Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm Not Dead

Just freakin busy. It's been a while since I've gone almost a week without posting but sometimes shit happens. Like lots and lots of shit. Get home at the end of the day and melt into a pile of poo type shit. That type of shit (and also the illness shit) led me to give the blog the ole f-u for a few days.

Now I'm back and still with very little time so here are some highlights.

Test rode my buddy Kev's Jet 9 last night.  I must say, it was a pretty sweet ride.  There was something a little weird about the front end handling but that can probably be explained away since Kev likes to ride a bit more upright than me and it had a set of skinny nokian studded tires mounted up.  The good news is that it climbed really well with no nasty bob while standing which means that the Jet is back in the mix.  As you all can guess from my recent posts, I'm way to wishy washy to make this type of decision without test riding the bike first.  I've also lined up a test ride on a Tallboy.  My last tallboy test ride left me uninspired but I still think that the rear shock was screwed up and that's what led to the lack luster performance.

The mukluk rides have been able to continue as of late.  With night time temps dropping well below freezing, things have been firming up enough to get morning rides in.  I won't complain even thought it's meant that the snow is taking a long ass freaking time getting the hell out of here.  Thankfully, we're not expecting another 3-6" of snow tomorrow.  Oh wait.  Yes we are.  Fuckers.
And now a couple of maps for Will C.

See here?  These are the Schmid Preserve trails accessible right from my house.

and this is the singletrack on and just off of my property

and these are the trails just across the street (ok, I couldn't find that map this morning but trust me, there are an additional 5 miles of trail over there).

so, willc, get your ass up here this summer.  Bring your mountain bike and we'll shred.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Making Hay

As ye olde saying goes "make hay while the sun shines" I've been making hay of sorts recently.  The trails are too wet to ride right now and I've been a bit under the weather and over the toilet recently so those two things have given me time to think and make hay, or trails.  I've been in no condition to do any hard work but I did procure a new set of kick ass loppers with a bit of cash I had left on a Home Depot gift card from Christmas so I've been having at the two new trail sections that I flagged out this winter.  I've been wanting to at least get the rough clearing done before the leaves come in so that the trail would remain easy to find once spring really sets in.  Was it smart for me to be out there doing trail work while Montezuma's revenge was brewing in my belly?  Maybe not but after 4 hours of couch surfing I just couldn't take it any more.  I am not one for a sedentary life.  Maybe I get it from my father who still works about 70 hours a week even though he's "retired".

The two trails look like they'll be pretty darn sweet with lots of terrain features like small ledge drops, rock walls, some small "vistas" etc.  And, if I did my layout well, they should be fairly dry trails since there is good slope and good soils through most of it.  There is still a little bit of snow left to go though, so that might change.

Boring post today?  Absolutely.  At least I didn't talk once again about my wishy-washy approach to this year's race bike and my pissing match on facebook with KillBill about said dilemma.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

If You Chose Not To Decide...

For anyone who comes here regularly (I'm sincerely sorry.  Wait, if you still come here after all these years you obviously have some sort of genetic flaw so you're parents should be apologizing, not me) you know that I've been having a not so internal debate about this year's race steed.  I WANTED the Salsa Spearfish but they were in such high demand that everything available to the team was already sold (unless I want to wait until July).
So, I thought that maybe I'd go with the Santa Cruz Tallboy.  A super sweet bike with a big price tag.
And then, just when I couldn't be any more conflicted, Bikeman.com became a Niner Bikes shop bringing the Jet 9 to the front of the heap of aluminum and carbon goodness.  Our team window for ordering a Niner was short and I came ever so close to buying an xt built Jet but by the end of the weekend (our deadline) I was so conflicted that instead of buying a new bike I did nothing.  If you chose not to decide, you still have made a choice. (don't think I've ever quoted a song before, let alone a Rush song...)

