Sunday, February 28, 2010

Riding in a winter wonderland

What a weekend.  Woke up Saturday to test out the ankle, or as my wife called it "Cankle" because it molded into my calf like some "large" peoples.  It didn't actually hurt to pedal so I headed out on my Sugar Creek Amish loop.  Once again a nice ride on snow covered an quite a bit of unplowed roads.

The 1st oddity was at the top of one climb where the plowing just stopped.  The road was very narrow, barely wide enough to get a car down and drifts making it even slimmer.  Seems like the land owner plowed himself out to the main road and left the neighbors to fend for themselves.  The guy needs a wider blade!  I crossed over the plow rubble and into the virgin snow dipping my feet into it on every pedal stroke.  I came to where a couple cars had driven out the other end to the next main road but the compressed snow was harder to ride in than the fluff so I stayed in the middle.

Had a corgi start to chase me but his junk was dragging in the snow slowing him down and he gave up.  Another dog took up chase on down the road but stopped about 10 yards from the road.  Luckily he had a shock collar on, however after I passed, he took up chase again.  Makes me wonder if his buttheaded master decided to turn the invisible fence off.

At one point I came to a T intersection and the road to the left was plowed better than any road I had ridden so I took it.  That lasted 20 yards when I saw a sign that read "Private Drive".  Go figure, another over achiever land owner making the Twp look inadequate.  In a way I am glad they didn't plow or salt because when I did have to take a main road, I flatted, right in front of a house with dog warning sign and trespassing warnings in front along with fresh paw prints.  Luckily Kujo was entertained elsewhere.  Great, my pump is missing, probably lost it again but at least I had 3 co2's.  oops, make that 2, the one in the inflater was used, time to head home.

Lots of weather changes along the route from sunshine to black skies to near white out conditions followed closely by horizontal sleet and rain.  Four miles from home the headset starts to seize up and my bike became ill-handling in the cross winds until I stood up and realized my front tire was flat!  I rode until the rim hit the ground and hit it with what was left in the inflator which lasted about a half mile.  A quick repair got me home with a respectable amount of saddle time followed up with a recovery drive to Cici's all you can eat, scarf til you barf buffet.

Today started off much better, warm, sunny and I had the company of Joe, Steve and Tim.  Those nice snow covered roads were now slush and mud.  At one point Joe and Steve were racing up a climb in the pig slop.  I felt like chasing so I gave it a try which thankfully didn't last long.  Joe lost control and took them both down into the snow, no injuries but lots of laughs.  Half way into the ride the sun went away and took the temps with it so we turned towards home.

I enjoyed today's ride and the company made it more fun than yesterday but yesterdays bad weather and frozen roads were fun in a whole different way.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Night at Ray's, Part 2

Tim, Steve and myself headed north to meet Jon and Dom at Ray's for a night of riding.  I saw a quote somewhere that stated "He who flies with balls skimming ground, not fall very far".   Because I want to get back into BMX for a little while I felt like going up to Ray's a few more times this winter would help me get my wings back.

I rented the same exact bike as the last time, a 21" Gary Fisher Mullet.  The crank was still bent but the layout feels neutral and fits me well.  The hard part isn't jumping as much as getting your timing down and last night my timing was so far off we weren't even in the same zip code.  My balance was in another county and I was getting frustrated so I headed over to the BMX style track leaving the pole riding to someone else to fall off.   It took a half dozen runs around the track along with a few runs down the expert stunt sections to get comfortable again and I started to raise the pace in an attempt to actually get a little more air under my tires.

My friend Jon was smoking me through the initials turns which are critical to helping you get a good launch off the jumps.  The harder I pushed the Gary Fisher Mullet the worse thing became.  The tires were full knobbies unlike Jons tires that were a fine road tread that hooked up well on the plywood track.  Every time I pushed hard the tires would try to roll of the rims so I put more air in.  All that did was cause the over inflated tires to lose grip on the plywood.  When I did have grip, there was enough flex to allow both tires to grind on the frame and fork.

The one thing about Ray's is the spectator friendliness off the place as all the dividers are only about 36" between the sections.  It allows you to see who coming where trails merge and keeps the place feeling open.  It didn't take long before things got out of hand and after pushing the envelope too many times, the seam tore along with the possibility of a few ligaments and tendons.  In the very 1st turn of that particular track I pushed hard enough to drift all the way to the wall. 

