Thursday, April 26, 2012

Striving for Rhythm

Human nature is a funny thing.  Or more correctly, MY nature is a funny thing.  All winter I kept on the stationary bike, spending hours down in the basement spinning and sweating.  It certainly wasn't what I wanted to be doing, but I knew it was good for me.  So I gritted my teeth, put on a John Wayne movie and pedaled.

Now the weather is much, much nicer.  Even if there are some cool, damp days and it seems to be cloudy more often than it's sunny, the contrast with cold, wet, muddy and grey is pretty amazing.  But I've been slacking - not riding when I should and could be out.  I've made a couple of singletrack forays each week - but the other days I've been doing nothing.  Most of those days the weather was good enough that I could have had at least a nice ride around town, but I haven't.  So now that I've confronted the problem I'm going to try to get in at least a short ride five of the next seven days.  And I'll even get back on MapMyRide and log my miles.  Yeah.

Friday afternoon I headed down to Beaver Creek with Dave.  My plan was to ride a bit, from the campground down to the picnic area.  Then I planned on hiking back up, rather than push the bike up the insanely steep and rocky 5/8 mile "shortcut".  Once I got back to the car and caught my breath I would hike the bow saw down the trail about 1/4 mile to a downed tree and cut it out.  So I geared up and headed on down the trail.  I finally got the mount and lens cover replaced on my GoPro helmet cam, so I tried mounting it on the front fork for a bit.  Unfortunately that needs a bit more work, so I switched it to my helmet.  Even more unfortunately, when I came speeding down a hill, pegged my left bar end on a sapling, and crashed onto the trail at a pretty good rate of speed, sliding at least 10 feet on my right side - I had accidentally switched from video to photo every 10 seconds.

Immediately after crashing - you can tell because the bike is LAYING DRIVE SIDE DOWN.

Thankfully I didn't do any damage, but that was entirely too hard for a 49 year old guy to hit the ground.  Kinda took the oomph out of the afternoon.  I continued on my ride, eventually getting back into a semi-natural groove, but my shoulder and hip were pretty sore, as well as my right ankle.  The flat section down by the creek was a lot of fun though, and I actually managed to get some of that part on the GoPro - before the SD card filled up and it stopped recording.

I'm not sure why exactly, but I didn't leave the bike at the bottom, instead hiking (mostly) and biking (a little bit) back up to the top and the car.  By the time I got back up there I was twice as sore as when I hit the ground, and I wasn't about to hike back down and spend another half hour sawing through three tree trunks.  So I had a nice cold drink and headed back home - good enough for one day.

Saturday morning I did something a bit different.  Diana was sick at home with a nasty bout of intestinal flu, so Kenny stayed at home with her.  I headed out before 9:00 to meet up with two of the adult leaders from Kenny's new Boy Scout troop.  They had an idea to do a canoe trip on the local river, a slow and muddy waterway that has something like 20 dams on it.  And since they knew I was into kayaking they asked if I'd like to go along on an exploratory trip to see if the river was passable.  We put in one town upstream, near the Bliss dam in Newton Falls, and paddled downstream in spotty rain and cool temperatures.  Over the next four hours we came across three river-wide blockages, the last of which was a huge mess in an area that was very difficult to portage.  So they may have to either find another place to paddle or find another way to use the clear sections in order to get in enough distance to make the trip worthwhile.  It was nice to paddle on the Mahoning in the upstream sections where I'd never been before, but what I really need is some whitewater.  I'm waiting for a weekend when the water level and my free time are both right and I can get in a nice ride on the lower Slippery Rock Creek.  Now that's some REAL fun!!

A fortuitously placed fallen log at Moraine State Park.

Sunday my brother and I had planned on a ride over at Moraine, but he was feeling a bit under the weather and had to cancel.  I considered heading over and riding myself, but with the chilly, damp weather I settled on going to the nearby North Road trails and doing some trail work for a couple of hours.  Now that the tread is solid enough to actually ride I've managed to get over there and put in some laps.  It really pointed out where the trail needed to be tweaked to make it more bike friendly.  The twisty, narrow tread is great for hiking, but once I rode it I found that the corridor pressed too close in some areas, the sight lines were obstructed in others, and some of the turns were too tight for a bike.  So I spent a couple of hours widening the tread, cutting back undergrowth at corners, and making re-routes for the sharp turns.  I only got a little further than half way, but I think that the changes should be pretty noticeable.  I need to get my bike back out there and ride it again to see.

A too-tight corner before...

...and after.

I guess it was another so-so weekend.  I did get some stuff done, and managed to get in some riding, but I certainly hope to do better in the upcoming week.  With a little bit of cooperation from the weather, and a few other things falling in line, hopefully I'll get more miles - and have more fun.


  1. Glad you have gotten some riding in and hope you make the 5 of 7 days this week. What's your handle on Map My Ride?

    1. Dan,

      I'm swampboy62 on MMR - my usual user name. Doing pretty good so far this week, with three rides in five days (wish the trail rides could have been longer). It looks like I should be able to get in a ride around town tonight as well, so 5 out of 7 is still do-able.

      Steve Z

  2. SwampBoy, you are one busy dude. I mean it. I'm sitting here on my ass adventuring via internet and you are out there crashing through trees and kayaking in freezing muddy water and then writing about it...I'm getting a guilt trip going here and I gotta tell ya, of all my friends and cohorts you are the one that gets me off my butt and riding after reading one of your posts. You and Judi. Good work, man!


    1. TJ,

      Don't know how it happened. I used to be mostly sedentary, even though I was in fairly decent shape. I really think it was the kayaking that made me want to "have an adventure" every day. And now I feel like I'm slacking when I spend an evening just sitting around (doesn't mean I don't do it, just that I feel like a slacker). And really, I could do a lot more - more riding, more trail work, more yard work - but I let those small chunks of time, like after work, just go to waste (sigh). Gotta count those blessings though, and try to keep pushing. I'm gonna really REALLY try to motivate myself for an after work ride today!!!

      Thanks for stoppin' by.

      Steve Z