Today I left canine companion Chip at home as conditions were all wrong for him: 37* and raining. As a Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix, he got the former end of the gene pool and is and a desert dog through and through. I headed out alone and spun out 16 wonderful miles. I took a paved MUP route along the Platte River and pretty much had the whole greenway to myself. I saw something like 8 pedestrians and no other cyclists. There were birds everywhere. Geese on and around the trail, thrushes and meadow larks in the trees, ducks wandering at random, and scads of little insect catchers, maybe swifts, swooping and darting in flocks just inches above the swollen river. I even spotted a clutch of goslings at one point, the first I've seen this year.
We are just getting into the local green season, and the color was supercharged by the rain. It's hard to explain, but active rain brings an intensity and verdancy to the local vegetation which goes beyond the already beautiful, fresh spring colors. Good times indeed. I love rainy rides and today was a perfect example of why I do. The views were intense, but ride was also worth it just for the sounds: the hiss of tires on wet pavement, bird songs, the rapid fire pop and spack of rain drops on my coat and pants. The rushing of the swollen river over rocks and the buzzing splash of my tires plowing through frequent puddles. In many ways, the scenery was simply was simply icing on the cake of a perfect ride.
If only I'd dressed a little better. I came close, but missed the right clothing combination and ended up with a steadily growing core chill which I lacked the fitness level to keep at bay by riding faster. That meant fewer miles than I would have liked, but I'm awfully glad to have gotten the mileage I did. What a beautiful day!
I managed 12mi today, riding the 'bent with canine companion Chip. He logged 4mi of running, his longest stretch this year. What a different a day makes! Today was sunny, with mild breeze and temps in the low 60's.
After taking a rest day yesterday, canine companion Chip and I logged 17mi today, me on my touring bike, him mostly in his trailer but running alongside for 3.5mi. Temps in the mid 60's, sunny with a light breeze. It really doesn't get much better. All the more so in that I stayed upright in a long tunnel which had a thin layer of fine mud through nearly half its distance. The tunnel floods regularly when it rains, but the water is usually pretty clean. Not this time. Things got very slippery there for a minute, and I had no idea until I hit it, despite my lights.
I also saw a sign claiming that a gnarly street crossing will soon have an underpass. Good news! One of my favorite routes crosses a heavily traveled 4 lane highway and getting over it is never any fun. Though the speed limit is 55mph, it's more common to see people in the 70+ range. I see a lot of cyclists and peds simply turn back rather than cross it. Given the geometry of the area, I'm not sure where the underpass will go, but am looking forward to avoiding the packs of speeding cars and associated noise.
Mr. Nigal …. Nothing is good to do on the last day of a three-day fast because fasting is not good to do. If man were not meant to eat non-stop, we wouldn’t be surrounded by convenience stores packed with stuff which almost qualifies as food.
Serious respect for the willpower, though ….
Mr. Newleaf: Tell Chip I am vastly impressed with his athletic ability. When you mentioned running a few miles I never thought much of it, but for a Chihuahua a few miles is a few marathons.
Also …. Yes, rain seems to wash the aior of something, or maybe the moisture emphasizes the green wavelength or something …. But 37 degrees and rainy is within a few degrees of being the worst possible riding conditions imaginable.
I don’t mind a good rain ride—except when the wind sends water droplets into my eyes with the speed of shogun pellets—but 37 degrees, the only reason to go outside is to get more firewood. You must be some kind of bicycle fanatic.
I haven’t been following the site for the past few days because of a new activity I took up. I have been riding my bicycle.
I was down to doing a ride a week or every two weeks for quite a while there, between all the various distractions and obligations and easy excuses …. Finally I hit a stretch of four straight days where I had errands I could do on two wheels, and let me tell you …. I hate cramps.
I forgot how every time I have ever tried to ramp up my riding I get hit with cramps, usually when resting after meals or when fading into sleep. Gallons of Gatorade, bananas … people tell me potatoes and pickle juice work well, but I haven’t seen pickled potatoes anywhere … ….. But I feel so lucky to be out on the bike each day.
All my rides have been short and very, very slow—I am probably averaging 16 miles at 13 miles per hour—but even so I find that I have lost so much fitness that that is enough.
I know there is a deity which controls headwinds ion hills—and I know I need to offer sacrifices or something, because I am way over headwinds on hills. Even without headwinds, the short, gentle ascents we have out here if Flatahoma have been beating me up. But I haven’t quit yet.
Mr. New leaf, I cannot decide wither to thank you or curse you.
After several months off to have most of your internal organs surgically removed, you are right back on the bike and cranking out the miles. I am not sure if I should be inspired or ashamed that I could not keep up with your dog, let alone you.
In any case … I keep hearing that things will get better if I keep riding. I might make that my next science project.
