Sunday, December 27, 2015

Does This Bike Make Me Feel Overconfident?

Yes (Warning, graphic material)
 "You never know what you can't do until you try and fail miserably with  a mouth full of broken teeth", The Candid Cyclist

My wife got me my biggest surprise Christmas present ever this year.  A brand new Specialized Fatboy Carbon.  I'd been lusting for a new fatbike for over a year and the desire was becoming overwhelming.  And there it was under the Christmas tree.  #bestchristmaspresentever
She got me, a total surprise!

We lined up 5 people to ride at Range Pond.  A place I had never been but always heard about.  When we got there it turns out that another friend was just starting a ride with a friend which made 7 of us out on the trails.  It was awesome!
The new bike peddled and handled like a dream.  The trail is some fast twisty, flowy singletrack and even though I had never been on the trails I felt comfortable taking them with some speed.  Even with the wide bars I was twisting through trees.  Despite being a fatbike this is also my lightest mountain bike so climbing was fun.  That wasn't the problem.
Like A Pro

Team Big Bird

I wouldn't have to walk this on a Fatboy Carbon

Fellow Fatboy rider
 Our group dwindled down to 5 as people went off to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  It happens.
Then there were 5

Beautiful Boxing Day

Blaze, WoodsVagen, The Red Baron, Kale & Ruby
We road around the park a little longer and were just about to leave when I decided to play around on the concrete parking dividers.  That was one of my worst ideas this year.  I was riding down them lengthwise popping my tire onto the next one as I rode down the row.  It seemed safe enough since they are only 6" off the ground.  The new bike was light enough with lots of traction that it seemed easy.  I was practically Danny MacAskill.  More like granny-lack-of-skill.
Unyielding cement
The wheel dropped between dividers and stopped.  I went over the bars and broke the bikes fall with my face.  Lying on the ground in a slight daze with a mouth full of blood and broken teeth was not my favorite feeling.  The bike amazingly landed (I think) completely upside-down resting on it's seat and handlebars.  At least that is the first place I noticed it.

I think Herb commented that I had a great opportunity for a new Facebook profile picture. Funny since he isn't on Facebook.

That is not snot, that is the remnant of my lip. Note the tooth on the right.
I sat there and collected myself taking inventory of my injuries.  Hanging upper lip, split lower lip, hole in lower lip, chipped tooth, loose tooth, scraped up chin sore ribs, giant bruise and welt on my leg & slightly bashed up hand.  The piece of tooth was nowhere to be found. Yet.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” Hunter S. Thompson


I was in a mild state of shock as my wife drove me home.  I started making calls to see who could put me back together and got an emergency appointment scheduled with the dentist with a stop at quick care to cut off this annoying flap of lip.  I got through the intake and one of the questions made me feel like a 6 year old with training wheels.
"Did you fall off your bike?"
What?  No, I didn't "fall" off my bike.  This is one of the more advanced fatbikes on the market.  I ride 6000 miles a year and enter mountain bike races.  "Did I fall off my bike?" !!! I told her I did an unintentional dismount onto a concrete parking divider.

One clip and 4 stitches later that was done.  Oh, and the missing piece of tooth was found...embedded in my flesh.  The doc couldn't get the needle through. Gross.  The dentist was able to patch up the broken tooth but was a little more concerned about the loose one - splinted and hoping for the best.

I went home and skipped the prescribed pain meds in lieu of 2 martinis.  That seemed to do the trick.
This was the least of my facial injuries.
My face is sore, my teeth are sore, chewing sucks, I have an achy rib, my leg has an extra lump and my lip is numb.  I may drop the few pounds I found over the holidays because eating is slow and less enjoyable than usual.

Man, I can't wait to ride that bike again.  Too bad it's raining!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


beavers build a dam
nighttime ride through foggy woods
water fills my shoe

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Eurika: Waterproof Gloves That Work

Gloves for cold wet weather have been a consistent problem for me.  Waterproof gloves seem to come in 2 varieties.  The first flavor claim they are waterproof and soak through completely after 20 minutes.  The second are truly waterproof like these: Neoprene Gloves  It's true, they are waterproof.  But they trap every ounce of sweat you produce on your hands and, I'm not exaggerating here, take 3-4 days to dry.

There may be some magic pair of $200 hyper-gore-tex-blah-blah-blah waterproof gloves that solve this problem but A: Given my track record on gloves that don't work I'm not going to invest that kind of cash on another disappointing pair of gloves. And #2: I have a theoretical limit of about $50 on gloves because you need about 5 different kinds to cover all types of weather and temperature and (See A Above).

Enter the magic of finding roadside treasure.  About 2 weeks ago I found not one but a full pair of PVC coated gloves.
They were covered in oil which I scrubbed off with some Simple Green.  The inside was basically clean.  I didn't realize it at the time but they actually just hit my $50 threshold: Comet PVC Coated Gloves  COOL!

I got to try them for the first time in the rain.  The coated part is 100% waterproof and windproof.  At 40F they were plenty warm in the rain but there is enough room in them for a liner to get down to freezing, and below that there is no water, so no waterproof glove needed. The open cuff design seems to significantly reduce hand overheating and sweating.  The minimal sweat that does build up wicks nicely through the liner and dries quickly.  Dexterity isn't great but manageable.  The only downside is that the cuffs aren't waterproof but my jacket came down under the cuff and it's my fingers that usually freeze in the rain and that problem is solved.

Of course all of this is based on one 40 minute ride in light rain......but I think they will work.