Saturday, December 22, 2007
Stopping occasionally and listening to the sounds of the preserve was a delight. I could here owls hooting from what seemd to be around the 1A trail, rustling of bushes here and there, and a few scurrying sounds. Couldn't see or hear any sounds of people other than the distant hum of the city in the distance.
The ride only lasted about 45 minutes, but it sure was refreshing.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
This one wasn't quite as good at the one on top of one of the hills in Thunderbird Park, but this is the one when I had a camera with me. It will be intersting to see if the ornaments get removed after Christmas.
I went on my first group ride in Phoenix Saturday morning. Its called a c-ride and we left out of the 7th St visitors center, headed east past Cave Creek, then chased around on some fun trails I hadn't seen before. We rode for about 2 hours. I was the only one riding a hardtail, which is a pretty skittish bike on all the rock left after the recent rains. I was definitely the oldest, fattest and slowest of the group. Sort of a C- rider among a group of C+'s and B's.
Later on in the day, I took a solo ride in T-Bird, just because it was too nice a day to sit in the apartment. Followed up with an afternoon ride today, which made for a good weekend of pedalling.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
What I can't quite figure out is, when I get to the park entrance at 5 am, the gates are open. Dawn is still two hours off, but somebody came through at O-dark-early and opened up the park. If they can fudge by 2 hours in the morning, why not in the evening? Another great imponderable, kind of like, "If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?"
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This is one of the basic skills of cycling. First you learn to balance, then you learn to pedal, then you learn to blow snot rockets. This comes before bunny hopping, gloving tires, fixing flats.
That brings me to flats. I usually run about 40-45 psi and rarely get flats, except from thorns or broken glass. This morning, first time at Thunderbird since the rain, I caught a pinch flat. Heard a hissing sound and thought, "That doesn't sound much like a snake." It wasn't, unless a snake bit the side of my tire. I love fixing flats in the dark. Anyway, I found no tire damage, but there it was in the tube, a telltale lengthwise slit along the side of the tube. Had to cut the ride short and get ready for work.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Looped down 8, then back up and caught 1A back to the west. After that it was north for a bit, then back to the truck at 32nd. Beautiful day for it.
The vegetation isn't looking much different so far after getting 2 inches of rain. Except the saguaro. Most were getting pertty thin from the dry. Today, they were swelled up like post-thanksgiving dinner football watcher.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
One thing about rainy days in Phoenix, parking is a breeze at trailheads.
Left the parking lot about 2:30, went up Dreamy Draw, then up 1A, across to the east and down a hill Sean referred to as 5 Dollars to T100. As I started down, the rain and wind hit in earnest. Knowing there weren't many folks in the park at that time, I figured I should work my way back to the truck. I followed T100 back rather than take some of the more interesting routes. By the time I got back, I was pretty well soaked. It was a lot like riding in the Pacific Northwest - cool and wet, but without the mud.
After about 2 inches of rain since Friday, all the rock was washed clean and dust was non-existent. There wasn't much soft ground anywhere, nor were there many puddles. The air felt as clean as its been since I moved here.
I'll probably head over there again tomorrow and ride as much as possible. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with the vegetation now that its had a good dose of rain after so much drought.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
To me, the bike looks like a skinny frame with tundra tires, but it is a pretty cool bike.
We met up with Crazy Joe and Gordo the Wonderdog at Oak Creek, and headed off looking for the Baldwin trailhead. Neither of my guides seemed to remember exactly where the trailhead is, so we took what looked like a well used trail that petered out and gave us a bit of a bushwhacking experience that ended up in somebody's driveway, inside their gate. Fortunately nobody shot at us. Another mile down the road and we found the real trail, with a real sign, and off we went, Baldwin to Templeton.
The scenery was absolutely spectacular, and I managed to take an off-trail excursion while gawking at the redrock surroundings and paying too little attention to the redrock in the middle of the trail. Off the bike, down the embankment and into a holly bush that was kind enough to break my fall. My glasses came off on the way down, and were invisible in all the dust I kicked up. Problem - myopic geezer stuck in a holly bush without his glasses. Don't move around too much, because it will be a long run back to the truck without my specs. The dust settled and I eventually found them, none the worst for wear. Caught up with Sean, Joe and Gordo about the time they were talking about sending out a search party.
I don't know about Sean and Crazy Joe, but I'm willing to bet Gordo the Wonderdog was smart enough that he could have found me at the crash site AND went to get Lassie. Now, I'm not a big fan of dogs (mostly they bark, chew up shoes and crap on lawns), but Gordo is pretty impressive. We rode something like 13-15 miles at a pretty good pace and he stayed with us the whole time, never blocked the path, and completely ignored other dogs on the trail. Put in a better performance than I did.
