Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dr. Luckey

Since August I've been complaining about pain from my left knee.  It was lateral knee pain that occurred either during a ride and or within a few hours after my ride was over.

Google helped me diagnosis it as iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS).  Stretching the IT band helped releive some of the pain, but I couldn't get rid of it.

After posting about it on the Tryon Bike forum, I got some advice to go to Pittsford Performance Care to see Dr. Luckey.

Dr. Luckey
I saw him first at the beginning of November.  The building he’s in looks like it was once a distribution center that has now been retrofitted for small businesses.  It's not fancy like many medical buildings, but the office itself was pretty nice.
He's a chiropractor, but with a different approach to solving injuries.  He called it In-Balance.  If I understand correctly, he concept goes as follows.  Our muscles absorb the physical shock we experience, such as in sports.  When the muscles aren't responding fast enough, the shock is then absorbed through other parts of our bodies, causing injury and pain.  By analyzing the responsiveness of your muscles from one side of your body to the other, you can determine if there is asymmetry, and how to make corrections.

I figured he’d use some kind of electronic or mechanical devices to detect my muscle responsiveness, but he just held my leg as I pushed when he told me.  Compared to my right leg, my left was shakey in areas.  I was a bit skeptical because I already told him my problem, and since he was holding my leg it seemed he had the ability to make it appear shakey.
In-Balance Evaluation
Once he completed his muscle response analysis, he made a few adjustments like a typical chiropractor.  Although, unlike the other chiropractor I had seen, Dr. Luckey only adjusted one side.  He also pulled hard on my left leg to adjust that. 

I was surprised when he was done, because it only took a few minutes and I expected more analysis or exercises.  Shouldn't I be working on strengthening at home?  He assured me that the adjustments he made were enough.  It seemed like I should be doing a lot more to solve a problem that I've had for months.

He suggested I come back in a few days and did not discourage me from riding.  But that was when my friend Roland was going to be visiting and I didn't want to be injured, so I did no riding.  I made another appointment for the morning before my ride with Roland.  That appointment was similar to the first, but without the consultation at the beginning.

Dr. Luckey brought up that a past injury may have caused me to be using my muscles in an unbalanced way.  It then occurred to me that last year I fell very hard on my left glute!  Maybe that was the root of this problem!

After my adjustment I rode with Roland at Bay Park West and did not have any knee pain!  It had been months since I rode without at least some pain on my left knee, so this was huge!
But prior to riding I had stretched my IT band way more than usual, and I had taken ibuprofen for days.  So I still wasn't sure Dr. Luckey's treatment was the key.

I emailed Dr. Luckey and he suggested the stretching and ibuprofen were a bad idea, and that it would be better to create the problem again and then go see him, so he could more accurately diagnosis the problem.

So I stopped trying to treat it myself and just rode as usual.  Since then I've ridden at BPW again, OCP, and at WRNP twice.  I haven’t had any knee pain!  I let Dr. Luckey know and he said as long as the pain doesn't return, I'm good to go.  So in two visits he apparently fixed me up!

I am really convinced that Dr. Luckey’s treatment solved my problem.  It's great not to have to worry about my knee anymore!  Thanks Dr. Luckey!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

GROC Member at Large

Late last week I attended my first GROC board meeting and was voted in as a Member at Large.

So now I'm a Member at Large for both GROC and The Friends of Webster Trails.
Who better to have as a liaison between the a group of mostly two-wheelers and a group of mostly no-wheelers than a one-wheeler!

Warm December

We had another unusually warm weekend with temperatures over 50°F by afternoon.

I rode at Whiting and Webster to enjoy the fruits of my leaf blowing labor.  I saw a bunch of people out there, about a dozen mountain bikers and even more hikers.  I stopped to talk to one mountain biker and he was happy the trails were cleared and praised whoever did it.  It was me!

It WAS nice to have the rails cleared for my ride.  Unfortunately the trails were muddy in many places.  I guess we had some rain during a few nights ago, but it was suggested to me that the frost might be the culprit.  Either way, there are plenty of spots that need attention.

After my muni ride, Jamie came over and we practiced in the driveway.  He's been making great progress, and continued to make progress this afternoon.  He rode past four houses up the street and free mounted several times.  Nice!  I made a bit of progress in my hopping, trying to building up to rolling hops.

My muni ride was about 9 miles.
Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2011-12-04

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GROC Mobile Trail Maps

Lost on a trail?
Download the GROC Mobile Trail Maps app from iTunes for your iPhone or iPod!
Or download it for your Android!

As seen above, it's got maps for:
  • Irondequoit Bay Park West (BPW)
  • Tryon Park
  • Dryer Road Park in Victor
  • Ontario County Park (OCP)
  • Letchworth State Park
Pretty slick and it's free!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

FWT Leaf Blowing

Being the nice guy that I am, I volunteered to do some leaf blowing for the Friends of Webster Trails.  As far as I know the group hasn't been leaf blowing every year, but there was a desire this year.

Clearing the trails of leaves has a number of benefits.
- Trails covered in leaves don't get airflow or sun, so they stay wet.
- Leaves act like sponges, holding more moisture on the trail.
- Low spots with preexisting water/mud issues get worse when spongy organic material collects in them.
- Trail users are more likely to trip on roots, stumps, and rocks when they are hidden by leaves.
- Leaves can be slippery.
- Trail users can stray off the trail and get lost when leaves hide them.
- Trail maintenance can continue because we can see the trail surface.

The most important aspect to me is allowing the trails to dry out.  Last spring was very wet, and the trails took forever to become usable.
So I volunteered to clear the trails at the Whiting Road Nature Preserve, and the Midnight trail.  Frank, a friend, and friend of Webster trails, let me borrow his seriously powerful Stihl BR 600 backpack leaf blower.
It's the same on he uses for his rocket-man rig. I didn't use a bike, just hiked.  Frank met me at the trails this morning at 8:30 and set me up.  After a few minutes I was on my own.

I had planned and memorized my route yesterday evening to minimize backtracking, but in some cases it is unavoidable.  The leaf blower was a beast and in most cases I could walk quickly.  Some places were naturally clear, and others could be cleared just with the blower idling. In other places with big oaks or maples the leaves were seriously thick.  In these cases I had to slow down and found myself persuading bigger piles of leaves off to the side, especially at the bottom of hills.

