Wednesday, January 19, 2022

"Who Was First?" Is Not What A Hall of Fame Is About

 NOTE: Large doses of "my opinion" will be handed out in gloppy dollops today. You've been forewarned.....

 "Who Was First?" Is Not What A Hall of Fame Is About- And Other Things The GCHoF is Not About:

Over the past week I've been paying attention to all the reactions to the announcement of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame. The range of opinions is staggering, for such a minor part of activity in the world. In some cases, the opinions are supportive, in others the opinions expressed are just downright wrong. It is the latter of the reaction types that I wanted to address today, because I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about what this hall is about. In my opinion.

I could refer you to the "Gravel Guru" interview (again) with GCHoF founder LeLan Dains, but most of what I am going to cover today is more about the ridiculous takes I've seen on this GCHoF thing. First and foremost of those is that participation in an activity does not make for HoF worthiness. 

Seems kind of obvious, and I'm being blunt and seemingly exclusionary to make a point. That is, we either have things, (events, people, innovations) worthy of being set aside as being important to a particular activity, or genre, or generation, or we have a grey area in those terms, or we don't have anything worthwhile to hold up as being worthy of recognition. Pick any one. I think most would agree that any 'hall of fame' exists to point out 'worthiness' in some way. That may smack you of being unkind, unfair, pretentious, or self-serving, but if we don't have anything worth celebrating then I'm not going to participate in that world. I don't believe in that sort of thing. And people saying things like, "Well, I was riding on gravel on my 1970's road bike in the 80's. Do I get into the Hall of Fame?", well- that's ridiculous. That's a nonsense statement. 

What About The Past? So, with that out of the way, here's another big misconception: "Hey, 'So-And-So" was riding on gravel way before gravel grinding was a thing- That guy was a really great cyclist. He should be in the Hall of Fame if there is one!" Related to my first point, in many ways, but different in that the premise is that anything that happened on gravel before....well recently, I guess- no one states a date....is something that automatically sets that person, or event, or whatever, as "hall worthy". 

First of all, this Hall of Fame isn't set out to find out 'who did what first', and that's straight from the GCHoF folks. So, what is it for? Again- it isn't for finding out who did something first in events, or riding, or racing on gravel. Although older gravel events should be considered and maybe some personalities involved in those events could be considered. But using common sense, we have to look at anything put into this hall of fame from a lens of how that person/event/race affected where we are at with Gravel riding and racing today. In other words- Was it something indispensable to getting us where we are now? That's the kind of question the GCHoF people have to weigh any nomination by, in my opinion.

Lot's of stuff happened out on gravel roads pre-2000's.Now- there is a debate to be had there, and I'm open to considering points of view which are considered and well thought out. Not all of those things should be considered for the HoF of gravel cycling. Some things? Yes. Like Specialized Rockhopper bikes with drop bars? Uh.....not so much. The Flint Hills Death Ride? Yeah.....let's look at that. Bruce Gordon? Uh......that's tough to connect the dots there, but maybe..... (I'd say Gordon had a much larger influence on 29"er MTB evolution.)  That's for the GCHoF to wade through. But again - I would submit that while many things did happen pre-2000's, not many of those people/events/races had any affect at all on modern day gravel. 

But as you can see, it is going to be something that will take 'making the cut' in terms of historical importance for anything to be considered GCHoF worthy. That it simply happened or existed? Not so much. 

What About Current Gravel Stuff? Another thing that is in the 'grey area' of gravel right now is current events and personalities. I think about racers coming to gravel from the road scene, or events created off the back of grassroots gravel, or from the major successes of previous gravel events. Maybe someday those events/racers/innovations/personalities are so influential that Hall of Fame recognition makes sense. But anything post-2015? Yeah.......I'd have a hard time with anything there being in a current GCHoF. It would have had to have been so noteworthy that with its absence it would have hindered the gravel scene. Then yes- that's GCHoF worthy, in my opinion. Name something post-2015 that you think fits that bill. I think you'll have a difficult time finding anything there. (Note- I did not write 'impossible to find') 

And the 2015 date is completely my arbitrary choice. It isn't a GCHoF thing, (that I am aware of) although I think they would be wise to look at things that way. 

What About The Timing Of This Hall's Existence? To those who think a GCHoF is happening "too soon"- Well, the MTB hall of fame was set up in 1988, around a decade past the appearance of the modern day MTB. (And you should and can make some very good parallels to what the GCHoF should be in light of the MTB HoF) So- No. Not "too soon" at all.

