Thursday, March 31, 2011

End of March

  Out like a lamb in a cloudy way.  Although the temperatures are and have been below normal (whatever that is) it seems to be getting warmer.  Predictions are for snow tonight and again on Sunday.  Got a nooner ride in around campus, couple of laps around the ring road and one trip to Skoglund.  Those are some tough hills on a fixie, at least they seem so to me.  Did a big Dummy cruise to town after work.  My average speed is up about 5KM/hr, going to give credit to the training runs on the SteamRoller and the couple of noon time rides with the EMVC group.
  Troll is slowly coming together.  Ordered the wheels yesterday.  Ben Witt worked with me through several options.  Ended up deciding to have him build a set with DT Swiss 370 hubs.  They should be the only set I ever need for the Troll.  Made a preliminary choice on Shimmano 3 x 9 drivetrain.  Had hoped to have this altogether by today but now it looks like the end of April.  Look-out gravel roads!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday rides

  Headed out for a noon time ride with the EMVC group but a train got in my way.  Ended up doing the Carleton Wind Generator loop on my own.  The SteamRoller pulled me through the 20.1KM loop with ease, even bucking the wind.  Ben Witt caught up with me towards the end.  We both agreed we need more road time to get into better shape.
  After work I finally got around to changing out the tires on the Big Dummy.  It was a different ride to town to lift weights with the Big Apple tires, they are a lot quieter and the roll is different.  Weights went well.  The wind shifted so I had head winds both directions!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


  Nice sunset ride down 99 then a loop around Lake Mazaska on the SteamRoller.  33.1KM (5.5 on gravel). Lots of interesting wildlife sightings.  Thought I could see Troll tracks on the gravel loop around Mazaska and then just before I got back on Highway 21 a coyote dashed across the road in front of me.  Stopped to take a sip of coffee just before climbing the hill at the intersection of 21 and 99 and I had three Great Blue Herons off to the side of the road and then three Sandhills flew overhead.  I thought it was a a successful ride at that point.  Cresting the hill there were 35 Whitetail deer!
  The interesting thing about encountering wildlife while riding is that a bicycle seems to be more disturbing than an automobile to them.  Last week there was a Bald Eagle roosting in a tree at the end of the driveway and car after car went by without seeming to even phase it.  But the moment I rolled under it flew away.
  Found a pretty nice flashlight just before turning into the drive too.  Except for the headwind for the first half of the ride it was a very nice evening!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sandhill Cranes Return

  The Sandhills are back in the area.  Spotted five of them on the knob at the intersection of Highway 99 and Rice County 63.  The fact that there are 5 is good news.  In years past there have only been two adults and one chick/adolescent.  One can hope that this means there has been an increase in the returning "flock".  I believe this are the same birds I have seen over the past five or six years while riding as far south as Kilkenny, north to Heidelberg and east to Fox Lake.  Sure sign of spring!  Off for a moonset ride and coffee.  The studded tires come off the Dummy this morning too!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

End of winter, I hope.

  Two rides on two bikes today.  Took the Dummy to town and decided it must be time to change out the studded tires.  Will get to that tomorrow.  Although it was below freezing it was clear and sunny.  Beautiful ride.  Interesting how different it was to be on the Dummy after a couple weeks riding a fixie exclusively.
  Got a bug around 9 this evening to go out for another ride.  Believe it was stimulated by looking at the ALL-CITY bikes web site.  Something to dream about especially now that freewheel multi-gear cassettes have been "taxed" with a 10% import duty.
  Did a short 8KM figure 8 lap around the block, half of it on gravel.  The new SOMA SPARROW bars on the SteamRoller are really nice.  There were some tougher stretches of gravel still covered with a pretty thick layer of yesterdays snow but  the stars were fantastic.