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.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

St. Isidore's Garden

I have mentioned numerous times about the co-op that Jason and Emily are running out in Spokane. The name of the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is St. Isidore's Garden and while there is no stand alone website, there is a blog started that will represent the garden.

They have also put together a professional looking brochure that describes the venture. Most of the pictures are from the garden. The Scribd view on this page does not look as good as it does if you actually download a copy from the Scribd site. This web conversion seems to move the text boxes around.

St Izzy Brochure FINAL Copy

Monday, February 08, 2010

Another race video

The Knee - Good news, bad news

I saw the knee specialist this afternoon and there is no sign of any internal damage to the knee. Which is good. In fact, in spite of my concerns with all the hits the knees have taken there is also no sign of arthritis, also good.

But the pain is still there and there is still some swelling, although neither are as bad as they were. His conclusion is that it is tendon damage that will just take additional time to heal. He thought that one of my falls happened to hit in exactly the wrong place. His only remedy would be to prescribe physical therapy but instead we decided we would just go with trying to stretch it out myself.

So there is no need for anything beyond stretching although it will continue to be painful for a while. fortunately it doesn't bother me much while riding. The reason it hurts most after sitting is because the tendon is shortened in that position and then is elongated when first standing up. It is the initial stretching that hurts, then it subsides.

I can begin planning my 2010 race calendar now since there don't appear to be any limitations other than time, money and ability. Not that has ever stopped me before.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

LOHS Winter Race Results

2 06 10 LOHS Results

LOHS winter race video

Video by Matt on the MMBA forum

Thanks Matt. I wish I had a camera mounted on the bike to capture the whole trail and how much fun it was.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

1st race in the books

We had almost perfect weather for the races at Lake Orion High School today. And pretty much ideal course conditions. We had a decent turnout but I would have expected more riders. Everyone that did show up had a good time and most of use got to race on some singletrack. There were a few icy spots but the trail got better each lap and never broke down like I was afraid of.

I used the new carbon Flash with studded tires. I worked my way to third by the time we got to the top of the parking lot and then flew down the sledding hill, never touching my brakes. I went a little too fast and overshot the course but managed to ride back online. Going up a small hill the two riders in front got tangled and I moved into 1st.

I stayed in that position almost all the way back to the start line but was struggling since my seatpost had slid down, not allowing me to fully extend my legs and get full power. I stopped to raise and tighten the seat as a couple of riders went by.

The same thing happened on the next two laps, a slipping seat would force me to stand more or try to spin. I could feel the muscles tighten in odd spots due to them being forced to work in a way not normally encountered. I finished 2nd in my group. Overall I liked the way the bike handled but wished I could have had better luck with the seat. Every time I had it where it should be I was making good time.

Tonight is the Cannondale Midwest team meeting to kick off the new season. Most of the team should be there and we will get a look at our new logo and uniform design.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

1st Look

The frame for the Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er arrived Monday, last night I pretty much finished the build. Right now it is just under 21 pounds on my scale which tends to read heavy. Slightly different geometry than last year's bike will mean some tweaking on fit. Not sure when I will get to ride it due to the snow we are having.

How it started life