Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I like two wheels.

Not four!!

Not that I don't like the pterodactyl... because I do.  I do miss the moon roof ( and the difference between a moon roof and a sun roof is.....) in the pathfinder, but generally I've enjoyed both monsters.  I've enjoyed learning how to drive stick on the pterodactyl... gives me something to "throw around" while I sit in Boston traffic.

I just got new tires.  Thought I could get away with three instead of four since I had replaced one a while ago due to a flat.  And that of course was thanks to the pristine highways we have around here.   Got a flat during rush hour traffic on the mass pike with JUST enough room to pull off - I felt side mirrors whizz by me as I looked at the flat.  Of course it was on the drivers side so I absolutely did not feel safe crouched down changing a tire... but lucky thing is the highway safety patrol saved the day - and for just $20 switched out my tires GOOD DEAL!!  So anyway...  nope couldn't just do the three because the rating of my current tires are Passenger, and BF decided to forgo the Passenger rated tires and just do the Light Truck versions... so 4 new tires.

And we all know you don't get away with just what you intend to do with your car... they couldn't align my new tires because they discovered my lower ball joints on both front wheels were messed up.
- good news?  parts are about $47 each
- bad news?  why yes sir, of course there is bad news... labor will be about $901 (can't give me a break and make it $900 even??).
Needless to say the service wasn't done on the spot due to the length of the job... I think I'll start commuting via bicycle from Southie to Walpole.

So that vaguely counted as bike related (the mention of wheels and biking to work BARELY makes it).

On Saturday I rode up at Willowdale (the site of my next race) and it was FUN!  I did my best to follow the course (assuming the small blue circles of spray paint - which then seemed to switch to green - were in fact race course markers) but generally just rode to a. get better acquainted with the land and b. get some more miles in.

Before the ride I raised my seat up a tad as I was feeling like I could manage a lift (probably 1/2-3/4") and I noticed no real difference... which I look at as meaning I can probably lift a bit more.  So as I was nearing the end of my ride (meaning I was going to start looking for the way back to the car) I crossed paths with another rider.  On our first encounter I was coming out of some sweet singletrack as he was heading off the fire road and entering where I just exited.  I jumped onto the singletrack on the other side of the fire road and off I went.  Eventually I popped out in front of him on another trail and led the way for a bit.

I REALLY liked that because it pushed me to keep the pace up and tackle everything full speed.  I got a little space from him and really opened it up back on the fire road (I'm trying to practice actually utilizing the big ring on fire roads - get speed where you can!).  As I mentioned, I was really looking to get back to the car so I paused at an intersection long enough for him to catch up and yell "you don't want to go that way, follow me!" So I decided to follow along.  Ended up hitting much of the trails I had already ridden (this time backwards) with some variations thrown in there.  Turns out my new friend has been riding Willowdale for 17 years so each trail we jumped on I got a little history on how new it was.  The majority of the singletrack that we rode was younger than 7 years.  There is some real FRESH stuff out there (couple weeks) that was put in for the race which was absolutely beautiful.

Fresh new trail lined on one side by a rock wall
the other a nice big chunk of rock.
With some more riding it will be great.  As we are riding I can feel that my stomach has started considering eating itself (remember how I was about to look for the car when I met this guy... so now I've doubled my "planned" ride).  I learn as we are riding that where I met him was very close to the car... great.

No regrets, the more riding the better - and comfort wise I was awesome (broke the bib out again).  Although, my left knee was starting to "hurt" (more like dull pain) and I wasn't sure why.  Possibly because I had thrown down some miles just the other day - I'm feeling/hoping that it wouldn't be seat height related (seems like knee pain would be due to too low of a seat??)?  I'll certainly keep an eye on it this week.

Overall that place rocks.  The trails tend to be circular and turn back on themselves eventually, so it is kinda easy to get turned around out there.  But that place has FLOW!!  You can grab some singletrack and just GO!  Criss-crossing the fire roads, but not really riding them... just a quick hop before you are back on the singletrack.

Ok, so now to my original "reason" I was posting.  I have two things to say. 1st off DO NOT assume that because you bring a clif bar that it will be in your jersey if you don't explicitly remember putting it in there.  2ndly, pausing the garms to take pictures of the trail and whatnot sounds like a good idea, but in fact may not be a good one in practice.

To my first point.  So when it came time to split off from my partner I was happy because it gave me an opportunity to scarf down the clif bar I brought with me while he gave me directions that would take me on a trail to check out two bridges and then back to the car.  Ugh... it should be in the center pocket with the second water bottle... maybe I put it in the right with the phone... with the extra tube?? NUTS! Ended up being in the cargo pocket of the shorts I wore to the trail... I discovered this AFTER eating some expired (by 6 months) trail mix... couldn't be that bad for you, could it?

My second point.  Well, side bar - mosquitoes are out in full force!!  You stop for more than 3 seconds and a swarm has found you and formulated their attack plan!!  Ok, point number 2.  Pausing the garms to take photos sounds good, but in the real world it sucks hardcore!!  On two occasions I forgot to restart the garms only to notice .5-1 mile down the trail... so backtrack I did to the last spot and turn the dang thing back on and head down the trail again.  The third time I noticed I was still on pause was while I was on a tour of the park so I had to bite the bullet and just start it where I was... so I think I'll just leave the bad boy running from now on.  I know it beeps at me if  I move without hitting start when I fire it up, but it didn't seem to care to yell at me out on the trail (or maybe I just turned that function off, I'll have to investigate).

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