Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Mobile

Yesterday my bike got its first real good taste of snow. Sure their was a bit on Monday at Gambrill SP, but not like Tuesday. I went out and toured the neighborhood snow area's riding the streets, the parks, and the green spaces! It was a blast, did like 4.5 miles in 35 mins of gently riding. It was real fun honestly especially watching the suckers out shoveling the snow while I rode on past.

Though I admit, I dumped while going up a driveway/curb combo in front of 2 women shoveling and I laughed the whole time. They thought I must be a nut case I suppose.

Regardless it was fun and cold. I also made tracks in my front and back lawn. Though I only have pics of the front. Next time I'll have my big 2.55 Weirwolf LT up front to stabilize the ride a bit more. And maybe I'll mount the fat 2.3 Crossmark up also on the spare rear....hmmmm.

Tonight I'm working on cleaning up and re-lubing the rear D and chain.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gambrill First Ride Today

Man, what a day to ride frickin Gambrill for the first time! It was a great drive up with on and off flurries of snow. By the time I hit Fredrock it had slowed a bit, vs the MoCo-270 corridor.

Parked in the lot at around 10:15, 1 other car there but obviously a pedestrian as no bike tracks were visible. Finished changing gear and headed out a bit before 11.

Since I read a recent thread on the MORE forums about best routes, I knew I was going yellow and decided to do the clockwise from the lot loop, going across the street first and up to the Upper loop, then back down the other side.

Wow! It was fun, but damn sketchy in a LOT of places, some nasty black ice for sure under a fine layer of snow. Had the bike slip out from under me 3-4 times but caught myself each time. Had to push a few more hills than I would have liked but with the ice on some sides seeming worse I preferred that to a bad/dumb fall. I did make a few climbs with single dabs that I was proud of as well as 2 descents.

Lots of fun stuff to play with, I session a couple small sections trying to find best lines/etc. Some of the BIG formations were definitely a bit sketch but fun. It was a beautiful and empty day out on the trails with the snow and myself. Didn't see a single soul until I returned to the lot just in time to donate money infront of the very nice ranger. :) The envelope box was smashed and so I hadn't earlier. Oh well she was very nice about it.

Looking forward to trying again when less ice is present. A bit more snow would have made it funner also. I'll be back for sure now. I just have to get faster. Though a bit of that was due to creeping around turns/down straight sets where the ice tended to like to hide at a slow pace. :)

Post ride stop at Hard Times REALLY hit the spot.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Electronic Shifting

I've been reading and hearing a lot of discussion in the last 2-3 weeks about Shimano's new E-Dura Ace shifting system. A real mix of negative and positive. After reading a bit more and applying my brain to it here is my take on it.

Bling'ish gear for now, but give the tech another development cycle and it may really come to something truly interesting to the broad spread of cyclists.

My one application I might see if I had a truly "tricked out" rig was maybe running my front D on that if i had a 2x? system. I already run a shimano up front (hnmmmm maybe thats why it shifts so bad), but after reading reviews/tests/etc I could see using one if I went to a 2x? gearing. A smooth front ring shift could provide some nice benefits especially on those new trails when you hit an un expected grade change and find yourself wishing to hit the easier ring and not worrying about dropping chain or fighting the shift as I currently find myself sometimes.

However I would like to see some more improvements in the harness and battery systems first, also not ignoring the fact that it doesn't currently come in a mtb/thumb shift format.

For now I continue to ride 3x9, and look fondly off at the idea of a perhaps 1x3/4 Jones/etc but it just ain't happening till a new job is in hand. For now the Midget will continue to be my trusty steed.

On a funny note I was just reading in one of the MB monthly's that Steve Peat rides the same rims I do, and that leaves me feeling pretty geeked out.

Bikes, Beer, and Boots.

Ahhh what a fabulous trip. My first to Europe, and I can say definitely not my last. Got to drink some fabulous beers including a PILE of cask conditioned english ale's including John Smith, Old Peculiur, Winter Jewel, and Acorn Porter that was my favorite. Also drank a fair number of Belgian including Kwaq? Leffe, Leffe Triple, Le Chouffe, and another that has escaped my mind. Argh.

Where we were in england had a fair share of bikers, a few more than I see around here for sure, but nothing like Amsterdam. Bike parking is as bad as car parking in places here. Tons of cargo bikes, a few mountain bikes (BSO's really) and I saw 2 "road" bikes actually being ridden both on the same night. Quitting time was amazing as the HORDES of bikers would swarm out and nearly rule all the traffic in places even fully taking over car lines like the critical masses of old, but on a daily basis. Bike lane traffic lights were amusing and not always followed either.

Amsterdam is a stunning city and the age of stuff in England makes me feel just how young america really is. Though the interest in Obama overthere is remarkable and generally very positive, only some drunk guys in A-dam were really bad, but I attribute it more to the fact they had just seen Oasis (french of A-holes really).

More later as I have time to process down. For now I"m finishing up the laundry and pondering where to ride tommorow.

Oh yah and a ton of lovely ladies in boots :) What can I say, I'm a leg man. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Europe - The final countdown

Headed to the UK and NL today for the next week and change, should be a good time. Going to some very good friends wedding, hanging out, touring, beer drinking, etc. Maybe I can sneak in some urban biking in Amsterdam.

On the downside I'm missing out on some great riding time this week/weekend. You all ride safe, stay warm, and drink good beer!

Congrats also to Mic and Brie on their nuptials also this weekend!

Hopefully some fun photo's too. And I'm going to try and have a nice beer blog when I return.