And If You Just Don't Like It:  Again- in full disclosure I have been nominated to possibly be in this HOF for gravel, so if I am 'biased' in your view by that then maybe none of my opinions are valid to you. Fine. I leave you with this quote I found on Twitter recently: "It's (The Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame in this case) the most easily mutable thing. Just mute it, stop yukking other people's yums and move on." 

Why waste your energy in negativity if it isn't something you think is worthwhile, or is ridiculous, or whatever? Well.......unless you like being a negative person. I suppose there is that.......

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Plugging Along

The Blackborow DS
Another week starts and another fat bike ride has taken place. I am still in 'knee re-hab' mode and things are going well. It's just that I feel like I am chasing my own tail a bit in this process. 

On the one hand, my initial deep tissue injury seems to be all good now. I was having some tenderness there along the inside of the left knee cap for a while, but now it seems strong and I feel confident on my feet again. Meanwhile something has kind of gotten inflamed or otherwise 'angry' behind my knee and it is something connected to my calf muscle. 

I know..... vague. I'm not a doctor, okay? If I had Mrs Guitar Ted in here writing this up you'd get the textbook terminology. She's smart. Me? I just know where it hurts, not what it is 'officially called'. 

Meanwhile it is forecast to get really cold for a spell. That will put the kibosh on my cycling for a bit. I expect that some of the repairs and projects I have going on will be getting a lot more attention in the coming days as January closes out. 

One of those will be the "Project Wide Gravel Wheels v3", which, of course, has to do something with my Standard Rando v2 and the Paul WORD Disc hub I will be reviewing here. The rear wheel is complete. I just need a free wheel, rotor, and a tire with some sealant to get that done. I have to wait on finances to clear up a bit before the free hub can be gotten, but it should be a White Industries 20T one when I get my hands on that. 

I have a couple of other things going on as well, so stay tuned.... 

Monday, January 17, 2022

A Little Catching Up: Part 4

A broken spoke I had recently.
 Well, as I continue to rehab the knee and get healthier, I have had an issue which I haven't experienced in a long, long time. A broken spoke!

It happened at about the best time something like this could happen- if there ever is a good time for a broken spoke - and that was at the end of my ride that particular day. 

I've been really trying to reel back in my desires to go out in the country and ride for a couple of hours. I don't want to over-stress this knee and end up worse off than I am. So this ride wasn't all that far from the house, but still.... It was nice not to have to nurse a rear wheel over several miles to get back to where I either had a ride waiting or back home. 

I knew what had happened without even looking. That distinctive sound is something any bicycle mechanic that's worked on bicycles a long time will know instinctively. The 'ting-tinging' on my frame tubing was my second clue. but still, I was surprised because I rarely ever break a spoke while riding. A couple of other things surprised me about this broken spoke as well.

First was that it broke in the middle of the spoke. That's very odd! Generally they break at the "J" bend, or at the nipple, like the last spoke I broke did. But right in the middle? I've seen that where spokes that are compromised by a chemical reaction, or that were previously bent in the middle somehow have broken this way, but this spoke didn't show signs of that.

The other thing was that this spoke was on my Irwin Cycles wheel, the aluminum pair I have, and those have been great wheels, so I am a bit puzzled by this broken spoke. When I get to repairing it, (yes - I have not done it yet. Gotta ride fat bikes now! See the rest of the story here), maybe then I'll get to see a clue as to why this happened. Anyway, a broken spoke for me is remarkable, so I get why you think this may be goofy! Especially if you've broken a ton of spokes!

First tracks in 8" of fresh snow at the nearby cemetery.

As I alluded to, it is now time to get back on fat bikes because we just got a dump of new snow over the weekend. This time we were more in the bulls-eye of the storm. We ended up with about 8" of new snow which is pretty good for riding on. Not that dried out, sandy type of snow which is dang near impossible to ride over or through. 

This stuff will make for some good trails and once it gets packed in it should last a while. We are going to get a couple of warm days, but only a hair over freezing, which actually should set this snow up well. Then I don't see anything but chilly weather for the next week, so I expect to get more fat biking in as January closes out. 

The ol' knee is coming along well. I think I might start doing a little longer rides now, but they will have to be easier rides for a bit, just to see how this comes along. The ride Saturday in the fresh stuff was punctuated by a half mile stretch of fresh, untrodden snow which I had to break trail through. My heart gave way before my legs, so that is a great sign. 

