Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Need to pick it up a little...

Unbelievably, I have only ridden a little over a hundred miles this month.  That is pretty pathetic.  I realize that I have only been riding my mtb for two months straight, and now it gets dark very early.  Consider, in october I rode over 400 miles, averaging about a hundred per week.  Ive gotten in a grand total of 7 rides this month?  Whoa. okay.. okay.. I suppose there are excuses with the holidays, with the sun going down so early, etc...

So.  Even through these short days Im going to need to step it up a little.  I need at least one long road ride during the week.  Since it is getting dark early - before I even get out of work - I am going to need to start riding at night.  That will have to be on the mtb and on sidewalks or rail-to-trails - since there is no way I am going to ride at night on the road. There's the cady way trail right next to work. That should get me back to a hundred miles a week.  My fitness has not suffered greatly over the last two months, and I have not gained weight. Still: I need more miles... and if I continue to get so few miles in, my fitness will definitely start to suffer.  Its also difficult to motivate myself when I always ride alone.  I have zero friends who cycle.  zilch.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Finally.. made it to Santos.

On Sunday I made it out to the Santos trail finally. I rode a total of just under 30 miles in about 3 and a half hours including a couple of breaks.  Using the 'iMapMyRide' on my iPhone is beginning to annoy me.  I know the mileage isnt reporting correctly and it will not stop recording if you stop for a minute or two. So I have to reach into my camekbak - pull out the phone, and pause it.  annoying!  It was very chilly - so I had a base underarmour thermal layer along with jersey and leg warmers. By about 3:30 I needed another layer.

At any rate - the ride was fantastic. I started out at the Santos trailhead.  I didnt get there till 12:30 - so I knew I probably would not get the entire 'Epic' ride in. For nutrition, I had 2 clif bars, one 'clif block' package, and a flask of hammer gel. Mmmm espresso. Unfortunately, the stupid little flask's top wasnt on all the way and it leaked out all over my car's center console. So I only really had 2 full servings.  bah.  Not a great way to start the day. I really could have used those electrolytes later in the day.

Santos is very well marked.  The entire 'epic ride' portion is marked off by little round green signs telling you which way to go.  "Epic Ride - West" on the way out, and "Epic Ride - East" on the way in.  Almost all of the singletrack is nice and sweeping curves. with a few short florida climbs. I did not follow the exact Epic Ride portion until I got past 25th st.  I basically went down Pine Tree trial till I got to Bunny Trail, crossed 25th street and went around twister twice. (I sort of got off track - obviously)  Twister is great, though.  Fast twists and turns, and is over 3 miles long - and it seems to go on forever.  It was after riding twister twice that I saw the Epic Ride signs - and chose to follow them. Even though I had a map, I was too stupid to figure out that the little green signs were what I needed to follow.

This took me south west amd through the brushy 'spider kingdom' and to the landbridge trailhead.  It was going on 2:00 or so - and I wanted to be sure to get back before sundown. So, I only rode on to the landbridge, then turned around and followed the Epic Ride - East signs all the way back to santos. I got back to the Santos area in about an hour or so.  I took a quick break and checked the phone - and it said 26 miles.  So, I rode the Dr. Ruth trail, and hopped on a red trail to see how hard it was. Supposedly its the easiest one - called Sinkhole.  Well, it wasnt easy at all. This trail was really tight and winding - in several sections I was going litterally 2 miles an hour.  I only had to walk up one portion. I was coming around a corner and up to a rocky climb section. As soon as I tried to get some momentum I hit a big stone which stopped the bike cold - and (in what seemed like slow motion) endoed me.  I tweaked my neck a little, and bruised my thigh from the stem hitting me. But otherwise, was fine.

After walking up the rest of that climb I got back on the bike and finished out that trail.  My left leg began cramping bad - and I was completely out of any electrolytes.  My day was done - so I went back to the parking lot and headed home.  I brought the digital camera with me - but I always seem to be too into riding to want to stop and take a pic.  I took a couple, and will post those later.

Next weekend I hope to do all 42 miles.  If I make sure to not spill my hammer gel, and bring a bottle of accelerade along with my camelbak - I wont cramp up.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wherein, I was almost killed..

