Saturday, January 31, 2015

Frozen Rain


It's going to snow, it's not going to snow... slight accumulation in our area with most pushing off to the south/north/east/west... oh wait, now we are getting snow again... 2"... 3"... 4"... 5"... who the hell knows, certainly not the weather people, the only guarantee they can give us is that there will be some sort of weather that will eventually change to other kinds of weather. Decided to throw caution to the wind today and just ride, regardless of what the weather dudes were predicting because those dudes lie a lot.


Managed to get in a good solid 20 miles in the wet, sloppy snow, temps were hovering right around freezing and we got soaked, snow from the sky and rain courtesy of really large tires coming from the ground. I have to say it was the first time since I got the Wolvhammers that my feet got cold, of course with all the moisture running down my legs, the half inch of water in the Wolvhammers might have contributed to the feet being cold. Great boots but definitely not rain/splash proof.


Wasn't much in the way of accumulation during the ride, seems to be sticking now but the totals are still up in the air. Laundry was a whole other story, with all that grit and wet snow the accumulation on that was massive, not a single stitch of clothing I wore didn't need washed.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

SMNDFBR - Back Road Cruisin

Yeah, I'm grinding down a dirt road
Wheezing hack, swerving cause I’m bout to implode
Steam rolling out my collar
An ice cold water sitting in the king cage


I'm not going to lie, it's been really nice having well above normal temperatures but for every positive there is often a negative; the Yin to the Yang. The Yang in this case has been that all of the single track has been unridable because of the early morning heavy frost, so about mid week we decided that the Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride was going to consist of pavement and gravel.


Somehow managed to beat Damon down to Cycle Works so I had a couple of minutes to sit and chill for a bit and just unwind from the stresses of the work week. Cycling has a way of letting you forget all the worlds problems for a few hours.


Wasn't long though before everyone started showing up for the ride, Emmett brought his sweet Surly Karate Monkey Ops... that spray tan paint is sick.




Eight of us set sail that day for 3 hour ride, a 3 hour ride... oh wait, sorry, wrong story... eight of us set out for a 37 mile route that would take us through Malcolm, past Pawnee Lake, through Emerald and then back into Lincoln via West A street.


The weather and the gravel were both perfect for the ride.



Even the cows were out enjoying the moo-rning.


First rest stop and regroup... what's everyone looking at?


Must be this view...


Or maybe this one, either one isn't too shabby.


Once everyone was done checking out Salt Creek it was off to the Malcolm General Store, always a must stop when I'm in the area. Lippy's BBQ was just starting their smoker as we rolled up, still haven't tried their food but man does it smell fantastic once it gets warmed up.


What it might lack in size and the cookie cutter feel of the more modern convenience stores, it makes up for in selection. They have everything a cyclist on the go could want and even a few items you don't need while biking but might need for after.


Brent doing his best sullen face bicycling Terminator impersonation. I'll be back!


Even in small town Malcolm the fine folks from the Czech Republic are unwelcome... Wilbur might be their last bastion in Nebraska... although ironically you still can't use one to by a Kolache during Czech Days.



Leaving Malcolm, it was time to begin the push back to Lincoln, Mark and I spent a good portion of the ride in the rear with the gear. There are a few good things about being part of the back of the pack gang, your legs and lungs don't hate you quite as much and because of that you also have more breath to chit chat but probably the most important part is you get to look around and see things the rest of the group is blasting past. Having mostly urban single track in the Lincoln/Omaha area you never see old abandoned cars, old safes, random abandoned airplane parts, major appliances or any of that type of stuff on the trails like you often see from pictures of more isolated single track... but gravel is a whole other ball game. Old barns, houses, tractors and wonderfully awesome trucks are all around if you're looking for them. Not really sure how old the barn/house/shed building was or the two tractors next to it but by best guess they were all really old, they just don't make tractors or buildings like that anymore and haven't for quite some time.


When I first started kicking around the idea of trying to put these Fat Bike rides together I wondered if we would get many takers, amazingly the number of people showing up has been pretty steady and more folks than I honestly thought we would get; not a bad problem to have. I really do want to thank everyone who comes out and participates in the rides, riding with a group of people is a wonderful thing. That being said, we always welcome anyone who has thought about making it out but hasn't yet... as the sign says, there is always space available for a few more.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tour de Brrr



Yesterday was the first ever Tour de Brrr ride, the ride is put on by the same great people (Cycle Works & Moran's Liquor Works) who bring us the Tour de Brew LNK rides. When this ride first popped up on the radar several weeks ago the temps were consistently around 20° give or take a few degrees plus or minus, so Tour de Brrr seemed like a more than fitting title for the ride. Fast forward to yesterday and the temps were much more spring like than winter like, the high on the day being 53°. If it weren't for the brutal 25-40 mph winds it would have been a perfect day and the number of riders reflected that as there had to be at least 100 cyclists.


Coming from Omaha the winds made for a fun drive down with two bikes on the roof rack but we made it to Moran's without incident to get registered for the ride. One of the changes that has been made to the ride (for the better IMO) is that instead of being free they now require a $5 donation to participate. Since the rides are all about fun and raising money for local non-profit organizations I personally didn't have a problem with paying the small amount to ride. Others might not see it that way and might have a problem with the new format but it will most likely only be those just looking for cheap beer and prizes, those not interested in also helping out locally that might be turned off by the $5 "cover charge". Maybe losing those people isn't such a bad thing if they can't see the benefits of raising money and making all the volunteer hours worth the effort it takes to put on these great rides... anyway, back to the ride...

