Monday, January 27, 2020

Merely Melancholy Bamboo Munchers

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Saturday was the 2nd Annual Fat Bike Frozen Ididaride out at Pioneers Park in Lincoln but before we could get to playing bikes in the snow, we had registration and packet pickup at the shop to attend to. All work and no play might make Jack a dull boy but all play and no work makes for a poorly run event and ain't nobody got time for that.

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With registration and packet pickup accomplished there was nothing left to do but get bikes and gear ready for the morning. I won't bore you with those details, it's about as exciting as watching paint dry but without the contact high from the fumes.

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Up and at it before the sun, Rick, Bruce, Corey, MG and I descended on Pioneers Park getting things ready before the racers started filing in. Not overly difficult work but having a fire and a nice heated tent are welcomed site when racing on the snow.

Photo Jan 25, 8 12 55 AM


Just after the sun came up, things started to pick up considerably as racers started to file in and begin their last minute preparations or pick up their packets if they missed the previous nights event. I always enjoy wandering among the vehicles and peeking at what everyone is racing and how they decided to set up their race sled.




Not many people show up for a fat bike race in a hearse but then again, Gary is not most people. I have to admit that casket slider made a pretty convenient bike storage tray.


Of course a race wouldn't be a race without a little race fuel to help you go faster. Nothing says I want heartburn like a shot of Fireball before putting down maximum effort on a 4 mile lap. Course was marked of at right around 4 miles a lap, three laps if you were riding solo and you were done. If you opted for more fun, less race then teams of three were the way to go. Just Sad Pandas decided to get back together this year and give it another go.


Even though she wasn't racing, Sarah came out to cheer us on and I managed to talk her into taking photos; so most of the pictures you see in the blog were taken by Sarah. She did a fantastic job and I'm glad she was there for the support and to capture the great time that was had by all.








Course was in great shape and made for some fast lap times, we have really lucked out the last two years and got a few inches dumped on us in the week before the big day. I hope that trend continues as a fat bike race just isn't the same without a little of the white stuff. Different from last year was the elimination of a sub fat bike category, I know that probably ruffled some feathers but those skinnier tires turned the track into the consistency of mash potatoes last year and 3.8 minimum is pretty much the standard for a fat bike race. Without those Ginsu tires slicing and dicing the track actually improved on the second and third laps, by the time the race was done the track was pretty near perfect. 

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Photo Jan 25, 2 33 23 PM

One of the best parts of the race was this very spontaneous tunnel that several of the racers built to welcome Isabel and help cheer her onto the finish line. Awesome lady whose current job keeps her very busy on the weekends so it's always awesome when we can steal her away for a few hours. Gravel family might be a tight knit community but the snow folk aren't too far behind, heck as cold as it can get being as close to another source of heat is often a welcomed thing.




Post race we all headed to the tents for a little propane heated air, warm chili, hot coffee/cocoa and camaraderie while we waited for the results to be tabulated. The chili and hot beverage really hit the spot and helped to warm folks up from the inside out.


Just Sad Pandas defended our third place finish from last year with a follow up third place finish this year, I guess there is something to be said for consistency. It was also awesome to have the full team there this year, due to Doug's wife's cancer he was not able to race with us last year. Not having him there last year, it just felt like we were missing something so it was good to be whole this year even if the results were the same.


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Post race a crew of the Lincoln folks and a crew of the Omaha folks headed over to Method for beverages or all shapes, sizes and flavors.



Thankfully it was park where you want Saturday, which was good because I actually didn't remember to bring any quarters for the meters, I mean, it does happen.

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Photo Jan 25, 1 58 04 PM

After Method we got some pie from Yia Yia's while we were watched over by CVO's awesome rabbit painting. The guy was such a talented artist who was really just starting to get his stuff out there into the world before he passed away from  Amyloidosis in 2017. You can't help but wonder what could have been for him had he not been taken so  young.

Next weekend is the Oklahoma Gravel Growler in Shawnee, I'm planning on SAG-ing for Doug who is actually racing in it but with the forecast calling for temps in the 60s, you know I'm taking a bike with me to sneak in little riding of my own. Who knows, maybe I'll event get a wild hair and sign up last minute and do the thing.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

When Will I Know That I Really Can't Go


Saturday was another bitterly cold day but unlike the last one, this one included a nice layer of snow and ice as the cherry on top of the poop sundae.




