What I'm thankful for...

I'm thankful for a lot more important things than I'm going to list here. But since this is about cycling, skiing and fitness, that's what I'm going to tell you about. So, yeah, I know this is kind of a materialistic list. :-)

This Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2008, I'm thankful for:

  • The health and capability, at age 60, to ride a bike and ski
  • Mrs. MTBMan1, who got me to downhill ski and took up cycling to be with me and likes it
  • My vintage Raleigh Olympian road bike




  • My rigid Ross Mt.St.Helens "mountain" bike


  • My Trek 4100 mtn bike


  • My "buff" multifunction headgear


  • My $22 bargain Optic-Nerve glasses with switchable lenses


  • My Pearl-Izumi padded fingerless gloves


  • cold-weather tights (comfy!)
  • cycling socks


  • SmartWool socks (pricey but worth it)


  • Shimano cycling shoes and clipless pedals that I got for $20 on craig's list! (love a bargain!)



  • Pearl-Izumi Am-Fib shoe covers (nice quality - keep the tootsies toasty)


  • Matt and Mad Dog Bicycles, literally 1 block down the street from me. How cool is that?
  • All new drive train on the Raleigh (smooth!)


... and much more! but i've got to start getting ready for the day.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Yesterday's route

Happy Thanksgiving!
I probably won't be riding today 'cause we are going to visit Mrs. MTBMan1's rels for the day.
Since I forgot yesterday, here is the new route I rode when testing out my homebrew camera mount. By the way, my camera is not a video cam but just a regular Canon digital cam with video capability.
I can only get 30 seconds of 640x480 video at a clip but with a 2GB memory card I can hold quite a few 30 second clips!

Here's yesterday's route!

My Camera Mount

I made this camera mount for the bike handle bars from a relector mount I got from Matt at Mad Dog.
I tried it out today but it needs some work. It tends to loosen up very quickly and then the camera won't stay pointed straight.
Here are some clips from today's ride.


Starting up Orchard Hill



I'm not that interested in the house...my camera mount has loosened up and the camera keeps wanting to point to the right.


Still going up Orchard Hill


A little respite


Ah, finally, the other side!


I intended to do only 1 hour, about 15 miles or so but it was really nice. 32° and no wind. Then, when the sun came out ... wow ... it was like spring. So I kept going. No performance objectives. Just fun. I'm enjoying it.

Beat the train!

Today was a mere 27° and no wind so my 1hr 10min ride was pretty comfortable.
In fact, near the end, I felt like I was just getting warmed up and could keep going.
I was shooting for a 1 hour ride so I did pretty good. I suppose I could try pushing it a little faster and it would be 1 hour.
There were 3 train crossings on this ride. As I approached the 3rd crossing the lights started flashing and the bars started to come down but I was close enough to get through before they were completely down. Ha, ha!
Later this morning when I was riding in my car there was a news story on the radio that a man and his two young daughters were hit twice by a train (or 2 trains) on the same set of tracks not a mile from where I passed by! This happened yesterday and miraculously they were not seriously hurt!

I smelled people burning coal for the first time this year. Most people burn wood. It reminded me of when I lived in a cabin in Nederland, CO. I burned coal in an old rusted out stove. Not too safe what with carbon monoxide danger. I used to get the body of that stove glowing cherry red before I went to bed so it would be warm when I got up. Sometimes, in the morning, I would throw in fresh coal and then some kerosene on the dying embers. The kerosene would vaporize, I would flop the top lid shut and then drop a lit match into a hole in the top. BLANG! Ha, ha! Not too smart!

So, yeah, an hour ride is pretty good at this temp with no wind. I had a good time. I'm especially pleased that my drink is not freezing up in the Camelbak. It was a problem last year with plain water.

Today's route I call "Bullock Loop - Longer" and here it is:

One thing I DON'T like about cycling ....

One thing I DON'T like about cycling ....
The hills I can handle. Dogs, cars, cold, heat, no problem.
But the WIND! The wind, I don't like.
There's nothing quite so demoralizing as grinding away in your lowest gear DOWNHILL with a relentless wind in your face.
Today I went out intending to do a 2 hour ride.
It was 24° but the wind was gusting to 35mph. I think the temp would have been OK if not for the wind. That really gets to me. So I cut it short by about 15 minutes and 4 miles.

Amazingly, the drink tube on my Camelbak didn't freeze up. Something is working as good anti-freeze in my lemon juice, sugar and salt blend. However, the feed on my bottle DID freeze up. The drink in the bottle was sort of slushy but drinkable. I just think a piece of slush clogged the top.

Maybe it's time to start working out at the gym and xc skiing. OK. Bring on the snow!

