Thursday, November 25, 2010

More Internet exposure for MiSCA

http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/cannondale-teams-with-michigan-scholastic-cycling-association-to-offer-college-scholarships/

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Go Cleveland Browns!


I spent the afternoon with Sandy, Greg, and one of his friends at one of the bars in the Detroit area that hosts a local chapter of the Browns Backers clubs. Greg has gone in the past and also on one of their bus trips to a Cleveland game. Sandy went to the bar two weeks ago when the Browns beat the Saints but I was busy at the time.

I decide this week I would go and it was a great way to spend an afternoon. There must have been about 50 Browns fans watching the game on the big HD screen and we got pretty loud as the Browns thumped the Patriots 34-14. And Sandy and I won two tickets to the Browns game on November 28th! Very glad I decided to go this week.

Iceman Weekend


Saturday was the big mountain bike race from Kalkaska to Traverse City, the biggest one day race in the United States and has drawn close to 4,000 racers for the past couple of years. It has become a huge end of the season event with racers coming as much for the after race parties as they do for the race itself.

I sold my entry earlier in the fall as I did not feel that I would be very competitive this year as I have not done much riding this fall. I thought I would miss not racing but really didn't. After attending the expo all day on Friday I got up race day morning and drove home. I am kind of disappointed I missed doing it though because the race was finally held in winter conditions complete with ice and snow. But after being on my feet all day Friday I would have not been very fast, as evident by my ride I did when I got home yesterday.

The Iceman expo held on Friday is the spot for registration pickup and is also an area for dealers, vendors, and other bike related enterprises to set up and display information and sell merchandise, many at season end clearance prices. It can become a madhouse at times, especially later in the evening . I have set up a Hammer Nutrition tent at several of these and was usually exhausted by the end of the day from talking and selling product.

This year MiSCA shared a booth with the MMBA and we set out material for our organization as well as merchandise for the MMBA. MiSCA had a big banner in the back of the tent and polo shirts to wear with our logo. We drew a lot of attention, both from interested racers and potential schools as well as interested sponsors. Some had heard about us from word of mouth, others had seen the recent article in Cyclingnews. At the end of the day I was again exhausted but I think it was a very productive day for the future of MiSCA.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

MiSCA gets national press

An article about MiSCA appeared on the internet site, cyclingnews.com today. Click here to read it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cannondale Sponsors MiSCA

Cannondale Teams With Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association To Offer College Scholarships

The Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association (MiSCA) announces that Cannondale Bicycle Corporation will be donating resources to help fund college sponsorships for the winners of the 2011 MiSCA Varsity championship races. MiSCA has tentatively scheduled five mountain bike races for the fall of 2011, with the final race awarding a minimum of $2,000 in college scholarships.

MiSCA, formed in the spring of this year as part of the Michigan Mountain Biking Association, has as its mission to establish and maintain safe, quality scholastic cycling programs. An interscholastic racing league was piloted this fall and the inaugural season saw students from area schools compete for podium positions at three mountain bike races held in the SE Michigan area.

Look for MiSCA board members at local cycling events, expos, and bike shops this winter and spring as they reach out across the state to recruit more schools and volunteers.

For more information on MiSCA or how to donate or sponsor them visit: http://www.miscabike.org

Some time is better than no time





Sandy and I went to Indy on Friday afternoon to attend the funeral of Emily's grandmother. We got down there in the evening in time for the viewing and then the funeral on Saturday. Emily and the grand kids had been there for a few weeks since her grandmother had taken a turn for the worse.

The original plans were for us to take the two older ones for a week after visiting but the plans changed with Emily flying home later this week. Flying back with Jason or shortly after should make it easier for her.

We had a nice visit even if it was all too short. Not sure when we will get to see them next but hopefully it won't be too far in the future.

Friday, October 15, 2010

More singletrack

We added another short piece of singletrack a the school, finishing it yesterday. It is only .3 miles long and not very technical but more trail is always good.

I rode the entire race loop for the race on the 23rd and came up with almost 9 miles per lap. I was at 6 miles before getting into Bald Mountain. We will use two miles of the Bald Mountain trail which should help those training for Iceman as the sections are pretty fast and fairy wide open.

There are a lot of leaves on the trails now, to the point that some of the trail is hard to see. I plan on going up this week and blow some of it off.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Catching up

I haven't been very good lately about updating the blog but it's one of those things that is easy to put aside or neglect. I realize there are a few people that follow it from time to time but it seems more and more people are staying in touch via Facebook. And it is a lot easier to post a few sentences here and there rather than constructing entire paragraphs. It is just another way in which our world is changing.

In the past month I haven't really done much racing, I did do one up in Midland, the race where I crashed hard last year and thought I had broken some ribs. This year I managed to stay upright and finish second in my class.

Earlier in the same week I competed in the short track race I put on at the high school but did not do very well. Part of the problem was that I put on skinny tires to help the bike be faster on the primarily grass course but the tires also lowered the crank to the point that the pedals would hit in the turns if I wasn't careful and pivot the rear wheel off the ground.

I had been busy preparing for the first two interscholastic races and the MiSCA board had put in a lot of work. Especially when the Lake Orion school told us to go ahead and run the one race on our own and keep the proceeds.

The day before the race it rained hard for most of the day but by late afternoon it had stopped enough that I could blow of the trail to help it dry. By race time on Sunday the trails was in pretty good condition but I think the previous day's rain had scared some riders from competing. Those that did come out enjoyed the course and the interscholastic competition; I believe the first of its kind in Michigan.

The board also went through a name change for the organization. What used to be MICA, Michigan Interscholastic Cycling Association, was changed to MiSCA, or Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association. It doesn't seem like much of a change but we were asked to change our name by the national organization, NICA. They thought it was too confusing, especially since we are not a part of their organization.

That meant a new logo and website domain name as well as some changes to come on the website itself. We are working on literature to have ready for the Iceman in a month; over 4,000 racers are expected to attend and we hope to be able to get the word out about MiSCA. We also plan on hitting up shops and schools across the state as we expand for next year. This winter and spring will be critical to get new clubs in the program so they can form teams for next fall. We want to be able to get enough support to be able to offer scholarships next fall.

Talking about Iceman, I decided to sell my entry to the sold out race. I put it up for auction on eBay and unless the buyer doesn't pay in time, I will not be racing. I decided a while ago to not race anymore this fall as I didn't really have the time or motivation to race any more. I have been finding it harder each year to continue to have the same enthusiasm for racing. Each year I have done something a little different to change it up.

This year I raced most of the races in the singlespeed class for a change of pace. I also didn't do any of the endurance races for the first time in a many years. Next year? Who knows, maybe try some road racing or maybe just go riding. I know I will still be very involved with racing, just not so much while on a bike.

Friday, October 08, 2010

High School Cycling!