“Mr. Nigal …. Nothing is good to do on the last day of a three-day fast because fasting is not good to do. If man were not meant to eat non-stop, we wouldn’t be surrounded by convenience stores packed with stuff which almost qualifies as food.”
It felt like a BONK with no recovery. Oh gawd was I cranky! I would have skinned and ate the family cat if I could have caught them. The intermittent fasting has changed my life. I’m down 55 lbs and have complete control over my relationship with food.
Thank you, Maelochs! I appreciate your comments and support . My months of surgical hiatus seem to be paying off in their own way now that I can ride again: told that I couldn't safely ride, I spent the time connecting with and strengthening my desire to do just that. Thinking about the excuses I'd once allowed to keep me out of the saddle and feeling dumb for having missed out on so many miles. Promising myself that it would be different when I was able to ride again. Now that I can, it is. I appreciate my saddle time even more than I used to, and that has translated to more frequent rides, even if my mileage is not yet where I'd like it to be. All it took to achieve this happy state of affairs was almost dying and a pair of surgeries.
I will pass your kind comments on to Chip! His athleticism impresses me too, though I hasten to add that although he is a Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix, Chip is "the biggest little dog you ever saw" at 21lbs. He is in no way fat, just significantly larger than the modern standard for either of his ancestor breeds. Nevertheless, he gets a lot of running miles in for a smaller dog. The rest of the time, he incites coos and oohs from passers by while he rides in his trailer .
On riding in the rain and lower temps, well yes, I am some kind of bicycle fanatic, thank you for noticing! Odd to say it, but I've actually been more comfortable riding through falling snow at somewhat lower temps. The rain was amazing, but chilly. It helped that there was virtually no wind.
Seriously, I'm glad to hear you've been getting out more frequently yourself. I enjoy your pics and descriptions of your rides a great deal. I admire your tenacity in continuing to hit the trail despite your own medical challenges. Bravo!
As for the thread's central question, yes! Today's ride found me revisiting an old favorite route. I haven't done it in a while because sadly, Chip is not allowed on the route due to the presence of big horn sheep. It's a magnificent trip up a local canyon which marks the start of the Colorado Trail. That's a 567mi MTB paradise which runs south to the NM border. It begins with a 6mi ascent through Waterton Canyon on a smooth dirt road before turning to singletrack and heading into the mountains proper. Dogs are allowed on the CO Trail, but not the initial Waterton Canyon section.
The canyon was not as green as I'd expected, but just as beautiful as I remember. Better, the big horn sheep were very much in evidence! I had to stop several times to wait for groups of them to clear the road. On the return leg, I actually had to back track a bit when 3 ewes descended a pretty much vertical cliff face and headed straight up the road toward me. With a sheer (to me) rock wall on one side and steep slope plunging into a river on the other, I chose to turn around and ride to a point where I could get off the road to let the sheep pass. Though the area is heavily traveled by humans, the sheep are still wild animals and thus highly unpredictable. I love to see them, but prefer to keep my distance.
Normally, I'd ride from home to the canyon, then on up and back. I've done it before, at least once on each of my bikes including the 'bents. I'll get there again, but for now, the right answer was to throw the folding MTB into the car and drive it to the trailhead parking area. That gave me 14mi on the day, including a short but lung burning jaunt on the singletrack which marks the real start of the CO Trail. Good times in the saddle.
Today I did 25mi on the 'bent with canine companion Chip. Enjoyed some singletrack it wasn't really designed for and hit a remote section of the Highline Canal I haven't been able to enjoy in over a year. The Canal is amazing any time of year, but especially in Spring. Chip did 1.8mi of running but mostly rode, only exiting his trailer to sniff and pee at water breaks. I'm still working on my post surgery fitness level, so there were plenty of 'water breaks' 😉.
I did. Took most of the week to babysit granddaughters and dogs while my daughter a s son in law made a pretty quick trip Hawaii. I decided to bring my MTB just because traffic up this way is stoooopid. It literally took me longer to drive the 6 miles to ride than it did to ride the 7.2 mile loop I was headed to
I had ridden some quarry trails the day before and not being local without any trail signage was a bit frustrating. I liked them but shezzz
As I was leaving those trails I rode the last mile or so with a local who suggested Motts Reservoir Run.
Checked it out on the local Fredericksburg MTB page and figured out where to go and park.
Got there and it was pretty busy being a nice and Mother Day and all. As I was getting ready to roll out another gentleman said something to me and we chatted a minute and he offered to “get me started” he was quick to say he didn’t know what pace he was riding today. I should mention he was on a single speed so in my mind that instantly means a very strong rider. Ended riding the entire loop with him. I think he was somewhat surprised I kept up with him. I had told him I was a flatlander and really hadn’t ridden a MTB in a year or so, I set the bar nice and low for him. He did mention we rode a pretty good pace for that trial. He was very smooth and always had a awesome line!
