Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Public Interest Begins To Grow.

Pete Basinger gets interviewed in the latest Independant Fabrications newsletter. He gives a more detailed telling of the sprint finish at the first GDR. With multiple flats, wild pigs and middle of the night navigational issues, it seems that the GDR nevers stops providing challenges.

Monday, April 28, 2008

What Is The SPF of Dirt?

Things improve. The weather has reached normal levels for the first time this year. Normal right now is highs of 65 and lows of 42. Today was sunny and I enjoyed it as I climbed the 2600' up Mount Spokane (the vista house road is still snowed over so summiting not an option). Last thursday I did my first singletrack hundred miler as an indicator of where I am at. I felt good but it is definitely time to start doing more agressive riding. It just isn't possible for me to get much more riding time in each week so I need to make the time more focused. Speed and climbing, especially out of the saddle climbing. Singlespeeders have to channel there inner Pantani. Dancing on the pedals for mile after mile uses a lot of muscles that can remain dormant during long road rides on the flatland.
Today was actually the first time my legs have seen sunlight since October. I have my base miles, now I need to get going on my base tan. I don't want to look like George Hamilton but spending all day in the sun for several weeks requires some preperation. All the SPF 50 doesn't do much good if you look like Marilyn Manson and you plan on spending sunrise to sunset at altitude in the open.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring Has Been Cancelled in Spokane

Note: This is the forecast for 1885 feet of elevation. Normal Temperatures should be in the 60's.

Saturday: A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 44. Calm wind becoming northeast between 6 and 9 mph.

Saturday Night: Snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 28. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Sunday: A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 41.

Sunday Night: A chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a low around 28.

Monday: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44.

Monday Night: A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Whatever It Takes

Last week was positive. There was lots of high effort work which seems to be doing me some good. It is enjoyable to put the hammer down and have your body respond properly. Despite feeling good I have taken some preventive measures and gone to the acupuncturist. Years ago I lost a wrestling match with an eighty pound Halibut at work. The result was a muscle spasm in my back. That episode happened several weeks before the 24 hour solo world championships in Whistler. I was understandably nervous about the back injury popping up again in the middle of the race. I had a couple of trips to the pin pushers and I was good as new.
I have had recent days when the old injury gets aggravated by long days with a heavy backpack, so I knew I had to do something. I have an obligation to do whatever I can to ensure success with this GDR venture. I only want to do this event once and falling short of finishing because of some shortsightedness during the preparations would sit poorly with me for a long time. I recognize that there are quite a few people that are being inconvenienced by this selfish little excursion of mine. I am lucky that my family and the people I work with have been supportive. Out of respect for their sacrifices I cannot short change this final push of preparations.
Beside the acupuncture, this week I have made it through another map's worth of directions transcription and I have been rehearsing my packing and unpacking routine. A heavy rain storm blew through the night before last so I spent the night sleeping in my bivy. This was my first chance to check waterproofness and potential condensation issue. I was quite comfortable and slept in. Nothing beats sleeping to the sound of rain falling on a tent.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April Showers

After my week off my body felt good. I spent the day exploring dirt roads that will be part of the MIdnight Century Route. If someone wants to know what's in store come July 26, they should go ride Elder Road from Valley Chapel to Freeman. Of course the route is going the other way but you will get the point.
Having made the early comment about the lack of pain and discomfort, I spent the whole of my ride trying to adjust my backpack to relieve some soreness I have been experiencing in my back and shoulders. I have been increasing the amount of weight I am carrying and now it seems I have broken this camel's back. I also switched from my winter cycling boots to my summer shoes. My knees are a little crunchy after the ride and I wondering if it is because I need to adjust the seat height to accommodate the differences between the shoes. I need to also look at the cleat angles.
The ride itself was good. I was pelted with hail, rain and high winds during the last 3 hours but it seems the snow is finally behind us. Overnight temperatures have risen to 30 degrees so it is time to start doing some overnighters.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lion

Ben running across a snowy section of the CDA National Forest at 4000' in April 2007. Most areas were clear but northern slopes had 24-36 inches at the time.

I am enjoying my week off. Rarely does my timing work out so well. More snow and more cold weather has come to ruin Spring's coming out party. The thing is that the snow storm that dumped big on us Friday was not heavy, wet spring snow but cold and dry powder. I took advantage of the conditions and skied until the legs wouldn't hold me anymore. I then did the snowshoe loop again. The super deep powder made for a ruthless workout.
For all the fun I was having I have been thinking about the snow levels in regard to the GDR. Matt Lee just mentioned it on the TD blog. He must be getting emails from worried riders but has assured people that this appears to be an average year and in the past the route was clear of snow for the most part. The snow can melt down awfully quick but it is hard to imagine ridable terrain in the mountains when today I am looking at Big Mountain Resort in Whitefish and it's reported 11.58 FEET (139 inches) of snow at it's 7000 foot summit. My backyard ski area has 131 inches at it's 4200 feet base. I won't be riding those trails until July.
I haven't done the math on how many days left (nor do I care to) but I realize time is short. I see that some people logged twice as many miles in March as I did but I think that I had a nearly perfect month of riding. April needs to be more disciplined in the area of preparations. Typing route guides, getting my camping gear sorted out, etc. I expected to be doing some overnighters but 20 degree temperatures and occasional snowfalls in the valleys have pushed that down the line.