Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bored to Tears

Well the biking basically blows right now so here I sit blogging instead of riding. I've discovered a gem of a website that must belong to someone who is even more bored than I. He (or she) has cataloged dozens of popular song recordings with bicycle themes or references. There are songs from Pink Floyd, Queen, the Beatles, Poopiehead (never heard of them but it is fun to say), and others.  

Kirk, load up that iPod.

He has also cataloged a bunch of biking movies starring the likes of Nicole Kidman and Kevin Bacon.  And bicycle books, and posters, and even bicycle stocks in case you're itchin' to jump back into the market (DJIA down 80 today to a new 624 week low).

Wake me up when the trails dry up or the temps dip back down into the teens.  I'm going to bed.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last Great Act of Defiance

Recognizing the weather would be working against us Sunday morning, a couple of us seized the day on Saturday and took a trip to White Clay. Soft and slow does not adequately describe it, but it was biking so it was good. Also worthy to note a mountain lion warning posted at the various parking lots. I think mountain lions are also known as cougars, so this is interesting on a number of levels (wink wink). 

Speaking of "seizing the day," following is a sampling of local races on tap for this spring. Personally I feel some compulsion to defend home turf. Less compulsion than the early days when I was deluded into thinking I might actually succeed, but some compulsion to at least make an honest effort...sort of a Last Great Act of Defiance. I thought maybe some of you may feel the same way, or are looking for a motivator to get back into shape, or whatever so here goes:
  • Hibernia Duathlon (4/19)- Our traditional low-key kickoff to the riding season, this is a run/ride event.  You can compete solo or in a relay format.  If you've got a fleet footed wife or child, this is a great way to get them pumped for spring and build a little healthy family team spirit. Here's a link to the blog posting for last year's event.
  • Fair Hill Spring XC Race (4/19) - I don't know anything about this one but if you have ever ridden at Fair Hill then you know this has gotta be one fun fast race.
  • On the Rocks at French Creek (5/9) - Buckle your chinstrap and bring out the full squishy for this one.
  • Fair Hill Classic (7/12) - Another Fair Hill event for those who missed the first one (due to the Hibernia Duathlon of course).
  • Midnight in Milford Mills (7/18) - OK this is where the "home turf last act of defiance" thing really needs to kick in.  This will be a night race right here in Marsh Creek State Park.  Imagine the carnage!  There are not many riders who have our level of experience riding these trails at night, so this will be a great chance to get a leg up on the competition.
I can't say enough good things about the Hibernia thing, especially from a family perspective. Last year we had all sorts of awesome combinations - father-daughter, brother-sister, husband-wife, etc. In case you are wondering, I will be racing the relay with my fleet-footed-6th-grader Sara.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Broke Back Biking

I could not resist the alliteration. Just for grins I looked up "broke back" in the urban dictionary (infinitely more entertaining than wikipedia and much more informative). I got a few chuckles but nothing that I could include in this PG-13 blog. I guess the picture will have to suffice. 

The weekend is looking reasonably good for riding.  Friday is sunny, warm, and windy so should dry things out pretty well, and temps on Saturday night are in the low 20s so trails should firm up nicely. Marsh Creek is a ridable if a little chewed up, but maybe there is interest in a roadie to Fair Hill or White Clay?

Chris

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hot Rider on a Cold Day

Ok so when you saw "Hot Rider on a Cold Day" you were expecting something rated at least PG-13. Sorry about that, but you have to admit this is a pretty cool G-rated picture.

I am going to tease you with more of these puppies - one a week - during the next month or so of churning our sloppy SEPA trails (or even worse sitting at home not churning the trails). Keep the faith - it won't be long before we're back to cruising miles of buff rolling single track in short sleeves. A quick scan of the blog shows that last year we were into some great short-sleeve riding by mid-March.

Oh and you email-chain-spectators who sat out the winter riding season and lived vicariously via email, you can expect the peer pressure to ratchet up soon. A great time to jump in is early in the season when everyone is a little rusty. In fact, this would be the perfect weekend to drop your bike off at the local shop for a quick tune-up so you are ready when gun goes off.

And finally if your wife is looking for that perfect bike-themed Valentine gift for you (and she has a sense of humor) you should point her to this auction on eBay (thanks Bike Lemming).

Chris

"Cycling is like church-many attend but few understand"
- Jim Burlant

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Choices

5:30 am may be the earliest I've rolled out of bed for a bike ride.  But it was worth it in the end, even though there was some debate along the way (seven riders and marginal conditions is sure to result in differing opinions).  

Our FC ride started out on hard wet ice - a little nerve wracking - but good skills practice. After a mile or so, we stopped to discuss the prospects of busted collarbones and compound wrist fractures, and concluded that after a conversation of that nature we had no choice but to play it safe and ride the roads for a while (an accident after that discussion would set a new standard for stupidity).

So we ground our way to the top of Fire Tower road where we were promptly faced with another opportunity to make a good decision, but of course decided instead to jump back on the trails for a descent down the other side of the firetower hill. I think the logic went something like "this potentially bad decision would be offset by the good decision we already made."

Conditions were actually slightly better on the descent (slush with occasional patches of ice) but it was still sketchy enough that we found ourselves aiming FOR protruding wet roots and rocks because they at least offered a measure of traction, if only for a split second.

About half a dozen crashes by the end of the ride. I think I accounted for half of them. They took more than the usual toll because I was using new cleats on pedals tuned for worn cleats, so it was nearly impossible to unclip before impacting the ground/rocks/ice. Even funnier (not) was when I rode into my driveway afterwards, tried to unclip (couldn't) and had to grab the basketball hoop to keep from falling over in my own front yard.

Glad we did it though.  Not sure what that says about us but there it is.

Chris

Friday, February 6, 2009

Shorts Weather in February

Curfew Saturday night because we have an opportunity for an early ride at French Creek with Andy Sokol as our tour guide. We've talking about this for some time, now is your opportunity and with the snow melt and warm temps, FC is probably the only place that will be ridable this weekend.  Also Andy swears that with him leading the charge it is not all uphills as some might suspect. 

We will be jumping onto an existing ride scheduled to hit the trails at 7AM sharp which means departing the neighborhood by 6:15AM (hence the curfew).  The low for Saturday night is 31F and its forecasted to be in the 40s by the end of the ride so this may be an opportunity to break out the shorts and show off those pasty white legs.  Andy tells me that he has ridden only once this winter (our 5F ride) and that the pace will be an "easy B with plenty of BS sessions at the tops of hills, hammer heads need not apply" (I added the hammer head part).

Let me know if interested and we'll sort out the logistics.  At least one vehicle heading up with room for 3 bikes and passengers.  Click on the embedded map for directions to our launch point (40 13.064N    75 48.059W).

Chris

Pace Rating
A=Rob/Bob pushing it out
B=Our typical ride
C=Ride with wife and kids

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rob's Eye View of the Lakeside Trail

video
This is the first video posting for the blog.  It's a great 10 minute diversion from the grind and will definitely get you itching to ride. You'll also get to see something that you don't often see - Rob taking a spill (the ride occured after our recent ice storm). Sorry I had to compress the crap out of the video file so the quality suffers quite a bit (the original is smooth and crystal clear).

BTW it was a great ride last night. We had fresh powder on top of the old crust which made for lots of fish tailing, spinouts, and some grueling uphill grinds but it was really spectacular scenery and gave me an excuse to eat a big honkin' bowl of ice cream before I went to bed.