Friday, November 30, 2007

Flat But Not Easy

Last Monday I took advantage of what would be the last snow free day for awhile by riding the Columbia Plateau Trail out to Amber Lake. The 50 mile out and back has an imperceptible 800 feet elevation rise and is 95 percent dirt. By dirt I mean rocks, railroad bed rock. The route is scenic but monotonous and has a way of breaking me down mentally. If at any point I stop pedaling the bike does not coast but slows to a stop. This makes the ride a 4.5 hour workout with non stop high cadence spinning. I really wanted to ride longer so I climbed up Hatch hill to give the ride a nice metric century total. Not a bad ride for November.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cold Sunrise Ride

I always like to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday by getting a long ride in early before the big feast. It was 17 degrees when I left the house. I broke the cable on my Lake winter cycling boots (they replace them free I have found out) so I was wearing my summer shoes with booties. Other than the cold feet I felt good and moseyed out along the river to CDA. It was a good chance to try my new extra warm Black Diamond gloves. Within an hour they were too warm and my hands were sweating. Luckily I brought a lighter pair as well.
I stopped and got coffee at Doma ( I was surprised to see them open because that whole town was closed) and meandered north soaking up some nice sunshine. The five hour ride was flat and paved and not the most exhilarating ride to do on the mountain bike but it gave me a chance to start dialing in my new bags.
I replinished my calories and then some
and promptly fell asleep on my parents living room floor. I woke up long enough to get home and be in bed by 8:oo pm. I am going to blame the turkey not the ride.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bad Weather

With temperatures just a hair above freezing, winds that were steady at 20 mph and gusts that reached 45 mph, I convinced Ben to ride the rail trail out to Cheney. Normally this 37 mile out and back would have been nothing more than a jaunt but it was so much more because of the conditions. The Columbia Plateau Trail varies from a short paved section to energy sapping deep gravel trenches. I have been waiting for a day like today to really get the new bike broken in and to test out my new "waterproof" backpack. Ben rode his All-Mountain beast with downhill tires just to make the day more memorable. The first half was uphill into the wind and the rain. It did not take long for the chatting to dwindle. Our heads dropped as we succumbed to what would be quite a slog. The second half was a sprint to get home as soon as possible.
For my part it was a good ride. I felt fine though a bad seat position left me with a sore right knee. The backpack turned out not to be very waterproof at all. In fact it is less waterproof than my packs that do not feature "waterproof zippers". Regardless, I still like the pack and will have to employ some freezer bags to keep my contents dry in the future.
Winter is definitely nearing and I feel like a I am getting acclimatized. The routine of donning substantial layers every time I leave the house is less of a bother. I am enjoying the solitude of the trails and I am more appreciative of the sunshine when it comes. The sky is blue today and I am going to take advantage of that right now.