Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What about that?

I knew mother nature wasn't finished. I just got done complaing about the dry cold weather and we get this almost snow storm. it came down fast and furious.
View walking out  of the office
View from the road

Down in the park

View from my family room
Earlier I said that if it was going to be this cold, I much rather the sky be gray and snowy, I got my wish and what's the first thing I did when I got home...I hit the trainer for 50 minutes and did core work. I did think about going out but...

Pushing my way out the door

Like I said in my last post, this time of the year I love sunny days but I have to push myself to go out and ride when is this cold. 19 down in the valley this morning on my way to work. I had thoughts of riding to work today until I saw what the low was going to be. I keep telling myself, 1 hr commute, I'll ride everyday to work in 20 degree temps. 2 hr commute...let me think about it. NO, I think I'll wait until at least the temps are over 25 in the morning to start riding to work. I love to see the faces of people at work when I walk in bundled up with lights blinking, half frozen with a smile on my face. Although, over the years (30 to be exact) they have gotten used to see me ride in that way.
Saturday I had a very good ride with Jeff on our MTB's for about 35 miles at a good pace. Sunny, windy and cold.

Beautiful Blue Herron looking for food next to the Towpath
 Sunday my legs were a little fried so I went out on the road SS for an easy ride on the bike path.
It was also very cold. I was loading the bike and a dad and his teenage son pulled their bikes out of the car and went for a ride. I wasn't even finished loading the bike, maybe 5 minutes and they were back, loaded the bikes in the minivan and left. Why yu may ask, very typical for this time of the year, The sun is out, it looks good, lets go out in a thin sweatshirt, no beanie cap, no gloves and ride. I'll leave it at that or I'm going to say something I'll regret later.
Yesterday I went out for a little over an hr and it turned out to be a disaster. When I came back from "La Vuelta" in PR I put the bike back together and went over it like a doctor. Well, I didn't tightened up the handlebar screws and seat post. Guess what, saddle went down the handlebars moved and it didn't happen until I was turning around. Had to ride in a "very" uncomfortable way on my way back.
Note to self, make sure the screws are tight after unpacking and putting together your bike. I'll blame it on the "wife" she probably call me upstairs and took me out of my mojo.
No ranting or nonsense today other that what I just wrote.
Have a great cold sunny day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunny...COLD

I like the feel of the sun just as much as anyone this time of the year, but if it's going to be this cold I rather the skies be gray and snow on the ground. Why?? With gray skies and snow I go out and ride and I don't even have an issue going out in the cold and wet roads. When is this cold, more like artic cold and sunny, I get home and think about it twice, trice and so on. Sounds strange, darn right it is. I ride all winter long outside in wet, salty, snowy slippery roads and trails but there comes a time where we all get sick of the cold and I'm to that point. Especially after a weekend in Asheville where the temps hit 82 one day and 70's the next 2. This cold sucks the life out of you. I'll be happy with a couple of 40 degree days. On the other hand, I'm happy to be alive and riding in sunny 30 degree weather.
That's my rant for the day, what's yours?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Is 30 years a long time?

That's how long I've been where I work. Long 30 years, short 30 years? It depends how you look at it. Some years felt long others felt short. For the most part it has been a great 30 years and I'm very thankful to have this job when so many people are out of work. I've been able to provide for my family and my cycling vice. Before I started to work where I'm at I was laid off 5 times at  my previous job. A few times I thought about moving on but I had no reason to move on and I'm glad I stayed. I have the best co-workers anybody can wish (I'm not lying) and very uderstanding people above me. Not many people say this but, I enjoy what I do and enjoy going to work. Of course, there's the many times I catch myself just looking at the computer screen wishing I was riding somewhere or looking forwards to the weekend, but who doesn't.
Here's to the  Lord for giving me this job and to me help have the same attitude until I can retire and ride into the sunset.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More pics

I'm having problems posting pics in the previous post, so here's a new post with more pics.



Consulting the map



creek crossing over a mossy slab of rock, very difficult with the cold water and the rushing water



 

  



Don't turn your back, there's always someone willing to snap a pic when you are in a compromising position.

