Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Never Too Early

.... to start thinking about next year. I've got my ski races all cleared with work, so why not start thinking about bike races for next year. This race will almost certainly be on the calendar come September. Check it out.

Friday, October 30, 2009

WNR # 29

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Secret Steve, Kevin, Charlie (the new guy), and Sarah.

Weather: Cool and dark.

Trail Conditions: Still pretty good. There are a lot of leaves on the ground so it was a little hard to follow the trail once it got dark.

I had a good ride, and I think I've finally reached some conclusions about my rigid steel fork experiment. I've had some nagging neck pain for the last month, and my hands have been a tad more sore than usual lately. This has all been going on for about the same duration that I've been riding the rigid fork. It occurred to me the other day that the pain may be a result of using the non-squishy fork. I really like the way the rigid fork feels, and I also enjoy the 2.5 # weight reduction of the bike. However, if it makes my hands and neck hurt, it's probably not worth it. I'll switch back to the singlespeed (that has suspension) for the remainder of the season, and we'll see what happens.

Next weeks WNR @ HQ. We'll probably ride the normal route all the way down to Lower Shore and then head back home via Surfwood, so if you have a red blinky rear light bring it along.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two Track Singletrack

Rob and Tim came out to HQ yesterday at noon for a long ride in the woods. We set off north on the usual North Loop route. They have continued their logging operations up that way, and now there is a really nasty, huge mud bog about 2/3 of the way up. It requires dismounting and the very real possibility of muddy wet feet. We went around on the way home, and I will continue to do so until spring. Tim seems to think they'll probably "clean it up a little" when they are finished. We'll see. Anyway, we rode north on some very wet and technical two tracks until we got to the NCT on Van. Rd. We hit up the singletrack south to Middle Village Rd. where we turned west to head home. It was right around then that rain that had been threatening all day finally started. It wasn't a downpour or anything, but it was steady. From there we took South Beacon/Radle/Webb/Stuts/Home. I just looked at my numbers again to see how fast I got going down that last paved hill on Stutsmanville. I knew I was going super fast, but I couldn't risk looking down yesterday what with the rain and all. My GPS unit is normally very accurate, but maybe it hit a blip or something yesterday. It recorded my max. speed at 50.3 mph. Holy Crap. It did feel a little faster than normal (low 40's), but I thought it was just the rain and cold. Hmm. Bottom line: 24.8 miles/2 hours 33 minutes/ 2025 feet climbing. A good ride indeed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WNR #28 (On Thursday)

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Kevin, and the new guys (Jason, Greg, and Charlie)

Weather: Cold, but not raining. Temps. right around 40 degrees. Dark.

Trail Conditions: Slippery and almost totally leaf covered. A few larger pieces of debris here and there.

It was definitely one of those nights where you really don't feel like riding. It's getting dark as you drive to the trailhead. It's really, really windy and cold. But as usual, within a couple turns of the pedals up that first hill, you're happy to be out on your bike. Mr. Benson set a brisk pace both out and back, and we ticked off the 9ish miles in around 50 minutes. In the dark, with the slipperiness that's a pretty good clip. Benson, Rob, and I headed up to the Pond for dinner afterwards. I hadn't been there in probably close to ten years. They've done a little remodeling, but the burgers are still excellent. We've got a big ride planned for tomorrow around noon leaving from the HQ. Next weeks WNR @ Boyne. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No WNR #28 Report

The weather yesterday was rather abysmal. It's been pretty crappy for a while, so that's saying a lot. Benson called me up to see if I was down with switching the ride to today. I was. While it wasn't particularly cold, it rained almost non-stop the entire day. That would have made the riding last night not so much fun, plus the wet roots that are all covered up with leaves would be harder to spot in the dark. Today, the rain has let up. Hopefully the roots/obstacles that are harder to see in the dark won't be quite as wet tonight. My batteries are charged and the bike is in the back of the car so we'll find out soon enough. I got a good YouTube clip from Tim F. today. I pass it along to you. Check it out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chandler Hill on the NCT

I met up with Benson, Rob, and Tim Flynn yesterday morning for a little ride on the NCT. We drove down to Harmon road and rode up to the top of Chandler Hill (Rob was the big hill climb winner of the day) and back. It's a really nice trail, and I hadn't ridden down there since the spring. I'm pretty sure the other guys haven't ridden down there at all this year. The climbing is some of the toughest around. I think we did just under 2000 feet in a hair short of 16 miles. Click through below to check out the details. Have a happy monday.

P.S. Second ride with the rigid fork, and I kind of like it.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

WNR #27

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Keri, and Kevin.

Weather: Cold. Temps. in the low 40's when I started around 5:30 and down to 36 by the time we finished up about 7:45. Brrr. It was also dark.

Trail Conditions: Good to Excellent. There are a few leaves on the ground, but overall the trail is still fairly easy to follow.

