Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow crashing

So yeah. I went out on my first legitimate snow ride today. It was fun, though for the 7-ish miles I rode, it was about as hard as a 20 mile mountain ride. It was fun and pretty. The only problem was I decided it would be a good idea to run platforms on Snowblind, so I could wear my nice warn snowboots.

This was a bad idea.

While my feet were warm, I had no connection to the bike. I didn't realize just how much I had learned to control the bike through my feet. Let alone I couldn't tell where my feet were on the pedals, as well as I had less power (couldn't pull up on the up stroke, I was just mashing.)

Despite that, I made the most of the ride, and next time, I'll be armed with clipless again. Besides, a quick search showed a lot of SPD compatible boots for winter riding. I'll have to look into that.
Winter kickstands are best kickstands.

Snow inside Pugsley rims does funny things when allowed to slowly melt.

The rear was not nearly as impressive.
I also put the GoPro on my head for this ride. Most of it is about as exciting as a trip to Pittsburgh,  and apparently I look down a lot as I'm riding. I think next time I'll put it on the handlebars.

But, it did catch the inevitable crashes.

Good times. I can't wait to do it again.
Mileage: 7.2

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Photo barrage number 42

Other post titles for today included:
Wherein Google makes a liar out of me
Please excuse my absence, I've been busy
Flag Pedals: I survived another apocalypse! edition
And on it goes...

So. I went to make a post a few weeks ago (maybe a month ago, I don't remember.) and Blogger yelled at me saying I had filled my Picasa account with pictures. One gigabyte, filled with pictures. Apparently I take a lot of pictures, and share them on the internets for you all to see. I had a lot going on, so I decided I'd deal with it later.

One gigabyte doesn't sound like much, but you should see all the pictures that don't get posted here. I have to empty the one gig card in my camera 3 or 4 times a year for all the stuff I take pictures of. Some of it is alternate shots of what does get posted, a lot of it is stuff unrelated to bikes. I think I have eight or nine gigabytes of uncategorized images in camera dumps, organized by date. I don't delete any of the pictures I take.

Well, later arrived, and I suddenly had 4 more gigabytes of space on my Picasa account. I don't know where it came from, but hey, I may as well fill it up.

So, starting where I left off:

Exegete and I made our annual pilgrimage to Tombstone for Thanksgiving. We didn't bring bikes this time, but I got to see a couple while I was there.

A tandem, I'd guess circa1890's. Check out the dual steering arrangement. 
 I also saw a penny farthing rolling around on Allen street. Pretty cool to see one in motion.

The tandem was in the old courthouse. Exe's dad and I walked through it. They had a lot of neat historical artifacts on display.
Bells from various courthouses, this one included. You could ring them with provided rubber mallets. Beautiful sounds.

Steam-powered drill, used in the mines. Impressive.
Later, back home, I was riding home from work one day, and got to see a sunset that just wouldn't quit.
Taken a few minutes away from work. 
 I rode all the way out to Fort Tuthill, and there was still color in the sky, so I finally stopped to take more pictures, this time playing with shutter times.

This one came out nicely.
It was about this time that I tried to post with all the pictures above, that Picasa wouldn't let me add them. I ended up going on a ride between then and now, right before our first actual big snowstorm of the season.

I'd had a craving for the singlespeed bliss that is Tri, so I hopped on and rode along the Loop Trail to the Rocky Ridge Trailhead, along Rocky Ridge to Elden Lookout Road, and then up Red Onion to Little Bear.
Tri and I taking a break at the bottom of Red Onion.  
 No turkeys were seen heading up Onion this time.
Looking east from near the top of Little Bear.

Northeast. It looks warm, but it was actually quite chilly.

See? I ran into snow!

Looking back at Little Bear, from more Little Bear.


The further down I went, the more snow and ice I ran into in the north facing drainages. 
 It started getting sketchy with all the snow and ice, as well as cold, so I put the camera away and concentrated more on riding and getting home. I got to the bottom of Little Bear, took Little Elden up to  Schultz Pass, rolled down Schultz Creek (which was in great shape, no snow or mud) and even got to try the new big Schultz reroute, which pulled the trail out of the creek towards the bottom. It's not as technical, but it's fast and flowy, and plenty of stuff to keep you awake if you're moving fast enough. From there, it was the FUTS through town to home.