 Asheville is a very neat city with a lot of different things to see and a very diverse mix of people that you may not see anywhere else. Many people ride bikes because they don't own a car. You can find street performers at every corner of the city, from a saxophone player to a group playing at a street corner.

These guys and gal where fun to watch and listen to for a while. Ray didnt want to leave




Asheville, complete post

Had to cut short the Ash post last night due to insuficient storage for posting pics. I bought 20 gigs of storage for 5 bucks and I'll be set to store over 10,000 pics. The blog will probably die before I store that many pics but for 5 bucks it was worth it.
Anyhoo, the rides went real good, I found my fitness is a notch above of what it was last year when we went down. This time I didn't blow up in any of the rides and was able to push it and recover at the same time.

The Pisgah ride was epic, lots of climbing. The riding there is hard, you mostly go up or down with very little recovery in between. We did a few hike a bikes that really hurt since I haven't been running and a couple of the guys got real nasty blisters.








This picture shows exactly how we all felt and looked after Pisgah.

Last year we went to a latin food restaurant and the food was great so we decided to visit the place again and were very dissapointed with the food. It came out cold and those of us that ordered the same had different portions. You figure if you order something that says over a bed of veggies you'll get veggies, got one slice of bell pepper and that was it. Enough of that am still PO.
Saturday by far the best ride, we took the long drive out to Dupont state park and were not dissapointed.
Dupont has a lot of climbing but unlike Pisgah, there's always a pay off. The downhills are snake type where you can let it go and fly in and out of the woods. The best place is last in line where you can see the group flying down the mountain. There's also a few very rough and nasty downhills like Johanna road. This is basically a dry creek bed with rocks, let me refrase that, boulder size rocks. If you don't have a good line or tthe rider in front of you doesn't have a good line you are screwed. Just ask Frank, Greg slammed on the brakes in front of him and he almost lost his virginity when I slammed into him head first into his butt, I'm still having nightmares.



more pics and comments later today, I have to start working.

Later has arrived





Asheville weekend

We arrived in Asheville Thursday evening, picked up the keys to the house at the bike shop and drove a few miles on the Blue Ridge pkwy. to get to Bent Creek preserve where the house is located. No neighbors no light poles and you have to open a forest gate to get to it. Roll out of bed in the morning and you are on the trails.

I have never seen 7 guys change so fast and be ready to ride in my life. The Cleveland winter has really beat us up real good. 2 hrs later and a lot of climbing and we were back and ready for dinner. One thing about Bent Creek, you climb a lot but there's always a pay off.
We always eat good when we go to Asheville except Friday night, but that's another story.
Friday we picked up Bruce and headed to Pisgah to get beat up. Pisgah was an epic ride. This is where I blew up bad a couple years ago, this time the ride was better, longer and I felt good.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Asheville long wekend

Leaving early tomorrow morning for the annual March pilgrimage down to Asheville, NC. Short ride as soon as we get there, two full days Friday and Saturday and a short early morning ride before we head home Sunday morning. Rode the Jamis 29er Monday in Hinckley to finish setting up my position and it felt great. Now to feel it on the dirt. Great temps and weather is waiting for us. One thing I keep thinking about is I wish we had more room so I could take my single speed. I come to enjoy riding the SS more than anything, even my winter beater bike is a SS. Bought a pair of used specialized wheels with DT hubs and dropped a pound of my SS. Now comes the playing gane trying to find what tires I'm going to like more. The Geax that came with bike where way to tight on the rims and I don't want to cut a tire an have to walk out of the woods because I can't put a tube in it. This weekend I'm trying a Specialized Captain Control in the front and a Fastrack in the back. Let's see how that works, right now am leaning towards the schwalbe Ralph tires, less than 600 grams for a 2.25.
I'll report back on Monday with lots of pics.
Have a great weekend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dreams

