Wednesday, January 30, 2008

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Sweet Sunday Fun!

During a hike up frozen Flint Creek, Missus Brakeville made the remark, "I'm surprized you don't ride your bike on here". DING what a great idea! So Sunday morning we started our ride at hwy 99.
The conditions were PERFECT for riding without needing studs, 8 inches of ice with a little skiff of snow for traction.
There were a few close calls as I endo'd in some thin stuff, and Katherine hit the deck on a patch of glare ice, but we didn't drown
Smooth sailing
No hills
Peace YO!
Watch out for the clear stuff.
Flint bottom bridge, it was melting pretty fast now, had to hug the bank here.
I finally got my feet wet around Beaverdale and had to turn around here, I think all the salt on the roads had washed into this section cause it was UNSAFE for travel. But a good three hour workout in NICE weather.

Monday, January 21, 2008

How cold can it be?

Well I'll tell you what, I knew there was going to be trouble when my truck would not even get to operating temp on the way to Dubuque for Lance Andre's TRIPLE D race. My feet were getting cold while driving the 2.5 hours. It was -11 below zero when I got to town, however, the cycling Gods warmed us up at the start as the temperature climbed to a sweet -6 below zero. WTF???? I got a bad feeling again as we rolled out of town cause I was trapped in a herd of Puggsleys, (never seen SO many in one place) no problem keeping with these monstrosities on the well packed snow, but as soon as we hit the rutted DEEP potholed nasty foot trail (approx. 1 whole mile)they were G-O-N-E. I was in granny high spinning for every inch of forward motion, I passed Dennis who was busy fixing a flat, he yelled he was OK so away I rode. Now after working up a nice SWEAT on this section it was UP THE EASY PAVED (and relatively) snow free climb out of town, directly into a 15 mph headwind. Do the math, that gives you a wind chill factor of -32 degrees, my goggles froze over quickly, and I climbed with one hand over my nose the entire way up just to deflect the wind, but I was still pretty warm and good to go, It was near the top I had my last drink. The skinny tires I had made this part pretty easy and I caught some Puggs on the way up, but this was short lived, I think Dennis came around me on the climb too but I couldn't see anything for sure through my frosted lenses. The snowmobile path was "rideable" for my gear but it was still taking everything I had to stay upright in the snowpack, quite a few times I washed out and had to push this off camber and uphill section, and Lance, Bruce, and a few others went around me here, I was able to keep them in sight so I spun on into the wind. There were already riders turning around and heading back at this point, some said a few didn't even make it past the first gnarley section. I made it to a little ravine at the private snowmobile trail and decided to get some sugar into my gut, (the wind here was HOWLING) my computer said almost ten whole miles. My camel back was UNDER my top layer and filled with goodies, including much needed water, but I had to stop and take my gloves and coat off to get to em, I was now carrying 100 oz. of frozen water, and an assortment of chocolate bricks that I could not bite through without chipping my teeth, (uh-oh) Dennis had told me earlier that HAMMER gels are immune to the cold, he was right, even at -6 they were still "liquid" and I washed one down with snow. Total time spent at this location I'm guessing three minutes, in that time my coat, mittens, helmet straps, neck gaiter and fingers had frozen solid. I headed up the trail into the wind, chilled and chattering, picture riding across a snow covered hay field( no trees or wind breaks) uphill into the wind at six below, I did, and turned around and went the other way, I had had enough. I had my camera with me and was going to snap a pic of a bank thermometer showing the temp. but it died in the cold, so did my GPS, I would not remove my mittens again PERIOD! coming back I was picking up some riders who had already turned around and we soon had a small group, we stopped in at Freeflight bikes to warm up. As luck would have it my cell rings and its Dominic asking how my race was going, the timing was perfect, cause my "race" was OVER. A couple more riders came in to the bike shop so our little group headed back to the finish as fast as we could go, we picked up a few more on the way in, thank God there was a couple locals cause I had NO idea how to get back through the industrial section. Total miles a little over 20, almost four hours at an average of 5 mph. Mr. GRELK finished this thing, I can't tell you how impossible the conditions were, he was out there for almost TEN FRIGGIN HOURS, and has some frost bite to to prove it. Jill in Alaska does this everyday, she is also quite mad and completely insane...I hope Lance Andre holds another race next year.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Almost ready...