In many areas, with the top leaves removed, it became obvious how much moisture was being trapped underneath.  The trail surface was sometimes slick if not muddy, and I tried to blow off any caked-on leaves when possible.  It felt a little wrong removing what seemed to be a more appealing layer of leaves and leaving a wetter trail.  But with the actual trail exposed, it should dry up quickly.

I was getting tired by about half-way through the Whiting trails.  I don't hike much and carrying about 25 lbs of equipment and fuel didn't help.  But I persisted.
After finishing Whiting, I stopped for a granola bar at my car and heading towards the Midnight Trail across the street through Webster Park.  The snack break didn't help my sore feet, legs, back, and shoulders, but I pressed on.

Technically the county owns Webster Park, but FWT maintains the trails connecting Whiting to the Midnight Trail.  The Midnight Trail had some long stretches with thick leaves.  Two years ago when I was experiencing my first fall muni riding, I cleared the Midnight Trail.  I was hoping not to have to deal with the angry leaf woman (aka stick woman), and thankfully I didn't.

On that matter, I do understand than some people actually prefer to walk on leaf covered trails.  But at some point, clearing the trail becomes more important.  Last spring was very wet and many trails got destroyed.  People show up and use trails even if they're still wet, and then they become mud pits.  Many volunteer hours went towards fixing these.  If we can avoid wet trails, we must.

After I finished with the Midnight Trail, I was done with my FWT duties.  I took my FWT hat off and put on my MuniOrBust hat, both figuratively of course.  Instead of heading out the way I came, I decided to head further into Webster Park on the route I typically take.  I was already tired and sore, but what the heck, it was now or never.  In Webster Park, there are a number of places that have so many leaves it's insane, and they take forever to dry out in the spring.  There are hills, one shaped like a water slide, that funnel leaves down in huge quantities.  Even the mighty BR 600 couldn't clear these in a single pass... more like 5.

During my work, it occurred to me that by clearing a select loop through Webster Park there would be a tendency for trail users to follow it, possibly changing the usual traffic flow.  Good or bad, I don't know... just an observation.  I'm also a bit worried someone associated with the park might take issue with my donation of free trail maintenance, but hopefully they'll understand the benefits.

I finished my Webster Park loop and headed back to the Whiting parking lot.

I saw a number of people throughout my hike.  Some smiled, some looked confused, and some looked like their anti-depressants were working well.  In other words, people looked at me like I was riding a unicycle through the woods... nothing new.  I didn't want to interact with people and explain and justify what I was doing.  I had to allow people to get past me, so I had to stop, leaf blower idling, and let them go. But thankful only one woman actually talked to me.  She asked me "Why are you doing this?", and I thought, "Oh great, here we go."  I told her, "We do this to help the trails dry out faster in the spring." To my surprise, she said, "And the leaves can be slippery too."  So I guess she approved!

I noticed about 4 or 5 runners out there.  Man, you've got to be crazy running through some of these trails with all those leaf-covered roots.  It's like running through a mine field but instead of dying you roll your ankle.  I have a feeling they were also appreciative of my work today.

Based on the previous GPS maps, I estimate I hiked about 8 miles, leaf blowing except where I had to back-track.  On the map below, I cleared all the trails in Whiting, and the purple and pink lines in Webster Park.
I got in my car just shy of 1:00pm, 4 1/2 hours of trail leaf blowing.  I think I may have broken a record.
Based on the length of this blog post, obviously I don't feel like moving from my chair. ;-)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Great Black Friday Deal

Today is Black Friday and I think I got the best deal of all... 55+°F weather!

I rode at Whiting and Webster Park. Aside from getting a good ride in, I was also scouting out the trails for leaves. The Friends of Webster Trails would like the trails cleared before the snow falls for good. I'd like to help soon. There are tons of leaves in some places.

There was an abnormally large number of visitors at the parks today. Everyone must be taking advantage of the holiday and the last of the mild weather. It's good to see people enjoying the trails.

I pushed myself to ride farther than normal to test my left knee problem. My last few rides at Bay Park West were pain free, but I don't ride a long time or distance there, due to its hilly nature. I rode close to 15 miles today, and although I thought I felt hints of irritation to my knee, I had no pain! But in the past, I've had pain show up hours after riding. So I'm still waiting to see.

My GPS said 13.5 miles and my cycle computer said 14.8 miles.
Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2011-11-25

Monday, November 21, 2011

FWT Member at Large

I am officially a Member at Large on the Friends of Webster Trails board!  The vote was going to be at the December meeting, but that got cancelled so the board voted by email and let me know.

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

OCP Work and Ride

It has been a long time since I rode at Ontario County Park (OCP), June of last year in fact.
I've also been meaning to get out there for trail work, especially because Rick, a leader of trail work at OCP, comes out quite often to the Friends of Webster Trails work days.

So today I joined the crew and helped out. There were only four of us. Not a big turn-out. We filled and graded a handful of low spots on a new section of the Purple trail.

After the work, I went for a muni ride. From my past experience, I remembered it was difficult with its hilly and rocky terrain. I confirmed this today. While I'm better than a year ago, I still run of of steam on the never-ending hill climbs.  I think next time I'll avoid the Brown trail, or at least the west half. I was told the east half was easier, but I mistakenly started on the west and never got back to it.  And the other trails are still challenging but more manageable.

I took a few pics:

I rode about 4.5 miles.
Muni at Ontario County Park- 2011-11-20

Monday, November 14, 2011

Member At Large

I attended the monthly Friends of Webster Trails board meeting tonight.  There's a "Member at Large" position open on the board and I asked if I could fill it.  In that position I'll help out with whatever I can.
The motion was raised to have me fill that position, and it was seconded.

But it won't be official until next month, after the board members make a decision.

So it's looking like I'll soon be a Member at Large for both FWT and GROC, since I was asked to joined them too.  I look forward to contributing where I can.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Typical Ride at BPW

I enjoyed the mild weather today at Bay Park West.
Nothing too exciting, just a good ride.

I rode about 5 miles.

Muni at Bay Park West - 2011-11-13

Mountain Bike Leaf Blowing

I recently mentioned that a few local superheroes have been leaf blowing the trails for the rest of us mortals to ride.  This makes the trails less slick, much easier to follow, and they'll dry up faster in the spring.

