Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Soldiers Meadow March

The SeanMan decided we should ride from his house to Soldiers Meadow and back. Being restless due to lower activity from my recent knee injury (that really means bored out of my skull) and the suggestion that the ride had monster climbs on steep, kick-your-butt-I-want-to-walk-instead-of-ride grades struck my adventure nerve. So I loaded up my trusted old geared Fisher Supercal-29 and met the SeanMan for a climbing fest he almost guaranteed would make me wimper (it takes a lot to make me snivel about climbing). I was seriously thinking about taking one of the single-speeds, but I did not want to push the knee that hard yet.

Up in the shades of the highest elevation there was some of this very strange looking cold, white stuff.

It was remarkably similar to snow...but it's too early for such a thing around here or at least I thought it was until now.

The SeanMan's word was golden - the climbs were super steep and long. The only rest on a climb when it was "less" steep for a short time. The downhills were fast and seemed rather short only because each downhill ended in another straight-up climb. Overall the SeanMan's altimeter said we did 6000 feet of climbing - it seemed like more. It was a perfect day - lots of vertical cycling!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

When Bikes Bite Back

Earlier this week I was up on Moscow Mtn trying to get some ride time in away from the smoke here in the valley of hell. It was a beautiful Monday on the mountain with some of the foliage showing its end-of-summer color....

Well it was a great day that is until my bike decided to rip the skin off my body....
This is what a knobby tire does to a knee at high speed...I can't easily explain what happened other than speed was over 25mph, I was railing around a sharpish corner, there was a stick across the trail, a hole just beyond it, and my mind was thinking about other things. All I know is that my front end slide out on the stick then hit the hole before I could recover and my knee was acting like a brake on the knobby tire as my whole body was a friction mat on dirt and dead pine needles. It was the most spectacular wreck I have ever had and I feel fortunate that I could actually get up straighten my front wheel and ride off the mountain. My biggest worry was the grapefruit sized lump on the side of my knee and my knee was numb. After getting back to the car, drinking a cup of java, and eating something I decided I should have the lump on my knee looked at....grrrr
So I made a visit to the local emergency room in Moscow (at the hospital where I just so happen to work). I found out that there was no major tendon, bone, or knee damage. The swelling was most likely a hematoma and should resolve on its own. Well it did go down in 24-hrs the problem is that much of the fluid compartmentalized in my lower leg and has been slow to absorb back into by system. I'm sure it did not help that I worked three 12+ hr shifts this week at the hospital. Today I'm thinking a bit of light spinning on the bike may be feasible. We will see...

Sunday, September 03, 2006


So I've been slacking some...for the month of August I rode what I normally do in a week to a week and a half. Shameful? No way...I have excuses like I was studying for my RN boards scheduled near the end of the month, learning a new job at Gritman Medical Center, and there has been some serious smoke in the area from localish forest fires in SE Washington. The smoke is the big reason for not riding later in the month and now...I don't find pleasure inhaling 50 packs of cigarettes worth of smoke during a short 2-hour bike ride. Riding in smoke is not for me so I grump around, tinker with my bikes, work on the money pit (the house), and do other "stuff" waiting for the fall rains to start. In other words I'm going insane right now waiting for the right wind shift to ride.

I did get a short break once this week when the area was clear of smoke... Of course I powered up the steepest stuff I could find on my shamefully new LeMond Poprad cross bike...Hmmm. I found it to be tough duty though climbing 3000+ feet up 10-18% grades on gravel with170mm cranks and a 38x27 for a lowest gear. Let me just say that the initial 2000 feet up was a real two leg burner.

After reaching the high point of the ride some 30 miles into it I was not happy to see a massive plume approaching from those worthless, inconsiderate field-burning spud-heads. I could see the Idahole smoke plume drifting on the horizon throughout the day, but a small wind shift brought it right towards me. I hoofed it towards home in a hurry once I realized the Idaho smoke monster was coming to get me. I was too late though in my homeward assault and got swallowed by the smoke plume 17 miles out. Even with soft pedalling and mostly down hill efforts I was overcome and puked by the time I got home. Yuk! So shorter trips are in order for anytime the smoke clears again - if it ever does that is.

The RN boards? Let's just say that now I am an RN! And please remember...Nurses are here to save your ass not kiss it!