I've also been working on the famous "workbench". I found a bunch of discarded 2x4s last year and finally I'm getting around to doing this bench. I can see why they threw them away! Check these pix.
You can see the components go everywhich way but straight. Believe it or not all my dimensions are accurate and my joints are square but these 2x4s have some nasty bends in them.

From 2008_11_22


I bolted some of the pieces together to try to "force" them straight. Uh-uh. Nothing doing.
From 2008_11_22


This leg won't touch the ground when the other 3 are. (Yes I know it's not square. I didn't cut that one. That's how it came and I didn't have enough length to cut it square.)
From 2008_11_22


My solution .... shim the back. Works for me! :-)
From 2008_11_22


This one is my fault. I don't understand what's wrong with my head. Basically, I needed to cut 3" from the depth pieces to accomodate the thickness of the 2 cross pieces but only cut 1-1/2". Well, I'll just cut another 1-1/2" off it.
From 2008_11_22


Here's my first project waiting for the bench to be completed. I need to swap out the heel plates on these xc skis. Got these out of somebody's trash. Sweet!
From 2008_11_22


By the way, here's today's route:

Too cold, too far? - Redux. Post ride analysis.

I've been thinking about that last post/ride. I'm sure the cold was a factor but here's the scenario:
Because it was so cold (mid to low 20s) and I haven't yet solved the cold-feet problem, I decided I would probably only ride for an hour. Based on that, I didn't eat any breakfast before leaving and I filled my Camelbak with plain water and not carb/electrolyte replenishment drink (salted lemonade). This is a good plan for an hour ride because you are likely to burn more fat this way but longer than that, you need the carb calories.
After setting out, however, I decided to ride for a longer period of time because I didn't feel that cold and in fact, the ride wound up being 3 hours.
I only had a Clif Mojo bar with me (200 calories) which I ate at the 1 hour mark.
Clearly not enough to fuel me for the entire distance.
I felt like I was in a trance when I got back.
Probably not a "bonk" but getting there!
If there's a moral here I'm not sure what it is. I want to say "stick to the plan" but part of the fun of cycling is just setting off and winging it depending on how you feel and what happens on the way or just a whim.
I guess under the conditions it was just a poor judgement call.
I think a good option would have been to carry 2 Clif bars, fill my Camelbak with water and carry a spare bottle with the homebrew lemonade. That way, I would have been more ready for a change of plan.

Too cold, too far?

Today's ride really drained me. I think it may be the cold 'cause I don't usually have a problem with ride I did. It was 38 miles and not terribly hilly, not usually a problem for me.
Initially my fingers were cold with my ski gloves and liners but they warmed up pretty well after about an hour of moderate zone 3 riding.
My feet were OK in the beginning with 2 socks and insulated shoe covers and started to get cold after an hour or so. At that point, I stopped for a Clif bar and they warmed up a little. I think the cold feet have more to do with circulation than the cold alone because they get numb/cold even in the summer after awhile.
There was a bit of a head wind in places but not consistently.
I had intended to only do 1, maybe 2 hours because of the cold but I wound up doing 3.
I felt really spent afterwards, more than I thought I should.
My right shoulder, which is a chronic problem, really hurt on this ride. It's been hurting at night too. It bothers me mostly when standing out of the saddle or changing my hand position. I try to be careful not to pull on it but it only takes one wrong move to set it off.
My new compact crankset and freewheel are performing admirably. Very smooth shifting. I am having to get used to some new gear combinations because of the lower geared small chainring.
Here is the route, one of my regulars:

The Unthinkable!

Today, Mrs. MTBMan1 will be out all day 8:30AM to 8:30PM, I have nothing scheduled and I'm not going to ride.
That's right. I said NOT GOING TO RIDE!
And that's not because it's raining.
I was actually looking forward to a long ride down the Mo-Hud Bike Path in the rain. I like the rain (my close friends will attest to this.)
It's just that I'm still sore. Not real sore but ...
Well, two days ago as I related in this post, I was starting to think I was getting a wee bit burned out.
I have got away from the good advice of Dr.Gabe Mirkin who says that you should exercise hard, then chill out or exercise real easy until the soreness goes away. The soreness is nature's way of telling you to let the muscles heal (and grow stronger).
So, in spite of it being an ideal day to ride a loooong ride (this is killing me) 'twould be a mark of maturity to stay home and recoop.
It doesn't have to be a total loss bike-wise. I can work on my project bike, an Iron Horse "mountain" bike that I picked off the side of the road (the sign said free and the lady was right there smiling).


I know it's not much of a bike and I don't want to put a lot of money into it but I though it was a good one to practice on without having to worry about ruining it or getting bored and chucking the whole thing.
I'm going to take it all apart and totally clean it.
Currently, I'm working on the bottom bracket which sounds and feels nasty.

All new drive train!

