Sunday, July 29, 2012

Racing Against the Rain.

 I made a friend at work, let's start with that.
We're naming him Li'l Stinky.
We're going to make friends with him and make him our perimeter defense guard.

Friday... I didn't go to work! *jazz hands*  So, I teamed up with Su...
 ...and we played with Henry. I'd been thinking about putting a 29er wheel on the Big Dummy for quite some time, but was too lazy to try it, since just trying it would require pulling the front fender, front rack, and possibly even the front brake. But, after deciding that I wanted to build a Porteur rack for Henry, those things had to come off anyways, so why not give it a shot? So I pulled everything apart, and popped Tri's front wheel on Henry's front end.
Henry's front wheel is the little one in front. What a difference!
 After a few spins around the neighborhood, and hopping several curbs, I can say that I like the way Henry rides with a big wheel up front. Very little handling change, no toe-verlap issues, and pops up over obstacles much easier than before. And with as much offroading as I've been doing with Henry lately, that's a good thing. The only thing I'm not sure of is how well a front fender will fit. A 29x2.25 tire clears the crown of the Big Dummy fork by a little over a quarter of an inch, which doesn't leave much room for a fender. I'll worry about that later, though.

As for the porteur rack, I designed it around the 29er wheel, so it will clear just fine. I finished the framework for it, and the deck has been shaped, sanded, burned and drilled, and is only waiting to be finished. I'll take pictures of the finished product. I think it will look nice, though.

Saturday was Loop Trail Day. We had a good turnout, and after giving some attention to the tread we built in May, we connected to Forest Road 301D, effectively completing the entire southern section of the Loop!
This was a cool view.

Of course, Henry got to lay the first tracks, again.
 We then rode the Loop Trail all the way to within a mile of home. That was a great feeling, and a great ride.

Today was race day.

What race?

The I'm Going to Ride up Elden and Down Little Bear Trail Before it Rains Because I've Been Trying to Since the Trail Officially Opened But it Keeps Raining Classic.

It's quite the popular race, and I met several people along the way.
I made it to the top before the rain...
 I'd never ridden The Catwalk and Hobbit Forest when the trail was damp and tacky from rain, and the skies looked decent, so I passed up Red Onion and headed up to Sunset Trail.
This is why The Catwalk is scary.
 I survived, and more than that, had fun, and found myself at the top of Little Bear.
The Trail Closed sign is gone! IT'S OPEN!
 And then, for the second time ever, and the first time in three or four years, I rode Little Bear.

Downhill was had.
Some of the views have changed.
 Largely, the trail is still on the original alignment. Most of the fun stuff is still there, and it's just as scary and fun as I remember it being. But some things are different... The views and lack of trees in some sections, and the massive drains to control erosion and give the trail a bench to ride on in some of the drainage.
One of the amazing drains that had to be built to keep the trail in place.
 At the bottom, I turned right and headed around the eastern side of Elden, instead of climbing up and over Schultz Pass. I think it paid off, because when I rounded the side of the mountain, I saw this:
That's where home is!
I must be good at riding in between storms, because by the time I got downtown, it was only sprinkling, and I got wet more from the tire spray than the actual rain.

But... Didn't matter. Rode Little Bear.

Mileage: 34.6

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I've been busy...

 ...and busy riding, too. Obviously I haven't been blogging lately, for two main reasons... Things have taken a (tentative) upswing at work, which has made me more motivated to be there, so I've been busy with that. Secondly... I just haven't been motivated to blog. It struck me a while ago that most of my blog posts are the same "I went on a ride, here's some pics" blather. That's my view, anyways. Maybe a break will do me some good, in that sense.

That's not to say I haven't been riding... In lieu of bloggery, feel free to poke at my RideWithGPS profile that I keep linking to, and you'll see what rides I've been on. I may start putting the pictures I take on each ride up there too, so there's less of a "photodump with some words!" on the blog. We'll see. Not that I'm abandoning the blog... just posting a little less frequently.

Aaannnywhoo... None of that is the point of today's post. No, today, I shall blog about a bike ride. A long one. One I look forward to every year, this year especially, since I got to do it with gears.

Yup... the Taylor House Century Ride.

I managed to get Friday off from work, so I could spend the day being lazy and resting up for the ride.

Yeah, that's not what happened.

