Night Rider

Since the trail has been cleaned off and easy to follow, we decided to do a night ride on Friday. I arrived early and did about 2.5 hours of trail work before the ride. I worked the section on Serpentinas from the top of the hill towards the bottom. I canted the trail a little in the turns so speed can be maintained. I mostly made sure that there weren’t any off camber sections. I got 6 turns done and after 2.5 hours of work it can be ridden in about 10 seconds. But before it might have taken 11 seconds. Eventually it will be sweet. I met Scott at the parking lot at 4:00 and we headed out for a quick loop before the main ride at 6:00. I will say that with the cleaned turns and the new tires I was having a great time carving through the woods. The new berms worked well which makes me want to work some more. We met Tim at 6:00 and headed out for a full loop in the dark. It was a really nice ride, kinda spooky and quiet but fun. The temperature was perfect and it was really dark with no moon. Not something I will be doing on my own but with a group it was enjoyable. I’m guessing we got in about 17 miles. Scott and I sat in the parking lot to look at the stars and he saw several shooting stars. It was almost romantic.

Saturday I dragged myself out in the woods again. I did 6 or 7 more berms before giving up for the day. It’s hard work and I was worn out in about 3 hours. I rode it a couple of times and I think it will work out well. The berms aren’t big but they are enough to hold you on the trail. There were two more turns to go but they were big turns and I was beat. While I was pushing my bike through the woods I found a deer stand. It’s real close to the trail and the access road. Also I scared up an large owl carrying a dead snake. And I saw four huge hawks frolicking in the tree tops. Nice.

I got sucked in to the ‘Cycling the Silk Road’ videos this week. I caught myself looking for panniers and small cook stoves on the Adventure Cycling website.

Published in: on February 27, 2011 at 9:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Time Trial/Prediction Ride

What fun! I’m usually not one for racing anymore but I do like to know where I stand amongst the other people I ride with. And I was obligated to race since the trail was my idea. Anyway, I met up with David of the Forest on Friday afternoon to discuss whether or not to put up a kiosk or just stick with a sign. We decided stick with a simple sign for now due to the ongoing vandalism to the Florida Trail signage and kiosk. My previous contact, Woody, quit his job and moved to New Mexico leaving David sorely lacking in personnel. David seemed overwhelmed but I guess he doesn’t have much choice. We also walked the entire new trail from top to bottom and he was impressed with it. We chatted for about two hours and then he was off. I stayed and worked a couple of corners on the new section although I don’t think they worked out as well as planned. Tom Ledew pulled up when I was getting ready to quit and we chatted for a while. He’s also happy with the way the trail has turned out. I like that lovin’ feelin’.

Saturday I went back up to the trail after stopping off at the shop to pick up Billy’s leaf blower. My back has been ruined for about two weeks but I told him I would give it a try. It’s a backpack blower so that was what made the whole thing possible. I started at the top of Serpentinas and walked about 2.5 miles before it ran out of gas. The blower cleaned trail like a dog cleans a dirty dinner plate. I went back to the car and used the rest of the gas in the can and started on the rest of the trail. Dave, Galen and Asian Joe scared the hell out of me when they passed me as I was blowing but they gave me a thumbs up for my efforts. My goal was just to do Serpentinas but I eased off on the blower some and managed to get all of Porcchop and almost to the end of Junebug. At that point I was achy but I stashed the blower in the woods and headed back to the car. I gobbled a sandwich and drove to the gas store and filled up the can. I cleaned the rest of Junebug, all of Lupine and all of the new trail (now named the Red Rock Trail). I ran into the guys again and they said the blower made a night and day difference on the way they could keep up their speed. That was another reason why I kept going. I walked close to 15 miles and it felt like it. I finished up with the paper plate arrow signs for the time trial.

Sunday I lounged as much as possible until it was time to go to the beer store. My plan was to hit the Pensacola Bay Brewery for a couple of growlers of their beer for prizes at the time trial. My bad as they don’t open until 12:00 on Sunday. I didn’t want to wait so I grabbed a six pack of Sam Adams Noble Pils out of the fridge as a prize. I was hoping to win it back but it was not to be. I got to the parking area at around noon and people were trickling in. An honest to God motorcycle gang showed up and the tension seemed to rise as the leader walked (or gimped) over to us in his leather jacket and chaps and spurs. He was friendly enough though and after I read the back of his jacket I realized they were just out for fun. The gang was called the ‘Fugawi Tribe’. They did smell bad though. The cops showed up just as we were getting ready to start and I can only imagine that someone called them when they saw the biker gang loitering about. I’m sure he was confused when all he found was a bunch of lycra clad mountain bikers. The time trial went very well even though I didn’t win. It was a prediction ride and I predicted 59 minutes but I got an amazing 53:11. It’s amazing because I haven’t been riding and all the trail work I did the day before. Eric did a great job of cooking some chicken for sandwiches. I think most people enjoyed the day and maybe the trail will get a lot more use now. Next weekend I plan on working some berms into Serpentinas.

