Friday, April 20, 2018

And the Warmth has Arrived!

It's so nice to ride in just a long sleeve jersey (with a long sleeve base layer), leg warmers, and bibs.  Yesterday was that day.  It was bit cool at the start but with the sun out it didn't really matter.
The wind was out of the West and maybe turning SW later in the day.  I headed out towards Darwin (home of the biggest ball of twine by one man) hitting up as much gravel as I could.  Compared to the gravel North of St. Cloud this was still a bit moist and soft.  After awhile I could feel the affects.  The last 7 miles into Darwin are on a paved road.  Sweet relief!

I went South of Darwin some before turning West.  I went West and North till about 12:30 before turning North and East.  I stopped and refueled in Eden Valley.  Had my first soda in 6 months.  It must be Spring!  With a tailwind and the sun drying the roads I was starting to make good time.
Finished with 7 hours and 120 miles.
Only real complaint on the ride (besides tired legs!) is I now have a sweet tan line from wearing a headband around my ears!

No riding today.  Brinna has a track meet in Foley, Avery has practice, and Harper is running a 1k fun run at the Earth Day events.  Ready set go!

Saturday a few of us are riding the Dirt Bag course from my house.  Hit me up if interested. Not racing, just riding.

Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Spring is Trying.

Since March and April have been filled with more snow and cold weather than not I am still surprised when it is light out past 7:00.  I think sunset is just past 8:00 right now.  I am also amazed at how fast the roads clear and dry up after a major storm in April.  Bringing Harper to school yesterday County Road 8 was a skating rink.  By afternoon it was dry asphalt.  Spring is trying!  At the moment there is a duck sitting in the snow in my front yard and the Robins are chirping.

After dinner and picking Brinna up from track I headed out for a quick spin.  I opted for the slop bike (Surly Cross Check with fenders) just in case.  I like that bike but after not riding it for a bit I feel so awkward on it.  Plus, despite having 700x40 tires it feels like so much more work than my Salsa Cutthroat with 29x2.1 tires.  It was pretty windy so maybe it was in my head.  Either way is was great to get out.  2 hours and change for 33 miles.

TNR is going off tonight but not too sure I can make it.  It's hard to hit them all up until school is out. If I make it more than a few times I am doing better than last year!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Yep, More Snow.

It started to snow Friday and basically snowed off and on through most of Sunday.  We got nothing like the Cities (15"+!) but enough, maybe half that.  So it was back to the fat bike.

Saturday morning Brinna's indoor track meet was still on (eventually canceled) so I had limited time.  I spent a good portion of it down in Sand Prairie.  Much of our snow had melted down there so it was like riding in November after a first snow.  It was actually great fun.  I also did a half loop at the North Loop.  It too was running really well.  I wanted to be mad about the snow but the riding was way better than I thought.
2 hours.

Sunday I had a bunch more snow to contend with so I thought I may just stick to the Beaver Island Trail.  I decided to explore the River Bluff trails.  I was surprised at how great they were.  The snow was moist so packed well, while the snow underneath was firm.  It wasn't fast riding but I was able to spend a good chunk of time setting first tracks.  Again, it was way more fun than I thought it would be.
2.5 hours.

18 hours and 263 miles on the week.  At the moment the weekend forecast, and into next week, is showing 50's and one 60 degree day!  Finally!  Work could use a boost from some nice weather.

Time to start Monday.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Finally, a somewhat warmer (nicer) Thursday to ride in!  So much so that I rode in bib shorts with leg warmers, undershirt, long sleeve jersey, and a vest (which came off early on).  Plus the wind wasn't crazy.  The sun was hidden by clouds but the temperature hit mid 40's, which is still below average but felt amazing.

With the wind mostly out the North I headed that way on the Salsa Cutthroat.  I hit a mix of pavement and gravel.  The gravel was a bit soft but not bad or sloppy.  Essentially I made a straight shot North for the first leg of my ride.  On the way North I hit the most gravel for the day.  I made my turn East on MN hwy 18.  From riding to my in-laws cabin I recognized this road, I was North of their cabin.  Oops, a bit far...time to push it home.

I did take a quick stop at the cabin.  It's not looking too ready for swimming anytime soon.  South of the cabin I took an awesome gravel road that meanders through swampy sections and groves of trees. I could have ridden sections like that all day.  Once back on the pavement I did a quick estimate of time and distance and decided I need to hoof it home.  My dad was getting two of the girls to gymnastics but I had to pick the other up at 5:15.  I quickly realized I'd fall short so I texted my dad to help me out...again.

I made it home shy of 9 hours and a 153 miles.  Overfall I felt great given the distance.  I can feel the past few weeks in my legs.  Given the crap weather slotted for the next few days riding will be limited so recovery will happen.  So stoked on riding right now, despite the weather!

