Saturday, July 7, 2012

On Holiday ride report.

I have just returned from a 10 day road trip through nine states and 4000 miles. Along the way I made sure to check out the local trails whenever possible. What a great experience to explore new trails and roads outside of my comfort zone.
After stops in Arkanas & Texas I was finally able to get out for a couple of trail rides near Ft. Worth, Texas. My first ride was at Sansom Park in the 104 degree heat. It was a huge mistake not getting out earlier in the morning. The trails were dug out along the slopes of Lake Worth and were a crazy mix of insanely rocky and technical features with that Northshore feel. There were no trail signs and after 90 minutes of circling around lost, I was cooked. The only flat section of trail:
On the second day in Ft. Worth I headed out early towards Cedar Hill State Park. This D.O.R.B.A. (Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association) trail was recommended by many. I arrived at an empty trailhead and I was immediately impressed by the signage. This simple sign was a welcome sight.
The trail was well marked and fast as it wound through the Texas hills. The trail was not very technical, although, it was very fun to ride. The dry conditions made for a very fast surface with few rocks or sand. It was also apparent that the clay soil on the trail would have difficulty draining in wet conditions. I didn't have to worry about that for the time being. Two blistering 12 mile laps was about all I could hack in the Texas heat. My biggest criticism of the trail was the number of unnecessary switchbacks which only served to interrupt the flow of the trail. The Park is enormous, yet the trail layout seemed a bit tight. Overall, I found it to be great trail.
A bad sign:
The bathrooms near the trailhead also had a bike washing station. My bike was fairly clean, yet I stood there (fully clothed) and ran the cold water over my overheated body until I cooled down.
Short fork-cam video:
Next, it was off to Cloudcroft, New Mexico (elevation 8600 feet) for a few days. My plan was to squeeze in a short ride before my brothers 3pm wedding on Saturday. I rode down to the local bike shop to ask for trail directions. The bored teen behind the counter gave be a map and pointed out the door of the shop to the valley across the road. Having followed his advice I was immediately lost within 15 minutes. Following the provided map was a mix of scavenger hunt and the Great Race. I slowly figured out the loop and battled the elevation and trail in the process. I knew I had to keep drinking to avoid dehydration, yet, I was heaving trouble drinking while I was gasping for air. I completed the short loop and made it back in time for the wedding. It was really great riding in the dry western forests. STRAVA link:
After the wedding it was time to bail and head to Durango, Colorado. New Mexico was OK, but Colorado has always been a special place for me. I stayed at my brothers house between Durango & Silverton at an elevation of 8320 feet. I mention the altitude because it seemed like I was in a perpetual state of thirst combined with a low grade headache. I must be getting old as I have never felt the ill effects of altitude in such a way. My first outing was a road ride up Hwy. 550 north toward Silverton. What stood between me and Silverton was the steep grades of Coal Bank Pass and Molas Pass.
I started at the 20 mile mark on the map above. Needless to say I was thwarted at the 32 mile mark halfway up Coal Bank Pass. I couldn't turn over the pedals and I was getting tired from standing on the endless climb. I turned around and enjoyed the screaming descent back down.
I swapped bikes and headed back up the road to the Durango Mountain Resort (Purgatory). The 1990 World Cup course is still marked and I rode the trail to the top of the mountain. Long, slow uphills followed by short, fast downhills. Repeat.
The following day I headed to Chapman Hill near downtown Durango. My plan was to follow the route of the Iron Horse Classic MTB race course that I rode back in 1995. The climb up Chapman Hill was difficult coupled with the lack of oxygen and I was pushing my bike less than a half mile into the ride. Once the trail leveled out I took some video as the trail wraps around the rim of the mesa that overlooks the town. The ride continued upward towards Horse Gulch and the Telegraph Trail system.
There were endless loops of pristine trail through scrub oak, cactus, sage and piƱon trees. Once again, I was lost, yet, kept riding until I was satisfied with the ride. I knew I just needed to head downward through the valley and soon found myself spat out on the other side of town. What a great experience! Unedited video:
STRAVA link:
As I rolled through town it was apparent that the community embraces cycling in all forms. A very cool place. It was great to ride new stuff and it gives you an appreciation for the great riding we have available here in Michigan. :D

