Saturday, December 22, 2007

Night Ride

I went for a rare evening ride under an almost full moon. The moonshine was almost bright enough to ride without lights. If it hadn't been for the city lights, it probably would have been possible. With the city lights glowing, it was hard to develop good enough night vision to pick out the trails. I headed out from 32nd Street and rode some trails I thought I knew. Funny, things look different at night. Didn't really get disoriented or anything like that. It was more, "I thought the trail dropped here, popped up there and went left there." Still, there were enough obvious landmarks that getting lost wasn't an issue.

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

Christmas on the Trails

I was riding along T100 between Hwy 51 and Cave Creek and came across the second decorated tree I've seen on the trails of Phoenix.

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

Poaching? Maybe

Went out for a ride this evening, figuring I could make my usual early morning loop through Thunderbird. When I got to the park entrance, the ranger was closing the gates. Yeah, the ones with the signs that say something like, "Park Hours Sunrise to Sunset." Rather than try to outrun him in his truck, I rode on by and turned around when he took off back into the park. He left one gate open, so I rode on in. I headed around to the south like I do in the early morning hours, keeping an eye out for the gendarme. As I came over the hill that overlooks the 59th Ave parking lot, I stopped, turned off my light, and looked around to see if maybe he was hanging around looking for trail poachers. Didn't see him and started down the hill. I thought about continuing around to the north and back west, but I figured the trail on that side is mostly visible from the park road. I have no idea whether the Rangers ticket folks for being in the park after it closes, and I decided I didn't really want to find out. When I got to the bottom of the hill, I cut southeast along a trail that pops out next to 59th and headed back to the apartment.

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

Another After the Rain

Yesterday's (Friday) weather was an almost exact repeat of last Friday. Rain started coming down about 1:00pm or so and continued well into the night. We must have gotten about an inch. Today dawned cloudy and cool, with predictions of rain inthe morning hours. I hung around the apartment, reading and doing a little bike maintenance. Finished a book entitled Great Adventures in Small Boats, originally published in 1948. All the accounts preceded fiberglass and occurred in a world when small boat voyages were pretty rare. Fun read.

Rode out of Dreamy Draw, working my way around the north edge of the Preserve. I hadn't been on most of these trails and it was fun exploring some new ground. One great thing about days after a big rain is the cool crisp air and almost complete lack of smog.
Looped around and caught T100 for a bit, then tried climbing $5. Made all but the last 50 yds.

Followed 1A around to the east, dropped back down to T100, up to Conversation Point and down Dreamy Draw to the truck. Good ride.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

'tis the Season

After all the months of warm, dry weather, the season of snot rockets has arrived. You know what that is, your sinuses clog up, your nose runs. You turn your head left, cover your right nostril and HONK. You trun right, cover your left nostril and HONK again. By the way don't get that backwards or you'll look like banana slugs have been crawling over your chest.

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

After the Rains

After 2 days of rain, the air was a clear as i'v ever seen it in Phoenix. The high was about 65. Perfect day for an afternoon ride. The rain washed all the trails to the extent that a lot of them seemed completely different. I kind of planned to go up by the A&W house, but when I got up to the trail that leads over there, the erosion and mud made it look like a bad idea. Instead, I headed north on 8 to meet up with T100. 8 was in pretty bad shape too and I walked part of it so the hikers wouldn't think I was showing off, and I've got a bridge to sell you.

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

Rainy Saturday

The day dawned with showers and cool temps. I loaded up the bike and went to the Tempe Festival of the Arts for a couple of hours, then headed up to Dreamy Draw, hoping to get in a ride before that next squall came in.