It's a big job to clear miles of trails, but thanks to Mark's invention and GROC's support, it's not so bad.

Here's a video of Frank operating one of the "Rocket Man Zamboni" machines at Bay Park West:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Muni with Roland

Roland, a muni rider from Albany, is in town for a business conference.   He's the guy who has put together the Muni Only Race in Schenectady for the past two years. This afternoon we rode together at Bay Park West.

BPW was the obvious choice of riding locations because the trails were leaf blown. Thanks again to the few great mountain bikers who've been doing this!  It's great to be able to ride one wheel without slipping on the leaves.

Riding with Roland at BPW was an eye opening experience.  He's such a good rider and could climb all the hills and pass all log and rock obstacles.  I need to learn to do rolling hops like him.   In one rock garden, when the going got tough, he was able to hop the final half.  He's put a lot of time into his riding and his hard work has paid off.

I stretched my knee extra today and had a chiropractic adjustment to try to avoid the lateral knee pain I've been having. We rode 5 miles, and at a place like BPW, that's more than enough to give me knee trouble, before and after the ride.  My knee was fine during the ride, and afterwards it has been feeling ok.  I've been stretching extra to hopefully prevent the usual pain.

Muni at Bay Park West - 2011-11-07

Jamie Starts Learning

Jamie Lissow, from The Wease Show, stopped over this weekend to borrow a unicycle from me.  He seems to have the necessary drive to learn.

He practiced at his home and already made some good progress.  It might not seem like much but it really is huge.

Here's his first day:

This morning he mentioned it on the radio.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Multiflora Rose

Today I joined the Friends of Webster Trails at Finn Park to help with trail work.
The expectation was to do some digging and install a culvert in a wet section.  Unfortunately the town had not dropped off a load of gravel needed for the job, so we went to Plan B.

Plan B was to remove a whole bunch of Multiflora Rose.  This plant is a shrub that, at least where we were, is 8 feet and has approximately 10 billion thorns.  It's nasty stuff and is an invasive species in this area, originating in Japan, China, and Korea.  According to National Park Service, "it has been planted in highway median strips to serve as crash barriers."  Seriously, this stuff is strong and dense.

If I didn't have work gloves on, I would have been useless.  But if I do that work again, I think I'll should get some thicker gloves.

If you were being chased by a psycho with a chainsaw and Multiflora Rose was in your way, your best bet would be to turn around and ask to borrow the chainsaw.

This was the last official FWT trail work day for the year.  After the work, we gathered in the Liberty Lodge there in Finn Park and enjoyed cider and donuts.  Some of the crew had also put together display tables showing things like how the wooden trail signs are made, samples of plants in the area, and maps of present and future trails.  Good stuff.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I was recently invited to become a board member of GROC, the Genesee Regional Off-Road Cyclists.

GROC is an organization of volunteers that has brought the Rochester area so many shared-use trails.  They are the stewards of four parks in our region:
Dryer Road Park in Victor
Ontario County Park in South Bristol
Tryon Park in Rochester
Irondequoit Bay Park West in Rochester

Because of GROC’s efforts, Tryon and Bay Park West are the first two out of the 21 Monroe County Parks to allow legal off-road cycling under a shared-use pilot program.

Two years ago I started working with the Friends of Webster Trails.  Just over a year ago, GROC got the go ahead to start working in Bay Park West and I began helping them.

I expect to officially become a board member at the next GROC meeting.  Hopefully as a board member I can contribute to GROC in a bigger way.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


The family and I went to The Greatest Show on Earth this afternoon, The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus!

Of course the first thing that comes to mind when people see unicycles is the circus!  So it was especially exciting for me to go and see so many unicy.... WHAT?!  No unicycles at the circus?  Not a single one.
The closest thing was a penny farthing in the opening introduction.
Penny Farthing
Oh well.  I guess unicycles aren't for circuses anymore.  So to get my fix I went riding at Bay Park West after the show.

A few awesome guys from Tryon Bike shop and members of GROC do miles of leaf blowing at this park.  With the otherwise wet leaves covering the trails, I wouldn't have been able to ride there like I did.  THANKS GUYS!  By the way, this is what you get when you open up a park to off-road cycling... a team of volunteers to build and maintain your trails for free.

It was about 50°F but I just wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  It felt cold at first and I thought maybe I had made a mistake.  But after about 10 minutes I felt ok.  Any colder and I think I'll wear long sleeves, at least to start.

I only rode about 3 miles.  I think the colder air is harder to ride in and I felt kind of worn out towards the evening.  And BPW is a tough park too.  My knee didn't bother me but my lower back was very tight after my ride.  It felt like a good workout.

Muni at Bay Park West - 2011-10-30

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Wease Show

Yesterday I met a nice guy and his family while I was riding muni at Webster Park. It turns out the guy is Jamie of The Wease Show.  He mentioned me on the show today and it sounds like he's gonna give unicycling a try.

Here's the relevant audio from the show:

From the show's daily rundown:
The guy was on a freaking unicycle
Jamie went for a walk at the park over the weekend with his family and was flabergasted when a man went blowing by him.  You will NEVER guess what this guy was doing.  We made a contest out of that question.. because we're trying to get everyone to go to Arrowhead Haunted Hayride in Spencerport.  Wease actually went there over the weekend, brought the kids, and loved it.. so he wants to give away passes seeing as how this weekend is the final weekend that it was open.  So anyway.. the guy that passed Jamie in the park.. he was on a freaking unicycle!! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Ride, Possible New Rider

Today I rode at Whiting and Webster Park.  Fall is certainly here and with temperatures in the mid-50's I was concerned about what to wear.  I always forget at what temperature I should wear long sleeves when I ride.  Thankfully I have my blog for reference and in the past I wore long sleeves when in was in the 40's but ended up getting hot and switching to short sleeves a mile into my ride.  So short sleeves were fine today.  For convenience I should make chart showing temperature and appropriate muni clothing.
I was surprised that the cooler air irritated my breathing a bit. It doesn't seem cold enough for that yet.  Maybe I'm still getting acclimated.

My ride was fairly typical.  The trails are mostly covered with leaves, but it doesn't bother me like it once did.  Though a few hills in Webster Park have so many leaves it affects my climbing.

My Schlumpf hub worked fine.  I don't really notice any of the problems with it when I'm riding.

