Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Out with Routine.

Monday school was canceled due to our snow storm.  Tuesday it was 2 hours late and I was home with a sick Harper.  Morning plans to hit the gym and afternoon plans to bike were out.  I tentatively planned to still bike but it got warmer than I anticipated making it an absolute mess out there.  Jen, knowing I get cranky with missed activity, picked me up on her way to the gym.

I work 12-8 today and it's cool (almost cold) so any trails would be good to go.  But...turns out Harper has strep.  She's home again today.  Parenting!  It's good for me.  I try and take a 2 week period off, just really suck at it.

Friday we head to Florida for a week.  I always feel blah about going but once it nears I feel ready.  Especially this year with all this slop snow.  Fingers crossed we come home to a snowless front yard!

Monday, March 05, 2018


Winter has returned this morning.  Even school got canceled last night.  It started out as rain, then sleet, and now snow.  Up to 10" has been predicted.  Again, why couldn't this have been during December or January!
Before the return of winter I got some good rides in on the Slop Bike (Surly Cross Check).  After doing a century on Thursday with studded tires, I took them off for Saturday's ride.  Wow, what a difference.  I was with the kids during the morning and through lunch.  I got out around 1:30.  Which was warm but also so, so windy.  Not much you can do but put your head down and go, knowing you'll get a tailwind at some point.  Ended with 58 miles in 3:44.

Sunday the wind was much the same, maybe stronger.  It wasn't as warm nor was the sun out.  I left earlier to be home the rest of the day.  I left home on dry roads.  An hour later I ran into the remnants of a sleet storm.
Wish I still had the studded tires!

Then I hit rain for about an hour.  I wasn't dressed for rain.  As the rain started to permeate my clothing I felt the cold kicking in.  I was on my way home, with the wind, so I wasn't worried.  Once home it was a hot shower, coffee, and board games with Harper in front of the fire place!  And our streets were dry!

Not a bad week of riding: 18.5 hours and 240 miles.  The days of riding fat bikes exclusively are getting numbered.  We head to Florida this Friday for vacation.  Hopefully upon our return we see grass!  This week and next week will see very little riding.  Rest and recovery!

Time to start Monday...go.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Last Minute.

Literally at the last minute I decided to forgo riding the fat bike and pulled out the slop bike (Surly Cross Check).  I have it set up with studded tires and opted to keep them on.  On the way out I did hit some icy spots so they helped there.  I thought I may hit some gravel and that tends to hold onto ice and snow more so than asphalt.  But by the time I hit gravel it had become too soft so it was a long day with studded tires humming in my ears!

I made my way up to Little Falls via the Great River Road.  I then took Hwy 27 West, towards Swanville.  It was here that I hoped to jump on some gravel as it's rather scenic.  But no more than 100 feet in I knew it was a bust.  Back to the pavement.

It always amazes my how awesome 40 degrees and sun can feel in March compared to May!  It was so nice.  So nice in fact that I've switched gears mentally.  Winter is over, bring on Spring and skinny tired bikes!  Oh I know it's far from over and I most likely will bop around on the fat bike tonight but I'm no longer bummed on the melting snow.

I ended with 101 miles in about 6.5 hours.  I felt good but the legs barked a few times in defiance.  It was just nice to ride faster than single digits mph!

Looks like the warmth will continue through the weekend before freezing rain/snow hit.  Ah Minnesota.

Happy Weekend.

Thursday, March 01, 2018


Yesterday morning, I worked at noon, I hit up the groomed trails at the North Loop.  They were mediocre at best.  Our warm weather just isn't letting the trails do their thing at night.  Plus they've seen minimal use so not much packing is happening.   I also hit up Sand Prairie and Friedrich, both better than the groomed single track.  All in all it was slow.  I'm one of the few that enjoys that type of riding I think.  Nonetheless I'm getting a bit sick of the same old loops.  I changed my mind a dozen times on what bike to ride today...skinny or fat.

