Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I've been doing a lot of it lately...

Time for a cleaning

All winter long I ride the same bike to minimize the destruction that road salt and sand cause. This year that bike was a Salsa Vaya. I set it up with flat bars and down tube friction shifters along with a set of 45mm wide tires and a rear rack. The tires helped keep the rubber side down and the rear rack kept weight off my back.

That bike has now gone through a complete overhaul. Torn down and rebuilt, getting a new test wheelset and drivetrain. Everything else has been de-salinated and re-lubed. The drop bars and STI shifters went back on, making this a bike for slaying gravel and smooth singletrack (most of the trails in MPLS).

Along with a rebuild of the Vaya I also rebuilt my Fargo, and Ti La Cruz. I'm waiting patiently for a Salsa Ti El Mariachi...It can't come soon enough.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Not so long ago

We were playing in the snow...

Lighting fires in the Black Diamond Megalight modified to test out the heated shelter.

Tucked in.

Stuffing it's little fire box full of wood.


Running in the snow with Greta the wonder dog.


Enjoying bluebird days in the woods.

Perfect day in the woods

This winter was a good one. Anni and I got out and played a bit with friends and barricaded ourselves in on the coldest days. Yesterday we spent the day getting ourselves ready for spring and summer, cleaning around the house. While the cleaning is not so fun, the outcome is rewarding. Time spent on the front porch enjoying the morning sun and cool summer nights to come.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I think Winter's over...

Each and every morning I, like many others I work with, suit up for the bicycle ride to work. Getting on the bike is a psychological challenge after days of sub-zero temperatures. Those breaks in the temps, when they soar to the teens, are a time for rejoice. I was dreading this past winter's days of aching and tired legs before it even got under way. I was dreading the back and forth commutes along the same roads, on the same bike(I'm spoiled, I know).

To keep the winter doldroms at bay, Ryan and I made a pact that we would drive in early on Wednesdays, work a full day, and then hit the many kilometers of groomed ski trails right out our employers back door. Cross Country Skiing is new for me. Last year I purchased a used set of classics from Frank at Cyclova XC. I skied a few times last year, played around, but didn't really focus on anything more than getting out with friends.

This year, with Ryan and my pact I got out at least 10 times, once a week. With slightly more frequency I was able to get more comfortable on the skis and begin to build some basic foundation. Half way through the season another friend who has moved further south shipped me his skate setup to play on. Each time we got out I planned on bringing my camera, but rarely did. We would ski as the sunset over the park turning all a golden hue. Last week, the last week, was no different. The sun hangs a few minutes longer each night.

Sun, Lake, Tracks

Once a week, that was all it took to break the monotony and stimulate my brain with something new to learn. Each week I looked forward to the break from the bike and the time on the skis.

Self Portrait

Maybe next year it will be twice a week. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Survival Kit...

It's rare that I do a simple copy/paste of someone else's work here. If I do it's because I respect that person and their expertise in the area. Aaron Teasdale is one of those people. Recently he posted a few photos of his "possibilities", or survival kit that he takes into the backcountry with him. Check it out:

His kit is nice and minimalist for a backcountry tour. It has many similarities to what I thought I needed during last year's Divide tour. However, for an Ultralight racing kit it has plenty of unnecessary items...Especially given that there is almost always a town within a day's reach and there is almost always redundancy in my pack.

This spring I'll get to my own summer 'survival kit' and post it up here. It's sparse, but includes the necessities to get me out of a jam, or keep me warm in one. Like say, the destruction of a drivetrain


Time for a ride. Albeit the daily commute to work.