Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back Home

I'm back home now from visiting family, to much food and to little activity. I was able to get out on a few hikes, two "bushwacks" and one trip up Roundtop Mountain. My camera went dead half way through the trip so I wasn't able to get many pictures. Roundtop was awesome. I hiked this trail last spring with my sister when the trees were all leafed out. The trail is a totally different expierence during leaf off. The trail follows a bluff line, you hike up to it then follow at the base. Incredible views of 75 vertical feet of bluffline. Then the trail takes you on top of the bluff. I wish I had pictures, maybe my Dad will send me a few. The trail tops out at 2050 feet, storms were moving into the area so the cloud ceiling was about 1950. It was odd walking into the clouds, kind of like fog but the wind was blowing the clouds around you.

I got some really thoughtful presents, my family rocks. My aunt Judy saw the post about my Snappy Cap getting chewed and contacted Susan to make me another one. Thanks Judy, awesome gift. My Grandma also came through with a much needed gift and my parents hooked me up with a planter, can't describe it in words, only a pic will do it justice.
I love it. This spring, an asparagus fern is getting planted for his hair. Kind of looks like Side Show Bob. Not in the picture is a bicycle planter my Mom got me for my birthday some years ago. I love to garden/landscape and I am stoked to have a house this year where I can do those activities. Large veggie garden is in the works for 2009.

Today I got out for a two hour road ride on the mountain bike. Temps were really not bad,48 deg., I was in shorts, two jerseys and arm warmers. I was a little under dressed as I started to get uncomfortably cold as the sun began to set about 4p. A big weekend coming up, my first mountain bike race of the year! This was a spur of the moment type of decision. A buddy of mine wanted to race and is willing to drive, also the trail is about 45 minutes from my parents home. How could I say no. Should be interesting, I'm not exactly in the best shape right now. Oh well, I'm just going to make it a spirited group ride.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Avoiding The Crowds

I had some last minute Christmas shopping to wrap up today and was really dreading fighting the masses. I hate crowds and really despise heavy traffic, so I hit up the bike trail and avoided all the traffic. Not to mention I was able to park literally at the front door of all the places I shopped today, no hunting for parking spaces.


One more day of work and then off to Jasper to spend some time with the family. No riding for the next few days, however, I should get in a run or two and some kick ass hiking. Newton County has some of the best hiking, I truly love this part of Arkansas. I'll have some photos on Saturday. Happy Holidays.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Cold Ride on Mt. Kessler

When I woke this morning, I was greeted with very warm temps. 55 degrees to be exact. These are the clothes I picked out for my ride today.
I knew there was a cold front coming through sometime today, I just didn't know when. The last thing I wanted to happen is getting caught out in shorts when the temp drops 20 degrees. So, I checked the weather channel's hour by hour, sure enough, I would have froze in the above outfit about half way through the ride. I decided to run some errands and gear up for a winter weather mountain bike ride. By the time I got to the trail, the temp was 32 with a strong north wind. The current wind chill is 20. I felt fine on the trail, but the ride home was frigid. Total elapsed time was 3hrs, my computer says 2.5hrs. The reason for the discrepancy, I took a lot of pictures, enjoy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Enjoy it While It's Here

Warmer temps are here. It has been a tough week dealing with the frigid temps during my commute to work. Not much training so far this week other than the ride to and from work. I do try and pick out a hill or two, going out of my way to find an incline. Tonight I was able to get out on a short run with Smuckers. The temps were balmy, I was out in shorts and long sleeves as temps were in the upper fifties. I managed to snap a few pics while we were out.
The square looks great

Here are a few of Smuckers from Saturday
These two pics were taken on a steep downhill section of trail. The pics don't show how steep.

The weather looks ok for outdoor activities this weekend. Saturday's forecasted high is 60, awesome. Sunday it turns cold again with a high of 30. Wacky weather.

