Wednesday, January 31, 2007

January's done

Well that's one month down and eleven to go. Not much of a month as far as the bike's concerned, there were only ten days this month when I actually threw my leg over the saddle. I logged 83 miles, 8200 feet, and 12 hours. I had three solid weeks where no riding took place, this one included.

February will be better, I mean how could it not be. Old Pueblo is only two and a half weeks away and I need to get my ass in gear. I'm planning on doing at least four laps and maybe I'll me able to pull out a fifth. That would put February within striking distance of January in a mere 24 hours.

On a side note, I feel like a jackass. Missed out on a hike with my wife that I was actually looking forward to. Michele's pissed at me. I'm pissed at me. Sorry babe.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Gone to Tahoe

Star and I flew out to Tahoe on Thursday night for a weekend of snowboarding fun. We arrived in Reno on time, but my bag didn't make the connecting flight with Star and I. Southwest was good enough to set my up with a voucher for rental gear until my bag showed up, so short one bag, we hopped in the Subbie with Jacob for the drive up to the lake. Alex was partying it up at the Hyatt at a friends birthday so we hung out for a while before heading back to the house.

On Friday Jacob had to work and Alex had class, so after picking up my rental gear(board, boots, pants, jacket, gloves, helmet, and goggles) Star and I headed up to Alpine Meadows in Jacob's Cruiser. The snow was not the greatest with a patchy and icy base, but on the plus side, the place was empty. The rental boots I got full on sucked and my feet were killing me with only a couple runs down so after about five good runs I took a break to give my feet some time to recover. Star kept going and when I came back out I took five or six more runs before I caught up to her. The sun had been out all day and the mountain was starting to get softer and much nicer for riding, albeit slower. We made another five or six runs before we decided to call it a day. We hit up the Safeway on the way back to the house to pick up supplies for dinner and breakfast. I was wiped out after dinner and fell asleep while everyone else was just getting going, so when everyone else went to poach the Hyatt hot tub I went to bed.

On Saturday I made crepes for breakfast and the we headed back up to Alpine for a 1/2 day of riding. As I was pulling on my first boot in the parking lot, Star discovered that she'd left her boots behind, so back in the Cruiser and back down the hill. It's a good thing that Jacob and Alex only live 15 minutes from the hill, so after a quick trip down and back up we were on our way. My bag arrived at the house mid-day on Friday so I was on my own gear for the day. The sky was overcast and the ground was very icy making for lousy conditions that weren't going to go away anytime soon. My right ankle was still hurting from Friday so I pulled the plug after only five runs, at least I didn't spend the money on a full day ticket. We got back to the house in time to see Alex off to work before Mark and Jacob started putting together our fantastic meal. Nothing big going down after dinner, we all sat around and watched the tube late into the night and that's about it.

Nothing really significant happened on Sunday, got up, ate breakfast, read book, went to airport, flew home, caught cab, lay down next to my beautiful wife, fell asleep.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Michele and I rode the exact same route today as we did yesterday. There was one difference though, I swapped the risers on Michele's bike for some On One Mary Bars. She was complaining of lack of steering confidence and comfort and I figured this might be a nice change for her. Thanks to Scott for lending me the bars so Michele could try them out before we by some. The bars have a much greater sweep than normal bars making for a much more natural hand position. Because the bar sweeps forward before it comes back, the stem does not need to be changed. The bar is also about an inch and a half wider giving a little more leverage. Anyway, on to the ride Michele commented that she felt a little better with the new bars and was more confident on the technical section that she rode for the first time yesterday, but that could just because she now knew what she up against. I plan on leaving the bars on for a couple weeks and reassess how she's feeling about them.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quick ride and a new project

Michele and I just got back from a quick spin in the Preserves. We did Michele's Loop plus a mile and a half. She surprised me on the additional section by riding a couple of technical spots where I had fully expected her to walk. I really don't try to push her when we ride together, I think part of it is because that's who I am. I also think that I've got this deep down underlying fear that she's always walking the razor's edge with mountain biking. Like she's not really fully on board and all it's going to take for her to give it up is for me to take her on one too many rides just beyond her skill level. I think I damn near lost her for good a year ago, but the spring purchase of a full suspension bike certainly seemed to bring her back from the edge. Hurray for me and hurray for Michele.

Oh yeah, 4.5 miles and 400 feet in 45 minutes.