Published in: on February 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm  Comments (2)  

Practice Loop

We rode a practice loop last weekend which consisted of Steve and I riding fast enough to get ahead of Sean and Carlos to clear the trail of deadfall. The windstorm did a number on the trail but we cleaned up a lot of it.

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Map

New Map

Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Straightening

I finally got done with my stupid project at work and I definitely needed a day in the woods. I did some exploring of an old road that heads north in the east side of Juniper Creek and I was hoping it would go far enough north that it would tie into a creek access road. It went a long way but not far enough. But they have recently burned so even if there isn’t a trail, we can easily ride through the soot. Afterwords I hit the new section because there have been horses, or at least one horse, on it. I made some hand lettered signs asking them please don’t ride on our trail. We’ll see. Next I did a lot of straightening on Serpentinas. Maybe too much, maybe not enough. I can’t wait to ride it. The straightening might make a lap 10 seconds faster. Finally I flagged a shortcut that will cut Serpentinas in half (roughly). I didn’t finish because it wasn’t coming out where I thought it would so I needed to look at a map to get a bigger picture. It looks like the trail is getting some use. There are a few places that are covered in leaves but 99% looks easy to follow. It should be in fine shape for the time trial on the 20th of February. I also need to update the map and coordinate the trail head signage with the Forestry people. Soon. 5.5 hours

Sunday we did a pancake ride to break in the club’s new grill. Huge turnout. I was close to the front for about the first third and I was fading fast. Luckily my chain fell off so I got to ease off in the back of the pack. I also broke a spoke. It was a good ride though and the pancakes and coffee were a perfect reward.

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 12:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

IDIDARIDE 2011

Check that one off my list. Another nice ride at White Springs. No mud or water on the trail and almost perfect temps. Dan, David and I rode it in a little less than 5 hours and I figured it wouldn’t have taken that long with all the dirt road and paved road and no traffic but I guess we were going slower. The wine at the last sag stop didn’t help. Well, it did but it hurt the legs for the last 5 miles. The buffet at the Telford House was excellent.

Steve didn’t do the ride but he did knock out 8 hours of trail work. He moved the sign from the yellow gate #2 to the new trail intersection. He also straightened the old intersection to flow a little better. I think he did a little clearing on the Junebug and Porc chop trails. I need to get out next weekend if possible. So far he’s got more trail maintenance hours than I do for this year.

Published in: on January 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Year, New Trail

It’s been a busy month with the holidays and travel. So to begin where I left off, mid-December, Barbara and I went to Germany for Barbara’s mother’s funeral ceremony. She passed away back in August and we decided to do Christmas in the homeland along with a nice ceremony for the family. Sorta unorthodox but not unpleasant. We spent 3 weeks drinking and eating too much and not doing anything strenuous other than lugging a minivan sized suitcase all over Germany. All went very well. The ceremony was very low key but very nice. Lots of snow and below freezing temps. When we learned how to dress correctly we were enjoying life a lot more. Germany is a beautiful country and a nice coating of snow certainly helped. Next time I’m getting a bike and hitting some of the bike way that covers the whole country.

The weekend after we got home was the San Felasco ride near Alachua. After 3 weeks of lounging, I was more than ready to do a 50 miler. We four, Steve, Dan, Ed and I rode over in Steve’s SUV on Friday and stayed in beautiful Lake City. Saturday dawned surprisingly warm but I loaded up with all I owned and hit the trail a little after 8:00. Within a half an hour I was overdressed but the trail was great. At some point I lost a pedal but managed to gimp in at 4:55. It was a great ride but the ride home was the most painful.