A photo from a member of Clarkston High's cycling team. The cycling club has been added to the varsity jacket.

Oct 6 Short Track results

Short Track Results 10-6-10

More results

From the Oct 3 MiSCA race
LOHS MiSCA Results 10-3-10

Sunday, September 26, 2010

LOHS 9/22 Short Track Results

Racers seemed to enjoy the direction we ran this race. We will probably use it again on the 6th.

Jeff Weinert won the A class for the second race in a row. Will he make it a clean sweep? I think the rest of the big boys in the area are afraid to come out and test him.

Short Track Results 9-22-10

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Short Track Results 9/8/2010

Last night the Lake Orion High School Guided Activities Program (GAP) hosted the first of three short track races to benefit the MICA program. 50% of the entry fees were split among the top three finishers in each category and 22 racers across three categories lined up to race the 1.6 mile course. The course was very firm, fast, and flowing with the top racers averaging six minutes per lap. The races are designed to allow for pack racing at a high intensity but for a relatively short duration, between 25-30 minutes. All of the racers seemed to enjoy the course and the top two C racers were from Clarkston High School. MICA came away with over $150 for the night when race entry fees were combined with donated winnings.

These are great training races for both students and adults, and with only a $10 entry fee very affordable. The next short track race is September 22 and the final race is October 6. Come on out and have some fun and help support MICA at the same time.

Short Track Results 9-8-10

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Big Valley

Some readers may have read the blog title and thought of the TV show. I guess that would probably mean you are getting up there in years. But this Big Valley is the race held every year south of Cleveland in the Cuyahoga National Recreation Area at Camp Manatoc. The race weekend is the only time of the year that the trails are open to riding at the Boy Scout Camp.

I raced last year and enjoyed it a lot and since the weather looked like it would cooperate, decided to do it again. This is a course that would not be very enjoyable when wet. Plus it is less than a half hour from my parent's house so I get to visit them and they can see me race, or at least see me go by.

The preride on Saturday was better than last year since the course was dry. Last year it had rained overnight and the wet and slippery conditions had me nervous. Even on race day last year there was some moisture. This year it was dry and even a little dusty.

It was strange to not start a race until 1:00 in the afternoon. But the early chilly temps gave way to the 70's by race time. I line up with 18 others in the 50+ group, not really knowing who was the race favorite although a couple of the guys looked familiar from last year.

As we rounded the first corner after the opening straight I was in 7th but moved up into 4th or 5th after a short while and then on one of the longer gravel climbs early on moved into 3rd. Soon it was hard to tell who was in my class because we had caught up to so many that had started in front of us. I kept plugging away and passing people where I could without getting passed.

At some point 4th place passed me in some traffic but I was stronger on the hills but kept right behind him, planning on passing later in the race when we got to some more hills. We cam around for our final lap and was right on his wheel and starting a climb when I felt and heard a strange sound in my rear wheel. I couldn't figure out what it was when I looked down so I stopped and got off the bike.

I discovered that at the bottom of the rough and bumpy downhill right before the climb, my seat bag had come unzipped and the contents had come out. My spare inner tube had wrapped itself around my axle between the frame and the spokes. It took me a while to work it free and riders continued to pass me up. I was fortunate that the tube hadn't done any damage to the bike or me.

Once the tube was free I remounted and charged up the hill and just tried to catch whomever I could see. I think with a mile to go I passed another rider in my class but it was hard to tell. I ended up 4th out of 19, with the tube mishap probably costing me at least one place. But it was still a fun race and one I would recommend to everyone.

Next up is the MICA short track race at LOHS this Wednesday. I have done some preliminary marking of the course with paint. Hopefully everything goes well and we get decent turnout.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First sighting


Today was the last race of the Tailwind USAC MTB series at Stony Creek but I elected not to race. Instead, I set up a tent to hand out literature and talk about MICA. Our first race is in two weeks and I was trying to drum up interest in the organization.

I also wanted to stick around for the start of the Beginner race since our first MICA team, Clarkston High, was supposed to be making their racing debut. Their coach is on the MICA board of directors and has done a great job recruiting and starting a MTB club.


While talking to her before the race the only school in the state to have mountain bike racing as a varsity sport, Detroit Country Day, pulled in with their school bus and car towing a DCD logo'd trailer. Kind of intimidating to other kids but DCD has had a program now for ten years or more and they have done a great job. It is quite impressive to see 20-25 kids with the same jersey milling about before the race. DCD is planning on joining MICA as well.

At the start I noticed that some of the DCD kids seemed both shocked and excited to see another team represented. Most of the Clarkston kids were wearing their new jerseys that also sported the MICA logo.

I didn't stay for the whole race but heard later that three of the Clarkston kids ended up on the podium. A great way to begin their racing season and I'm sure all the kids will have great stories to tell their friends. Hopefully the excitement translates into even more kids entering the sport.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A bridesmaid again

Once again I was the bridesmaid, not the bride. I raced the time trial at Ft. Custer today, a trail I had not been on since I raced almost exactly two years ago when Jason was in town. It is a very fun trail and the re-routes they have done lately have made it even better.

The trail overall is pretty fast with no really big climbs so I decided last night to increase the front chain ring by one tooth to provide a little more speed. I felt pretty good riding around before the start but there were a lot of SS's at this race and I wasn't sure who was in my class.

I started last, or so I thought, but luckily I didn't have too much traffic to contend with as I caught slower riders who started in front to me. There were a few times I had to slow to find the right place to pass; you don't need to force someone off the trail or yell at them as they are trying the best they can also. Racing is hard enough as it is without some Bozo ruining your day.

I seemed like I had the right gear as I was both able to spin comfortably yet make it up the hills and through all the tight spots with no problem. I was surprised though to see my name at the top of the results list when I finally got around to looking at them. Then I noticed that there were still a few results not posted, and one of the racers was someone that I had rarely beaten. I just had to sit and wait for the final results.

Actually, the final results were never posted but when the awards were given out and my name was called for second place I knew who had beaten me. Sure enough, it was they guy who had started after me. I never saw the times so I don't know by how much.

Oh well, at my second buttons up at least a third for the series since the last race is next week and 4th can't earn enough points to displace me. I have a possible shot at finishing second in the series but since it doesn't matter that much to me I may forgo the last race; I plan on racing in Ohio over Labor Day and don't really want to race three weeks in a row.

Now it's crunch time for the MICA program and we have a lot to do. I just have to keep remembering that this is the pilot season and really we are building for next year.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weeknight short track series at LOHS

Earlier this summer Jeff Weinert, a local rider and nationally ranked cyclocross racer, approached me with the idea of putting on a weeknight race series this fall. The Lake Orion High School has such a great variety of trails and terrain that it is well suited to just about any type of off road race. After consultation with the school and Jeff the Wednesday Night Short Track Series has been formed.