As for the new project, Star's kayak came in the mail today. Now all we have to do is put it together. I've always wanted to build a kayak, at least I get to cut my teeth on someone else's, that way when I build mine it'll come out right the first time. Fun, fun.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Went out for a quick spin from Dreamy Draw today while Michele hiked. I only did 4.7 miles, 600 feet and was done in 40 minutes. I felt decent even though my legs were a little sore from yesterdays little adventure. Nothing else for today.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

OP Pre-Ride

I finally got back on the bike today. Star and I headed down to Oracle to pre-ride the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo course. Neither of us have been down since last year and we thought it would be a good day to reacquaint ourselves with the course. It was dry, temps were decent, and the sky was slightly overcast when we got started. The course itself was perfect, hardpacked and smooth, things certainly started out well. The dark clouds rolled in and it started raining at mile five, raining hard at eight, turned to snow at eleven, and it started to stick when we got back to the lot. I was feeling pretty good after I was in dry clothes, only my feet and handles(yes, handles, not hands) were slow to warm back up. Star on the other hand was not looking so good. She was having trouble operating the last gate, about three miles from the car, and by the time we got back she couldn't tell that she was biting into her fingers when she was trying to get her gloves off. We headed into Oracle for gas and grub post-ride and by the time we headed out there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground and Star had still not warmed up. She eventually thawed out at about the same rate as the road on the two hour drive back. Anyway, the meat of the ride was 15 miles, 2 hours, and 1300 feet(according to the GPS, the epicrides site claims 1000 feet). I just wish one of us had brought a camera, snow on cacti is pretty damn cool. Now if I can only motivate myself again tomorrow.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Well, I did say maybe

Rainy day in the Valley, it started this morning around seven and just stopped at five. I'm up for the ride but unfortunately the trails here aren't really up to the task once they've been hammered. After a light rain they are nice and sticky, great for climbing and tearing up the corners. After a full day of rain the trails are really soft in places and don't really recover all that well. Oh well, I just got home from a very long tiring day and badly need a shower. I'll try again tomorrow.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lying Low

I been off the bike since Saturday and I'm really feeling like a lazy shit. It got pretty cold here last weekend, cold enough to start freezing and breaking pipes. That means my pager starts going off, I got called out late Sunday, three times Monday, and three times Tuesday. Yesterday I was just feeling downright shitty and I was waiting around for the Barton-Reyher family to drop off Bingo "The Dog". Tonight Michele and I took The Dog to the park for a little walk-about before sunset and I'm still feeling a little low grade shittiness. Enough with the excuses, tomorrow I ride. Maybe.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

La Casa

It was a bit on the cold side this morning at 41 degrees when we loaded the car and headed South to ride Casa Grande. Star and I were running a few minutes late to meet the group that had already assembled at the trail head. The head count was 8 when we rolled out but after the first couple miles Star was having some difficulties not just limited to getting used to her clipless pedals. I left her behind so I could catch up and pass the message along for the group to continue without us. Star and I made a number of stops and did just shy of 9 miles and 1000 ft by cutting out a bunch of the south lollipop. We got passed by the group on the return trip while fixing Star's second flat. We needed to make a couple more stops getting us back just as everyone was getting ready to leave the lot.

This ride actually brings even further into focus what I have been thinking about for a while. More often than not, I don't care about the ride so much as that I'm riding. In the last week both Michele and Star have commented to me something along the lines that I don't enjoy riding with them because I'm being held back or limited to easier trail. This line of thinking is just flat wrong. While the it's true that a ride with Michele or Star is going to be different in difficulty, duration, or speed to one I would do on my own I in no way feel held back. I'm just happy to be out riding. I don't care if I have to cut the group loose or if I only log 3 miles, I'm a big boy and I can handle it. I don't need to push myself on every ride and I know damn well what a ride is going to be like when I sign up for it. If I'm really hard up to do some challenging ride or log some big numbers, I won't invite anyone, but 95% of the time I would prefer to have someone to enjoy the trails with. There is of course a flip side to that coin and that is that when I ride with the MTBR crew, I'm the slow one. I'm ok with that. I know when something is going beyond what I can handle and I don't hesitate to pull the plug when it gets to be too much. If your riding with me, don't worry about me. Don't assume that I'm not enjoying a ride for one reason or another, I'm not shy, I'll let you know.

Friday, January 12, 2007

All by myself

Just me out there tonight. That's kind of the way it is when it gets cold in Phoenix. I might add here that cold in Phoenix is not the same as cold in the rest of the country. By cold I mean 50 degrees, overcast, slight breeze, and on and off spitting rain. I got to Dreamy Draw and the lot was nearly empty. I didn't see anybody until about mile 5 when a couple of guys coming down damn near ran me off the trail. At my turn around I saw a mother and child bundled up as if they were planning for snow. The woman commented on how cold I must be in shorts, I just chuckled and rode off. Those were the last people I saw. I logged 12.5 miles, 1750 feet, and did it in just over 2 hours. The terrain on this ride is a little bit technical but nothing too crazy. I try not to tackle anything overly difficult when it's just me out there, I don't get hurt often but it's nice to have someone else around when I do. As of now I've been home eaten and showered and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm headed down to ride Casa Grande tomorrow with Star and some MTBR folks. Should be a good time.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quick spin with Michele

