Archive for January, 2010

Secret Trail Paradise….

January 28, 2010

Ye Old Steel Hardtail

Well, the weather has dipped down again, so I’ve hit the trails the last couple of days. Trail of Tears has some really nice trails which are all rock-based (mostly). So, even with recent snow-melt and rain, you don’t even make a mark. Which is good, because I’m not sure we’re supposed to be there…Yesterday I scoped the full loop of “Hickory Hill” in the north side of the Forest. It’s really cool, with one really bad walk up (but, hey, I gotta get ready for Ground Hog, right!). Today I did the same loop with Chief and Molteni. I missed one turn-off to the big walk up and we did a longer section of the creek-bed of the Red Shale Hill loop (which is really more this white quartzy and limestoney rock, Chief was tripping). That one has some extreme hills, apparently, from the signage. Given that the Red Shale Trail says “Danger, Steep Grade” and neither the Hickory Hill nor Lost Trail loops say that (despite having horrific walk up sections), I’m not sure that doing Red Shale is a good thing. But, if the O recovers from his fever, I may do that solo tomorrow just to find out….

Damn, if this keeps up, I’m gonna have to do an XC race or two. I’m finally getting to where I can actually climb and ride on the old Team Marin. It’s a nice old bike, and I bought it right before moving to So. Ill thinking that we’d be riding off-road a lot. But, I really never got into the idea of driving to ride bikes in an area where you can ride from home and hardly see a car.  So, the old 2001 Team Marin Columbus Ultrafoco XT machine with XTR rear Der and hubs (I swapped for the stock Dt’s–maybe a mistake)  has mostly just sat in my basement. But, now that I’ve been doing some rides, it isn’t so bad. I have it down to 15 minutes to Cedar or 30 minutes to Trail of Tears. When the temps are under 34 (which is when the trail is either frozen or probably barely thawed), that’s not a bad time penalty for not having to ride to Cedar (and the May 8 storms ruined the Pomona cross paradise which was closer).

World Championships 2013 in Louisville!!!

January 23, 2010

De definitieve beslissing valt pas volgende donderdag, maar Louisville

Shitfire! None other than Sven Nys is expressing hope that the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships will be in Louisville!! This is huge.  It’s gonna happen. And, it makes sense. Cyclocross has largely floundered in Europe outside of the hotbeds of Belgium and the Netherlands. In contrast, the sport has grown exponentially in the United States, which is a growing market for cycling in general. The French don’t care. The Spanish don’t see the point. The Italians think it’s funny. The Germans are Nazis.  The future of cyclocross is in the Czech Republic and in the United States. And, how did the CZ get so into cross? Well, there is the not so small matter that they have hosted the World Championships several times already! And, now, they stand poised to win both the men’s and women’s races on their home turf with Stybar and Nash. Good money is on Stybar for the win, and while Nash isn’t on my podium picks, she’s got more of a shot than Katie “Fucking Cramps” Compton.

The Compton thing really has me bummed. The woman has had this problem for years, and while the specific issue isn’t understood the cause and consequences are. Anytime she has to take days off and sit on her ass in an airplane she gets horrific cramps and they may not subside for weeks. I’ve had a similar condition. When I was a runner, I developed these immediate onset cramps after my knee surgery. It followed a period where I was not running for several weeks, and tended to sit on my ass in front of a computer for long hours. The cramps aren’t from exertion–they strike immediately as soon as you try to use your muscles with any degree of vigor. It is paralyzing, and they don’t go away.  There isn’t a damned thing you can do. I understand. What is frustrating is that a world class athlete like Compton, who would have been an odds on favorite for the World Championship can’t do what was necessary to prevent this from happening. What would that be? Live in Europe. If Compton had gone to Europe after Nationals and never left, this wouldn’t have happened. But, what are you gonna do? I’m thinking Compton’s net salary from cyclocross is somewhere in the range of $40k-80k, and living in Europe would reduce her (and her husband’s) net salaries considerably. Ah well, there’s always Louisville!

Freezing for Vengeance!

January 19, 2010

Gary M’s been boning me to write something,  so I must comply. The freeze has had an interesting influence on training down here in So. Ill. Oh baby, what a freeze. I think we may have had one freeze about like this in 2003 or so, but it’s more than I’ve seen since moving to So Ill in 2001. Mental midget global warming deniers are having a field day, what with their inability to discern weather from climate, and their lack of knowledge of multi-wave panel forecasting and backdated interpolation. Ah, but this is the wrong blog for that….

I have now ridden my mountain bike thirteen times as much as last year! Great new trail locations at Trail of Tears, and Cedar is a blast in the snow (but really friggin’ hard). Next up on the trail maintenance front is to get some honest acceptance from places like the State Forest and Giant City State Park. It is completely ridiculous that the trails are closed to bikes. This ain’t STL. Total WEEKLY traffic on any given trail would probably be 30 bikes, at peak. That’s far less damage than would be done by two fat-ass rednecks on horses with a couple of cases of beer in the saddle bags and a few illegal guns….you know, just in case something jumps out that you want to blast…like some spandex wearing faggots on bikes.

I gotta say, I’m making a comeback. I had the swine flu and have had some other mild icky colds, but in spite of those, I’m feeling pretty good. I won’t be riding in the pack this season. Unless I hit a dog.

Mountain Bikecicles

January 5, 2010

By Thursday, We'll be able to ride from the Spillway to the Cliffs...on the frozen lake....

Ah, the new year. My only thrill is that Davie will return from Brazil and be even worse off than the rest of us poor saps who stayed and became somewhat acclimated. We have not broken freezing since December 31. But, the good news is that I’ve rediscovered my passion for mountain biking. Actually, I never really had a passion for mountain biking, but when it’s really butt-ass cold, I can’t ride on the roads, so I ride my mountain bike. It’s a bit like masturbation, or prison homosexuality. There’s something you’d rather do, but can’t. Actually, I really like riding the trails, but I hate driving. And, I hate riding mountain bikes on the road. Since it was rather warm last year, I only rode my MTB once—and that would be on December 31st, when we packed up and had a birthday party (for me!) in Trail of Tears. The really good news is that we founds some AWESOME trails in TOT. Of course, they’re probably illegal, but, fuck them. Dipshit morons who refuse to pay taxes get to wander around and blast animals with guns, or ride horses, or cart out dead animals on ATVs, and we can’t ride bikes? I’m thinking with all of the budget cuts, a bunch of old guys riding the trails is the least of the IDNR’s worries….