Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Regretfully not riding

After recovering a tad from the Natchez Trace 444 last October, I jumped on the bandwagon and signed up for the Sebring 24 Hour that takes place every President's Day weekend in Sebring, Florida. 

Damon has raced this twice with great success.  I had my eye on a respectable but realistic 420 miles -- a 17.5 mile per hour average pace.

Three things have gotten in the way.
  • First, I'm running a lot relative to 2015.  That is not inherently a negative, but it is a time and energy suck.  Unless it is the month before an Ironman, a weekend day can pretty much accommodate a long ride or a long run but not both.
  • Second, I planned to join Sam to ski in Canada the week of the race.  That would obviously have ended things right there.  Until the Canada trip fell through.  (For me.  Not for Sam.)
  • Third, work.  Three weeks out from the race and I'm unable to get a moment on the bike outside of the (short) commute.  I can finesse a lot of things.  I've even finessed the occasional marathon.  I cannot finesse a 24-hour bike race.
One hopes there will be a makeup opportunity in the not distant future!

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Snowy day on the Monon.

I got the fatbike specifically for the purpose of riding in this kind of weather.  Unfortunately, the rear wheel went bad after a very few hundred miles and I failed in my attempt to shame BikesDirect into standing behind their product.  (BikesDirect:  "you get what you pay for.")

Too bad, too, because this would have been a cool ride in the 3" of powder coating the Monon Trail yesterday.

The ill-fated fatbike.
And both tires on the Salsa are flat, with no 28mm tubes left in the house.

What to do?  They are 25mm, to be sure, but the Schwalbe Marathons on the Neuvation are crying to be ridden in the dead of winter.  So ride them I did.

It was a balmy 18 degrees at 9 am heading north along the Monon. 

The y-axis got cut off, but that red line is running between 15 and 20.  Green is the dewpoint, whatever that means when it is too cold to have dew.

The plowing stopped suddenly in Broad Ripple, leaving me alone with my road bike and my thoughts in 3" of powder snow for the five miles to Carmel.  A little more use of the trail made the ride back slightly more challenging, with random packed snow and occasional ruts from a mountain bike or XC ski.

Things went south as I rode south of Broad Ripple.  Loads of rock salt had turned the snow to slush and water, but the noon temperatures were still south of 25 degrees.  (Mission accomplished:  three uses of a word, with different meanings, in the same paragraph.)  Now I was riding with soaked feet in freezing weather.  There were more than a few raised eyebrows as I heated my feet in warm water in the faculty lounge.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Finally, a badass day

Last winter it was easy to craft a post about some badass ride or another, with temps regularly in the single digits and occasionally starting with a hyphen.  This winter so far "badass" has meant riding home after dark or out before light.  So not badass at all.

Until today.  I landed in Indy with temps at 6 Fahrenheit.  The roads were covered with ice where the salt had not yet done its work.  And the bike was locked up in its usual place. After cycling through the Pretenders for long enough to psych myself up, I headed home into a headwind.  Eyes iced shut in a mile before I turned east with the wind at my back.   From there it went well until . . . the low traffic on my back roads meant rutted ice.  Cycling became one leg cranking and one foot skating.

Something like this.
I rolled into the office 90' after leaving the airport for a personal record slow commute.  Rock on.