Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snowshoeing in a Winter Wonderland

Snow too deep to ride in woods, too much snow on side of the roads for the road bike. So, grabbed the snowshoes it hit the local park. It was great to be in the woods all alone. Some old boot tracks for a bit, but the farther I got the less there were, till finally none but mine and the deer tracks.

Haven't really had a lot of deep snow the last couple of years, so the snowshoes have gone unused. But today was perfect. It was so quiet you could hear the snow falling from the branches and landing in the snow. I was surprised that I didn't see any deer, perhaps they're waiting for the 40 degree day tomorrow.

By the way, it's not easy to take a pic of myself. Push the button, run up the trail in showshoes, try to turn around, click!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The best and worst of 2008

Ok, I may be a bit late, but I've been reading a lot of blogs that list the best and worst of last year. And as it's still January, I'm going to list out my best and worst anyway.

Best race - the WVMBA race at Mountwood
Where I finished didn't make this my best race, but how I raced it made it one I won't forget. Compared to the year before, this past year's race had me NOT cramping so horribly that I thought I'd need the jaws of life to detach me from my bike. I rode at a great pace the whole race. I was passing and being passed the whole race (unlike the year before where I was in the back of the pack all by myself). And I chased down and passed a rider that had stayed out of my reach for miles.

Worst race - the WVMBA race at White Oak
Oh the tragedy of it all. I did everything wrong that you could do. Not enough sleep, wrong nutrition, not enough rest, and the list unfortunately goes on. My most vivid memory is walking my bike, light-headed and nasueous and having an expert rider asking if I was okay. Then completely stopping, looking back at me, and asking, "Are you sure???" My first DNF.

Best multi day bike trip - The Bash
The Bash is put on by the Rattling Creek Single Trackers out near Harrisburg. Four of us went out to the Bash and had a great time. Great people, great event, great chili, and really great singletrack. Miles and miles of tight single track that rode the ridges with lots and lots of very rideable rocks. But I will remember to take advice of the locals next time and shuttle my bike to the top rather than ride the two miles up the mountain.

Worst multi day bike trip - 24 hours of Big Bear
The course was great (but very muddy this year), the people were great. Just bad luck that we had trouble as a team. One of the team members totally bonked out and had like a three hour lap time. Sometimes that happens in a race, and luckily it wasn't me! As I said in the blog, at least I got a really expensie t-shirt for my efforts.

Best product bought - Fox F29 fork
Not been riding it all that long, so may update this opinion, but compared to my Reba, I'm really liking the extra inch of cush, and it's way stiffer allowing me to ride the rock and corner better.

Worst product bought - Ergon grips
Let me just say, the worst product in that they didn't work for ME. Many people have them and love them, but for me I always fell like my hands were about to be jarred off of them. And I had numbness problems with them. I tried many, many different grip angles but no change.

Most embarrassing crash - we have a tie in this category

Crash 1 happened on one of my first rides on my 29er Salsa. Took my bike out to Apollo - a local riding area knows for its technical rocky trails. I wanted to see how the 29er took this kind of trail. All was going well until I headed down a creek bank. I had become a little relaxed, wasn't back on the bike far enough, having quickly got used to how easily the big wheels took the rocks. Suddenly the front wheel decided to stop and take a rest neatly between a few rocks. But I was not ready to stop, so I continued my journey. My journey up and over the handlebars. You don't endo on a 29er often, but when you do, I'll tell you it's a long way down. I contemplated all of this while sitting in the creek bed.

Crash 2 happened at 24 hours of Big Bear. I was on my night lap, about 3:00 a.m. Everything was going quite well, but I was feeling my energy levels drop a bit. I took out gel and slugged it down as I entered the long rocky descent that I loved so much. I went to throw the wrapper off into the woods, but then realized I shouldn't litter, even if it was in the middle of the night and I was tired. I decided to quickly stuff the wrapper in my pants' pocket. I got it in a bit, but the stickiness wouldn't let me to let go. Shoved it in a bit more, and yep, that's when that front wheel decided it should stop for a quick break. Deja vu. I found myself going over the handlebars. This was much rougher landing as I couldn't see much that late at night. Using my best judo skills, rolled in midair, landed on my back (the camelback taking the brunt of it) and slapping my arm to disappate the energy the fall caused. This all sounded great, and might have even looked pretty good, but only the raccoons were my witness. Probably gave them a good laugh. Adrenaline kept me going, but the morning had me feeling every rock that I had landed on. How embarrassing, but Al Gore would be proud of my being "green."