Friday, December 09, 2016

Getting Better!

Current snow coverage for MN.  Light blue is 2" and the dark blue is 15".  St. Cloud is brown...boo.

The Week of Wind.

If Friday's ride was any indication of how the Riddle Box will go...it will be a long day!  I did a version of the Gillman route on the Evergreen.  The wind felt hellacious and was unrelenting.  While I was taking it head on I was going 12-14 mph.  I wasn't pushing too hard as I wanted to keep my heart rate down, but still!  Not that we have a lot of snow but the the snow we do have has stuck to the gravel roads.  This little bit of snow was noticeable in the required effort to go the same speed.  It's predicted that we may get 3-6" at the Riddle Box...ha!

I had my warmest gloves on, 45Nrth, and still dealt with cold hands (off and of) for the entire ride.  I do much better in pogies.  With bulky gloves taking in nutrition or even fluids is much more tricky.  However the discomfort and inconvenience is all manageable...I just need to keep my brain in check!

I rode 4 hours for 62 miles.  The Riddle Box is 75 miles.  Being a "race" and the given conditons (snow and windy) I'd guess it will take close to 5 hours.  No matter the conditions the weekend will be a blast.  Going to races with buddies is way more important than the race itself.

Happy Weekend.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Better than the Trainer.

With winds gusting up to 25+ mph and temperatures in the mid teens I opted for the fat bike yesterday.  I stuck to the SE side (all on the east side of the Mississippi River).  South of Riverside Park is the Talahi Woods.  South of of that, in a valley, is a section of land that used to be farmed (long ago) then a gravel path was put around the perimeter for residents of a housing development up the hill.  I've never come across another person down here so it's gone to the wayside.  But I like it. I did 4-5 laps (I don't remeber).  Before saying "how boring"...it sure beats a trainer!
I then cruised over to Sand Prairie.  In the back SE corner there is an underdeveloped loop that I did a few laps on...again better than a trainer.
After a full run through I made my way back up the hill to the North Loop and finally a quick jaunt through 10th Street Quarries/Friedrich Park.
2.5 hours and 23 miles.

Being the first "real" cold day I dealt a lot with the first time out issues: cold hands and feet.  Nothing serious just takes me a few rides to acclimate the body.  Another chance will be on today's ride.  I would like to take the fat bike again but figure the Evergreen should get pulled out to give it the shake down ride prior to racing it this weekend in Sioux Falls.

The weather forecast for the Sioux Falls area has been all over the place.  The amount of snow is up in the air but anywhere from 1-6" and a lot of wind!  Should be an interesting race.  I was bummed it was rumored to be 107 miles but stayed 75.  Now I'm glad!

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Never Happy!

Oh I'm a fickle, odd beast.  Yesterday was a day off from biking but the high winds, blowing snow, and much cooler temperatures had be wanting to point the fat bike for the North Loop.  I fought the urge and stayed home.  In bed this morning I could hear the wind was just as strong as last night.  I'm riding this morning and now dread going out!  Fickle indeed.

Thursday the wind is to be down some but still in the double digits for speed.  Couple that with teens for a temperature it will be a chilly ride.  It's one thing to take the fat bike out and have pogies on but I hope to take the Evergreen out for a shakedown ride prior to the Riddle Box this weekend.  Keeping my hands warm or at least comfortable is always a trick for me on drop bars.  I've tried the Bar Mitts for drop bars but find them too small and constricting of my hand movements.  I'll survive, it's the first couple times out that I just need to readjust my thinking.

Fingers are crossed for snow this weekend...in MN not for the Riddle Box!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Cookies and Wind.

When Harper found out her older sisters didn't have school (teacher workshops) and she did she was pretty bummed.  Monday morning I put a text into Mike and plans were made for me to pick Harper up when she was done with the school portion of her day at 11:00.  She was stoked.  When we got home and she saw her sisters were still in their pajamas she raced upstairs and put hers on.  We spent the day making Christmas cookies and hanging out.  It was good!

I was going back and forth on riding. Ha, me?!!  Early afternoon it started a rain/sleet mix.  But I still had plans to go.  Once dinner was done I got ready to roll.  I figured the roads would be dry enough so I took my Evergreen.  Yeah they were still pretty wet.  Wet enough that I wondered if it had rained some more and I missed it.  Also the wind, damn.  I knew it was suppose to be windy today and tomorrow but I didn't know it started in last night.  At times I was going 13 mph into the wind.

I had planned on ridding the full length of county road 8 into Becker but the wind changed my plans rather quickly.  I ended up doing a modified Briggs Lake loop with an extension tossed in to get 2 hours in.  The wind at one point ripped my right contact out.  I'm ok riding with one contact but do much better in the daylight and with the missing contact being my left eye.  I can close my left eye and focus on whatever with the right if needed.  I can't close my right eye, funny.  I was surprised how blurry and difficult to navigate it was with a missing contact at night.
But I made it home!  2 hours 12 minutes for 37 miles.

Today is an off day from riding.  Every off day I say I'm going to do a core workout but just do worthless crunches in front of the tv.  Maybe I will toss a plank or two in tonight...maybe.

Crazy winds today and tomorrow with much cooler temps...almost below normal!  Finally.  Now just for the snow.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Global Fat Bike Day and Christmas Trees.

