Monday, November 18, 2013

Cold weekend...

... in Calgary seems to be the trend so far. Friday I got a little bit of the leftover warmer weather from the week that I've heard about. Craig and I (and Toby) did a shorter but nice mtb ride on out local trails. 
Saturday was stormy. Most people were surprised, some mad and some rather impressed as the 4 of us ventured out from Cadence as any other weekend. Both the Bunnins and Erik came out. We avoided all roads possible and stuck to the path network we have. Some of which had already been plowed! Nice! Little bit west then east and north passed the Zoo, a new route for me. Chilly in the wind but mostly I was overdressed as usual. 
Today it was little cooler (-19 as we started) but beautiful sunny day and with no rides until next Sunday I couldn't turn one down. Only Erik, the bad ass Norwegian, came out. We road north with a little work emergency stop at Starbucks and a coffee. The roads are in great shape and without the unplanned stop it would have been a great day for a longer loop. But the shorter version was just fine. Just so nice to be out! 
It's getting easier to dress right, Tuscany ravines made me overheat but on the roads I was just fine. The new boots are still performing. I think my outfit today will be the perfect outfit for the highest day in Yak Attack. I better take a note.

Happy Riding!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sweet winter ride..

... in the city.

My Garmin showed an average temperature of -10 today. So how I manage to dress to warm is beyond me, but it was hot. The new boots keep up to their reputation and not one sign of chilly toes, and today was probably a good test, not usually this cold on our average ride. Now I just need to fine tune the upper layers and all will be good!

Craig, Erik and Shawn came out. We decided to stay local and to avoid to much crazy stuff in respect of Eriks healing elbow. The adventure went down to Glenbow and we played with our lives in the bomb fields of Weaselhead, they really are serious about the no bikes..... 
This is Shawns "I'm really scared" face.....

Great ride, with my favorite group of riding buddies, when they are not sleeping in or Kiss deflated, they are usually up for anything.

Happy Riding!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

One of my favorite...

... winter route when the sun is shining and a full day outing is worth while is the Glenbow-Cochrane-Big Hill Spring and back on the twisty north gravel roads.

Today the sun was shining and the temperatures perfect for such loop. A few modifications to shorten the loop up a little bit.
It seems that every year I need to re-train my self in the winter clothing code. Today it started out around -8 degrees as we left cadence, with around 0 the day before and I felt chilled I put on a couple extra layers. It only took 5 minutes of riding before layers had to come off. The dry cold vs the moist less cold got me fooled. So now I had pockets full of clothing and we were still far from the high of the day....... and it got hot! In dry sunny cold days it's hard to convince your self a thin insulation layer inside a good wind or goretex type outer layer and you are set. It might feel cold as you role out of your warm garage, but as soon as you start creating some heat you'll be good.

We skipped the Tuscany ravine and upper Bearspaw park section and stayed low through the gravel pit. Just started trails when my fender mount on the rear broke off. But a quick stop and a zippy tie got me going quick.
First trail mechanical of the winter season... carry a few zippy ties,they come
in handy for a lot of quick fixes. Fenders fixes  are a regular on our rides.

This section of trail is always fun, but often not used enough to ride all winter, the Bearspaw reservoir is our way over to the rail road service trail. But with the trail barley covered in snow this was a great option.

Not so lucky with the rail way service path, it was covered and since we had a long ride ahead of us we chose the rail road for a small section before the bike path to Cochrane through the Glendbow. The majority of the path had been cleared so it was fast and easy compared to the rest of the day. Seemed like a quick ride to Cochrane compared to last weekend, but we still took time for a good lunch stop. The coffee also contributed to a jelly bean stashed away for later...

Took our new route out of town on the path; eliminating going through traffic. The single track through the valley to Big Hill Spring was great, while the open section was a bit of a hike. A minor miss calculation was also the lack of frozen water. Not a big deal for Craig who is a jumper champion. I through for sure I'd get wet feet, but then we saw the log, a little balance and I was over too.

We made it to the Provincial Park after a little bit more hike than we normally would do. From there we took a bit of a shortcut on asphalt highway before hitting our favorite gravel roads. They were in great shape. After a long day we decided to skip the ravines on the way down. Good call, felt really tired when I hit the bottom of Tuscany and had to pedal the short straight away to my house.
Great day and look forward to more Alberta Foothills gravel roads! Endless opportunities for great rides.
The endless farmer roads in Alberta foothills give us endless routes for winter rides.

Happy Riding!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Flood repairs...

