Monday, January 31, 2011

More Snow

Left the trails 'til they're plowed, and settled for an hour and a half elliptical experience.

Last night I saw all my kids and grand kids at the celebration for Bryson's 4th birthday.

Bryson: Enjoying the glow from his birthday candles.
Taylor: Has places to go and people to see.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Woke up to snow falling. Well, it wasn't really falling, it was more just hanging in the air.
After yesterday, the problem is all I want to do now is ride the roads. Amy and I were on trails for a bit today but just couldn't resist the smooth, less slippery siren's call of the reduced rolling-resistant asphalt.
Still tired and groggy from yesterday's effort, hams and glutes made it abundantly clear that today would be a day for just turning the cranks. Probably 10 degrees colder than yesterday, but the sun came out about half way into the ride, and the three or four flakes of snow that were floating around disappeared. The sun is nice. Doesn't seem like there's been a whole lot of it this January.
The road riding looks like it will be short lived. Six inches of snow is predicted to start falling later tonight. 32/13.4

Helped put bunk beds together last night, for Kelsey and Bryson.

I'm heading over to celebrate Bryson's 4th birthday later on this evening. Watch out for more pictures of incredibly cute grand kids.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oh The Sweetness Of The Road

With a well deserved cup of hot chocolate at my side, I will tell you about all the glory of today's ride.
It had to be road, just had to be. The raging fever was going to be broken. Trails are wonderful, but I can only take so much. I gotta be on the road. Steve and Amy joined in.
Maybe three miles on the greenway, then the salt and sand covered, potholed roads. Cars were pulling out in front of us, pretending stop signs didn't exist, passing us by going into oncoming traffic around curves, and, of course honking at us. But, we were on the road.
Then there's the little matter concerning the lack of hill climbing ability that January brings. These weren't even hills, maybe bumps at best, but they may as well have been the Alps. Studs, full fenders, 3 layers, and the winter tonnage of fat stores all conspired to foil any attempt to summit the slightest incline (fat stores did help on the descents). It wasn't the lungs that rebelled, but the quads. They didn't complain either...just quit. But, we were on the road.
Lots of grunts, groans, and grrrrs. I'm pretty sure I heard at least one AAAAHHHHHGGGG! And yes there was plenty of sweating and heavy breathing going on. Oh the rapture!
Steve said to Amy, "you're being kind of nice, today". Her response, "sometimes you're just too tired to hate".
Both Steve and Amy put on more miles than me. Steve 20 more. Amy was as determined as ever, and she worked really hard to hang on. Pound for pound she kicks my ass every time we ride. Great friends, fun conversation, plenty of teasing, hard effort = GREAT RIDE! Fastest and longest this year! Yeah, Baby! 50/15.4
Oh, and I should mention, the temps didn't get out of the 20's.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Not Even Close To A Post About Bikes (day off)

I've never done this before, and don't particularly like recommending books. Everyone looks for something different in what they read, and this book has nothing to do with cycling.
We all ride different bikes, at different paces, and on different surfaces, but the love of experiencing nature, pushing ourselves to the extreme, and the solitude that comes on a bike ride is a common thread that, it seems, just about all cyclists enjoy.

So I recommend the following book:
"Solitude" seeking wisdom in extremes by Robert Kull
a year alone in the Patagonia wilderness

I read it a couple of years back.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Not Only A Dance

Because of the balmy temps (26 degrees) the trails are loose and rutty, so I was on the roads and bunny hopping potholes. The bunny hop is not just a bike trick where the rider lifts both wheels off the road, at the same time, to avoid riding over road hazards, but a dance too. As a dance, the bunny hop is a lot more fun to do when I've heard, but I digress. The roads felt great. I need more time on them. There's still a lot of snow which narrows the roads and crowds me in with the cars. Bike lanes and shoulders are filled with piles of plowed salt, sand and snow, but road fever is raging. 20/14.9

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time Management

I've been a little busy the last couple of weeks. I bought a house two weeks ago, and have been working at fixing it up. It was a foreclosure, and wasn't left in the best shape. I ripped up all the carpeting, and flooring and gutted the kitchen. This last week I've been cleaning and painting. I should start putting in new kitchen cabinetry by Monday maybe Friday. Obviously nothing can knock me off the bike (except the occasional broken bone or case of the flu), but I have been remiss in allotting time for my camera. Not a whole lot of pictures posted lately.