The races are meant to be fairly short but intense, perfect training for the upcoming cyclocross season and also serve as a means for staying sharp for the Iceman race at the beginning of November. The entry fee is only $10 with 50% being returned to the top three racers in each class. The remainder will benefit the MICA organization.

More details can be found here http://www.scribd.com/doc/36210814/LOHS-short-track-races

LOHS short track races

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back in the groove

After being back to work for a week now it's like I never left. The first few days were a little tough due to catching up to the time difference but after that it was routine.

The heat and humidity this past week had me doing things other than riding. I spent part of Thursday trimming the school trails but not really doing anything to them for well over a month they were not as overgrown as I had feared. I finally got back on the bike on Friday and then again yesterday and today.

Sandy has started work at the local Meijer this past week. She will be working in the deli and eventually bakery but the first few days were taking computer based training. I think she get her first on the floor training today. Her schedule varies each week and even between first and second shift. We may not see much of each other except in passing.

The focus on racing will shift somewhat from me to working more on the MICA program and trying to get it going. Plus there may be an opportunity to put on a few more races up at the school this fall. I will race a few others here and there but only if the time and desire intersect.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Busy past three weeks

Wow! The past three weeks have been very busy as I have been on vacation for most of it. I will provide more details in the coming days but for now a short recap.

Michigan Senior Olympics - finished 4th in all three events but my first time trying this type of racing. I may look into buying a road bike and doing more road events next year.

Spent 2 1/2 weeks in Spokane, WA with Jason and family. Much of the time was spent helping out on the CSA. They have their hands full with three children under age three, the CSA, the school year starting, and trying to add alpacas and goats to the mix. Pictures are here

Jason and visited Seattle for two days, staying in a hostel in the downtown area. Very nice city, I hope to get back and see more of it. Seattle pics here.

Got in a few rides, both mountain and dirt. A nice paved trail took me all the way to the Idaho border. I could have gone farther on it but opted not too.

Spent a day in Coeur d'Alene with the family. Nice town on the lake.

Came back yesterday evening an raced the Pontiac Lake XC race this afternoon. Very hot and rough trail. I just wanted to finish and score some points. My slow and methodical pace paid off as I started dead last and ended up second as others crashed, had mechanicals, or burned out. My mantra for the day was "Be the turtle".

Now back to the real world and work, MICA, and getting the trails back in shape. Not sure what the next race is, I think I have enough points in the series to guarantee a 3rd place so I don't need to race any more of them.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A horse of a different color




For the past week I have switched my riding from the trails to the road. I borrowed the bike pictured above from my great Cannondale rep, Jason Edinger, in preparation for the Senior Olympics coming up in a few days. More on the races later in the post.

The bike is set up for someone a little smaller than me so I have been trying to spend as much time as possible to try and adapt to the riding position. The road bars are not any easier to hang on to with my left hand than my mountain bikes. The taped fingers just hang along the outside of the brake lever but can't do much.

The bike is one of Cannondale's top of the line road bikes, a SystemSix, which is super lightweight and fast, yet also stiff when pressing on the pedals while still providing some comfort over rougher pavement. I could be persuaded to have a road bike at sometime but maybe one with a more upright position for an old guy.


I first heard about the Senior Olympics last year but the cutoff for entering was past. I made it a point to mark my calendar for this year. The bike races are road only, both time trials and regular road races. Even though I haven't ridden a road bike in years I thought I would try anyway. The races are held over two days at the local road race track, Waterford Raceway.

The first day has a very short time trial in the morning followed by a road race in the afternoon. The TT is only a 5k, or about 3 miles. This will be closer to a sprint for seven minutes or so. The road race is also fairly short, only 40k or 24 miles. This should take somewhere around an hour.

The second day is similar to the first but the TT is twice as long, 10k, and the road race is half as long as the prior day, being only 20k. But that is OK because I leave later that evening to fly to Spokane for two weeks. I think the race distances are so short because they run the same races for all age groups, which may include people in their 80's or older.

I am looking forward to seeing the family out west, I haven't seen them since Christmas plus I haven't seen my new grandson, Jonathan. I'm sure the time will fly by and all too soon I will be back in Michigan.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pull my finger



I rode with a bunch of guys early today at a local trail, Pontiac Lake. My plan was to do two or three laps but early on a little mishap changed all that. I was riding my singlespeed which usually means you have to work a little harder to get up the bigger hills.

There is a particularly long hill known as two mile hill that can be tough to climb as it can be a loose surface and is fairly steep in spots as it winds its way up. The trail is also built along the side of the hill which means you need to be careful from going to close to the edge. I have never had a problem on this hill before.

Today while climbing it my foot pulled out of the pedal which caused me to jerk the wheel just enough to have it slide off the edge, causing me to slide out. I quickly popped back up and didn't think much of it other than I had reopened the scab from last weeks race. It didn't take too long to feel some pain in my left hand.

I noticed I couldn't really bend my left middle finger around the bar and in fact, the finger was pointing off in its own direction. The pain was more pronounced when trying to pull on the bars while climbing and if trying to use the front brake. Bigger bumps would also send pain shooting through the hand so I just slowed down some and pretty much used only the back brake. The mishap happened two miles into the 9.5 mile trail but I wanted to finish the ride instead of turning around.

When I got back to the parking lot and pulled off my glove I could see that something was definitely wrong. I called Sandy on the way home to let her know that she would probably need to take me to the urgent care. By now she is used to it and as long as I was breathing and moving it couldn't be too bad.

Once I finally got into the Dr's office they took some x-rays and then gave me the results, a severe dislocation. I was afraid of that because I know how these things get fixed. I was more worried about the cure than my present pain. The x-ray did look pretty cool though.

The nurse came in to give me a shot to numb me us some but gave it to me in the butt. I still can't figure that out but the doc said it was sort of a calming drug as well as a pain killer.

The doctor was a young female and as she started to work on my finger (read: pulling really hard) she kept apologizing for the pain she was causing. I kept telling her it wasn't her fault. She was having a hard time getting the finger to move so after awhile stopped to let me recuperate, probably her as well. Now my finger really hurt and I started to feel light headed.

She came back in a little while later and had me lie down while she gave my finger another go round. Her hand kept slipping slightly as she was pulling and I was afraid they were going to have to send me somewhere else that had somebody stronger to work on it. Finally the finger started to move around and I could feel a couple of pops as it worked its way back into place.

They took a few more x-rays to confirm that it was straight, they didn't want to move it too much more because they were afraid that it might slip back! They finger was splinted and taped to the finger next to it to keep it stable. By the time I left the finger felt 100% better. In fact, I hope to ride tomorrow, just not on a very rough surface. Hmm, that leaves out most of Detroit's roads.





Worse than it looks because I reopened an old scab.

