could stand, it was starting to get dark so we pulled over and rode for an hour.

The next morning (Dec 31st) we had planned to do 100 miles but after talking to Brooke's dad Richard, looking at maps and seeing the kind of elevation we settled on a more reasonable 45 miles instead.

It was really cold out by So Cal standards so we were all bundled up...

The roads north of Yosemite are definately some of the prettiest and most interesting to ride. After heading out on 120 we turned off onto a road that dropped steeply into a deep valley.
The road was twisty and fun and at the bottom of the valley there was a river with a bridge that crossed to the other side of the valley where the road climbed out.

The bridge was like some hideous piece of pop art. It was completely covered in graffiti! It was kind of fun to read all the different stuff people had written, but the weirdest part of it was when you looked over the edge, the river and valley were so pristine that it made kind of a surreal contrast. Here's some pics of me, Alex and Brooke on the bridge

Me... Don't worry Nate, I don't think they meant it.

Brooke and Alex. Personally I think the arrow should point the other way. Ha, ha, sorry Alex.

After our photo shoot (I tried to leave out the really bad graffiti), we headed up the road on the other side of the valley...

(Brooke destroyed us on the climb! Notice how she is laughing and Alex's tongue is hanging out?)

....and rolled another 30-some miles before we got to our destination. That destination was a warm house where we crowded around a wood burning stove and drank hot tea before taking showers and sitting down to an incredible meal.

The next morning I decided to start the year right by going on my favorite (road) ride ever!
It's about 70 miles.
Due to freezing cold and fatigue brought on by yesterdays adventure I was riding alone.

This is definately the coldest weather I have ridden in and there was some strange, slippery stuff on the ground that made the ride kind of nerve-wracking... I don't know what it was.

(Getting my wattage up before I took this pic is like flexing when someone takes your picture at the beach)

I started out with a steep icy climb on hwy 120...

Followed by a steep icy descent on Mather Road...

Although the climb was icy, it wasn't that bad. I hadn't experienced anything like it before but I didn't fall, which was good, and when I wanted to I could break loose the rear wheel and sort of burn-out, which made me feel manly. Which was even better!

Only a short section of the descent was icy. After that it was super cool! It's called "Cherry Lake Road" and it winds through the trees just loosely enough that you never have to stop pedalling!

(Winding through the trees)

At one point I saw deer but I won't bore you with pictures. If you don't know what deer look like, Google it.

(It's a really nice descent.)

After I got back and showered it was time for Fun with Beer, where we made Black and Tans and had.... uh, Fun with Beer.

(When I first poured it there was a crisp line between stout and ale. By the time I figured out how to take a picture it was sort of muddled.)

The next day my dad and I went on a road trip to visit family in reno. Here are some pics from along the way.

"Ah say whennnnn" (Fresh-a-pepper?) I know Alex knows what I'm talking about, anybody else? Anyone? Bueller....?

I'd say these folks are on their way to Bi-mon-sci-fi-con! I am pretty sure these people must be cyclists. Probably cross country racers? I definately felt a kinship and I think they might have had a gram scale in the glove compartment.

Be there AND be square. Alf rules.

After Reno my dad and I kept going to a top secret laboratory for my christmas present.... a bike fitting! Thanks Mom and Dad, it's just what I wanted...

Perhaps you are asking yourself "Why are those red lights on him ?" No, am not seconds away from being arrested.
They're frickin' lasers. Eat your heart out Dr. Evil!!
And that pretty much concludes my journey/blog post.
Thanks for making me post John. You can be my blog coach!