Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The End of March Maddness

This March has been nothing but pure weather chaos. Here are just a few of the conditions I've been caught riding this month...snow, rain (light mist to pure deluge), hail, sleet, thunderstorm, bitter-cold, sloppy-mud, dry, frozen, warm, sunny, and blow-you-backwards-winds. Riding is always an adventure this time of year that often results in some unforeseen weather related hardship during what started as a nice ride. I use to cuss my way home by the shortest means possible when caught in one of those sudden, soaking downpours, now I just laugh about it and continue on with the adventure.

Here are a few pics of my rides over the month of March...I got rained on during most of these.

Can you say Tailwind? Here it's called no effort pedaling...so you can imagine what the ride into this wind was like...


Friday, March 27, 2009

Snow Tires?

Well it seems snow tires are still in season - at least where I'm riding...

But this little guy tells me that the end of the snow tires is near...

I've been seeing plenty of mountain blue birds up high - a sure sign the snow is leaving and spring flowers are near.

Until then I still have to deal with the snow in places I really want to go. Today I ended up "post-holing" (that means I was sinking (making post holes) up to my knees in the snow) for a mile or more while taking a "short-cut" back road. During this knee-deep trek I had one of those awe-inspirating ideas...I decided that some super-mini, ubber light weight snow shoes that I can strap onto my bike shoes would make for some quick treking through these spring time snowy places I am insanely driven to make it through. Hmmm...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sun + Bikes = Happy

So many people seem to complain about the weather forecast being wrong that I thought today I would happily commend them for being wrong. In fact I think we should give weather forecasters a happy award everytime they predict rain while the sun shines all day...like this truly great day of rain you see in this pic...

Wow! What a day that was...two bike rides, one road, one mountain...9000 ft of climbing, 97-miles on 2-wheels, sun all day, smiles abound, tired legs, happy me!

Way to go guys...predict me another day of rain like that!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The George Cr. School of Muck-a-Muck-e-Yuk

Listen up, school is in! Most of us have been schooled in mud riding (typically not by choice), but there are few local schools of mud riding better than that of George Creek Grade. There are diffent kinds of mud: First, there's thin mud that coats you and your bike, but washes off easily. Next there's the ultra gritty mud that eats your chain, gets in your teeth, shreds your eyes, and Lord help you if you have rim brakes because when you get home the rims will be junk. Finally there's the kind of mud found on George Cr. Grade - it sticks better than super-glue and water will not wash it off...and yes it bonds to every thing it globs onto and ruins every thing... sunglasses have no chance and clothing...well it takes many washings sometimes to remove to poop-looking stain on your hind-end. In addition (yes there's more) the George Cr. mud eats chains in seconds, reduces rim sidewalls to paper thin thickness with rim brakes, and takes a chisel or at least 8-10,000 miles of riding rough terrain to get it to finally leave your frame.

A few local riders (Corrie and Doug) found out the hard way recently and I'm sure they are now aware that you just don't go treking up George Cr after there's been a bit of moisture. There is an exception of course...cold, frozen ground. While Corrie and Doug are still chiseling the George Creek mud off their bikes from this last weekend, today's ride up presented no mud problem.

I could see where they had stuggled through the ultra muck-a-muck-e-yuk, sorry, but I was snickering some because several years ago I had done the same thing (you can read Corrie speak his mind on this here--> click). Today the ground was quite firm after some recent cool weather, but as soon as it warms a bit you can bet the gumbo-bike-destroying-muck will be back.

Here's the proof - a pic of my tire...hmmm clean...

After finishing George Creek mud-free, I decided to zip over to Hellsgate State Park for a few loops - overall it was a cool day, but the bright sun made up for it.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Spring seems to have come...I base this not on the return of the Robins who mysteriously started showing up here in mid-January this year, but on seeing the first trees bud and ultimately the first blooming flowers.

Along with spring comes mixed weather (snow, rain, ice, melting...etc.) which typically means you will end up with mud on your face during any off-pave riding.

It can be challenging to ride off-pave and off-road this time of year since the once frozen-firm trails and roads are now wet and soft, which equals tires sinking into the terra firma or in this case terra soft-i-osis-muck-a-muck-e-yuk, which means a huge increase in pedaling effort to maintain forward momentum (yes you now have to pedal downhill just to overcome the increased resistance and keep forward progress) and inevitably you will, if not careful in choosing your riding route, end up with muck-a-muck-e-yuk on everything. And yes I somehow dirt (mud) riding way more fun than road (yawn) riding anytime.