Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mickelson Trail

As I alluded to in yesterday's post, I went on a big ride. A cousin and my uncle (his dad) picked me and my bike up at just before 6 in the morning to make the journey to the trailhead in Deadwood, SD. Yes, that Deadwood, current home of small stakes gambling, former home to wild west personalities like Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane and subject of the HBO series titled, um, well, Deadwood.
Once in Deadwood, we met up with a long time friend, the "Princess", to start pedaling on to Edgemont, SD, 109 miles away on the former railroad bed that is now the Mickelson Trail. We were off and pedaling at 7 am, right on schedule.

The morning went along smoothly, with the majority of the big "climbs" in the first half of the ride. I say climbs in quotes, as it is a rail-trail, so none of the climbs are much over 4% grade. Not steep, but some of 'em get kind of long, 7+ miles isn't uncommon.

We stopped just outside Rochford, SD for quick break, with my cousin and I about 100 yards ahead of my uncle and the Princess. After everyone gets what appears to be ready to roll, we roll out. Unbeknownst to me and my cousin, the Princess has a flat tire and he and I have the only pumps. We are cruising along at over 20 mph. After about 3 miles, I hear my uncle yell my name. I stop and he says she flatted back where we were stopped. CRAP! I turn around and hammer back to her only to find that some other guys had stopped and helped her out. I am glad she got rolling, but I didn't need to add another 6 miles to my ride.

Long story short, we roll into Hill City (around 50 miles in) about an hour after we had planned because of the flat and a couple other minor mechanicals. After eating, my cousin declares he is done and needs to go home. I wasn't surprised or shocked by this. He did GREAT, as this was his first year riding. My wife and son had met up with us and had lunch, so they took him home.

The remaining three pedaled on, past the monumental (pun intended) Crazy Horse, through Custer, and on to Pringle, where my uncle had pre-planned to be picked up. The Princess and I pedaled on, into Edgemont, just on time for our shuttle home from my wife and son. 116 miles for me in one day!

What a great ride. We went through a very beautiful piece of the Black Hills, one that not everyone gets to see, or at least see very often. And even though it was a long day in the saddle fun was had by all. I would be rude not to mention my wife and son, who are definitely enablers, helping me with meeting us for lunch and picking us up. If it wasn't for them, our ride wouldn't have happened.

I can't wait to do it again!

Friday, August 28, 2009


You know, I've done a lot of stuff so far in my relatively short life. And I'd like to think I am kind of a Jack-of-all-trades kinda guy. Good at a lot of stuff, not great at anything. Kind of like a modern day Renaissance man. I am not trying to brag, but I can do art and math, write stuff for publication and work on a car, do physical labor and lead a group of 150 people at work, basically do left and right brain activities. But, as I said, I am not GREAT at anything except one.

Procrastination. I put the PRO into procrastination, I am awesome at it. I don't know why. For example, I could go get ready for our big bike ride that we're going on this morning (in less than an hour) but I'd rather sit here and type this blog up. And it isn't like I have just forgotten about what I have to go do, but something else seems so appealing. It isn't attention deficit because when I get started on the wrong thing, I'll stick with it until the ticking of the clock, sounding like an incoming strafing run from a WWII .50 cal machine gun on a P-51 Mustang, is so overwhelming that I snap out of the "trance" of whatever I've switched to and then rush around getting the thing I was supposed to do done.

So, I suppose I should go get ready for my ride. Sure, I should, but there is an extra 5 minutes that I can check a couple of more websites and, heck, I can't hear the clock ticking. Not yet.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Am I too serious?

Here I sit at 2 minutes to 5 am, checking my e-mail and other bike stuff online before I go for a ride. WHAT? That sure sounds like a training ride doesn't it?

Before you get all weird on me, asking "Well, I thought you weren't so serious! You're getting all serious on us after just 2 posts!" just listen. Yeah, I suppose it is a bit of a training ride and I never said you can't go on training rides, you just can't blow off a ride with friends to do a training ride.

In addition, I enjoy riding at the break of dawn. The world is waking up but it is still peaceful outside. Quiet, cool, beautiful; that is how things look at 6 am. I dig it. Also, while I don't like riding the road as much as riding off-road, my ride takes me on a SWEET downhill where hitting 40+ mph is de rigeur. Flyin' down a hill as others are loading up in their cars and heading to work is GREAT! I love it.

So, while it is a bit of a training ride, there still is that wonder and excitement of being a kid on a ride. As you can see, still not-so-serious...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Why can't some people say hi?

I have a problem. I wonder why some trail users refuse to acknowledge I am on the trail?

Why is it when you're cruising along the trail and encounter another trail user, you say "Hi" and get NOTHING in return? There is no one else around, so I couldn't possibly be saying hi to anyone else. It is nature, so there are birds chirping, wind whistling through the trees, but it isn't loud enough to drown out my loud voice, so what is it? Do I stink? Do I scare you? I swear, all I want to do is say hi. I didn't fart and if I did, I wouldn't try to slow you down enough to partake in it (maybe I should start...). I am not going to tackle you, hurt you or heck, even have a complete conversation with you, I am just acknowledging you're there and I hope you're seeing I'm here.

To be fair, it isn't everyone and some areas of the country are better than others (the Front Range of Colorado is bad, just an FYI). I promise, I won't say anything to you when you are in the middle of a gnarly, oxygen debt climb, or at least won't expect anything out of you. But, if you can say hi, you should. We're both out on the trail together...we have that in common.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm not serious...

Here we blog 2.0.

I had a blog in the past, but honestly, not much to talk about. Well, maybe too much to talk about, but no focus for my rantings. I talked about a lot of bike related stuff, but I was all over the board, giving my opinions about everything from parts to politics and everything in between.

Recently, I've had an epiphany if you will. We, as cyclists, can get far too serious about our sport. Let me explain...

Unless you're making a living on a bike, such as a messenger or are a cyclist with the name of Armstrong, Leipheimer or if your name ends in a vowel (Cipolini, Vande Velde or Sastre) then you can be serious about cycling. If not, then, well, you're taking it way too seriously.

I have recently seen people, heck, friends, get so serious about doing well in a local race that they couldn't even go on a group ride with some friends and have a beer or two afterwards. They had to go on a "training" ride.

In addition, if you're new to the sport, unless you've got the "look" (the right clothing, under 5% body fat, and a well-placed soul patch) forget being noticed in a bike shop. You could have a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket, but if you don't have the look, forget having the aloof shop employee offer help, much less a grunt when you walk into his (or her) personal space. That employee could take themselves a bit less seriously and maybe, just maybe, if they said "Hi" to that potential customer, they could get another person into cycling.

Remember that feeling when you first got on a bike? That feeling of freedom and fun? That feeling of being "wow'ed" by the fact you were balancing on those two relatively skinny tires? That is what we need to get back to. Sure, we have a lot to be serious about in cycling. Trail access, safety on the roads, commuting, are all reasons to be serious, but can't we have a bit of fun in-between?

That's what we're going to try here. Try to have a little fun (or poke a little fun). And FOR SURE, we're not going to be serious about cycling.