Saturday, April 17, 2010

To Sedona!

I'm suicidal, it seems. The bright idea I had planned today was to ride to Sedona via the Old Munds Highway, then down Schnebly Hill Road, then ride back up and home. All in all, about 88 miles of riding. Doable, or so I thought. So, I set out at 9:30 this morning, with a full stock of Sobe, and Cosmic Ray's book of misdirection in hand. I had planned on getting to Sedona in 3 hours, and allowing 5 hours to get back home.

Yeah, of course it didn't happen that way.

Halfway down Schnebly Hill Road, which is a great 6 or so mile blast downhill into Sedona, I hit a rock doing about 30 with the front wheel and got a wicked pinch flat. No big deal, I just popped in the spare I keep on the bike. But, I lost track of the time up to that point. It was 2:30, way later than I planned on getting to Sedona. So I called Exe for a rescue, and rolled into Sedona.

What took me so long? I took a lot of pictures.

The first roadblock of many.

A shallow little lake. The road ran through the middle of it, with a few inches of water and a LOT of mud over the road.

Then came the snowdrifts, three feet deep and sometimes a few hundred feet long over the road, accompanied by more mud.

This looked cool, a little tunnel in the snow formed by meltwater.

An old stone dam off the road a bit.

Yeah... then the road went under a stream. I was stubborn and crossed it.

Then under more snow, and under the stream again. At this point, I abandoned the road and followed a faint game trail that was headed in approximately the same direction as I wanted.

The game trail paid off, and dumped me right on the road I wanted, at a little bridge over the stream I'd crossed twice. I sat here and dried my feet for a while. I felt like Huck Finn, sitting on a bridge with bare feet. All I needed was a fishing pole.

It was a long grind up Schnebly Hill Road before the downhill, and I shot out from the trees to this view.

And this one too.

Schnebly Hill Vista. I can see Sedona!

After calling Exe for a save, I took the singletrack Munds Wagon Trail from the road down the canyon into town.

MMmm.... shake. Enjoyed while watching the amusement of the roundabouts, waiting for Exe to arrive.

I felt great, for having ridden to Sedona, and if I had more time, I'm sure I would have been able to ride back home. But, I was not familiar with the roads to get back home, and I didn't really look forward to going over all the snow and mud and creek crossings with it getting colder.

I definitely want to do this ride again when it warms up a bit more and the snow finally melts.

After we got home, I felt good enough to ride to Beaver Street with Exe and TC and Alex for dinner. I think it's going to be a good year.
Mileage: 52

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring ride

It's been a long, hard winter. It's been long, it's been hard, and it's been a winter. Five months of freezing. But now, Spring is here. Lizard man says so.

"Spring is here."

I rushed through work today so I could squeeze a trail ride around Soldier's loop and the Highland Trail loop at Fort Tuthill before other planned events this evening. Today was nearly a perfect day for a ride. Next to no wind, not cold but not too warm either, and it was a week day, so not many people on the trails.

The trails themselves weren't too bad. Mostly dry, damp in a lot of spots, muddy in a few spots, and snowcovered in short sections at a very few points. All in all, a sweet spring ride. The grass is just starting to sprout, the trees are getting leaves, and it was just plain nice.

I got a little mud on the tires.

Mileage: 17

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Headwind and... headwind.

Water is in abundance in Northern Arizona right now, which tends to happen after winters with lots of snow. And so I opted to take a long hard ride out past Lake Mary, around Mormon Lake, and back home, to see the lakes, the drainage, and just to see if I could do a 50+ mile ride this early in the season. I'll spoil the surprise and say yes, I can, and did, and 75% of it was into some variation of a headwind.

But, how do you manage to get a headwind for more than half of a basically out and back ride?

Easy, live in Flagstaff, where the wind swirls, and tends to stay at your back going down a hill, but blows in your face when you're trying to crank up a hill. It was even nice enough to stop blowing when I stopped to catch my breath half way up the steepest hill.

The wind and I are not friends.

But besides the wind, it was an enjoyable challenging ride. I saw lots of roadies out and about, shaking off their winter hibernation and dusting off their bikes. Surprisingly enough, some of them actually waved at me when I waved at them. I think by having a cross bike (which looks suspiciously like a road bike) I have increased my wave count from the spandex crowd from nearly 1% to a whopping 10%. However, 80% of that 10% were women, so either they're nicer than their male counterparts, or they liked my bike.

Of the men that waved, most of their blank looks of concentration quickly took a nonplussed look when they realized they had just waved at someone festooned in Fat Cyclist gear, wearing denim shorts with a mirror on his helmet astride a cross bike. Oh well.

Upper Lake Mary runneth over it's dam!

Looking down the spillway towards Lower Lake Mary. How long til Lower overflows?

Made it to Mormon Lake, which prompted a bike shot.

It really IS a lake!

This is looking up hill.

And downhill, where the water continues it's journey to fill the lake.

The amount of drainage running into Mormon Lake is amazing right now. I was riding past hills that are so saturated, that water was rolling down the entire hillside. Every bit of ground that was visible had water running down it. I've never seen the ground so saturated here.

I'll feel this one tomorrow.
Mileage: 58.5

Saturday, April 3, 2010

It's high time we had a hangin'!

A few discussions lead up to the planning of a new bike storage rack, and the retirement of the old one. The bikes were crowded together and bumping handlebars, which was leading to fighting between them. The Pugsley would kick Bi, who would take out out on Tri, and so on.

All crowded together. Tri got so fed up he turned around to face the wall. Obviously something had to change.

So, one trip to Home Depot later, and this is what we came up with:

Dead Squirrel Approved!

Mileage: 0

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Day

So, it's the first day of April, the one commonly associated with people making fools of themselves in an effort to make fools of others... or something. Unfortunately, I thought of my prank too late in the day to put it into effect, which was to post on Facetube: "Fifteen screws, three rods, and the doctors say it'll heal up in a few weeks." Maybe next year.

Besides, I figure there's enough fooling around going on that April Fool's Day didn't need my input, and I didn't want to jinx myself, and end up having to go back after the fact after having peeled myself off the front of a bus and say "No, seriously."

So, instead, I decided to celebrate my April Fool's Day by picking up a new bike from Absolute, who, fortunately was not joking when they told me I had a bike waiting for me:

The Swobo Crosby, the latest addition to my family of bikes. Rather than figure out some way to ride my bike to the shop to pick up another bike, and get them both home somehow, I decided to just walk the 4 miles, and then ride home. Along the way, I was buzzed 5 times by people riding their bikes on the sidewalks, not one of them having a bell. It was a good reminder to me of one of the reasons I don't ride my bike on the sidewalk anymore. After getting the bike all fitted to me, and buying a bell, I left on my getting acquainted ride, which took me out to the mall and back through downtown to home. After turning around at the mall, I felt like I was racing the building storms home.

All in all, I really like the bike, and I think I made a good choice. It's not the Crosscheck I'd been dreaming of for the past several months, but I think it's something a little bit better suited to my style. That, and I think the bright orange rims mixing with the stormcloud blue frame is starting to grow on me.

Now it needs a name.

Wednesday morning's ride to work treated me with a sunrise. Just a few weeks ago I was still seeing stars on my way in.

Mileage: 18 or so, plus 4 walked.