Just to spice things up a bit, I put the rigid fork back on the geared bike for the WNR this week. I figured if I was going to be riding in the cold and the dark, I might as well make it a little more challenging. It was. The newer downhill trail on the backside was particularly tricky on the steel fork in the dark. All in all, we had a good (albeit cold) ride. Truth be told, once you get moving it really isn't that bad though. Next weeks WNR @ The NCT off of Lark's Lake Road. Possible dinner at The Pond after. Take care and have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cap's Cabin

Sarah and I rented a cabin at Wilderness State Park on sunday night. Since we knew that Matt and Jess had sunday and monday off, we invited them to join us. Cap's Cabin was one of only two available for the night; and since we hadn't stayed in it before, we decided to give it a shot. It was nice. The stove didn't work particularly well, but there was a great spot in between the cabin and the beach that would be perfect for a couple of tents. We're going to see about reserving it for a weekend in early May for a little mini bike fest. The total occupancy is supposed to be 8, but I think we could fudge it up to 10. So if Matt and Jess were still in, that would leave us room for 4-6 more people. I was thinking maybe a short ride on the friday night followed by dinner and drinks. Then we could do a long ride on saturday followed by more dinner and drinks. Sunday I figured some people wouldn't be up for riding, but I'd be willing to lead a ride on the NCT south to town or HQ. Anybody interested?

Back to this weekend though. I had monday off as well this week, and I figured if I were so close to the U.P. I might as well do a little exploring. There is a small island off the eastern edge of the U.P. by the name of Neebish. It's about 25 square miles with a few roads and light human habitation. I've never been. Yesterday, I drove on some nice pretty back roads along the river until I got to the ferry. At that time, I would have had to wait an hour for the next ferry. The return trip wouldn't happen for two and a half hours. I just wasn't sure I could fill up 2.5 hours exploring such a small island. So I turned around and took some other nice pretty back roads south to the bridge. The colors were really nice up there, and they're starting to turn around here as well. This weeks WNR @ Boyne should be pretty, until it gets dark about a half hour after we'll be starting. Hope to see at least a few other's out to brave the dark and the cold. Over and out.

Friday, October 09, 2009

WNR # 26

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Secret Steve, Kevin, and Keri.

Weather: Cold. 50 degrees or so, but not raining at least.

Trail Conditions: Good for the most part. I removed most of the larger downed limbs on my first lap, but you still had to be a little careful around the smaller sticks and stuff.

As per The Plan, I got out for an extra hour before everyone showed up. So I ended up with a little over two hours in the saddle. The legs actually felt okay. I'd say a solid 7.5 out of 10. It was our second ride of the fall where we needed lights, and last night we had to bust them out (on) even earlier. By the time we got down to the creek the sun was just setting and there were rays of bright pink shining haphazardly through the trees. The ride back up to the house was just as hard as at always is, even the second time around. I made it to yoga practice last night, as per The Plan. It was wonderful. Today, I will either clear ski runs or work on trail clearing. Then I will sauna. Next weeks WNR @ Boyne 6:30. Bring lighting. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Lull

I seem to be in the midst of a cycling lull as of the last couple of weeks or so. Last year I had the stage race and Hugh's Humongous 100 to keep me motivated in September. This year, both events were left off the schedule. Hugh's ride because he cancelled it. In all fairness it would have been difficult for him to organize/host the event from his place in France. I skipped out on the stage race for two reasons: One, I wanted to see whether or not the course changes happened before I went back. From all the reports I've read so far, the changes happened (We hope to head back next fall, the race sounded awesome). Two, Sarah and I are going to California for a couple of weeks in November, so it would have been tough to get the extra time off. What does all this mean? It means I have been particularly lazy in terms of riding/training. The weather of late hasn't really helped things out either. Basically, it boils down to this: Unless some race promoter has my money for an event in the near future (like a month or two), I find it very hard to stay focused on my "training". I ride less, and I eat and drink more (I know, hard to believe right). So at any rate, I plan to take a three pronged approach in order to put the skids on my unacceptable backsliding. Part one will be to ride more. Part two actually has two very similar subparts: aggressive trail building, coupled with aggressive tree removal for backcountry skiing at the Tower. Part three will most likely prove to be an allusive component of The Plan. I'd like to take my yoga practice to the next level, but that will require practicing at home. The whole goal of The Plan is to get me in shape for what I'm hoping will be an exciting race season on the snow. I'm about set on a schedule that will include 5 to 6 almost entirely new (to me) races between late December and early March. In terms of long term bike plans, i.e. next season, I'm thinking about doubling down on the 100 milers again in the spring. Instead of the Cohutta/Lumberjack combo of two years ago, I'm leaning towards the Mohican/Lumberjack combo for 2010. Also, this race has appeared on the very periphery of the radar. It's a faint blip, but it's there. It would be, far and away, the hardest race to date for me. I'll know by the end of November or early December whether or not "I get in". Tomorrows WNR ride is looking like it might be a little wet, but you won't melt. Come on out anyway. Over and out.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

WNR # 25

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, and Keri kind of (Her car broke down right when she got to Benson's cabin, and she had to sit out the ride to wait for the tow truck. Boo).

Weather: Sunny and breezy. Chilly with temps. around the 50 degree mark.

Trail Conditions: The NCT north of Levering Rd. is in pretty good shape. The massive amounts of rain helped firm up some of the sandy sections, but it's still very clear that it just doesn't get used all that often. It's a tad overgrown in spots, and just a little bit on the bumpy/choppy side overall (compared to the sections further south).

The three of us had a good ride, and with the delay of helping Keri get a wrecker on the way we definitely needed our lights for the last half hours or so. Then it was beers by the campfire at Benson's cabin before dinner. The fire felt really good on a cool night. Next weeks ride at HQ. Due to the decreased number of riders because of the light situation (or whatever else your excuse may be) Sarah and I will take care of dinner next week. Just RSVP on the team calendar or give us a call so we know how many to plan for. I'm planning on a long ride for sometime sunday morning. Given the current weather forecast I doubt too many people will be interested; but if on the off chance you are, give me a call for the skinny. Have a good weekend.