Rode with the point-and-shoot this evening, and saw a beautiful sun setting over Lake Harriet. Trails were too loose, even a little dangerous along the creek. 21/12.9

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Fine Ride

More good winter riding. Evil felt good, legs felt good. The only complaint I have is the trails were a little loose along Minnehaha Creek and I had to slow down. 21/12.9

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grey Didn't Matter

Felt good to be out. I was layered less and the layers were lighter. I even went without hand and toe warmers. Amazing how warm upper 20's feel after enduring our lengthy sub zero stint. Also, the light is lasting longer...well past 5pm. Nice! Very Nice! 21/13.0

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Top Ten Reasons To Ride During A Minnesota Winter

10. Water bottle water is always cold.

9. Partner no longer asks, “are you nuts?”…it’s obvious.

8. It’s too cold for motorists to roll down their windows and yell at you to use the bike path.

7. Road salt accumulations on water bottle help maintain electrolytes during ride.

6. Dogs are in the house.

5. Can blame extra winter girth on layering.

4. Can blame slow average speeds on slick roads.

3. Don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain.

2. Sun screen doesn’t get in your eyes.

1. Don’t have to shave your legs.

I wrote this about 5 years ago, and may have published it in my blog before, but it seems appropriate to share it again now, with winter's grip at its strongest.

Saw the wafflers on their ride as I was heading over to meet up with Amy and Aaron. Not as much wind and, although our start temp was colder than yesterday, we finished our ride with 7 degrees. Not quite as much stinging going on.

Another beautifully frigid Minnesota winter day. Trails are in perfect winter riding condition. 32/12.7

Time for some hot chocolate, then this evening I'll be hanging out with Elijah.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Who In Their Right Mind?

The above question regularly came from my mom's mouth, when referring to some activity I was involved in. I'm pretty confident it would've emerged again today, if she was around.
A cold start, somewhere between -3 and -6. It did reach 2 whole positive degrees after 3hrs and 10mns of saddle time.
Just around the city trails. Amy didn't feel up to heading out to Excelsior. Considering my only other option was to ride out there with Steve, the decision to stick with Amy was made easily and quickly.
Lots of stinging today, especially heading north into -15 to -20 wind chills. We stopped at about 25 miles and warmed up. I needed to allow my balaclava time to thaw, before I could get it all the way off. It had frozen to my VanDyke, and would have taken some fur with it, if I had forced the issue. Amy seemed more than willing to try and get it off for me. She's so nice.

I have some real, good friends. I'm lucky to be able to ride with them. Evil was the steed for the day, and performed very well. With the exception of a couple of miles of only good trails, the rest of our ride was spent on excellent trails of hard packed snow. Very cold, but a very enjoyable deep winter ride. 40/12.4

See mom other people were outside today!

National Pond Hockey Tournament On Lake Nokomis

Friday, January 21, 2011

Deep Winter

Fair amount of miles this week despite the cold temps, but with temps below zero all day there was really no difficulty in deciding to to stay off the bike on my rest day. Tomorrow's ride will have plenty of negative degrees to ride in. Looks like at least three of us.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

May This Be The End Of It

We are enjoying the two coldest days of the year today and tomorrow. It may get down to -20, actual air temp, tonight. Even though there was a lot of it, the sun didn't do it for me today. Gym, elliptical 1 1/2 hrs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beautiful And Cold

Driving home from working on my property I was sure I'd head over to the gym.
Walked into my place still planning the trip to the gym. It was just so beautiful out and the sun so bright....kind of deceiving. I don't know...all of a sudden the massive layers were accumulating on the old hairy body, and I was heading out the door with The Evil One. Trails are in great winter shape. The cold is getting old. Still enough light to ride without lights at 5:15. There is hope. 21/12.7

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

As Predicted

Today's temp was much colder than yesterday, and I was out in it. Where is the sense in that?
Lots of crunchy and squeaky snow on the trails that were, nevertheless, in great winter shape. Old Blue seems happy to be out in it. I don't think I've ever used Old Blue this much before, in one season.
Riding along the west shore of Lake Calhoun, the north wind put some sting on the old hairy face. 21/12.8