My left knee was good up until about mile 7 when it gave hints of getting sore.  I decided to play it conservatively and headed back to the car, but I had enough riding to not feel disappointed.

The highlight of today's ride was stopping to talk with a family.  The dad recently saw a unicycle race and became interested.  He's looking to get a unicycle and learn to ride.  He also got into snowshoe running last year, and that's something I've been planning for the upcoming off-season.  So hopefully we'll get together sometime.

I rode 7.5 miles according to my cycle computer.
Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2011-10-23

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Schlumpf Inspection

As I mentioned in my last post, my Schlumpf hub is beginning to make a bit of noise and is feeling less smooth.  It's a sealed system and I there's not a lot of maintenance I can do on it, but today I inspected it.

First I took my wheel off my frame so I could spin the bearings by hand.  I immediately noticed how dirty things looked.
Wanting to clean things up, I removed my cranks:
After going at it with Q-tips, a toothbrush, and paper towels, things look much better:

But unfortunately after turning the axle and bearings by hand, I confirmed that the issues were internal and there was little I could do.  It sounds and feels like bearing issues to me.  It doesn't matter whether I'm in high gear or not.  It has a 5 year warranty, so I have many years left.  It probably makes the most sense to just keep riding it until the bearings get worse and can no longer be ridden.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Knee and Schlumpf Issues

EDIT 2012-07-06:
I stumbled across this post and thought I'd mention I haven't had any further issues with my Schlumpf hub.  I think the noise/vibration I perceived in the bearings wasn't anything.  Maybe a bearing holder was on too tight?  In any case, I have had no problems since originally reporting this.

I hadn't ridden since the Albany race two weeks ago.  I wanted to rest my knee/IT band and have been doing a small amount of daily exercising and stretching to hopefully make it better.  Plus the weather had been colder and uninviting lately.

But this weekend we've had temperatures in the 60's and 70's, so it was time to get out.  I rode at Whiting and Webster this morning.

Unfortunately my left knee started bothering me around the 5 mile mark, as usual.  So my ride was shorter than I like, at just under 8 miles.  I did manage some good climbs, though gave up after four tries on my relatively new nemesis hill on the Red trail at Whiting.  Last time I was able to climb it, but it wasn't in the cards today.  Same with one hill in Webster Park.

The leaves are now falling and the trails are covered.  It can be a bit nerve racking riding fast and not being able to see the hidden roots.  But none got me this time.

At some point during my ride I must have been off my uni and spun my wheel to position my pedals to mount.  The spinning wheel didn't feel completely smooth.  I think I could feel some vibration through my frame and seat and into my hands.  It looks like my Schlumpf geared hub is acting up.  I think the bearings are no longer spinning smoothly and it looks like more grease is leaking out than normal.  Usually it just looks shiny near the seals, but I actually see some grease. This sucks.  The hub has a 5 year warranty and it will likely need to be sent back to Switzerland.  The turn around for this kind of thing can be months.
The good news is, I have my original 24" wheel ready to go for just such a problem.  So I won't be completely out of commission, just without my high gear.  Plus, if I have to send it back, doing so as we get into the winter months is probably the best time.
The other bad news is I'll have to remove the hub from my wheel in order to send it back, but the possibly good news is that I have been thinking about getting a 29'er.  If I do, then I may have been moving my geared hub into a new wheel anyway.
I'll have to investigate the problem closer before I pursue the warranty fix.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2011-10-09

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wegmans Passport to Wellness Posts

This morning I attended the Friends of Webster Trails trail work at Whiting Road Nature Preserve.  I was asked if I could help John install two posts at the Gosnell Field.

The posts will be part of the Wegmans Passport to Family Wellness program.  It encourages families to hike our local trails and find special Wegmans plaques.  Then you make a rubbing of the plaque on your passport to prove you were there. Wegmans will then reward you with a free item, gift card, or t-shirt.

So John and I drove over to the Gosnell Field. We hiked in a wheelbarrow with a bag of concrete, a few gallons of water, a shovel, post-hole digger, tools, and two 6' posts.  We installed two very plumb posts.

The actual passport plaques will get mounted later.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mobile Wireless Level

I love the challenge of climbing hills and the satisfaction of being successful.  I'm often curious about the grade of the hills I ride.  I really have no idea what grade they are or what grade I find challenging.  If I knew the grade of an unconquered hill is only 1% more than a hill I've already climbed, it might help me push harder.

So I want to measure the grade of the trails I ride.  I always record my rides with GPS and that records altitude.  Applications such as Google Earth can take that data and draw a path with elevation.  Google Earth will then calculate the grade of sections on trail.  That sounds good, but GPS data can be off by 2+ meters in the horizontal direction and about double that in the vertical.  On a mile long hill climb maybe the grade calculated from the start and end points would be close enough.   But the grade calculations for a short length of trail could be way off.  And I'm only concerned about short steep hill climbs.  I would think calculating based on the both the inaccurate horizontal and vertical GPS data would make the grade calculations extremely inaccurate.

So it occurred to me to go out to the trails and measure the hill grades by hand, writing the results down.  I could use a plumb and protractor, or a digital level.  But this is a bit too manual for me, and it would be tedious to get this data on a map.

What I need is to collect data while I ride, just like I do with GPS, only I want actual level information.
But since a unicycle's frame pivots on its wheel, it moves independently of the grade it's rolling on.  So I can't use my uni.  However, a bike frame stays in sync with the trail grade as it rolls, assuming the wheels don't leave the ground, there's no suspension, and no tire compression.
ZOMG!  Bikes have a purpose after all! ;-)

Months ago I attached a Wii Remote with a Nunchuk to my bike to use as a level.  Both of these devices have accelerometers in them and can be used to measure angles.  The wiimote's data can be read using Bluetooth, and as a software engineer it wasn't too difficult to write an application to log from it.  In testing, I found the nunchuk I had gave me data at twice the resolution of the wiimote, but still only gave readings at about 1.8 degree increments. On a side note, I also noticed another nunchuk I had was actually the same as the wiimote, at 3.6 degree increments.  Hmm.  Anyway, I rode around the neighborhood and recorded some data.  Unfortunately because the wiimote and nunchuk measure position using accelerometers, they're dual purpose, and their values bounce all over the place as they shake.  This is good information for the Wii, but not for my purposes. Even riding carefully gave me extremely shaking and therefore useless data.  The other annoyance with the wiimote is it implements the Bluetooth Human Interface Device (HID) profile.  I can interact with this using my laptop, but not with my Dell PDA.  So I'd have to carry a laptop with me in a backpack to log data.