Had to re-think what I was wearing for the really REALLY cold stuff coming for this weekends "race". So last night it was 20 miles, temp. at 14 degrees, northwest wind at 15 to 20 mph, a good night to test a different approach. I think this is the combo, but my snowboarding mittens and pants were almost TOO warm, I gotta remember to PACE it, I'm not gonna win, but I am gonna FINISH. I need some chemical warmers and a hydration system that stays in LIQUID form and that should do it...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Prep work...

I used to live on this road, I arrived here about 10:00am and 33 degrees, If I'd been about five minutes later it would have been REALLY ugly GOO. The gravel was pretty easy earlier cause it was frozen solid, so it was a quick 60 miles saturday morning... Time to clean it again
I know just how this feels...I'm going to try out some different layering this evening. the temps for this saturdays 60 mile point to point won't get any higher than single digits, I wonder if I can shift with my mittens?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sir Edmund...

Mt. Everest had only been summited(for the first time) 10 years before I was born, but as a young'n I remember reading about Everst, and Ed Hillary and Tenzig Norgay's feat in wide eye'd wonder, in fact its one of the first things I remember being able to read. It amazed me that there were still places on Earth where no one had stood before, (believe it or not there are still a few of those left) and I'm sure that the hard backed Britannica book of the year 1953 is still sitting on my parents book shelf to this day. In it, Hillary and Norgay are standing on the summit still wearing their supplimental oxygen masks, an ancient black and white photo that was burned into a young boys mind. No doubt that my love of high places came from imagining myself as the "Great Explorer and Climber" even though I grew up in the flatest place on Earth.
At 29,028 feet above sea level Everest has been the end all climbing experience since it was "knocked off" in 1953. although literally hundreds have climbed it over the years, it remains as deadly now as it ever was, and to return from the summit alive requires as much luck as it does skill. Ed Hillary and Tenzig Norgay did it with a style of modesty and humility, and never forgot the people or the mountain that made them famous. If you asked me who my heroes are this man would be at the top of my list.
Godspeed Sir Edmund

Monday, January 07, 2008

get down with the almighty grind now...

What else are you gonna do when its 50 degrees in January? May as well get your slope-style on Cheeka! Unfortunately my Son was not able to go with us this time, after THREE surguries to his leg and knee (with another scheduled for this month) we agreed that maybe shooting down a snow covered hill was not the best thing for his well being at this point, sorry Kiddo! Oh yeah that whole bike thing, enroute to another 100 mile attempt, I had a flat about 4 miles out, with my dead legs from boarding, and already covered in grit, it was the most merciful thing to call it a day and walk home...and NAP

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A most excellent NEW YEAR...

The newest addition to our fam is Tikaani, I wanted to name him Homer but Missus Brakeville said NO... Amanda is home from school, so to ring in 2008 Tater, Dennis, Nick, Tom and I decided to ride a century (before the snow). Well, um, I had to bail out near Keokuk and ended up with 85 miles in, the rest of those yahoo's made their first 100 miler for the new year. No we are not drinking the antifreeze, it was almost 40 outside not too bad at all... Dennis taking a pic of me taking a pic... This is the reconstructed Mormon Temple in Nauvoo Il., and no Mitt Romney wasn't home...

The only way to recover from an 85 mile ride is to GO SNOWBOARDING, absolutely AWESOME to board in Iowa during a six inch REAL snow fall SAWEEEEEET...

Missus Brakeville carving the fressh IOWA powder...

Self portrait for your veiwing pleasure...