Thursday, April 12, 2007

Back to Winter

We are heading up north to close up our cabin for the summer. As my life gets busier, the less I go up there. Sometimes being an adult and responsible is just a bummer. I want to PLAY.

I took the Kona Zing out for it's maiden ride last sunday. It is way different actually riding to actually ride on the ROAD than it is to pedal on a trainer.

Drop bars are at totally different kind of ride. I felt insecure, not familure with how it handles, not used to being so far forward, unfamilure hand position and my thumbs kept cramping up. Even with feeling like that, it was a very smooth, fast ride. I went about 3 miles and was frozen by the time I got home, the wind was blowing and it's COLD.

Today I got off work a little early and the sun is out, releasing it's still weak warmth, the nicest day we have had so far. I got the Zing out and took it for a ride around the Springer Loop, a 4.2 mile square road system I live on. As it was before 5 p.m. the traffic was pretty light. I had on my hi-vis jacket because Alaskan drivers tend to get white-line fever whenever they drive and just don't notice anything that is smaller than a moose. The drivers noticed me and all except 1 guy went wide around me. That was soo much nicer than the normal 10 inch pass they usually do.

This ride was in strong, cold wind. The Springer has no hills, barely any incline at all. Hard wind is a fair substitue for a small hill, except it make you cold instead of hot. I am feeling much more confident on this 2nd ride. I have learned from mountain biking that it's good to trust the bike and just ride. So I trusted that I wasn't going to crash and had a nice ride. I think the insecurity comes from feeling like I am not holding on to the bars....riser bars my hands are gripping them, with the drop bars I am more leaning on the bars rather than gripping them...does that make sense? There was one spot where I was turning a 90 degree corner and went over a pile of road sand that had piled up...a nice side-slip. Not good. I could have totally wiped out in the middle of the road, but I didn't and so now I am reminded to be more careful. My thumbs still cramped up a bit, I am sure it will stop when I am more used to this bike. I think I am pushing outward on the hoods with my thumbs..squeezing them. I just figured this out at this moment. I will have to watch for that on my next ride.

Bike Boy's newest bike in at Bike Guy's shop. He over pressurized the fork and blew the seals. Bike Guy will order a rebuild kit, it will take a couple weeks before it's ready. Bike Guy is getting into the psycotic season...this is a bad time for a major mechanical problem. So Bike Boy is on his hardtail for now.

Hopefully it will green up a little by the time I get back from the cabin. Time to start commuting to work pretty soon. The nights are still below freezing so there is still ice in the morning. I would rather have the ice gone, I don't want to wipe out on my way to work...or anytime. Ride on :)


shawnkielty said...

Michelle -- it sounds about right what you're saying ... I am sure you're wearing gloves, which help. I stand up and lean on my bars often when I am in dicey traffic and want to be seen.

Chris said...

Closing up the cabin for the summer?? HA! You Alaskans are different.

Soon you can take the Zing out for a century.

Karen Travels said...

Everytime your write about bike riding I want to buy a bike!

Have fun at the cabin, it is funny to hear you are closing it up for the summer...I had friends with a cabin in upstate NY, and they closed it up for the winter! Is it because you can only get there by snowmobile? (I am very unknowledgable about Alaska!)

A Midnight Rider said...

You shouldn't be leaning on your drop bar. You are probalbly all stiff from the shoulders to your hands too. Relax, breath and lighten your grip.

Headed up north to beat the heat huh? Nice

Michelle said...

Hey Shawn, I do wear gloves, I get that hot "cyclist" tan going in the summer, tan arms, white hands, tan circle on the back of my hand where the velcro closure is, tan fingers

Karen - I hear a lonely bike sitting in a bike shop down south, just wispering your name. Make it happy - find it and make it your own!!

Midnight - someday I am going to make it to N. Attloboro..someday. I did realize during my ride that I was getting stiff in the shoulders, at one point I was sort of dropping my head into my neck or my neck into my shoulders. I corrected that posture and it was much more comfortable. I just need to practice, practice, practice and, as you said, RELAX.

The cabin: Funny, life really IS backwards here!!! We don't go to the cabin in the summer because:
1)it's 90 degrees, I handle 40 below better than 90 degrees, I melt at 88.2 degrees. It is also easier to get warm than it is to cool down.
2) Bugs - killer, blood sucking needle-nose bugs that are as big as your fist. They attack in such swarms they leave the caribou weak from blood loss (no, I'm not kidding). Just think what they can do to ME!
3) Bears - they will EAT you if they can. The also like to break into cabins and taste things. I don't want to be something they taste.
4) the only way in is by float plane - $400 for a 20 minute flight out and pick up. Bush pilots tend to be a "unique" bunch, if you piss them off, they don't come back to pick you up - our pilot is great - but we pay extra to keep him HAPPY!
5) no refrigeration, it's 90 degress with no electric. Ice melts fast, food goes bad.
6) the outhouse smells in the summer. everything is frozen in the winter, no smell
7) The ground there is tundra, it is very, very difficult to travel over tundra, it is like walking on a wet sponge. Everything is harder there in the summer. In winter snowmachines get us where we need to go, over lakes rather than around them and make nice, packed trails so getting around is much, much easier. Snowmachines don't hurt the tundra at all, the snow melts and there is no evidence left behind. Tundra is more fragile. It is the true wilderness, no roads, no anything. If you come to a stream in the summer, the only way through it is to fall some trees and build a bridge.
8) There's not much else to do in the winter but TONS to do in the summer!

I have many more reasons but this list is already getting too long.