Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Little Rides

Baby steps, small bites, little rides. Incrementalism is all the rage. May has been a tough month for riding. My monthly mileage is less than half of April's, due to a number of things taking priority. Visits by my parents, Birthdays, Mothers Day, Anniversaries, the kid's spring sports and the real late spring killer, yard work. I am getting out now and again, most recently on short rides at lunch or during one or the other kid's activities, like 5/20, and 5/23, and 5/27. These let me chip away slowly at my long list of roads. Nothing on Sunday because I worked on the patio/yard all day, and on Monday I went to work to accrue the holiday for the big trip later this summer. Tonight is a MTB ride, but I haven't decided if I want to do Schaeffer Farms of stay close to home in Gambrill Park. Decisions, decisions.....

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day


I'm recycling a memorial Day photo from last year from Frederick's Memorial Park. Remember those who sacrifice.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Really Nice Video


Surfing around yesterday I came across this post on the blog: Martino's Bike Lane Diary. The blog is a really nice photo heavy blog of biking life in Toronto. The post is a video of a rainy ride in Toronto, and the combination of the grey rainy day and the music by the band Sigur Ros, makes an amazing 8 minute portrait which captures (or maybe creates) the mood incredibly well. I'd never heard of Sigur Ros before so I did a web search and now I'm going to have to spend some hard earned cash on some new albums.

Update: Martino added a link to the post, so you can download it as a quicktime movie. Yeah! Thanks Martino!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Repeat after me...


...it is a pants guard, not a bash guard.

Wednesday took me back up into the Watershed after work. This time by myself and with a wonderful dry trail. Riding at my own pace gave me the opportunity to try a lot more of the technical spots. I did much better on the first half of the ride, even trying some hard places more than once.



I'm going to have to get a bash guard though. The Quickbeam's low bottom bracket and fairly long wheelbase expose the chainring to some abuse. I felt pretty good when I got to the overlook clearing, so I went down to the overlook. I don't see how people can get as close as the clearing and then not come down to take in the view.



I headed back up to the clearing and continued along the ridgeline and chose the sweet descent to Gambrill Park Road that we had to climb at SSPBE. A road climb got me back to the overlook and I headed back on the trail. Just after walking a super technical section over a ridgeline outcrop, I took a pretty good spill. Then another, so I took the next bail out to the road and more climbing. I ducked back into the woods at the tower for one last sweet singletrack section and then I was back at the truck.



13.98 miles. Next week I think I'm going to reward myself by riding at Schaffer. I can work in a lot of practice on log crossings there.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Too fat to fit.

No, not me, at least not in this context. SSO set me up with a 29"er tire to try in the front fork of the QB. Just a hair too wide and just a hair too tall. I've read where the tire will fit in an Atlantis fork, so now I'm wondering if an Atlantis fork would fit the QB without changing handling too much. It is bound to be a little taller. Hmmm.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sweden


Surfing the SSWC06 forum at lunch lead me to this series of photos which seem to be good examples of the terrain we'll be hitting in August. Woot!

Photo by Tobias J├Ânsson

Passport

Yesterday I went over to apply for a new passport. I foolishly let the one from way back when I actually went places expire. No prob, just get the documents together and run over to the post office at lunch. Nope. Gotta have an appointment. Hmm. doesn't say that anywhere on the website. OK, they can take you today as a walk in, but that isn't the usual policy. Head in to the office, everything in order, they do the photos. Rack up the charges. Oh look they only take checks not cards. Doesn't say that on the website either. Oops, yes it does, actually it says fees to State have to be check or MO, and processing can be check, mo, debit or credit. But apparently not in Frederick. Well, I'll just run downstairs and get a couple money orders (one to send to the State Dept, and one for the PO for processing fees). They don't take credit for that, but at least I had an ATM card with me. Finally got it all together and done.

