Monday, November 30, 2009
Like all other winter-cold-wet weather clothing, I continue to fuss with different glove solutions every year. I prefer mittens. They're less prone to sweating and they keep my fingers warm in a wider range of temperatures. I'm not a big lobster claw fan, unless it's less than 25F or so. Then I'm a huge fan.
Here's my daily-driver plan this year.
These are modified REI gloves. I just finished stitching a water-resistant plasticy-nylon on the wind-facing side. These are my favorite gloves. They're light, they're versatile. They don't cost a fortune. But my finger tips tend to get cold when it's colder than 35 or so. I'm hoping this nylon will block the wind and even help a bit with the wet.
For long rides in unpredictable weather, this is my go-to solution. Outdoor Research no longer makes these shells. In fact, I can't find a light-weight Gortex or coated nylon shell mitten anywhere. There are lots of huge "climb Mount Everest" type shells, but nothing light and packable like this anymore. Weird, right?
So I stiched up a split in these mittens too.
Anyway, the wool mittens alone are good down to about the mid-thirties and dry. When it gets colder or if it turns wet, adding these shells gets me down to mid-20's or so, and works well in the lame cold-and-wet zone (30's and rain).
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Good job Spokane and keep it up!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The 2010 race season is shaping up well. Local cycling teams including my own have been working together and with the state organization, Washington State Bicycle Association, to organize the 2010 racing calendar. Thanks to the combined effort of the local race promoters likeBaddlands, Spokane Rocket Velo, Spokane Sports Commission and several others, the 2010 season should be the most exciting that Spokane has seen in a few years.
Here is what's on the 2010 road racing schedule for our area:
April 3-4: Frozen Flatlands Omnium, Cheney-Spokane
April 10th: Ronde Van Palouse Road Race, Spangle
June 19th: Elite State Championship Criterium, Cheney
June 20th: Elite State Championship Road Race, Cheney
April - August: Tuesday night Twilight Series Road Races (around Spokane)
There will probably be a few more surprises thrown in that aren't on the calendar yet. Add the other semi-local races like the Tour of Walla Walla Stage Race (April 16-18th),Wenatchee Omnium (May 15-16th), and the races out of Missoula MT, and the Spokane roadie will have enough races available to keep him or herself busy without ever having to drive over Snoqualmie Pass. Isn't that nice?
As we approach next year I will write more about getting ready for the road race season from the perspective of a racer, a promoter, and a USA Cycling official (all part of the hobby). Stay tuned for more.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
This Wednesday (11/25), there's actually a pre-func.
At 5 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers, the new District 2 City Councilman Jon Snyder will be sworn in. He has assurred me it will be done in 15 mintues, so we can be on time to our Benni's hang.
Having many cyclists there will make a strong statement of support and will show cyclists as an emerging political voice in Spokane.
If you can make it, please do. Then we'll ride up the hill and have a beer.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Craptastic weather made for a fine cyclocross competition in Coeur d'Alene today. Snow and rain, mud and cold bring out great performances in this sport. And I'm just talking about the spectators.
Almost the entire course could be seen from the vantage point of the parking lot, including a double spiral of slick sharp turns.
Riders resorted to hi-tech measures, like foot baggies.
What they really needed was whole-body baggies.
Familiar heroes included Steph, Glen, and Tom. Justin rode his first-ever cross race! (Just don't call him Chester.) Glen and Tom were on Elephants, Justin borrowed John's Bridgestone, Steph was on her Pulse. Here's Glen on his cyclocross bike, he later rode in the mtb division. He may even have finished, but we were too cold to wait and see.
The riders worked up some body heat, but the spectators had to put up with the drizzle.
Though at least one dog was smart enough to bring an umbrella, and nice enough to share it with his humans.
And that concludes the cyclocross season for 2009. You may now mount your studded tires.
Friday, November 20, 2009
My dad died almost 2 weeks ago of pulmonary fibrosis.
Until a couple years ago when his lungs started giving out, we enjoyed riding bikes along the Kettle River together.
I gave him a Peugeot mountain bike with huge fat knobbies one summer. He enjoyed tooling down the road on this bike when I came to visit.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
UPDATE: indeed, too sweet. $300 is the deposit! Total price is $1160. My bad! Still a sweet frame. And not a bad deal, just not a steal.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I spent today pointing my camera at everyone at the Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series races held at Riverside State Park. What a blast! Who's been hiding all this fun from me? As the video will show you, anybody can do this. And you don't have to have a top-end bike. One young man I spoke to was riding his sister's big, clunky mountain bike. He didn't care. He was riding and having fun.
There was one moment I did not get on camera. A young man riding by yelled, "Mom, I need the duct tape. It's in my car." But I was in the right place at the right time to catch a spill. (No bloggers were harmed in the making of this film.)
A big thanks to Nate for helping me shoot this and to Emde Sports for organizing and running the races. Sign me up!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I’m not much of one to ride bicycles indoors. I understand for some people this is a great way to keep in shape in the “off season”, but for me it’s a non-starter. I ride bikes to get out of the house. If I was going to ride indoors I could have saved myself a lot of money and just bought an exercise bike.
My winter fitness plan
Plus, riding when the weather isn’t ideal makes it hard for me to rationalize not riding when the weather is nice.
I love this sound.
And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it when all the non-cyclists I know tell me I am out of my tree.
Friday, November 13, 2009
You pick yourself up--quickly. Not because of the dangers of other traffic. It's the embarrassment. Here you are...a grown person...crashing on a bicycle...for a silly reason...and no one to blame...but yourself. "If only I..."