My second lap had TONS of what I call trail campers. Those that stop on the trail at the absolutely best spots that totally screws your flow and pace up... generally newbs and families in way over their heads But hey, they were out hu? And it’s not like I couldn’t use a quick breather mow and then
It was way cool because as we rode he explained all the features, showed the ropes and in and outs of some, at least for me nearly, water crossings.TONS of flow and some pretty punchy climbs. Nothing way crazy in so far as grade and distance. There was one he called the two minute climb and he suggested I gear down... wow he smoked me up that on a single speed. Sure got the heart rate up and the lactic acid burning in my thighs
^ this one was narly as you dropped of off an off camber ledge where I stood for the photo , across the creek and rocks and then back up with some nasty tree roots to slow you down.
deeper water= hike a bike on this crossing
All in all calling a good couple of days. I’ll be bringing the MTB up this way a bit more often now
I should add, I used a new to me GPS app. It takes an existing map, that can be downloaded or imported and allows you to track yourself on that map via the GPS in your phone. I used it in conjunction with Strava yesterday just to see and compare. It functions in much the same way Strava does in regards to tracking etc. You could also use it just to record a track obviously but given my experience with the quarry trails before I wanted to make sure I stayed on track! Guess I’m location and orientation challenged.
It’s called Avenza maps. I can see some potential for other uses as well.
I enjoyed another wonderful rain ride today. After an all night drizzle, I set out in moderate rain with temps at 47* and little in the way of wind. I did a better job of dressing for the conditions and had a more comfortable spin than my last effort. After spotting a bunch of people on the side of the road staring up into the trees yesterday while running errands, I stopped by on the bike today and found one of the trees was occupied by a Great Horned Owl and pair of owlets! The not so little ones looked like they were about to fledge but were still covered in down. I even managed some pics without getting the camera lens smeared with water.
After that I explored the local neighborhoods a bit to be sure I had gotten my clothing mix right, then did a favorite loop through a nearby state park. Good times indeed. The colors were bursting and intense thanks to the rain, the air intermittently heavy with the perfume of blossoms from some bushes I can't name which are unremarkable pretty much any time except Spring, when they sprout fragant white blossoms and are amazing for a couple of weeks. Ended the ride with 19mi. Would that I was in better shape, but that's okay. I still made it out.
I enjoyed the sound of tires hissing over wet pavement and the view of my bike's reflection from the wet pavement in several places where the light was right. I really love rain rides. Maybe even more than riding in the snow, which is saying something. On that note, the rain continues as I write this, and the weather people are warning of freezing temps tonight with possible snow tomorrow. There's nothing like a solid snow over rain-gorged greenery. On Wednesday, we're supposed to see the 70's. Gotta love CO in the Spring!
I'd hoped for a ride through falling snow today, but the weather people turned out to be wrong. Instead I spun out 23mi under brooding skies with occasional spritzes of rain and the temp hovering right around 40*. Lots of puddles and wet pavement thanks to proper rain accompanied by high winds earlier and overnight. Thanks to one such puddle, I discovered a little over halfway through that my waterproof boots no longer are. Not happy-making, but at least it was just one boot and only enough water to produce an icy worm which lasted maybe 5mi.
Decided to bust out a ride on the stache this morning in the lovely low 60s temps which are definitely a gift for middle of May in these parts. More kudos to cwtch for hooking me up with this bike. It just totally kills it with the new tires, fork upgrade and new brakes/fluid. The fork is dialed in perfect for me and used 3/4 of travel max at some point on one of the big air spots along the way. Small and big hits all plushy plush. The new brake setup is settling in great and is twice as good now than when first installed which was twice as good as what was left of the oem setup. Lever feel and pull as well as modulation perfect while feeling solid as hek. I don't feel like the girth of the 21.5" frame, 50mm rims, 3.0 tires and the rider are overpowering the brakes in any crazy situation I've thrown at it....and it's had a bunch thrown at it today. Super fun 17 mile ride but wasn't enough, i12ride it some more.....
After 23mi on Thursday, some pain in the abdomen told me I'd overdone it. A bit of yard work yesterday confirmed the same. No ride then or today. Hoping for tomorrow or maybe Monday. Dangit. I had a nice streak going. Also realized that today marks 5 years since Mrs. Newleaf and I adopted canine companion Chip from the shelter. Would that I could have marked it with a celebratory ride. As it is, he had to settle for some treats.
Chip can't read the calendar. Just lie to him. I am glad you were willing to listen to your gut (what's left of it.) In fact i was wondering how you were pulling off so many consecutive rides---After about four days my body says "Go ahead, but as bad as you hurt me I will hurt you ten times worse"---and it does.
I skipped riding the last two days, also to do yardwork----cutting grass on a hill hurts similar to climbing a hill on the bike, just not so much. And today I have to work. I plan to ride to morrow---tell Chip I am riding in his honor. He's a dog, he will believe anything you tell him.
Tell Chip he continues to be an inspiration ......
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