After days of rain, today became cool and sunny around noon.  I decided to go for a ride out at Little Big Econ.  Great ride, I did two loops and rode for about 2.5 hours.  I stopped for a moment and talked to some dude who spent lots of money on his bike - and he tried very hard to make sure I knew it.  The conversation started with the normal "So how do you like that 29er?" and basically ended with him telling me how much better everything about his bike was. He scoffed when I said my bike was 29lbs or so.. "Well mine, is full suspension and weighs in at less than 25" then he expounded on how Fox forks are the way to go.  Judging by the fact that it was made of titanium, and a 'luxury' bike brand - Im going to fathom a guess that it cost him about a grand per lb. that it was less than mine. (That and he mentioned how much it cost him) Basically I got the feeling of being 'talked down to' the entire time.

Anyway, on to the part which this post is about.. As I said, it was gorgous out.  So - I just went out for a bite to eat down near UCF - and rode the motorcycle.  Its funny, just when I was getting on the bike to ride back home thoughts flashed through my mind like.. "People think I'm crazy for riding this - but I am an excellent rider" or "Its getting dark, some idiot is going to pull out in front of me"

Well.  That is what happened.  I was going down Dean road(which is a nice ride) going about 50 where the marked speed limit is 45.  Okay, so I was speeding, a little.  Some dude pulls RIGHT out in front of me.  Thank god, when I ride I watch every entrance and every road for idiots who are pulling out.  I looked and was thinking "Is this idiot going to pull out?" and I already had my hand on the brake, and my foot on the rear brake.   I downshifted twice, pulled the front, and pressed the rear brake - a little too hard.  The familiar high pitched squeeeeek of the rear end getting loose, and the slight fishtailing feeling was scary as hell.  Thank goodness, I slowed down in time - practically coming to a stop behind the guy. 45 mile an hour limit - he didnt go over 30 until the next turn.  The driver of the car in front of me was absolutely oblivious.

Guess what?  That driver must have been 70.  Im not 'agist' against people who are getting up in years.  However, I do believe that once someone reaches 65 years old they must have an extensive driver examination EVERY year.  If I was not as alert, or 'skilled' rider as I am - I would either be a) under that car or b) flying over it.  Why? because the guy was absolutely oblivious to everything going on around him.  How do I know this?  I rode up next to him and WAVED. "Hey stupid! Wake up!" he didn't even look over.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Shopping blows..

Especially when nothing you are buying is for you... Mr. Stingy here..

One thing is evident.. It really is a recession.

The mall. She is empty. The weather. It sucks. Another day off from work spent doing things I have no desire to do. Anyway, i'm writing this between stores. Have an excellent weekend!! I have this outfit to purchase.. Must go!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I went out for a three hour ride today out at Little Big Econ.  Was going to hit Santos - but I have a concert to go to tonight, and tomorrow there is a race out there. There is always next weekend.

I cleaned my drivetrain today before going out for a ride.  Unfortunately, I was out of my White Lightning Lube.

I always use that stuff on my chain, and I use 'Finish Line WET Lube' on pivot points on the dérailleurs and on the exposed cables. White Lightning works great. Bummer! Ive never tried the Finish Line on my chain - but it does say 'for Extreme Conditions'!

Oh, marketing.

Within 2 minutes of riding in the dirt my chain was grinding whenever I put any power to the drivetrain.  I thought there was something stuck in the dérailleur.  Wrong.  The chain was COATED in dirt and leaves.  The rear pulleys were covered with gobs and gobs of goey dirt/mud.  I couldnt believe it!  With white lighting - nothing.. I mean nothing, sticks to the chain. I dunked the friggin drivetrain in mud last week and within 2 minutes it was clean and grind free.  Now - for an entire 3 hours my drivetrain sounded like an old lady chattering her false teeth.  Whatever you do: Stay away from Finish Line Wet Lubricant if you are going to ride anywhere NEAR dirt. For extreme conditions indeed.

Lesson:  Make sure to have the right lube for your chain before cleaning it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I hate stationary bikes.

With all of the rain over the last week or two (may I remind you - the rain coincided with my vacation) I have not been able to get out on the bike as much as I would like.  Last night I headed over to the gym to get a workout in on a stationary bike.  I have not been on a stationary bike in about 2 months and figured it would be a good way to get an hour or so worth of exercise in.

