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.