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pontiac Lake Time Trial report

This Sunday the sun made a welcome appearance and warmer temperatures greeted the riders at this years installment of the Pontiac Lake Time Trial. This race is held annually at a well established trail in the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. In it's second year the new Tailwind Racing was promoting the event. The ten mile loop was in fabulous shape and the lap times ended up being very, very fast.
I mention this as a reminder to those who want to establish a goal for their race. Pro tip: If unfamiliar with the trail or the times necessary to place well in your race category it is wise to review the previous years results in order to establish a benchmark. In my case I forgot to do this and didn't pay close attention to my lap time as I rode. This was my first outing at Pontiac for the year and I assumed that I could perform a "virtual" pre-ride of the trail. Pro tip: Pre-ride the race course.
The start had me paired up with a 40-49 local legend, Don Cameron, who promptly blew my doors off at the start. As I watched Don disappear I realized I felt relatively good through the first half of the course and the Niner was performing flawlessly. Compared to the Yankee Springs Time Trial, there was significantly less traffic to contend with. I rode alone for most of the first lap while enjoying the sunny, cool conditions. Maybe I was daydreaming a little too much when I should have been digging harder to push the pace. Lap 2 was generally similar with the addition of more riders to pass and more riders passing me.
In the end, there were no battles waged out on the trail between myself and my rivals. Hell, it was a quiet ride and when I saw the results I realized I was about 6 minutes off the winning pace in my age group. Although I felt like I rode well it was apparent that a whole lot of other folks rode REALLY well.
This takes me back to the importance of pre-riding a trail and establishing basic lap/time goals. Without this knowledge, you're riding blind and handicapping yourself in the process, especially in a speed event such as a Time Trial on a very fast course.
I still walked away feeling great about the day. The pizza was pretty good too.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Yankee Springs Time Trial report

I am a little late on this report but I have had a week to relive this race in my head. As always, the event was well run and the herds of riders were processed with efficiency throughout. This Time Trial has established itself as a staple on the Michigan mountain bike race calendar and it officially kicks off the mountain bike season here in Michigan.
The weather was cool and clear with high winds. It was a good thing we were sheltered in the woods. As usual, I warmed up a little but looking back I realize how hard it is for me to go all out from a cool state. I do so much better when I am thoroughly warmed up. Note to self. Bring trainer.
I had not ridden Yankee in several years and I forgot how fun and challenging the trail can be. The trail was in great shape from the recent rain. Riders from each class started off in 10 second intervals and I was off for 2 laps.
I quickly realized my ride was becoming a see-saw battle. One minute I was feeling good and passing riders and the next moment I was being passing like I was standing still. I was having difficulty getting into a rhythm. This went on for 22 miles and during this time I couldn't stop thinking of all the variables which may have contributed to my performance or lack thereof. Essentially, I had a laundry list of excuses that were rolling around in my head. You know the scenarios. Was it over-training or a lack of rest? Was it poor tapering or nutrition? Or was it simply too much air in my tires AND the sun was in my eyes? C'est la vie.
I finished up and quickly swapped out the geared hardtail for the rigid singlespeed and headed back over to the start area for another lap. I had a nagging feeling that this was not going to be a stellar lap and I soon found myself experiencing the same lack of pop that I felt earlier. My legs felt like lead. I told myself to suck it up and enjoy the ride. Regardless of all my BS, the Yankee Springs trail is one of the best trails in lower Michigan and offers a great mix of challenging terrain. The downhill swooping S section was REEDONKULOUS!
Thankfully, I arrived at the finish in one piece and for the first time in hours I was able to relax. The PBR tasted great!
The team support was great and the taco bar was top notch. I'll be back next year and hopefully, I will have a better plan. In the meantime, hats off to the WMMBA chapter for hosting a great event. Well done.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

