Sunday, August 29, 2010

North Tryon

Usually when I ride at Tryon I start at the south end. Today I started in the north. I rode some of the trails I'm familiar with, and then explored a bit. I eventually found myself on the trail that leads north to Empire Blvd.
I was hoping to find some moderately challenging trails, but typical of Tryon, I found myself riding for a few minutes and then walking up a hill for the same. It gets old. The new trails I rode were not very exciting to me.

I took a fall on one downhill. It was rocky and rooty and at some point I couldn't stay on the line I wanted, and I fell back. I got some minor pedal bite on my left lower calf. My left forearm hit the ground and I have a minor abrasion. And I fell on my back, but once again my CamelBak saved me.

I record my rides with a GPS receiver and PDA. I protect my PDA in an aluminum "Rhino skin" case in the lower section of my CamelBak. When I got back to my car, I opened it up and found my Rhino case was dented right in front of the screen. Thankfully the PDA is fine. But it looks like whatever I fell on would have hit dead center on my spine. Holding the case in my hands right now and trying to bend it, I realize the force needed to make the dent was enough to put me out of commission. Close call.

Muni at Tryon - 2010-08-29

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ambidextrous Ride at Dryer

As I mentioned in a previous post, I think I'd be better off hopping with my right hand. That really means I should be riding in general with that hand. So I forced myself to use my right hand to hold my seat on hills and rough terrain at Dryer this morning.
At first it was awkward but I got better. And then I found I was more comfortable holding right when turning left, and holding left when turning right, at least when climbing and descending. In the past, when I was only holding with my left hand, I found turning left was a bit sketchy. So being ambidextrous in this way is probably a good thing.

My ride was ok, but I was unpleasantly reminded that Dryer is pretty much all hills. It gets frustrating because I'll accomplish one hill climb, but fail the next because I'm too spent.
My lower back fatigued earlier than I would have liked. So I didn't stay too long... about an hour.

After the never ending downhill switchbacks of Owl's Maze (the winding path on my map), I knew I was stuck with climbing out. I often take the Elevator trail but it's too steep to ride, so I chose a different one, without having a map. It ended up being CMP, which is a black diamond and part way through it became clear it is intended as a downhill, not up. It also has huge berms which seem pointless unless you're on a fast moving, coasting mountain bike. So I walked the whole thing. Blah.

Muni at Dryer - 2010-08-28

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tryon Park / West Bay Park Final Public Meeting

This evening I attended the final public meeting for the pilot program to create shared trails in two of Monroe County's parks: Tryon and West Bay. Here's the PDF presentation.

The plans are all done. Some existing trails will be modified or decommissioned. Some new trails will be made. Some trails will be designated as shared-use for both hikers and off-road cyclists. And some trails will be for hiking only.

The final plan should get Monroe County approval on Monday.
Trail work will begin as early as September 3rd, and is expected to go on through the fall.

The environmental impact and the shared-use aspect of the trails will be monitored by the county for 18 months. If things work out well, the trails will remain shared-use and perhaps more trails in the county will be opened to shared use.

At the meetings I've attended, there are clearly people who oppose the shared-use idea. My perception is that most of these people are older hikers/walkers. Many are concerned about their safety with cyclists on the trails. Some are concerned with the noise of cyclists scaring away wildlife. It's understandable, though their attitudes often seem get-off-my-lawn-ish.

Hopefully cyclists will be very careful to respect the trails and the hikers, so there won't be any complaints that lead to negative changes for us cyclists.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bruise and Hopping

My fall on Saturday left an abrasion but no bruising, until now. It doesn't hurt as much, but it looks worse.

I've been hopping a bit, which has been useful for getting up elevated boardwalks, up to about 6" high. But I haven't been able to get over logs. Eventually I'd like to be able to do rolling hops over them. A rolling hop is riding straight and hopping, just like a bunny hop on a bike.
Like this awesome guy demonstrates here:


The alternative to rolling hops are side hops. These are the kind of hops I normally do, where I ride to a stop, turn 90 degrees, and hop up/over the obstacle.
But somehow I got into the habit of holding my seat with my left hand and hopping left. I should be using my right hand because it's stronger and it's more effective to hop towards my free arm. So two days ago I made the switch and practiced hopping with right hand.
I was surprised to find it was easy to switch and I ended up hopping better than I was before.
Unfortunately, after practicing for a good hour, the inside of my right elbow has been killing me. I remember that problem in the past with my left arm, and with my knees. So I suspect I'm just using muscles and tendons I'm not used to.
I'm side hopping while still in my seat. For bigger hops I need to learn to push my seat out in front of me (SIF).
Like this... haha:

I'll settle for hopping a log. ;-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2010-08-21

This morning I rode at Whiting and Webster Park... again. I outfitted my muni with a Cateye Velo 5 cycle computer.

