Monday, December 30, 2013

It's been an interesting far!

After a couple of light snowfalls, SE Wisconsin was blessed with a good dumping of 7-10 inches about a week before Christmas. For me, it's been a challenge to learn the intricacies of deep powder snow biking, whether it's the profound difference of bike handling between just 2 and 3 pounds of tire pressure, or just learning how to stay upright while maintaining momentum at a pace slower than walking speed. On those  days, snow biking has proven to be a downright struggle for me, much more that I initially expected. Sometimes extremely frustrating! While other days can beincredibly exhilarating. And to think that winter has just started!

Just a few recent scenes to lighten up your day...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Scars and Recovery

I wonder how the 8" long scar from my hip replacement last Christmas eve might be affecting my recovery. The surgeon has told me (more than once) that recovery will be "complete" one year from the accident, or more precisely, "Where you are a year from now, is where you will stay."

Even though I appreciate his skill as a surgeon, I have come to doubt those words. 3 days ago, with only a week before that year of recovery would be up, I was treated by my chiropractor. She performed something on my body that I haven't been able to do on my own. For the first time in months, my "new" leg feels almost 100% free from the tightness and soreness that had been progressively getting worse, and I feel as if the leg is now heading into a condition to allow for growth in better flexibility and strength.

A naturopath I was seeing last spring had stressed the significance of how a scar can affect the proper functioning of your body, and how proper treatment can affect the recovery beyond what we have been lead to believe is possible by traditional doctors. I wonder how many times we allow ourselves to believe that and old injury, whether it be physical or emotional, prevents us from doing what we were able to do before an injury, and maybe even go beyond.

There was one other thing my surgeon said to me after the surgery, referring to the arthritis that was in my old hip and how it would no longer be an issue. He said, with this new hip, I might even (eventually) be a better cyclist than I was before the accident. Could he possibly be correct, but for more reasons and through a different route of recovery than what he had considered? Time, and staying receptive to new possibilities of such recovery, might be the key.

An article on scars, and further information on how they may affect our body's ability to function properly, can be found here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

More snow!

Over the past couple weeks, we've received several more inches of new snow. It has forced me to learn riding techniques I never had before, like squirreling around at 3mph with about 2 pounds of air pressure in my tires. Then today, I had an exact opposite experience on some great trails that were packed down by snowmobilers.

Here's a few pics from the recent rides. One thing for sure, once you get in the right frame of mind that riding a fat/snow bike requires, and you start working on new riding techniques, these things are a lot of fun...and a GOOOOOD workout!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Snow discovered on the moon!

Today snow was discovered on the moon, and it  was the Moonlander's first voyage through this alien material.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Waiting for winter, but having fun in the fall!

I'm still testing the Dumond Tech lube I referred to in the last post. I should have a report on my experiences soon. I just want to run it through it's paces, and see how it performs in a variety of environments. For now, here are some pics from yesterday's ride in the Glacial Blue Hills of Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine northern unit near West Bend. I'm having the time of my life as I (re)enter into the mountain bike discipline. Just a really nice transition into the fall and winter.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Epic ride plans and chain lube test

Tomorrow I hope to do my longest Moonlander (Fat Bike) ride yet. I will start on the north end Port Washington, WI, riding along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and hopefully take me as far north as Kohler-Andre State Park, just south of Sheboygan. Since the ride will be on the beach all the way, I've been contemplating what is the best chain lube to use when running through sand. After speaking my concern with Mike, a coworker (who is also a first rate mechanic with a pro cycling team), it seems I have a couple options that might work.

Mike mentioned that some Belgium cyclo-cross riders use talcum powder on their chains when racing in sandy conditions. It sounds interesting, since any kind of wet lube would obviously let the grains of sand just stick to the chain and turn into a highly abrasive paste.

My second option to consider would be kind of a unique chain that is actually supposed to bond to the metal of the chain links and last longer than most other lubes without attracting dirt the way most chain lubes do, especially the wet-style of lubes. So after doing a thorough cleaning of the chain in our shop's ultra-sonic parts cleaner, I applied a small amount of the Dumonde TECH Lite chain lube. Thank you, Mike, for supplying me with a free test bottle!

Tomorrow we roll the beaches!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Beach Bombing!

I've always heard about fat bikes being great for riding on sand. Bring the tire pressure down to ultra-low levels, 3-9 lbs., and the bikes are supposed to just glide over the soft sands of your local beach. So over the past 2 days I have bombed the shoreline of Lake Michigan, from Lion's Den Gorge at the south end, up to Harrington Beach State Park on the north. I've been told that you can ride at least as far north as Kohler-Andre State Park. So if the weather holds out, I hope to get up there one of these days too.

Most of the riding surface so far has been pretty clean, soft sand, except for a stretch of a couple miles between Lion's Den Gorge and Port Washington, where I encountered a lot of larger (1"- 3") round pebbles. Although that surface was slower rolling and required a bit more concentration, it mostly just offered a new facet to the riding experience.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Autumn Fun!

The temps have slowly been falling here in SE Wisconsin as we head into autumn. But for the first time in many, many years, I'm actually looking forward to the upcoming winter, and the new Moonlander fatbike is providing the vehicle (pun intended) for that fun. Until then, here are a few pictures...

Fun on the New Fane trails near Kewauskum, WI

New white socks (rim strips) for the Moonlander's Clown Shoes!

Raffle winnings from last week's grand opening of the Pleasant Valley mountain bike trails in Grafton, WI.
A set of Answer carbon-fiber handlebars and a T-shirt!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Taking a leap of fat!

As the title of this post suggests, it's time to get fat for the cold season approaching. But rather than me putting on the extra girth, it will be the bike. After nearly two years of procrastinating, I'm finally taking a "leap of fat" and getting myself one of those strange looking two wheeled winter pedal vehicles called the "fat bike". Fat bikes were originally designed for traveling through snow. But they can be great to ride along beaches too, and even replace the traditional mountain (off-road) bike for some people. For me, I plan to use it on all three of those types of terrain. The particular bike I got is called the "Moonlander", named appropriately by the manufacturer, Surly, one of the pioneers of the fat bike design. This model has the widest tires of any fat bike out there, almost 5" across! Next to my skinny-tired BMC road racing bike, it looks quite hilarious!

Last Saturday, I took the Moonlander on it's maiden off-road voyage, the technical single-track mountain bike trails of Pleasant Valley Nature Park in Grafton, WI. Man, it was a BLAST! I haven't been mountain biking in over 20 years, and I had forgotten how much fun it is. Today I took a different approach and choose to ride on the faster, wider, and rolling double-track trails of Lapham Peak State Park, in Delafield, WI. This gave me a workout more like a road bike, being able to ride faster and harder, keeping my legs pumping and my lungs burning.

I have a feeling this is just what I need to get me through the cold, dark days of winter.