Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tryon, Yet Again!

I guess I'm just really diggin' Tryon!  I went there this afternoon because the weather was so nice.  Cool, low-humidity spring days are the best.

I hit the rocky trail I mentioned last time, and also the "rock ring" which is more technical.  I thought I did quite well on both.

At one point I passed an older woman and her dog, and then over the course of 10 minutes I'd ride until I was spent, then just when I was about to go again I'd look back and see her approaching slowly through the trees.  It was like something out of a horror movie!   It also made me feel like I was no faster than an old lady, which I guess is almost true. lol  In actuality I was taking the more winding technical trails and she was on the easier trail that intersected.

I am liking Tryon so much this year, I might just ride it again!  It's not far from home, it's technical, has hill climbs, and works well with my current 24" set up.  Plus I like how it has many parallel options with different terrain that lead to the same place, so I can keep mixing up my ride.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cool Ride at Tryon

I had hoped to ride during the week but I felt too tired.  Finally I caught up on sleep and rode today.
I hit Tryon again.  This time the temperature was cooler, in the mid-60's I think, and humidity must have been low.  I even felt a cool breeze at times.

I rode just about the same route as I did on my last ride.  I was hoping to see a significant increase in my performance, specifically on hill climbs, but really I did about the same. Tryon is just a tough place.  Still, I might try yet again to do better.  Several of my failed hill climbs were caused by unlucky UPDs, though I probably would have ran out of steam momentarily anyway.

One notable moment in my ride was when I was moving fairly quickly down and around a left turn.  There's a fork in the trail and I normal go left because it's the main trail.  To the right is an unknown trail that gets closer to Irondequoit Creek. Long ago I'd tried several of these off-shoot trails and was disappointed to find they were short hiking trails that led to a fishing spot and were sometimes dead ends.  As I sped toward my normal trail to the left a couple and their dog appeared and were caught a bit off-guard but started to move over.  But I instantly made the decision to avoid them and headed right.  It was a much more technical trail embedded with jagged rocks along its entirety.  I impressed myself with the distance I was able to go without a UPD, though I did end up with a few.  Those hikers had a good view of the first portion and I knew it, and sometimes that helps me give a little extra to put on the best show I can.  I'd rather have observers leave thinking "Wow, that's impressive" versus "See, what kind of idiot thinks he can ride a unicycle here."  I always wonder what observers are thinking, because before learning about muni I would have been blown away.  Anyway I'll be adding that trail to me regular mix.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hot Ride at Tryon

For my weekend ride I skipped Saturday because we had an unseasonable high of 90°F.  Today I rode in the morning to beat the heat the best I could, but it was still in the 70's. I guess our 5 days of spring are over.  My 24" ungeared muni was ready to go, and since it's kind of too slow for Webster and Whiting, and I was just at Bay Park West, and I didn't want to drive far, Tryon seemed like a good choice.

The ride was on the hot side, and difficult, as expected for Tryon.  I saw some new-to-me trail reroutes and rock reinforcements.  Trail fairies are awesome!   Otherwise, it was just me pushing through the best I could.  There are very few hill climbs in Tryon that I can make without stopping.  I need to go back sometime and just session some individual climbs.  Usually I'm going for some amount of respectable distance, so when I fail a climb I rest a minute or two, remount and continue.

Not long after I got home I got one of those headaches I've gotten in the past, I guess from being too hot and pushing too hard.  I even took electrolyte pills and drank lots of water on my ride.  Excedrin and a few hours seems to have gotten rid of it.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Stelber Unicycle

A friend of mine (and of Webster Trails) called me yesterday to say she saw a unicycle thrown to the curb not far from my home.  She didn't really know if it was worthy of picking up.  It wasn't much of an investment in time, so I drove there and found it.

It was a vintage uni made by "Stelber".  I've never heard of it and I'm not really into old unicycles but I took it before the scrap metal guy did.

The tire has no air in it and the wheel turned with a horrifying metal grinding squeak.  Being an old unicycle, it has lollipop style bearings.  I dismantled it enough to access the bearings.  I squirted some of my Schlumpf grease into them.   Using grease intended for a state of the art nearly $1500 unicycle hub on poorly engineered bearings of this cheap ancient unicycle kind of blew my mind.  I worked the grease into the bearings and reassembled.  The wheel turned about as good as I'd expect.  The tube still held air, so it was ready to ride.

It's basically built like a toy.  I think most old unicycles kind of were compared to today's standards.  Perhaps this one was especially because it has a thin one-piece crank that you'd only see on modern tricycle for a 3 year old.  How anyone could think that would be strong enough for even a 10 year old to put weight on is beyond me.  "They don't make 'em like they used to."  Good thing!  Even today's cheap unicycles are way stronger than this crap, but comparing this unicycle to something like a modern Kris Holm muni... again, mind blowing.   We've come a long way.