Friday, July 09, 2010

My 15 minutes of fame


A while back I was going through some old mementos and found this page from a magazine. I had appeared in an ad for Mercury clutches, back then the hot setup for mini-bikes. The ad appeared in lots of different magazines and I remember one of my older brother's friends had seen it while stationed in Vietnam. I don't think I got much money for the shoot but reading the mini-bike and motorcycle magazines the ad appeared in was the catalyst for my interest in motorcycles. I do remember the tattoo got a lot of criticism though.

Monday, July 05, 2010

She's Baack!

Sandy arrived home yesterday just in time for the heat wave we are having. Spokane gets hot but humidity is usually far less than here in Michigan. It sure is good to have her back but as I previously wrote, it's too bad things didn't work out where she could stay.

Greg and I had been busy around the house in preparation for her arrival. Not that the house was every that dirty but we wanted everything to be extra nice. The last few days were a little hectic as we cleaned, I finished all my ironing, refinished a piece of furniture we bought last fall, and did last minute grocery shopping on Saturday evening. And I was gone at the Stony marathon MTB race most of the day on Saturday. I think I did an extra marathon just getting everything finished after the race was over.

We succeeded in impressing her. She said she felt like a big weight was off her shoulders since she could simply relax and unwind. She was glad to be in her own home, she said there was something special about being in a place that was truly your own. She was especially surprised by the chest that Greg and I had refinished. But we may have done too good a job in cleaning, now she expects us to keep it like this all the time!

Sandy has to adjust to east coast time and will be taking some time to unpack and get settled back in. It was kind of strange for the three of us to be sitting around the table today when Greg and I had usually sat in different chairs so we could both see the TV while eating. She was out doing some grocery shopping today to get the things that us guys never have bought for ourselves. I imagine in the next week or so she will start the job hunt all over again. But at least this time it can be from home. She will miss the family out west but there is nothing to say we won't move out there, just not in the immediate future.

Saturday I raced the Stony marathon MTB race, really it is just a longer XC race than usual, about twice the normal distance. I had preridden the course last week to get a feel for what gearing I should use and approximate lap times based on my target heart rate. I felt pretty good about the race as the times I was turning were near the top based on last year's results.

The race was going to be a hot one so I didn't want to start out too fast. I kept to my target HR as much as possible and was turning laps in the time I expected. But even though I finished two minutes ahead of last year's winning time I was still almost 10 minutes behind the first place winner and only managed a fourth place. I am not sure I could have gone too much faster anyway as I started to cramp up in the legs a lot on the last lap. I just don't have the the same speed as the top guys in my class, although most of them are much younger. But it is more fun in some ways since I have the extra challenge of competing against younger riders and also seeing how I would have compared against the geared riders of my age.

I don't plan on any more MTB races until August since in a few weeks I will be traveling out west to visit the kids. I also am competing in the Senior Olympic road races in two weeks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Late in updating

I haven't been updating as much as I should, I guess I have other things going on so i don't really bother. Some of the highlights of the past week:

Our second LOHS race in the series had 70 racers attend, the most we have had at ANY of our races. Rain was in the picture once again but it happened the night before so the trail was pretty much dried out by the time the race started. We have had such favorable comments about all the new trail we have put in at the school that we are thinking about expanding the number of races next year and making it a weeknight series. Our next race is not until October.

Last Sunday I went up to Port Huron to race but had to pull out after a little over a lap due to my lower back hurting. It is a different pain than the one I had earlier this year from playing golf. I have been able to ride without any problem until last week. I didn't race at the school and hope to be ready in two weeks for the Stony race.

I did some longer rides this week to get some time in the saddle but kept the effort fairly light. Today's ride was over 50 mile and my back didn't really seem to protest too much. But if it was a harder ride or race I think it would have been screaming.

Greg cooked dinner today and he had bought some steaks that were about 2 inches think. We grilled those and had fresh green beans and corn on the cob. A great dinner. For the past two months we have been able work together on meals and housework and I think the experience has been good for both of us.

Sandy and I have decided that for the time being things haven't worked out for her out in Spokane so we are pulling the plug on the experiment. She will be returning on July 4th. That means we have only two weeks to get the house cleaned up! It will be nice to have her back but I also wished it had worked out. I was looking forward to moving out there at the end of next year. So now our future plans are open and we will just see what happens.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

LOHS Team Challenge 6/16

Attention race teams. The LOHS GAP program has issued a team challenge for this Wednesday's race, June 16. We will be giving out a special award to the top team according to the rules listed below. Teams must be those normally represented at Michigan races, i.e. Cycletherapy, RBS, Cannondale Midwest, Trail's Edge, etc. No composite teams allowed. Is YOUR team up to the challenge?

Teams will be scored based on the top 5 finishers per team, no more than 2 racer's results counted per category. 1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2 points, etc. Lowest total score wins. In the event of a tie the team with the most registered finishers wins. If there is still a tie then a blind drawing will be held from available classes, the team with the top scoring finisher in that class will be declared the winner.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lake Orion High School Race Results June 9, 2010

Our first race of two drew close to 60 riders. Rain in the morning but it dried up for the most part by race time. The weather looks even better for next week.

June 9, 2010 Results

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It's a boy!


Last Thursday Emily gave birth to a healthy baby boy. That is child number three for the Jason and Emily. Everyone is doing fine and this time the midwife was present during the at home delivery and they were able to use the birthing tub. No name has been selected yet.

Monday, May 31, 2010

You can go home again, sort of



The three day holiday weekend allowed me a chance to partake in a variety of activities, starting Saturday with a XC race at a trail fairly close to me in Rochester, Bloomer park. I don't ride there very often so I made sure to ride the trails twice last week to try and pick what gearing I would use on the bike.

In some ways the trails are similar to parts of the LOHS trails but Bloomer also has more flat areas and some longer climbs. Picking the right gear ratio is never easy at courses like that. I started with an easy gear on the first ride, made it harder for the second, and picked a compromise for the race.

On race morning my stomach wasn't feeling 100% plus the anticipated race time temps in the upper 80's prompted me to switch the gearing back to the one I had on the first ride, fairly easy. In the end I'm glad I listened to reason.

I purposely started out slow, 6th out of 10, and just tried to keep a steady pace and not overdo it. I passed a few riders and was in 4th or so and kept taking it easy. On the second lap I got stuck behind a young girl in the race just as we entered a long section of trail that was very narrow and went along the side of the hill. There was no place for her to pull off and I felt bad for her as she was obviously nervous. I finally got around but the wait cost me a lot of time.

On the final lap I caught up to another rider in my class and I thought we were racing for 4th and 5th place. He got away from me but I got up behind him again a little ways from the finish. I stayed right on his wheel but didn't have the power left to pass so I ended up crossing the finish line 7 seconds behind. As it turns out we were 2nd and 3rd place. Overall I was happy with my result given the way I felt at the start. Plus I ran a smart race and never really blew up or cramped. Next week we are going down to near the Indiana border to support a race sponsored by our team shop. I haven't raced at the course in many years.

