Monday, September 26, 2011

Check Engine

Dropped the car off at CarSense for some service this evening (state inspection, oil change, check engine light) then rode the bike home. Not thrilled with road riding, but within 0:10 I was safely off the roads and in the woods by the Bonus Loop.  Another 0:20 and I was at the boat ramp, with enough time to bang around the west side of the park before heading home.

Great idea (thanks MikeR), almost makes it worth the "bend over and grab your ankles" phone call I will probably be getting from CarSense tomorrow afternoon.


"Two wheels good, four wheels bad."
     - unknown

P.S. Only one out of the last six blog posts has involved a BIG ride. That's sad. I better get busy or else Allegrippis (October) will be a Beat Down instead of a Big Ride.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Maybe Too Late

 I got a surprise today...and I don't think it's a good one.

I was recently started getting some oil leakage, so I figured I would take a peek inside and change the oil in the lowers while I was in there. The oil is now changed. But I have a nasty wear spot on the left stanchion. Perhaps a bushing problem, but I don't have the tools or expertise to change that.

Might be too late anyway.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Kids These Days

A washout is forecasted for this weekend, so I had to sneak in an "insurance" ride this morning.  Glad I did it, the ride was beautiful.  Banks of fog lingering in the trees and a few slippery roots/rocks to keep me on my toes. Two feet of rain since August has torn up the bottom of the Quarry Trail pretty good, be careful if you are bombing that downhill.
Tangent: In the reading room this morning when flipping through an old issue of Outside magazine I saw an article on electric assist bicycles. It reminded me of a recent experience I had flying out of my driveway only to find myself abreast of a very pleasant grandmotherly woman on an electric bike pedalling (barely)  up the gentle but long Kaiser Drive climb.
Tangent on the tangent: We see few cyclists on this part of Kaiser.  If we do, it is either an avid cyclist (road or mountain) or it is a teenager pushing their bike up the hill. Nothing against teenagers (I have a wonderful one of my own), but jeeze what the heck!?
Back to original tangent: Anyway there I was on the long climb through the neighborhood, riding next to grandma and exchanging pleasantries. Her bike looked like a beach cruiser and had a basket on the front and streamers on the handlebars. She was barely pedalling. I was spinning my ass off and barely keeping up. I hung in there but it soon dawned on me this would not be sustainable.
And finally it happened. We hit the plateau at the top of the neighborhood and she picked up a few mph. With 32x20 gearing on my singlespeed I could no longer spin fast enough to keep up. I watched helplessly as she dropped me, singing to herself, the pink and purple streamers flowing from her swept back handlebar grips.  She waved goodbye and disappeared around the corner.
I am imagining that later that day, after her husband's afternoon nap, her ruminating about some friendly but obviously sluggish young man on a bike.  "Jeeze!" she would say," kids these days..."

“I'll take the Pain and Humiliation Combo, super-sized” 
     - unknown

Sunday, September 18, 2011

They're Like Little People

Ruth has been threatening to do it.  Yesterday, over my objections, I think she finally did it.

She pitched one of my water bottles.

For months she has been saying that they are disgusting.  I've tried appealing to her motherly instincts by saying "it's not the outside that matters, it's what's on the inside" asserting that the inside of the bottles is clean and perfectly healthy.  "They're like little people" I said.

Apparently she was unimpressed.

And apparently I will now have to start hiding them.


"Keep riding, Nancy. It's just water and dirt."
     - Huck And Roll

The Light

I am reminded of the mosquito in the movie Bug's Life who was drawn to the mesmerizing light of the bug zapper.  "It's So Beautiful" he said.  It ended badly for him, but not so for us. And in this case the attraction was beer.  A stroke of genius really - we're now drinking our beer during the happy hour  ride instead of after.

This time it started at the Thursday morning bus stop with Rob's innocent inquiry.  "You guys doing a happy hour ride tomorrow?"  I knew then that I would not be drinking alone.

Friday morning I sent the customary email reminder.  I knew it would be slim pickin's since some regular riders had commitments and others I fear have sworn off mountain biking since the Colorado trip (I'll post on that in the future).  But MikeM chimed in that he was stuffing a couple of Blues in his pack, so I had a sense of momentum building.

The anointed time (5:00) arrived at the boat launch.  Mike was rolling in.  Rob had brought Zoey (so now we were four souls).  That's when Bob rolled in all smiles and ready to ride (I think Bob is always ready to ride).  We headed toward the Bonus Loop and by the time we got to the totter, Zoey was a little gassed so we headed down to the new trail which has a natural hangout-and-drink-beer spot overlooking the lake...this is where we ran into JimM.  Jim was heading home after his Friday ride, was no doubt thirsty, and succumbed readily to the siren call of beer by the lake.

So in the end it was six souls for the Friday happy hour. And yes it was "so beautiful."  Can't wait until next Friday!


"Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for one more ride."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ass Handed

I got my ass handed to me yesterday.

After failing to round up the "regulars" for a weekend ride I decided to join a ride posted on the dtownmtb yahoo group.  Eight other riders had the same idea. That's a good size group for a mountain bike ride.

I LOVE group rides - the social aspects as well as the opportunity to learn new skills and push yourself.  This ride was no different and I'm a little sad but mostly glad to say I blew up near the end of our ride.  We spent the day finding climbs I never knew existed in that park.
Tangent: we decided after the ride that there is a propensity for humans to ride loops clockwise (e.g., we like right hand turns better than left hand turns). So we spent the day riding the WCMR loops counter-clockwise which meant: (1) the trails all felt new, (2) we ran risk of collision with high speed descender, and most importantly (3) we found some grueling uphill climbs.
Now I could blame my explosion on the lack of gears, but I wasn't the only one in the group riding a single-speed.  The end started while climbing near the skills course.  My quads started to cramp whenever I stood up on the pedals.  Never in six years of riding had my quads cramped.  Not once in five days of brutal climbing in Colorado.  The quad cramp was disconcerting because that's a big muscle (even on my spindly legs) and I knew that if it got out of control I would be basically incapacitated (and probably in a world of hurt).

I have always carried some electrolyte capsules in my pack (schwagg from some race). I dropped a couple of them in desperation.  A long shot but the only shot I had.  Within ten minutes I was able to stand a pedal without cramping.  I was still slow, but at least I was pedaling.


  1. I will ALWAYS have some of the Heed stuff in my back pack
  2. I will be a much better rider if I keep riding with this group
  3. I need to decide what bike to bring to Raystown (I love that Rig but I don't want another blowup)