I'm not sure what the snow totals were but the forecast had said we could get up to 3" of snow with maybe a 5th to 10th of an inch of ice on top of that. Not sure we got the 3" of snow but we got enough and the ice covering it made the residential streets pure ice better suited for skating than riding a bicycle on. Even those with studs were slipping a little so decided that about all we were going to get in was a short breakfast ride. We took advantage of sidewalks and open grass areas as much as possible to avoid the worst of the ice, breaking new tracks in the snow should count as "Dog Miles" as OmaTodd suggested because for every mile you pedal it feel more like 4.





A short, butt puckering ride later and we managed to safely make it to Cultiva for a little breakfast and coffee. The East Campus location is always a little bit more crowded with it being right next to, you guessed it, the East Campus of UNL but it's a little bit less of a ride and has more grassy spaces between it and the shop.



After successfully navigating the ice flow back to Cycle Works a few of us opted for a regroup at Method, they even had a new bouncer at the door and our own reserved table just for us.

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No Saturday ride next Saturday as we will all be testing our fat biking skills at the 2nd annual Fat Bike Frozen Ididaride, still time to sign up if you want to come play in the snow. Team Sad Pandas will be there defending our 3rd place finish from last year.

Sign up HERE.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Do You Wanna Ride A Fat Bike

Do you wanna ride a fat bike?
And ride our bikes around the trails?
I think some company is overdue, you’ve started talking to the people on the Web
Hang in there, buddy
It gets a little lonely, all those miles in your room
Just watching the hours Zwift by
(Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock)



Friday's forecast had snow in it, the real question was how much would we get. Being in the Midwest, forecasts can and do change daily and snowfall totals often range from 0-10" depending on if that butterfly in Malaysia flaps it's wings at just the right time or not. One thing that was a constant in that ever changing forecast was that it was going to be cold, really cold if you included the wind chill. I know that Zwift is all the rage these days but riding outside, even in the cold and snow, speaks to my soul in ways that a trainer never will so I was excited to get out. I wasn't the only one super excited for a good ole fashioned winter ride however and was greeted by this fur missile at the shop. It is possible she was more excited to see people than the actual ride but I'm going let myself think it was both.




As far as snow totals went there was just enough to cover the ground but not much else, dressed like colorful mummies we headed off towards Wilderness Park and hopefully some shelter from the wind.


Snow sweeper guy was already out clearing off the N Street Protected Bikeway, there wasn't a bunch of snow in most spots but it's always appreciated to see them out clearing the snow that is there.



Winds weren't too bad on the way out since it was a tailwind for the most part but once we got stopped by the train, if you turned around to talk you could definitely feel the bite that we'd be facing on the way back.


Things heated up quite a bit though when Todd decided to put on a show while waiting for the train.





The trees did help cut down the wind chill a bit, still wasn't exactly warm but it was a little more bearable and the trail was in great shape with the exception of the frozen horse hoof divots in the trail bed. Hikers, bikers, runners or horses; I do not know why anyone would be so self centered to use public trails when they are obviously not ready for use. All of the groups do it at one point or another and it's super disrespectful to all other users of the public space.


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Dodging all those post holes sure can work up a thirst, so naturally we stopped for a drink'em if you got'em stop at the bridge. And as crazy as it sounds, a little cool down to try to help prevent from sweating too much.



We continued down the trail until a stolen bridge forced us to stop and turn around, hopefully they find that bridge soon since it kind of cuts the park into two halves.


First time I've had to break out the bar mitts this year, yeah it was that cold and I am glad I put them on even if they are a PITA to get on and off at times.




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The ride back was a quick and cold one heading into the wind but an Abe's burger hit the spot and cured all that ailed us and ending the official ride for the week.





Saturday was also Stout Fest at The Happy Raven so naturally we pedaled over there for a taste of one or two of them, thus ending the ride for another week... well officially ending the unofficial part or the ride.