Friday, April 17, 2009

Like a Phoenix

Fox Park is back!

It's not quite burning as bright as it has in the past but its well on its way. At the end of last season I wasn't very optimistic, I thought we had lost a great place to ride locally. But MTBers die hard and the locals have spent what must have been 100's of man hours cutting reroutes around logging damage.

Most sections need to be ridden in a bit, but its only April, plenty of time to get things squared away. I even think some of the reroutes use the real estate better and might even add a bit of mileage as well. I'm not sure how sustainable some of the trails they cut are, there are some sections with some hilarious switchbacks on very steep terrain. Very fun to ride but I can see it getting washed out at some point. I guess part of the good thing about blazing trails in a location like Fox Park is you dont have to worry as much about sustainable trails because chances are they will be logged out within a few years and you'll have to start over anyway.

For early season I am really pleased with my fitness. Naro and I didnt push the pace by any means but my legs were more than there when I needed them and my average heart rate stayed low for the ride at 146. I was on my 9 speed so that probably helped. I didn't get to ride the 9 speed much before the season ended last year and it was great to get out and let it rip. Of course it took me a few miles for my muscles to remember all the subtle coordination needed to operate a mountain bike correctly but it came to me slowly. It was hard to remember to shift, I have def become a SS rider at my core.

It was also my first ride on my new Cane Creek Thudbuster ST (thanks Dad!). I am pretty pleased with it so far. I think I may try playing around with using the different elastomers but I could definitely feel a difference in ride quality. Not so much on the downhills because the travel isnt huge but on the flats and false flats when you are putting the gas on a bit and little rocks and roots kill the rhythm of your powerstroke and make you bob out of the saddle...thats gone and I can keep the power going to the pedals. Thats gonna make a huge difference and save me a lot of energy in the long run, def worth the added weight in my opinion.

Unfortunately towards the end of the ride I blew my chain up riding through some logging debris. I think something got jammed in the drivetrain for a second and the chain torqued past the point of no return. At least it wasnt my derailluer that went. Luckily we were at a good spot to just continue out back to the car almost all downhill. I can't wait to get back in there and explore more...I should probably get into doing lunch rides. Possibly more on that later.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Back to Commuting

Let me apologize to my 3-7 readers for the recent lapse in material. Early Spring and Late Fall are traditionally my 'down' periods. Weather isn't ideal for either of my preferred outdoor activities and homebrewing is on a holding pattern while our home situation is still up in the air...hence Manarea has gone dormant.

I have still been getting out there though, I have done a few road rides but they were more uneventful type base mile rides without much intrigue so I figured they didn't warrant a post, just a tweet.

BUT! one thing I can do in early Spring is get back on the commuting horse and start biking into work again. I had forgotten how nice it is to get 7 miles in the morning. It's a great way to start the day, gets everything rolling nicely (PUN intended). I was a tad frantic this morning running late trying to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. It takes me a bit until I get into the autopilot mode packing routine for the commute. Gotta make sure you have underwear and your keys to get into the office, everything else is luxury or just added weight.

It became apparent within about 5 mins that I have somewhat forgotten how to layer properly for real cold weather riding. Some parts were too cold, some too hot. I had it down last year, it will come to me I just have to experiment again a bit. I also forgot how to pack a bag correctly, I very quickly got a hot spot on my back either from my shoes or the tupperware holding my lunch (mmmmm lasagna). The bike was running great Crankbrother Smarty pedals are nice but they have A LOT of float. Might feel nicer if I dial the retention up a bit, but they are only gonna be for commuting and off and on ice riding so whatever. New cassette is nice and smooth and has a nicer gear range than the 'frankensette' I had on there before.

It's good to be back to saving on gas and getting more miles in AND they installed new massaging shower heads in the HUB! SCORE!

Here are the goods from the Garmin:

I was hoping that when I turned the device off when I got to work that it would commit that ride to history and reset the data tracking so the to and from portions of my commute would be recorded independently. Unfortunately that's not how the Edge 205 works and when you turn it back on it continues from where it left off unless you upload the data off the device apparently. I'll have to look into that more but I'm kinda bummed about that, not a huge deal but it would be nice to have the option. So you'll see the Garmin tracked the whole time I was at work as 'stopped time' so this activity came in over 10 hours total haha. I learn more about this thing every day. Pretty soon I will be a pro.