What I really need is a digital wireless level that implements the Bluetooth Serial Port Profile (SPP).  After an extensive search I found a digital protractor with an accuracy of 0.01 degrees that had an RS-232 interface and mounting holes.  Brand new this thing costs almost $350.  But I was able to find it used on eBay, shipped for $73.  It's branded by many companies, but the model is always the Pro 3600.
With an RS-232 interface I could still make it wireless by buying or building a Bluetooth SPP adapter.  Then it would be simple to log data with my PDA.  I ended up building my own, by buying some parts and using some I already had.  I saved $30-40, but spent a lot of time.  But it's good to keep exercising my novice electrical engineering skills.

Using an baby seat rack I had never installed on my bike, I was able to mount the level and Bluetooth adapter.
So now I can log both GPS data from my Holux GPS receiver and trail grade data from my Bluetooth enabled Pro 3600 protractor to my Dell Axim PDA.  By the way, this PDA is one of the few models that can simultaneous have two Bluetooth connections open at once.  It's specifically why I bought this one off eBay almost two years ago.
Holux M-1000 GPS receiver
Dell Axim x51 PDA
With a single logging program running, I can log from both devices, associating the GPS with the trail grade data.

I still need to do some more testing with the Pro 3600 protractor.  Hopefully it will not be as jittery as the Wii components.  On the trails, I plan to walk with the bike.  I think I can keep a more consistent pace and avoid vibrations this way.

Once I collect trail data, my plan is to use the grade information to calculate and replace the GPS altitude positions.  This way I can still use Google Earth to render the trail for me, and I can view grade information there.  Here is an example of how Google Earth can show the trail grade:

Hopefully I'll be posting some results soon!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Schenectady Muni Only Race 2011

This weekend was the second annual Muni Only race in Schenectady.  Like last year, the family and I made an event of it.

On Saturday there was a fun ride at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.  There were a few new faces this year.  Rob was new to riding but did very well.  Kaycee came from Maine, but showed up about 20 minutes late and didn't make the picture.
Steveyo, Kai, Tom, Rob, Roland, me, (Kaycee not shown)
It was a good ride but the mosquitoes were relentless, thanks to hurricane Irene's recent flooding.  Kaycee showed some impressive skills, landing a few 180 rolling hops over logs. He was also a fast rider on his geared 29er.
After the ride we enjoyed dinner at Roland's house.  Thanks to Roland and family for their hospitality!

Amy made special unicycle cookies just for the occasion.  We had a choice of super fat tire gingerbread unicycles or sugar cookie unicycles.  They were a big hit.  Also, Friday was my birthday and Amy made me a unicycle cookie cake too!  
Gingerbread, Birthday Cake, Sugar cookie
On Sunday we raced at the trails at Schenectady Central Park.  This year we registered on BikeReg.  How official!  Was this the first unicycle only race on BikeReg?  A super serious runner and biker, Heather Rizzi of HHRT, helped put the race together with Roland.  I can't thank people enough for the effort they put into preparing and managing an event like this.  THANK YOU!

There were 9 of us racing this year.  I wished Perry and Jason, who I met last year, could have made it.  Maybe next year.
Kyle, Max, Roland, Kaycee, me, Steveyo, Tom, "non-racer"
Missing from picture: Kelley and Rob
Just like last year, the race was a 2 hour race, as many laps as you can.  You can start your final lap before the 2 hour mark and finish it.  Most laps in the best time wins.

The start of the race comes down a cinder road before climbing into singletrack.  At go time, I waited for a handful of riders go ahead of me.  I knew the race wouldn't be won or lost in the first 30 seconds and I didn't want to get tripped up in the group.  Most riders were ahead of me as we entered the singletrack.  It's sandy right there and I UPD'ed, holding up the few riders behind me.  Oops.  After remounting, I passed a few riders within the first minute or so.  Soon I was riding by myself, with three riders ahead:  Roland, Kaycee, and Steveyo.

I believe it was during my second lap that I found Steveyo in my sights.  We switched places several times during much of the lap, but somewhere along the way I gained some ground.  I was able to use my high gear for a few minutes on a flatter area at the end of each lap, and I'm sure that gave me an advantage over Steveyo, who was riding a 24" uni like me, but with no geared hub.  Roland and Kaycee were riding 29ers, and Kaycee had a geared hub too.
Near the beginning of lap three Kaycee was in sight.  I could tell he was running out of steam, as he was no longer riding up some hills.

As we finished each lap, Heather would yell out our time so far.  Mine were 29, 58, and 1:27.  I was consistently doing 29 minute laps.  This was kind of bad.  At this rate I would finish my fourth lap just under 2 hours.  Would I stand there and let the time run out or head out for another lap?

It must have been during my fourth lap that I saw Roland.  But he was on a trail above me going the other way, so I had no idea where he was.  He knows the trails very well.  Enough to tell me that I was in 2nd place.  Even though we passed within talking range, he might as well have been two miles away.  I still don't know those trails well, so for all I know, he WAS two miles away.

Sometime after that I decided I would definitely do another lap.  I was spent, but I saw two scenarios.  One was that Roland would be waiting at the finish, ready to do another lap only if he had to.  That case would have been fun.  The other scenario was that he'd be into another lap and possible have a technical problem or cramp up, allowing me to catch him.

Sure enough I finished my fourth lap just before 2 hours at 1:57.  I didn't see Roland standing there and I headed back in.  And I didn't see Roland at all during that, my final lap.  My quads started cramping up on the hill climbs.  On steeper hills I stepped off for fear of cramping up bad enough to not be able to continue.

I got a good cheer as I finished.  It turned out I didn't need to do my 5th lap, but I'm happy to have gotten my money's worth. ;-)  I'm proud to have earned 2nd place.

This year we had some prize options:  a helmet, some folding tools, and Park tool pint glasses.  I've started a collection of pint glasses from the races I've done this year, so I went with that.
yeah... anyone have a hack saw? :P
Unfortunately the course was a bit wet from recent rain.  Some of the skinnies were hard to ride and I learned to walk across some rather than slip and slide.  I was able to ride over many more log obstacles than last year, and that saved some time.  The hill climbs felt easier too.  I've definitely a better rider than last year.  My lower back was still sore like last year, but I felt like I could manage it better.  Now I have a sore knee (ITBS I believe) but it bothers me after the ride much more than during.  Stretching is helping.