Because I rode more than I should have on Thursday I took Friday off.  Ideally there would have been time for an hour or less spin but I had a movie date with my girls!

Saturday an impromptu fat bike ride was put together for Global Fat Bike Day.  We met up at the shop at 10 and headed over to Quarry Park.  I'm always amazed how much time you can spend cruising through Quarry.  Such a fun place that I only hit up a few times a year.  

Photo Credit: Kyia Anderson
Quarry Park

From Quarry he jumped over to Plum Creek and the River Bluff Trails.  At the end some headed back to the shop and their cars while others headed over to Java John's home for coffee and baked goods.  I had left the girls home with a to do list so figured I best get back.  I did take our million dollar trail again, putting me over 3 hours and 33 miles.  Man that was a fun ride!

Saturday night into Sunday we received a dusting (maybe a bit more) of snow.  Just enough to make everything messy.  I took out the studded rain bike and headed towards parts of the the Dirt Bag course.  The gravel was hard packed but still sloppy.  Even with full fenders I was getting some back spray.  I took a few different turns at the mid point to see where roads I always overlooked went.  Glad I did, I now have a little different route if time allows.  Again over 3 hours with 50 some miles.  This put me between 14-15 hours on the week.

I think I have more time on my rain bike this late fall/early winter than any other bike!  So glad I have it.  It's currently a single speed, which I prefer for bad conditions...less to go wrong but I am strongly thinking about making it a geared bike.  Riding it single sometimes makes it hard to go at a certain effort, especially now that I have studded tires on it.  I may start watching for closeout parts.  A 1X setup would be ideal.
The Rain Bike.

The rest of the day was spent decorating (I watched) the Christmas Tree we got on Saturday.  Man the kids go nuts this time of year!
I'm guessing this week of riding will be similar to last week with the Riddle Box race in Sioux Falls coming up this weekend.  If I was really tossing all my cards in for this race I would have had an easier last week and also this coming but it's more of a training race so the legs won't be going in fresh.  I'm pretty excited for the weekend.  Last year the race and all that goes with it (road tripping, hanging with friends, restaurants, etc) was a hoot.

The plan is to get a 2 hour ride in this evening after dinner, but we all know my track record for riding Monday nights!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Fattin' Up.

This week of riding I wanted to be easier (and shorter) the the previous 4-5 which were 20-25 hour weeks.  I took Monday and Tuesday off completely.  I got 2 hours in on Wednesday and out on the fat bike yesterday.

I headed up the River Road to Rice and continued on to North Prairie.  I've been on my fat bike only a few times this year and all those were when we had snow so on single track or just messing around.  Out on the road, in search of gravel, I was quickly reminded how 5" tires are much slower than the 34mm tires on the Evergreen!  Instead of cruising at 18-19 mph I was at 14-15 with much more effort!
I finally jumped on some gravel.  I was stoked to find it wasn't a sloppy mess.  For the most part the new fat bike stayed relatively clean.  I took turns going North then West and on and on .  I found some great little roads I've not been on before.  Always a good score!  I came upon a town, which turned out to be Swanville.  Oops a bit far out...once again.

Straight South out of Swanville there is a great road I take most times.  It turns to gravel, back to pavement, and gravel again.  Hilly, tiny, and twisty.  All good.  With the NW wind now at my back I was able to make up some time.
In the city limits of St. Cloud I flipped the Garmin to the data page and saw I was at 96 miles.  Yesterday I was that guy the circled a bit to get 100.  It's just a number and who cares but I did it...guilty!  St. Cloud did just finish this fall a 6-8 million dollar pedestrian trail along the Mississippi River.  I have only been on it once so decided to jump on that, going the other direction.  It's a super cool trail, I mean really cool, but it's less than a mile long!  Nonetheless I'm glad they put the money towards it.  We have a great river splitting the town and we have very little focus on it.
With that little jump across the river and back I ended with 6.5 hours and 100.2 miles.

Probably more than I should have gone but I kept the pace easier and I really want to get some saddle time on the fat bike.  The Fat Pursuit is only a month off.  It takes sometime for the body (KNEES) to get used to the fat bike geometry.  Happily I'm good this morning.

Today Jen is heading to the cities for a party for her mom.  The girls and I are heading to the movies tonight!  Taking the day off from riding.  Saturday and Sunday will be under 3 hours.  Shooting for 12 on the week.


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Leg Spinning.

The studded rain bike and I ventured out yesterday before work.  I just wanted to spin the legs and get a bit of saddle time in...nothing crazy.  And I succeeded!  I did my typical Northern route start but instead of continuing on to Gillman I made my way West at an hour in.  The ride was about 2 hours and 32 miles...no speed records broke, just spinning legs.

I've decided to take the fat bike out on some gravel roads today, sloppy or not, we're going.  The NW winds will have me taking the River Road and hitting gravel from there.  I really like this gravel so I need to be diligent and watch the time!  No all day riding today, even though I have the time.  I'm trying to keep my riding down this week.  We shall see!

The end of next week is calling for much cooler temps and possibly some snow.  Man I hope so.  I'm really itching to get out on the puffy stuff and sweat.

Let it Snow!