2012 Pontiac Lake Time Trial

Sorry, but the new name for this event is Pontiac Lake Classic. It is still a Time trial and it will always been a classic early season race held in SE Michigan. This years race will take place on Sunday, April 29, 2012. Pontiac Lake Recreation Area is a 10 mile loop of challenging singletrack. Hopefully, the spring conditions will cooperate as the trail does not generally drain very well. This is race #1 of the Michigan USA Cycling Series.
Tailwind Racing website:
Event information:
USA Cycling registration page:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Two completely different animals

It's mid April and I have realized that most of my miles this year have been on the paved or dirt road with very little time spent on the singletrack. My race in Arkansas found me riding my first singletrack of the year in a strange land during a race! Needless to say, my bike handling skills were not very sharp.
Today I loaded up the bikes and went to the Potawatomi trail to take in one of the best trails in Michigan. I decided to bring the geared and singlespeed bikes with the plan to ride one lap on each. With a similar workout planned for this Sunday in the Yankee Springs Time Trial I was hoping to replicate the conditions I would encounter. The time trial will be two 10 mile laps on the geared bike followed by one 10 mile lap on the singlespeed.
The first lap on the Poto was great! The Niner hardtail performed well. After riding this trail rigid for several years I was astonished at how the new Reba fork smoothed out the trail and I felt like I was taking better lines without the pounding. The 2 x 10 gearing and Kenda Karma's rounded out the ride and my lap felt good. Funny, Strava has difficulty with mileage in the singletrack and tracked each lap about 1.5 miles short of the actual distance.
Great! The trail was dialed, I was pumped and I quickly swapped out bikes. My singlespeed rig has been a solid ride for several years. It's a Redline Monocog Flight with a steel frame, White Brothers carbon fork, Avid Elixer hydro's and a heavy ass tubed wheelset. On the trail, I was reminded of how nimble a rigid fork can be and how responsive it can be when standing up on the climb. Very efficient. The Poto trail lends itself well to the forces of momentum and a rigid singlespeed is a great choice for this trail. I was also reminded of how quiet a single geared bike can be on the trail. I startled a few hikers along the way. Lap 2 took it's toll on me and my time was about 10 minutes slower than the geared bike lap.
I can now say that after today I feel much better about my off road skills and have a new found appreciation for the equipment that gets me from point A to point B.

Monday, April 16, 2012

2012 Team Points Series

Yesterday was stop number 5 of our Racing Greyhounds Team Points Series. This is an internal race series designed to encourage participation while developing the skills of all riders at all levels. This series has evolved over the years and has grown into a top notch series spanning all cycling disciplines. The chip timing was a huge breakthrough for the development of the series.

Sunday's Hines Park Individual Time Trial was destined for cancellation due to heavy rains during the day which flooded out Hines Drive. The road was closed but there was plenty of pavement available and the event went off without a hitch. As usual, I placed somewhere in the middle of the pack. Mr. Mediocre.

Here is a series rundown:

The 2012 RGTPS will consist of 19 races -- 7 sanctioned races, 10 RACING GREYHOUNDS internal team-only races, and 2 touring rides. All 10 RACING GREYHOUNDS team-only races (noted with *RGTPS EVENT*) are 100% FREE to our team. All you need to do is show up ready to race! This series is setup so that anyone can win. The Team Captains will be handicapping RGTPS EVENTS so that even our first-time racers have a shot at winning.

Here is a rundown of this year's schedule:

Sun Jan 22 - Worst Day of the Year Ride - Touring
Sun Feb 26 - *RGTPS EVENT* Power Tap Out
Sun Mar 18 - *RGTPS EVENT* Drag Race
Sat Mar 24 - Barry Roubaix - CX
Sun Apr 15 - *RGTPS EVENT* Hines Drive Individual TT - Road
Sun Apr 29 - *RGTPS EVENT* Island Lake Night TT - MTB
TBD (June Wed/Thurs) - Waterford Night Worlds - Road
Sun Jun 24 - *RGTPS EVENT* Duathlon - Tri
Sun Jul 29 - Milford Crit - Road
Sat Aug 4 - Ride for the Cure - Touring
Sun Aug 12 - *RGTPS EVENT* Maybury Hot Lap - MTB
Sat Aug 18 - Maybury Time Trial CPS Race - MTB
Sun Aug 26 - *RGTPS EVENT* Octane Ride - Touring
Sun Sept 16 - Michigan Triathlon/Duathlon Championship - Tri
Sun Sept 30 - *RGTPS EVENT* Team TT - Road
Sun Oct 14 - *RGTPS EVENT* Adventure Race - Tri
Sat Oct 20 - Mad Anthony - CX
Sat Nov 3 - ICEMAN - MTB
Sat Nov 24 - *RGTPS EVENT* Psychocross - CX