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

Post Thanksgiving Grind

After a week off the bike and a trip to Kansas to see my honey, getting back on the bike everything I expected, or feared. The pavement section up to Thunderbird Park entrance seemed to drag, climbs on the trail were pathetic, and my balance was a bit off. It all made for a pretty strong reminder that a week without exercise and too much eating does have its consequences.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sedona weekend

Sean arrived in Phoenix at about 10:40 Friday night after a flight delay of an hour or so. He was pretty hot to see his new ride, a Salsa El Mariachi 29'r that he bought from Rage in Scottsdale. Back at the apartment about midnight, the perfect time for a spin around the parking lot and a tweak here and there to get set for the morning run to Sedona.

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.

Me - looking determined and barely making the little climb.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

28 mile weekend

Saturday dawned with a temp of 60, and by the time I started riding it was about 70. Parked at Dreamy Draw, fortunately nobody else wanted to park next to the trash cans, since there was nowhere else to park. Busy day. Headed west and followed T100 & T100A to 7th St. and back. In all, 10 miles in a little over 2 hours. Not bad for a fat guy.

Hit the trail again on Sunday at 11:00 with the temp around 70. One trail that has defeated me twice since arriving in Phoenix beckoned. Its in Thunderbird Park west of 59th and north of my usual morning loop. Bottom to top is 1.75 miles and only about 550 ft. of climbing. The problem has been the way it climbs. The tougher sections are at the west end with a fairly steep, rocky climb, followed by a couple of additional steeps and the last 100 ft of climbing in the final 1/10th mile. Probably no problem for a scrawny 30 year old, but for OFS its tougher than it looks. Anyhow, I made the climb, with a few stops for hikers and a couple of "I think I'm gonna die" stops for air.
After making the climb, I rode back to the apartment and swapped Mr Klein for Mr Fuji Finest (more Fuji OK than finest), my road bike. Its been a while since I rode my skinny tire bike and tire pressure was down from 110 to 20. A few shots with the pump and I was off.
My objective was to see if there is a reasonable way to get from 67th Ave and the 101 to the Peoria baseball park where the Mariners and Padres have Spring training. Someone whom I'm very fond of has a thing about professional baseball and spring training, and I wanted to see if there is a way to ride to the park without serious traffic issues. The park is only 4.5 miles away, but I'm going to have to try a few other routes before I find one that the baseball fan will be ok with.

In all, I got in 19 MTB and 9 road miles. Not bad for an old fat guy.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

White Tanks

Ok, White Tanks is is off my list.

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


I left the apartment at 7 this morning and drove up to the Black Canyon Trailhead at Black Canyon City. Got there about 7:45. There were only a few folks there and the sign-in sheet had only about 3 names. I was the only one with a bike. Met Bob the BLM guy, who gave me directions, "Whenyou get to the river, go west about a half mile. You'll see us up on the hillside." or words to that effect. So I took off on the trail and found the river. 8:15 or so, sun on my back, I'm facing west. I follow the river (rivulet) about 1/2 mile. No trail, no trailworkers. I continue on. There was a fork in the trail back near the hilltop, maybe I took the wrong one. Another mile, damn river is now east. No trail, no trailworkers. Another mile, now there are houses. Must have gone wrong somewhere. Back downriver. Lots of sand and rock gardens, so its push and carry Mr Klein. Now its about 9:15. I signed in and now I'm off somewhere that wasn't in the plan. I know how to get back, but I don't want to backtrack all the way to the truck and have a bunch of folks wandering around looking for "that idiot." When I got back to the place where the river and trail met, I ran into a lady who was doing something with geo-caching. She pointed out the work crew up on the hillside and said that one of them headed upriver to find me. How long ago? About 10 minutes. We must have passed somewhere. On the way back downriver , I made a point of following my trail and leaving a separate set of tracks so someone would see that I had come back. As I was trying to decide whether to go back upriver and find the searcher, he came into view. He remarked that he could tell I had returned downriver because he saw two sets of tracks.

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

Gear growlings

About 6 weeks ago, I found that my chain had stretched quite a bit (I check this kind of thing once every 5 years whether it's needed or not). I replaced it, which led to the realization that the chainrings and sprockets were all worn. Finding replacement chainrings didn't work out, so that meant new crank, which meant new bottom bracket. 8 speed cassettes are getting to be a bit rare, so I ended up with a SRAM cassette.

