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'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.