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2012 Yankee Springs Time Trial

Back by popular demand for 2012 will be the 23rd edition of the Yankee Springs Time Trail. Yea!
Like I have mentioned in the past, this event has traditionally been the first race of the MTB race season for many years. This race is a great social event and draws a large number of riders from all over the state of Michigan. This is always good news for those who talk of diminishing head counts at mountain bike events, especially for a Time Trial! This years race is capped at 700 riders and it just may hit that mark as the day draws closer. Like most trails and roads on the west side of Michigan, the Deep Lake trail is sandy, drains well and typically perfect for early season riding. This year has been atypical with warmer temperatures and I am hoping for some rain or moisture prior to the event. Current reports indicate the trail is dialed and in great shape. Yea.
I signed up for my age group and also signed up for the singlespeed race immediately following. I prefer to maximize my experience by enduring as much discomfort as possible. This race has never been a strong event for me but I have always had a good time kicking off the season surrounded by new faces and old friends.

Yankee Springs FB page:

Yankee Springs Time Trial website:

Monday, April 9, 2012

2012 Ouachita Challenge

After many years of riding the fence on this event I finally decided it was time to take the plunge. I missed the registration deadline in 2011 and made sure to get myself registered for 2012. This year 500 slots filled in 20 minutes.
I "bundled" my excursion to Arkansas with a week off from work and I visited my mother in Fayetteville while checking out the local trails. The weather in the area was nice with 70 degree temperatures forecast.

I found a suitable hotel in nearby Mena and the overall logistics went fairly smooth. I quickly realized that I had placed myself smack-dab in the center of a dry county! No beer didn't mean the end of the world. Instead, I hydrated well anticipating the heat.

I went and picked up my packet and scoped out the Start/Finish area but, unfortunately, I was unable to do any kind of pre-ride. I studied the route map and quickly decided I would have to figure it out on race day. Bad strategy.

The morning was cool with the promise of 87 degree temperatures forecast for later in the day. It was cool to hang out at the start and watch all the locals exchange greetings like the first day of school after a long winter vacation and NOT know a single sole.
The route this year went clockwise with a long roll out and sustained climb that split the field. We then jumped onto the Ouachita Trail at the Brushy Creek aid station. I quickly found the trail to be very humbling with lots of bike-a-hike and very technical sections. I fared well on the climbs and fire road sections but, wow, my descending skills need some serious improvement. The heat took it out of many (including me) and the pickle juice at the latter aid stations was actually a nasty blessing in disguise. The Camelback was helpful in staying hydrated and keeping my hands on the grips. The Womble Trail was indeed the best part of the course. The technical aspect of these trails had me thinking that these local riders have a real advantage. This is their home turf and they were certainly killing it, especially the badass'on the rigid singlespeeds!

I went with Maxxis Ignitors 2.10 set up tubeless with a healthy dose of sealant. They held up great with only a few noticeable scuffs on the sidewalls. I threw a suspension fork on and the 29’er hardtail felt like the right tool for the job.
I was the sole rider representing the State of Michigan. There were a ton of DNF’s and I feel good about getting through it unscathed. I made a few observations after the ride which may serve to better describe my experience.

Benchcut - Switchback - Creek crossing (in every possible combination)
Boulder fields
Square rocks of every size
Granny gear
Large snakes
Long climbs

The event was well run and the Southern hospitality was amazing! I learned a lot about the area and I have gained a deep appreciation for the trails and the folks who ride them.

In the meantime, I have been checking out the trails in NW Arkansas before heading back to Michigan. I would suggest you check out Arkansas if you ever get the opportunity. You won't regret it.

OC Facebook:

Ouachita Challenge website:


Friday, March 2, 2012

March Madness?