...are still going on around the city. Some of our favorite bike routes were damaged to no repair but the path under Stoney Bridge is well underway to be open again shortly.

Nice Friday city west edge ride.

Happy Riding!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Real winter...

...  usually has some snow and today we got to ride in plenty!

Sunday Ride
Friday Ride

It felt a bit like a real winter group ride when all of a sudden Dave and crew (Dave from Hardcore) showed up at Cadence. They were out for a coffee shop to coffee shop ride for his birthday. It was tempting to join this ride as it was snowing and blowing pretty hard at that time. But since I rode coffee shop ride yesterday it was time to explore today. So Craig and I stuck to the plan (sort of, skipped north and went west). The neat thing about winter riding is that the same routes never feel like the same ride; we did the same Friday loop but more than doubled the time to Cochrane, the challenges was different than any other time going to Cochrane. The snow deeper and wetter than before. It was mostly ridable but grinding pace and some train tracks to make distance. It felt like a hard work, and when we got to our coffee stop almost 3 hours later I was ready for a break and food!

No ride goes without good coffee!
On our way home we stuck to gravel roads but ended the ride with some fun single track back to Valley Ridge and the new shortcut into Bowness. Had a minor crash when a big hole in the sidewalk (dug on purpose but not marked) was hidden under the snow and I rode into it. After a whole day in deep snow and slick trail I had to crash on the sidewalk! Lesson learned, never loose focus!
There was times today when we for a few minutes would touch nice packed snow on gravel roads and the sun tried to get through, it reminded me of what to come :)

A few clothing notes;
First, I finally found use of the fancy number mounting buttons we got in Spain a couple years back. I new I kept them for a reason. They are a perfect accessory for my too large outer pants. Now I fasten my bib shorts to the outer pants and there is no hanging bum to catch on the seat!

Second, winter boot update. Not sure it was much colder today than yesterday, maybe slightly, definitely a longer ride and usually after a stop, little tired and your feet are moist, I struggle to get warm when we go again. Today I never event felt even slightly cold. At times too hot! (Garmin says average of -3, wind was definitely from the north so felt colder). Walking on the floor in the coffee shop they feel like hikers with a nice soft rubber sole (and yes, I guess they really do look like it too...), hiking up some hills today they seem to have much better grip than any of my other riding shoes. So far so good, but if you're never riding much colder than today, I'd suggest looking at the model just down from this warmth as they do feel bulky when pedaling.

Lastly, poggies! Happy to have them back on! hands are nice and toasty, yes, a bit tricky at times when on single track and yes, they are terrible in side wind as we had plenty of today. But worth it!

Next, work week in Calgary! Feels like a treat, a few mid week commutes should be in the plans.

Happy Riding!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Feeling good....

...about the season changing. Today we got a big dump of snow and I actually enjoyed the cold, snowy and wet outing. Started out not too bad, but by the time I'd finished morning dog outing the snow was coming down pretty heavy. But it's winter so not going to stop a ride planned. Katy text came out of nowhere and by the time I got home I had a ride buddy. We agreed it was a perfect day for a coffee shop ride. The ride down to he place was nice, bike paths still good, very busy with runners and walkers out. Great to see winter doesn't stop people from heading out. Got Katy and we road pathways down to cafe Rosso, had a nice mocha while catching up. 
Fancy drinks should be part of every winter ride
Winter ready but fenders would be good, and poggies coming out soon too :)

The ride home presented a bit more snow. Had to focus to ensure I didn't go off the path. 

Was not cold but I did want to try my new 45nrth winter boots, definitely no problems dealing with the wet and around 0 degrees. The comfort does lack a little, but to be expected with a big winter boot, more to come on their performance as they go through the harshness of a real Canadian winter. 

My Gore jacket is still leaking, not as bad as end of last year so the treatment as recommended did fix some of the leak. Now the bottom half was totally soaked so home to re-treat. Hope the wet weather will eventually turn to real winter then water will be less of an issue. Think I'm ready for the cold :) wet preparedness need a little work still.

Ready, fender, go! Now wet stuff, take that! All set for tomorrow - and the rest of winter season...

Happy Riding!

Friday, November 01, 2013

The first ...

.... off season winter ride.

Not sure I can call it a true winter ride; I did hit some snow, and even a little ice but mostly mud and 8 degrees :)

I tuned up my cross bike last weekend with the plan of getting my one cross race in; with only one real nice day I ended up taking the mountain bike out for a last good ride and so this year there will be no cross race for me. Instead I had a nicley tuned bike for this weekend; staring today.