Last post, I mentioned losing my crank on a ride. Well the square hole in it was rounded so it needed to be replaced and you can't just replace one crank, you have to replace both and the other crank is part of the front gears so it's a crankset that has to be replaced and the new crankset wouldn't work with the old bottom bracket plus it was worn out anyway so that had to be replaced and it turned out that the chain was shot and that in turn had worn out the gears in the rear so the cogs had to be replaced .... <take breath here>
Whew.
Cost about $170. More than I paid for the bike.

I had Matt at Mad Dog Bicycles get me a compact crankset which means a smaller small chainring for easier climbing.

The crankset is a Shimano Sora and it's pretty cool and here it is:


I took it out this morning for a short test run and it shifts very smoothly.
Matt did a great job. Everything works perfectly. He even remounted my cadence sensor on the new crank and adjusted it so I didn't have to do anything this morning.
The rear cog set is a Shimano MF-TZ20.

I didn't test it on any big hills 'cause I really needed a break today. I've been overdoing it lately and I'd like to take a nice long ride this weekend.
I'll have to see what Charles is doing.

Charles:


I also replaced the 6 broken spokes on the ROSS MTB rear wheel.
I bought 10 spokes from Matt at a buck apiece. They are black instead of silver but what do I care?
I'm thrilled that I did this repair myself. Wasn't too bad. I had the spoke wrench and the thing to remove the cogs. I'm not too concerned about absolute truing of the wheel. As long as it doesn't rub the brake pads and all the spokes are tight, I'm fine. I spent a little time degreasing the cogs since I had it off. There is one broken tooth on it but it still works fine. I wouldn't know it but to look at it.

The Ross Mt. St.Helens (kind of a pretentious name, don't you think?)

From ROSS bike

It's God's way of telling me to take a break ...

I went out today intending to take a good 30-35 mile ride even though the weather forcast was for 100% chance of rain by 10AM.
After all, I have all the rain gear I need now except for a new helmet with a visor and water resistant helmet cover.
I was eager to give my new Pearl Izumi Am-Fib shoe covers a test ride.


I was feeling kind of tired, not from lack of sleep but muscularly so. However, I was hoping to get an endorphin boost a few miles in.

Annoyingly, I had to go more frequently and sooner than usual. I don't know why. I didn't have any more to drink than usual. The only thing I did different was to have a bagel with cream cheese before I left. I usually don't eat anything before riding and have a Clif Bar about an hour into the ride.
This time I thought I should have something for some reason.

My first scheduled pit stop is at a small town park on the way where they have a porta potty.

It wasn't raining and I was kinda warm so I thought I'd stop, do my business and remove my rain gear (this is the cheapest top and pants O2 makes. kind of like a breatheable yellow shower curtain.)

Well, guess what? No porta-potty!

No porta-potty


For some reason, this irritated me inordinately. I mean the first time I came down this road, I went into the woods on a path and that was fine. Then I found the park with the john so that was a pleasant surprise and I have used that since then.
So no big deal right? Use the woods. That was probably the first sign that I was overtired. Crankiness.

After that I was debating whether or not I should cut the ride short. The warning signs were there. Even though I took yesterday off completely I had already ridden 70 miles or so. And I've heard that us older folks (Masters)may need more than a day of easy toodlin' or even total rest.

Before long, I had to go yet again! Ok, twice. I've had to do that on a ride but not so soon within 15 miles. I'm getting irritated about that. Also everytime I run into a head wind I get inordinately annoyed.

A few miles later while standing out of the saddle up a hill ... ptoingg!! ...

I know what that is. Broken spoke. Probably multiple broken spokes. Sure enough the rear tire starts rubbing against the frame. Cause by the time that happens there is more than one spoke broken.

Now I remember I was going to check the spokes for tightness yesterday cause I noticed a little wobble in the rear wheel.

Great

Fortunately, I was in a good place to redirect and make a beeline for home. Which I did. I survived the spokes without too much trouble. There were no big hills to climb.

Total distance about 24 miles.

And the spokes? ... 6!


2 bikes out of commission!
Oh well, I still have the Trek.

From 2007_11_11 Trek 4100


Not good for long road hauls but maybe I'll take it out to the Pine Bush and pick up a few deer ticks! ;-)

And the addiction kicks in ...

And the addiction kicks in ...

You know you're addicted to cycling when ____
Fill in the blank here.
For me it was today, when in spite of overcast sky, chilly temperatures, forecast of rain and snow ...
there was no doubt, no hesitation ...
"Of course, I'm going for a ride this morning!"
If, for a moment, I thought of just chillin' out at home and relaxing, I would feel the depression start to loom over me.
No, uh-uh, not that.
On the other hand, I remember how, when I DO ride, the high lingers for hours, even at work. I will feel physically content.