Now... the snow has fallen, more is on the way, and I've got Snowblind all ready to go do some riding in the snow.
Bi's looking quite... studly.
Oh yeah. Exe, TC and Tina at work teamed up and gave me a GoPro helmet camera.  This ought to be good. As Tina put it, either I'll finally catch that alien abduction, or nothing awesome will ever happen again. We'll see. I may become a video blogger. A Vlogger. Or something.

Mileage: I walked a few miles with Su...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I tell a lie.

I ended up going on a ride today after all, and raided the cull lumber box at HomeCo. Loading down a Henry is always fun, as is explaining to the cashier that I have a really cool bike.
"I'm Henry!"
Mileage: about 8 or so.

What the... where've you been?!

 Man... has it really been since Pines to the Mines?

It's even worse than I thought.

So... obviously, I have not been posting much, because... well... I haven't been riding too terribly much. No insane 50+ weekend rides, nothing like that. I've been riding, but not with the vigor that has been seen from me over the past year. Folks at Pines to the Mines kept saying that that ride was a great season closer, but I didn't take them seriously. Or maybe I did subconsciously.

I've been in a bit of a riding lull. A slump. A funk, or if we want to be fancy, funque.

Maybe part of it was just coming off of Pines, and claiming I was "recovering" from that. After all, it was a hard ride, both physically, and mentally. But, that excuse only lasted a week.

I'm sure that another part of it is the fact that we've had our cold snap, and it's harder to get motivated to get out and ride when it's 45 degrees with the wind blowing.

Maybe another part of it is that I've got the project itch again, as I seem to get around this time of year, and the time I allocated to riding bikes get moved to dinking in the garage, working on bikes, working with metal, working with wood. Fabricating. Inventing.

Riding the bike works the body, Working in the garage exercises the mind.

Another reason for the lack of riding, the mental aspect of dealing with cars. I just don't feel like doing it. At times, it really is a fight, and with the first snow of the season having fallen, the trails have turned to mud, which I don't like riding in. Harmful to the trails, hard on the bike, and just messy.

That leaves road, dirt roads, and the FUTS, which takes roads to get to. Which means cars.


I have still been riding. Bi's been getting plenty of miles, and with the darkness after work, I've been making it a point to put the "handlebar mounted personal sun" I call a headlight to use.

Interestingly... with less riding, comes a better quality of riding to me. Slowly, as I deprive myself of the bike, I find myself longing for it more. This is a good thing.

But, as I said, I've been riding.
Along the Loop Trail, before the cold snap.

The mountains, from the Kachina Wetlands.


Late fall colors at Fort Tuthill.

30 degrees, windy and wet outside? Time for the rollers.

Rollers give a different view while riding. (Bonus points if you can name the movie.)
In other news... Friday was the annual Absolute Bikes Team party. I rode there, and got one of my higher compliments in doing so. 6'8" Nate pointed at me, saying "You're the man! You're riding everywhere!" Last year not many people knew me, and I felt like an outsider, hanging out with them. This year, I knew a few more people, and more knew me, which was a nice feeling. Food was eaten, breezes were shot, announcements were made, and I signed up again.

Volunteer bonuses were also handed out, and I rode off to the bike shop the next day and spent mine. Henry gets his new front wheel soon!

Will I ride today? I'm not sure. Tomorrow? Of course. And you know what? It will be glorious.
Mileage: 0 so far.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pines to the Mines 2012

This is a ride I'd heard about for a few years now, and had wanted to do for just as long. Problem was, I almost always heard about it after the fact from other folks ride reports, and I didn't think I'd stand a chance of finishing it.

But then during my ride to the Inner Basin, Derek mentioned it and gave me some details. More than that, I was pretty confident that I'd be able to finish it.

