Friday, July 18, 2014

Ghost Rider

I've been on some great rides lately. The scenery has been so much fun to see....

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It's really too bad I have to work or I would be out doing this everyday. But I have to pay for my riding addiction somehow since it's obviously not free.

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The weather has been perfect up high, not too warm like it has been down in the low elevations. I thrive in the higher elevations and just can not get enough time on the mountain in my new back yard around Grangeville, ID.

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There has been and continues to be so much to explore. I have ridden hundreds of miles here already and I keep finding new stuff to explore. I have years of exploring here and I'm sure many more seriously fun adventures.

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In the mean time I accidentally crossed paths with this ghost ride. So I hopped on an went for a spin. It's been a long time since I have been on a full suspension bike. I seem to have lost no skill in riding one though...it's different than a rigid bike in that you really don't have to worry about picking a smooth line through the rocks - you just ride over everything. I did pinch flat a rear tire because I got a little too aggressive for the air pressure I was running. Can you say, FUN!!! Yep, it was.

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The summer fire season seems to have started all at once. There are fires buring everywhere it seems, which means less riding for now except on days when the smoke has cleared out. I'm not one to ride in smokey conditions, my lungs are important to me. Guess I'll have to ride my motorcycle a bit more.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Kid Times

Once in a great while I can talk my kids into biking, but on this day they both asked to go (yes, it was shocking to hear this from them) and so we loaded up the bikes for some forest road riding.

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Sadie is an amazing little endurance rider for someone that rarely rides a bike...on this ride we rode nearly 20-miles with 1100-feet of climbing. She has all but outgrown her bike and I am thinking about upgrading to a larger size for her this summer. It all depends on how much she will ride. Sadie is one of those kids with natural cycling ability and a strong mindset - a winning combination that could kick some butt if she ever decided to race. It's up to her though since I am not going to force my kiddos into any sport.

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Alejandro is having a similar issue with outgrowing his bike. I put him on a small 29er a few years ago and he's ready to start riding my medium sized frames (and he does when I let him). Alejandro also has a natural athletic ability and could be a serious competitor if he ever decided to train a little bit. Without training he is starting to give me some competition up hills...it won't be long and he will be my equal or more.

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Days like this one are special for good memories and fun times. I still can not believe that Sadie did this ride without a whimper. She was very determined to go the distance. Someone at a bike shop told her that if she rode her current bike 100-miles in a week that she could have a new bike (thanks a lot Seanman). Now she is asking me to ride almost daily, unfortunately I can not ride that much right now due to work and other chores. Time is coming though.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

52

52...that is how I'm now judged and compared to others of this world we live in. We have some need to compare ourselves by age. It seems like a bragging right or an ego issue with most people who are talking about their age.

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Me? I could care less about how many years I've been around. I do care about other people, living well, eating good foods, and having some fun along the way exploring anything that is available to me.

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Of course my preferred way of exploring the outdoor environment is on one of my bikes. I usually go it alone (of course anyone is invited along anytime) only because my work schedule is so screwed up and inconsistent that I can not schedule a ride with anyone...the perils of working as a nurse in a dysfunctional medical care system.

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I hope to change my schedule in the future to be more consistent, but I'm not counting on anything changing (that way I can't be dissappointed again. I could take a boring job and be much less happy I guess, but that would defeat any purpose in my life. So for now I ride alone at a young 52 years of age.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Aimless Wonderings

Good days of riding are not hard to find around here...

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There has been some days of gloom and rain, but that is what it takes to make this area beautiful instead of a solid desert hell.

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My ride this day was up in the Blue Mountains, just a few minutes from my Asotin, WA home (the one that is for sale currently). Definitely a spectacular place to ride with some of the best vistas around.

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I often ride up here to de-stress and to let my thoughts wander as aimlessly as my travels through the many forest roads and trails I've come to know well.

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I am soon to leave this oh-so-familiar area to continue a dream-in-progress over in Idaho, which I have been exploring as often as possible on the bike. I'm not sure where this next journey is taking me, but I am certainly continuing the adventure in my new area. And so far I am very excited about the endless possiblities of bike exploration, fishing, and camping around Grangeville, Idaho. Now if I could only find a job that keeps me happy.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Life Outside the Bubble

Some days are absolutely perfect for riding...Bluebird skies, fresh spring greenery popping out everywhere, and a world of new colors seem to appear every week. I love riding my bikes this time of year. Well actually I love riding nearly anytime of year, but spring is always very exciting and full of pure eye-candy.

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I only wish I could ride everyday, but my life prevents the reality of such selfish dreams...there is work to be done on both of my residences - the Washington farm house, which is for sale, and our new Idaho place. Plus I need to work sometime to afford this dream-in-progress of having a better life for my family. Currently I'm working night shifts at a rural hospital in Cottonwood, Idaho, which means I commute, I have to spend time away from family, and I have the added stress of sleeping issues associated with working nights. Somewhere in this chaos I need to spend some quality time with my kids and the love of my life. Needless to say I am often so exhausted that nothing sounds like fun - even a bike ride. From experience I know that I need to keep my life's attitude off the floor, otherwise others around me suffer as a result of my poopy moods and worries, which in turn creates a bad downward spriral that becomes so much harder to climb out of.  So I know that I must "make" myself go riding since a bike ride always renews my soul and lifts my spirits up once again.