So, maybe I'll have some more ride reports coming in soon. And more news on the job front too. Stay tuned....

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Trans Iowa Stories: It All Came Down to This

In many ways, the t-shirt for v-13 was a prophecy for those who rode in the event.
 "Trans Iowa Stories" is an every Sunday post which helps tell the stories behind the event. You can check out other posts about this subject  by clicking on the "Trans Iowa Stories" link under the blog header. Thanks and enjoy!  

The meeting we had with the volunteers and a few supporters of Trans Iowa at the Mc Donald's breakfast were ready to witness what would be, by any stretch of the hackneyed term, 'an epic ride finish'. The weather amplified the normal Trans Iowa experience into something that those who were there probably will never forget. The wind, the rain, the cold! Just trying to stay warm was really hard to do. Anytime the humidity is high, whenever the Spring winds howl, and when you combine all of that with temperatures in the upper 30's and lower 40's, you will get into a situation that makes it very hard to retain body heat. Hypothermia can be a real problem for normal folks during such times. But when you have people that are dressed in cycling gear, who have been exposed for well over 24 hours to rain, wind, and cold, well then you are really pushing your luck there. And we definitely dodged a few bullets over the night and during the early morning of T.I.v13's finish. 

Sarah Cooper was one such person who ran into some trouble. Ironically, it all happened at about the same spot where Matt and I had waited to see Dan Hughes' glowing headlight cresting a hill several hours earlier. Sarah was riding with Luke Wilson and another rider. Sarah was dropping into the icy grip of hypothermia when Luke, a trained law officer, recognized that she was in bad shape. They stopped at a local farmhouse where they spied an open garage and Luke had Sarah get in a dog bed they found while he roused the owners. Eventually they were cared for by a nice Iowa farm couple and found their way back to safety. Then there was also Ben Mullin, who got within 80 miles or so of the finish but found himself taking shelter from the wind behind a barn. Due to time running out and he being nearly hypothermic,  he decided to pull the plug on his attempt.

(L-R) Walter Zitz, Jackson Hinde, and Matt Aker climb the final hills in T.Iv13's course. (Image by Jon Duke)

Meanwhile there were now only seven riders moving toward Grinnell with any hope of getting back to the finish before the 2;00pm cut-off time limit. The few that were hardy enough to want to stand around and see the front runners come in made their way down to Miller Park. The rain had pretty much ended at this point, thankfully, and would not return. However; the winds and the temperatures were such that just merely being outside was really hard on one's body. 

Mark Johnson toils up a hill on his single speed. (Image by Jon Duke)

Thus began the 'Dan Hughes Finish Watch', and it was a highly anticipated event for the few who were there. Just when it would happen was somewhat in doubt, but that it would happen, now, was not in question. 

Matt and I witnessed first hand the conditions  which Dan had persevered through. We witnessed his countenance and the way he had been carrying himself. Dan had proven his mettle. That was not any longer a thing to be questioned. It was now- as they say- just a matter of time. 

These things which were noted by Matt, myself, and the gathered few which made up the small crowd at Miller Park were the reasons we all were there. We knew we were witnessing the finish of a ride which, on the one hand would go largely unnoticed by those who champion cycling's biggest feats and accomplishments, and on the other hand, would be treasured by the witnesses for a lifetime as being something really quite special. That's kind of the way it was with Trans Iowa.

Any other 'big time' gravel event of that day, or afterward, would have had the eyeballs of cycling's Cognoscenti. The gatekeepers of 'The Narrative' would have been feting Hughes' accomplishments far and wide. 'The Industry' would have offered him prize endorsements and support. But no.... This was not how Trans Iowa was set up. This was something quite different, and to be honest, quite in opposition of such 'normal' affairs associated with such ultra-endurance events. Trans Iowa didn't create 'rock stars', nor was it set up to celebrate the participant's accomplishments. It was, however, set up in such a way that maybe, just maybe, the participants would gain a thing that no one could possibly give to them, but would be worth more than ribbons, trophies, and endorsements. What 'those things' might be could be quite different depending on the person's experiences. Go ask them. I cannot tell you. 

Dan Hughes driving it home over the last miles of T.I.v13 (Image by Jon Duke)

Dan Hughes was the center piece of Trans Iowa v13. Matt and I, and several others, had been keenly following his efforts for most of the event. While we were, at one point or another, fairly sure he would fail, he was proving to us that we were all wrong. He, perhaps, was proving himself wrong, but however that was that cold, wet, windy weekend, we will never truly understand. Only Dan really knows what went on out there. 

