Sunday, May 21, 2017

SMNDFBR - Storm, Rain and Repeat


It would seem that this summer is destine to be a repeat of the last 2-3 summers wherein it rains at least every other week right up until fall when it changes over to snow. I'm really starting to miss the droughts that plagued the state in the years prior to 2013 when the summers were hot, dry and perfect for single track. Then came the floods of 2014 where Wilderness Park was completely unusable for a year and ever since then we've been stuck in a cycle of almost constant weekly rain during the summer months and so far this spring has been no exception. I had never ridden more than maybe a mile of gravel in my entire life up until 2014 and now it seems like that is about all we ride anymore because everything else is usually too wet to ride on a consistent basis until it freezes over.





This Saturday was the rule rather than the exception and of course it had rained for a few days prior and was still misting on the day of the ride. As is always the case with anything in life, you have choices and the choices lately have been, ride in less than ideal conditions or sit at home and wish you were riding. So this year my philosophy has been that if it isn't pouring rain we will have the ride and see who shows up and so far we have had really good turn outs for these rides. It appears everyone else is as sick of the rain as I am and has come to a similar conclusion, a damp ride is better than no ride. Antelope Valley flood control canals are full as can be, so you know the water is still falling in record amounts.




Weather conditions weren't too bad at the start of the ride, it was spitting just a little bit and it was chilly but at least it wasn't rain. Even ran across racers competing in the Big Red Challenge yesterday, so we weren't the only fools that weren't going to let a little moisture ruin the day.




The plan was to either ride out to Hickman or Malcolm, since Hickman requires a good chunk of limestone trail to get out there and since limestone trail really sucks when it's wet; we decided that Malcolm sounded like a better idea.





Surprisingly the gravel wasn't nearly as soft as I thought it was going to be after all the rain that we've had recently. That was the good, the bad was that... shocker.... the forecasters were wrong about the timing of the precipitation and the drizzle started picking up a little bit by the time we hit gravel.

Photo May 20, 10 45 18 AM


There comes a time when riding in the rain at which you are as saturated as you're going to be, since we had already reached that point we decided to stop at the bridge for our usual festivities. Would have of course been nicer with some sun and warmth but it still wasn't too bad.



While you might not be able to get any more wet, you definitely can continue to get colder while stopped and so eventually we had to continued on if we wanted to stay warm.


Photo May 20, 11 59 49 AM

Warmth also came in the form of a Lippy's BBQ stop, always fantastic BBQ and even better service. Tried their Chicky Wow Wow this time around. The sandwich is as tasty as their pulled pork or brisket sandwiches, if not more so. No matter what you get off the menu, you'll likely not be disappointed if you like smoked meat, if you don't like smoked meat, well, we might not be able to be friends... I cannot wait for them to get into their new, bigger location across the street in the former Branched Oak Inn building. According to Sandy they should be open in the new location by the end of June or at least that is the plan.




A brief stop at the Malcolm General Store and we were off again towards McKelvie road and Lincoln.








While riding in overcast and rainy conditions might not be the most fun you'll ever have on a bicycle, it does make for some pretty dramatic and eye appealing photographs.





A few more soggy miles and we were back in the cement confines of Lincoln but the views were no less spectacular on this dreary Saturday.


Photo May 20, 1 49 40 PM

Rode through the Haymarket down to the N Street Cycle Track or Protected Bike Way, whichever flavor you prefer, and ended up at Method where they now have the beer flowing because bikes, beer and buddies go hand in hand.


After a beer and a few minutes to warm up, we rode off into the sunset... if there would have been sun... and the end of another great Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride.

No ride next week as Graduations are in full swing and the youngest takes her turn at completing her High School Career. Hopefully it will dry out by June 3rd and we can try to get into some single track out at Branched Oak Lake's area 7, I've heard that there has been a crew of people out there doing a ton of work on the trails and that things are really coming around. Let's hope we can go check it out on the 3rd, it's gotta stop raining eventually, right?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Pee Amigos Ride Again

Photo May 13, 6 36 29 AM

There is a saying that goes "there is plenty of time to sleep when you're dead" which is probably a paraphrase of Ben Franklin's quote but it leaves out a bit in the meaning. Ben originally said "A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave." Summer means bicycles, lots and lots of bicycles; even more so than the rest of the year even though the bicycle riding never really stops at any point in the year anymore thanks to Fat Bikes. I prefer Franklin's version because many people look at cycling as a leisure activity in the sense that it is done on your free time but it is on the opposite end of the spectrum from lazy activities such as being a couch potato that some consider being leisurely also. For sure there is a difference between riding a bicycle and surfing the couch and as hectic at the summer gets with all the rides, I'm not sure leisure is the best term for cycling either; it often becomes challenging to find enough hours in the week to do everything that needs to be done and still ride all of the great rides that are out there in the summer.






This week I dawned my leisure suit a few times. Wednesday found me in Lincoln for the Pub Pedalers ride with my bike brothers and sisters for the Oso Burrito ride. Unfortunately I only make about one or two of these a month so as to try to maintain a bike/work/life balance that works for everyone. Great rides and always an awesome time, if you're in Lincoln like them on Facebook and go. You won't be disappointed.