Monday, December 15, 2008

TG Points

Do I get any tough guy points for commuting to work this morning? Air temp was 17, wind chill of 2, head wind the entire ride in, does this count? I guess it depends on who you ask and where they live. The fact that I was riding yesterday in shorts and sleeves made this ride so tough. Everyone at work thinks I'm crazy, but they had those feelings from the beginning when I told them I rode my bike to work.

I apologize to anyone who reads my blog that lives somewhere that it actually gets really cold in the winter and still manages to ride their bike. You are probably scoffing at my rants about how "cold" it is here. Sorry. It's all relative. To me and what I'm used to, it's cold, damn cold.

Tomorrow morning will be a repeat of today, cold and windy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Kite Flying Weather

The weather this weekend has been nuts, today's high reached 69 and yesterday was in the low sixties. That's warm for Northwest Arkansas in mid-December. The only complaint I had with the weather this weekend was the wind. There was a sustained wind of 22-24 mph coming up from the South. Me being the genius that I am decided to end both my rides this weekend coming home fighting the wind. Averaged about 20mph heading to the trail and about 11 mph heading home, ouch! Got in about 6.5 hours of saddle time between sat and sun, plus a long hike with Smuckers.

It felt awesome today, riding in shorts and short-sleeves and half-fingered gloves. Lots of other riders out today, most of them way over dressed. They had to be roasting underneath all those clothes as I was sweating with the above mentioned kit. The weather will be short lived however as a massive cold-front blows through tonight. High today- 69 High tomorrow- 22. No joke, 22 is the forecasted high for tomorrow. Oh well. A trainer isn't looking so bad now.

No pics, I think my camera is broken. At least the battery will not charge.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's On

Starting the training for Xterra Nats this week. Tentative schedule for Xterra is up now. Where is the South Central Champs? I guess that's the reason it's called a "tentative" schedule.

Training schedule is mapped for the next month and a half. Also, I am placing a big emphasis on diet this year. I will try to stick to this diet. The diet along with cutting way down on this activity should help tremendously.

Looks like a great weekend, I have two long mtb rides planned andthe weather looks outstanding.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Group Riding

I've always been a fan of group rides, road, mountain or any combination. There are plenty of road group rides to pick from here in Fayetteville that travel through some absolutely beautiful terrain in NWA. During the spring, summer, and early fall one could hit a road group ride every day of the week, somedays two a day. This is all fine and good, but I love my mtb. I especially love riding my mtb with a bunch of good friends.
I first started riding mountain bikes alone, I got my first mountain bike in '94 and at that time and place(Pocahontas, AR) , none of my friends were riding bikes. My first bike was a POS Murry I bought at a garage sale for ten dollars. The tires were dry rotted and 25 minutes into my first off road trip, I flatted. Needless to say I didn't have a spare or any type of inflation device, so I hiked back to the house, thrilled at the enjoyment experienced during the 25 minutes of riding.
Riding alone will always have a place for me. I enjoy it, plus most specialized training must be done alone. However, I have an opportunity this spring to lead a couple of off-road group rides for the local tri-sports club. I've been a member for a few years, just not extremely active. I join in many group rides, but I have never lead a group. The fact is the club is mostly "on road" it has never offered any off road activities(other than trail runs). I am very excited to become the off road cycling chairperson. It's an area that has been lacking from this club, will have future updates on my plans for the club.
My training is still on hold. Just when you think you are done with moving, something else rears up and must be dealt with. Right now I am busy painting, pretty much the entire house will be painted. Once you start you just can't stop. You look at the freshly painted walls and suddenly the unpainted walls, that were fine before you painted the adjoining wall, look horrendous. It's a vicious cycle that I hope ends soon. Marcus, a good friend of my sisters, came over last night and knocked out the kitchen. He does this sort of work for a living and it showed. The quality was far better than I would have done and he did it in a lot less time. I finished up the bathroom tonight, I think. It may need a second coat but we are out of paint. I'll see how it looks in the morning.
Planning a night ride on the mountain bike tomorrow night. It's been almost a year since I've been on a trail at night.
More pics next post, less text