Monday, January 17, 2011

No Good Reason

Just didn't want to ride outside. Staying in may have been a mistake because it's going to be a week of single digit temps. Usually I can't resist a sunny day so I'll probably be motivated to get out there even with the lack of degrees. Hour and a half on the elliptical today...just burnin' calories.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cold And Frosty

Decided to take on a bit of a slog, and ventured out on some unplowed trails. I was glad to get that over with, but Old Blue seemed to really enjoy it, and want more. That loose snow is what he's made for.
Amy and I then decided we'd done enough work, and headed for the rut-less, and bare pavement of the roads.
I miss roads, skinny tires, and an entire bike that weighs less than one of Old Blue's tires.
We went north and explored up along Amy's work commute and then over to Medicine Lake. Very nice, but it got a little hilly, for January. The old hairy legs started complaining about having to push Blue's massive studded tires, and not so light 1998 aluminum frame.
We were expelling plenty of used oxygen that, once it hit the 5 degree air temp, transformed into frosty white accumulations on balaclavas, jackets, hairy lips, and noses. 30/12.8

Me and My Nosecicle

Both Me and Old Blue Looking A Little Frosty

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Good Winter Riding

The day started with this sunrise showing through my bedroom window, and it only got better.
Met Amy and Steve with 7 blazing degrees showing on the thermometer. The real severe temps and winds stayed home. We didn't miss 'em.
When you're cool the sun shines all the time. We were cool today, but weren't in the mood to do any sloggin'. If it wasn't plowed, we didn't ride on it. We found at least 40 miles of plowed trails, well, I guess we did do a little backtracking to come up with those 40 miles. We weren't setting any land speed records, but it was so nice to be out, with good friends, and rumblin' along on Old Blue's massive studded tires. 41/12.0 3 1/2 glorious hours.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Stuck in a weather loop. It snows, and then turns cold, over and over again.
Meeting up with 3 or 4 tomorrow to traverse the new snow and display my middle finger to the below zero wind chills. Today? Heading over to Tryg's with my old biking buddy, Gordy. That's as close as I'll get to being on the bike this Friday.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Not Outside

Kept it inside. Hour and a half on the elliptical.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It's always nice to ride when the sun is out. Maybe it's because I feel cooler when I'm wearing sunglasses. Good ride. Old Blue got quiet after just a mile or two. 21/12.7

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Short But Sweet

It was an abbreviated ride today. I was working on some property in Delano, (yes, that Delano, the land of HoHos) and wasn't able to be ready for my ride until 4PM.
I rode until I had a hard time making out the texture of the trails, just a little over an hour.
Old Blue's cassette was nice and tight, but I still heard some clanking. I'm pretty sure the BB needs to be cleaned and lubed, or at worst replaced. I'll try and get to it before the weekend, so I can rely on Old Blue, for, what looks to be, a fairly severe weather weekend.
Today was pretty nice. More snow so the trails were loose. Old Blue was more than up to it. 15/12.4

The Sun Tried, But Never Got Rid Of The Clouds

Monday, January 10, 2011

Simple Pleasures Return

Trails were a little greasy, with higher temps and about a half inch of snow, which is less than NE Texas got. Old Blue would have been a better choice this afternoon, nevertheless the ride was just fine. 21/12.3
December was a tough month for riding. January is seeing the fun return. That's always the way it is. Sometimes you need to tell yourself, GET OUT AND RIDE, other times you need to tell yourself, you gotta go home, man.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


A really nice ride, although Amy probably disagrees. The trails are in great winter condition, and the sun is big, bright and beautiful. It's very cold, but I'm acclimated...temps just weren't an issue, even though the ride started in negative numbers. Very comfortable for the entire ride. Lots of chatter today...had to keep Amy focused. She put on 45-50 miles today and was fading a bit towards the end. Me 33/13.2

Moisture Accumulations On The INSIDE Of My Jacket Froze.
A Little Frosty By The Gills

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Embracing The Cold

Very cool ride! (pun intended)

5 of us (Aaron Where Were You?), despite a less than eager cassette and way too many clothes,

made it out to Wayzata. Eric even displayed a little friskiness (for winter) on McGinty hill.

