Saturday, January 22, 2005

Snow Ride!

Each year we get 1 or 2 snow mountain bike rides. Usually the snow is pretty deep and tough to ride. Thus, we end up doing as much running as we do riding.

Well, this year the conditions were just about perfect. Earlier in the week we got about 3 inches of snow followed by very cold temps. Enough riders got out toward the end of the week to pack down a nice path along the trails. The kicker is that the forecast for this morning called for a big snow storm to begin around 10am.

This allowed us to ride a traction-rich layer of snow in the middle of a snow storm. That doesn't happen very often & it sure is fun!

We started out just before 9am under cloudy skies and 19 degrees fahrenheit...chilly. The crew was Me, Bernie, Sean, Morgan, and Dan. We ran into Brian out on the trail and he hooked onto our group for most of the ride.

The snow had good traction, but was just slippery enough to make it interesting. The main challenge was the cold. Derailleurs and rims were freezing very quickly. The ideal bike for such a ride would be a singlespeed with disc brakes.
I had the singlespeed, but my rim brakes were useless after creek crossings.

Snow Ride - single speed steed

After a high speed crash into a tree when my brakes decided to stop working I decided to walk the rest of the creeks and keep my rims dry, and ice free! That did the trick and the rest of the ride was a lot less stressful with working brakes. 8-)

Heading up the cascade falls trail I stopped to take a photo of the mostly frozen waterfall.

Snow Ride - frozen waterfall

We covered a lot of ground over the course of 4 hours and everyone had multiple snow & ice related crashes, except for Sean, who managed to keep Yellow Bike upright the entire ride! Bernie was the tough guy of the day, riding his 'cross bike over tough terrain in extreme conditions. Don't pick a fight with that guy! Morgan's bike was an ice-magnet & by the end his rear wheel was barely turning due to the ice build-up. Dan was the only one with disc brakes, but that didn't keep him from crashing...once trying to ride a newly fallen tree with a big drop on the back side & the others due to tires that had almost no lateral traction on the slippery stuff. After 3 pretty jarring crashes my saddle came loose, but we tightened it back up even though we didn't have the right size allen key. Yes, there was carnage & plenty of bruises, but I think we all came out ok.

Snow Ride - snow stripe head smile

For much of the ride the snow was coming down quite heavily. In the photo above, you can see the snow stripes on my fleece cap where the snow collected through my helmet vents.

On the drive home the roads were really bad. At the Russell St. exit off of 95 a tractor trailer had slid out and was blocking all but one lane. I had the 4 wheel drive engaged, but I still took my time. My bike was encased in ice and slush by the time I got home.

Snow Ride - ice build-up

We ended up with about 6 inches of snow, so the trails are probably not all that ridable today. I'll avoid more bruises and ride the trainer today.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The South

We're in Atlanta all weekend visiting family.
It's a nice break to come down here and just relax.
That means no riding, but we did get out and hike up Kennesaw Mountain yesterday.

This was the site of an historic Civil War Battle as Sherman made his way to Atlanta.
The hike is about 40 minutes up a somewhat steep trail.
I was visualizing riding the climb on my mountain bike. That would be a good workout.
The descent would be pretty sweet too.

The view from the summit was spectacular as it was a clear day.
To the North were the north Georgia mountains.
To the South was the skyline of downtown Atlanta.
To the West was Stone Mountain rising from the ground.

It was chilling to think about the fighting that took place on the slopes of the mountain.
Some of the trenches were still visible and a number of cannons were still in place near the top.
A lot of blood was shed.


Speaking of the Civil War....
One thing that is immediately noticable is the absolute duplicitous absurdity of some Southern attitudes.
You get amazing hospitality and friendly folks on the one hand.
You also hear a lot about religion, Church, and being a good Christian.
Then, in the next breath, you hear negative comments about Martin Luther King Day.

While there is a lot of racial diversity down here you really don't see a lot of interaction on a personal level.
I think that people live in such a cultural cocoon that they are ~afraid~ of anything different.
Their defense is to attack and disrespect those different from themselves.
This applies not only to race, but to any difference in culture.
The intolerance of anything different is astounding.
Get out and your eyes...experience life!
You can't learn if you arrogantly assume that everyone else is beneath you.
Practice what you preach.
Is humility extinct?

Monday, January 03, 2005

I rode my bike today

I rode my bike today

I rode my singlespeed to the Whole Foods to buy groceries

I bought a piece of monkfish

They call it poor man's lobster

I don't know who the heck "they" are but it was pretty tasty

I also bought some fruit and some olives and some cheese w/walnuts in it and some walnuts

I still had the toe spikes in from 'cross season

I made a funky tapping sound with every step in the store

I listened to The Streets "A Grand Don't Come For Free"

British Rap Concept Album...yeah, strange genre

I think the cashier was frustrated because I couldn't hear her

But it was a good song, the one about the clippers needing a shake

Or maybe it was the shoes

I tried to get massive air jumping off the curbs

At least I didn't crash

Those olives are good

I gave into my sweet tooth and ate 14 m&m's after dinner

How will I ever get to 7 Watts/kg eating like that???

I drove my car for 0 minutes today

I rode my bike for 19 minutes today

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Please help as you can

Before you head out on your New Year's day bike ride please help the victims of the Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami.

There are a lot of people in need. Many of those have lost just about everything.

I have friends in Thailand and they can hardly describe the magnitude of the disaster and the number of people in need.

Every contribution makes a difference.

You can go to and make a quick and easy contribution to the Red Cross.

Thank you & Happy New Year.