And then there's the saddle.  Sydney's first comment was, "Oh my god that seat looks like it would hurt!"  And since I thought of this as a toy, I asked Sydney to ride it in case my weight crushed it.  She found it too difficult and complained the seat wiggled too much.  After a few unsuccessful tries I rolled my eyes.  Come on, it can't be that bad.  I confirmed to seat was wobbly because of its poor engineering.  It was just riveted to its base.  But I was sure I could ride it.  Nope, not really.  It was wobbly and one of the cranks was bent in a bit.  I probably could with enough trying, but I didn't bother after a few attempts and only about three rotations.  I feel sorry for anyone trying to learn on such a turd.

I may try to sell it.  I picture it bolted to the wall of an interesting bar or restaurant.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Robi Comes To Town 2

Robi came back to town again for more work on his tat.  This time we rode at Dryer Park in Victor.

It was in the 60's and low humidity and trail conditions were perfect.  We rode about 80% of last year's Fat Tire Festival course, but then broke away from it.  I think we both had the most fun on Owl's Maze.  We were both riding 24" wheels but Robi rides faster and seemed to have endless energy.  After leading for a minute, I let Robi pass.  I kept losing ground and it wasn't long before we were passing by each other in opposite directions.  Owl's Maze is rather awesome like that.  The trail winds so much and keeps passing by a place you were just at a minute ago.  It seems never ending.  Looking back at my GPS, it took about 8 minutes to get down.  It must have taken some real dedication to build that trail and to make it fill in the all the space that it does.

Robi had asked what size muni to bring and with Dryer in mind I thought I'd ride my 24".  My 26" fat tire wouldn't be ideal because of the fat tire, and I think my 29er is too big for me on tight hilly trails.  Robi brought his 24" but in hindsight thought his 26" would have been better.  I too thought a bigger wheel would have been smoother.  I sure could use a non-fat tire 26" muni, don't you think?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Another Ride

I rode at Bay Park West today.  It's the same old story a great cardio workout.

I noticed some nice trail improvements and some signs that asked people not to use the trails when they're wet.  At this point they are 100% perfectly dry and in great condition.

I saw a new trail, which I was aware was being worked on, but it hasn't been opened yet and I didn't have the energy to check it out.

I believe it was about 65°F out, but it felt hotter.  I wish it would be in the 50s every time I ride.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Canal Ride - 30 miles

Far point - Chili Ave
I'm thinking about riding the Prattsburgh Gravel Classic in a few weekends.  It's a bike race on gravel and dirt roads in Prattsburgh, NY.  I thought it might be enjoyable to cruise at such an event on my geared 29er.  The course has a 20 mile and 30 mile option.  If I'm going to do it, I should be doing at least some training.

Today I rode the Erie Canal path starting at Perinton Park and heading west.  Probably about 1/4 of it is gravel and the rest is paved.  My goal was to do 30 miles, 15 miles out and 15 back.  I did it, but just barely.  Woot.. my longest distance ever.  On the way out my seat was bothering me a lot but then I seemed to get used to it and all was well.  On the way back it got progressively worse.  It wasn't a chaffing problem, just a pressure problem.  It could be an early season problem or a seat problem.  This is the unicycle I bought from Steveyo several years ago and is the oldest of my unicycles.  Maybe the seat padding isn't as good or is worn out more.  The last three miles were rather agonizing.  Thankfully being saddle sore is only a problem when sitting on a saddle, which I don't need to do in my daily routine.  My legs were getting quite fatigued toward the end too. 
It will probably be a few days before I'd like to ride a uni again.

I had one tumble toward the far point.  It was a paved section and nothing tripped me up, but I had just put my energy gel flask in its holster and I guess I lost concentration.  I fell forward and rolled, but was able to angle toward the grass on the right side.  Apparently my left hand planted on the asphalt because it had a touch of road rash, but otherwise I was uninjured.  My speed was likely about 10 mph.  I'm not a big fan of speed on the uni.  I especially get uncomfortable when I'm heading down even a slight incline if I'm moving at more than about 12 mph.   At one point during my ride I lost control going that fast on a decline but dismounted and ran it out.  I even managed to reach back, grab my muni and pull it around, but it was still a bit scary.  I think on a decline that is trying to increase my speed too quickly requires a higher skill of applying back pressure while still pedaling forward.  On the trail I usually just feather my brake, but today I has none.

Otherwise my ride wasn't very eventful.  There were a  good number of bikers and walkers to negotiate, but they we generally spaced out well.  I once mentioned this before, but I swear canal path users are less friendly than trail users.  So few people say hi or smile.  Maybe people encounter too many others to keep up their friendliness.  Seeing people on trails is a bit more rare.  I don't know.

The Prattsburgh race description say there will be some serious climbing.  The canal path doesn't have any serious hills.  For now I'm undecided about racing.  I'm too fatigued to really think about it.