Friday, September 7, 2012

Back in the saddle again!

Summer heat, crazy kids, moving into a new classroom, and the never ending fence project... just a few reasons why I haven't posted in a month or two.  The good news for those who care is that I'm back in the saddle again, both figuratively in relation to this blog, and literally on my bike.

The highlight of the summer was a big ride in the Owyhees with local Cycling Guru Adam Haynes of Rolling H Cycles, and the LEADMAN Mark Wheeler.  We were thinking about trying a dirty hundie, but decided that 45 miles and 7500' of elevation was quite enough.  Next time we'll shoot for 50 miles and maybe hit 10,000'.  Mark looked fresh after the 5 hour ride, but Adam and I were in the hurt locker by the end.
Sunrise on the way to the big Owyhee ride.  Silver City, ID
At the Silver City Hotel taking a water break around mile 32, Silver City, ID
My Gary Fisher 293 on top of War Eagle Mountain, Silver City, ID
SS, Disc Brakes, Flat Black, Beefy rims and tires equals FUN!
I could try to take the time and summarize the rest of the past two months, but really, the point is moving on with the blog, so I'll spare you the boredom and just let you know that it was a long, hot summer out here in the west.  I managed to squeeze in some other pretty good rides, especially the last Friday before going back to work for the school year.  100+ miles with a ride up Bogus Basin road in the middle of it.  It was a great way to close the summer, and it left me wondering how long I could continue to knock a century each month.   It is something worth considering, but I'll have to make sure I'm taking care of business at home and work before I commit to a 6 hour ride.  The challenge just got a little more interesting as I have simplified my road rig down to a single speed cyclocross bike from Raleigh called the Furley.  It is beyond fun, and brings new challenges to my rides everyday, which, surprisingly, I find very satisfying.  It is not the fastest bike on the road, but you can be riding along at 20 mph and jump onto the gravel shoulder to dodge a car without missing a beat.  Downhill is just awesome, as I have long had issues with fast descents on a road bike (put me on my mountain bike and there's usually no worries); stable and intuitive is the best way to describe the way it rides.

The new bike is really a realization of my goals as a rider.  My primary use of a bike is to commute, but I want to be able to go just about anywhere.  I am focused on completing a number of different rides in the future, none of which is going to be put onto a timeline because I have learned that right now those commitments are nearly impossible to keep.  The Mohican 100 is still a big goal, along with a trip down the Owyhee Scenic Byway (104 miles through the desert on a gravel road), a 100 mile ride in the Owyhee mountains is also on the list, maybe something like the Dirty Kanza 200 or Trans Iowa, and perhaps a bikepacking trip to gain experience for my new lifelong dream ride of the Tour Divide Race.  I'm focused on long, adventurous riding, not so much in going out on a road ride and hammering at 25 mph for 20 miles in a paceline.  I have nothing against that at all, in fact, I will miss being able to hang in the group for the most part on my Furley, but it is very difficult to get away to meet up at a designated ride time with a big group.  Most of my miles are added onto my commute, or fit in within small, limited windows of free time.  I just bought some lights, so I'll be taking on some early morning rides with those.  Of course, I will post a report on the lights and the rides as soon as I can.

I've also been planning on rebuilding my suspension on the mountain bike with Adam.  I just ordered the parts and will be taking on that project soon.  Again, expect to see me update with the results of the project. I've already regreased the rear shock once, but this time I'll be putting all new seals and grease, as well as changing the oil in the front fork.  I decided to forgo any new parts on the fork other than the oil, as I really am not crazy about it, but don't want to drop any cash on a new one yet.  The goal is to move onto a new mountain bike sometime (sooner rather than later would be nice, but unlikely) so I'm not putting much money into the 2003 Gary Fisher at the moment.

It may seem that I have totally foregone any running, but I have been running just enough to know I still can.  It has traditionally been a winter sport for me, so I think that once the cold weather really hits, I'll lace of the trail runners and head back out to the Owyhees.  The reality is that whatever I chose to do athletically has to fit within the context of my faith, family, and career, so I pick and choose what is the most fun and rewarding at that time, and focus on that.  I have never been able to focus on more than one sport, so I have just given up trying and am just living in the moment of the sport I'm into.