Sunday, January 14, 2018

Witches, Well Diggers and Wilderness Park

Photo Jan 13, 7 59 50 AM (1)

Sitting in a desolate eatery just before the cockcrow, I had time to contemplate how chilly it's been this winter so far. A few sayings concerning the cold came to mind and I deliberated upon which was colder; the posterior of a well digger or a necromancer's bosom. It's an age old debate and one I must admit has me at an impasse since I am lacking any direct knowledge of either.

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Alas, there was riding to do so the mental tug of war would have to wait for another day to decide a victor.

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Despite the single digit temps that have been the norm this winter, the squad came out in force for the SMNDFBR.

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Telling who is who in the winter can be a little problematic unless you recognize helmets, goggles and bicycles because facial exposure is at a minimum. Speaking of goggles, I may have finally found  a pair that don't fog up five minutes into a ride from Dragon Alliance, intended to be ski/snowboard goggles they have a wide field of vision, easily interchangeable lenses... and they look super cool, which is also extremely important when picking out protective eye wear. It's not uncommon to re-purpose ski or snowboard clothing and equipment for fat biking and some times it's even a bit cheaper and easier to find and most of it just plain works because those sports have decades of equipment refinement already under their belt.

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With the chill in the air and a wee bit of wind, Wilderness Park had been the plan all week; a fresh dusting of snow only made that decision seem even better.

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As suspected the snowy single track was in ideal shape for the ride, with all the traffic it's seen lately the ribbon of snow is well packed and smooth rolling.

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Todd even grew a little narwhal nub on the bottom of his lung cookie... narwhal lung cookies, don't sound very appetizing to me if such a thing exists.

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Photo Jan 13, 12 14 23 PM

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Fortunately for us Abe's was on the menu and we didn't have to eat anything close to a narwhal lung cookie. Some of the best burgers I've ever had, Lincoln or elsewhere.

Next week looks to be much warmer, above freezing even. If that holds true, expect gravel to be the option as the Park will be wet and muddy.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2017, There Will Never Be Another You

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January came in cold and snowy as January tends to do but by mid to the end of January we were in Spring or Fall riding gear. Winters just don't seem to have the longevity or the bite like the used... except for maybe this year so far but I suspect this bitter cold weather isn't going to make it out of January.


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February continued the warm trend for most of it, the Tour de Brrr was in February, minus the brrr as has been the case for the last two of them and I wouldn't doubt if this year makes three in a row for milder temps. We even had a weekender to KCMO in mid February where we were wearing shorts and t-shirts but in Nebraska fashioned we did experience a little cold and snow again at the end of the the month. The SMNDFBR even managed a spot in the paper, was a pretty good article actually and everyone looked "mahvelous dahling".


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Photo Mar 18, 3 50 07 PM
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March was more of the same as far as the warm up trend went, shorts became the norm rather than the exception. 


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April was warm and also the start of my race season for gravel events, it was also the first year I'd done any real traveling for races and one of the few recent years where I didn't enter any MTB races. The Gravelluers Raid and Cool Hand Luke were both great events in Kansas around the Lawrence/Leavenworth area, we also met some new friends on both events because gravel people are rad. Gravelluers was better for me than Cool Hand Luke as I missed the start of that one due to illness but caught up with the group for the last stretch into the finish thanks to the awesome race director giving me a lift out to the final check point. Looked like a great event and the gang had nothing but good things to say about it, I'll have to get down there again this year and try not to get sick the night before. 


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May was the beginning of the road bike season, the Tour of Dirt Roads (one of my favorites of the year) and the Wear Yellow Ride which is responsible for the banana incident and the birth of the Pee Amigos. Good times!


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Photo Jun 17, 11 21 12 AM
June saw two races, the Inaugural Bohemian Sto Mil, which was one of the toughest races I've ever done with the heat and the wind that day, and then the Good Life Gravel Gran Fondo. The Fondo went horrible for me, it was the week after the Sto Mil and my legs were still not there; it was only the second race I've ever pulled out on mid way through but there wasn't anything left to give. If not for Patchy's company on the Sto Mil that one might have turned out differently as well, that wind was just so brutal that day. I ended up taking first place in the Fat Bike category, not because I was super fast but because I was too stupid and stubborn to stop pedaling. 


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Late June was also the Inaugural Solstice 100 that I help Joe put on, was a great race from this side of the event and I think it was also from the participants side as there were ample smiling faces. 


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July started out good for me, I was riding strong and feeling good but I'm not sure if it was all the gravel centuries on the fat bike or what but by the end of June and the Cornhusker State Games my legs weren't feeling all that fresh and as it would end up it was kind of the turning point for me on the year, most rides after that I seemed to struggle more than usual.
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Photo Aug 05, 12 57 28 PM
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August was my first Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, it won't be the last, great times were had riding with those guys in Iowa. The end of August also was my third Gravel Worlds, not my best but since I finished it also wasn't my worst. Legs that were there in April weren't there in August.

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September was a slow down as far as competitive races went but it was still full of plenty of great riding was had, we even rode the Heat Stroke 100 route on a day much better suited for riding than the actual event had. 

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October sucked pretty hard at the beginning as the Lincoln cycling community lost two great people in Randy Gibson and CVO, the out pouring of support was amazing and was rad to witness. Both will be dearly missed by not only the local cycling community but by cyclists far and wide. The end of the month we headed down to Missouri and did a little riding in Amish country and then the Halloween ride took us to the curtain call.

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November was a fun month, a trip to Minneapolis to bring back a Beargrease, the Turkey Day Ride and a quick stop out to pay homage to Randy. It had been the first time we'd been out there since he was murdered by a drunk driver and it was hard to stand there looking around at the flat, straight road, clear of obstructions and imagine how a bicycle could have "come out of nowhere", but I suppose lying pieces of shit exist and this guy is the king turd. 

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2017 ended with a fabulous Global Fat Bike Day ride, an equally fun Holiday Lights ride and then on the last Saturday of December a very chilly ride with friends.

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By the numbers 2017 was my best year so far, yet I also felt tired in the latter half of the year and my riding suffered. Not sure what all to make of that but I do know that I fell out of decent riding shape in the later part of the year also and put on a few pounds as it were. One of the goals for 2018 is to rectify that situation, if I can drop a good 25 lbs or so I think they rest will take care of itself. Well that's it, that's the year that was.