I did my first ride of the season in temperatures below zero today. Luckily it didn't snow until I got home. But it was cold enough that I stopped at my LBS to get myself an early Christmas present by upgrading my gloves. I'm sure the new gloves come in handy for tomorrows commute, too. Now I've just to sort out the problem with my frozen toes (without buying new shoes) and I'd be alright for this winter season. My first try will be closing the ventilation gaps in the sole and getting some warmer insoles (thick socks and shoe covers weren't enough today). We'll see how big the difference will be. Anyway, this is the time of the year when I'm missing the Japanese weather the most, I guess.
@pedalist I put plastic shopping bags over my socks and then put wind stopper overshoes on (not the heavily insulated ones). I went out last Saturday for a ride, and at 0-4 degrees (near the turning point it was lightly snowing) my feed kept warm and toasty. That also has another upside: neither my shoes nor my overshoes smell after the ride.
I raced this weekend at SMP in Tochigi. It was all for fun as I did not expect to place, but just wanted to have fun. I was there with 5 friends. One of which would be the racer in front of me. While sitting in the staging area just going over the start in my head, I look down to watch Jeff's run. He had a clean start, but when the gets to the drop pictured above everything seemingly went wrong. He got crossed up or something and I watch him and the bike do an awkward hop/bounce and I saw Jeff's head hit the bank to his right. He was stunned for roughly 2 seconds, then remounted and charged on.... 20 seconds later I here "Yon, San, Ni, Ichi, Gooooooo!" and I am off... with that image fresh in my mind. I struggled to find rhythm and finished my first run in 65th place (out of 119).
Luckily your final position is based on 2 runs... so I will have to work hard to make up spots on my second run. Luckily - Jeff was OK and able to do his second run. I watched with some concern as he hit the same drop without issue the second time. Then.... "Yon, San, Ni, Ichi, Gooooooo!" I took off and worried more about smooth than fast... The first half of the ride felt the same...but then came the first short climb... I carried so much speed into it, the effort was less than half - on the second climb - same result. Smooth was giving me the drive going into the climbs to not have to work so hard. In the end, my final place was 59th. In one run, I was able to jump over 6 riders. I was able to finish mid pack on a course I had never seen before this weekend. All in all it was a success... not to mention I ate the best Katsudon I have ever tasted...
It’s been a pretty cold start to the winter, but still been getting out for my dawn training a few time s a week. Been some Stella sunrises in the last few weeks... Anyway just passed 10000km for the year (not my highest yearly total) and st about 72000m of vert (my highest) so it’s been a solid year of riding.
This was December a year ago for me - short sleeves. I remember climbing hills in Tochigi and Tsukuba-san around New Year's. I guess this year winter will just develop differently... Going to spite the winter by climbing Yatsugatake this weekend, sleeping outside in a tent in minus 10 or 15, 50 cm or more of snow, and over 60 kmh winds forecast. Below, Dec 4, 2016
I’ve been here in Vietnam for a couple weeks, and one more to go. Surprisingly, there are still a few people on bikes in Hanoi. I’m leaving early tomorrow for Ninh Binh, where my guesthouse supposedly has bikes for guest use, free. We’ll see what they’re like.
I did a loop up north by car, from Ha Giang to Dong Van and Ma Pi Leng, and heading back from there saw several fully loaded bikes—Ortlieb pans back and front—just as we hit this 60-80m stretch of mud. I wouldn’t have wanted to go thru it on a motorbike (probably couldn’t have), let alone a touring bike. (Our car did make it thru, tho bottoming out a lot.)
Anyway, maybe some biking here in the next few days.
This weekend has been high on adventure. For the first time in over a year I actually got lost. I mean, I think I could have backtracked, but there is no adventure in that, so I forged on to the point of trailblazing. Saturday was the first time I have ever thought "A rope would be something smart to carry" - Seriously - the trailblazing was fairly epic for me. On all fours while carrying a bike up an incline/cliff. Saturday also was a second for me... it was the second time I made a mistake that sent me over a cliff. My view on the way down was a rocky river bed and I had a bike tangled in my legs. Last second I was able to grab a tree growing out of the cliff face - end result, I was able to stop centimeters before my legs and bike hit the bottom. I let go of the tree only to have some skin missing on my legs from the bike. Admittedly - I was a little impressed with myself. A rookie mistake leads to a potential disaster only to have luck make it all no big deal. Yay for me. By the end of the ride, we were in a groove and stole a KOM and 2nd on 2 segments. Funny how quickly I can forget....
Today I went out again, but on the single speed. Riding with a few new off road riders, I was able to play a bit and still lead a ride. Unfortunately - my playing got more and more bold as the ride went on. I eventually did something that I even recognized I only had a 30% chance at landing... did it anyway... end result... I fell in the river again, but this time, I got wet..... very wet. I laughed at myself and continued riding for 2 more hours in the cold with all my gear soaked. Again - not hurt, so just laughed it off and continued. Sadly near the end of the ride, someone cut a piece of bamboo on the edge of the trail. Roughly a meter high and at an angle. I clipped it with my hand... no wreck or anything, but my hand was stinging. Pulled off my glove and I have skin missing from the last knuckled down through the cuticle. Also, the fingernail is black.... I am guessing I will lose it in a week or two. I was pissed, so I want back and pulled out my trail saw. I have a new souvenir at the house. With a couple clean cuts and some massaging, I will have some new shot glasses.
The wife is not so stoked when she sees the bruises, the bumps and blood. But seriously... it is worth it.
A busy schedule and typical winter weather here made it my first 0km week of the year, I guess. It's really depressing and a reason to dig into some seasonal sweets (no riding + eating sweets = double bad). If there wouldn't be my daily commute (depending on my schedule 100-150km) and my weekly run (not very serious, just meant as kind of cross training) I'd start getting worried. Maybe I'll just grab my commuter and hit the unpleasant conditions for one hour or so...hahaha...typing this it starts sleeting...well coffee, cookies and candles it is for me today then. I guess for the future I too have to think of something that fits more than 28mm grip or some indoor solution. I'd prefer the first idea, my wife and my wallet the latter.
I made the decision that my Waterrower was junk and beyond another repair. It has been unusable for most of it's time. Maybe because of the price I paid I haven't wanted to bin it. It was taken away yesterday. And last night my beloved ordered me a solid bit of kit to replace it as my Christmas present.
So... Rode this morning on the Vassago. The bike is a steep XC Geometry that is great most times, but makes things interesting when things get steep or chunky. Aside from two almost "high sides" with the bike, we had a pretty good morning.
I then came home and built up my latest bike.
A Stanton Sherpa Plus. This is a pre-production model of an existing bike. When compared to my Vassago - they are similar and different. Both are hard tails with a 120mm fork, but the Sherpa is almost 5 degrees slack in the head tube angle. This thing should be fairly rowdy on the trails. Side by side, this thing outweighs the Vassago by an obvious amount, but when riding, the bike feels light and very comfortable on the neighborhood steps. I am looking forward to getting in some trail time soon.
once all the hoses and cable housings have time to relax, I will trim them all back a bit and clean up the front end.