Friday, February 28, 2014

Over 3 Miles of Trails in Under 3 Minutes.

We've got some of the best winter riding of the year going on right now!.  Unfortunately the quality drops every time I move the video from one place to another.  I'll work on that.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Soul Sucking Lake

I rode home in a blizzard last night.  There were a few inches on the trails already and the going was tough so like a good fatbiker, I dropped my tire pressure to somewhere around 2psi and the going was tough but pretty doable.  It was snowing at a rate of a few inches/hour.   

It the middle of the woods, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a blizzard.  It was actually pretty fun.

By the time I got to the lake, the soul sucking lake, there were 4-5” on the ground and the going was getting harder.  The ride across the lake started out fine  I wasn't out on it more that 50' before I lost all visual clues of where I was.  My lights reflecting off the snow were brighter than any lights on shore and I could only see about 10' ahead.  
It Looked A Lot Like This
 Luckily, I'm pretty familiar with the lake so it was more interesting than worrying.  Once on the main bay the wind had picked up, the snow had blown in drifts and any indications of where the snow had been packed had vanished.  Soul sucking started.  After about 3/4 mile of trudging I got to a point where I could either trudge a short distance more toward the road or ride again on the lake for 1/2 mile toward the trail. I chose hard riding over more trudging.  When I got to the trails the snow had piled up more and any upgrade became impossible.  So more trudging.  My knees hurt, I was feeling sick, my goggles were fogging up and I was tired and getting grumpy.  I could go on...  I had thoughts like "If this were my only experience with biking, I wouldn't do it."

My whole commute through the trails takes 45min on a good day.  This day I got to the far shore of the lake in 45min, not bad.  I got home in 2:15, bad.  Normally, the trip across the lake and then home is only about 25% of the ride.  I'm going to take a day or 2 off from riding.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Snowman Adventure Race

 Midwinter is a time for cabin fever and being sick so when I saw The Snowman Adventure Race show up as an upcoming event I had all the signup information filled in and the credit card number entered before I even got confirmation from my race partner that she was in.  Like it was ever in question.
The car is packed with sleds, a bike and a sledding partner.
Race day rolled around and it couldn't have been more perfect, well, except we were both sick.  It was a cold morning to keep the snow hard but it was warming up quick.  A combination of colds and work kept us from coming up with any costumes. 
Pre-race, full of excitement!
There was a little stress when they announced that the race would start immediately after the pre-race meeting and my bike was still in the car.  I rushed off to get my bike and worry to find out that the meeting was over and the race would start in 10 min, just like it was supposed to.
I'm 3rd from the front, far end of the course, green sled...sprinting.
(Picture by Pat Baily)
The bike leg was excellent with hard packed snow.  The mountain bike was the right choice.  I started out in 4th place and quickly moved to 3rd where I would stay for the remainder of the race.  I'm not sure about the people behind me but the people ahead of me were strong!  I couldn't catch them, nope.  In fact the gap between me and #2 was growing for the whole 5.75 miles.  For what ever reason, that flat, seemingly easy 5 miles went by pretty slowly, like 13.5MPH slow.  I was really surprised to hear that the first biker was on a fatbike.  I was less surprised when I found out it was a 27 lb, $6000 fatbike and he races in endurance events.  My mountain bike weighs in around 31 lbs
Bicycle action shot!
 I got to the finish line totally wiped out and tagged my partner, it was her job to win this race now.  She ran to the top and took her run.  After I cheered her through I milled around to catch my breath for a few minutes then slowly made my way to the top with the sled for the tandem slide.  I got to hang out with the #1 and #2 bikers at the top chatting about the ride and teasing each other about who would be in first.  The first runner appeared over the hill and it was MY runner!  Biker #2 wondered if maybe we'd just missed the first two.  I cheered her past us to the turn-around and took my place on the hill ready for her to return as a few other runners passed.
(what's taking so long?  The longer she's out there, the more chance there is for her to get passed) 
No worries, she got to the top of the hill well before any of the others, piled on top of me and we took our run down the hill to our victory dance which made the 6:00 news but has now vanished.

Post-race, full of pride.
I think I can honestly say that this is the first time I've been interviewed for a TV spot for winning a race.  That footage has also vanished, probably for the best.  The story still lives.(at least for a while, sorry for the potentially broken link for all those revisiting this blog several years... oh, nevermind) here:

Racers bike, run, sled through Portland

The after party and awards were pretty fun.  A free beer always helps.  We got some decent prizes for our efforts, a free bike tune-up and a free ski tune-up, unfortunately, I'll probably never use them because I do all my own bike maintenance and I don't own any current skis.  The free growlers full of beer had my interest, oh well.

Casualties: 1 green sled, sorry to the sled owner - we already have a replacement - it's a red sled now. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Early Morning Cyclist Inspiration

I've been riding the mountain bike after about a week on my phatbike and it feels so nimble and quick, I'm looking for candlesticks.  Speaking of jumping, I love the sound of riding on crusty snow and then getting a few moments of air where everything goes silent.  The saddest thing about winter trail commuting is that it is at it's best just before it ends.  The trails are fast and fun.  The studded tires are earning their keep too.  Snow in the forecast for tomorrow so we'll see what happens.
Another day, another pretty sunrise.

I had another bike commuter on the trail with me.