Pines to the Mines is much more of a big fun ride than it is a race. It starts in Flagstaff, (In years past, it started at Pay n' Take, a convenience store/bar downtown, also the host of the ride) and ends in Jerome, taking dirt roads and a bit of singletrack. It winds around the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness area, down to the Verde River at Perkinsville, then up the mountain to the Gold King Mine in Jerome. There are three aid stations along the way, and a party at the mine when you finish. It is all low key and underground, so, no signups, no registration, just a bunch of folks having fun riding their bikes. I'm in.

So yesterday, the day of the ride, I woke up late and with a headache. What better way to start a ride like that?

Fortunately, I had gotten most everything ready the night before, and the headache faded quickly, and I made it to the start, at the beginning of Woody Mountain road, 10 minutes before the roll out.
Some of the people in front of me.

Some of the people behind me.
Me being me, I found people I knew, and hung out with them, shooting the breeze and waiting for the start. After a while, someone at the front shouts "What the f*** are you all still doing here?! Pedal your asses to Jerome, that's where the beer is!"

And so the ride began.

The roll down Woody Mountain Road was pretty quick and uneventful, save for the cow that almost took me out at Rogers Lake. To his credit, he gave me more room than most cars, and crossed the road five feet in front of me.

Before long we turned off Woody Mountain Road on to some logging roads, where things got fun, fast and scenic.

I ended up chasing these guys for quite a while.


Near the very top of Sycamore Canyon, just after we hit the singletrack.

The first of many "Woah" views.


It got a little smoky for a bit. Fortunately the route turned away from it after I took this picture.

After the rocky hiking trail that was the singletrack, this is the interstate!

It was around this point that I was starting to feel the miles behind me, all 40 of them. Fortunately, there was a big downhill coming up.

The Verde River Valley.
 Somewhere on this descent, I learned an important lesson, and that is that I can indeed pinch flat on a full suspension bike.,
Rolling down the road to Perkinsville.

The red(dish) rocks of Sedona. I'm a little ways south of them now.
At the river was the second aid station. The river is also the end of the easy riding. The river is also only about 15 miles from Jerome. The river also had hotdogs.
 That hotdog was so good, I had to have another.

After some good resting, chatting, water refilling, and general procrastinating due to the fact I had 15 miles of uphill ahead of me, Pretty, my two hotdogs and myself rolled back out.
The old bridge across the Verde. I never imagined I'd be riding to it on my bike, let alone across it.

Shortly afterwards, the road turned up, and I hit the granny gear.

Somewhere on this climb, I learned an important lesson, and that is that banana  flavored energy gels are disgusting. I ended up munching on my supply of twizzlers for a good part of the climb.
The first 6 or so miles of climbing are the worst. But then the road joins up with an old railroad right of way, with a much mellower grade, that takes you all the way in to Jerome. This is known as Margarita Junction. I learned an important lesson here, too, and that is that I do not like margaritas. I also had my second flat of the day here, induced by thorns. I refilled on water, changed my tube, picked thorns out of the tire, and rolled out.

Suddenly, I realize I've ridden a long way from home.

Nice and mellow climbing. I'll take it!
I like riding railroad beds. Especially uphill. It's just steep enough to make you feel like you're working, but not so steep that you're mashing at the gear shifter, mumbling about the fact that "There's gotta be another gear here somewhere!"

Also, it's perfect air guitar practice, which helps the miles melt away.
It's like a snake, winding around the mountain.

Almost there!


Those are the Peaks, off to the left.


Nice view from the party spot.
I made it to the mine around 4:00, about 8.25 hours after I started, sooner than my soft goal. Mainly, I just wanted to finish.  At the mine, there was beer, soda, BBQ, and t-shirts. I hung out, and everyone there shared their experiences for the day. The post ride vibe was not like anything I've ever experienced. No one was competing against anyone else, it felt like. We were all tired, dirty, and worn, but we all had fun riding through one of the prettiest and hardest rides I've done. I'm glad I went, and I'll be doing it again next year.

After a while, I headed out and met up with Exe in Jerome for a ride home.

Now the day after? I'm feeling it, but not as much as I had expected. I'm a little sore, but other than that, I feel ok. I might have been able to ride home from Jerome today, if I had a change of shorts and enough time to mosey.

Maybe next year.
Mileage for yesterday: 76 miles, plus 3.5 miles to the start.