Solo ride to Cochran through Glenbow. Did the traditional way up through Tuscany but skipped part of the single track trying to stay clear of the mud as much as I could. The tree farm was not so friendly with the mudding; quick stop before train traks trail to clear tires then it was good all the way to Cochrane. Stopped for my favorite mocha and a quick snack. Did the back road out of Cochrane and almost made it to Calgary when a road was closed and off over the fence for some field exploration; and yes, the mud was sticky there to. Manage to confuse my self and end up on a dead end road; got to see some really nice houses before turning back into the headwind to backtrack a little bit. Then ended with some great single track into Calgary. A nice way to start the winter season!

Happy Riding!

First practice on snow and ice of the season :)

Just a perfect day to be out!

There will be many more of these if the winter cooperates :)

The Fall that came and went..

...and that might be ok with me.

ABA Cup Final Race - Devin
Fall riding is by far my favorite; your usually fit, the trails are great, no bugs, temperatures are just right, awesome colors and most people are done racing so it's time to see your riding buddies again. This year the fall sort of came and went a bit too quick; traveling up north doesn't give me the mid week rides so it might add to this feeling of barley getting any great adventures in. And if I could only keep up with the blog I would have a record of the rides and I'm sure it's not as bad as it seem.

Shortly after Breck Epic I made ABA cup with the last race in Devon. Good fun, with a lucky trip up when I really should have lost my bike on the highway but with Andrea coming with me this day, I still have a bike :) And I got the ABA cup series in box. Not a great turn out, but happy to be up there supporting the event. Now I can say I've ridden in Devon too.

Start of day 1
As for racing, I ended the season with Moab Rocks, a new Trans Rockies event in Moab, UT. It's a 3 day event over the Canadian Thanks Giving weekend. It had some big names on the men's side, and Trish and a local, Heidi Rentz, would the be the two girls giving me the motivation to race hard in the open women category.

Trans Rockies always put on good event, and this was no exception. I was not sure what to expect as for the course as two days had most of the riding in areas I didn't really know. I did bring my full suspension bike, though knowing hard tail was probably going to be the choice of bike for most serious racers. At this point in the year I was really looking forward to just ride and have fun. And the trails in Moab are definitely more enjoyable on a FS :)
Day one; lots of road up front, and a little famous hike section, before some pretty fun descending. No big issues, besides keeping track of the dots on the rocks to not get off course. 
Day two; porcupine rim - about 2 hours of climbing before all the fun! Most people who have ridden in Moab will know this trail. The road was windy and long but knowing what you'll get to come down you just pedal with a grin. Had a bit of an issue with the front suspension when the seal came right out and let all the air out. Happy to be on a full suspension at that point. Made it down safe, but as day one, Heidi, the local girl, right on my tail.
Day 3; around Mag5 area - started down by the highway and went up Gemini bridges road. Quiet a bit double track to start, but not nearly as much as day one and two. A lot of the climbing continued on nice single track. The descending was a good mixture of slick rock, looser rock, little sand/dirt. Good fun day. One crash when I hit a sandpit but made it safely to the finish line and again, just ahead of the local rider, Heidi.
Overall a fun three days, as a first years event I'm sure we will see some improvements to the course over the years, though for Moab this was good I thought. Fun concept as well, as within the race there is also Enduro section (time down hills). We see this more and more in events and to my enjoyment! :) In the end I managed to take overall win in both. But it was not far back to Heidi, and Trish road really strong all weekend and into a 3rd.
Good representation from AB made the weekend extra fun. Opted out of staying for the week, and made it home to relax with a few days off in Calgary.

That wraps up racing for this year.

Craig, Andrea and I had a few good rides, Barrier area here.
Managed to get a few rides in as well before snow fell. Most of the rides have been shorter, never got in a "adventure ride" with Craig, but I'm sure there will be no lack of this over the winter. Now that Bragg Creek on the west side connects with all the Station flats accessible trails this seem to be the choice of riding for me.
Did get to try out the fixed up Jewels and the trail in this area. Manage to get in Skogan Pass loop on second attempt.

Now the mountain bikes are probably done for the season, gradually get plans in place for next year and get ready for a some great winter outings on cross bikes. The seasons are good for a forced break of pace and type of activities we do. The burn out seem to sneak up on you with little warning, and this time I think winter came just in time.

Next years plan is not all there yet, but the three days a week riding plan that I've been on with working up north seem to be possible but not sustainable. So though no great plan yet, it hopefully will have some changes to something, whatever it might be :)

Happy Winter Riding!