I woke up, checked the weather, and decided to take the slop bike out on paved and gravel roads.  But driving Harper to school I passed some snowmobile trails.  I forget how much fun those are.  It's been a few years since I've been on them, locally.  But already the temperature has gone from 12 degrees to 19 in the drive to and back from Harper's school.  Ugh...poor Ben, life is tough!

Either way it will be fun.  The sun is out!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Too Much Snow?

While I love snow and always wish for more it was easier to ride when we had less.  Ha!  Spoken like a true Minnesotan...never happy!  When we had 3-4" snow falls, with little base, I could ride anywhere.  There wasn't enough to groom the single track so "rules" weren't in place.  Ski trails hadn't been groomed yet and bush crashing was possible.  Now that we received almost a foot of snow in a week, on top of whatever we had on the ground,  I can't just hop on the bike and go.

It's been too warm so the single track hasn't been able to set up.  Also our groomer (snow dog) is too light to really pack down and churn up the snow enough to get all the air out, (or so I believe). Thus hitting the single track without leaving ruts is next to impossible.  Ironically the trails that see a lot of foot traffic are riding well.  Last night I did a small loop at Sand Prairie.  It wasn't fast and you have to concentrate on holding your line but it was fun.  I tried to venture back to Bumpity Bump but not many walkers have ventured out that far so I was sinking and spinning.

I made my way back up the hill to the Friedrich Park, skipping the North Loop.  The trail my family and I snowshoed in directed the walkers where to go.  It was solid for the most part.  I started losing air in my rear tire so I pumped it up and headed for home.

I wasn't planning on riding so to get 1.5 hours in was a bonus.  We are hitting 40 degrees again today. Such a bummer to waste all this good snow.  But despite loving it, I'm ready for some open roads, crunchy gravel, and less clothing!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Winter Fun...In Two Days.

Last week winter finally decided to make an appearance.  Between the 3 snowfalls we were pushing in on a foot of snow!
The weekend in a nutshell:  Saturday morning ride a bit over 3 hours.  With the snow we saw Thursday into Friday it was a slog fest.  5mph and 3psi was the name of the game.  Fun!
Saturday afternoon it started to snow.  I shoveled 3 times before going to bed to minimize the work in the morning. Every time I shoveled I moved all the snow to one spot so we could make a fort in the morning.
Like a kid on Christmas I was up and out shoveling before anyone was up.  Since I was outside I started in on the fort.  The kids saw and came out.  Later we went snowshoeing for an hour or so.  I pulled Harper in a sled.  Man I haven't snowshoed in a long time.  That's some work!  Back home I had time for a ride.  The trails had been groomed so I checked them out.  They were still too soft so I rode the Beaver Island and some roads.  Still fun.

Packing winter into two days has me exhausted!  We hit upper 30's all week.  The snow was here and now it's going.

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 23, 2018


Yesterday I headed back up to the Soo Line ATV trail for some biking.  With the new snow, (3-4") I was hoping snowmobilers had been out, packing the trail.  They had!  The going was slow and I had to let out air but oh so fun.  I took the trail past Pierz before I turned back around.  Instead of doing a "out and back" I took a side rode to 133 (which turns into a minimum maintenance road).  This road runs into the Platte River.

Yep, I was back on the Platte.  But this section is further North of where I crashed and much smaller.  I had been on it before so I knew the ice was secure.  Besides some animal tracks I was the only tracks on the river.  More air was let out and speed reduced.  Man was it arduous but stupidly fun.

The river dumps into Rice Lake, just north of Skunk Lake.  I took that back to the Soo Line and back to the car.  Ended with 4 3/4 hours and 35 miles and a big smile.

I'm up a bit early today to go shovel.  Yep...more snow!  We got about 5" I'd guess with about the same predicted for Saturday.  While a bit too late I'll still take it.

Go play in the snow!