Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Dang, January is almost done. That's a good thing from here. This means warmer weather is closer and spring is on the way, but we still have February to get through.

I spent almost a week riding like this with temps hovering on the low teens and windchills below zero. I was still out chugging through the miles and having fun. With the cold temps came some snow. I resorted to riding the trails for a few days to try and stay out of the open roads. Suprisingly my feet stayed relatively warm(not numb) for 3-3.5 hours. With the snow riding on the fixed gear came some good force workouts, but low speed and miles. Closing out January, I will hit 1000 miles outside, along with some trainer rides that I don't count. Not a bad month for me. Biggest mileage ever!

I went to the auto show on MLK day and found a sweet concept vehicle I would buy.

Rugged, great room, long bed and space for bikes and gear, give it AWD and a biodiesel engine...boy would that be sah-weet.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Take it or Leave it

With the low sweeping jetstream blowing the arctic air from Canada onto much of the US this week and into the weekend, you have to plan accordingly. Lucky for me, I am on a much needed recovery week, so I ride as far as I feel like, as hard as I feel like, and frankly, go wherever I want. With my first Thursday all day adventure in Ann Arbor, I went out in the midst of some flurries to put some time in the saddle. Cruise down Huron River drive into Dexter, up around to Hell, and back through Chelsea was the route of choice. Coming back to the start, I opted for some off road riding. Jumped into Barton Nature Park, out into Bandemer and end twisting throuh Leslie Park. Got some road riding in, then got my fix of dirt and trees.

Today was SUNNY. Decided to enjoy some gravel to give me a block from the wind. Conditions were good and bad. Some road were all clear, some were snow covered, while others were a sheet of ice. No falls or slips, just and nice peaceful ride with low traffic. Out riding around breahting fresh air, spinning the legs, and enjoying the scenery.

Some graffiti painted on the rail trail. I think it says, "Bary Peach" Maybe a band or the famous "Rail Trail Banditos"!

Also finished some bike projects lately. Took the fork all apart, re-lubed a few parts, changed the oil (3 different kinds-why?), and put in some new seals. With some added parts coming in from Manitou this week, I was finally able to put it back together. Now, only a few more months and I can get it back on the trails again.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

8 Day Binge

25.5 hours, 426.5 miles, one day off, one recovery ride, pavement, dirt roads, and even some trail.

What a week for riding. A few days of warmer weather and almost no precipitation this week lead to a big grin and some sore, but a good sore feeling in the legs. I got in a groove and stuck to it. Riding the CX bike early in the week lead to some exploration. To my surprise, the trails were in great shape. Frost still in the ground and no tire marks left. After a long ride on Tuesday, I threw on and HID light, grabbed the MTB fixed gear, and hit the trails over at Brighton Rec. Nothing like the rush you get when riding a fixie on the trail at night in unknown conditions. Its the unexpected thrill and "oh shit" moments that bring the fire back. Bombing down a hill uncontrollably with legs spinning and seeing a patch of ice around the corner. Get through it and have a sense of relief and then excitement. Stupid, maybe, but exhilarating, hell yeah!

Rode some of ILRA and Proud Lake trails this week on the skinny knobbies to see the trail conditions. Just as fun to cruise the trails at high speed rounding corners on narrow tires and smashing through sand pits like Sven Nys. This week brought back thrill and excitment for the upcoming season.

With the 14" of snow and inch of rain, the water has been really high. Normally, this is a dry swamp.

I was planning on hitting up a WRCS ride on Saturday to ride with some people for a change. Opening up a work e-mail late Friday night put the end to that. Add in a game mid-day, and I had to shuffle the schedule. Maybe sometime soon. Nothing like riding in the cold with like-minded individuals.

I rounded out the week with a morning gravel grinder on the fixie. No gears, no coasting, and no target number to hit and look at. Just pedaling for a few hours soaking in the outdoors. Nice temps out and no winds to fight with. Just me and one gear pushing up hills and spinning madly down. Ran across the Michigan State CX Champion also enjoying a little gravel goodness this morning.

Next up is the start of a new semester. I have a decent schedule, but a 6-9 class on Thursdays. That gives me 5.5 hours to waste down in A2. Looks like the bike will be packed and new routes explorered. Anyone with route suggestions starting in A2 to anywhere, Dexte, Waterloo, Chelsea etc.. post them up. I have been riding down from Brighton via Mast Rd to Huron River and back Whitmore Lk alot lately. If this weather holds, I will be able to search for some gravel as well.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Weather Turning...Cogs a burning

Well, the cold snap has left and now the warm weather is here for a few days. After some cold days of bundling up and trying to stay warm for multiple hours, I was excited looking at the forecast. Temps in the 40's and 50's with chances of rain. There goes the foot of snow.

With temps reaching 40 today, I set out for a 5 hour ride down to Ann Arbor and back around through Wixom and Milford. I was planning on throwing in a loop or 2 of Kensington to fill my time on the way back. Then I woke up. Fog. More Fog. Weather man says, "The fog will be staying all day." Yup, no pictures were in store for today. If you want to visualize and you don't live in SE MI, then go into Paint(non Mac users) and use the fill bucket with grey. Yup, thats what it looked like.

So what did I do. Put on 3 blinking lights, put the road wheels on the CX bike with full fenders and set out on the wet roads. 5 minutes in the glasses came off. 4:20 later, back home, a little wet, still warm, and not hit by a vehicle. Brutal day outside. Some areas had 1/3 mile visibility, while the open areas with more steaming snow had barely enough visibility for me to see the computer on the stem. Yeah, not a good day for riding on the road. Guess I was lucky.

Looking like tomorrow will be mid 50's and a chance of rain. Much less of a chance for rain tomorrow than Tuesday. Don't start school back up for another week, so big miles are a coming!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Nothing like a full 12" of snow to ring in the new year. Now, what to do? Ride outside, Don't feel like getting killed by drunks today. Ski...oh yeah, can't even get out of the nieghborhood. Clear the driveway...DONE. Hmm, looks to be the first day of the new year and the first day on the trainer this year. Should be a grand time. Roads will hopefully be cleared enough to get out tomorrow. If not, XC skis will be the weapon of choice.

Holidays were good, except for the part where I was on the couch with the flu for 4 days. Then add in a few days of holiday gatherings, and I found myself cramming in big hours in a small amount of time. Now it looks like the weather is going to get colder for a few days then hit the upper 40s and maybe even 50 by the weekend. Nothing like bushwhacking in 12" power on the XC skis, and riding the skinny tired bike without a jacket and few days later. Gotta love it!