Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Seven Oaks Trial Run

I rode out to Seven Oaks and did a few laps last weekend. I wanted to get some miles in on the 1x1 and check out the trails before the 24 hour race. I managed about 65 miles in about eight hours with a fair number of stops. Not stellar, but about as well as I could hope given the bike and terrrain.

On the way out I rode through Ledges park. It's quite a mess because of flooding a few weeks ago. Most of the fords are washed out, the last bit of the road is under several feet of sand and mud, and the bridge on the Highway through the park is pretty much gone. I had to do a bit of walking, but it was fun to have a bit of adventure on the way out.

Once I got to Seven Oaks I was expecting some bad trail and so when I saw the caution tape cutting off the back 2/3rds of the trail I took it seriously. I did three laps of the top portion before I ran into somebody (whose name I should really know) weed-whacking the trail who asked how the back side was. He said that it was supposed to be open for the 24 and I decided to check it out.

Both bridges over the creek were out and I was definitely the first person through in a while (spiderwebs and trail debris indicated that). Fording the creek was actually a lot of fun and I kind of wished that the powers that be would make that part of the course. Of course it wouldn't be ridable, but that's okay with me. I'm not much good at riding anyway.

Most of the trail was in pretty good shape. Sure there were a few washouts and in two sections the hill had more or less slid away, but it looked like there were re-routes in progress. I finally found Tom, who I had hoped to help with some trail work, but since I had messed around on the front side of the hill for so long he was ready to go and so was I.

I rode back home across the Wagon Wheel bridge and through Boone. I was pretty happy with the way the ride went. I was afraid that riding so much gravel on an undergeared singlespeed (32x18) would kill my back and test my patience, but I managed it pretty well. Good to know those years of riding the 1x1 at the Arrowhead and winter commuting with a ridiculous gear (32x22) weren't a complete waste.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Adventure #5(?)

I'm beginning to think that the purpose of this blog is to show myself how little training I really do. I know that I can go out and ride a gravel century or run a marathon any time I like, but I also know that if I don't do it regularly it will hurt a lot more. I am not fast, but maybe I could be if I trained right. Last years success at the Arrowhead convinced me that I can stick to something like a training regimen and that it really does help. This year I'm hoping to run it, something I have even less experience with than skiing, and it will require that I actually train rather than just talk about it.

In spite of all this negativity I did get out and ride last weekend. I took a couple of the guys from the shop out to Fraser and over to Ogden where we stopped at a Casey's for some food and drink. Oddly, it was breakfast for all three of us (that's normal for me, but most folks are smarter than that). We hit a few good hills and managed 74 miles on a tough hot and humid day.

On the way back we took the Wagon Wheel bridge across the DesMoines river. I hadn't been that way in a long time (since before they built the new railroad bridge) and I wasn't sure that it would be open. Well, it wasn't, but we could cross anyway. We hopped the barriers and stepped over a few missing boards, but the bridge was largely passable. I expect it will undergo a long decline and in about ten years will be torn down. Until then I plan to ride it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Here's what I've been up to the last few weeks:

August 1st: Rode the Skunk River greenbelt trail up to Story City and back. Very muddy due to recent rains. Lots of mosquitoes. A few trail re-routes. All in all about 40 miles on the Pugsley.

August 8th: Rode a few laps at Peterson Pits and McFarland park. Again, muddy with mosquitoes. I noticed that my chain was skipping about halfway through the ride. I stopped for a break at Ada Hayden park and saw that I had a broken chain link. Soft pedaled back home. ~30 miles. That's what you get for hard downshifting on the hills.

August 10th: Short gravel ride after work with Jared. ~20 miles easy pace with a little adventure riding through flooded roads and dodging thunderstorms. I tried out some new bib shorts on this ride and I have to say that they're fine, but not all that. I think I'd have to be a little bit larger to benefit from the relaxed waist. I promise never to ride in bib shorts w/o a jersey though. I won't be that guy.

In the meantime I've been checking out this barefoot running fad. It's pretty fun if nothing else, but I refuse to buy those Vibram Five Fingers shoes. I won't be that guy either.