Showing posts with label spring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spring. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Slop Season Starts!

Fargo Gen 1 ready for slop duty!
Last week on Monday it was -19°F below zero and my entire family and I were home sick. Yesterday was 51°F above zero, we opened up the windows to the house, and I rode my bicycle home from work in my long sleeved wool Twin Six jersey.

Talk about contrasts!

Of course, the big temperature swing means that snow is wilting like a flower under a heat lamp. Rivulets of water were streaming across frozen turf and ice all over town yesterday, making for large, deep pools and slush with dirty crap from Winter laying on the bits of pavement newly exposed. Mud- yes, that stuff we haven't seen for several months, has started to rear its nasty little head now. The mixture of Spring and Winter always means "slop season" is underway.

I was ready this year. Avid readers of this blog may recall my fender frenzy one weekend not long ago. The Fargo gen 1 got the full drive train, fender, re-cabling treatment this time, so it has been pressed into duty as the first line of defense against slop. I had one interesting challenge with the drive train.

The front derailleur wasn't operating as it should, and that because the cable wasn't getting pulled enough to put the chain into the big ring. But the beauty of the Retroshifters was revealed in this situation. I simply re-clocked the bar end shifter and that was that. Plenty of cable pull, and I have a fully functional triple chain ring crankset on the bike now.

So, bring on the slop! I'm ready for that and Spring as well.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Welcome to the (Iowa) Jungle!
Green: If you live here in the Mid-West, you'd better like green. The landscape is predominantly this color from May through September, especially in the woods where I find single track fun. It just so happens that I like green a lot, so I am okay with this phenomenon.

Green extends to the open country as well. The crops here, predominantly corn and soybeans, paint the land in a carpet of green. this gets somewhat muted when the corn tassels out, and also when the odd field of oats ripens. But green is the order of the day for the most part.

Of course, the city follows suit with everyone's green lawns, the trees, and the golf courses which dot the landscape. Only the buildings and pavement break it up, and the sky, of course, otherwise it is all about green. Well, I should mention the rivers and lakes, but as you know, they only reflect the sky for the day, and the green trees that line those lakes and rivers.

An unusual field of flowers to break up the Green
 I had an old school mate that I grew up with who left the Mid-West for Arizona many years ago. He was back one time for our home town's Independence Day celebration. He couldn't get over how green everything was in Iowa.

Of course, he had been on a "green fast" ever since he moved to the desert Southwest, a land replete with tan, ochre, red, and the occasional dot of green vegetation here and there. When he finally came back for that visit, he saw the land in a way he couldn't before. Maybe we all take it for granted here, I don't know, but green is just the way it is here. Well, until "Brown", and then "White" comes!

I made mention of that the other day. We have four seasons: Green, Brown, White, and Mud! They all have their particular charms, which I enjoy. Not everyone here is so enamored of certain seasons, but they are what they are, and you can grouse all you want, or learn to find the good and celebrate it. I chose the latter, (most of the time!), but I am only human.

So about this green thing- I like that color a lot, as I said. Only purple trumps it for me, and anything green or purple are things I tend to be drawn to and like. So with that in mind, something happened recently that had something to do with bicycles and one of my favorite colors, which is a dangerous thing, ya know!

BMC Cross colors
Black Mountain Cycles has a new run of their Cross frames coming out, and with that a couple of color options. (See that here) There's a great story behind the green color choice, but what matters most is that it is, of course!

If you've spent any amount of time reading this blog over the last two years, you already know that I really like my Black Mountain Cycles bike a lot. That bike I dubbed "Orange Crush" because, is orange, of course! I like orange fine enough, but I don't want two Black Mountain Cycles Cross frames in the same color. There is a gray color but I am not smitten by the hue, so green it will be.

Then you might ask, "Why would you want a green one when you have the orange one, besides the color?" Fair enough question, and the answer is "single speed". I had the Orange Crush set up originally as a single speed, and I really enjoyed it, so I miss that now. There are a lot of times when a single speed cross bike like the BMC would be perfect for here, such as in Winter, (otherwise known as "White"), or during the Spring, (otherwise known as "Mud"), when things are very messy out on the country roads.

So I am looking really hard at getting another one in green, and making it my single speed green machine.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Green Has A Grip

As per yesterday's post, I did get the Big Mama out and ridden yesterday. The Pure V saddle is on it, but other refinements have yet to occur. I couldn't wait though! It was too nice to wait out there, and I knew that Cedar Bend was open again, so I went north and checked it out.

The trails are so dry in most parts of the park that it reminds me of very late summer/early fall when things are rock hard, buff, and there are a few sandy spots. Those conditions prevailed yesterday, along with a healthy amount of duff here and there left over from last fall and winter.