After getting dinner at home I drove down to my parent's house east of Cleveland to spend the night. The next day they wee going to participating in a one mile walk as part of a bigger event during the Chagrin Falls Blossom Time Festival. I hadn't been in the town for a while and while they were walking I walked around the town seeing how things had remained the same yet changed.

Chagrin Falls was featured in the 1977 movie The Gathering, which was supposed to take place in New England but the town is very much like a town you might find in Vermont or New Hampshire, except that the houses and incomes are probably two or three times those in the northeast. However with the incomes also comes a change in the once sleepy town to a more upscale and exclusive attitude. The town still has its charm and beauty.

I didn't actually grow up in the town but close by. They were a rival in high school yet I went to church in the village and new quite a few kids there. Sandy and I ended up getting married at the church in Chagrin. Lots of good memories but a long time ago.

Leaving Chagrin I drove out to the memorial gardens that my mom helps to maintain. I had heard a lot about them but had never seen them. I was impressed with the size of the gardens and the care that has gone into them. The edges of the walks were lines with brick in memory of loved ones. I found the one for my sister that was located under a bench so I sat there for a while remembering.

One of the other reasons for heading down to Ohio was to attend an open house at the park where I had my first official job over 40 years ago. Wiegand's Lake Park is in some ways a throwback to simpler times with a picnic grove, swimming lake complete with rowboats and paddle boats, softball field and horseshoes, concession stands and a dance hall. The grounds were always in immaculate shape, partly due to the hired help that constantly was on patrol picking up litter and emptying waste cans. In fact, that was my first job, litter patrol.

The park is not open to the general public but instead rented out to companies and organizations for picnics and other functions. One of the high points was the food provided by the park, always home made. The custard stand was another highlight.

The park is now being run by Wendy, the daughter of the people I worked for. I graduated with her and when my dad's company or our church had their picnics at the park she and I would usually hang out together. I hadn't seen her since school but lately have been catching up via Facebook.

Arriving at the park the entrance and parking lot was just as I remembered, complete with a law enforcement officer directing traffic. But once I got onto the grounds it was impressive to see all the improvements that had been made. Wendy and crew have been really working to add to or update just about everything. But more important they have kept everything that made the park special.

I got a chance to see Wendy's mom who is still helping out in the kitchen. We had a nice chat and she is still as sharp as ever. My parents had to leave but I stuck around a little while longer to visit. I may stop by again the next time I am down there to visit my parents.

It was nice to see some things were actually better than you remembered as a kid, I also swung by the house where I grew up, unfortunately a lot of the big trees have come down over the years due to their age. But the house itself is in good shape.

I always enjoy visiting my parents and fortunately for now they are still relatively close, only 3.5 hours away. I should get down there more often but it always seems there is too much stuff going on around here. Definitely something I need to work on.

My parents starting their walk


The walkers started after the runners


The popcorn stand has been a fixture in Chagrin Falls forever


The church where Sandy and I got married


The memorial gardens






Wendy and her mom, my first boss


The lake with swimming and boating


The original custard stand


Brand new wedding spot down by the lake


These tables probably weigh 500 pounds with all the coats of paint over the years


Wendy was prooudn of her new bathrooms and the floors, complete with her requested glitter

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Warm weekend

No races this weekend but still plenty of bike related stuff going on. On Saturday, members of the MICA board manned a hot dog stand and information table at the REI store in Troy. It was part of their Celebrate Michigan week or something and different agencies (DNR, US Forest, etc.) had tables inside to distribute literature and talk to the shoppers. We shared a table with the MMBA and promoted the MICA organization.

Outside, the store was giving away coney dogs that the MICA and MMBA volunteers served up. We set up a donation jar and collected about $100. We had heard that the store would be donating money to MICA but that seems to be up in the air.

Today I spent a few hours in the morning weed trimming part of the school trails. Later in the day several members of the CMR team met at the school to do a lap of the race course and then head over to Addison Oaks for a lap there. Two members of another team showed up as well.

With all the rain we had recently the school trails were fairly dry. But Bald Mountain was a mess, probably the worst I've seen it. Addison was also pretty dry. By the time we were done I was pretty tired, doing the ride on my SS. The temperature was in the 80's, something we have not had for awhile. The body has to acclimate to the warm weather again. But at least the trails should dry out.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

LOHS Spring MTB entry form

Information and mail in form for the races. You can also register on-line here and here.

2010 Spring Mountain Bike Entry

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

LOHS trail map

Here is an overview of the trails at Lake Orion High School as recorded by my phone. it is pretty accurate but missing a lot of the little corners. It recorded the distance as just over six miles but it is coming up short of what is measured by a bike computer. The elevation gain showed just over 1,000 feet of climbing which seems too high.


View LOHS 5_19_10 in a larger map

Monday, May 17, 2010

Three to make one

I decided to race the Brighton stage race this weekend. The race was three races spread out over two days with the lowest total time for all three races the winner. I haven't done one of these races since the stage races were held at Whiskey Creek near Ludington and that was probably five years ago.

Saturday's race was a short time trials on a section of trail that was not very singlespeed friendly. The first half was very tight with many hills that did not allow for a fast entrance, and then the second half was a lot faster. It was hard to pick the correct gearing. I geared easy and prerode the course about an hour before my start. It was probably a mistake as it was hard to keep the heart rate down in the preride. I ended up third our of the three in my class, about 40 seconds behind first.

Later in the day we had a short track race, similar to a cyclocross course in that it was a mass start over a mix of grass and pavement with tight corners. The only thing missing were the barriers. I got a pretty good start but was getting passed by geared riders in the straight section of pavement. I would work my way back up to and around them, usually passing them in a corner or up a hill. I ended up fairly high among the entire group but more importantly I made up about 22 seconds on the 1st and 2nd place guys.

That left us with the Sunday XC race to determine who would win the stage race. I was in second now, about 17 seconds behind 1st and seven seconds ahead of third. I didn't preride the course this time but just warmed up as usual. The race on Sunday had more racers in every class since some people could not do the stage race but still wanted to compete in the XC race. It had its own awards separate from the stage scoring.

At the start the third place guy went out hard and it wasn't too long before he began pulling away with the eventual winner of the day. I was in front of the stage leader until I bobbled on a hill and he got in front. He also pulled away. I saw the third pace guy fixing his front wheel and after asking if he was OK I sped past. Later on the lap another SS got past me but I stayed on his wheel and eventually we caught the stage leader right before the end of the first lap.