I ended up getting struck by inspiration, and took Henry for a ride to Home Depot for supplies.
Here's what the end of the ride looked like.

 The rest of the day was spent building the frame for my new bed, because, what better way to get ready for a 100 mile bike ride than to spend the night before in a new and unfamiliar bed?

Fortunately, my new bed was comfy, and I slept great. I showed up at the ride start at the hospital ready to go. Exegete was even there, having volunteered to drive one of the SAG wagons.
Some Team Absolute riders, waiting for the start.

Everyone lined up behind me.

And everyone in front of me, too.
 We all took off for the roll down Beaver Street and through downtown, which is always a little nerve wracking for me, this year especially. People rode their brakes all the way down the hill, and it was a game of dodging other riders, loose bottles, and at one point an inner tube. But I made it down without incident, and rolled through town fairly quickly.

Unlike last year, we had to stop for the train this time.
 The roll down Townsend Winona and through Doney Park was smooth, and while a lot of people passed me on the downhills and flats, I passed a lot of people on the uphills, even pulling for a bit.
Once again, the view I grew up with. Mt. Elden on the left, Cave Hill center, and The Peaks.
 I made very quick work of Highway 89, and passed a lot of people on the big climb out of Timberline. It seemed like I ended up being the first one of the pack I was in to make it to the aid station at the top of the hill, which was nice for a couple reasons. No line at the outhouses, and short line for water refills and snacks. I felt good, so I didn't spend a lot of time there, and kept on trucking down 89 to the next aid station, which was a repeat.

Riding away from station number 3.

Onward, to the desert!
 The stretch through Wupatki, between station 3 and 4, is beautiful, and I never seem to catch enough pictures of it. It also goes fairly quickly, as it's mostly downhill until about 2 miles before the next aid station. At this point, I was loving having the gears, as the miles were melting away, and I was staying in the big ring for the most part. I was making great time.


Blurry picture of the painted desert. Shortly after this point, the road disappears from under you.
 And it really does drop. It's about 500 to 600 feet of elevation drop in about 2 miles. It's a 40 mile an hour drop. It is an absolute blast.

After that, things start pointing uphill. I spent less time in the big ring, started moving slower, and for the most part, crawled into my pain cave, and ground away at the miles.

At this point, I really couldn't tell a difference between doing this ride with gears or without.
The only difference was that the cockpit looked different this year.
 At this point... my camera decided the battery was dead, so no more pictures of the ride. But there were still high points to be had... like the guy at aid stop number 5 who was spraying people down with a water mister.

That felt incredible.

There's also a great picture that the ride photographer took of me rolling in to the last aid station at the top of the climb out of Sunset Crater.

But the best part was the finish. I hit rain at the bottom of Cedar Hill, which is the last obstacle of the ride, between me and the food at the finish at the hospital. The rain is my reset button, and I powered up Cedar Hill, and down the other side.

Pizza, salad, and cookies were eaten, the rain stopped, Exe finished his driving rounds, and I rode home. Exe arrived shortly after, with the most delicious strawberry shake ever, to finish the ride.

And after a shower, my nice comfy new bed was waiting for me.
It may or may not have a different hammock today than yesterday. >.>
While I can't say if gears were a good choice or not for the ride, I can definitely confirm that a hammock is the best way to relax after a big ride.
Mileage: None today, 102.something yesterday.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kickin' it on 66

 Despite my lack of postage, there has been some riding happening. It's just that between the riding, the fact that life at work got very interesting, (In a good way so far...) and the urge to just completely zone out every time I sit down to blog... yeah.

So... have some pictures of a couple of my bike rides in the past week.

Coming down Little Elden Springs Road, on my way around Mt. Elden after work.

I decided it would be a good idea to ride out to Bellemont after work one day... via some old Route 66 alignments.

Old gas station along side old 66. I guess a scene from Easy Rider was filmed here?

Looking in the windows. Check out that register...

Old vending machines.

Some art where one alignment of 66 crosses another.
 Route 66 is a road that for some reason captures me. I think a big part of it is that it's such a big piece of history that is tangible and very easy to access, in a physical sense. Finding historical information of it is another story, though. So of course... riding my bike on it is way too cool to me.

Today... When Safeway has a soda sale... I ride Henry. I love my bike.