What finally sealed my no bike decision was KillBill telling me that I'd probably have to change my riding style in order to enjoy any full suspension bike.  Most notably (and the real deal killer) is that I'd have to sit while climbing hills.  Now, who's stupid idea was that?  Hills are meant for standing as far as I'm concerned.  If it's long and gradual I will sit but if you tell me that if I want to attack on a hill (one of my favorite spots) my bike is likely to get all boingy on me and suck my energy than that is a definite problem.  To be honest, I don't have enough time on any of these bikes to make a true call as to how much it would affect my riding but, after hearing that, there was no way I was going to pull the multi thousand dollar trigger on any bike.  So, my indecision has led me to a new decision.  For the first part of the season at least, I'll be riding my once retired dos niner.  She's just a frame, headset and bottom bracket right now but with a few parts steals from my other bikes and a couple of purchases she'll be ready for prime time again.  Let's just hope she's less Brett Favre out of retirement ready and more (ummmm, somebody else who came out of retirement and didn't suck.  help me out, I can't think of any....) so I don't regret that decision.  Either way, it gives me a bike to race on and the parts can always be switched to a new steed mid season after I've had more time to try the other bikes.  Makes sense right?  Right?  Please tell me I'm right because I want to stop thinking about this...

Wow, looking back, I'm over a week behind on my mileage calcs.  This is exactly why I stopped keeping a paper training log and training plan.  I just can't handle the structure.  Let's see if I can remember it all.

3-21-11

X-train time: 5:00
Ride time: 6:45
Ride distance: 85 miles

Total x-train time: 27:45
Total ride time: 37:45
Total distance: 336 miles

Weight: 188


Monday, March 21, 2011

First Dirt

Sunday, I had intentions to ride. Originally I planned on a road ride but when I woke up Sunday morning with temps below freezing (22 degrees) I knew that this might be my last chance to ride the mukluk with a bit of snow on the ground. I figured the ride would either be a total blast with solid, frozen trails or totally suck balls in a quagmire of shit. Thankfully, it ended up being a blast.  Some of the north facing trails retained their snow pack and were a post holey nightmare but most of the trails had lost 95% of the snow so actual single track was had.

singletrack, it's in there.
really, it is
a river runs through it.  to be fair, this trail is actually in a stream bed year round
 

and a cool tree I saw.  no the sky wasn't actually red but it fit the tree 
as well as something else that happened on the ride 

You may remember that a couple of years ago, I got attacked by a hawk while riding in the preserve and being the blog whore that I am I got a video.  Well, Sunday I met my arch nemesis again.



Thankfully, no attacking happened this time.  Just some circling and scaring me but I now know where the nest is (about 50' off the trail) so I'm sure we'll meet again sometime this summer.

Friday, March 18, 2011

First 50

Yesterday I bagged my 50 mile road ride of the season.  Actually, to be more precise, it was my first 50 mile DAY of the season since I got a little cold and tired on the real road ride so had to include the day's commute to rack up the full 50.  Whose splitting hairs here?  Not me, so I'll take it.  It was a beautiful day with the sun shining and the temps in the mid 40's...at the ride's start.  I enjoyed the sun for the first hour or so but then it started to go down, the temps dropped and I realized I was a bit over my head for my planned 50 mile route.  Thankfully, I now have a decent phone with gps so I was able to devise a shorter but still kick ass route mid ride.

It took me past some maple syrup making venturs:

and about the only road in the area that would qualify for one of Jason's rides:
I usually shy away from such roads but this cut out the far point on the ride as well as the second biggest climb.  Could I have used the climb and the distance?  Sure, but it is still march and I had beer and a guiness/beef/cabage/carrot concoction made my Marcy waiting for me at home.  More hills and bonk-dom or beer and comfort food?  Sometimes you need to make the tough decisions...

planned route in red.  actual route in yellow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

