Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for the 'Mixed Terrain' Category

Singlespeed Ramble

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

On Saturday, I took the Little 500 bike out for a spin. I rode down to the bike path that follows Sare Road. I’ve ridden on that path just a couple of times. That’s kind of silly, since it’s just about a mile from my house. My impression of the trail before was that it wasn’t all that great, but I hadn’t really explored it much.

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Quickly, I found this creek just off to the side.

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And this frozen pond.

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I made my way into a rather new subdivision that looked kind of fancy, but it was also a bit odd. The houses all appeared to be basically identical, except a few different-colored panels.

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I spotted another trail running behind the houses in this neighborhood.

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Considering that it ran right behind a subdivision, the trail had some nice wooded views.

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The trail was snowy and icy in spots. The singlespeed has 32mm tires, wide enough to manage well enough.

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The trail had been paved to this point, but the pavement ended. The trail was rather muddy, but still ridable. I rode through a field on a thin ribbon of trail.

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The trail reconnected with the first trail I had been on, and I rode on. I stopped by this pond, which also happens to be outside my doctor’s office.

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Here’s another pond right down the street, but this one was still frozen.

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I paused by a field before heading back.

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I rode home by way of Olcott/Sherwood Oaks parks. There’s a decent-sized ravine, with one park on top, the other below. This meant a good downhill, followed by a climb.

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I stopped at the bottom to admire the creek. As I did, a couple of other guys rode by … both of them were also on Little 500 bikes! They didn’t stop to chat, and I didn’t get a decent shot of them, sadly. I turned my attention back to the creek.

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I decided to extend my ride slightly on the Jackson Creek Trail.

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Now I had a good climb out of the ravine. I was curious how it’d be on the singlespeed, and it was just fine. Very doable. The gearing on the bike is rather low, at 42×18. It may take a while to figure out the ideal gear ratio.

By the way, here’s a closer shot of the weird rear brake configuration. Mike asked about this and mentioned I might be able to install a long-reach caliper. I *think* the bike was designed with this in mind, but I don’t know. Does the photo help at all? It’s hard to tell, but the rear bridge is drilled right behind the canti straddle cable.

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This was a great, if short, ride on the new singlespeed. I hadn’t intended to take it offroad, but it handled fairly well.

I put the bike to a much better test today — more about that soon.

Mixed-terrain snowbiking

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

On Saturday, my friend Dave and I connected for some snowbiking. We had planned on mountain biking at  Brown County State Park, but the snow made the roads sketchy, so we weren’t sure we could actually get there. We changed our plans and went snowbiking elsewhere instead.

There wasn’t a lot of snow, maybe two inches, and with temperatures in the teens (Fahrenheit) and windchills sometimes dipping below zero, it was cold enough that the snow was light and fluffy. The conditions were great! We managed around 15 miles of gravel, trails, and a little pavement,  on a cold, snowy day, but we were so well prepared that we both felt comfortable throughout the entire 2 1/2 hours we were riding.

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New year, new terrain

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

My friend Dave and I had been trying to connect for a ride all last week, but schedules and conditions conspired against us. We did, however, get out for a New Year’s Day ride. He came up with a great idea that would take mixed terrain to the next level. Here’s a map.

Even though temperatures the day before had climbed to nearly 60 degrees, it was in the 30s during our ride. However, the strong south winds remained.

We rolled out.

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Along the way, we ran into Doug, a friend of Dave’s who I’ve ridden with a couple of times before. We talked to him and his wife for a few minutes before going our separate ways.

There were some good hills, and nice views, along Ketcham Road.

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After about nine miles, we reached the Cedar Bluff Nature Preserve.

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We locked our bikes in a ditch …

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… and headed out on foot to hike the trail. I guess you could call this a mixed-mode adventure!

The creek was high …

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With pervasive evidence of beavers …

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The trail became more rugged, involving careful rock-stepping alongside the creek.

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Here I am making my way across some rocks (photo by Dave).

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Looking up at the bluff.

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The bluff is a very narrow point.

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I was testing some new hiking/biking shoes. I’ll write about them later. First impressions are positive.

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This was my first time on the trail, while Dave had hiked it many times before. His knowledge came in very handy. He knew the best place to stop and skip rocks in the creek.

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Now we had a scramble up the back side of the bluff, on wet, leaf-covered, mossy rocks. Needless to say, they were quite slick. We made it up without incident, with Dave making it look like a breeze.

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The top afforded us excellent views.

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It’s odd to see the cedars growing right out of the rock.

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The back side of the bluff had a ravine with a creek in it.

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We enjoyed a snack while we took in the views. What a great spot!

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Now, it was time to walk back down the way we came. Once again, it was tricky.

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Here I am coming back down (photo by Dave).

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Once again, Dave made quick work of it and got down off the bluff well before me.

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Now we had to retrace our steps back on the rocky creek shore.

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Dave pointed out this very funny pair of trees, known as the “upside-down lady.”

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It wasn’t a long hike, mileage-wise (maybe 1.2 miles) but it was a tricky one, and we took time to explore.

We got back on our bikes and rode back, taking a different route that added a few miles but had fewer hills.

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Soon, we had a tailwind. Sweet!

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We turned onto Gore Road, a new road for me and a great find. Thanks to Dave for showing me this alternative to Old State Road 37!

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We still had to spend some time on Old 37, but Gore Road avoided a few miles of it in fine fashion.

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We made our way back to my house. Ride + hike together totaled 21 miles or so, but neither part was easy. This was a lot of fun, and we already have ideas for other, similar outings.

I took a break from biking and hiking the next couple of days, and spent some quality time with my wife. The break was much-needed, as was our time together. Now I feel refreshed and ready for all the craziness that this year has in store for us.

I hope everyone is having a Happy New Year!

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