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

Flat Fixed

Looks like one of the attack cacti must have get my rear tire while I was riding at White Tanks. It was a pinhole with the tip of a spine caught in it, so small that drowning the overinflated tube in the bathroom sink showed only a small bubble every few seconds (Yes, I'm living alone right now until the house sells in Kansas, so I was able to clean up the mess before anyone commented). The tire didn't have an obvious hole and there was no sign of a hole. Got it back together last night and was on the trail again this morning.

In two months of riding almost every day, this was my first flat. Apparently, knocking on wood did no good.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Got up at 4:45 to go out for a morning ride before work.

Flat tire on the rear.

Went back to bed.

Monday, October 22, 2007

White Tanks

I spent Sunday afternoon at the White Tank Mountains competitive track, and, except for a couple of interesting sections (the technical loop and the northern loop) the trails were kind of ho-hum. The scenery was impressive, but for riding, the trails generally were not. I did actualy remember to bring my camera this time. Funny how these desert shots all start to look alike!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Red Mountain

For a sunday ride, I drove over to the area south of Red mountain and rode about 6 miles on the trails. As recommended, I parked the truck near the Walgreen's at Thomas and Power Rds, then rode the 1.7 miles to the trailhead. The trails are the best I've ridden in Phoenix so far, smooth, curvy and just plain fun. On one section of the Ridge Trail, there was a flat black painted full suspension MTB stuck in some rocks like a roadside monument. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a department store bike that was left behind because walking probably turned out to be a more quality experience.
The only drawback to Red Mountain is that the trailhead is almost 50 miles from my apartment in Glendale. Its all freeway, so time isn't a big deal, but at 18 mpg, that's a lot of dinosaur juice for a couple hours on the bike.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

At 10:00am the temperature was a delightful 72 degrees. I parked at Dreamy Draw and headed toward the west end of the T100 trail. It starts with a fairly steep and rocky climb followed by a steep and rocky descent. It’s not the best way to warm up. However, after the first ½ mile or so, the trail turns into a technically interesting ride. I followed it for about 3 miles then backtracked to the start point. I headed up dreamy Draw just to see if my lungs could make the climb without the audible gasps for air that echo off the canyon walls like an asthmatic rutting bull elk. Fortunately, the climb was good, I stopped only long enough to let two guys go screaming down without running over me. From Conversation point, I went north and caught 220 for the descent to the parking lot. 220 has a section of 20 yards or so where I chickened out and walked the bike down. Great day for a ride.

Friday, October 12, 2007


So, Old Fat & Slow took 11 days off from working and riding, and went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Flew to Portland and met up with my honey, who flew in from Kansas. We stopped to see our family, especially grandson, who is recovering from a bruised spine (football injury), then off to the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove where we met up with Sean and Michele. Quick trip to the beach to see grandpa and back to the Grand Lodge for another night. Hooked up with old friends and drove to Ashland for a relaxing week of theater, food, sleeping in, food and more theater. Great trip!

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

Last September ride

HIt the trail around 6 this morning and got in quite a bit of climbing. During the week, the trails in Thunderbird are pretty crowded with hikers. On Saturday, they are pretty sparse until 7. After about 90 minutes, I headed back to the apartment with a stop at Starbucks. Struck up a conversation with a roadie who graduated from University of Portland in 1962. Turns out we had a lot in common and knew a lot of the same places.
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

Riding in the dark

Thanks to Sean, I now have use of his halogen light. With mornings coming later, I had a chance to ride a few times in the dark using the helmet mount and the handlebar mount. In the great argument of one versus the other, I have come down on the side of handlebar mounting. With the light on the helmet, there isn't much in the way of visible shadows, which makes it hard for a nearsighted guy like me to see how big that rock really is beffore I hit it. The other drawback is dust raised by other riders. The helmet mount makes dust in the air really visible and distracting. Of course, at the speed I ride, I'm not close behind them for long, and soon the dust dissipates and I can see again.