F-F-F-F-Flippin Fail

Let me paint a picture for you. Yesterday was a beautiful early spring day. Temps in the low 40's, sunny skies and tip top ride motivation. I commuted to work in the morning and had a road ride planned with KillBill in the afternoon. No problem as long as I could leave work by 4:30 (got in at 6:30 so I figured there would be no problem with that. ahem. wrong). Got held up at work until 5. Sprinted out at least 15 minutes late. Raged on the road to get back to my place feeling good and motivated. Approx. 3 minutes into my ride home I slam a piece of broken asphalt and pinch flat the rear. Fucking-F!!! Thankfully a coworker happens by and gives me a ride home. Fixing a flat at home would surely be faster than on the side of the road plus it saved me 20 minutes of riding. Get home and throw spare tube in. Air it up but it's developed a leak itself. Tear basement apart looking for new tube. Steal Marcy's spare, air up and hop in the car to meet KillBill. Roll out. KillBill hurts me as usual. 20 minutes into the ride notice rear tire is soft and I have no tube with me now and KillBill is on tubulars so he's no help. Try to air the tire up with my frame pump (brand new last year) and that's not working either!!! KB says I'm having a Murphy's Law ride. Consider hitting him beside the head with now useless frame pump. Grab KB's mini pump and build my forearms a bit putting air in the tire. Stop three more times on the way back to air up. Drive home with my tail tucked between my legs. We'll see if Thursday is any better...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shifting Gears
It seems that the time has come to officially hang up the mukluk for the season (unless I can eek one more ride in the next week).  I'm very sad because it seems like I've barely been able to ride it but at least the warmer temps mean that summer is approaching (freaking too fast actually with all I have to do...).  It's approaching so quickly that I've pulled this out of the rafters (actually floor joists) for the first time in easily four months:


KillBill and I will be raging on the road tonight.  More than likely, he'll be cruising and I'll be raging trying to keep up with him.  I've vowed to get on his wheel sooner this season so I can hopefully keep up once things get into full swing.  We'll see.

With the snow going away, I've also started to put some of my new trail plans into action.  Having a dog forced me out in the woods every day this winter so I put that time to good use scoping out new trail options.  Sure, everything was covered in 2' of snow but I could still get a feel for the terrain, do some basic clearing and hope for the best when the snow melts.  On Sunday, enough snow had melted that I was able to flag one of the trails.  I might have to change it ever so slightly when the snow is finally gone but it think it's in pretty good shape and it will be super fun.  Lots of ledge outcroppings, ravine side riding and a good bit of up and down.  Now to just find the time to finish it...

Playing with the camera options.
part of the trail crew
flags!
I've also made some very important race season bike decisions but that'll have to come tomorrow.  Instead, I leave you with this, a video (finally) of my 5 year old daughter horking down a raw oyster.  One of the best parts of the vid (beside her sheer determination of getting that sucker down) is watching her friend's reaction as B gets to work.  Priceless.


video


Monday, March 14, 2011

The First Family

Sunday marked our first official family ride of 2011.  A pleasant one hour romp around some of our quieter local roads.  Good times and from the look of things, probably our last summer (if we make it that long) with the chariot trailer.  B has grown so much in the last year that she could use at least another foot of length for those long Nelson legs.  In fact, I may need to build her a custom extension just to get through the summer.  These trailers are expensive as hell but well worth it.  Five years of use (as a stroller, jogger and trailer) and it still looks pretty much brand new.

oooooohhhhhhhh

not tight in here at all...

Marcy always plays the rear bumper when we go out together. 

Stopping by a roaring stream for a photo op.  Dirty snowbanks are purty.



Oh, and I'm way behind posting my yearly mileage.  I've forgotten some of it but hopefully it's all mostly in there now.

3-14-11

X-train time: 5:00
Ride time: 5:30
Ride distance: 40 miles

Total x-train time: 22:45
Total ride time: 31:00
Total distance: 251 miles

Weight: 189

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bust!

After Tuesday super fun snowmobile trail ride with C-dog I was psyched to get a chance to ride the trails in the Cumberland/Falmouth area last night.  Primo conditions Tuesday night would surely equal primo conditions on Wednesday right?  RIGHT??? RIGHT??? Ahem.  Wrong.  Scott and Gerry had the best of intentions and some of the ride was on some pretty fun trails but, overall, it was a bit of a bust.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not mad at Scott and Gerry for convincing me to drive 1:15 each way for a sub-par ride but, lets just say, that if I meet them on the street I just might kick them in the nards.  Just for fun.