And that's the way it should be.  

Next: An Ending- A Release

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Randomonium (Saturday Edition)


 NOTE: Okay folks, if you haven't been around long enough here to know what a "Randomonium" post is, then here is the deal. I ramble, rant, and randomly moan about all things cycling in one, incohesive, bizarre post. "Randomonium", okay?

More Dire Predictions Come To Light:

Last Saturday I ran a piece about the supply chain issues and how that will affect 2022. I also hinted that many in the industry were thinking that 'the bubble will bust' when supply levels come back in the amounts that have been ordered, while the predicted demand for this stuff is agreed by most experts to be less than expectations are. 

An article published recently in "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" authored by analyst Rick Vosper seems to be saying that even if retail demand goes back to pre-pandemic levels, those levels were on the decrease, for the most part, and 2019 in particular was a very poor year for bicycle imports. 

Most experts seem to agree that a tsunami of high end imports will hit retailers at the end of this year with 2022/2023 orders stacking up against one another in a short timeline for dealers, forcing deep discounts. Standard fare will also be in overstock levels as well due to a similar situation, but......

There always is an exception. 

The other thing the experts seem to agree upon is that this will force a big pull-back in the industry in orders. This whiplash effect in the supply chain will leave vendors, and most vulnerable of all- bike shops- out in the cold. While the experts didn't go as far as to say that there would be business failures as a result, they did say that a lot of bike shops are in a highly leveraged situation now financially. That could spell disaster if the supply chain hiccups that experts are saying will be coming in '22 and '23 happen. 

When the 2022 route is announced it will be under a new leader.

RAGBRAI Gets A New Director:

Gannet/Des Moines Register/RAGBRAI announced last week that it will have a new leader for this year's RAGBRAI and future editions of this event. Former director, Dieter Drake, was promoted upward in the Gannet organization to be "events operations director" for the cycling division of  "Ventures Endurance", a subsidiary of Gannet Corporation. 

The new director is Matt Phippen, formerly a sales director at the Iowa City Scheels location. Phippen takes over effective immediately. I'm sure RAGBRAI won't see too much in the way of changes from this, at least in the near term. My interest comes from the somewhat unknown "The Great Iowa Fall Ride" event, which was a project that Dieter Drake was exploring pre-pandemic. (I wrote a bit about this last year here)

Originally that ride was to be set in Iowa Falls and be a three day, gravel road oriented affair. The idea being that it could be a way for RAGBRAI to extend its revenue stream. My question is, what will become of that idea? And if it comes back as a gravel ride, does that then influence Dieter Drake, as the head of the cycling division arm of Gannett , to produce more events like this in other locales in the future? 

Gravel riding is a big deal now, and 'getting in on the action' is one event promotion corporation's agendas now. We see Life Time Fitness cashing in, USA Cycling is wedging itself into the scene from a competitive side, and it only makes sense that communities and regions would be willing to work with big corporate entities to bring in the promise of tourism dollars and the economic benefits thereof. 

In fact, I was called by a person doing consulting/coaching with teams and cities concerning bicycle trails this week regarding the gravel scene. So, this is on many people's radar now. I look for more to happen in this regard in the near future.

More Reactions To The Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame Announcement:

Okay, first of all- yes, I've been nominated. So, I wanted you all to know that up front.

Second of all: Whoa! People sure got their chamois' in a wad over this deal, that's for sure! Ya know, I did see someone on Twitter say that if a Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame celebrates cycling, then why would any cyclists be against that? 

And I guess that's my favorite reaction, and my adopted response from this point forward. I  mean, if you don't like it, just move along. What harm is it going to bring to cyclists? If you think it is stupid, just forget about it. Giving it space, rent free, in your emotions and mind is, well.......dumb. Just don't bother with it. 

Finally: Many people are saying very flattering things about me and my work in the gravel scene. This is an example. So, that's very humbling and I so appreciate all the sentiments being expressed now. It's kind of hard to process this, for me, and I'm sure it probably always will be. Anyway, even if I never were to get into any hall of fame, I'd be proud of this moment in time because so many folks are coming out and putting my name out there as "belonging" in a hall of fame of gravel cycling. 

Weird.It's all so very weird to me.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Friday News And Views

Payson McElveen on an Allied gravel bike. (Image courtesy of press release0
McElveen Signs With Allied Cycle Works:

Mountain bike Pro and gravel racing rider Payson Mc Elveen has signed a "multi-year deal" with U.S. bicycle manufacturer, Allied Cycle Works. The deal was announced on January 5th, last week. 