Ride on...Happy Weekend.  Fingers crossed the snow misses up.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


It was high time we started TNR (Tuesday Night Rides).  In past years we'd have had a few weeks in already but the weather has made that difficult.  Yesterday was no weather picnic either: cloudy, maybe pushing 40, and oh so windy.
The first couple rides we take gravel/cx bikes as the roads are still a mess and some gravel may be found.  My Evergreen is in the process of getting new brakes so I ended up riding the Cutthroat. It faired much better than I thought it would.  The chainring is a 38 tooth, not giving me much for high end speed.  But it was just fine.  The Sparwood 2.2 tires provided a bit extra resistance but they are good rolling tires.
Four of us (Charlie, Alex, Corey, and myself) pushed off at 5:30.  Early on I realized it was much windier than I thought.  Getting out to the 4 Whores and then the Alp  (local hills) was a grind.  It's been a long time since I put in efforts that hard.  While it hurts it felt good.  We took some gravel roads around and up the Alp.  They were rather sloppy and soft!

Because of daylight we are limited in time and distance but for the first TNR we did just fine: 40 miles in 2 hours 13 minutes.  Monday night I got out as well: 36 miles in about the same time.  I'm on kid duty tonight (pick ups, drop offs, and dinner) so riding is out.  Thursday is a go once again but the rest of the week here is looking miserable.  Forecasts are all over but it will be windy (gusts up to 40mph) and wet (either rain, snow, or both).  Some forecasts say we could almost get 20"+ Friday through Sunday.  Ugh.
Just gotta roll with it at this point.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Riding no matter the temperature. It's time.

Saturday 5 (Charlie, Java John, Tom, and Alex) of us met up to head North into the wind. We were on cross and/or gravel bikes.  I was on my Cutthroat.  If the gravel looked good we would explore that.  It never did so we stuck to pavement. We took the River Road up to Little Falls where we stopped to thaw out frozen water bottles and refuel.  Tom headed back while the rest of us pushed westward.  We took hwy 27 to Dove Road.  What a beat down!  The wind was relentless.  Making the turn South was glorious.
We did turn back into the wind a few times to stack on some more miles.  We stopped again in Holdingford before the final push home on the rollers of River Street.
82 miles in 4 hours 40 minutes.  Good time fellas, good times.

Sunday I got out earlier than our 10 am start on Saturday.  It was a balmy 10 degrees but no wind.  Nothing exciting just county road 8 to almost Becker than almost to Santiago and home.  Good for 52 miles in a bit under 3 hours.  The Cutthroat has been getting lots of road use!

Ended the week with 298 miles and 20 hours.

We got and inch of snow yesterday but by mid week it looks like 50 degrees!  TNR looks to be happening this week too!  Gravel/CX bikes to start.

Come on Spring you can do it!

Friday, April 06, 2018

Another Chilly Thursday Ride.

Like last Thursday this one was pretty cold in the morning.  We actually dipped to 0 degrees, smashing a 40 year record.  So I stalled a bit and finally headed out on the Cutthroat around 8:45.  While still cold the sun is amazing.
I'm not sure if it's laziness, stubbornness, or a combination but I've been refusing to pull my road pedals off the Cutthroat and put on mtb style pedals so I could use my 45Nrth Japanther shoes.  Instead I've been using my regular road shoes (so comfy for me) with Bontrager Storm Socks (vapor barrier), mid weight sock, and a wind bootie.  Overall it's been just fine.  The toes got a bit cold yesterday but not for long.  Again, the sun, helps!

The wind was South to South West so I opted to head towards Howard Lake.  Basically a straight shot.  County Road 8, 24, and 6.  At Howard Lake I pushed on to Winsted (or Waverly I always get those mixed up) where I made my turn West.  The road I was one turned North sooner than I wanted so I jumped on a gravel section.  I was on gravel for maybe 3-4 miles...what a mess!

When I made my turn to home I recognized where I was, on my way to Darwin, home of the biggest ball of twine made by one man!  Woot!

Of course I had to take a picture.

Time was slipping away and I needed to be home by or before 4 to get two of the girls from school and to gymnastics.  I opted for the most direct route.  I had packed what I thought was enough food for 5-6 hours but my supply was getting low and I didn't bring any money.  I ended up being out there for 7 hours and 120 miles.  I bonked a few times but brought myself back with my meager food supply that I was nursing.
Once home I was famished for anything but had time to just jump into some regular clothes and run off to get Harper!

I'm really loving my Cutthroat.  It's such a comfy bike.  It only has room for a 38 tooth up front so while on the paved road I'm in the smallest gears in back.  I worry about wearing them out but it's just a bike, made for riding.  Ride on.

I opted to skip the Ragnorok this Saturday.  They pushed back the start time and shortened the course.   I have some family stuff tonight and riding 80 miles in potentially bike wrecking gravel isn't my idea of fun.  I usually anguish over decisions like this but not this one.

Happy Weekend!  More snow on Sunday!