I chose 'alpine pass' as the workout.  Instead of mountains, the only scenery was the back of some sweaty dude and a TV that had the volume down. The stationary bike had an enormous seat. When I say enormous, I mean it.  When will these designers realize that bigger is not always better? It was absolutely not comfortable. I adjusted the 'seat post' so that I would have decent leg extension, and began peddling. Within 2 minutes my knees and ass started to hurt. In all, I managed a miserable 40 minutes and 13 miles worth of 'riding'.

This time of year sucks too. Bah.  There aren't enough hours in the day to get riding in, and the days I have time to ride its been raining!  I am absolutely not riding at night on the road bike.  Even during the summer on the after-work rides I would sometimes get caught with the sun going down - and I dont like riding on the sidewalk with 23mm tires. So.. I may bite the bullet and put some lights on the Fantom, pick up some slicks and start riding after work on that... If only I had my old work schedule.. 11 to 8. sigh.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Living up to your potential

For anyone who lives in the Central Florida area this should not come as news.  It rains here.  In fact, it has been raining off and on for a week.  Luckily all of the rain has coincided with the end of the year which even luckier is when I get all of my vacation time.

Yesterday, however, was a nice day.  So I went out and rode for a couple of hours at Snowhill.  Im sure everyone is pretty bored with hearing about my rides at the Snowhill trails (or rather, Little Big Econ State Park) so I will keep a ride report 'short'.  Needless to say, my bicycle finally lived to this blog's illustrious name.

Mud.  Oodles of it.  This doesnt really look like much, as I didnt get a picture DURING my ride and before alot of it fell off.  The trails off Snowhill can get really wet after a few rains.  I did one small 'river' crossing going through the swampy area. The other 'river' crossing I did was alot deeper than I thought it was.  There was about a five foot wide area that was pretty wet at the bottom of an embankment.  I assumed it wasnt very deep.  I was wrong.  It was deep enough to soak my feet pretty well - and make my drivetrain sound like it was grinding for a few minutes.  For those of you who dont know - when a drivetrain gets wet and muddy, it can sound like hell for a while.  The tires were absolutely slick with mud until it flung off.  My legs were also absolutely slick with mud.

The waitresses at Tijuana Flats asked me 'what were you doing to get so muddy??'  Im not sure what they must think of me when I go in there after a ride - shorts and a t-shirt with bib tops dangling out, and the most atrocious helmet hair ever.

Anyway - the bike is absolutely a dream to ride.  I zipped by some dude on the trail yesterday and he shouted after me : "How do you like that 29er?"  I can honestly say - I love the frigging thing.  I have put about 120 miles of single track on it over the last month. All of the kinks have been worked out: The brakes have bedded in and do not rub at all.  They squeal when soaked - what brakes don't - but will stop you on a dime. It flies through gears with no problem.  There have been zero ghost shifts on any of my rides after adjusting cable tension.  The saddle is comfy enough for 2+ hours straight in the saddle.  I do need a few things, however.  I could use another half inch of seatpost to get optimum leg extension.  A slightly shorter stem would be nice as well, and the front wheel is slightly out of true.

El Nino says 'Rock on!'

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Big Time Suckage...

I rode the motorcycle to work yesterday - which I havent been doing much lately.  The weather was gorgeous, and since 50mpg is better than 20mpg, frugality ruled the day.  Unfortunately at 5:30 when I went to leave I had a flat rear tire. Not a little flat - but totally flat. I could see the silver nailhead embedded nice and deep.  Boo!  Since I dont carry a pump and a rubber flat fixie thing I had to go get a flat fixer from Autozone.

Luckily, Autozone is only a block away. I picked up the needletool with plugs and went back to the bike.  Not having any needlenose pliars with me, I had to pick those up as well.  I must have tried pulling the nail out for 5 minutes without success.  So, I got pissed and just pushed on the nail and it pushed right through revealing a nice sized hole in the tire.  The rear is newish, and replacing the damn thing would be close to 180 bucks installed.

Theres a funny picture i found on teh interwebs.. but this is basically what I did.  And it worked!  I rode slowly over to the Mobil station and pumped up the tire to 38psi or so and was able to make it home and cut the remainder of the plug from dangling out of the hole. Before leaving I had some dinner and a delicious chocolate chip cookie from Whole Foods with Kim. I couldn't even tell the cookie was vegan!  There was a party in my tummy.. so yummy.. so yummy!