Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for the 'Holiday' Category

Independence day weekend activities

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Things are looking up, I think. I have fresh, pink skin mostly covering where my scrapes were, and a good portion of the scabs have come off. There are still some scabs where the scrapes were deeper, and both my knee and my elbow are still pretty tender, but I feel like I’m making good progress. I’m a little less sure about my finger. There’s still some swelling and pain, but at the same time my range of movement continues to improve. I did a brief (4 mile) test ride on Saturday and everything felt pretty good. I was on my road bike, which has shifters built into the brakes, and I have to shift with my index and ring fingers, because my middle finger isn’t up to the task yet. I don’t quite have the same grip I did before but I can still hold on to the hoods and brake fairly well.

After my test ride, Sarah and I went for a hike. More on that in a minute.

On Sunday, I rode the Water Works route, and it went really well. I wasn’t sure if my finger could handle 20+ miles of riding, but it really didn’t bother me too much. It’s funny, I still can’t open a bottle of soda, but now I can ride 20 miles without too much trouble. Then again, if given the choice, I’d rather ride. I did feel some pain when I went over big bumps, but otherwise I was fine. Riding in the hoods or drops works better for me than sitting more upright and using the flat, middle part of the bars.

Anyway, it felt great to ride. I put forth a medium amount of effort, enough to feel I was getting a good workout, but I didn’t go all out. Even though I rode early in the afternoon, I saw two deer and had to slow down to let a wild turkey cross the road in front of me. I’m not sure who was more startled: the turkey crossing the road, or turkey on the bicycle. I was surprised to see so much wildlife, normally I would only expect to see those animals in the early morning or late evening.

Back to Saturday’s hike, Sarah and I took Rob (the dog) to hike the Pate Hollow trail near Lake Monroe.  We’ve hiked there before, but that was back in January. Everything looks so much different now, very green and lush. I forgot how cool this trail is — it has a lot of switchbacks, some fairly long climbs and a few creek crossings. We did a shortened version of the trail again this time; sometime we’ll have to go back and do the full 7+ miles. I’ve heard the other half of the trail is even better. It felt great to be outdoors together and get some exercise without aggravating my finger. Here are some photos from our hike.


The trail. If you look closely you can see the dog in the distance

One of many switchbacks




Wild raspberries


Mountain biking on New Year’s Day

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

I went mountain biking at Brown County State Park today. A cloudy day with high temperatures in the mid-20s, this was the first day in quite some time where I thought trail conditions would permit riding. It’s been too warm and the freeze-thaw cycle has kept the ground soft and muddy. Finally, it was cold enough to ride on frozen ground. Winds gusting to 30-40 mph added an extra challenge — although the wind tends to matter less when mountain biking than when riding on the road.

The trails were in great shape, although there were a few sections that were a little soft. There was a thin layer of snow covering everything, which made for some beautiful scenery. I rode the North Tower Loop forwards and backwards, and rode the connector to the Aynes Loop for a couple extra easy miles.

It took most of the way through the North Tower Loop for me to adjust to the trail conditions. It had been a long time since my last snowy mountain bike ride. Traction was decent but a bit unpredictable at times, with a few soft spots and slick rocks. I took my time and stayed vertical.  The only real problem I had was that my cleats and clipless pedals tend to collect snow, ice and debris in cold weather. I had forgotten this, and continually had to try to knock the ice out of my shoes and off my pedals. I wonder if some other kind of pedal would work better in the winter — I like my SPD clipless pedals overall, but they are really bad in these conditions.

I was surprisingly warm wearing just my long-sleeved merino wool shirt and my Descente Element jacket on top and knee warmers, shorts, and tights on my legs. The shoe covers Sarah got me work great for keeping my feet warm.

By the time I started heading back, doing the loop backwards, I felt a lot more confident and rode faster on the way back. The descent back to the parking lot was, as always, a lot of fun. It didn’t actually snow much during my ride until the last 20 minutes or so, when the wind picked up and it started snowing. It got worse during the drive home, resulting in near whiteout conditions at times.

Here are some photos from my ride.

Winding trail

GT Avalanche 2.0



Snowing on the trail

And a few from the drive home:

Snow-covered road

Low visibility


Great Christmas

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

I had a great four-day weekend, since I took the 24th off and the office was closed on Christmas day. I did a fun road ride on Christmas Eve Day, once again doing the Shilo Road route of which I am so fond. That was a good length, about 25 miles. Sarah and I exchanged our gifts on Christmas Eve. Her gifts to me followed a bicycle touring theme, including a book and a backpacking sleeping pad and sleeping bag.

They are incredibly compact and lightweight, the sleeping bag weighing exactly 1 kilogram. I’ve been talking about doing a bicycle tour for a while now and I’m feeling more and more confident that I’ll be able to do one sometime in 2008. Last year, fitness would have been the biggest concern but hopefully I can stay in some semblance of shape over the winter and be in better shape next year. And now I have a lot of the gear I’ll need to do some sub 24-hour overnight trips and/or a longer tour. Thanks, hot stuff!

Christmas morning, we went over to mom’s house to exchange gifts with my family. We had a great time. Mom made lasagna for dinner as is becoming a tradition, and after dinner, I proposed a hike. The high was 47 degrees, and it was sunny — an incredibly beautiful day and surprisingly warm. After some discussion, everyone decided to come. We decided to hike the Wolf Cave trail (trail #5) at McCormick’s Creek State Park. It’s an easy two-mile trail.

Everyone really seemed to enjoy the hike, including my sister Becky, who hasn’t gone on the past few family hikes. I was really glad that everyone went and had a good time. In fact, it had been a long time since Sarah and I went hiking, and I think I had forgotten just how much I enjoy it. Here are some photos from the hike. Sarah took some of these.


Sarah and me

There's a hiding place in there!
Avery (my nephew) showing me a hiding place in Wolf Cave

Avery, mom, and me

Wolf cave
Rock bridge with icicles

Fording the river
Avery and mom crossing the creek

Becky and me
Becky (my sister) and me

Becky, looking aloof

Hiding in a tree
Avery, hiding in a tree

Hiking into the sun II
Hiking into the sun

Ear to the Breeze is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).