Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Still glowing from Camp Lynda

I am not sure why, but it is common for me to sleep poorly after an epic day in the saddle and the night after Day 3 of Camp Lynda was no exception. My body was tired but my brain was still accelerating and reliving every climb, every decent, every view and every decision of the day. The long drive back to Idaho gave me more time to think about the weekend and a big smile never left my face.

I want to say a huge thank you to Lynda and Dave for hosting Camp Lynda and for keeping the vibe so positive. I know how much time it takes to organize this type of thing even though its theme is “self supported”. You guys rocks!

The group dinners were a highlight and I only wish I could have spent more social time with more people. The conversation Friday night about training with power between Bart, who admitted that he doesn’t even wear a watch when he trains, and Dave Harris, was fun to listen to.

As I plowed through my first post-camp work day yesterday my brain kept drifting back to various points along the weekend’s adventure. These pics are a random sampling from each day.

At one point during our outbound leg, there was a river of water pouring down a valley in the face of the slickrock but by the time we came back through it was dry.

The mud on Day 1 was more grit and sand than clay we were able to ride without too many issues other than a noisy reminder from the drivetrain area

If only I had cyclocross-carried my bike through the first 200 yards of clay on Day 2...

When you have a hard time opening the wrapper, you have waited too long to eat.

Threatening weather seems to surround us for most of Day 3 but we were treated to great riding conditions

My biggest regret of Camp Lynda was not making it to the Iceberg. Ha!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Camp Lynda Day 3

Day 3 of Camp Lynda lived up to the hype. Mother Nature threw us a bone and let us attempt the entire route as planned and the conditions were excellent to throw down a big one.

Completing a whopper of a ride like this in January is a good confidence booster and perfect training for the Su100 in three weeks. I spent most of the day riding with Jeff K and he pushed me raise my level higher than I would have riding alone. Congrats to everyone to who finished this one today.

Track file from today captured with Garmin Vista Hcx

The climb to Starvation Point was my ride highlight

Great view near the top of Starvation

I should have carried a filter. Jeff gave me a tablet and I treated one saved my ass.

Camp Lynda Day 2

Day 2 was to be a technical singletrack-fest but we had to modify the route due to steady rain overnight...but this is not Camp Creampuff, it is Camp Lynda. So we rode. The first 300 yards of dirt on today's ride wreaked havoc on the peloton as clay built up and stopped wheels from turning. A few turned back right there. My bike never really recovered from this and my drivetrain made noises I had never heard before.

Photo cred to Jeff K.

Once we cleared the initial muck we rallied around some fun trails like Barrell Cacti, Grapevine Racecourse, and Zen. Barrel Cacti was so fun I did it twice. It was a five hour day with a few stops for mud-clearing and drivetrain repair. A thorough cleaning was in order back at the motel after this one.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Camp Lynda Day 1

A 20+ group of us rolled out of the St. George, UT Starbucks at 9:00 AM this morning to begin our three day binge of riding in the sunny desert. However, Mother Nature did not get the official Camp Lynda Memo and decided drop moisture on us all day. Oh well. Despite the rain, everyone had smiles on their faces and the trails that we did ride held up well.

I had big plans of taking wonderful scenic photos from all the cool vantage points...but between the rain, the grit, and keeping my head down and pedaling it just didn't happen today.

Our gracious hosts

Regrouping near the end of the ride


The cleanup after the ride may have taken almost as long as our ride today. That red grit gets everywhere!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blowin' the needle off the fun meter

How do you know you have had a great weekend? If, while drinking that extra cup of coffee Monday morning, you are sore all over AND can't wipe the smile from your face, you probably had a good weekend. More details on the weekend later but for now a couple of albums:

Saturday we toured to the top of Mt. Oliver with wonderful friends in incredible weather. As an added bonus, the snow was surprisingly good.

Sunday I met up with JayP and T-Race for a dawn patrol snow bike ride from Lower Slide Lake to beyond Goosewing Ranch. Snow biking is "as good as it gets" here right now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

RBH Designs NTS Vest - Initial Thoughts

I received my new RBH Designs NTS Vest in the mail last Thursday and immediately started wearing it on Friday. I have owned the RBH Designs vapor barrier socks for the past two years and have been impressed but it took me a while to decide to try a piece of vapor barrier clothing and the vest seemed like the least risky piece to try.

It is typical for my layers to be "wetted out" after hiking the bootpack up Mt. Glory or a long snow bike ride. This is fine if I am in continuous motion but as soon as I stop, I get cold.

A very simple but well-made vest

I am a fan already. I notice that my core warms up and stays warm even when I stop moving briefly. My insulating layers have stayed dry and overheating has not been an issue. I wouldn't wear the NTS Vest if it was warmer than 32F though. I have been wearing a Craft Pro Zero (very thin) base layer underneath the vest each time and I like this system.

