What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day pass

I have a couple of friends who have been taliking up the riding down at Lake Guntersville. With the recent rainfall it would be a safer bet than the local trails. We ended up riding 2 trails, both somewhat of a flop IMO :(

We started on an un-named trail that is in the process of being built up that flanks the edge of the lake. It has the potential to be a nice trail, but it is definitely a bit green still. Lots of off camber, IMBA would have a fit with the lack of shouldering. The crossings are mostly hike-a-bike.

Clay and Josh


A nice section of trail


Yours truly




the only bridge in the place


From here we jumped back in the car and headed up to higher ground to run the Golf Course Trail. Turned out to be a bummer as they have destroyed a good section of the loop clearing out trees.

Trailhead


Out walking our bikes in the woods


Used to be a trail in here


Nice little overview of the lake


Group photo-op


Last shot, my view for most of the morning...

Monday, March 22, 2010

...should get an update out

Blog has been a bit stagnant. Not really sure why. I have been riding a bit and things are busy as ever around the house. Guess it is just waiting out the Spring stretch that gets most bloggers a bit quiet, holding their breath for warm weather and dry trails. It has been a bit of a roller coaster this year. Every time the trails get to a stable, dry enough to ride, condition it has snowed or rained again. Pretty frustrating.

I got in 2 rides this weekend and another ride earlier in the week. With all of the weather dodging I am stacking in as many rides as I can when the trails are clear. So my riding is also on the roller coaster. Seems like I go a week or so without riding and then will get 2-4 days of back to back riding. Gotta say that sometimes I really miss the consistancy of riding in Northern California. But for now living in N.Alabama I have to take it any way I can get it. Fortunately there is some diversity in trails so that even when some trails are soaking wet others can be ridden, mainly because they are entirely made of rocks.

As of last week I received my X-Fusion Vector HLR back from the factory.

Looks like the new internals have fixed the obnoxious clunking during the hysteresis. I am happy to report that this shock is working great. My DH runs have been butter smooth and climbing traction is unstopable. As far as function this is the best shock I have run to date. There is definitely something to the Hi/Low speed compression control. It allows for good small bump sensitivity while still being able to take high speed and big impacts without spiking. Looks like Fox's new DHX RC4 has moved to this platform as well. But at this point companies like Avalanche, Elka, Cane Creek, and X-Fusion are already 2 steps ahead. Each with their own spin on the technology and tuning preferences. I am favoring the X-Fusion since the canister pressure and volume are externally adjustable by the rider. Elka and Avalanche are only tuneable by the factory. At any rate, time will tell if X-Fusion is durable enough to get 2 thumbsup.

Just over a week ago I got in the first night ride of the season. I got off work and the weather was warm, too nice to pass up. So I called up Matt and we headed out for a spin. Unfortunately the planning was lacking so my light wasn't charged up. I got by with an LED headband though and we had a nice ride. I do like the focus, intensity, and pace of a night ride. Nothing quite like it. Hopefully I will be able to set a more regular night ride up with Matt out on the Arsenal trails this summer.

This just in...
It snowed again this morning. Melted as soon as it touched anything, but snow none the less. It isn't really cold(about 36F, but feels warmer to me), but I guess up in the clouds it is cold enough. We are still trending up in temperature. Saturday afternoon was my first short sleave ride of the year. Things are looking up inspite of the snow this am.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snow day?

Yes, here we are days after my "its warming up" post. And, yes, it is in fact snowing. It is warmer, so there is no fluffy powder on the ground. It either melts immediately or turns into slush. That's fine. It should clear up in a day or so. Then onto some more decent weather and continued warming trend.

Time flies...
How did it get to be March already? Weird. The older I get the more that the months seem to melt into each other.

I managed to get out for a nice group ride on Saturday morning. It was a bit nippy at the start. I think Gary mentioned 22 degrees on his thermometer at the trailhead. I was bundled up fairly good. My cold weather kit is something to this effect:
-Top: Hard shell windbreaker or thermal fleece with wind block, a long sleeve jersey, and a base layer (wool or other performance wicking material)
-Bottom: hard shell (shorts or pants depending), thermal tights, and a chamois short
-Shoes: wool socks, standard shoe, neoprene booty over that (next year I would like to invest in some real winter cycling shoes)
-Helmet: just the normal vented helmet with a thermal skull cap under it
With these items I am good for multiple hours down in the 20-30 degree range. Any colder than that and I don't consider it worth riding :-)

At any rate, riding was nice. We had 6 people in the group and were pretty well matched. It was a technical ride at the Land Trust, so despite near 4 hours on the bike we covered only 11-12mi total. There were lots of breaks and conversation. Whenever someone dropped back the group waited patiently and talked about biking. Honestly this is one of my favorite ways to ride. We went fast when we could and took a good steady pace the rest of the time. The Hutchinson Octopus tires proved to be a great tire for the conditions, which were frozen with muck under and thawing about mid-ride. The extra heft provided some good stability in the rocks and the sticky compound did great on the slick stuff. The tread pattern is nice and open, so it shed mud excellent. Wonder why Hutchinson stopped making this tire?

That's all I got for now. I'll check back later...