Saturday, February 25, 2012

Muddy Buddy

I'm riding a lot these days and my wife used to ride with me but over time we lost that connection. I went to other sports and when I came back to riding I started racing and hard trail riding. It wasn't something she was interested in, until now. 

Fat biking is more childlike wonderment about what the world has to see and do. If you can remember being very young and just running into the woods because it was there and you wanted to see what was in it. That's fat biking. The, "ooh...what's in there...." spirit. 

My wife and I went out to test the new wheels and it was muddy and icy. The mud was a mix of peanut butter and bread dough and it was all over the bikes after the ride.

New wheels

This is an eagles nest. We could hear and see. Very cool.

How did this get here? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Long Ride (100)

I got presidents day off and I was going to try and make my first 100 mile ride. I missed 100 a few weeks ago for a leg cramp. Today the weather was forecast for ~40 and the cross bike was calling me. I love how fast it is. I had challenges from the start but nothing I couldn't deal with.

I head out at 10am, stop at the local bike store for a spare tube and I'm off with no plan but to ride. I take some trails I know into Saint Paul, then up the river to Minneapolis and Boom Island, across to Loring park and look at some status in the sculpture garden (love that place). I take Kenwood over to Cedar lake, loop lake, south, loop Calhoun, loop Harriet, loop Nakomis, take Minnehaha to 55, to Fort Snelling, to Lillydale to Saint Paul to Battle Creek to Inver Grove and I'm only at 82 miles so a few extra local trails and I hit 101.7 miles in 8 hours 10. Not a good speed but I got my goal, it was fun and that's all that matters.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Minnesota is lucky to have so many natural resources. I use to think it was just a huge park system. I think I've been to every one at some point in my life. I use to think I got out but the more I ride off trail the more I realize how much we really have. The cities have huge tracks of land along the rivers but you wouldn't know it if you just followed the tar.

Steve was handing out exclusiveness tickets to bushwhack some private land and I was lucky to get one of 4. We muster up at a public venue and then drive down the road to the private entrance, gear up, and get riding.

We ride along lakes, rivers, creeks and tributaries for something like 5 hours and 20+ miles and never see any tar, road or shack. That's a lot of land. The river really makes it possible but the river also makes it difficult land to use. It's soft ground that floods and is broken to bits with creeks and drain ditches. That's not a problem in winter on bikes but you have to be willing to cross huge log jams, get trapped on an island and know when to retreat. Bravery is a mixed blessing on thin ice. I have above average ice skills from years of scuba diving ice and enough grit to test bad ice from years of hanging out on desperate rock climbs so I would spearhead a few thin ice crossings. One made Mark and I turn back after the ice started to explode around us in the middle of a large lake when we tried to cross a wet pressure ridge.

Josh can't pass up a good tree. He ran up that thing like a squirrel.
Thin ice, that's water on the right.

Most complete hobo camp I've seen. I think it's river boaters.

Playground. This is one of the ride overs.
Log jam. Maybe 200 feet wide

It's a get well card for bikers!
This is why we go.
Space and more space. See what I mean about the resources.

Thanks Steve. You are number one.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Hydrophilic means water lover and it seams fitting on Valentines Day that I post about loving water. If all the things I do, water is a common theme regardless of state; water, ice, snow.... I wonder why but then I assume it's just normal to enjoy something that is so critical to life regardless.

Me and maybe 10 others got a call to "loop the lake" with Troy over at stcroixtroy. The plan was to ride the ice around the shoreline of White Bear Lake. We peddled out late after a few mechanical problems into the end of a small snow storm. I rolled out onto the lake and quickly fell down in a hard way. It would be the first of maybe a dozen falls. The limited snow and recent temps made the lake very smooth and without studded tires it was slippery. Some crashes hurt but I got up quickly and peddled faster to catch the group only to eat ice again. Fortunately the snow cover deepened and the riding normalizes and the crashes became more rare.

Pressure ridges were tall but well frozen making a quarter pipe for some studded tire riders to play on.

Social time was generous and entertaining.

Playing on the ice and riding in the snow is always a good time but then I started by saying I'm hydrophilic.

Monday, February 6, 2012


I tried to get a 6 hour ride in on my new cyclocross bike Sunday before the game. I've been on it a few times but all short rides, ~20 miles. I am interested in ultra rides so I need to start building the skills and knowledge before I go out and get shelled. I've ridden over 6 hours but never at a race pace and I haven't ridden 100 in a day so Sunday it was going to happen.

I started at 11am but conditions for a skinny tire we not very good and it was colder then forecast but I went anyway. The first 40 miles went fast and I was feeling good although my route was just grinding out the miles on a local walking path that is about 11 miles round trip so I was going to have to loop about 9 times. I wanted the route to be boring as well as close to my house. If I was going to learn anything about a hundy ride it was going to be mental as the miles were a sure thing, so I thought. If I was bored and close to home the pressure to quite would be a bigger challenge and I'd learn more about myself.

At 50 miles and almost 3 hours my right leg started to stiffen up. The tendons were tight and the hip was sore but I pressed on. Had some more snacks and some water on time, about every 45 minutes so I wasn't going to bonk and I wasn't pushing my pace as hard now to see that I didn't blowup but I was still in the 16/17mph range. At 60 miles I was really fighting of the stiffness. The tendon behind my knee was a piano wire but I made the turn for another lap and a modified goal of 75 miles but within 1000 feet I reconsidered that if I push past the pain too far something may tear and I'd spend 6 weeks in a cast while a tendon heals so I turned for home.

I limped in at 65 miles (3h54s) and could hardly walk without making involuntary grimacing sounds. Over the next two hours I rehabbed on the couch and took in about 3 liters of water so I think my failure was water based although I never felt thirsty and I was drinking during the ride based on time.

I learned a few things about eating on the ride and obviously more fluids. Putting the brain on a diet of pure boredom wasn't difficult but I underestimated physical breakdown.