I also passed the guy who pulled me as he also started to fade. I tried to turn up the heat to build a lead but I could still see the stage leader behind me every now and then. Eventually I lost him but I knew he was not far behind. Surprisingly the third place guy caught back up and passed me again. But to show how fast things can change, just as I came out of the trail toward the finish of my second lap, there he was with his chain in his hand. One more lap to go.

I kept looking back but could not see the stage leader but kept on the attack, not wanting to assume anything. I started to develop cramps in various parts of my legs but worked through them with additional Endurolytes and HEED. I finally finished the third lap and was grateful that the race was over. AS it turned out, I finished 2nd in the XC race and far enough in front of the stage leader to take first for the stage race.

I'm not sure what series race I will be doing next, it may not be until a month from now. In the meantime I have the Lake Orion races coming up plus plenty to do with MICA. And still some trail work as well.

Out west there is not much new news. There is a feeling that the baby may be coming early; it's still three weeks from the due date but could really be any time now. Sandy is still looking for employment but is being kept very busy with watching the grand kids and helping around the house and farm.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Wait, I thought I would be doing MORE riding

The saying goes, when the cat's away the mice will play. I've got to tell you, this mouse isn't playing much. In the back of my mind I thought that when Sandy left that meant I would have more time to ride since I wouldn't worry about being home for dinner, shopping with her, or whatever else we would normally do on the weekends. So far it hasn't turned out like that at all.

I seem to have less time than I did before. Some of it has to do with MICA ramping up and also trail maintenance starting to be required as the brush is growing like crazy. But a good part of it is due to now handling the little things that I took for granted, like shopping, cooking, laundry, and ironing.

I have been trying to make dinner most night so that Greg has something decent to eat instead of eating out or junk food. But that means we don't eat until late. Even if I make a lot the leftovers don't go very far with lunches. But I am showing Greg how to cook a few things; Friday he made shrimp stir fry.

I spent all day Saturday at the bike demo day, both in the MICA tent and helping at the Cannondale trailer. The weather was more like November, mid 40's, windy and intermittent rain. A great time though seeing all the people interested in cycling.

This morning I went through the LOHS trails and trimmed back the growth. I need to go back with the string trimmer in a few areas. On Friday I took out a few trees that I had tagged previously. The trees were in areas that really slowed you down or could be a hazard. The trail is faster now and should make it a little more enjoyable. Still a lot of climbing though. I have a few other modification in mind for a later date.

This week is another MICA board meeting as we try to nail down our 2010 budget, decide on a logo, and get a preview of our website. The weekend brings a two day stage race; a time trial Saturday morning and a short track race in the afternoon. On Sunday is a traditional XC race. The lowest combined time for all three events wins.

Our tent at the demo days. Signs courtesy of Clarkston High School.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

One week down, how many more to go?

Well, Greg and I survived the first week as bachelors. Neither of us got food poisoning and the house is still standing and relatively clean. With our individual schedules we still managed to eat dinner together a few nights and only ate out once. We have decided that each of us will cook at least once each week, I will probably do so more often. But we already miss Sandy's cooking. Plus just having her here; the dogs just aren't a good substitute.

I entered into the modern era of cell phones, finally breaking down and getting a smart phone, along with its associated benefits and costs. I had been looking at them for a few weeks as I was getting more involved with MICA responsibilities. Sandy's departure also meant it would be nice to stay in touch via text and photo messages. Under our former plan each of those types of messages cost a quarter.

In doing research on phones available under our carrier I ran across discussion of a new phone that was due out. So I opted to wait a few weeks and on Thursday I picked up an HTC Incredible for Sandy and myself. This was the first day they came out and the supply was limited. The phone is amazing in its capabilities and now I have to upgrade my skills to use it. But now free to send me all the text messages you want.



Yesterday I took part in a social bike ride I had been wanting to do for several years. The ride started in Ferndale, about nine miles north of Detroit and covered quite a few of the famous landmarks in and around the city. Plus stops at several bars along the way for refreshments.

If you saw the Dateline piece a few weeks ago you know what some areas of Detroit are like. We rode through some of the best and worst that the city neighborhoods had to offer. But we never felt threatened; most people we saw just smiled or waved and said hello. Of course, they probably weren't going to mess with 70 or so cyclists riding together.

It rained hard before the start but then we had mainly clear skies and warm weather, although a pretty strong wind was present for most of the ride. We wound our way to several landmarks including a goat farm in a blighted neighborhood, Mexican Town, the old train depot, the Riverwalk Park, Dequindre Cut, Heidelberg Project, Eastern Market and Hamtramack Disneyland, just to name a few. We only rode about 40 miles but the ride took almost 8 hours. We spent a lot of time looking at the sights or stopping for refueling.

I am glad I was able to see the city from a different side. It is quite different to be rolling through it on a bike rather than in a car with the windows up and doors locked. I intend to visit some of these areas again when I get a chance. For a look at the pictures I took you can go here.

This week brings our third MICA board meeting and the bike demo day at Island Lake. I had planned on being there to help at the Cannondale tent but now will probably be at the MICA tent instead.






Sunday, April 25, 2010

Time flies

Time has flown by since my last update which are now seeming to come less often. But lots of things going on. Not sure where to start but I guess the biggest thing is that Greg and I are now living the bachelor life. Sandy left this past Friday for Spokane, the length of her stay has not been determined.

I explained in past posts that we had an opportunity to rent a house on Mount St. Micheal's property but it didn't work out. But they did have another unit for rent and wanted us to come out. It seemed to be a sign that we were to move to Spokane, especially after I turned down an offer a year and a half ago.

But since I am not ready to retire yet but could at the end of next year, we decided to have Sandy go out and test the waters; see what she could land in the way of a job and then I would come out at a later time. If things don't work out we still have the house for her to come back to. Another bonus of her going now is that she will be able to provide some help for Emily as she is expecting their third child in June.

It was hard to see her go, especially not knowing if it was permanent or not. Now
Greg and I have to take up the slack and do all of the things that we used to take for granted, such as cleaning, cooking, and ironing. Hopefully we don't come down with food poisoning.

In other news the MICA board met again as we are planning our awareness campaign. We had the MMBA Marketing Director prepare a plan for us. We now also have a new board member and web master to help us design and launch our web site. Hopefully we will have it up in the next couple of weeks. For those of you on Twitter you can follow us at http://twitter.com/MICA_BIKE.

I raced this weekend and last but both were time trials so the overall time was pretty short, under an hour each race. I switched to racing in the singlespeed class for a couple of reasons, mainly because I didn't want to do the longer distance of the Expert age groups. Not training as much as in the past would really put me at a disadvantage, but that is my own doing. Racing in the SS cuts across all ages and racing the Sport SS class has me racing with a competitive group, even if some of them are 30 years younger than me. Not sure what will happen later in the year as the races are the longer, traditional XC format.