Paying little attention to the pain in your wrist or your hip or your shoulder, you pick up your bike and examine it. Your body can heal but your bike is your investment, your baby, or your work of art. Is it scratched? Is anything bent or broken? Are the wheels true enough to continue? How is the derailleur? Is the side of the saddle scraped away? Did a spoke break? Are the handlebars straight? Assessing the damage, the thought persists, "If only I..."
Your body interrupts to tell you how much more important it is than your prized LBS-purchased, name brand, pedal-driven mode of transportation. The aching, bruising and stinging reveal the many ways you have traumatized your flesh. You put on your best face and try to shake it off but your nerves persist in complaining about the unwarranted ill treatment. "If only I..."
You straddle the top tube and your hands are comforted by the familiar feel of the brake hoods. Stepping on a pedal and pushing off, you begin slowly, listening for any strange sounds coming from your bike and telling your sore muscles, strained ligaments and raw skin that everything is okay. They grudgingly acquiesce. The bike may have a scar, but you know you can rely on it. Like an alloy, body and bike coalesce and you eventually return to your rhythm. Again you reflect on what happened. "If only I..."
And for a time you'll ride past that same spot with a certain amount of caution. You'll coast. Your fingers will be ready on the brakes, maybe squeezing them just a little. You might even unclip one shoe. "If only I..."
This time you'll be ready.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
More than 25,000 sites were nominated, the list was narrowed and the Centennial Trail is still in the running.
Go to the link below to vote for the trail.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Maybe you have the day off and you can ride to a cemetery in observance of Veterans Day. Bring a picnic or a hot drink with you. Sit. Be thankful. Take a moment to say a veteran's name.
I've always enjoyed cemeteries as peaceful places, green spaces, historical landmarks, but yesterday marked the first time I went to one with the purpose of looking for veterans' graves and spending a minute to contemplate their lives. I had the time, so I stopped at the Moran cemetery on my ride to the library. I'll stop at Woodlawn this afternoon with Maddie.
Monday, November 9, 2009
More action to come.
I knew it was cold, and was probably going to rain, and I was not feeling very hot and I really just wanted to skip it and go back to bed. But this ride was a reschedule from last week, when I had to cancel at the last minute for reasons I’d rather not elaborate on (but it was the day after Halloween, if you’re looking for clues). We were supposed to ride to Coeur d’Alene and back, but I knew that was not going to happen so I called to ask if we could start later and ride shorter. My riding buddy, as expected, was cool with it.
I made it to our rendezvous point downtown late, and he was cool with that, too. We were both freezing, and had no plans to ride very long. We decided to ride as far as Sullivan and back, and we could always turn back early if we felt like it (which we were both pretty sure was going to happen). We headed out, complaining about cold feet and riding a leisurely pace to minimize the wind chill.
We talked, mostly about riding next summer, and in the quiet spots I thought about what I was going to write this blog post about. I had all kinds of ideas – what to wear on a cold ride, etc. – and before we knew it we were at Sullivan, where we decided to take a warm-up break.
The rain finally came as we headed back. I pulled my helmet cover out of my bag and didn’t worry about it too much. In a flash we were approaching Mission park, where I had decided I was going to bail since I live way north of downtown. I thought I could save myself a couple of miles of cold, wet ride by picking up my usual commute route home. We caught the light funny and I awkwardly split off mid-sentence (I was clipped in and trying not to fall over, truth be told). I picked up the pace heading home. I think my legs have my commute route memorized; they seem to know just what to do without me telling them. I thought more on what to write this post about as I trucked it north on auto-pilot (by the way, any good ideas on keeping your feet warm? I had wool socks and neoprene booties and still had Popsicle toes). I was almost home in a flash, and honestly I was sad about it. And then it hit me.
It isn’t about the cold, or the bike, or the rain. It’s about the time I got to spend with my friend, sharing stories and planning all the rides we are going to do when the cold and the rain have passed, and rehashing adventures gone by. I spend most of my time riding alone, to and from work. But my best rides have always been the ones I shared with someone else, even when they were the worst rides ever.
So, if you wanna know the best way to handle a cold, wet ride – it’s easy. Get yourself a buddy and get out there, even (and maybe especially) when you don’t want to.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
This just made the rounds yesterday...
FOR IMMEDITATE RELEASE:
Downtown bike shop purchased by local businessman and pediatrician
Spokane, Washington - November 6, 2009 – Focus on Trek brands, a bike fitting physician and excellent customer service are all keys for success of Two Wheel Transit.
Geoff Forshag, CPA and Bruce Abbotts, M.D., have purchased the assets of long-time Trek Bicycle dealer Two Wheel Transit, Inc., which is located in downtown Spokane at 1405 W 1st Avenue. The store will continue under the name Two Wheel Transit and focus on Trek and Gary Fisher bicycles, and Bontrager clothing, parts and accessories. Fisher and Bontrager brands are both a part of Trek. The business also provides full service bicycle repairs and maintenance and welcomes all bikes regardless of brand or type....
Good luck guys...
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
It's not that I'm running out of things to say, but I'm feeling kind of lazy and I know that when I ride, I think of lots of things to say. I'm wondering if there are other people out there that have stuff to say but don't want the nagging overhead of a whole blog to look after.
Plus, the name of this blog is Cycling Spokane, which sort of begs for some communal crowd sourcing.
Interested in throwing in? Here's the commitment:
-- You'll write one post a month. But you can write as many as you want. If you don't feel comfortable writing, then post a video or a photo essay.
-- You'll stick around for at least 6 months.
-- You'll not do any blatant advertising.
-- You'll live in the Spokane "region."
-- Your posts will be bike related.
Send me an email (johnspeare at gmail dot com) if you want to try a 6-month slot.