I've been measuring my mileage and average speed using GPS, but I've wondered how accurate it is. I configured the Cateye wheel size by rolling it out and measuring it with chalk marks on the driveway. I got 80-1/8" with no weight. Interestingly, when I sat on it and compressed the tire, I got 78". I just did some math and over 15 miles, the difference gets close to about 1/2 mile. I actually took another 1/2" off, expecting more tire compression on the trails.
According to the Cateye, I rode 15.1 miles. My GPS said 14.3 miles. I think the CatEye would be more accurate because the GPS would cut a lot of corners and has inherent inaccuracies. So I'm gonna go with the CatEye. 15.1 mile muni! My new record!

I also brought along a Hammer Raspberry energy gel pack. Is that a uni on the package? ;-)

After about 1-1/2 hours of riding, I usually have a snack of something like some gummy fruit chews. But I wanted to see if one of these gels allowed me to ride and eat at the same time, and gave me any extra energy in the later part of my ride. It was easy to ride and eat once I got to known flat area, and it did the job of keeping me from getting hungry, but I didn't feel like it made a difference in my energy levels over any other snack. My muscles and arse got tired towards the end of my ride just as usual. I rode further, but I've been riding farther each time anyway.

Coming down a small rooty hill I've done a bunch of times, I took a tumble. Somehow I didn't see a root and I pitched forward. In an instant I was on my hands, then back, then front, sliding about 15 feet down a rooty hill. I remember feeling/hearing my CamelBak as it scrapped down the hill (nice back protection) and I remember being on my front, worried a bit, as I slid down to a few feet before the wood planks crossing the muddy valley.
My left thigh/buttock hurt, and as I stood up I found the muscle was stiff. I grabbed my uni and limped up the opposite hill. I was pretty happy not to have any huge gashes or broken bones. But the side of my butt was killing me. I sat down for a good five minutes and things improved a lot. My leg wasn't as stiff and I was good to ride. My muscles in the area just didn't want to move after being hit so hard. But after my rest, I was able to ride another two hours.
Once I got home, I assessed my damages.
My shoulder got some abrasion, and my arse.

My most major accomplishment of my ride was making it up the hardest hill on the Orange trail at Whiting! So now I've made it through the entire Orange trail both ways. Later, I failed on the same hill, but it was late in my ride and I was very fatigued.

I also made it through a hilly, very rooty section in Webster Park. The best part was having a group of about five older people chatting right in the middle of it. They made room for me. I was impressed they didn't get panicky like some people. A woman said something like, "Gotta stay focused on the trail!". I guess she recognized that I couldn't look at their faces, and the difficulty of the trail. I think they might be Friends of Webster Trails though. One of the men said, "You gotta have balls to do that... and good balance." It's always cool when the encounters happen during a challenging section and I succeed.
The trails were busy. Lots of youth running and dog walkers with the usual positive comments. I saw one mountain biker who said, "No way! That's so cool!"

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2010-08-21

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ride Before Work

Lately I've been riding longer and pushing myself more, which leaves me a bit sore the next day. So I've only been doing one big ride per weekend. Today I started what I hope will be a weekly routine of riding on Wednesday morning before I head in to work.

I rode at Whiting and Webster Park. I've finally put some pieces together and found a good loop through Webster Park. All I really needed to do was take the time to look at my past GPS maps and connect the dots. I've never liked the many valleys within Webster Park, because what goes down must go up. And the ups are always steeper than I'd like.
But this morning I actually enjoyed the challenge. While I didn't make it up any new hills in Webster Park, I "saw the light" several times.

I got into work 2 hours late and used vacation time. At that rate, I'll only use one vacation day per month. Good deal!

Oh, and I rode my furthest yet. 11.4 miles according to GPS.
I should get a cycling computer to check the accuracy of that. I bet a lot of smaller turns aren't being picked up by GPS, so my actually riding distance might be longer.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2010-08-18

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Whiting 2010-08-14

I rode at Whiting this morning. I thought I might have ridden about 13 miles, because I kept pushing myself to keep going. But it looks like I was just shy of 11. Still my longest ride!
I did well. I got totally through the Yellow trail 2 out of 3 times with no dismounts. And other trails just keep getting easier. There's a section on my way to the Midnight trail that I'm getting very close to riding successfully. And on the way back too, thought there's a steep hill I can't imagine climbing, just descending. I remember, maybe 6 months ago, wondering if even a rider like Kris Holm could make it through this section. It's rooty and hilly. But now I can almost see myself doing it! Or course, KH would probably breeze through it.
I rode the south segment of the Red trail that cuts across the Orange. Usually when I'm on the Orange, I want to finish that trail completely, and it wasn't until recently that I looked at the map and saw this section of the Red doesn't commit me to riding the entire Red. It hits the Orange trail twice. Unfortunately this segment is no good. It like riding through a mowed field. No dirt and few trees.
I also found an alternative way of coming back from the Midnight Trail. Just outside the Midnight loop, there's a fork in the trail, with one way leading further into Webster Park. I never take that way because Webster Park is a huge maze of trails and I don't want to get sidetracked. But today I found if I take that and take the next trail that would logically get me back, it actually works out well. And there's a skinny bridge and a challenging rooty hill. It's one of my new favorite challenges.