Last Saturday we hit Blackwater to see if it was still rideable. I hadn’t been on the trail in months but it was very rideable with very little deadfall and a good path worn through the fallen leaves. It was also the first ride of the completed new connector trail that Steve finished up while I was away (thanks Steve!). Nice trail i will say. I want to get up there soon to do some more work. But my job has been encroaching on my life . Bummer. This coming weekend is the Idadaride that we did last year in the mud. But I’ve got new tires, new brakes and most importantly, new pedals (thanks Ed!).

Published in: on January 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Toys for Tots

Saturday was consumed with the PORC Toys for Tots ride. I did it last year and it was both physically and mentally demanding. This year I wasn’t up to the mental part due to a self induced headache so I just hung out and made sandwiches with Angela and Christie. It was a great day and a great turnout and the Marines had to haul off 200+ toys. Next year promises to be bigger and better.

As far as trail work goes, I’m not going to be able to do any until the new year. The new stuff is flagged so if anyone wants to capitalize on the cool weather please feel free. Or just go ride it in some.

Published in: on December 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rough Ride

No trail work this Thanksgiving weekend. Thursday we headed up to the farm for Thanksgiving. Mark and Kimberly cooked a pig and a turkey and it was awesome. I seriously over ate. Needless to say the ride I had planned for friday got pushed back to Saturday. Friday was rainy anyway so I stayed cooped up in the garage on my other project. Saturday Steve and I headed up to do a lap or two. The new section is so soft it’s difficult to ride plus all the logs that need to be addressed. We rode it anyway and had a great time. I started getting fatigued on the second lap and I got dropped enough that Steve got far enough ahead I couldn’t see him. I came around a corner to find him laid out on the trail and not making much effort to get out of MY way. Apparently he had caught a stump with his pedal and went face first into a small tree. We got him up and moving after gathering his wits and he proceeded to drop me again in short order. He’s going to have a bruise. Shortly after, my stomach started doing flips, probably due to the second antibiotic I’m taking for the root canal I had last week. Joy. After fertilizing the bushes I managed to hook back up with Steve. We ran across another couple of riders on their way in. I hope they had a nicer ride than we did although our ride was pretty darned good. It looks like the trail may be getting some use. It was fairly easy to follow despite the leaf litter.

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 5:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Portland

Last weekend was spent on vacation in Portland, OR.  Dreary weather but a progressive city. I got in Wednesday at noon and for $2.35 I took the TRIMAX from the airport to downtown within a block of the hotel. Granted it took about 45 minutes but I was on vacation so time wasn’t that important. I rented a bike on Thursday, a Fuji Roubaix carbon something that was a bit too small but I rode it anyway on the greenway  up and down the river. I hooked up with my friend Harry and we headed from downtown up the hill to Council Crest Park which has a killer view of Mt Hood if the weather is cooperating. That day it was.

Unfortunately on the climb I couldn’t get out of the big chain ring so I was getting worked pretty good. We did a quick descent and then headed back up again to go to another lookout. Then it started drizzling so we parted ways and I went back to downtown in search of food and beer. It was a good 4 hour ride but I was nervous about riding in the rain on super slippery leaf covered streets. I did manage to crash when my front wheel got hung up on a streetcar rail but I didn’t get hurt. Nor did the bike. I managed to forget my water bottles at the shop so I guess Bikes Plus has some advertising in Portland.

Sunday we headed to a cyclocross race. It was a great event with probably several hundred participants. I probably could have hung with the beginner girls.

We were back on Monday so it was a short trip but worth it.

On Saturday Candice and Jason showed up to help out on the continuation of the new trail. We cranked out quite a lot but failed to break through. They left after 3.5 hours and I pressed on to get the trail mostly ride-able to the railroad bed. Then I cut a quick spur out to the road so it can be ridden in some. As I was finishing up I ran across a couple of riders that I talked into riding the new section. Suckers! I think they pushed most of the way because the ground is so soft plus there are still several logs that need to be worked. It was there first time out to the trail and I hope the rest of the ride was better than the first part.  A total of 13 hours.

I’m including this video because I think the song is great. I thought it was some old Elton John song I had never heard. Then I found out it was from the Scissor Sisters and I guess they are fans of Elton John. I heard an interview on NPR with them and they are definitely gay which ties in even more with Elton John. Anyway I was searching Youtube for a video to attach to this post and I though of this song. The official video was pretty lame but definitely removed any doubt that they are a gay band. I then found this live video from a BBC production. I was blown away. And I think Brian May of Queen that appears near the beginning of the video is amazed also. It’s kind of a cross between Peewee’s Playhouse and the Village People.

Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm  Leave a Comment