Yea! We made it to March and spring is just around the corner. I just finished out a good week of training. I cannot say enough about the mild Winter of 2012 and it's effect on my training. For once I feel pretty good coming into March instead of feeling bloated, fat & pale. March also signals the early registration for several Michigan events.

Yesterday, March 1st was the annual Iceman Cometh registration. Just like the race itself, the registration is typically filled with drama, chaos and crashes. The crashes are the websites & servers of the outfits that have been selected to host the registration. This year was no different. I was at work while my wife Lynelle navigated through the USA Cycling website registration. Her persistence payed off and I was in somewhere at the 45 minute mark. I was reflecting on this experience and realized that in the big scheme of things, registering for a race isn't the end of the frigging world. Thankfully, there are plenty of races to choose from and if it doesn't work out there are always options to fill the void. Ride it bandit or find a transfer if necessary.

I received this email from USA Cycling:
Dear Iceman Cometh rider,

Our goal at USA Cycling is to always provide first class service and a great customer experience for our members in everything we do. Frankly, and unfortunately, we fell well short of that goal yesterday during the Bell’s Beer Iceman Cometh Challenge online registration process when, despite our extraordinary efforts to plan for the number of online registrants, the tremendous enthusiasm and interest in the Iceman Cometh race overwhelmed our registration system.

We highly regard our responsibility to the cycling community and to the thousands of you who seek to race this epic race; and we sincerely apologize for any frustration, confusion and inconvenience you experienced today. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your registration, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Again, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.


Steve Johnson
President & CEO
USA Cycling

I felt it necessary to pull out this popular clip while the dust settles.

Next up on the docket is Lumberjack 100 registration slated for Saturday, March 3 at 1200 EST. The rider limit has been expanded from 350 riders to 425. This will go fast but usually this event scares away the n00bs and typically doesn't result in server crashes, tears or bad feelings.

Barry-Roubaix (March 24) and the Ouachita Challenge (April 1)are looming large on my racing horizon. Still, I'm looking forward to warmer days and it's always great to have marquis events on the calendar to keep things fresh and exciting.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012 Tour of Washtenaw

This year the Great American Cycling Series will make a stop right here in Michigan. The event will take place in the City of Chelsea, MI. on May 12, 2012


2012 Series Dates

Tour of the Battenkill
Cambridge, NY
April 14-15

Tour of the Dragons
Bennington & Manchester, VT
May 5-6

Tour of Washtenaw
Chelsea, MI
May 12

Tour of the Catskills
Catskill Region, NY
August 3-5

Tour of the Adirondacks
Warren County, NY
September 15-16

Tour of Vail
Vail, CO
September 29-30

BattenFall Classic
Cambridge, NY
October 6-7

Tour of Washtenaw

Great American Cycling Series


Friday, February 24, 2012

Racking stacks of cash.

So here we are towards the end of February. Winter in Michigan is a good time to build bikes, upgrade components and stockpile dough for the March registration madness. This time of year usually includes a modicum of physical activity offset by a heavy dose of planning and daydreaming about the upcoming season. Non-stop thoughts of doing every possible event on the 2012 schedule with no regard to the reality that life will slowly interfere with these aspirations and it will dawn on me that I am not a professional rider. From this was born the venerable poseur who I have become. Thankfully, my Astana team kit will continue to gather dust...

The end of February also marks several upcoming registration deadlines for Michigan events that will test your registration abilities. You snooze, you lose.

First up will be Thursday, March 1, 2012.
Iceman Cometh Challenge registration opens up at 1000 EST.

"The aggregate field limit is 3,700 riders for Iceman."

Iceman Cometh website

16 Februrary, 2012

New registration process this year! Since 2012 will be the first year using the USA Cycling registration system, you'll want to create an account with USA Cycling before registration opens so all of your data will be pre-populated in the system. Creating an account is free and simple to do. Just look for the "sign in" button in the upper right hand corner of their home page (

USA Cycling website

Next up will be Saturday, March 3, 2012.
Lumberjack 100 registration opens up at 1200 EST.

Field limit has been increased to 425 entries.

