Friday, May 4, 2012

Back at it again

Last week I confidently proclaimed that I would get my lazy butt off the couch during weekday evenings and make myself ride at least five days out of the next seven.  And that there is the whole problem with the internet - it's available to the public.  See, if I had been disgusted with myself and muttered under my breath "Hey slacker, you need to pry yourself out of that chair and ride your bike five days this week" - no one would have heard it, and then no one would know if I didn't actually do it.  But since I'm foolish enough to put it on my blog - which is available to the general public - it kind of puts it out there so that I at least feel obligated to do what I said.  So in one way - that of providing motivation - it's good.  But it also removes the easy way out, so that can be a problem.

I started out the week well, with a singletrack ride down at Beaver Creek.  It was just a short ride, since my weekday riding time is also short - but at least I spent an hour riding the dirt.  Then I set myself up for failure by not riding for the next two days, which meant I had to ride the next four days straight or not make my goal.  Way to plan out your week, Steve.

But there was a chance to pull it off, since I had the weekend available to fit the next two rides into.  I got in a ride on the rail trail on Saturday, which does count even though it's pretty boring.  Then on Sunday I got Diana to accompany me on a drive down to Beaver Creek, where I got in another short ride while she napped in the car at the campground.  So that was good - five days past with three rides down.  Still could work...

Beaver Creek State Park
Kenny went to his fifth grade camp for three days starting Monday, and Diana worked till late, so when I got home after work the house was empty.  That worked pretty well for me, as I quickly changed and headed out to ride around town for a while.  I've been more careful in picking my route lately, just hitting up the low-traffic suburban side streets and keeping away from congestion as much as possible.  But still it seems to me that I have to keep on my toes so much more in town than on singletrack.  You never know when some nut will reverse out of a driveway between two houses just as you're riding past.  Then it's up to YOU to stay out from under those wheels, even though the driver has the responsibility to check before pulling out.  Give me rocks and roots any day...

Tuesday would be the last day of my week long cycle.  When I got home from work I was thinking about a ride around the neighborhood for a little while, maybe even a ride out on the rail trail.  But my wife, who knows how much all this riding contributes to keeping my questionable sanity at least tolerable, suggested that I take the time to head on out to Moraine and get in some dirt riding before dark.  And with her encouragement I packed up food, gear and bike in record time and headed on over to ride.  And it was a great ride, too.  Not too long, but sometimes you don't need a lot to feel good.  I hit some of my favorite tech sections, including a stretch I call The Big Rock Downhill.  Here the trail leaves the ridgetop and heads down over a hundred feet to cross the tiny brook in the valley below.  And on the way the trail builders have routed it over about 6 or 7 really well built rock features, using the huge boulders littering the hillside to make an unbelievable challenging and fun route.  I've ridden each feature successfully, even making a no-dab ride from the top almost to the bottom before.  But on Tuesday I was clearing the rocks with a combination of technique and power, not the bounce-n-bash style that I usually display.  After clearing the third tough section in a row - and doing it RIGHT - I realized the groove I was in and just pushed it as far as I could take it.  Don't be fooled into thinking that I'm extreme mtb guru, but for a 49 year old with not so great breathing I was pretty satisfied.

Moraine mtb trailhead

So I did make the 5 out of 7 for that week, and I'm going to try again for this week.  I started writing this up on Thursday, and I've managed to get in an hour on the rail trail Wednesday and 10 laps around my block (7.5 miles with 400 feet of climbing) on Thursday.  That gives me hope that I've gotten past my latest motivation drought and will continue to push myself at the level that I expect.  And Kenny is back from his summer camp experience, where he had a good time with his fellow fifth grade lunatics.  I'm glad that he got to go, but I'm even gladder to have him back home.  He's wanting to go for a canoe trip this weekend, so it looks like I'll be checking some water levels for the local waterways.  Might be an excellent chance to get some paddling video on the GoPro!

This one is for Diana


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  2. Great Job! I knew when you posted your intent online that the extra motivation would be enough. Hopefully the pattern will repeat this week and the other forces (nature, work, life) don't conspire against you.

    Good riding!

  3. Dan,

    You were right. Just putting it out there was enough to get me going. And after a bit of extra workout my legs are feeling pretty darn good.

    Now I'm looking at 5 for 7 this week and I think it'll be a piece of cake.

    Steve Z

  4. I live about 100 yards from a perfectly good lagoon/river and it just occurred to me lately that I should start thinking Kayak thoughts. I have a set of plans for a pretty good little sailboat/rowboat that I have been carrying around for thirty (!) years...but a kayak would be cool. I was looking at those Hobie pedal/sailing rigs...way outside my price capabilities but it all starts with a thought.

    Yer ridin' alot more than me, lad. Keep it up. It makes me restless and that is a good thing.


  5. TJ,

    Sounds like my kind of place to explore. The reason they call me swampboy is from when I first started kayaking and spent a lot of time getting familiar with the feel of being in a boat while paddling the swamps and marshes here. There is something almost magic about slowly gliding up a tiny waterway in 8" of water, watching the fish below, hearing the birds - very restorative.

    Someone with your skills might benefit from spending a little bit of time looking at some of these DIY boat projects:

    My brother built a stitch & glue kayak a while back, but there are other even easier ways to make one that cost relatively little. The "Four Hour Kayak" made of willow saplings and a blue tarp is one pretty amazing (though odd) possibility.

    Things are getting a bit tough up here (work is scarce, bills are not), so it does me good to sooth my mind with a bike ride when I can. Sometimes you just have to take what you can get and call it good.

    Keep on riding.

    Steve Z