The press release stated that McElveen will contest the recently announced Life Time Fitness "Gran Prix", a six event series with three gravel and three endurance MTB events on tap. McElveen will join Allied's Colin Strickland, also a winner of a few major gravel events, on the Allied roster. McElveen will also be riding a "slew of other events and adventure rides" during the coming months of 2022. 

Terms of the deal were not specified in the press release. 

Comments: With big series, big events, and all sporting big payouts for top placements, it only makes sense that smaller brands and the top prospects in gravel would start forming alliances. The brands, like Allied, need the exposure in the field of gravel racing, and the athletes need the support to cover the entry fees and, perhaps more, to get to the bigger events with a possibility of making some money. 

Interestingly, McElveen, who had been signed as an athlete with Trek Bikes, is leaving that deal behind to become a player in the gravel scene. Obviously, this Life Time series, with its three MTB events, places McElveen in a good place to become a major player to win it all. Allied looks to leverage his abilities and McElveen's social media, podcast, and adventuring to boost its brand in the gravel category. (And- as was reporeted in last week's "FN&V", Life Time is getting some play on McElveen's socials) On the flip side, Trek, (and other major brands) may be holding off on the Life Time thing to see if they can get involved in the USAC/UCI Pro Gravel Tour announced this past weekend.

Ten years ago, the thought of talented, young, and well known cyclist being sponsored for "gravel. MTB, and adventure" riding was not even on the radar. Now, getting these same talents to stick with bigger brands and ride either MTB or road is becoming something of an anachronism. This seems to be the trend now though. Who'da thunk it? Then again- with the big announcement of World Pro Tour Gravel and a "Gravel Worlds", will this sort of thing with unsanctioned events shrink in importance?

Speaking of "Who'da Thunk It?":

Tuesday of this week a big announcement was made concerning a "Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame". That's correct- a hall of fame for gravel cycling. 

And yes, you can nominate people. There is a rumor flying around that your's truly is going to be nominated. Yep! Crazy to even consider that from my perspective. 

Here's a bit from the press release for y'all to consider:

"“It is the community of riders that make gravel cycling so special, so we’re excited to present an opportunity for that community to lift up and celebrate the people who have led the way,” said Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame advisory board member LeLan Dains.

Nominations for the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame will be open to the public and anyone will be able to submit a nomination with the permission of the nominee. Submissions will be accepted January 11 through March 1, 2022. Six categories have been established to serve as a guide for the types of riders and community members who should be considered for nomination (some nominees may fall into more than one category) and include: Promoters, Athletes, Innovators, Volunteers, Routeurs, and Storytellers.

 Once all submissions are reviewed, an election committee of more than thirty cycling industry and media representatives, event organizers, and gravel enthusiasts will make the final selections on inductees. The first class of Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame will be announced April 4, 2022, and
then inducted at the inaugural banquet in Emporia, Kansas prior to Unbound Gravel 2022.
"

So, pretty much the same reaction gravel riding has had all along. Perfect!

Comments: First off- I am not being allowed to be on the committee because the GCHoF folks tell me that they think I've got a pretty strong chance at being nominated and so they thought that this would be a bit of a conflict of interest if I was involved in the selection committee. 

Secondly, I'll be completely honest- I never thought about a hall of fame for gravel cycling or that I would EVER be a part of one. I know that some of you think that I belong "up there with the first pioneers and greats" of this niche of cycling. However; whenever folks mentioned how they felt in that manner I just brushed it off as folks being nice to me. I NEVER thought that anything like a "Hall of Fame" for gravel freaks would be a thing. Not ever.... But- here we are. 

 Some have said that the idea is heinous, an insult, and worse. Some are now dredging back up all the negativity surrounding Emporia, Kansas and "The Event That Shall Not Be Named", saying that a HoF of gravel in that city is an affront to Native Americans and is a reminder of that 'racially insensitive' event name. (The Dirty Kanza, in case you are wondering what "that" name is) Some will say that the idea is ridiculous. Okay, I get that, but "history" is important too. Both what came before and what is now. We are at where we are at- may as well not deny the past and try to learn from it. Oh....and by the way, those throwing these stones aren't offering up alternatives. Yeah.....That'll work......

Seen on a thread on Facebook concerning the GCHoF.

