Thursday, November 29, 2007

Back in the Saddle, in the Dirt

Sure missed riding - but the weather did not cooperate for riding in Wisconsin. On top of that, I caught a head cold on the trip.

Tuesday I just had to get out for spinning session at Xtreme Wheels. Not sure if it helped. I cold was bad Wednesday, but I felt better about exercising.

Today the late morning was a sunny and with light breeze, changing to "windy". As I headed out to ride at Manawa, the clouds came in. Still have a good ride. Cut the ride short due to the head cold - didn't want to press my luck!

I wanted to get out, ride, and check my newer riding gear. Last year, the riding clothes were good down to about 45 deg. Now, my goal is to be able to ride down to freezing. Today was a day to check the gear at 46 deg. The additional layer on my legs worked well. The new helmet (Giro 540 freeride style) kept my head warm. I will need to get a jacket that breathes better - I was getting alternating warm and chilled.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kettle Moraine State Park

Yesterday I took a drive to scope out singletrack trails in the Northern Section of the Kettle Moraine State Park, Wisconsin. This park is about 20 miles from where friends live. Originally I was hoping to bring my bike for Thanksgiving, but the weather was not good for riding.

Anyway, I walked some to look at the trails in the Greenbush and New Fane trail area (the 2 mountain bike trail areas). What I saw, it sure looks like some sweet singletrack - specially in the Greenbush area.

Looking forward to riding there when on my way to my Army Reunion in June.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Swanson Park Trail Day

Great job, Martin. Thanks to everyone that participated in the T.H.O.R. Trail Day. I counted at least 30 members and friends (many came after this photo was taken). AWESOME!

Watch the T.H.O.R. web site for photos of the trail day.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Rough Ride

For something different, I decided to ride the mountain bike/horse trail on the Wabash Trace. Last year, I rode a couple short (flat) sections. Today, I wanted to ride to ride from the trail head to Margaritaville.

I did pretty good for the first 3.5 miles. Then the trail changed to steep climbs and descents. I had to walk my bike many of those steep sections. A mile before Margaritaville, I gave up. My body was not wanting to push up the hills. Rode the last mile on the limestone.

I got my heart rate a little high at one point (155 bpm), so slowed things down. I could see that my riding has improving greatly. I can ride much like at Manawa - becoming one with the bike and trail. And that makes riding SO much more fun.

Took it easy on the way down, riding on the limestone. I needed a relaxing ride down.

Some sections of the singletrack is badly eroded. Not sustainable trail.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Me, My Bike, and the Trail

I was going to title this post "Back to Normal". But that is not really the case. Yes, my ride today was about the same as my ride Saturday. But since the awesome ride Sunday. there is no more "normal" for my riding. I headed back to Manawa this afternoon.

My first lap today was slow (picking up downed branches, getting back riding after 3 days off, etc). By the time I made my second full lap, I was back in the groove - just not "everything clicks" ride.

As I rode and was critiquing my ride, I felt that I am starting to be one with my bike. I lift up off of the saddle when riding through a dip - my legs becoming a part of the suspension. My mind registers roots, branches, and trail surface then just ride on. I do not look at the bike tire or the trail right in front of me - I see the trail but do not ponder it.

Now I like riding paved trails and limestone trails. For one thing, I need riding them so that I do not get bored with singletrack. But I do not feel one with the bike when riding pavement or limestone. Guess my mind has time to wander, my eyes watch other items around the trail.

But when I ride singletrack, it is just me, my bike and the trail. My mind finds such peace, comfort, and relaxation in the wooded singletrack. Nirvana!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Smokin' at Manawa

Perfect riding day today. Upper 60s, light wind, flat light. Decided to ride at Manawa again today. I am happy I did. This was the best ride I have had.

Everything seemed to click. I rode wood chopper (2x), both Sidewinders (3x), Fast Track (2x) and Long's Loop (2x) for 12.6 miles. My average speed was 9.3 mph! A new record for me. (Yesterday the same ride was at 8.5 mph.)

Soon, its time for me to get my skills area set up. I have the timbers, just need to move them, flag a course, and start riding.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Singletrack Mind

At breakfast this morning, a friend of mine described me as having a "singletrack mind". (Thanks Dave - I like the term.) Let my try to explain.

I tend to work to find the root of the problem and bring up with single, working solutions. No wandering or waffling. Lets get to the point and can the extra garbage. No "one track" mind, but a "singletrack" mind.

There's another way to look at things. At least here in our area, mountain bikers (that breed of cyclists that have a passion riding in the dirt - singletrack) seem to get things done. No long, protracted discussions. No endless tabling of issues. They/we seam to just "get it done". Maybe that's why I like working with T.H.O.R., Psycowpath, and others.

Please, folks, don't take this the wrong way. Some times it takes hitting up on the side of the head with a 2x4 to get attention. But damn it, once they/we realize something needs to done, it gets done at lightning speed.

On another subject, I rode at Manawa today. Great to be in the dirt. Rodes over 12 miles today. The trails are in awesome condition. The only problem is that lots of leaves have finally dropped. Now, I ride almost every week at Manawa, but today I missed one turn in the trail. From the photo, it looks that I am not the only one that missed that turn! (The trail turns to the right there).

Get out and ride!

Friday, November 9, 2007

November Riding

It sure doesn't get better for November. The last 2 days it has been about 55 degrees, sunny, and almost calm winds. The trees are mostly bare because of the hard freeze and strong winds last week.

Yesterday I took the FX out for a spin. In 2 years, I have ridden about 1700 miles on the FX. In contrast, over 2400 miles on the mountain bike (in 1.5 years). Gee, can you guess which I like to ride more?

Anyway, it has been a couple good days for riding. Logged over 40 miles in the last 2 days. Yesterday was on the pavement (Wabash Trail Head to Ameristar). Today rode one the Wabash Trace - Silver City to Malvern & return. Easy pace on both rides. Wanted to take it easy since I had been off the bike for several days.

Next, I need to ride some dirt - probably tomorrow.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Trek 69er Demo

Today was the ride I was have been anticipating. The Trek Demo tour make it to Omaha with a 69er dual suspension mountain bike. The Trek 69er has a 26" rear wheel and a 29" front wheel.

I have looking at this bike for several reasons:
1) considering a dual suspension bike - with all the different places I ride
2) the larger front tire rolls over roots, rocks, etc.
3) keeping the 26" rear wheel gives me better acceleration and climbing. (takes a lot to move my weight)
4) I rode enough that I could justify another bike.

The trailer had a medium frame Top Fuel 69er. This was my first test ride of the day. The M frame is a small for me, but I was still impressed with the handling. I was able to climb easily (seemed better climbing than with my Trek 4300). The roots of Swanson Park did not bother me. I exchanged the bike for a large frame hard tail 69er. That is the size I need.

Not ready to purchase a new bike, yet. Maybe when I demo the large frame dual suspension 69er. Oh yeah, need to save some money. The bike is a LOT more $$ than my 4300.

In other news: For me, this was the last Friday Night Mountain Bike Ride for the season. With the time change, I want to ride in the daylight. It was a great season. catch everyone on the other trails (or in the Spring).

On my way home from Swanson, I decided to do a lap (my shortened lap) at Manawa. After all, I had my bike with me. Beautiful day for a bike ride. I know I need to work on some of the more technical aspects of my riding. For now, I am enjoying the riding and I know my non-technical riding is getting better.