For most of the ride, I wondered why Crazy Joe carried that moniker. He rides that singlespeed like a mountain goat and seemed more than happy to wait for Sean and me as we struggled to make it through sections that he cleaned as if they were 6 lane freeways. I figured out the "Crazy." I warned him at the start that this ride would be one of the slowest he ever did. We'd been riding about two hours when he commented to me that he hadn't seen slow yet. At that point I knew Joe is either crazy or he perceives the space/time continuum in a manner unlike the rest of the human race. Anyway, thanks Joe for a great ride. You and Gordo are tops in my book.
Sean was his usual self - cheery, funny, enjoying life. I may be biased because he's family, but he is a great riding partner and a joy to spend time with. We rode Sedona on Saturday and Phoenix Mtn Perserves on Sunday and had a ball. Like anyone else who throws a leg over an mtb, he pretty much left me in the dust, but didn't seem to mind having to wait for the geezer to catch up. Definitely made for a fun weekend.
Sean at speed on the new ride.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
I started up Mesquite Canyon and got into what would be a great trail for hiking, but really sucked with a bike. The first mile of climbing is simply not rideable by a geezer like me. Walking wasn't too bad, but would have been a lot better without 25 lbs of bike. After the first mile, the trail is rideable, and I managed to grind up to the intersection with Willow trail. I continued another 1/4 mile or so before I decided to bag it and go back down. The downhill was better than the climb, and I rode all but maybe 400 yds, with only 1 excursion over the bars. With the crash yesterday at Black Canyon, when I dropped my front tire into a soft spot in the sand, my total crashes since arriving in Phoenix have added up to 2.
Now that I've spent 12 bucks for access to White Tanks, I'm through paying to ride there when there are so many other places to go.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Off we went to meet up with the trail crew, after my wasting of 2 hours. The crew had made good progress already, and I joined them for about 3 hours. In all the crew completed about 800 ft. I broke rock, raked dirt, and didn't f**k up my back.
Temp was about 90 when we headed back where the folks drove to. I loaded Mr Klein into one of the trucks and accepted a ride back to the trailhead. Pie ala-mode and good conversation at the Rock Springs Cafe, and I was back in Phoenix by 4:00 pm.
Tomorrow I'll try Willow Canyon to Goat Camp at White Tanks. I've seen video of the Goat Camp trail and that was enough to convince me that I'll turn back rather than break something.
Friday, November 2, 2007
All together, the setup worked ok except the chain skipped on the 3rd cassette gear any time I cranked hard on it. Ok, just avoid that gear. After a few weeks, 4th gear started doing the same thing. This was getting ridiculous. Last night I gave up on the SRAM, even though as an old fat and slow guy I liked the 32T granny gear. At the second shop I visited, Swiss American(?), 44th Ave & Bell, I found an 8 speed 11x30 Shimano. They were holding a bike maintenance (bent wheel bad, straight wheel good) class, so I had to step around some of the attendees to get to the parts counter. All in all, it seems like a good shop, and off I went with my new cassette.
Now that its all dialed in and working well, I'm just waiting for the Octolink BB to fail like the ones Sean's been going through. If it fails, I'll dig around for some new chainrings and go back to the past with square taper that's served me well for the last 50 years.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
In two months of riding almost every day, this was my first flat. Apparently, knocking on wood did no good.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Unfortunately, the vacation left me older fatter and slower. It was back to the early morning rides and 10-12 hour work days. The weekend should be pretty comfortable in Phoenix, with highs of about 85. Time to burn off some of that blubber. (that word courtesy of Su Ling!) Chubby ate too much lately, so the word applies this time.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I'm now at the Phoenix Airport, waiting for a flight to Portland. No more biking until Oct 9th. We'll get in some hiking, but I'll be older, fatter and slower than I am now, after a few weeks of regular riding. I even hit South Mountain in my road bike last weekend during "Silent Sunday." Coming down the mountain was WAY more fun than going up, but I did ok for a geezer.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
With light coming from the handlebars, shadows help a lot with identifying the size of rocks and stuff. I did have one almost "oh crap" incident on a drop when I mis-timed lofting my front wheel and landed it while the rear was still on the upper part. The front came down pretty hard and Mr. Klein did his best to try and toss me over the handlebar. Fortunately, years of expreience at dumb mistakes kept me on top and him below. It would have been my first significant crash since arriving in Phoenix, but I put that off for another day.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Headed north on I-17 out of Phoenix about 7:30 and got into Prescott around 9:20. After gassing up the truck and finding the Playa/Metate trailhead, I hit the trails at about 9:45. I picked up 351 and climbed SE to its intersection with 347. A little more climbing on 347, then, "Oh My Gawd." The trail turned in to a smooth, winding descent with lots of whoop-de-doos and a few drops. It was steep enough to keep the speed up, but not so steep that I would need to grind my brakes away. I followed 347 to the NE corner of the recreation area. The last mile or so was flat horse trail and not very interesting. At the Williamson Valley trailhead, I followed 308 west to 345 and began the long climb back up to my starting point. 345 has some sections where I chickened out and hiked. Still need some practice in the rough stuff. With sightseeing and panting stops, the loop took about 3 hours.