Lumberjack 100 website:
Facebook page:
BikeReg registration:

Friday, February 10, 2012

2012 Barry-Roubaix *SOLDOUT*

It was only a matter of time. Rick Plite has created another "must-do" event to supplement the Michigan racing calendar. We're fortunate to have an early season event such as the Barry-Roubaix to give our off-season training additional purpose during the winter doldrums. Each year this race has grown incrementally in attendance and the 1500 rider cap was reached with ease. Now we can expect another month of transfer frenzy for those scrambling to get in. Are you IN?

From the BR website:

Sold Out!

As of 2-4-12 at about 6:00 pm we have sold out the event. There is still a chance to get in if someone can’t make it and wants to transfer their entry. A good place to watch for those would be on the MMBA Forums or the Barry-Roubaix Facebook page. You may also create a comment to this post below and include your request for a spot and your email address.

The procedure for transferring an entry goes like this; the replacement racer goes to the Barry-Roubaix Bike Reg site and clicks on transfers. It will ask your name, address, etc. It will also ask which racer he/she is replacing, the class he/she is signing up for and the original racers confirmation code(sent via email when the original party signed up). It will cost the new racer $5 to complete the transfer. The original entry fee is to be handled separately between the two parties

BikeReg registration info:

Barry_Roubaix website:

MMBA Forum:

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I do not consider myself much of a tech when it comes to cycling. For years I resisted using a cyclometer or heart rate monitor and just rode to the rhythm of my body. Over the years the science behind effective training was spiraled to new heights monitoring every possible factor which could relate to performance. I will spare you the details but I am not one to embrace the technology and prefer a simple approach to my riding. Hell, my cyclometer was enough of a challenge for a simpleton like me. I knew a Garmin wasn't in my future but I realized my cell phone was standard issue on my rides. I discovered an app called Strava that is easy to use and the basic app is free with a premium app available for a small monthly fee. The data synch's quickly to the Stava website with detailed information that even I can figure out.
Check it out.

Strava website:

My first ride using Strava:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Portlandia bike clip

I know this is a dated video but I still smile when I watch it. I used to live in Portland back in 1987. I recall how refreshing it was, even back then, to see so many folks riding bicycles. Everywhere. Bike messengers were out in force during a time when the whole urban fixie thang was just emerging. Now the trend has spread throughout every major city in America. I missed out on jumping on this particular bandwagon and as a result, I may just be a little less hip today.

*TWEET TWEET* this means I'm stopped!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 Barry-Roubaix is coming...

The 2012 Michigan racing season kicks off with the 4th installment of the Barry-Roubaix. The Killer Gravel Road Race! This event has replaced the Yankee Springs Time Trial as the the season opener and is quickly becoming the springtime version of Iceman. This year the race is capped at 1500 and there are currently 500 spots left. I have no doubt these will sell out fairly rapidly within the next month. Sign up peoples!

Barry-Roubaix Website:

BikeReg Registration:

Another change for this year was to extend the 60 mile race into one continuous lap versus two 30 mile laps. For me, last years race was difficult as I made the turn for the second 30 mile lap while the majority of riders were finishing out their race. The Barry-Roubaix has also been included into a national series called the American Ultracross Championship Series. This event continues to grow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Pic-O-the-Day

My friends tell me I take a lot of photos. They are correct but the majority of my images are hardly worthy of a coffee table book or underground publication. I exclusively depend on a small portable camera that can be tucked in to my back pocket. If I see something that catches my eye I usually stop (which totally messes up my rhythm) and grab a quick shot. I was skimming through some images and saw this photo from the 2010 Triple Trail Challenge . I had just made it back to my car after a long, wet ride on the singlespeed. About 10 miles into the ride the sky's opened up and it poured for the next two hours. I was totally caked with a thin, gritty mud but the beer, food & showers at the finish washed it all away.
I turned the camera upside-down for this shot. I submitted it to Bikerumor and they posted it today. Yea!

Bikerumor Pic Of The Day: Mud Treatment

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sh*t Cylists Say...

