Thursday, July 31, 2008
It will also be a good test for an evening ride after the Summer ends, sometime in November. One thing I notice is that riding in the morning, at least for the first mile or so, I feel like a slug, and get better as I warm up. In the evenings, I take off and go, usually feeing pretty good from start to finish.
Getting out on the bike 5-6 times a week really has made a difference. Last weekend in Flagstaff, we started riding at 8000 ft. and rode up from there. We probably climbed more than 2000 ft. overall, and after 6 hours of riding, I still felt like I could do a few more miles. A year ago, that would have left me panting at the trailside.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Sunday dawned, cool and beautiful. We loaded up and headed up Schultz Creek to a parking lot at about 8000 ft elevation. These were the three amigos I rode with. Jeff, on the right, led us up a trail that looked like an abandoned forest service road, rutted from recent rains and a pretty good climb. Within about an hour...
We came across some guys with local knowledge and a map! Turned out, we had been climbing an unmarked trail that may lead to the Sunset Trail, or maybe not. Eventually we found the top of Little Bear Trail and a fantastic descent that probably dropped 1500ft in about 3 miles.
Very cool views and a nice semi-technical trail.
Looking out over Northeast Flagstaff from Little Bear Trail.
Got a bit of rain, but worked back up to the truck at the top of schultz Creek Trail.The descent down Schultz Creek was very cool, probably a drop of 1000 ft over 3.5 miles. one of our crew had done it many times before, had a broken chain, and was willing to drive the truck down. Beat the heck out of riding back up.
We started our ride at about 9:00 am and finished about 3:00 pm. Great day for a ride, with temps in the 60s and 70s. Much better than the Phoenix heat and monsoon humidity!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Up until about 3 weeks ago, all was right with the world. I was running Panaracer Fire XC tires front and rear, riding at least 50 miles a week in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. In almost a year, I had maybe 2 flats. I was living large and feeling pretty smug.
Then the world turned upside down. My rear tire was getting pretty thin, so I swapped it with a Panaracer Smoke Classic. Since then I'll bet its flatted at least 6 times. Thorn dammit, thorn dammit, thorn dammit, thorn dammit, thorn dammit, pinch oh crap. The pinch was probably because I took another thorn and lost some air. When I finally get the rear to stay inflated and last a few rides, what do I find? Last night the front is flat. Pull it apart and sure enough, thorn. Fix it, pump it up, go to bed. This morning, 4:50am, ready to go. Front's flat. I pumped it up and it held air long enough to get in a ride, but there's still a problem.
I tried a Slime instant patch on the tube last night. maybe that's the culprit. I'll check it out tonight.
I don't know what the deal is with all the thorns lately. Maybe the recent rains have washed loose thorns in to the trails, or maybe its just Karma. Maybe the desert is ganging up on me. If the heat and humidity of the early morning rides couldn't keep me off the trails, it was time for the desert to throw a bunch of cactus bits around and see if that will keep me in bed until time to go to work.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Yesterday, I spent about an hour cleaning my bike, lubing everything, and getting it all nice and shiny. This because last week we got in a wet ride and the dried muck was getting on my nerves. Naturely, just like washing the car, washing my bike caused last night's rain. now its all mucked up again, but at least its new muck!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
All those little spiny things are an inch or so long, sharp as surgical needles, and scaled so they go in a lot easier than they come out.
I do not recommend that you swat these things away, even with gloves, let alone fingerless gloves like I was wearing. The chunk of cholla came off my leg, leaving only a few spines behind, since it was mostly attached to my sock rather than my leg. Unfortunately, I managed to embed a bunch of spines in my fingers. Out came the multi-tool and I spent maybe 10 minutes yanking those devil spines out of my fingers and leg. I can tell you from experience that pulling them out of my leg didn't hurt much, in comparison to my fingers.
Later in the ride, I came across my second gila monster. This one was about 14 inches long and probably a lot younger than the one I saw a few weeks ago. I took a couple pictures, but neither came out very good.
Even in the heat, I like night riding better than early mornings. First thing out of bed, it seems to take a lot to get going and my energy level never cranks up to make me feel good on the trail. In the evenings, I get energized just thinking about it. Hills that are nothing but struggle in the morning rides are actually enjoyable in the evenings. Last night was a couple degrees below 100, and humidity was pretty high, but even with those conditions, the ride was great. I'm going to ride again this evening, but its back to early AM during the week.
Friday, July 11, 2008
I hit the trail at 5:00am with temp around 80, and humidity must have been at least that. As long as we kept moving, it wasn't too bad, but stopping brought on the sweat. I may not be a good rider, but one thing I do very well is sweat. When its dry out, it evaporates and things don't seem too bad. When its humid, the story is very different.
There is one thing to look forward to during the monsoon season in Phoenix, and that is the end of the monsoon season.