I consider myself a mountain biker to the core. I enjoy all forms of cycling, but always feel most at home in the dirt. Lately I just haven’t been feeling it though. I raced all of the FTR last year, marked all of our courses, and pretty much spent a ton of time on my mountain bike. By the time fall came around I was ready for something different. I tried to be stoked for cx, but wasn’t. All I wanted to do was giant 80-90 mile gravel/forest service road rides. So I did. And it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I felt any mountain bike mojo. The upcoming Echo Red to Red race was just the jump start I needed. Well, some shiny new parts help too. I am building up my Trek Superfly Pro as a super light rigid single speed. It’s been a few years since I’ve been full on ss so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also scheming to possibly slip another mtb into the quiver sometime this season (don’t tell my wife!). As we roll into the Fat Tire Revolution I am excited to share some of the ideas I’ve been cooking up to hopefully build some mtb stoke and get more people out in the dirt! Until then I hope to see you in Echo.
Gran Fondo Ephrata is exactly one month out with only 27 spaces left (as of Feb. 16 at 10:30 pm) This will fill up soon, don’t wait! We’ve had a very mild winter here so far, thus allowing us lots of riding on gravel roads normally snowed in. Heck, I did the whole gfe course in early Jan which is pretty much unheard of. I believe all of this will make for a memorable Gran Fondo Ephrata this year. Good or bad… I don’t know, but memorable.
Gran Fondo Ephrata 2013
Here’s a nice write up from our friends at Cycle Central on the how this whole Vicious Cycle thing came about.
And check out what CyclingWEST has to say about the toughest seven gravel grinds in the west. Guess who made the list. Twice.
Well, I guess we knew this would come sooner or later. Winter that is. I say with much disdain. I know it’s good for the mountains, ski industry, farmers, and kids, but I’m none of those. What little bit of excitement I may get out of playing in the snow has pretty well passed by February. But really, I guess I should be thankful for just how mild things have been up until now. I’ve lucked out at work and got the house we’re building closed in so interior work can begin, and I’ve got a fair amount of riding it. In fact a couple of us even got out last weekend despite temps in the teens and new snow on the ground. It was definitely not the mileage we were hoping for, but all in all it was still a decent ride. The cold snow makes a very satisfying squeak under your tires and provides reasonably good traction. And it was way better that slaving away on a trainer!
Riding into the white abyss.
It seems everyone has something to say about this, I mean after all our own Seahawks are Superbowl Champions, what’s not to love? To be totally honest though, I’m already kinda sick of hearing about it so if you quit reading right now I won’t have hurt feelings, promise. This may come as a shock to you, but I don’t follow football. Nothing against it, I barely even follow pro cycling anymore. I don’t paint my face (or chest), I don’t critique plays, live via social media, and I don’t understand how people get so caught up in it, that there happiness is hinged upon the outcome of a game. I spent most of my Sunday on my bike. It felt good, so I even added a little extra to it. Yes, I did make it back for the game, not because I had to so I could paint a 12 on my chest (I don’t even know what that means) and eat Doritos and drink Bud Light. I watched it with my family. And I even enjoyed it.
After a three + week inversion of fog and low clouds we got our first peek of sunshine yesterday, and it was good! So we were excited to get out and ride today. Due to the recent snow fall we were headed south to begin our ride at Mardon, and from there head through the Seep Lake area for some gravel and the unknown. Unfortunately it soon became apparent that we would have no sunshine. It was going to be cloudy and cold. We rode across the O’Sullivan dam with a light breeze rolling right up our skirts from the frozen lake. Upping the tempo only upped the breeze. We made a right turn on an unmarked road into the Seep Lakes area. It was gravel and rough. In fact gravel could be bit generous, more like rocks with washboards. On the plus side the beating warmed us up.
Checking to see that we have not rattled loose any fillings.
