Monday, November 27, 2006

Still Riding

It's been a downright wierd fall in regards to weather this year in Northern Michigan. This time last year I'd already been out skiing a few times. This year, I've been out on my road bike twice in the last week. And it wasn't really that cold. I'd go so far as to say that yesterday it was actually quite balmy. Sarah and I went for a leisurely ride up the shore with Hugh and Denise. They left thier road bikes in France this fall thinking they wouldn't need them here before they went back in the spring. Luckily they were able to cobble together a couple of bikes, and we took off from their house right around noon. We only rode to Island View and back, and we rode quite slowly. But it was still nice to get out in the fresh air. If we don't get snow soon, Chris had been talking about heading back out into the woods after deer season is over (Thursday is the last day). So charge up the lights, and maybe we'll be able to hit boyne or the loop once more before the bikes get put away for good.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mother Nature Wins Again

Well, my plans to do a couple of rides in Arkansas were foiled due to adverse weather conditions. A storm that swept through the area from the west (I -70 was closed through Colorado again) brought thunderstorms, high winds, and a small chance of tornadoes. The temperature also dipped down to right around forty degrees or less. I holed up for a night just outside of Little Rock, but the next day held little hope for better weather. So I made some room in the back of the car in order to get the bikes off the rack (due to the high winds and rain), and I made a run north for home. Needless to say, it was fairly slow going on the interstate, but I made a little progress each day. It's now Friday, and I should be able to make it home tonight. I've got lots of pictures and quite a few stories to tell. I'll see everybody soon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Windsurfing @ SBYC south

Got to meet up with Madge and John on North Padre Island for a little windsurfing earlier this week. I'd been to Chorpus Chirsti before, but this was my first time out on North Padre. It was absolutely fabulous. Apparently, Ed Tim goes there quite often (the guys at the surf shop all knew him). It was the perfect place to learn the sport. No waves and a good lesson on Sunday got me to the point where I was able to go out by myself for most of the afternoon on Monday (with quite a few breaks thrown in). I can now turn around and ride a real board. I still fell in the drink from time to time, but I feel like I really got the hang of it. Hopefully I'll be able to remember it all come next spring. I've got another ride on tap for tomorrow in Ark., but the weather appears to be questionable. We'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Run for the border

After leaving Tucson I made a run for the border, but I stopped about seven miles shy at the Patagonia Lake State Park. There was an IMBA epic ride at Kentucky Camp nearby, and I just couldn't resist a town and a state park by the name of Patagonia. It was actually quite nice, and I decided to spend two nights there hanging out and riding. The trails at Kentucky Camp appear to be quite exstensive. I had a nice map which made me much more comfortable exploring so close to the border. I saw that sign on a dirt road on the way to the trailhead parking, but I saw quite a bit of traffic (trucks, horses, and hikers). Incidentally, this was my first ride on the whole trip that I didn't see another biker. All told, the area was a breath of fresh air compared to the oppressive heat and pavement that is Tucson. I'm now on North Padre Island with Madge and John for a couple of days of windsurfing and hanging out on the beach. I should begin the trek north on Monday or Tuesday, so I'll report back from the road. Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Southern AZ

It was just too hot to ride after I dropped Sarah off at the airport on Tuesday morning, so I wussed out and got a hotel room in Tucson. They did have laundry though so it wasn't a total waste. I got up early on Wednesday to beat the heat. I had a wake up call for six, and I was out the door and breakfested by 7:15. I got to the trail head of the Fifty Year Trail and had myself suited up and ready to go by eight. I was expecting a 1.5 to 2 hour ride. It turned into a little more. The trail started off awesome. Fast, flowing singletrack. I just started to think what a cool trail this was when it got hard. I would reckon that I walked a good mile or so in the middle. It was some technical shit I will tell you that. I also had a couple of firsts on the mountain bike trail:
1: cows...I rode up on a bull eating a cactus right along the trail. He didn’t have a care in the world, and he even let me take his picture.
2: heat....When I started at 8:oo it was 57 degrees out. When I finished (after a four or five mile detour) it was 87. I drank a big bottle and my whole wing nut pack in just shy of three hours. Needless to say, it was a longer ride than I had been expecting.
3: snakes.....I almost ran over a snake. I don’t know what kind it was, and I wasn’t about to stop and try and figure it out. However, I met up with a dude at the car after I was done and got to talking. He was just heading out, and he mentioned in passing, “the rattlers should be coming out just about now.” Combined with the bull it was more threatening wildlife than I’m used to back home.
4: cactus....I saved the best for last. Prickly looking cacti lined the trail in almost all parts. And at first I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. But then, about halfway through the ride I took a little digger around a corner in some sand.. Normally it would have been nothing to write home about. But I landed (not hard at all) on top of a cactus. They are an amazing plant. I got cacti prong (or whatever the fuck they’re called) in my hands, arms, ankles, legs, and oh yes tires. This is where you can thank the bike gods for tubeless tires. The cacti in my body most certainly hurt; and when you pulled them out, the holes bled. But when I pulled them out of my front tire, I heard a brief hissing noise and then nothing. Problem solved, and I didn’t even have to pump them up again. It was my first time actually reaping the benefits of the tubeless set up in the real world, and they rock. That totally made up for the walking, and the increased time out in the heat.
Overall, I’d say that Tucson kind of sucks, but the Fifty Year Trail is more than worth checking out. You’ll have to walk a little in spots, and I’d probable opt for the geared bike if I were to ride it again. But all in all, not a bad little trail.