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Some days I'm not sure why I need to do all this...Life should be fun right? Well right now it is not much fun so I do rely on my bikes to pick my attitude out of the sewer every week and bring me up to a happy state of being once again.  Between all the chaos I try to sneak in a few rides a week...sometimes more, many times less. I cherish each ride, dream of more, and hope that someday my kiddos will want to ride along on some of my adventures and come to appreciate the beauty outside the small bubble they choose to live in at this time.

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Friday, May 09, 2014

When is a Tire Too Worn?

Hmmm...I've been keeping a close eye on my rear tread over the last several rides questioning myself: Is the tire going to make it through this ride? How many more miles can I get out of this tire? How far am I willing to walk if the tire completely self destructs (has happen to me a few time in the past) before I get home?  Why don't I just change that tire? I wonder if there is enough tubeless sealant in the tire? I really don't want to add more at this point because it would be a waste since I am going to replace the tire soon, but I've been telling myself this for the past 2-months.

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To say the least this Michellin Mud-2 (one of my favorites except it tends to wear rather quickly) is well beyond need of replacement...it's starting to show signs that epic failure is coming. So how long do you run your tires? Me? I seem to like making mine more worn than a typical semi-slick (which is a tire that looks like this one, but you actually have to pay for it new to have no center tread).

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Well I finally retired the paper thin tread and put on something a little heavier and with a lot more tread to continue my explorations. Now I have less worrisome self-talk at the start of my rides and more self-debate about where to ride today and wonder what I will see...

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Friday, May 02, 2014

Spring Backcountry Riding

Beautiful spring days here in north-central Idaho, perfect for testing new stuff and exploring more of my backyard.

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I'm still testing the Salsa Woodchipper handlebars on my Lynskey Cooper CX bike. Also I am experimenting with bar-end shifters. So far I really like the handlebars. I am getting quite use to the shifters also, but still have a habit of wanting to reach for the brake lever to shift out of habit.

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I am really amazed at the Woodchipper comfort. It provides quite a few hand positions to help avoid hand fatigue on long rides, which has always been an issue for me. Also I really like the power and easy of pedalling up hill while in the drops...the drop position provides a very natural hand position for climbing out of the saddle when you need that extra boost to get up some really steep stuff.

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I could use some lower gears on the steep terrrain I've been riding. At this time I am running a 34 tooth small ring with a 28 tooth big ring on the cassette. I can get by, but sometimes on long steep climbs I have a desire for a few lower gears. I am debating with myself about putting on a mountain bike crank with a 26 tooth small ring. I'm sure that in the near future I will try this setup (which is similar to the one I previously had on a Volagi bike I rode in the back country and is worked well except I lost some speed with lower high end gears).

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The snow seems to be going for good this time, so I will say it again, fatbike season seems to be done. Every week now I see a new set of spring flowers blooming...I love mountain wild flowers, they are so uplifting for my soul.

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Go ride your bike, do some exploring, and enjoy this awesome spring season.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Return of the Fat

Apparently I spoke too soon when I said the fatbike season was done...Snow has been pouring from the sky up on Mt. Idaho which means I "needed" to go and test the quality of such a nice event with the Fatback...Whoohooo!!!

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Amazing how much fun it is to ride the fat. The snow is wet and heavy, which means going to extreme in low tire pressure to maintain traction. This kind of snow gives you lessons in tire pressure...too high at 8psi means you spin out and slid around a lot, whereas 3-5psi is pure glory for riding smooth and without issue. Yes, that is really low by most standards, but not for a fatbike in wet snow.

Get out, ride your bike, explore, and seek out new biking adventures - fun you will have!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Woodchipper on the Lynskey Cooper CX Bike

I seem to never be content with a single bike setup, always need to experiment with something. Biking for me is a never ending experiment, a never ending adventure, a way of exploring the world around me. So changing my bikes up is natural for me. Last week I decided to try a Salsa Woodchipper handlebar on my Lynskey Cooper cross bike. I had the parts laying around collecting dust plus I'm all about gaining more comfort on my bikes. I thought that the Woodchipper would provide a few more hand positions to enhance ride comfort.

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However, I was not sure the Woodchipper would work well on this bike, but I had to find out since the idea came to me on a ride and it was already stuck in an endless loop in my non-stop brain. So after installing the bar I had to take it out for a spin (of course) to measure the perceived fit and comfort that I was dreaming of versus the reality in true use. Of course along the way I alway stop and enjoy some of the beauty I am riding past.

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Dissappointed I am not. I'm not sure this bar looks so stylish (depending on your personal opinion of such things), but let me tell you that the bar is comfy both in and out of the drops. My hands are truly in heavenly comfort with this bar setup. I am amazed at how natural it feels no matter where I put my hands. I opted for barend shifters (a 1st for me) and I'm quickly getting use to them...I should have tried them years ago, but I was resistent because I wanted to be stylish and look like everyone else. I obviously have gotten over that and could care less about being one of "them" anymore.

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I also layered extra bar tape in strategic areas to provide additional cushing. Doing this has become a habit of mine for any road-type bars. I'm still in the "experimental" stage here so nothing is completely permanent. When I'm satisfied then I will probably run a full cable housing setup with some higher quality housing. So far though this is a nice setup.

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Of course any bike experimentation involves test riding over countless miles with huge elevation gains and every possible road condition...it seems that my new Idaho back yard is the perfect testing ground. Get out and ride your bike, do some exploring!

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