It felt like a lot of hoops to jump through, but if I recall it was still easier than when I did it 18 years ago.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Watershed


I try to take my quickbeam out on the trails once in a while. I putter along at my own pace, and I manage to ride some terrain that most people would be hesitant to take a cross bike on. I think to myself, "Self, this mountian biking with a road bike stuff ain't so hard."

Then I go out with a group and embarass myself.

At least thats what happened last night up in the 'Shed. I went out with the crew for Markie's farewell ride in the shed. And, once again, I got schooled. I rode great, for me, and was left entirely in the dust. No make that mud. It poured rain for about 20 minutes just as we arrived at the parking lot. Wonderful, wet rocks and logs. Off we went. Stuff I could ride ok at my pace when dry was harder when seen through the tunnel vision of hypoxia, and there was plenty of stuff I wouldn't even try when dry, so I found myself walking some big chunks. The group was nice enough to wait at trail intersections, but I was really holding them back. Since it was an out and back next to the road, I bailed at the overlook and took the road back. The group cut their return time in half. In the dark. Sigh.

At least everything ended up OK, with a few brews amongst friends at Brewer's Alley.

There has got to be a way of improving the returns on the limited time I have for riding, but which will still keep things reasonably fun. Hard work is OK, excessive pain will kill the spark. Number one would be to spend more time up in the shed pushing the pace on those oh so delightful babyheads.

What else? Limited time, limited fitness, all the excess weight you want. What would you do?

Monday, May 15, 2006

News


SSO dropped a line to let me know of a good air fare deal to Stockholm for SSWC06, but I waffled and missed it. Bummer. The good part is that Mrs H. agrees that I should go (14 years and still the best wife ever!), so I'm looking for deals. If any of you were hesitating to go because you were worried you'd place last, I'm there to pick up your slack. Actually my plan is to place second to last, because DFL gets branded this year. Going to try to make this trip minimalist equipment wise, but haven't decided on camping or hostel yet. Leaning towards hostel. I'll be taking the Quickbeam, because the trip will use any new bike savings I have, but I'm getting pretty attached to skinny tires offroad. Fun Fun. I just need to do it more.

In other news, someone linked to this cool blog by two people riding single speed On-One Il Pompinos around Europe this year. It's cool because they are going pretty lightweight. Nice.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Minutiae


Instead of riding at lunch yesterday and today I caught up on website stuff, finishing ride reports for 4/24, 4/25, 4/26, 4/28, 5/5 and 5/8. That has bumped me to over 1600 roads completed in Fixing Frederick. I may not be winning races like my friends Ricky and Becky, but I'm having a pretty good time.

Gwadzilla's comment in the post below led me back to his blog. He, like me, is a rider who struggles to balance life commitments and family with a desire to be out riding. As much as I might mope about it, its pretty easy (at least in this one small part of my life) to make the right decisions. Looks like he does a pretty good job of it too. Go Gwadz! After all, if this is the most aggravating thing in my life, I have got it really good.

In that vein, tonight I'll be skipping the Wed. Night Ride to go to a make-up soccer game. After that, pizza fest to celebrate the Princess' 8th birthday. Wow. time flies.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Back in the Saddle

Not a lot of time to ride, as I said in my last post. I snuck out on Friday during the Princess' soccer practice, but nothing over the weekend. I had hoped to get out for some off road today after my morning at the dentist (crown, ouch), but the rain was coming down too hard for me to overcome inertia. Fortunately it had slowed to a drizzle by guess who's soccer practice, so I once again rode then and even with the rain it was quite pleasant. The regular Wednesday night ride is a wash again due to other commitments, but I'll be riding at lunch the rest of the week to rack up some more roads.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Busy Busy

No riding this week. My parents were in town from Ohio last weekend. Great to see them, but it meant no rides. This week I'm carpooling to Reston for a class all week. I'm only getting out to do laps in the backyard the few minutes before dark in the evenings. I never thought I'd look forward to getting back to work, but I miss my lunch rides.