After registering  it was time to try the beer, I have had the other two previously so opted to only sample the Thirteenth Hour and it did not disappoint, it was a bit on the fruity side for a barrel aged so if you are a fan of beers more on the fruity side this might be a good one to pick up.




Having registered and sampled the Thirteenth Hour it was time to head on over to Cycle Works, we were one of those early to arrive at Cycle Works and a crowd was already starting to gather. The number of riders made it seem like we were still in the dead of summer.


One of the concoctions that was available at Cycle Works was a mix of Angry Orchard hard cider and Fireball Whiskey aptly named "Angry Balls", with a name like that how could you not try one.


Caught up with Gary at Cycle Works, he fittingly wore his beer socks for the ride... while holding his angry balls.


After our fill of adult beverages, off we went in search of food... man it was a gorgeous day. Was able to wear only my Rothera Cycling Glascow cotton flannel cycling cap, first time in weeks I haven't had to wear some sort of ear/face protection.


I decided to head down to the Rail Yard, while I was riding down there I kept noticing that these two people were following me... I'd turn right, they turned right; I went left, they went left. Since I figured I wasn't going to lose them we all decided to ride together and find a place to eat, the rides are also about meeting new people and making friends after all.


We decided to head to Longwells as they have some great food and a decent selection of beer... and these two New Belgium bikes apparently. Not sure what I would do with one or how often I'd actually ride it but it would be cool to win one of these sometime.

Photo Jan 17, 12 37 07 PM

The last and only other time I've been to Longwells was on a previous Tour de Brew LNK ride and we all sat out here, wasn't an option today. Dang skater punks and their frozen water... ice skater punks even, worst kind.


Photo Jan 17, 12 44 47 PM

First time sitting inside, it was kind of nice in there... huge T.V.s and tasty ice cold beer.


Whatcha looking at Gary?


Oh, sorry I asked... remember kids Crack is Whack... in all it's forms.


Because we all three of us share one brain, every one of us had the Cubano (to be fair though it is amazing) at Longwells before heading onto Yia Yia's  for the final stop and the prize raffle. By the time we got there the place was already packed with fellow cyclists. I often wonder what the unsuspecting citizens of Lincoln think when these rides converge on the downtown area and there are dozens of bicycles and cyclist everywhere; my guess is they think "It's time to get a bicycle"!


Front and center right after you get in the door were the Bahms and crew, our hosts and prize emcees for the afternoon. Look at all that natural light coming in through those big windows...


Because we were late comers we had to sit way back, deep in the bowels of the beast where natural light goes to die. I didn't even know Yia Yia's extended that far back, I swear it felt like we were closer to L street than we were to O street. :)



We did have an excellent view of the alley through this bird poo covered window and the creeper in the mirror  was a nice touch, so the ambiance was to die for back here.


It did allow us to sprawl though, the corner booth waaaaaaaayyyyy in the back of Yia Yia's is huge if you ever come in with a big group, there was plenty of room for the three of us and all the crap I take on these rides to fit comfortably. It's like I'm running away from home or something with all of the stuff I carry.


In addition to the creeper and the poo window it also gave us a great view of this smoke snorting deer and most importantly a quick route to the bathroom which is always a plus when drinking.


Speaking of drinking, after downing an 11% ABV  Deschutes Abyss at Longwells the plan was to switch over to something a little more liver friendly in the form of Mt. Dew. Figured this way the liver and diabetes could fight over who'd get to kill me first.



I swear that the plan was to stick to non-alcoholic beverages... until we found out that they had Goose Island's Bourbon County Vanilla on tap. This rich, dark, thick, 14% ABV offering is one of, if not the best beers I have ever had; it's so good it is almost impossible to do it justice with words. If you have the opportunity to find it on tap, which isn't easy to do, you need to try it.

Photo Jan 17, 2 18 19 PM

It wasn't long before that quick route to the bathroom paid off, after all the water, beer and Mt. Dew it was time to visit the loo. If you were as disturbed by the creeper in the mirror as I was, the one in the bathroom was down right unnerving. The spectacled, soul patch wearing hipster was straight muggin my junk the whole time; a bit rude but you know, who understands those hipsters in their glasses and tight pants with  their bushwa attitudes.


Having avoided making direct eye contact with the bathroom attendant I safely made it back to the table just in time for the prize raffle. In true "me" form I went 0-3 on the prize winning.


This guy however was bi-winning, he had a winning ticket and a sweet fanny pack! I jest but it wasn't too many years ago when I was known to rock the fanny pack on rides from time to time, not sure why they get such a bad rap they definitely do have some utilitarian uses while riding a bicycle... but not being able to give up that many cool points, the fanny had to go in favor of the back pack.


Gary was the only winner from our group, seems like he wins something at every one of these rides. I guess some people just have the magic and some don't and apparently I'm more T-Magic from his last  season rather than the T-Magic from the first three seasons.


Since I didn't win I might have briefly entertained the idea of mugging this dude for his Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth gear but in the end reason prevailed and I figured losing was bad enough without getting my ass kicked on top of it.


Inexplicably the wind managed to increase over the course of the day rather than subside, not wanting to test the strength of the roof mounts on top of the car we instead tested our Tetris skills and the bursting strength of the back of a Suzuki SX4 by cramming two bikes inside for the ride back. Luckily the carboy in the box was getting dropped off shortly after loading the bikes so we were able to free up some room. Couldn't have asked for nicer temps for a ride in mid January though so I guess that was the trade off for the wind. Can't wait for the normal rides to start up in March, should be another good summer of great rides.