Michele and I hit the preserves this afternoon. I didn't get home from work until 4:00 which didn't leave a whole lot of time to ride before the sun went down and my lady isn't really into riding after dark. We went the normal Michele route plus a little extra, 4 miles, 280 feet, 35 minutes. Nothing else for today, got some things floating around upstairs though, I might be ready to add them to the blog by this weekend.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Riding with the docs

Went out to Dreamy Draw today with three of my pre-docs for a quick spin around the preverves. We were shooting for a 4:00 start time but in typical John and Zeph fashion they were both late. Zeph was the worse of the two offenders showing up at 4:30 putting us on the trail at :20 till. Our late start meant that we wouldn't be able to stay out that late due to the fact that none of us were packing lights and Star is crazy night blind.

We did just shy of 7 miles with 725 feet of climbing in just over an hour including stops. The climb out of Dreamy Draw hurt like a mother today, both Star and I stopped and walked on one of the segments. I felt pretty good after that dropping everyone on the zipper, pretty much all the way to the 40th street lot. We rode up 8 past T-100 at a decent pace then did a bit of a turn and took an unnamed trail back down to the T-100. On the way back down to DD I was following Star and got to witness the finest digger I think she's ever taken. She dropped off a step into a large rock going right over the bars. She hit the ground hard, coming down on her hip, shoulder, and head. True to form she bounced right back quickly looking at the bright side. She popped out of her new clipless pedals without any problem, helping put another fear to bed.

We all went to Chipotle after for dinner and then I got to come home to play with my new toy.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Pemberton Trail

I went out to McDowell Mountain Park today with Star, Michele was going to come along but she wasn't really feeling up to it when we were getting ready to go. I was not feeling all that enthused about riding either since I didn't get much sleep last night and I was ready for my nap before we even got out the door. At any rate the Pemberton stats are as follows: 15.2 miles, 1050 ft of gain, avg speed of 9.6 mph for 1hr 34 min ride time, and a top speed of 22 mph. Even though it wasn't really all that fast, this was my fastest Pemberton time to date. Star really stepped up today and hauled ass, she spent most of the ride ahead of me, far enough that I couldn't see her most of the time. I was able to reel her back in pretty easy when the trail got fast, and that's still to be expected. Her technical skills have a ways to go, but she's coming along quite well.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

BCT Trail Day

No ride today, but I still got my workout. I got up at an ungodly hour this morning so that I could help out with the Black Canyon Trail building day. There were about 30 people there with the mountain biking contingent making up at least half our numbers. I left after about six hours so I could get back in Phoenix in time to be on call, but at the time I left we had constructed about 1/4 mile of some of the hardest trail I've ever had a part in building. It was about 1.5 mile hike out to where we worked. There were a couple of pack horses so that lightened the load that each individual needed to bring(BTW, no such luxuries when I was building trail back in my Americorps days). I spent the first couple of hours hauling rock to build up a 15 foot section that needed to be benched up approximately four feet. After that I worked on grooming some of the freshly cut in sections until lunch. After lunch I spent about 1.5 hours working an untouched section getting maybe 30 feet or so done before I headed back to the parking lot and driving the 45 minutes home. Now it's nap time.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Back in the saddle...

I got back on my bike today for a quick little solo spin around the preserves. I only logged 7 miles and 800 ft but I had to work for all of it. It started raining just before I pulled into the Dreamy Draw parking lot but it never got heavy and it ended after only 20 minutes or so. My arm felt pretty good with only a little pain when I was hitting rougher terrain at a higher speed. I was a little surprised at how gun-shy I was at a couple of the more technical spots where I normally do just fine. The Goat Camp incident put a little bit of a scare into me, not because I went over the bars, I do that all the time, but rather it's because it was the first time in a long time that I went over the bars and didn't land on my feet.

I amazes me how long it takes me to build up some semblance of a fitness level and how quickly it all goes down the tubes. Mountain biking is the only thing I enjoy that even resembles exercise, well I guess there is rowing and canoing, but without a rowboat or a decent place to take the canoe that leaves me with mountain biking. I didn't really do anything this week even close to exercise except for a quick 45 minute spin on the stationary bike in the workout room. I'm veering off on a bit of a tangent here but I'm convinced that whoever designed the goddamn seat on that thing had to be some kind of sadist, I couldn't hardly walk straight after less than an hour.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Oh one, oh one, oh seven

Well, no big kick off ride for the first day of the year. My arm still hurts pretty good and as of last night my shoulder is giving a bit of pain. I took a quick spin around the parking lot this morning to kind of feel things out and the pavement was ok, but gravel and curbs not so much. It could be a whole lot worse so I've got my first thing to be thankful for in the new year. I'm just going to call it a week off and see how I'm feeling Saturday. If all is well I'll jump back into it full bore.