Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What is that Burn?

Oh, that is the burn you feel in your thighs when you've been routinely falling prey to the temptation of gears, but then you do a hilly ride on your fixed gear. Its one of the few aches and pains which still puts a smile on my face. Here in Frederick County, the mountains are all in the west. But it is the east side of the Monocacy River valley that can get you, because there are plenty of short steep climbs which hardly even appear on the radar until you are trying to figure out why you feel so bad halfway up one. And on the fixie, you don't even get to rest on the way down. Hurts so good!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Back to Lights and Pizza

After a month long break due to mechanicals, illness, and general apathy, Wednesday night saw me back on the road for the weekly lights and pizza ride. Bill, Cory, Henrik, Bernie and the other John G pulled me around most of the regular route, and a couple of roads I'd not yet been on. Believe it or not, Flint Hill Rd. actually has a hill involved with it. Who'd a thunk? Anyway, the new wheels held up great, the mega-range cassette was a joy to climb with (although I'm no faster), and except for a loose seat post and a bit of fender rub, my rolling wreck held up great. The temps stayed one degree over freezing the whole ride, and there was food at the end. Life is Good. Get out and ride!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Walk in the Mountains

I got guilted out of a bike ride on Sunday, so instead I took the youngest up into the mountains for a hike. We originally had planned on making Hog Rock, but the Secret Service had that area closed while the prez was at Camp David, so plan B was to hike to Cunningham Falls. We chose the cliff trail over the flat falls trail and had a good time. About halfway along, it started to snow, the first real snow of the season. Coming down to the falls across the rocks, with the ice and snow was a beautiful sight. Very cool. I was ready to take the easy path back to the truck, but Emily had different ideas, so we headed back on the cliff trail as well. Driving off the mountain was interesting (in a slippery road sense), while Emily filled me in on her hiking, camping and biking plans for the year (it seems I'll be busy). When we got home I built a fire in the patio fire bowl while both kids, one of their friends and the dog went out on an arctic patrol. They'd come back to the fire every 15 minutes or so to warm up, and then back out in the snow. Eventually we all headed inside for hot tea and cocoa.

It was a pretty good day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ride in the mountains

I headed over to Emmitsburg again Monday and took the quickbeam up into the mountains to the west of town. Lots of climbing, lots of (slow) fun. More words and a map here, but the camera batteries were dead again, so don't expect any photos.

After the ride I had a nice visit with the good people at The Bicycle Escape, while picking up my new wheelset. I hope to get the wheels on the bike and adjusted before tomorrow night's ride, but with kids basketball running most of the evening, that may be a problem. Well, there's always next week.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Too Much Information

I am frankly amazed at the volume of mucus the human body can produce. I've had the odd cold before, but this sinus/ear infection I'm trying to drug out of existence is the worst I ever remember. I'm thinking it could be measured in gallons per minute. Don't even ask about sneezes. I also think I'm going to have to steam clean the whole house. After about two weeks of increasing misery I finally went to see the doc. He looked at me with that horrified expression which means "why weren't you here a week ago?" First time to the doc since 2003. Now he wants me to come back for a physical. Sigh.

I think I'm skipping this tonight.

Like I said, too much information, but wouldn't you rather read gross health angst in a blog than something like 'relationship' angst?

I'm going back to bed now.

Monday, January 08, 2007

First Ride 2007

Apathy and a stubborn cold have been keeping me away from two wheels, but I snuck out yesterday. I'd sort of been planning to head over to Emmittsburg and climb some hills, but I was running so late, and the family had some afternoon obligations, so I just decided to keep it near the house. I did the western 3/5ths of the Fix26 route, the part with all the hills. It was a nice day to be out, and today I'm feeling that nice ache in the tops of my thighs I get when I've been neglecting the fixie in preference to geared bikes. Speaking of geared bikes, I ordered the replacement wheels for the fuji and they should be in Thursday. Yipiee!

Friday, January 05, 2007

More on Stålfarfar

One of my Christmas gifts was the children's book about Stålfarfar by David Schwartz. Cool Story. I also received a nice email from Swedish reader (who knew I had Swedish readers!?) Peter T, who pointed me to a commemorative ride in Sweden retracing the route:

"In the summer of 2007 a small group of riders from the Swedish Historikal Bicycle Society will be paying their respect to "Stålfarfar" and the twenty years it´s been since he passed away. They will be riding the same way from Ystad, the southern tip of Sweden, to Haparanda 1600km in the far north. Bet they will bring a bit more than the loaf of bread, bottle of water, raincoat and empty wallet he set off with!
More info, most in Swedish I´m afraid:
You could contact the society for more info:

Thanks Peter, for the good tip.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year

Well, another year is under the bridge. It wasn't the best year, but it wasn't too bad either. Although it always seems hard to find the time to ride, I found enough to ride 144 more miles this year than last, for a total of 1556 miles. This year I'm predicting even more.

In my project to ride all of the Frederick county's roads, I'm at 2422 out of 4162. In 2006 I completed 1363 roads, to 2005's 1069. I'd hoped to be a little further along, maybe closer to two thirds instead of the one half that I'm near now, but I'm also predicting a good 2007 on this project.

The Family and I had a good Christmas season, the kids cleaned up in the loot department, and the Mrs. and I did OK ourselves. We made a quick trip out to the midwest to see my folks, but I didn't find the time to ride out there. Returning on the Friday before New Years, I tacked on a couple of extra hours of driving heading down to Bethesda for a Jomsviking reunion party. For those who don't know, the Jomsvikings are a historical reenactment/motorcycle gang/fraternal orginization/bail bond business that I'm involved with. I hadn't seen a lot of old friends in years, some for 20 or so. I hadn't seen other good friends in a year, and that with no good excuse, because they aren't too far away. There's another good goal for '07 - Hang with your friends more!

In my last post, I mentioned that I might have trashed my rear wheel on the Fuji. Close inspection proved this to be the case. Bent axle and crack 3/4 of the way around the hub shell about 10mm inside of the right flange. There go the plans for a front generator wheel. I'll be looking for a budget wheelset I guess. This will be a good time to go from 27" to 700c, AND to get a decent climbing cassette on the back, at least something with more than a 22t cog. In all the bike fiddling, I at least got the Quickbeam rolling again, and even got a spare wheel put back together for freewheeling duty. I also figured out that FSA and Truvative ISIS bottom brackets don't use the same bolt threading. SSO found me a cool crank for the dirt jumper, but now I have to find a bb that will fit the integrated bolts on it. Busy busy.

UPDATE: 1/13/07 - I figured out how to change out the bolts. I just had to manufacture a pin wrench to screw out the bolt cover/self-extractor feature, and swap them out. So righ now the only thing holding me back is a couple of tubes. I'll be hitting the shop Monday.

For the first time in years, apathy kept me off the bike on New Years day. It started out raining, and although it eventually cleared up, I had moved on to other non-activities and couldn't bestir myself. Laws of motion and all that.