For comparison, I did a short snow bike ride after work yesterday without the NTS Vest and when I got back I immediately inspected my layers. The back of my base layer was soaked with sweat from my Camelbak and the front of my softshell was wet with perspiration. Had the conditions changed and warranted another insulating layer, the new layer would instantly get wet from the inside.

RBH Designs is a small company in CT and they sew everything to order in house. I like to support the small, innovative compaies whenever possible.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Big Ride Sunday

Big Ride Sunday Quick Stats:
Total Ride Time: 6:28:00
Time spent pushing: 1:15:00
Weather: 26F, cloudy
Days til' the Susitna 100: 34
Miles: 46

Dear Mother Nature,
Please send more below zero temps to Teton Valley, ID the last week of January.

In addition to building fitness, the goal of this ride was to try out a few more ideas for layering and nutrition. I went in search of trails & backroads that would be windblown and soft so that some pushing would be required and I could try out an idea for being commfortable on extended pushing sessions.

I could have taken a plowed route but this road was untraveled so I chose it instead

This spring looks "moosey" to me

Breaking trail much of the way up Horseshoe Canyon

Pushing builds character right?

Random Post-Ride thoughts:

1) Peanut Butter LaraBars are becoming a favorite snow bike food because they stay pretty soft even when frozen.

2) The RBH Designs NTS Vest is very promising. I wore it Fri afternoon, Sat & Sun and I am very happy with the results so far. I need to try it in below zero temps before I get too excited though.

3) Soft Shell pants vs. pants with a true Windstopper front - the verdict is still out on this one.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First cold ride of the season

I am glad that JayP called this morning to let me know how cold it was in Wilson, WY. I was gearing up to start my ride from my house but was “only” -4F on my back deck. Jay told me it was -22F on his back deck so I scrambled to start my ride in Wilson and get a real dose of cold weather riding.

The coldest air settles along the Snake River

By the time I got over the pass to Wilson, it had “warmed” up to a balmy -18F. T-Race, who is training for the Iditarod Trail Invitational this year, met me along the way and we rode together while Jay had to work. Overall, I had a great ride and felt more comfortable in the frigid temps than I have in the past. I rode for 4.5 hours at a moderate clip and enjoyed being out there on a gorgeous bluebird day. I do have a few details to work out before the Su100 in six weeks.

Coldest morning of the year

My feet and hands are still my biggest liability as I seem to be cursed with poor circulation in my extremities. Using chemical warmers in my pogies is a necessity. Although my Camelbak hose froze three different times, I was able to thaw it out each time by shoving the whole tube down my pants along my thigh and riding like this for a while. Ha! I am not sure why it has taken me this long to figure this trick out but it works well.

My feet got cold enough by the 3.5 hour mark that I had to hop off and walk for about five minutes which helped a little. By the end of the ride my feet were cold again and I would have needed to walk again for a while to try and get the blood flowing again.

I think my face was too frozen to smile but I was trying

Today’s layering:

Bib shorts
Icebreaker 200 knickers
Softshell Pants
Craft Pro Zero sleeveless top
Icebreaker 200 long sleeve
Hooded softshell jacket
Patagonia R.5 Balaclava
OR PL400 mittens

Smartwool liner sock
RBH Insulated Vapor Barrier sock
2 pairs - Smartwool heavy weight hunting socks
New Balance size 13, 4E walking shoes (my normal shoe size is 11 E)
XXL Neos Navigator Overboots

Random lessons learned today:

1) I don’t like riding with the balaclava covering my mouth but when it is this cold I need something to cover my nose.

2) When sunglasses fog up at these temps, they freeze instantly and it is tough to thaw them out again. Goggles work ok but I prefer sunglasses if I can wear them.

3) The hooded softshell (Christmas present this year) is pure greatness. It is really easy to regulate the temp and keep out a breeze with the hood.

4) Riding when it is -18F is not too bad, but basic tasks like eating, pulling the Camelbak hose out of your jacket, or adjusting tire pressure are tough. The key is to keep moving.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wildfire Fatbike For Sale

2007 Wildfire Fatbike 17" with Wildfire custom frame bag
Price : $2250.
Will ship anywhere in the United States. Buyer pays the shipping cost.

Please see the spreadsheet below for a detailed parts list. Many of the parts are brand new. I built up the new Fatback and ordered enough parts to rebuild the Wildfire in order to sell it as a complete bike.

Please shoot me an email at "dave dot byers at coolersoft dot com" if you have any questions and please pass this along to anyone who might be interested. Thanks!