I'm still riding the ROSS MTB 'cause the Raleigh is still in the shop.

I wore my hiking boots and Burton snowboard sox in an attempt to ward off the chill from my chronically cold feet.

Wore 3 layers up top, my Buff headgear in balaclava mode and my ski gloves with liners.

Loaded up my Camelbak and bottle with homebrew energy drink (essentially lemonade with a dose of salt).

New route today! I have wanted to get closer to the Helderberg Escarpment without actually going up into it. Also make a longer ride out of my regular route out to the old Army depot and back.

I rode Meadowdale Lane which is the road closest to the Escarpment. Great views although spoiled by some totally inappropriate new construction. Obviously expensive homes, if someone is going to spend that much on a house with a view, why not have it designed to blend in better with the environment. These houses looked like they belonged together in a housing development or like random objects randomly placed. Shame.

Further on there were some old colonials which fit the environment much better.

Kind of a gray, moderately overcast day. This is looking east toward Albany

From 2008_11_11 Bike Ride


The Helderberg Escarpment
From 2008_11_11 Bike Ride


From Depot Road
From 2008_11_11 Bike Ride


Meadowdale Lane ... we start to approach the Escarpment
From 2008_11_11 Bike Ride


A lot of modern houses like this in prime "view" spots on Meadowdale
From 2008_11_11 Bike Ride


From 2008_11_11 Bike Ride


Black Creek Marsh Conservation Area ... have to check it out later sometime for a hike or bike
From 2008_11_11 Bike Ride

Video of 2Daze Ride

Can anybody tell me why my videos come out so "blocky" when I post them to the internet?

2Daze Ryde!

I can't say it was a "classic" November day. Classic November is cold, windy and overcast.
Today was cold, windy and sunny! :-)
They were predicting no rain today at least they said 10% chance of.
It was kind of unsettled when I went out.
Mostly cloudy but breaking up.
Windy.
About 20 minutes in I had some rain on me. What th ...?
No clouds overheard either.
This is on a road that is exposed to the west to the Helderberg Escarpment and sometimes I think rain over there gets whipped up into the atmosphere by upper level winds and dropped on this road.
In any event, it didn't amount to much.
I'm still riding the Ross MTB because the Raleigh Olympian is still in the shop.
Matt at Mad Dog Bicycles called me a few minutes ago and said it looks like new crankset and BB are needed.
I decided to have him put a compact crankset on it since I am replacing it anyhow. It's hard to find stuff for this bike because it's an older style as in non-indexed shifters.
Hopefully I'll have it back in a few days. He's going to have to order the parts.
I'm doing OK with the Ross. My shoulder bothered me quite a bit on the 40 miler I did on Saturday but I think I've learned how to favor it and didn't have much problem with it today.
I rode 27 miles.
I loved the ride today. The sun came out later on and really felt good. The wind died down too.
It was 49° when I left the house. I didn't check it when I got back but it felt a good deal warmer. It's currently 45° 3-1/2 hours later so it's dropping. It may rain or snow even tonight.
I felt like I could have bagged work and kept on going up into the hill country!
I hope I can keep this up when I get a full time job! :-)
I'm still feeling the buzz.

Here's some pix!

It rained on me here! Where are the rain clouds?

From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


Same spot. Font Grove Rd.
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


Albany Country Club. No golfers out here today!
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


My first "pit" stop along Wormer Rd.
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


I always like this barn.
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


View to the West
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


Ye Olde Army Depot. I guess this was an army depot on WWII. Now it's a commercial industrial park.
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


I finally got a picture of the Dromedary (one humped camel). He's (she?) coming out of the shed just for me in the lower left of the picture.
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


The Helderberg Escarpment ... due West
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


Another view of the Escarpment
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


This guy has got to have the best view in the county!
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


Approaching the shady grove on Koontz Rd. A favorite spot to munch a Clif Bar on a hot summer day.
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


Starting the climb on Swift or Bullock Rd. I forget which.
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride


The End! 27 miles.
From 2008_11_10 Bike Ride

Neighborhood Ride with the FAM! (video)

This was just about fun, being together as a family and getting some healthy exercise and fresh air. And that we did!
Daughter Steph was home visiting from Vermont where she is a backstage theater person.
Classic November day in upstate NY. Kind of gray. Getting a little chilly but not frigid. Some yellow leaves still in the trees. A lot of brown ones on the ground.
Here are some stills and a video from the ride.

Yours truly

From Delmar Ride with Sue and Steph


Hi Neighbor!
From Delmar Ride with Sue and Steph


Father with Daughter
From Delmar Ride with Sue and Steph


Wife showing off
From Delmar Ride with Sue and Steph


Mother and Daughter
From Delmar Ride with Sue and Steph


From Delmar Ride with Sue and Steph