Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Quick One?"

I grinned as I read the Sobe cap in my hand. The ride I had planned was certainly going to be a quick one indeed, compared to my usual ones. Mainly because it was going to be a cold one, too.

Now that I've got that out of my system.

I'd been hoping to go on one more single track ride before the snow piled up, and I thought I'd missed out with the snow earlier in the week. But the weather cleared up, and it warmed up enough to melt most of the snow, save for the stuff on northeast facing hills. So, I planned a ride for today. Nothing fancy, or epic, or long, just one more run before the snow stacked up. I also wanted to test out the "dingle" speed setup on Tri, too.

So, with the thermometer reading at about freezing, I set out to Soldier's Loop, the Bridge Trail, and the Highland trails out to the Kachina wetlands (which were actually wet!) before doubling back and finishing the Soldier Loop trail and heading home, where the thermometer now said 28 degrees. For it being such a cold ride, it was lots of fun. The trail was wet and muddy in places, but not saturated, so I didn't get covered in mud, and there was just enough snow to keep things interesting. Maybe I'll do it again before it snows... we'll see. For how cold it was, it was fairly relaxing.

Snow across the Bridge Trail.

And if you think I'm crazy for going out trail riding in the cold, check these guys out:

Yup, they're actually swimming! What's hard to see in the pictures is the massive sheets of ice across the water's surface. Evil ducks, I tell ya.

Mileage: 22.2

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shorts or pants?

That's the question that was in my head all day. It was just warm enough that cranking up hills made me wish for shorts, but coasting down long stretches made me glad I opted for pants.

Early yesterday, I decided that since today was going to be sunny with little wind, I was going to take Tri out for a nice long shakedown ride. Then, as I was leaving work, I decided to go for a cruise out towards Lake Mary, and see how the new shoulder/bike lane they put in was. (For those that don't know, Lake Mary Road had a narrow/non-existent shoulder most of the way out from town to the lake.) My plan was to turn around when I stopped casting a shadow, which I held to. I turned around halfway up Lower Lake Mary.

Yeah, I didn't plan on riding that far... which made me wonder how I was going to feel about riding today.

Well, I felt pretty good, because I took Tri out today on a nice long shakedown. I decided to push myself, which in turn would push the bike. Boy was I wrong... Tri kicked my butt on the hills. On the list of things to do include lower gearing. But that aside, Tri is a very fun bike, and by the time I got to the Cosnino tunnels, I had defined what a singlespeed mountain bike was to me.

Long periods of self-inflicted torture, with a reward of short moments of intense bliss.

I'll break that down: "Long periods of self-inflicted torture," Those are hills. Especially steep ones. And the further along the ride you are, the longer and steeper the hills. "with a reward of short moments of intense bliss." This is a bit trickier, and involves coasting down hills. The cresting of the hill, after cranking up one side of it means two things: One, I can sit down. Two, I can coast. And the feeling of those two things after a long grind uphill, as well as no chain slap, then hitting the bottom and carrying momentum up the next hill, and not having to worry about the rear derailler auto shifting, or the chain bouncing off the ring... it's a great feeling.

Anyways... I would call today a great ride. Out to Cosnino along my usual route, then along the base of Mt. Elden, then home via Lower Oldham Trail and McMillian Mesa. It's the first time in a while that I've been really tired at the end of a long ride.

Fisher point... so far so good.

WAAUUGH! On a side note, new Fat Cyclist jersey!

The Peaks from near Cosnino, with a bit of snow still on Humphrey's.


Mileage: 42.9

Friday, November 13, 2009

Successful test ride!

Normally I avoid riding in the rain when I can, especially offroad. However, if I need to, I usually take Bi, because he has fenders. Today, I went on a joyride in the rain, both on and off road, on a bike with no fenders.

And I had fun.


Let me introduce you to Bi's brother Tri:
It's like Bi, only naked!

Yup, finally built my single speed 29'er mountain bike. Identical frame and fork as Bi's, (hence the name, and you might remember when I got it at the bike fair.) and a 34 x 18 drivetrain, with a Surly chainring and cog, with Raceface cranks. Avid brakes make it all stop. For the time being, I'm keeping it full rigid, but if I find a good deal on a 29'er suspension fork (and can afford it) I'll give it some boing up front.

In order to build it, the parts that weren't 29'er or geared specific got pulled off the B-52. My plan is to eventually build Henry around the Giant frame, thus making for a lighter packmule.

But, in the end, my damp test ride was a success. Everything worked wonderfully, and the trail wasn't so muddy that it got all over the place. My jacket was sticking to my arms by the time I got home, but I was happy. I like this bike.

Totally unrelated, here's a sunset from a Friday night ride with TC a few weeks ago.

Mileage: 6.9

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It snowed!

We got our first winter storm, and we got it before Halloween this year! I said snow before scary day, and this counts, even if it was just barely enough to cover the ground, and will be gone by tomorrow afternoon.

So, of course I went out riding in it, just a quick blast out to Fort Tuthill after work, to test the repair of Bi's rear hub:
I love it when the only set of tracks on a path are mine.

Where's the mountains?

28 degrees, a quarter inch of snow, and a stiff breeze the entire ride. Winter's here to remind me how hard it is to pedal in the cold air.
Mileage: 9.5

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bi's fixed! And fixed as well!

Cosmic Cycles downtown had a replacement axle for Bi's hub which I just finished installing, just in time for the first winter storm of the season over the next few days. We'll see how the commute tomorrow goes.