We did have a couple of beers and some food afterwards at Binga's Wingas so that almost made up for it anyway.
The ride had the potential for being pretty good.  The terrain was varied, the trails were twisty, turny and the weather was just about perfect but, somehow, the trail conditions were just plain bad.  Crusty fall through ice everywhere and mealy snow = no fun (especially since I had decided to ride the El instead of the mukluk since it had not been needed the night before).

Oh well, it was still fun to ride in a new place with a few new people so Scott and Gerry are forgiven.  I'd still cover my junk if I were them though...

Speaking of busts.  While perusing my photos on the computer yesterday I came across the beauty pic at the top of the page. Who is this person and why is she holding her giant bosoms against my face?  Answer number one is, I have no idea who she is.  The answer to question number two is, I probably asked her to.  This is what happens when you go to an 80's theme bar and drink a bunch of beer..

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Victory!

Yesterday, what I expected to be a lonely solo ride turned out to be a fun as hell rip with C-Dog. With all of the recent rain (and the cold temps yesterday), the trails have set up nicely. I didn't have time to set the El Mariachi up with the studded tires so I was rolling the Mukluk once again. This time I had the foresight to pump the tires up to 22 lbs of pressure and that made a HUGE difference. What was once a slow, plodding, lumbering mess on anything but snowy trails was now a vicious demon just begging to be pushed hard.  It was an amazing change.  From now on, I'll be keeping the tires aired up and only dump air as trail conditions require because there certainly are conditions that require 5 psi.



C-Dog and I ended up with a 1:44, 10.4 mile ride on some pretty nice trails.  Sadly, because of all of the recent rains, we couldn't do the full loop since it required riding over two very large, and potentially deadly, ponds so we did a shortened version.  We still managed to get our feet wet though.  Hurah!  One time, quite comically, C proclaimed that he had found the perfect way over one of the wet areas only to suddenly crash through the snice right up to his hubs.  Dunking his feet in the process.  Just as I was about to laugh and point, I fell through as well soaking both feet.  Woops.  Thankfully, we were both wearing winter riding boots so the water only made it as far as our ankles before our socks soaked it up so the toes were spared.  
C-dog's crank area (hopefully the last time I ever photo his crank area) post ride.  notice ice inside of the crank spindle?  frozen solid.

And, as promised, here is a vid of Marcy ripping it up on Friday on the Carver snow bike.  It looked faster in person...

video

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"Mystery" Solved

Thanks to the numerous pop quiz answerers from last week.  Your contributions were so overwhelming that I was unable to post yesterday.  Actually, Laps and Alby, both of your answers sucked.  You should try harder next time.  Then again, at least the two of you contributed so even though you weren't even remotely close, drop me your addy's and I'll send a few nip hairs fed ex because I'm the giving type...

So, the totally not all that interesting answer to the question is, that is where my hand, arm and bar mitt busted through the snice (snow/ice) the other night totally submerging my hand in freezing f'ing cold water 5 minutes into a two hour ride.  Bar mitts are an amazing thing though, I was able to borrow a new fleece glove from C-dog and finish the ride out with a frozen solid bar mitt but warm-ish hands during a ride where the temps dropped to 10 degrees.  Not bad.

iced mitts


and here's a quick vid from a ride with marcy on Friday.  She's totally digging the snow bike thing so we snuck out a bit early to get another ride in on the fat bikes before we returned it to the shop.  There will be more tomorrow but here's a failed video attempt from the ride.  In it, I'm holding the camera in my right hand while trying to ride and video Marcy.  Unfortunately, I've got the coordination of Charlie Sheen after a three day bender and ended up immediately riding the top tube while one foot dragged to try to slow my descent all the while laughing and crying like an idiot.  I have some much more "professional" looking videos of Marcy to show tomorrow so you'll just have to suffer with this today.

video
One of these days I'll need to get an actual video camera with a bike mount because this shit is going to kill me.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Pop Quiz

No time for a real post today so I'll leave you with a little pop quiz.  The person who gets the correct answer wins one of two possible prizes.  Prize option 1 is an IPad case knitted from Racin Rick nipple hair (a highly coveted and surprisingly aromatic item).  Prize option 2 is nothing which is a prize in itself since you won't have to see or smell my nipple hair (but if you ask nicely I'll show you some anyway...).