Some say that we don't need a HoF for an unsanctioned discipline of cycling. And anyway- we have a US Cycling HOF in California. Well, maybe we aren't sanctioned, but we do need a place to write the collective history. (You know, not everything in the MTB Hall of Fame happened under a "governing body"- right?)  And what of the MTB HoF and the US Cycling HoF? Why do we need that when we have a UCI Cycling HoF in Switzerland? (Ned Overend, Major Taylor, and Greg LeMond are members of that one, by the way) And gravel cycling is not just a US phenomenon. I suspect, (and hope that) members and events held outside of the US become a part of the GCHoF.

Some say  the GCHoF is "self-congratulatory". Well, is there a Hall of Fame that isn't? It's kind of the point- To celebrate and congratulate those that were deemed indispensable to, contributed greatly to, or have had great accomplishments in a movement, cause, or sport. This is almost always done by a panel of peers. So, thanks "Captain Obvious" for that criticism.

I also think the tradition of "grassroots gravel" has a story to tell, and unless it gets a place to be told, (the hall of fame), then it is going to get lost, run roughshod by what is coming down the pike in terms of the "$pirit of Corporate Gravel®. Then no one will be able to tell you that what happens going forward is not how it began, because people will remember what they want to, until you remind them of the past. That's why any "Hall of Fame" should exist. Not so much for "glorifying personalities". 

But yeah.....there will be people lifted up by this hall of fame. If I am one of them, okay...... I don't get to determine what others think about me. That's your job. If y'all say, "GT should be in the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame", then I will be there. If not- I won't be. The existence of the GCHoF is fine by me but I was okay without it as well. I've no idea how it will turn out. It could be a good thing, or.....?  Time will tell.

I'll ride my bicycles down gravel roads either way. 

Link to "The Spokesman Podcast" where I discuss the HoF and more with host, Carlton Reid. 

Link to "Gravel Guru" video where LeLan Dains of the GCHoF drops by to explain things. 

Got someone in mind that you think should "be in there"? Here's the link to the site

Stan's NoTubes Announces New MPulse Hubs For Wheels:

Magnets. They are in everything these days. Especially those crazy-powerful Neodymium magnets. Well, now they are available inside Stan's NoTubes "MPulse Hubs". 

Take a close look at the image here and you can see how the magnets have been bonded to the pawls which then are attracted to the metal drive ring. That engages the pawls with the drive ring very quickly due to the magnetic forces. This also "self-aligns" the pawls for the best engagement with the drive ring. 

Another advantage is that when the hub is in coasting mode, the distance that is created between the pawls and the drive ring means the magnetic field has less pull, and so there is less 'drag' than a steel sprung pawl would have meaning freer coasting. 

But, of course, to get this you have to buy a Stan's MPulse equipped wheel set, or......

You could go to the originator of this technology found in the MPulse hubs, Project 321, and buy separate hubs to build up your own wheel set. They even do a single speed cassette hub with this design. 

That's it for this week's "FN&V"! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2022

A Little Catching Up: Part 3

More 'spin therapy' on the Blackborow DS.
 Okay, we've just gone through a spell of pretty cold weather, and I've not been doing any rides out in the country, or in the woods, for that matter. That's all because I am still nursing a knee back into shape. The same injury I incurred due to a bump while doing my side-hustle as a mover. 

It's been progressively getting better, but this moving gig, while not a steady job, seems to put a lot of stress on that knee. Well....both knees, if I am honest. Going up and down ramps and stairwells carrying heavy loads or pushing two-wheeled carts with heavy stuff on them is probably why that is.

This won't be a long-term hustle. Like I mentioned earlier, I told this particular individual I would help when I could and well, I wanted to uphold my word. Plus, I'm not doing much of anything else during this time anyway. But things will change. They always do, and I have been working on something that would get me into a different job. I cannot say anything yet, but I should know one way or the other before the end of the month here. 

Meanwhile I have been doing fat biking and a lot of walking. I seem to be making steady improvement with the knee so that's great. Plus I get outside. The snow, while it isn't much, is perfect for traversing by fat bike where it hasn't been trodden down, or compacted into a sheet of shiny ice/snow. I am trying to find the least beaten down paths and tracks of snow machines or whatever two tracked vehicles have been up on the flood dikes. Of course, now the weather flipped and the snow is about gone- and we're supposed to get 3-6" on Friday.

I'm keeping things 'spinny' and that's been great therapy. I'm hoping to get out on the gravel here during this "January Thaw" we have on tap right now, so we'll see......