Here are the results:
1) Roland Kays 25:10, 49:22, 1:16, 1:40, 2:07 (5 laps)
2) Buzz Weetman 29:00, 58:02, 1:27, 1:57, 2:28 (5 laps)
3) Kaycee Stevens 26:00, 55:27, 1:30, 2:05 (4 laps)
4) Steve Relles 28:00, 58:28, 1:36, 2:19 (4 laps)
5) Kelley Terrill, 36:30, 1:14, 1:51, 2:44 (4 laps)
6) Max Demilner 33:45, 56:40, 1:55 (3 laps)
7) Kyle Demilner 40:45, 1:23 (2 laps)
8) Tom Baker 55:38, 1:50 (2 laps)
9) Robert Detweiler 59:30, 1:57 (2 laps)

For the record, here's my fun ride GPS track:

Muni at Albany Pine Bush Preserve - 2011-09-24

 And here's my race GPS track. My cycle computer said it was over 12 miles. And some of my track started miles away, so I trimmed that. And I guess it stopped recording during my last lap, since it ends before I finished. But I guess it shows the general idea.

Muni Only Race at Schenectady Central Park - 2011-09-25

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Return to Dryer

It had been a while since I rode at the Dryer Road Mountain Bike Park (PDF trail map).  The last time was two months ago at the Fat Tire Festival.

I did well and rode longer that usual, making good progress on several hill climbs.  There's a short but steep hill on Epping Forest that's fairly rooty and has a bit of a step up in the middle.  I finally made it!  I also successfully climbed two of three hills on Chutes and Ladders.  The one I didn't make seems easier in terms of grade and distance, but has a log obstacle that's tough to get over during a climb.  On my two runs up Elevator, I UPD'ed as I hit the steepest section. On my second run I stepped back after my UPD and tried again, several times.  On my third attempt I made it!  I can't claim to have climbed Elevator in one run, but now I've climbed every part of it.  I just need to put it all together.

I've been using Kasha as my way up from the parking lot, and it tripped me up all three times today.  It actually seemed a bit shorter and easier than I remember, which I think means I'm making progress.   The steepest sections are riddled with rocks and sapling stumps that have been left since the trail was built and that's what caught me each time.  I think that was just bad luck.  I'll keep at it, but it also might be time to try some alternative routes again.

My knee was hurting as usual around the 5-7 mile mark.  I stopped several times and stretched my leg best I could.  That helped, but once I got home it was worse.  I keep stretching it, and it's getting better, but it's still frustrating.

As usual, with all the twists and turns at Dryer, my GPS track shows less than my cycle computer: about 7.5 miles versus 8.5 miles.

Muni at Dryer - 2011-09-18

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BPW and Hojack

I took vacation from work this morning to ride at Bay Park West. When I started it was under 60°F. Nice and cool. I was able to recreate the hill climbs I accomplished last time I was there without much problem, including the climb from the parking lot near the Fish and Game Club, and the climb out to Homewood Lane. Actually, come to think of it, there wasn't any climb I didn't succeed at. Oh wait, there's a little 5 foot section coming out of an old creek crossing that gets me every time. I don't think I even try very seriously because it's just not happening, but I should work on it.

The logs are the biggest challenge for me.  Some day I'll learn to hop them.

Because of the roller-coaster of hills at BPW, I accumulate mileage very slowly. And because of the route I like to take, at about the 4 mile point I find myself deciding whether to commit to nearly doubling that of just heading out. Not wanting to push things, I decided to head out.

Instead, I decided to ride the Hojack Trail in Webster before calling it a day. As an old railroad bed, this trail is flat and tame. I was able to ride my high gear the whole way with no problem. I did shift to low gear at several road crossings. Last time I rode there was after the winter thaw, and the trail surface was a mess. At this point it's back to normal.

Looking at the stats of both rides really shows how different these trails are:
Bay Park West Hojack Trail
5 miles in about 1.5 hours
Average speed: 3.4mph
6.8 miles in about 45 minutes
Average speed: 9mph
Halfway through the Hojack, my left knee was starting to bother me as usual.  Before turning around for the return trip, I sat down and stretched it out.  After that it felt 100%!  It got sore again before I was done, but I was amazed at how much the stretch helped.  I'm still hopeful that I'll completely rid myself of any pain during a reasonable ride, say 20 miles or less.  But until then, I hope I can use stretching to push on.

Muni at Hojack Trail - 2011-09-14

Muni at Bay Park West - 2011-09-14

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hills and Graffiti

I rode at Whiting and Webster Park this morning. I hit the Red trail, going from Orange to Blue. One of the hill climbs in this direction is a challenge for me and I had never accomplished. But today I made it on my second try! I also took the more direct, challenging route up two hill climbs in Webster. I also made both on my second attempt. Aside from some good hill climbs, I used my high gear quite a bit.

I made sure to ride the new Green trail opened yesterday.  I rode from the field entrance to where it meets the Red trail.  It's a good trail, though it's fairly pitted.  I remember how some of the new trails at Bay Park West were like this a first.  I'm not sure if work was done to smooth the surface of those trails or if it just happened with use.

My left knee started bothering me a bit towards the end of my ride. I stopped and stretched a bit. It's not as bad as it's been, so I'm hopeful I'm on the path to recovery. For months I have noticed the "Closes at Dusk" sign in the Whiting parking lot had been graffiti'ed. Someone had spray painted a penis on it. Nice. So today I brought a ladder and a variety of cleaning supplies to try to remove it. My first attempt was to use auto body rubbing compound and it worked very well. That was my good deed for the day.

I rode nearly 10 miles:

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2011-09-11

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Whiting Green Trail

Today was the monthly trail work day for the Friends of Webster Trails. There were about 30 volunteers helping out. We continued working on the new Green trail at Whiting Road Nature Preserve. I worked with a group that did a lot of benching. In all I was there for over three hours.

There is still more work to do but the trail is completely usable and has been opened! This is actually only 1/3 of the planned trail. The rest will likely be worked on next year.