OK, here's the quiz.  What is the purpose of this hole and how did it get there?
note: c-dog and sb are excluded from this contest.

Stay tuned next week for the thrilling conclusion to yesterday's post where we see if the King's and Nelson's swap spouses!!!!!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Disappointed

I like to think that over here in RacinRick land that we're slightly smarter than the average bear, didn't vote for LePage (please tell me you didn't...)and have a finely tuned sense of cringe comedy. It is for that reason that I am EXTREMELY disappointed in all of you today. Two days ago, I gave you the perfect opportunity  to test your comedic guile when I posted the video of Marcy climbing a steep paved road on a snow bike with 3-ish psi in the tires.  Marcy and I both noticed her sexy time grunting in the vid but I decided to wait and see what folks had to say about it.  Surely the amazingly clever readers here would have something to say.  Sadly, I was mistaken.  I'd like to think that maybe you just didn't notice the uncomfortable sounds she was making but my gut tells me that something more sinister is the reason.  RESPECT FOR MARCY.  Please, blogosphere, tell me it aint so.  Respect should never get in the way of good wholesome fun.

I'll give you another chance.
video

Snow bike ride tonight with the Bathers and maybe one tomorrow with marcy if the stars align.  Woot, woot!

Oh yeah, and what the f' is with a 6 degree commute in March this morning?  M-A-R-C-H!!!!!!

3-3-11

X-train time::35
Ride time: :30
Ride distance: 7 miles

Total x-train time: 17:45
Total ride time: 25:30
Total distance: 211 miles
Weight: 188.4

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Major Miscalculation

Last night I had the opportunity to ride.  Marcy had the element and the mukluk doesn't fit on a bike rack (at least not a normal one) and I was too lazy to pull BOTH wheels off to shove it in the back of the passat so I opted to ride the El Mariachi instead.  Because I was really wanted to save myself 3 whole minutes putting the bike in the car.  We had gotten 1" (guessing) of rain the day before and a good freeze so I figured the trails would be fine for the 2.4's.  I was wrong.

The first 30 seconds of the ride had me in a blissful state.  Solid trails and temps just below freezing.  Ten seconds later I was pissed at myself for being a lazy bastard.  The trails deteriorated into soft, mealy snow just deep enough to make any uphill impossible to ride on the skinny tires.  The mukluk would have ripped it.  Three minutes of laziness led to me having to abort my ride early.  Mealy snow = not so much fun.
This boy is not taking any more chances.  If there is snow on the ground, there will be a mukluk between my legs...

3-2-11

X-train time:1:15
Ride time: 2:20
Ride distance: 20 miles

Total x-train time: 17:10
Total ride time: 25:00
Total distance: 204 miles
Weight: 189.4

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Getting Fat

Over the weekend, I grabbed the demo Carver snow bike for Marcy to ride.  On Sunday, we got a chance to go to rancho-de-nelson so that Marcy and I could ride while B and the pooch enjoyed my mom's hospitality such that it is.

rancho-de-nelson

Conditions were far from great since they had received one foot of fresh snow two days prior but with the snow bikes fat tires and increasingly lower and lower air pressure, we were able to get an hour and a quarter ride in.  Now what we were looking for but still fun.

Marcy's first test ride on the fatties.
the first trail was B-R-U-T-A-L! but beautiful.
Marcy took a couple of snow naps. 
Mukluk as tri-pod.






Eventually we had to tuck our tails and ride the roads back.  Over the course of the ride we had let soooo much air out of the tires that they were literally grabbing at the road by this point.  The tires were making an audible sucking sound as they rolled along.  Friction supreme. Observe with Marcy plugging along on the much too highly geared bike on an 18% slope:

video