We made it through, back on pavement and looped down through Othello, and what was apparently the bad side of town. We followed an irrigation canal adjacent to a “rough neighborhood” with a lot of angry dogs. From there we jumped on highway 26 for a jaunt then back north on another unmarked gravel road. This one was slightly better if for no other reason it was not frozen rock solid.
Riding through time on forgotten roads.
This road took us back into the Seep Lakes area where we were again pounded into submission. But just when we though we couldn’t take anymore we were saved. By sweet singletrack! This was the coolest part of the day, a nice little nature path in the middle of nowhere complete with informative trail side signage telling about the area. Ironically it ended up being way smoother than the road too.
After that it was back to the beating for a couple more miles of gravel and then the final push across O’Sullivan and back to Mardon “Resort” where we hit up the local hot spot for Beef Jerkey and an Oly. Can’t argue with that.
Our schedule is up, and while I’m always hesitant to say it’s “final” it pretty much is. Our big thing we are excited about is Goldendale! This is an awesome ride, I did it a couple weeks ago and loved it. Amazing views, fun rolling terrain, just a great ride. In other news you may have noticed Ellensburg was on the tentative schedule and is now gone. Couple things happening here. First of all we omitted Winthrop in the first draft of the schedule. Main reason was weather. It is so tough to get that high (7000′!) and time it right. Last year we chose to play it safe snow wise and go Aug. and kind of lucked out. Yes there was a torrential monsoon of a storm that passed through, but I still say we lucked out. One week before the event we were out on the course getting things dialed and it was 90 degrees! I don’t care how many people say they are ok with the heat, I’m telling you on a ride of that magnitude people would be dropping like flys in the heat. I had already done a bunch of exploring around Elllensburg and figured it was time to pull the trigger on that and put it in place of Winthrop. But the deeper I dug into it the more I realized I was going to need more time than was available. I would rather put it off a year than rush into it and half ass it. See you in 2015 Eburg! Back to Winthrop. We actually got a lot of requests for this so it works out well. Looking forward to another great ride in the Methow and happy to be there a little earlier in the year.
And here comes the high pressure sales part. You knew it was coming. Registration for all four Fondos will open Feb 1. Yeah, like THIS Saturday. The day before the Superbowl – Go Hawks! Each page will have a link to register. These are all pre-reg only and are limited to no more than 200 riders. This ensures they will be cool rides and not lame sell outs with 1000 crazies killing the vibe.
Here it is, the much anticipated story of the 2013 Rapha/Strava Festive 500. 500k from Dec. 24-31. (I use the term “much anticipated” loosely. I think my wife may have mentioned it once, but that’s about it.) (more…)
Okay, that’s a lie. I’m not really feeling all that festive. But you probably wouldn’t have even begun reading this had it been titled “Kinda sick of non stop Christmas music and retailers cramming it down my throat since Oct 31 and just want to ride my bike and enjoy the season on my terms.” (Besides, I don’t think that would’ve even fit in the little space for the title.) But that’s not where I was going with this. What’s really on mind is the Rapha Festive 500 which is a strava challenge of 500k from Dec. 24-Dec 31. I know it’s not that big of deal really, and there’s like 20,000 people already signed up for it, some of which will even double it and do a 1000. Still, 500k in a week is no joke, especially considering cold weather and limited daylight. And the fact the Maedke Construction is busy and there is very little “holiday time” in the schedule. But something tells me that if this were happening in June I just wouldn’t be as excited about it. What can I say, I’m not truly happy unless I’m miserable. In other works I’m a cyclist.
The Petroglyph ride was good. So good that it would be tough to top. But that is just what Bill set out to do today along with Brian, Dave, Dru, Nate, and myself. Today we set out to see the elusive “Punch Bowls” which have nearly reached folklore status to us. None of us know for sure what created these huge holes in the basalt landscape but we all have our theories: meteors, ice age floods, alien life, etc. We learned of this mysterious formation on a previous ride and have since been intrigued. (more…)