Yes, this video has been making the rounds in the blogosphere & every cycling site known. I think the reason I find it so entertaining is we have all heard several (if not all) of these lines somewhere in our cycling lifespan. We are an obsessive bunch. This is so true...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

365 days in the life of a bike in NYC

Love this video and it's description as a "unique urban experiment." For some strange reason I am captivated by these 365 day clips.
I also enjoy the viewer comments such as this:

Starts at 0:17

Days when things disappear (earliest I can tell)

0:28 day 157 water bottle

0:31 day 214 basket

0:32 day 225 bike lock

0:33 day 231 seat, day 241 parcel rack

0:34 day 248 front wheel, day 252 handlebar grips

0:35 day 270 rest of the bike

3 months before the water bottle was stolen, and over 7 months before a functional part was taken. It looks like parts started disappearing right after the tires went flat and bike looked abandoned.

I'm impressed by NYC honesty, actually.

Check it out.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter riding can be a good thing.

After today's ride I found a renewed sense of passion for my fitness routine. It seems like a shame to squander that season ending fitness throughout the winter months whilst watching endless TV, drinking beer and getting fat? Ideally a little break is fine but as soon as January 1 rolls around the thoughts quickly turn to spring and a new season of riding and racing. The spring training ensues with hours of mind-numbing spinning on the stationary trainer. UGH! Kill me now!
Over the years this has been the usual routine for me. I have fought it over and over and I have discovered that I would much rather endure the harshness of training in the great outdoors versus the prospect of the indoor training experience. As a result, I will be able to maintain my fitness, sanity and pleasant attitude. The key will be to avoid over-training so that I will not be burned out when spring arrives. Sure, I guess I could always embrace a new form of winter cross training such as Zumba, running or cross country skiing but I prefer to "enhance" my passion for cycling on a year round basis.
To make this possible it has taken several necessary additions to the cycling wardrobe. The advent of new insulating products has made a huge difference in cold weather comfort. I have poor circulation (old man alert) and my insulating emphasis is mainly on the hands and feet. I start off with a warm, dry pair of wool blend socks. Lately, I've been digging the DeFeet Woolie Boolie socks. In addition to the socks, a pair of thin sock liners next to the skin will trap warm air. It is important to have plenty of room in the gloves and shoes for warm air to trap between the layers and sweat to wick away from the skin. Tight shoes and gloves will only make you colder.

I finally decided to go with a winter cycling boot. It seems like there is this period of denial where most riders think they can get by without investing in a dedicated winter cycling boot. "Heck, my MTB shoes and neoprene booties got me this far." Eventually, most cold weather riders succumb to the idea of warmer feet and never look back at why the decision didn't happen sooner. There are many makes and models on the market today. I went with the Louis Garneau 0 Ergo Grip shoes and I have found them to be well made, functional and warm.

Louis Garneau 0 Ergo Grip Shoes:

Today's temperatures were exceptionally cold (single digits) so I topped off my winter boots with the Endura MT500 shoe cover. Yes, my feet looked gigantic with the multiple layers of insulation but they were toasty through two hours of winter riding. Success!

My hands are another extremity that require adequate insulation. If I can keep my extremities warm then my whole body will remain comfortable. For extremely cold days or anything under 20 degrees I tend to go with the handlebar gauntlets. Mine are a cheap knock-off designed for snowmobile and ATV use.

For the absolute best I would recommend the authentic Moose Mitts designed and manufactured right here in Michigan.

Next, I start out with a thin silk blend glove liner. I love the feel of the Thermasilk liner and the added layer of insulation is ideal. As a result, I can wear a less bulky glove with good results. The bonus with the glove liner is if you need to remove the outer glove to reach in a pocket or repair a flat the liner is perfect for preventing the hands from exposure to the cold air.

After freezing my digits off with inferior mid-weight gloves I have recently opted for the Louis Garneau ETS Ski Glove. LG has many varieties available for winter use and these are getting the job done. These gloves are less bulky and offer plenty of dexterity for shifting as well as being well made and durable. Sweet!

Louis Garneau Winter Gloves:

Simply stated, warm feet and hands can put the enjoyment back into winter riding where it belongs. Winter riding is hard enough as it is without the hassle of numb limbs. Suit up and get out! Good luck!