Have you ever had weird dreams? Saturday night I was in Havana, Cuba drinking mojitos. It's always amazing to me how we can dream a thousand dreams in one night and only remembber a few. Dreams can also turn into nightmares, like when you dream you are being attacked and you want to scream and can't. Have you ever had one of those?  I've dreamt about crashes, broken body parts and a lot of other stuff but I have never had a dream where I'm standing on the podium. I have to start thinking more about that so I can at least dream myself to a podium finish.
Can you tel I have nothing else to talk about?
Saturday it was nice for a long ride but I finally got hit with what I call my March Madness. This is the time when the temps are ok, there's no snow or rain in the forecast but I'm so sick already on bundling up to ride that I don't even wnat to go out. I stayed home and switched tires on my mtb and did a little bike maintenance. I had no desire whatsoever to go out and ride. Sunday I felt the same way but "forced" myself to go out and ride for 2.5hrs since we are leaving on Thursday for our annual training weekend in Asheville. The punishment will be such that I'll be dropped sometime somewhere left to find my own way out. And they better not give me the car keys to hold this time, last year I made everybody wait for hrs while I took a nap at the top of the mountain, I almost didn't make it home.
Anyways, looking forward to the punishment and see how bad my fitness is in comparisson to my riding companions.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another weekend another...

Yes, it is becoming the norm around here, another weekend another storm. More heavy wet snow is falling now with an expected 5-10 inches depending where you are at. The drive in to work wasn't as bad as i thought it was going to be with a few exceptions. Strongsville and North Royalton get an A for keeping the roads in good shape, at least the ones I drive on. As usual Broadview Hts. gets a big D, they never seem to do a good job there doesn't matter how much snow falls. Brecksville a C but the most surprising one is Solon which I'm going to give them a big F.
Then again, why I'm I complaining, worst natural disasters are happening around the world and today is Japan. First e-mail I was looking for this morning was from my counterpart and friend in Japan. He did write us a short e-mail letting us now that they are ok but many of his co-workers are spending the day/night in the office because the trains and any type of transportation are not working. He lives 2 hrs away from Tokyo and that's traveling in one of the "bullet" trains they have there.
My prayers are with them.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

nonsense about the weather and more nonsense about anything

Have you ever notice that conversations between outdoor types are all about the weather this time of the year:
-Is it going to be warm enough to ride tonight
-look how carppy it looks outside
-darn is cold
-roads have to much salt on
-the weekend looks good
-the weekend looks carppy
-it's sunny and 40 outside and I'm stuck in here
-I wonder if I can sneak out early (weather related)
-no more "sick" days left (it is still weather realated)
-too wet to ride
-too much snow to ride!
-too muddy to hike
-I don't want to get my new hiking boots muddy
-I don't want to have to clean my bike afterwards

This is the time of the year where we are all sick of the trainer and rolllers and can't wait to get outside.
But, once we get home, some of us I'm not saying all of us and not all the time but sometimes; follow me? we start looking for excuses not to get out and end up on the trainer instead of being outside. That was me yesterday, but I had a good excuse, my wife has been really sick for the last 2 weeks abd even missed 3 or 4 days of work last week. Anyways, warm day, sunny day, dry roads and thoughts of going to Hinckley and do a bunch laps. Get home and my knees feel a little weak, throat doesn't feel right...find excuses not to go out...ended up doing an hr on the trainer. To top that, I got up 20 minutes earlier this morning (4am) and before I did my weight workout put in another half hr on the trainer doing what...watching the weather of course. Which led to calling myself names for not riding yesterday since the rest of the week looks how else but carppy. It seems all the nice days that I could be riding to work fall  on Tuesday or Thursday and I can't ride because I have spinning classes. Man, sure hope I can start commuting to work soon gas prices are killing everybody.
Didn't I tell you it was a lot of nonsense, thanks for reading anyways, if anybody out there cares.

I'm so focused I can't even see my feet, that's how fast I was spinning.


Like my lap top set up? I was watching this.
2011 Montepaschi Strade Bianche

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Somewhere in Spain


A Hill in Spain from chris akrigg on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bonnie park

Went to the store to buy a few things to make chicken soup (the day calls for chicken soup) and took a side trip to Bonnie park to see how high the river is running.
Needless to say, it is running high. The path is muddy in some places but you can always jump on the road since it's the park and drivers are "very nice to you".
Many parts of northeast Ohio are flooded or getting there.



Thursday, March 3, 2011

How do you like my new banner?

Looks great in my cave. No, I didn't steal it, but I may as well have, people are looking for me, but they are not going to find me. I'm not home, I moved.