I hope to ride this new trail soon.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nursing My Left Leg

I've been working on fixing my left leg. It sounds like my IT band is too tight. That's what I suspect caused the pain on the outside of my left knee last time I rode. But the deep sciatica-like ache within my hamstring might be a different problem. I've been stretching more and more, and have come to realize just how inflexible I am, especially in my legs.
This morning I did some yoga with my Wii Fit and so many exercises cause the muscles/tendons/ligaments on the back of my legs to feel like they're stretching too far. And yet, my legs still have a long way to go to be straight. When I sit on the floor with my legs straight out and reach to touch my toes, I can only get to about 12" away. As I try harder the back of my knees burn. That's pretty pathetic.  I'm going to be stretching more and more and see if I can fix this.

After this morning's stretching, I rode at Whiting and Webster Park. I did well, making all the usual hill climbs. I didn't try to challenge myself with the Red trail or any more difficult options because I'm trying to take it easy. I kind of surprised myself at how easily I climbed the usual hills.

I did my standard circuit, and then repeated the first half in Whiting. By then I was feeling some issues in my leg, it was raining significantly, and the trails were getting greasy.

I rode the Midnight Trail, but did not see anyone.  This was my first time riding there since the stick woman incident.
My ride totaled about 8 miles.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2011-09-05

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

I had another chiropractic appointment today. The sciatica-like problem I was having has not been a problem, even after my hard ride at Bay Park West.

But as I previously mentioned, the outside of my left knee got sore towards the end of my ride, and continued to be sore for the rest of the day. I was limping a bit at times. This problem has gotten progressively worse over the past four or five rides.

My chiropractor analyzed it and is pretty confident that it's a problem with my IT band. It's very tight on the left leg. He suggested the sciatica-like feeling could be related. Stretching it should help, and he gave me some exercises.

Hopefully I'll get rid of my back, leg, and knee problems so I can concentrate on edurance and skills.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to BPW

It had been a month since I'd been to Bay Park West and I started to miss it. This morning I took some vacation time and rode there.

I messed up a few hill climbs, but I also made excellent progress on others. And I finally made it up the trail from the old trolley tracks up to Homewood!

The trail crew has made some changes to a few of the log overs. Some of the old ones were just downed trees that crossed the trail at the angle of the hillside. Hopping over these would be very trick because I'd have a tendency to roll or slip downward. The new log overs are nice and level, but unfortunately they're just a bit too big for me. In time I hope to have the skill to get over these without having to step off.

For the past three or four rides, I found my left knee has given me trouble. I get a sore joint pain on the outside of that knee. It was occuring about an hour after I rode, but today it was during the last third of my ride. Though, I rode more at BPW than I probably ever have in one outing. I found myself limping a bit when I walked, but riding was better. The determination and concentration when riding probably helps mask it too. Hopefully ice and ibuprophen will fix it for now, but I'd like solve the problem more permanently.

My cycle computer says I rode 7.3 miles. That's big for me at BPW.

Muni at Bay Park West - 2011-08-30

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Neighbor Unicyclist

A neighbor of mine has joined the world of unicycling!

It probably helps that he works with Mj, one of the few local riders, and he sees me out riding all the time. He bought a 24" Torker LX and has been learning to ride for the past few days.He stopped over yesterday and practiced a bit with me in the driveway. He is very persistent and is making good progress. It won't be long before he's making it around the neighborhood!

Welcome to the club!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Continued Trail Work

There were five or six of us working on the IMBA trail this morning at Tryon. We continued benching and connected the far end of the trail to an existing trail.

A large tree prevented us from digging down or back into the hillside, the standard way of making a bench-cut trail wider. So in about an 8 foot section of trail we used a log on the trail edge to hold back additional dirt. This allowed the trail to be wider.

This trail will probably get fully connected and be online with one or two more work sessions.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Last year I remember being at the Muni Only Race in Albany and mentioning my fatiguing back muscles to some of the other riders. I felt like I got a bunch of blank stares. This year at the Fat Tire Challenge in Pennsylvania, I got the same response. My lower back continues to get fatigued on many of my rides, and most other muni riders aren't having this problem.
Although I generally push through, it feels like it's my number one limiting factor. In one of the Fat Tire Weeknight Series races this year, I did not finish due to lower back fatigue. It's a problem.

To help, I did some extra stretching exercises here and there, but I've never gotten into a regular routine.

About a month ago, I started to get a slight sciatica feeling in my hamstrings. It wasn't anything too crazy, but something to note. I think it showed up in both legs at different times. I just felt it once in a while and it never lasted long.

About three days ago, I got a much stronger sciatica pain in my left leg, or at least what I've been calling sciatica. It was only in the hamstring and didn't go all the way to my foot. Certain movements seemed to cause it. I noticed it more when I swung that leg forward while walking, when no weight was on it. Sometimes when I bent over while seated I'd feel it more too. Just shifting my weight in my chair might give me a zinging feeling. I iced my lower back a few times, but it wasn't making a big difference.

I figured it was most likely from the Singletrack Stampede race I rode on Saturday. That's a tougher trail. Or maybe lifting something heavy caused it. Or maybe it was from the fall I took at the race, though that was just a typical tuck and roll. I haven't had any specific events that caused me sharp pain.

Whatever the cause, it didn't seem like it was going away, so I made an appointment with a chiropractor.
The day before my appointment I woke up and was frustrated to find little improvment. Sometime in the morning, at work, I shifted in my chair and felt some kind of a pop in my left hip joint area. That happened twice during the morning. I didn't feel any noticable improvement in my sciatica though. But in the afternoon I started to notice a marked improvement. I don't know if that popping had something to do with it or not.

This morning things were even better. I can still feel the sciatica a bit once in a while, but it's way less often and less intense. Still, I went to my chiropracic appointment with the hope of understanding the problem and improving my low back fatigue.

After telling him my story, he started with the TENS therapy. After a lower back massage, he adjusted my back. I heard and felt a good amount of crunching. He also adjusted my neck, though I didn't hear or feel anything. I don't feel like a new person, but it's good to know things are closer to where they should be.

I have another appointment in a week for a follow-up adjustment and to talk about stretches and exercises I can do. He didn't want me to start on any specific exercises until after the next appointment to avoid confusing any soreness from my first adjustment with soreness from exercise. Still, he said to go ahead and keep up with my normal exercise, including muni.