Photo May 11, 8 10 57 PM

Photo May 11, 8 10 36 PM

Thursday once again found me in Lincoln on the Thursday Night Haulin Balls Ride, which with my new job, is my version of the ThNNDRR except instead of starting at the normal time with the rest of the riders, Carlos and I start about 30-40 minutes after and attempt to chase them down. This wasn't  really planned insomuch as it is the only option if I want to join in since I can't get to Cycle Works until 6 now but it's turning out to be great training and a great challenge since I don't normally push myself as hard as I have been on these rides trying to catch the group. This is a pretty quick pace and really only works because the usual ride is at a little slower pace and they stop occasionally for re-groups, if they didn't there would be no way to catch them given the time advantage. One thing this ride doesn't lend itself to is pictures as it really is all out until we catch them, the ice cream stop at the end was all I was able to get pictures of but it was delicious and well earned ice cream.





Saturday I only had to go halfway to Lincoln for the Wear Yellow Ride at the SAC museum, this is always a great ride and this year was no exception.


Love these guys and they are great riding buddies but I know when we all show up for a ride, be it a charity ride or not; it's going to be a fast one.





Ride was actually a little chilly at the beginning, especially in the shaded areas, but it didn't take us too long to get warmed up and we knew the wind and the sun were coming so the chill was only temporary. It'd be a warm, windy one by the time we were done so a little chill was nice to have in the early am.





As suspected it was a pretty quick pace heading out, it wasn't even until the third SAG that we even stopped to take advantage of the great hospitality of the volunteers and even then I think it was only because I made the comment we probably should stop at one of them since we did help pay for them.


In hindsight we probably picked the wrong one as there were no official port-a-potties at this one but The Pee Amigos improvised and managed to get the job done. This is when the expression don't pee into the wind comes in handy, it's also a good idea to either form an echelon or be the guy upwind from the others lest ye want to get a little moisture on ya. The winds were in full effect by this time and probably blowing a steady 20ish mph with occasional gust higher than that.




Took off out of the SAG stop and even latched on to the back of the Edge Therapy team for a bit forming a mini peleton of sorts. While it was nice to have the wind break, the three or four wide group caused a few traffic slow downs along the way so we just kind of slipped back after awhile to try to alleviate the congestion a little by reducing the numbers in the group.



Our second and only other stop was at Greenwood, this one was at my request. After turnin and burnin for 2 plus hours I needed something cold to drink. Even found a little puppy love while stopped there, these two dogs were super sweet; the white dog was definitely the attention hog of the two as he barely let you pet the other puppy before he would nudge your hand off of the brown dog and back onto him.




Hwy 6 between Greenwood and Ashland is my least favorite section on rides out of the SAC, be it the WYR or the Heatstroke 100. The Hwy has a nice wide shoulder but it's also well traveled so there is just a constant droning of traffic going by nonstop the entire time you're riding on it. About the only saving grace is that it's mostly flat so the speeds are up and the time on the road is lessened. No pictures on the Hwy for reasons mentioned above but we did make good time back to the SAC museum, great ride with awesome guys even if it was a 60 mile sprint.


As is always the case after the Wear Yellow Ride, the Pancake Man was there making pancakes. I even got to catch a few of them, I think they look for the fat kids because the know they don't drop a whole lot of food.

Photo May 13, 11 29 50 AM

Back in the parking lot we hung around for a bit and had an adult soda courtesy of Todd, Moose Drool and Moose's Tooth... it's like it was fate. If you're in the market for a road bike by the way, give the Giant Defy a good hard look. I think there are three or four of them in our group and three of those were bought at retail if that tells you anything about how much we like the Defy. First true road bike I've probably ever owned as I was one of those people who had a cross bike and assumed it was "good enough". Let me tell you, after riding the Defy this year I can't tell you how wrong I was. While a light road bike won't make you a strong/fast rider, an improperly geared, heavier cross bike will make you a worse rider than you really are. My eyes are wide open this year as to how much just picking up a true road bike has changed my game from last year to this year. Stop in and take a look  and take one for a spin next time you're near Cycle Works and you can see the difference for yourself.

Photo May 13, 7 21 51 PM

Photo May 13, 11 25 47 PM

After the ride I boogied home, showered and picked up the better half and headed back to Mahoney State Park. Roy, Carlos, Joe, Dave and their significant others were all camping and we were invited to join in on the festivities of Saturday afternoon and evening. Dave made some killer hamburgers for lunch, Stephanie and Roy brought some of the best potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans I've ever tasted for lunch. Then not be shown up Carlos cooked up the best chorizo and skirt steak quesadillas this side of the Rio Grande for dinner. They were so good that I ate some even though I was still mostly full from the burgers at lunch... so much food was consumed, it's probably a good thing there was an equal amount of riding this week also.

I have been truly blessed by the bicycle, great shop and team to ride for and I've made some of the best friends a guy could as for over the last 3 years; guys and gals I wouldn't have met if not for us all having the bicycle in common. Love all my Cycle Works, #SOVAG and SMNDFBR family, life is so much better with you all in it.