Thursday, July 25, 2013

Not a Bad Thing

 I spent a few hours on the Fat-bike today.  The weather around here has been ideal with the temps running around 75°F.  I wonder why I put that F behind the temperature.  If that 75 was Celsius, it would be 167°.  75 is good.
 It was good mix of riding today..,a couple miles of blacktop, some single track, some bushwhacking, some multi-use trail and some gravel.  Had to think fast here or get a face full of pine cones.
 These trails are primarily used for ATV in the summer and snowmobile use in the winter.  One must use caution when riding these.  Keep the ears open, watch the hills and corners.  During the week, the traffic is not bad.  Weekends, they can get busy.  I did not see one vehicle today. 

 The Harold Philips Memorial field.  Harold, Toni and the whole family==gooood people!

 It was here where my nose took the shape it has to the face.  And then never went to the doc to get the nose straightened.  That it one decision I may have made differently in retrospect.  I think it may have been a while since a game has been played here by the looks of things.   

 Some of the trail today reminded me of the Ore to Shore (linked) mountain bike epic.  They have iron ore and sand...and yep we have sand too.  Sand...we live in sand country.  On the regular mountain bike I have found sliding your weight to the rear, keeping your speed up and a person can ride some of it.  With the fatty, the sand is not an issue.  Ride it all! 

 A doe and two fawns were just curious enough to get one picture snapped.   Even they wonder "What the heck is that?" 

 The Moose River was the lunch spot today. 

 Ah...Peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich!

 I was just thinking while contemplating this photo.  I told a fib.  Earlier I said I didn't see a vehicle. But, while eating lunch a golf cart and the Town of Gordon tractor mowing the ditches went by.

It feels good to back on the bicycle.   It makes me feel better.  Not only better physically, but even more important, mentally.  I am a believer in that is what the outdoors and exercise will do for you.  And that is not a bad thing.  

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!

PS...Thanks for reading and click pictures for big!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Doesn't Get Much Better

 I snapped this one last week while out riding around.  It's funny how critter population goes.  There have been years where I have seen many Black Bear.  Years where the Turkeys are abundant. And years where the Whitetail seem abundant.  It seems to be the Whitetails year.

 This last weekend we road tripped it to Eau Claire, WI for some bicycling.  I spent Saturday morning riding the Lowes Creek trails.  It had been two years since I was there last and I could see the club has been busy with many improvements. 

 Four hours of single track fun!!  I don't why it happens, but sometimes I just don't stop for photos.  There are numerous spots for much better photos, but I wasn't interested in snapping photos...and now I wish I had. I think most of this work is done by the local mtb club, CORBA.  

 My wife was busy reading and playing games while I rode the singletrack.  After that morning of fun, we stopped for a sandwich and headed to the Chippewa River Trail(linked). It is a state of WI trail and a trail pass is needed to bicycle.  I never mind buying those as I think these trails are a real asset.  They are great!!  We rode 20 miles that afternoon on our Univega tandem.  We also have a road tandem by Burley that is much lighter and faster than this one, but for just cruising around this is our choice. That, and this particular stretch of trail is not exactly smooth, so this one with the 26" wheels is a smoother ride.  We rode an easy 20 miles along the river, stopped at the benches and had a great afternoon. For me, a day like this, well...single trackin in the morning and riding with my lovely wife in the afternoon, it just doesn't get much better. 

I am still recouping from being ill.  The headaches are gone for the most part, but the soreness in my joints are still present.  I feel great riding, but so to sleep at night and by morning it is as though my hips, shoulders and one, yes one elbow is rusted shut. It's bummer but we are making progress!  This little fellow in the above picture is getting pretty tame.  He sits and chatters until I drop some seeds for him, eats and waits for more.  He will not take them from my hand though. Yes, I know he's a varmint, but it's fun.

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Say "Uncle"

 I have been nursing this disgusting illness, and making progress I might add.  I tried to ride the road bike right after diagnosis but that was not going to happen.   I had the Fat-tire out for five miles a few days ago and that was good, but also an easy ride through the back trails.  I knew the temperatures would soar today, but I also wanted to get out for a ride, so I thought a nice slow ride would work.  Turns out work, yes it would work, lots of work...ummm yep, work!  I guess I will see what tonight and tomorrow brings.

 They say when it get's hot, it is really hot in sand country.  I was thinking about that today, and I think that being in the city with all the concrete, blacktop, buildings and such has to seem just as hot, if not hotter.

 When hurrying to take a picture, I must learn to allow time for my cheapo camera to focus.  Anyhow, he didn't want to stay around for a portrait.

 Bad sign when on a road bike.

 They put a layer of hot tar across the road, and extra tar where the cracks and imperfections are, then put a layer of pea gravel on top.  Pea gravel is small pea sized rock.  It can get sketchy riding a road bike when this is freshly applied.  

 A Badger hole.  The Wisconsin state animal it is.  We have many of them around our area, but they are rare to see.  The dirt here was fresh and I think he was hiding out (or in I should say.)  They are not very friendly.  

Mr. Badger
This picture above was not taken today, but I did take it a couple weeks ago.

 Two cars in the parking lot of this 18 hoe venue today about 1 o'clock this afternoon.  I guess it was even too hot to golf.

 I ride by this sign a lot and decided today I would snap a picture.  The CCC is linked here if you want learn more about it.  I am of the opinion it was a very good program. 

 This is usually all under water, but this body of water is created and controlled by a dam.  The dam is in need of some maintenance, so it has been drained so they may work on it.  It effects many many people as there isn't a lot of water for them to access. This area of water is called the Minong Flowage, linked here. 