Greg took last week off to spend some time at home before Sandy left so he and I tried to get in some golfing. We played 9 holes earlier in the week and my upper back started acting up. It had been sore for some reason, almost like a muscle strain. But playing seemed to make it worse. But after a few days it seemed to be getting better so Greg and I went out to play again.

Of course we went for the full 18 holes since it was a weekday and the course was running a special deal. It didn't take long for the back to start going out. It was getting progressively worse to the point it was painful to move. We ended up quitting after 9 holes. I had an appointment with the chiropractor later this week anyway but this back issue will be new for him. Hopefully he can work his magic.

The final update, if you've made it this far, is in reference to a blog post I made a few months ago about a special phone call that was received while Bernie Wendel and I were out riding. At the time I couldn't report on the content of the call which of course got all sorts of responses. If you were to reread the post I didn't say the call was for me. Yes, the call was for Bernie. It was from his wife informing him that the early pregnancy test had come back and it was positive! What joyous news!

They had been trying to conceive for some time and had gone through the in vitro procedure. As it turns out, she is having twins. I had to wait until it was formally announced before I could say anything. And they had to wait for some time to make sure everything was OK. I know they will make wonderful parents and I will always have a story to tell of that special day when Bernie got the news.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Brief updates

It seems like I have been less inclined to getting around to updating the blog. Things have been busy preparing for Sandy's departure in a few weeks plus trying to get the MICA organization up and running. I have been riding a little plus putting the finishing touches on the trails at the school.

Yesterday Sandy and I spent the morning at Eastern Market and I got out in the afternoon for a ride. I also had a short ride this afternoon as the trails are starting to dry up again after the rains that came in the middle of the past week. We needed the rain though as things are starting to green up but that also means it will be time to get the mower back out of hibernation.

Tomorrow I say goodbye to my trusty Caravan as it's time to turn it in for a new vehicle we had on order. Replacing the van will be a Dodge Journey, nicer on the inside than the van and it will be in AWD so that will be nice in nasty weather. it doesn't have the carrying capacity of a van so the bikes will probably remain on the outside while traveling, but I think I can still get my cot in there if I decide to stay overnight before a race. This will be the first time in a long time we don't have a van or pickup truck to haul things. A sign of getting older I guess.

Speaking of races, the first MTB race of the season is next week at Yankee Springs. Traditionally it is the largest attended race of the season other than Iceman. I am not sure if I'm racing but plan on attending to represent MICA. If I do race I may step back a notch and race the singlespeed class so i don't have to race for as long a distance. I may decide to race SS all year for the same reason. I am not doing any formal training this year so I don't expect great results.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

MICA


Over the past few years I have had an idea of getting more youth involved in the sport of cycling, specifically mountain bike racing. When we started the races at Lake Orion High School a few years ago I included categories specifically for students and cut the entry fees way down for them. We haven't had a big turnout of students but did get some new to the sport.

One of my thoughts was that someday we could get an interscholastic league started in the state. Michigan has a big racing community but spread out over the state. There is a mountain bike race of some sort almost every weekend from May through September.

I started looking into the idea a little more and discovered that there is a big school league out in California that has also spawned a national program that is still in its infancy. Colorado is starting to organize under the national guidelines. I thought we might be able to do something similar in our state.

I have been talking about it for long enough and decided to finally see what i could organize. A few weeks ago I held an informational meeting and invited anyone interested and made sure to include the advisers of school clubs already in existence. Also in attendance at that meeting were a few members of the Michigan Mountain Biking Association state board.

The meeting was well received and positive communication generated a follow-up meeting with the advisers to work on how to get other schools involved and put together a club start-up document. The MMBA members and I talked about possibly incorporating my ideas as part of the MMBA. This would provide many benefits, including insurance, resources, and fit into the MMBA mission as well.

It was decided to present the concept at the state board meeting this past Wednesday. I was put on the agenda and a copy of my presentation was emailed to the board members. During the meeting, which was held via phone conference, I presented my ideas and answered questions. The motion to be a part of the MMBA was unanimously approved.

Now the work begins, forming our own board of the Michigan Interscholastic Cycling Association (MICA) and getting the word out. We have to develop brochures, a web presence, budgets, race schedule, school literature, etc., etc. The 2010 race schedule will be a trial run of only two races, including one already on the Michigan calendar in September and another TBD. At this late date in the school year it will be hard for schools to put together a team for the fall but we hope to have a few schools participate.

I started another blog for the MICA site as a placeholder for now but hope to have our own website soon. Stay tuned for more details of this exciting new venture.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Moving on

Those of you who read my blog may have noticed I changed the color scheme from green to black and red. I had changed to green last year to match the colors of the Cannondale Factory Racing team, of which I was a member. Unfortunately the team changed it's format for this year, abandoning the grass roots team as it cut back to only include a few of the top pro racers from around the globe.

Not that I'm terribly upset, I am back racing with the Cannondale Midwest Racing team of which I have been part of, in some fashion or another, since its inception. Of course CMR's team colors are black and red. It also means no more of the free stuff that the factory team provided. But we still get good deals through the CMR team sponsors.

Another benefit of being with CMR is that my race schedule is more flexible. In fact, as of right now I don't have any specific races I plan on doing. For some reason I don't have quite the ambition this year as in years past. I sort of feel like been there, done that.

One thing sort of new with bikes is that I commuted to work by bike this past Friday. I hadn't done that in years. I used the singlespeed bike I built late last year. I now have fenders and a rear rack and also purchased a set of panniers, or saddlebags, that connect to the rack. Using the bags means I don't have to use a backpack or try to strap it down on the rack. The panniers keep the center of gravity lower which helps keep the bike stable. The commute is just under 10 miles and takes 40-43 minutes. It's a little slower in the morning since I am more careful. Time will tell how often I use the bike to get to work.

I am concentrating a lot of my efforts on the formation of the interscholastic racing program that I hope to get up and running soon. I should have more news about that later in the week.

Probably the biggest news of moving on is preparing for eventual retirement. Many of you know that I turned down a chance for early retirement a year and a half ago. I could have had a job about an hour from the grand kids but had second thoughts.

We received a call from Jason about a month ago that a house on St. Michael's property would be coming up for rent and the church thought of us first. Sandy and I talked about it but I am too close to be able to get regular retirement to leave Chrysler now.

We decided that if the house was available at a reasonable price we would see if Sandy could go out now and work for the Mount in exchange for rent and then I would come out after the end of next year once I turn 55. Not an ideal situation short term but it would get us out west.

As it turns out, the rent is pretty high and they wanted the money anyway, not a barter for work. But, they said, the do have a 2 bedroom apartment coming available soon that would be very inexpensive. And they might have some leads for Sandy for employment.

We decided to take a shot and have Sandy go out and stay with the kids for a while before the apartment became free. This would give her a chance to look for and hopefully land a job to have income to support herself until I would be able to move at the end of next year and look for a job and a bigger place to stay. If things don't work out then she would end up moving back to Michigan.