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

Prescott - Granite Basin

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.

Great thing about the ride in Prescott, besides some great trails, it was daylight and only 78 degrees. I could get used to that!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

This ride sure seemed longer than 6 miles. There was about 100 yds of hike-a-bike, first because steep, shale strewn climbs are not my forte, and second because Judy would kill me if I broke something on a steep, technical descent while riding alone. I do not want to hear the song, You'll throw your back out"!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

It must be the humidity

Left the apartment at 5:15 this morning. It had rained a bit, temp was 84 and humidity must have been around 70%. When I reached the first hill in the park, it seemed like I had no strength. Started out sitting and finished standing. Dang! Checked the cassette, couldn't see it in the dark, figured I must have been in a middle gear. Played it up and down until I thought it was where I wanted it. Next hill, dragging my butt and sweating. Damned humidity, never thought it would hit me like this. Third hill, man, I might as well turn around and go home. I suck.

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

Random thoughts

So you're out there riding in the early morning with no one to talk to. You begin to ponder the imponderables;

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

Weekend in the preserve

Sunday's ride turnsout to have been about 7 miles with some relatively easy climbing. I went around clockwise.

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

Good and not so good

Saturday was gonig to be my first ride in the Phoenix Mtn Preserve, but I got a late start because I had to meet someone at the office at 8:00. After that, I headed east on the 101 and got turned around by a phone call that sent me back to the apartment (W 67th at the 101). By the time I finished that up, it was 9:30, 100 degrees and getting hotter. I gave up on the preserve and took a new trail at Thunderbird Park. Good trail off of 59th that winds its way up a hill north of where I'v been riding. Turned into another slug of a ride.

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 first morning after donating blood, I shut off the alarm and went back to sleep until time to go to work.

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

Early morning rides

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.

Downhill switchbacks aren't my favorite, though.

More practice needed.
The blood suckers at Red Cross got me later in the morning, so tomorrow's ride may be a bit tiring. We'll see about that reverse blood doping thing.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday ride and White Tank Mtn trip

I am getting into the habit of waking up at 4:45 and heading out on the "You'll throw your back out" Klein by about 5:00. There's a nice loop at Thunderbird Park between 59th and 67th that takes about 30 minutes, which makes an hour before its time to get ready for work. Its Saturday, but I had some work related stuff, so I rode the loop, then hopped in the truck for a run to the White Tank Mountains. At work, we're placing some antennas on an existing tower up there and I wanted to get a look before we start. The road in from the south is closed to all but folks with towers and equipment onthe mountaintops. It's steep and rough with tight switchbacks for about 12 miles to the site. Throw in the rain and lightning and it was an interesting drive. The 24 mile in and out drive took a little over 2 hours. Because the vestiges of Hurricane Dean made it cloudy and rainy in the valley, I couldnt get any decent pictures.

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

First ride in Phoenix

OFS got in his first Phoenix ride at oh-dark-early today. Since I'm on midwest time, getting up at 4:30 was pretty easy. Starting out at 67th, just north of the 101, I headed north to Thunderbird Park. It's an very gradual 2 mile climb to the trailhead and it was still dark when I got there. With no headlight, I waited about 5 minutes until there was enough light to see, then rode maybe 3 miles on the trails, climbing the hill in the southwest corner of the park. I was the only bike out there, but hikers were everywhere. The trail is pretty non-technical, but it looks like the park will be a good venue for weekday rides.

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

Going to Phoenix

We have been in Kansas for 4 1/2 years, and although we've met some good folks and did some interesting things here, the mountain biking leaves a lot to be desired. There are some decent trails, but they are all at least 60 miles away. The best ones in Kansas are near Topeka and Lawrence, which are both over 120 miles from our home.

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.

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.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Riding near Sedona in March '07