Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A couple of nice rides

Over the past 2 days, I took advantage of some beautiful weather. A couple of advantages of nice sunny weather with little/no rain: great for outdoor activities such as riding, and NO LAWN MOWING. So, I was able to get a couple of very nice rides in.

Yesterday Brandy and I went for a ride around and just outside of town. This was the first time we have ridden together in about a month, and it was very nice. We came across a new sub they're putting in just outside of town. They seem to be leaving up as many of the mature trees as possible, a nice change from some of the developments where they clearcut everything.
All told, we got in about 10 miles of easy riding.

This evening I hit up Stony Creek after work. I can hardly believe that this is the first time I've ridden at Stony since the Marathon race at the end of June. Pretty bad for what is basically my home trail!
My shoulder was feeling a lot better than on Sunday; I was able to do the logpiles without a little twinge of pain accompanying each one. My ride went uneventful, with no crashing and good line choice for the most part. One of the things I need to work on is carrying speed through corners.
I did 3 laps through the roller coaster, went through the Pines twice, and did somewhere around a dozen miles of double-track. All told, I'd estimate that I did a bit over 20 miles (bleeping computer is MIA).

Well, tomorrow promises to be another good day. I'm hooking up with the Wednesday Stony group ride, and my friend and his wife will be there. This will be my friend's wife's 2nd time ever riding the trails, and hopefully the maiden voyage of her new Trek.

Till then, here's a bit of bike pron. A 1994 entry level GT, which was my bike back in college. Gearing of 32:16 with a one season old chain worked out to be the magic ratio. The GT will be getting some lovin' tomorrow at Stony.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Holdridge Today

Today I took advantage of some beautiful summer weather, and did some riding at Holdridge http://www.mmba.org/trails.php?trail=13. I rode the west loop, and did 3 laps total, skipping the tech loop on the last lap. My shoulder was acting up on the log piles, and some of the drops.

Oh, my shoulder...
Last weekend I did the 12 hours of Ithaca race, as part of a 4 man team. We did 29 laps, and took first in our class (out of 2 teams). On my last lap and 2nd of my night laps, I entered a corner a bit too fast. I overcorrected and shot to the inside at the exit of the corner, right into a tree! Hit the thing square on and with a good head of steam.
Last week was an easy week for me, with a pair of runs (6 and 3 miles each), and a 28 mile ride on the road bike. My shoulder was too tender all week to do any mountain biking, and riding today was probably not the smartest thing to do. But, a week off the bike is way too long.

Back to Holdridge...
I was feeling good today... well... except for my shoulder. As I stated previously, only the logpiles and drops seemed to bother it; basically anything where the front of my bike travelled downward rapidly. The trail was in perfect condition, with very little sand, no mud, and a fresh trim job on the leg-scratchers. My riding was going very well; about as error-free as I could be.

Midway through my first lap, at the top of the old "wall" I met another rider who reminded me a bit of myself 2 years ago. He was on a brand-new Gary Fisher Marlin which he had purchased a couple of months ago. He had started riding, as he put it, for something healthy to do. This meeting came about kind of by chance. See, about a mile earlier I found a seat bag lying along the trail. I picked it up and strapped it to my pack, with the plan to post a note at the trailhead and a message on mmba.org. I noticed that this rider's bike had a clip for a bag attached to his seat, so I asked him if he had a bag mounted earlier. He said that he did, and with that the bag had found it's rightful owner.

The rest of my ride went without incident, other than some slightly painful jarring on the logpiles. Because of this, I didn't do the tech loop on my last lap.

Hmmm, temperatures around 80, sun, a great trail... things can't get much better.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An Introduction

Hi, I'm Brad... and I'm a singletrack-o-holic. It was June of 2005, my wife and I in our 6th month of losing weight, when we walked into Hamilton Bike Shop in Richmond MI. My wife selected a comfort bike for herself, and I decided on a Gary Fisher Marlin. Our plans were to ride a bit for fitness and to help with weight loss, with possibly "a bit of trail riding" for me.
The next week, on Wednesday after work if I recall correctly, I pulled into the West Branch parking lot at Stony Creek. I changed clothes, unloaded my bike, filled my bottle, strapped on my helmet, and proceeded to have an absolute bleeping blast! The day was not without it's challenges: down the "snakes" instead of up, walking just about every hill in the "roller coaster", wheezing my way up the 2-track climbs. But as big as the challenges were, the smile on my face was even bigger.
Since then, I've been a hopeless addict. I rode as much as I could through 2005, learning the techniques and building stamina. By late summer, I was able to ride Gruber's Grinder at Holdridge. Spring of 2006 saw the purchase of a Gary Fisher Rig, with my Marlin being religated to touring/dirt road duty. In the fall of 2006 I entered the Addison Oaks Fall Classic, where I place 2nd in Beginner Men 30-35. This year I joined an MTB race team, Team Sandbag. I'm racing in Sport/Beginner Singlespeed (Tailwind) and doing a few races in the MMBA CPS series (Open Singlespeed).
For now, I'll leave you with a few images.

My trusty steed: a 2006 Gary Fisher Rig

The start of the 2007 Pontiac Lake Time Trial. I placed 13th in Sport/Beginner Singlespeed.
I'm the one on the right.

Yankee Springs Time Trial - 28th place Open Singlespeed

Fort Custer Stampede - 14th place Open Singlespeed

Bloomer XC - 4th place Sport/Beginner Singlespeed
I'm the one in the Team Sandbag (TSB) jersey.