43 miles at 13.3 a little over 3 hrs beats the hell out of a trainer. It was gorgeous out. Sun

couldn't have been brighter. Lots of folks out enjoying the anemic sun. Felt good to be out in the

single digit temps. The Evil One behaved well. 43/13.3

Doing it again tomorrow!

Friday, January 7, 2011


These are the deepest days of winter in Minnesota. Even though daylight has now had darkness in retreat for a couple of weeks, we are entering our coldest time of the year. The average high temp now is 21 degrees, and will stay at 20-21 degrees for another week or two, before it begins its glorious 6 month rise.
Tomorrow's ride will include more people than there will be degrees in the temperature. At least 6 have said they'll show. Also, it appears we will be having fun with negative numbers when we start out.
Tonight I stopped in at a local ski shop to stock up on some warmers. It was crammed. Plenty of people will be out skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, sledding, snowmobiling, walking and jogging tomorrow. There will even be kite flying at Lake Harriet in the afternoon.
Some people may think Minnesotans know how to have fun in winter, and we do. But what we really know is how to have fun in summer. And we have our winters to thank for that.
Off the bike today.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cleaner Post

Getting the fire started for the ride.
They need to breathe a little to generate that vital warmth.

After the ride I gave Old Blue and The Evil One both a bath. Noticed a wobble from Old Blue's cassette...???? The lock ring had completely come off. Only thing holding the cassette on was the dropouts. I've got no idea how long I'd been riding Old Blue in that condition. Looked like nothing had stripped, so I cleaned up the freewheel a bit and tightened down the lock ring. Can't believe I didn't notice it when I was riding it. 21/12.7

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dirty Post

Left Old Blue at home tonight and rode the Evil One. Evil is getting kind of dirty. I may have to break down and give it it's first bath of the winter season. I don't want to. 21/12.9

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lots of Sun and Lots of Cold

Sun was big, bright and beautiful, but couldn't muster enough heat to even create double digit temps. Seems to me the sun shouldn't be able to set, if it didn't work hard enough to generate any heat. But I guess then, I'm not in charge, am I?
It was me and Old Blue along trails that were in great winter condition. 21/13.1

Just as I pulled in from my ride.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Trying To Keep Up

It was a snow globe ride, with soft, light flakes falling as we rode along snow covered trails. I've gotta admit all the snow is getting a little tiring, even though it is so beautiful. I'm working hard to keep up with Amy, but she bested me in miles on Saturday, and again today tallied more than me. 21/13.4

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Feelin' a little more like a man today, after my ride with Amy.
There was more than 1 degree when we started by 1 degree. Sun was out, winds weren't too bad, but there was still a wind chill of -17. My glasses wouldn't cooperate. The moisture from my breath kept freezing on the lenses...couldn't see out of them at all. I had two options, quit breathing, or ride without being able to see. I chose the latter.
It was really fun to be out. I was very comfortable, Old Blue handled the icy trails just fine, I was breathing real air, and it was beautiful out, with bright sunshine and whiter than white snow. Great time talking and riding with Amy, like always. 30/12.9 2hrs20m

Gonna go pick up Elijah and hang out with him for awhile now. A very nice Sunday!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wuss Alert

Went sleeve-less and wore shorts today. Yeah, I totally started the new year as a major wuss. What made it even worse? Amy rode OUTSIDE. I don't know if I'll ever be able to live this down.
Single digit temps, wind chills -15 to -20, a thin layer of ice coating everything, with a light dusting of snow on top just to add to the thrill, kept me thinking about some of my previous ER visits. Gym seemed a smidg better than the ER, but only a smidg.
Pulled out the old Spinning cds. I've got 3, each with a little over an hour of music. Plugged the head phones into the cd player and cranked the volume up. 2 hours on the elliptical, burning 1100 to 1200 calories an hour. Next was an hour on the stationary. Closed that session out with a little Free Bird. That is a great song to climb to. The guitar solo starts and it's 4 minutes out of the saddle pushing max heart rate. The old hairy legs were moving so fast that they were just a blur. Sweated a river.
I'll man-up tomorrow and venture outside, winds will be lighter and there should be some more sun.