So I hope to get a ride in this weekend.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Singletrack Stampede II

Today was the Singletrack Stampede II mountain bike race at Sprague Brook Park.
I had gotten permission to ride over a month ago, and tried the course out a few times. It's a super rooty 7+ mile loop.

Like in many races, Beginners do 1 lap, Sport 2, and Expert 3. There classes for age, gender, and for single-speed bikes.

I registered in as a Beginner. The weather was good, and the race went fairly well. My stomach was bothering me in the first couple miles, but I don't think it slowed me down. I had eaten a bagel with jelly about two hours before the race. Maybe that was the problem? I guess I need to work on my pre-race nutrition.

For a good portion of the race I saw a couple of the volunteer riders who were there to help anyone with medical or mechanical problems. They'd pass, then rest, then I'd pass, etc. I passed a few riders who has issues like a broken chain or a flat, but later they passed me. It must have been at about mile 5 that some experts and sports started passing me.

I did well. I'd say I rode about 98% of the course, but had to dismount for some steeper hill climbs.

My time was 1 hour 35 minutes. The top mountain bikers were doing laps in less than 50 minutes. So I'm going about half their speed.

My lower back muscles got sore, but not too crazy. But I was glad when my lap was done. It's a tough course with the constant battle of roots. My left knee started feeling very sore hours after I was done riding. I was on the edge of limping once I got home. Ibuprofen and icing helped a ton. This happened to me last weekend too. It's something I need to figure out.

Once all the racers came in, we had pizza, pasta, and salad. Then the top three riders of each class got medals. Depending on the class, some of the top riders got money too. For example, the top beginner got their $30 registration fee back, and the top expert rider doubled their money.

At the very end of the awards ceremony, Scott, the race coordinator, asked if they had forgotten anyone. Someone yelled out something like "UNICYCLE CLASS!". Earlier, Scott had hinted to me about an award so I made sure to stick around. So I think he had it planned. He called me up and gave me a medal and my $30 registration back! Thanks Scott!
Pint glasses were also given to all the racers.

I talked to a lot of riders while I was there. It's surprising how many of them either own a unicycle or have tried one. Most who have tried haven't stuck with it long enough to get very comfortable. I hope seeing me out there encourages someone to work their way into muni.

There were plenty of cameras around, and it looked like someone had some serious video equipment to document the event. I'll have to look for the footage online.
Actually, Peter, one of the volunteer riders took a quick video of me on his android phone. Nothing overly exciting, but here it is:

I'll add more pics and video if I get some.

Click here for the race results.

Of course, I tracked my ride:

Singletrack Stampede II - 2011-08-20

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Suicide 6

Today I "raced" at the Suicide 6 mountain bike race at Harriet Hollister Spencer Park at the south end of Honeoye Lake. The race is 6 hours long and teams, sending one rider out at a time, do as many 7+ mile laps as they can. Riders can ride as a team of one, which is what I did, on my muni of course.

About a week and a half ago I did a test run of the race course. Based on that, I knew I'd have to push just to do two laps in the race. So my hope was to do one at the start, and one towards the end, with a good few hours to chill in-between.

Unfortunately there was a 70% chance of rain today. Still, that left 30% of no rain. I like those odds. So I went for it.

I arrived and learned it had rained over an inch overnight. So the trails would be at least somewhat wet from the start. From early on there was significant thunder in the distance.

The rain held off during my first lap. The course was marked very well and had mile markers. I felt ok at the beginning, but somewhere around mile 5 the course gets more difficult with many rooty and rocky climbs. My lower back muscles got painful quickly and I realized this would probably be my only lap. But somewhere near the last mile I found my back was improving. There were more downhills and flats to recover from the pain. I finished my lap, and chilled and snacked for a bit. The park only has one shelter, an open sided lean-to, where the race officials were stationed. Many riders/teams had canopies set up with chairs and coolers. The guys next to me were from the Sprague Brook area. And one of them was actually Scott, the race director of the Singletrack Stampede II that I hope to attend on Saturday. So I hung out in that area for a bit. Thunder continued to rumble in the distance and a few drops were falling. It had probably been about 30 minutes since I came in from my first lap, and my lower back was feeling fine. With the threat of a downpour soon it seemed wise to go ahead and head out for another lap sooner than later. So I did.

In the first hill climbs I was questioning my decision. My quadriceps were burning. But I pushed on. The lower back pain came quickly, but didn't seem as intense. It began raining, but the trails didn't seem to be changing much. There are enough flats and downhills in the first half of the course to manage my pain. But again, once I hit the 5 mile mark my lower back muscles started to hurt bad. The rain began falling harder and the trails were getting very wet and much softer. I found myself dismounting earlier on difficult uphills, and remounting later. I still was riding a whole lot more than walking, but certainly walking a higher percentage than I prefer.

Some areas had thicker fog. Unicycling on difficult trails with low light levels, fog, and thunder is other-worldly. Some sections also had a thick tree cover, and the light levels were insanely low. Riding down a greasy, twisty, rooty, rocky trail in these conditions was feeling crazy. In the latter half of lap two, my quads were giving strong hints of cramping. Anytime I pushed hard up hills, my quads felt like they were on the verge of having one the those charlie horse cramps I have had recently in my right calf. I was even feeling it as a walked up hills. I downed energy gels and extra water to help. But with this kind of fatigue and the deteriorating trail conditions, I was sure this was my last lap. I finished and was glad I was done.

As usual, all the mountain bikers were super nice and many gave encouraging comments. Of course, I dismounted whenever I heard them on my tail and got out of the way. I tried to return the positive support too. Anyone riding in those conditions has some serious will power and skill. The bikers are more likely to catch up to me when I'm moving slowly, so I think I see them more often when I'm walking up the remainder of a hill. The bad part of that is they see me walking and not riding, and I feel a bit like a loser. The good thing is I see that these hills ARE climbable... at least on some machine. I'll keep working on it.

After my second lap there was still a few hours of riding left in the race. But with the rain coming down steady and nothing for entertainment, I decided to call it a day.

The trail mile markers went up to 7 miles with plenty more trail before the finish line. I put my two rides together and only get about 13 miles. But with all the many twists and turns, it makes sense the GPS would cut corners and show less distance. So I'd say it was about 15 miles of riding. Given the caliber of these trails and the conditions, I'd say I did well.

Suicide 6 - 2011-08-14