This time of year is great when the trails allow you to experience the woods as things green up. The trees look like they have green fuzz on their branches, and the forest floors are just rife with new underbrush that doesn't look all crazy, and out of control yet.

Sure, there is mud along the lower trail, and yes, I got into it. Like a dang fool! That mud is super sticky! But beyond that, I had a great time and the trails were fast everywhere but on the lower section.

Besides that, my body was working surprisingly well.

The Big Mama was too. Man! That bike just sails over rough trail like it isn't even there. The Manitou and Fox rear damper are working well together and the front to rear balance is spot on.

The Pure V is stellar. Such a great saddle, and I will be getting some more of these. I can sit on the nose to climb comfortably, or slide back and power along the flats. It feels great on my posterior!

I still have to get some decent brakes on it, but this bike is pretty close right now to being perfect for my needs. I did mention swapping drive train parts, but that can wait. It's time to get some spring woods riding in!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Springtime Muddin'

With the snow fast on the way out and the sun shining brightly, I decided it was high time for some springtime muddin'. I got in a Bontrager Mud X 29"er tire, slapped it on the rear end of the Sawyer, and headed out the door.

I was definitely over-dressed, and before too long I was shedding my outer coat and gloves to stay cool.

<==I'm as happy as this alien to be riding without a coat again!

I headed down to The Green Belt to ride, since those trails are unaffected by early season mud riding. In fact, the next time it rains my tracks will be all gone. The old Blackhawk Creek overflows the Green Belt so often that you'd be hard pressed to cause anything that could be construed as trail damage on a bicycle.

So, it is the perfect place to test tires in the mud for performance and there is plenty of sticky, gooey river bottom mud to play in there.

Besides the tire testing I was just enjoying the fact that I was riding on a sunny day without having to be bundled up. In fact, all I had on for most of the ride was a long-sleeved jersey. Gloves? pssshaw! Too warm for that too. It was definitely the first ride like that since last November.

Amazingly, there was little snow left in the woods. In fact, if we could stay dry for a week, the trails would be bone dry and hard. Right now the frost is oozing out, so that is why the mud is so easy to find at this point. Normally it doesn't stay muddy for all that long out there.

The mud was thick and gooey, so I stuck to a steady, slowish pace to keep the flying clods at bay. It was a great resistance workout, that's for sure!

By the time I made it over to the lake cut-off trail,my front tire had turned into a mud version of an Endomorph 3.8"er. I had to head over towards the lake, out of all the mud, and clean up a bit. Then I headed around the lake where I ran into the only patches of snow left on the trail. Probably won't see that again until next December.

I figured that was enough mud testing, so I headed out for a longer bike path ride, just because it was too nice to go back home. Welcome spring, and the mud, and everything else that comes with it. It's been a long time since we've seen you around these parts!

Hope you are getting out for some early springtime riding too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Changing Seasons

Wednesday. My day off. I had much to do in preparation for my trip to Texas this coming weekend. One of the things I needed to do was to run a quickie errand for some milk to get us by for a few more days.

I chose to ride the Raleigh Rainier single speed cyclo-cross rig which I have fitted fenders to. Oddly enough, the Easton fork has eyelets and the rear drop outs on the frame did not! I found some plastic coated clamps hat got the job done though. Now with some 40mm commuter tires I have the perfect "run to the corner store" rig with my messenger bag "man purse" slung over my shuolder. The errand was a peice of cake! The morning was so foggy today that I ended up getting dripping wet from the ultra humid air though.

After getting the DT Swiss wheels set up tubeless on the Stumpjumper Carbon Expert, I decided a shake down cruise was in order. So much snow has melted in the last week that parts of a near by park were clear of snow. I decided to run over there and check out the area by taking a nice, high resistance route through soft mud, grass, and left over snow patches.

While spinning along without really paying attention, I was suddenly aware of a bird hopping along on the edge of my peripheral vision. Not being used to seeing such things of late, I looked up and low and behold! If it wasn't about 30 robins that had just arrived from the south. Well, if that isn't a sign of spring, I don't know what is! I stopped and watched them patroling the grassy field for anything to eat for a bit, and then I spun onward.

Not long afterward, I saw a large bird wheeling around above me in the sky. It was a Bald Eagle! I stopped and came to attention, and almost made myself laugh because it was as if I were in the military and had just seen the General walk by! Ha! At ease rider!

So, it was cool to see all that, the snow melting away in rivulets, and the swelling creek with water filled with chunks of ice flowing away. All signs that point to the change of seasons. Signs that point to more bicycle riding real soon.

I can't wait!