 How hot was it.  Very hot!  Our thermometer read 96°F when I rolled back home with 31 miles in.  During the early part of today's ride, I thought I might add an 18 miler at the end to push it up to 50 miles.  It was at this spot where the biking gods had me pinned..."Say Uncle, Say Uncle"(linked) And I conceded.   Three bottles of water consumed and if you blow the picture up, you can see where some of it went.  I noticed when I got up to take the picture I could see where my legs were on the pavement. Still 5 to go from here.  

As much as I could, towards the end I rode like critters walk in this kind of weather...from shade to shade to shade.  I really didn't care which side of the road I was on.  Doesn't matter much in most spots.  The traffic around here is very light.  Didn't ride hills and corners that way I might add. While I can see it will be while to feel good in the saddle again, today's ride no matter how difficult it may have been, was still a great ride.  

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!

PS...Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ticks Suck!

 I have not been on a bicycle ride of any significance since the last post.  When I got back home from that ride, I was just beat.  I laid on the couch for a nap but could not keep warm.  I just kept piling on blankets and was still chilled.  I thought OK, I caught a 24 hour bug or something.  That was on a Monday and by Tuesday morning I could hardly walk.  Still with the fever I babied myself all day.  Not any better on Wednesday and being a typical male from the sticks, denied myself going to the doc.  Thursday brought on a full rash.  Front and back.  OK, something is up.  There were no doctor offices open...$200 to go to the emergency room...not happening.  I waited it out till Friday afternoon.  Saying I was miserable would be an understatement.  Turns out I was diagnosed with Anaplasmosis, a tick born illness.  For those that do not know, it is caused by small ticks I think called the Black Legged tick.  They are very small.  The picture above is of one sitting next to a Tic Tac.    This has been no fun and the progress has been slow.

 I am of the belief I have had this for quite some time.  Close to a month before the symptoms set in, I was noticing soreness and a decrease in speed averages.  I was riding 6 days a week, anywhere between 25 and 70 miles.  Rarely less than 40 miles. I commented to a couple friends..."Man, do I suck"  One even called to check on me after one such ride.  I just didn't have it.  The heart palpitations were frequent and I was all around sore.   I am pretty diligent at checking for ticks every night.  If I know I am spending a lot of time in the bush, I wear permethrin treated clothes.  They repell the ticks and I have had good luck with them.  Of course, a person can't wear those clothes all the time.  You can pick them up walking across a yard up here.  I have only found 2 of the Lyme carrying ticks stuck.

 Anyone ever have an elbow ache...ick

Bad part of this whole deal...I had a ride planned in Colorado this year.  I had looked forward to riding the mountains.  All this being said, I need to face the reality of what is going down.  I have at least a few more days of an antibiotic I am currently taking that doesn't allow me to be exposed to the sun.  And even if I could, I have not felt well enough these days to ride. Initially I had planned riding at night...that hasn't worked.  I mean, have I improved from the diagnosis...yes.  The fever is gone.  The soreness is still present along with headaches and heart palpitations. This ride is only about three weeks away.  That will give me two more weeks of training.  I would like to think, knowing my past riding adventures, that I can tough it out.  Reality says, probably best for everyone, to throw in the towel.  I know my wife will not let me go it alone. NOT looking good!

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Riding Along

 Today's ride had me riding along Lake Superior from near Duluth to Two Harbors on Scenic Highway 61.  The weather near the big lake much of the time is very different from a few miles inland.  Such was the case today, but I knew that when I started so I was prepared.  +80°F inland and +60° near the lake with a strong NE wind right off the lake.  Just before Two Harbors I was riding against the wind down a small grade at about 12 mph. Now granted I had rode near 20 miles at this point with the heavier cross bike with fenders, rack and pannier, but on the way back UP that small grade with the wind at my back I was cruising at over 20 mph. It was a much faster trip back into Duluth.

 There are many unique homes and buildings along the shore of Lake Superior.  Across the road from this home is all Lake Superior.

This one is unique also with many pieces of metal art. 

 I noticed the heads on these are on a pivot and sway in the wind...very cool!!

 And...A bug/spider on the roof! A Texas sized spider.  

 There they sat shaking their heads at me.  Were they trying to tell me something?  I am probably too old to learn.  

 This rides destination.  Now for the tail wind back to Duluth:-)

 I knew with the secret recipe peanut butter balls and go juice, the ride into the wind going out with a helper coming back would make it a good one.  It was!

 A ship was parked just out from where I parked this morning.

 Stream photo.

 I have been riding, just not doing much blogging.  I was out the other day and just like the sign says...Storm.  I got caught in a dandy.  I ended up hiding under a bridge that goes over a river.   The lightening/thunder was crashing around me and the rain torrential. It came up quick and surprised me. Shortly before taking refuge, I had talked to some very nice people.  They are friends of the family and also have supported us on our charity rides.  They offered me a ride, but I figured I could make it.  Wrong!! Again!!  I was there over an hour before calling for rescue. 

Not a good photo, but a fun bike to ride.  I have been mixing up which bicycles I have been riding.  Good fun!

I bumped into the same people I spoke of above on a later ride.  I rode with them for a few miles.  I also have gotten out with a couple people I used to work with.  I have ridden with more company this year, which isn't much, than I can remember in recent years.  I enjoy riding with company.  For me, it is not all about knocking out 50 milers in as short a time as possible.  Social rides are the best in my book.

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!