Not only did I make it too the wall, I tried to move it out of the way with my body.  First the tire hit, then the lower fork leg followed by my leg then a few other parts of my torso.  I found it very difficult to steer a bike when you are in a full panic with the right fork leg trying to bust its way through plywood and your butt is sliding down the wall and not sitting on your seat.  The tire wedged itself between the jump and the wall finishing off what little chances I had of ever saving it, the bike stopped, I didn't.  Somewhere in all the co-motion of my impending face plant I made a valiant attempt to catch myself only to roll my ankle and rag doll myself down the track.  That hurt!!

After a few moments of assessing which body parts were detached or relocated I hobbled back on the bike in an attempt to loosen up the ankle on the way to the water fountain.  A quick assessment showed lots of tan paint on the forks and a bent front wheel and all body parts accounted for except the right ankle.  An hours more riding didn't help matters any as the more I rode, the weaker it got until I could barely even keep the foot planted on the pedals anymore.  I gathered up the posse and we headed to McDonald's for some fat food. 

By the time we got home the joint was so sore I could barely push the brakes.  This morning things were better and I was able to walk without a grimace.   I doubt anything is broke but the thing is so stiff that I can't walk without a noticeable limp.  Looks like Moto and I will match for a while.  I wonder who will heal first?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Timing and Luck

Went for a ride this morning and was supposed to meet up with a few friends.  Luck would have it having a headband on, I thought I had my skid-lid, back to the house.  Forgot to get my pump off the road bike, back to the basement.  I showed up at the parking lot 10 minutes late and just kept rolling.

A few miles down the road I caught JW and was told he also got there late.  I had some work to do so the chase was on, not what I wanted but what the heck.  I hit Bolivar and still no sight of any club members, not even the super tourist who plod along enjoying the scenery.  Hmmm, maybe the changed the route and JW and I didn't know.  Half way down Canal I saw a couple riders up ahead so I upped the pace just high enough to keep my back in check.  I get to Zoar and no riders.  Hmmm, I know even the slowest of the cyclotourist wouldn't ride this fast.  I cranked up the pace and had those 35c knobbies humming along and a few miles later I finally catch BD and CK.  We loop back though Bolivar and there goes the rest of the club, the other way.  Where the heck were they?  Found out later they ad-libbed the route to avoid hills, got a flat and it took them nearly and hour to fix it.  That'll teach them to take the pussy path.

I talked the guys into adding on a few extra miles so we looped around  Beach City and Brewster before heading back to Navarre.  We were sitting in the lot and I made the comment that I wanted to check the sledding hill out and see if it was still good enough to bring Mak down for the afternoon.  CK said I should ride down it so I did.  I headed up the drive in one of the wheel ruts and was greeted by sleds coming down each rut so I jumped in the middle until they passed.  I cautiously rode down the hill thinking about the last time I did this on fat tires and separated my shoulder.  Then I tried to climb it, twice, but I kept getting stuck when the rear wheel would dig in and sink.  I gave up and headed to McDonalds to harass the seniors who were mooching AARP coffee.

Just as I turned north on Market I saw a group of kids carrying "stuff" down the street.  One yelled something and then I recognized them as my Orrville Teammates who were coming back from an auction.  They were 3 doors from home and invited me over for the 10 cent tour so I followed them over to Casa Del Huck-Brown.

After the open house I grabbed my bike and noticed the pump was missing.  DANG!!! (being polite)  That's the 3rd pump I have lost over the past 2 years.  Just as I made it up to SR21, a pick up truck started honking at me.  I thought "great, another moronic redneck who needs the whole friggin road for his fat butt.  When I turned to see what all the fuss was about a guy and his little girl were waving me over to the truck.  The guy asked if I was the one just down at the park riding down the sled hill?  Great, now I'm going to get heckled for rutting up the hill.  I said yes and he proceeded pull out my pump and said "you lost this".  SAWEET!!!  I thanked him and said that I had just noticed it was missing a few moments ago.  Sure am sorry I assumed he was an idiot!

If I had just rode on up to McDonalds and not taken the tour, I wouldn't have gotten my pump back.  Thanks Lorena!!  I owe you one.