So to sum it up: Tucson is a sprawling beheamouth of a city. The 50 year trail is pretty cool, but get a good map (I did after I rode it). After I made a run for the border (not across the border, just to Patagonia Lake) things got much better. I'll report back with news and photos from the Kentucky Camp.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Riding with Sarge

Just finished up a few days of good riding with old Sargent Major in and around Flagstaff. We rode a trail called Schultz Creek on Friday afternoon. It started off with a good amount of climbing on nice forestey singletrack. Then finished off with a killer three mile downhill. Day two took us for an easy spin at Camelback Mesa. It was a super easy trail, but a whole lot of fun. I rode the majority of it in the big ring, so you can imagine how fast and furious it was. On Sunday, we rode down in Sedona with Josh and Ginny Biggs. The Cathedral Rock trail was the perfect mix between technical features and sweet rolling singletrack with killer views the whole way. Both of these pictures were taken along Oak Creek about 2/3 of the way through the ride. All in all, it was the perfect threeday weekend of riding (and drinking and eating exceptionally well). I dropped Sarah off at the airport in Phoenix this morning, and I'm in Tuscon for the next couple of days for more riding. I'm not sure how long I'll last down here though, it's 94 outside right now. So the plan is to get up early tomorrow and hit the 50 year trail before it gets too hot. I'll check the forecast before I decide what to do next. Take care, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sarah's Out West Thoughts

For someone who is into mt biking, but loves the easier route, loved Moab. I was breathless, cold, mesmorized, beautified, pissed off, challenged and most of all, I have never been anywhere where I was so happy going downhill.

The first challenge was Slickrock. Ginni Biggs was there for me all the way. The first uphill challenge, I jumped off my bike so I wouldn't fall. Ginni changed that. She told me, "my tires would stick". And they did the rest of the trail. When you first bike Moab slickrock, you have no idea what to expect. Then you have friends to guide you. You bump, you glide, you freak out at the next turn and then you see the view. Nothing like it.

So, to Porqupine Rim. i hated the uphill-literally 3.1 miles of straight uphill, so you may say 3.1, that is nothing, well 3.1 with 1,000 feet to climb, it is not Kipp Rd....

We, I, made it. Then the views happened. We stopped to eat and drink in the views. Can't describe it. So, now the downhill....
Wow. It made me feel like the biggest bad ass biker ever. I was going over rocks the size of Bodhi, that is my big fat lab, and laughing about it after. I loved it, I was free! And I didn't fall-no one did.

So, that is the biking section of our trip. i guess that is all you bloggers are interested in. I will now try and attach a picture.

I will send more from Flag.

Durango, CO

Had a four +- hour drive from Moab to Durango, CO. It was a pretty, if uneventfull, drive. Our luck continues to hold since the freakishly abnormal weather on the way out. We parked the car in downtown Durango and set out in search of a beer. The first place we happened to wander into was awesome. They had 36 beers on tap, and it just happened to be $2 pint day. What could be better you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Our bartender also happened to be a mountain biker, and so we got hooked up with a little cocktail napkin map for a ride at Horse Gulch the following morning. Once again we saw an insane amount of bikers on the trail. Not so insane that you were running into anyone, just so much more interest in mountain biking than we have at home. We saw college kids with platform pedals and boxer shorts sticking out of baggy shorts. We saw an old guy riding a sweet looking Titus bike. There was one guy who was clearly a hardcore xc racer, and another dude who could have been a professor or a doctor just out for a quick ride. Even though we only rode for an hour, you got the distinct impression that this network of trails could easily keep you busy for one (if not two) whole days of riding. And it all starts right in downtown Durango. The town itself is also really cool, with an assortment of great dining and drinking. I'd passed through Durango on a number of occasions, but this was the first time I'd spent the night and actually hung out. Given the great time we had, I'm sure it won't be too long before we're back for a longer stay.