Sandy has given her notice where she currently works and will be taking the train in the middle of April. The train has more baggage allowed but we have to go to Toledo to get the train; no trains in Michigan have the baggage allowance.

While I am not thrilled about the long distance separation it allows a way to check out the job situation and will also give Sandy a chance to spend more time with Jason and Emily and the soon to be three grand kids. In the meantime Greg and I will have to take on all sorts of new responsibilities.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spring is almost here



You can feel it, literally. The warmer weather is causing the snow to melt off the roads and in the woods, leaving the trails mushy and some of the roads an absolute mess of mud. But other roads are perfectly fine. The conditions are starting to be favorable for long rides on the back roads again.

But the melting snow also means that the XC skiing is probably over with. Sandy and I were going to spend the weekend up near Grayling and Roscommon at a couple of the XC ski trails but the snow conditions were deteriorating so we canceled the trip.

Instead, on Saturday we went hiking at a state recreation area close to us that we had not been at before. The trails are also open to mountain biking so I had a chance to see what they might be like. It is not a long trail, about 3.5 miles or so, but it had some nice elevation changes and sweeping corners. It seemed like it will be fun to ride over on a bike and check them out this summer. I'm glad that the trail was not much longer because my knee bothered me more from hiking than from any riding I have done.

Today I put the knee to the test as I headed out early to try and ride most of the 100 mile loop some of my buddies had put together for a charity ride next month. The ride is geared toward singlespeed riders so that is the bike I rode. The roads were frozen hard when I set out and for the most part were in good condition even as it warmed up. There were a few that were a real mess and almost had me walking due to the heavy mud. I ended the day with 107 miles.

Back at Christmas Sandy had received an amaryllis plan from my Mom. She planted the bulb a while back and once it started to grow we were amazed at how fast it sprouted. Sandy started recording the growth and on some days it was over an inch in one day. It sort of reminded us of something out of The Little Shop of Horrors. We kept checking to see if all the dogs were still around.

This week promises more warm weather but it looks like some rain moving in. On Tuesday is the initial meeting of the interscholastic mountain bike racing league I am trying to start. We have some interest and hopefully we get enough of a turnout to get some committees up and running.


Friday, February 26, 2010

White knuckler


This week we had more snow including a good bit on Monday. We have gotten a little bit more each day, not a lot but enough to cause some problems with the morning or evening commutes.

Yesterday I had to attend a 7:30 am meeting at one of our engine plants about 75 miles away. Leaving early meant that I would miss the majority of traffic but the roads were very icy in spots. At one spot where the freeway merged with another traffic was coming to a standstill. As the overpass curved there were multiple spin outs and accidents. We crawled past and I encountered more cars off in the median or ditches for about the next 40 miles. Listening to the traffic reports I heard that they closed the stretch of highway I had come through earlier.

Today we had another moderate snowfall but the wind was causing it to drift. Once home from work I went to work clearing the drive and didn't think too much about the temperature as it wasn't really that cold. Once inside I realized that my fingers had gotten colder than normal. The result was the lack of blood flow to one of the fingers.

I have poor circulation in my extremities, and growing up I used to play out in the snow until I couldn't feel my toes and fingers. I bet most kids have done that at one time or another. When they started to thaw out they hurt like heck. Now that I'm older it doesn't take as much for the circulation problems to occur. Come on warm weather.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Typical February

The weather has been about average this week with highs above freezing and lows in the 20's. By the time I get home from work it is warm enough for the roads to thaw out and be a muddy mess. I have refrained from riding on them and instead have reluctantly consigned myself to riding the rollers in the basement. Or taking the spinning classes at work.

But on Saturday I got out early while the roads were still frozen, accompanied by Bernie, a teammate on the Cannondale Midwest team. We ended up riding for three hours into horse country on mostly frozen roads. We both prefer to ride singlespeeds in the winter to avoid drivetrain wear and tear plus it's good training. While we were out a life changing phone call was received with joyous news, but I can't reveal the content quite yet.

Today I left the house even earlier since the temperatures were going to warm up quicker than the previous day. I planned on riding most of the first half of the 100 mile route that a couple of my friends had designed for a ride scheduled in April. I rode the singlespeed again but switched the tires to regular instead of studded and made the gearing a little harder.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the roads had less ice and snow and were drier than the roads by me. I think part of the reason was that the route had more open areas than the roads I normally ride. The sun was able to reach the road surface and melt the snow and ice. By the time I returned home I had 70 miles for the day.

It looks like we will get hit with another big snow tonight and tomorrow, dumping 5-8 inches. So maybe I will be back on the skis this week and depending on the amount of snow during the week, on the skis next weekend as well. I don't really mind except it was nice to see the roads starting to get in shape for riding again. Looks like we will be back to square one after tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter returns





We got hit with our biggest snowfall of the winter on Tuesday night and Wednesday. For us it wasn't really big at only 8" and certainly nothing compared to what other parts of the country had been getting. But it was kind of nice to get some snow back on the ground.

I'm glad the snow waited until after our race last weekend although we would have been able to keep a clear course on the school property. Bald Mountain would have been terrible for riding since it really hasn't gotten warm enough to pack down, even with the snowmobile traffic.

Wednesday I snowshoed up at the school, following a lot of the trails. No one else had been out so everything was undisturbed except for the animal tracks. Thursday I went back up and spent a couple of hours XC skiing on the trails and into Bald Mountain. Again, in many spots I was the first person to lay down any tracks.

Friday night several people were supposed to get together and snowshoe at the school after dark. I stopped by a local outdoor supply shop to pick up a new headlamp. Previously whenever I wanted to go out night hiking or skiing the only light I had was the one I use when riding. It is a little overkill for slower speeds sine it is a super bright HID and has a heavy battery that had to be carried in a pocket or pack. The light is mounted to a helmet so I have to wear that when hiking. It is bright though. The new light is self contained and uses LED's, still very bright for normal hiking or skiing.

Unfortunately everyone backed out of the hike for various reasons but I decided to go anyway. I'm glad I did. There is something magical about the trails at night, especially in the snow. Maybe we will try to get together again this week.

Yesterday I went out early for a few hours on the SS on the back roads. Most of the roads were clear, or at least plowed but they still had packed snow and ice. Then later in the day I went over to Stony to XC ski. They had just groomed the trails and were a lot better than when Sandy and I were there a few weeks ago. I ran into Bernie and we skied around the park together.

This morning I was out on the bike for a few hours again and picked some different roads to ride. Some of them were not as clear as others, in fact it made me wonder if they had been plowed or just partially cleared from the traffic. Sandy and I are going out on the trails to hike in a little bit. I need to go back to work tomorrow just to get some rest.