Muni at Whiting - 2010-08-14

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Basil Marella

Mj told me a about a park in Greece called Basil Marella Park. I met up with her this morning and we rode there. It has some typical trails, but it is also a disc golf park. The course is through the woods and has some decent hills. You can pretty much just ride the course from hole to hole if you want. At first I thought it might be awkward riding in the area if we'd be in the golfers' way. But there was just an occasional walker or jogger. We only saw one group of golfers playing in the few hours we were there, and they were easy to avoid.

Unfortunately at the very end of our ride, Mj got tripped up and stepped badly on her ankle. It was painful and started to swell. Long story short, it's sprained and she'll be using crutches for a week or two.
Sorry Mj! I hope you can get back on your wheel soon!

Muni at Basil Marella - 2010-08-08

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Four at Tryon

I met Mj and Colin around 11am today. Colin brought another rider, John. I didn't even know there were any other riders in the area. It sounds like he doesn't ride very often, but he did pretty well on the trails.

Unfortunately Mj had to leave soon after our ride due to a prior obligation. But it was cool that she came out for at least a short ride.

Left to right: Mj, me, Colin, John

We rode in the south end of Tryon where I often ride. But then I wanted to find some trails at Tryon called the Clover Leaf Trails. We got real close I think, but never quite found them. But I wasn't carrying a map. We ended up hitting Browncroft Road and road up the hill on the shoulder back to our cars. We then hiked around the edge of the nearby apartments looking for a trail head. But the wooded area around the apartments started with an immediate drop off and no trails were found. Colin and John soon left, and I rode a little bit more in the area I'm familiar with. I had to go back and practice some more hill climbing.

I made it through a trail that I've been working on without a dismount. Woo hoo! And I saw Frank, a local MTBer and Friend of Webster Trails.

Muni Ride at Tryon - 2010-08-07

Trail Work at Parks and Rec

I started today by working with the Friends of Webster Trails on a new trail. It's being built at the new location of the Webster Parks and Recreation center.
The map below shows the general location of the trail with a Blue trail. I didn't bring my GPS receiver with me, so this is just the general idea.

View Trail Work - 2010-08-07 in a larger map
Blue - New Trail work this morning
Green - Existing Bird Sanctuary Trail
Red - Future Hojack Trail extension
Yellow - Existing Hojack Trail

I only stayed to help for an hour, because I had made plans to ride at Tryon with Colin and Mj. I'm thinking I might help out more on that trail on a week night. It's too bad the trail work is only once a month, on a Saturday morning. I always want to ride on Saturday morning and I wouldn't mind helping out on the trails more than once a month.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pilot Program: West Bay

Tonight I attended a Monroe County workshop at the West Bay Park on the west side of Irondequoit bay. The meeting was just like the one last week at Tryon Park. West Bay Park is also part of the Monroe County pilot program to create shared-use trails.
I grew up in East Irondequoit and rode a lot in this park. I have never tried riding muni there because I know that the hills are very steep. But a lot has changed in the 15-20 years since I used to ride there. There are actually a fair number of trails that are rideable for me.
The pilot program will create new trails, and the hills will have switchbacks.
I'm looking forward to this Fall when trail building will likely start.

West Bay Workshop - 2010-08-05

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I usually keep my uni hanging on a hook on the wall in my garage. I doubt anyone would break in just to steal it, but I could imagine it might catch someone's eye as something interesting or funny to take.
Plus I never know when one of the kids' friends might be over and think it's okay to take down and give a try.

So I put a bar on the wall to give me something to lock it to. I used pipe and U-lock:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Skinny Beam

I planned on riding this morning at Tryon, but I woke up with a sore lower back from yesterday's ride. I definitely could have ridden, but I knew I would fatigue very early. No fun.

A few months ago I had put together a "skinny" made from a 4x4" beam. I never really rode it. I started with a 2x4 lying flat on the ground and thought I'd progress to riding the 4x4. But I guess the combination of low success with the 2x4, my inability to get up on the 4x4, and my desire to do other riding, kept me from trying it.
So tonight I screwed a few 2x4's to the side of the 4x4 to make it wider. I can ride up onto it using some flat 2x6's as steps.

As I get more comfortable and consistent, I'll remove the 2x4's one at a time until I can easily ride the 4x4 alone.