Mileage: 9.6

Monday, October 26, 2009

Well, that's disappointing.

Wanted to go on a long torturous self-destructive ride on the way home today, but apparently Bi had other plans for me. I felt the rear wheel wibbling a bit, usually a good indication of the wheel bearings being a bit out of adjustment. Got home, and set to adjusting them, and realized I managed to bend the solid axle. Go me. Bi's on vacation until I either replace the axle, the hub, or the whole wheel... whichever's easiest to source.

Bike with the rolling side up is not happy bike. Polarbear is nonplussed.
Mileage: 6

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Well, that was fun.

75 degrees in the middle of October, blue skies, no wind, I'd be insane not to have gone for a ride today. So I went on the Arizona Trail out to Cosnino with the intention of riding back around the base of Mt. Elden. Along the way, I ran into three Search and Rescue teams looking for an elderly couple. I'd seen a couple at the Fisher Point vista, but I'm not sure if it was them. I found out from the third team that they'd found the lady at Fisher Point, and were still looking for the man.. hopefully they've found him.

I like the tree tunnels.

I wound up playing Hide & seek with TC out at Cosnino, and we rode the next segment of the Arizona Trail to Route 66. Daylight was running short, so we were going to cut it short and take 66 back into town and head our separate ways home. We were standing at the trail, discussing where it went from there.


Uh oh.

Figures. The valve stem tore where it joins the tube. Unpatchable, especially with the slime blown all over the hole. However, given the flat happened at the end of the dirt riding, I was not nonplussed.
Guess the B-52 doesn't like pavement. So I called Exegete for a rescue. Time to add a spare inner tube to my trail kit.
Mileage: 30.6

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm fine when I'm on the bike.

That ride back from Meadview seems to have killed my right shoulder. So much so, that I called out dead from work on Monday. I did go to work today, but my shoulder was still incredibly sore.

Except when I'm on a bike.

It's weird. I didn't have a problem riding in to work on Bi, including up the big hill on Woodlands Village. I didn't have a problem taking the long way home this evening, with ten Sobes and a pack of sponges in the panniers. But the entire time between rides, my shoulder was sore. Almost burning.

Even now, it hurts.

I'll feel better tomorrow morning, I'm sure. Nevermind it'll only be for the 13 minutes it takes me to get to work.

On a side note, I like my routes home.

Mileage: 9.1

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meadview weekend 2009

Picture dump! TC and Alex and I went to Meadview this weekend. Much visiting with family, seeing the sights, and motorcycle riding. Much, much motorcycle riding. It was a blast.

We decided to head down to Lake Mead the evening we got there. It was a pretty sunset, and the bats were out skimming the water for bugs.

Last glimpse of sunset over the lake before we headed back to Jack and Norma's house for the night.

Saturday we woke up at the crack of dawn to head up to the cliffs to try to find an overlook over the town. The sunrise over the cliffs we'd be going up seemed a fitting picture to start the day.

The entire group, getting ready to head out after a good breakfast at Grand Canyon West Ranch. Three quads and my KLR, fun fun!

Lake Mead off in the distance from the top of one of the cliffs.

Meadview, and Lake Mead from the overlook... we made it!

Group shot! Left to right: Jaimi, TC, Alex, Autumn, Norma, Jack, and Polarbear.

The last day there, TC and I broke out the mountain bikes and headed for the nearest dirt road. We didn't ride too terribly far, as we didn't bring a lot of water, and I had to ride my motorcycle 200+ miles back home that night. Still, it was nice to get some pedaling in on different terrain and see scenery different from what I'm used to.

TC digging cactus spines out of her shoe.

After that, we skipped rocks off the South Cove boat ramp, then headed home, after I left a surprise for Jack and Norma. In the end, a great little vacation, though it's going to be a long time before I ride the KLR that far on the interstate again.
Mileage: (totaled for the weekend) Motorcycle: 530. Bike: 7.7

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to tell it is fall?

Is it fall when you start finding icicles hanging from your beard when you get to work?  Nah, that's more winter's thing.  Maybe it is when you have to wear ski gloves on your way to work?  Maybe it is when you find yourself pushing harder to keep blood flow up to your hands and feet?  Maybe it is when you have to go faster to keep your sunglasses from fogging up on your face?  Maybe it is when you get to work and overload your coat rack with all the crap you had to wear to work?  Yeah, I'm going with that last one.
Got to work and looked at the weather, 22.8F.  Holy crapsticks!
Mileage: 30

Sunday, September 27, 2009

More Fall Foliage

TC and I decided to head out and ride up to the inner basin of the San Francisco peaks to see how the aspens up there are coming along on their color changing. Interestingly, it looks like the trees on Elden are more colorful right now than on the Peaks, which are just starting to turn for the most part.

Mt. Elden from the gate at the bottom of Waterline Road.

Find the bird!

Almost there!

Wait for it...

Just imagine coming around the bend to this view after miles and miles of endless climbing.

Made it!

And back downhill we go! Once we got back to Schultz Pass road, TC and I decided to split up for the ride down. She took the road, I took the singletrack. We met back up at the bottom to head back into town. After we parted ways to go home, I decided to extend my ride just a little bit. I was at 47 miles for the day, and decided to push past 50, so I rode out to the airport on the way home. One of my goals for this year was to break 40 miles on the mountain bike in one day... I think I made it.

Mileage: 53.3