Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Early Morning Cyclist Inspiration

4" of fresh powder over icy ruts made the trails dicey but the snow on the trees was like a storybook.  At times I had to ride off the trail because I didn't have enough traction to turn.  It's finally warm enough to stop and take a picture after a week of sub zero (F) weather. 
If only this picture could capture how cool the moon really was.

A winding camp road.
I guess I didn't actually take any pictures of the trail.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First "Crash" of 2013

On my way to work starting out a great trail commute it happened.  I was dressed for the 10 degree weather, coffee, helmet, gloves lights and all in hand and halfway down the oak stairway in my slippery plastic bottomed bike shoes.  BLAM, the rest of the trip down the stairs happened in about 1 second coffee spraying everywhere!  "Fuckin Meow" I cried.  Actually I yelled out something else using one of those words. (Sorry Mom).  Anyway, I was lying at the bottom of the stairs in a full yard sale

My wife came down the stairs to:
a. make sure I wasn’t seriously injured and
b. once that was determined, start laughing and tell me that she wished she could have seen it.  Then
c. clean up the coffee that was covering the stairs, floor and couch. 
I really don’t blame her, that would have been my order of business too.  Cut from the same cloth we are.  After about a minute I determined that I could actually put weight on that leg but not for long.  After a few minutes of sitting on the stool I decided I could probably still ride to work, after all, I was already dressed for it and it promised to be a beautiful trail ride. The ride in was OK but a little sore.  When I changed for work I noticed that I have a nice blue bruise forming over the road rash I got last year.  That hip gets hit hard.

Note to self: Wear the helmet when walking down the slippery stairs with the slippery shoes.

On a related note:

Review of Louis Garneau Ergo Grip Cycling Shoes.

Most notably, the hard plastic soles are very slippery on oak stairs.  Since writing the review below that is published on Backcountry I have had more cold weather experience with them and they are definitely lacking when the temps drop into the single digits (F) and below.  For the $80 I paid for them I'll live with it.  Duct (Gorilla actually) taping some toe covers over the hard plastic toes seems to help.
After commuting through the winter and struggling with toe covers that slip off and *iss me off I decided to get some winter specific shoes. These are basically some cheap road shoes with built in shoe covers. The tongue is kind of flimsy and you have to fiddle with it every time you put your feet in to make it lay flat. They aren’t extremely warm but not bad. So far I’ve only worn them down to 32 degrees and my toes still get chilly by the end of my 12 mile commute. When the temps start getting down closer to 0 I’ll slip a hand warmer inside the zippered cover.

The ergo grip sole does a great job outdoors but is hard plastic so it can be slippery on things like hardwood, especially if it is wet. I wore them for a cyclocross race and they were perfect for keeping the mud out of my feet and had great traction on the course. I think they will be similar in snow.

I bought about a size up to make sure I could wear extra socks and that was the right choice for me. I’d say they run mostly true to size, but maybe a hair small.

I got them at a great sale price. I wouldn’t pay the retail price for these. The styling isn’t really what I was looking for but with the thin tops I can zip my thermal tights on the outside of the boot so if it is raining the water wicks out, not in. Very Important.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Checking out the Lake

I'm scoping out my weekly commuting options.  The trails are a little soft but the lake only has a few inches of snow on it and is a nice ride.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Early Morning Cyclist Inspiration

 For some reason, winter sunrises are the best.  Actually there are 2 reasons.  #1 I am awake for them and #2 the freezing temperatures cause ice crystals in the atmosphere which refract the light better than plain water vapor.
  But mostly they are just pretty.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Early Morning Cyclist Inspiration

First lake crossing of the year!  You'd think I'd have pictures of the lake but I don't.  Temps were in the single digits and I was too cold to get the camera out.


 The trails were passable but soft.  I guess that's why it took me from 6:15 to 8:00 to get to work.  I also needed some extra time to scope out the lake.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Year End Review. - 5853 Miles!!!

Without a doubt my biggest biking year of all time.  I commuted a total of 5218 miles, to save 261 gallons of gas or over $1000 which also adds up to 4958 lbs of CO2 emissions.  Using the standard mileage rate I saved over $2896 which was enough to justify adding 2 new bikes to the fleet, the Surly Cross Check and a 29er Mountain bike.  I commuted 211 days in all or about 91% of my working days.

From oldest to newest the miles I put on each bike were:
Univega - 943, my old favorite gets almost $1000 miles.
Bridgestone - 1611, "The Tank" gets a lot of winter, bad weather miles.
GT 1.0 - 904, Over 900 miles on an off-road bike is a lot!
Scott - 287, Hmm, my lightest, fastest bike seems a little neglected here.
Surly - 2038.6, But the bike I got at the beginning of the year seems to have taken up the slack.
GT 9er - 70, Only 70 miles?  OK, I've only had it a week.

2012 was a year for other firsts too.  My first 5K (and second, and third, and fourth).  My first mini-triathlon, my first off-road triathlon (8th place) and my first cyclocross race (nowhere near 8th place).

I think 2013 will be a year of fewer firsts but I'm going to try to improve the foundations I built in 2012.

Happy New Year