Yeah, I rode this little hill.
Only made it part way on this one.
Obligatory shot of the bike and scenery. Right after the shot, the wind blew the bike over into a prickly pear. I spent a few minutes pulling thorns out of Mr. Klein's left hand grip and apologizing for my carelessness.
From Prescott, I returned to Phoenix on hwy 89. Its a lot of miles of curvy road that passes through some spectacular scenery. It probably took an hour longer than going back out to I-17, but it seemed to be worth it.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Halfway through the ride, its light enough to see that I'm in the gear I want. Chainring? Oh crap! OFS does not climb with the middle chainring. OFS considers it to be inhuman. Dammit, OFS has been in the middle chainring since he left the pavement. OFS is sure he downshifted twice at the first hill. Shifters are working ok. It must have been the humidity. The last 2 hills were ok.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Pinnacle Peak Rd. - Isn't that redundant? Might as well have called it Acme Apex Rd.
If In & Out Burgers merged with the midwest convenience store chain Kum & Go, what would they call the new company?
Monday, September 3, 2007
Monday's ride. Counter clockwise, shorter, more climbing and rougher trails in the upper parts.
Being a "mature" rider, alone on the trail, I walked some areas that I might have been able to ride. The operative word being "might." Dumb mistake and hospital? Nah, I'd rather ride tomorrow than sit around having a cast put on. Two good rides, a little faster and slightly less fat.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Today I actually made it to the preserve, parked at the deadend of 32nd, and hit the trails. The temp was around 85 at 5:45 and the riding was great! I got in about 10 miles, 1/2 on trails that I had not previously ridden during the springtime visits with Sean and Michele. This was the first ride in Phoenix that things started coming together.
Sean isn't night riding in Seattle, so he's loaning me his light. As soon as the evenings are down in the mid 90's I'll start riding after work instead of this o-dark-early stuff. Getting all the old and fat parts sync'd up at 5 am jsut isn't as easy as it used to be. The brain says go, but the legs and lungs seem less than interested. I'm guessing the brain is the dumb one.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The second morning, today, I rode but had no energy. Climbing a small hill, I stopped to let a couple of hikers go by and got lightheaded while waiting for them to pass.
Tomorrow will be an improvement.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Thunderbird Park opens at dawn, according to the gate sign. It was still dark when I arrived this morning and a car was waiting fot he gate to open. Fortunately, the bike fits under the gate. Unfortunately, the trails are a little hard to see without a light. For the record, I did not run into this saguaro.
The trails are pretty good.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Tomorrow it'll be another early morning ride, then a blood donation which, by the way, is the proper order for those activities. Once, in Kansas City, I rode my bike to donate blood. Going to the Red Cross was fine, but the hilly 5 mile ride back was awful. I can't recommend reverse blood doping for its performance result. If the positive cycling effect of blood doping is the converse of the effect from donating a pint, I can see why the racers would do it.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
As mentioned in the earlier post, I'm not going to do much about the old part, but I established my benchmarks for fat and slow. I'm shooting for losing 30 lbs. Starting weight is three digits, including a 1, 2 and 6. Put them in any order you want, then subtract 30 and that's what I'm after. When the weight drops, the speed should also improve.
My charming son felt it was necessary to dis my bike a few days ago. It's a 10 year old Klein aluminum hardtail with a Rock Shox Judy XC. All up, it weighs about 25 lbs and I like it just fine. As long as I don't break it, I'll keep riding it.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
We recently decided to move, and the job search is taking us to Phoenix, where the mtn biking is pretty good, definitely a major step up. I start my new job on August 20th, so we are heading out in a couple of weeks. In 33 years of wedded bliss (yes, we are still gaga over each other), this will be our 12th move. Each time its supposed to be our last!
This blog is entitled Old Fat & Slow, because that what I am. I can't do much about the first part, but I am going to do something about the other two. After a few months in Phoenix, I want to be older, less fat and not so slow. Riding rhythm, endurance, speed and technique have all suffered over the last few years of gravel roads and not much else. Its time to fix the problem.
One of our sons and his wife lived in Phoenix for the last two years and they recently moved to Seattle. We were able to visit them a couple times before they left and I was able to ride some great trails with Sean. http://theyearofthebicycle.blogspot.com/
I've had so much fun reading Sean's blog, that I decided to follow up with my own, and track my progress at becoming less fat and less slow. The getting older part will take care of itself.